Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Coffee to go, please!"

Who's kidding who.

Most of us are in a rush on any given weekday, and especially given this sour economy, we cling on extra tightly to what we have, job-wise (well, MOST of us do! HA!)

More and more we hear of businesses and maybe even friends and family getting laid off or having A, B, or C taken away, cut off, etc. It's downright scary, it is.

No wonder some people are even paranoid....


Whether it's to save gas money, or whether it's not having a car in the first place, a good many folks invest in mass transit. As long as you live near the stops and the stops live near your work, buses and trains and such are an attractive option for commuters, especially in crowded corridors like the Northeast.

While we're on the topic of commuting, the early morning has its fair share of Java Junkies to be sure, and many tote the Black Gold onto the mass transit of choice.
Too, people like to pass the time, be it via an iPod, mp3 player, reading a book, reading the (last of the) newspapers...whatever you choose to pass the time you do, so that the commute time has some 'value' to it...

Imagine sitting on your transit of choice and, let's say, reading the morning read about the transit bus drivers' union threatening to strike...

you put two and two together, and since you are on a transit bus, you realize your driver is 'one of THEM'....

you start to run mental images and self-talk about what the 'truth' is, which to you is a potential disruption of your ever-important commute to work and back...

So what more logical thing to do than ring for your stop, proceed to the front of the bus, and suddenly throw your hot coffee on the driver as you dash out and run away from the bus.

I don't make this up, folks.

For real? Yes, Virginia, there is a Society of Dolts. There are bonafide adult IDIOTS that do that sort of thing...

They say it wasn't a regular 'rider'. The driver ran after them a short burst, then gave up, alerting their shift supervisor. The driver wasn't able to seek medical attention until their route was done. Ouch.

And so I salute the nut job who became a complete mental midget because they read an article and got upset. Scary, ain't it?

Alright, Saddle Pals... round up the Posse and keep vigilance where you are for the Num-Nuts of the world...they're out there and closer to you than you can imagine....

I well imagine everyone knows
"Mount Rushmore" when they see it...

...and many know at least something
about the secret tunnel that was to have
led to a Hall of Records behind the heads,
though only a much scaled-down
version ever got built...

But even fewer people drive
the road behind it to see
"Mount Tushmore"...

The End.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Sometimes the best "plan" is no plan at all.

Setting aside community theater and musical performances, I got into 'real' acting back in 1990 (best of my memory, anyway). Training films, commercials, movie work as a featured extra, that type of thing. Had to learn the ropes from scratch, which can run the gamut of incredible fun to incredible frustration and sadness. When people would say, "Oh, I'd LOVE to be an actor!", I along with most others doing this would chuckle and say "DON'T!!!"

At the very least you deal with 'rejection' on a steady basis, which, when you take yourself seriously, is not easy to deal with. The key is to not take yourself seriously, of course, and by that I mean to relax, have fun, give it your best, and move on. Let your ego fall by the wayside, as quickly as possible. Going on acting auditions is not unlike playing lottery scratch off tickets...lots of trash, and the occasional treasure.

Once you've been around a while, sometimes people will book you straight up without an audition. It's always something different, too, within the broad-brush stroke of acting. The 'good stuff' is the SAG work, union work, Screen Actors Guild sanctioned shoots. I got my SAG card back in 1991 with "Guarding Tess", but overall there isn't that much union work that comes around here in particular.

When it does, it's like the hounds of hell are unleashed at auditions as actors come in from far away for their chance at landing even a dayplayer role. Competition is staggering, but we do what we have to do and don't focus on the odds. Union work is lucrative, pays quickly, great perks on-set, and if you get enough of it in a year you get free insurance (elusive without a big gig). Only a precious few get the work, however.

We all go about pursuing acting in our own way. Work and pay from it is highly inconsistent, like hot and cold running water. I go about it with a lighthearted 'whattheheck' attitude and make sure I'm the best at my craft I can be, and let the chips fall where they may. I consider any acting-related income to be supplemental and not in the 'expected' column.

I say all of the above just to fill in some cracks. With the down-turned economy, businesses are cutting back on projects where they would hire actors. Monday morning I was in flute-making mode, ready to 'have at it' after an early morning meeting (and waiting for the record low temperatures to rise some!)

