Friday, October 28, 2005

Is is just me or does this tree look like it has several eyes and a nose with a mustache and goatee? I parked in front of it the other day and looked at it for a while. Pretty soon it was looking back. I think I will shine a light on it for Halloween. Freaky huh?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Point of view

On the passing of Rosa Parks I was commenting to my son how she helped start the ball rolling in the civil rights movement in the 1950's. I have always tried to tell my son to look at the other person's point of view, listen to their argument, then make his own decisions. I have also always lectured him about obeying the law, doing what is right, even if you don't like it at the time. He told me that he had heard a commentator on television talking about Rosa Parks, how she was held up as a hero to young children. The commentator said that maybe this was not someone we should teach our children to look up to because, after all, she broke the law. I was happy that my son is exploring other opinions (than mine) but I was sad (in a way) that he is so young that he did not experience such intense racism. I have never questioned that Rosa Parks did the right thing by breaking the law, I never even thought about it. My son pointed out to me that if we don't like a particular law, that doesn't give us the right to break that law. I was befuddled. I am lucky that my boy goes to a school that has black, white, hispanic, and gay students. Interacting everyday with each other has made many of them color blind, and this is a good thing. This gives me hope that the younger generation are actually judging each other "by the content of their character" and not the "color of their skin".

Monday, October 24, 2005

Made it through another one. . .

Well, Wilma wasn't so bad for us. It passed south of us and we got wind and rain, but no damage or flooding. We did not even lose power. The worst was that I found a dead rat in the back yard, and had to race with the dogs to get to it first. I got it in the garbage bag before they could get it in their mouths. Truth be told, even though the rat didn't have any visable injuries, Buddy the "ratter" dog may have killed him. Buddy was out last night even during the rain, so he was after something. Thank God he didn't bring the rat though the doggy door. Now it is time to take the boards down from the windows. I hope this is the last hurricane this season. I am getting real tired of this. The weather has cooled down and it is 67 degrees today, feels nice for a change.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hurry up.....and wait

We are boarding up the house, possibly leaving to evacuate hurricane Wilma. I went out to the trailer today, to jettison some stuff I won't need. When I took off the tire covers, I realized one of the tires was flat. It was split in the middle of the tread, about six inches long, catastrophic failure (glad it didn't happen on the road). I changed it, and I just went out there again to lock it up for the night, and I noticed that the spare is slowly going flat. These tires were new last year. Too late to complain now. In the morning, I have to get the trailer out of the yard, then take it to the tire place. Hope they have some trailer tires, I might just replace ALL of them. The trailer weighs 7600 pounds, I don't want to take a chance that the other tires are defective. Anyway, if we have to leave, it is nice to pull a place to stay behind you. I just hope I can escape the Florida pennisula without getting stuck in traffic. I am planning to take the back roads. If there is a gas shortage I will just go as far inland as I can. This is gonna be a bad one and I hope it passes quickly. I want to at least get as far north as Gainesville or Ocala. I believe that everyday of your life is an adventure. You can get through adversity with a strong will and a good attitude. I guess this weekend will be just another journey. I hope I will have as much strength as people of New Orleans. Easy for me to say, I'll just be driving down the road, not treading sewer water with no place to go.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New camera

I just got my new camera yesterday. I didn't need a new camera. I just wanted one. That's the beauty of being my age, you can do whateverthehell you want! I justified it to myself by saying that I had to have a camera with a better zoom, since most of my photos are at band competitions in a large stadium. I got the NIKON COOLPIX 88OO! I already had the HP945, which is a nice camera with a effective zoom. The Coolpix has a 10x optical zoom, and VR (vibration reduction), so when you are "zoomed" on a shot across the stadium, you can hold the camera instead of using the tripod, avoiding blurry photos. This camera has 15 scene modes, including "fireworks" and "backlit" mode. Each scene mode is indicated by a little icon. I will have to study these so I know what to use. I am not a real photographer, so I just buy fancy cameras and use the automatic mode. The beauty of digital photography is that you can take as many photos as you want. Somewhere in there, you have to get a good shot! I will most likely carry both cameras with me, just in case! Soon, I will need a backpack to carry all my equipment.

Here we go again . . . .

