Jun 17, 2007

Odds & Ends

More tidbits, you might even go so far as to say.

I've been a bit adrift here this last week or so, my thoughts more fragmentary and scattered than usual, so my posts, when present, have reflected that.

Todays post, unfortunately, is no different. *s*

I do, however, have some fun things for you to see.

Photos! Yeah, you guessed, you shrewed genius. I've not got this gawds-awfully expensive camera for nothing, you see. Saturdy morning involved a short drive up to Natchitoches, the oldest continuous settlement in Louisiana (1797 or thereabouts.) There was a nice little Green Market set up on the Cane River which we wanted to see, and the dogs enjoyed the playing, meeting new people, and the ducks.

And I got a nice photo or two of the very French architecture, though one of the problems, especially on Front Street where this is taken is the near-constant traffic. Just TRY and get a picture that's not full of cars.

Saturday afternoon found me free of housework, having earlier in the week successfully managed some *gasp choke* time management, so I went out (in the heat of the day, foolishly,) to see if I could find some new grafitti.

Success was immediate, which kept me in the fight. I found a whole new lineup of idle boxcars one town over, where I managed to find, amongst other things, the oldest "The Solo Artist" piece of my short career--a paint stick drawing on a boxcar dated 1992, protected and given props by an Aerosol Age grafitti artist working below him on the same car. That find and the other colourful tags I found emboldened me enough to ignore the heat and my copious sweat, and I found myself riding up the interstate. It works out nicely that you can see the entrance to the local Union Pacific yard from one of the overpasses, and I was further lucky enough to catch a full UP train idling while it waited for permission to enter the UP yard, alongside an extensive maintenance crew at work. Thanking all the two-wheeled gods that I was on the bike I parked rather dangerously on the shoulder of an exit and walked up to the top of the off-ramp. Photos ensued.

I've never seen anything like that yellow monster in the foreground. It would extend that pneumatic arm, lower a pair of clamps into the cracked concrete right of way, clamp a railroad tie and yank it out of it's placement as easily as a child could draw a Pick-Up-Stick out from a pile. And from the pictures you can see it's been busy. That lead me to follow the train onto the outskirts of the UP yard where a very little bit of skulking and sneaking netted me some more really good pictures and let me watch some of the railyard men at work sorting cars off onto different sidings. Good stuff!

Sunday morning began with a shout and dogs hurridly shuffled back indoors. You see, one of the joys of living in swampy, humid Louisiana is that you get a lot of swampy, humid wildlife showing up in the backyard.

This, for instance:

Couldn't tell you what the species name is, but it's an alligator turtle. This little work of anger and plastron showed up in the backyard this morning after, I can only assume, muscling a hole in the fence and determinedly breaking and entering...er...my backyard. He was a bit far from water and probably a little weak because of that, but I knew that even in his enfeebled state Belle could easily lose a nose to that sharp little beak, and Penny, well, Penny could have been devoured whole.

I brought him 'round to the driveway hoping to get some nicer pictures of him, say, walking, or showing his extremely long and jagged tail off, but no, every attempt to draw him out was met with snaps of his sharp beak and an aggressive digging in of his claws, so into a bucket of water he went for the duration of breakfast, at which time I concluded my Father's Day Turtle Rescue by dumping him unceremoniously out at the bayou, with many bon voyages, best wishes, and the sincere hopes that he attains the truly massive size (3' long and more) that these turtles can reach if given ample food and room that can be found in, say, a quiet stretch of bayou.

My Father's Day also included a stop at the office to cut grass, but my diligence in bringing the camera along was rewarded when I spotted a car-carrier loaded in interesting things just as I finished mowing.

Working alongside a major interstate means it's hard NOT to see interesting things pass by every day. This last week alone gave me a panoramic view of huge RVs towing equally huge cars behind, a whole boat show worth of watercraft, including one gorendously big yacht wrapped in white plastic and even a car hauler carrying ten identical black and gold convertible Ford Mustangs. Today's show, though, surpassed all that.

It's not so much that they're limousines; even in this little podunk town there is two rather elderly Cadillac El Dorado stretch cars for rent. No, this time it was the fact that there were FIVE of them, brand new, each precariously balanced, placed and otherwise leveraged onto a trailer. The rearmost one (the white car) is STILL hanging off the back of that trailer far enough that it was marked with a red warning flag.

I know that limos aren't all that unusual, and that seeing stretched Chrysler 300s was also not a big thing, nor the variety of lovely colours. Me, I always thought that limos were more of a one-off thing, that a small but very dilligent number of dungeon-based companies existed, each specializing in making normal things grotesquely long. I thought for sure they simply received an order from some king or padishah or Hilton and made the car from there by throwing ropes around the tires of a luxury vehicle and lashing it onto some sort of automotively-specific wooden rack. I could just see the thoughtful guys in white lab coats and black leather hoods nodding over their clipboards while a hunchback scampered around with a tape measure, two muscular deaf mutes worked the creaking wooden screws, incrementally drawing the car out to it's new length. I guess I never thought of there being such a demand that they had to be BUILT somewhere and then trucked in en masse.

So. How was YOUR Father's Day spent?


Nancy Dancehall said...

But the Fords can only be stretched on Ford racks, right?

Scott from Oregon said...

RE: Taking photos of buildings without cars...


Irrelephant said...

Er...Nancy, you know I never thought about that? I wonder if car makers also make their own branded torture devices? I know sports car makers do. Ever try to wedge a 6' 2" man into a Fiero?

Scott, very cool! Thank you! I've got an older version of Paint Shop Pro and have fiddled about very lightly with airbrushing out tiny bits of discolouration or errant bits, but never tried to tackle whole PEOPLE before!

Scott from Oregon said...

Yep, people suck (especially tourists) so I would advise you just erase the hell out of 'em...

meno said...

I have never seen a wicked looking turtle before. Wow.

And the correct term for annoying tourists is touron. :)

Irrelephant said...

Meno, you need to see our local zoo, specifically the Animals of Louisiana exhibit. We've got about ten Alligator Snapping turtles in there that are EASILY three feet long and two wide. They're fully as scary as the alligators, and meaner than a three-eyed water moccasin.