Monday, August 26, 2013

Kids, Do NOT Try This At Home

I advocate safe driving at all times.

That said, I took these in storms barreling along at approximately 80 mph “somewhere in South Texas” yesterday afternoon.

I’m going to keep trying to get that Houston skyline shot if it kills me (and it may).

Meanwhile, I thought these were interesting.  (Click for full-size).

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Siri is NOT a Razorback Fan!

Ok, so I am working (well, supposed to be).  Periodically during football season, my friends and I will randomly text each other with “WPS” (short for “Woo, Pig! Sooiee!”), #NeverYield (our newest slogan; part of Arkansas, Fight!  “…Give a cheer, rah, rah, never fear, rah, rah, Arkansas will never yield!…”), or other such random fan items guaranteed to get the blood boiling.

So today, I took what I thought was a short work break to text my friends Marty and Kathy with “It’s Razorback Game Week” which I say periodically.

Kathy was driving and letting Siri do her texting wirelessly. 

Hilarity ensued:

Nick:  Hey Kathy
Kathy:  Hey back
Nick:  IT'S RAZORBACK GAME WEEK!!!!!   WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Kathy:  I'm driving let's see what Siri does with this
Siri:  Where paying Selle
Nick:  In my experience Siri does not grasp the subtleties of the Hog Call
Kathy:  Let's try that again
Siri:  Where paying Selle
Nick:  We will use that forever now
Siri:  Where did celui
Siri:  Where can't get Siri
Siri:  Where did silly
Kathy:  Siri is not a razorback
Nick:  I prefer the first one
Kathy:  Whole hog Halfpenny I'm Arkansas by Daniel
Nick:  Now that's freaking hilarious
Kathy:  We need to teach Siri better
Nick:  Yes she is a dumb b****
Siri:  WTS
Nick:  Close!
Kathy:  She's getting better
Siri:  W a S
Nick:  Worse
Siri:  WPS
Nick:  AHA
Kathy:  Go hogs
Kathy:  Never yield
Siri:  Get that line hit that line keep on going Tahquette mall right down the field give a Cierra Roderrae never Fierro Arara Arkansas will never yield on your toes Razorbacks to the feeing is carry-on with all your mind florets IIA are KLAN SAS for Arkansas phi phi phi
Kathy:  Siri is cracking me up. 
Nick:  That is freaking hilarious
Kathy:  Just for grins you ought to ask Siri to sing the Ark. fight song

I tried, but my version of Siri says, “Nick, you know I can’t sing.”  No, Siri, I did not know that, but now I do, thanks for sharing.

So, I clicked in a text to Kathy, and I SANG Arkansas, Fight! to Siri.

Here’s what she wrote:

If Edline have that line keep on going pick up alright down the field give a cheer Bromall never fear when around Arkansas wheelman for yield on your toes Razorbacks to the fannish carry on with all your mind boys A-OK in SAS for Arkansas fight 55
Sent from my iPhone

GO GOGS!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Things I Don’t Understand, Part who-knows-how-many

Everyone who knows me knows I am NOT a morning person.  Most of the flower pictures I post on here are from my patio in the early morning, where the loudest noises are my dogs occasionally barking (and quickly shushed), my neighbor starting his car, and the ubiquitous (for the South) sound of air conditioners whining away at house after house….  I sit out there quietly, drinking coffee, checking email, then facebook, then the New York Times, until I’m ready for the day.

Staying at a hotel is interesting.  I don’t have to have “the Ritz”.  I have stayed in some exceedingly well-known and very nice hotels in my time—but once you get to the Hampton Inn/Courtyard level, I think the differences are incremental at best.  A hotel room is a hotel room is a hotel room, even when it’s a pretty luxe suite.

But staying at the Hampton Inn the last 4 days, I will never understand:

