Dull Day in the Life

The most exciting thing that happened today was I finally, nearly 3 weeks after the fact, completed all the captions of the 48 photos in the Northeast Trip 2007 gallery.

The second most exciting thing is I’ve completed my second shelf of CD burning with Deep Purple’s Made in Japan disc. If Lynyrd Skynyrd ‘s Free Bird is considered the Redneck’s National Anthem, Smoke on the Water is definitely the Stoner’s.

We ended up at the grand hotel
It was empty cold and bare
But with the rolling truck stones thing just outside
Making our music there
With a few red lights and a few old beds
We make a place to sweat
No matter what we get out of this
I know well never forget
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky

Fifteen hundred fifty-five files in 207 directories taking up 5.66 gigabytes.

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 138

Blogger’s Night Off

Took this picture on my way in the door to work today:


The security guard didn’t try and stop me.

Started down, went up, back down, back up, down once more, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 144

Nochnoi Dozor

AKA: Night Watch. I watched this movie today on the lap top because I knew Donna would want to have nothing to do with it. Now that I’m done, I’m not so sure I should have had anything to do with it either. At least I didn’t have to walk out to my mailbox to get it.

Blockbuster has got their own mail-it-to-your-house DVD rental program. They are now touting that you can return the mailed disc to the store and get a new movie without that long wait of a couple days. Well, Netflix has upped the ante, I now don’t even have to go the store. I can just click and watch. I’ve known it was coming, just not when, a couple months ago Netflix announced that you would be able to watch any of their movies on demand from the internet. How many movies you can watch this way depends on which plan you are signed up for.

What it amounts to, is for every dollar in membership fee you get 1 hour of movie time. I’m a One at a Time Unlimited for $9.99, so I can watch 10 hours worth of video per month. Your minutes don’t rollover, so it is use it or lose it. Night Watch cost me 1:49:19 leaving a little more than 8 hours and 10 minutes to use before my month ends on the 14th.

I have toyed with the thought of wirelessly piping Radio Paradise to the living room stereo from the desktop, but never really followed through because the TV is in the living room and almost all the time that there is a person in there they are watching TV not listening to music. Plus it is not real cheap to do. But now that such a system might be used for piping TV to the TV room, we’ll see.

I wonder what my cable company thinks about me using their internet service to, in essence, avoid using their pay-per-view or premium movie channels?

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 147

Tuesday Token

Several of my co-workers know of my Post Office quest and on Monday’s I’ll get two or three, “How many did you get this weekend?” This last Monday I had to disappoint those that asked by saying, “None.” I feel like I’ve let them down, so this weekend we have mapped out an ambitious plan to get eleven POs this weekend.

  1. Cope
  2. Cordova
  3. Orangeburg
  4. Rowesville
  5. Bowman
  6. Saint George
  7. Saint George
  8. Reevesville
  9. Branchville
  10. Bamberg
  11. Hilda

Hilda is a retry. We spent about 15 minutes driving a hundred yards of small town Main Street trying to find this Post Office the first time, so we aren’t too sure we’ll find it this time. Hope springs eternal.

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 150

If It Is Thursday…

…it must be Pizza Day.

The nice DOT workers finished the resurfacing of my street and the circle that loops through the neighborhood today. When I got home I laced up the blades and did a couple circuits and a few criss-crosses to rack up a couple miles of smooth asphalt. It was really cool when pushing off hard to accelerate, sounded just like a hockey player making the same moves on ice.

Meanwhile, Donna finished up the aborted backyard mowing that stopped when the mower did and wouldn’t restart. A nice new spark plug fixed that little problem.

When we both finished up, she didn’t want to cook and proclaimed she wanted pizza. This week we went downtown and ate at Ferrando’s restaurant in the Alley instead of bringing it home. Ice water for both to drink, two Garden Salads (Italian for her, Blue Cheese for me) and a 14″ Pizza Pie with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and banana pepper rings.

Meal Cost: $20.67
Tip: 3.33
Spent Today: $24.00
Year to Date: $984.17

Current plan is to ride the tandem to work tomorrow morning. I’ve got the front and rear racks on and they are carrying a set of panniers each. I’ll try and take a picture because I’m thinking of nicknaming it the Partridge Family Bus. Teal frame with red front bags and black back bags plus a blue water bottle carrier bag hanging from the captains seat. Add a couple of brightly dressed cyclists and “Come On Get Happy.”

