On the Fourth


Scenes From San Antonio


Bored and broke, I took the new camera out for a night test run. A couple of pictures came out, but most still need some work on the lighting exposure and/or night focusing from a distance.

Click For the Full Slide show

At any point in the slide show you can click on the image and it should give you a caption for the picture.

Detroit Iron

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This Chevrolet Special Deluxe is for sale near my office. I believe it's a World War II era machine, which would make it pretty rare. I'm unsure as to the exact year though, so if anyone has an idea I would appreciate it.


One Day In New Orleans

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Writing for me is a frustrating process, as I’m busy doing other things such as driving or running I can come up with the perfect wording for my thoughts. The second I sit down to write it out, a thick dark cloud comes over me a muddles everything. Argh. Anyway, I’m still trying to plug along so I can get to my photos.

New Orleans is a strange place, at once so sure of itself and at the same time rudderless and in decline. It’s as if it’s lost its reason for being and exists only because it always has. Today New Orleans raison d'être is enjoyment; work is merely a means of paying for the party. I’ve never met an American city so opposed to doing a job as the Big Easy. Every encounter seems to put someone off, an intrusion into their world. Perhaps it’s the nature of most of my trips, Mardi Gras and all, but it happens outside of Bourbon Street and apparently sans drunk crowds too. It’s foreign to me for sure, but it’s hard to deny the infectious nature of their revelry.

Perhaps it’s part of living so close to the edge that creates the need for constant celebration and a free spirited laissez-faire attitude, but what ever it is, New Orleans is a fun town. The city alone is worth a trip. What hasn’t been left to rot unused has lovingly and lavishly been taken care of. And in an age when every other city in America is becoming more homogenous in design, New Orleans lives on in its Architecture and attitude… even if at times it’s unsightly. Perhaps this is not a fair assessment? I don’t know. But, this was the most difficult trip to the city to return home from. I even took a quick glance at Grad schools there. Go figure.

What follows in the link is fifty or so photos from one day of touring around the city. Grabbing a drive through Daiquiri, The Garden District, the Katrina devastated 9th Ward, Chalmette National Battlefield – site of the famous Battle of New Orleans, stumbling upon "Super Sunday", a St. Patty’s parade in the French Quarter and an evening wandering around way late into the night.

I hope y’all enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed my trip. I know I can’t wait to go back.

New Orleans Slideshow Link.

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On the Road Again

Bryan, Texas

The Best Four Days I Don't Remember

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Cold. Damn cold.

Every time I get the crazy notion of moving north of the Mason-Dixon Line reality usually slaps me in the face. I suck at coping with the cold.

Our arrival in New York was uneventful, no ticker-tape parade, no good afternoons, no nothing. Get in the cab and lets get moving thank you very much you're wasting my time with your stupid questions... ah, I love New York. It was St. Patrick's Day weekend which coincidently also happens to be one of my best friend's birthday. The decision was handed down upon high to venture forth unto the frozen city formally known as New Amsterdam and celebrate all unto him. So spaketh those in charge of such frivolity. Baccus, I believe. Or maybe it was that little voice in my head that tells me to burn things... no matter, flight booked and plans made.

It's dirty, rough and unbelievably noisy. You're never by yourself, but you're always alone. It's cynical, unforgiving and rude. It's the greatest city on the planet, America's front door, it's best foot forward, energetic, dynamic and a constantly changing backdrop for frenetic chaotic capitalism. I love New York. I couldn't stand to live there.

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I was no stranger to the city, having been there on three separate occasions since in '98 - twice by car from San Antonio. I still have a couple of friends that live in the metropolis and I was bringing five others with me. It's a trip that will be celebrated in story and song generations from now. The details of which are not easily recollected at this point, but I haven't laughed that hard, had that much fun and so thoroughly embarrassed myself like that in years. It was good to be among friends again, in a city so vibrant, energetic and forgiving. In a way NYC was the perfect backdrop for this reunion, much like the city this group is brash, bold and loud. We hadn't been around each other in a single group in quite some time. And to be perfectly honest, none of us are usually the quiet one in the corner at any gathering so combined we tend to feed off each other and get pretty animated as the drinks add up and the wallets are drained. It's all very harmless and we leave most places with more friends than we came in with and this trip was no different.

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Other Images:
St. Paul's Chapel
Making Due With What Little Space You Have
Leaving For Home

Merry Christmas from the Family

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Big Bend Country

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Another large bug just committed suicide on the windshield, right at eye level and sufficiently loud enough to shake me from my road daze. It was late, nearing midnight and both of us were growing tired after being on the road for five hours. The much earlier conservation about "just driving out to Los Angeles while we were this far out" now seemed ridiculous, even more so considering it took us twenty minutes to talk ourselves out of it. We were going to need to stay in Fort Stockton for the night and make the final three hour trip south to Big Bend National Park in the morning. It was apparent that fortune once again smiled upon us when we read the large poster in the hotel lobby that night... but I'll get to that later.

