Monday, January 31

stay the course, no matter what

Miles is in town (for a couple weeks) and came to visit Beta (the wonder dog) today. They get along famously (always have) and it's good to watch them run and play together in the backyard.

<context switch>

Only about a dozen people (of 150 attendees) returned their surveys at last week's meeting, which is far fewer than I'd hoped for. Perhaps the rest took them home, so as to spend some quality time formulating insightful responses? Somehow, I don't think so.

One person chided us for jumping around on the agenda (necessitated when a city official had to attend another meeting and we had to move her from 15th position to 2nd). {sigh} We covered all the items, but not in the precise order on the printed sheet .. and yes, many presenters used more (or fewer) minutes than they were allotted. Just goes to show .. you can't please everyone. Some people are more interested in keeping to an agenda than the content, which really frosts my marmalade.

Tonight, I thought about moseying up to Plano Super Bowl to visit my Old Bowling Pals, but I'd committed to attend the Dallas Comprehensive Plan Open House with a neighbor, so chose not to back out. Alas, the meeting didn't go as I'd hoped, and I found myself nodding off about halfway through it, and am lucky not to have fallen fast asleep. City Planning just doesn't get me excited; seeing all the pretty colors on a land use planning map just ain't my cup of Joe.

Sunday, January 30

is the GOP plotting genocide?

Ah, yet another juxtaposition to intrigue me.

Last week, I saw Christie Todd Whitman on The Daily Show, hyping both her book and her website (It's My Party Too!). She was trying to explain how the mainstream GOP aren't the pond-dwelling lowlife that their leadership exemplifies. Today, I went to the Angelika to see Hotel Rwanda (2004), which conceptually reminded me a bit of Schindler's List (1993). The premise of both movies is that a single person helped save a large number of innocent people. Hotel Rwanda deals with the 3-month atrocity where ~800,000 people lost their lives. One of the most telling lines of the movie was where the difference between the Hutu and Tutsi was explained (I assumed these were longtime tribal divisions, but it was actually an arbitrary delineation established by the Belgians, 60 years prior to the 1994 genocide).
Worth a read: the 10-page thesis (?) by Paul Magnarella: Explaining Rwanda's 1994 Genocide
Now, back to my earlier comment about juxtaposition .. The Bush Regime is trying its best to split the country into Red Voters/Blue Voters (ala Hutu/Tutsi or Nazi/Jew). President Quagmire compounded this on November 5th, when He said He'd work with the opposition, as long as they did exactly what He wanted (capitalizing on his 51% "mandate"). Indeed.

Could we ever reach the depth to which Rwanda devolved in 1994? Probably not. When a group of radical fundamentalists (the CFRP leadership) is Hell Bent on ramming their agenda down everyone else's throat, it's important to quash them early (lest we end up with a population of Nazi brownshirts). I think back to President Quagmire's 2000 campaign where He said "I'm a uniter, not a divider" (which can now be seen for the crock it was).

Saturday, January 29

hey! this sand is stale!

Why have a web site if you're just going to post stale (or worse: conflicting) notices?

Earlier in the week, Bill-Bob (!) told our Humble Little Group about a very cool (and unique!) art exhibit that's associated with the Trammell-Crow Asian Art Collection. This was a one-week exhibit of a (colored sand) mandala. The website said the closing ceremony would be 10:30-12:30 Saturday at the Bath House Cultural Center (on the east shore of White Rock Lake).

So, Judy-Bob and I drove over, and arrived precisely at 10:29 .. to .. nothing. After Judy sweet-talked (!) the janitor into allowing us inside (their hours are noon-6pm) to look around, we spoke to a pair of Dallas police* officers who were equally clueless about the event. We weren't the only ones: several others arrived and were met by The Locked Door. Long story short: the bulk of the ceremony was taking place at the Museum (2010 Flora Street, Dallas) and the final part, where the sand is released back into the wild was to take place at the Bath House. Hmmm.

Thinking that perhaps I was temporarily insane (!) ... after returning home, I checked the Crow Collection website and indeed, there was no information of this odd closing routine. Worse: there were places on the site which advised making reservations, and on the same web page .. it said to disregard that advise. Argh! Next time, I will call very early (meaning: days ahead) and ask a human to explain things to me. Radical, huh?
* The Dallas Police don't have an official motto! "To protect and to serve" is the motto of the Los Angeles Police Department. The nice Dallas officers suggested their motto (painted on the side of the patrol cars) is "Call 9-1-1" (ha!).