  • The morning people’s apparently unquenchable need to shout, a la Robin Williams, “GOOOOOOOOOD MORNING!!!!” at the top of their lungs.  (“Good Morning, Vietnam”, a great movie if you’ve not seen it).  (my young friend Russ, ranting about morning DJ’s, says, “I don’t care about your opinion at 4:00 am, I just want music!”).
  • Men (I don’t see or hear many women doing this, but wouldn’t be surprised, female readers, feel free to comment) who see a friend/colleague at breakfast/in the men’s room/in the locker room, and shout at the top of their lungs, “HEYYYYYY, FRED!!!!  WHAT’S UP, MAN?  HOW’RE TANYA AND THE KIDS?”  Fred is 4 feet away from you, is he deaf?  Isn’t it rude to shout at deaf people?  This, by the way, is NOT confined to a single social class.  It is universal:
    • “FREDERICK, OLD BOY, HOW IS THE MARKET TREATING YOU?  TANYA AND THE CHIILDREN DOING WELL?”
    • “FRA-YUD, YEW OL SON-UF-A-GUN, HOW THE HELL ARE YA?  HOW ARE TANYA AND ALL THEM KIDS OF YOURN A-DOIN?”
    • “FAST FREDDIE! YO, MAN, WHASSUP?  YO, STILL WIT DAT HOT HO TANYA?”
    • “FRED, DUDE, WHAT’S HAPPENING, MAN?  YOU AND YOUR OLD LADY TANYA SCORE ANY GOOD WEED LATELY?”
    • “RAJESH—I MEAN, “FRED”, HOW ARE YOU TODAY MY FRIEND?  HOW IS RUPAL—I MEAN, “TANYA”?  HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED WITH MORE SONS?”
  • In hotels where breakfast is included, there is always a television, and it’s always on, with the volume turned ALL THE WAY UP.  In uber-right-wing-conservative-christian-Dallas, it’s always tuned to Fox News (“Fair and Balanced”).

What’s your deal in the morning?  Are you like me, wondering why all this noise?  Or are you one of the noisy ones?  If the latter, WHY?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Photos 8/17-18, Dallas

Last photos with the trusty D50:  (click for larger)

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Riding around with my friend Paul Williams in “Miss Ellie”, his vintage ‘71 Eldorado convertible.  The new bridge,  part of Dallas’ attempt to make something of the Trinity Trickle.

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Something I’ve driven past a million times and never seen:  the date inscription on the infamous “Triple Underpass”, taken from the even more infamous “grassy knoll”.

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May be “dated” now, but I still love it.  Note the reflection of the Republic National Bank “Star” in Thanksgiving Tower on the left, and the Flying Red Horse of the Magnolia Building (symbol of Dallas) on the right.

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Never surpassed.

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The new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  You know, I first thought, “Oh my God, what were they thinking!”, but it’s actually growing on me.

And that was probably the last picture I’ll ever take with my good old Nikon D50.

>>o<<

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“The new” but not improved Mecca.  I loved the old one.  This looks like an 80’s fern bar (which, if memory serves me, it was).  Ah well, the chicken fried steak is still good, but the good old waitresses are gone and the service is horrible.

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The Republic National Bank “Star”.  It was once the tallest building in Dallas, and the star is lit with neon outside (it hasn’t been on for years).  It was red and white, and lit up the sky.  I thought this was an interesting juxtaposition of shapes and forms, you have the 1957 Republic building, then the marble building on the right, the rectangles of the 80’s Thanksgiving Tower on the right, then the post-modern Comerica Tower behind, along with the greenery.

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Pegasus, the Flying Red Horse of the Magnolia Oil Company, nee Mobil.  Symbol of Dallas my entire life.  It used to be lit with red neon and rotated, don’t know if they do that any more.  The Magnolia Building was also once the tallest building in Dallas; today, it’s a very nice hotel.

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City Hall is really looking dated now; it was the ticket in 1979.

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Mercantile National Bank; the clock tower lit up, the clock worked, and the whole building had a huge “M-E-R-C-A-N-T-I-L-E” down the side in red neon.  Now condos.  It was the tallest building till surpassed by Republic.  The banks had a “tallest building” war in the 1950’s and 60’s.

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The Adolphus Hotel, built by Adolphus Busch of St. Louis.  He built two identical hotels, one in St. Louis, one in Dallas.  The one in St. Louis fell to the wrecking ball, but the Adolphus still reigns as one of Dallas’ finest.  Many a fine meal in the French Room.

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Competitors from days gone by.

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“Love Is Still Our Field”

This is the original 1957 Love Field sign.  It was removed in the hideous renovation of the early 80’s.  It was carefully preserved and now stands at the end of runway 31-R, showing the way to the main entrance.

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Foat Wuth, Ah Luv Yew!

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Joe T. Garcia’s, one of my other favorite mexican restaurants.

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Where the West Begins

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The rest are from the Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens, featuring the Japanese garden:

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Feed me, Seymour…

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>>o<<

Aaaannd, 3 from the iPhone from Saturday night at the bar.  I’ve missed that, but it’s part of my youth, I’m afraid….from the balcony at JR’s….

