December 31, 2010

Good Podcast

If you are hurting for a 2011 New Year's Resolution, you might want to consider getting out of debt.  One tool that might help you in this pursuit is the Dave Ramsey Show podcast.  I've been listening to Dave a couple of years and his advice is so simple that it actually makes sense.

Go check it out.

December 28, 2010

Bowl Bound

It was just a short while ago that Baylor defeated Kansas State, causing the fans to rush the field in excitement as Baylor became bowl eligible for the first time in fifteen years.

Well, tomorrow, for the first time in sixteen years (yes the last time we were bowl eligible we did not get an invite to a bowl thanks to the Southwest Conference's limited bowl agreements), Baylor will be playing in a bowl game.

So tomorrow, in front of over 60,000 people at Reliant Stadium, Baylor will play Illinois in the Texas Bowl.

So, if you can't be there in person, flip on your televisions at 5:00 p.m. Central Time tomorrow and tune in to ESPN.  Put on some green and gold.  Shout "Heeeeey, Sic Em Bears!" at kickoff.  Enjoy the moment.

November 18, 2010

More Eggplants

So I have decided that eggplants and bell peppers are a great garden-type vegetable investment.  Here we are, middle of November, and all of those plants are still cranking out vegetables.  On top of that, they are big, healthy plants that take up a good space in the garden.  I pulled 5 peppers for a King Ranch Chicken Casserole and also grabbed a BIG eggplant off the vine this morning, and still left about 5 eggplants and a ton of peppers still out there.  With a freeze looming soon, I have no doubts that these will soon disappear.  Still, it's been a nice long run this year.  Those (and my prolific jalapeno plant) are definitely on the list for next year.

October 20, 2010

Aquarium Redo Complete (almost)

All done moving and re-setting the aquarium.  And I have now got most of the fish in there.  I will be adding a few fish this Friday (they are being shipped in from Cichlid Station) and then I'll be done until I decide to trade some in.

Regardless, I'm keeping track of the tank over at the Cichlid-Forum.com website.  For pictures and details, click here.

Here's my Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (I'm calling him Jack Palms) and two of the Firemouths.

Cheers!

October 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo Resources

Every October, something fun happens at Truckpoetry.Net - I get flooded with people downloading my NaNoWriMo spreadsheets.

As these are writing-related, I'm moving them (and posting new stuff) starting this year to my Writing Blog, and you can find them here: Author Resources on Cameron's Writing Blog

I'm leaving them here for old links and all that, but just in case you want any updates, follow the link above.

Enjoy!

October 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo Report Card 2010 edition

Download >>

Updated for 2010 - not a lot of new bells and whistles, though I intend to put some new stuff out for this NaNoWriMo as well...Keep your eyes peeled. This is my version of the original report card (created by Erik Benson) with a few enhancements.

Please notify me or leave a comment if you have any issues with the spreadsheet.

Chicken Fried Bacon and other delights

So I did not get a chance to try fried beer or fried frozen margaritas this weekend at the State Fair of Texas, but I did get to check out Chicken Fried Bacon, a corn dog, frito pie (not the deep fried type), and some curly fries.

It was a much less adventurous food outing than last year, but I did squeeze in a football game (although we lost by a touchdown).  I am still confused about how you can "change your mind" on accepting or declining a penalty.

Anyway, the food at the fair was good and greasy, as per my expectations, and I will just have to file away fried beer as something to try out next year.  I may have to try riding the "Windsurfing" ride as well - it's a crazy ride that appears to flip you repeatedly and occasionally spray you with water.  Here's a video of it in action (at another fair):


Eggplant

This weekend we got two moderately sized eggplants from the garden, and made grilled baba ghanouj with them. Basically you grill the eggplants on a 400 degree grill, turning frequently, for 30-45 minutes, until they are black. Then after letting it cool some, add the flesh to a food processor with the following ingredients and blend until smooth:

4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup tahini paste
2-2 1/2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 handful flat parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Cumin, salt, pepper to taste

Serve with pita and enjoy.

October 8, 2010

Baylor Basketball Update

So earlier in the week I had read that Baylor Basketball star LaceDarius Dunn was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.  As a result, he has been suspended from classes at Baylor, and suspended from the basketball team, potentially jeopardizing his participation in the season and his NBA draft prospects.

While I think we can all agree this is far from the worst thing that has ever happened to Baylor Basketball, it is still quite disheartening.  Even if charges are not pursued, I am not sure that the fans and/or school can get over it with LaceDarius.