Thursday, January 27

will anyone come to my party?

The Big Meeting went well last night; I counted nearly 150 people, which is effectively Standing Room Only at our local elementary school. This year, we did several things for the first time, one of which was a simple sign-in sheet, where we asked for a family name (surname); street address; home phone and email address. A fifth column (checkmark) asked if they were members of the Association. I estimate that about 40% of the attendees were prospective members, which is very cool.
Monday update: I compared the sign-in sheet to our membership list, and see that only 3 people were not members! My demeanor just shifted from giddy to annoyed.
We had a fast-paced agenda, and some items which were dwelled upon in prior years (disecting the $100,000+ budget down to the nickel) were glossed over. We'll provide details if anyone wants it, but not bore others to tears when there are more important things to be discussed.

In a few weeks, we'll have our next Association Board meeting, and do a debrief on what worked and what didn't (although we're already trading some ideas on our email alias). One oversight: we didn't provide an obvious basket to collect the survey forms. Oops. Most people just left them on the stage as they exited, but .. we'll correct that for next year.

I arrived early to help setup the handouts and such, and started to worry at 15 minutes before The Big Event, when the room was still mostly empty. I'd already set expectations ahead of time, which I think (in hindsight) was crucial to making this work well. Using another "meeting trick," I noted an approximate time for each item, so both the presenters and the audience would know how long each section was to last. We aimed for a 75 minute meeting and it went about 85 minutes long (partly because the Giving of the Awards took a few minutes longer than expected).

I'm very pleased how well this turned out, and I have to pat myself on the back for planning it properly. Heck, I even inserted a few "planned humor" items to break up the monotony. One long-time Board Member approached me after the meeting, and said this was the best one he can ever remember (in our Association's 15-year history). His comment really made my day, mostly because of the source; he's one of the people who doesn't say much, but when he does, you know that every word counts.

I've always been a big believer in a direct correlation between the usefulness of a meeting and the advance planning that's done, which is lost on 98.36% of all managers, worldwide.

Unrelated: please put down your staplers and step away from the piles of paper! The Sundry on Thursday blog is now updated.

Wednesday, January 26

beavers have it easy

It's been a busier-than-usual week .. I'm attending a five-day class from 8:30 until 2 each day, and learning about 18 new people whom I'll not see again (probably) after it's over. Such is the nature of life: many fleeting encounters, and a very few precious deep relationships.

The Big Meeting is tonight, and I'll breathe a sigh of relief when it's all over. Lots of planning and wordsmithing was involved, and now it's down to executing the plan. Last night, I swung by the printer and picked up the multi-thousands of pages of handouts, some in bright yellow, bright green, bright purple, bright blue .. and (shock!) even white.

Lots of people are involved, so it's not like I'm doing this in a vacuum, although it's amazing that I'm the only one who knows The Big Picture, and that concerns me. A year from now, my 2-year Term In Office will be complete, and I'd like to think that those who follow will be able to pick up where I left off. Like LBJ before me (!), I've already made it clear that I will not serve a second term. Did I document things so the transition will happen with nary a ripple? Let's hope so.

Sunday, January 23

Domo aregato, Ehr-vis!

I went to Half-Price Books (a chain of used bookstores) yesterday in search of one book; I ended up buying five. I hate it when that happens. Even so, careful selection led me to paying less than $20 for the lot of them, so .. all is not bad.

Mystery Train (1989) is one strange film. It's one of the DVDs I own which was recommended by friends who know I like the non-traditional things in life.

I found myself comparing it to Pulp Fiction (1994), Donnie Darko (2001) and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), all wound into one. Watching a film where (some of) the characters speak Japanese, with Spanish subtitles (mentally translating it into English) created an interesting experience. It's composed of three vignettes, the common theme being a fleabag hotel where Elvis' ghost hangs out (okay .. you gotta see it, for this to make sense).

Hard to believe this was a better choice than Ma & Pa Kettle, but ...

