Friday, May 30, 2014

Spurs Mascot Fun

Here in San Antonio we love the Spurs and their mascot, the Coyote.
The original was amazing, and after he suffered a stroke and couldn't carry on his understudy has grown into the job so well you wouldn't know the difference.

The last game we went to was vs my cousin's home team the Memphis Grizzlies, game # 77 of 82 in the regular season. That night the first 10,000 people through the gate received a Coyote Bobblehead!

Here's the pic I took in the stands and posted to Facebook right before tipoff:
Five of us went to the game (Spurs won) and 6 coyotes came home. Somebody didn't want to keep theirs and left it unattended for long enough that our friend snagged it. Is the box empty? Do we need to call security of the homeland variety? Is this a test of honesty? What would an American in the 1990s do?

The deal announced during a break in the game was that free lower-level tickets to an upcoming game would be awarded to the best photo tagged #coyotebobblehead on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Well hell, I was all over that idea.
Within a couple of days we were in Austin and I had brought a mascot.


 
After the capitol we hit an Irish pub on 6th Street for a few hours:
 
After getting home I kept having fun with the coyote under the self-imposed limitation of only taking pictures with my phone:



Amazing what you can do using LED flashlights and a tripod with a DIY smartphone mount.

But my photos never showed up in the pool of contest contenders, so either they didn't add FB entries for some reason or there was a very short time window to get them in. Almost every entry I saw was weak in concept and especially execution.

Oh well, no free tickets but at least I had fun trying.

It's not really a bobblehead anyway.
When you flick the head it goes "Boing-ing-ing-ing-ing" and that's about it.
A real bobblehead has a balancing act going on between the weight of the head and the action of the spring it's mounted upon that sucks you in and takes way more than 2 seconds to finish.
Slow and hypnotic, random and magical.

Much like Spurs basketball when they are playing the way they do when we win.





Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

 
My Father's Air Force ring, from 1955. 
It wouldn't fit Ken so I wore it as a teen. Then I lost it, which made me feel like the worst son in history. Luckily I had a very special cat named Morris who adored me, and he found it. 
(Biggest cat I've ever seen, too. He ended up moving to Texas while I stayed in New York and eventually lost a fight with a coyote). 


Today (Sunday) started weird, yet fitting. 
The very top item on my Facebook news feed this morning was this: 


 
Seems a friend of one of my cousins lives in Maryland and went to Arlington National Cemetery this weekend. I'm guessing my cousin requested an extra mission to find and photograph my dad's marker so we could all see it. 
A couple years after the ceremony in late 2004 I stumbled across a pic of the stone online, but these are much better. Especially with all the little flags for Memorial Day. 

Went through a bunch of documents last night, and noticed a few things. 
Such as: what are the odds that 3 of the six men onboard my dad's AC-47 had the middle name Eugene? 
One of the other 3 was NMI, which raises the "Gene Pool" to 60%. 

Our prayers go out to all those lost while serving this great country, and their survivors. 










Saturday, May 17, 2014

Samsung Pics #1

As I mentioned before, many cameras including the Galaxy S3 went to Austin.

On the grounds surrounding the capitol building I found a rather new Vietnam War Memorial that was pretty nice:
 
With only minor phone manipulation it was possible to get an exposure that revealed much more of what was actually there. Very impressed sometimes by how camera-like Samsung phones can be. 

 



Back at the state cemetery, this view of the 9/11 Memorial turned out nice straight from the phone, and a tiny bit of Photochop didn't make the file get all wonky: 
 
That's WTC steel girders in the middle, with actual battle damage alongside the artistry. 
Had no idea such a display was here in Texas, and as someone who spent many of the most important years of my life living in New York it was good that none of my friends were nearby when I found this shrine. Got a bit misty-eyed, or maybe allergies.  




Monday, May 12, 2014

Onward To The Capitol

After a nice lunch at Threadgill's, that is. 

 

It's inspiring from the outside, partly because it's bigger than the Federal one in DC. Security was fairly stiff, which I forgot to expect. My camera bag was full of all kinds of sharp and burny things that get emptied out before I fly anywhere, but after a few apologies combined with my joking attitude entry was obtained without getting charged with a crime.  









 
This was my first visit to the center of Texas government, and it was beautiful and inspiring. 
Nice restrooms, too. Definitely going back. 


Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Texas State Cemetery In Good Old Black & White

Took 4 cameras with me that day, and used three. Yes, I count my Galaxy S3 phone as a camera because it sure acts like one much of the time. Didn't end up using the Vivitar HD videocam.
These were shot with my 2003-vintage Sony F828 which is rigged to block all visible light and only record infrared. I just like the way things look this way, from the bright foliage to the dark skies. It's different without being too wacky.







 
This is the money shot. The wrecked headstone drew my attention right away, and this in-your-face composition really works for me. Your mileage may vary. 


Next Up: We visit the Capitol building.




Saturday, May 03, 2014

Texas State Cemetery

A few weeks ago I escorted 75% of my 2013 Lake Tahoe Vacation "Duckies" on a day trip to Austin to visit the resting place of some important people.
Located a mile or so east of the heart of Texas partying--on the other side of Interstate 35 from 6th Street:


 For my international readers who might not know, Texas Governor John Connally was seriously wounded while sitting right next to President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas.






Ann Richards was a much more recent Governor, and the first woman to hold the highest office in Texas. A good sport, she lent her voice and image to an episode of the cartoon "King Of The Hill".



Now we bring things up a notch in the pecking order around here.
Tom Landry was THE coach when the Dallas Cowboys football team meant something.
His body isn't actually here, but his legacy means enough that a monument is mandatory.
His hat is a Texas Icon that rivals those worn by the cowboys and patriots who settled our great state.