Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

My father was an Air Force pilot in the VietNam war. He was shot down over Laos in 1966 a few months before my 4th birthday, and Missing In Action until 1995. Only have a few clear memories of the man, but by all accounts he was a great guy. 
Growing up, I never had a good male role model in my life. Mom's boyfriends were douchbags, cheaters, drunks, and abusers. My uncle Jim was all I had, taking me fishing and hunting for a few weeks here and there. Still miss them both more than I can put into words. 
The result was that when my mother died of cancer (I was 24) there was zero knowledge of how to be a man. Some lost years ensued (decades?) but luckily nothing happened that I truly regret. 
To my great fortune I met Sylvia not long after the dawn of this century, and she helped me start healing. 
On this Father's Day 2015 I want to thanks her dad Jesus Cantu for welcoming me into his family with open arms and teaching me the lessons I sorely needed to learn. How to love and forgive, how to keep priorities straight, to have fun without getting into too much trouble, to teach by example, to accept faults in others and ourselves--there's SO much I've learned from my new DAD. Happy Father's Day, sir.


And what are the odds that he's retired Air Force, served in VietNam, and plays guitar, too? 

Monday, June 08, 2015

Feeling Cloudy

Been stupid busy learning songs for the acoustic act I recently joined, and learning to play this big crazy beast. It's a Breedlove acoustic/electric bass, and a very different animal from what I'm used to. 
Our first show was this weekend, and it went well. 
The side effect is that by brain hurts as much as my fingers. Too many notes...

My joke is that I almost made it 40 years without ever playing a hollow instrument live. 
In fact, at the end of July I'll have been playing solid body electric guitars and basses for 40 years, so the record got shot down with mere weeks to go. 
Since the guitarist in the band bought this bass for me to use, at least I can still say that I haven't owned any acoustic instruments. 
Not that it means anything to anyone. 
Kind of like how I was proud that I hadn't been inside a movie theater for 29 years. 

I'm weird. You don't need to tell me, I've always known.  

After record rainfall the past month, we're finally drying out and getting some sun. 
Lakes that were almost empty are filling up, as is the aquifer we rely upon. The drought we've suffered from over the last few years is over. A wonderful Spring, were it not for the loss of life and devastation of property. 
A bridge we had driven across near the town of Wimberley, on our way to the wedding mentioned in the previous post, was washed away by floodwaters 3 weeks later. As were many houses and families. 
I guess you take the bad with the good, then carry on. 

On the tail of the storms, we've gotten some weird skies like today's. 
Kinda wish the contrail wasn't there, but I might like it tomorrow. 
Infrared, of course. 
Perfectly captures how I feel.  

In other news... 

For a couple of months I've been dealing with "old house" problems. 
Multiple plumbing issues, two sections of collapsed fence around the back yard, and a bathroom that lost electricity after being suspect since we moved in. 
All fixed but one leaky sink, so I'm feeling like a real man. 
The electrical problem took me a month to nail down, but I just knew that it was something butt-simple and paying an electrician would end up pissing me off. 
Once I got a helpful hint from a friend I was positive where to find the issue, and it ended up taking 5 minutes and a new part that cost exactly 74 cents including tax. 
Pretty sure an electrician would have cost a bit more than that. 

Not too scared of electricity, since I bend it to my will all the time. 
Once I had the "pleasure" of re-wiring an outlet in an old home near Houston. The polarity was reversed, and it was one of only two or 3 outlets available to power an entire rock band for a party. 
Trouble was, there was no time to track down which circuit breaker the outlet was on so I just fixed it with the wires live. What fun!  

Then there was the time I needed to get a freight elevator working again so we could get our gear out of a downtown SA nightclub at 4am. A bit tipsy at the time. 
The car was stuck on the floor above as I dug into the safety interlock mechanism. 
Took a healthy jolt of 120 volt AC, and as I started fading I also started tipping forward. 
Shook it off just in time to keep myself from plunging down the shaft. 
Fixed it. 

I had a bunch of stuff to post for Memorial Day, which I usually don't miss. 
But in thinking about what I was intending to write, a bunch of baggage and sore spots surfaced which led to the realization that I'm always mad as hell on Memorial Day. 
After more thought, the reasons I'm so angry became clear. 
By then it was too late to put it all together in time, so maybe by next year's holiday I'll be able to get it out of my system.  

Yeah, I'm all kinds of cloudy.

Saturday, May 09, 2015


We went to a wedding last weekend in Cypress Falls, near Wimberley TX. 
During the reception the sun was almost down so I went to our motel room for the camera/tripod. 
Down by the river there wasn't enough artificial light spillage to get anything worth using, but while there I was approached by a man in the dark. 

He told me I was lucky that he'd spotted me, otherwise I could have gotten "blowed up". 
Hmmm...a gay come-on done badly? 

No, it was just that I had walked right into the middle of a fireworks launch zone. 
He was nice enough to let me stay and shoot pics from closer than I've ever been before. and it was pretty intense. Every launch felt like a punch to the gut, and they were bursting right overhead. I had a lot of debris on me afterwards. 