At 10:15a I had a message to call my NC agent ASAP...called, but had to leave a voice mail for her when she didn't answer. Went on my way to Costco and was pumping gas when she called back. Long story short, she had gotten an email time-stamped just after midnight about several of us chosen to come in to audition for roles in a SAG feature film later in the day...the same day. I was worried it was down in Wilmington, NC which would have simply been too long of a trip at the last second. Alas, it was going to be just under a 3-hour trip one way for the audition. Just a little drop-everything-and-hit-the-road trip out of the clear blue.

You can understand why a lot of people couldn't make such a crazy immediate shift in plans. I was fortunate enough to be able to drop groceries, let Mercy out, shower and dress, and check email to print the audition script to take with me. The biggest fear is forgetting to deal with something before hitting the much to think about, so much to keep straight in your head, so much to plan, gather, and take with you. With my forgetfulness, that can be a scary proposition!

By 6:15p I was home again...with a tired butt and sore knees. I made the trip and did my best for the 4 minutes I was in the audition, which is a most unglorious and simple process, really. As always, I hit the road back with no expectations. You rarely hear that you don't get a job...and if I were to get a part they may call in a couple of days, or several rhyme or reason. And the last thing you do is pester your agent. No, the best thing you can do is resume a 'normal' life (whatever that is!) and get right back to your other 'stuff'.

With today's warmer temperatures that will mean working with my outdoor power tools, creating inlays, and cutting some new flutes up. I've run into a higher than normal number of 'lefties' lately which require totally different finger holes on my hole-staggered models, so need to whack out a couple of new ones. May even get around to carving on the woodpecker flute which I've not touched since I featured it in an earlier blog post.

Anyway, the day is starting calm and simple...I know enough to know there is no guarantee as to how long THAT will last!

What to do when you're 'stuck'...

Yep, I'm officially a bit of a momentary, mostly mental mire.

Indeed, I'm floundering...but I'm not doing it for the halibut. It does seem a bit fishy that I can't catch on to an idea that's alluring to me. It all makes me feel crappie. Certainly not swimmingly. Almost like I'm back in school.

Normally I'd be bream-ing with a cast of ideas and witty lines, perched and ready to type away in a flash, like the way Salmon Rushdie used to do (he got grilled for his Satanic Verses book). But the past couple of days everything just seems to be bass-ackwards, as they say. Can't seem to find topics to fly with, even though I constantly float them by.

Thought I might plug a book, "How the Colorado River was Stopped" - it was dam good, full of literary efforts that held water. But that spawned off other ideas, all of which didn't flow much of anywhere. My normal river of ideas have slowed to a net results have been, well...let's just say the 'big one that got away' never even got close to the boat. I did see a troll, though...under a bridge...but that would be over your head to explain it further.

Maybe I'm just not 'hearing' the ideas...maybe I need to get a herring-aid. I wonder what Marlin Brando would do. Maybe I need to bail out of this lame littany of bad puns that smelt in the first place, chums...

(are you waiting with baited breath?...)

Get reel...these can't go on forever...even if you are hooked on puns...

...although I was just musing fishermen in India truly belong to a cast system...

Alright, I've reached my limit...catchy weren't they?

OOPS. Oh well, a 'fine' way to end this pain and suffering...


The colder weather isn't helping much as I have a lot of wood work that needs to be done outside, but when you switch to the orbital palm sander you have to forgo gloves as it's important to feel the wood as you work with it. All semblance of feeling disappears in about 10-15 minutes when it's only 41 degrees outside.

And yet the birds are certainly starting their pre-spring singing...the Silver Maple in the front yard has it's characteristic red leaf buds fattening up. The days are getting a little longer each day, and March is only 6 days away.

I've not filled in at News 14 in quite some time, so outside of those bodacious thunderstorms a week ago when I pulled 'em up in 3-D for personal enjoyment, I've not looked at any models for what may be ahead. If you've lived in the Carolinas for any length of time, you're well aware that "March Madness" not only refers to the basketball hoopla (I'll quit, really) but also to the very volatile weather mechanisms.

Polar and sub-tropical jet streams start to duke it out for dominance, and with the warmer sub-tropical air coming in from the south and southwest, airmasses can hold much more water vapor then. When you get a really cold snap with a topping of a southern storm, you get the ol' Reeses factor: chocolate in your peanut butter, or peanut butter on your chocolate. Potentially big snows and, on occassion, killing freezes after the plant kingdom reaches the fragile blooming stages.

