Thursday, April 8, 2021

Fully vaccinated and looking forward to throwing my goofy mask in a trash can

Thanks to our friends in the South Texas Medical Center, I have now joined the one-in-four Americans fully vacinated against the deadly COVID-19 scourge.

I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine yesterday afternoon at 5282 Medical Drive, Suite 160. That vaccine only requires one shot. It was painless and simple, and as far as I can tell has absolutely no side effects. I felt healthier within minutes.

Am I going to get Coronavius now? No way! That silly stuff may crawl around on my hands or my nose, and may even get into my lungs, but the evil microbe has been rendered powerless by the dedicated scientists and health care professionals working with the Johnson & Johnson company.

If you're having a difficult time finding an appointment to receive the vaccine, don't rely on one or two locations. For weeks, I checked the same locations and kept receiving a "no appointments available" notification.

Instead, go to VaccineFinder.org and simply enter your zip code. They will give you list of locations in your area that have the vaccine in stock, and you can make your appointment online.

Let's all get vaccinated so we can finally throw these goofy masks in a trash can, once and for all.

By the way, if you haven't had a chance to check out my incredibly important "Ponderings During the Pandemic" podcast, I encourge you to do so right now. I'll place part one below, but you can find links to all three instalments under the video.

Pondering During the Pandemic with John Tyler, Vol. 1

Pondering During the Pandemic with John Tyler, Vol. 2

Pondering During the Pandemic with John Tyler, Vol. 3

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Do you side with the sweet flying doggies, or do you side with the scumbags?

If you've ever thought, Things won't start improving in America until dogs fly, we might be closer than you think.

While a great number of demons have manifested and shown themselves as worthy advisaries in recent days, the future of our country will not rest in the hands of terrorists and maggots.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, or a great doggy rising crumpled and broken from its uncomfortable landing spot on a concrete parking lot, America will rise and rise again.

Scumbags will not define us, and they will not get the last word. They might threaten retaliation. They might claim they're lucky because our laws often protect the wrong people. But who gives a shit? America doesn't negotiate with scumbags and terrorists, and we surely don't give rat's ass what they think.

They're finished, without a hope and without a future, unless they get right with God (or they get the hell out of Dodge).

And for any sweet doggies that might have endured a difficult time in the past days, we extend our love and hope that all dogs truly do go to Heaven.

I look forward to petting you there, sweet flying doggie.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Spontaneous trip to L.A. last week puts Great Bridge outside hotel window

I drove west on I-10 Thursday morning hoping to see Los Angeles again soon and very soon. Using Priceline.com's Express Deals, I was given a hotel in San Pedro with quite a lovely sight out my window. I can literally pull from the hotel parking lot and drive onto that beautiful piece of engineering that spans the Port of Los Angeles within a minute or so. You'll probably remember that bridge from a previous post on this blog.

As the sun went down over the mountains somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona, I was reminded of that song from back in the day by The Orb, detailing the incredible beauty of clouds in the the desert sky. The sky actually does change colors out there in the desert in ways I don't often notice elsewhere. This photo was taken after many hours of driving, while fighting off a strange combination of weariness and jitters from way too much caffeine consumed during the day. A nap at a rest stop soon followed.

Once in California, General Patton greeted me at the summit. His museum sits at the top of a hill, nestled with a coffee shop, numerous tanks, and several pumps providing travelers with expensive gasoline. I recently saw the movie Patton again and marveled at how a man so famous for pissing off just about everyone every time he opened his mouth became lauded as a military hero. I loved when he shot those two jackasses because they were in his way and then ordered his troops to throw the dead animals off a bridge. True warrior.

Early morning drama at the gas station. I never actually figured out what was going on yesterday morning at the convenience store across the street, but plenty of San Pedro's finest showed up to sort the issue out. I've seen lots of police officers this past weekend out and about patrolling the neighborhood.

