Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blast From the Past Thursday #24

I've fallen behind in my Blast From the Pasts - because surprisingly I have had a lot to do on Thursdays of late. (I have already given myself ten lashes with a wet noodle.)

In honor of my late grandmother(my Mom's Mom), I have a blast from her past - her birthday was just this last Sunday, she would have been 99 years old. This is she and I, in her little apartment kitchen, surrounded by family, and in front of a rather large cake at one of her rather significant birthdays long ago.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fall Harvest

Mutant tomato,
temporarily immortalized in pixels,
and his more average brothers & sisters
visit the friendly fuzzy okra
in sunset bowl.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Arrrrg me matey's. This here date is Talk Like a Pirate Day! So shiver me timbers, weigh anchor and hoist me mizzen spin a merry yarn and make everyone walk the plank in true Jolly Roger's style!

Here are some phrases to practice with:

"Ah-har! Jim lad! Shiver me timbers!"

"I don't know as I recall askin' ye for yer thoughts, ye scurvy bilge-drinkin' tar-merchant. Avast yer gob afore I keelhaul ye an' string yer bones from the crow's nest." - I didn't ask for your opinion. Shut up or you'll regret it.

"Yarr! Weigh anchor! Hoist the mizzen! Savvy, ye scallywag?!" “Or ye will be in Davey Jones' locker soon, ye Landlubber!”

"Thar she blows!" - The pirate equivalent of "Whoop, there it is!". [Arrgh...that be Whaler talk, and no respectable pirate would speak like a blubber lubber!]

"ARRRGHHHH" - this phrase shows general discontent. or it can also mean that someone is about to get wild- a.k.a. a battle cry.

"wake me at the zenith of the moon" - only full blown pirates know this phrase. An educated pirate is rare but also the most deadly kind. They are smarter than you and crazier.

"Ahoy, me hearties!" - Equivalent of "Hello, my friends!"

"Avast ye scum ridden weevil shaggers. Captain Black Beard is gonna keel haul you and grow barnacles on ye starboard knacker". - The Captain isn't happy...

"I'm gonna make a kill" - This pirate is going to kill something... and he is serious about it.

"Dogs ahoy!" - Equivalent of "Things to kill, straight ahead."

"Shiver me timbers!" - Like saying "Oh My!" like my legs are shaking

"Skuttle me Skippers" - Making a mistake and being judged for/by it.

"Avast ye varmint" - Stop right there young man because you're in big trouble.

"Weigh anchor!" - Let's go!

"Yarr." - I agree.

"Yarr!" - I see your point, and agree wholeheartedly.

"Yarr-ha-harr!" - You're right!

"Yarr?" - Excuse me, what did you say?

"Yarrgh" - I respectfully acknowledge that you are right and I am wrong

"Blow me down!" - You don't say? How surprising.

"Ye Scalawag!" - You dirty dog!

"Savvy?" - Is that okay with you? Do you understand?

"Ahoy" - Call to attract attention, something akin to 'Hello, there!'

""Fo'c's'le" - Slang for Forecastle. Small candlelit room where a pirate used the sopping bucket. (Bathroom)

"Jack" - A flag or a sailor; showing how sailors would refer to their ship's colors as one of the crew. Hence Jack Tar for sailor and the Union Jack flag.

"Messdeck lawyer" - A know-it-all

"Salmagundi" - A dish of chopped meat, eggs, anchovies, onions and anything else the cook can throw in; A piratical delicacy

"Son of a Biscuit Eater" - Not so much a sailor term, but a derrogatory term indicating someone you don't like

"Landlubber" - A "Non-pirate" or a curse for someone who is a coward

"Mungus" - A legendary pirate. I fear for my ancestors!

"Weigh anchor! Hoist the mizzen!!!" - Basically adds on to Let's go!

"davey jones' locker" - death after walking the plank. your coffin in the sea.

"A merry yarn" - A good story

More Phrases...
Dave Barry on TLAPD

Friday, September 15, 2006

Garrison Keillor Groupie

So this past Tuesday Paul and I had an amazing opportunity to listen to Garrison Keillor at the VBC during the Huntsville Public library's Vivre le Livre. John and Maggie joined us for the evening and we had a wonderful dinner with a 1000+ other fans and then listened to Mr. Keillor speak of the library with its "islands and archipelagoes of books," speak of the Elizabethans "banging on your ears telling you don't take this moment for granted," sing a sad ballad about the WWII invasion of Anzio, and quote Shakespeare like he was reading it from a book. He is such an amazing public speaker, allowing his thoughts to meander and then get pulled back to his main topic, meander, topic, meander, and topic... weaving the warp and weft of words. The talk was so much more - funny - serious - inspiring - poignant. His deep baritone voice is mesmeric on the radio, and if I miss the Writer's Almanac at 9AM (central time) I feel that my day hasn't started properly.

One of the Vivre le Livre banners at the entrance.

John and Maggie at our table (#52).