For now, all seems pretty quiet. Maybe I'll take a gander at more data soon, but as anyone who knows me, I'm not a 'weather-head' kind of person. Right now I rather resemble the Peanuts character 'PigPen' as clouds of dust poof off of me with every step I take. After some morning errands, I'm starting on some inlay work on a few flutes. You might like to see pics of the stages as I do that, but it's hard to take pics of me actually doing the work since I was not born an octopus. I'll see what I can do.

Check in later, if you dare...!

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Cross words..."

Time to sit back and relax as I tell you the tale of this week's "Fried Fridays" winner, a news story that is strange, whacked, and/or bizarre enough to wear the laurels...


As always, plenty of fish in the barrel to shoot today. Since I highlighted a situation in India last Friday, I did not pick the Indian infant that was ceremoniously married to their neighbor's dog so that the boy would be protected from tigers as he grew up...besides, to those villagers it was a rather understandable thing to do...

(could it be I hear those crickets chirping again?...)

We need to raise the bar, here, friends. So clap your hands, get on your feet, and sing along with the choir 'cause the Gospel Train is pullin' in to the Blah-Blah Blog Station!!!!!!!!!!!


February 11 began as any other weekday, and for one gospel artist it meant a performance that evening at the Harmony Baptist Church. I searched a dozen news links and never could find his name, but he was famous enough that he often performed at "local churches and fast food restaurants". That should have narrowed the list a bit...

In smart business style, the singer's wife acts as his agent, handling the financial and logistical details while her husband focuses on his artistry. And so that evening's performance went according to plan and all was hunky-dory. Peachy-keen. Copasetic.

That is until the preacher opened his big mouth. (ED: actually, I don't know how big his mouth is; just starting to add in a bit of sardonic wit for what follows...)

He did what any kind preacher would do and offered them overnight accomodations. As they broke down the equipment after the show, the preacher observed that neither person was wearing a wedding band and simply asked them if they were married.

Oh, you done did it now, Pulpit Man. The cat claws are out. Hell hath no fury like a questioned woman. There was yet another raisin' of that congregational roof that night, and it wasn't the good kind.

Let's just say the argument got heated and the couple did not partake of the overnight accommodations. Fair enough.

Sometime later that night an alarm came in to the fire department from the same church, and according to department spokesperson Bruce Garner, firefighters arrived to the strong smell of propane gas coming from the kitchen area. 10 of the eyes on the commercial propane stove were turned full on, with a roll of paper towels placed nearby.

Luckily there was no fire or damage. The following day the 'wife' was arrested for attempted arson and then released from jail on bond, claiming her innocence all the while.

Kinda gives a whole new meaning to being on fire for the Lord, eh?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Follow-up to "Birdfeeder Buddies: Newbies"

(click on pics to enlarge)

The last blog entry (before my alien abduction yesterday) ended with the picture below and my noting that while not very sharp, the picture was one I needed...

In my crop of new flutes, I glued up several 'closed-end' flutes. Instead of the regular bore hole at the 'foot' of the flute, you can cut the bore and leave solid wood at the end, giving me room to carve whatever it is I want to tackle.

Of course, I have to tap a hole at the end of the bore, which in this case I opted for an oblong hole on the bottom side of the flute. The air has to be able to escape to make the sound; I could have easily done a more traditional pattern of 4 holes around the flute, drilled in roughly the same area and leaving the end solid, but I prefer the finished view to not see the hole unless you flip it upside down...

I designed this particular flute (Ambrosia Maple, keyed to F#) with a bit longer and wider solid area, as I wanted to carve one of the woodpeckers I've photographed lately. If you follow this blog, you've seen my Downy and Hairy Woodpecker pictures; they are quite similar except in relative size. I'll paint this one as a Downy but make it have a bit sturdier beak like the Hairy...maybe I'll call him "Hairy Downy, Jr." or something like that!

And once the weather clears I'll go outside and start power carving the solid area and shape it into what hopefully will look like a very realistic woodpecker. In this case, the head will be turned chin-up and in line with the body...the wings will be folded over the body, and the tail feathers will extend close to the lowest playing hole. Yes, this is tricky and quite time-consuming, but the results are worth it...

And now back to the picture that 'started' this entry...the one thing I lacked was a clear idea of what the backside of the Downy looked like, since books and photos show mainly side views. This picture was exactly what I needed when I reach the final painting stages!

Now, if I can only find my stash of 36-hour days to get it finished in a timely manner....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Due to an Alien Abduction this morning, Bob was not able to post a blog today, Tuesday. He is supposed to be released and down-beamed later today, allowing him to post more fully tomorrow, Wednesday.