Having recently viewed a Youtube video on the history of Echo Park Lake, I decided to stop by and see the place on the way out to Hollywood Boulevard yesterday morning. This is a somewhat historic body of water in L.A. that has apparently been featured in numerous movies over the years, most notably the 1974 Jack Nicholson film Chinatown. I thought it might be cool to get on board one of those swan pedal boats and take some photos like Jack, but they appeared unavailable for use when I arrived.

It's difficult to share the experience without mentioning the homeless folks that have created a relatively large waterfront community along one side of the lake. While in one regard this is obviously a sad display of people at a very low point in their lives, there is also something strangely heartening about how some have decided to make this more than just your run-of-the-mill tent camp, using creativity and even a sense of humor in how they've constructed and decorated what we all hope is a temporary stop for them on the way to much better days.

Good morning, Gertie. From Echo Park, I headed off to Hollywood Boulevard, a stop I frequently like to make when in L.A. The street was strangely empty comparatively speaking, with many of the establishments still closed due to COVID-19. No Spider Man, as far as I could tell. No Edward Scissorhands. No Wonder Woman. Just the bearded guy from The Hangover with a baby strapped around his neck, waving at folks wandering past him on the corner. Memorabilia shops were open here and there, but for the most part Hollywood appears to be waiting out the virus like everyone else.

While Hollywood seemed relatively quiet, I did have an opportunity to photograph a celebrity dog. How do I know this dog is a celebrity? The guy who took off his leash and set him on the pavement for photos told us so. The dog looks like a celebrity, so I didn't question the guy. Several people on the street, including myself, stopped for a minute or so to take photos. I hope to see him in some feature films.

I finished up on Hollywood Boulevard around 11 a.m., much too early to call it a day. I decided to take the advice of the old Steely Dan song and drive west on Sunset to the sea. A very interesting drive that takes you past the Sunset Strip, through exclusive L.A. neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Bel Air, and then winding in the hills to the sparkling Pacific Ocean. For someone like me who has lived on or near I-10 for most of his life in both Houston and San Antonio, it's great to see where that particular train runs out of track, so to speak.

I'll likely hang out here a couple more days before heading back east on that same stretch of road.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Cooling temps prompt an overnight trip to Enchanted Rock outside Fredericksburg

I took a short trek toward the Fredericksburg area earlier this week to check out Enchanted Rock. When researching possible camping spots around the Texas Hill Country, this place always seems to come up in the discussion.

And rightly so. A very unique outcrop of rock that sits in the middle of central Texas, surrounded by lots of wildlife and the natural beauty of the outdoors. There are several trails available to hike with varying lengths and levels of difficulty.

I chose the Summit Trail, which puts you right on top of the giant rock.

Your vantage point up there is spectacular, with a 360-degree view of the Texas landscape as far as the eye can see. I reached the top, took a few moments to look around a bit, and then headed back down to the camping area.

I picked site 23 of the walk-in camping area without ever having seen the place other than photos, and I was happy with the location. Plently of shade overhead all around the the campsite, with a fire pit and picnic table just to the right of my chair. I sat in that chair for hours as the sun went down and watched my campfire after dinner.

Thanks to several Youtube instructional videos, I found lighting and maintaining the fire easy and exhilerating. They sell bundles of wood for $6 at the gift shop, but I located plently of extra wood all around the site.

I chilled out until the fire was nothing but embers, and then retired to my tent to curl up in a sleeping bag because it sure does get chilly out there late at night. Bring extra blankets!

The temperature outside was finally cool enough for me to book an evening like this. The comfortable months in Texas are finally upon us. Camping is a good experience, but going alone isn't the best. If you've never been, you should plan a trip to Enchanted Rock. Schedule with the website ahead of time, as the campsites fill up several weeks in advance on weekends. I found booking an evening during the week quite easy. I'll likely meander that way for another visit someday.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Renewed passport arrived in mail, waiting out COVID-19 to make overseas plans

My expired passport is expired no more, and I'm looking forward to planning an oversea excursion in the not too distant future.

