Sunday, October 30, 2011

Times are Changing...Ladies Can Do Stuff Now

Quite a weekend. It was Austin Beer Week and we definitely couldn't let that go by without hitting up some events. On Thursday we went to North by Northwest's Cask Tapping and Brewer's Dinner.

NXNW is a brewpub that has always been one of those reliable Austin standbys, and for that reason I always kinda took it for granted. After this event, I can assure you that will never be the case again. I have always liked their food, and any beer of theirs I have gotten has been good, but I never really took the time to slow down and enjoy what they have to offer. I probably have a bias where I think brewpubs don't dedicate as much time to the craft of beer making as a full-fledged brewery, so I took the NXNW brewer's dinner as an opportunity to really immerse myself in what a successful brewpub had to offer. I was also very happy that Ashley and our lil guy came to dinner as well. It was nice to not be a lone, creepy blogger taking pictures of my food. Plus, Ashley has a much more refined palate than I do. Hell let's be honest - my son probably does too.

The menu and pairings were as follows:

Herbed risotto cakes with a white truffle oil vinaigrette paired with Prost German Pilsner

Gruyere Soup paired with “Dark Side” Cask-Conditioned Black IPA

Veal scallopine with gastrique and peperonata paired with Duckabush Amber

Chocolate Mousse paired with Blackjack Ale

The mousse and Blackjack Ale was by far the pairing of the night. Just made some amazing flavors come out of each. Our little gourmand agreed about the mousse, as you can see. The Prost Pilsner and the risotto cakes was a close second. The Darkside IPA was a standout beer on its own, but the pairing with the veal was just so-so. I suspect this had something to
do with the fact that the Darkside cask was tapped just that evening as part of the festivities. Hard to pair something ahead of time when you don't have the finished product on hand. Nonetheless, an expertly-crafted IPA.

Friday was pretty low-key. I fulfilled my destiny as a truck owner by helping my friend Jay move. Got something fancy in the mail too!

Planning to compete in the heavy games at the Austin Celtic Festival next weekend, and kilts are required. I'm not Scottish by heritage; as my friend Aaron astutely pointed out, being of English heritage, my ancesors are probably responsible for the misery of thousands upon thousands of Scots. Yeah. Sorry. Anyway, the only real familial option I had for the plaid on the kilt was my wife's maiden name: Henderson. Luckily Clan Henderson has a pretty classic and badass plaid, so I'm even more proud to sport it in competition.

Saturday we tailgated with our friends Luke and Summer before the Texas-Kansas game. Luke is a chef and makes everything at his tailgate from scratch. Some of you may know him as the Texas Tattoo Guy. I took a few bottles of my banana-tinged Dortmunder, and to my surprise everyone that tried it reported it was enjoyable and pretty drinkable. Liars, all of them.

After that we headed to the DKR for game time. Our good friend Christian took us to the game with his season tickets, and for that we are very grateful; even moreso since the Horns beat the living hell out of Kansas. Hook 'em!

Sunday was my very first highland games practice. A good-sized group of guys in South Austin practice under the guidance of an awesome guy named Mike Baab. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I picked up the stones and weight for distance, but I was humbled pretty badly by the caber. They had a smaller practice caber (about 11 feet) that I turned and hit 12 o'clock on my first attempt. Of course my ego screams "YEAH, LET'S GET IN THERE WITH THE BIG BOYS!" That's when the humiliation began with the bigger stick. Good stuff though - I am excited to work on getting better.

*Not me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hottest Girl in the Whole Foods

Fun little day out with my lady today. She has been working and I have been traveling and recovering from wisdom teeth, so this was the first day in a while we were feeling up to hanging out and wasting some money on things and stuff.

We hit up Whole Foods since she was craving some organic something-or-other. I can't say I'm a big fan of that store and the whole "organic" movement in general, but I will say Ashley really knows how to navigate those places to find some darn good snacks. For all my misgivings about a Whole Foods trip, I was pretty amped about their beer selection. They have always impressed me and this trip was no different. I came away with quite a bounty:

Breckenridge Brewery (one of my favorites) Agave Wheat,
Timmerman's Framboise Lambic,
Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre

Since it's Austin Beer Week, there was also a marketing guy from Real Ale Brewing Co. named Kenny that was giving out samples in-store. Being a beer nerd, of course I had to chat Kenny up. We talked about the Texas Craft Brewer's Festival that we both attended back in September. We agreed that it could have been run a little more smoothly, but also that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission bore a good deal of the blame for that. Kenny was a cool dude and it was really fun discussing the Texas beer scene with him. Pretty sure he checked out my wife too, but who could blame him? She was browsing the fancy cheeses suggestively several yards away.

