Friday, September 28, 2012

On Location #29 - Walker, Texas Ranger Episode 4

The fourth episode of season 1 of Walker, Texas Ranger stars veteran character actor Bruce McGill (he played time cop Captain Braxton in Star Trek: Voyager and Al the Bartender/God in the last episode of Quantum Leap) as the bad guy who goes around town doing genuinely bad things.  One of his main stops is Brownie's Diner in the east part of Dallas:

As you can see, not only is it no longer Brownies, the restaurant that replaced it is also closed down (must have been too many bad guys hanging around):

As Mr. Bad Guy leaves you can see the the Eckerd Drug Store and Motts...

...has been replaced by a Family Dollar and Check Cashing place:

Later in the episode there is some hubbub at an old school looking bank:

The building is located on the downtown square in McKinney, TX (north of Dallas).  It's a historic building that was a bank at one time but now it's an antique shop.

Here is the building's historical marker for your reading pleasure:

Of course Walker and his partner show up to put an end to the nonsense:

But unfortunately they didn't have time to visit downtown McKinney's many unique shops and restaurants (maybe they can plan a Saturday afternoon trip sometime):

A few roundhouse kicks later and McKinney was safe from Mr. Bad Guy...but for how long???

Monday, September 24, 2012

Geology Kitchen #4 - Metamorphism

This episode explores the concepts of regional versus contact metamorphism. Heat and pressure are discussed and their roles in changing various rock types into metamorphic rock varieties. Contact metamorphism is discussed and demonstrated using a torch and marshmallow, and regional metamorphism is discussed using lasagna and examples of metamorphic rocks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

On Location #28 - Dallas Episode #2

Episode 2 of TNT's Dallas revival brings even more location shooting.  Let's jump in starting with the Ewing cousins favorite hangout: The Cedars Social:

This bar and restaurant on the south side of Dallas is where Christopher hangs out to drown his sorrows.  The producers must have liked this location because John Ross returns in a future episode.  It's also right next door to the South Side apartments where both John Ross and Rebecca (respectively) live and it's next door to the Jack Evans Police Headquarters which will be featured in a couple of future episodes.

I haven't eaten here yet so I don't have any meal recommendations but they were very nice to me when I showed up to take pictures and as the saying goes "If it's good enough for the Ewings..."

Later in the episode the Ewing clan heads to the Cattle Baron's Ball which is being hosted at the American Airlines Center (where the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars play):

Interested in the AAC's unique architecture?  You better say "yes" because our resident, award winning geologist Devin Dennie is going to break it down for you:

Remember last episode when John Ross had his "secret meeting" on the 50 yard line of Cowboy's Stadium?  Well in this episode he picks an even less subtle for his secret meeting...the State Fair of Texas:

The actual State Fair begins next week and is home to Big Tex who celebrates his 60th anniversary this year.  Here is a little bit about the old man:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Location #27 - Walker, Texas Ranger Episode 3

As far as I'm concerned the third episode of season 1 of Walker, Texas Ranger is most notable for starring the guy who played Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

Other than that, it involves Walker's old sensei's son coming to town and causing all kind of mischief.  Most of the episode takes place at Garak's house:

He's a senator or alderman or somesuch and needs to be protected by the Rangers.  They clearly shot this at a private residence that I would have no hope of finding.

However, there was at least one scene that I could track down.  Walker talks to his old judo buddy at Mandalay Canal in Las Colinas:

I was completely unfamiliar with this place but apparently you can ride gondolas and drink mimosas up and down the canal.

It's close to several businesses and not far from the Mustangs of Las Colinas.  It's worth a visit if you are in the area.

Toward the end of the episode Walker and his buddy step aside so that their stunt doubles can fight.  It all seems to work out in the end.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Geology Candy Part 3

We found another version of the old standby, "Gold Nuggets", this type they are "Gold Rocks":

And while we've seen candy rocks before, we've never seen candy "Moon Rocks!"  We found these beauties during Geo-RoadTrip 2012 when we stopped at the Mayborn Museum Complex on the Baylor University campus:

Next is a seasonal entry as the chocolate rocks that we know and love take on a Halloween color scheme:

And finally, we'd like to state that even fictional rocks are still rocks.  So Kryptonite Gum (Superman's least favorite type of gum) has a place in our collection of Geology Candy:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Marking Time #27 - Gladewater, TX

The East Texas town of Gladewater is known as the "Antique Capital of Texas" and with that title comes a fair amount of history.  Our first stop is the East Texas Museum at Gladewater where they have a historic marker right out front:

The marker reads:

     "The W. E. Nunnelee Bus Lines began passenger service from Tyler to Gladewater and Mt. Pleasant in March 1925; later added buses from Tyler to Henderson and Nacogdoches. Twenty-six vehicles were operated over the 205 miles. These included 7-passenger automobiles and 12-, 15-, 16-, and 19-passenger buses.
     Fare from Tyler to Gladewater was $1. with stops in Winona, Starrville, Friendship, the 30-mile run took an hour, over roads paved in 1919 and 1923.
     On Aug. 1, 1927, buses were placed under regulation of the Railroad Commission. This line had franchise No. 1; it was one of 247 companies running 865 public passenger vehicles on 20,348 miles of Texas roads.
     Many of these "buses" were autos built for private use. Others had "stretched" auto chassis seating 10 or more passengers. Several models had doors that opened along the side. Uncomfortable and hard to drive, they constantly needed new tires and repairs to brakes and valves. Breakdowns were frequent. Overhauls (often made, or necessity, by the roadside) were handled by mechanics lacking suitable tools.
     Although far different from the airconditioned, safety-engineered bus of today, early buses showed the way to a new era in convenient transportation. Incise in base: Early travel, communication and transportation series erected by Moody Foundation."

Not too far from this location is the site of the Snavely #1 Discovery Well:

The Gladewater Heritage Society was kind enough to add their own historical marker to this site:

The marker reads:

     "On April 7, 1931 this wildcat well drilled by Selby Oil and Gas Co. of Tulsa, OK. came-in at 1000 barrels an hour.  Located in the Sabine River bottom a mile south of town,  it connect Gadewater to the vast East Texas Oil Field stretching from Longview's Lathrop Well 7 miles north, to Kilgo's Crim Well 14 miles south.  Royalty owners were the Snavely family of Martinsville, IL. headed by judge Herschel Snavely, nine relatives came to watch the drilling.  L.C. Snavely acquired interest in this land when several Illinois investors underwrote the sawmill, lumber operations of James Moore who in 1906 bought 4200 acres for $20,000 and moved his enterprise to Gladewater by train.  Moore's mill was destroyed in 1913 by a boiler explosion.  In 1914 he surveyed and divided the land into equal sections.  Investors drew lots to determine their parcels.  Oil was discovered under the entire 4200 acre tract.  Texaco, Inc. operated the well from 1938 until its shut-down on November 30, 1957.  Texaco closed its local office in 1987 after 54 years in Galdewater, and donated to the city this pumping unit from the Texaco-Snavely "A" Lease #1.  The original derrick was wooden."

The discovery of oil had a huge impact on not only this East Texas but the rest of the country as well.  Here is some video we shot that explains a little more about the formation of the East Texas Oil Field:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Geology Kitchen #3 - Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

Episode 3 begins to examine the world of sedimentary rocks by looking at how clastic sedimentary rocks form. Various food stuffs of different grain sizes are used to demonstrate the relationship between rock name and grain size. Composite rocks are demonstrated from cereal and granola bars using grains of mixed sizes to show how variability in clastic rocks occurs in nature. A brief description of the sedimentary rock cycle from weathering and erosion, to sediment transport, to deposition in a basement and final burial and compaction are discussed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On Location #26 - Dallas Returns! Episode 1 Filming Locations!

Dallas is back and and they are taking advantage of the character the city has by filming on location in North Texas.  So they are perfect for another "Ongoing Feature Within an Ongoing Feature" as we track down the show's geography in our "On Location" feature!

Starting with episode #1, the most famous Dallas (the show, not the city) location: Southfork Ranch:

Since most of the main characters live there (even though a lot of them hate each other...ah, the Ewings...), quite of bit of the series is shot there.  It's actually in Parker, TX (about a 30 - 40 minute drive from Dallas) and instead of going back there to try to take pictures that match shots from the show (like we usually do) we thought we'd show this segment we shot on the location a few years ago:

In the first episode John Ross, J.R.'s son, discovers oil on Southfork.  He and his cronies go to Piggy's Cantina, the closest bar to Southfork, to celebrate.  In reality, Piggy's is Adair's Saloon in Deep Ellum:

If you ever find yourself in Adair's celebrating a new oil well, I recommend the of the best in Dallas.  The Ewing gang decided on champagne instead.  You can see from the pictures that the Dallas production crew added quite a bit of set dressing for the scene, particularly to cover up any recognizable branding or advertisements but the saloon's character still comes through:

They also added some nondescript neon signs that I assume they took with them.  At the bar when John Ross talks with one of his guys you can barely make out the "PHARMACY" sign that is still visible today behind the bottles:

After his celebratory wheelin' and dealin', John Ross heads out to meet his mystery associate in the alley behind Adair's to do some double crossin'...Ewing style! 

By the end of the episode he needs to meet his associate once again for another secret meeting and chooses one of the most public places possible.  I don't have to tell you where this is:

Coming soon in our look at the second episode: John Ross picks and even more public place for his next secret meeting (HINT: "Howdy, folks!")