Sunday, October 29, 2006

Well, that was bizarre.

That was a long blank weekend. Left town early Monday, leaving the blog with a blank white page. Figured that Blogger was screwed up somehow and that they'd probably be fixed by the time I got back. I got home this afternoon from spending the night in Dallas, and the friggin' thing was still blank. I could go into the dashboard and the template, but when I clicked on "view blog", I'd get a blank page. So I went in to the Template and republished, refreshed the screen to view the changes, and there was this nasty orgy of fat people goin' down on the screen. Made me wish for the blank white page again. So here's somethin' better to look at, with a holiday theme.

So all is right with the world. The trip to Dallas was fun. Stopped by my gun smith on the way and picked up a new toy. He built me a Hungarian side folder, but didn't charge me for the build. When I brought up the parts a few months back, he noticed that I had an authentic Hungarian receiver in the kit. Turns out he'd been looking for one for a long time for a build he had set up for himself. I remember him asking me If I'd trade my receiver for another and him saying something about giving me a deal on the build. So I was happily surprised when I asked him what I owed him and he said "nothing". Birthday came early this year.

Drove on up to Big "D" and met up with my buddy and his daughter at a book store near their house in Duncanville, after which we went to an Italian place just off 67 for lunch. Had a big, steaming Stromboli and some good bread. Then we just piddled around for a while. We went to his office for a bit, to a very cool gun store near SMU that specializes in antiques, then to a used CD store. The gun store is Jackson Armory on Rosedale. They have lots of stuff from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, as well as the modern era. They had a really nice old wheel lock rifle that must be 150 years old. Beautiful, but over in the corner, along with the cool old antiques, there were a few crappy looking Rumanian AKMs. Even saw a few Chinese SKSs. I love the old stuff, old civil war era rifles, but Kalashnikovs are like crack for me. Love 'em. Felt like going out to the trunk and pullin' out my nice new Hungarian folder, but didn't want to show off.

Spent a few hours flipping through the stacks at the CD store, and then bought "Grace", by Jeff Buckly. Maybe some of you have heard the cut "hallelujah" from this album. Very nice. Check it out. Later we met up with a friend of my buddies who works as a public defender in Dallas, and his girlfriend, and we headed for the theatre. He has one of those "Had enough, Vote Democrat" signs up in his yard. I tell ya, I can get along with anyone. We went to see "Flags of Our Fathers", and then to Mariano's to eat Mexican food. They hadn't seen the movie yet, and I wanted to see it again. Still very effecting the second time. Thing is, so far the crowds in the theatres I've attended have been very light, and mostly older folks. I wonder what kind of business the movie is doing. MSN says it's third, with about $10.2 mil. in box office so far. Hope the young folks go to see it. It's really good.

Anyway, as soon as we sat down they started asking me to explain all the history behind the film, to put it in context. The P.D. and his girlfriend, also a lawyer in Dallas, were completely clueless about the whole thing, knowing little or nothing about the war and the context. We noted that the flag raising happened at the start of the battle, and that it went on for a month or so after that. He then made a joke about how if Bush had been president then, he would have gone on TV after the flag went up on Suribachi and there would have been a sign behind him saying "Mission Accomplished". I had to bight my tong. Wanted to say something about "Yea, and as soon as you libs realized how bloody the battles were gonna be you'd be calling it a 'quagmire' and looking for a way to quit." The girlfriend said something about how today's generation couldn't have stood the pressure of that war. I tried to say something about how people today are very different from the generation that grew up in the 20s and 30s, but that the guys fighting in Faludjah had done a pretty good job, considering the environment they have to do it in. Noted the journalists traveling with the soldiers to put up the flag on the hill in the movie, and that today's version of Ernie Pile isn't just satisfied reporting the American side of things. He wants to show enemy video of American soldiers getting their heads blown off by snipers too. It didn't go over well. They've made their minds up. That's cool. So have I. Again, I can get along with almost anybody.

Then the subject of the new gun came up. I had to explain the whole process of getting the parts set and having it built, assuring them that it is all perfectly legal. I had to listen to the predictable line from the chick about "why do you need a gun like that?" And really had to restrain myself from saying something like "well, it allows me to have this stupid conversation every time I come up to this town and meet up with you liberal assholes." I explained very calmly that it wasn't a "need" thing, but a "want" thing. After she said something like "I just don't like those machine things", someone happily changed the subject. Ya gotta love clueless idiots with confirmed opinions about things they really know nothing about. I hear she's really good in a courtroom though, getting all those drug dealers and corrupt businessmen off on legal technicalities. So who's doing more harm to society, lawyers or gun owners? It's a quandary.

