Friday, October 31, 2008

Columbus Day Six Flags sojourn

Columbus Day was a school holiday, so I took the kids -- along with two of L's friends -- to Six Flags for the Day. It was a much better day than Labor Day... it wasn't nearly as hot or as crowded.

Showing my "o-face" on the Shock Wave...

Front row seat on the back stretch of the Judge Roy Scream...

M was not quite tall enough for the Batman ride. Maybe next year, kid...

He was tall enough for the Rockin' Rocket, though...

M's first ride on the Titan and he was NOT scared!

The view from the front seat on the Titan. Sweet!

Windblown hair at the end of the Titan.

L and friends.

Looks like I have time for one more entry before I start my vacation on Sunday, and it WILL be the Fred Eaglesmith review. Stay tuned!


np: Chris Knight - "Jack Blue"

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No time for the blog... (5)

... just the pictures.

Watching trains with Steve G. in south Fort Worth...

M had his jack-o-lantern impersonation ready back in August...

... but the punkin patch in Flower Mound didn't open 'til October.

One of the bounce houses at the punkin patch. Going up...

... going down.

L hangs with Captain Jack...


Fuqua Feed & Grain - Rio Vista, TX

Coming next: Shiner Sunday with Fred Eaglesmith


np: Tom Russell - "Hallie Lonigan"

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Native American summer

October is my favorite month to live in north Texas. The weather has cooled off from the heat of summer, the air has dried out, and behind every cold front there's a stretch of sunny days and pleasant temperatures that I wish could last forever. Even when I'm preoccupied with other things in my life, I always try to get out at least a few times to enjoy the weather and shoot some photos...

A BNSF military train with KCS locomotives waits for a crew in Haslet on October 2.

Another look - KCS 669 at Haslet, TX.

After coupling the crossing in Haslet, the conductor caught a taxi down to Blue Mound Road and waited for his train to catch up with him.

KCS 4684 in the "Southern Belle" scheme leads southbound grain loads through Saginaw on the UP Duncan Sub.

KCS 4684 at 17th Street in Fort Worth

A GP15-1 / Genset combo works a switch job south of UP's Ney Yard in Fort Worth.

On October 7, Ft. Worth & Western 2010 switches an industry near Cleburne on the former Santa Fe Cresson Subdivision.

Check back in a few days for more... I've got a Fred Eaglesmith show to review, plus photos from another recent trip to Six Flags... coming soon.


np: Macon Greyson - "Fine Line"

Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 20, 2008

details & dating

Behind the locomotives

Recently, I stopped for a few minutes south of Tower 55 near downtown Fort Worth to watch a Union Pacific freight roll by. With the locomotives heading directly into the sun at solar noon, and a distracting background of freeway overpasses, the resulting photo wasn't much to get excited about. But I had my camera ready all the same, just in case I happened to notice an interesting railroad logo or moniker as the cars rolled past. The phrase, "Sign up now; graffiti contest ends soon" came to mind as I counted no fewer than 15 monikers gracing the sides of the cars.

Wonder what's behind this trio of UP units...

... no less than 15 Paintstik sketches and signatures...

Repeat visitors to this blog will recall that I have discussed freight car monikers (hobo & railway worker drawings on the side of freight cars) before:

July 5, 2008
February 6, 2008
January 10, 2008
December 22, 2007
July 25, 2007

I continue to watch for them and photograph the ones I find interesting, whether I've seen them before or not. As I complete the 13th year of my railroading career and grow increasingly weary of look-alike locomotives on the Class One megasystems, freight car scrawls are something that help me stay interested in going back to the tracks to watch trains.

These days, monikers are attracting something of a cult following among graffiti artists and proponents, many of whom view and respect them as the "original" freight train graffiti, the forerunner of today's proliferation of aerosol spray graf. Witness the following albums on Flickr, for example:

Next time you get stopped at a crossing for an approaching choo-choo, instead of turning your car around and trying to beat it to the next crossing, stick around and watch. You never know what will be behind those locomotives.

Other detail shots...

ACI tag

Chicago & Eastern Illinois buzz-saw

Huh-huh... it says...

Whiskey goes dating

As my recent divorce progressed through its final stages, I began to wonder what kind of women (if any) I'd be able to attract when I began dating again. Chalk it up to low self-esteem and a battered sense of self-worth, but I just could not comprehend the idea of women being attracted to me or wanting to make me a part of their lives. But the combination of my weight loss, a new attitude a new "look", and support from my friends helped to restore my self-confidence to the point that I decided that I was ready. I quickly found that lack of interest was NOT going to be a problem. I also quickly discovered that not everyone who showed an interest was compatible with my wants, needs, and interests. But that's part of the fun of dating and meeting new people, right? Even though I didn't make a romantic connection with everyone I've met, I'm glad that I've made some new friends... at least one of whom holds a job with a certain amount of municipal authority (Pssst... hey, Detective R.W., do you think you could use your "influence" to convince a certain north Texas police department to dismiss my recent speeding ticket?)

