29 November 2006

Gray Skies at Night

Yesterday after work I decided to go to Old Town and see if the decorations were up. The grand tree is up but the official lighting has not happened yet. Speaking of official lighting....they literally light up all of old town with what we here in the southwest call luminarias or farolitos.

A luminaria or farolito is a light, typically displayed during the holiday season, that features a brown paper bag weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. These are typically arranged in rows to create large elaborate displays. Artificial luminarias, which are made of plastic and use light bulbs instead of candles are also used. Luminarias originated in New Mexico and are traditionally displayed on Christmas Eve to 'light the way of the Christ child' into your home, which is a blessing among Catholics. Like so many 'spiritual' things they have been secularized and are now used as lighting decorations from personal homes to shopping malls. Santa Fe and Old Town Albuquerque are well-known for their impressive Christmas Eve displays. Reserve your spot on the tour bus early.

On this day...the grand tree had not been lit nor had San Felipe de Niri Church been lit with luminarias. I'll try and take some pics when they do...just that traffic in that area sucks the closer we get to Christmas [Xmas for you non-believers].

It was only Monday when I took this pic and went to Old Town. It was sunny but cool 52 degrees.

Within an hour the weather changed [typical for NM] and gray skies moved in. People started sayin 'snow is coming' . I was disappointed in that Old Town had not been lit up yet...a few business were though.

I opted to go to dinner, uptown to Dagmar's, a German restaurant at San Pedro and Candelaria. I had the rolatin. Rolatin is a German pickle, German mustard and bacon rolled up in a thin slice of beef. Very very good. My dad makes it different however. He adds green chili [WHAT...YOU HAVE NOT HAD GREEN CHILI???] Green chili is a staple here in New Mexico and is even served at places like McDonalds [green chili cheeseburger]. The rolatins served at Dagmars are basically good beef n gravy meals... my dads however are better!!!!

But I digress...so here it is Wednesday and sure enough the snow clouds moved in. Our high today was 34 frickn' degrees!!!!! Windchill made it feel 23!!!!!

Dang I miss sunny SoCal.

22 November 2006


James Blunt has this "nice" song called YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL. I like it... but I've heard a second song off his *smash* cd and man...does he ever sound whiney and nasally I change the station as soon as it comes on. Well, he has a contemporary who happens to be my favorite singer/songwriter at the moment: Damon Gough aka Badly Drawn Boy [as mentioned in one of my first blogs] and HIS new cd, BORN IN THE UK, has come out and man I love it. Now I'm pretty sure US stations will not play anything off it...its very British. There are no hip hop beats or nauseous repetitive hooks. Just some great lyrics and beautiful music.

BORN IN THE UK, the second song on the CD reminds me of American Pie. It starts off with his birth in Oct. 1969 and runs through British history/culture up to I think the 80's covering the long hot summer of '76, the Falkland war...The Sex Pistols, The Silver Jubilee.

An epic song on the disc is called A JOURNEY FROM A TO B [great!!!] The opening line tells all about the life of a relationship:

I measured the distance from heaven to hell
how we will do only time will tell

it continues with:

I hope you feel that I'm the one, only time will tell
just say you'll be loving me for an eternity

If our journeys over I hope that you will find someone
who will love you more.

Yeah...damn mushy huh....haha. At least he's not a whiner like James Blunt.

PROMISES is another stellar tune:

I promise you will get old
I promised you everything
To protect you wherever you go
I'll give you this diamond ring
Just promise you will remember
A promise should last forever
Right up to the dying embers
Of a fire that burns so slow

Just a couple tunes off what I think is his best CD since HOUR OF THE BEWILDERBEAST

So the recommended downloads from this CD are: BORN IN THE UK - PROMISES - A JOURNEY FROM A TO B.

