Cobra Brewing Company

Rhythm and Beards playing at the Cobra Brewing Company in Lewisville, Texas.

Rhythm and Beards playing at the Cobra Brewing Company in Lewisville, Texas.

I often say (boast?) that with a bicycle and a transit pass I can get anywhere in the Metroplex. I think I have proven that (at least to myself) it is possible… but I never said it was always easy.

Jeffrey Sailer, a friend of mine that runs Bike Friendly Carrollton invited me to the Saturday event at the Cobra Brewing Company, a relatively new brewery in Lewisville. It looked like a great time – craft beer, three bands, beard contests, food (the party was also the first anniversary of Juniors Lone Star Barbecue Sauce) and lots more.

We were to meet at the Dowtown Carrollton DART station at 10:15, in order to get to the brewery by noon. Since I can always count on the Gods of Transit to be against me (every time I arrive at a train station, the train is pulling out, every traffic light I hit on my bike takes forever to change) I had to leave home two hours before that.

I packed up my Xootr Swift – carrying some extra weight (bottles of iced water) to verify that my homemade panniers are up to snuff – and rode down to the Arapaho train station. I bought the slightly more expensive regional day pass – until now I didn’t realize that it covered the A Train to Denton as well as the TRE to Fort Worth. I caught the Red Line downtown and then waited for the Green Line which took me out to Carrollton.

We met there and road a short trip to the Trinity Mills Station where we caught the A Train. One of these days I need to do this ride and take the train all the way to Denton (a fun city to visit and ride around in) but today we only rode it one stop to the Hebron Station then went the rest of the way on our bikes.

It seem silly to buy a train ticket for only one stop – but this is all new construction, fast stroads, and empty space filled with wetlands and there is no way to ride through there. Someday there will be bike trails, lanes, or more friendly roads, but now it is in the hands of the car-exlusive mindset of developers and suburban governments and they can’t see beyond the dark-tinted windshields of their Tahoes.

We climbed off the train at the Hebron station (the Old Town station is closer, but we wanted to get a couple of extra miles in) and rode up to the Brewery. Our timing was good, it was opening right when we arrived.

The event was a blast – one of the best Brewery Events I’ve been to. Good beer – loved their Best Mistake Stout (but I am a stout fan, after all) and their Junior’s Snake Bite JPA (a smoked jalapeño IPA) was really good. The jalapeño aroma was amazing and the heat was balanced just right.

Beer selection at the Cobra Brewing event.

Beer selection at the Cobra Brewing event.

Cobra Brewing Company, Lewisville, Texas

Cobra Brewing Company, Lewisville, Texas

There was a lot going on – music, classic Triumph sports cars, plenty of facial hair for the beard-growing contest, two guys doing vintage tintype photography, and vendors of everything from food to growlers to mustache wax.

It was also the one year anniversary for Juniors Lone Star Barbecue Sauce – there was a lot of praise for their products. They arrange their array of sauces by heat – most folks settled in at the jalapeño level, but I, of course, want to try the hotter habanero variety.

One nice thing about these brewery events is the wide variety of folks that show up. Young and old, rich and poor, bearded and hairless – everybody is there and everybody is friendly. This one was especially diverse and I’ll be back sometime… even if it takes me three trains and about a dozen miles of bike riding to get there.

The festivities went on until six, but I left a bit early – around four. That was eight hours after I had left my house and I was getting a bit tired and dehydrated. I rode to the nearest train station and drank the water I had packed – which made me feel a lot better. I thought about riding back, but my train pulled in and I decided to call it a day. Always better to leave too early than too late.

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Last Sunday I met some friends for a nice bike ride to the Jazz Age Sunday Social at Dallas Heritage Village. We packed picnic lunches on our bikes and it was a glorious day to sit around and relax.

The point of the event was to dress up in costumes from the roaring twenties (with various degrees of success) and dance to tunes of the time. I enjoyed the music a lot – there is something about a live band…. The first group – The Singapore Slingers were an especial bunch of fun.

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

The Singapore Slingers

A lot of people don’t realize this Elvis Song Are You Lonesome To-Night was written in 1926.

What I learned this week, March 28, 2014

Highways Are Bleeding Dallas. So Why Are You Surprised We Want to Kill One?

I-345 near downtown Dallas

I-345 near downtown Dallas

6 Freeway Removals That Changed Their Cities Forever


Fairdale Bikes in Austin has this little video to show their extensive and advanced R+D Department.


From National Review Online

The Republican Style

Barack Obama showed up at his meeting with Dutch PM Mark Rutte with his usual caravan of armored limousines and the like. Here’s how Mr. Rutte got there:

Danish PM Mark Rutte from National Review Online

Danish PM Mark Rutte
from National Review Online

But… but… the American President needs a huge entourage, of course, To Provide Security.


