Texas On Tour

Because confession is good for the soul, I need to declare that what follows is a post sponsored by Texas on Tour, a function of the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

Proceeds will be donated to the Southwest Indian Foundation.


This Saturday October 1st ushers in the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The special shapes and crazy events like the key grab, Balloon Glow, and pin trading are back for another year of fun. I’m sad I’ll have to miss it, but work beckons. Photographic opportunities abound!

Hey, if you happen to make your way over to the Balloon Fiesta Park, keeps your eyes out for a little sumptin’ different. This year at the Balloon Fiesta, in addition to participating in one of the most notable events New Mexico has to offer, you’ll also be able to experience a little bit of Texas.

Albuquerque has the honor of being the last stop in 2011 for Texas on Tour, an interactive virtual trip to the Lone Star State.

Through the magic of green screen video and photography, visitors to Texas on Tour can get a taste of the fun that Texas has to offer such as kayaking, visiting San Antonio, or experiencing the bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin.

Texas is a big ol’ state with a lot to offer, and Texas on Tour helps you experience it all.

The good people behind Texas on Tour hope you’ll be so intrigued, you’ll want to visit in person.

“We are thrilled to have Texas on Tour traveling to nine destinations across the U.S. in 2011 to encourage travel to Texas and give potential visitors the ability to experience firsthand the many sights and sounds of the Lone Star State,” said Julie Chase, Director of Tourism, Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

If you take a look at the Texas on Tour blog, you’ll see a whole lot of people having one heck of a good time at all of the stops so far.

Sure, it may seem a little odd to visit a site touting the charms of Texas when attending one of New Mexico’s most iconic events. But I say why not?

Have another hot chocolate and breakfast burrito and go see what the Texas on Tour team has to offer.

You can also follow Texas on Tour on Facebook and on Twitter @texastourism

All images courtesy of the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

Just an aside: neither this blog nor this writer endorse the presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry…or any of the other presidential candidates from any party, for that matter. Not even former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.

My Aural New Mexico

Over the past weeks, the good folks over at NPR are doing a series of short essays about the sounds that evoke memories of summer.

Today on Twitter, New Mexico Magazine posed the question “What’s your quintessentially New Mexican sound of summer?”

Well, that just opened the door to the Wayback Machine and shoved me right in. I’ve been lost for a few hours, thinking…remembering.

Turns out I can’t name just one. So let’s go with five.

Evaporative Cooling

This is a cacophony of noises. A creaky drum turning inside the cooling unit, the wet wind whooshing out, and the drip, drip, drip of water running off the roof.

Both loud and comforting all at once. I’m a light sleeper, but the white noise of a swamp cooler set on high in the dead of a hot summer day will drop me fast into sweet dreams.


Not a very original summer thought, but a genuine memory. That droning buzzing sound used to drive me bonkers.

Where the swamp cooler lulled me to sleep, the cicadas kept me up all night.

We had this huge tree in our backyard that would fill to overflowing with the damn bugs.

There is a site I found that calls cicadas “nature’s vuvuzela“. Damn right! Gah!

I used to mentally try to get them to stop. Like Uri Gellar bending spoons, I thought I if I thought hard enough I could control it.

I couldn’t control it. Damn winged creatures had a mind of their own.

Such a distinct sound of summer.

The low rumble of an August monsoon storm off in the distance and approaching fast.

The summer storms move so quick you know it will be on top of you before you know it. It goes from bright sunny skies to black boiling skies in what seems like an instant.

I’d be out in the yard playing or on my rollerskates and I’d hear that sound. Like a low mumble at first. I’d take off for home before it turned in a loud wail.

Here’s a not very well kept secret: I’m a skeerdy cat when it comes to storms.

Styrofoam cooler and lures on a fishing pole.

Do they even make squeaky Styrofoam throwaway coolers anymore? Because that’s an unmistakable sound. We’d pack sodas for us, beers for dad, and bait for the fish along with a couple sandwiches into the blue speckled cooler. Then the fishing poles alongside with the jangling lures hanging off the end.

Then we’d all load into the truck and head down dirt roads to fish Ute Lake.

