Friday, October 31, 2008

New Tunes!

This past Wednesday my Sansa E280 MP3 player gave up the ghost, so I set out to find a replacement. The E280 was an 8GB player and I wanted something at least as big since I had nearly 7GB of music on it. I was wandering through SAM's Club when I spotted just what I was looking for. IPods!!! WoooHooo. They had the Ipod Nano in both 8GB and 16GB versions. The only drawback to the 16GB player is that it was only available in black. I can live with that.
Upon arriving home with my new toy, I unpacked it plugged it in and opened the instructions to begin downloading my music. There are virtually no instructions for this thing! There is a little fold out brochure with a few basic pictures on it. It doesn't really even tell you what they mean by eject the machine before disconnecting the chord from the player. Apple pretty much leaves it up to you to figure out how this thing works. I guess the assumption is that only 20 something techies buy these things and they already know everything there is to know about IPods! It never occurred to them that someone about to qualify for Medicare would ever purchase one and actually want to use it or would appreciate some well written instructions.
Sooooo, I went to the Apple website where you have to download ITunes and it automatically registers your player and sychnronizes your music from your Windows Media Player. I'm not that thrilled with having another media player software on my laptop, but I'll get over it. I do like the player and I already have over 800 tunes down loaded, with more to come. Since it looks like I may be doing more traveling next year, this is going to come in very handy on the plane and in the airports. I haven't attempted to download any of the grandcrew's photos for my viewing pleasure. The screen really seems a little small for that. If I really wanted photo/video capability, I would have bought the 120GB IPond touch. I just wish the instructions were more complete. I really do read them.

Post Script:
Okay, I'm not a real happy camper!!! Downloading ITunes has disabled my dvd drive! It happened on my desktop and my laptop. A little Google search has revealed that this is not an uncommon problem. So, unless one of you has a solution, this little piece of technology may be going back for a refund.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Arkansas Autumn 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Last week I spent on a business trip in Long Beach, California. Let me just say that the airlines did everything possible to ruin my day on the way out. Okay, back to the post. Often times when I travel, if there is a sporting event close by, I may try to attend. In the spring and summer, if I fly into a major league city, I will try to go to a baseball game. In the fall I will check to see if there is a good college or high school football or basketball game in the area. There was no such event in the area this past week. So what to do for entertainment I ask myself.
Well, my lovely bride and a I watch the Food Network and one of our favorite shows is Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The host travels the country looking for outstanding "mom & pop" restaurants. So, I decided to see if any such venues were in the Long Beach area. Bingo! A place called Schooner or Later was only five miles from my hotel. The only catch was that they are open for breakfast and lunch, no dinner. My last full day in Long Beach, I got finished with business around 11:00 a.m., sooooo I headed for Schooner or Later. It is located on Marina Drive.
The location sets the mood for an peaceful, enjoyable experience, away from the typical downtown, or mall location of many restaurants. Yes, the sky was blue, but that little brown haze at the horizon lets you know that you're in close proximity to LA. The atmosphere is relaxed, the wait staff is friendly, and the clientele is kind of place. The menu is extensive, so it took me a few minutes to decide what to order. Since they serve their breakfast menu all day, I decided to order the breakfast burrito. It was a tough choice because there were some great looking omelets on the menu. It was wonderful.Inside that tortilla is a mixture of scrambled egg, sliced link sausage, red and green bell peppers, melted cheddar cheese and coarsely diced fried potatoes. WooooHooo!!! The verde sauce you see here is very good, but the salsa is out of this world. I used the whole bowl of it. Next time your in Long Beach, do yourself a favor and have breakfast or lunch at Schooner or Later. You won't regret it, I promise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Friday Thoughts

Would you trust your legal affairs to an attorney who advertises on the back of a city bus? Just asking. I took this photo while on a business trip in Long Beach, CA. Have a great week-end everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long Days Journey Into Night