Saturday, January 22

Moolaadé: certainly not a chick flick

Last night, Judy-Bob and I checked out the renovated Landmark Inwood to see Moolaadé (2004). The film examines several young girls in a village in Senegal, about to undergo FGM - Female Genital Mutilation (sometimes poorly called "female circumcision"). It also presents a far different form of Islam than is shown in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I doubt anyone will win any acting awards, but this subtitled film was a favorite at last year's Cannes Film Festival (heck, even Roger Ebert liked it).

Caveat emptor: there are some funny moments in this film, but the subject is not uplifting, so if you're seeking a comedy (or a traditional chick flick), stay away from this one.

Haûte cuisine suggestion: stop by the Waffle House and sample hash browns ('diced' = with tomatoes), country ham and Award Winning buttered white toast! As to the water: no ice, no lemon (shaken, not stirred).

Friday, January 21

wouldn't be prudent ..

Now that we have President Quagmire's Coronation the Inauguration behind us, we can start collecting evidence to use in President Quagmire's inevitable Incompetence Proceedings.

What did He* know, and when did He* know it? Then again, it's unlikely that His brain's been able to grasp much more than the halftime show at the Super Bowl, so there may not be much to those hearings.
Deep Thought #58: the Google spell checker suggested Dubious as the correct spelling for Dubya. I can't think of a more appropriate definition.
I'm still amazed at the audacity of those who put on the most expensive, lavish inauguration balls ever, but I've stopped being surprised at how a political party that says one thing ("fiscal responsibility") talks out of both sides of its mouth, with abandon.

I should retreat to some Comfort Food (to me, that means Thai Food) .. but then, I'd be undoing the gains I've made (losing nearly 100 pounds) and (to quote King George Bush I) .. I ain't gonna go there.
* yes, I used a capital H in [He], ever since President Quagmire said "God speaks through me."
PS: calm down .. put your party favors back on the table, and step away from the punch bowl: the Sundry on Thursday blog has been updated.

Wednesday, January 19

you say smog, I say oxygen challenged

I wonder how much Angelino is still in my vocabulary.

Yesterday, I was talking to Judy-Bob and asked whether she was going to take the surface streets to get somewhere. In Los Angeles, the non-freeways were all called surface streets, since the freeways are elevated. During her childhood in rural New England, the term was backroads.

When I grew up (outside Louisville) I thought of a backroad as any of those McAdam (macadam) roads without a paint job (no dividing lines).

Here in Dallas they're just called roads, or streets (I reckon'), unless you're in a rural area, where they're marked as FM-something (Farm-to-Market) or RM-something (Ranch-to-Market).
Deep Thought #57: I wonder if the FMs ever become RMs, or vice-versa? What if there are an equal number of ranches and farms on a given road - which one wins?
Other Los Angeles basin terms that became part of my vocabulary include Bott's Dots (aka "raised pavement markers"); La-La Land (a somewhat derogatory term for The Hype That Is Los Angeles); The Orange Curtain (Orange County); The Valley (the San Fernando Valley - as if!! there was any other) and (my favorite, which draws a blank stare here): Sig Alert ("any traffic incident that will tie up two or more lanes of a freeway for two or more hours").

Tuesday, January 18

canine met trick

The only flea/tick medicine that's ever really worked for me is Merial's Frontline®. It costs more than the others, but I'm throwing my money away with the competing products (your mileage may vary).

I wondered why there were such odd weight ranges for their product: the correct size for Beta (the wonder dog) is the 45-88 pound range. Recently, I ordered some of this magic potion over the web, and it arrived from overseas. On the non-US package, the weight range is 20-40 kilograms! Now it all makes sense. Amazing how the obvious didn't strike me .. and I consider myself metric savvy. Hmmm.

Now if I can only figure out why water fast == waterproof (see photo above).

Sunday, January 16

What is your Alignment?

You scored as Lawful Good. A lawful good person acts as a good person is expected or required to act. They are dedicated to upholding both what is right and what is set down in law.

Lawful Good


Neutral Good


True Neutral


Chaotic Neutral


Neutral Evil


Lawful Evil


Chaotic Good


Lawful Neutral


Chaotic Evil


What is your Alignment?
created with

Friday, January 14

yeah, sure .. and my name is Prabeeb

DSL was down for 10+ hours, starting at 4:30pm Thursday, so this is what I looked at several times last night. I called SBC's DSL Tech Support line, and finally got hold of someone in India who said her name was "Blossom" at which point I finished the conversation, hung up the phone, and promptly rolled on the floor, laughing.

