Fairy Ride

The Seattle King GnomeWe are ready to go home, but are not ready to stop being on vacation. Today we walked around in a very dry rainforest, saw a very wet waterfall and drove in a lot of traffic.

The Hoh Rainforest section of the Olympia National Park was very interesting, but it was a little disappointing because we expected wet. June and July are the driest months there and so far May has been very dry too. The trees are huge and covered in moss and would have been befitting of a rainforest if only they had been dripping moisture.

The Marrymere Falls were at the end of a half mile easy hike and a 1/4 mile straight up hike, but worth every effort expanded to get there. As a bonus we got a home baked chocolate cookie at the upper look out. There were a group of 4th graders touring the falls and Donna and I arrived just as they were taking a break. One of the chaperons was handing out cookies and they had a couple left over and offered them to us. When we asked where they were from they told us from down south near Tacoma. When we told them we were from down south in South Carolina they seemed more impressed with that, then the stupid ol’ waterfall.

At this point we still had a long drive to get back so we bypassed a couple of other interesting things to do on the Olympic peninsula and headed back to Seattle. It was Friday afternoon, so with the traffic and the construction delays it took us a lot longer to get to the hotel than we thought. Oh well, it is a late night, but tomorrow it will all work out because with the time change we will lose even more time, huh. I’ve stopped making sense so it must be time to quit….

Started up, went down, back up, down again, still down when we turned it in.
PT Cruiser Top Transitions since 05/25/07: 21

Home Again, Home Again

Home Again, Home AgainWell we made it back home. We were just about 4 hours too late for Gnorm get his photo taken with any of the “Smiling Faces” inside the SC Welcome Center. We spent 6 days in the northwest where it rained one morning and the rest of the time it was sunny with above average temperatures. When we got back to the southeast, it was raining.

It was a mostly uneventful trip back.

When we got to Sea-Tac and checked our bag we were given our boarding passes. Our first flight was number 337 to Phoenix and left from gate A4. When we got to gate A4 it said flight 337 was going to Las Vegas, so did all the digital flight display boards. I got in line at the only US Air counter open to ask where we were flying to while Donna went back down to our gate to see if anyone came to there. I was second in line, but the woman in front of me was taking a long time. Donna found out that the display boards were wrong, some sort of glitch, flight #337 was indeed going to Phoenix.

Unlike the 2-1/2 hours we had to kill at Sky Harbor airport on the way out we had like 15 minutes this time. The Phoenix to Charlotte flight started boarding at 11:25 AM and #337 landed at 11:15 then took 6-7 minutes to pull into it’s gate. By the time we got off the plane it was 11:25. Of course we deplaned at gate A11 which was at one end of the terminal and needed to get to B14 which was at the ned of the next terminal. We were about halfway through our speed walk when us and another couple heading for the same plane were picked up by one of those beeping motorized carts. We made it just as the last of the ticket passengers were boarding. Had we not got the ride, some standby passenger might have gotten our seats.

Much to our surprise our luggage made it to Charlotte. We were convinced it wouldn’t be because of 1) our mad dash to change planes in Phoenix and B) the skycap in Seattle was not too pleased that I didn’t tip him when we checked in. He solicited us from the regular airline queue and we rolled our own bags to his station, all he did was print the boarding passes and tag the bag. I would have given him a buck or two, but all I had was a 10 and a 20 dollar bill.

After we loaded the car, left the airport and got on I-77 south we picked a place to get dinner. Ended up a Ruby Tuesday at the Arrowood exit not too far from the HI Express we spent the night at 8 days prior. The ribs were good, but the Caesar’s Salad and the service left a lot to be desired. When we left to get back on the interstate it got exciting. I hit the on ramp at a good clip and stepped on the go pedal to get to speed and the back end started to come around. Yikes! fortunately it was a three lane on ramp with nearly zero traffic, so I had plenty of room to do a 180 and then a modified 270 trying not to hit the guard rail. Weee! Scared the crap out of Donna, me and the folks in the Audi Q7 a hundred yards behind me. The last 2-1/2 hours and 130 miles were much calmer.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 175


Red BlurI took 293 pictures on the trip northwest. I started separating the wheat from the chaff tonight by getting rid of the crummy exposures, the out of focus images and the what was I thinking pictures. Eighty three of the photos included Gnorm the gnome which came out too. The best of Gnorm’s Gnorthwest Photos cam be seen on my Flickr page. After the first run through I got it down to 62.