The business trip started today. My first flight is delayed...this can't be good! In fact I have to completely reschedule my flights and go to Long Beach via Salt Lake City instead of Phoenix. That would be the scenic route. So, after twelve hours in airports and on planes, and an airport hot dog for lunch, I finally arrived at my destination. Fortunately the hotel is only a couple of miles from the airport. After unpacking, I go to the front desk and ask for directions to the nearest restaurants, since I am starving at this point. I get my directions and head toward Lakewood Mall. There are several choices here, including a Mimi's. I think I'll try El Torrito's.
Holy Cow, this is good food. The salsa is extremely fresh, although it may have a little more cilantro that some people might like. I ordered the Carne Asada Burrito. When it comes to the table, this thing is the size of a football! I thought I was starving, but I only managed to get through half of this thing. I put the rest of it in a go box and I'll heat it up for lunch tomorrow.
I'm staying in a suite hotel, so I have a kitchen at my disposal.
I'm going to be here three days, so I have some evenings to find ways to entertain myself. During the spring and summer, I typically try to find a major or minor league baseball game to attend. Right now, we're truly in between seasons so there isn't much to do during the evenings.
I do have an idea though. If you watch the food network, one of your favorite shows is probably 3D (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives). Well, there are a couple of the restaurants featured on this show in the Long Beach area. Guess where I'm eating tomorrow. There is Baby Blues BBQ in Venice, Jay Bee's Bar-B-Que in Gardena, or there is Schooner or Later, right here in Long Beach. Decisions, decisions. I will post photos, so stay tuned. I'm going to bed now. Y'all visit among yourselves.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Sorry, but this all I've got for this Ruby Tuesday. It's a recent shot of "The Big Guy" and his painted pumpkin.
I've just been too busy recently to take the time to look for photo opportunities. I will be on a business trip in California the rest of this week. Maybe I'll get a few photos while I'm there.
Have a great week everyone.

Busy, busy, busy

The soccer tournament this past week end went okay. Our granddaughter's team won their first match and she scored the first goal. It was a left footed shot from the wing. They lost the second game to a team that should have never been in their division. There are three divisions, silver, gold, and platinum. They were playing in the silver division and their opponent should have been in platinum. It wasn't close and and it wasn't fun to watch. The last match was close, but they came out on the short end of the score. Scooter nearly scored again though.
I am leaving tomorrow morning on a business trip for the remainder of the week. I don't know how much I will get to do any blogging or visiting other blogs. Long Beach, California will be my home base. I will visiting retail stores is five surrounding cities and doing an audit for accessibility compliance with ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) and California Accessibility codes. If you don't hear from me by next Monday, send help! Have a great week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Thoughts

We're off to Tulsa later this morning. We're going to see my dad. We're taking two of the grandcrew with us. The other two will arrive later this evening with their parents. The oldest is playing in a soccer tournament in Broken Arrow, OK on Saturday and Sunday. I should be a fun weekend for everyone.
In a day and age when people are looking for answers and there seem to be none to be found I would encourage you to look to the Creator of life.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1
"...I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die...." John 11:25-26
"I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
The answers to life's questions can be found in God's Word. It is life's instruction book and it will speak to your every need. Today's inspirational song, "Word of God Speak" from Mercy Me. Enjoy.

Word of God Speak - Mercy Me

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Suggestions for Improving the Federal Government.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the government and what needs to change and what improvements need to be made. While I have never claimed to be a political animal, here are my two cents worth.

