Saturday, December 30, 2006

BassPro Shops™

San Antonio finally has a BassPro Shop™.
The place is huge and full of everything a camper/hunter/fisherman etc would want.
I mean really huge.
Seeing-is-believing huge.
The 15+ foot Christmas tree by the front door has stuffed gamebirds instead of ornaments.

Other stuffed critters are everywhere, some cute--some scary.

The fish tanks are supersized, too. This catfish is at least 3 feet long.

The mess behind this mascot is the landscaping that's still in-progress. Ponds and streams are being built.

Personally, I prefer Sportsman's Warehouse™ because their gun section has more items of interest to me, like aftermarket parts for the ultimate customizable gun--the Ruger 10/22­. Also, their optics section has a wider selection of tripods than any camera store I have been to. It's where we found mine.
I also buy my work/photography gloves there.
Still, the BassPro Shop is impressive as hell.

And this was yet another situation where a phone camera comes in handy.
Pulling out my bigass Sony would have attracted unwanted attention.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sights While Christmas Shopping

At a sprawling, rickety amalgam of shops catering to handcrafters and antiques and uniques called Artisan's Alley.

Old dolls creep me out.
Hell, Bratz™ creep me out.

I hate the Cabbage Patch™ dolls not only because they are wicked fugly, but because on that certain Christmas many years ago when they were new and caused a must-have-frenzy I was the 19 yr old longhaired metalguy warehouse manager at a department store.
There was the constant stream of psychotic moms harassing the floor staff--who then called me to see if there were any more in the back--knowing there weren't but trying to avoid abuse by doing something.
Even worse were the Mommys offering me bribes of cash or drugs or you-know-what to set a few aside and deal them out the warehouse door.
It was the second Christmas where I lost some of my repect for people and the way they deal with the Holiday Season, where I learned that mothers are people, too.
Just as fucked-up as anyone else, only with kids.
No pedestals for anyone after that December.

The first Christmas when this happened, I was a Mall Santa.
The stories I could tell...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hispanic Television

I have reached the decision that camera-phone photos belong here at Zzakk's Garage, but not at my other sites. Just sayin'...
There's no way I could have gotten this crappy shot using my "real" camera, and the lower quality has no impact on the resulting post I'm about to write:

The setting was one of the Taqueria Jaliscos here in SA.
Most Las Palapas are closed on Sunday, and we didn't feel like driviing too far for some good breakfast tacos.
From the time we arrived until our food came this clown was having a loud conversation on his cell phone. That's fine, and not worth commenting on.
After he closed the connection however, his attention was captured by the TV.
And one of the very worst shows ever was on, where a bunch of adults dress as schoolchildren from an idealized time, with silly school uniforms much like little blue sailor outfits.
They all talk in annoying high-pitched voices, and the 'humor' is beyond stupid.
Just the worst. I can't stress enough how terrible it is.

What caused me to take this photo was that this idiot actually laughed out loud at something that happened onscreen!! Out Loud!, no shit.

Hispanic TV shows are all over the place quality-wise, just like in any other country you can name. There will always be dumb shit aimed at the lowest common denominators.
I used to watch 'Betty La Fea' a few years ago and liked it, even though I could only catch a few words and phrases here and there. (The Americanized version is ABC's new hit 'Ugly Betty', by the way.)

My point is that I don't know anyone who thinks this particular show with it's screeching and annoying actors doing the dumbest things is in any way funny, or even watchable for that matter.

Except for this guy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Trailer Trash And Ho's

I happened to be working at a private party that had the theme "Trailer Trash And Ho's", and unlike other themed parties I have worked at everyone was a good sport and showed up dressed appropriately.
The bartender (open bar!) hooked me up with the perfect beer, a PBR in a brown sack.
I used my camera-phone to shoot it in front of an educational display about Bluegills so as to retain some credibility as a serious amateur photographer.

