Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Know How to Relax

This comes from a camping spot on a Florida beach. This young woman is under a lot of pressure. I admire how she handles the strain. She sets up camp on this beach spot and reminds us there are good things to enjoy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Night Shift Dining

59 Diner in Katy. The only ones there were me, the night waitress, the night manager, and a cook.
IHOP at 3 in the morning!

I was recently transferred to the graveyard shift at work. This isn't the first time I've worked the graveyard shift. I'm hoping to live the life of a night worker smarter this time than I did back then but that's another post for another time. The life of a night worker feels like living backwards. When you're up and working the majority of the population is asleep. You drive through neighborhoods past thousands of people who have no idea you are there. When you sleep the rest of society is functioning "as normal." Most services that people take for granted aren't readily available and require a sacrifice of sleep for you to use. Anyhow, dining on the night shift is very limited. Bigger city night workers have more options than small towns or even rural areas. Fortunately I live in a metroplex so there is always something open and ready to use. However the dining experience at 2, 3, 4 in the morning is quite different than when the sun is up. Often times the establishment is bare (excepting Saturday and Sunday mornings after the bars and clubs close), the workers are bored and tired, the cook staff aren't supervised as much and can make or break the quality of your meal depending on their mood, motivation, level of intoxication (sometimes), etc. On the plus side you usually have more attention from your server and depending on how easily you make friends can have a pleasant discussion and better than average service (plus they can help make sure your food is done right). Night workers share a bond of living and working apart from the rest of society so conversations come easily. It's our own little world.

"Vintage" 59 Diner

I shot this inside a 59 Diner in Katy, TX, using a "vintage" Iphone App. I was the only customer inside the store. Well aside from the only waitress and the night manager having a conversation over old music blaring over the radio. As I say, working graveyards can get lonesome at times.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Galveston Mardi Gras Videos

Shot when we got there.

People catching beads.

We were told the parade started at a certain time so we froze out butts off waiting. When it didn't start we went to get dinner and a couple of hours later we came back and caught the tail end of it.

The end of the parade.

Walking through a crowd assembled to catch beads.

Nightime revelers catching beads.

We stepped into a club briefly.

Another Respite

Another brief escape during this period of sudden readjustment. I spent a couple of late night hours at a local Slick Willie's pool hall.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Brief Escape

While the economy goes downward and people are losing their jobs or getting their salaries cut there are still moments that give us hope better times are coming. Meanwhile I will be here for a moment.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mardi Gras....Galveston

Everyone has heard of Mardi Gras. Partying, drunkenness, debauchery, no inhibitions, all of these are synonymous. I remember in college an old roommate describing it as the "most free he has ever been." He was referring to New Orleans, the original. However New Orleans isn't the only place that celebrates it. Many places along the gulf coast have their own Mardi Gras celebrations (though they can't top New Orleans). About 17 years ago I went to a Mardi Gras celebration in Port Arthur, TX. I don't remember a lot of it except my companion that evening. Since then I've always wondered what an all out Mardi Gras celebration would be like first hand (and not watching the special Cops' Mardi Gras episodes). At the last minute I decided to spend the day in Galveston and experience their Mardi Gras celebrations. I mean why not? So I packed the suitcase, booked the last room at the Harbor House and off I went. I enjoyed it. I stayed mostly on the sidewalk not wanting to go through the throngs of people jumping and shouting for beads from the crowd on the balcony. Of course I saw a few pairs of female endowments despite the chilly wind that blew right down the damn street. In front of one grill and bar there was a breast painting stand and ladies were lined up to have their bare chests painted up. Now I'm no prude, but there were kids out and about and that really shouldn't be in view of kids. Just my opinion. It was about 1am when I decided I'd gotten the full experience and retired for the night. As I was leaving I noticed a long line of people waiting to get in. Since this is Texas they better hurry up because alcohol sales have to end by 2am whereas in Louisiana there is no last call.

Heaven's Cafe and Grill

I listened as my friend told me about a place off the road that she likes to eat at. She told me she can't go in there to eat and run. She has to visit with the owner for a couple of hours and she brings her friends there which I'm sure the owner greatly appreciates. The place is called Heaven's Grill and Cafe and it sits off of Hwy 321 between Dayton and Cleveland, TX, amongst some state prisons and some honky tonk bars. I wonder how many people went to the bars and simply ended up down the road in the prison. Anyhow I was looking for a place that still served breakfast close to noon time. Since I was in a small town that's harder to come by and I remember my friend mentioning this place so I decided to check it out. We walked in and were greeted by the staff (since they are tight with my friend it was more like a visit then breakfast). I'm not much of a food/restaurant critic so all I can say is the coffee was excellent and for $2.50 I couldn't finish the breakfast taco the size of a half stack of pancakes. If you're ever travelling between Dayton and Cleveland (Texas, not Ohio) along FM 321, I suggest you stop in.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Anyone Use Payphones Anymore

My dad shot this picture somewhere along Route 66 in New Mexico. He was amazed that there are working pay phones still around. Where we live we have remnants of long stolen/damaged/removed pay phones. They look like tiny, empty caskets in front of stores. I wonder who can remember in the days before cell phones, before calling cards, all we had were pay phones. Originally $0.10 would get you a local call. Then it went to $0.25. I have no idea what it is now. This phone looks like it's kept up. Is it because people in them thar parts don't have cell phones? Or is it because the owner tries to keep the past alive?