Monday, December 01, 2008

Had a great weekend in Big "D".

Really, it turned out to be a wonderful time. We drove up Friday evening, leaving my house at about 4Pm. OK, there was a bit of drama just before we left, but aside from that, everything went off smoothly.

I'd had the concert tickets in my briefcase for a few months, ever since I used a color printer at work to print them off (my own printer is hosed up... Long story). I knew they were there, but for some reason I couldn't find them the first three or four times I looked on Friday. I got pissed off at myself, and in the stress of the moment I conjuring up all sorts of false memories of maybe putting them somewhere else. Then I looked in the briefcase one more time and there they were. By that time Denise was just about ready to shoot me, as you can imagine. But hell, they were just where I though they were all the time. No problems, eh?

We got to Dallas and checked into the Hyatt and found the place overrun, as usual, by foreign tourists. I think they had some sort of conference going on and a few weddings too. We ended up on the 14th floor, back by the Northeast wall of the building, with windows looking out on down town. We couldn't see much of the view though, because it was already pitch black outside even though it was only about 6:15. They hadn't even turned on the lights of down town yet when we drove up. It was like the place was dead. They must have them set on a timer.

Anyway, Denise freshened up and changed clothes wile I surfed the TV channels. Finally, at about 7:15, we headed over to the House of Blues, which is just off the highway, on the other side of the West End Marketplace from the hotel. It's within walking distance from the hotel, but it was too friggin' chilly to bother, so I drove us over. We ended up payin' $10 to park, but it was handy and easy to get to and from the place. No big deal.

The concert was supposed to start at 8PM, but the lead-up group, Electric Touch, didn't materialize till almost 9. They turned out to be a mostly forgettable pop band, though they showed great skill with their music. It just didn't seem to have much depth. They looked like they'd spent as much or more time getting dressed for the gig and getting their rock star posing down as they'd spent on the music. Give them time to grow up and they might just turn into something. Who knows?

The real show started when the curtains opened at almost 10PM and the Arc Angels took the stage. These guys are an amazing group. They put out one great record in the early 1990s and then broke up, supposedly because of the guy on the left there, Doyle Bramhall II, who was a huge junky then. He and the rest of the group all went their separate ways then, with the rhythm section, Double Trouble, playing gigs with everyone who runs through Austin at one time or another, and the guy on the right, Charlie Sexton, putting out solo stuff and laying gigs with the likes of Bob Dylan.

Ol' Doyle cleaned himself up, put out his own solo stuff and even toured eventually with Roger Waters and Eric Clapton. He's an amazing guitar player, as is Sexton, both having been influenced by numerous Austin Blues giants, including Stevie Ray Vaughan (Double Trouble played with him till his death). So I was really looking forward to hearing some wonderful sounds. They didn't disappoint! For a full review of the gig, and to save me from having to cut and paste, go here and read the review I posted for a blog called the "Smoke-filled Backroom". While you're there, check out some of the other posts that've been put up. It's a cool place, and I'm proud to be one of their contributors.

Saturday morning, late, with my ears still buzzing a little, we rolled out of the sack and got out of the room just in time to make the noon deadline.

I took the time to take a few shots of the scenery out the 14th floor window. That's the train station there on the right. I always love this view, but it can be deceiving. It makes Dallas look small, when in fact the city sprawls out beyond this panorama as far as the eye can see. I took Denise on a drive through some of that scenery, taking her east out through "Deep Ellum", and almost to fair Park.

Then we turned back North and we ended up over on Central Expressway. We found a Denny's over by SMU and both chose the "Moons Over My Hammy" for brunch. I had a few tall glasses of milk and she had coffee. The food was wonderful. Then I drove Denise back down Mockingbird and she spent a while going through the Stein Mart, looking for goodies. After that we headed over to Market Hall. That's when I got to check out the goodies!

A friend of mine had arrived at the huge market Hall gun show as soon as the thing opened, and had been texting and calling me, telling me how packed it was. According to him there was a mile long line just to get into the place. Well, but the time we got there at around 2:30, the line was gone, but the place sure was packed, and the prices were out the roof. The post-election panic has set in, and the prices for Kalashnikov rifles has gone up $300 to $500! I was amazed, even though I'd had people telling me about it for three weeks.

Thing is, I really don't need another AK, but ever since the election, with the Democratic Party majority, and the inevitable liberal war on gun owners just around the corner, I've got several friends who've discovered a need for one of these toys. A few folks, seeing the price increases, have even asked me if I'd sell them one of mine. "Hell no!" I tell them. I don't buy guns to sell them. I buy then to keep them.

So I was just walking around, checking out the market, looking things over for other folks. I found one rifle, normally priced at $350 to $500, which the owner had bumped up to $599. Then I saw all the others... Guns that normally go for $400 to $500, but now have prices like $800 or $1200 on them. Amazing!

I'd walked in looking for a gun safe for myself, but after paying the bills on Friday it turned out there wasn't enough left in the stack for the one I wanted. It'll wait. In the end, as I walked down the last isle, I ended up plunking down $125 for a Polish butt stock! It'll go on a Polish AK-47 I have, completing the rifle and making it really authentic. As is, my gun doesn't have the metal parts on the butt that are used to attach the rubber buffer that's used when you launch rifle grenades. I have the rifle grenade launcher and the sight, and the rubber bumper, but the rifle didn't come with the metal parts attached to fit the bumper. Now it'll have them.

So, we drove away, me being happy as hell with my purchase, and Denise amazed at all the stuff we crazy Yanks still have the right to own. We drove west to Ft. Worth and spent some time with a good friend of mine, Jim Aycock. We've been best friends ever since we met on a canoe trip in the late 1980s. He was in town for Thanksgiving, so we took the opportunity to catch up.

After that, Denise and I drove home. We got home around 11:30.

Well, the library is closing on me, so that;'s gonna have to be it. Later folks. I'll post something later in the week and tell you how Thanksgiving went. Cheers!


Mushy said...

Good shots's always surprising what you can shoot in low light!

Anonymous said...

Great review and pictures!! Thanks for sharing. I´m a huge Arc Angels and Doyle´s fan.
Would like to be there at HOB.
Unfortunatelly i live so far...

Please, I need to email you.
contact me:

Greetings from Brazil