Hanging out with Big Tex

A trip down the DART’s Green Line to the Texas State Fair has become a tradition for me in recent years and this year I went all out buying a season pass and making three trips down to bathe in the fried food filled air that surrounds the Texas State Fair.

Big Tex 2.0

Last year I had the privilege to be one of the last people to see the original Big Tex, having made my pilgrimage the day before the unfortunate fire that tragically cut Tex’s life short. One year and half a million dollars later, the bigger (3 feet taller) and better (more lifelike silicone skin to replace the old fiberglass body parts)  Big Tex was erected under a shroud of mystery as anxious news crews tried to sneak a peek before the planned worldwide unveiling on the opening day of the fair. The weather wasn’t cooperating and high winds on the day before the fair meant dropping the curtain around Big Tex a day early for fear he would be damaged.

Bottom: New for 2013, Fried King Ranch Casserole Top: Fernie’s Funnel Cake from The Dock

Each year a new smorgasbord of deep fried concoctions are unveiled enticing fair goers with odd and sometimes awful ingredients, but this year the Lipitor crowd were welcomed with several great new offerings. The Deep Fried King Ranch Casserole is a southern casserole staple that I was unfamiliar with but I am a sucker for food that is Texas shaped.  The chicken and cheese with veggies and cream of mushroom soup Texas shaped helping is then deep fired in panko bread crumbs and served with either queso or my choice the slightly spicy sour cream dipping sauce that makes sure the King Ranch Casserole is going to become a longtime fair favorite. Another new addition and winner for best taste is the Fried Cuban Roll, a egg roll with a filling of pork shoulder, ham, pickles and swiss cheese that can easily be confused for the warm gooey feeling of a mother’s love.

No fair would be complete without some sort of dairy based sculpture, wether it be the old standby butter or more adventurous building blocks like ice cream or the often tried but rarely excellently executed cottage cheese sculpture. 2013 saw the creation of a butter based sculpture paying homage to Big Tex as the larger than life cowboy held several small children while weeping what are presumable unsalted butter tears. For me, going to the State Fair marks the beginning of Fall and is a perfect way to say goodbye to Summer. There are always new things to see and try as well as the old standbys like a Fletchers corny dog  that no trip or three to the fair is complete without.

Fun in Chicago

DSCN0612.JPGDSCN0628.JPGDSCN0632.JPG
I got back from spending almost a week in Chicago visiting my sister over thanksgiving. In my normal nerd fashion we spent most of the trip going to different museums in Chicago. The Museum of Science and Industry is a must see and takes a whole day to see everything. Upgrade from general admission to see the Smart Home (cool to see a lot of different green technologies come together) and take the tour of the U-505 (worth the extra 5 bucks.) We also went to the Field Museum, made me think of “Night at the Museum” but they have some cool exhibits and there is Sue, the fully intact t-rex on display.

The Lincoln park zoo is a great free thing to do in Chicago. This time of year they do “Zoo Lights” where the zoo is light up for the holidays and there ice sculptures and other fun for the kids.  We took a bus tour that went all around the city and drops you off at the John Hancock building. The only way to see everything in the city and gets you as close as possible to see Obama’s house and you learn a little history and travel into parts of Chicago you wouldn’t want to go by yourself. ( just a little weird to be on a tour bus, a the driver says “to your right you will see one of the housing projects that the south side of Chicago is so famous for.”) All and all a good trip and I got to see some snow before heading back to Texas.

Makerfaire Video

Here’s the quickly thrown together video I made of some of the cools things at Makerfaire. Quality isn’t that great and I shoot it on a Flip Ultra. Nonetheless enjoy.

Planning my trip to Seattle

I have been working the past several days on planning our trip to Seattle and I can’t wait. I already bought the airline tickets and have our hotel reservation made and I’m trying to use gCal to plan out everything in our schedule. I working on some stuff so that I can be blogging while out and about seattle and keep in touch with the folks who haven’t really gotten into the whole social networking thing. Come on April 4th.

Travel Woes

So this weekend we were going to fly to Ohio to see family and leave my Dad so he could spend some time with his mom. Needless to say, we never got there. The snow that we had here thursday went there friday and caused alot of problems. We left and made it to columbus but never landed, just circled around until almost running out of fuel and having to divert to Detroit. American airlines then took all the luggage off the plane and quickly lost it. I had to scramble to reschedule everything and return to Dallas to try Saturday to get to Columbus on the dreaded flight 460. Saturday we get to the airport and 10 minutes after we check-in they cancel the flight. After one hour and three minutes on the phone with AA customer support I was able to get a refund for our tickets since they weren’t willing to reschedule the tickets for a time that works for us only the next day. I understand that it isn’t AA fault that the weather interfered with our flight but I shouldn’t be forced to take a flight days later when I can’t get off work or pay hundreds of dollars in fees to reschedule the tickets. AA is in the service industry and needs to remember what good customer service is about.