That said, I suppose we will for sure have to see how good a player Perry Jones really is...

September 28, 2010

New Layout

Now this site matches CameronMathews.com, the main site.  The layout parade marches on.  I have a few tweaks to the sidebar over there to most likely add a tag cloud or something and reorganize some of that junk, but for now, you get a nice blue fadey background and twitter links at the top and a better navigation between the sites and a spiffy new logo.  Enjoy it while you can.

September 20, 2010

Aquarium redo step two


So after some work over the weekend and a trip to a local fish store, the aquarium is now empty, save for water and sand (and some waste from the prior inhabitants that is being cleaned up in phases).  I have located some of the fish that I will be adding, and I've done a brief sketch of what the final tank is going to look like, but for now, the rocks are out and the fish are gone, and the tank is waiting on additional cleaning (front glass about half cleaned, need to do sides, rest of front, and back, and then "vacuum" the sand, clean the top and outer glass, and clean/change the filters), some new glass tops, etc., and a move (which is pending cleaning and tearing down the OTHER aquarium since this one will move into its space).  Perhaps this will get done in a month or less.  We shall see.  My goal is to have it all set up before Halloween.  We shall see if that goal is realistic or not.

September 16, 2010

Aquarium revamp part one

After Herb, my 8 or 9 year old albino Tiger Oscar died, I decided it was time to consolidate down in tanks once again, and get rid of my 90 gallon and keep the larger tank, which is approximately 134 gallons according to "the Google" - 31104 cubic inches = 134.64 gallons, though I think it is actually closer to 125 internally.

This tank is currently full of rocks and has been set up as an African mbuna cichlid tank for several years, and it is time for a change (though once I'm done it will resemble the 90 gallon Amazon tank, I think).  It currently houses 1 Deep Water Hap, 2 Ps. Acei, about 5 Electric Yellow Labs, and 1 9" plecostamus.

The plan is to convert it to a Central American cichlid tank with some interesting characters, which I will get to eventually.

The reasons for this are a few:  First, I like having BIG fish and since my Oscar is gone, I need some new ones.  I also figure if I have an aquarium that is 6 feet long, it should have some larger fish in it to show off instead of 9 rinky-dinky fish.  Second, the current "rock-heavy" look of the tank (above) doesn't even really let you see the fish that ARE there, half the time because they all hide in caves and behind rocks.  And finally, the tank just never really looked as nice as my 90 did, and is in need of better appearance and aquascaping.

So, the first step is a little bit of planning.  What am I going to do with this aquarium?  To satisfy the "big fish" requirement, I have selected Central Americans (which are a bit larger and have a couple of nice colorful options that I plan to go with so I have a few large wet pets in the tank).  As far as the design goes, all the rockwork will disappear and I am going to put just enough driftwood in there to break up line of sight, along with some large-scale fake plants (and perhaps some easy cheap live plants like Java Fern or Anubias) since the cichlids and remaining pleco will most likely tear up any other live plant additions.  I'm leaving the black Tahitian moon sand substrate (after a thorough cleaning) but adding an "old river bed" path of grey river rock through the middle of the tank (from the 90g) and then putting a few larger river rocks out randomly across the sand.

So... first I'll sketch out a plan for the tank in Google Sketchup or something, and then it's on to step two... removing all of the rocks from the 125g.  When doing that, I'll have to keep refilling with water each time, since the rocks take up so much volume in the tank.  Once they're all out it is on to heavy duty cleaning and eventually (whenever Dallas North Aquarium accepts my trade-ins) catching and removing the existing African crew.

September 1, 2010

31, no... 32 now.

Phew... Breathe... 31 days of straight posting things.

Here's a recap.

7 new poems

5 posts on writing

6 beer reviews
1 wine review
1 scotch review
1 post on a beer competition
4 easy Texas plant recommendations

2 YouTube Links
2 Podcast Links
2 meta posts about the posting

And this recap.

I hope you enjoyed that fun month of junk.  Don't expect nearly as much in September, though I'll probably have poems and beer reviews regularly.  Maybe by November, I can gear up to do daily NaNoWriMo updates on the Writing Journal.  We'll see.

Also, in case you are interested - the first post after deciding to do this was the August 1 post (I already had beer reviews scheduled through the Mondays).  The last post was the poem on August 22.  All posts were posted by July 26 (including this one unless I decided to spice it up by throwing some actual new posts in there as a double-post day, which I may do but have not done at this point).  The first post was scheduled around July 15 (so the entire month was scheduled in about 11 days).