Got up early this morning and we went to a waffle house for breakfast. There was a 35 minute wait at the Cracker Barrel. We parted there, and I drove home and got to the house by about 1230. The folks called and postponed the planned birthday trip for sis to the Outback till Tuesday, so I'm here doin' laundry and thinking about which Chinese food place I'll patronize this evening. Anyway, I hope all your weekends were fun. I'm gonna' relax and start thinking about my next adventure. I'm getting psyched to go to Terlingua this Thursday. I'll have a short week of school and then four days and three nights of camping and eating awesome chili and barbecue. So you take care and try not to be too jealous. Maybe I'll have pictures to post when I get back.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Here's to a big sweaty orgy of fun for everybody on another Fatty Friday.

Ok, eeew. And dig Chewbacca there in the background. Very nice.

It's that time again. Another week has slipped away, never to be seen again. I say good riddance. It was a mixed bag for me. Started out good. Nice rainy days, with the sound of the rain welcoming me to consciousness in the wee hours of the morning. LOVE waking up to that shit. Love driving to work in it too, so long as it's not a real turd floater. God knows we need the stuff.

I'm at the end of the second week of this semester. The first set of exams are about to be loosed upon the unsuspecting students. Next week will be fun. First exams just in time for Halloween. Nice. Having a great time with a few classes, with the others are harmlessly moving along as usual. It's funny how one class will have a mix of students who speak up and joke and make the class fun, while another class will sit there and stare back in a trance. The whole thing has settled into the normal groove, and I just found out that I'm not going to get paid at the end of this month.

This is one of the real pissy down sides of this sort of gig. If they don't start the semester at the right time of the month, within the first two weeks of the month, the administrators supposedly don't have enough time to get the payroll paperwork in so it can be processed. So we adjunct instructors have to go an extra two weeks before we get paid. If yer like me, and you have so many bills goin out that you're living from one paycheck to another, times like this can really be a pain. Basically, we'll end up getting our money in three larger checks, rather than four regular ones. That will be nice, but the bill collectors don't care if some dufus in the main campus fucked up. Anyway, such is the life of those of us who toil away doing part-time piece work.

Also found out this week that the army is pushing a new thing for next year. They want the soldiers to be able to get more classes done in a shorter amount of time, so the college is going to try a new thing in January. They'll set up a few experimental classes that will last two hours a day, five days a week, for a month. Very much like the mini terms we do over the three week summer of Christmas breaks. I'll get the same pay for teaching a month long class that I get for teaching an eight week class or a sixteen week class (same total amount of contact hours with each). Sound appetizing? I'm psyched about it, just so long as I don't have to give up a few other classes to make the time for it.

Trading one class for another won't work. We just won't agree to teach the classes if it means we're losing money on the deal, not that the administrators would worry about that. Their main motivation is to get more asses in seats and sell more books, but they don't care if we get fucked out of a paycheck now and then. Cool. I know the situation and I sign the contracts, but it amazes me when they tell us how much they appreciate us at the faculty meetings and then try to dick us whenever it will furthers the cause. We just look at each other and shake out heads.

Taking dad to out eat Chinese food and then to another high school football game tonight. His alma mater sucks big nasty dicks at football. They've won one game so far, against the kids I teach each morning in Florence. How funny is that? It's still good times though, and dad loves it. I'll treasure these memories one of these days. Driving to Dallas Saturday to visit with a buddy, go to some new gun store he's found, and probably go see "Flags of our Fathers" again. Might even drop by the gun smith on the way and pick up a new toy. Life goes on. Sis turns a year older this weekend, so we'll be celebrating Sunday over a "bloomin' onion" at the Outback, and then probably some really sinful goodness at the marble slab ice cream place.

Next week will be lots of fun. Exams on Monday and Tuesday, Halloween in the Blogospere (should be fun), and then I'm going to a chilli cookoff in Terlingua, down near the Big Bend, from Thursday to Sunday. So everyone have a great weekend and I'll see ya later. Maybe pictures from Terlingua.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The end of a lazy but good weekend.

