Sunday, December 30, 2007

What I Do For You

This is on the fence around the location where I spent an hour shooting pictures for my various websites.
The whole area is contaminated with asbestos from a vermiculite packaging company.
I've visited this place a couple dozen times over three years until it was finally fenced-off, which is when I found out I'm killing myself in pursuit of blog material--the definition of crazy/stupid.

Within 100 feet
In the middle of it
Breathing it in for three different visits
Downwind
See the silhouetted building?
Oh, was I ever deep inside
Guess where?
Yes, this one too

And then there are the times I didn't get anything worth showing, and the band shoot I did here, the times I just went for the art in the silos, several visits looking for trains but not finding them, or when I found some and spent a few hours hanging around...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The BootChucker: A Christmas Tale

Inside the Mervyn's Of The Damned

We found what we needed to buy, almost.
They just didn't have a complete set.
Drove halfway across town to another Mervyn's and found the complete deal.

So all we have to do is pay and go, right?


Right?


Yeah, not so easy.
Seemed like every cashier on both floors went for a smoke (beer?) break at the same time--one register was carrying the load of the whole store as we went around and around and up and down hunting for someone to take our money.

How do you stay in business if every single member of your staff is allowed to vanish for ten minutes simultaneously?
The place could have been robbed silly--screw the cameras, they still have to ID and catch you.

Anyway, the first Merv to appear was in Shoes, so we scooted over and were 2nd in line behind The BootChucker, shown here.
(Click to enlarge)

This lady wasn't happy about all the waiting, and we were her new best friends by virtue of proximity. You know how that goes.

Orders were given, complaints were made, apologies were un-accepted...
And then the young punk behind the register made the mistake of asking her to move over to the next register 3 feet away...

That's when the bootchucker started chuckin' boots.
"Huffhuffcomplain...canyoubelievethisshit...
Ijustwanttobuysomedamnbootsformyniece..." all of this directed towards both the coward behind the register AND us as she throws the boots onto the counter, loses control of the box and pitches it at the cashier "Idon'tneednofuckingbox" and by now she's scuffed the crap out of the boots but wants to save face...

That's when the crazy old bitch turned and winked at me.
Not enough soap in the house to fix that.

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Eggnog Possum

I see possums all the time but only at night.
This one must be crazy, rabid, or just had some bad eggnog from a trash can.
That shit'll wake you up and send you in search of the bathroom no matter what time it is.

Never touch the stuff myself, but I've heard stories.
Evil and tragic stories.

Don't let nogvomit happen to you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Damn Dirty Hippies

And their pieceofshit cars.

Or maybe it's an artist's car, or a band's. Or clowns.
Whatever, I don't really care.


I finished updating the site by making the title header up top. But no matter what size photo I upload, the template resizes it and makes it slop outside the frame on the right side. I spent a few hours trying to make it work, then said 'fuck it'.
Follow-up: Changed templates so it's fixed-ish. When I saw that the color scheme of the old template was #666 I decided to switch rather than fight. I'll need to make a banner that's wider is all.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Catfish King

Nothing much to say about this, content-wise.

Technically, it used accidental off-camera flash.
An F717 with a PovertyWizard™ radio trigger and a SunPak 383-Super lit the scene: I just happened to catch the flash during a long exposure with my F717.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hypocrisy

Save the planet--except for the Christmas trees?


Photo ©2007SylCan2

Friday, December 07, 2007

New Photog In The Garage

I now have a partner in the hunt for funny/stupid/ridiculous things for Zzakk's Garage--at least until she decides to start her own photoblog.
This photo shows that the new girl has skills, and she's working hard at learning everything her new camera can do.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Christmas Story


Don't you think this would be funnier with just the lamp in the window?
Adding the poster isn't necessary for those who get it, and those who don't should be allowed to remain adrift on the sea of ignorance.
Explaining jokes ruins them.


