Friday, April 28, 2006

Get Cheap Gas - Buy a Can of Beans!

No seriously.

Here's a handy-dandy link to a site that tell you the day's gas prices at all the service stations in your locale. All you do is type in your zip code and you get the best price for gas - no beans required!

  • Gas Price Finder
  • Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Blast From the Past Thursday #12

    What? This is photo of my Dad's totally sweet ride - A 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II. Here are some specs on it: 368 c.i., V8 engine, Turbo-Drive 3-speed automatic, power steering, power brakes, power windows, Red and white leather upholstery, Air conditioning (pretty cool for 1956!), Length: 218.5" (18' 2.5"), Width: 77.5" (6' 5.5"), Height: 56" (4' 8"), Weighing in at 5100 lbs - that's 2.5 tons!!

    Where? In the circle of my parents house, Lakeland, FL.

    Why? Cars like this are a thing of beauty - and deserve photos. They don't make them like this anymore - and my father is OC about his. (ie. - this paint job - has never seen a drop of water - from sprinklers or clouds)

    When? Just about two years ago in the summer time when I was home in Lakeland. I hadn't gotten to ride in it since I was a kid, and my Dad had finally gotten it up and running again after a long garage hiatus.


    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    The Great Search for Byers

    After a day of searching up and down Fox Mountain, a few routes chosen, a few backtracked, a few paths re-hiked, draws bushwacked and wading through seas of poison ivy we did find a cave entrance. Just not the one we were looking for. You have to give the four of us credit now - but still no Byers. We think we should have continued on the original trail. Ah well - Next time. We did however - spend a beautiful day out-of-doors which is always a good thing and saw some more beautiful spring flowers, a few butterflies, a few inch worms - one was a 1/2 inch worm and then the other was a Millimeter worm. So tiny I'm surprised I even saw it! Paul and Tommy stepped over a baby cornsnake, which I saw and showed everyone. Better yet Paul interpreted another sunning itself in a big patch of leaves - and it was a guesstimated 6ft long. I'm glad I missed seeing that one!

    The cave we did get to poke our heads into is called Hurricane Cave. And it looks just like a culvert drain with water flowing out of it. I really didn't believe it was the entrance. Apparently when they put in the highway - HWY59 - the cave entrance was right where they wanted to put it. So they made another entrance for it - extending it so it could drain and so that cavers could get in. Its pretty wild. You crawl slightly upward for about 100 ft at least in a big drain and then "pop" your in the cave. We poked around a bit and then came back out. It was very pretty and I definitely want to come back and explore some more.

    Here are some photos from the days great search.

    The drain tunnel to go under Highway 53 to get to Fox Mtn proper and the SCCi property.

    Michelle climbing over one of the two stiles that you have to cross.

    Paul and Tommy trying to calculate where we were on the moutain in relation to the cave entrance.

    A pretty Mayapple in bloom.

    For now this is a "yellow flower" - yet to be identified in Paul's plant book.

    The entrance to Hurricane Cave. There's no one in this pictures for scale - but its pretty much a hands and knees crawl - or a really squished duck waddle.


    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Blast From the Past Thursday #11

    Wow! Gosh is this really the 11th "embarrassing photo post " that I've done?
    Welcome back and hope you get a kick out of these as much as I enjoy reminiscing.

    What? Adam (you can tell this was back in his swimming days) getting gooped with grape jelly in the middle of the street.

    Where? Out in front of Christin's house, Lakeland, FL.

    Why? I know this was an interesting game of truth or dare. Adam took the dare, about 30 seconds after I took this picture we were scrambling out of the street; there was a car coming!

    When? High school, but I don't remember what year, or what party. (I'm pulling lots of these photos from my miscellaneous photo album that Annamaria gave me at the end of my Senior year with the cool friend quotes - so none have dates)

    How? Obviously with comfort in mind - do note the pillow in the road.


    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    An Out-of-Doors Easter

    I just had a most wonderful outdoor weekend. Away from the computer and desk and work. Its wonderful falling into bed at the end of a long day tired from being outside in the sun and from good old hard(ish) work with dirty hands. I really don't consider hard work when it so beautiful outside - or when you're having and good time working though - its fun for me.

    Here are the Easter Eggs Paul and I dyed on Saturday evening.

    Saturday Paul and I planted our veggie garden. So in two months we will be able to make eggplant Parmesan, cucumber, onion and tomato salad, fried okra, green beans and zucchini - yummy! So if anyone wants some good veggies, just let me know.

    Sunday Michelle, Tommy, Paul and I went on a 6-7 mile hike at the Walls of Jericho. Couldn't have picked a better day. Every plant we passed seemed to be in bloom, it was in the upper 80's with a cool breeze and low humidity, butterflies were literally everywhere, and there were multiple waterfalls (not just two) brought on by the rain last week. Simply gorgeous!