Had all sorts of plans for this weekend, most of which never materialized. Funny how that happens. I was going to head down to Austin to visit a gun show Saturday and check out the state history museum down there with a friend and his family, and then I was going to go up to Dallas Sunday to visit with another buddy (one of the Enchanted Rock campers). We were going to go to visit some gun store he's found up there and eat some nice food, and then see "Flags of our Fathers", which both of us were dying to see. I ended up not connecting with ether guy, sleeping in both days, doing about 5 loads of laundry (sheets and bedspreads and shit), cleaning up around my desk, going through and then throwing away a lot of old magazines and catalogs that have been piling up for months. Finally, I ended up spending Sunday afternoon with the folks and my sister, eating mom's fabulous spaghetti and taking my sister to see the 5pm showing of "Flags". What an amazing film.

Some of you may be disappointed to know that this isn't really a film about the Battle of Iwo Jima. Like the John Wayne classic, "Sands of Iwo Jima", this is really a film about the men who were there and what they went through before and after. It's about the flag raising, the men who did it, and what happened to them later. But It's really about how important that flag raising picture was to the people at the home front, and how the government used it to raise billions of dollars to help fund the war effort as it was grinding down to the end. The film is very moving, as I expected it to be. The scenes with the author interviewing the old veterans who are remembering the events of the war, and the story of the author and his elderly father had me just about balling. It was all I could do to restrain myself from blubbering like a fool. My sister too. Every time I see a film like this, like the opening and ending scenes in "Saving Private Ryan" where Ryan as an old man is walking through the cemetery, it makes me think how short a time I have left with my dad, how much I'll miss him one day, and how much I love him. We're losing about 1500 WW2 veterans a day now. One of these days, probably not too far in the future, my own father will be part of that statistic. We owe those guys everything we have. They gave us a huge inheritance, and I'm afraid it's being slowly pissed away. It makes me very mad to see it.

The scenes of the preparation and the battle are amazing, and the scenes of the bond drive after the battle (the events are interwoven back and forth throughout the film) are very moving and tragic, particularly when it comes to the story of Ira Hayes. Tony Curtis played Hayes in a movie back in the early 60s that is actually very good, but this version is much better. You see how he was repeatedly degraded by everyone along the way, and how he had no chance to grieve for his comrades who were lost, resorting to the temporary comfort of the bottle to deal with it all. Hayes' story is really the story of how combat screws you up for ever, and how some guys deal with it a bit better than others, but how you are never really the same. It's something we know a lot more about now, and something we need to always remember.

I was basically aware of much of the story going in to the film, even though I've never read the book that the film is based on. It's a story that's been told before, but this retelling is well worth seeing. The things they can do now with computer graphics makes you think you are seeing the real events unfold in front of you. It all amazes me, but the heart of this film, and the real value of it is in the emotion that comes from the human story. It's about these guys and their families. The mothers and the fathers, and the nation that desperately needed these heroes, who protested over and over that they were not really heroes. It's for all the sons who have never really been able to know their dads, and what they went through as young men. I've been saving pictures off the web ever since I've had this friggin thing, and a few are from Iwo. If you go to see the film, make sure you stick around and sit through the end credits. They show a lot of pictures like these that brings the events of the film into focus again. Here are the real guys. Enjoy.

The landing craft moving in to the beach.

Artillery shelling Japanese positions.

Supply ships unloading all the stuff they needed to fight the battle.

Marines, living and dead, strewn along the beach.

A Marine with a Thompson, taking aim.

The detritus of war, with Mount Surobatchi in the background.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Some of these are Hilarious, spot on. Enjoy.

Q. What is the difference between a drug dealer and a hooker?
A. A hooker can wash her crack and sell it again.

What's a mixed feeling?
A. When you see your mother-in-law backing off a cliff in your new car.

What's the height of conceit?
A. Having an orgasm and calling out your own name.

What's the definition of macho?
A. Jogging home from your vasectomy.

What's the difference between a G-spot and a golf ball?
A. A guy will actually search for a golf ball

Do you know how New Zealanders practice safe sex?
A. They spray paint X's on the back of the sheep that kick!

Why is divorce so expensive?
A. Because it's worth it!

What is a Yankee?
A. The same as a quickie, but a guy can do it alone.

What do Tupperware and a walrus have in common?
A. They both like a tight seal.

Q. W
hat do a Christmas tree and priest have in common?
A. Their balls are just for decoration.

What is the difference between "ooooooh"and "aaaaaaah"?
A. About three inches.

