Get me out of this town already

Today is Wednesday. Two more work days until my vacation!

I’ll bide most of my time at home, doing nothing in particular but I’ll also be going to San Antonio and maybe other scenic places in the lone star state.

Leah + Josh – the newly weds – were in New Braunfels yesterday (we got out that way last year), I gave ’em a ring to check in. She said she saw some of the photos posted here on, and since she didn’t say otherwise, I’m gonna have to assume she liked them.

A random photo of me drinking a Maibock in New Braunfels. Ahhh ... vacation.
A random photo of me drinking a Maibock in New Braunfels. Ahhh ... vacation.

Nope. Still not gonna write about the transmission fail. Not today. Not yet.

I got published yesterday. Yeah, it’s still exciting.

Maybe I’ll buy / plant some flowers on my vacation next week. The Lazy Gardener suggests these sun-resistant favorites.

LOW GROWERS: Blue daze, bulbine, Mexican zinnias (already have ’em), purslane, scaola
MEDIUM GROWERS: ‘Martha Gonzales’ antique rose, black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckias), bush daisy (Euryops), coneflowers (also tall), Copper Canyon daisies, cosmos, cuphea, daylilies, lantana, fernleaf lavender, pavonia (rock rose), coral fountain plant, mid-size perennial salvias, pentas,
TALL GROWERS: Althaea, cestrum, duranta, hamelia (hummingbird bush), pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia), ‘Red Rocket’ russelia, tall perennial salvias, esperanza (Tecoma stans), vitex.

Guess I better do my research before heading over to Houston Garden Centers, where someone got me a gift card.

The Saizan wedding

Leah Matthews and Josh Saizan were married this weekend at a Cut And Shoot ranch on the outskirts of nowhere.

Brandon and his (working) Cut and Shoot vacation
Brandon and his (working) Cut and Shoot vacation

As her uncle, it was my duty obligation pleasure to be her official wedding photographer and in the next week I’ll be mailing her four CDs with the photos I took so that she may do what she will with them.

See the wedding photos and the rehearsal photos in my online gallery.

I suggest wedding photo albums from or – both stores frequently have sales around the holidays (like, Father’s Day) to watch for, and one could sign themselves up to their mailing list to know when those sales are happening. I can’t attest to the quality of WalMart’s photobooks, but I am pleased with a little glossy photobook I ordered for Kim for Christmas, to celebrate our engagement. I stuffed the book with my favorite self-portrait shots from the past two years we’ve been together. This was a great idea, because about a month later, my laptop was stolen and I lost a lot of the original photos. If I hadn’t backed up my favorites on Web sites, it would have been a total loss.

The photos can also be downloaded – as a large Windows/Mac-friendly zip file – here. Slap ’em on a CD and take ’em to your favorite print shop to get ’em printed. I like WalMart – they always print my prints for my annual Christmas cards and I can upload them to the web site, get them ordered for an hour later, then mosey on up there later in the day.

Though I am not a professional photographer with professional photography equipment (hint, hint: gift ideas for Christmas/my own wedding on Jan. 9), I am pretty good at making a photo better with Photoshop. I did this for two of the photos that are currently on the homepage of

Here they are again:

Original photo
Josh and Leah on the eve of their wedding.
Improved photo: Josh and Leah on the eve of their wedding. The happy couple makes an entrance into the reception.
Original photo
Original photo
The happy couple makes an entrance into the reception.
Improved photo: The happy couple makes an entrance into the reception.

If the bride and groom or family would like any additional retouching of the photos taken by me, I can offer my services for $25 an hour, a bargain rate in the biddness.

Lean and Josh: I wish the two of you the best as you begin your life together and if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to holler.

Dock Ellis was number 17; we’re 33 and why this matters

Despite the amateurish misspellings, the lyrics for my new favorite Todd Snider song, “America’s Favorite Pastime,” can be found here.

They’re not up at EighteenMinutes as of this writing, and I can understand why: The record, The Excitement Plan was just released yesterday.

Hell, we couldn’t even find it at the local Best Buy, and it’s doubtful the bigger one in the bigger town down the road has it, either. Not that we would really know – the store locator is broken at the moment.

So, yesterday, after going to the local Best Buy and being turned away – but obligatorily buying my new Sonic Youth The Eternal record for me (HEY! I was cooking dinner) – Kim came home empty-handed. But then she ate pork chops and this really lousy vegetable dish I threw together and it was really good, she said, because she didn’t have to cook it.

We celebrated 33 months together last night. That’s a long time, I said. It was 33 months ago we went on our first date, which – coincidentally – was a concert by Todd Snider at the Mucky Duck when he was touring on The Devil You Know, two to three records ago (depending on how you count ’em).

And when she wasn’t looking, I slipped in the new Snider record into the stereo and hit play. I secretively snagged it via bit torrent last night – because that’s the kinda man I am. We did try to legitimately buy the damn thing, but, sometimes it’s just not meant to be when you live in suburbia and you have a penchant for indie music.

Anyway, America’s Favorite Pastime is a great song.

“His sinker looked like it was falling off a table / but nobody was hallucinating that.”

Dock, you’re my hero. And you can’t judge a book. My cousin Melissa’s wedding

My cousin’s getting married, so that means I’ve been tapped as the photographer, and my only condition was that I can use the photos on a Web site in an effort to tap into the lucrative wedding business.

By working for free. Go figure. … tell me what you think.

Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Melissa and Tim get married

Melissa and Tim get married

Melissa and Tim get married

Photos: San Marcos for the weekend

Last weekend, Kim drug me to San Marcos to attend the wedding of one of her best friend’s sisters.

It was a blast.

On the road again with Kim and Brandon

So … much … outlet … shopping …

San Marcos River gawking

Check out 95 more photos of our trip here or see my 8 favorites – among other great photos of the two of us – here.

For Kim, the trip was a vacation from planning. Which meant there was no itenerary. So a day or so before the trip, the idea pops in my head that we should see my cousin Michelle and her husband Dan. So I e-mail her and plans are thrown together … but they were in no mood for pictures, because the day was also the first day they biked home from work in downtown Austin. They estimated the trek at 15 miles, mostly on a bike trail through Austin’s green belt … but Michelle said it was more brown than green.

Here’s an old picture of them anyway.

Michelle and Dan Bost, Thanksgiving 2006

Anyway, so we were going to see the Bosts, and their new house in Austin. OK, it’s three years old. But I don’t get out much.

Since it was a vacation without planning, we had planned to not plan dinner, and Michelle was going to treat us to her famous shrimp and grits. But as we were driving, Kim mentioned that Texas Monthly mentioned that Luling, Texas (pronounced “Lull-ing” … just kidding, Kim!) was home to two of the top 50 barbecue joints in Texas. So, we stopped and I bought dinner at what Texas Monthly said was one of the 5 best “Smokin’ Joints” in Texas:

City Market in downtown Luling

City Market in downtown Luling

It turns out that when buying barbecue, you don’t need a pound per person. I know this because I bought four pounds of this stuff, and as a result, was eating it all week. What a tragedy! Nah, it was really good barbecue, perhaps the best I’ve ever tasted from an eatery. And, the smoke is still on my clothes from stepping into the smoke room at City Market. Yum.

Almost a week later: The last of the barbecue, shot at Kim’s house.

Also during our trip, we went to the outlet mall in San Marcos and the San Marcos River. I took lots of photos of everything I saw. Oh, and there was a wedding. So go check out the photos already.