    This is called Yellow Lady's Slipper - and its part of the orchid family.

    This is a variety Trillium - its part of the Lily family.

    Paul's picture of the first waterfall. This is the view from where we stopped to eat lunch.

    Michelle and Tommy in the mouth of a little cave up past the first waterfall.

    The last waterfall - the past three times we've been to the Walls of Jericho this waterfall was completely dry and you could walk all the way down to the wall without even getting your toes wet.

    Paul by the "bonus" waterfall.

    Tommy and I by the last waterfall.

    On the hike out I took some macro shots of this fantastic Luna moth.

    The Luna moth and Paul's hand for a sense of scale. These moths are so beautiful and their size is most impressive.

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    A Closer Look

    Sorry Laura - and anyone else that has an aversion to frogs - you will have to look away from this post - it does include close-ups of frogs!

    Ok now on to my fun discovery. So I decided to use one of my close-ups for my destop at work. This shot has been sitting on my desktop since Tuesday.

    This is about as large as the frog is on my desktop. Look closer. Do you see it yet?

    From there I had to pull the photo into photoshop to really see it. How about even closer?

    So I came to the sudden realization the four of us "GEFRT's" had taken (unbeknownst to us) a self portrait in the frog's eye reflection! If you look closely you can even see me squating down with my camera out in front of me. How cool is that?

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Blast from the Past Thursday #10

    This is to show everyone that I have some pretty silly pictures too - and so my friends will stop crying about the embarrassing photos I've posted. So here's one of me for once - Just to show I can laugh at myself. Damn I look good.

    What? I decided to try balloon smuggling as a hobby.

    Where? Kristen's house on a rather long sleep over night, Lakeland, FL.

    Why? Well it was a party and there were quite a lot of balloons laying around, I just figured I had to smuggle a couple - lopsided as they might be. If I remember correctly there were many photos taken of numerous balloon smugglings that night.

    When? High school - my Sophomore or Junior year.

    How? Lack fof sleep and a very stretchy t-shirt.

    And yes, I was indeed kidding about the looking good bit.


    Email Soapbox

    For those of you who are constantly hounded by spam, forwards, chain email, phishers, and the like You need to go to this site and watch this - right now - You'll get a kick out of it!

    Email Soapbox

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Spring Fling, Great Saltpetre Cave, Kentucky

    About 20 or so of us Huntsville Grotto-ers and about 20 or so DUG members - Dayton Underground Grotto - met at the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve for a weekend of camping and caving. A number of grotto members dodged the tornados and bad weather to get up to Kentucky (myself included), and some did not make it up at all - because the highways were shut down (which was a bummer - but I'm glad they were all ok- and didn't get whisked away by one of the tornados)

    The weekend was filled with adventure - tornados, walkie-talkies, Mad Libs, brown recluse spiders, water & gigantic logs stranding people on the little island in the camp, camp fires, hypothermia, waterfalls, and finally exhausted hysteria.

    On Saturday Lance, Tommy, Michelle, and I managed to do two cave trips on the GSP property - and rescue a frog in the process! (I am now a member of GEFRT - The Glove Extraction & Frog Rescue Team) Later that evening we watched the 2005 HSV grotto slideshow and DUG's Christmas slideshow - both were quite fun! Andy had brought trade items from Dayton, Ohio - candy and chips that are made in Dayton - and Michelle and I brought RC colas and moonpies along with cotton growing kits. And then we did a dark trip in Great Saltpetre Cave. What's a dark trip you ask? Well the Great Saltpetre cave used to be a commercial cave, and is still equipped with electric lights. So what you do is turn out the light and make your way out by feel only - with a 30 minute time limit. Its way super fun - really wild indeed!

    The rainbow that appeared on Friday evening as we were headed out to grab some groceries for dinner.

    Paul with our pad for the weekend. Tommy's tent is on the left, Michelle, Paul and I's is the big one in the middle and then Lance's is on the right.

    Some daddy's and a cave cricket in Lloyd Mullins Cave

    Lance, Michelle and Tommy next to old iron kettle pieces used in saltpetre production during the Civil War.

    Now there's "rocking and pack" and then there's "Packing a Rock." I'm packin'!

    The frog we rescued from Crooked Creek. I sacraficed my Nalagene bottle to collect him and we carefully toted him out and set him down on a nice mossy log by the creek.

    Lance, Michelle, Tommy and I back from our cave outing Saturday afternoon.

    This is the stream and its little road going accross to the island on Friday evening.

    This is everyone trying to haul the gigantic log out of the way and off the road to the little island Saturday afternoon. Even after it was pulled out of the way it was still a few more hours till the water dropped low enough to drive accross. See the two people standing on the far side and the massive log in front of them?