Sorry it's been so long since my last entry--I've been transferring all of my earlier photos to Blogger, from ImageShack. For the first 7 1/2 months of this site, Blogger's image hosting didn't work too well for me (or even exist at first) so I used another service and linked them over here.
My archived posts from most of 2005 showed full images instead of thumbnails, meaning the pages loaded slower for dialup users.
I could live with that.
But recently I discovered that I had no way to access my ImageShack account. Apparently they changed a few things and I didn't follow along.
Anyway, the transfer was tedious but it's all done now.
(I had to do the same thing at Views Of Texas and it took a few days).
Everything is now hosted at Blogger, and ImageShack can go screw themselves.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What A Bargain!

Seen at BigLots.
Shot with phone camera.
It was a bargain.
But that sign...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Hate Traffic

One hour to go a single mile.
That's literally 1 mph.
No exits between the point where traffic stopped and the accident--they exist but are all closed due to construction.
But there were two ramps letting MORE traffic onto the highway.
Should have closed them.

And the jackasses who pass everyone who's stopped and then try to merge in farther ahead--totally unfair.

I was pissed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What The...? (A Quiz)

The red lines are from the laser hologram low-light focusing system that my camera uses.
It shoots a grid pattern of laser light onto the subject from an emitter on the end of the lens that provide enough contrast for the F717 to focus even in total darkness.
They are pretty bright and are plainly visible in all but the brightest environments. In fact they tend to freak people out when spotted--think laser gunsights in the movies--or when they twinkle in someone's eyes.
(Certified to be safe, but I'm still glad to be on the delivery side vs the receiving end).

Normally they shut off before the shutter trips, and should be impossible to capture.
So how the hell did I get this photo?

Your speculations are welcome in the comments section.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cameras And Confusion

There are certain situations that people are presented with in life where they suddenly don't know what to do.
This confuses and frightens them, and makes me laugh.
Like when a door they expect to work is locked.
Or when a guy named Zzakk walks into their store with realistic-looking fake bullet holes in his head, asking for aspirin. They want to do the right thing, but have no idea what that might be.

Another example is when they come upon a photographer at work.
Especially when a tripod is involved.

Here, my friend Buz is shooting long exposures of some public art and two young ladies (walruses, actually. Or is it walrii?) are thrust into that realm of indecision I'm talking about.
"Do we walk in front of the camera? Do we wait until told that it's OK? Is he shooting the whole time? Is he finished? Will he pause so we can pass? Will he give us fish sticks?"
All the while, they are stepping forward, pulling back, looking at him for guidance, looking at each other.
I revel in their discomfort.
Since Buz is new to public photography he was no help to them--I usually bark "Wait! OK, thank you." if someone is about to ruin my shot but sometimes I let them bumble around for my own amusement.
And sometimes they totally make the shot.

Later that night two couples also needed to pass in front of Buz's lens.
They didn't handle it well, either.
A simple "Tell me when I can get by" is all that's needed, people.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Body Shots

We all know about bodyshots, right?

I wouldn't lay down on top of a bar for anything, not that I've been asked lately.
Gross, but classy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wiki Madness

Wikis are fun.
If you look at them at the right time--after someone types something stupid but before anyone can clean up the mess they've made--you can catch some funny stuff.
Hoopedia is a basketball wiki, and I went to look at the Spurs's page recently and found this gem.

I love it when kids or those with the mind and maturity of a child use curse words--the combinations and originality are interesting to me because I've always been a vulgarian.
I'm sure it'll be easy for you to accept that I could read by age three and was probably swearing by then, too.
I've known the taste of soap.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

No What?

OK, I promise not to do any traspasin, whatever the fuck that is.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just Another Day At Work

A look at the toys I play with besides my camera

My workstation one hot afternoon. I would be standing under the blue sunshade if I weren't way back here taking pictures.

The speakers on the left side of the stage from the same show. I didn't ask, but this PA was probably 30,000 watts rms.


The outboard gear--compressors, equalizers, digital delays and reverbs, RTA, pitch correction, etc.
From a monster 100,000 watt concert sound system I ran last year--fun in the sun!