A text message representation of my recent dating life. Alas, none of these women would end up being the "right one" for me.

So who is the "right one" for me? Well, I will admit to having met someone I've been spending quite a bit of time with lately. But I don't want to give away ALL my secrets all at once. Keep checking back and you'll learn more soon.

Sports scene

Thanks once again to WBAP's Hal Jay, who keeps Cowboys fans laughing when all we want to do is cry. Hal decided to make "lemondade" out yesterday's "lemon" (the loss to the St Louis Rams) thusly:

"I discovered yesterday that my tv would block a vodka bottle from being thrown through the wall!"


"The local U-Haul dealer is offering a 25% moving discount to anyone who can prove that they're the Cowboys coach."

Well put, my friend... I have a feeling I'll be turning to Hal for some more cheering up during the next few Monday mornings.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays have made it to the World Series. For those of you who are even more "casual" baseball fans than I am, or for those who just haven't been paying attention, four out of the four (yep -- all of 'em, 100%) expansion teams since 1993 have reached the World Series. This year it's the Rays, last year it was the Rockies, in 2003 the Marlins won the W.S. (and also won it in 1997, their fifth season) and in 2001 it was the D-backs (in just their fourth season).

And what have the Texas Rangers, the poster-boy examples of perpetual mediocrity in the AL West, done for us lately (besides being swept in consecutive divisional playoff series against the Yankees in 1998 and 1999 (and only winning one game against the Yanks in the '96 playoffs)? They've been in Arlington since 1972, are one of only three major league teams to have never played in the World Series, and have never even won a single playoff series. Now that the fourth expansion team of the past 15 years has reached the Series, Texas Rangers fans should be rioting in the streets. At least they have been voting with their wallets... the season attendance totals at "Rangers Ballpark in Arlington" -- below 2 million for the first time since 1995 -- should tell the owners everything they need to know... right?


np: Moe Bandy - "Roll on, Big Mama"

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

September trains

It was a busier September than usual, but I still managed to get out a couple of times -- including the rainy morning of September 9 -- to do a bit of shooting.

Fort Worth & Western switching near Purina Jct. in Fort Worth.

BNSF wins the race... eastbound near the T&P depot on UP trackage.

On September 25, my friend Stephen stopped through town on his way from Houston to Omaha...

BNSF 4367 and crew limo at Birds siding in south Fort Worth.

A colorful consist - northbound on the Choctaw Sub over I-820 in Haltom City.

Is this the best place to stop and "get the shot"? Stephen takes to the shoulder of I-30 near downtown Fort Worth...

The sidewalk on Allen St. looked safer...

"Raildog" moniker

"Charlie D Brown"


Thanks to everyone for their emails and encouragement in response to my October 8th entry. And thanks for looking... check back in a few days for more.


np: 10,000 Maniacs - "Weather"

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Whiskey, Texas redux

We take a break from our crumbling economy to bring you a blog update... and remind you to check out my "Signs of Religion" blog:

A sign of the times in Joshua, TX. October 5, 2008.

Time to play a little catch-up... I didn't shoot many photos during the month of August or the first half of September. Apart from the New Braunfels trip, I haven't done much traveling lately. And I've been preoccupied with a number of situations.

My family and most of my friends are aware of the biggest of those "situations", but more distant friends and casual acquaintances might not be. Around the first of the year, a number of issues surfaced regarding my marriage with K. In the months that followed, as the two of us discussed those issues, it became obvious that we would not be able to resolve our differences or save the marriage.

In May, K filed for divorce. In July, I moved out of the house and into an apartment, and we put the house up for sale. Our divorce was final by the end of August. The process was neither easy nor enjoyable, but it could have been a lot worse. Neither of us wanted to see things get ugly or to make things difficult or unpleasant for the other -- or for the kids -- and we definitely didn't feel like fattening the wallets of any attorneys while we hammered out the details.

So there it is -- "long story short". That's about as much information as I feel comfortable sharing in a public forum. K and the kids and I are all doing as well as can be expected... I've been keeping the kids with me at my apartment during my rest days and K has them the remainder of the time.

Being single again after a 15-year relationship (11 years of marriage, plus 4 years of exclusive dating) has taken some getting used to -- it's a situation I never expected to find myself in -- but I'm doing ok. I've recently started dating again, and I might even share a story or two about those experiences... so stay tuned. Oh, and I've lost about 30 pounds since this whole thing started. I wouldn't recommend a divorce as the ideal method of weight loss, but it seems to have worked out o.k. for me. Well, that plus a few long-overdue changes in my eating habits...

Check back soon for some train photos, Dallas Cowboys reviews, live music re-caps, church signs, monikers, and more...


np: the Hangdogs - "Good night, Texas"