So that is about everything I've got.  I hope this little challenge and response was fun (it was for me).  And maybe I've inspired you to take a month and do something. At the very least, sign up for NaNoWriMo or one of its many clones.  Or invent your own challenge.  I have a feeling I will have NaNoWriMo coming up and I might try the "Poem A Day Challenge" in April from those folks at Writer's Digest.  That still leaves 10 other months, though I'll most likely take one or two off.

What will you do every day for a month in September?  October?

August 27, 2010

Easy Plant: Jalapeno Peppers

Last for the month in the series of relatively easy plants to grow in Texas is this lovely guy, the Jalapeno.

I have grown these from seeds, and they are pretty easy to do, but generally I don't need more than one plant, and a six inch tall Bonnie plant is about the same price as a pack of seeds.

The jalapeno can easily be grown in containers (as shown here), it produces a ton of peppers if it grows tall enough, and can survive dry heat (even if the begonias I had planted around it at the base did not all survive.

Jalapenos will flower small white flowers with triangular or almost diamond shaped petals, and then will fruit.  The fruit turns red when it ripens, but you can pick them whenever they are large enough and green all the way until they turn red.

If you do decide to grow from seed, you can always remove the seeds from one of the jalapenos you harvest and dry them out in a small bag to save for the following year.  Often, we end up removing the seeds anyway to cut down on the heat from the pepper (remove the seeds and membranes and the pepper tames down quite a bit).  If you do start from seed, it's a good idea to start indoors (and I might try next year starting some inside with a sub-irrigation pot made from 2-liter soda bottles.

What you can DO with 15 or 20 jalapenos is up to you.  As for me, I always save 2 to make my annual batch of Jalapeno Pale Ale.

Enjoy!

August 26, 2010

Good Podcast

So I suppose that it is appropriate as we near Thursday, September 2 (that's right, the beginning of NCAA College Football for 2010 is just one week away), to share a (pretty well known) podcast that I enjoy throughout the year (even though it is more frequent during the fall): 

ESPNU College Football Podcast with Ivan Maisel and Beano Cook

I'll admit, when I first subscribed to the podcast last year, it took me a while to get used to Beano's nostalgic moments, but overall, I have to say I enjoy the insight they give week after week.  And when I went all "crazy insane about Big 12 Realignment news" day after day this summer, it was interesting to get two or three podcasts from these guys with their speculations (which were less accurate than my "prediction" that it was done realigning and the Big 12 would stop at 10).  Then again, not even I thought that was going to be the outcome.

Over the summer, there was even a fleeting reference to I think the 1980 Baylor conference championship in the old Southwest Conference.

Who knows, maybe we'll hear some Baylor talk this year as well.

August 20, 2010

Entertainment Anywhere

Hey, I didn't say that every day this month would be some mountainous, meaningful content.  Just something.

So today, wanted to share a link to a quite entertaining "urban improv" group called Improv Everywhere.  They basically go around and perform scenes or sketches out in public, video them all, and post them on their site for all to enjoy.

I initially saw their Ghostbusters video (filmed at the New York Public Library) on a link from my friend Stacy, and then just last month was entertained again, when they shared this lovely gem:

August 19, 2010

Easy Plant: Elephant Ears

One more in our "easy plant" series here, for hot summers, it is difficult to beat Colocasia, more commonly referred to as Elephant Ears.

We have had several varieties of Elephant Ears year after year, and I love the lush tropical image they give.

Pictured here is an interesting variety, called "Upright" because the leaves point up instead of down.

Also in our garden we have "regular" elephant ears, though at 3 years old, they need to be replaced since they did not do well after this year's winter, as well as "Black Magic" with purple foliage and another one this year called "Kona Coffee" which has brownish stems and green leaves.

Super easy - grab some bulbs in April and get them in the ground in May or so.

Enjoy!

August 15, 2010

The Halfway Point and Monkeys on Twitter



Rhesus Macaque by Paul and Jill (Not the Tampa Monkey)
Licensed under Creative Commons
So here we are, at the halfway-ish point through the month, and in reviewing what's been posted so far, there seems a healthy mix of things worth posting and junk that was just a day's filler.  Hopefully it gets better for you, but I can't promise much.  Today's post is this (filler).