Why do gay men wear ribbed condoms?
A. For traction in the mud.

What's the difference between purple and pink?
A. The grip.

How do you find a blind man in a nudist colony?
A. It's not hard.

How do you circumcise a hillbilly?
A: Kick his sister in the jaw.

What's the difference between a girlfriend and a wife?
A: 45 pounds.

What's the difference between a boyfriend and a husband?
A: 45 minutes.

Why do men find it difficult to make eye contact?
A: Breasts don't have eyes.

If the dove is the bird of peace, what is the bird of true love?
A. The swallow.

What is the difference between medium and rare?
A: Six inches is medium, eight inches is rare.

Why do women rub their eyes when they get up in the morning?
A. They don't have balls to scratch!

Oh shit, I was surfin' and I think I accidentally found the Cuban governments blog.

Go to this site and check it out. On second thought, it must be Miguel's personal blog because it looks too amateurish to be from Castro's propaganda machine. They've had too many years of practice to put out shit like this. Anyway, Peace out comrades. If Hitler were alive today, chillin' in some South American hacienda, you think he'd have a blog? Lets ask him.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hey, remember a while back when I posted those pictures of the belly tattoos with the strategically placed belly buttons?

Well, here's the female version, I guess. Avert your eyes if yer squeamish. I found a T-shirt that had an image like that on it in Olongopo, Subic Bay back in December of 1990. Was on my way to the Persian Gulf on the USS Ranger. The image was that of a hissing tiger, but on looking more closely one eventually made out the curves of the ladies legs, and everything else. Needless to say, in many ways, Olongopo was an eye opener.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Here's another awesome picture from that astronomy site.

This is a shot taken from the shadow of Saturn, looking toward
the eclipse of the sun. Be sure and click on it to get the full effect.
Wild eh? Totally cool.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What kind of car would you be?

Try this little test. It's amusing. I was a Lamborgini. Go figure. And I'm so happy for Jeffrey, winning PR. Sucks that Uli and the others had to lose though. Their stuff was amazing. Knocks me out that they can come up with beautiful stuff like that. Wow. Cool car they gave him too. I'm gonna miss that friggin' show.

Most of the really important things I learned as a kid I learned at recess...

And now stupid shit like this is making it impossible for today's kids to learn many of those valuable lessons. Shister lawyers and stupid lazy parents are making it so that the kids can't be allowed to play outside for fear that someone will sue the school if little Johnny stubs his toe, or even if little Jane gets here self esteem bruised by not being picked for a team. I had to live with that little bit of public humiliation on a regular basis when I was a kid, and I knew it was because I sucked at the games they wanted to play.

Turns out I didn't care very much about their games, and rather than be hurt by the rejection, I learned to tell them to go fuck themselves when they didn't pick me. But if I'd wanted to be picked, I'd have worked harder to get better at the game. I had all those options back then, and the decision I was allowed to make is one of the things that made me the guy I am today. Now, all you have to do is go crying to the local representative of the Nanny State and they step forward to stop everyone from playing the games at all.

What sort of lesson does that teach the kids? What sort of country will they foist on their kids a generation from now? It's no wonder so many of the little bastards are fat as hell and spending all their time playing with computers. This nation is going to hell fast. Makes me sick.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A friend sent me these. Enjoy.

(click on this image to get the full effect...)

And in case you need to insult somebody:

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
-- Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
-- Winston Churchill (about Clement Attlee)

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries
with great pleasure."
-- Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a
reader to the dictionary."
-- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
-- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time
reading it."
-- Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any
man I know."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
-- Groucho Marx

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I
approved of it."
-- Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
-- Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new Play,
bring a friend... if you have one."
-- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second...if there
is one."
-- Winston Churchill, in response

"I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here."
-- Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
-- John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
-- Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
-- Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
-- Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy."
-- Walter Kerr

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
-- Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
-- Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the
sum of human knowledge."
-- Thomas Brackett Reed

"He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears,
but by diligent hard work, he overcame them."
-- James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
-- Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
-- Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address
on it?"
-- Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
-- Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever
they go."
-- Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for
support rather than illumination."
-- Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music.
-- Billy Wilder


In Memoriam

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common
Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were
long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as
knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the
worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend
more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not
children, arein charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set into place. Reports of a
six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a
classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after
lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only
worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing
the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental
consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a Band Aid to a student
but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant
and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments
became contraband, churches became businesses, and criminals
received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself
from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her
lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and
Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son,

He is survived by three stepbrothers: I Know My Rights; Someone
Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral
because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and
do nothing.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here's something I'd love to do.