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 154

What the Duck?

or Duck in the Truck

Co-worker Mark (Hi Mark), who is a regular reader and the official Life of Brian joke supplier, called his wife early this morning from work and the conversation went a little like this:

Mark: What are you doing this morning?
Wife: Why?
Mark: I need for you to drive out to the plant this morning.
Wife: Why?
Mark: I’ve got a duck.
Wife: What?!?
Mark: I’ve got a duck in the truck.
Wife: Why?

Wood DuckOn his way into work, Mark spotted a wood duck sitting in the middle of the soon to be very busy Whiskey Road. He stopped and picked up the duck who appeared disorientated and didn’t try and get away. He was not too far from Hopeland Gardens, a city park with a little lake that has a small duck population, so maybe that is where this female duck came from. While his wfe didn’t seem too happy about this particular duck episode, it is entirely in character for Mark, so it is not unexpected. He gave me a brief run down on all the critters he has rescued in his lifetime and if it starts raining for forty straight days Mark could fill an ark with them all. Mark was hoping that she would take the duck to Hopeland Gardens, but ended up taking it home. I’ll keep you posted.

This morning was a cool 50°, but to me it felt cold, so I requested a top up drive to work. After work it was in the low 80s, but to Donna it felt hot, so she asked for the top to stay up and use the AC. So, today was a near perfect spring day and we never lowered the convertible top.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 161

Funeral For A Friend

or The King Is Dead

We went to Hilton Head Island today and spent a couple hours. It was not for fun. We got a phone call Monday night to tell us that our friend Jerry Horsman, AKA The Condo King, had died suddenly of a heart attack. Jerry was 71 years old, but he had the vitality and drive of a man half his age. When he “retired” 6 years ago from ASCO he didn’t kick back at all, he just had more time to manage condos and do more projects around the home.

I don’t remember how we got hooked up, but he owned a unit in the Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Resort that he rented out, managed several others and wanted a web presence. I was monkeying around doing a little HTMLing for a personal home page and told him I’d do up a basic page for him. Condos came and went, both owned and managed, over the years I was doing the web page, but there were at least two trips, sometimes three, a year to photograph different or remodeled units. Each time we went, Jerry would put us up in one of the units. As if that wasn’t enough payment for what little work it was for me, he also took Donna and I out to dinner at a nice restaurant (of which there are many on HHI) or sometime he and his wife Donna would cook us a great meal at their place.

While Hilton Head was not a place that Donna and I would have picked as a getaway place, over the years we really came to enjoy it and mostly because of our interaction with Jerry and his wife Donna. We won’t miss him as much as you will Donna, but our lives will be a little less bright from now on because Jerry is no longer with us.

Welcome to Red Bank

My boss lives in Lexington, SC and when he found out I as taking pictures of all the Post Offices in SC he wanted to know if I had gotten the PO in Red Bank.I told him that Lexington has 4 Post Offices, but Red Bank doesn’t have one because it is a census-designated place not an actual incorporated city. He told me there was in fact a Post Office in Red Bank and he is sort of right. The largest Lexington PO is in the Red Bank area, but it is technically not the Red Bank Post Office according to the USPS.

Welcome to Red BankBecause there is not official governing body to pay for or erect a sign letting people when they are entering Red Bank it was left up to some enterprising individual(s) to do it. I’m not sure who is responsible, the citizens of Lexington putting down the Red Bankites or one of the 9,000 folks in CDP of Red Bank thumbing their noses at the Lexingtonians, but here it is, the unofficial Welcome To Red Bank sign. Photo credit to Bob Wilson’s wife. Bob was driving and left the car running in case they heard any banjo music.

I wonder what the one one the other side of town looks like?

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 166

Mmmmm, Pizza

PizzaGnorm, Jim, Linda, Jennifer, Scott, Beth, Donna and I (Baby James stuck with formula) can recommend the Paradise Pie at Maltby Pizza & Pasta if you are ever in the Maltby, Washington area.

Donna, I, Scott and Ol’ Laser Eyes* went for a walk in the park this morning. Because Scott normally has Monday off he usually takes James with him to give Beth a little me time. Today she stayed home and caught up on a couple of projects while we went out walking. Because of last fall’s flooding rains the trail was washed out not too far in, so then we headed over to the Centennial Trail and walked for a couple three more miles.

After the walk Scott went home and Donna and I returned to the B & B where I finished my second Jack Reacher novel of this vacation, The Hard Way while Donna caught a nap.

You can see part of our dinner above, the other parts were vegetables and dip supplied by Scott and Beth, plus a second pizza from a place called Romeo’s brought by Jim, Linda & Jenn. After dinner the rest of the evening was spent chatting and watching the skydivers land at Harvey Field down in the Snohomish Valley visible from Scott & Beth’s backyard.