It is a little odd to call this the halfway-ish point, though, because as I am putting this out there, there are really only three more posts to write, so I'm really 90% done with the month, but August 15, 21, and 22 were not finished.  So here's your August 15 post, and I'll come up with SOMETHING of value for August 22, I am sure, though my thoughts right now are for a walkthrough of what to find on my blogs which you probably have already found or an analysis of why I don't like Facebook anymore, which really amounts to little more than I think the CEO seems like an insolent little jerk, but then again I was probably an insolent jerk ten years ago, too. (Who am I kidding, I probably still am)

Anyway, I do wish to sincerely offer my hope that the "chasing content around my pages" exercise for the past two weeks has been fun (and fun enough that you keep doing it through August 31), as it has certainly been a challenge to create that much stuff (hence the filler posts).  Still, it has inspired me in different ways (one of which is now going to be my topic for a post next weekend on either the 21st or 22nd.  See how the thought process works?).

And that said, let me introduce you to one of my favorite Twittererererers to follow:  The Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay.  This monkey lives in the Tampa Bay area and tweets often about his monkey exploits.

OK, seriously, I know it is not a real monkey (probably).  But it's funny.  And the truth is, there is a REAL MONKEY that lives in Tampa Bay and is referred to as the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay.  And yes, I think ABC needs a proofreader to tell them that "Simeon" is a name and "Simian" refers to primates.  But whatever.

Regardless, the twitter account is still funny and worth checking out if you do such stuff.

Hope you are having a nice weekend, and enjoy reading about Weihenstephaner Vitus tomorrow on my beer review.

August 13, 2010

Llamas.

If you have not seen these, you should.  And be disturbed.  And enjoy.  I think this is appropriate for Friday the 13th.  I mean, it's no Templar Massacre of Friday, October the 13th, 1307, but, you know.  Llamas!






And once you're done with those, you can stop over at FilmCow and see all their other weird disturbing things like Charlie the Unicorn.  Banish paraskevidekatriaphobia!

August 12, 2010

Easy Plant: Butterfly Bush

The butterfly bush is another easy plant for Texas, if you have the space for it.  As you can see ours in the center of the photo, they can get quite large (that fence is six feet tall, and you can see the butterfly bush blooms from the other side).

Since this photo was taken in late summer, the garden is looking a little ragged, but the butterfly bush still thrives through the heat.

The other nice thing about the butterfly bush is that in addition to the long, cone-shaped flowers, it actually works and works well to attract all manner of butterflies to your garden, as its name implies.  We have seen at least ten or twenty types of butterflies swarming the bush to get the sweet nectar.

Also pretty amazing is that we bought this butterfly bush from Michigan Bulb, who shipped it in a very small pot, and by the next summer, it was already this size!  The success and size of this plant has led me to think we may be adding a second one on the other side of the planting area to balance it out.

Ours is a "Black Knight" which ended up quite a bit lighter purple than I thought it would, but it is still really attractive.  Next on the list will be either a "Rainbow" or an "Empire Blue" which we may order in time to get this fall.  We shall see!

Maintenance note - you WILL have to chop this bush down in the winter.  It gets HUGE!  I take big pruning shears and cut it back by about half in mid-winter before new growth starts in the spring.

August 7, 2010

Good Podcast

I Should Be Writing Logo
Used with Permission
from Mur Lafferty
Another podcast recommendation for something that fills up a good chunk of my commute time (or at least it did while I was catching up):

I Should Be Writing

ISBW is a podcast by Mur Lafferty about writing and for writers.  It is slightly fantasy/sci-fi heavy, which can be a little annoying at times (lots of convention talk and authors I have never heard of nor read, though I am sure millions have).  However, Mur does provide some interesting insights into keeping motivated as a writer, the entirety of the process, and getting published, all through the eyes of a self-proclaimed "wanna-be fiction writer" herself.

August 5, 2010

Easy Plant: Cannas

As part of my "ridiculous amounts of things to put out on the web in the month of August" ongoing project, I thought I would write on the Garden Blog here about some of my favorite easy plants to grow in your garden.

Living in Texas, I have found lots of plants just die and drown in the heat, and some work very well but not at the times they might thrive in other parts of the country.  Still, there are some plants that are very easy to plant and work with, and can greatly help your landscape.

One of these are the common canna flowers.  Every year I forget that these wait to bloom until July and August, and carry through with beautiful reds into the late summer.  The large foliage also gives a nice tropical flair to your yard.  I have a small spot on the side of the house that we call "the grotto" where I keep my tropical plants, and cannas are a large part of that.  I have found that year over year, it is helpful to keep augmenting the canna bulbs with more and more.  Last year's bulbs will come back, but perhaps later and not as vigorously as new bulbs.

The ones pictured here are "The President" - large red flowers that last a week or two and then slowly die off (like these are doing).