The above photo is one of the outtakes. We went for a walk at dusk on the beach at Kalaloch and I set up the camera on my gorillapod for the long exposure while Donna continued on down the stairs. The red blur in the lower right is her in her red jacket walking through the scene.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 177

Spenser Crime Buster Rules

WakeAnother vacation outtake. This is from the Olympic Sculpture Garden in Seattle. The title of this piece is Wake and it is by Richard Serra. 10 big ol’ rusty metal plates welded into 5 wave shaped forms. To get a sense of scale look to the left and you will see Donna in her red jacket.

I ran out of books to read after I finished the one on the plane home and haven’t had time to get to the used bookstore yet, so I had to re-read something I had around the house. Picked “School Days” by Robert B. Parker. Tonight I stumbled on the section of the book I was thinking of back in March. Here for posterity are the Spenser Crime Buster Rules so far:

#8: Always look.
#8a: Don’t blunder into something while you’re looking.

If I find more I’ll make a separate page for them.

A couple more camera contenders surfaced today, both of them Canons; 1) PowerShot A710IS & B) PowerShot SD800IS. The SD800 is about the same size as my current Kodak and it’s zoom’s widest angle is 28mm, not the 23 I have already, but it meets ever other criteria. The 710 is the least expensive option, but it’s zoom starts at 35mm. Plus it, like the Panasonic DMC-TZ3 I mentioned yesterday, are about and 1-1/2″ thick compared to my little more than 3/4″ Kodak. I will need to go to a store and put one in my back pocket try it out first (hopefully not getting picked up for shoplifting in the attempt.)

Started up, went down, back up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 181

Pool Party

Pool Party

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 186

South Carolina Blogs

I thought when I created a link category for South Carolina Bloggers it would be easy to get 6-8 that I would enjoy reading daily over there. Hah! Fat chance. I did some searching and ended up finding several political blogs that linked other political blogs, but that ain’t cutting it, I don’t do politics.

The blog that showed up #1 in every search was South Carolina Trial Law Blog. Without even looking at it I dismissed it because I figured it was going to be like the political blogs and I don’t do law. In desperation I finally checked it out and it wasn’t half bad, so I might link in the roll.

A while back I was listed on some geo-blog site that listed you by long & lat so you could see other blogger in your neighborhood. I couldn’t find it now.

I did stumble on a couple that you find to the left now, but there had to be someplace where I could find a lot of state bloggers. About to give up when I hit pay dirt for Charleston area bloggers: Postcripts – A Lowcountry Blogosphere Hotspot. I think I can get some quality blogs there for sure. Now if only there is a link on that site for a statewide group.

Now for something completely different on South Carolina. Next year we are getting a different license plate design. The DMV opened up the designing of the plate to artists and three finalists were chosen. You can now vote on which design you want to have on the back of your car here: SCDMV You don’t have to live in South Carolina to vote.

New SC License Plate? New SC License Plate? New SC License Plate?

I picked the one on the right, but it probably won’t win, it’ll be one of the other two because they are more colorful…

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 190

Stuck on 129

Sepia CartIt has been over a month since we’ve taken any Post Office photos, but that may change this weekend. That may change this weekend, weather depending. The summer is a slower time anyway because it is too damn hot for most of the day. The only time it is safe to be out without cooking your brains is mornings before 9:00 AM. And for maybe the next month you can get away with after 9:00 PM, but once July rolls around even then it is too hot and sticky to enjoy the outdoors.