That squeak jangle engine rumble symphony can only mean summer to me.

Flame thrower on a tumbler of green chile

Ok, this one may be more of a smell than a sound memory, but at the end of summer (like, oh, now) the green chiles are coming in from the fields and at every grocery store there is some guy with a flamethrower and a metal turning basket.

You want ’em roasted? Okay! *click* WHOOOOOOOOSH.

There ya go.

Damn. It’s like a piece of my soul.

My quintessential sounds of summer may not be NPR worthy, but they all make me smile.

In the summertime, my Fair New Mexico is a beautiful place to be…for ALL the senses.

Image from I don’t know where….if it’s yours, let me know and I’ll credit or remove at your request.

I have a conflicted

This whole social networking thing, I’ve been reticent about it. Then on further examination, I acquiesced a bit.

But I have a reticent again.

As you may know, I’ve joined the folks who are using Twitter. Sure, yes, I tweet.

Banal stuff I tweet, I admit. But I enjoy the challenge of 140 characters. Plus it’s fun to see what other’s can cram into such a small space.

Often I read stuff on there makes me sigh and shake my head. Example: a local sports broadcaster takes to Twitter to describe the quality of his bowel movements. A regular man, seems to hit him daily about eleven a.m.


Then there’s some good stuff, too. Local SanFran author Christopher Moore has the best tweets of my follow list, bar none. Example: “Steve Jobs had liver transplant. Glad he finally acknowledged the value of cut and paste.”

So okay, there’s fun stuff out there, it’s not all bad. I rather enjoy tweeting, heck, as you know, I even recently participated in a twitter story writing contest. So I’m on board!

Only, this weekend, I might have hit a wall.

I follow Ann Curry on Twitter. She’s been Tweeting pretty hard about what’s going on in Iran. I personally have tried very hard to keep a distance from all that. It’s horrible, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families, but I have a neurotic worry gene (thanks, Mom) and if I let myself follow what’s happening, I will lose my grip.

So, yeah, I have been reading Ann’s tweets, even though I’m not sure this is the best way for the news to travel, I read them to keep up to speed, a little, on the progress.

That said, on Saturday, Ann tweeted quite a bit about the escalation of the protests in Iran. Scary stuff, here’s some examples:

“Credible source was eyewittness (sic) to pepper spraying of about 100 protestors #iranelection”

“Iran state tv claims explosion at tomb of revered Ayatollah Khomeini. Would incite anger against protesters. Is it true? #iranelection”

“More reports of police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands #iranelection”

Yikes. I was taking all of this in, feeling that familiar fear and dread…and then moved on to read more tweets on the same page by other twitter folks that I follow.

Here’s where my train derailed.

Along with scary stuff from Iran, here’s what else I found on the same page:

“just getting up, still drunk I think.” (from a local journalist for the SF Chronicle and a prolific author)

“Destroyed by dim sum and good friends.” (from the rather successful owner of a small business)

“I’m thinking of something like this for (my second house), so perhaps I’ll go to C&B and see how it looks in person. (furniture item, link redacted).” (from a blogger and editorial writer for one of Seattle’s independent newspapers).

So, look, I’m not following Buffy the Wonder Ditz on Twitter, I have thoughtfully chosen which tweets I see, but still, I was startled by the juxtaposition of the uses of Twitter.

Actually, The Good Man pointed it out as he read over my shoulder. I didn’t even see it. Perhaps I’m so twitterheaded it didn’t look strange.

I think Twitter can be used pretty well as a marketing tool. Heck, when I tweet a link to my blog, I can count on about 10 to 15 extra eyeballs that day. So that’s good, right? Blog traffic is really nice.

But is all this self-focused, self-absorbed social networking really meaningful? (asks the self-focused, self-absorbed blogger)

I don’t know, something changed for me on Saturday. I like Twitter, enjoy using it, but then think…what am I *doing*?!

I don’t have the answers, I’m really just talking it out here. But last week, I was kind of into Twitter and enjoying it. Now, I’m not so sure.

Anyhow…just some pondering for a Monday.