Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shameless Plugs

A Beautiful Mess will be at the Guadalupe River Club in Kerrville on Saturday Night Feb 25.
If you're out that way, come on by for a late dinner and stay for the band.
The food is great--you can't go wrong with their seafood or burgers.

Speaking of food and music, the band will playing at Trader's Village Flea Market this Sunday from 12:30 to around 4:30, and in addition to music and shopping I understand that there'll be a chili cook-off in the same pavilion.
Look for the brown roof.

I hope to meet at least one of my fellow SA area bloggers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


One thing you may not guess about me, what with all the rock bands, guns, and yard work that gets featured here, is that I really enjoy antique shops and flea markets.
We will drive to Boerne, New Braunfels, Fredericksberg, Bandera, Blanco, Helotes, etc to poke into the dusty corners looking for old stuff.
Locally, we get our fix at both Craftiques locations, but prefer the closer Bandera/Poss store to the bigger one on NW Military/Braesview.

Craftiques is unusual for the "Craft" part, which usually translates to crappy birdhouses, cheapcheapcheap homemade jewelry, and other useless junk, although sometimes we'll be impressed by a creative idea well-executed.
We go for the 'tiques.

On Sunday there were so many odd and disturbing items I shouldn't have bothered putting my phone away, because it kept getting pulled out again 2 minutes later.

I just thought this was ugly, and except for the glimpse of lamp cord never saw how it's supposed to light up. But according to the tag it's a TV lamp.

This diving helmet barometer was pretty bad at a distance, but the "With Deep Friendship" bit cracked me up. Whoever thought of that should work for our newspaper, which is full of weak, obvious, and downright stupid headlines.

For some reason there were nuns everywhere. Last visit, not a single one.
I like how this one's hands have bubble wrap. No comment.

Creepy, on a swing.

Bizarre folk art or pottery class project.
Makes no sense to me.

N'Sync bobbleheads FTW!
If the fat one's (sorry, Joey Fatone's) face looks blurry it's because I couldn't resist checking the bobble factor.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Random Junk

This is a view of the rear of my old Peavey Mace guitar amp head:
I bought this while a sophomore in high school and used it for my entire career as a guitarist in metal bands. Great thick chunky tone and was louder than the Marshalls everyone else used. Also more durable, never spent a minute in the shop.
If you have that great Lynyrd Skynyrd live album, you can see what the front looks like.

Fired it up a few months ago after 15 years in a closet, and while there was some guitar coming out, there was a LOT of ugly noises, too. My diagnosis is that most of the capacitors and tubes (6 x 6L6GC!!) need replacing, and all of the volume and tone pots need cleaning.
Also, every single solder joint needs to be re-done--WHAT FUN!?!
If I could get it to work again it would be a great bass amp with a few simple tweaks to the tone circuits, but I'm scared to trust anyone with it and am also leery of tackling the repairs myself. Tube amps are very dangerous--one wrong move and the big filter capacitors can discharge enough voltage and amperage to drop you like a sack of potatoes that are dead and on fire.
ABM's lead guitarist (John B) hand-built his tube amp from plans and it's awesome, but he lives in Kerrville so getting his help isn't convenient for either of us.

Guess there's nothing to do but start the research and dive in, but at this point I need a bass amp by the middle of March so I might need to buy one to use until this project is done, then sell it when the tube goodness is up and running. Decisions...

Got a $25 Wolf Camera gift card for Christmas and this is how we used it:
For the month of January Wolf/Ritz ran a special on their prints on canvas.
This 11x14" is usually $60 but at 50% off and with the card we were only out about $8 which is awesome.
The print wraps around the sides of the frame so it looks good hung naked, it's sturdy and has nice backing and hanging hardware, plus the colors look correct.
Very pleased.

I decided on the San Fernando Christmas card photo because a ton of people have bought one from me or been gifted with this print, yet I didn't have a copy of my own.
If you have a photo that you think would have made a good painting, I recommend having Wolf/Ritz set you up. They are available in some pretty big sizes, like 2x3 feet or thereabouts, but be advised that it's a pricey deal.
Makes a great gift, and I'm always available to take the photo if you need help.