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Big Bend Country is a mountainous desert. The northern most stretch of the Chihuahan Desert meets the southern Rocky Mountains, is split by the Rio Grande and altered by violent volcanic activity. It's a land of dramatic contrasts in color, temperature, flora, fauna and geography, rich in history and immense in size. At 1300 square miles it's nearly the size of Rhode Island and sees less than 300,000 visitors a year. It's beautiful isolation. Inspiring vistas and magic encounters around each bend mask the humbling history of human settlement which were often met with violence and heartbreak.

It's a fascinating place to explore.

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We had a change of plans and spent only one full day and night in the park, but what a day it was, though we saw only a small fraction of what is out there. You can see for yourself in this little slide show I put together, be warned though, it does include a picture of a tarantula. Remember, it's only a picture and can't hurt you. Unless, you fall out of your chair or something. At any point in the slide show you can click on the image and it will give you the background information on what you're looking at. I realize that this is not the normal way I do things, but I'm out of server space right now and can only continue publishing if I use free hosting sites. But before you leave, let me tell you about our Saturday and our little bit of luck.

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There's this race that I've known about for a couple of years, but have never made the effort to attend. It takes place on a temporarily closed section of highway from Ft. Stockton to Marathon, and is about sixty miles in all. The Road Runners Open Road Race (RRORR) has no speed limits, no cops and no traffic. No real exclusions on who can enter either, it's a "run what you brung" race that's refreshing in today's litigious society. We saw everything from race prepped Vipers to a stock Toyota Camry. That Camry did pretty well, surprisingly finishing in the top two-thirds of the entrants beating out some Corvettes, Mustangs and other powerful sports cars. Amazing. Speeds of 150 mph were easily reached by some racers, and it was said that the Viper had once hit 215 mph on one of the straight stretches during last years spring event. Awesome. No entrance fees or rules for the spectators either, just find a spot to park and have at it. Just don't get yourself in the way of the racers.

Now, my digital camera also apprently doubles as a video camera and the quality is quite good, YouTube just managed to degrade the resolution. But it's free and you get what you pay for.
More videos here:
#16 Chevy Corvette Z06
#206 Chevy Corvette
#167 Ford Lightning (Truck)
#61 Pontiac GTO
Well, that was our weekend. After a full day of racing it was getting close to being dark so instead of driving the two hours back to park and searching for a new campsite we decided to head home back to San Antonio. Now not to cut this post off really short and end it on such weak note but I'm out of things to write. So find something else to occupy your time with... Oh, but don't forget the slide show link, as well as my other YouTube links for some of the other racers, it should be worth the effort. Slide Show Link Again

Jennifer DeJesus

I've tried writing this post for days, but the right words just aren't there. Often, numbers isolate ourselves from the true devastating individual loss. 2,996 people lost their lives on September 11th and as a means of marking the occasion I'm focusing on one person. A mother, aunt, friend and co-worker. Someone I never knew, but will now always remember.

Jennifer DeJesus

Expressing such a loss is best left to those who knew her:

An Aunt and Confidante

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Galo Perez says he practically grew up with his aunt, Jennifer De Jesus, at their grandmother's Brooklyn home. "I'm 20, she was 23," he said. "She was more like a sister, and she affected me a lot; I could go to her about things nobody else could understand."

A year and a half ago, Ms. De Jesus got a job as a data entry worker at Morgan Stanley, on the 59th floor of the World Trade Center. The home of her extended family in Brooklyn has become a place of memories. "She was always so sweet and thoughtful; always looking out for other people," said her sister, Wilma Perez. "She babysat for my kids all the time, and my kids loved her."

Ms. De Jesus leaves a 2-year-old daughter, Jacinda.

Jennifer there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about you. You were always a good friend to me since Park West High School. We Always kept in touch with one another. In Parkwest we had good times chilling in Mr.Daniel's office. It was always you, Sassie and me bothering Mr.Daniels. The first thing that came to my head when I heard about the WTC was you Jennifer. I wish I had the chance to talk to you but that never happened. Well, I want you to always remember that I will never forget you. You will always be in my heart.
Much love to you,

Your Friend, Arleen.

It took me a whole year to sign this book but today I feel like I can do this. I miss you very much and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about our friendship and the times we spent together. I wanna say thank you for all the good times and for always sharing and caring. Every morning I looked forward to coming in to work and you greeting me with your smile it inspired me to smile back. For the whole year that I planned my wedding you were in every thought and the day of my wedding your spirit I felt. I always call your family and Jacinda they are doing okay but missing you like crazy. Your body is gone but your spirit will live on I will always keep you in my heart and treasure the moments from the start. JC, Joey, Aneleta and my Mom all miss you and think of you. I miss talking to you having lunch with you and all the shopping that we did. I miss your phone calls at night when you just wanted to say good night or the times that you missed me when I was out of sight. You are and will always be very special to me and you remain in my heart forever I love you girl!

