July 2, 2009

Chrissy The Cat Ain't A Happy Camper

My dad and step-mother's cat, Chrissy, likes to sleep underneath their bed's covers. She'll spend some time outside watching her fenced in territory, the back yard, making sure squirrels and birds don't dare try to take over her domain, even if in just passing. Sometimes she sits back deep in the bushes, hiding so much so you can't even see where she is since it's pitch black in those deep-seated bushes and she's as black as coal.

But, my step-mother once told me, "Sometimes you can see her yellow eyes peering through the darkness."

Chrissy has gorgeous yellow and black eyes. She is THE perfect looking Halloween cat.

So, the other day, I go by their house for a visit and I have my camera along with me, the
Nikon D700
digital SLR, with the 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor auto focus lens attached to it. After looking for Chrissy, with my camera at the ready, my step-mother told me that Chrissy was in the bedroom sleeping.

Now I don't think Chrissy doesn't exactly hate me for taking photos of her but I do know she's not that fond of it either. Most of the time she will put up with it and at times has seemed to not care one bit, but, on this particular day, she obviously wasn't too happy with me.

Why? Well, it was quite simple. She was sound asleep, having kitty cat dreams, under the top cover of my dad and step-mother's bed and I walked in there and put my hands on the bulge in the bed cover, with a little squeeze of love added, of course, and then I lifted the cover away a bit and found her chilled out (see first photo), possibly groggy from her sudden shift from deep sleep to conscious reality and knowing the person who just woke her up probably intended on aiming that weird looking contraption at her and saying things like, "Shit, focus already, you slow ass m-fer!" or "DAMMIT, WHY WON'T THIS SHUTTER BUTTON FIRE?" or "Oh, crap, I had white balance set for flash when I didn't use the flash, you big dummy!" or, stupidly, "Chrissy, don't move!"

So, in this first photograph, the one at the beginning of this piece, she seems okay.

(Click to enlarge any of the photos in this post.)

But get a load of the photo I took of her face once she decided to wake up, get out from under the covers, lay on top of the covers and start thinking about, oh, I don't know, how I just took her from a dream in which she's running to and fro protecting her back yard domain from attacks by a swarm of finches who want a drink at the bird bath to staring into a camera lens manned by her crazy uncle?

Look at that mug, will ya? Oh, man, what a face. This photograph is a picture worth a thousand words, with a few, in fact, probably a lot of them, not allowed by the FCC censors.

But, right after Chrissy told me with her look of total disgust what she really felt about my paparazzi interference into her cat life, she suddenly was overcome by a huge urge to yawn and she yawned like you've never seen a cat yawn in your life. Just look at those downsized saber tooth choppers. This cute little girl is a voracious carnivore and you better not forget it either, buddy:

Chrissy makes a great subject and I will continue to piss her off by taking her photograph because, despite her annoyance at me, she is really a good cat due to her cranky little personality that I find to be so cute.

June 20, 2009


My friend Motel Todd called to tell me he was staying at the Crest Motel on Camp Bowie West. He said he'd moved their from the Avalon Motel
so that he could, again get a break from his FOX NEWS-watching, rightwing nut family who he normally stays with.

He said he paid $160 for a week's stay.

(Click here to read a story and view the photos I took of the Avalon Motel.)

The Crest Motel has probably been around since the '50s. It's really not a bad place at all, at least not for dudes like me and Todd who've lived in shitty dumps during parts of our lives, but it does have an unlucky number of rooms --- 13. And the place's outside walls are painted in a pale yellow with the doors painted a light pink.

Think Miami Vice.

But I chalk up the paint choice to the fact that the owner/owners of the Crest Motel probably got these colors of paint for extremely cheap at some auction or from one of those cheapo warehouse places that are full of unused building materials.