Speaking of which, I had an awesome/awkward moment when I was looking at my bottle of lambic. I saw my wife out of the corner of my eye but didn't recognize her, so I immediately went into "hot blonde to my left, don't look" mode. I told Ashley about it and I'm still unsure whether this gets me positive or negative points.

I think it's positive though, because she bought me these today:

New Balance Minimus, yo. Minimalist footwear is supposed to be all the rage, and I have seen a lot of strength athletes give good reviews to these. I wasn't exactly ready to take the Vibram Five Fingers plunge, and I think this will serve as a better all-purpose shoe. Anyone out there have experience with these?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tasting Tuesday - Drifter Pale Ale

Our featured beer for this installment of Tasting Tuesday is Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing. Widmer Brothers has quite an interesting history even though they only date back to 1984. They became perhaps best know for their Hefeweizen, and grew steadily in the Northwest US throughout the 80s and 90s. In 1996 they made the move to bottles and greatly expanded their footprint.

Perhaps most interesting is that Anheuser-Busch InBev holds a stake in this brewery. In 2007 Widmer Brothers and Redhook merged to form the Craft Brewer's Alliance. Since Redhook had already formed a distribution-based merger with AB Inbev, the formation of the new company became, in effect, a merger between Redhook, Widmer Brothers and AB Inbev. Due to the nature of this business relationship, AB Inbev has no direct control over Widmer Brothers' product, and it certainly shows.

Drifter Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 28
Appearance: Pours dark honey, thin off-white head. Not the greatest pour in the picture, but still very short head that settles out fast.

Aroma: Very even blend of hops and malt. As head settles, the malt comes even more forward. A touch of sweeter fruit, mostly apricot find their way through on a deep inhale.

Taste: Very smooth up front, then a touch of hops in the middle. A nice alcohol dryness follows, and notes of dried apricot and butter make a really welcome appearance.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation was relatively low, but unlike the Austin Amber I reviewed, it complimented the malt flavor well. I attribute this to the slightly better blend of malt and hop bitterness on display with Drifter. There is an almost honey-like smoothness that is very in line with the beer's appearance. Nice dryness as well - keeps the sweet in check.

Overall: I was very impressed with this beer. It has a lot of the malt character I really enjoy, and the hops were balanced well. I think if I had to get picky, I would want the hops, especially the Summit, to make more of an impression earlier in the taste. I think what really got me in this beer's corner was the balance between sweetness, bitterness and dryness that made it interesting and complex. Very well done and simple enough for a casual drinker to catch onto.

Drop me a line here or on Twitter with your thoughts on Drifter Pale Ale. Cheers!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I ate a whole bunch.

This weekend was the powerlifting meet I have been training for: Unleash the Beast III. It was held on Saturday at Metroflex Gym in Fort Worth, TX. I competed in my first strongman competition at this very same gym, so it was nice to be stepping on somewhat familiar ground and see some of the same faces. Rendy De La Cruz is the owner, and besides being an absolute behemoth of a man, is an awesome, nice guy. My buddy Jack also drove up from Houston to do this meet, so it was good to have a teammate and coach throughout. It was Jack's first meet so it was really fun to see someone have that experience.

One thing my last experience taught me was that their scale can be a little on the heavy side, so I would have to make sure I was at least a pound lighter than expected in order to make weight. I decided kinda at the last minute to cut weight down to the 198lb. weight class. I was 206 lb. when I made the decision, and my cut was pretty simple and not too taxing. Drank about a gallon of water a day Sunday through Wednesday, then cut all water and sodium for a couple days. Showed up to weigh-in Friday on an empty stomach and made 198.0 lb. and didn't even need to sweat any out. Jack wasn't shooting to make any weight (which was smart) and would be lifting in the 220lb. class. As weak as I am, I really don't have any business cutting, but it was so easy to do and really made more sense than me lifting with 220-pounders.

