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About the blog Nostalgia Tuesday Photography

Nostalgia Tuesday: I Ain’t ‘Fraid of No Ghost Edition

On my eighth birthday my mom made me a Ghostbusters themed cake. On Saturday I turned 31 and something else spooky happened.

This year as a present to myself I turned off my phone and my BlackBerry. I turned off my computer. I didn’t check email. I completely disconnected. Several years have passed since the last time I had a day where I was completely unreachable. As wonderful as it was, I may have to make this a more frequent (perhaps monthly) occurrence. I know some people might find the thought of being without their iPhones or CrackBerries flat out frightening, but seriously, I found it delightful. It might surprise you how much more clearly you can think and focus yourself without the distractions. I highly recommend the experience.

Anyway, the spooky stuff…

Early in the morning, very much pre-dawn, I tossed my camera and tripod in the truck and headed west. The whole point of my “Day of No Distractions” was to clear my head do a little thinking and reflecting on the last year, and perhaps set a goal or two for this year. I find both driving and photography to help put me in that relaxed, meditative state of mind (especially when I’m able to get away from the city), so hitting the road in search of scenic locations is a little like doubling up on Nirvana for me.

Also, I know it’s super nerdy, but I was hoping to be able to take a picture at 3:51am, the exact time of my birth (adjusting for the shift from Eastern to Central time) — the moment I turned 31. I did it last year when I turned 30, and I was hoping to make it a tradition.

That was the plan, anyway.

I got away from the interstate when I got to Weatherford, and took Highway 180 towards Palo Pinto county. I hung a left on a state road that twists and turns its way through the dips and dives of the Brazos River valley. Another turn took me across a causeway, and eventually I found myself on a pitch dark county road in the middle of nowhere. At this point I was about 10 miles from the nearest ghost town.

Despite thoroughly enjoying the drive, I found it a bit disheartening that I couldn’t find jack squat worth trying to photograph. With the moon spending most of its time hiding behind clouds straight out of a vintage Scooby Doo cartoon, it was just too dark to shoot anything out there, even with long exposures.

I looked at the clock on my dashboard and grumbled something uncouth as the digits clicked over to the moment I’d been waiting for, and the only sight out of the windshield was pitch black.

Then, as if on cue, a brown “Historical Marker Ahead” road sign popped out of the darkness and into the path of my headlights.

Now, for those of you who live elsewhere, you have to understand that there are over 13,000 Historical Markers in Texas. They mark everything from the Alamo to “this field is only a few miles from a place where a guy ran a trading post for a few weeks in the 1850s before moving a few miles further down the trail where there was a creek with fresh water.” The vast majority of these signs are more like the second example than the first. So the odds of there actually being anything worth shooting at this marker were, quite frankly, pretty freaking slim.

But it was all I had, and the timing seemed almost providential.

I skidded the truck to a stop in the gravel in front of the sign and realized it was so dark I couldn’t even read the damn thing.

So I grabbed my camera, turned on the flash, and took a picture just to figure out what was too dark see. I blew up the image on LCD, and the first line creeped me the heck out.

So here I am, at the very moment of the anniversary of my birth, staring at a marker in the middle of nowhere that memorializes a guy born on my birthday.

Weeeeeeeeeeird.

(Here’s a link to a pic of the full marker, if you’re curious.)

I’m just struck by the eeriness of that first picture I took of the marker, though. That blue glow is probably just an odd, errant reflection of the lights on my dashboard. Although I had the window rolled down so I’m not sure what could be casting the reflection…

… it very well may be the ghost of Mr. Whipple reminding me not to squeeze the Charmin.

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About the blog Cars Places I've been

I had a long way to go and a short time to get there

I apologize for pretty much dropping off the face of the Earth the last couple of weeks. (Especially after promising to update more now that I had a good backlog of Nostalgia Tuesday photos to post.) My bad. Life’s just been way too busy recently.

Herman pulling his new friend, Ginger

Here’s one thing I’ll tell you about, because I have pictures to help my brain-dead self tell the story. My friend Carol bought this 1973 Challenger a couple weeks ago from a farmer’s field up in Missouri. The car, which she named Ginger, wasn’t exactly in driveable condition (you may have noticed the duct tape “racing stripes” holding the hood down) so I finally gave Herman a good workout towing her back to Texas.

Everywhere we stopped (for gas, to pee, to reapply the duct tape) people would come out of the woodwork to gawk at the Challenger and ask questions. I snapped this picture just before the trucker from that red rig in the background jumped out and told us all about every project car he had in his garage back home.

Twas a fun trip.

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About the blog Links Stupidity in action

Public Service Announcement

My redneck father has retired. Now that he has more time than he can figure out how to spend, he has started blogging.

RetiredRedneck.com

God help us all.

Of course, I helped him set it up, so I guess I’m partially to blame.

Please find it in your hearts to forgive me.

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About the blog From the hip Stupidity in action

Hitting the road

Howdy, y’all!

My buddy Dave and I are hitting the road this morning to head to California for a friend’s wedding. Because we’re crazy nerds we’ll be blogging the whole trip. You can follow along at http://sidehike.net/roadtrip if you’re so inclined. And I’m betting if you follow this blog, you probably are. (And you probably could stand to be a little busier at work, too.)

See ya there!

Categories
About the blog From the hip Photography

The World is My Birthday Cake



Happy Birthday to me.

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About the blog

Another observation about February’s traffic

I had 22 hits from Seychelles last month.