Cannas are easy to plant, just get some bulbs (either at your local home improvement store or from a grower such as Horn Canna Farms) in the spring, then dig a hole about 4 inches deep or so, drop the bulb in facing upward, and cover with dirt.  Then water it in and leave it alone.  Horn's has a ton of varieties selling for about 3 for $4.20 or so, which makes it very affordable to pick up several varieties.

So next Spring, grab some canna bulbs and by next summer, you'll be looking at flowers just like these.

August 1, 2010

The Month of August - 31 Days, 31 Posts

So, if you are reading this, then it is at least August 1.  As I'm writing this, we're still a few days away.  But if you happen to flounder around between site after site after site after site after site after site of mine, then you may have stumbled across a little challenge that I made to myself a couple of weeks ago.  The thought was that I would basically schedule something to publish every day for a month on some random site that I maintain.  So there would be 31 days of content for 31 days.

So this is the first kick-off post of that whole pile.  It's scheduled to "magically appear" on August 1 at 12:24 PM Central Time on Truckpoetry.net.  And yes, writing a post about the posts I am going to be writing is some sort of a meta-layer-experiment in redundancy, and it is somewhat of a cheating way to get a first post already in and scheduled, I admit.   Still, I figure if I put something meaningful in here, it counts.  So, here's what I'll start with.  I'll let you have a small preview into my "general posting/schedule" as well as some of the stuff that is already slated to come out, and then maybe even look at why I am doing this, though that's obvious, haha.

So as far as generalities are concerned, you will most likely find stuff from me on scheduled days in August as follows:

  • Sunday - Could be anywhere, any time.
  • Monday - Beer+Wine beer reviews, 6:00 PM Central, starting 8/2 with a review of the delicious Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  • Tuesday - Poems - usually appearing at about 8:00 AM Central, starting 8/3 with a poem about starting new projects and how that's so much fun (somewhat apropos).
  • Wednesday - Can't say for sure (not much scheduled yet), but my general modus operandi is to write about writing on Wednesdays.  You might see a cheat meta-post in there, too, but it is something.
  • Thursday - If I had a set schedule, Thursdays would probably be write about gardening and yard maintenance day.  But I don't really have a set schedule, so I can't promise that is where you will always find something Thursday.  And given that I will most likely write this stuff asynchronously and schedule it out, don't expect too many tips on what to do to your lawn in August.  Unless I plan it that way.
  • Friday - who knows.  Maybe a podcast link here, maybe just a video, maybe a bonus poem, maybe a bonus liquor or wine review over at Beer+Wine, who knows.
  • Saturday - see Friday.

So really, the only thing I could tell you to count on would be Mondays and Tuesdays (because those are usually scheduled out months in advance, despite the multi-week poetry hiatus in June/July).  Then you can probably hit the main Cameron Mathews site and check the blogroll on the right to see where I'm hiding on a given day.

Finally, why am I doing this?

  • Well, for starters, I like putting things out on the internet(s) and a few months ago I had written quite a bit and checked to see that I had covered maybe fifty percent of the month with posts.  So I wondered if I planned it right could I hit an entire month (and not just any month but a long 31-day month).
  • I've also thought about these folks that do daily podcasts and figured that I could give enough time to produce fifteen or twenty minutes' worth of content on a daily basis.
  • I'm also not going to be online as much (or at least that's my prediction) in August, or at least not necessarily online as much when other people are awake.  But I could be wrong.  Remember, all this planning and thinking is occurring pre-August.
  • It's a GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT.  No, really, I don't have a book coming out (yet) or anything like that.  But I still think it would be interesting to see how much (if any) traffic comes from more frequent updates of content.  In other words, nobody but the four of you read this stuff normally, but if I put out a whole lot of other stuff, would it potentially draw more people in?  Who knows.
  • It's just another challenge in the long list of challenges.  That's right.  Just something I wondered if I could do, and so I did.  Kind of like building a bookcase, writing a novel, growing tomatoes, or any of those things.  Can I put out 31 straight days of content in some variety?  Maybe.

And all that said, there's still the chance that I run out of time before any of this actually occurs!  Which means that since this post is already scheduled to post (at 12/1/2010 12:24 PM CT), it will post and nothing else will (or certainly not daily stuff).  So it's a surprise!

And don't get me wrong, I fully intend to write a small note to wrap up on September 1 (Wednesday) if I happen to have made it all the way through the month with a ton of content.  So stop in often, comment often, play along, and have a nice month!