Stock Xootr Swift - I only added the seat bag and bottle cage (click to enlarge)

Stock Xootr Swift – I only added the seat bag and bottle cage
(click to enlarge)

Bike myths debunked


Rap Artists Wu-Tang Clan Fight Infinite Goods By Selling One Copy Of Their Next Album… For $1 Million


The Bourbon Barrel Temptress, on a Bourbon Barrel

The Bourbon Barrel Temptress, on a Bourbon Barrel

Drinking local has never been better in Texas

He also singles out several “brilliant, well-thought-out, delicious beers” from Dallas breweries: Velvet Hammer, an imperial red ale from Peticolas Brewing Co., Mosaic IPA from Community Beer Co. and Temptress, an imperial milk stout from Lakewood Brewing Co.

The man obviously knows what he’s talking about. Those three… plus Revolver’s Blood and Honey (which, I guess, isn’t really a Dallas beer) are my favorites.

A hearty cheer - for good beer.

A hearty cheer – for good beer.


The Wisdom of Mark Cuban

I’m not a huge fan of Silicon Valley. It reminds me so much of Hollywood and the movie and TV industry.
In Hollywood every one will talk and listen to you about your project. But while they are standing there, right in front of you, they are not looking at you. They are looking past you to the next project where they can raise/sell more. Where they can be a bigger star. There is always a bigger fish. Who ever is standing in front of them is hopefully just the bait.
Silicon Valley has become the exact same thing these days. No one wants to literally start from scratch in a garage and build something. No one wants to bootstrap a business to profitability. Those are such archaic notions these days.

The back to the future arbitrage of Silicon Valley and what it will take to beat it

“I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule number one of business.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: ‘NFL is 10 years from implosion’


melancholia1

Ranking the Greats 10: Lars Von Trier’s 10 Best Films

melancholia2


Take a look at this photo from Googlemaps of an area outside of Boyers, Pa:

Boyers, PA

Boyers, PA

A huge parking lot out in the country, mostly filled with hundreds of cars. A mysterious road that trails off to an opening in the side of a mountain, leading all those people underground.

What do you think it is? Maybe a top-secret defense facility? An armored center for disaster response? The place where they keep the aliens from Area 51?

Nope, nothing like that.

Read about it and weep. It’s the dreaded

Sinkhole of Bureaucracy


Read This, Not That: Indie Alternatives to Popular Books

Read This, Not That 2: Alternatives to Popular Books

5. Instead of The Devil in the White City, read In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick.

I loved Devil in the White City – so that other one must be really good. Plus, I’ve been looking for an excuse to read Speak, Memory.

What I learned this week, March 21, 2014

People make fun of me because I am so adamant about riding my bicycle as much as possible and trying to reduce driving.

I give you this:

As a matter of principle I don’t drive on LBJ 635 unless it is absolutely necessary – and it rarely is. I have written two short stories based on experiences in the area where that news report was shot.

If you are not familiar with the Dallas Fort/Worth area – Highway LBJ 635, where this jam occurred, was featured in a well-known and iconic movie.


Outside Four Corners Brewery

Outside Four Corners Brewery

This is truly the best of all possible worlds.

The Rise Of The Bike Shop/Bar

Riding up outside Community Brewing in the Dallas Design District

Riding up outside Community Brewing in the Dallas Design District


Deep Ellum Brewing Company - Dallas Blonde

Deep Ellum Brewing Company – Dallas Blonde

Deep Ellum Brewing company

Deep Ellum Brewing company

The Craft Beer Boom Continues

Heavy Hitter beer flight at Luck, in Trinity Groves, Dallas, Texas

Heavy Hitter beer flight at Luck, in Trinity Groves, Dallas, Texas

A Pollinator Bock on the right, Dallas Blonde on the left.

DEBC – A Pollinator Bock on the right, Dallas Blonde on the left.


Cities on the Rise in Texas

Cities on the Rise in Texas

Via:

NerdWallet


I have a chest style deep freezer. Maybe it isn’t too late to fill it with Swanson Fried Chicken Dinners. You know the ones, mashed potatoes with the weird putty-like texture, the odd tasting veggies, and that “dessert” – some sort of extruded apple-thing. I still remember trying to scrape the last bit of that stuff that had chemically welded itself to the Aluminum Foil. The chicken had enough salt to adsorb lake Erie.

swanson

The only thing odder was the “Salisbury Steak.” I still don’t know what that term is all about – I doubt the original meaning was “Rubbery Oval Brownish Slab with Mysterious Gravy.” Looking it up on Wikipedia – it was invented in 1897 by an American physician named Salisbury, an early proponent of a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss.

banquet-salisbury-steak

What not-so-fresh (frozen actually) hell is this?

