Saturday, April 30, 2011

Image for 4-30-11 - Danger of Death!

I love that sign, saw while hiking the Union Canal. It's warning against the overhead power lines. Judging from the barbed wire wrapped around the pole, I guess they've had a few people try and climb it. I think that sign is applicable anytime though. The end can come anytime, so you better get out there and live your life. The samurai would "freshen their minds with death" every morning to remind themselves how short and fragile life is. I do the same.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Image for 4-29-11 - The Old Castle Town

The castle is the symbol for Edinburgh. I saw this old relief logo on the side of a small utility shed (or was it a public toilet?). I'm a sucker for peeled paint and I like the icon design.

I pulled the photos off the camera last night, all six hundred and fifty-two of them. I know my pal Dave shot about double that. It was a very well documented journey. We saw and did a lot in the twelve days we were on the ground there, the trip featured a little of everything, some hiking, visited new places I had not been to before in Scotland, catching up with old friends, some urban exploring and finally, Dead by Dawn, my favorite horror film festival. It's been six years since I last set foot in Scotland, also for DbD, as my circle of horror film friends refer to it. I was surprised at how little had seemed to change in Edinburgh, a few new shops  here and there, but when the city's essential layout was made in stone hundreds of years ago, there's no easy way to modify that without obliterating part of your history. Tidewater (I refuse to use "Hampton Roads", a rant for another time), seems to revel in destroying any building new or old that stands in the way of "progress", I use the term loosely as it generally means making way for a parking lot, chain drug store or, more likely, luxury condos. I'm sure that if I lived in Edinburgh for a while, something I'd love to do, that I'd see the creepy corporate influence there as well. On this trip, I was blissfully happy to wander The Meadows (a large park in the southern part of the city) or hang out in the Grassmarket ( area with pubs and shops in the shadow of the castle). Oh Edinburgh! I love you!


Back in Edinburgh

My flight arrived on time. After all the drama yesterday, I'm amazed that I got out at all. Fully expected to be sleeping in Newark airport last night.

My friend Alan Smart picked me up at the airport. I know Alan from my time living in Ireland. We were both kitchen help in an Italina restaurant in a small town in the west of Ireland. A long story for another time.

Edinburgh is strangely quiet today because of holiday for the Royal Wedding. The empty streets fits my mood.


Enjoying a Guinness in NJ

On the ground in Newark. First pint of the trip. The second pint was bought a a swell Scotish guy named Paul. He and his wife were just returning from their first visit to NYC.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Norfolk Airport Carpet

Yeah, still stuck here. Flying sucks.


image for 4-28-2011 - tiki mug drawing


Delayed at the airport. Made this sketch from memory. Compare with the yesterday's photo.

Image for 4-27-11 - The New Tiki

My friends Casey and Laura picked this Tiki Mug up for me in Reno, NV. He's a real beauty and a fine addition to the collection. He sports real, plastic green gem eyes!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Image for 4-26-2011 - The old Space Park

This was taken at the old Air & Space Power Park in Hampton, Va. I remember visiting this park on a field trip back in second grade. The park was in much better shape back then. It's sad to see all the rockets and jet planes rusty in this unkempt and forgotten place. I recall as a child wandering among these technological wonders and dreaming of a future full of space adventures. Now, with the Space Shuttle nearly retired and nothing to replace it, it will be the first time in my lifetime that the US will not have the ability to but people into space. NASA's current budget is about eighteen billion dollars a year. Considering the fact that we're spending two billion a day on the wars, it's hard to believe that we can't find the money to keep America on the leading edge of space technology. Hopefully this park of decaying relics is not our future.


Image for 4-25-11 - The Wedding...

I did not find, or make a photo today, guess I got a case of the lazy eye. I did realize that I have failed to put up on here any photos from my friends Casey and Laura's recent nuptial event. This is a shot I took with my phonecam of the newly joined groom and bride and the nice lady (whom's name I can not recall) who did the joining.

I took a bunch of pictures that weekend and uploaded some of the better shots to a Facebook album.

I'm looking forward to seeing the other pictures from that weekend and the video too. It was a touching event, with lots of love and and happy tears. They even picked me to read a poem!

Laura and Casey are wonderful friends and I feel humble to have shared in such a loving celebration.

I wish them many years of happiness, fun and love!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Image for 4-24-11 - Azalea Time!

The Azaleas are peaking right now. The walk I take through the neighborhood is laced with explosions of Azalea color right now. I haven't seen many bees taking advantage of all those open and willing petals, which is worrying with all the reports of bee colonies dying off. I saw one big bumblebee in the middle of the sidewalk, on his back, fighting to get upright again and gave him a little nudge that righted him and he flew off. Made me think that we're all in this together and if we don't help each other, we won't make it. Go forth my bee brother and hit that pollen!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Image for 4-23-11 - I'm ready.

Got seven miles in today with the pack on. I feel ready for the coming big hike in Scotland. That seven miles also brought my year-to-date total up to two hundred and thirty-five miles, two miles ahead of the average I need of two hundred and thirty-three point thirty-three by the end of April and I'm not through with adding some more. It was hot yesterday, in the eighties, the first slicing fingers of summer heat in the wind. I enjoy the heat less and less as I get older. Prefer the cool and cold weather of fall and winter. Would rather have the fireplace roaring, then the AC humming. It's also more difficult to hike in the hot weather, the heat drains my energy, the humidity reduces me to a soggy sweat ball. The bugs swarm and bite and sting. Give me a cool, overcast day in November anytime.