Monday, February 23, 2009

Hoonage Outside of Houston: 24 Hours of LeMons

Urban Dictionary entry on hoonage -

"Aggressively flogging a car, but in a manner that stops just short of reckless."  Other definitions exclude the just-short-of-reckless part.  This post is for fans of just this kind of behavior!

While reading the car blog Jalopnik many months ago, I read of a race in Texas.  It had taken place that weekend and from the description I became bummed to have missed it.  Not just any race, but one of epic, joyous madness.  One that combined questionable judgment, some frugalness and the unadulterated love of speed.  From the 24 Hours of LeMons website...

"Each LeMons race is for cars purchased, fixed up, and track-prepped for a total of 500 dollars or less. But before reaching the grid, you'll have to survive trials like the Personal-Injury-Lawyer Anti-Slalom, the Marxist-Valet Parking Challenge, and the Wide Open Throttle Rodthrowapalooza. Twelve hours into the race, the car voted People’s Choice is called in and awarded a cash prize; simultaneously, the car voted People’s Curse is called in and summarily destroyed. At the end of 24 hours, a gala awards ceremony plies the survivors with trophies, plaques, and four-figure purses in canvas bags full of nickels. What's not to like?"

But now the 24 Hours of LeMons has returned again to Texasland.  The Houston Gator-O-Rama is one many this year, and the first of two races in the Houston area. All of this takes place at the Mercedes-Benz of Sugarland Road Course in lovely Angleton, TX.  The location link at the bottom of this post will show the track on Google Maps.

For those lucky souls going, take lots of picture and enjoy the fumes.  I have been told that this is not the way my wife plans on spending her birthday weekend.  So, I will just have to wait until October 24 & 25, when all this foolishness makes its way back to the Lone Star state once again.

A Man and His Dog: Sewell Hall @ Rice U.

I love this man and his poodle.  The painting hangs in the hall of the building home to the Rice University Art Gallery.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Night Photo Post: The Odd and the Childish

This last month has been adventure-free, thus explaining my few actual blog posts. While the photoposts have been a lazy way of adding a weekly update to the blog, they were never meant to be the main content of the site. That being said... here is this week's photo post.

Stickers from the Children's Museum of Houston adorn the corner street signs near the venue. The closer to the main entrance, the more complete the coverage.

The 14th St. Odd Fellows Lodge. Home to the David G. Burnett Museum of Texas History. Oh, you know I got to see that place!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Things I Will Never Do: Dangerous Exploration of Unusual Places

Between marriage and cowardice, I have an aversion to risky behavior. While I would love to skydive, I've been informed that that is no longer an option (as is going to a strip club, which I never did despite 5 years single spent in New Orleans). While the idea of exploring abandoned buildings has intrigued me for some time, it will never happen. So it is through others I live vicariously, and no more so than the folks of Sleepy City.

If it was just exploring forgotten century-old tunnels behind the base of Niagara Falls or an abandoned rocket aimed at the center of the earth, that would be more than enough. But the adventures of visiting unused Soviet-era bases in Mongolia are just the icing on the cake. Living a dream I never even thought of having, these guys just amaze. So, scoff at their intentions or even disbelieve that anyone would even take an adventure like that. For me, it is proof that these guys carry on the traditions of great explorers long before them, this time with digital cameras and tattoos.

Other UE sites I like:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Russians and Other Space People At Rice U. Art Gallery

Being a freelancer, I'm happy to be working in a time that many are not.  The last month was a little dry, so the offer to be a gallery attendant at the Rice U. Art Gallery was appreciated.  And this weekend was an interesting one to be sitting at the front desk.

1) LARPing around: Saturday, a geektastic horde descended on the Sewall Hall, for it was time yet again for OwlCon.  Sci-fi fans gathered to roleplay, with the Houston Browncoats living in the world of Firefly/Serenity, if only for the weekend.  Other activities included Head-to-Head Miniatures Painting Competition, which I missed (meaning "missed"), being stationed in the lobby.

2) NASA via Moscow:  Sunday, a group of six came to the gallery space.  All were speaking Russian.  When asked if he could speak any English, one replied very little and offered by explanation that they were mission specialists from Moscow working at the Johnson Space Center.  So, if the next addition to the international space station resembles a FEMA trailer with bamboo cabinets,  you know where the influence came from.

And that was my weekend.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wednesday Night Photo Post: Other Houston Photographers - Night Shots with Sabotai

Firstly, a shout-out to Houstonist for thinking me worthy of some attention. Thanks, I read the site daily. For those new readers who stick around, welcome and I apologize for spelling errors that you will inevitably encounter in the future. Now, on with my regularly scheduled post...

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IMGP0572, originally uploaded by sabotai.

IMGP0587, originally uploaded by sabotai.

IMGP1188, originally uploaded by sabotai.

I don't know if the parking spot picture is at night, but my love for this photo is that the number looks to be floating.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Art After Disaster - Paul Villinski and Banksy In New Orleans

The Rice University Art Gallery opened its exhibition of Paul Villinski's "Emergency Response Studio" last week. Villinksi's idea was this; artists should be embedded with other post-disaster emergency responders and this retrofitted trailer a prototype to aid in that process. Friday, I attended the artist lecture and free lunch that accompanies every exhibition the galley has. For an artist working on "A Big Idea" he was free of the pretensions that might make a person skeptical of the merits and/or success of the concept. His interview on KUHF does a nice job of putting the project in context.

That being said, another artist immediately came to mind who provided timely and worthy art to the people of New Orleans after Katrina hit. The work British street artist Banksy created in New Orleans required a little more than plane ticket and some cans of spray paint. It wasn't created in a studio nor limited to the confines of a gallery. He (assuming the unknown artist is a he) put his critique of post-Katrina government action front-and-center of the people who were living through its failure. But the best reason to love his work is that it is really great art; concise, witty and completely relevant to its surroundings. And that is why I am always pleased when more work of his is made public.

From what I can gather most, if not all, of the Banksy's New Orleans public art has since been erased by the Gray Ghost.

Banksy Art in New Orleans, originally uploaded by howieluvzus.

Banksy in New Orleans, originally uploaded by Miz Bubbles.

banksy, originally uploaded by anthonyturducken.