Wednesday, January 12

some mums do `ave `em

Anne Robinson mentioned Frank Spencer on The Weakest Link (UK version) and I'd never `erd of `im, until I a9'd and found Some Mothers Do 'ave em (a British sitcom from a few years ago).

I am now hopelessly addicted to Weakest Link (UK), which automagically lands on TiVo overnight. The myriad of accents, occupations, and Brit-specific questions continues to confound and amuse me. I also learned that clicking the left arrow at the end of a show rockets me to the [Delete Now] menu: tra-la-la!

unrelated #1

Last night, I attended yet another career-networking session, this one billed as "Speed-Reading People for Successful Interviews" where the presenter suggested that picking up on both verbal and non-verbal clues during the communication and interview process can help. Some of this reminded me of studies regarding body language (e.g. "crossed arms means they're not receptive to you," etc.) If I could ever get anyone to call me back, maybe I'd have a chance to try this technique.

unrelated #2

Whilst out taking photographs this afternoon, I spotted two white guys dressed in suits riding bicycles .. and yes, they were wearing bike helmets. They couldn't have stood out more if they were wearing a red tam and a Guardian Angels jacket. Yes, I know it's supposed to be The Dead of Winter, but it was 23C/73F here today, albeit muggy.

Flashback (sometime in the 1980's): I was at LAX (from whence I used to hub) and spotted some bald-headed guys wearing orange robes. And no, it wasn't Halloween.

Tuesday, January 11

heart stopper

What an exciting day - it's Patch Tuesday*!
* the day each month that Microsoft releases patches - currently the 2nd Tuesday
There were two high-priority patches this month, the most amusing of which is called Malicious Software Removal Tool. Knowing Microsoft, this will automagically remove any software for which there's a competing Microsoft product. No new icons appeared on the desktop, and I didn't have to reboot, so I'm not yet sure what to think of this innovation. I a9'd and found this new software billed as "a virus detection and removal tool" .. which I already have in the guise of AVG Free Edition.

Earlier today, I relived elementary school, by figuring out what payment is needed in order to net $100 via PayPal (they have a sliding interest rate, plus 30¢ per transaction, so some basic algebra was needed).

Sunday, January 9

see? i was listening to my economics professor!

Zzzz. Marginal propensity to consume. Zzzz. Oligopolistic behavior. Zzzz. Supply and demand. Zzzz.

Why it is that healthy food costs so much more than junk food? Is it because of supply and demand, or are the ingredients of junk food (salt, sugar, processed flour, etc.) just cheaper than those in healthy food?

Maybe it's because of the way they make healthy food: start with junk food, then add a fat-sucking (sugar-sucking, salt-sucking) stage to the process?

This morning, I ran out of cat food so had to make an emergency run to the grocery. While there, I had a short list of other stuff to buy, but since the usual crowd was non-existent, I decided to buy a bit more than usual. When the crowds are light, I often take longer to shop, since I don't feel pressured to grab something and get out of everyone's way. I like having time to mosey.

If you buy low-carb, or sugar-free (same thing) or lowfat versions of foodstuffs, inevitably you pay more (either via smaller portions, or increased cost per quantity). I like buying stuff in bulk (but now have to avoid Sam's Club due to their Radical Right persuasion), but there's not a lot of healthy food available in bulk. There is often aisle after aisle of deep-fried this or sugar-coated that. It's too bad that Whole Foods doesn't have a warehouse operation!

I often look for those wonderful red tags which mean an item's being discontinued. Oftentimes those are priced at/near cost, and it's commonly something I wouldn't normally buy, anyway .. so it makes for a nice change of pace. So, I found a couple of those items today.

I've also learned to compare the store brand with a name brand minus coupon (if I have one).
Deep Thought #56: Sometimes the only difference between a store brand and a name brand is the picture on the label. Should I pay more for good photography?
Alas, my moseying didn't come without a price. When I returned home, I found that Beta (the wonder dog) had done both a #1 and #2 in the hallway. Geez Louise! I let her out for 30 minutes or so this morning. I guess she held it, huh?

Friday, January 7

the many faces of butter

For many years, I was content to know that butter came from cows. Then, my world turned upside down when I discovered apple butter. Hmm .. now butter comes from cows or apples.