Todd's room, 10, was quite roomy, with a dresser drawer, mirror, a t.v. that shows 60 cable channels (meaning Todd can watch MSNBC's Oblermann and Maddow left-leaning political shows) and a little utility room where Todd had stored some Saltine crackers --- a can of something, beans probably since he likes to entertain himself by farting --- a loaf of bread and some peanut butter, all placed on a shelf. There's a mini-fridge in the same room, with it being about a quarter of the size of a regular refrigerator, and plenty big enough for a six-pack or two.

The bathroom, compared to the Avalon's, was really nice. It was very clean and it had a nicer shower than even my own. I forgot to take a picture of it, however. Dumbass, me. The shower looked like it had been updated to 21st century style even though the rest of the bathroom looked like it was the original installation.

I had e-mailed Todd and told him to let me know when he got home from work on Friday so that I could come pick him up there to give me the opportunity to take a few photographs of his newest place of residence instead of him just leaving there to come over to my place for our usual Friday Night Light Beer drunk fest and Bill Maher's HBO "Real Time" show watching.

About 4 p.m. he called me and said he was ready and I drove on over. When I got there I parked next to his Ford SUV, which sat in front of room 5. Therefore, since he wasn't outside waiting for me (he later told me that he had waited but then got bored and went back inside his room) I assumed he was in room 5 since that's where he'd parked. So I knocked on 5's door and got no reaction, even after knocking three different times. The last time I knocked a little louder since I was kinda wondering if he was asleep. Again, no answer.

So I stood there and wondered what to do, maybe start taking photos or light up a cigarette.

I finally decided to go down to room 4. I knocked. After doing so twice the results were the same as room 5. Then I started wondering if someone came out of either room and maybe wasn't happy about a strange knock at the door that they might come out, barely clothed to make it all the worse, all freaked out and force me into a shitty situation. So I was really hoping Todd would appear a.s.a.p.

Next, I tried room 7. What shocked me was that the door to room 7 was wide open. I peeked inside, no lights were on except the bit of outdoor light from an overcast sky, and I saw a dude half past out on his bed, in shorts, socks and a t-shirt. At first I thought it might have been Todd because the guy was Todd's size but I couldn't see his face at all, so I wasn't sure.

I was doing this search for Todd, by the way, because we had forgot to let each other know what room number he was in when he called and told me he was ready for me to come and pick him up.

The reason I couldn't see the face on the body in room 7 was because the person had their left arm arched over their face. The man's clothes were disheveled. He seemed to be drunk and Todd is known to tie one on early in the day, especially if his friend is doing all the driving.

As I stood outside the door, and with the man on the bed unaware of my presence, I looked around his room and it was scatter shot with things we all need in life. Every drawer, desk, shelf, etc., was covered with various things we humans use.

So, without being able to tell that it was Todd lying there since I knew Todd could be found in that condition, I tapped on the wide open door and said, "Todd?"

The person barely lifted up his head, which made me quickly realize he wasn't Todd since he was and old fart with grey hair. He grunted something unintelligible. Somewhat shocked, and who wouldn't be in that situation, I quickly told him, "My mistake, man", and he went right back to sleep, not even bothering to close his room's door or ask me to do it for him.

Then, growing more frustrated, I walked back down to room 5 and knocked on it again. Nothing.


But then the Gods Of Who Knows What answered my prayers in my harried effort to find my buddy --- without me getting killed by some enraged motel dweller and having my body mutilated in a historical way and my corpse being found by some jogger running through the woods in Trinity Park --- when I heard Todd yell at me from outside his room that was on the second floor.

He was upstairs standing against the railing. He was outside of room 10.
I walked up the stairs, located in a way that I had to pass the old fart's open door, which made me nervous, and I proceeded to go inside Todd's room.

The Crest Motel. Todd's room was on the top, right above the Yellow cab. Look at the place's jiffy paint job.

That's when I took photographs (see the rest of them at the end of this text).

From the balcony I took a photo of a Yellow Cab parked next to Todd's ride because of the public service announcement on top of it. I spent about 10-15 minutes taking photographs. Nothing much interesting to see, unlike the photos from the Avalon Motel. But enough for this story.

