Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rodeo Concert 2011: STYX

What I like about the concerts after the rodeo is that you can take any camera and lens you desire into the ATT Center.
Also, they are only about an hour long which saves my ears.

In the case of bands like STYX, it means that there's no filler--100% Hits!

I wonder how many shows they've done where they arrived at the stage in the back of a pickup and had to walk through poopy dirt?

The only guys remaining from the '70s, James Young and Tommy Shaw:

Ricky Phillips on bass:

The only other time I saw STYX was around 1978-9 at the 3000 seat Palace Theater in Albany NY, front row balcony, on the Grand Illusion tour.
I knew their songs from the radio and was afraid of cheese, but was quickly converted. Tommy Shaw was an incredible performer, then and now.

You can Google the other guys.

Over a week later their songs keep popping into my head for hours at a time.

More to come...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Horses, Bulls, And Cowboys

More from the 2011 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Thanks to Holly we got some decent seats--much better than any previous year.

Team roping is one of my favorites.

I've never figured out how the 2nd guy gets a rope around the calf's legs.
To be honest, some of them don't.

Here's my favorite sequence:
The rider's raised hand signifies that he's ready, after a rather long time spent getting to this point.

But I would imagine he wasn't quite ready for this:

Followed by this:

He managed to hang on to that wild beast, but was also awarded a re-ride a little later.

All 4 hooves are off the ground:

The bulls were all crazy this year:

Only one rider managed to hang on for the full 8 seconds and win some money on this night, and I don't think this was him:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That Rodeo Time Of Year

Yes my friends, the rodeo is back in town!
And for the 7th year in a row, San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has won the large indoor rodeo of the year. Between this and the Spurs that's a lot of banners hanging from the ceiling of the ATT Center.

This year we weren't able to arrive early enough so I could walk around taking pictures, but I'm about out of ideas anyway.
Managed to find a man washing a cow before sundown, which is kinda kinky:

Then we ate.
Bacon-wrapped hotdog, chickenfried steak sandwich, Frito Pie...YUM!

We hit the doors just before the Star Spangled Banner started, and the staff closed the doors until it was over so we waited with mucho respect.

There was some of the usual rodeo stuff which you've all seen before, so let's skip ahead to my favorite event, the Mutton Bustin' :

Nothing better than seeing a 4 year old clinging for dear life to an angry sheep.

Got some cowboy action photos up next.

And after that, I'll go on and on about how great STYX was.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Barbed Wire

These are the actual photos I took during the SuperBowl last Sunday--the previous post had pics from the previous visit.

Red didn't want to hang out.

He just kept facing North, for well over an hour.

So I shifted gears.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

We had a nice little football and commercials party at Holly's house:

Got to hang out with Red:

And Dixie:

Good food, good people, good game.
Drank wine for a change, after some whisky to light my fuse.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Blizzard 2011

I finally got to take some pictures of snow tonight!
After listening to the TV weatherjerk warnings all week, things would have gotten ugly if the promise of snow had failed to materialize.
I even put one of the band lights on our patio so we could easily check for progress during the Spurs/Lakers game. (NICE tip-in for the win, McDyess!)

The obligatory 'snow on vehicle' shot favored by most South Texans:
Some decent accumulation here--the streets and roofs are solid white.
It might look like dusk, but I shot this at 2:04AM.

Snow be coming down and shit:

The edge of our patio has a nice layer, but unless the grass and leaves are completely covered this weather event is best described as a 'light dusting'.
Freezing rain and sleet earlier tonight closed all our highways, because apparently nobody around here knows how to drive.

This is the "snowstorm" that gave me a chance to take some pics:
I find it hard to believe that there will be school closings tomorrow, but then I'm jaded from growing up in the middle of New York State. School closings were rare and wonderful things, but it took at least a foot dumped between 4 and 6AM for the snowplows and salt/sand trucks to get far enough behind that the buses couldn't cope.

The chilly temps for 3 days has been a bigger issue, what with freezing water pipes and such. I got it all under control pretty quick, so we're all good.
Not looking forward to hauling the band gear in and out of the club tomorrow night, but it's the LAST show for BLISS so there's no way around it.
Y'all should come out if you can--it's going to be the most insane rock show in a small club EVER!

ReTox Bar, On Patricia @ West Ave.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Then And Now--Army Edition

I read a ton of books--so many that I gave up on retail bookstores in favor of used shops, the public library, and flea markets.
My interests are diverse, but growing up on an Air Force base had an affect and I lean towards military subjects rather often.
Oddly, I don't favor one branch of the service over another and have even read great books about the Coast Guard. I DO tend to prefer stories and biographies set from WWII to the present, mostly because there's so much more technology involved.

When I find some of this technology (or when it finds me) and the price is right ( = almost free) I'll grab it.

Case in point--an Army Signal Corps volt/ohm meter from 1943:
This photo is where I got "Then And Now" for the title, because my modern digital multitester is in the shot for a dramatic size comparison. Surprisingly, the olive drab unit will measure pretty much anything that the new model can.

Looking inside, I hope you can see why I like it so much. A big VU meter dominates, but again it's very similar to the digital.

The guts, on the other hand, belong to another era. Hand assembled, and very primitive looking.
The other night I got around to testing it, and found that it still works and is as accurate as you could ever need!
I plan on bringing it to a show soon just to see if anyone notices me using it to fix something.

I don't know what our parents and grandparents paid for the vintage meter, but today they sell on auction sites for around $25. My new digital one was less than $5, but if I wanted to spend exponentially more for essentially the same device I could.

Here we have my J-45 telegraph key, which is really just a J-37 with a steel leg clamp for use in tanks and aircraft:
These were used from WWII through Vietnam, and in fact there is evidence of new units still in the inventory up to the 1990s.
For those who don't know, a telegraph key is used for sending Morse code, which is like sending a text message with 3 to 5 key presses per letter.

A lot of ham radio guys still use the J-37 key today because it's such a good design and since it's military will probably never break.
They like my J-45 version when travelling, which makes sense.
I've seen prices from $10 to $130 for ones made by GE and a host of other suppliers.
Wonder how much mine is worth, seeing as how it was made by Hughes Aircraft Co?
(As in Howard Hughes).

Lastly, we have a radio microphone that's interesting to me because it's made by Shure:
Shure still dominates the market today, and has since before I was born. I would guesstimate that 90% of the concerts and TV shows you've seen had anywhere from a few to a LOT of Shure mics.
Only in the last decade have others made mics that I liked better in certain situations.

The other items in my small collection make very loud noises.
I'll probably get around to talking about them someday.