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On the Street: I See a Darkness

“Books, rest, and wheatgrass”

Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)

It's been a “huge” week, and by that I mean, there was at least one legitimate letter that came in the Penthouse Suite. And what was the topic of this letter? Of course it was a congratulations for the recent cover story on caves of San Antonio.

You'd have to be a real self-loathing Commie to not like caves. And as an added bonus, Arts Editor Sarah Fisch owes me a dollar for placing the names Tom Sawyer and Osama bin Laden in the same sentence, a feat perhaps never before attempted in the history of journalism.

And since we're talking about the cave story, why not reveal a few more fotos that weren't able to make it to the print version. (Evidently, all my big words took up so much space there wasn't room for embarrassing images of me.)

Image: Justin Parr

Here's the "Cave of the flimsy loft" aka TMI Cave I..or II? I can't remember.

Image: Justin Parr

The "Cave of Collapsing Fortunes". Notice the inviting ladder and electrical lines going down into the cave. As mentioned, no "extensive passageways."

Image: Justin Parr

Bear Cave, in all it's "glory". Basically, it's a straight shot down and of course some dumb ass would get stuck.

Image: Justin Parr

I believe the original metal door to the speakeasy at Robber Baron Cave, though it could have been an old metal door used to enter the cave proper.

Image: Justin Parr

"Pat" descending into the "Cave of Exploded Dreams". "Pat" is totally cool.

The fearless Justin Parr looking ominous. Having just passed "4:20" Room of Cub Cave, we assumed we therefore must now be in "4:21" Room.

And finally, THE LETTERâ?¦

#1 “Great Article”


Great article in the paper today! I really like your writing style and thought it conveyed very well what caving is like and how there are a lot of aspects to it. It was nice they gave you room to go in depth.

Many other people have favorably commented on it as well. On the Texascaver email forum, one person said:

"Mark Jones has written a most interesting and informative article on some of the caves of San Antonio. While the writing of this story was his job, it was evident that the subject was of interest to him and his style makes for easy and enjoyable reading. His was a job well done. Sign him up for membership in the Bexar Grotto along with his photographer."

and cavers are usually pretty picky about how they are represented in the media.

Anyway, thanks again for the coverage. As the person above mentioned, if you are interested yourself, you are always welcome to come to grotto meetings and get to do more caving!


#2 Really Weird?

Nice work. The part at the end about the man-made cave from the guy's basement is really weird.

That was from Austin's Dave Serrins, former editor of Unbroken Chain, a magazine all about the Grateful Dead, which recent Current writer (from San Francisco) Greg Schwartz thinks he recalls reading or hearing about back in the 1990s. Oh yes, all done from the the 40th block of Speedway in my next door neighbor's house.

#3 UT Football Number One!

An excerpt from a long back and forth rant I was CCed into about why UT should be ranked #1â?¦

Oklahoma, who'd they lose to? Oh, US!!!!!!!!!!! Head to head, can't argue with that. This season, every team had a loss (Utah sucks too much to be even included in discussions......) Ours was only loss on the road, closer than Oklahoma's, and it wasn't TO OKLAHOMA!

Same record, same schedule, same conference, we beat them by 10 on a neutral field. Seriously, what's even the argument? It's not that I disagree with the arguement, there IS NO ARGUMENT! Oklahoma "looks prettier"?

Texas #1.........Simple as that.....No matter who wins on Thursday.

From a man known as Stinkie. But no worries — there will be no Travels with Stinkie articles coming out.

Another Interview with Congressman Al (Discussing Gaza and the Spurs Somehow in the Same Unedited Breath)

And as we spoke the Spurs FO must have been listening as they cut Anthony Tolliver as I suggested they do.

Also, for those who can listen all the way to the end they can enter Congressman Al's contest offer. Hint: it involves you the Current reader buying him dinner, and he doesn't eat seafood.

Metro Health Influenza Pandemic Pamphlet Models

Something I found while checking out books at the library.

Why, is that the Slab Cinema family?