There were mullets and fake(?) tattoos everywhere, as well as camo and WalMart smocks among the guys. This dude even tried to bum a smoke off me. Talk about being in character! (Not a big stretch I suspect)

The girls were true Ho's in every sense of the word. Just like on Halloween a woman's true nature comes out when told to wear a costume.
They can't help it, or they don't get it.
Either way, everyone had a lot of fun.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jello Wrestling

My band played an interesting show last night.
The dance floor was roped off and tarped because after we finished (early--yay!) there was Jello Wrestling for girls only. Grand prize was $300 cash, runner-up got a $100 bar tab.
Since the sports bar hosting the event is known for skanky waitresses with their boobs and butts hanging out I guess I was expecting bikinis and model wannabes putting on a show, but these "ladies" were hardcore!
The little one in the pink shirt was waiting her turn and looked pretty intimidated by the much bigger competition, but as the photos below show, when her turn came she fought like a tiger!

Everyone in the band was impressed, and I hope she finished in the money, but I have no idea whether she won or lost because the chance to get home long before 3-4am was too good to pass up.
Even the 69-cent beers couldn't keep me there, and that's saying something!

Monday, November 20, 2006


Due to all of the photos of critters I post to my blogs, our house has earned the nickname "Jumanji".
We're in a seemingly normal suburban neighborhood until you look close.

A list of the local animals I have posted photos of:
Deer and more deer, peacocks, possums, squirrels, toads, a horse, cows, four kinds of lizard, black vultures and other birds, praying mantis, cicadas, wasps, snails, butterflies, spiders, bees, ladybugs, plus cats and dogs.

This pair of whitetails were in the alley behind our house today.
We also have snakes, skunks and raccoons, but they have managed to elude my camera so far.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bench Plus™

I spotted this polished granite bench at the Botanical Gardens today.
Your guess is as good as mine as to what the protruding phallic thing is all about.
There was no sign explaining it's purpose or the country of origin, but Greek would be my guess for both.

And hell no, I didn't touch the Plus™ part.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I think mimes are dumb. (If you got that, sorry.)
But really, they're of French origin so it can't be a good idea.
Electric blue ones? Strike two.
Corporate Mimes?
You're out!

(From Sunday's Airshow at Lackland AFB)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The OctaPotty

Under the highway interchange where I was taking pictures tonight I noticed the subject seen here.
Didn't really know what I was seeing for a few minutes.

It's the OctaPotty, right?
Eight wedge-shaped portable toilets in a ring.
For the people who're waiting for a bus at the Park-And-Ride.
And for those who hook-up in their cars under the bridge, to dispose of the evidence.

But in a ring?
A little too cozy for me.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


During last weekend's Chalk It Up event in downtown San Antonio I spotted these jackasses getting out of the taxi on the left.
My intuition told me to be ready because they looked like assholes, and I was right.
The one on the right dragged his heavy bag right across a piece of artwork that someone had spent hours producing.
Some people are too caught up in their own sense of self-importance.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The One Car Show

(Click to enlarge)
This past Saturday in front of the Municipal Auditorium we spotted a fine-ass Ford Mustang from the late '60s parked on the sidewalk.
Two guys were hanging around, polishing it up and talking. Sometimes another pedestrian would walk over and shoot the shit with them.
90 minutes later the same scene was playing.

We decided it was the One Car Show.

Maybe everyone else forgot to come?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Get Out Of My Way!

Today saw the bar raised when it came to rude assholes strolling in front of me and my camera when they clearly saw me setting up a shot!
I blew off some good photos because it got so bad.
No respect, I tell ya.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Too many remotes in this house, don't you agree?

Teacher: "Use the word 'moat' in a sentence?"
Short bus thug: "Chappelle is on, hand me the 'mote!"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chimp Gynecologist by Pierre Dumas

(Click to enlarge)

Been up for five days, and no comments.
So how about we make this a caption contest?
Winner gets to walk around looking smug for 15 hours.
C'mon people.

(Photo ©2006 by Pierre Dumas)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Halloween Is Coming

(Click to engorge)

Halloween is my second favorite holiday.
I go all-out to scare the kids who come to our house, and reward them with more and better candy than the rest of my 'hood.

There's something strange that happens in the translation of the word "costume" when it comes to certain adults.
Most people 'get it' and have fun dressing up as someone or something that's very different from their daily life.
A rugby player goes out as a pregnant nun, or a shy girl dresses up as Wonder Woman.
Slipping into an alter-ego is fun and can give you the chance to live out your fantasies for one night in a wink-wink-just-pretending way.
Good fun.