*Let me explain the nicknames directed at the poor defenseless 7-1/2 month old James Leslie Morrison. When Donna and I first arrived on Friday night she picked up her nephew, held him for a while and then passed him to me. James took an immediate liking to me and was quite happy to have me hold him. When I passed him back to his mother and he saw me from a distance he started to wail. He would be quiet for a while and then he would notice me and start to cry. Then for all day Saturday, Sunday and this morning he could look at me and not cry, but he would really *look* at me. He would stare at me like he was trying to figure out just who or what I was. It became a running gag amongst us. By tonight I guess he had figured me out some because it wasn’t all just starring, I could actually coax a little smile out of him now and again.

Tomorrow we are off to Canada eh.

Started up, went down, back up, back down, up again, still up.
PT Cruiser Top Transitions since 05/25/07: 12

Oh Canada

Gnorm Enjoys A Canadian 7UPAfter breakfast we left Snohomish and the Countryman B & B behind and headed north on WA-9. Traffic was ugly until we got north of Arlington and then it was pretty much one black PT Cruiser and the road until we hit Bellingham. There we jumped on I-5 and hightailed it to the border. Not many people heading into Canada on a Tuesday morning, there were two lines open at customs and we were number two in line for one of them.

So excited to clear customs that easily, we (meaning me) drove right past the Canada Welcome Center and then promptly zoomed by the exit for our hotel, realizing it only as we (meaning me) drove by the building. Is this a cool country or what? On the major highways you can go 100! Instead of backtracking we just headed into downtown White Rock for lunch. We ended up at a Japanese place where I discovered that it is really hard to eat flat, slippery noodles with chopsticks. While we ate at a table outside along the waterfront we were entertained mightily by a half dozen or so teen aged boys dressed up in wild and distinctly feminine attire (later explained to us a graduation rite where the girls dress the boys and parade them around town.)

When we finally did check in, the woman behind the desk said that they weren’t expecting me until tomorrow. Ooops, I made the reservation for the wrong day. Fortunately they were not full and could put us up for tonight. After settling in Gnorm and I enjoyed a Canadian 7UP on the small balcony of our room. Donna and I did a load of laundry as we waited for Jim, Linda and Jennifer to arrive. They got in with just enough time to catch a 1 hour nap before we went for dinner.

We met Donna and Jim’s 1st cousin-once removed at a local Fish & Chips place. His name is Jim as well and although he and is wife are regulars at this restaurant they didn’t know his name matched the famous singer for the Doors until we asked the waitress if he was there yet. The seven of gathered around a table in the corner of the place and heard stories from him and his wife Anne about their lives and the lives of some distant Morrison folks. Afterwards they invited us to their small neat apartment where we took pictures of each other and shared some more memories.

Started up, went down, back up, still up.
PT Cruiser Top Transitions since 05/25/07: 14

White Rock

White RockDonna and I headed back towards the beach of White Rock for some breakfast. It was about 7:00 AM, so except for several joggers we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. I got a couple of nice photos of the town’s namesake without the graduating hooligans standing on top of it. The rock is the reason the town of White Rock, BC got its name when it incorporated 50 years ago. I guess it was white-ish in the beginning, but now they paint it white every year. Perhaps because it is still off season here there was only one place open, so that is where we ate. Both had a ham, egg & cheese bagel, not too bad, but we probably won’t eat there again next time.

Then it was off to Tsawwassen to catch the ferry to Swartz Bay. We meet Jim, Linda & Jennifer at the port and rode the boat over together, only to split up on the other side so that we could take the back roads while they took the main road. Donna and I originally intended to see the Butchart Gardens, but didn’t feel up the sun because it was already midday, so instead we went indoors and visited the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. Awesome place. If you stood still the butterflies would land right on you. It was only a couple kilometers down the road before we realized we should have taken Gnorm in with us. Dang.

Last night we visited Donna & Jim’s father’s cousin, tonight we all went over to meet and eat with Linda’s father’s cousin, Keith Walker. He, his wife and their youngest daughter treated us all like royalty. Like last night the stories flew, and while like last night I couldn’t always follow the family connections, it was great to get a sense of history these folks imparted.

Tomorrow we separate again when Donna and I head to the Olympic peninsula, while Jim, Linda and Jenn spend another day in Victoria. We meet up again on Friday night at the airport Marriott at SeaTac.

Started up, went down, back up, still up.
PT Cruiser Top Transitions since 05/25/07: 16