Thank you - (the management

Monday, February 16, 2009

Birdfeeder Buddies: Newbies

Although it's still deep in winter, and we still have a good bit of cold and potentially heavy snow to go, you can't help but see Nature starting the slow gearing up towards a new Spring here in the Carolinas. Trees are fattening their buds, some areas with ferns are magically a bit 'greener', and even the raspberry patch is starting to show the greenish low stems and reddish tips.

A very infrequent visitor finally made lots of appearances to the feeder this weekend: The Red-bellied Woodpecker. I will say it is a much more skittish bird than any of the others so far, but maybe it's just not use to the house and some big guy sitting inside with this huge gun-like camera pointing at it!

FYI, there is an itty bitty red patch down low on its belly (hence its name), but it is hard to see in the field given it's 'low-cation'. Too, the male's red head goes from the nape all the way over the crown, where the female's red covers just the nape.

(click on pics to enlarge)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

A pair of Cardinals also came around for a while...always nice to have that splash of vibrant color in a dun winter landscape...

Cardinal (male)

Cardinal (female)


is what I thought of when I saw this Carolina Wren vocalizing on top of the suet feeder...

Carolina Wren

I've shown the Downy Woodpecker on several other posts, but thought this was a really good picture showing how the woodpeckers use their rather stiff tails to help balance them on tree trunks (or suet feeders!) while they 'drill'...

Downy Woodpecker (male)

And while this next shot is not the sharpest, it was a shot I specifically wanted to have...for a special reason...and the subject of the next blog post...(cryptic enough for you???)...

Downy Woodpecker (male)

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Fried Fridays: I'll drink to that!..."

Cheers, Mates. Belly up to the bar. Down the hatch, as they say.

But wait, the news gets better: it's non-alcoholic!

That's right, you, too, can soon enjoy the fresh taste of...
...of, uh.....


...a new line of soft drinks made from, uh....cow urine.

(cue cricket chirps from last week)

In India things are just a bit different, especially when it comes to their sacred cows. While still testing the recipe for another 2-3 months, a hard-line Hindu organization (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is planning on releasing their new soft drink made from liquid cow wastage, in hopes of undermining western 'corruption' in the food import industry.

After all, the cows are quite sacred to begin with, and, probably not as widely known, is the salubrious nature of cow urine to the human body: it supposedly fights cancer and diabetes, among some of the 70-80 incurable diseases it's 'proven' to work against, so the RSS reports. (EDITOR'S NOTE: either they're incurable or pregnancy. Middle ground is not an option.)

(crickets continue chirping...)

If it makes your mouth water any more, they are experimenting mixing it with gooseberries, aloe vera, and other tasty additives...

(more chirping...)

Hey, it's been approved and used at many religious festivals, too...

(down to a dozen crickets chirping...)

Prakash, from one of the four holiest cities on the Ganges, was quoted as saying the product will be sold nationwide but would not rule out international success...

(one little cricket still chirping...)

I think I'll stop while I'm behind.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Circle of Life...

Michael Woo's memorial service is this morning. At just 31 years old, he died suddenly from respiratory complications just before surgery on a cancerous kidney. He was a gentle giant in every way, a loving, special-needs guy that had a big heart and loved a party. I'd given him one of my flutes a few years ago - don't know if he ever tooted on it, but he loved music. His sister Alison asked me to play a song for him in the service, which I'm honored and humbled to do.

I said 'died', though I myself don't use the word because we don't 'die' at all...we transform and cross-over, with only our 'car' left behind to return to dust. We are not our 'cars'...we are our Souls, spirits, energy fields that, like matter, can neither be created or destroyed. Michael parked his car early, and he, like all of us, actually knew when it was he needed to do that. We know this before we're born, but lose memory of that once we take on a human form. 'Death' (there's that word again!) isn't to be feared, nor is it to be mourned. It's a wonderful time for a celebration, and that's exactly what the Woo family wants. Aho!

Alison said Mike was an 'original' and that my writing a song for just this occasion would be just like him. As I meditated and mulled over this, I was rather bombarded with images and information on what to say and play...and so this morning I'll honor him with "Michael's Bumper Sticker" (hence my car motif above)...

We each need to take care of our 'cars'...they won't last forever, but they'll get us where we need to go...and even for me there is no better fitting bumper sticker for my car than the one above!