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Stand Corrected

I am 56 years old.  I am guessing I learned to talk around 6 months (the only person who would know or care is Mother, and she’s not available to ask), and at some point began picking up big-boy words and using the dictionary.  So call it, eeehhhh, 53 years that I've been attempting to speak the language.

I speak a particular derivation of English, Southern US dialect, that I prefer to call, "Interstate 30", as I sound like most people of my generation who grew up anywhere from Dallas to Little Rock along Interstate 30.  Predominately South Arkansas, but with a little Texas twang in there.

And today I learned something!

(Never claimed to be perfect or an expert, but this one really did set me back).

It's P-R-E-R-O-G-A-T-I-V-E, not "Perogative", and it is pronounced exactly as it's spelled.

I just never knew that.  I guess everybody else did, but I didn’t.

So feel free to laugh, but at least it will be spelled and pronounced correctly from now on, at least by me.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Photos 8/11/2013, A Little Bit of Houston

I was kind of proud of some of these.  Some are as they came out of the camera.  A couple I really worked on with Photoshop, removing unwanted elements.  See if you can tell.  Leave me comments if you find one (one is really funny, I made a mistake—and left it in.  You have to really think to figure it out.  It’s kind of my version of a “hidden Mickey”…).  Leave me a comment below, even if it’s just “You suck!”  (click the image for full-size)

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If you’ve never been to Houston and your Texas History is not so great, here is my exceedingly truncated and probably highly inaccurate capsule. 

This statue is of Sam Houston, on his great Arabian horse Saracen, pointing the way to San Jacinto.  It was at the battle of San Jacinto (about 30 miles from where the statute stands) where the ragged Texian “Army” of 900 fell upon the best-trained standing army in the world at the time, the army of Mexico, 1,400 strong, while the Mexican army was taking a siesta (they had been on forced march for two days, and were exhausted).  The battle lasted 18 minutes.  630 Mexicans killed, 700 captured, and the Texians captured General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, widely considered to be one of the greatest generals in the world.  Everyone, of course, has at least seen the movie “The Alamo”, and it’s the most famous building in Texas—but it was a colossal failure and a classic example of a local refusing to follow orders and taking matters into his own hands.  Houston had desperately instructed Travis to abandon the Alamo, as Houston considered it indefensible and needed every man for the battle that was to come.  Travis decided he could hold the Alamo, which is what led to the defeat and massacre.  Nevertheless, the cry, “Remember the Alamo” goaded the Texians at San Jacinto as they defeated the same Mexican army that had taken the Alamo.

Everything in Texas named “Houston” is named after Sam.  He went on to become “The Father of Texas”, President of the Republic of Texas, and first Governor of the State of Texas when Texas joined the United States.  He quit in disgust when Texas voted to secede with the rest of the south and spent the remainder of his life in seclusion in Huntsville (about 60 miles north of present-day Houston).  The city that would bear his name was not formed yet, it was a swamp unusable because of all the noxious nuisance material bubbling all around that made the land unsuitable for farming or cattle.  Who needs crude oil anyway?

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If you look through the arch, you’ll see an obelisk in the distance.  More on that in a minute….

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This is part of Hermann Park, one of America’s great urban parks.  Reflecting pool and replica of the Washington Monument, with the Zoo in the background.  I was standing in the arch of the statute’s base when I made this.  The Texas Medical Center, the largest accumulation of medical personnel assembled in one place in the world, is immediately behind the trees on the right.

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Not my best job on the Mecom Fountain—it’s in the middle of a roundabout with heavy traffic, and many of the hispanic Houstonians use it as a background for the young ladies of their familias upon their QuinceaƱera.  So it’s hard to get a decent shot.  I’ll have to go early some Sunday morning, before the church traffic gets rough (there are 7 major churches along South Main from this point north to the Southwest Freeway).

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I absolutely LOVE this.  It’s on the side of one of the small buildings in the Museum District.  No idea what it is (didn’t see a sign, it may have been part of a building renovation, as the old building on which it’s painted has just been redone.  The painting is sparkling new as well, and very vivid.  I really love this.

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My shot of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts’ Brown Pavilion, which was designed by one of the fathers of the International Style of Architecture, the great  Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe.  It’s an important building architecturally; it’s fabulous, and I love it.

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Two of the three fountains making up the Mecom Fountain.  You can see both Sam and the obelisk in the background.

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Mother’s plumeria.  Un-retouched (except for the addition of the watermark), exactly as it came from the camera.  The smell is unbelievable.  I love my new lens.