Today, I decided to investigate where shea butter comes from (answer: an African tree). Now, I know butter comes from cows, apples and trees. defines butter as
1. A soft yellowish or whitish emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt, churned from milk or cream and processed for use in cooking and as a food;
2. Any of various substances similar to butter, especially a spread made from fruit, nuts, or other foods: apple butter
Why doesn't it acknowledge the role of the lowly bovine? Or have I been limiting myself to "cow butter" when there are alternatives such as goat butter or water buffalo butter (ghee)? (answer: yes)

Does the milk/cheese/butter from different species of cow taste different? What about wild goat butter? Are the possibilities endless? And what about all those ancient butter sculpters?

Those who are really fascinated by this stuff will be transfixed by Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk (from the June 1992 edition of The Goat Handbook, suitable for discriminating coffee tables everywhere). All this reminds me : isn't it cabrito season soon?

Wednesday, January 5

game shows across The Big Pond

It'll wear off, but I've become addicted to the original UK (BBC) version of The Weakest Link, and the differences to the American spinoff. Like most shows on BBC America, the shows appear to be several years old, but at least it's something.

First, they have more contestants (9) and it's longer (1 hour). There's a smaller prize (£10,000) and no audience. When the players introduce themselves, it's a well-defined format: name, age (!), location and profession (example: "Hi, I'm Nigel and I'm 32 years old. I live in Cheddar-on-Sussex and I raise edgeogs.")

Their "off the island" votes are cast on an oval hand slate, held in front of them during the entire voting round. Some contestants are into their 70s and beyond. As expected, many questions are UK-specific although there's a surprisingly large set of questions about American culture, geography and history.

The host (Anne Robinson) is even more caustic than on the US version; she often derides people for where they live. One particularly accent-free contestant mentioned that she'd taken "elocution classes" (for accent softening), which I found amusing.

The TiVo remote has no Closed Caption button, so how am I supposed to understand those UK (Scotland, Ireland, Britain) accents, not to mention the peculiar vocabulary (trebled vs tripled) and pronunciation (alternate becomes al-TER-nit)?

Some items become very repetitive: when each contestant leaves, they are commonly asked for comment and nearly all say "Aye cain't believe aye was voted off at this stage of the game! Aye wasn't The Weakest Link (they commonly answered no questions correctly that round)." Most seem content on offering excuses; I can only recall one who acknowledged his poor performance in the past few days.

I wandered across the UK version of [Dog Eat Dog] a few days ago (sadly minus host Brooke Burns) and had to laugh at the bloke who thought JFK was shot in 1981 (versus 1963). Maybe I expected too much from the Brits, well edjimicated and all that rubbish.

Tuesday, January 4

GLAT, TiVo and the wily apostrophe

PJ suggested I take the Google Labs Aptitude Test, after hearing about it on [60 Minutes] last night. I was amused to find it posted as 4 GIFs (versus a single PDF); perhaps printing those 4 files is part of the test?

Behavioral change complete in 72 hours

I've had TiVo for 4 days now, and have done enough programming (sans hacks - yet) of the device that I'll agree that it changes the way people watch TV.

The TiVo FAQ asks "Are there any new models coming out?" to which I would've replied: "We have designed the ultimate appliance; there can be no improvement! And you vill like it!" ... then watch the user's head explode. Why is it that some people have to have the latest version of a gadget? Doesn't Everybody Know they should avoid the first release (version 1.0)?

Perhaps that is detailed on the TiVo Community Forum?

William-Bob asked if TiVo makes me watch less or more television. I answered: "more, I suspect, but what I watch is now more useful to me. There's enough stuff on DirecTV's 225 channels that interests me, but I didn't bother before because of schedules. Now, when I watch, it's always of high interest. Before, I'd sometimes plant in front of the tube and channel surf for what was on at the moment. Now, there's little of that."

