So, I’ve had a lot of things happen over the past several months. Oddly, most of the ‘bad’ things really haven’t happened to me (in my personal life)…’s just stuff in my professional life etc. Last week, I testified in a divorce proceeding (that was also a custody situation as well) for a long-time friend/co-worker. The whole business lasted ALL DAY. I was so exhausted when I got home……it was a beating. This, after spending quite a few-dozen-hours on the phone with said friend over the past few months (not complaining…..just takes a lot out of you)……in the lead-up to this giant event. You know, maybe I would have NEVER wanted to be an attorney…..that stuff is rough, man. It was such a sad, painful event…….but in the end, my friend ended up with custody and they’re divorced…’s over. He gets child support, too…….not a lot, but it’ll help.


….and number 9.

This is the 9th photo added to my ‘distinctly Texas’ photo project. I took it in Van, Texas following that wretched tornado that struck the town. (Got threatened with arrest, ’cause I was too close to the action! That’s REAL JOURNALISM, folks!!)…..I swear I didn’t know I was in the ‘danger zone’!



Debris cleanup in Van, Texas

Terror Nights (Tyler, Texas)

The 'Prepper' room at Terror Nights in Tyler.

The ‘Prepper’ room at Terror Nights in Tyler.

Well, this was an article I’d submitted at but it didn’t make the cut, so I thought I’d throw it up here (slightly modified, considering the venue-shift) instead:

Haunted attractions all across Texas are opening this month, promising scares and frights for attendees. ”’13th Floor”’ haunted house in San Antonio, Texas opened last week and is the first attraction of its kind to open this season in the city. ”’Zombie Manor”’, a long running attraction near Dallas, also opened last week. Billing itself as a haunted house “park”, ”’Thrillvania”’ features 4 separate haunted houses located near the city of Terrell. With names like ‘Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment’ and the totally dark ‘Thorn Hall’, this park opens on Friday.

”’The House of Torment”’, another multi-haunt attraction opened last week in Austin, offering up 3 separate attractions.

I visited Terror Nights haunt in Tyler recently. About a dozen people were gathered there for new employee orientation. The haunt’s general manager, Ryan Laepple, told new actors to be aware of their surroundings when working the attraction. He also cautioned them, saying, “Don’t get involved with boisterous guests.” He went on to say the haunt usually has 200-300 people who can’t get through the attraction without leaving via one of the “Chicken doors” located throughout the attraction. Offering two haunts, namely ‘The Toy Factory’ and the newly designed ‘Chiseltooth Manor’, Laepple told employees his haunt offers the, “…most intense experience you’ll find this Halloween in East Texas.” He noted that in recent years, the haunt saw as many as 1800 people go through the haunt in one evening. Laepple said he and staff spent five months building Chiseltooth Manor, a set beaming with apparent influence from the film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Creator of……………

Sometimes in life, it’s the smallest little thing that speaks to us……a song, a painting…..or something even smaller than that. I read a lot of blogs……when Google decided to ditch Reader, I quickly discovered and transitioned over to The Old Reader…..but, I digress. Technically, let me jump back just a bit………..
A few weeks back, I decided that I would “assign” a life project to myself. I wanted to do something that would be a BIG thing…..something tangible, concrete… of those major bucket list sort of things. So after a little thought, I came up with it:

I will take and post in some public place(s) on the Interwebs……..500,000 photos of various places and things found in the state of Texas. My digital photographic mosaic of the Lonestar state and many of the places one might find therein. That was/is something I might focus on, creatively, for the remainder of my life. Starting such a thing at the age of 44 is not too awfully crazy. If I average about 10,000 photos per year for a while (which shouldn’t be too awfully hard)…..and then really pick up the pace after retirement, I should meet that goal! A creativity footprint. Something meaty and solid that might live on forever. I liked the thought of that.

I am a social worker, and I like what I do…..I believe in what I do……but a close friend said to me years ago, that the only thing we really leave behind in this world is what we create…….that stuck with me.
I have done a poor job of stoking the fires of creativity within myself for a long time…..and I’m stopping it. I’m stopping it with the photo project…..I’m stopping it in many ways.

Along those very same lines, I was reading a guy’s blog today, and his little bio read something like: John Smith, creator of (yada-yada-yada)……[small comics, web comics etc. etc. etc]…..and it sparked me to think, “Y’know, when you reach the end of your life, it would be nice to say, “[Your name here]….creator of ‘this’ and ‘that’ and ‘the other thing’.” It was silly, really, but it got my juices flowing. I want to’ve created some “stuff” in my lifetime. I want to look back and see the stuff I wrote. The people to whom I meant something. The music, art etc. I’d created. I want it to be obvious that I was here….y’know what I mean? So, here’s the first photo I posted (at Wikimedia Commons, by-the-way)…..this is the very first one since my big idea:


Yeah….I know….it’s a sign…..but it’s a sign found in a park located in Tyler, Texas! I’m a creator……and that’s something to be proud of.



I’m quick to state that I dislike all the ugliness going on in political discourse today among us common folk. Which is why I’m ashamed to be posting a link to this comment/discussion I found at !!


They ran an article on the recent ricin letter scare……..and this was one little blurb someone commented (with corresponding responses to said comment).