I think I should go visit whoever’s been reading from there. Because it would be polite of me to do so. And because Seychelles looks like this:

Beautiful shot of Seychelles beach
(Kickass Creative Commons licensed photo from tiarescott found on Flickr)

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About the blog

Top search terms for February

The top search strings that referred people to SIDEHIKE.NET in February were:

  • aquacar
  • crapbook
  • partridge family bus pics
  • rush creek baptist arlington
  • snagglepus quotes
  • snagglepus sound clip
  • stores that carry pickled pigs feet

I have three observations about this:

  1. It’s good to see Crapbook Magazine getting some love. It’s so underrated.
  2. Apparently I can’t spell “Snagglepuss”
  3. It’s good to see that my readership in Mississippi is staying strong. It’s also good to see that they can spell “pickled” and know how to use the internet.
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About the blog Geeky stuff Internet Religion Stupidity in action

The most thorough blog post I’ve ever made

I know I’ve been bad. I haven’t posted anything other than a few random camera phone shots in several weeks. But there’s a reason for my recent radio silence.

I finally took a cue from Johnny Paycheck (as written by David Allan Coe) and shoved the day job so I could go into business for myself. My last day at the hoochie factory in the online relationship business was January 27th and I’m now officially on my own.

(You can celebrate with me by downloading Take This Job and Shove It from iTunes and singing along!)

Quitting your job can be a great feeling if you’re leaving on good terms, and this was just such an event. Scott even gave me a trophy!

The last day in the office was like a birthday party. I actually received several other gifts from my friends on the team, but unfortunately (for you) most of them aren’t exactly appropriate for public viewing. While I don’t miss the daily grind, I already miss my office friends. They’re A+ in my book.

So what am I doing? Two things, for now:

  1. I’m helping start up a textbook publishing company. I’m mostly doing web work for them for now, but will be editing and probably doing a little marketing magic as well. We’re still pretty early in the game on this one, so there’s nothing to show off yet, but I’m really excited about it.
  2. I’m also helping my friend Carol grow her wellness center, Integrated Healthworks, through a little more of that marketing magic. (Step one: Website version 2.0 coming soon!) If you’re in need of a good headshrinking, therapeutic massage or advice from a registered dietician give IH a call. (And if you tell them Bo sent you they probably won’t hang up on you! You might as well take advantage while I still have a good reputation!)

So … since I’ve been getting the working from home in gym shorts gig up and running, you can understand why things have been a little hectic … hence the limited posting activity.

Now that I’m a little more settled in (and stir crazy) you can expect the updates to arrive with greater frequency. So hooray for blogging.

So outside of the work stuff, what’s going on? Here are some random anecdotes about my last couple of weeks:

1 – A Call to Action

Last Saturday the phone rang and I looked down at the caller ID to see:

“I better answer this!” I said to myself. “Superman may be in trouble and his sidekick/photographer immediately thought to call me because the only thing that can save Supes from Lex Luthor’s latest dastardly villainous plan is my keen recollection of pop culture trivia!”

It turns out Jimmy just wanted me to vote for some local schmoe for county judge. It was a big disappointment to say the least.

2 – Delivery at the Drive-In

I drove to Sonic to grab one of those tasty Tuesday night half-price burgers. While I’m munching away on my #2 cheeseburger with jalapeños a Domino’s driver parks in the spot next to me and runs a couple of pizzas inside.

I have two thoughts on this:

  1. It’s cool that the fine folks at the local Sonic are getting rewarded for good service with a pizza dinner.
  2. Even though I know I wouldn’t want to eat at the same place every day, it’s still somehow a bit disconcerting that people who work at a restaurant have to order out for food from somewhere else.

When it comes down to it though, it doesn’t matter. Sonic’s Strawberry Limeade is crazy delicious. It’s addictive. It’s like crack, but cheaper, tasty, and a lot less bad for you.

3 – China Hates Jesus, Loves Jesus Merchandise

I like to collect kitschy religious junk, like this goofy Answer Me Jesus figurine I got at Urban Outfitters:

It’s like a Magic 8 Ball, but when you turn it over, the advice is all Jesusy.

But you’ll also notice this:

I have to wonder how the Chinese government justifies itself on stuff like this. It’s a good idea to repress religious expression, unless you can cash in on it? I wonder if these are legal for sale in Lhasa.

4 – The top 4 search terms that brought people to my website in January

  1. aquacar
  2. small bathroom
  3. snl weiners wmv
  4. thrifty nickel vicksburg ms

If you actually read this far, you have way too much time on your hands.

Categories
About the blog Stupidity in action

I’m back. Back in black.

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and there just hasn’t been enough time in the day.

I’ve been thinking of you, though. No, really, baby. I’ve missed you. Missed you tons. I promise.

In fact, I decided to hop over to Amazon and get you a present. While I was there, I checked out my “Gold Box” offers. You know what I’m talking about? It’s that little treasure chest in the upper right hand corner of the page. Every day they’ll show you a few items that are on sale “today only.” They must have some genius demographic analysts working for them, because their little page knew just what to show me to get my attention:

My

Gotta love the dichotomy of those pairings. Very Zen. Like Yin and Yang. Ebony and ivory, together in perfect harmony.

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About the blog

Life’s a beach

At least, the template for the new look of SIDEHIKE.NET is!

Here’s my first attempt at a site redesign. I based the look on a photo I took of an abandoned pier in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I grabbed the shot about an hour after sunset by setting my camera on the beach and using an exposure of about 30 seconds. It’s one of my favorite photos — nice and relaxing.

So give the site a good look, and kick the tires a bit. Let me know if you see any fonts all munged up or columns out of place. This is my first hack at designing primarily from style sheets, so it’s a new experience, and I’m sure there’s something I didn’t get right the first time around.

Enjoy! Lemme know what you think.