Albertsons .. not Albertson's

A few days ago, I dropped an email to someone at Albertsons, asking why their website said "Albertson's, Inc." at the bottom of the page, when their name elsewhere was spelled "Albertsons" (without the apostrophe). I got a boilerplate response:
All Albertsons stores and Albertsons logos are spelled as "Albertsons" without an apostrophe. This is the 'common name' used by the company, and it is a well known name and image around the country. Generally, this is the name used whenever unofficially referring to Albertsons. The decision was made back in the 1970's, when our logo changed to what we currently use today, to not use the apostrophe in the logo itself. This was very simply a design decision, not a grammatical decision. Company correspondence continued to use the apostrophe, but as time went on and the questions continued to come up more and more, the decision was recently made (within the last couple of years) to discontinue the use of the apostrophe to establish consistency within the company and with our logo.

The full legal name of the company, however, is "Albertson's Inc." The difference here is that the legal name contains an apostrophe, as well as the additional "Inc." portion. This is the name used on all official legal documents, but it is much less known, and therefore not the general name used on a day-to-day basis.

Monday, January 3

tsunami perspective

George W. Bush's second inaugural will cost $40 million .. more than the initial offer of aid ($35 million) to the Indian Ocean tsunami survivors. This is what a Compassionate Conservative Regime is all about.

As bad as this tragedy is, I can't help but have mixed feelings about our charity. As of yesterday, here's a partial list of donations by country:

$47M 810M Australia
$674M Germany
$500M Japan
$ 35M 350M USA
$ 95M Britain
$ 76M Sweden
$ 68M Spain
$ 60M China
$ 57M France
$ 33M Canada
$ 10M Qatar (*)
$ 10M Saudi Arabia (*)
$ 2M Kuwait (*)
$ 2M United Arab Emirates (*)
$ 1M Turkey (*)

* Islamic

To put that into perspective: The contributions from all Islamic countries combined is smaller than that of Canada (whose population is smaller than California).

The Managed News says the Muslim percentages in the area are: Indonesia 88%; India 12%; Sri Lanka 7%. The majority religion in India is Hindu, while in Sri Lanka it's Buddhist.

I didn't spot a line item for Osama bin Laden's contribution. I suspect he's too busy preparing biotoxins or explosives to be bothered with 150,000 dead neighbors (50 times the number he killed on 9/11).

Sunday, January 2

the transformation to Helpful

Everybody Knows™ that it takes 21 days of repetition to make something a habit.
Deep Thought #55: is shopping considered habitual?
Friday, I joined the Helpful Hardware Club. Ordinarily (pre-Choose The Blue) I went to Home Depot for anything home-improvement related. Sure, their stores are large and odds are good that they'll have what I want, but I won't shop there if the price is that I'm indirectly supporting one political party over another (94% of Home Depot's contributions went to the right-wing sociopaths).

So, when I needed a little home improving, I went to Ace Hardware instead (and spent money!)

Now, my new habit of going anywhere but Home Depot means I will spend many fewer dollars with them, and go to either Lowe's or Ace Hardware instead (they were closer anyway)! Caveat: there's no information online about Home Depot competitors' political contributions: I could change my habits again, once that information becomes public.

Frankly, I know Home Depot doesn't care that they lost me as a customer (my protest is akin to whizzin' in the wind), but I'll feel better knowing that I'm not helping The Most Corrupt President Since William Howard Taft, and Everybody Knows™ how awful that was!

Everybody Knows is a trademark of Fox "News"; Rush Limbaugh Productions; and the Christian Fascist Republican Party.

Saturday, January 1

which way is up?

I really hope you didn't come here in search of something insightful. At least, not today.

Okay, so I survived another New Year's Eve. No bullets rained on my head, although I've yet to make an exhaustive check of the roof for holes, bottle rocket remnants, etc. I did notice a new satellite dish, but that's only because I needed a new one to support the TiVo that arrived on Thursday (more about that later).

The newest member of my household will bid adieu later today: Rambo's visit will end around 6pm. He and Beta have become quite the item this past week. Then again, Beta's favorite was her Boy Toy named Miles, who now lives in Phoenix.

Is Rambo a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or another species of wild animal? You be the judge.

It's not that Beta doesn't like Rambo, but he's just so ergonomically challenged: short legs that barely reach the ground and no wagging tail - well, unless you look carefully. I think she's also intimated by his intellect: she's not used to dealing with a canine that far from her own IQ. Yesterday, while watching the two play in the backyard (Beta only needing one leap for every 7 from Rambo) I couldn't stop thinking that he reminds me of an armadillo ... or maybe a hedgehog (a wee bit rare in Texas).