We left the gym and headed to dinner. I hadn't eaten a serious meal since breakfast, so it was go time. We hit up a place called "Zorro's Buffet" and got to work. 3 plates of love:

I had also been restricting sodium for a few days so I got my NaCl on:

Then it was back the Sheraton for a couple of beers at the hotel bar.

I had Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug. Rahr & Sons is a rare species: a North Texas Craft Brewer, and I had heard nothing but good things. This was a pretty dang delicious black lager (schwarzbier) that really matched up favorably with Guinness' offering in the same style. It certainly lived up to its billing as an easy-drinking dark beer. The malt aroma and flavor were really well-displayed and the mouthfeel was light without being too watery. The hops were more prominent than in other black lagers I've tried, but it wasn't a negative in the least.

The meet didn't start until noon on Saturday so we had plenty more time to stuff our face. We hit up a Fort Worth classic - The Ol' South Pancake House. Right near TCU and full of Horned Frog fans in full game day regalia. Oh, and the food was amazing. You can probably tell from the buffet pics and this one that I was having a problem remembering to take a picture of my plate before I started stuffing my big dumb mouth.

I was back up to 207 lb. by the time we started lifting. Squats came first and through a combination of a terrible sound system, shifting flights and my own stupidity, I completely missed my first attempt. I had planned to open with 315lb., so I just had to head back to the warm-up rack and do it so I could get my confidence. I decided to keep it at 315 lb. for the second attempt so I could be certain I wouldn't bomb out of the meet. I nailed 315 lb. with no problem. I came to this meet with the goal of finally hitting a 365 lb. squat in a meet, so whether I was ready or not I called it for my third and final attempt.

Felt food to get that PR. All those good feelings would quickly get dashed by bench press though. I opened with 225 lb. and blew through it as expected. I was feeling so good that I decided to try 255 lb. I failed halfway up like always. This lift continues to mystify me. The only thing different when I hit 255 lb., earlier this year was being about 15 lb. heavier. I should be stronger in this lift, but I feel like I just fall apart in the bottom. Unsurprisingly, I failed 255 lb. again for my third attempt. Bench press is the worst. Luckily, Metroflex Fort Worth also has an MMA school and they treated us to a 10-minute striking and grappling demonstration. Pretty cool stuff and it helped get the bench press disaster off my mind.

It was a tough room for these guys, as you have a bunch of guys who are just focused on lifting the next weight for an audience. I have to give it up to these guys for putting on a great demo and doing their best to engage a bunch of lazy powerlifters. If I lived in the area, I would for sure be working with them.

I was feeling healthy and strong headed into deadlift, so I knew I had a PR coming. I opened at 445 lb. and smoked that pretty easily. My 2nd attempt was a meet PR of 480 lb. and I pulled that up without much trouble either.

I got greedy on my third attempt and went for 510 lbs instead of my planned 500 lb. The reason being I wanted an 1100 lb. total for the day and 510 lb. would get me there. A better idea would have been to not shit the bed on bench so bad, but oh well. I attacked 510 lb. well and got VERY CLOSE (as the pic below shows), but I just couldn't lock it out. My glutes were just fried and I couldn't get them to fire. Check it:

So to sum up:

Attempt 1 - No Lift
Attempt 2 - 315 lb. Good
Attempt 3 - 365 lb. Good, Meet PR

Attempt 1 - 225 lb. Good
Attempt 2 - 255 lb. No Lift
Attempt 3 - 255 lb. No Lift

Attempt 1 - 445 lb. Good
Attempt 2 - 480 lb. Good, Meet PR
Attempt 3 - 510 lb. No Lift

Finished up with 3 medals:
2nd Place Squat - 198 lb. Weight Class
2nd Place Bench - 198 lb. Weight Class (Only two people competing. Oh, powerlifting).
3rd Place Deadlift - 198 lb. Weight Class

This is the young fella that won Best Lifter and a litany of other awards. His name is Jeremy Scruggs and he is a very talented 132 lb. raw lifter:

And here he is making a 430 lb.squat look easy:

We are all witnesses (to bad benching):

Here I am with Rendy De La Cruz, the badass who runs this gym and these events. A heartfelt thanks goes out to him for running a great event and doing so much to promote strength sports in this part of the country:

We finished the meet in the same style we had prepped for it by eating some marvelously unhealthy food. Our post-meet feast was In and Out Burger. It was a lot of food so I had to wash it down with a milkshake. I'm sure you understand.

