Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Marathon

The people on the far side of the metal barricade are about to finish the half-marathon. The guy with wheels on this side just rolled for over 26 miles!

A familiar face in the crowd. Yay, Meredith!

I was a little surprised that Sylvia spotted me in the crowd, but we've been together for so long that our ESP is synched-up very well.
We even finish each other's sandwiches.

We're all very proud of Sylvia, but a bunch of fake Elvii make for a more interesting picture than one of Selma trying to get her to eat a banana and some chips at the same time.

The medal is much nicer this year, if you can overlook the font size error.

Syl's recovery was much better this year--a short nap and we made it to the concert, unlike last year.
Always wanted to see Grand Funk Railroad, and even without Mark Farner they were solid and fun. Drummer Don Brewer was amazing--I guess all the years he's played with Bob Seger haven't turned him into a pussy.
Bruce Kulik, who usually wears Ace Frehley's makeup in KISS these days, played lead guitar.
Mel Shacher was as cool as could be on bass.

Los Lonely Boys were terrific until they started taking long jams with some random harmonica player, then trotted out cover tunes.
The best moment of the show was during a long intro to their 3rd song.
The drummer turned to the local crew's monitor mixer and asked for some bass guitar--his request was clearly audible out front.
I guess he didn't get any bass, because 20 seconds later we all heard "You ever done this before?!?!"

I feel bad for monitor mixers because it's the hardest job in rock.
They get a lot of abuse, including beer bottles thrown at them by weak lead singers.
(Cough cough Don Dokken cough!)
Whenever I've been on a big show I always play dumb and "confess" to having no clue how to run a monitor board, which bumps me up to the main house mix.
It works out for the best, since I usually have the best ears on the crew.

Sylvia is a running machine!
13.1 miles would kill me.
And so would the dirty looks from the other runners when I stopped for a smoke break.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SA R&R Marathon '09

Sylvia did the half-marathon again this year.
Running 13.1 miles through downtown San Antonio seems insane to me, let alone the full 26.2 of the full marathon.
Before training to do such a thing, I would want to know where I'm running to, or what I'm running from.
A million dollars?
Opera singers are behind me?

It was an overcast morning, with mild temps.
Humid, but better than running in the summer.

Many of the signs people held up were clever and funny.
Some were dorky.
Made the day more interesting.

I finally found a spot along the barricades at the final turn before the finish line. Practiced shooting some of the more interesting faces.

This is a copy of a shot from last year, only that little girl was crying.
I like how this one is so serene and comfy on papa's shoulder.

The weird stuff some runners wear is amusing and also functional.
At the Nike Human Race in Austin (Aug. '08) nearly all of the runners wore the same red shirt and I was only able to recognize and locate the girls with kitty ears and Lance Armstrong's yellow shirt.
There were twice as many people in this marathon--30 thousand or so--so a purple wig makes it easy for friends and family to spot you.

Lessons learned last year went a long way towards making this event easier for all concerned. I appreciated that, having worked late the night before.
2 hours of sleep is better than nothing, I guess.

More Views Coming Soon

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love Part 2

Update to my post on Saturday, November 7: Photos made using remote flash and a shoot-through umbrella.

Since then, I haven't found anything that diminishes my feelings for this bass.
"She still hasn't pissed me off!" is a huge compliment that means more as time passes, earning a new exclamation point every 2 weeks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Poor Little Dude

This post's title could refer to the damage inflicted tonight upon my zippy little red Honda, if the Prelude wasn't a her instead of a him.
The dude in question was a 16 year old with a brand new license (he looked 12) who pulled the family SUV out of a Shell station and crossed four lanes of Fredericksburg (@ Huebner) in order to collide with me.
Last second gas pedal mashing saved me from serious damage and a trip to the ER, according to the super-friendly cop behind me who heard the impact and then witnessed my heroic recovery techniques.

After the paperwork I was still able to drive across town for band practice so I could show off my new bass and write/record a new song, so it could have been much worse.

I'm glad the little dude's first accident was so minor, and that his mommy was able to arrive within minutes to comfort him.
When I had my first wreck 30 years ago it was a horrific head-on and our moms were either drunk or insane at the time--no damned help at all.