July 18, 2010

Writemonkey

Writemonkey is the program that I used to write all of my NaNoWriMo novel for 2009.  It markets itself as "zenware" and it's really little more than a souped-up version of notepad, but it definitely has some neat elements, particularly for a free-writing person who does not like to overplan and have their software try to tie it all together.  Best of all it is free, and the creator likes NaNo participants.

http://writemonkey.com/

July 15, 2010

Good Podcast

So, since this is my blog for actual blogging, and not really talking about projects (because I have like 20 other sites for talking about specific things), I thought I might throw random interests and things on here.  Yes, because I'm blogging like it's 1999.

But, as you may or may not realize, I have about a 30-40 minute commute every day back and forth from work.  That's a lot of empty driving time.  So, I choose to fill it up with podcasts.  That said, I thought I might throw some recommendations to a podcast or two from time to time.

Today's Podcast recommendation: The Scotchcast - Since I like Single Malt Scotch Whisky, these guys are interesting to listen to, if not just to get a little bit of the pretentious talky-talky about what flavors are hidden in the nose of various drams.

I will say, that they have, in fact, even influenced my purchasing decisions on one occasion, when I went out and purchased the Caol Ila 12 Year - an Island malt that got an average 8.25 score.  While I was a bit surprised at first based on their description, I did find that I liked it after a few attempts.

I may have to pick up the Dalmore 12 Year on their recommendation, too (especially since it is not particularly expensive).

Listen on!

July 8, 2010

Newest fun project

Built a bookcase last weekend for the nursery... still working on the stain/varnish options....but it is dark walnut stained now...  It is based on one I found over at Knock-Off Wood.  However, I chopped it down to a 2-shelf unit, and then had to make some adjustments because the home improvement store person kind of screwed up the ripping job on the plywood back.  So I had to shave a 1/4" measurement off here and there to adjust the plan. Here are some fun pictures:



Here's the finished project (paper's there for a week or so to protect the carpet just in case, but it should be dry.  Waiting on varnish to cure entirely and then I'm going to polish it with furniture wax).

June 30, 2010

After some rain

We got some much needed rain the past two days, but it did beat up the garden a bit. It did encourage the coneflower to bloom, though.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

June 14, 2010

Random Musings on Conference Realignment

So, as I have been theorizing a billion insane theories on what could happen with the possible Big 12 Conference re-alignment, I figured it was worthy of (in a pre-Texas decision announcement) writing down.  So here are some insane pro-Baylor possibilities for where we land.

Option 1: We're Done
That's right - no more changes.  We'll stick to a 10 team Big XII and snicker when we think about Nebraska and Colorado.  Maybe we look to pick up two more teams in the next couple of years, but in the interim we switch to a 9 game conference schedule and keep trucking along.  This, of course, would require EVERYONE to stick around that hasn't already left.

Option 2: Ciao, A&M
Just like option one, minus Aggies.  A&M goes to the SEC, everyone else stays, and the Big XII grabs a tenth team in the short term (Utah?  Air Force?  TCU?) and moves along.

Option 3: Mass Exodus and a "new" Big XII
So, in the event that half the world leaves for the PAC, and A&M goes to either the SEC or PAC-N, there is the possibility that the remaining five stick together and take five more teams (probably from the Mountain West).  The Big XII makes a play to keep the automatic BCS bid, keep the automatic NCAA bid, and pick up various Mountain West Teams and a few from to rebuild (TCU, Utah, Air Force, Boise State, BYU, Louisville, someone else?).  In doing so, and preserving the Big 12, the conference would then be recovering penalties from EVERY SCHOOL THAT LEAVES - in the millions, which could at least provide a good short term buffer to the change in television negotiations.

Option 4: Baylor takes A&M's Slot?
If A&M heads to the SEC, there's gonna be one more PAC-16 slot to fill - could Baylor sneak in?  Realistically, I don't see that happening, but it's a thought if the intent is still to keep a large chunk of the Big 12 South together.

Option 5: Baylor heads East
OK, this is ridiculous.  But I think it would be fun to look at the ACC as an option for Baylor.  We've proven we can compete with SOME of their football teams (namely Wake) in years past, and we have played some of their basketball teams competitively as well.  I think it would be a fun fit, though I don't really think the ACC is looking to add a private Texas school to the mix.

Option 6: Mountain West...
TCU came out over the weekend saying they would not look to "block" Baylor joining the Mountain West.  While I wonder if that's their positioning of themselves to join the Big 12 in the event that it does not totally disappear, it still presents an option.  Baylor's joining the Mountain West conference along with the other Big 12 schools in a block could give it 15-16 teams and provide an argument for an automatic BCS bid (instead of giving two to the PAC-16) and still have a competitive environment.

