Sunday, May 28, 2006

When Hank III came to town

Hank Williams III and his band "Assjack" played at the Ridglea in Fort Worth on Monday the 22nd. I had never seen him before but had heard enough about his shows to make me want to go. Unfortunately, I got there late and only managed to catch the last song of Hank III's country set. When the cowboy hat comes off and the ball cap goes on, look out! That's when the punk / metal stuff starts, and all hell breaks loose. Hank and his band played 20 minutes of high-tempo speed / punk / thrash / metal, then Hank left the stage and his band continued to play for another 30 minutes. It wasn't the best sounding punk stuff I've ever heard -- actually, it was pretty bad -- and I've got an ear for this kind of stuff, having grown up during the 1980s honing my musical tastes on such punk legends as the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, and Black Flag -- and more metallic-sounding stuff like Agnostic Front and S.O.D. I actually found the crowd to be a lot more entertaining than the band. It was the first show I've been to in four or five years where there was a mosh pit... I was tempted to join in, but thought the better of it. It would have been hard to justify a sprained knee or a separated shoulder to the wife and kids...

The crowd was the strangest mix I have ever seen at a show -- one-third hick/hillbilly, two-thirds punks/metalheads. T-shirts in the crowd ran the gamut from Johnny Cash to the Misfits. And there were trashy women galore... I counted more than one miniskirt / fishnet stockings / leather boots combo. One young lady wore a t-shirt displaying the words "I'M THE C--- (rhymes with "hunt") IN COUNTRY", a reference to Hank III's song "Dick in Dixie". I bet her daddy was proud. In all, it was an ok time, but I sure wish I'd made it there earlier. I really dig Hank III's country stuff, both the music and the statement that he makes. It's a breath of fresh air among all the sound-alike, watered-down Nashville garbage and even some of the more mainstream-sounding Americana acts, and it's good to see a country artist with the cojones to play fast and loud and be wild and rowdy. As a statement of my approval, I purchased a shirt and a copy of the new cd "Straight to Hell". Maybe next time I'll catch the whole set.

Too much shootin', not enough computin'

I'm planning on purchasing a new desktop system soon, so as to better acommodate my needs as a digital photographer. At a time that I should be clearing out my compact flash cards and backing up my files, I've been spending entirely too much time shooting new photos. M and I were out shooting last Sunday afternoon and evening, and I was out again on Saturday morning. I guess I'm just gonna have to call it quits until I get my new setup. In the meantime, here's a photo:

SD90MAC leased to KCS leads a southbound near Justin, Tx.

May 21, 2006

It's Memorial Day weekend (and my rest days) so please excuse me if I take the rest of the weekend off. See y'all in a few days.


np: S.O.D. - "Fist Banging Mania"

nr: Stephen Ambrose - Nothing Like it in the World

Sunday, May 21, 2006

gifts from God

I'm not the most in-your-face religious person you'll ever meet... far from it, in fact. I'm pretty much a "live and let live" type of person. But there are certain blessings in my life for which I am extremely thankful, and which I consider to be gifts from God -- my family, my job, food and shelter, music.... and the kind of weather we've been enjoying during most of the month of May. We've had a nice stretch of clear, sunny days without too much heat and humidity -- the kind of days that make me feel extremely fortunate to live in north Texas (let's see if I'm saying that in August... ha!) and the kind of days that make me want to go out and shoot some photos. M joined me last Friday morning for a few hours of shooting, and again on Sunday evening... here are some of the highlights:
Trinity Railway Express - Ft Worth - May 12, 2006

NS 9810 southbound near Ponder, TX - May 14, 2006

M expresses his excitement about catching another train...

On Wednesday morning, I found out there was a coal load called out of Wichita Falls with one of the new SD70ACe locomotives leading, so I decided to go shoot it. I had to drive all the way to Bellevue (round trip of about 120 miles), but it was worth it... I got a pretty good shot of it on the "roller coaster hills" between Bellevue and Bowie... and it's always nice to catch the new power while it's still clean...

BNSF 9380 eastbound near Bellevue, TX. May 17, 2006.

The downside to going out to chase that coal train was that I missed out on most of my bicycling time for the day (I only had time to do 12 miles before work). So I'm catching up on my miles this weekend.

the Third on the 22nd

Call in sick to work... tell your wife or significant other that you're going to vespers (or, hell, just drag 'em along... they might learn something) ... Hank Williams III is coming to town! He's scheduled to play the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth on Monday night. I've never seen him live, but I've heard enough of his music, and heave heard enough about his shows, to know that I want to be there! Should be a fun time. Unfortunately, I think it's safe to say that Mrs. Whiskey probably won't be joining me for this one (I doubt she'd appreciate the experience of being stuck in the kind of crowd that Hank III would draw). Tune in next week for a report...