I'm going to need some body work but on the plus side my trunk lid, tail light, and gas door still work.
And the new bass survived!

But I might want to re-think driving red vehicles for the rest of 2009.
Between deer and kids I seem to have a target on my left side.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You, Veterans

Taken in 2004 at the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Love Is In The Air

Brought my 8-string bass home today!
She's SO pretty, and like I suspected is brand spanking new.
This was the score of the century--no shit.
Whoever bought this bass and then pawned it soon after is either an idiot or just didn't know what to do with it.
His loss is my gain, because stringed instruments hold no mysteries for me.

I got a cramp in my left hand from the first 10 minutes of playing, but after several hours of careful adjustments to the neck's truss rod she's playing smooth and sweet.
It'll probably take 3-4 days before I get everything perfect because a pro-level instrument setup needs to be done slowly to allow the wood and steel to become accustomed to what you've done. Like a big meal with meat and onion rings, everything needs time to settle down and play nice.
Hopefully it'll rain soon so I can also account for extra humidity.
Instruments are like living things in that they can react to their environment in unusual ways.
When I lived in Upstate New York, taking my 6/12-string Ibanez Doubleneck guitar into a heated nightclub after driving through a blizzard was the ultimate tuning nightmare. 18 strings on 2 necks that were all freaked-out by sudden temp and humidity changes was the worst-case scenario, but I learned a LOT.
At least here in Texas most rooms are between 68 and 78 degrees farenheit year-round.

Sorry, but there aren't any pictures yet.
See this post for my first impressions and some sneaky photos taken while making the down payment in September.

I'll probably take a few pics tomorrow, and might even shoot some video so y'all can see and hear the difference between a regular 4-string bass and this sexy beast.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Where Was I?

Oh yeah--at San Pedro Springs Park, waiting for the sun to go down.

This spring-fed pool is enormous, but only 3 feet deep.
No swimming allowed anymore, but it's a nice place to just sit and enjoy the fine weather we're having.

Photos like this remind me of why I like shooting at night.
Need to get off my butt and get back in the game.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

We had less kids than 2007 (65 vs 100+) but it was a successful night.
My new witch Selma did a great job!
One time she whipped open the door and barked "What!?!" at the punkasses, which left them speechless.
The magic words "Trick or Treat" totally left their brains.
After some "Uhhh....Mmmm..." action, witch Josie said "Well??? Are you going to say Trick or Treat, or don't you know what you're doing?"
We laughed our asses off!

Only one or 2 kids got TacoBell sauce instead of a handful of candy this year, which is an improvement.
Hey--if your costume blows or you don't say the 3 simple words, you get tricked instead of treated.
I didn't write the rules, I just enforce them.

When they come near our house, scary noises coming from a speaker behind the headstone attract them rather nicely unless they are with one of those parents who's small mind is locked into only ringing doorbells if the porchlight is on.
I mean, don't they think the spinning light on the mailbox (not to mention flames) mean we might be playing Halloween? Yet numerous morons walk right past our house every year.

When kids run up our driveway, the blast of a 500 watt shoplight through my garage window always freezes their asses in place.
That's when we sometimes hear such gems as "Is that real fire?" or "I better not touch that or I'll get burned".

Then they see a biker zombie pushing his skeleton victim into the flames of hell.
Strobe on zombie and a red bulb + amber strobe + smoke machine in the black box of doom under the skeleton.
This is my new scene for this year, and it looked pretty cool in action.

If they are brave enough to make it onto our porch, the simple yet effective trick of hiding sheets of big bubble wrap under a rug gives the little weiners a final scare.

For the future: More automation so I can actually see the kids instead of spending all my time pushing buttons to activate everything. And if I could be in a scary costume wandering around our yard, there's no limit to the mayhem.

I'm designing a mechanical Jack'O'Lantern that's chewing on Elmo.

From bands past I have some experience building and using dry ice fog effects on the cheap, so there's some more ideas floating around.

But as long as one new thing gets added each year, I'm happy.
The leftover candy is good, too.