    Andy, Michelle, Tommy, Paul, Lance and Nathan just before we left Sunday morning.

    Paul's "little mustard accident" - I was in the splash zone for this one!


    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Update on updates

    So we updated to Adobe CS2 here at the office - for those of you who are unfamiliar its a bundle of graphic design goodies: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, etc. It took probably 30 minutes or so to install everything and then about thirty more minutes to check for/install the latest updates for all the programs. So somewhere during the course of updating this window pops up:

    Update the Updater in order to update? I just had to take a screen shot because its so funny! I think this is one of those cases where computers are so smart they are stupid, or maybe so stupid they are smart. I would never have guessed I would ever have to update the updater. And why pray tell would the computer even bother to ask me? If I said "quit" - would it just burst into flames?

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Blast from the Past Thursday #9

    I just happened to select a disc of photos with this picture on it (no really, I did!), But it does help that AM is behind on her blackmail payments. (I love you AM!)

    What? Annamaria smuggling the contents of her room in the top of her wedding dress.

    Where? In Annamaria's bedroom at her folk's house in Lakeland, FL

    Why? I think it all started when Annamaria tried on her wedding dress and it wasn't fitted correctly so Joy, Laura and I suggested sewing in those foam "boosters." We attempted to recreate the effect, so AM tried it out with tissue paper. That didn't do very much, so we started suggesting other objects. Eventually it accelerated to what you see here. Personally I think the note pad is a good idea - it would be pretty handy.

    When? Later Feb/Early March 2003, a few days before Shawn and AM's wedding on the 2nd

    How? With a roll of tissue, laughter and some good friend with an open mind and a dress that was too big!


    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Just a sec

    So tonight at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will read 01:02:03 04/05/06. And then again at 1:00 in the afternoon and then It won't happen again for another thousand years.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Catch up #4 - Craig's Well Glove Extraction Team

    Today Michelle, Tommy, Randy, Paul and I went to Craig's Well (a hundred-footer) up on Monte Sano to retrieve Gary's glove. He'd dropped it when he was climbing out in January and we'd already derigged by the time he realized it. He wrote a really funny article in the Grotto newsletter from the perspective of the other glove that if someone did the pit to please pick it up for him. So we did.

    Paul, Randy, Tommy and Michelle getting ready to hike down to Craig's Well.

    Michelle suiting up for the drop.

    Paul at the entrance to the pit.

    Randy, myself and Tommy at the bottom of Craig's Well.

    Randy foggin' up at the top of the lip.

    A successful glove recovery (no matter how disgusting Tommy thinks it is)


    Catch up #3 - Sketching Class

    The Past two weekend in a row I have caved both Saturday and Sunday. Its been really fun to get back into being out both days. Yesterday I took a sketching class for surveying in Tumbling Rock - in order to draw cave maps. Eleven of us learned/practiced profiles, cross sections and plan views, and in general, sketching to scale and what types of features to draw and put in cave maps. It was really fun and I learned quite a lot. Now all in need is some practice.

    This is the setup for the information that you get from the survey stations. The distance between stations the angle up or down, how many feet to the walls, left and right, how many feet to the floor and ceiling.

    This is my plan sketch for the Hidden Door area of Tumbling Rock on a scale of 1 inch= 20 feet. The two items and the top and one at the bottom are cross section "slices" of the passageway. The dots are the symbol for sand the dashes or hatches are mud. The rocks are breakdown, both large and small. There are some symbols for soda straws near the top and there are "T" shaped ones that mean a change in ceiling height. The triangles are formations - stalagmites & tites.


    Catch up #2 - Noone, Dustin, Maya and Sabrina's visit

    Noone, Dustin, their daughter Maya (Savage) and Sabrina (Butterick) came to visit me last weekend. It was an absolute delight and a very welcome distraction indeed. Paul and I took them to Unclaimed Baggage, Bella Beads and Mike's Merchandise and ate at Joe's Pizza (which is by far the best pizza anywhere!), Sabrina cooked us an awesome indian dish - Lamb Saag with Spinach, we played Apples to Apple and many laughs and fun were shared over the course of the weekend. Saturday we meet Tommy, Michelle, and Ethan at the Hardee's in Gurley and then drove over to Hans Kennamer to take them caving for the first time. Everyone had a blast, and it was so fun to show some good friends one of my favorite things to do!

    All of us nice and clean before the entry to Hans Kennamer.

    This is us by the pack rat condo. That HUGE pile of leaves and nuts is the nest for a few of the rather large, but cute rodents.

    Here's Maya crawling away. She had a great time and got plenty muddy.

    Here's Paul next to a formation typically known as "bacon." He was kind of hungry at the time.

    And then we have the aftermath of Hans - some tired/hungry/happy people.