And in that mindset I'll go from the service to help Gene home from the hospital. What a happy occasion for him to be able to come home to his castle, to sleep in his own bed, watch his own TV, be with his wife more than just a couple of hours each day, and have the love of his precious two dachsunds all over him. It will make for quite the day in the ol' emotional realm for them, and for all of us.

Friday I'll deal with my next issue, which is yet ANOTHER dead RIDGID oscillating belt sander that simply quit running yesterday. Grrrrrr. I'm in the middle of a large batch of flutes and this is one of the critical time-saving tools...while it's under warranty it will take a month to fix it, potentially, so to save myself the stress I'll worry about what I'll do later today. Got just a few fish to fry in the meantime!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How do some people sleep....

As I've done most mornings the past couple of weeks, I've gone over to my stroke friend's house to finish his bathroom project that halted when he had his stroke at Christmas. The good news is he is coming home from the hospital tomorrow, Thursday. A long overdue blessing.

His lovely wife has had her hands full. She is a double cancer survivor, and was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's just before her husband's stroke. With all of her problems she has had to become the caregiver, and she deserves a medal. She is currently on medical leave from her job at Bank of America, where she's been an assistant for a high-level executive for the past 14 years.

I walked in the door this morning and she said, "You're not going to believe the latest."

I had no idea what twist was now at hand.

Yesterday an HR representative from Bank of America called and told her that she no longer had her job. More than that, they wanted her to come in and clean out her cubicle that afternoon.

She had done nothing wrong, and even did work for her boss over the Christmas holidays. She has been able to do some work from home, but legitimately applied for her temporary leave to care for her husband. Her boss of 14 years must have made the decision but hasn't talked to her directly, and I know full well she has done nothing short of an exemplary job. When asked for particulars about why the sudden decision and at this time, the HR person had no answers, only that she had been asked to make the call with the decision from 'corporate.'

It has to be one of the most cold-hearted, calculated maneuvers I've seen somebody make, and I have no doubt that is not an isolated story. Part of the dark side to the corporate world, sadly. The proverbial bottom line of dollar symbols at any cost, including human costs.

But her spirits are good...a door shuts, two windows open, as we both said. She has plenty of connections to find other employment, though she is very close to retirement and may opt out that way. While there is no good way to dismiss someone from their job, there are certainly better ways to do it than this way, certainly with regards to her particular situation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Busy week...

Minimal posts for the moment as I've got a full plate and running in myriad directions...but I have to pass on a story worthy of a "Fried Fridays 'Idiot Of The Week' Award".

This past Sunday I went and visited with my mom and sister down on the SC state line. As a rule, SC has less gas taxes than NC and so you can find cheaper gas just by going over the border.

Some Ingles grocery stores have cheap gas retail pumps, and so I pulled in to tank up as I had timed it perfectly for my car to be running on fumes. Whew.

At the pump beside me was a 'family' that couldn't help but catch my eye. There was a teenage boy that was sorta punk and goth and something else....a mom behind the wheel that was 'unique' looking shall we say...and some older 20-something guy pumping gas.

To be honest, you wouldn't have to imagine more than a millisecond that this family was prime material for the Jerry Springer show, in looks and behavior as they were talking loudly to each other. But the best (read 'most idiotic') part of the whole scene was....

...the guy pumping the gas was smoking a cigarette.

I got the hell out as fast as I could...


and now for a little pic of our current full moon Sunday night....

Friday, February 06, 2009

"Fried Fridays: A Two-Fer Day..."

Honestly, I'm getting at this post later than usual, and I'm not finding much that trips my trigger for a good ol' Fried Fridays roasting. We'll start with Cha...

Not Chai. And her claim to fame does not suit her to a "T"...or does it?


Cha is the only name given. The 60-year old Cha is the embodiment of, well, you decide.

Today, this Friday (February 6, 2009) could well be #772. Day 772. 772 consecutive (business) days.

It all started in April 2005, believe it or not. Cha doesn't miss a lick...well, that's not true, because she does...too much so.

Fails the written part of the driver's license test, she.

Before the driving test you have to score a minimum 60 on the written, and she's gotten as high as 50. I suppose an "A" is in order for perseverance, but the fact that she continually wastes her time and money (about $3,000 so far in fees) makes you wonder if she should ever be allowed behind the wheel of the car. I do muse that she'd probably do alright with all the other idiots out there on our interstates, though...

