I returned from El Paso late last night. What a trip! Let’s start from the beginning. First, I boarded a plane in San Jose and discovered that Southwest Airlines now serves airplane shaped crackers (cute!). After a few minutes I started to get bored and began playing with my food. First, I placed the crackers in a configuration like a set of billiard balls. Suddenly I realized, “Hey, this isn’t a rack of balls at all, but rather, 15 very skilled pilots demonstrating their flying acumen.” And speaking of flying skills, I began to wonder: “What would happen if you blindfolded these pilots and asked them to perform tight aerobatic maneuvers?” I ran a quick simulation using my crackers and confirmed that a mid-air collision was probable.
Then I wondered, “What would happen if a pilot encountered a tornado, and did not have adequate time to evade?” Once again, a simulation yielded the answer. After completing several additional simulations I realized a flight attendant had stopped in the aisle next to me, glaring at my handiwork. She had a scowl on her face and gave me a look that said, “If you don’t eat those damn crackers, I’m gonna ring your neck!” I quickly disposed of the evidence.
On Tuesday night I met up with some friends from work and we headed out to a restaurant called Cattleman’s Steakhouse, located about 30 minutes east of El Paso, TX. Basically, you drive east until you don’t see any civilization, then exit the interstate, turn north, and drive into the desert. After another 5 or 10 minutes you come upon this restaurant…in the middle of the desert…in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the sun had already set so I couldn’t take pictures of the rattlesnake pit, the full sized lake (lined with cement), the herd of deer (in a gated pen), the flock of peacocks sitting on the roof of the restaurant, or the various wooden chuck wagons that littered the lawn. I did manage, however, to get a picture of the restaurant entrance.
Guess what this restaurant is famous for? Steaks. BIG STEAKS! (We were in Texas, you know!) Here’s a picture of my friend’s 3 pound T-bone. Whaahoooo! The off-the-menu special was smoked rattlesnake. Of course…I had to try some! What did it taste like? Chicken of course! (Note the bowl full of rattlesnake bones in the picture)
The coolest part of the restaurant was the coyotes. Yep, REAL coyotes. At night they descend from the hills and come up to the restaurant looking for table scraps, varmits, deaf or blind peacocks, etc. Occasionally the coyotes put on a show for the restaurant patrons, killing a local rat and tossing its bloody mangled body around, or just fighting with each other. No such fun events that night, but I did get several pictures of the night creatures from my dining table. This must be the REAL wild west! Yaaaahoooooo!!!
After finishing off my 2 pound steak, baked potato, and pecan pie, I headed off to Clicks Billiards in El Paso with the primary objective of moving the cue ball around a little. My secondary objective was to stave off a meat and potato induced coma. When I arrived at Clicks around 9 pm, the place was pretty deserted. Only two 8 foot tables were occupied, and no one was playing on any of the 9 foot Gold Crowns. I decided to shoot some practice drills on a 9 footer and work on my breaking technique. As is often the case, I got so into the zone during my practice session that I totally forgot to take any pictures of the place, and I also forgot to use my iPhone break speed app. Bummer!!! I do have to say, though, that I shot fantastic with my backup backup cue. Maybe I should make it my primary cue! After about 1.5 hours of shooting drills, two guys walked up and started playing 9 ball a couple tables over from me. I was tired of shooting drills, so I switched to playing a version of 8 ball where each inning I make a shot and then play into a safe. After the safe, I try to make a good kick, make a shot, then play safe again, etc. One of the guys must have been watching me for about 30 minutes and assumed I was missing lots of shots and therefore couldn’t really play. He approached and asked if I wanted to play a little 9 ball. I said sure. He seemed happy. Then he asked, “Hey, you want to make it a little interesting? You know, play a cheap set?” I grinned inwardly, then glanced at my watch. It was 11:05 pm. I declined and informed him that I had to leave at 11:30 pm, but I would be glad to play him to see who’s really the better player. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sure, suit yourself.” At 11:30 pm sharp, my ride to the hotel was standing at the front door, and I was on top 7-1 after running a two pack. It’s little victories like these that keep me going. Oh, by the way, remember I said I forgot to take any pictures at Clicks? Well, here’s a picture I took the next afternoon through the car window on my way to the airport. Yeah, it’s a terrible picture, but maybe it’s better than nothing.