My new blog for A Beautiful Mess Featuring Natalie Rose is online now.
It's the top link over on the right--->.
The older posts have been seen here already, but in the future I'll only be showing rare glimpses of that stuff on Views Of Texas.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Rodeo Season Is Here

Evidence: The San Antonio Spurs played at home for the last time on Monday night before embarking on a 2-week+ road trip while the AT&T Center hosts the dirt and hide and mayhem of our award winning Stock Show & Rodeo.

Another hint was when A Beautiful Mess Featuring Natalie Rose entertained one of the groups of trail riders who had camped in New Berlin Texas on their way to San Antonio:

Trail Riders strike out from all points across Texas with horses and chuck wagons (and RVs + iPads I'm sure) to converge on San Antonio's rodeo scene just in time for the hot bronco and steer action.
Naturally, live music has always been a big part of the rodeo experience with concerts every night after the lariats have been oiled and hung up, but this was my first time moving the show out of town to entertain folks on their way.
Some of the riders haven't seen a razor since leaving home weeks ago, so they have a good excuse. The guitarists in A Beautiful Mess are pretty hairy all the time:

Luenmann's in New Berlin TX is a cool roadhouse conveniently located right across the street from where the Mesquite Trailriders were camped.
Never been to Luenmann's before so I can't compare, but the joint was certainly jumping tonight. Lots of love for the band from the audience, and we want to thank Randy who arranged this shindig and took good care of us.

I keep walking into local country music venues expecting to see and/or hear something on the same level of skill and professionalism as Natalie Rose & A Beautiful Mess, but it hasn't happened yet and I'm starting to think it never will.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Mystery Solved

In this post from December 2011 (3 items down) I mentioned finding a possible homeless person's "nest" in the alley behind our house.
We only live four houses up the street, so since then I've made it a point when driving out of the 'hood to look for evidence as I pass the end of the alley.

Several times last week I spotted new blankets while leaving on some errand but always forgot to check it out by the time I got home. Would have used the notepad app on my phone to leave a reminder, but operating such fancy devices while driving is against the law now.
I was out back crushing aluminum cans a few days ago when I finally remembered, and this is what I found:

I was a little ticked-off the first time, because someone was essentially squatting on our property.
According to the city, we are responsible for the upkeep back there, and apparently the people across the way know this because that guy's mower and weed-whacker are strangers to what lurks between our fences.
It took me years to get the jungle behind our fence under complete control after the previous tenants (renters!) let it go to hell, and with the exception of occasional piles of blankets and pillows it's now the neatest stretch of the alley by far.

When I thought it was a homeless person's camp I wasn't really angry because their situation was obviously more tragic than mine. Felt bad whenever I felt mad, y'know?
In my head there was also the possibility that some teenagers were using the "bed" to hook up, or that one of our adult neighbors had a cheatin' heart and no imagination--and that raised my indignation a few notches.

In the above photo did you notice the empty hydrogen peroxide bottle?
I was confused at first, until I found this:

Having met a few glue and paint-huffers in New York's urban alleys while loading band equipment into grungy bars, I'm schooled enough to know that they "decant" the product into another container before inhaling it. With canned air like this it's important so you don't freeze your mouth and lungs, as I learned on a startling episode of 'Intervention'.

Someone is abusing inhalants in my alley, and they're hitting it hard enough to need a lot of comfort or having to sleep it off?!?
Screw that.
Gloves are off.
Huffers are unpredictable and dangerous.

The latest pile is already in the landfill and if it happens again (how many old blankets/comforters can they have?) I'm taking measures.
Surveillance is ramped up already and between my garden hose and band spotlights, a harshed buzz is the least of their worries. Wouldn't mind getting a stealthy photo of the perp "inaction", but a few of the SAPD busting them will be just as good.