Broke down and started the deck project. Cleaned about half of it tonight with the pressure washer. Maybe tomorrow I can get the other half done. Sealing it can be done over several days after work next week. Speaking of broke down, I kind of broke the screen door to the deck. Where the door is it gets a lot of slashing from the gutters when it rains, so it has been slowly deteriorating. I pushed it over the edge by knocking off a trim strip and letting loose the bottom of the screen. Rather than try to repair the door we may just go to Home Depot and get a new one. A new wood door is like $20.

Started up, went down, back up, down again, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 196

Rained Out

Three Quarters DoneGot more of the deck done today. I quit at around three quarters mark. I still have that one corner, the seat area, the railing, the three steps to the yard and the whole outside of the railings. I had to stop because it started to rain. Now you are asking yourself why would a little rain make me stop. I mean, I’m already pretty much soaked from the over spray, plus I’m getting wet from above because I’m washing off the soffits and gutters while I’m at it. Just feels foolish standing out in the rain I guess.

Last night, the used once two years ago pressure washer seemed to be acting funny, it wouldn’t come up to full pressure at first. It would start and when I squeezed the trigger it would come up to about half power. After holding the trigger in about 30 seconds to a minute then it would kick in. A couple times it wouldn’t ever jump up to full pressure. Turning it off and on wouldn’t help. Then one time I squeezed the trigger and then hit the power, it came right up to full speed. Tried that same procedure the next time and it worked again. So now I have been doing that each time I start/restart after a break. I wonder if that is the proper procedure. Maybe if I had read the directions I’d know.

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 198


I forgot we went out to breakfast. Blueberry muffin for her and a coconut pineapple cream muffin for me and we split a bottled water.

Meal Cost: $3.65
Tip Jar: 35¢
Spent Today: $4.00
Year to Date: $1263.54
Meals out, 70 of a possible 495.

More Than a 1/3 Done Now

Cross HillAfter this weekend’s big push we are now more than a third of the way to the goal of taking a picture of every Post Office in the state of South Carolina. Today we did a dozen on the way home from Greenville. This is a different angle than I used in the gallery of my favorite Post Office for today, Cross Hill.

For breakfast I had a bowl of raisin ban, a cinnamon bun, half a banana and a small OJ. Donna had half an order of biscuits and gravy, half a banana and a bagel with cream cheese, water to wash it all down.

Meal Cost: $0
Tip: None
Spent So Far Today: $0
We stayed smart, free breakfast.

Today’s photo total was pretty good, we have had 2 days with 13, so it would have ranked as the second most productive day if it hadn’t been for Saturday. On Saturday we did 7 POs on the way to Greenville. Took a break at the hotel for a while and then did 4 on the way to the ballgame we didn’t stay for, doing four more before calling it a night. For a total of fifteen pictures on Saturday. Speaking of night, two of those photos were shot in the dusk and the last two were taken in the dark. They didn’t come out half bad, so we may be doing more low light images.

Lunch today was at a Taco Bell in Greenwood. Two chicken taco supremes for Donna and I had 3 soft beef tacos. A medium Sierra Mist fountain drink was shared between the two of us.

Meal Cost: $8.03
Tip: None
Spent Today: $8.03
Year to Date: $1322.35
Meals out 75 of a possible 501.

156 Post Offices down with 304 to go. This weekend’s photos are up in the Gallery or on the Flickr page. No captioning yet and the titles need fixing. No geotags on the Flicker images yet either, so they don’t show up on the map. Go peek if you just need to see how many ways I can put a Miata in a Post Ofice parking lot, but if you want a story to go with the image, come back later this week.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 205

Deck Update

Sheer Rustic RedFinished pressure washing the deck yesterday. Then last night we headed over to Home Depot for some waterproofer/sealer. Two years ago we used clear Thompson’s and were pleased, but this time we thought we might get something with a little color. We only had a couple choices besides clear, Sheer Honey Gold or Sheer Rustic Red.