Hopefully. I had initially planned on doing some traveling on or around my birthday this year, but I really want to wait until the world isn't grappling with COVID-19 before spending the money on an airline ticket and hotel.

I don't want to drop a chunk of change to fly anywhere for pleasure when masks are still a requirement in public spaces, or there might even be another lockdown required due to further spread of the virus.

I had previously been looking at Sydney, having had a great time in Australia my first time around. Some potential spots in Europe seem exciting as well. I'll keep you updated here once I've decided and set the time and place.

Hopefully a vaccine will receive approval sometime next year and we can go back to life as usual.

A new podcast is likely coming soon. Keep an eye on my Twitter for the announcement.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Grand Canyon in Arizona is as spectacular as you've always heard

I drove from San Antonio yesterday morning around 7 a.m. and followed Google Maps instructions to arrive to at the Grand Canyon in Arizona early this morning.

I stopped for about three hours of sleep at an I-40 rest stop late last night and completed the trip to Grand Canyon National Park shortly after sunrise today.

That's just under 16 hours of driving time, plus any stops made for gas, bathroom breaks or meals along the way.

I shot some short videos on my phone that I may piece together and post on YouTube when I get back to San Antonio, if that is something y'all have interest in seeing.

The Grand Canyon is always described using superlatives that I will cease from repeating much here, but needless to say those descriptions are apt. It was well worth the drive to get here yesterday and finally see the place, and you should do the same sometime in your life if you haven't already.

One thing I found fascinating was how much of the canyon is free of guard rails or any sort of protection from missteps or loss of balance. You can literally fall into that thing if you're not careful. And I understand from some information online that every year people actually do.

But let's not focus on that. That's horrible. Let's focus on the vast majority of the people that visit each year and leave as healthy and uninjured as they arrived. As I did.

I found the Grand Canyon spectacular in its immensity and scenic beauty. I think you will as well.

I might stop by the meteor crater on I-40 on the way back to Texas, and I look forward to driving through Roswell, New Mexico, again as I did yesterday. I don't know about you, but I think it's just about time we found out for sure if that was a spaceship that crashed out there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

'Kubrick Remembered' best documentary I've seen on legendary filmmaker's life and career

If you're a fan of classic movies and looking for something to do while cooped up in the house today, I highly recommend the documentary "Kubrick Remembered."

I'm not sure how I missed this previously, but I'm glad I finally streamed it last night after the film showed up as a recommended video on my Roku's YouTube app. You can currently stream the film free on YouTube.

The documentary not only features recollections from actors, friends and colleagues about his life's work, but also a great glimpse into his family and home life.

His wife of 42 years, Christiane, is prominently featured and portrays Kubrick as a man as strongly dedicated to his wife and children as he was to his art.

A fascinating look at his life that you should put on your "must see" list if you are a fan of his movies.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Entering my second year in San Antonio, and other fascinating things you really should see

I hope my writing today finds everyone doing well. It’s been such a long time since I sat down to post something on this blog. I thought I’d take a few moments to catch you up.

I’ve recently entered into my second year-long lease in San Antonio. I’m still convinced I made the right decision by relocating here. Are there things about Houston I miss? Certainly, I grew up there. But I’m close enough right now to jump in a car and be there within hours if I need to at some point. The change of scenery was needed.

I’ve seen Ministry, Garbage, Gary Numan, The Crystal Method and Carrie Underwood in concert while living here (so far). I’ve wandered around the River Walk and toured the Alamo again. I’ve seen movie masterpieces 2001: A Space Odyssey and Apocalypse Now in IMAX. I’ve taken time off to visit Los Angeles, California and Denver, Colorado. I may do more traveling soon, but then again, I may not. Sometimes, you just need to be still. I read that in an old book a time or two. Princess Lacey said that in a music video. I also saw that message on a church sign in San Leon, Texas. That’s wisdom, friends.

Wow.