He gave me his business card so I could send him my results, but it wasn't from his fireworks business (don't need an architect right now) and there was no website or email address. Googling and checking Facebook for the name he told me turned up nothing, either. 
When I have the time I'll track him down.

Happy Day, Mothers.

Monday, March 16, 2015

121 Months Of Views

That's right, I've been blogging right here at the same URL for over ten years!! 

Crazy, right?
Boy, the internet was a very different place back then, as was digital photography.
"Photobloggers" like me are a dying breed.
Now it's all about news, shopping, gossip, and connecting via Facebook, etc.
And pr0n.

One thing that hasn't changed is that Blogger's (my hosting site) spellcheck still flags words like internet, blogging, and spellcheck. Funny but true.

Anyway, February was a weird month for me, so I forgot all about posting on the actual anniversary and decided to do it today.

Since this post is about me, here are some selfies I took today. (Spellcheck didn't like selfies, of course).

In the backyard with my 8-string bass, using my Samsung Galaxy S3.
We're getting the S5 in 2 months, and I can't wait.
This phone has a great camera, but the newer model is much better.
This is one of the only pictures of me that shows some wrinkles on my face, so it intrigues me. People always assume I'm around forty, rather than my true age of 52. It's cool, and I'm lucky and grateful. As a joke I always say "Beer and weed keep me young" but of course none of that is true. Gets a good laugh every time, though.

At the biggest jewelry store in town. Sylvia just got a raise and wanted to celebrate with her 1st diamond earrings. It's a very impressive building and operation. If you live here, you've fallen asleep during their informative half-hour infomercial.

Over the years I've blogged less and less for many reasons, and what I miss just as much as making (NOT just taking) pictures is the writing.
Just like tonight, I pop open a beer or three and start typing. When I was in school, essays were fun and an easy A grade, but I was never much for verse so writing lyrics for my music never amounted to anything. Very frustrating!
So blogging reawakened the dormant author in me and I always enjoyed it for it's own sake. Never mattered if anyone liked it or commented on it, I just did it because it made me feel good.

Recently, my blogging led to a chance to write something that'll get seen a LOT more than anything I post here.
A young singer that I ran sound for in 2012 needed a new biography for her website, and she remembered the blog I had done during my tenure in the band: A Beautiful Mess Featuring Natalie Rose
The writing was decent, and I liked the photos. Her father was very impressed when he found it and Views of TX, and wouldn't shut up about what a great writer I was.
So over the last two weeks I spent about 7 hours working on her bio whenever some spark of inspiration (or guilt about taking too long) might strike.
It's a different breed of writing, being a weird combo of reporting and selling. Walking a fine line between truth and promotion.
I've done it in the past, usually for myself and my illiterate bandmates, but this was a far more high-pressure affair because she's definitely going to be a big star someday so good work could lead to something. Which is weird, because I could go back to doing her sound and lights anytime I wanted to. Just burned-out on traveling and running sound after being in this business since high school. I've been offered the bass job a few times, too, but don't do country music and I just want to play bass and write heavy music with Televators.
Anyway, here's her website: Natalie Rose.
Click on the "ABOUT" tab.
I emailed it to her yesterday morning and it was on the site within an hour, and she says she loves it.
All in all a good day, this special 121 month anniversary. 

Speaking of my band Televators, we're playing next Sunday March 22nd.
Some tattoo convention thing--should be a ton of metal fans in the crowd.
We play for maybe an hour, starting at 3pm.

In conclusion, thank you for visiting Views Of Texas.
It's nice to know that people spent time looking at my photos and/or reading my words.
I appreciate you.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Pound Of Reese's Cups

I first spotted this while Christmas shopping in late 2013 and apparently wouldn't shut up about it. Last month Sylvia put it under our tree for me, and tonight I finally got up the nerve to open it. 

The text on the side is the important part--2 HALF POUND CUPS! 
I love Reese's, but this is crazy.

 I'm glad they put them in plastic cups. Still in surprisingly good shape.

 An 8 oz monster dwarfs the standard size.

The chocolate/peanut butter ratio seems about right. Freaking delicious!
You just have to stop after a small fraction.
Half of the wedge I cut out is tomorrow's ration.
And careful study has shown that the choco/PB ratio is measurably different depending on the size of the cup. Rob Cockerham over at Cockeyed conducted this test a few years ago. Looks like it needs an update.

These monsters are available year 'round at Rocket Fizz stores, but their $24 price is a joke.
(They also stock the giant Snickers, York's Peppermint Patty, etc.)

Sear and Target sell it for $10 during the holiday shopping season, which represents a few $$$ saved over a comparable weight of the smaller sizes at non-sale prices.
Mainly it's about the novelty.
I'm thinking of bringing one to a SuperBowl party this weekend.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Li-Ion Vape

My Friends Mike & Amie Just opened a Vape store here in San Antonio. I'm working here on the late shift.