Looking at the color on the container, the Honey didn’t look like much of a change from clear. Didn’t really want to go with the Red because the house is brick and we wanted to keep a little contrast between wall and deck, but the color on the jug didn’t look too red, so we bought a couple gallons. I think this colored stuff is slightly thicker than the clear that we used 2 years before. I filled up the cheap pump sprayer I used had before and started to apply the stuff. Ick. It either comes out too fast or if I dial the nozzle back it comes out too sparsely. And boy is it red. When I did the first couple of pieces of the outside railing I called in Donna for a second opinion. We both agreed it was darker than we anticipated, but thought it looked pretty good. I ditched the sprayer and we each grabbed one of the two foam brushes we had left over from another painting job and started at it.

After about 30 minutes Donna bailed on me, the mosquitoes were awful thick and were eating her alive. I was fine by that anyway because I had told her I was happy to do the whole job myself. I stuck it out for another half hour or so until the last of the two foam brushes crumbled to uselessness.

We bought some more foam brushes on tonight’s shopping trip, so I’m all set to tackle more staining/painting/water proofing of the railings and balusters on Saturday. I’ve got a nice big old roller for the floor just standing by until I’m finished with detail work.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 218

Done For Another Couple Years

BeforeBeforeWe had a massive deck and screened porch built on the back of our house in July of 2000. It runs nearly the whole length of the house with half being screened porch and half deck. Of the two, the porch gets the most use because it is covered and has ceiling fans making it a 3 seasons room. The only time we don’t use it is during our two month winter. The deck is more of a 2 half seasons place, early spring and late fall. We went the first 5 years without doing anything to the deck, but then it really needed some help. Pressure washing and Thompson Water Sealing held up for a couple more bring us to this year.

AfterAfterHopefully this will hold us for the next couple of years. The sticker on the outside of the watersealer proudly announces that it is good for three years. We’ll see. After finishing the deck around noon we promptly went inside and spent the rest of the day inside enjoying the air conditioning. We did go back out at 9:00 PM (it was still 90º) to get an ice cream and go grocery shopping.

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 220

Filling Some Holes

Capitol Station 29201-9997There were only a few Post Offices left that were close enough for a half day trip and we polished them off this morning. The town of Irmo, a little northwest of Columbia, had three. There was the Post Office in the mysterious town called State Park. A passed over one in downtown Columbia (pictured) and a CPU just across the Broad River in the town of Cayce.

We got back into town a little after 11:00AM so we decided to get lunch at Subway before heading home. Donna had a Tuna Salad Salad and I had a 6″ BMT. We split a bag of Sun Chips and a Medium Coke. Well, actually, I ate nearly all of the Sun Chips.

Meal Cost: $10.25
Tip: None
Spent Today: $10.25
Year to Date: $1380.60
Meals out, 78 of a possible 522.

The rest of the day was passed enjoying the fruits of Willis Havilland Carrier’s “Apparatus for Treating Air” (U.S. Pat. #808897).

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 221

Thanks Jim

Tower of Power My cubicle neighbor brought in a challenge for me today. Fresh from my success of fixing his home PC with my used (and slightly noisy) power supply, both he and I felt I could tackle his digital camera problem.

He has a several year old Kodak LS420 that won’t turn on. When you flip the power switch the ready light flashes 3 times and stops with the camera never turning on. I searched the web for other mentions of this issue and couldn’t find any. I downloaded the user manual which told me that symptom meant that the battery was not fully charged. He has the Kodak charger and 2 batteries. The charger reports that both batteries are fully charged, but either one acts the same way, three flashes and nothing. Let the camera sit for a while and try again, same results. The camera has no DC-In jack, so we can’t try that option, plus the camera dock is no longer available to see if the camera might turn on with that.

I think the thing is broke, but there is still an outside chance that the both batteries are either bad or not really getting charged meaning the charger is bad. So should Jim spent $25 bucks for a new charger and battery to try and save a 5 year-old 2.1 Mega-pixel camera or use that twenty-five bucks for seed money on a new camera?

Even though I didn’t fix the camera Jim rewarded me by giving me the camera’s cool semi-rigid polyester zippered case. Fits my Kodak V570 real nice and offers a lot more protection than the little cloth bag that came with it.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 224