Nothing unusual about a Yellow Cab except for the public service announcement advertisement on top of it. Yeah, you stupid young punks, get them britches up and act right or else Grandma's gonna kick your ass.

Oh, by the way, I didn't take a photograph of The Crest Motel's sign since it was changed from a classic '50s sign into a modern day boring piece of crap, which pissed me off to no end. However, I had captured its old school sign years ago. You can see it by clicking here. It's behind the main subject, the Golden Gate Motel sign.

As we drove to my place for party time Todd said the only bar within walking distance from the Crest Motel was Cherita's Bulldog Sports Bar, a small wood paneled little dump, across the street. He said he walked over there one night and got a bad feeling right away, with some rough lookin' motherfuckers inside drinking. He sat at the bar and ordered a beer. He saw a looker hanging out with a couple of dudes and when she walked over to the jukebox he decided to make a move. He asked her, "What tunes do you like?" After that short, polite exchange they went their separate ways and Todd kept drinking his beer. But then, he said, the guys with the looker started staring at him.

"They seemed upset that I spoke to that woman."

Sensing that too much beer drinking trouble could possibly be brewing (pun intended) Todd said he finished his beer and got the fuck out of there and went back to his room.

"There's a lot of crazy people out there," he said. "I think that place is a biker's hangout because I saw a dude wearing a Banditos leather jacket."

The Banditos have a chapter in Fort Worth.

I told Todd that I'd taken a photograph of that wild and crazy bar's cool sign some time back when I went out hunting photos (instead of humans since I'm not a serial killer). Its small lot was full, and this was around noon on a Friday, and so I had to park around in the back. I got out with of my car with my Nikon D700 digital SLR, with the 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor autofocus lens attached. While walking back to the front of the bar where the sign was I had to walk past the joint's open front door, meaning anyone in there could see me and my camera and think the worst, like I was a private investigator, bounty hunter or some other nefarious crime stopper. After getting the shot I wanted I swiftly walked back to my car but was interrupted by a crusty old fart who had walked out of the bar's front door. Our paths crossed but, fortunately, the only interaction we had was nodding to each other and going on our separate ways.

Boy, was I relieved.

Apparently, according to one reviewer of this dive, I was lucky to escape because after getting home from that shoot I researched the place on the Internet Tubes and found a dissatisfied review of the Bulldog Sports Bar. The reviewer wasn't really happy with his experience there. He wrote this: "Even though there is a sign that says 'No Fighting' it seems the folks running the place are the ones that seem to create the most trouble. A nice atmosphere if you are not constantly concerned when something will break out. Hard to enjoy a cold beer or drink with your buddy while in a constant defensive position. And the whining kid that 'works'? There is more trouble than it's worth to go in. I give it a 1/2 star."

I have been car chased after taking a photo of the notorious Lady Luck on the near south side of Fort Worth by a psycho white trash couple and so, while still willing to take chances, I am always weary when I entertain taking a photograph of a bar.

Actually, if you want to take photos of bars, especially the more shady ones, get to them early in the morning on a Sunday before they open. That's my sage advice.


Room 12. Shot this to give you a better idea of the Miami Vice-like paint job.

This warning sign was placed on the lower floor for everyone to clearly see.

Across the street was the Golden Gate Motel with their classic '50s style sign.
Here's the somewhat obstructed view from Todd's bathroom window.
Ironically enough, Todd had a tube of Crest toothpaste for his stay at the Crest Motel. Nice touch, Todd.

June 18, 2009

No Battery Required Fire Alarm

A dude I know who trolls the Internet Tubes for funny shit sent me a photo of a Jiffy Pop redneck "fire alarm" that was funny as shit. It had me LOL.

The next day I hit the grocery store for some subsistence and found myself in the isle with, what else, the popcorn. I quickly spotted some Jiffy Pop, a product that has been around since 1959 and even spawned a little burner just for Jiffy Pop called the Jiffy Pop Popper. I put one in my hand-held grocery store basket and with the thought of improving upon the funny photo I'd been sent the evening before.

