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All posts for the month October, 2019

Yeah. that sounds good. Particularly since I think it’s his birthday? Or was that yesterday?

Yes. It’s today. Happy Birthday, Weird Al! :throws confetti:

This concert was the third time I’ve seen Al in concert. The first was when he opened for The Monkees in 1987 (or, as my friend Ray used to say, when The Monkees closed for Weird Al). Then there was last year’s “unplugged” tour. Then there was this year’s Strings Attached tour in which Weird Al (and his bandmates) played with a symphony orchestra.

I was trying to imagine Al on a bus with timpani and string basses and such, only it turns out that isn’t how it worked at all. The conductor traveled with him. The performers were from local orchestras.

Weird Al Yankovic, Strings Attached Tour, June 16, 2019.
Boy, I wish I could remember which song this was. At any rate, this is the only picture I got where Al wasn’t overexposed. If I can remember which song this was, I’ll update the post. Probably.

There was a little interpersonal drama surrounding the concert. I didn’t realize when I bought the tickets (in February) that the day of the concert, June 16, was Father’s Day. In fact, I didn’t realize it until about a week before the concert. Thomas was understandably upset about this, and I offered to let Thomas have Alex for the night because it was my error. I also offered to let Thomas and Alex have my tickets for the show and to buy my own ticket and sit elsewhere. In the end, though, Thomas allowed Alex and me to go to the concert together and they’d plan for a “designated” Father’s Day at some other time.

The show was held at the Majestic Theatre in downtown San Antonio, an old movie palace. I’ve never failed to be impressed by the work that went into putting the building together (and the work it must take to keep all of that ornamentation dusted!). The Majestic was the first fully air-conditioned theater in Texas and, near as I can tell, the first theater in San Antonio to be integrated. This is the South and so, of course, the theater was initially segregated. African-American patrons had a separate entrance that led to a separate balcony (from what I can tell, that balcony is used to store lighting and other equipment now and is not open to the public). They tried a test integration in 1961 and when doom didn’t follow the test, they formally integrated. The other theaters in the city followed suit soon afterwards. I have a pretty good picture of the inside of the Majestic from the B-52s concert. I’ll try to remember to post it then.

The concert was, as always, awesome. Apparently the 9-minute “Jackson Park Express” went over well enough on 2018’s tour that he performed it again on this tour. He did most of his greatest hits. He skipped the Michael Jackson songs given that some of the (now adult) kids that Jackson had at his home are now saying that he did abuse them. Al has said that maybe someday he’d perform them again, but that wasn’t going to happen on this tour.

There were costume changes and a big screen and a surprise performance of a song that couldn’t be done justice without a symphony orchestra. I seem to recall that Lisa Popeil got a bit louder applause than the other singers (though maybe that was just me).

The only problem is that occasionally the orchestra was drowned out by Al’s band, at least I couldn’t hear the orchestra from my seat on those songs.

I know I need a concluding paragraph and maybe someday I’ll write one. But it’s 11:00 pm right now and only going to be Al’s birthday for another one or three hours (depending on if you’re talking about me here in Texas or Al in California (unless Al’s at his home on Maui right now, which will give us a few more hours). So I’m going to post this and maybe start working on another post.

I did end up going to the Maluma concert and I visited an average of 1.5 state parks per day this weekend (unless you’re counting unique state parks, in which case it’s an average of 1 per day) and I intend to write about both. Also about the Weird Al Yankovic concert, the B-52s concert, and the Try Guys show. But first, there’s Kiliamo.

Or, was Kiliamo. And there’s the problem.

When Alex was about 2 years old, he let us know that he wanted a cat of his very own. So we took him to the shelter and introduced him to a bunch of little kittens and he wasn’t interested in any of them. As we were about to give up, I saw a black medium haired kitten in one of the cages. The kitten was about six months old, so not a tiny kitten, but still not yet an adult.

It was love at first sight.

We named him Cosmo, after the husband fairy from the Fairly Oddparents cartoon but Alex soon renamed him Kiliamo, which was baby-Alex for Kitty Cosmo. And everything went smoothly until Kiliamo was about 12.

Kiliamo just outside Alex's blanket fort in 2003
One of the earliest pictures I have of Kiliamo, from 2003. Alex was asleep when I was writing this, so I couldn’t ask for his permission to post any pictures with him in it (though technically he is in the picture — those are the fingers of his left hand just under the blanket).

Around then, he started pooping outside the box and it was mushy and discolored. The folks at the vet’s office did a fecal exam and nothing untoward turned up so we did a course of metronidazole just in case, because occasionally there’d be something in stool that doesn’t show up on fecal examination. And it didn’t help.

My vet gave us a diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and we played around with this food for a couple of years and things would improve for a year or two and then go downhill again. We put him on prednisone for about a year which worked great until he developed diabetes from the prednisone.

So we put him on insulin and cyclosporine and three months after the diabetes set in, the diabetes was over.

All this time, my dad and I were fighting about him and whether I should put him down. Eventually, I put him on house arrest and kept him in my bedroom all of the time. His digestion finally settled down and I was able to take him off of the cyclosporine when I put him on Fancy Feast and things were pretty smooth for about a year.

Then he started to lose weight. We tested his thyroid, which turned out to be high, and put him on methimazole. He was still losing weight, so we tested his T4 which was also high, and upped his dose.