1. Vote EVERY incumbent out of office. If change is truly needed, then let's start with a clean slate!
2. Regardless of who you vote for president, split your vote between the house and senate. Vote for one party in the senate and the other in the house. I don't believe any party should have complete control of the government.
3. Increase the House terms to four years. Nothing gets done in two years and these people are now running for re-election full time.
4. Three terms in the house (per item 3) or two terms in the senate and your done! It appears that most scandals involve long time members of Congress. Don't allow them to become so entrenched that they consider themselves above the law.
5. Only voter approved issues may be discussed during the campaign (health care, education, military issues, etc.). No name calling, etc.
6. Campaign spending limits. No candidate is allowed to buy the election by virtue of the ability to raise a war chest and simply out spend their opponent for campaign ads.
7. An independent jury of 13 voters approves all campaign ads.
8. No candidate may declare their intentions nor file for office before Jan. 2 of any election year. The first primary will be held on March 1, and the last primary on May 25.
9. No radio or television talking heads are allowed during an election year. Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken can take a long, and much needed vacation.
10. All television coverage of debates must be void of on going graphs, charts, score cards or any attempt to tell me who is winning or losing the debate (cough, CNN, cough). Quit trying to influence my opinion. I am perfectly capable of coming to my own conclusions.
11. The two presidential candidates must spend 30 days on the campaign trail together and share a room. They might actually find that they have more in common than they have differences.
12. Each candidate must open and close every debate with prayer. Maybe if they are reminded that they are accountable to a higher power, they will act a little more civilized. Maybe not.
13. Vote!!! Incredible visionaries gave birth to this great nation. Incredible men and women of valor have given their lives in battle that we might freely pursue happiness. You have more than a right to vote, you have an obligation to improve this country. God bless America, and Lord, please save us from ourselves.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

This restaurant can be found at Downtown Disney in Orlando. The food is wonderful.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

That's How My Whole Week Went!

Texas 45 - OU 35

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday's Thoughts

Okay, so it's just over twenty-four hours before kickoff and I've already got my game face on. It's Friday and I am looking forward to a great week-end, which should include OU beating Texas. If we lose, next week will not be a happy one for me.

Tomorrow morning the oldest of the grandcrew has a soccer match. I'll be there. We will get home just in time for the "Big Game." Then, I will be unavailable for about three hours.

Leaves are starting to turn, the nights are starting to cool down and I am reminded why fall is my favorite time of the year, well except for the leaves I'm going to have to clean out of the gutters in a few weeks.

It's about time for a Nana and Pawpaw week-end away. I think we may go to Branson in a few weeks. It's pretty quiet this time of year. I'll do a little fishing. My bride will do a little shopping, and both of us will do some relaxing. That's probably going to happen in early November.

Okay, can we vote now? I have truly grown weary of this campaign. I have grave doubts about both candidates. Someone recently said, "It's like trying to decide which leg you want amputated." That's pretty much how I feel. Sorry, I'm getting old and senile. Deal with it.

Now for something a little more inspirational. In these uncertain times we are all looking for answers to life's problems. Sometimes the answer is pretty basic. We just need to get back to the basics of life. Enjoy.

The Basics of Life - 4Him

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Facts About the
OU/Texas Red River Rivalry Game

I felt the need to explain my Wordless Wednesday post. This week end marks the 108th year of one of the greatest rivalries in all of college football, the OU/Texas game. There are a number of facts about this game that make it unique among college rivalry games and I hope it will always stay that way. Although, there has been talk recently about moving the game to a different site. So here are thirteen facts about this great game.

1. The first game was played in 1900. Texas won 28-2
2. The game has been played in Dallas since 1912. The neutral site was chosen because it is about half way between Austin, TX and Norman, OK.
3. The current venue is the Cotton Bowl (since 1937) which seats approximately 92,000
4. Each school gets 50% of the tickets! That's right there will be 46,000 fans from each school at the game.
5. The seating is split at the 50 yard line. OU traditionally gets the south half of the stadium while Texas occupies the north half. I've had seats on the 45 yard line before and that can get a little awkward where the Big Red meets the Burnt Orange!
6. Four times in the last eight years the winner of this game has appeared in the BCS National Championship Game. (OU-2000, National Champions, 2001, 2003) (Texas 2005 , National Champions) If OU wins this year they will likely run the table and appear in the championship game yet again.
7. Since 1945, one or both teams have been ranked in the top 25 at game time. Between 1971-1981 neither team was ranked lower than 17th at game time.
8. Since 1950 both schools have come into this game undefeated 15 times.
9. Much of the rivalry stems from the fact that the two states share a common border (the Red River) and many of OU's best players come from Texas.
10. The game is always played in October during the Texas State Fair. There was a time when SMU played TCU on Friday night, OU played Texas on Saturday and the Dallas Cowboys played on Sunday. You could have a true football week-end and never leave the fairgrounds.
11. The two schools have won 10 national championships since 1950 (OU-7, Texas-3)
12. The winner takes home three trophies. The Golden (10 gallon) Hat is the oldest and is traded among the athletic department. There is a "Red River Rivalry" trophy traded between the student governments since 2003 and there is the Governor's trophy that always carries a side bet of beef or charity.
13. Last but not least, I am a Sooner Born, and Sooner Bred, soooooo BOOOMER Sooner!!!! Roll on Crimson and Cream, Roll On!!!!
The game starts at 11:00 a.m. CDT Saturday. I will be unavailable until around 3:00 p.m. Tune in, it should be a great game.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, October 6, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

