Monday, April 28, 2008

Taking the High Road

RoadMountainLand2650, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is an infrared shot taken along the high road to Taos. Speaking of roads, I was thinking the other day (yes, I know, something I should avoid at all costs!) about how funny it would be if Top Gear came to Texas. What does Texas have to do with cars and motoring, and British fellows, you might ask?

Well, for starters, there's the state motto. Now, I know some of you out there might think you know the state motto of Texas, and you probably think it has nothing to do with cars, driving, and all of that, but I'm here to tell you-you're wrong. That whole "Lone Star State" thing? It's just for tourists. The real motto, the "unofficial" motto of the state of Texas is: "Texas. The sun has ris, the sun has set, and I ain't outta this damn state yet." Yes, snowflakes, you read that right. Even The Stig couldn't make it across the great Lone Star State before sundown. (Well, maybe he could, but only if he could avoid getting stopped in Hondo which is, well, let's just say, quite difficult given their dislike for "driving like Hell" and all.)

Think about it. Texas is perfect for Top Gear.. We have the ArtCar Museum in Houston, the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the Texas Motor Speedway, and even our "official" state roadkill, the armadillo, is cooler than all of the other states. As far as roads and driving go, well, I hate to be humble but, dang, we rock. We have giant interstates and overpasses, pit stops with names like "Wag A Bag," cheap Mexican food along the highways, drive-through liquor stores, and mile after mile of flat roads to make you lost (or crazy.) Crap, we even have highway 183 which, if you've read this blog before, well, let's just say you'd know it's a bit "off" yet still, somehow, highly entertaining.

Sure, there's some downsides too. I mean, there's that whole, "don't get lost or you'll wind up in Mexico" bit and we have DPS (police) people who tend to carry large caliber sidearms and shoot at things that move, and, you know, the odd Marfa lights are something I would not want to drive-through, but still, even given all of that, Texas could make a great setting for Top Gear.

Just think about it. They could try to drive across the state before sundown, be forced to eat an upside down cake at the Cadillac Ranch, do a lap at the motor speedway, and drive an art car through Houston traffic. Even *I* could make something funny out of that. Not to mention the fact that The Stig is already a man in a strange sombrero. Throw it all together and what would you have? Another funny episode of Top Gear. (Well, it'd be that or James May would just complain and burp a lot after eat the wrong kind of chili.)

Now beep beep, get those boys to Texas. As Clarkson would say, "what's the worst that could happen?"

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your Honor [Hiccup] I only had a 12 pack

AfterTheFire, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This just in, from the "doh!" department (the men who make Homer Simpson appear the thriving intellectual that he really is) today in Williamson County Texas (<- where I live! Where I live!) a man reported for jury duty completely intoxicated.

I guess he would have gotten away with it and all except for the fact that he was so wasted he walked down some of the long corridors of the spiffy new Williamson County Courthouse-long enough to drunkenly (and disorderly-let's not forget that!) enter a judge's chamber where he loudly hiccuped and pronounced himself "so there for jury duty."

He was charged with a "drunk and disorderly" and let go, presumably relieved of his duties on the jury though I'm not so sure about that last point. I mean, somebody who's finished a 12 pack before 8 am might be, ahem, "uniquely qualified" to serve on a Williamson County jury-especially given that the charges in said trial were, yup, you guessed it, "driving under the influence."

[Hiccup] I couldn't make up stuff this good though in the "note to self" department, it might be a good idea next time I get a summons to save the celebratory beer until after the trial. (Hey now, they did tell us we could bring along a book or some other form of "light entertainment" while I was waiting there, in the jury pool, to be dismissed. I guess one man's "drunk and disorderly" is another man's "light entertainment" these days, right? [Hiccup] nevermind that, dude, pass the beer. I think he's really in for not sharing. [Hiccup])

Until next "only in Williamson County....such fools are we!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Death by Chocolate

CloudLikeTree, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Yesterday, at work, we got an announcement. "There's chocolate cake in the breakroom." It sounded simple enough. Since I had to go to a meeting, and I hadn't had my lunch quite yet, I decided to grab a piece and go. Sitting in the meeting, everybody started staring. It was the chocolate cake. I took a bite and that's when it hit me.

The cake was sooo chocolate, it was too chocolate. Other chocolate things tasted vanilla compared to this thing. I mean, sure it looked good, sure it looked all choclately goodness but, man, it was just too much chocolate. So, I took a few bites and stopped eating it.

After the meeting, a few people asked me, "where'd you get the cake? I want some too!" so I told them, but I warned them. "It's very chocolately," I said, "almost too chocolately."

"There's no such thing," they tried to explain. "How could something be too choclately? That's like being too rich or too pregnant!"

To put it in perspective, the cake had some chocolate shavings on top, pure chocolate shavings. I actually opted to eat one of those, rather than finish the cake-the pure chocolate was less chocolately than the cake! It was soo chocolately, I just couldn't take it, but I had to take a little bit of it anyway since, well, you know, it was chocolate cake and all (and who am I really to pass up a chocolate cake?!?)

I'm telling you all of this because, well, if I die today...if I keel over and cross the pearly gales with a smile on my face (or even, like pale and white as a ghost) you'll know to tell the autopsy people that, "well she might have died from eating too much chocolate."

When he tells you, "there's no such thing!" tell him that, "yeah, yeah that's what everybody else said too...before they tried that cake!"

Until next "Does it come in vanilla? Oh crap, nevermind...."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cold Toast and Other Assorted Goodness

LoneTallTree, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is my Photo Friday entry for "Cold." I know it looks cold, I know it feels cold but, one thing you should know about it-it was actually taken in Hawaii. Yes, you read that right. Hawaii. Where it's hot (or, well, you know, at least sorta "warmish" if you dress for it.) All that snow? Comes from an Infrared camera. Sorry to disappoint you but that's the way life goes sometimes.

In other, more "disappointing" news, from the "I bet you didn't know and don't really care but would eat one anyway" department, April is grilled cheese month. To celebrate, Chef Peter Lalifer from Houston's Intercontinental Restaurant is serving up an American and Veldhuzen redneck cheddar with blossom honey, golden cheddar cheese, and American cheese verion of the delectable on Texas toast.

Sounds a bit over the top and yet somehow quite tasty-something I'd love to try if I were back in Houston this weekend. And, um, what's "Texas toast" you might ask?

"Cheers, y'all!"

(Until next time...)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh The Humanity!

LoneBareTreeS, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I have to do my taxes. And get a portfolio ready. I have to do my taxes and get a portfolio ready. Did I mention I have to do my taxes?

There are these things we have to pay every year, they're called, "taxes" you see, and well, I have to pay them (like everybody else) before April 15th, which is something like tomorrow (at the speed I move, it was last month.) I have no money left after getting my car fixed and now I have to pay my taxes.

Did I mention I have to pay my taxes? Taxes, taxes, taxes, I have to pay my taxes. And get a portfolio ready. I have to pay my taxes and get a portfolio ready.

Did I mention I have to do my taxes? I thought I did.

Until next, nevermind that, I have to do my taxes...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday Round Up

ThreeTreeTops, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Yes, yes, yes, I know I'm behind on blogging. What's a poor girl to do? Well, a Sunday round-up for starters, that ought to get things going.

This weekend, I went down to Houston to catch the tail end of Photofest. I'll probably give you more detailed highlights at some point, but the "quick hits" are that we saw an absolutely fab show by a Japanese photographer at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, called Elevator Girls. After that, we hit a bunch of galleries and spaces (8 I think was the final tally) including gallery row, where the famed Watermark Gallery was...closed. Those bastards. (This was Kathy's second trip to the 'fest and both times, Watermark was....closed. Bastards, I tell you. Rat Bastards.)

Kathy drove with her new GPS navigation system (blogger fodder alert!) Here's a teaser, "well, there's something coming up on the's either a church or a toilet. What's that? Oh! It's a gas station. Right. That makes sense if you turn it this way..." Oh the humanity! With the bong sound from the nearest college still ringing in my ears, I can tell you that I've finally started to pull some pink trees from the bowels of the infrared camera.

Speaking of cameras, mine now each have a name. The converted one is to be called "pinky" (due to its penchant for turning the world pink, based, of course, on heat content or, um, thermonuclear meltdown, whichever is more convenient) and the "normal" one is now called "dark star" due to it being the first all black camera I have actually owned. Yes, yes, I know. How boring is it that I have to name them and aren't they overworked enough already without me having to add to it? Just be glad I don't name the Compact Flash, that's all I can say in my defense.

I'm readying for yet another portfolio review (to happen on the 14th of this month) and still uploading the stash of flash from Santa Fe (and now, I guess Houston.)

We visited the art car museum in Houston and I picked up a few (large-blogger fodder alert!) books, including Nocturnes by Michael Kenna and a $15 Brassai book that was on sale but deadly to old ladies in restrooms, young children, and the handles on the plastic bag I tried to use to transport it. "Art so big, it'll kill ya. Or, you know, at least take out your big toe."

It's my new motto. (Hey, it beats, "TiVo, see what the cat booped up.")

