Friday, December 27, 2013

Keeping On...

A few days before the rug got pulled, I was prepping our patio for the annual Christmas party. That meant cashing-in 8 bags of crushed aluminum cans. Probably 10% sodas, 90% beer, 67% of which was Miller High Life.
Learned just how bad cheap bags can be. Go Hefty.

Filled the bed of my truck, which is a Dodge Dakota that is much bigger than a Ford Ranger or Chevy S10 or Colorado, but skinnier than the F150/RAM/Silverado class of trucks.

When I got to Northwest Recycling on Grissom Road, there was a mom in an SUV that had the whole rear of her vehicle filled to the roof with cans.
Sadly, they were packed 10-12 uncrushed in little grocery store plastic bags.
The recycling can man had given her a 55 gal. drum, and she was un-knotting the bags and dumping cans at a snail's pace.

I pulled up and was out of there in 7.45 minutes with my cash.
2+ years of bevvies.
113 pounds of aluminum cans @ $0.45 per pound.
A $50 bill plus change.
Had the cans been gold at that day's spot price, $2.15 million.
A nice bit of cash but for the amount of time involved rinsing, crushing, and moving it's no way to make a living.

On that other subject, I took this photo within a minute of Ken's passing.

Was waiting for the word after pulling the plug, and like our mother and grandmother before him, I knew.

I finally found the backup disc with original files of this shoot, so I made a quick wallpaper to keep on a screen during our party:
My late brother, the mad scientist.

I had already taken a similar photo of myself and then Sylvia, followed by Holly's Kat, and getting him to cooperate was easy because he knew it would make a perfect header for Ken's blog.
Nobody else got smoke machine action, which was routed through his shop-vac's hose held between his knees.

Didn't take enough pictures of him, but he LOVED these so I don't feel guilty.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kenneth Donald

I keep asking myself if this shitty nightmare is real.
My brother just died.
My heart is broken.
I'm the only surviving member of our immediate family.

Sylvia and her mom + sister were the kind of solid and experienced support you'll wish you had in a situation like this.
I Love all of you SO much.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Craving Christmas

Our annual tradition is to cruise around San Antonio looking for an amazing and iconic photo for our Christmas cards.
I had a good run for like 6 years, but as we get busier in our advancing years the number of nights available for photo expeditions has been cut severely and we've been lucky to have a bunch of good shots in the archives.

Too many parties.

And 2013 had a damned late Thanksgiving, which cut at least a week off the normal "Holiday Season" when we achieve some kind of focus on the many demands.

This year I decided to use a very nice photo from 2006-7 that has long been a top favorite, and the cards went to the Post Office a few hours ago.
Not what I wanted as far as advancing my skills and staying current and modern, but time was running out.

At least we got 1 shot at something new.

For example, local universities with amateur decorators:
St. Mary's:

Scenes around Our Lady Of The Lake:

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Home Stretch

The title fits several situations:
The Year 2013 of course, getting ready for Christmas, nailing down the details of an upcoming trip.

Also, as referenced in my previous post way back in October (longest time I've ever spent away from this blog) my computer issues are close to being sorted out.
The laptop has a new harddrive and suddenly can do many things it couldn't before, while the plan for my PC is merely awaiting execution ($$$ + spare time).

On the projects front, the restoration of my dad's Mauser rifle is nearly complete, and it's turned out better than I had hoped.
For a guy with mostly synthetic stocks, refinishing the wood and grinding a new rubber buttpad to fit went very smoothly. Beginners luck?
All I need now is a new scope with enough magnification to do it justice. 5X is a bit weak for a firearm that can hit varmints accurately at over 400 yards.
(I don't hunt--for me it's all about the science of the hardware and restoring a gun that was built by my father a few years before he was killed, and had been "Lost" in Tennessee for 50 years).

Now that I have a computer that can run Photoshop again, I can even post pictures!

Hopefully we'll find some time to capture something new and different for our 2013 Christmas card photo, but if not I have plenty of good material from many previous shoots.

Whether anyone missed me or not, I'm glad to be back.
Facebook and Twitter etc are fun and convenient and reach lots of people, but I've been blogging for almost 9 years and there's something special about having your own little corner of the interwebs that stands on it's own with archives and everything.
At Thanksgiving dinner one of Sylvia's sisters told me that her friend recently got into photography and actually read all 899 posts before this one.
I'm flattered and hope she found some helpful info and/or inspiration. No idea how long that took.

This is my 900th post to Views Of Texas.
I'm not a very prolific blogger compared to a few years ago, but an average of twice a week ain't so bad.