A Drone Over the Trinity

“Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

The scenes of the swollen Trinity river have been popular sightseeing attractions here for the last few weeks. Luckily, here, the flooding has been more of an inconvenience that the deadly danger that it has posed downstream. The high water is an interesting and strangely beautiful change – and not so morbid of an attraction.

In this modern world, odd occurrences inevitably attract a new breed of gawker – drones. A couple showed up at the Continental Bridge Park while I was down there looking at the water. They had a drone in a case – extracted it, and flew it around the place.
I think it was one of these. It was very capable, flying all over the place, a surprising distance. The pilot must have been very confident – if anything went wrong it would have been lost forever in the rushing floodwaters.

The drone flying off the edge of the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

The drone flying off the edge of the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

The drone with the cable stays of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in the background.

The drone with the cable stays of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in the background.

The drone coming in for a landing. She would catch it as it landed.

The drone coming in for a landing. She would catch it as it landed.

This wasn’t shot on the same day, but some of the footage is in the same spot.

What I learned this week, March 13, 2015

Kindle

Call Me Ishmael

8 books to lift you out of darkness

When Shaka Senghor (Watch: Shaka Senghor: Why your worst deeds don’t define you) was nineteen, he shot and killed a man — and was sentenced to spend the second nineteen years of his life in jail. At first, Senghor sat in his cold cell and rationalized his worst deeds. “In the hood where I come from,” he says, “it’s better to be the shooter than the person getting shot.” Then, Senghor found solace in literature — and his perspective was transformed in prison.


My Xootr Swift bike with picnic supplies loaded in the pannier.

My Xootr Swift bike with picnic supplies loaded in the pannier.

How to Set Up a Serious Folding Commuter Bike : Xootr Blog

I actually rarely commute on my Xootr folding bike – I view it as more of a versatile, fun mode of transport. I took a used Craigslist Giant Mountain bike and outfitted it with racks and fenders – use it as my commuter and light cargo bike.

Commuter Bike with Dallas skyline in the background

Commuter Bike with Dallas skyline in the background. I need to take an updated photo – this one doesn’t have the fenders installed.


Magazine Street, New Orleans

Magazine Street, New Orleans

How Bicycling Brings Business

Bicycle Second Line New Orleans, Louisiana

Bicycle Second Line
New Orleans, Louisiana



Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream

Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream

Herb Alpert’s ‘Whipped Cream Lady’ now 76, living in Longview and looking back

Do I remember the album cover from back in the day? Even though I was only eight when it came out – of course I do.

One bit of useless trivia, Leon Russell (as Russell Bridges, a member of the “Wrecking Crew”) played piano on the album.


5 SXSW Eateries Off the Beaten Path

For my Austin peeps and visitors.


Bike lane on Yale, near my house.

Bike lane on Yale, near my house.

Why bike lanes are battle lines for justice


15 Of the Best Jack Kerouac Quotes

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”—The Dharma Bums


Look At This Tiny Drone [Video]

This would mean the end of privacy, if wind didn’t exist

What I learned this week, July 7, 2014

US bike boom strongest with people over 55 (not hipsters)



ride2

Community Beer Co. wants you to name its newest brew

Riding up outside Community Brewing in the Dallas Design District

Riding up outside Community Brewing in the Dallas Design District


Slightly More Than 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism


Want to empower African American kids? Give them bikes


Photographer Shows Proof of Shocking Similarities In Human Templates Between Complete Strangers


In college, we managed to score a keg of beer that had been left behind from a Fraternity Party in a cafeteria cooler. It has sat there for well over a year. We threw a big party, tapped the keg, and realized it had gone bad.
“What are we going to do?” my friend asked, “The beer is bad and all these people are coming over.”

“I know,” I said, “Let’s tell everybody it’s Lone Star.”

People would complain about the beer and I’d tell them it was Lone Star – they would nod knowingly and keep drinking.

11 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT LONE STAR BEER



Bicycle Second Line New Orleans, Louisiana

Bicycle Second Line
New Orleans, Louisiana

What’s the worst thing about cycling? Other cyclists


clarinet1

The Politics of Sitting Alone

A Month of Short Stories 2014, Day 8 – Nirvana

A year ago, for the month of June, I wrote about an online short story each day for the month. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year.

Today’s story, for day Eight – Nirvana, by Adam Johnson

Read it online here:

Nirvana

As I look through the short stories I have chosen for this month, I see that I have been tending to the venerable classics – Hemingway, Salinger, Eudora Welty, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather… only Daniel Orozco could be considered new – the rest are hoary old chestnuts.

So today I’ll add something new, modern, post-modern even. Today’s story is set in the near future and is full of what marks our age – for good and bad. It’s a story of dot-com millionaires, private miniature drones controlled by Google, the newest Apple invention – the iProjector, artificial intelligence, and a mysterious circuit board from India that can crack any cryptography.

The tough nut to crack when writing about such things is to make it human. As interested as we all are in the technology of the time, it doesn’t serve very well at tugging at our heartstrings.

But Adam Johnson pulls it off. He works by giving the story a hear-rending human situation, one that goes so far beyond what technology can affect – all the bells and whistles of today are revealed as mere tinsel and foil, window dressing for the inevitable doom of our lives.

Or is it? As the story progresses the human tragedy and the digital world begin to spiral together in a dance of death and hope – and it the end the human and the artificial meld together in an epiphany of sorts.

It’s quite a thing.

I have to admit that until I read this story I knew nothing of Adam Johnson or his work – even though he won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his novel The Orphan Master’s Son. I think it’s time I read some more.

Charlotte’s mother arrives. She brings her cello. She’s an expert on the Siege of Leningrad. She has written a book on the topic. When the coma is induced, she fills the neuro ward with the saddest sounds ever conceived. For seven days, there is nothing but the swish of vent baffles, the trill of vital monitors, and Shostakovich, Shostakovich, Shostakovich. No one will tell her to stop. Nervous nurses appear and disappear, whispering in Tagalog.