Archive for the ‘machinery’ Category

Giant guitar

Thursday, January 1st, 2015


Here are Andy and Mark playing KISS miniature golf, standing in front of a giant guitar. I don’t exactly remember how we found out about KISS mini-golf, but I’m certainly glad we did. The course is indoors in a building near the strip that also features some KISS (and many other bands) memorabilia – clothes, signed album covers, and even an old Porsche. Also the awesomest wedding chapel ever. Pretty much the whole place is lit with black lights, except the gift shop. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken a few days ago at the KISS mini-golf center in Las Vegas, and part of my famous Las Vegas, Machinery, and Statue series.

I contend that that giant guitar counts as both machinery and a statue. As usual, Loyal Readers are free to disagree in their own blogs.

It’s 2015! We had a great New Year’s Eve celebration! We went with 18 friends to the Westgate Hotel (the former Las Vegas Hilton) for dinner at Benihana and then an “old school” New Year’s Eve party. Our organizer told us the “old school” designation referred to 50s and 60s music, which I thought would be fun.

Turns out she was wrong. In reality, it referred to “old school” hip-hop music. That worked out to be way better. I recognized a few songs from the 70s and 80s, but most were more recent than that and therefore quite unfamiliar to me. I loved it all! I had no idea I was such a fan of old school hip-hop music. The crowd was fun, the music was great, the DJ was very entertaining, our table was close to the stage and dance floor, and we generally had a wonderful time of it.

Most of us snuck away to go see the midnight fireworks show on the strip. Apparently, seven or eight of the big hotels set off identical fireworks shows from their roofs simultaneously. We could only see three of them from our window, but it was amazing! Highly recommended.

Joanne and I spent the day together today, right up until just a few minutes ago. We didn’t do all that much; after a late start, we came over to my house, made a nice breakfast together, played several Wii games (we both won a few, which worked out well!), sat and chatted, made dinner together, ate dinner together (along with Mark), and then bid a fond farewell so Joanne could get her beauty rest before work tomorrow.

Plus, she has to pack this evening or tomorrow morning for our weekend trip to Denver. The plane leaves at 6:45 tomorrow afternoon, leaving her very little time to catch it after work. I, on the other hand, am planning a somewhat more leisurely day.

I hadn’t played on my Wii for quite some time. When I bought my TiVo, I had to unplug the Wii from my TV because it could only handle a single analog input. A few days ago, I ordered a Wii HDMI converter. It arrived yesterday, so I reinstalled the Wii today. It’s fun, although we only have Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. That’s been plenty of entertainment for me. I wish we had a Mario Brothers game, though. I don’t even know if they have one for the Wii.

I recently read an article by Leo Babauta, who writes the excellent Zen Habits website. Leo frequently writes about living a life free of goals. Rather, he emphasizes mindfulness and the establishment of habits. At first, I had a hard time seeing the difference, but I think I’m starting to get it. Living without goals and to-do lists doesn’t mean you excuse yourself from keeping commitments and completing things. Rather, it means (to me at least), you establish patterns in your life that result in accomplishing what you need and want to do, on time and under budget, without undue stress.

With that in mind, I am not making any resolutions (not that I ever really did), but I do have a few habits I hope to establish this year. Let’s look at my initial list, shall we?

Exercising regularly and early – My desire is to lift weights Monday through Friday, take a nice long walk on Saturday, and take Sundays off. I want to go to the gym at about 8:00 M-F. I appear to naturally wake up at about 7:00, so my current life without an alarm clock won’t be affected by this. Joanne drives to work at about that time, so I would like to chat with her on the phone during my drive to the gym. I have gotten a heart monitor and MVP account on MapMyFitness (thanks, Andy!) to optimize my workouts – and for the entertainment value, truth be told.

Writing daily – I love writing. I would like to improve my skills and perhaps even find a niche where I could grow an audience. I think that starts with writing every day, either here or on a different website that’s accessible to the public. I want to make essentially everything I write public. I would like to publish an article on this website every weekday and on my other websites on a regular schedule.

Reading meaningful content daily – I have always been an avid reader. I spend a large amount of time reading now, but I would like to make my reading more meaningful. To that end, I would like to seek out excellent books, both new and old, and fill my reading time with them. I also want to keep up with the news and other entertaining content, but I don’t want that to take up so much of my reading time that the good stuff gets forced out.