Since I thought the original was poorly shot --- the angle sucks and the Jiffy Pop being held up by a single nail is too far away considering it is the photo's main subject, plus the photo coming out of some piece of shit point-and-shot digicam --- I wanted to do a better job of it.

Jiffy Pop popcorn is something I can remember me and my sister and mom enjoying way back in the late '60s, it being exciting watching as the cover, as the pan of the Jiffy Pop got hotter and hotter, bulge more and more and knowing we'd soon be digging into a yummy snack.

I placed the Jiffy Pop container on a hook on my front door that was once used for a little plastic basketball rim where I'd shoot indoor hoops, imagining myself being LeBron James or Michael Jordon, while dunking and hitting 3-pointers. I tired of that childish game, however, and took the fucking rim down but didn't think about removing the hook that held it up.

After I attached the Jiffy Pop to the hoop hook I got out my
Nikon D700 digital SLR, with the 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor auto focus lens attached to it, and took this shot.

So you tell me which photo is better in the comments section. I'd like to know your opinion, good, bad or indifferent. Thanks.

June 16, 2009


My friend, Motel Todd, left me a message on my machine saying he'd checked into the
Avalon Motel on the Jacksboro Highway near the intersection of River Oaks Boulevard. He also wondered if I wanted to come over and check it out. I called him and said, "Hell, yeah. I'll come over on Sunday." He said make it about 11 a.m. since he planned on downing a fifth of Jack Daniels during the evening.

The next morning I went over there to see if this place was as God awful as it looks from the street and for, of course, taking photographs.


Surprising, for a dumpy, grungy looking place it wasn't a bad place. The drive area was all gravel and dirt but some of the 25 units had carports. Nice touch for hot Texas summers when shade is a great commodity. I pulled up and parked in an area than seemed like it for visitor parking and got out of my car with my Nikon camera bag holding my . He was in room #6.

For something that's not larger than a box, about 200 square feet, it was impressive and the AC blew out COLD air, a big plus during hot Texas summers. But the only t.v. channel he could get was Channel 8, the Metroplex's ABC affiliate. I told him since the HD conversion took place that he should rescan the t.v. to pick up all the HD channels. But I doubt he bothered with it.

The bed's backboard had a reference to some sexual goings on there in its past. It read "Janet N You N Me" (a photo of that follows this text). It looked like it was painted with nail polish. So it doesn't take much of an imagination to know what that meant.

The Avalon Motel has, for whatever reason, a water tower sitting over it's main office. As I walked around taking pictures of the place some old fat white guy was sitting outside the office in a chair in the noon time sun. He was tanned and bald and had a big beer belly. He wore a white wife beater t-shirt. His assistant, obviously an illegal alien, a young guy, in his early '20s, wore a short sleeve shirt and black pants. He had greased back hair and a thin mustache. Some white trash folks were situated in room #3 just down Todd's 1-room-and-a-shitter place. They looked at me with suspicion.

But that's normal for people who take photos. Everyone looks at you like you're an alien. "What's he doing taking pictures?" Like I'm gonna sell'em to
TMZ.comz or something. Puh-lease.

Meanwhile, I waved and smiled to the office's old fart two times, once while driving into the place and another time while driving out of it. His only reaction was a stare of zero. No acknowledgment whatsoever, except to give me the evil eye after I had parked and was walking across the gravel drive towards Todd's room. At the time this old man was talking to an older couple a couple of rooms down from Todd, and he looked at me like I was trouble. What a dumbass.