Option 7: Big 16
This is like option 1 with a twist:  The remaining Big 12 schools stay, and find 6 other schools (possibly out of the Mountain West or otherwise), and bump up to 16.  Then they trademark the name "Big 16" before the Big 10 gets that big.  Conference uses the influence to negotiate better TV contracts, and Texas can still get its own channel if they want.

Reality Sets In:
So, with all this speculation about how things could theoretically work out as a positive for Baylor (and Kansas and the others), I am not convinced that anything good will actually happen.  So I will cross my fingers and hope for the best, and meanwhile prepare myself for what the WAC or Conference USA means to Baylor's Athletics across the board.  Assuming that we can even get into those.

Fingers crossed and just waiting to see.  I am sure it will all play out by next week.

June 10, 2010

Garden in bloom

Here's what the backyard garden looks like this morning!!!

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

June 7, 2010

Tomatoes

Pulled three Cherokee Purples and one of the others off today - too late on the purples, though - heat already split them. The regular one (that looks green) should be fine in a couple of days.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

May 24, 2010

First daylily

First daylilies started blooming today! About 40 more to go.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

May 17, 2010

Bell Peppers

These are the orange variety... Not yet orange.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Adirondacks

Finished staining the adirondack chairs and table this weekend. Despite some back-slat spacing issues and some squaring problems on one, I think they ended up OK.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

May 12, 2010

Blogging = Lack of Blogging

I see this blog deteriorating over time.  Not because of a lack of blogging, but rather because of an abundance of blogging in my little micro-sites hidden all over.  I was thinking - what would I write a blog post here about?  Beer?  No, that would probably be on the Homebrewing Blog.  Writing?  The Writing Journal?  General fits and starts and things?  Most likely going to show up as a Tweet or Facebook update.

So, if you don't see much on this blog, click "Home" on the left, and look at the blog roll for what might be updated more frequently...

Cheers

Late to the party

This random different kind of iris bloomed this week, long after the others are gone. Also beginning to bloom: blue salvia, onions (big white ball of flowers), and I see the beginnings of blooms on the butterfly bush.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

May 6, 2010

Some End of April Updates

As April comes to a close, here is what is going on at the end of the month:

During the month, I did the following:
  • Fertilized the grass with Neil Sperry's All Nitrogen Fertilizer
  • Started mowing regularly at pretty low height
  • Applied Image to kill Nutsedge and Annual Bluegrass in the yard once bermuda started growing
  • Planted Annual color in front and back beds (need more in front beds)
  • Planted sunflower seeds and have various sprouts growing
As far as vegetables I have some small bell peppers already forming, and no tomatoes yet, but the tomato plants are HUGE and blooming!  Pictures to follow.

May 3, 2010

Please Excuse the Mess

In the process of migrating the layout/format of all my sites to a relatively consistent one...Please disregard any links that don't work or look weird in the meantime.  First step will be to import the new template over everything, and then I'll go back and fix it all.

April 14, 2010

Tomatoes blooming

Both tomato plants started blooming this past week. Looking forward to some delicious tomatoes soon! And really interested in the Cherokee Purple ones.

April 10, 2010

The Hops

Here are my cascade hops plants climbing the trellis twine...
No, they don't grow sideways, that's just the picture (and unless I install Picasa to edit (sometime) it will be sideways - sorry!)

April 7, 2010

Hawthornes

The ballerina hawthornes started blooming this morning. If you look closely you might see an oak tree needing removal as well.

April 6, 2010

Tomatoes

Here are my two tomato plants in the homemade sub-irrigation planter.

April 5, 2010

Artemisia

Here is a picture of one of the easiest plants I have found to grow in our landscape.  It's called Wormwood Artemisia.  When I planted it, it was in a simple 4 inch pot, and now it has grown HUGE!  This is a picture now, which is cut back by more than half over the winter.  Last fall it covered the daylilies (to the right) and reached all the way back to the tree trunk.  Highly recommended if you are looking for a simple silver foliage plant.  (You can also see where the grass suffered from too much artemisia shade last summer - I plan to keep it trimmed within the border this year).

Warning:  You HAVE to keep this thing trimmed back, or it MAY become a bit invasive!!! But if that's what you want, that's what you get!

Irises

Had first iris bloom on Thursday, followed by two more over the weekend. Hooray blooms!

