Friday, November 30, 2007

A Rare Tech Note

For those 14 or so people getting RSS feeds, you may or may not be seeing old posts popping up again. In an attempt to the blog out there, I'm will be adding technorati tags to some older articles. I'm not sure if this will have your reader fill up with the amended posts.

Since they were so interesting the first time around, rejoice and rediscover the wonder that is My Blog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Las Vegas Folk Art Horse Stables

In all my time living in Vegas, I never saw the Johnston J-B Stables. When my wife saw the pictures Sin City friend Ms. Bonanza took of it (on Flickr), she said it reminded her of the Orange Show photos I took. I think she is totally right.

Below is my "Roadside Attractions, Museums, Etc..." google map. The stable location is revealed when the map fully loads.

View Larger Map

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Photography Playday and the Holland Lodge #1

Houston City Hall, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

A couple weeks ago, I got my photo groove back on. After finishing a work-related trip downtown, I wandered the area. I visited the Art Deco city hall building and spent some time at the Houston Heritage Society Museum. After that, I drove down Montrose Ave. to get some pictures of the Masonic Temple.

Holland Lodge #1 is a beauty of a modernist building. It consists of two perpendicular intersecting rectangles; a brick, ground floor base and an upper, cantilevered, pale concrete one. The concrete one extends above the rear parking lot and houses the main hall. I'm not thrilled with the pictures, mainly due to a lack of sun and partially because I can't capture the specific architectural aspects that I like with a single picture. While wandering around the back, I chanced upon a guy bringing a ladder into the building. Being a handyman, I guessed he didn't have any authority in the building, and asked if there was someone there who could give me permission to take some interior photos. Moments later, out came a Brother Mason who said I could take all the pictures outside that I wanted, as they'd spent over 2 million on the streetside facade.

After asking if I was a mason (I'm not; my mom's dad was) he proceeded to start a history lesson on Masons in America. I had my afternoon free so I was happy to be schooled on John Paul Jones, George Washington and others. When he saw I was still interested/not fleeing, he asked if I wanted to know a bit more about Texas and Masons. I said sure, he said "No pictures," and we went inside.

The building dates from the 1950s and has a combination of clean modern lines with more decorative elements referencing the early European heritage of Freemasonry.

In one of the side rooms, there is a collection of famous Texan Masons, including but not limited to:
  • Sam Houston (1793-1863) - President of the Republic Texas, Founding Member of, Holland Lodge
  • Anson Jones (1798-1858) - President of the Republic Texas, Founding Member of Holland Lodge
  • M. B. Lamar (1798-1859) - President of the Republic Texas, Freemason, Member of Harmony Lodge No. 6 Galveston
  • Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) - Father of Texas, Freemason
  • James Bowie (1796-1836) - Hero of the Alamo, Freemason
  • William B. Travis (1809-1836) - Freemason
  • Juan N. Seguin (1806-1890) - Member of Holland Lodge
  • James W. Fannin, Jr. (1804-1836) - Member of Holland Lodge
  • David 'Davey' Crockett (1786-1836) - Hero of the Alamo, Freemason
In the main hall, the modern, reserved design was most evident. Unlike the many Philadelphia lodge rooms (Flickr picture), this room was free of extraneous decoration; instead the wall were broad expanses of wood, with indirect lighting on the ceiling. It was a clean, modernist interpretation of a ceremonial lodge room. As I exited the room, I saw overhead two old slide projectors, and in the library there was a glass slide of a masonic image. It reminded me that many secret societies were influenced by theatrical design and some groups had members of various stage professions.

In the library, I was looking at a wall of black and white portraits. The Brother Mason said they had pictures of every master mason who had served, even the ones they kicked out. That piqued my curiosity and I asked what someone had to do to get the boot. Brother Mason paused a moment, then replied, "You know what a libertine is?" Having attended college, I said yes, and clarified, "So, it's behavior unbecoming a mason? "Yes," he said, and proceeded to detail and detailed the life of Jesse H. Jones, Secretary of Commerce and director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation during the years following the Great Depression. Under attack by those who would take over his position of power, my host cited Jones' adherence to Masonic ideology as protection against accusations of corruption and embezzlement. Fellow masons in the Congress helped Jones draw attention to these attacks in public hearings and prevented his ouster from his positions of authority.

That pretty much ended my Freemasonry 101 class for the day, as I had to find something to eat. I had spent at least an hour at the lodge and I was getting hungry.

So the two lessons of the day were (in reverse order);
  • Freemasonry, good for Houston, good for Texas, and the country in general
  • Always take an opportunity to talk to someone going through a door - you never know how far inside you might be able to follow them.

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My Flickr pictures:
Houston City Hall
Houston Heritage Society Museum
Holland Lodge #1

For detailed biographies of all the Masons mentioned, as well as anything else Texan - Texas State Historical Association - The Handbook of Texas Online

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Lights in the Fog, near Memorial City Mall

Friday, November 23, 2007

Drive-thru Liquor Store

Drive-thru Liquor Store, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

A couple of nights ago, I was driving a new part of Westheimer (in Houston) when I passed this drive-thru booze store. Reminded me of New Orleans and their drive-thru daiquiri shops.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Crotch Can Take You Higher

Wings And Wheels, originally uploaded by txfireguy.

From the Houston 1940 Air Terminal...

Rice Hallway by Jade001

rice_hallway, originally uploaded by jade001.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hard-Working Slacker

The last week and two days have been spent working at the Alley Theater, installing lights for their "Christmas Carol." It was the most intensive, rigorous theatrical lighting job I've done. Most of the shows I've worked in the past have been traveling rock and roll shows in roadhouses or arenas, and touring performers/small theater companies in small venues for short runs. This is a much different thing. This show (whose lights and sets look mighty impressive) will be running until December. The detailed set and effects-laden lighting meant a longer set-up time to really wring out the details and meet the Light Designer's standards. Hoping to see this one once it opens to the public.

The hard work stole my time away from blogging, writing for NaNoWriMo and everything else. Now, on a day off I'm lying here, typing up this post, researching old Vegas phone numbers for some fiction, and procrastinating about calling a gallery about some on-call art installation work. In the other room, a list of tasks waits to pounce on me.

I can slack a little longer before guilt gets me out of bed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Employee Of The Month Is... Food

James Coney Island, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

The best employee at the James Coney Island hotdog stand is... a hotdog with legs... eating a hotdog. Not the really nice guy that took my order or the really nice cashier girl, but the company logo.

The hotdogs are pretty good, though.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaNoWriMo: Maybe There's Something To This...

Not being a 9-5 kind of guy has left me pretty unstructured. Recent work schedules have had me working early days and late nights. Which makes sense because they revolve around the client's goals. This randomness appeals to my indulgent nature, but it has ruined me in the past. I've been hard-pressed to make demands upon myself even as I contend with the desire to create and be creative.

National Novel Writing Month might not yield a book when December comes. But I have already printed up a second new short story. The continual writing has been fairly easy. The hardest thing has been translating ideas first visually imagined for a graphic novel or movie and wrapping words around the images.

I've never been one to feel limited by my imagination. My ability to take an idea to fruition always failed me. But these new habits of writing are slowly coming to me and reading completed work has been reassuring. I'm looking forward to some feedback which the missus has promised.

I'm not used to being pleased with myself. Not a bad feeling at all.