So what's the deal with the tramps?
Why do the girls who know they're hot and dress kind of slutty already insist on using Halloween as an excuse to show just how trampy they can really be?
Devil horns and lingerie is not a costume, honey.
You wear that shit every weekend, don't you?
We all know it.

In the music business there's an interesting semi-tradition that's lots of fun.
Many bands will wear costumes representing a wildly different genre of music.
Mariachis playing death metal and wussy pop bands dressed as KISS are two examples I have particularly enjoyed.
I saw a Stone Temple Pilots Halloween Night show, and they were dressed as 'Josie And The Pussycats' with sparkly dresses, high heels and wigs.
(We left early because the sound engineer had his head up his ass.
The sound is all muffled and shitty up in his butt (and in the hall) so he got aggressive with the 2.5 to 4khz range bad enough to cut your skin.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

WTF #4

Wow, the scoreboard kinda-sorta has your birthday on it?
7/7 for sure!
Awesome, killer, amazing capture, you rock...
Too bad nobody but you gives a rat's ass.

What I 'thing' is that this is a boring and badly made snapshot. You're just excited by the hottie.
A future in glamour photography is not going to happen.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Milo The Dog

(Click to enlarge)
This is Milo, and while he's technically still a puppy, he is big!
His nickname is "One Ear" because the right one is almost always straight up while the left is usually drooping down.

These teenage geniuses were walking down the street and could only see him from the rear, but his head, collar and leash were plenty obvious.
One of them asked, in all seriousness: "Is that a rabbit?"
It was such a shockingly stupid question that we couldn't come up with a clever or sarcastic reply besides "It's a DOG!"

How many 60-80lb rabbits have you ever seen tied to a tree in someone's front yard?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nice Hat, Sir

(Click to enlarge)

Caught 'out' at a downtown street party.
Does your mother know?

Seriously, this guy is either lots of fun, completely wasted, or he just doesn't give a shit what anyone thinks.
Which makes him cool in my book.
But that's one seriously gay hat.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

WTF #3

(Click to enlarge)

Don't tell us about the photo you wanted to take but didn't.
It's completely irrelevant.

Nobody cares about old scanned photos you didn't even take.
Family snapshots only have meaning to the family.
The 'scanner error' part is hilarious, too.
If it scanned wrong, do it again!
This guy has posted lots of these, and is probably wondering why they are all being ignored.
"Because they suck" comes to mind.

Monday, October 02, 2006


(Click to enlarge)

The critique/rating system upsets many people, but only when they get low ratings with no comments. (If they get high numbers, they probably sit back with a smug look, thinking "yeah, I know, I'm great".)
They say it's because they want to learn how to be a better photographer. But my theory is that they want to be able to point out how the commenters 'don't get it', which let's the photographer off the hook for low numbers.
Why this guy only wants comments from south of the equator is a mystery.
I hope it's a joke, but cutting your target audience in half (more than half, I'm sure) isn't too smart.

Here we have a common theme: "Make sure you know what category this is in, because you're probably too stupid to understand the point my photo makes otherwise."
Then he follows with the old "commentcommentcomment please you bastards" bit.

Spare me.
We hear it fifty times a day.
We get it.
You want comments.

Here's my comment: When you say the light was 'terribel' you're saying "I need to point out exactly why this photo is only worth a three so you guys know that I know that you know...and by hitting myself first maybe everyone else will take pity."

Excuses don't fly with me.
If the photo needs an excuse, what it needs even more is to be re-shot when the light is better.
If that's not possible because of your trip's schedule, that's a shame, but maybe you shouldn't post it on the 'net looking for strokes because it doesn't deserve any.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


This is the first in a series of posts about the popular photography site
To get the non-photographers who visit here up to speed, is a place for you to see equipment reviews, discuss photography with others, read articles and essays, and most importantly (it seems) get your recent work seen, rated, and critiqued in the hopes of learning what's right and what's wrong with it.
Critiques from a vast variety of sources can be extremely helpful when you want to learn and improve.
The site has a huge membership that is truly world-wide, with often stunning photos coming in from the far reaches of the planet.
The skill level and artistic ability also covers a lot of ground, with a beginner's work having every bit of exposure as a seasoned pro's.

