Saturday, September 24, 2005

Danger - Poisonous Animals


I understanding the intent, poisonous or venomous animals, but I cannot be sure about the animals they are warning us about.. Are ticks poisonous, or did they forget a set of legs and really mean poisonous spiders? And, what the hell is in the upper left corner - a poisonous horned butterfly thing?

My friend John turned me on to the sign - it’s a classic wtf.

The line bully

I like to watch people. When I sit in an airport or on a plane, I watch for subtle social interactions. Sometimes they are humorous, like the guy who tried to tell my traveling companion to go to the back of the “B” line at Southwest’s terminal in San Antonio yesterday. He almost wet himself when I confronted him. The funny thing was watching the line bully change from an aggressor to a complete sissy when I lowered my voice and told him, “she is traveling with me”. He actually blanched when I spoke to him, going from healthy looking to oh-my-god-I-made-the-big-man-mad pasty white. I hate line bullies – but I hate racists more.

Living in LA, I don’t normally see open racism any more. But I’ve been working in Texas and Mexico over the last few weeks. Racism is alive and well in the lone star state’ it more overt racism than subtle racism so it is easier to see. Like eating dinner at a nice restaurant and then watching the whole establishment go quiet when a young black couple enters. After a few experiences like this, I started paying more attention to one on one social interaction. I got interesting at the airport.

I had already boarded the plane. My seat was two rows from the back of the aircraft on the isle. I watch the plane fill up. The line bully sat five rows ahead of me on an isle seat. He looked back. We made eye contact. It was not a friendly exchange of glances. A few minutes a later, a scraggly looking young black man walked down the isle. He wore a vest that showed his arms and a leather cowboy hat. An iPod mini hung from his neck. He carried not baggage. I had him pegged as a hurricane evacuee, like many of the other people on the flight, in my mind he was running for the safety of LA. As the iPod dude approached the Line Bully, he stopped and asked if the middle seat was open. He spoke in a gentle and polite southern accent; I thought he was from Georgia. The Line Bully lied. He claimed the seat was taken by person in the bathroom. Thank god for honest people, the woman in the window seat made it clear that the middle seat was indeed open. I watched as the iPod dude climbed into his seat. The Line Bully looked back towards my seat searching with anguished eyes for an open seat. I could tell he was completely repulsed by the idea of sitting next to a black man. I change my demeanor from passive observer, to aggressive challenger as he sought to make eye contact with me again. His smile faded – I would not be an ally in his search for an open seat. He rose from his seat to look around. There were still a few open middle seats, and one open isle seat. It happened to be across the isle from me. He moved to claim is new seat. When he approached, he asked the lady in widow seat about the isle seat “is this seat taken?” She replied, “Yes, by a woman in the bathroom”. It was a lie too – the seat remained open the whole flight.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ice Photo's - way cool

Check out these ice photographs they are very beautiful. I'm so jealous.

Viva Mexico


I shot this on the wall of Johnny's in Acuna a day before Mexican Independence Day last week. I think the Mexican’s enjoyed their holiday as much as I enjoy the 4th of July.

I keep looking for the hidden message


Someone spent a little time and energy covering this no smoking sign in LAX’s terminal one with an In & Out sticker. I'm sure people wanted to know why I was shooting this picture – From the looks I got, I figured they thought I was nuts. I can’t help it, I need to know why.

Yep - I'm in Texas


I see these along the highways leading into the various small towns in south Texas. What are these suppose to accomplish? People with faith will say “yup yup” – people without will say “what’s the point” I saw one like it in the movie Constantine. I remember thinking, "wow - that's pointless".

Btw way – Constantine is some other language for really bad movie.

Of course I have to know.... the signs are sponsored by Family Theater Productions. This organization has put of signs like this in 134 cities across America over the past 20 years.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

So this is where my steak came from



I don’t like to eat in Mexico. After eating at well reviewed local restaurant, I got sick. My illness lasted almost three weeks. Of course, I also ate at a restaurant in Del Rio. I was never quite sure if it was the steak in Mexico, or the escargot in Del Rio.

I gave in to pressure today and ate at Johnny’s in Acuna with several of my co-workers. I had a nice big sirloin. I wondered where they got their meat. When I asked, they said the butcher. I think I found my next steak on the range outside of Acuna.

The owner asked me to put a review up on the Internet. Here it is: Johnny’s is the place for a good home made meal. They serve a wide array of steak and chicken dishes, all are good. If I survive the night, I’ll go back again.

