Saturday, January 31, 2009

Phoenix Open - TPC Scottsdale

Okay, maybe I'll play a round of golf this Sunday after practically giving it up last July when I shot a 108 on my basically unfair mountain golf course in Ellijay. Unfair? Yea, when you can't hit it straight! Expect to lose a half dozen balls:(
Home course hole by hole- this day I actually played well.

Watching these pros again, they make it look too easy. The notices posted no cameras allowed on the grounds. But they also said no inappropriate booing(more below). Blowing the dust off my tiny Sony pocket camera not used in a few years I ventured past the wand wavers at the gate. Hey I wasn't going without taking some pics! I wonder if I can get away with it at Pebble Beach too?

The infamous 16th hole! It's now entirely surrounded by seating. A hole with a stadium view. Story has it the hole started as a gathering ground for ASU college students because the beer tent was nearby. College kids and beer? I've been there. I get it. What's golf without a beer tent? Many that follow the game know the rest of the story and how it's evolved. I guess Tiger doesn't like coming here anymore because of it.

I was really surprised at what is allowed. I mean golf etiquette? Booing? Unheard of. If a player can't get the ball on the green from the tee 162 yards away expect a rash of booing. We were there at 11 AM so the beer hadn't showed it's effects and the crowd was a mix of all age groups. No mass hard core 16th hole followers were present. The mood was tame.

The sky box area below thanks to a fraternity brother. All the trimmings. I was the designated driver for the day, but I did take advantage of the food, suns warmth, and 18th hole views. Plenty of free booze to go around and lottsa pretty ladies!

I think the guy in the middle should go home. What do you think? Come on dude open your eyes!

And some hand rolled stogies we brought home for my brother in law Brad who couldn't make the event. Doesn't mean he didn't hit the beer tent at home...hehe

Friday, January 30, 2009


I've been busy with video for my work, if you want to call it work. There is so much to learn, particularly trying to get a good video resolution uploaded to YouTube. Having spent a few days in Jerome getting some actual job site footage I have the editing stuff figured out but it's that lousy resolution.

For example this is what this scene looks like on my PC. You can enlarge the images by clicking to get a better view.

Now see the difference when it gets uploaded to youtube.

There are great tutorials on YouTube on how to do things, but so far no luck on improving the resolution to the way I want it. At least I got the wide screen thing straightened out. Sceen doesn't fit well with this blog template. Click the link or image below.

Edited 1/29- After clicking the link above and reaching the Youtube page, click watch in HD. Just below and right of screen. I got it right!

Off to the Phoenix Open today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jiffy Pop Dome and Westgate - Glendale AZ

Got together with an old frat friend for the first time since '78 and we checked out the new football stadium and events nearby. It's called Phoenix Stadium but valley folks have different names for it including the Jiffy Pop Dome and another reference to a toaster.

Pic of me first, then Theta Delti Chi (Epsilon Triton) frat bro Mad Dog. Yep the name fit him well back in the days.

And Westgate above. This area is adjacent to the stadium and arena the Phoenix Suns play in. I guess they have a hockey team too, but I don't keep up. Plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and the like here. It's not like the old days when all one could find near many stadiums was their own boring hot dogs, peanuts and beer. Menu prices? Up there. Only time will tell if this place continues to thrive. I'm not the only one cutting back here and there.

Saddle House Ranch Chop House. Cool looking place but we settled on Hooters for lunch down the road.

Yessir, you can buy a condo here too. $500K to $ 2million.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Walk Around The Campus - Arizona State

Thirty three years sure goes fast. That's how long ago I probably walked this pathway on the ASU campus. Hell, I probably had all my teeth then too! Memories of the day. Sure has changed; notably the melting pot of students and naturally the construction. Yep all the pretty girls still flock to ASU. Why not. It's party central (my downfall years ago) and has great weather.

And climbing down that butte after a football game! Wheeew. That in itself was a chore after several beers and some of that whacky tobaccy. This was before they added the upper deck of the football stadium. Looks like they took all the fun out by erecting fencing around the area, but you couldn't see the football game anyway today from that perch. But who watched the game? It was a party excuse.

Fraternity Row. Sad, but the Sigma Nu house looks great below.

And I'll never forget that one Saturday morning when somebody in the frat said Reggie Jackson was playing catch out back. Being a fomer SAE, Jackson paid some visits after he left. This was the day after he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles back in '76, but refused to go. I sat around for about ten minutes listening to him, but enough was enough. If you've heard about Reggie it's all accurate. He's was a great ball player but no god.

Let's wee what else I have. Oh, high rise condos on the west side of town. No longer is the Manzanita dorm the most prevalent landmark in town when looking from a distance.

Didn't make it to Jerome last week. Rescheduled for Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tempe, Arizona - College Town

Sister Kim has been in Arizona since way back when. This being my second visit in 30 years (2004 the first) I met a new member of the family; Ky the black dog behind "big yeller." Yea these critters can keep one busy, but they have been calmer than I expected. They're ready to play some ball, but what else is new.