Well, if I had that job I guess I'd have shitty 'tude myself. Even though from Jacksboro Highway it seems unimaginable that the Avalon Motel --- a relic from the '50s when Jacksboro Highway was a fabulous place where gambling, dancing and other nefarious activities took place --- is still a working motel. It's an amazing achievement. To still be in business in this new world of corporate hotel franchises that have eaten alive the mom and pop places so prevalent in the not too distant past is unbelievable but what with the economy is now it's a very much needed motel with the rent there being $153 dollars a week --- all bills paid and the added bonus of a little fridge.

After I took my photos we then we went to a Chinese buffet just down the street. I decided to take a piss before we left and soon realized that the door wouldn't stay shut. No wonder. Upon closer inspection there wasn't the framing in place to where the door knob's metal piece could lock in place. So the door kept opening. Finally, I placed the toilet paper roll down on the floor to keep it shut. Also, over the sink's hot and cold knobs was magic market writing in red that read, "HOT" over the hot knob and "COLD" over the cold knob. Sheesh, I guess they get some stupid guests. I'm surprised it wasn't in Spanish too, "
caliente" for hot and "frío" for cold.

The buffet place, one neither of us had ever been to but was fairly new, was a nice, clean place. One of its dished had tiny baby octopuses, boiled, plus they had some whole fried fish with its head, fins, tail, etc., still attached and, surprisingly, crawlfish. Todd ate one and didn't really like it. Obviously, I didn't eat any of that shit. I just went with my regular choices at a Chinese buffet --- fried rice, noodles, asparagus, shrimp and chicken. After finishing off my plate I had some soft serve ice cream, another reason I love Chinese buffets, and a brownie for dessert.

After eating I took Todd up the street to Family Value, a dollar place, because he needed to buy a couple of cans of fix-a-flat since his back right tire went down during the night. He's checked out of there Monday morning.

He said he went to the Avalon Motel because he just wanted to get away from his World War II vet grandpa and his crazy lunatic cousin, a
Manchurian Candidate in the making, for a couple of days since all they do is watch FOX NEWS and listen to right wing radio, like Lush Limpballs. Then, for entertainment, watch the white trash stupidity of WWE "wrestling". Ugh.

Last thing I heard from Todd was another message on my answering machine. He said he'd ventured over to Camp Bowie West (used to be known as Highway 80) rented a room at the Crest Motel for a week. He said it was an improvement from the Avalon Motel, plus Illusion's --- A Gentlemen's Cabaret is right across the highway. But Todd said his money was between going to Illusions or staying at the Crest Motel. That tells you how much he wanted a rest from the unrelenting right wing lunatic madness that envelopes him at his grandpa's house.

"This new place is $160 for a week, only $7 more than Avalon was wanting. Caravan Inn (down the street from Avalon) is $185, plus a $25 deposit --- just for a week. I checked a lot of prices. Anyway, this place is 'divish' but on par with the Caravan Inn. I got about 60 channels of basic cable and a micro fridge, which I can put a six-pack into --- and no graffiti on the headboard, ha ha ha. I figure I may as well get away while I can --- if only for a little while --- since I've been with my psycho relatives for over a year."


The Avalon Motel is a can't miss place on Jacksboro Highway with this water tower that sits above the place's office. It's about three stories high.The bathroom. Had to shoot it this way to get the toilet and the sink into the frame 'cause it was so god damn small. Notice above the sink's hot and cold knobs the words, in red ink, that read HOT and COLD.

The room's toilet paper dispenser was useless --- unless Todd gave a shit enough that he went outside and found a stick that would fit the holes. At least the Avalon staff provided toilet paper.
The bathroom door wouldn't close behind you because the framing where it would lock had been removed, most likely when two people where there and one wanted to get at the one locked in the bathroom and busted it open. At least that's the scenario I thought of. Just a guess.

Todd's smokes sitting atop the room's queen-sized bed. "The little cigars were only $2.25 a pack," Todd said.
On the bed's headboard was this writing. Apparently, a trio of sexually active persons had a three way in the same bed Todd spent two nights sleeping in.
Todd standing next to the Avalon Motel's fencing, which is topped by barbwire. And he's wearing his favorite t-shirt.
Todd's car was parked underneath a carport next to his room, a good thing to have during hot ass Texas summers. But you had to squeeze inbetween the left end of his car to enter the door. A very tight fit.