Back to the hotel to crash face first on the floor and then shower. Unfortunately I got word that my little boy was having a rough day and night, so I had to head back early and not stay the second night.

Before that, we got a chance to split my homebrewe Dortmunder though. Being in the bottle is really helping it out, and Jack remarked that it is very drinkable. He can definitely taste the banana/fruity esters that came from losing refrigeration during the blackout, but it really doesn't do much besides add some character. Either way, it inspired me to start calling it Bitter Blackout Banana. I'm so gosh-darned clever.

On my way out of town I decided to stop by the gigantic Miller Brewery that sits on I-35 just south of Fort Worth. I could actually smell the malt and that was kind of awesome.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wait, beer can do that?

I tailgated the UT vs. OSU game last Saturday. We didn't even get down there until almost game time, but we more than made up for it in volume of beer consumed. We hit up the Shiner Smokehouse Tailgate and the food was pretty darn good. Due to the aforementioned beer, I didn't get any pictures besides one of the awesome dwarf. He was a cool dude.

I drank a stupendous amount and then went to Trudy's afterwards and drank even more. I was completely useless on Sunday.

De-load week before meet. Not a lot going on the gym besides some keeping loose and practicing commands. Knee started acting up again yesterday, but nothing to really be concerned about. The only truly stupid thing I did was chop up a fallen tree on our property with an axe. It was a new axe and I forgot to put gloves on, so I have some lovely, throbbing blisters now. I doubt they will be an issue by Saturday.

I brewed a blonde ale last night, and hopefully it will become a cranberry ale for Thanksgiving. Everything seemed to go well, but it's 10 hours since pitch and not a single bubble in the airlock. I seem to have the worst luck with this. I seriously can't think of a single reason except for too much of the yeast exploding out when I opened the vial. I am going warm it up, stir it, and if those fail I am just going to have to re-pitch.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Deadlifts and Dying Yeast

All I am lacking for my all grain brewing setup to be functional is a larger brew pot. I have a 10-gallon mash tun, so I guess it makes sense to get an 80-quart pot so I can move my batches from 5 to 10 gallons in the future. I know I can get an aluminum stock pot from Academy for $90-100 bucks. I am gonna keep scanning craigslist though and see if I can find one cheaper or maybe a stainless steel for a similar price. I am probably gonna end up drilling valves and temperature probes myself though, so I'm not exactly thrilled about drilling stainless steel.

Definitely getting the itch to brew. I have the ingredients sitting in my fridge for an extract blonde ale, so I hope Aaron can free up his schedule enough to sync up his brew dates with mine. Yes, we are adorable like that. I also have a vial of Irish Ale yeast sitting in the fridge rapidly approaching its "best if used by"date. I want to get my first all grain batch going in time for the holidays. I think I might be a little late to do anything good for Thanksgiving, so maybe a nice cranberry ale for Christmas. Something like this? Doesn't help my Irish Ale predicament though.

I am trying to match up a brewery tour or some kind of beer event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for this coming weekend when I drive up for the powerlifting meet. Any suggestions welcome. I think Rahr & Sons is the obvious choice: lots of history and a great facility. I am open to anything really though.

I felt a little better about my training after my meltdown earlier this week. I told myself i was going to repeat my max effort squat day today since I was unsatisfied with Monday's session. However, several shots of tequila last night had me calling an audible. Since there hasn't been much deadlifting in my program this last couple of months, I decided to give it a go. Glad I did.

Max Effort Lower

135x10, 5
455x1 - This never felt so easy.

480x1 PR - It was a shaky rep and the lockout was far from ideal, but I'm calling it a gym record. No hitch and no downward bar motion. Probably wouldn't pass in a meet, though.

Wide Grip Chins
12, 12, 10 - Extra motivation from a random group of Crossfitters working on their kip right next to me.

45-degree Back Raises w/ Medium Band

Weight - 205

My right knee feels like it's full of wet cardboard. I need a haircut. I also desperately need this bowl:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tasting Tuesday - Austin Amber

This is something I am hoping will become a weekly feature at S&B. At least half of this blog is about beer, so the least I can do is offer my services as a beer reviewer. Serious labor, I know. Feel free to share your opinions and experiences with each beer I review in the comments section. For the inaugural Tasting Tuesday, I wanted to kick things off with an Austin-based brewer.