Still, it was what we had.

America Is Falling Out of Love With TV Dinners


I never knew that Sony made a transparent AM/FM radio that runs on a single AA that is intended exclusively for sale in prison commissaries.

THE IPOD OF PRISON

SONY-SRF-39FP1

SONY-SRF-39FP1

The tradition is that these are left behind when the owner is released. They have become collectors’ items out in the free world. Here’s one on Ebay.

The MP3 player is making inroads and soon is expected to displace the SRF-39FP… but for now, the old school is still king.


Not to sound like an old fart (even if true) but I miss LPs because of the album art. A CD (let alone a digital download) simply doesn’t do justice. As a matter of fact, someone needs to figure out how to distribute artwork with a digital download – PDF? Printed, folded poster in the Mail? Gift Certificate at local tattoo shop?

Five Album Art Cliches

I used to buy albums back in the day simply because I liked their album art. Looking back on it – I think that was as good a way to pick music as any other. Some of my favorite albums were bought because of that.

For Example:

Are you ready Eddy?

Are you ready Eddy?

The Drummer

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
—-Henry David Thoreau

Trans.lation Market, Vickery Meadows, Dallas, Texas, part of the Nasher Exchange Exhibition

Vickery Meadows, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Vickery Meadows, Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

The Fortress of Solitude

The Wyly Theater in the Dallas Arts District

The Wyly Theater in the Dallas Arts District

The Dallas Theater Center has this thing, these “pay what you can” nights. These are opening performances where you can get a ticket for whatever you want. These are great for me, because I couldn’t afford to go to the Wyly otherwise.

So far, I’ve seen King Lear, The Tempest, Red, and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, at the Wyly and enjoyed the hell out of every one. This time it was the premiere of The Fortress of Solitude – a new musical adapted from the bestselling book by Johnathan Lethem. The show will run here in Dallas and then move onto New York.

I have never read the book, so I knew nothing of the story. There was nothing on the web about the musical – which isn’t surprising, because this is the premiere. That was actually sort of exciting – other than workshops and previews and such, this was the first time anyone had seen The Fortress of Solitude.

My son Lee is in town after graduation, staying for a few days before going back to New Orleans to work. We took the DART train downtown and walked over to the Wyly. Before the curtain came up, Lee asked, “Where is the orchestra pit?” I said there wasn’t one and I guessed they would use tape. Once the play started, however, a screen rose to show the musicians up on a scaffold above most of the action. There was a conductor down in front, facing a blank wall, directing into a small video camera – and her image was displayed on several carefully placed screens for the musicians and singers.

The musical was crackerjack. I imagine the source material isn’t the most obvious place to pull song and dance – and that made the story a lot more subtle and complex that the usual “girl meets boy” plot. The songs were great, especially when they were used to give a sense of time passing from the 1970′s to the turn of the century – from rock to soul to folk to rap to punk and finally, even a little Talking Heads thrown in.

It was a good time.

Our original seats were up on the third balcony (all good – there isn’t a bad seat in the Wyly) but a numbering mess-up had us move down into the orchestra level. I noticed a man sitting next to Lee holding a small notepad and scribbling all through the first act. During intermission I looked through the program and realized that the man was Daniel Aukin (I think), who conceived and directed the play. It must have been exciting for him to see his creation in front of a full audience for the first time.

Later, after the ovation died down, he asked Lee, “Well, how did you guys like it?” Lee said it was awesome. And it was.

Now, the next play is Sherlock Holmes and pay what you can tickets will be sold on April 21. Get in quick, they go fast.

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade

I was riding my bike around downtown, and ended up in Deep Ellum in time for the First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade. I’ve been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans a couple times as well as the Bishop Arts version the last couple years – and Deep Ellum has a way to go to meet those standards – but it was still a blast and a great start.

Everyone met up at The Free Man and set out down the sidewalk playing Louisiana music and having a lot of fun. The sun was setting and I had a long way to go to get home on my bike, so I wasn’t able to stay for all the festivities. I’ll plan better next time.

If you missed it, they aren’t waiting until next year. There’s already another parade scheduled on Fat Tuesday.

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

The music started at The Free Man.

The music started at The Free Man.

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade (click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade
(click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade (click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade
(click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade (click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade
(click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade (click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade
(click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade (click to enlarge)

First Annual Deep Ellum Mardi Gras Parade
(click to enlarge)