Until next time...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Top 10 List - Santa Fe

AdobeSpigotSepia, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.
Ok, I'm back once again from yet another trip and I've decided to post my top 10 list from Santa Fe, NM. Now, this time, I've been to Santa Fe before, so some of the maybe more obvious things are not going to make the final "top 10" selection.

Anyway, here are the top 10 things I've learned about Santa Fe:

Number 10: There's a place called Jackalope that's absolutely fabulous for taking pictures. It was described to me as a "junkyard" but it's actually more like a place where you can buy "jonque" for your yard. Texas needs a Jackalope. Austin needs a Jackalope. The world needs more Jackalopes. I could be left stranded in Jackalope with an infinite supply of Compact Flash, never bother to leave, and end up inventing an entire "Jackalopian" art movement. (Well, ok, not really true-let's see you try to find me an "infinite supply of Compact Flash." Good luck with that.) But, hey, all fiction get the idea. Jackalope. It's the best junk outside of the junkyard you'll ever want to find.

Number 9: The Santa Fe Photo Workshops have a disproportionate number of National Geographic photographers teaching classes and workshops in their facility.

If it's true that the world is balanced, and that matter, anti-matter, and all that add up to be equal, this must mean that, somewhere, maybe like in China or something, there's a lot of stuff not getting photographed right now. Everybody's shooting it up in Santa Fe.

Number 8: They have tumbleweeds there.

As I was driving into the City, along a few lonesome stretches of highway, I found myself suddenly attacked by tumbling tumbleweeds. It's a scary thing-or, at least, it would be, had I not quickly realized that, if you hit them with your car, they just sort of erupt into a stream of hay. Even so, doing 75 on those State highways, while being pelted with weeds is kind of a scary concept for this New Yorker.

Number 7: They have hoodoos in the desert outside of Santa Fe. Giant rocks that stick up like fingers pepper the landscape. And, they look fake, let me tell you. I kept saying, to whomever was in my car, that I expected somebody to yell, "CUT!" pull a great big curtain back, and reveal a flat road behind the view, like we had been stranded on a Hollywood backlot or something. Everybody riding with me just kept repeating, "oh, that's right. You're from Texas."

Number 6: Even though the food is really, really, really good in Santa Fe, and you eat something approaching five meals a day there, plan on dropping ten pounds each visit.

It's true, my snowflakes. Everytime I go there, I eat and eat and eat and I don't gain any weight, in fact, I usually drop some. I'd say that I need to move there except that, at that rate, I'd disappear (well, ok, maybe in 12 years or so.) Let's just say I could really stand to live there for about six weeks and leave it at that, ok?

Number 5: Santa Fe is extra friendly towards photographers. I had people stop many times, not wanting to walk in front of my picture before, that's nothing. In Santa Fe, I had people stop driving, since they didn't want to drive in front of my picture. I even had one guy offer to drive around the block for me a few time, in order to make nice pretty "light trails" while I was shooting at night. Wow. What a photographer friendly place.

Number 4: You can get the best cup of tea I've had in the United States at a placed called "The Tea House" on Canyon Road. Rivals London, really.

Number 3: The desert is dry. Now, this may seem rather obvious to some of you, but it really sneaks up on you when you are out there. You really must "en-goop-ify" every chance you get-I'm talking some serious "goop" here too-Chap Stick, moisturizer, hair conditioner-just head-to-toe engoopification is a must in that climate. Trust me.

Number 2: You can get some of the best tapas (Spanish food) at a place called El Farol. The NY Times called it the best Spanish restaurant in the US. I was hesistant at first but, man, really the best tapas I've had outside of Europe. Dang. Incredible place. Anybody going to Santa Fe who likes tapas, wants to try tapas, thinks they might like to try tapas, or just really misses Barcelona, must go visit El Farol (not to mention it's like my name only with an "F." How cool is that?)

And, finally, my Number 1 interesting factoid about Santa Fe, New Mexico:

The high road to Taos is a spiritual journey. Even though it takes you through God's country-I kept thinking it would be great if the guys from Top Gear came around one of those hairpin curves in a 'Lambo, doing something like 110 in the shade-it's really as close to God as you can get in New Mexico. At one point, tall trees line the road and all you can see in front of you are the Rocky Mountains. At another point, you pass a spanish mission style church. At yet another, you drive by a mural painted with UFO's and aliens. It's quintessential Santa Fe in oh so many ways.

For those going to Santa Fe, enjoy the trip. For those wishing they could take the journey, watch for pictures from Santa Fe in the coming weeks, or monitor Flickr for more instant updates.

Until next time...