Austin Amber
Style: American Amber
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 32
Appearance: Pours slightly cloudy copper with a thin, white head. Retention was middle of the road - the pic snapped on left was about 30 seconds after pour.

Aroma: Hints of sweetness, but very muted overall. No serious hops coming through, but enticing because of the touch of roasted malt.

Taste: The sweetness of the malt is definitely the feature here. I was hoping to get just a tiny bit more of that classic American cascade hop flavor, but being a malt-lover, I can't complain too much. I think if I had one wish for this beer it would be that the brewers got a little bit more out of the malt (especially the chocolate).

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel, spot-on for an amber. Carbonation was low and I feel like that detracted from the complexity just a bit. Finishes very clean.

Overall: Austin Amber is certainly a drinkable brew, and I did find myself going back for more immediately. It isn't going to blow you away with it's complexity or hop profile, but it is a fairly solid amber. It's actually an excellent beer to introduce someone to what malt tastes like without the typical American craft beer "hop up."

If you are a fan of Austin Amber, feel free to hit me up with your opinions. These guys are a solid Central Texas brewhouse and they do a great deal for the craft beer community. Their 7th anniversary is coming up later this month, and I certainly wish them many more successful years. Follow Independence Brewing Co. here:

If you live in the Austin area, come out to their Beer & Food Pairing at the Draught House on October 30! I'm planning to be there; I will be the guy that looks stupid.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sorry if you came here for beer.

This week is the last full training week before the meet on the 22nd. Since the week prior will be basically be a de-load (rest) week, today and tomorrow are my last chances to go heavy. These two maximum effort days are supposed to be when I take the box away on squats, pull out the pins and boards on bench and see what the the 11 weeks of training have solidified into.

Today's squat session wasn't a good sign.

I will spare you the details, but it was pretty much a normal max effort progression. Dropped to singles at 315 and above, but it culminated with two failures at 355; 10lbs lower than my best squat and right around my best in a meet (352 or some such).

Bench, as we have witnessed, is set to be a similar disaster. I still haven't moved my meet best of 255 since the actual meet where I did it. I'm only somewhat confident I can hit 245 with a competition pause.

So where does this leave me? Worse than I was 8 months ago. I have spent all day trying to determine what has gotten me here. Here is a list, in order of likelihood, of the things that could have gone wrong.

  1. I'm a weak little bitch.
  2. I took too long to get back to heavy lifting after the meniscus tear. I did some accumulation work and tested myself up to 85% or so at times, but I never really pushed it on either bench or squat because I was afraid of the knee.
  3. I lost too much weight. I dropped about 18 lbs. for the strongman competition in August, and I never really bulked back up. I was 217, then cut to 199. I have been a steady 205 since then. Now, it's not like I couldn't be a ton stronger at 205 (see #1), but I think some of the weight I lost was useful stuff like...muscle.
  4. I just don't respond to this kind of programming (conjugate periodization), or I programmed myself wrong. Either is likely but the program isn't rocket science. If I'm honest with myself and admit that 11 weeks ago I was probably much weaker than I thought I was, it's reasonable to believe I have made some modest gains. Then again, I do have a sneaking suspicion that this program really isn't ideal if you are a lean, drug-free, raw lifter.
  5. My technique is shit. Probably true, but I don't think it's biggest problem I'm facing.

I'm pretty down about it today; way more than a reasonable person should be. It's just stupid powerlifting numbers, after all. I'm probably not going to reach my short-term goals, but all I can do
is keep putting in work.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Corner is Immaculate

Made some good progress on the all grain brewing set up over the last couple days. Bought this guy:

I also did something I have been meaning to for a while. We live on a little bit of land, and one of the lovely gifts our landlord gave us was three old, rusted out BBQ pits and a busted lawnmower. I went all apocalypse-style and trekked back in the woods with some tools to hopefully salvage something useful. After some not-so-delicate work, I came away with a propane splitter, a couple of hoses with regulators and some bearings from the lawnmower wheels. I have a good idea of what I can use the splitter for, but the other stuff may be useful down the road when I try crazier shit.

