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It’s Olympic Time!

Right now in Beijing it is:


And it’s Aiken Time too! Beijing is exactly 12 hours different, so all you have to do is change the A to P or vice versa to make it right for here on the east coast. Or in the case of this clock, do nothing:

It Was A Misunderstanding

Its ten o’clock at night and you and a friend are out driving. On a 4 lane lane road you come to a red light. You’re in the left lane, and in the right, already stopped when you arrive, is a Krispy Kreme delivery van.

Your friend is is starring out his window at the van, probably trying (and failing) to do the math in his head of finding the difference between between the gross vehicle weight and the curb weight to determine how many doughnuts constitute a full load. Because you are driving an older car, say a 1987 Camaro, the throttle linkage is a little loose or something and if you idle too long at a light it will stall. To prevent this, the gas pedal needs to be blipped at regular intervals. While this probably reduces your gas mileage a bit, you don’t really mind as the V-8 sounds pretty cool when you do this.

The light turns green and the next thing you hear is the roar of an engine and you see the tail lights of a doughnut truck shrinking in front of you. Your pony car is being dusted by a large bread box on wheels. Your friend looks back over at you and says, “You’re not gonna let him get away with that are you?” So you floor it and take off in hot pursuit.

About a 1/4 mile later, just as you are catching the van, you notice that you are traveling at around 75 MPH (in a 45 zone) so discretion being the better part of valor you back off the gas and let him go. You rationalize the defeat; it was a misunderstanding on his part, he jumped you unawares and his truck was empty. Besides, if you got pulled over, whose story would the cop believe, yours or a guy driving a doughnut truck?

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What Is Love?

Sunday nights from 6 PM until whenever, Bravo runs a Law & Order: Criminal Intent mini-marathon and I like to watch the repeats of older shows until 9 PM when USA runs a new episode. The original L & O is still the best (although sometimes their twists at the end stretch credibility), occasionally L & O:SVU leaves me feeling like a voyeuristic pervert, but L & O:CI is a guilty pleasure with Goren, it’s quirky lead detective and Eames his sneaky hot partner poking and prying until they get to the bottom of the crime.

I’m sure because of contractual obligations Bravo only gets to show certain seasons of the show, so nearly all the time I will recognize the episode as one I’ve seen and watch it again anyway. Sometimes I get real lucky and I won’t have seen it for a while, meaning I have forgotten who the killer is, so the show is a real treat. Rarely, I will stumble on an episode I haven’t ever seen at all before. Tonight at 7 o’clock that happened and it was exciting.

At ten minutes after seven my wife came into the living room and asked if she could have the TV, the Olympics were on and there was going to be swimming, diving and gymnastics tonight. I said, “Sure, go ahead.” That my friends is love.

When it turns out they were showing synchronized diving right then I didn’t make her turn it back to L & O:CI. That my friends is true love.

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Aiken’s Labyrinth

We went for a bike ride Saturday morning and although the temperature and humidity were lower than they have been on Sunday, we still could not bring ourselves to go for a walk in Hitchcock Woods, so we took a walk around the horse district yesterday morning. It is not far enough along on the calendar for any of the thoroughbreds to be back in town, so the training track was deserted, but there was some action around a few of the stables.

The midpoint of our trek was Hopeland Gardens and we did a bit of wandering around those beautiful grounds. We made a point of checking out the newest addition to the gardens, a brick octagonal labyrinth. The last time we saw it, admittedly, quite a while ago, it was only 1/3 done, but now it was complete. Donna decided to walk it while I sat on a bench and took a photo or two. She got about halfway through and started to mutter to herself, “I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.” Not long after, she took a shortcut to the center. I suggested we start from the end and work our way out. That was fun for about 3 minutes and we both walked away shaking our heads.

On the way home, we made a detour to a quick stop to buy the Sunday paper and finished up with a little more than 4 miles on our feet. Probably a bit more if you count the steps traveled in our aborted enlightenment journeys.

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I’ve mentioned here before that our company plays a little something called Safety Bingo, everyday we go without a lost time accident, a number is “called” & added to the big Bingo board in the main hall.

Up until last Friday we were playing a game entitled Window which consists of having to fill the squares all around the card and then both the middle vertical and horizontal rows so that your card looks like, well, a window. With each square worth $20 the winner of this game will be four hundred and twenty dollars (minus Federal & State Taxes) richer. When B14 was called on Friday we got that winner.

The nurse posted an 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper over the Bingo board saying “Congratulations. John Doe – Maintenance. Winner.” Somewhere in between the middle of yesterday and the middle of this morning someone hand wrote after the name “– Looser.”