But all is not right in this artistic oasis on the web.
People are starting to freak out about the way the site and it's members are evolving, so I decided to point out what I personally feel are some of the major issues.
(Click to enlarge, or you'll be lost)

Keeping in mind that a critique of a photo is best when served warm, while the details and settings are still fresh in the photographer's mind, I would guess that the only reason this photo was posted recently was to garner high ratings on a 1-7 scale for aesthetics and originality.
High ratings will earn you nothing zero zip nada but ego strokes, while a particularly helpful and insightful critique can turn your life around.

And I have a big problem with people that post photos in the concert section like this. He neglected to spend 30 seconds googling to put a name on the face in his photo. It's NOT a photo of Cinderella. It's Jeff LaBar, who plays lead guitar.
It's disrespectful as hell to use an image of a man to try and further your career without making a tiny effort to learn his name.
Sorry Art, but you're an ass.

This one is a more minor peeve of mine, but is still worth mentioning.
Because people can (and will) upload photos at wildly different sizes, the site's software automatically re-sizes the displayed version to fit most browser windows.
When the original is bigger than that, a button appears that lets you see the original.
David wants to make damn sure you look at the "best" version, and will possibly ignore comments from anyone who didn't bother to click it a bit bigger.

Fair enough, but all of the real photographers I know take a few extra minutes to figure out what the size limits on a particular website are, and maximize the quality and sharpness of their uploaded photos to display them to their best advantage.
And when a photo is worth a second glance, the first thing us experienced viewers do is look for the "Larger" button, so we don't need to be told.
Or begged.

I'm not exactly afraid that anyone will get upset by these posts, seeing as how the readership here at Z'sG is so small.
But if you see a thumbnail of your work with your name here, please leave a comment (with proof) and I'll delete your shame.
But only if you admit that I'm right...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


(Click to enlarge)

With all the recent rain comes a downside.
About an hour with a hand saw just to make our driveway usable.
A few more hours to make the pieces small enough to carry.
A trip to a friend's house to add it to her own pile of tree trimmings, since the city brush pickup for our neighborhood isn't until November.

The guy up the street looked at me like I must have been high when I told him I didn't hear it fall.
But my theory is that it fell very slowly.

Friday, September 22, 2006

UP #2777

(Click to enlarge)

Engines are commonly patched-up with whatever happens to be laying around, but that usually means scrap steel or parts from a dead unit.
Cardboard and duct tape is kind of ghetto, even for Union Pacific.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Wrestler

(Click to enlarge)

Every weekend that I'm downtown I see this guy.
Different outfits, masks or makeup, but always with the championship belt.

Never saw him do anything but walk around the tourist areas, up one street and down another, a wrestler on the move.
People he passes look amused or scared, but he just keeps on walking.

On this particular evening my friends and I called him over and it turns out he's friendly and cheerful, and perfectly willing to pose for pictures.
Just another free spirit, living life in his own unique way with no apologies or regrets.
I admire that, and think more people should follow their dreams no matter how odd.
Happiness can be hard to find, if you're unable to just let go and be yourself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


(Click to enlarge)

Saturday morning (morning to me, afternoon to normal people) in search of breakfast.
Hmmm, something's going on that I don't know about. This is the second vehicle I've seen in ten minutes with a similar nose-motif.

Later, I found the University of Texas/Ohio State University game on TV.
The Longhorns vs the Scrapbookers or Buckeyes or whatever they're called.
Well, that sure does explain it. The #1 team against #2.

Too bad the college puke driving this car didn't have a real longhorn skull.
The horns would be wider than his car, making for interesting photo-ops as he tried to park in a normal space or knocked someone off their bike in traffic.
Or, God forbid, scratched some dude's pickup truck.

(Do OSU fans put Buckeyes on the front of their cars? That's something I would like to see.)