Welcome to the USA


I drove from Mexico over the Lake Amistad Dam this afternoon. The dam is located in the middle of a desert on the Rio Grand River. I drove through utter desolation only to find a beautiful and cool vista. The border crossing is mellow compared to Acuna/Del Rio. I talked with the guard for almost five minutes. I think he was bored.

As I drove into Texas, I was greeted by this poorly painted mural. I wonder what they were thinking?

Hot Pit B-B-Q


I had passed this restaurant about a dozen times in over the last few weeks. It has never been open. It was 7 p.m. as I passed tonight. I saw the open sign flip to closed, so I hit the brakes and pulled into the parking lot. The owner opened the door and invited me in. The place is great. Good BBQ and a fare price, this is a real find here in Del Rio. The only problem is, it is only open while I am working.

I can’t wait to get back to LA.

Really?


I was driving around Del Rio when I spotted this subtle sign. Who would design a sign six feet high and four feet wide to tell you a 100 foot long side street is ending? The city planners must be nuts.

Palm Tree, Del Rio Tx


At one time, I am sure some civic leader said “Hey, I’ve got and idea. Let’ plant palm trees to welcome tourists to our fair city.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fruit cart, Acuna Mexico


I don't have the guts to try these, but when it's 95 in the shade, they look real good to me.

Sad Cactus Revisited


I really liked my sad cactus photo, so I posted another.

Yes, but is art?


Paint with twenty shades of yellow and green. Let set in the hot Mexican sun for 20 years, and yes, it is art. (or arte)

Election day is coming soon


When driving around Mexico, one finds an endless display of political posters. It is really quite overwhelming. Every available public space is covered with them; even the cars. This picture is from downtown Acuna.

Sad Cactus, Acuna Mexico


I found a building with stone planters along its retaining wall. It was a compelling mix of disregard, and vibrant color. I shot a few shots while the Mexican security guard asked me why I liked the sad cactus.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Graduation Pic's are up

Pepperdine Graduation
Pepperdine Graduation,
originally uploaded by mojoey.
I finally posted some of my graduation pictures at my flickr blog. Let me know if you want a high res copy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dip it in sugar please

KFC is trying to dress up their high calorie eats with pre-dipped chicken. I guess you can order your chicken strips pre-dipped in a sugary honey barbecue sauce. Yum - I’ll take some more carbs with my chicken flavored carbs please, and can you add some more salt too? I feel the hear attack coming.

I've got to try it - but it sounds horrible.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Bible Lady

I was reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris while on a flight from LA to San Antonio Tuesday. To my right in the window seat sat Karen, hereafter known as “The Bible Lady”. I normally introduce myself to people when flying; its common courtesy, plus, I’ve found it’s harder for people to treat you like shit when they know your name. I introduced myself even through I can see she is holding a Bible. She smiled and then told me her name. She was quiet while the plane was loading. I had her pegged as a non-talker, which is my favorite type of flying companion. I was wrong of course – but then again, I usually am.

Karen prayed as the plane took off, not like my preflight prayer, which is more like a chant; “don’t crash, don’t crash, don’t crash” plays through my mind each time I start down the runway. Karen’s prayer was one of those “Father, protect me” public prayers that are meant to disclose her faith to those around her, which in this case was just me. I ignored her. Things were fine… until they started serving drinks.

I thought about ordering a drink, and then changed my mind when the flight attendant told me they were out of the whisky. Karen asked if I was struggling with an addiction after the flight attendants left. It when something like “I heard you were trying to order a drink. Have you been drinking long?” I answer, “Why yes, most of my adult life and a good part of my teen years too.” It was supposed to be funny, but she acted like I had poked her with a sharp stick. She backed away, her eyes wide in astonishment. I think she actually believed me.

Karen eventually gathered her thought, and then started probing me for more information. “Do you need to drink?” Her emphasis was on the “need.” She said the word as if it were supremely significant. Like a doctor asking a patent “does it hurt if I press here?” I answered “Yes… but I’ve been cutting way back. I only drink when I’m sober.” More humor on my part, less understanding on hers.

She must have thought I was serious, because it was then that she started her canned spiel. “Well! If you just let my lay my hands on you (or over you), I’m sure we can beat this alcohol monster with a little help from Jesus”. I recoiled, but kept my poker face on. I blurted, “No thanks – my alcohol situation is under control.” Karen backed off for a few minutes, and then started praying to herself. I could tell she was praying. Her bible was clutched in her hand and as she was talking to the roof.