I’m not sure which is worse, someone upset enough at not winning to write that or that they couldn’t even spell the word.

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Olympics in Pictures

I’m not watching much of the Olympics on TV. It is not that I’m anti-Olympics as much as I’m anti-TV. But I have been keeping track photographically and through that way, I have found out that the Chinese have hired cheerleaders to ensure that there are someone cheering for everyone, not just the home crowd. I have found a couple of interesting photographer’s blogs, Rod Mar of The Seattle Times, Vincent Laforet of Newsweek and three guys from the Toronto Star.

Right now a lot of coverage is centered on swimmer Michael Phelps, and correctly so, as he goes for a record 8 gold medals, but you would think he walks on water. He can’t, but it looks like Aaron Piersol can. I just love these images gathered by the German magazine Stern that capture those moments you won’t see in the mainstream press. When you are a swimmer awaiting to compete what do you do with your goggles and swim cap? Those bathing suits don’t have pockets, here is Amanda Beard’s answer. And Janet Jackson’s equipment malfunction has nothing on this poor water polo player’s problem.

Least you think that from those last two photos my interest in photos from the Olympics is primarily to ogle the female form, here is a great gallery of shots of the opening ceremony from the Boston Globe. OK, so not primarily, but it is right up there. Here (thanks again to Stern) are some photos of four German athletes from their edition of Playboy.

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Street View

It may be old news to those of you who live in the big city, but to us here in small town South Carolina it is a big deal. I don’t know when Street View went live for Aiken, but the local paper noticed last night and the story was the lead, above the fold in today’s edition. It looks like the Googlemobile drove by our house sometime last winter because all the leaves are off the trees. It was on a Thursday for sure, because the trash & recycle bins are in the street. It was probably in late January, early February because all the oak and hickory leave are of the lawn (are last raking of the season usually happens on New Years Day.)

Because, for some odd reason, the streets in our neighborhood are numbered in the opposite direction from every other part of town, you have to put in the wrong street address to find our house using Google. Home Sweet Home.

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Coupon Thief

For breakfast on Sunday we ended up at our old favorite place, the New Moon Cafe. This was our planned destination, in spite of the last couple of negative experiences, so Donna had brought 4 quarters so we could read the local paper while enjoying our Cranberry Pecan Muffins. Luck was with us and we hit the place at just the right time, after the initial opening rush and before the pre-church crowd. We dined alfresco and enjoyed the people watching people. Along with the people we also got to watch a high strung Golden Retriever match power & wits with it’s owner and the dog was winning. As we usually do, to avoid carrying it back we leave the Sunday paper behind after Donna has culled out the usable coupons, including this week, one from McDonald’s for a free chicken sandwich.

Before we left I went inside to make a potty stop. When I came out of the Men’s room Donna was inside the restaurant too so she could use the facilities as well. She had obviously vacated our outside table as on the table by the door to the outside were our plastic baskets filled with the empty OJ bottle and crumpled napkins. As I waited for her to come out I glanced through the USA Weekend and noticed another McDonald’s free sandwich coupon. I tore it out and put it in my jersey pocket with the other one. About that time, Donna returned from the bathroom and simultaneously a woman came over from the main part of the caf? and started to sit down at the table. We apologized for having our “trash” on her table, grabbed the plastic baskets and went back the way the woman had come to dispose of them on a different empty table.

When we got to our bikes I told Donna that she had missed another free sandwich coupon in the paper, but not to worry because I had snagged it before leaving our paper behind for that woman. It was then that she informed me that she had left our paper outside with the people who took over our original table, so the paper I had gotten the coupon from must have belonged to that woman inside, I had stolen that second coupon. Donna asked if I thought I should go back and give her the coupon, but I declined, rationalizing that she didn’t look like the McDonald’s type, but knowing that it would be really awkward to try and explain the mix up. Especially with her in her Sunday going to church finery and me in my sweaty, skin tight lycra cycling attire.

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Work Bench

Looking for another quick “photo = post” again and again it needs enough explanation to make me write a post anyway. This was my workbench at AIMD at NAS Meridian (MS) around 1980. I can picture it’s location in the overall shop, but can’t for the life of me remember what piece of equipment I worked on at it. Notice the model of the Starship Enterprise NCC 1701A from the recently released Star Trek The Movie hanging from the ceiling. You can also see a black spider hanging down, so it must have been coming up on Halloween.

