Texas

To the top of the Tusk

(Photos on Flickr)

The man in black fled across the desert, and the backpacker followed.

His silhouette roosted on the ridge that separated the climb on the west side from the broken land below the South Rim. It is a dry, disturbed land, periodically remodeled by a god that couldn't leave well enough alone, and then finally neglected. The silhouette shouldered its pack, and disappeared over the ridge.

Dodson Trail

New Years on the top of the bottom of the sea

(Photos on Flickr)

I sped into the parking lot, stopped the engine, and packed a backpack with jittery speed. 1:30pm. The show would commence sometime around 5pm.

Sleeping bag? Yes. Tent? No. Water? Yes. Dinner? No. The primary consideration was time. If an item would make climbing the hill slower, it was abandoned. A tent could be replaced with a tarp. Tonight's dinner could be replaced by tomorrow's lunch.

There was no time to pay the entrance fee or to acquire the backcountry permit. Mañana. The rangers at Guadalupe Mountains National Park would have to wait. The sun is a punctual traveler. I am not. I woke that morning in Portales to find my breath turned to frost on the inside of the tent. Hmm. So I stayed in the relative warmth of my bag until the sun rose and inspired the image of warmth, if not the actual temperature, outside. Then I left—late.

Guadalupe Peak

Waking Up

(Photos on Flickr: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 28-29 January 2005)

Four years ago today, I woke up.

Shuttle Overhead

Posted on Flickr: Shuttle Overhead

The Morning After: Snow in Houston

Hurricane Ike Aftermath Photos from Clear Lake

I returned to Nassau Bay on Wednesday morning. There is no damage at my building. However, here is no electricity here, though on the same block as us the hospital parking lot and the Lockheed Martin building are both teasing us with their electricity. So, it's urban campout time.

Yesterday morning, I went for a bike ride with my camera around Clear Lake, which is only about 100 meters from my apartment. The lake has receded to its pre-Ike level, but not before flooding, smashing, or otherwise causing havoc around its shores.

I'm in College Station

Well, I changed my mind about staying in Nassau Bay for the hurricane. An old friend from University of Illinois lives in College Station, so I'm up here, hanging out. Hurricane Ike will probably be a Category 1 hurricane when it gets here, but at least the water isn't coming up to meet me.

I've posted a few more photos on Flickr: Hurricane Ike, September 2008. My favorites are the progression of rising Clear Lake photos:

Tropical Storm Edouard

First, the National Hurricane Center is tracking Tropical Storm Edouard at nhc.noaa.gov.

In my spare time -- since SAIC is contracted to NASA, and NASA called off work at Johnson Space Center after noon today and all day tomorrow -- I did a crude conversion of the Tropical Storm Edouard 3-day forecast from the nhc.noaa.gov site to Google Earth.

Shiner Hierarchy: The wonderful world of Shiner

In my short three months here in Texas, two things have really stood out:

  1. "Come and take it." That's punk rock way ahead of its time.
  2. There are different flavors of Shiner beer.

Here I propose a hierarchy, based on many important characteristics (such as how much I liked them), of the various Shiner beers that I've tried. You may disagree. But you are wrong.

Exploring the West Texas Desert: Maps and Photos

On 14 to 16 June, I went on a grand tour of the Republic of Texas: Houston to Amarillo to Guadalupe National Park, then back to Houston.

(Want to just see photos? Go to Flickr.)

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