Renaissance Weekend

Just a quick update since it’s been another busy week. I got up early yesterday to finish up my photos to enter in the fair. I dropped them off and headed up to the Renaissance Festival near Magnolia (NW of Houston).

I didn’t get there til about 1600, but at least there wasn’t the usual huge traffic jam to deal with and I got to park fairly close (without having to pay the $10 ‘preferred parking’ fee. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a good idea showing up so late. It was still hot and humid, but not nearly so bad as if I had shown up at noon. I still got to check out the shops full of old time clothing, weaponry, jewelry and other assorted goods. In between I enjoyed a chocolate ice cream cone and a $6 lemonade.

I stayed to watch the fireworks. That was a blast (literally)! First the fire dancers put on their show. Then Tartanic started playing their spirited rendition of Celtic inspirational music as the rockets whistled into the air. ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent the night ‘nearby’ (thought I would save time but got stuck instead). I’ve got to check out of the hotel. More later- with pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cool Stuff

I was working in Houston on Monday. We finished up pretty early, so I decided to stop at the Museum of Natural Science on the way home.

I’m a member, so it’s free if I don’t go to the special exhibitions. This time they had one on the Virgin of Guadeloupe. I wasn’t really very interested in that, and by the time I got there it was after 3, so I just wandered around the regular exhibits. There’s plenty to see for free. ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent a lot of time this time in the exhibit on ancient Egypt. I always thought all that stuff about mummies was pretty cool, and I really love the old stories about gods, goddesses, etc. They had a lot of that kind of thing on display. Quite a few mummies and they explained all about it. I liked how they set up the exhibit too. When you entered, it really put you in the right frame of mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a photo of a mummy case, inside and out.

I spent most of my time in this exhibit this week, but I did take a quick look at the section on the Amazon, the rocks/minerals (the gem vault was still closed), and the shells. Here’s a nice shot of some gypsum.

I loved this thing! It’s called a ‘sandstone concretion’. I just think it’s beautiful, the way it twists and turns, spirals around, shades of gray. I could do a lot with photos of this thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

I know I’ve been posting a lot of gloom and doom lately. It’s been hard for me to try and come up with cool stuff to write about when my life has been so screwy lately. I do still find things to keep me going, just not nearly as much as when I’m working. I hope you’ll stick around till things get more interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Zydeco Fest

Last Saturday I went up to Houston for the Zydeco Fest. I’ve been having a hard time getting motivated to do much of anything around here. Just too much stress to enjoy the time at home. Weird, isn’t it? When I’m offshore working, I can’t wait to get off and spend time at home. Now that I’ve been home for so long without work, I can hardly stand it.

If I wasn’t so worried about finances, I would be off traveling somewhere. Since I have to be here to jump on any job offer that comes by (no matter how bad), I can’t leave or do anything really.

I had finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel last week (or I thought I did), so I decided to go have a little celebration. I’ve always loved zydeco music, all kinds of music really- except rap and opera. I used to go up to Houston every couple of weeks. I’d go catch a live band, spend the night, and do a museum or something on the way home.

I got a late start last week and didn’t get to the show until about 5. They had it right downtown at Jones Plaza. I found a nice hotel only a couple of blocks away and not super expensive. The worst part was the parking fees! At least by the time I got to the show, it had cooled down a little. It was still hot! I didn’t bring anything to sit on and what few seats there were were already occupied.

I just walked around, looked over the little shops people set up- selling food, drinks, t-shirts, etc. They had a couple of food trucks parked by the entrance and more cooks scattered around the park. People were picnicking and enjoying the sunshine with their families. Old folks and babies, the whole range of ages loved the music. Everybody was dancing and having a good time.

I got there in time for the last part of Lil Nate and the Zydeco Big Timers. I saw Marcus Ardoin and the Zydeco Legend, and finished the night off with Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws (all the pictures are of Step and his band).

I didn’t find out til I was leaving the Zydeco Fest, but they also had a Gay Pride parade that evening. All the crowds from that were thronging the downtown streets right around the time they were shutting down the Zydeco Fest. It looked like it must have been a lot of fun. Everybody was in a good mood and from what I could see of the costumes, they all had a great time.

Houston needs to get a better way to let people know what’s going on around town!

Here’s a little music to tide us over til next year’s zydeco festival. ๐Ÿ™‚

Houston Zydeco Festival

I decided to have a little early celebration (hope I’m not jinxing myself). I had 2 prospective jobs last week. The first since last September!

I’m still waiting for confirmation and things change constantly in the offshore world, so I hope I’ll be going back to work soon. It’s a huge step down in both position and pay, but after more than 6 months out of work, I’ll take pretty much anything.

