Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Deep Eddy Distillery

We recently took a guided tour of the Deep Eddy Vodka distillery in Dripping Springs Texas. (East of Austin on 290)

It was the first cold day of the season. I was under-dressed. 

 This is their "column distiller", which accounts for the incredibly high purity of their vodka. With the old-fashioned kettle method, you have to keep repeating the process, and at a certain point it just takes too much time. My go-to vodka is distilled 4 times. Deep Eddy claims 10x, but because this process is so much more efficient the actual result is probably at least double that. Try their unflavored version against any other vodka--straight--and you'll understand.

These big tanks are where the all natural flavors meet the alcohol.
The product doesn't spend much time there, because this tiny plant is going to top 800,000 cases this year.

 Paper labels are faster, easier, cheaper, prettier, and classic.
I hated screen printing bottles back when Ken and I owned our print shop.

 So...I only got around 3 hours of sleep the night before because it was an early appointment and a long drive. Didn't eat anything either.
This was my breakfast--all 5 flavors of Deep Eddy.
Also got to pick one of their signature cocktails, served in a mason jar type pint glass, which we got to keep. Good thing we brought snacks, then went right to a decent pizza place in town. 

 Couldn't manage one of the slushies.


LOTS of booze.
Sylvia prefers the iced tea flavor.
I like the lemon.
The Ruby Red is great, too.
Don't like cranberry, but their take on it surprised me.
The tour was very educational.
It's a company that has great values and it's going to be a big player before you know it.
All Natural flavors and super-pure alcohol equals the finest vodkas I've ever tried, and at a price that can't be beat.
Made In Texas, Y'all.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Lovely Setting

My band played a wedding last night in this event center on the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country.
After setting up our gear I turned around and realized that maybe...just maybe...I should have brought a real camera.
On the other hand, then I would likely have shot it horizontally and sacrificed the reflection on the floor.

When viewed on Facebook--on a smartphone--it's quite effective since it fills the screen.
On a laptop or desktop--not so much.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Another Unfocused Post

This is a water-level shot of the Guadalupe River, where the whole family spent a relaxing extended weekend in August.
The house we rented was huge, and perfect.
I caught the first fish--a big Bluegill.

We ate well, drank a lot, fished and swam, played pool and Monopoly, and chilled.
There's a good chance we go back to the same place next year.

I rigged up my HD video camera on the end of a pole, with lights.
Was after underwated footage, but it just wasn't clear enough to see anything.
While taking the above photo, unbeknownst to me one of my better vaping devices rolled into the river.
After a few of us searched all over, I deduced what must have happened and found it. Still haven't gotten it to work.

Just found this shot from a few months ago.

I have been animated! 
The crew we have working on Televator's next video gave us a peek at an early step in their production process. Confidentially, out of everyone in the band, mine looks the most like me.
Don't know what the storyline is like, or really anything at all about the video.
It'll be for our song "Milk Run", which started with a bass riff I wrote while watching the Houston Rockets beat up on our Spurs a few years ago. For a VERY short time we had a TV in our practice space, but it wasn't conducive to best practices except for that one time.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August In Texas

It's been freaking HOT, but could have been worse.
Rained once or twice this month--not at all in July--so my lawn is no longer the lush creature of beauty it was after the soakings we got all Spring. Again, could be worse.

Here's a phone photo of a cicada on our patio:
Lit with a AAA LED penlight, all handheld.
Was expecting improvements across the board when we upgraded from the Samsung Galaxy S3 to the S5, but a few details disappoint.
The S3 was a macro delight--you could jam the lens right up to something and it would focus on it. Even had a macro focus setting to tell the camera that the subject was close and to stay in that range, and possibly fine-tune a bit more carefully.
The S5 has no macro setting, but even more annoying is that at similarly close range it will focus on the subject, then snap back to a blurry setting an inch or two behind it--every damn time!
So it's capable of doing what I ask, but just doesn't want to.
I hate shit like that.

Luckily, this cicada was a good sport and stayed put while I went inside and changed phones back to the S3 for this shot.
Yes, I keep my old smartphones and use them all the time for almost everything but calls and texts.
Games, camera, discontinued technical apps, and even using one phone as a pink noise generator while I use another as an audio spectrum analyzer.
Since I have Sylvia's old S3 too, I've even been playing with the pair as a stereo 3D camera!
Testing has been positive, just haven't gotten around to building the frame to hold them.

Up next, a handful of vacation photos.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Clouds + Trees

Among the rare photos I've taken this year using a "real" camera.
My DSLR isn't getting much play time at all, but the Sony F828, with it's infrared capabilities, still gets pulled out--at least in the winter and spring when the clouds do fun things here in SATX.

For these first two, I was being lazy and just shot over our house in a generally northward direction.
The use of a circular polarizer filter instead of one of the pair of ND4 filters that usually live on the end of it's lens resulted in the different level of contrast between cloud and background sky. The 1st photo features our neighbor's pecan tree, and was shot with the sun to my back. #2 (our sycamore) was pointed a bit closer to 90 degrees perpendicular to the sun's rays, resulting in a much more pronounced effect from the CP filter. End result is darker sky, whether shooting IR of color.

I prefer #2.

This pair, I can't recall if the CP was still in the filter stack or not. Angle to the sun is too similar, so it can't be determined forensically, either.

Out of them all, it's my opinion that #4 is the one most likely to end up as a print on someone's wall.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Like An Old Friend

Zzakk's Garage used to be my #2 blog, where I would post pics of stuff that pissed me off, and go on rants.
It's been dormant for years, but tonight I decided to throw up a new post.
Then I went for a stroll down memory lane, and re-discovered the fact that my late brother Ken loved the garage and left comments often. It was nice "listening" to my brother again.