Archive for the ‘Kipper’ Category

You might wonder what a wayward turtle and cupcakes have in common? This past weekend Alex and I had one amazing weekend. Friday we went to Three Dog Bakery in Southlake and ordered up some new treats for the fur babies. After procuring puppy happiness, we spent a little time shopping at Grapevine Mills followed by dinner at Buca di Beppo. Since having my Lap Band, I cannot eat the portions Buca serves, but I was in luck now that they serve two different portion sizes. My favorite entree there is pizza! Surprised? Probably not!

Saturday we woke up and after spending some time with the babies, decided to head up to the shopping area off of Heritage Trace in north Fort Worth. With the exception of an “incident” at Sam Moon, we had a great time. We did some more shopping at JC Penney’s and for the first time in many years I was able to fit into a 2X shirt. Now, the 2X was not flattering but it did fit. It is the little things like this that make having my Band worth it. Before we shopped we ate lunch at Olive Garden and had a wonderful waiter named Hedey. His name he told us was Brazilian, but he was Mexican. Hedey was one of the nicest servers we have had in some time. I always try to call servers by their name and make sure they know that the service they provide is both appreciated and important.

After lunch and shopping, we left JC Penney and on the drive out, we saw the little guy in the above photo. I am not sure where he came from since there was no water nearby. Alex, me and another nice family spent some time snapping photos and getting chased around by Mr. Turtle, but eventually we decided the best thing to do was to put him on the other side of a work fence as far from the road as possible. I hope Mr. Turtle made it home wherever that is. After rescuing the wayward turtle, we enjoyed the sweets you see pictured above from Sweet Spot Bakery. Honestly, the ding dong concoction was a little too sweet for me, but the red velvet cupcake was good and the place decorated very cutely.

After we finished our sweets, we did some more shopping and came home to spend some time with our babies. We were home for a few hours until time to leave to meet our friends at the Royal Falcon Pub. We spent several hours at the Royal Falcon learning about sordid affairs, rumours and other generally good gossip (God forgive me). Around 2 A.M. we finally made it home and after enduring an hour or so of puppynami, we all finally went to sleep. What an amazing couple of days with my best friend in the entire world!

Well here I am with my beautiful bride on day 31 of my photoblog challenge. Towards the end of June, I was at Amy James’ home visiting with my friend Bobby Harris. I explained to Bobby that I had sold all of my camera equipment and was taking a hiatus from photography for many reasons. Besides needing the money, taking pictures simply had stopped being fun. I told him that there was simply too much emotion wrapped up and that I was just a “tormented artist.” Bobby looked at me with a scowl and said that was all BS and that he was pissed off at me. I was perplexed to say the least.

A few minutes after the initial exchange Bobby challenged me to take a photo a day for one month and blog about it. Initially, I dismissed this idea because I had taken thousands of photos and what could a few snap shots per day really matter? A week or so later, I decided to accept Bobby’s challenge as I had been missing taking pictures. So my month long journey began and I cannot thank Bobby enough for kicking me in the ass and making me do it. You are welcome to browse the daily photos to see what I captured during July so there is no need to rehash each day, but looking back I can honestly say that it made all the difference in me as an artist.

Before I engaged in this challenge I was always so focused on the technical details of the picture I did not appreciate simply taking photos and seeing the art come out of them. Instead of shooting with thousands of dollars worth of equipment, all of these photos were taken with an inexpensive compact camera and a little help from post processing. I learned to appreciate the randomness that accompanies simply snapping images and seeing what happens. I learned to tear down the ideological boundaries that traditional photography place on art. I learned to take photos for my pleasure and for my art rather than for others approval.

I am not sure where my photography will go in the future. I do not know if I will ever become a professional or serious photographer, but I am a photographer and a good one. I can be a professional if I chose and I know I have the skills and talents to do so. I know that I am my own worst critic and that I need to work on accepting the outcome for what it is: ART!

I am going to keep today’s post fairly short. This morning I received a bottle of Heartbreaking Dawn’s 1498 Trinidad Scorpion hot sauce. The Trinidad Scorpion is currently the hottest pepper on Earth and this sauce is a scrumptious mixture of Scorpions and other ingredients. Growing peppers and becoming a “chilihead” has been quote therapeutic for me. Since the late winter, Alex and I have poured alot of love into our little chili pepper garden and I am hopeful that this fall we will see the fruits of our labor. Doing anything in life is so much more enjoyable when I do it with be beautiful bride and pepper gardening has been no exception. Between peppers, photography, guitar, Boston Terriers, Bulls and the normal day to day living, I have been keeping busy which has been a huge help in overcoming my OCD. If you like hot things, try this sauce and hit me up in the fall to see how the harvest goes!

Some Beach, Some Chair…

Posted: July 17, 2011 in Kipper

A few years ago Alex and I bought this chair and another that matched to create our own Margaritaville paradise on our back porch.  When people think of me I doubt “laid back” is the first thing that comes to mind, but like so many things in my life my personality is a paradox. The side most people see of me, especially online, is my activist side that gets wound up about every injustice on planet Earth. I think I get this from both of my parents who were never one to lets things go by without comment. Please do not misunderstand, they like me, also had another side which believed in a live and let live policy. Now that I think about it, I wad destined to be crazy from the beginning!