It looks very confusing, but I know what everything does.
Maybe it helps explain my photography skills--operating a digital camera is a piece of cake compared to hooking-up and running a sound system like these.
At least the technical side of photography.
The eye/brain/heart side is still a mystery to me as far as where it comes from.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Al Gore Versus Eva Longoria-Parker

Which paper would you buy?
The one who's headline is about Al Gore winning the fucking Nobel Peace Prize for his total bullshit eco-politics?
It's in english, and posted a record 6 corrections today "Due to a reporting error...".
Remember learning in school about the last ice age? Earth WILL have another someday. Global warming is natural and cyclical, and man just isn't big enough or bad enough to do a damn thing about the climate on a world-wide scale.
Locally, sure. But the alarmists are full of crap and just want more control over people.
Now that the demand is so high for corn-based ethanol fuel additives "to save the planet!" the price is beyond what the relief agencies can afford.
So millions of tons of corn and corn food products are no longer being given to starving people in Africa, it's being burned in American SUVs.
It's killing people on a tragic scale.
Blame Al. And Michael Moore.
Peace Prize My Ass.


All Eva has done lately is take our NBA Finals MVP point guard off the market by marrying him.
Yes, hearts are broken, as if those deluded women had a chance.
As long as she gives him a hummer once in a while to keep his head in the game where it belongs then I think she's the clear winner here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Heavy Bag

I kept hearing a strange sound...pap...whenever I was in the backyard...pap...but never in the frontyard...pap...the roofers down the street were finished...pap...what the hell is that sound...pap...maybe if I look over the fence...pap...oh, that's what it is...papclick!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Creepy Monkey Toy

I hate these creepy-ass fucking monkeys!
Have you ever seen one in action?
It either winds up or has batteries, doesn't matter.
But it slams it's cymbals together in a most disturbing way!
Like a full-body convulsion that keeps time, all the while grinning it's "I'm going to kill you after I finish this song" grin.

They were a popular thing in the 1960s, or even the '50s for all I know.
And many many too many TV shows from my childhood would find any excuse to show a quick clip of them doing what they do.
Gave me nightmares, I shit you not.

So imagine my delight at rounding the corner in an antique shop recently only to come face-to-face with my old arch nemesis.
(I was afraid I might drop the real camera so I used my phone to get this shot).

After making my escape it took ten minutes before I had calmed down.

And that's when a second creepy-ass cymbal-playing-fucker-monkey got me!
No photo of #2 because I skipped along out of that monkey-infested antique store from hell.

If they didn't have such a ridiculous price on their tags I would have killed both of their asses for good.
With some of the fine old (and sharp!) tools for sale within easy reach.
And fire.
And chemicals.
And a lawn mower.

And a fucking time machine to send whatever was left back where they came from.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Modern Art Photography In 3D

During the gallery show last month I took these with my phone camera at the biggest art space at Blue Star.
This massive installation is a wood framework covered in hundreds of individual prints, all cut to shape in complete 3D.
The effect is like looking through a fisheye lens at a city scene (South American I think?) and it's all very confusing and complicated.

I would have painted the exposed wood flat black to allow it to fade into the background better.
I pity the poor fool who had to assemble this monstrosity--I recall the footprint as being in the 12x6 feet range and 7 feet tall, more or less.

Hundreds of pieces of wood and even more photos--how do you keep track of it all?
How do you keep from making mistakes?
How do you move it to a potential buyer's home without fucking it all up?

I like the idea of photos used to make wood or cardboard forms look "real"--it's been used in model railroading to great effect.
But simulating a fisheye photo with all the distortion and off-kilter angles?
What a pain in the ass.

Artists are crazy--don't think they aren't.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

5 Pounds Of Butter

Blah blah blah butter blah blah street blah mess blah blah.
Blah blah jackass blah blah blah porn blah blah bagels blah.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

They Tried To Kill Me?