And now we migrate to a "Funny Friday" with the following forwarded email per a first grade school assignment. The students were asked to draw a picture that had something to do with their family. Behold the drawing that one girl drew and turned in...which was then graded and sent home (click to enlarge):

The child's mother sent back a note for the teacher to 'explain' things a bit:

"Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear about my child's drawing. Contrary to what it appears, I am not doing a pole dance in a strip joint. I work at a hardware store and took my daughter with me to work on our snow day last week. Naturally, people came in droves to buy sleds and snow shovels, of which the latter we had sold out. In going through the warehouse I did find one extra shovel, and when I brought it out I was surrounded by people wanting to buy it. I hope this clarifies matters.

Mrs. Harrington

Made up or not, it's cute. Carpe Diem, y'all!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Humor for shop-heads

If you don't work with tools and have never been around any sense of a shop, the following humor may well fall short of its mark. A friend passed along this tongue-in-cheek 'dictionary' explaining the purpose of various tools, not unlike the style of Ambrose Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary". (Click link for more on that one...)


A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching Maple burl out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

Helps shape flute blocks and then suddenly throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints, knuckle folds, and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh sh -- '

Normally used for spinning stripped screws in their holes until you die of old age.

A portable cutting tool used to 'skillfully' make studs too short.

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your workshop on fire.

A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

A large stationary power saw primarily used by most workshops to cut perfectly good wooden boards into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the fireplace after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening cemented tin/aluminum caps and splashing the substance at hand all over your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms at the same time.

Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object you are trying to hit.

Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while being worn.

Basically, any handy tool that you grab and throw across the shop while yelling its 'name' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the very next tool that you will need.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


So much for a few overnight flurries and snowing just a 'hair'...


1-4" of snow blanketed much of the Piedmont by this morning, with the northern Piedmont having more of an issue late yesterday. The NC mountains are working on close to a foot of snow in the higher elevations with wind chills around minus 20 this morning.

While I'm 'off-duty' weatherwise, I can say from my cursory look at data that this one sort of blew up at the last minute...I do remember early models last week suggesting this snow, then it disappeared outside of the flurries that were forecast.

There is one significant difference in this snow and the last one: the temperature trend. Last time the roads were in great shape by afternoon as temperatures climbed above freezing, but today's issue will be the icy patches on roads that really won't begin to disappear until maybe late Thursday. The unusually cold snow is light and fluffy, and prone to being quickly packed to ice on the roads...this is a good day to hunker down if you can.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Showers passed through last night, giving a drink of water to the ground warm from the gorgeous day Monday. Alas, clearing skies and colder air quickly froze some of the liquid before it could run off or soak in, making for frozen car doors, among other early morning fun.

On top of my car were these wonderful crystallization patters that I thought were worthy of some pictures. With just a few tweaks on contrast and removal of color, as well as selective cropping, I present to you another world that is rather like Ansel Adams-esque geomorphology (creation of landforms):

(click on pics to enlarge)

The only way you could really see the patterns was to look at a low angle to the surface...when you photograph, the plane of focus is vertical to the camera, and with there being a great distance from foreground to background, only a band in the middle is relatively sharp, hence my horizontal croppings. It would have been nice to look straight down onto the top and get the picture, but little of the patterns would have been visible.

Always fun to see things from a different perspective. Enjoy the bright day!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super bowl-ending!

I guess you could say the Steelers 'towed' the line at the end of the game...

(AP photo)

Understatement for the day: Pretty amazing finish.

And, even with the dark economy, there were a number of cute super-expensive ads that many of us were anxious to see. $6 Million per 60-second ad. And they say TV doesn't influence people...

And while many of you know how to hunt and peck to find the ads, I'll post this link to a Yahoo! based site that lets you hunt and peck through the ads per quarter, as well as other winning commercials. You may have to put up with a short ad for a TV show from time to such thing as a free lunch...but I had fun pecking around.


(right click and 'open in new window' if you want to keep this page up along with it)

I was going to list some of my favorites, but there are too many when you put 'em all together. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were cute (Q2)...but there were many others. You can let the video run or click through the menu on the left and then scroll through the ads and selectively watch the ones you want.

The "Best of 2009" pools the better ones in a lump, FYI...

Under "Classic Commercials" is the last one, "Herding Cats"...that one still makes me chuckle...


Keeping this short as I have to get out of the gate early today on a couple of errands. Still shaking my head that it's February already...!