There's a guy around here who has one of these things, and flies it up and down the highway every once and a while. Always mesmerizes me. Always loved the idea of hang gliding and being out there in the wind, at low level, where you can see the ground under you. Wright brothers type stuff.

Friday, October 13, 2006

How the hell do you tell who is who...

maybe by the different purses, and by who's wearing the explosive vest?

It's that time again, and this time she's packin'.

Have a happy "Fatty Friday" everyone. I, for one, am totally feelin' the spirit of the day. She's a hot mamasita, and she knows it. Wuff. What the hell is the deal with the toy gun though? See, I was totally buyin' it till I saw the red tip on the toy gun. Damn.

Anyway, I'll be takin' dad on our regular trip to eat massive quantities of Chinese food, and then we're gonna watch another high school football game. His old alma mater, Academy, is playing the kids I teach each morning from Florence. Should be fun. I'll have to walk over to the other bleachers and say "hay" to the little twerps. Maybe meet their parents. Slap em around and tell em what little shits their kids are? Hm, and then I'll wake up.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Here are the shots of Enchanted Rock, as promised.

First, let me remind you to click on any of these immages to see the larger shot.

This is the parking lot looking up at the lesser of the two large domes. Our camp sites were across a little creek, under the trees, right at the base of the rock, looking strait ahead from this viewpoint. The showers and heads were right behind me as I took this. Very handy.

This is a shot of a few of our group climbing the dome next to our camp site. Lots of jumping from one rock to another and going up and down ledges. Lots of fun for the kids.

My two man tent. Bought it off the floor at REI in Austin. Got it cheap because it was the last one, and the display model. Very cozy on trips like this when I think it might rain. It didn't though. Lucky. I have another one, a 4 man, for when it's hot and rain isn't expected. Much roomier. Another REI buy. Can't have too many. It all about the gear.

My other gear at the camp site. I ended up having one site to myself. A buddy who was supposed to come didn't show up, and many of these folks are aware of the fact that I snore like a large mammal. As a result, whenever possible, they camp a distance away. I get shunned, but it's no skin of my ass. I like the solitude.

here's a shot of the big rock from the little one we were climbing Saturday. Typical underbrush on the rock. Lots of cactus and scrub. Deer all over the place, and lizards scampering under the rocks. Didn't see any snakes, but had evil thoughts about getting a rattle so I can play tricks on folks next year. Nothing like hearing that noise as you reach up to grab a hand hold.

More scrub on the top of the smaller dome.

Climbing down the side of the smaller rock, looking over at the big "Enchanted" one. The people at the left of the shot are waiting to shimmy up into a crevice. You have to crawl in or slide on your ass to get into it, but then it opens up into a chimney. You climb up that thing by sticking your foot on one side, leaning your back onto the other, and then walking up, pushing and taking hand holds as you go. The kids always want to do it, but I'm not built for tight spaces. Not claustrophobic at all. Just big as a house and tired of bumping my head into stuff. Anyway, I've seen the elephant. The valley between the two domes is stretched out before you here, and you can see something of the rocky terrain around the park where primitive camping is allowed.

Here's the tree filled "valley" between the two domes. You are looking Northwest with the smaller dome to your left and the big one to the right. There's a trail that goes down into those trees, where they've set up another restroom, or back to the parking lot. The trail heading into these tall nice trees connects to the larger one that goes around the whole site.

This is the look up at the main dome from the trail back to the parking lot. Note the size of the people walking up to the top (click on these to enlarge). We did that rip the next day.

Here's the view going up. Lots of folks resting. Lots of friggin' resting. Lets just say it's been a LONG time since I regularly did the stair machine, and I pay for it every year at this time.

And here's the view looking down and North from about the same place. It's an amazing view from the top, bit somehow I failed to get a shot if it this time. Look at the previous post for last years shot. I found a cool site where you can take a virtual tour of the rock. Click here to visit. It's pretty cool. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Went camping at Enchanted Rock this last weekend.