Boards up, boards down, boards up - on the windows that is. We are again faced with another impending hurricane. There is so much to do to prepare, but we know the drill by now. We can have all the boards put up on the windows in about and hour. We have pre-cut plywood, with plylock clips. We put all the stuff in the yard away. Lawn chairs, clothlines, garbage cans, and anything that can fly into your house in a strong wind. Only problem is, if the neighbors don't put their stuff away, it flys over into your house. Then there is always the "when to leave". When you live on a pennisula like Florida, you need to leave about a day before they tell you to, to avoid the exodus traffic. Imagine being stuck in traffic in 100 mph winds! If you work, you have to ultimately decide between your job and your life. If you want to evacuate, you have to wait for some boss to give you the time off, and then it may be too late to leave. I am ready to leave on a moments notice, but now "Wilma" has stalled, and is gonna take a few more days to get here.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Amtrak auto train

Last summer my son and I took the auto train to Virginia. It was a really neat experience. The train runs everyday from Sanford, Florida to Lorton, Virgina. Lorton is just outside of Washington, D.C. You have to get to the train station about an hour before and they load your car in the special car carrier rail cars. These cars are "triple decker" and hold a lot of cars. The car carriers are backed up to loading ramps, and a team of loaders drive each of the cars on. They put a magnetic number on your car, so they can call it out at the other end when your car is unloaded. Our train had 148 autos loaded on it, and with the engine, dining car, coach cars, and sleeper cars, the whole train was almost a mile long. The train leaves at 4 PM and arrives in Lorton at 9 AM the next morning. We were in a two person sleeper (they also have bedroom & family sleepers) and our bathroom was down the hall. The passenger cars have two levels, with bathrooms and showers on the first floor and the bedrooms are upstairs, so you are about 25 feet above the tracks. Shortly after you get under way, the porter assigned to your car comes by to welcome you aboard, and tell you where everything is, and all about the lounge car and dining car. Our compartment was really cool. It had a large picture window, and sliding glass door (with curtains)on the hallway side. Two reclinder type seats face each other, and there is a fold down table in the middle. There is room to hang clothes, and bring a small carry on bag. There is a plug in (we brought the laptop and watched a movie) or you can go to the lounge car where they have two showings of a current movie. Dinner is served at 5:30, 7, or 9 PM, and the porter calls you on the intercom in your comparment when it is your time. The food was comparable to any good restaurant, and they have silverware, linen table cloths and napkins. You may choose from three different entres, but all were good. You may have wine with dinner, but we didn't - it is difficult enough to dine then walk on a moving train! At the time of your chosing, you can go to bed for the night. The porter comes by and turns those recliners into a bed, then pulls down an upper bunk, and makes that into a bed. Getting used to sleeping on a moving train is difficult at first, but soon the "clackiety-clack" lulls you to sleep. We awoke in the night because the train stopped, but we found out later that this was a normal stop to change engineers. We got up about 7 AM and headed down to the dining car for a continental breakfast, they had everything you could want from fruit to bagels, and GOOD coffee. When we finished breakfast we returned to our compartment and our beds were put away and back to our sitting room. Before long we were at the station in Lorton, and just had to wait for our car to be unloaded. It made a long trip more bearable, and it was WAY better than flying. Plus, we had our car with us when we got there.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Just like the real thing

I have a new screen saver called "Marine Aquarium". It is really neat. For years I had a real aquarium, and I considered getting another one. Initial cost was not the problem, but the fact that I would have one more thing to do, maintain the water quality, and have someone take care of it if I go on vacation. So this works out for me. I am amazed how lifelike and animated the fish are. You can decide on the kind of fish that you want in the tank, or the computer will pick them at random. It is really like looking at a real aquarium, bubbles, shadows and all. A lucite, see through clock can be added - that keeps the current date and time. Check it out at Now I am considering buying a larger monitor, so I can have a bigger "tank"! Hmmm, what's next? Animated children, that don't make a mess or cost you a fortune? And the best part, you could turn them off if they got on your nerves! I wonder. . . .

New Florida gun law

In a lot of ways I like the new Florida gun law. You are not required to retreat if a perpetrator threatens to do you harm, you may take the first agressive move toward him, before he can hurt you. For the law abiding citizen, this is a good law, but I worry about what is going to happen with the lunatics. There are people who believe that if you look at them funny, that you are a potential threat. They will be able to shoot you, with no fear of prosecution. A few weeks ago, I attended our local gun show. I was suprised to see the number and variety of people in the concealed permit class. There are a lot of people in Florida carrying guns. We have been dubbed the "Gunshine State". Please follow what I have always subscribed to, "be nice to everyone, don't give them an excuse to shoot you".