So after this very sentimental recommendation you're probably hoping I'll suggest some rocking tunes...well you're right...haha.. here goes:

1. ALIVE AND AMPLIFIED - Mooney Suzuki [used in the Suzuki auto commercials]
2. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE - The Strokes
3. INTERSTATE 5 - Wedding Present
4. BRASSNECK - Wedding Present [*note: there are two versions, pick the 4:19 minute version or track 10. Great guitar bit that is not in the longer version]
5. ATTACK OF THE GHOST RIDERS - The Raveonettes [you'll love it...trust me]
6. DO YOU BELIEVE HER - The Raveonettes
7. THE SOUND OF FAILURE - Flaming Lips
8. KIT KAT CLOCK - The Bottle Rockets
10. A CHANGE AT CHRISTMAS - Flaming Lips [one of my all time favorites!!]

That's it for now bucko's, I'm out. Have a GREAT THANKSGIVING!!!!

15 November 2006


Should you find yourself in Albuquerque and looking for something different to do, head east on I-40 to Tinkertown. It's located on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in Sandia Park on NM Highway 536, on the way to the Sandia Crest. Take exit 175 North off I-40. After exiting I-40, take Highway 14 six miles up the mountain through Cedar Crest and turn left on Highway 536, the road to Sandia Crest. Tinkertown is 1.5 miles on the left. Tinkertown is just 20 minutes from Albuquerque. A unique place awaits.

[Remember, any picture can be enlarged to its full size by simply clicking on it.]

Tinkertown [most recently featured on Antiques Roadshow] started out not as a museum but as a showcase for Ross Wards handcarved wooden figures. What started as a simple room made of cement and bottles has become a 22 room, folk art / slice of Americana museum. Its pretty hard to describe to some one what actually happens there so I'll simply show you in pictures. Remember, everything here was hand carved over 40 years by the late Ross Ward. His collection of and carvings and collectables will restore a sense of wonder to you. Enjoy

Pulling into the parking area visitors are given an idea of the sense of whimsey that lies ahead. In fact the whole front grounds of the place tell you, you are not in Kansas anymore.

You almost expect Edward Scissorhands or Willy Wonka to come out and greet you, but neither do. Instead you are greated by a very friendly employee behind the counter at the gift shop. Be sure to take some quarters with you or buy some at the counter as you will need them for some of the exhibits.

Don't forget to sign in.

Inside you will find Ross Wards collection of figures he worked on over the course of 40 years. Some are life size most are miniatures. This is from a western town he built. Plug in some quarters and several of the characters come to life. Although the theme is western...one of the animated figures is Mary Poppins floating over the top of a building...kinda cool.

Remember....all this detail is handcarved!!!

Posted throughout the museum are quotes from famous and not so famous people on the positive out look on life. Here are a few.

The museum is made up of 22 rooms made of wood and cement and multi-colored bottles...yeah..I said bottles. The lighting inside is dim and probably lit with 40 watt bulbs which makes for a very cool feel. I was there one day during the monsoons of late summer and it was cloudy and light rain was falling. You could hear the pitter pat of rain on the tin roofs. You could smell the damp wood and the floors creaked. It felt very comfortable, warm....earthy.

The museum is open from April 1 to November 1 and only costs $3 bucks to get in!!

Don't forget to take some quarters with you so you can watch some of the figures come to life!!! And remember. ...its not the years in your life that matter...its the LIFE in your years!!

I'm out.



12 November 2006

Hole in the Ground

One of my favorite places in the southwest is the Barringer Meteor Crater located just off of I-40 between Flagstaff AZ and Winslow AZ [my hometown woo-hooo!!]. To some it might just seem like a big hole in the ground. It's more then that. I can't begin to imagine the way the area must have looked 50,000 years ago and the effect the impact must have had on the environment.

If you are planning on visiting the area you might as well make it a day and visit the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Petrified Forest has a shiney new visitors center with some cool souvenirs and snack bar.

I miss the ocean but I sure do love the desert.

From Native Americans to the Conquistadors. I can't help but wonder who else has shared this view.

"You can see for miles and miles and miles!" - The Who.

Outside a trading post on the AZ/NM border.

My home town..."Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona...such a fine sight to see..."