I've been going on this yearly trip to the Rock for about 5 or 6 years now. A friend of mine, his brother and their friends all started going there in the 70s when they were going to UT and many of them were working as life guards at Barton Springs. The used to have LOTS of illicit fun on those early trips, and some of them still keep those fires burnin' a bit now. But now most of them are middle-aged geezers with kids and the trip has changed a lot, and the park has changed too. It used to be pretty uncrowded and spartan. Now it's one of the most popular sites in the state and you have to get reservations months in advance if you want to camp there. Even if you're just driving up and want to climb the rock, you can find yourself waiting in line to get in. They only allow so many cars in at one time.

Once you get in, you'll find, as camping goes, it's roughing it with a very small "R". They have a primitive camping area around the other side of the main rock for backpackers, but we don't do that. We're car campers, par excellence. Air mattresses and gas stoves, and boom boxes with the appropriate tunes, and lots of nice coolers filled with your beverage of choice. Hot showers and flush toilets were within easy walking distance of our camp, which was right at the base of one of the rocks. I couldn't believe they'd managed to get these choice sites when I got there Saturday afternoon. It's first come, first served, and usually the best sites are taken when we get there. Last time we went we were on the other side of the street from the rock, down the way from the bathrooms, and had a fire ant infestation. I brought a bag of ant powder this time, but we didn't have issues. Those bastards can really fuck up a weekend.

The Rock is actually a set of 3 pink granite domes rising out of the western hill country south of Llano and north of Fredericksburg. The name comes from its history of being a camp site for Indians for thousands of years, and there is still lots of evidence of their presence. The park rangers don't broadcast the sites, for obvious reasons, but there are places where you can see where they ground corn on the rock, as well as pictographs. There's also an interesting story about a Texas Ranger captain named Jack Hayes who supposedly held off dozens of Comanches in the 1840s from some crevice in the main dome. Story says he shimmied himself into a crack so they could only get at him from the front, and then used his revolvers to convince them to eventually move on.

We've walked all over those rocks in the past, and the tradition is that we always explore the smaller ones first, and then go up to the top of the big one on the last day. I lay out and rest while some of the adults and most of the kids go exploring a set of caves that were carved out by water erosion in the top. This trip was no different. We saw lots of nice sized deer, and got to hear coyotes barking and howling in the night. I had a squirrel living in the roof over my picnic table who came out to investigate my gear on occasion. Experience has taught me to lock up or put away anything the coons or squirrels might be able to get into. Lost a steak once in broad daylight to a coon that undid the latch on the cooler and drug it off into the woods while I was talking to people in the next camp. Those little fuckers are brazen as hell. Gotta love em.

I took pictures with my usual disposable quickie from HEB, but haven't had them put on a disc yet, so here's a picture from last years trip just to get you started.

The guy in the middle is my buddy, who now is celebrating finally finishing his book on Custer and the Indian wars. Sent it to the publisher and only has to come up with a last short chapter to wrap it up. That's his daughter he's holding, and his brother to his left, his brothers kid, some other kid in the red shorts, I don't remember, and some other dude who must have wandered into the shot. I'll never tell.

We usually have nice weather for these trips, though it can rain or get cold occasionally. One guy always comes up for one night and brings a very nice telescope. We star gaze if the night is clear, but it wasn't this time. The weather was a little hot in the day time, but cloudy and cool at night. Perfect for sleeping in the tent. We were afraid it might rain, but it didn't. We always bring too much food, and the problem is worse now since we've begun to take advantage of nearby restaurants for at least one dinner and lunch. Ate BBQ at Cooper's in Llano the first night, and then had lunch at the Altdorf in Fredericksburg on Sunday. They were having Octoberfest there, but we didn't stick around. Cooked taters and BBQ ribs Sunday night. Nothin' like cookin' over a camp fire with friends.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lots of depressing shit in the news these days...

So here's somethin' funny to look at instead.

Can't seem to get a good rant goin' about anything.
They tend to materialize out of inspiration, and I
aint feelin it. Too much shit goin' on. Finishin' one
semester and startin' another, and in the middle
of another, all at the same time. So yer gonna get
lots of dirty pictures (careful) and shit from You
Tube for a while, until I get the itch. Lucky I've got
lots of this shit layin' around. Rainy day. Goin'
camping this weekend at Enchanted Rock. Maybe
that will inspire me.

More fun than anyone should be allowed to have.

I'm thinkin' that these have got to pose all sorts of engineering issues, for the person who has everything. Is there a scale that goes up this high?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Remember your first time?

Here's another fat bastard havin' a good day.