April 1, 2010

April planning

Lots to do in April...

Fertilize (going to use all-nitrogen fertilizer)
Plant annual flowers in front and back beds and pots
Mow and bag
Overseed lawn in late April
Spray grassy weeds
Continue to spray broadleaf weeds
Apply Image later in month after green-up

Let's talk about March!

OK, so March has come and gone, and a good bit of things happened in our yard in the March timeframe.  So let's walk through what has been done and what is upcoming...

In February, I trimmed the rosebush and the butterfly bush back quite a bit.  Also, in late February planted a set of red onions in the garden.

Beginning of the month:

Applied a crabgrass pre-emergent to the lawn.  This year I used Dimension by Green Light.

I also planted an upright elephant ear bulb.  After doing so, I learned that I may have done that too early.  Recommended time for elephant ears and tropical bulbs is closer to May.  Oh well, we will have to see whether it comes up or not.

Mid month

Mowed the lawn for the first time.  I dropped the blade down two notches and bagged the clippings.  Man, that is a nasty and messy messy job, but resulted in a reduction in the dead grass and encouraged the green-up of the bermuda.

Trimmed back the Russian Sage quite a bit and trimmed the Salvia plant to the ground.

Cleaned out weeds from beds.

Applied Broadleaf weed killer with 2-4D.  Need to re-apply as necessary, probably will try to do some this weekend.

Cascade hops started growing - ran new support threads in a "half-christmas tree" spoke configuration

End of month (after last frost - March 20)

Moved citrus trees outside after temperatures stayed above 40 degrees consistently.

Started planting.  Here we go:
Planted bell peppers (some red variety, Valencia Orange, and a gold variety).
Planted two tomato plants in an experimental sub-irrigated planter (Cherokee Purple heirloom and 444 hybrid)
Planted begonias in the front bed around the tree (got two flats of 50 from Calloway and had several left over to fill a pot in the back)
Planted begonias in a  pot
Planted jalapeno plant in center of begonia pot
Replaced 3 back pots
Repotted spike grass
Repotted Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic, Sage, and Oregano
Planted Sweet Basil and Cilantro in the herb garden pot
Planted eggplant in the garden - probably needed to wait on this one a little, but I got carried away.
Planted sunflower seeds in the garden along the back fence.

Phew!  That's a lot.  I may have done even more, I don't know.

Time to follow this up with an April planning post!

March 26, 2010

Sweet 16 Bound

Baylor Bears are headed to the Sweet 16.  We are headed to Houston to Reliant Stadium to watch the Men's Basketball team in their first Sweet 16 in school history.  Sic 'Em Bears!

March 17, 2010

Lollyphile

Stumbled across this while browsing another interesting link, figured I'd save it and share it.

Caffeinated Maple Bacon Lollipops don't sound awesome to me, but Absinthe?  Bourbon?  Pomegranate Tangerine?  Hmmmm.

What I can't get over is ten bucks for a single lollipop, but it still sounds intriguing enough.

http://www.lollyphile.com/

February 20, 2010

Writing again...

Trying to write some more now - will be back to chronicling in the writing blog, though I do think I may take a different direction with that slightly. Want to create an outlet for me to talk about writing, along with a small journal about what I am doing. I figure that I will merge those parts in and most likely link them in here at some point (perhaps on the next go-round of site cleanup).

February 19, 2010

2010 Schedule

January:
Dallas, Texas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Herndon, Virginia

February:
Dallas, Texas
Reading, Pennsylvania

March:
Dallas, Texas

April:
Dallas, Texas

May:
Dallas, Texas

June:
Dallas, Texas

July:
Dallas, Texas

August:
Dallas, Texas

September:
Dallas, Texas

October:
Dallas, Texas

November:
Dallas, Texas

December:
Dallas, Texas

Rosebush sprouting

Rosebush started sprouting leaves last Sunday (may have been earlier - couldn't tell for the snow).  We are supposed to get some snow again next week, so we shall see.

January 8, 2010

Everything is dead

Well, that's how it feels.  With cold temperatures in the teens this week and wind chills of zero, this is not a week where I would think about gardening all that much, but there is some much needed cleanup work to be done.  So here are some things I completed in the past week:

Pruned rosebush
Cleaned up dead elephant ear, canna, hibiscus, and persicaria foliage
Trimmed some tree branches from dormant trees
removed dead plants from pots

Some things I need to do:
add mulch
trim some more branches
kill weeds in dormant bermuda lawn
clean up other dead plants and beds
Plan some garden additions or landscaping changes