Back to this chair though. I simply love these types of chairs. They are reclined so that you can lay back and just sink into whatever is going on outside. When I took this picture it was about 105F so I did not do much sinking, but on the days when it is nice outside I just love to go out back with a drink, turn up the music and watch the evening pass on by. My guess is that most of my friends would rather I just let life pass on by rather than comment on every thing that happens. What can I say, I have tried to ignore what goes on but I just cannot seem to do it. Well, for now, I am going to let his blog post slide into the history books and enjoy sitting on my ass in my comfy chair at home! Adios!

For a person with OCD like me there is no such thing as a hobby. Now this does not mean that us OCDrs are good any many things, it just means we attack new interests with the zeal of bee on honey. Most of you know that I have spent quite a bit of time working on and to some degree mastering photography, but the dark side of OCD is that it is difficult to be less than emotionally objective about one’s work. Because my photography was so tied to strong emotions, I am taking a break from serious photography and pursuing some other interests. Do not fear, this 30 day project is my way of staying connected to photography. Enter Bobby Harris!

A few weeks ago, Alex and I were at our friend Chad Pott’s home. Chad and Bobby are both skilled guitar musicians and listening to them strum peaked my interest about learning guitar. Bobby and I visited and he explained that it is not terribly difficult, but that if I was serious about learning I must take in person lessons. Due to a tight budget, and my wanting to think it over (OCD makes us impulsive) I told him I would get back with him. A week or so later, I was at our friend Amy’s home and Bobby and I began discussing the guitar some more. Bobby told me that he had an instructor who was reasonable he would send me to and that if I committed to 4 one hour lessons, he would loan me a great guitar to learn on and possibly even sell it to me down the road. At that time, I told Bobby I still wanted to think on it and I have. As you can see from the photo, I have decided to pursue guitar lessons. Apparently, it is not uncommon for near 40 year olds to take up the guitar so I do not feel too stupid. I made my first trip to Guitar Center today and was FLOORED by the entire experience. Now I have no idea if that is a good place to go. I wonder if it is the Wolf Camera of the music world, which would be discouraging because I would NEVER send a newbie to Wolf, Ritz, or any other chain shop. Today, I purchase some Dunlop medium celluloid pics. I hope those will work. I also picked up 2 books with some Barnes and Noble gift cards. So the adventure begins.

So that explains the guitar picks, but what about the peppers? Most of you know that I am growing peppers. I had always heard that gardening can be therapeutic, but never quite understood until now. There is something internally refreshing about raising food from the ground with your own personal labor. It is not that growing peppers is difficult, but it does require daily diligence. Today, Alex and I made our third small harvest of peppers. In the photo, you see 2 Kung Paos, 2 Super Chilis and 1 sweet Banana pepper. I am looking forward to turning all of those into salsa for future consumption.

So there you have it. A glimpse into my crazy world. Please stay tuned because it is quite possible that by the end of the summer I will have a new obsession to add to my repertoire. So goes the life of an obsessive compulsive!

The Surly Bonds!

Posted: July 13, 2011 in Deep Thoughts, Kipper

Since I was a young man growing up just outside Carswell Air Force Base, I have possessed a genuine love for aviation, space and all things other worldly. Besides the technological thrill of flight, the philosophical aspect of escaping the bonds of Earth has tickled my imagination like no other. Living on planet Earth is paradoxical. On the one hand the entirety of the human experience, the reality that each of us knows is inextricably linked to this rocky planet which has given us life for billions of years. On the other hand, the entirety of the human condition with all its suffering, pain and death is also deeply ingrained into our world. Flying allows us, if only for a short time, to escape and soar high above our human condition. As the old Irish Blessing says, “May the wind always be at your back” and “May the sun shine warm upon your face”


Very little means more to me than my marriage. I can clearly remember the days before I met my wife as being very lonely and longing for someone to share every day with. In 1999 I met my life partner and best friend and no single earthly event has ever approached the joy of meeting and marrying Alex Martin. We were married in 2004 when I had just (finally) finished college and she was working to complete her degree. Money was tight, and most of what I had went to her ring which is a beautiful estate piece that is over 100 years old. Her parents had spent most of their budget on the event itself and so there was little money for my ring, and frankly I have never been one for flashy jewelry. Alex and I found this ring at James Avery and the price was right. I loved that it was different since I most certainly am a bird of a different feather myself. The ring is banded in silver with yellow gold Teutonic Crosses and interlocked rings representing the Trinity. The Teutonic Cross dates back to the 14th Century and represents strength and support. The interlocked rings represent the Christian Trinity of God the Father, Jesus his son and the Holy Spirit.

This ring symbolizes my commitment to my wife in this world and beyond. My marriage is not about emotion , physical attraction or any other human construct, but is about an ethereal commitment I made to Alex that no person on earth can tear apart. As humans we all go through emotional ups and downs, but marriage is something that transcends all human emotions and as such must never be entered into lightly. My marriage is the most amazing covenant on earth and is only superseded by the covenant I have with God. It is my hope that someday all people can know and enjoy marriage throughout the world because nothing on earth parallels the joy my wife and our commitment bring to me.