Then he began having seizures. My vet said that it was likely a one-time thing and that if it happened again, we could try anti-seizure medicine, but that wouldn’t fix the underlying problem, which she thought might be a brain tumor. We decided to try the anti-seizure medicine, which did stop his seizures.

About that time, he started to lose weight again. We tested his T4 again, which was high again, and bumped up his dose. And everything was smooth for another couple of months. Until he started losing weight again, his T4 was high again, and we bumped up his dose again (at this point, he was taking 10 mg per day, which is a pretty high dose for a human).

A month later, he had all but stopped eating and had lost a lot of weight. At this point, which was the day of the Maluma concert, my vet said that it was time. I asked for a few days so that Alex and a couple of my friends could say goodbye and we set the date for that Wednesday. My boss rearranged my schedule so that I could spend that last day with him and so, on October 2, 2019, we said our final goodbyes to Kiliamo.

I’m actually getting choked up just writing about it. Anyway, I’m writing all this because (a) I need to make a blog post anyhow and (b) I don’t want to have to go through all this when I do write about the Maluma concert.

Crap. I need a Gratuitous Amazon Link, don’t I? I should keep it on-topic somehow. Do they sell Fancy Feast on Amazon? Yes, they do. So here’s a link to the Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection. Kiliamo would have no part of the grilled or flaked varieties. He was a paté man. So if anyone out there sees this link and decides to buy this pack, crack open a Turkey and Giblets Feast (which was his favorite) and remember our beloved Kiliamo.

I feel like I should give this a subtitle like “the searchening” or something.

Anyway, when last I attempted to find where the North Salado Creek Greenway ends, I started out at the southern end, in John James Park, and couldn’t see where the greenway was from there. So then I attempted to go to each trailhead going north from there and was stymied by plumbing every time. Finally I ended up at Lady Bird Johnson Park and trying to walk south. I still hit the sewer work that stopped me from being able to park at either the Robert LB Tobin or Oakwell trailheads and had to give up and go home.

My second attempt began two weeks later. I looked at the city’s website to see if there were any closures on the greenway and was assured that there weren’t. “The main Salado trail will continue to remain open,” the website assured me.

So I took my bottle of ice and put my walking shoes on and headed out.

First I stopped at the Tobin trailhead. I flipped the Pokemon Go gym there and then did the math and realized that if I were able to go all the way through, I’d have to leave my car there on the access road to Loop 410 for two hours. Not that I think I’m terribly likely to have my car stolen. It’s not a very in-demand model, it’s going to be 13 next month, *and* it was damaged by the hailstorm that hit our area in April 2016. But that’s no reason to take chances, either.

So I headed for the Oakwell trailhead, figuring that it’s more out of the way, and since it’s closer to the middle of my planned route, my car wouldn’t be unsupervised for more than an hour.

So since I the whole purpose of this is to reach the southern end, I headed south. It was a nice walk, and I made good time. One of the paths that was closed, according to the city’s website, was the connecting trail to the intersection of Holbook and Eisenhauer and I noted that as I passed it. And then, a little less than half a kilometer later, there was a roadblock that said, “BIKE TRAIL CLOSED.” It certainly didn’t specify, “FINE FOR HIKING, THOUGH” and there was an awful lot of heavy machinery on the other side of the sign, so I turned around. By my calculation I had about half a kilometer to go to get to my goal, Rittiman Road across the street from John James Park. So close and yet so far.

So whenever I can finally get through, I’m going to have to walk an extra 1.5 kilometers to get back to where I left off. Then walk that half a kilometer and then do the whole thing back again.

I’ve been thinking in kilometers lately when it comes to walking distance because each step is about half a meter for me. It’s easy to think “I walked 3,000 steps to get to where I left off and then I have another 1,000 to go.” I have no idea what my steps-to-miles ratio is.

After I returned to the parking lot, I began my walk back north to the Robert LB Tobin trailhead. This was a nice walk with no plumbing interruptions. I played some Pokemon Go on the way up and some Wizards Unite on the way down and still had plenty of time to enjoy some nature. I checked on my gym once I got back up to the trailhead and then returned to my car and went, well, not home. I stopped at Hardberger Park East and left a Pokemon there, then swung by the Walmart on the other side of Wurzbach Parkway and then, I think, I went home.

right triangle on the Salado Creek Greenway, Robert LB Tobin Park
Look at that hypotenuse. Pythagoras would be proud. Or horrified. One of those.

Alex and I went to the Oakwell Trailhead at some point in the past and I couldn’t for the life of me remember which direction we went. I couldn’t remember, that is, until I came to one spot where the path makes a left turn that’s almost a perfect right angle. And humans being humans, there was a path cut through the grass forming the hypotenuse of a right triangle. I had a flashback to Alex and me arguing (in a friendly way, I think) about whether it was acceptable to take the hypotenuse. Alex argued in favor of it and I argued against it.

Stay tuned for The Search for the Southern End of the North Salado Creek Greenway, Part 3. Coming soonish* to a browser near you.

*Probably more than two weeks from now. Maybe.

Time for a Gratuitous Amazon Link. I forgot the GAL last time. Since I’m reading Rick Riordan’s, I don’t even know, 19th (?) book* in the Percy Jackson universe, maybe I should start plugging them on my blog. So here’s where it all started: The Lightning Thief. Adventure, humor, travel. Why would I not love this series? (These series? The Jackson-verse has, after all, been five different series.).

*I just went back and count again and I’m pretty sure we’re on 19.