I was at the Amtrak Depot the other night shooting some old (50+ years) passenger cars that were parked.
As luck would have it, a train was coming towards us and I decided to shoot it as a blur behind the yellow and grey Central Pacific car.
But first I tried to gauge what the reaction of a pair of Amtrak employees might be.
Other people across the country have been told they can't take pictures at rail stations because of Nat'l Security, although what use a picture could be to terrorists is beyond me--they can just use their fucking eyes, or carry a small point and shoot to be discrete.
Obviously American people carrying big cameras on tripods?
Not so much of a threat if you ask me.

So I walked up with all my gear and asked what the deal was with the old-time passenger cars.
The reply in it's entirety: "Private owner".
I wait for more.
They just look at me.
Mmmmm'kay.

So I walk a few paces away and plunk down the tripod past the yellow line.
Like almost on the tracks.
Still not a peep from the men in uniform.

As the approaching train slowly comes into view, my companion mentions that it seems to be on the siding that leads into the station.
That's when I realize that if I don't move my shit in a few seconds the train is going to turn me and my camera into hammered dogshit.
And still the Amtrak guys say nothing.
Thanks, guys.
You knew I was close enough to get hit.
You wanted to see me jump or die, but I kept my cool and didn't stop taking pictures, so screw you.

After the unloading of passengers began, much more fun was had.
There were Amish people, or maybe Quakers.
Three 20-something hipsters went off towards downtown smoking a joint that smelled great, as pot always does when you aren't actually smoking it.
And I took many pictures without getting a ration of bullshit from any of the half-dozen Amtrak employees, which is shocking to me and to the people who get interviewed by the FBI and HoSec whenever they pull out a camera at other train stations.

Just try what I did at Penn Station or Grand Central and see how fucked-up your day (and the rest of your life) becomes.

I swear, my guardian angel is one bad motherfucker.
That, or I'm invisible.

The last theory makes more sense since I can never get a waitress to actually wait on me when I'm working in a bar. Almost every weekend for the last 27 years--no service--and I tip very well.
So a big 'screw you' for all the waitresses, too.
I just want a damn beer.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oh, That's Just Great

When you see a sign like this in your neighborhood it makes you wonder if there's an arsonist running around torching homes.
This house was vacant and being renovated, so that's a small consolation.
Maybe it was insurance-fraud, or just a chickenshit firebug who only gets sparky on vacant buildings.

Still--I'm glad I stay awake until sunrise.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

3 Kinds Of Shit...

...For Sale!
Realistic Self Defense looks just like actual self defense for half the money.
Wing Chun?
Never heard of it.

Sumo Suit Rentals?
I'm sure there's a market for that--frat boys, chubby-chasers, anorexics on Halloween, but I don't want to know about any of it.

Blown Attic Insulation?
That crap hasn't been used for new house construction in decades.

Because it's shit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Self-Serve Art

During the weeklong gallery show, there was plenty of time to kill.
Mostly, we talked about cameras.
(OK, I talked and other people listened. I seem to have figured out a lot of things that aren't so readily apparent to others.)
I also wasted time walking around other galleries, and peeking into the ones that were closed.
That's where I got these photos--outside galleries catering to ART art.
Just slip $450 into an envelope and slide it under the door, then lift the piece off the wall and take it home?
Surely, if the "Art" is self-serve, it can't really be worth so much, can it?
Wouldn't some poor art-lover just steal it?
I would, if I thought it was any good.

Case in point, some plastic cups arranged in a frame and coated with thick gloppy paint in a blue & white motif.
I didn't "get it", so whenever possible I would point out this particular work and gauge the reactions.
Most were in the "ooookay" and "What The...?" category.

It was funny and interesting to learn how little I know about true art.
But at least I know what I like, and nothing I saw changed that.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Some Things I Like

I like:
Vodka that's bottled in Texas that's only $10 a jug.
Amplifiers made in Mississippi. (My big one wouldn't fit the photo's composition).
A guitar, handmade in Japan in the mid-1970s, that was the most surprising and useful Christmas present of my entire life.

My mom asked a friend of mine which exact guitar I wanted, and totally fooled me into thinking I was getting something else.
I had played it many times in the store and was in love&lust beyond compare.