Dynamic Effort Lower

255x2x8 - Little heavier than usual. Bar speed was still passable.
325x2 - Easily had 3 or 4 reps in me. Felt great.

Reverse Hypers
4 sets of 8

Back Extensions
5 sets of 10

DB Rows

Cable Crunches
3 sets of 15 - Really cranked up the weight on these today.

Weight - 204

Drinking Shiner Oktoberfest. What an excellently crafted beer. I have been really impressed by Spoetzl over the past year or so. Hopefully I will put together a quick review at some point.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I liked bench press before it was cool.

The last couple of weeks of floor press lulled me into a false sense of security. Not to worry though, 1-board press would bring me right back down to earth.

Max Effort Upper

Foam Press (about a 1-board)
255xf What the hell?

I don't even know what's going wrong at this point. I pause-benched 255 in a meet earlier this year, and now I'm failing it on a 1-board. Bonus points today for having my wife watch me fail multiple times! The secret's out - she now knows I'm not a man.

Incline DB Press

10, 10, 6

Rope Pushdown/Face Pulls Superset
3 sets, as many as possible

Did some random ab stuff with the wife and foam rolled.

Licked wounds over post-workout sushi. Why do sushi restaurants always have aquariums? Isn't that pretty macabre? We picked up some Halloween decorations and an awesome dino costume for our little boy. Of course, odds are he will reject that and ask to be a lion.

Spent some time in the garage getting the brew space together. It's materializing slowly.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Three goals today: Get back to work with my staffing/consulting business, finish the mash tun and try to box squat worth a shit. I made some decent decisions about the direction and focus of my business. I think with my background and current situation, working with Emergency Departments and EMS is going to make the most sense. I still have enough contacts in IT and a few other random industries to work there as well, but someone in my position is well-served by specialization. I also drafted contracts finally today. Exciting, I know. Enough of that though, let's get to the blog-title-worthy stuff.

Max Effort Lower

Box Squat
335x1 PR


Felt great today. Just barely failed 345 because I was fatigued. I think coming in fresh, I could be back to where I was a couple meets ago. My meet best is a paltry 353 and I think I could hit that again (finally).

Mutant Glute-Ham Raise/Roman Chair?

Bodyweight x 8

Weighted Decline Situps

BB Rear Shrugs

After yet another hardware store trip and a visit to Austin Homebrew Supply, I was able to get the right parts to get the ball valve watertight on the mash tun. I also finished out my sparge arm with ugly drilling for special home-made charm.


Also bought some ingredients for a very basic blonde ale. Nothing fancy, just some pale malt extract, two-row, Cascade and Willamette hops and good old bullet-proof WL001 yeast. Gonna simul-brew this with my friend Aaron in Charlotte, NC so we can compare notes and see where we mess up.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bananas and Bobcats

This weekend I bottled the dortmunder I have been lagering for the past 4 weeks. This beer had a ton of promise when I racked it to the secondary and it tasted crisp and awesome. However at bottling time it had a very distinct banana off-flavor. Somehow some fruity esters managed to show up to the party.

This was me.

I'm hoping that the beer warming up to room temperature and being bottle-conditioned that way will cause the yeast to wake up and eat some of that flavor away. I have no scientific or experiential basis for thinking that will happen. Just sheer, tragic hope. Wife and sister-in-law were my bottling crew, so at least I had good company.

Awesome weekend otherwise. Went to the Oasis with my lady and had fish tacos. Got to enjoy the view of what my friend Brad called a "nice fish pond - formerly Lake Travis." Still beautiful though. Got a chance to work on Ashley's chip-eating technique. Sorely needed, as you can see:

Today we took our little boy to the Austin Nature and Science Center, which is always a hit with him. In addition to a "scawey" stuffed bear and a dino dig sand pit, he gets to see real, live coyotes and bobcats. So, when he sees those in our backyard he can remember that mommy and daddy said "those can eat you" and maybe he will run away instead of petting them and bringing them in the house.

Probably the most eventful development of the weekend is the activation of the Invisible Fence around our house. The dogs have basically run wild since we moved in here and I'm sure the neighbors are just totally in love with our yappy little bastards now. I hope to get some video of one of them getting shocked, but for now here is a picture of a cybernetically-enhanced Bailey: