30 April 2007


...more from yesterday...a perfect day for a drive....but somehow putting a title on a post for these pictures doesn't seem right.....they speak for themselves...

27 April 2007


I know I know, it's been a few days since the last post. Just kinda busy and no exciting recent journeys. So I'm sitting around today, watering the lawn, soaking in the rays..

...watching grass grow.....err...okay... ivy...

...when I thought I'd head to the 'casino' for a bit. I had not been in awhile and its a completly different sense of atmosphere. I went more for the drive then anything else. It was a beautiful day to be on the road.

I'm at the south end of town anyway so getting out of the city, even in rush hour is not bad at all. 15/20 minutes at most and I'm there.

There it is. The end of town.

Just think...884 miles over that ridge and bam, there's Old Tony's on the pier. And Pink's Hot Dogs on Melrose Ave. And Johnnies Pastrami on Sepulveda. Oh yeah... I'm going to the casino.... sigh...

I make it to the other side and lo' and behold...

[click on any picture to see full image]

Hey, I won $40 bucks... and wasted some time. Ka-ching ka-ching

After about a half hour I headed back. The next few pictures are from the west end of town looking east towards the Sandia Mountains.

Last chance for gas. Destination unknown.

Although un-readable now this marker basically says that Albuquerque was founded over three hundred years ago by the Conquistadore's and named in honor of the Duke of Alburquerque [thus the Duke City].

The restaurant at the end of the universe...ok ok...the end of town.

I wonder if I can get blackened swordfish here....

I'm out.

20 April 2007


I was looking forward to writing today's blog as I get to recommend to you one of the best cd's I've picked up this year, Lucinda Williams WEST.

I first heard about her with the release of CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD [another EXCELLENT CD]. Having written country songs for several other artists she has been on her own for awhile now. She's picked up a few Grammy's too. Even with all the acclaim, contemporary country radio stations do not play her music. If you have an Americana/country station in your town chances are you've heard her stuff.

This new cd is outstanding musically and lyrically. This stuff comes from honest life experiences. I like Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood but they basically 'pick' songs and live vicariously through the experiences of their writers. Not to mention how they try and MAKE it commercial. Lucinda writes about what she knows and you can feel that in the music. Here...take a listen:


Are you alright?
All of a sudden you went away
I hope you come back around some day
I haven't seen you in a real long time
Could you give me some kind of sign
I looked around and you were gone
I feel like there must be something wrong
'Cause it seems like you disappeared
'Cause I've been feeling a little scared

Are you alright?

Are you sleepig through the night
Do you have someone to hold you tight
Do you have someone to hang out with
Do you have someone to hug and kiss you
Hug and kiss you hug and kiss you

Are you alright?

Is there something bothering you
I wish you'd give me a little clue
Is there something you wanna say
Just tell me that you're ok
'Cause you took off without a word
You flew away like a little bird
Is there anything I can do
'Cause I need to hear from you

Are you alright?

I guess you could call that her tender side...but this lady can get mighty pissed off too, ha ha ha...check this one out:


Dude, I'm so over you
You dont' even have a clue
All you did was make me blue
You didn't even make me...come on!!

You're so self invovled
You're in some kind of fog
You're hung up on your hog
You didn't even make me...come on!!!

You think you're in hot demand
But you don't even know where to put your hand
Let me tell you where you stand
You didn't even make me...come on!!

Dude you're so fired
Shut up I'm not inspired
All I'm feeling now is tired
You didn't even make me...come on!!

Yout weren't even worth it
I'm sorry I ever flirted
The effort wasn't even concerted
You didnt' even make me...come on!!

All you do is talk the talk
You can't back it up with your walk
You can't light my fire so fuck off
You didn't even make me ...COME ON!!

Oh man...been there done that got the t-shirt!!! There are alot of great tracks on here, stuff like WHERE IS MY LOVE [ is my love in Gainsville -- grinning, radiant and warm -- drinking whiskey till he's had his fill -- inspired by a summer storm ] and RESCUE [he can't save you from the plain and simple truth -- the waning winters of your youth -- what can he do? tie some ribbons in your hair -- and show you that he'll always care -- that's all he can do ]

Seriously friends...this is a cd that should be in your collection.

Also recommended:

Highlights include DRUNKEN ANGEL and the title track.

VAN LEAR ROSE -- Loretta Lynn

Winner of best country album at the Grammy's that year, 2004, but NOT played on commercial country radio. It was produced by Jack White -- yes THAT Jack White. He gave a slap to country radio that year about them not playing the best country album of the year. Amen Jack. Highlights include MISS BEING MRS about the loss of her husband. PORTLAND, OREGON a duet with Jack White and the title track, VAN LEAR ROSE.

I'm out

18 April 2007


And so begins another trip around the sun...hey its free, right. I turned 44 this week and I think at this point I'm supposed to be having the proverbial mid-life crisis. Hmm..maybe I'm of a different generation but I sure don't feel it nor do I feel like going out and buying a Corvette or having an affair. [If I'm single...how can I have an affair??].

I'm no worse for wear I guess. I am from a simple family and have always enjoyed simple things [mmmmm...rice pudding at Chili Express...why live on after that...hahaha]

I've lived. I've loved. I've laughed...I've even cried..damn that Titanic movie...

I've met some amazing people in my years on this planet ...mmm..some not so amazing but they are definately in the minority. I think at this age I'm supposed to be thinking of errr.. death too. That thought crossed my mind long ago. It's funny but I've come to accept it. Not sure how but I do. No regrets. Too many good things have come into my life and whatever happens when it happens I get to take the memories with me. Unlike a new Corvette.

Faith has alot to do with it too, at least for me. A comfort.

Amazingly...I still have my health [not enough leafy green vegetables though]. My sense of humor about life is still there despite incidents like the one at Virginia Tech.

I was going to post a couple of pictures of me throughout my life but first thing I told myself when I started this blog was that I would never post baby pictures. So I'll end with this:

They say that these are not the best of times
But they're the only time I've ever known
And I believe there is a time for meditation
In cathedrals of your own
Now I've seen that sad surrender in my lover's eyes
And I can only stand apart and sympathize
For we are always what our situations hand us
Either sadness or euphoria

So we'll argue and we'll compromise
And realize that nothing's ever changed
For all our mutual experience
Our separate conclusions are the same

Now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity
And our reason coexists with our insanity
It's either sadness or euphoria

How thoughtlessly we dissipate our energies
Perhaps we don't fulfill each other's fantasies
And as we stand upon the ledges of our lives
With our respective similarities

It's either sadness or euphoria

-- William Joel
Summer, Highland Falls , 1976

15 April 2007


A couple posts back I wrote about the Cow on the Roof, one of several kitschy things you see along Route 66 as it runs through Albuquerque. Now comes word from the Albuquerque Journal that after 35 years: it's coming down!! I've posted the story below:

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

from the Albuquerque Journal

If you're toylike, outdated, about the size of a parade float and reside permanently outside a commercial building, you're being talked about.

For instance, this will be the second time in as many weeks that the heavy-duty plastic heifer atop the Town House restaurant has made news. And she is soon to be joined by some of her overgrown signage friends around the city— Paul Bunyan above the May Cafe at Central and Menaul, the half-man John Wayne at Cabinets & More on the Interstate 25 frontage road, north of Montgomery, the bowling pin/ball at the Staples on 6001 Menaul NE, the arrow at Wild Oats on Indian School and Carlisle. The heifer has already received word she'll be leaving her 35-year-old roof post at 3911 Central NE by month's end, when the restaurant closes. What she likely has not been told is that she may be headed for a new museum for signs (though her owner, George Argyres, is all for it). This is where, in pitying tones, all the other aged signs start talking about her fate but soon realize, horrified, that the same could be in store for them. Eeek! And they'd be right. They're ugly. But they're landmarks. They're hated. Yet strangely admired. Killing them off could cause rioting— or at least some angry e-mails. "The thought is to find an area that people could go see them and maybe combine it with some other sources— maybe not just a static museum but an interactive kind of museum," said city planning director Richard Dineen. "At this point, it's just an idea the administration has talked about considerably." The discussion began after Mayor Martin Chávez proposed stringent new regulations designed to make retail signs more aesthetic. The ordinance has languished since last summer in the Environmental Planning Commission office but is up for review May 17, after 10 months of EPC "deferrals." Among other things, the original language would have required signs to be no taller than 5 feet and housed in a brick and mortar structure, as opposed to being placed on a pole. Of course, the proposal had its critics. Businesses said the changes would cost a lot and make their storefronts more difficult for customers to locate. Others were upset because it would wipe out historic signs and landmarks. Loss of the neon signs along Route 66 were of greatest concern, and that's how the "neon museum" idea came about. But it would house other sacred signs, too. The Town House heifer would certainly be included in that, the mayor says. But "we want to take a look at each one of them. I've never been a particular fan of that Paul Bunyan statue but I bet there are some who are." Others, like the arrow and the bowling pin/ball, will probably stay put, particularly since the ordinance has been revised. For example, the proposal now allows for 13-foot signs and includes exceptions for some landmarks. "They've got a kitschiness that is unique, and I don't think they hurt anything in terms of the visual landscape," Chávez says. "We have to have some humor about it." Word has it the heifer remains unamused

13 April 2007

You can't stop progress!!

When I left Albuquerque in the autumn of '86 it was a small quiet dusty southwestern city of about 375,000. Not much was done to improve the look of the city and I just sort of saw it as a dust pit. Alot has happened since then. City councils and mayors, especially the current Mayor, Martin Chavez have made concerned efforts to improve the quality of life in the city making it a jewel in the desert. The metro area is now about 750,000.

The area I grew up in was one of the last major neighborhoods at the south end of the city. Gibson Boulevard being the last major street. Then the airport then the open desert. In fact the asphalt for our street ended at our house. It was a dirt road after that. It was always quiet and deathly still at night, the only sound being that of the trains which you could hear from down in the valley. I remember as a kid, during the hot air balloon fiesta, watching the balloons land literally across the street in the open fields. They had to land there as they were not allowed in airport/air force air space. Quite a treat.

That is all about to change. Since the 80s business parks and hotels have sprung up all over the area and now comes Mesa Del Sol. The city's huge master plan suburb on the other side of the airpot. 13,000 acres, 18 million square feet of office and industrial space, 23,000 new jobs, 37,000 homes for 100,000 residents and 5,400 acres for parks and open space. Whew.

And its well underway to becoming a reality. Already established there is the Journal Pavillion, one of the largest venues for live performances in the city.. Eclipse Aviation has its operations there. Albuquerque Studios has already built several humongous soundstages and Sony Pictures is scheduled to move their digital effects operations here shortly.

I took a drive through the area recently. It is all pretty empty rolling desert hills; however, the main boulevards are already in place. Development is well underway. Progress moves forward. From dusty desert town to progressive metropolis.

One of the cool things I did see among the currently empty dunes, were these HUUUGE rock sculptures on a median.
Last fall I was sitting on the couch watching tv. It was a mild day, quiet and peaceful. i looked up to see somethig move at the screen door. It was a 'roadrunner'. He just stared at me, moving his head back and fourth. Then he ran off. Maybe he knew what was coming.

10 April 2007

The Secret of Old Town

After the visit to the International Rattlesnake Museum I thought I would go for lunch [naturally, huh..] I had remembered a place off the main plaza behind the San Felipe de Niri Church called, appropriately enough, Church Street Cafe.

The restaurant is one of the oldest dwellings in the city, occupied as a home until about 1991 by the Ruiz Family, original settlers. The interesting thing is, back in Los Angeles I knew a woman named Rita Ruiz..a member of this family. She recalled the times she had growing up in the house. Kinda cool. She has been away from Albuquerque for a good 30 years now. I mailed her a restaurant t-shirt awhile back.

And for lunch?? Carne adovada. Not asada which is shredded pork, but adovada, chunks of pork marinated in seasonings and chili.....oh man... I was baaaaad..hahahaha..but it was sooooo good.

After lunch I thought I would walk the plaza. Not much has changed I'm sure since I was last here at Christmas time. I wandered the streets just snapping some shots...

It was very quiet and peaceful. The touristas have not arrived in mass yet.

The spires of the San Felipe de Niri church can be seen from most places in the plaza.

Having thought I had seen everything there was to see in Old Town I started to head back to the car when I came across something I had never seen or heard of before. I would have missed it again had I not just happened to glance down a corridor where I thought would just be more shops

It was the Chapel of Our Lady Guadalupe.

I had never seen this place before. Had the doors been shut I would have thought it was a storage area or a back exit to one of the shops.

It was so small and un-assuming. Not bigger then a garage.

But then neither is a manger.

It was lit only by natural sunlight and candles.

No touristas. No donation plate. Just me and Him.

Against the back wall was another alter. At the base were pictures with lit candles. My friend Jon had posted a link on his blog that took you to a website where you could see tributes to fallen servicemen. Here I was before an alter to Christ. An alter that also paid tribute to the fallen. To another kind of hero. Mothers. Fathers. Family. Friends. Snapshots of lives lived. From long ago to possibly last week.

On April 21st I will be at this alter to pay tribute to one of my hero's. My mom would have been 76.

...until next time friend. i'm out

Sssssssss !!

There hasn't been much to write about lately. Old Man Winter has amassed his troops and moved in from up north to take on Spring who has advanced from the south. They are currently battling each other over the rockies. One day it's warm and in the 70s the next day we get snow in the mountains...and this is APRIL!! Today was quite nice so I thought I would take a trip to the International Rattlesnake Museum in the Old Town district.

This boy was huuuuungry.

The 'ickey' gila monster.

This guy creeped me out the most, he was HUUUUUGE!

The museum is pretty cool. When you first walk in it looks like a little giftshop. You buy your ticket for six bucks and then walk into a larger room filled with aquariums and display windows with snakes, spiders, lizards and scorpions.

Hey squirt. This guy kept following me around his tank...guess he thought I had a 'cricket-treat' or something.

If you're in town definately check it out, it is right near the public parking on San Felipe Street.