I’m also about to reach the milestone of four years of full-time self employment. I sell merchandise online, mostly clothing, and have found the day-to-day grind of going out and searching for inventory both fulfilling and freeing. From the outside, people may see my life and wonder how someone can actually earn a living doing this. You might be surprised to know I sold more than $76,000 in merchandise out of a one-bedroom apartment last year, all on the Internet.

That’s not too bad, considering I’m a one-person operation, and I handle every aspect of this business. If I choose to do this long-term, I’ll likely need to pay someone as an independent contractor to do some photography for me at some point. The only real downside to this life is that it is nearly impossible to scale a business like this working alone. However, it’s been a great way to pay the bills while we wait for whatever it is we’re waiting on.

Thank God for the Internet, right? We can sell merchandise, Tweet wonderful music videos and silly thoughts to the entire world, and basically reach as many people as we want as long as what we say or sell is interesting or in demand. If you’d told me when I was in high school that someday I’d write something occasionally on a computer that someone of your importance would read out of curiosity, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Thanks in great part to the Internet, this is a fantastic time in human history to be alive.

I need to record a new podcast at some point. I have so much I can discuss with you. Since the last podcast I’ve moved to a new city, been in a car accident, been robbed at gunpoint on a Houston street, started and maintained a home business for several years, and I have no idea where the Princess is or if I’ll ever even marry (which was the primary goal here, remember?). There’s a lot of material to work with here. It’s just a matter of plugging the microphone into the computer and pushing record. Sounds pretty simple, right? I should probably do that soon.

Y’all have a good night. Please keep an eye on my Twitter page for some really interesting content. Stay gold.

Monday, April 15, 2019

I drove over The Great Bridge in Long Beach, and I'm back in San Antonio preparing for Fiesta

I neglected to tell you that I drove over The Great Bridge - also known as the Vincent Thomas Bridge - several times during my recent trip to California.

I actually visited San Pedro, the community across from Long Beach over this bridge, hoping to find a filming location for the William Friedkin film To Live and Die in L.A.

IMDB lists many filming locations in the Los Angeles area for that movie. The one address I really wanted to see, unfortunately, was not listed there. I'm referring to the property the Secret Service informant lives in, with the fantastic view of that bridge from her window.

It's hard to tell from this photo if the property is on the San Pedro or Long Beach side of the bridge. I've always really liked that movie. It's sort if cool to see how these areas have changed (or stayed the same) years after they served as a filming location.

I arrived back home early this week to find San Antonio just beginning its Fiesta celebration. This is considered one of the city's premier festivals, taking place every year over a period of a couple weeks. There are numerous events all over town to choose from during that time. This is my first Fiesta as a resident here.

I've decided on attending an event called A Night in Old San Antonio, because I really wanted to find something hosted downtown. One of the really cool things about San Antonio is that some of the best places to visit are either in or near the downtown area. I'm looking forward to heading out there April 25 to see what all the Fiesta excitement is all about.

I'm also heading to the Houston area later this month to attend an event my dad has helped organize the past few years, the San Leon Oyster Fest on April 27. I may spend much of the weekend in the area, which would likely put me at Numbers that Friday night.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Things in Los Angeles progressing pretty nicely during visit, movie night tonight

I really have been trying to get out and about a little bit in L.A. this week. There is so much to do in this city.

What a fantastic outing I had my first night here. I drove over to Santa Ana and saw that Peter Murphy show at the Yost Theater. There was a good crowd there, and he and the band sounded great. I enjoy the Bauhaus tracks, but I'd like to see him perform his solo material live sometime. The Bauhaus material was before I actually became a fan of that kind of music. I discovered the Bauhaus music as a result of his solo work during the Deep and Holy Smoke era. Cuts you Up is fantastic in a night club with the girlies dancing.

His opening act, a San Francisco-based artist named Jill Tracy, gave a good performance as well. I found the recollection of what she described as her one "Goth Diva moment" quite funny. Due to ingesting a wrongly prescribed medicine for several days, she had to be carted away by ambulance one evening in a black-sequin dress after passing out right before she was to go on stage before Peter Murphy.