I ask them every morning..."okay boys what's on the schedule today?" Looks like rest and relaxation in the warm Arizona sun. Speaking of weather, mid 70's sure beats the frigid cold my home is getting presently. It actually dipped below 10 degrees in Ellijay this morning.

I made it to the local nine hole golf course already. Sorry the only pics are of the score card. My nephew Cole and one of his buds joined in, along with sister Kim who claims I never have beaten her...until yesterday. I never thought of it really, but it could be true. But then she was hitting from the ladies tees at Doylestown CC back in those days.

Well the boys want to play. Signing off until early next week from Jerome, Arizona.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ruidoso, New Mexico - Gambling Mecca

I didn't think I'd see a gambling town on my way through New Mexico after leaving Roswell. Travelling the sparse route along US 70 first showed a race track. "Out here in the middle of...well...nowhere?" I thought. Then the Billy The Kid Casino on the right, and a few others along the way. Plenty of new hotels along the main drag. It looks like the town is thriving.

Ruidoso is really out of the way tucked up in the mountains northeast of the White Sands missile range. The elevations took me by suprise as well, but what did I know about New Mexico? After seeing the sign below I did some more digging and discovered there are some peaks over 12,000 feet.

...and they have moose! Haven't seen one of those critters thus far in my sheltered life.

A view from the west side after coming down the mountains.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Roswell, New Mexico UFO Musuem

Roswell UFO museum I thought the town would be filled with more UFO stuff than it actually has, but even these folks have to take life seriously. On the outside of town the welcome sign simply states dairy capital of the southwest. At least I can claim..."hey I've been there and even bought a souvenir shirt to prove it."

The UFO museum, formally a movie theater has a great deal of information on the Roswell incident including a very large library of science fiction books and films you can actually check out. I thought the museum entry cost was a bit steep for what they offer; $ 16.00 per person.

And yep they have alien decorated street lamps still with Santa hats atop them.

Roswell alien street lamps

And they have one little guy captured for display...

And finally the autopsy....

alien autopsySome miscellaneous cartoons of the day..

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wind Power. Sweetwater TX

Stop over in President George Bush's hometown, Midland TX. Not much to see as the winds were kicking up fiercely upon arrival near sunset. If you should happen to visit from the east I would not advise taking the business loop. The area needs help.

Nice I had a chance to see something interesting while driving west on I-20 from Dallas Fort Worth yesterday afternoon. I mean, this country can get boring, but don't tell any proud Texan that. I had driven the route almost five years ago but don't recall the wind farms. Having seen these things on the Discovery channel I knew they were large, but actually seeing them close up is a reality trip.

Sweetwater Texas area.

wind farms Sweetwater TXParts being transported along the interstate. Note the trucks below on the left to give a better idea of the blade size.

Wind turbine blade
More pictures of Texas later, including my interesting stop at the Southfork Ranch near Dallas. It's off to Roswell, NM this morning; a three and a half hour drive.

Local Links:

Texas Wind Energy

Southfork Ranch Photos - Dallas Area

It isn't a large mansion by any means and the downstairs bedrooms are very small, but this spread is by far one of the most regognized in TV history or up there in the likes of the Ponderosa of Bonanza. Dallas the show is one of my all time favorite TV shows and being there made it just as memorable.

For thirteen years all scenes around the pool, back patio/upstairs balcony, and driveway were shot on the Parker Texas ranch. Interior scenes done in Hollywood.

A few critters on the ranch...

Longhorn bull from the upstairs balcony...noisy fella too

Look. He's winking at you...

Shetland ponies...

And some house pics..

The ranch itself holds over 1,000 events each year from corporate get togethers to high school proms in larger buildings adjacent to the home built after the TV series ended. If you're hungry there's Miss Ellies restaurant(not open during my early morning visit) and for gifts you can check out Jocks '77 Lincoln while browsing.

Jock Ewing '77 Mark V

Too Crowded For Me

Staying over night in Plano Texas north of Dallas. Driving around on a Sunday it was obvious this town is too crowded for me. I can tolerate the congestion I'll be up against the next 4-5 weeks, but gimme that rural life any day of the week! The LA area should be a real treat! It's been thirty years since I travelled those roads.

About that Holiday Inn Express. I shouldn't be handling any brain surgery today. Don't get me wrong, nice place, but who empties dumpsters at 4:30 AM? There are restaurants and businesses in front and behind the hotel, so it was continual banging for about ten minutes. And about that musty smelling water.... The local water source goes on to note this.

Why does my water smell and taste bad?

"This may take place during the summer months. A combination of low water levels in our reservoirs and high temperatures are excellent conditions for the growth of algae. The algae then creates an oil which permeates the water and creates an almost muddy, musty smell and taste. However, the water is safe to drink. The City of Plano purchases its treated water from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). According to the NTMWD, they treat the water for algae, but can remove only about 90%. The condition will persist until cooler weather arrives. Again, the water is safe to drink, but may not be very pleasant to taste."

