Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012 - Rattlesnake Saloon

Esther and I both had the misfortune this year of our birthdays landing in the middle of the week so today was the unofficial unbirthday lunch to celebrate the birth of baby Esther, She of the Hazel Eyes, who was raised by wolves until I found her and tried in vain to tame her.

The where: Rattlesnake Saloon located near Tuscumbia, Al. Described as a "watering hole under the rock" Rattlesnake Saloon is a family-friendly establishment open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11Am to 10PM (Sunday, April through September from 11AM to 3PM). 

Lunch starts with a rumbling ride downhill in the "saloon taxi" from the parking area to the saloon itself. 

From around the curve the saloon comes into view, nestled under a shelter cave.

Seating is available on three different levels- the upper rim, the main dining area and the lower deck (not pictured).

Food is of the burger/chicken/sandwich/fries variety and prices are somewhere between fast food and dine-in generica. Appetizers are every known vegetable to man batter-fried, including pickles, green beans and jalapeno peppers.

No modern burger place would be complete without the "glutonous plate of food that we will give you for free if you shovel it down your pie hole" option. My health insurance premiums went up just reading the description.  

Honestly, I can't complain about the food. I had a "Duke", a monster burger with fried jalapeno peppers (AKA "Snake Eyes") and bacon and it was a beast of a meal. We ate at around noon and I was still quite full when we went out for frozen yogurt around 6PM. Esther had a mixed experience with her "Buckaroo" sandwich due to stale bread.  

Our server, Jessica, was very patient with juggling multiple kid orders across four different tickets and very responsive and friendly. The atmosphere was unique and keeping in mind that you are eating outside, everything was clean and tidy. I'd be interested to see what the crowds are like after 5PM (when they serve alcohol) with a band playing on the stage. With the right folks this would be a great place have a gig.

A few more pictures of the day can be found by clicking here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14, 2012 - Recording at Nutthouse Studios

Note: I am a few weeks on posting this entry due to PC failure and the death of a motherboard.

I spent the greater part of today helping a fellow musician complete a project in the studio. The plan was to record a cover of "The Rose" with him on bass, his father-in-law singing lead and accompanied by piano, at least two other guitarists, some backing strings and additional vocals. Honestly, it's not my all time favorite song in the universe, but it was a sweet gesture and I'm happy with the work that we did. There are a million things I wish I had done differently but considering that of the five other musicians I'd only ever met one and this was the first time we played in the same room together and we did it all in a single day I really can't be disappointed with the final product.

My ever-faithful Pearl World Series kit.

All the recording was done at Nutthouse Studios in Sheffield, Al. I'd link you to a website but all I can find (apart from some broken links) is this MySpace page and a few interviews with the owner, Jimmy Nutt, on YouTube. EDIT: Here is the Facebook Page.

The studio is housed in an extremely unassuming old bank building in a very ordinary downtown area. The exterior did not prepare me for the eclectic yet well-organized and professional interior. The studio manages to be instantly both warm and familiar yet maintain a sense of strange unexpectedness. As an example I give you the three things in the picture below: the intact vault from the building's previous life, an old carnival side-show banner ("See Tazara the Seductive Love Goddess Change into a Monster WHILE YOU WATCH!"), and the Foosball table.

The control room is slightly more traditional. Like the cockpit of a spaceship combined with Darth Vader's home entertainment system. ...and a lava lamp.

Jimmy's fondness for the Beatles is evident
If you'd like to listen to the finished product just click here.

On the way home I passed this poor soul on the interstate on his tractor in a downpour.

The guy I'm glad I'm not

A few other pictures of the studio and a cemetery that I found a geocache at on my way there can be found right here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012 - Dog Fostering

Let me start out by telling you that a sad thing happened to us in June that kept me from wanting to blog and kept me from wanting to take pictures and tell strangers and friends on the internet about what happened in them. I don't want to type about it. Our relatives are okay and relatively intact (see what I did there?) but our family is short a member and that's really all I can stand to put down in words right now.

Moving on.

To lighten our spirits and busy our minds, we've volunteered to become a small(ish) dog foster family. We have a local lady that keeps a herd of poodles, schnauzers, terriers, and assorted mutts of less-than-gigantic size. She works in cooperation with the local pounds and rescue groups to be a small dog no-kill alternative. We've offered to keep two of her dogs for a while and let them enjoy the kennel-free life and run in the pasture with our two monstrous wolves. 

Yesterday we visited our Fairy Dogmother and picked up Kira and Festus. The borders of her realm are marked thus...

Having grown up with somewhat of a fascination with Gun Smoke and Matt Dillon (long before the Star Wars toys there were cowboy boots and sheriff badges. Toy Story? Yeah. That was me.) how could I resist a dog named Festus? Esther has taken to calling him "Fez" for short and that works too. Festus is some sort of wire-hair terrier thing mixed with pocket lint and Fizgig from The Dark Crystal.

Festus excels at looking happy.
Festus and Kuma, enjoying a pee truce.
Festus is moderately high-spirited. He does jump up from time to time, but is pretty good about landing his pads on you instead of his claws. He was very interested in finding the limits of the yard and marking the fence that surrounds it. Speaking of marking... he and Kuma have been in an arms race of sorts to see who can out pee the other. We watched them pee on the same patch of weeds no less than six times within the first hour of having him home. At one point all four dogs were in on it, all watering an otherwise nondescript patch of grass in turn. 

Kira (pronouced with a long "i". Rhymes with spy-duh and fie-rah; as in "in the conflagration I caught my spy-duh on fie-rah") is Labradoodle/Muppet/wolfhound mix. She, like most the women on TV, needs a couple of cheeseburgers. She's a little too skinny right now but we're going to keep an eye on her and watch what she eats. She is a very calm dog and while she loves to be petted and will sometimes put her head into your hand, she's pretty content to just be her own dog. When she runs she gallops and she shares Jessie's love of abandoned fire ant hills for snuffling. She has the coat of an alpaca.

Both of the foster dogs have found the most mischief from cat chasing. This is something that all of our dogs went through until it wasn't fun anymore, so we're hoping that the cat-rasment will abate over the next couple of days. Jessie and Kuma were very leery at first and there were a couple of growls and snips over the food hopper but as early as this morning it was Jessie that was egging them both on to play with her like she did when she was a much younger dog. 

Speaking of Jessie... she would like you all to know that she's still the prettiest girl in the yard.

These are all the pictures from the last two days, so no linky! To make up for that here are some of the other things that have been going on since I last blogged:

...and even more Robin Hood!