Didn't watch the game, don't know what the score was.
Texas lost, and I'm fine with that.
I got a photo for the garage, and my friends in Ohio got bragging rights.
A Win/Win situation in my book.

The first time he caught me trying to bag a photo, the dirty look I got was a rather impressive attempt for a virgin.
I was hungry and didn't want to waste time out-dumbing him, which photographer's call 'waiting for the light' sometimes. Walking out to our car after eating I saw that patience had rewarded me twice: it was 3 percent less totally overcast and gameboy was nowhere around.

Anyone care to guess what's in the big cup he left next to his car?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Perimeter Security

(Click to enlarge)

One of our neighbors must be pretty smart to have come up with this idea.
His dog now has a way to see through the back fence in two directions, for accurate threat assessment.
The wire mesh keeps children's fingers safe.
Fucking Brilliant!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


These are the lowest gas prices since......I can't even remember when.

On the way home from The Vodka Store I saw this sign and instantly knew I had to shoot it through the windshield ASAP.
Luckily the fartknocker in front of me was the 2nd-slowest driver in human history.
I was able to review the previous shot, notice the blue color-cast (from my camera still being set for tungsten bulbs) and correct the matter in time for a second try as seen here.
All without holding up traffic and getting honked or shot at.

It's a good day when you can bring home The Vodka and an entry for The Garage.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fine Dining

(Click to enlarge)

Late on a Friday night many of the better dinner choices have closed, but try telling your stomach that.
It's especially hard to find a place with 'atmosphere' still open this late.
The Food Network's Rachel Ray always suggests trusting the locals.
In this case, maybe you should take a pass.

(30 minutes ago, Babcock and Hamilton Wolfe, 90f)

Monday, August 28, 2006


(Click to enlarge)

A little rain, please.
That's all I'm asking for.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Who Still Does This?

(Click to enlarge)

A house in my neighborhood had been attacked with toilet-paper several times over the last few years.
I don't get it.
Even when I was a dumb teenager this kind of thing seemed passe and belonging to an earlier generation.

It's hard to imagine that anyone younger than 56 would think TP-ing a house was worth the trouble.
That points the fickle finger of fate towards a neighbor who is pissed about the victim's bad lawn care, or the fact that they never take down their Christmas lights.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What Are They Looking At?

Click on the photos to enlarge)
Hey, guys! What are y'all looking at?

Oh, models.
Better watch where you're going.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Walking Away

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Would anyone really care if I quit updating this site?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Can't Sing...?

(Click on the photo to enlarge) doesn't matter.

Bar is closing and everyone's leaving?
No problem.

Sound system is off and being unplugged?
Go right ahead, make a fool of yourself.

What is it with some women?
Get a few beers in them and:
"Everyone pay attention to me!!"

We're paying attention, honey.
But not in the way you want.
Personally, I'm thinking: "Great, now I have to wash the dick-breath out of that mic's windscreen."

Friday, July 21, 2006


(Click on the photo to enlarge)

It's pretty obvious what's about to happen here.
Doesn't take a genius to figure it out.
Evidence like this might not hold up in court but
it would easily convince a woman that her man was
a rotten bastard who deserves to sleep in his car.

And she would be wrong.
I was there, and all he was
guilty of is reaching out to grab his mic stand
so he could pack up his shit and hurry home.

Looks can be deceiving, and photographs lie.
And while I'm spouting cliches: Don't trust whitey.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Film Is Dead

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

This is a good friend's 35mm SLR.
Because there are solar-cells on top for keeping the batteries charged, it's a good idea to leave it under the desk lamp.
But after he went digital a few years ago, I don't think this camera has been used or even moved until I visited and decided to take this photo of it.
I'm not making fun of you, ML.
Just making the point that when you have a digital camera within reach it's awfully hard to bother picking up the old 35mm again.
Why bother?
Why wait for results?

I decided I wanted to be a good photographer right after I got my first camera at age seven.
34 years later, digital made learning about photography and doing it a hundred times easier, and I don't regret any of the photos I missed during the interim years.

While I didn't invent the phrase 'Fuck Film' it's been a part of my vocabulary for decades.
Glad to see the rest of the world finally agrees with me.