I returned to reading my book. At one point laughing out loud at one of Sedaris’s all too vivid characterizations from his dysfunctional past. Sedaris cracks me up. I particularly like how close to home some of his stories hit. I sometimes get the feeling that I know the situation he is describing because it had happened to me. Sedaris is refreshingly honest and funny. I love his work. The Bible Lady did not share my assessment. She had secretly read part of the back cover of the book while I was reading. It must have pissed her off. She eventually asked me if I was gay. I thought, wow, odd question, what would possess her to ask a question like that? She went on to tell me that God can forgive me for the sin of being gay and that with work; I could be “fixed”. Her church fixes gays all the time, they even have a gay outreach program. I jumped up from my seat and starting looking around the plane for an open seat; there were none (except for right next to me, and it had a big bible sitting were my big ass would needed to be.)

The Bible Lady was driving me nuts. I ignored her in the vain hope that she would leave me alone, but it was not to be. She started in again a few minutes later. “But Joe (my mistake from the introduction) – being gay sends you right to hell. You need my help. You need Jesus. This book (she pats the bible) has the answers you need.” She lifted the bible and shook it in my directions. “I can show you a few versus if you have a moment.” By this point, I was secretly wishing that Brad, my pastor friend, could have joined me to witness this intrusive travesty.

I lose it. “Lady – leave me alone. I don’t what you are selling”. She persisted – focusing on my alleged gayness. I finally asked, “What makes you so sure I’m gay anyway”. She pointed to the book I was readying, Me Talk Pretty One Day. “You are reading a book by a gay author!” Her eyes were shinning now, she was sure I was gay. I took a deep breath before I began “Have you considered that I am reading this book because Sedaris is a great writer? Gay themes, while present in some essays, are not the main focus of his writing. He is an autobiographical essayist and damn funny too. I read him because I like good writing”. She laughed, then picked up her bible and said, “This” pointing to her bible “is the only book I read. “Really” I ask in my best whiny nasal you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me voice. “Well, that makes perfect sense to me.” I pause for a moment, and then continue “Would you mind keeping your bigoted opinions to yourself? (There were a few four letter words mixed into the last few sentences, they have been omitted to keep it family friendly).

The Bible Lady looked frightened. I had just barked very loudly and profanely in her direction. It had scared her. She stopped for a few minutes to pray. Her next question was ‘have you every gone to church?” I lose it (again). I gave her an earful of “mind you own business, there is no God, I am not gay, and I’m not interested in what you are selling”. Silence followed for a few minutes – she prayed some more. We had two hours to go; she talked to God the whole time.

Deer Hunting

I am working in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico currently. I commute each week from Los Angeles to San Antonio, and then drive to Del Rio, Texas. I cross the border each day to spend a pleasant day in Acuna.

I normally drive between Del Rio during the daylight hours. This trip, I drove at night because my normal flight was booked solid, so I had to take a much later flight. My drive was uneventful until I passed the town of Uvalde on I-90 west of San Antonio. Just outside of town, I had my first near miss with a deer. I was traveling about 75 miles per hour; the deer missed my car by about three feet. It came out of the passenger side bushes. In three bounds it was in front of me, and then it vanished into the darkness on my left. I left a hundred yards of rubber on the road trying to avoid it. The near miss scared the crap out of me.

A little further down the road, I noticed a car on the side of the road with a dear partially embedded in its front window. The police were just pulling up as I drove by. It occurred to me that driving in the Texas Hill Country at night might not be safe. I turned my cell phone off; it was time to concentrate. My 75 mile per hour average speed dropped to as low as 50. At one point, I drove slowly by a deer standing on the side of the road. It had a death wish type look in its eye. I was sure it was going to jump in front of me. The deer just stood there in the darkness. I don’t even think it knew I was there.

I had two more near misses before arriving in Del Rio, but I got skunked on the deer hunt. I was told by my project team the next day that it was not safe to drive this time of the year in Texas, especially around sunrise. Deer related car accidents are quite common.

I’m schedule to drive back at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning. Maybe I’ll get my first deer of the season then.

Friday, September 02, 2005

We are not alone

Back in the day, creationists used to tell me one of the proofs that mankind was God's creation was that no other animal was intelligent enough to teach new behaviors to other members of their species. Time passes – the seasons change, and then a Killer Whale starts baiting gulls with fish in order to supplement his diet. The whale subsequently teaches the behavior to his pod; all this under the eyes of a human witness. It seems Mankind is not so special after all.

A passing blur