I’ve turned in applications at the Mathnasium, Hastings bookstore and Buc-ee’s in the last week. Tried to avoid applying to jobs like that as long as I could, but I need to do something to bring in some income. My savings are running down fast. ๐Ÿ™

I’ve been stuck hanging around the house so long, broke, stressed and a little depressed. I think I can afford to take a little break. I’m heading to Houston today for the Zydeco Festival.ย 

It’s going on all day. Lil Nate and the Zydeco Bigtimers, Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws, Keyun and the Zydeco Masters, Gino Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Platinum Players Zydeco Band and dif KO on the turntables are the featured players.


Sculptures, Statues, Carvings

Cee’s Black & White Photography Challenge this week is: Sculptures, Statues, Carvings. I have a few really nice ones, but most look so much better in color!

Here’s one that looks just as good in B&W as in color. I took it at the Houston Musuem of Fine Arts a few months ago. It’s a cool place to spend the day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Busy in Houston

I came up to Houston yesterday for a meeting of the Nautical Institute about DP (Dynamic Positioning). I figured since I am a DP operator (DPO), I ought to go and see what they were talking about.

It was actually pretty interesting. I saw quite a few old friends and also got to ask a few questions of the panel. I brought up some of my concerns about the new scheme the NI has brought out on certification of DPOs. I hope the discussion there will cause some serious thinking about some of the problems with this new scheme (more on this later).

I got out of the meeting about 1630 and met up with some friends for dinner. We went to the “Grand Lux Cafรฉ” over by the Galleria. We sat outside so we could smoke, but they STILL had to complain! I thought that’s why they had outdoor areas now. The food was good, but overpriced. I had no idea til I saw theย bill, but it was over $100 for 3 of us (and only 1 drink each)!ย Next time I’ll stick to the Cheesecake Factory.

I stayed overnight so I could get up early to go get my visa for Angola, I’m supposed to be going back to the ship over there on Monday. They want me to be there by 0800 and I really didn’t feel like dealing with horrible Houston traffic for 2 hours first thing in the morning. Especially when I’ll be dealing with government officials! Better to spend the money for a good nights sleep.

So, I’m hoping it won’t take all day, waiting around the embassy. I’d like to check out some other things while I’m up here in Houston. Maybe go to the zoo later. Or a museum?

Gone to the Birds!

OK, I HAD to get out of the house today! I’ve been trying to catch up on lots of things around here that mostly revolve around working on the computer.

My main computer (that I’ve had for a while now), caught a serious bug in Korea. I took it to the shop already, but they didn’t/couldn’t fix the main problem with it. So, I’ve been trying to use it while I transfer all my stuff onto the new (mac) computer I bought a couple of months ago and haven’t had the time to use yet.

I am having a VERY hard time trying to learn how to use it. It’s incredibly frustrating! I am NOT any kind of computer geek. I know how to turn one on and off and get to my emails. That’s pretty much it. ๐Ÿ™

This is my first Apple computer. I bought it because I’ve heard that Apples are really great to work with photos on. Maybe they are, but I can’t even figure out how to LOOK at my photos on it! Yeah, I can open one at a time, which is frustrating enough, but then I can’t DO anything with it.

On my old computer, I use Windows Photo Viewer or Windows Photo Gallery to look over my photos. It’s very easy to use. I can use Paint to edit them. I could also use a photo editing program like Lightroom or Paintshop if I really wanted to work on them.

On my new Apple computer, I can’t find ANY kind of program to look at or edit my photos at all. ๐Ÿ™

I did finally get Lightroom on the Apple computer, but I don’t really want to load EVERY photo there.

Maybe I’m just missing something simple that people who’re used to Apple products could clue me in on? I could use some help here…

Anyway, I was going stir crazy here, between frustration with my computers not allowing me to get much work done and taking out my frustrations by ย arguing with strangers on Facebook, I figured I needed to get the heck out of the house and away from the computers for a while.

So, I went to the zoo. I always like to go and watch the animals. I like to watch the fish swim around, the jellyfish are really calming. I like to watch the monkeys play. ย I especially like to see the new zoo babies if they have any (they did). ๐Ÿ™‚

I saw the baby elephants. One was only 4 months old and the other was 3.5 yrs old.They were still keeping the baby in the house. It was SO cute! I couldn’t get any decent pictures of it, but I watched it play for a while.

baby elephant

baby elephant (3.5 yrs)

They had some baby lemurs. Those were really cute too, and fun to watch running and jumping all over their little habitat.

Lemur with baby

Lemur with baby

They had young flamingos. They were still gray. Last time I was at the zoo, they were little gray puff balls, they’ve grown a lot in a couple of months.

young flamingo (they turn pink the more they eat)

young flamingo (they turn pink the more they eat)

I got into watching the flamingos for a while, they were out of the water for a change and kind of fun to watch. Here’s a couple more shots…

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย 

I usually like to try and take pictures of everything but I still haven’t really figured out how to get past the bars and the cages. Sometimes I can get the camera to focus where I want it to and sometimes I can’t.Today wasn’t a good day for that. ๐Ÿ™

So, I concentrated the photos on the birds and the fishes. I know I’ve posted lots of fish pictures here already, so today I’ll do some birds. ๐Ÿ˜‰