We're gonna have a little more fun with PhotoShop Elements. Take a look at my previous Fun With PhotoShop post to see the Lego water serpent from Disney World. Well, here is a Lego T-Rex.The only thing I have done to this guy is crop him to a 6"x6" image because it gives me the largest possible image on this blog. OK, now lets do that Enhance/Auto Smart Fix thing. Then I go to Adjust Color/Hue-Saturation and intensify the red. It is Ruby Tuesday after all. Then I go to Adjust Color/Color Curves/More Contrast. Now we have a pretty intense T-Rex.Finally I go back to Adjust Color/Color Curves/Solarize. This produces the special effect that I'm looking for and really makes the T-Rex something special indeed.
Have a great Ruby Tuesday everyone. Come back soon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Thoughts

It's been a long week. I spent much less time being an architect and much more time being an adult daycare specialist. That's just the way it is when you have seventy people in your department.

I've had trouble sleeping this week. At least three times I have awakened at 3:00 a.m., again at 4:00 a.m. and finally I just get up at 5:00 a.m., wander into the home office and play on the computer until 6:00 a.m., then get ready and go to work. I think tomorrow morning I just may go fishing for a couple of hours.

I missed a real photo opportunity the other day and I apologize for that. My wife gave a demonstration on table decorations for fall and Christmas at the church. The two tables she set were something out of Southern Living! The Christmas table was simply stunning. The girl could give Martha Stewart a run for her money. I should have had my camera and photographed them to share on a Ruby Tuesday or Wordless Wednesday. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

I've got to make a business trip to California in a couple of weeks. I'm not really looking forward to that because I hate driving in and around LA traffic. The good thing is that I will be in the Long Beach area. I need to start locating a few good restaurants. Maybe Diners, Drive Inns, and Dives have some suggestions.

After my 401K took several nasty hits these past couple of weeks, I finally moved all of what's left into money market. I'll put it back after the first of the year. I just don't think anything is going to settle down until at least the first quarter of next year.

Could we just go ahead and vote now? The vice-presidential debate is on and I have absolutely no interest in it. I am sooooooo tired of politics right now. And I thought the Super Bowl pre-game show as too long! I have seen and heard all that I need to see and hear. I have made my decision and I am ready to cast my ballot.

Life circumstances have prevented me from posting an inspirational song for a couple of weeks, so let's close this week with a classic. Arguably the best gospel singer ever was Mahalia Jackson. Here is her classic arrangement of Precious Lord Take My Hand. Enjoy.

Precious Lord Take My Hand - Mahalia Jackson

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fun With Photoshop

Recently I took a business trip to Orlando. Since I got into town early I had the opportunity to revisit Downtown Disney and take a few photos that I was unable to get while on vacation. The middle of the afternoon, in the middle of September is the best time to take these photos, because the crowds are significantly smaller. Anyway, at Downtown Disney there is a Lego pavilion. This sea serpent is constructed completly from legos...the little ones! I took this photo for starters.Next I cropped it a bit and it the "Auto Smart Fix" button. Then I added a little contrast with the "Adjust Color Curves" option. I realize that there doesn't appear to be much difference between the two photos, but I did, in fact, perform these operations.

Then, just for fun, I hit the "Solarize" button in the Adjust Color/Color Curves menu. BAM!!! Now we have a whole different photograph. He really takes on an artistic, cartoon flavor.

I'll post some of the other Lego characters a little later. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Watering Nana's Plants