Less apparent are two small egg shaped airplanes hanging there as well. I haven’t thought of those in ages and now searching the internet looking for them I realize I should have held on to them because they seem impossible to find now. Called Eggocentrics, they were made by a company called IPT and they produced a whole series of them based on commercial airliners in the 70’s. I of course couldn’t leave well enough alone and modified them into military aircraft, one of which was of the EA-3B I flew in while at VQ-1. I can’t remember what the second one was, but I think it was of an A-7 from one of the attack squadrons off the Midway.

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Ralph Kramden’s Got Nothing On Me

Today was a busy day to be a member of the MMC. First up, in the morning, was bowling. Followed by lunch. A short break and then the Sno Cap Drive In’s 44th Anniversary Celebration.

I hadn’t bowled since Moses was in Middle School, so I was a bit rusty bowling a 5 in the first frame and an eight in the second, but then tossed 2 strikes in a row and manged to surpass my goal of scoring 100 by fourteen. In the second game I somehow rolled 4 strikes (including a turkey) and a spare ending up with a score of 155.

Look for me on the PBA Tour soon. 🙂

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Chinese Propaganda Posters

Remember those photos from 3 weeks ago where I could stick your picture into different Russian scenarios? Well, I thought I’d hit the jackpot along the same lines when I read this RSS feed headline from Photojojo: Be a Socialist Hero! Your Photographed Face as Mao?s Special Helper. Trouble is that this isn’t like PhotoFunia where you upload an image and through magic you instantly get your manipulated image back for free.

With Maopost.com you send them a high resolution jpeg of your portrait and they actually paint your face into a copy of a Chinese propaganda poster. Ain’t free though, $179 for 15 x 24 or $199 for 21 x 32 (shipping extra.) At Maoart there are over 1500 posters to choose from. I kind of like this one: Work To Build A Powerful Navy.

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Every day I get a snack for morning break, traditionally it is 4 or 5 cookies (Nutterbutters, Oreos,etc.), but every once in a while I will push the envelope. This is one of those times, this week I have Nilla Caksters, and here is why:

I wasn’t interested in Oreo Cakesters after the first commercial I saw, something to do with a boarding school lunch table and a rumor has it style wordplay. But when I first saw that little kid looking in his lunch box and shouting “Jackpot!” I was intrigued. The Nilla Cakesters are surprisingly pretty good. I have even tried the Oreo version and they are not that bad either. They will probably both get added into the normal snack rotation.

While searching for the Nilla Cakester commercial I found a post on a SFGate.com blog for parents of babies and toddlers call Poop about kids providing catchphrases for families with their malapropisms. The commercial is mentioned in one of the comments. If you have the time, give the post and the plethora of comments a read, very amusing. My favorite is “Holy Trap!” which is not funny at all until get the setup and the phrase uttered right after it.

We also use the phrase “holy trap!” because one year our youngest looked in his trick or treat bag and proclaimed, “Holy trap! There’s tons and tons of tandy torn!”

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Watch Me If You Want To Live

T3: Rise of the Machines is on FX and I’m watching it. Even though #3 was the weakest of the series so far, I can’t help myself it is just one of those movies that no matter where I come into it I have to stay and finish it. (I think somewhere here on the blog I came up with a name for these kind of movies, but seem to find it right now.)

I’m stoked because they are making #4 right now for release in May of 2009. I hope it turns out good in spite of all the naysayers who think it will suck just based of casting and leaked plot lines. I’m sure I will like it no matter what, after all, I even enjoyed Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show last season on FOX. Which by the way, the second season of starts on Monday, September 8th.

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Poster Boy For Wearing Pants

Looks like measles, but it’s not. Memo to self — always wear long pants, not shorts, when using a string trimmer to edge your lawn. The other leg doesn’t look quite as bad because it was a little farther away from the action…

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Happy Bird-day

Yesterday was Donna’s birthday, but today was our bird day.

While I snapped a photo of the Pineville, SC Post Office I noticed a large flock (a colony) of egrets in the background. I couldn’t help myself, so I walked around back hoping to snag a photo of the lot of them taking off as they saw me. And I got kind of lucky, but I don’t think National Geographic magazine will be knocking on my door with a job offer.

Earlier I didn’t have the camera at the ready because I was driving and missed a similar fly off. This one wasn’t a flock of egrets though. We could see a set of large flapping wings a little ways down the road off in the grass and knew exactly what it was, a turkey vulture. Not much is scarier when you are driving a bitty convertible with the top down than a bird with a 6 foot wing span that has trouble getting to altitude. So I slowed down to let the bird get airborne, and when he did, he took his friends with him. There must have been 2 dozen of them hidden it the tall grass. I had to slow to nearly a stop to let them clear out of my way and we still chased two of them down the road for about a eighth of a mile before they found a spot to veer off.

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