After closing remarks we were all offered the chance to meet him and give him a book to autograph. I bought "Good Poems for Hard Times" and Paul & I stood in line for about an hour. They had us write our names down on a yellow sticky so Mr. Keillor wouldn't have to ask for the spelling, and when it came our turn he shook my hand and pronounced my full name correctly - and with his sauntering baritone it will ring in my ears for quite some time. He didn't seem rushed and actually spoke to us for a while, Paul offered him an opportunity to go caving the next day and he said "I cringe at the thought of going caving" and then told us he's claustrophobic. I'll bet that's a little known fact about Mr. Keillor.

When Paul asked him if we could take a picture he said ok - that he needed to strike a dashing pose. He made me feel pretty short - he doesn't sound that tall on the radio.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Blue Springs

This past Saturday was the August grotto trip to Blue Springs. After a 2 and a half hour drive to Tennessee, Tommy, Michelle, Mark, Ohad, Andrew, Jack, Ethan and I met Kelly (our brave Dogwood City tour guide). Blue Springs is the longest cave in Tennessee at a whopping 32+ miles - and held the largest, fantastically pristine formations that I've seen to date. After poking around in the main trunk for a bit we back tracked and explored the "New Formation Area," and I think the Cathedral Room. We didn't even make a dent in the 32 miles! But what a great trip - can't wait to go back there again one day.

I played around a lot with hand stitching photos - I found that I'd taken quite a few brackets without even knowing it. The more I stitched the more I found that I could stitch and give the viewer a better sense of scale. Don't forget to double click on the photo if you want to bring up a larger version.

Here's everyone at the register on the way in (left to right): Ohad, Kelly, Ethan, Michelle, Mark, Tommy, Andrew and Jack - who seems to be hiding.

Here's Jack on the bridge. Did I mention that this cave comes equipped with its own suspension bridge? How cool is that? We got to meet one of the guys that designed/installed this bridge when we were about to leave - and I was able to ask him what the mesh material used for the floor of the bridge. My best guess was some sort of conveyor belt, but apparently its somehow used in fertilizer spreading.

Here's a little gypsum flower that I discovered while we took a break for lunch.

After climbing a mountain of flowstone and squeezing up through a little hole between flowstone and rock we arrived at the most fantastic pond. The ceiling and walls dripped with formations, the still water mirroring calm but for the sporadic drops falling from the 'tites. (Kelly told me it was called a "reflection" but I much prefer "exact duplicate.")

But we had to break the calm to continue. Mark, Michelle, Ohad, Ethan and Kelly are carefully making their way around the edge of the pool.

Here are the rimstone pools that looked like stair steps from across the way.

Here's a bit that was in the next room. (Tommy would want me to tell you that this portion of the program is brought to you by Kripsy Kreme.) This is a combo of two photos.

Here's Ohad next to another section of Krispy Kreme formations. This one is another double photo. I had one picture of Ohad in focus - but not the formation and then vice-versa, so I combined them.

Here's a wall covered in formations. And a good photo for a sense of scale - this is a combo of two vertical photos - and with my tiny little flash too they were kind of crappy - but it does give you an idea of how many pretties there were.

From my perspective, this formation was just to the right of the previous photo. I was able to combine two photos yet again. I'm so fascinated by the drapery in the back - that never had a ceiling or wall to drape from.

Here's a tall combo - this was one of the formations against the wall. Take a close look at the draperies at the very top - they corkscrew twice before they drop down at that gravity-defying angle to feed the column.

Here's some more pretties. These were way up past Mark on the large combo photo off to the left hand side. Fantastic bacon on the left hand side.

Here's my last panorama of the trip. I lagged walking back to the cars because I was taking pictures of the cave door and was greeted by this view as I stepped out of the woods. It had just rained and the mist was rising off the pasture. If you look closely you can just see three cavers past the tree on the right, walking around the corner almost out of sight.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Helectite Heaven

Sunday a group of 8 (Nathan, Steve, Jennifer, Tommy, Jimmy, Michelle, Ethan and I) headed to Fern Cave for a trip to Helectite Heaven. This is surely the place where all good Helectites go. We met at 8:30 AM at the NSS office, were in cave by 11:30 and after a couple hours of caving (including sketchy canyons, chimneying, a thirty foot pit, impersonations of Mr. Mackey, and some crawling) we were there. So what you ask, are helectites? Let me show you.

This is Nathan filming with his "wham-o-dine-kick-bootie" camera and Steve with his smoked salmon - which was indeed awesome on Doritos.

This group of helectites were just to the right of where Nathan was filming - and are about the size of your fist.


Jimmy squeezing through into one of the alcoves.

This helectite looked like some sort of odd spoked ball.

Michelle crawling back out of the alcove. You can really get a sense of helectite scale here.

Tommy in a sandy belly crawl.

Jennifer checking out some formations.

This helectite is a bit of a hybrid. Helectites and crystals all in one -looked like it was dipped in rock candy.

A gypsum flower amidst the crystal covered ceiling