Opening the case on Christmas morning was an incredibly stressful moment.
"What if it's a piece of shit or I hate it? How do I react when the gift is totally wrong yet the intent is based on love and a desire to please?"
But when I was able to discern that my beloved Artist 2619 was indeed in there...Oh...My...God!
I clearly remember getting light-headed and being glad that I was already on my knees, and I still get a taste of that feeling back whenever I look at my guitar.


Parents, once the kids are teenaged iPodian zit-farmers who won't talk to you in more than one syllable at a time, you can still hear them if you're clever and make an effort.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Almost Anything Doesn't Count

"I was almost a doctor".

"I'm almost pregnant".

"We're The Almost Patsy Cline Band".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good Luck!

This was shot ten minutes ago.
The moth is huge, and I had serious doubts as to our gecko's ability to catch the thing.
I was cheering him on, and right after this photo the moth landed and the gecko grabbed it's head.
Rather than continue shooting through the sliding glass door I went outside to get closer but this startled the lizard and he dropped his dinner.
Sorry, little dude.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

There's One At Every Wedding

Honest to God, this jackass tried to follow the guests into the chapel.

A hilarious moment, caught on a Bayer Matrix.

Her name is Clementine and she works at the Enchanted Springs Ranch, site of a wedding we attended last week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Made In Chinana

To all the recent news of poisonous pet food, Fisher-Price toys covered in toxic lead paint, and half the products at WalMart being utter shit, I dedicate this post.

Get my title?
See what I did there?

You may say "But surely a local company made the sign".
Yes, but who approved it, or submitted the copy in the first place?
And stop calling me Shirley.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Northern Tools Gets Funny

I love it when a company gets a sense of humor. This world is too damn serious most of the time, and when a laugh comes from somewhere that's completely unexpected it's appreciated.

Northern Tools™ isn't Craftsman® by any stretch, but they have a ton of useful stuff at affordable prices.
If you need a certain tool for one or two side-jobs that aren't part of your daily routine, why bother with the most-durable, most-featured, most-expensive versions when you can save a few dozen dollars and still make your way through the project successfully?
And if you can get a laugh or two while shopping there, all the better.

In their catalog I noticed a padded camo toilet seat that attaches to the trailer hitch on your truck.
"Hey Billy-Bob, where's Jimmy-Wayne?"
"Oh, he went around behind his pickup and I never did see him after that. Maybe you should go check on him."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Last One?

I sure hope so.
This time I have help, and it seems to be working.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

'93 Prelude

Some teenager pried the rear Honda H off my car. Until I wash the car and cover the holes with a sticker, I put a magnet from an old harddrive over them. With all the rain we've had, my trunk is now damp and kinda stinky.

Here's a test to see if a phone camera's shutter is slow enough to let spinning wheels blur while driving--it is.
The timing belt broke today (most likely), so the car is parked just outside my neighborhood and I miss it already.
Tomorrow it'll get towed across town and we'll see what's wrong.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Korn

Maybe it's just a coincidence but when I try to imagine what kind of mailbox the band Korn has in front of their studio or group home or whatever, this is what I see in my mind.
So I'm going to believe that this is Korn's mailbox and you can't stop me.
They use Gateway computers running ProTools, right?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mountain Lions

For years people in the rural areas around San Antonio have reported seeing alligators, black panthers, and the chupacabra.
And for just as long the suburbanites, city folk, and reporters have dismissed the claims as bullshit.
Drunken rednecks.

A few weeks ago an alligator was found blocking a highway and had to be "helped" across by TPW rangers and sheriff's deputies.
Days later, the same one got aggressive near some homes and was shot to death.

Now this--mountain lion sightings around some large nature parks on the northwest side. (A black panther is just a mountain lion of a different color).

Seems to me that the drunk rednecks have been right all along, but then I always believed them.
Animals are shy and secretive, so isolated individuals are rarely seen due to the law of averages alone.
And the success of conservation efforts means that their populations are growing and they need to expand into new/old territories.