June 5, 2009

Some Signs Around Town

I don't know what it is but I love business signs. So I take a lot of photos of said signs. Doesn't matter what business it is. If I like the sign I will photograph it. So here's a few I've taken recently using Nikon's D700 digital SLR.

Click on the photos to see a full-sized version
(greatly encouraged):

TEXAS TIRE CITY (pulled in here once to get a flat tire plugged. Great service despite the scumbag look)
FORT WORTH BOLT & TOOL CO. (located in a mostly abandoned industrial area near Fred's Texas Cafe)
SINGLETON'S BATTERIES (a dumpy place on Jacksboro Highway that gives off the aura of 'WTF?')
HENDERSON STREET BAZAAR (Fort Worth's best & most visited weekend flea market)
MICHAEL JORDAN MOTORS (obviously no relation to the NBA Hall Of Fame superstar)

May 27, 2009


My dad and step-mother's cat has a silky black coat like no other cat I've ever seen before. It's soft and smooth and it's a pleasure to pet this little girl. My step-mother found her outside of the school where she used to be a librarian and brought her home.

Since then, a good 10 years ago, they've moved from a condo and into a house. Recently, Chrissy has been spending time out in the yard. She loves it so much it's almost all she wants to do now. Since she's older (less frisky) and somewhat overweight she can't climb the fence to get away so she simply lays in the yard taking a sunbath or else will go into the underbrush along the fence lines and survey her domain from there.

Occassionally, she'll give an effort to chase squirrels and birds but she never catches them. Since she's been an inside cat most of her life she probably wouldn't know what to do with the critters if she caught one trespassing on her yard.

It's a challenge photographing her since she's got that pure black coat. It's tricky to photograph since some of the shots I take of her you can't see anything but black and can't possibly define her legs or paws or even her face, except for those glowing yellow eyes.

In this shot I used my Nikon D700 and a SB-800 AF Speedlight
and I aimed the light up and above Chrissy, with the light reflecting back off the bedroom's white wall. This coverage of light allowed for this shot to turn out the way it did, with all her features seeable, as her entire being was covered from above by light.

May 23, 2009

Fred's Texas Cafe Coldass Beer Coozie

Took off towards Aledo, Texas, a little 'burb directly west of Fort Worth on Interstate 20, after work and hit the Hardcore Texas Ranch House dirt drive and stopped to open the gate. Once inside the gate I stopped again and closed it. Used to be in Texas you'd keep your shit open. Not anymore. Not for a long time.

Anyway, I stopped in to see Hippy Steve and his better half, Beth. We sat outside on the second porch and me and Beth drank her homemade iced tea and Hip poured down Keystone Light's one after the other. I noticed the coozie he had his cold beers wrapped in.

"Cool," I said, looking at it.

So, of course, I pulled out my Nikon D700 and, with the Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8D fixed length lens attached, took a photograph of it.

Well, here it is.

Click on the photo if you want to see it bigger.

We talked about shit for a bit, drinking our drinks and smoking cigarettes and messing a little bit with Beth's cat, Shaboo, before I decided to hit the road back to Fort Worth, back to the hustle and bustle of a city, leaving the nice, quiet country atmosphere I'd rather be.

Here's a photo of Beth holding her cat, Shaboo, on her shoulder:

May 19, 2009


Click on any photo to see it in large size:
American Pink Flamingos
One Tusk Elephant
Lesser Flamingo
Elephant eating bamboo sticks
Eagle Claws
White Bengal Tiger
Lion Cub
Lessur Kudu Antelope
Lesser Flamingo
Asian Brown Mountain Tortoise
American Pink Flamingo
Lessur Kudu Antelope & Abyssian Ground Hornbill
American Pink Flamingo
Silver Back Gorilla
Lion Cub