Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Parking Garage With Shoes

I'm riding an elevator in a downtown parking garage.
This is the control panel.
It has pictures of shoes; Women are Even, Men are Odd. A sexist commentary?
(Floor five is supposed to be a cowboy boot, btw)
WTF is going on?
Does your city have shoes in it's elevators?

What floor am I on?

Does the average person recall shoe styles better than numbers?
I can't imagine a drunken tourist remembering "sneaker" more readily than "three", unless they are a woman.
Another sexist commentary?

Just one more strange detail of this unusual city.
It's rather funny, and now that I know about it the St. Mary's Street Garage has become Parking With Shoes in my mind.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Parking Lot Fun

Recently my cellphone camera has allowed me to get photos for this site that would have been impossible using the big Sony.
Here's an example of the opposite, where the phonecam wouldn't have worked.
Good thing I still carry them both everywhere.

I was at BestBuy on Jan 13th, trying to use up the rest of my Christmas GiftCards.

Hurrying through the parking lot to our car because it was cold and rainy my 7th Sense sent up a signal--telling me that I was going to get something for Zzakk's Garage.

Someone's doing something stupid is what it sounds like.

All I had to do was figure out who and where, and get to my camera bag in the car.
Throwing caution to the wind, I ran like the......well, the wind.

As it turned out, the impending stupidity was right there between me and the car so it was hard to miss.
A Ford pickup, one of those incredibly long ones with a brush-guard on the front that all of the local ranchers seem to use, was backing into a parking space in the rather full parking lot. It was a diesel, by the way. You can tell by the racket they make--an important point.
He was parking it very slowly, partly because his truck was so damn big, and partly because he was also talking on his cellphone.
A recipe for disaster by anyone's measure, but what I found out after getting to the car and pulling out the camera added beans to the chili.
There was a big flatbed shopping cart right behind him!!!

"Ohhh, this is going to be good" I said, powering up the F717 and taking off the lens cap.
Not only is his truck so tall that he probably can't see the cart from his rearview mirror, but because it doesn't have a basket he's likely to miss it in his side mirror, too.

By now we're backing out of our space and I have asked my driver to head towards the photo-op slowly while rolling down her window and leaning back, so I can shoot across and out in the final second when it all comes together just like I pictured it in my mind.
And what I pictured is exactly what you see above.

Because the Ford was a diesel, and the driver was yakking on his cellphone, I just knew he wasn't going to hear the crunch as he pushed the cart into the car behind him.
And with a truck that big I didn't think he could feel it either.

Sure enough, everything happened just as I predicted and it took only two quick exposures to bag the shot.
My adrenaline was pumping and time had slowed down.
While the whole episode took maybe twenty seconds it seemed like I had all the time in the world to figure out what was going to happen, what we needed to do to capture it, and to feel guilty for thinking of you guys instead of trying to stop the asshole from damaging some innocent person's nice new car.

I did try to get a shot of Ford-Boy's license plate, but it didn't work out.
And aren't reporters supposed to report, not influence the outcome of events?
Yeah, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Adventures At HalfPrice Books™

After parking somewhere hidden behind the pole, we noticed the SAPD cars hauling ass into the lot, then we saw some guy running as fast as he could, then cops running.
Later we saw two civilians holding the running guy down while a cop handcuffs him, so citizens catch badguy = very cool!
The smoke colored convertible that looks, shall we say, "hastily parked" was the badguy's, and if you look close you'll notice that the back window is missing.
I'm sure this is what tipped-off the cops that it was a stolen car.

Inside HalfPrice, our favorite used-book store we found this CD by Double Clutch.
I already have it, and scoffed at the $7.98 price tag because I know that the songs are basic ZZTop and Skynyrd ripoffs, and that the singing is sub-par as is the guitar playing.
(The band is local, not major label)
The dude on the right with a price sticker on his head is my favorite local bassist and friend, Matt Brown.
He's got tone, attitude and skills.
We had fun working together for a few years with The Hitmen, but now that he's in The Max I never see him.

Come out to a String Theory show and buy me a shot, Matt!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

You're A Keeper

I always associated Valentine's Day with hearts and cupid and more hearts. Red things. Pink things.
This chocolate fish doesn't fit my preconceptions.
Possibly shrewed marketing, aimed at women who long to get their man something for VD but said man won't tolerate hearts and cupid and cute shit.
"Here, you sourpuss. I got you a chocolate fish because I love you, and you love to fish. Aren't I clever? Pop the damn question!"

But I just know it's made with that crap chocolate used by those companies you've never heard of.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Too Many Birds!!!

I won't pretend to understand all of the dynamic variables involving weather and location and food supplies etc etc etc.
All I know is that the section of Wurzbach on the other side of Babcock by the Medical Center area and near our house is infested with a bazillion nasty birds every fall and winter.
Starting in October they congregate every evening in the trees, on the wires and on the light poles...freaking everywhere you look there's standing-room-only birdage.
And the incessant squawking and screeching and peep-peep-peeping (and sidewalks covered in poop) mark this part of town as an excellent location for anyone who wants to make a movie reminiscient of Hitchcock's classic.

For some reason they almost never cross Babcock to befoul my neighborhood, Thank God.
When they do, I have several techniques to drive the bastards away such as popping camera flashes at them, bouncing shots from my BB Gun off a tree, or just "borrowing" some of the local cats and tossing them over the fence into my back yard.

The worst ones are the Grackles.
A sleek and shiny blue/black bird that's almost as big as a crow, they make the worst noise ever encountered by civilized man.
To me it sounds like someone pushing Alanis Morrisette too hard through speakers with tweeters that are about to fail.

Or like someone dragging the left side of a bicycle across a chalkboard.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Shoe Tree

At the city's largest park there's this one tree with dozens of pairs of athletic shoes hanging from it.
I forget what kind it is, or more likely never knew, but it's the kind with big branches doing lots of horizontal things, so it's a really good climbing tree, too.

I don't know who started the custom of decorating this tree with stinky shoes, whether it was a group having a special moment together, or just a game of "keep away" that ended badly and started a trend.
Everyone who passes this spot notices them, so I suppose when a jogger or walker has a blowout somewhere on the trail they know to chuck their worn-out footware up here.
It's probably fun trying to see how many throws it takes to get them caught on a branch.

Seriously though, there's like 45 pairs of shoes up there.
Since it's in a forest there's no way to back up enough to show it all, but it's amazing.

The whole things also reminded me of Charley Brown's Kite Eating Tree.
Maybe this is a Shoe Eating Tree?
I can't test that theory, since I don't own anything the tree might be interested in.
Black casuals and Army boots are more my style.
I only run when it's the best course of action dictated by an immediate and unexpected change in circumstances.

Photo 2 proves that some people are crazy.
These Nikes™ look brand new.
They also look a little gay, (not gay as in "what a gay person might wear" but gay as in "flaming more than anyone else at the pride parade") so maybe the owner had his balls busted by his friends and had to launch them to save face.
So he's either crazy for throwing away new shoes, or for buying fruity red ones in the first place.