But when are they going to re-open the park?
Nobody is hunting the lion, and with the incredible numbers of deer in the area it's not going to leave on it's own anytime soon.
Are they waiting until it isn't seen for X-weeks?
Who's to see it if we aren't allowed in the park?
Are we just going to guess when the park is miraculously safe again?

Morons.
Just warn visitors, and recommend they make a lot of noise and carry weapons for protection.
If we just give the park to the lion, believe me, it'll take it.

I don't want to see it hurt or killed, but some kind of logical action needs to be taken besides just wishing it'll go away.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Real Money?

At the grocery store the other day I got this Canadian quarter in my change.
I always look at my quarters to see if I got a new one for my US Mint State Quarter Series collection, and was very surprised to see an elk and a queen.
Years of living in upstate New York made me see hoser coins as "different, but the same" since almost everyone treated them like US coins except for vending machines.

I've been in Texas for a long-ass time now and I can't even remember the last time I got one of these, so I proudly showed it off to my very Texan GF.
Her response cracked me up: "Take it back and get real money!!"

I said "hell no" because I knew another Zzakk's Garage post was in my hand.

The funniest part is that posing coins for photography can be a bitch, and I was having a little trouble until I remembered that Canadian quarters have enough steel in them (you cheap bastards) to stick to a magnet, so I just leaned it against a small block of alnico and I was in business.

Real money indeed--I'm keeping this quarter for all the memories and laughs it brought me.
Can't buy that shit with gold.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ewww!

I've been known to drink Budweiser on occasion, although I prefer Miller products these days.
It never occurred to me to mix it with Clamato™.
Beer isn't all that great tasting to begin with, but what kind of sick bastard thought that it could be improved by tomato juice and fucking clam squeezings?

They should sell this in pharmacies to induce vomiting.

And once again, having a camera with me at all times pays off, even a crappy phone camera.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jury Doody

When last we spoke, I was in the middle of jury duty, and during a walk while on break I got bird poop in my hair:

The main problem was that the court is in a little shopping center building, and had only one bathroom per sex.
One small bathroom, only big enough for a single person at a time.
With a line of people waiting their turn.

No way am I standing in a line with bird crap on me, so what am I going to do?

Thinking fast, I decide to continue on my walk to the park, and quickly found a fast-food restaurant napkin on the side of the road. This got the worst of the poop out of my hair, but not nearly enough.
So I headed for the park restroom shown above, and made use of the sink and paper towels to clean myself up.
But this left me with another problem, namely jacked-up hair and me without a comb.
Hmmmm....

As I pondered my latest predicament, I realized that time was running short and I had better be on my way back to court. As I neared the pavilion shown here I noticed a woman setting up for a party.
A big party, with several kiddie pools full of iced beverages.
And that's when the final solution occurred to me.

Zzakk: "Excuse me, would you happen to have a plastic fork to spare?"
Lady: "What do you need a fork for?"
Zzakk: "A bird crapped in my hair and I have jury duty in a few minutes and don't have a comb."
Lady: "Smart! Here you are."
Zzakk: "Bless you."

This is the fork.

I ended up on a jury, we found the defendant guilty, and we assessed a $50 fine.
The prosecutor wanted $100, but he was boring.
Case Closed.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jury Duty

Back in the month of May I received a summons for jury duty.
Since I'm the luckiest guy in the world it wasn't for the big courts downtown with parking hassles, a long drive, and trials that might take weeks.
Mine was for the little Justice Of The Peace court two miles from my home, next to Arby's™, with 6-member juries deciding evictions, tickets and truancy cases among other small matters.
The court is in a suburban shopping center, and everyone who worked there (clerks, bailiffs, constables, judges) was refreshingly unpretentious and fun to be around.
It was a mellow experience compared to downtown.
Kind of Andy Griffith Show in a way.


After a jury got picked that didn't include me we were excused for 90 minutes.
I decided to take a walk to a local park around the corner to kill some time.
(The little pine tree photo with the wild clouds was shot in this park, BTW)

I hadn't gone far when I felt a 'splat' on top of my head.
The photo above points to where the bird was, and the 'splat' graphic indicates the approximate location of my shitty hair.

To be continued