np: Hank Williams III - Risin' Outlaw

nr: Stephen Ambrose - Nothing Like it in the World

Thursday, May 11, 2006

When it was a blog

Sometimes, I have to wonder -- why am I doing this? To introduce myself to total strangers? To show the world what the life of a typical Texan-American is like? For friends to catch up with the latest news in my life? To show troglodytic losers living in their parents' basements how cool I am? Well, actually, it's a little bit for all of those reasons... as well as for myself... it'll be interesting to reflect back on these entries in 5 or 10 or 20 years -- assuming that blogspot lasts that long.
back to the ballpark
K was lucky to score free tickets for us to see the Frisco RoughRiders minor league baseball (AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers) game last Sunday. Mom joined us, as did our friend Matt, and we loaded up the kids for the hour-long drive to Frisco. K's parents even came out and joined the fun. The RoughRiders gave us our money's worth, and then some, rallying from an 0-4 deficit to win 6-5 in 10 innings. We had a great view of the action, from our box seats RIGHT BEHIND home plate! I've never had seats that good at ANY game. I was impressed with Frisco's ballpark... probably the most unique I've ever seen. (See photos below). Looking forward to cathing another game there later this season (hopefully for free, but I'll pay if I have to... )
M enjoys the game from our seats behind home plate
Dr. Pepper Ballpark, Frisco TX

the view from left field

back on the road

No train photography since our trip to Houston, but I did make it back on the road this week... rode 30 miles on Monday, including the entire West Fork trail along the west fork of the Trinity River (18 mile round trip from where it connects with the main course of the Trinity near downtown Fort Worth). Most of the trail is crushed limestone. I prefer riding my road bike on pavement, but the unpaved portion of the trail was still pretty smooth. On Tuesday, I did a 20-mile round trip to Saginaw, and on Wednesday, I did a 35-mile round trip to Argyle. And yes, I saw trains during all three of those rides.

Being relatively new to the world of road cycling, it still surprises me how I can go out and ride 35 miles like it's no big deal, and still manage to go grocery shopping, make lunch, put away laundry, and go to work, all in the same day. When I was a kid riding around San Angelo my Mongoose dirt bike, it would have taken me a week to ride 35 miles. Now I can do it in a couple hours.

School will be out in a few weeks... I'll probably have to make some adjustments to my riding schedule since the kids will be home during the times that I have been riding. With our scorching hot summer temperatures right around the corner, I'll probably be wanting to ride earlier in the day, or else at night...

back on the air... in cyberspace

Bruce Kidder, former KHYI program director, announced on the Hard Country Radio forum (Yahoogroups) that streaming audio is now available at . Right now, they're just playing music with no commentary, but they're supposed to go "live" on May 16. I can hardly wait to see what kind of shows Bruce and the notorious Bad-Cover Brian will put together... should make for some good entertainment.


np: Asleep at the Wheel - Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys

nr: Expedition to the Southwest -- An 1845 Reconnaissance of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma -- Lieutenant James William Abert

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gulf Coast road trip

Gulf Coast Road Trip - April 30 & May 1

One of L's classes had scheduled a field trip to Houston to visit NASA and the Johnson Space Center. Some of the group was carpooling and caravanning down to Houston from Ft Worth, but we decided to drive on our own so we could travel at our own pace, sightsee, and -- oh yeah -- watch trains. We hit the road early Sunday morning, grabbed some McDonald's on our way out of town, and stopped around Hearne and Valley Jct. to catch a few trains.

Northbound train and wildflowers. Near Hearne, TX. 04/30/06

A southbound turns the corner at Valley Jct.

a suicidal turtle - near Valley Jct, Tx

We arrived in Houston (well, actually Webster... about 20 miles SE of Houston) around 1500, checked into our hotel, and headed to NASA for our evening activities. On the way there, I spotted this goofy critter, and made K stop so I could get a photo...

CEFX GP20D - Webster, TX

The school had booked a series of educational workshops at Space Center Houston after business hours, so we had the place to ourselves -- pretty cool. They had the kids doing stuff like designing equipment to protect an egg (which represented an astronaut) in the event of a crash, experimenting with air-propelled rockets, and hands-on demonstration of aerodynamics. The next day, we toured part of the Johnson Space Center and got a look at the original 1960s-era Mission Control room. We also saw the Astronaut Training Facility, which houses full-size mockups of Space Shuttles, space station components, robotic arms, and other training equipment.

L and classmates discuss their astronaut restraint system.

L checks out the Astronaut Training Facility

After we finished at NASA, we took a short drive down to Galveston. I had never been there, and wanted to see the beach, and get a look at the railroad bridge over Galveston Bay. We found the beach littered with seaweed -- the tide was in and the surf was pretty rough. The beaches down at South Padre are a lot nicer. I had to shoot my photo of the railroad bridge from the moving car... there was nowhere to pull over and stop. We beat the Houston rush hour and made it home exactly 5 hours after we left Galveston, stopping twice for gas -- no other stops.

K and L on Galveston beach along the sea wall

railway bridge over Galveston Bay

Overall, it was a good trip, and a neat experience for the kids (and parents) who were able to go.

I haven't done any riding during the past week... been fighting an ear infection in both ears ever since we left on our Houston trip. Hope to do some riding this coming week once I regain my senses of equilibrium and hearing...


np: Adrenalin OD - Humungousfungusamongus

nr: Expedition to the Southwest -- An 1845 Reconnaissance of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma -- Lieutenant James William Abert