Love your Friend Today and always
Maritza Baez Castro

Times aint the same anymore, I often wonder how you feel... Much to my surprise we are all fine but missing you!!! I've Wrote several papers about you and what you meant to me. I think that is the hardest part you know, putting what i feel on paper actually seeing my Pain in words. I understand everything happens for a reason. I hope you are seeing the steps you need to follow that lead to heaven. I know you will always be in my heart, mind, and prayers. I love you i will never forget you and i will always treasure the 20 years i spent getting to know you. You were specail to me MY BIG SISTER! I love you Jenny and i know we'll be together again one day.

Peace and LOVE your Nephew G
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Coming Soon

The Guadalupe

It's the middle of May, and I have the Guadalupe River on the brain.

The first week long stretch of above 90° heralds the beginning of Texan(Hiccus Texicanous) migration to the Hill Country and it's many rivers. This year marks the 5th annual toobing and camping trip to the cool waters of the Guadalupe for me and fifty of my closest friends. It's a time to dress down, way down, and pay homage to childish irresponsibility with good friends, great weather and lukewarm domestic beer. Can't wait!

So Long Old Friend

It's just a car, an inanimate object, a chunk of metal. That's what I keep telling myself. Good grief, this is just pathetic. It wasn't as if I just put my dog down, right? Right? She's gone on to a new owner, the one I sold her to cheap, because she promised to get her running again and understood what a car can actually mean. Maybe some day, I'll see her out on the road again.

Those of you the know me personally are well aware that I rarely hold on to something for long periods of time and I'm all too willing to move on. That's what makes what I just did all that more difficult. The only possession that I still had from my youth is now gone, my first car. No matter where I've been, or what I was doing I always had my Z and almost all of you have stories about it. It was more than transportation, it was my freedom, the connection to my past, and my planned future. Thirteen years I've owned that car. She's outlasted many newer, flashier and less abused vehicles in my parents stable. Though flawed and sometimes unpredictable, it was these characteristics that most gave her personality and she rarely let me down even with the odometer reading 325,000 miles.

It was with her that I learned how to enjoy driving. To just be in the moment with no regard to problems and plans and that the trip by itself could very well be more important than the destination. It was my freedom, my relaxation and enjoyment, and the embodiment of my frivolity. It just was and always will be remembered as the temporary escape that I sought from responsibility. It was a royal pain in the ass sometimes, always hot with no AC and she leaked like a sieve when it rained. But even still, those memories bring a grin to my face. Because it was flawed and not perfect, it had a human like personality all it's own.

Thanks for the memories

Sam Houston National Forest

I found myself back in College Station for a personal reunion, a long time friend was back in town from New York visiting her folks, and of course, I had to make the trip up. Hey, if there's a better place to find good company and cheap drinks other than a college town, I haven't found it? After a night of catching back up on the latest I had to find my way south to Houston, normally a brief one and half hour drive southeast. Since I never like to do the easy thing and I had an extra six hours anyway, I decided to take a trip through the Sam Houston National Forest, a region of the state I've never really explored. The forest is north of Houston and contains such interesting towns as Cut and Shoot and Point Blank, it's western entrance is the penal town of Huntsville.

I came across a controlled fire immediately upon entering the area. A controlled fire, or prescribed burn depending on who you're talking to, is heavily used in forest management as a means of keeping the forest undergrowth in check as well as a means of propagation for certain plants. Well, what ever it is, I had to drive through it.
{cough} {cough}

East Texas is a foreign place to me. Southern in it's look and feel, it's an unfamiliar region, completely unlike the semi-arid hard scrabble Central Texas of my youth. The trees are tall, and the forest is dark. Everything is green and water is in no short supply. Hell, even the soil is different, East Texas has it, Central Texas doesn't.
It was what I call a good trip, something new that I haven't done before and even though I regularly got lost I didn't run into any real problems. I even managed to snap a picture or two of the Sam Houston statue near Huntsville. Warning: He's not quiet life size.

So, some six hours later I found my way merry way out of the 160,000 acre reserve and plodded on down the road to Houston. Tired, with a trucker tan and ready for a nap.

Bexar County Courthouse

More scenes from home:

This Red Sandstone structure was built in 1892 by architect J. Riely Gordon.

Texas arguably has the best collection of county courthouses in the nation, both in terms of numbers and architectural diversity. There are more than 200 of these structures built before 1940 still standing. Here's a link to other county courthouses across the state.