I blogged about wanting to visit Griffith Park years ago, but previous attempts to actually get up that hill and see the place had been met with large crowds of people that made doing that difficult. Here's a tip if you plan to visit: Go during the week, and in the morning. The crowds were much smaller, and there was much more parking available along the road up the hill. As an added bonus, parking along the road is free before noon during the week. The site offers a great view of Los Angeles from up in the hills, although yesterday was a bit cloudy and hazy.

A lone, well-dressed Asian warrior seemed to stand watch over the courtyard in front of the observatory. I just had to take a photo of him.

The drive to Huntington Beach brought me to a home I lived in briefly as an elementary school student. I found the address in a box on some material published by the Huntington Beach Rams, my pee-wee football team. The house is still there and looks much like I remember. There was a huge lava rock that used to sit near one of the pillars in front.

The most significant change I noticed in the neighborhood is this park that the city has placed on the corner. The park is two or three houses down from the home pictured above. In 1978, this site was a huge dirt lot. This is where the neighborhood kids would meet to play baseball or kickball. What has been done here is definitely an improvement, but I actually expected to see homes built here.

Dodger Stadium was Dodger Stadium, a very nice place to go. Lots of cool people. Although I don't condone fighting in public, there was a pretty good scuffle in our section that saw several people ejected during the game. Nothing serious, probably just a few guys enjoying a little too much cerveza. And the Dodgers beat the Giants, which is always a good thing.

I stepped out a little early because it was so chilly up there, and I didn't want to break out my Bank of America hoodie, awarded free to the first 40,000 attendees. I want to list this as New without tags, which means I can't pull it out of the packaging just because I'm freezing my ass off and didn't bring another jacket.

Tonight is movie night at the New Beverly Cinema. As long a Quentin Tarantino is alive, and as long as he's rich, there are going to be double-feature screenings of old movies at this theater in Los Angeles. I have another $10 for him tonight. I get to see a John Wayne movie AND a Jack Nicholson directed film, both from the early 1970s.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A week in L.A. area includes visit to my third-grade home, Dodger Stadium, Peter Murphy show

Greetings to you from the air between San Antonio and Santa Ana. I'm taking a week or so to head out west to kick back and do some relaxing.

I'm once again staying in Long Beach at a familiar location. Later this evening I'll see the legendary Peter Murphy performing his Bauhaus tunes at the Yost Theater. I saw the show in San Antonio several years ago at the Korova Bar (a venue I wish was still open). I'm looking forward to later this evening.

I also have tickets to the Dodgers-Giants game at the ballpark tomorrow. I've got to get my hands on one of those free hoodies. Should I hang on to the wonderful garment or list it in my eBay store? These are the difficult decisions I face all the time in my life.

I'll probably head over to Hollywood Boulevard during this trip. I don't think I've done that my last couple visits to Los Angeles, and I always enjoy walking down the street and seeing the sites there. One time I stopped to grab a sandwich in a small deli and looked up to see a sign indicating Clint Eastwood filmed a scene from one of his movies at that spot I was sitting. You never know what you'll discover on Hollywood Boulevard. You may even see some people dressed like Spider-Man or Edward Scissorhands.

Another thing I'm really looking forward to doing this trip is driving over to Huntington Beach and seeing the home I lived in briefly during the third grade. Though I was young, I have many memories of that house, the surrounding neighborhood, and the elementary school I attended there. It will be cool to see how things have changed (or stayed the same) in the area.

I read somewhere that Quentin Tarantino purchased a historic movie theater in Los Angeles where they run old films from time to time. Maybe I'll see a movie this trip. I'll do more research on the Internet machine and find out where the place is and what is showing. In the past, I've caught my old movies at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood (one night I was lucky enough to walk up on an evening they were screening an Akira Kurosawa double-feature).

Other than that, I'll play this trip by ear. Keep an eye here or on my Twitter for updates.