Cool traffic graphics at this link. I'm sure other metro areas have similar but it's the first time I've looked into such. I wonder how accurate it is? Only time will tell as my plans have changed to reach Midland, TX later today instead of the 8 1/2 hour drive to Roswell, NM.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dallas - First Leg Of Trip Complete

I had a good story together until I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express today. Woke up from a nap freezing my bejemas off. Lousy thing was blowing cold air! So they transfer me to a suite. Whoa boy! It's always hard to get in a mood to put together something when disruptions like this happen.

I'll complete Monday morning. In the meantime the trip has been fine except for some rain Saturday while travelling through Alabama and Mississippi. The truck needed a bath anyway. Boy that's some interesting crap isn't it? I gotta go get some dinner. Plan to visit the Southfork Ranch Monday.

Btw, congratulations Eagle fans. I actually listened to the game on the road today. Can they finally be for real?? After how many years of disappointment? Have the Phillies had an effect on their quest for a first Super Bowl ever? Could it also be a Pa. Super Bowl?

Travelling west from Vicksburg MS to Louisiana over the mighty Mississipp.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Technology When It Doesn't Work

Grrrr. I hate this stuff. It looks like I'll be on my third laptop now. Tried doing some stupid windows update and didn't realize it would take so long. As you can imagine my impatience took the best of me. I shut it down.

Now it says it's broken, can't be fixed...blah, blah. So I thought "hey I have that other Toshiba laptop, it works...only six years old and it says satellite!" Bah hum bug . Can't get the Verizon wireless installed and I'm not about to test the waters with hotels along my route and their so called free wireless internet. I can't count how many problems I've had with that in the past.

Yea hooking up to a hardwire (actual high speed cable) is the answer but try asking a hotel clerk if they have that. They'll say. "Sure, we have high speed internet." They don't understand. Oh well I've been meaning to grab a new laptop used strictly for video so I can keep things more organized. Organized me?

I may try the Geek squad down in Cumming this afternoon to see if they can tell me what's wrong with #2 laptop. It kinda stinks going on the road tomorrow without all the saved webpages I have. Tried to handle the task of saving those to a CD as well. I know the steps...C:\Documents and Settings\Me\Favorites but the lousy desktop I have doesn't recognize the cd that's sitting in there ready to copy!

Grrrr. Then there's the case of the Mini DV camera. No problem, works like a charm... but...that's what started this thing. Sure it will capture video on my desktop but not laptop #2 regardless of what I tried to do. It has the right firewire connection etc but the lousy laptop only wanted to capture the images from the live web cam that I never use!

Grrrrr! I need a real vacation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fleeing To Warmer Weather

I'll be on the road starting Saturday January 10. Time to flee these hills in search of warmer weather for about six weeks. Where will my travels take me? The map below gives one a better idea.

Thick blue line- Areas I will be driving west
Red line- Amtrak Sunset Limited
White line- Driving from New Orleans to home.


A- Ellijay, GA - January 10
B- Dallas, TX - January 11-13
C- Roswell, NM - January 13-15
D- Arizona January 15 -February 2
E- Las Vegas, NV - February 2-7
F- Burbank, CA - February 7-11
G- Monterrey, CA - February 11-14
H- Mountain View, CA - February 14-17
I- San Diego, CA - February 17-20 (Tentative)
J- Tempe, AZ - February 20-25

Above dates may be adjusted to catch earlier eastbound train from Arizona. Schedule only runs three times each week. Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. Along with that I have to time the train with my truck that will be transported from Tempe to New Orleans.

Return Trip


Start: Maricopa Arizona Wed. February 25 11:17 AM
End: New Orleans, LA Friday February 26 4:00 PM

So maybe you're wondering? What's in Roswell, New Mexico? Aliens! I love science fiction..and I've always wanted to visit the place.

...and what's in Mountain View?

...and while I'm near the Bay Area...

Monterrey... Is that spelled right? Blogger spell checker says so.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hurricane Ivan Remants

For those unfamiliar, Hurricane Ivan ravaged Alabama and Georgia back in September of 2004 dumping as much as twelve inches of rain in some areas over a two day period. I had been meaning to talk to my neighbor about "what's the highest level you've seen the creek?" He's a newcomer too, but a native of the area.

Although he wasn't here during Ivan a few references were helpful from Ray and Pam (neighbors at the top of the hill) who founded our little community back in 1989. According to their first hand experience about 1-2 feet of water would be in my current storage area. Nice to know in case I need to prepare.

I always wondered how some of this brush (below) got into the middle of the woods and why there are bunches of small twigs (above) lodged in some trees that overhang the creek. It must have been Ivan. With that in mind it looks like my new pathways would be washed away quite easily.