Fast Lane

From January 1st up until basically yesterday I was putting myself through a torture device known as a “juice cleanse”. The rules of the game — no food, only juice for 5 straight daze. Having come from California and suffered under self-imposed water fast exiles, I had seen worse. Or as they say in war, I had “â?¦seen the elephant.”

I hadn't had a real meal since Last Year until yesterday when with friends I went to lunch at Siam Bangcock on Harry Wurzbach Road by the North Gate to Ft. Sam Houston, next to what at one point was a very disappointing Puerto Rican restaurant. Siam is located in a sandwich shoppe from the 1980s that went by the name Dante's Subs. Dante is an ominous name for anything, especially something as seemingly safe as a Reuben sandwich. I think I would go there in High School for a 4pm lunch/dinner and contemplate the Iron Maiden double live album and what I thought about Guns n Roses descent into their acoustic period. Was everything before that point just a lie?

Moving back in time and in reality, I ordered the Ruby (aka Panang) Curry with beef. For some reason I've convinced myself that red curries are thicker, more intense, and go better with beef. I now think of chicken for Green Curry, especially with the eggplant, and tofu for yellow/massaman curries, especially for the ones in town that throw in potatoes, peas, carrots, and avocado.

But back to the suffering.

Here's a semblance of the descent into madness, or so I thought. It actually wasn't near as bad as I thought as I was able to drive around every day. The whole time was an excuse to do nothing as I read as much as possible, though they were mainly books about food, or cooking to be specific. And speaking of cook books — I still don't understand their appeal. By that I mean, I want to read cooks that are about eating NOT cooking. To me, cookbooks should provide a base knowledge to begin and ideally goals to shoot towards to improve one's skills. But are cook books not somewhat of a lie? Do most people really ever cook from them? Obviously, I'm answering “no”.

I would prefer books that focused more on the joy of eating and the traditions and ingredients involved. Obviously, many cooks books do just that but I feel too many of them don't. In going through the library the majority of the cook books I saw were straight recipes with very little description or insights.

Anyway again — to the suffering.

Day One — It all started with hesitation. After gourging on food the night before, I woke up and rode the bike and ran a few laps around the trails on the hill by Trinity. The cobwebs from the night before were gone but was this the best way to begin 5 days of drinking only juice? At night I broke down and made a smoothie with bananas and peanut butter. It's true I cheated right out of the gate but it was necessary. To go from a New Year's party one night to the paranoia of detoxification was too great of a jumpcut, even for Godard.

Day Two — I briefy introduced myself to the people at the juice counter at Whole Foods. I think the interaction went something likeâ?¦”Hi, I'm going to be here everyday for the next few days. I'll be the one making your life hell. It's cool, right?

Day Three — I woke up and drank way too much carrot juice from Jamba. I wanted a little more than the 16 oz but the next size up was a 24. I was starving, or thirsty, and so went with it. I was full of energy for the next few hours. Enough energy to ride up and down every street of the Monticello neighborhood looking for an apartment to fall into my lap. No such luck, but I did find an amazing run down Spanish castle of an apartment complex. The positive feeling of the day only sucker punched me for the agony of that night. Probably the worst moment of the whole process. I kept drinking glass of water after glass of water but couldn't get rid of the hunger, or the wakefulness. Around 4am I finally went to sleep.

Day Four — The light at the end of the tunnel was NOT a train. The end was in sight. There was some embarrassing stomach noises but it was a tree falling in the woods.

Day Five — This was by far the easiest of all the days. No hunger pains. No dizziness. And as I talked to a friend who also did a juice fast/cleanse, there is the foolish feeling that “I could just live like this forever!” That night I made a small salad and began my journey back to solid ground and solid food.

I somehow lost 7 pounds over that time frame, to the point that I might have been called “manorexic”. After more of the same the next day, I found myself at Siam Bangcock the next day eating a full bowl of curry, though granted I did order it mild. But even that was enough to make me sweat. My initial experience there made me think the curries were too full of spice. Just too much everything. I think used the term “pornographic”. Evidently, mild is the new spice and it hit me right. I expect to go there again and again for lunch. Their lunch special is about two meals. Their dinner portions? Perhaps enough for threeâ?¦

And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...

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