Eating well and in moderation – I would like to make and eat excellent food and to eat it in quantities consistent with good health and a sustained weight of about 180-190 pounds. While I love eating out on a regular basis, I would like to eat excellent food in reasonable portions in restaurants too. I would like to eat only when I’m hungry and stop when I’m not hungry anymore.

Beautifying and simplifying my environment – I love my home. I love the quiet, peaceful feeling here. I love much of the artwork and furnishings. I want to continually beautify my home and yard and continually simplify them as well, getting rid of things I don’t want or need. This will reduce the expense and effort required to maintain my household, make my environment feel more spacious and elegant, and give me an enhanced sense of peace and happiness.

Learning to meditate – I want to learn what it means to be mindful. To that end, I want to learn how to effectively meditate. I believe this practice will give me increased peace.

These habits can’t all be successfully established at once, so I’m going to take them one at a time. I’m starting with exercising regularly and early. I went to the gym yesterday at about 8:00 and I’m going to do that again tomorrow. After I’ve been doing that successfully for a month or so, I’ll pick another habit and work on it until I’m doing it successfully too. I feel a strong desire to establish all these habits right away, so it’s going to be difficult to not try to do too much too soon. I’ll work to stay focused on one thing at a time.

Anyway, that’s my plan for this year, or at least the first half of the year. More habits to come as these get mastered.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: incorrect hamburger order shooting!

See you tomorrow.

Airborne entertainment

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


Here’s the view from my airplane seat last August, on my way to Detroit to see my mother for the last time. Live baseball on my iPad at 30,000 feet! I like how Southwest does some things. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at altitude in a Southwest 737 in August, 2014, and part of my famous Electronics, Food, Machinery, and Vacation series.

I didn’t know it was my last visit with my mom. But it was. She was sick by then – very sick indeed – and in the hospital when I got there. They moved her to a rehab place while I was there, but she didn’t make any improvement and she left that place for hospice at home shortly after I came back to Las Vegas at the end of the week. I’m so grateful I got to see her one more time, in spite of the terrible shape and low spirits she was in. She was a wonderful mother and a truly good person and I miss her.

There are a few new things to discuss today, but it’s very late so I’ll try to keep it brief.

Paul’s here! His two-week stay is up tomorrow. We’ve had a very nice visit and I’m sorry to see him have to go home. A few hours after Paul’s departure, Andy arrives for Thanksgiving. I love having the company!

Mark got a new phone yesterday. His iPhone 4S was getting very old and its battery wasn’t holding much of a charge anymore. So we got him a new 5S. Yes, I know that’s an older phone, but it was what we could afford and it’s a whole lot better than what he had. Besides, a few short weeks ago, it was the coolest thing on the block. I think he likes it.

I finally finished the first draft of the website I’ve been contracted to produce. I thought it was probably pretty far from what my client wanted, but it turns out I was wrong. They love it! I have a bit of cleanup work to do, the client needs to provide me a bunch of text, and he needs to get hosting arranged before we can go live. But I’m truly excited about having a design they’re happy with.

I think I’m ready to start working full-time again. Currently, I’m planning to concentrate all my efforts on PhotoDoc for at least a few months. Maybe once I get things under better control and feel that I’m providing my customers and potential customers a product and customer service we’re completely proud of, I can turn my attention back to iOS apps, but this is the thing that’s currently most likely to provide me a living, so that’s where my effort is going.

Speaking of working on iOS apps, I’ve been thinking about an iOS app to complement PhotoDoc. I don’t think we’ll try to put the analysis tools on an iPhone, but I’m toying with the idea of using the iPhone/iPad as data gathering tools, with photos, audio files, interview forms, growth chart data, and even possibly traumagrams being captured on the iDevice and transferred automatically to the user’s copy of PhotoDoc. I need to talk to my partner and our odontologist advisors to see if there’s any interest in pursuing this. The idea is that customers could use the device they always have in their pockets to gather information whenever it becomes available and get it into PhotoDoc immediately. It’s already possible to use those devices to gather data, but it currently requires a tiny bit of work to get it into the app on your computer’s desktop. We could save that bit of effort and make it a free or low cost add-on to the program. Just a thought.

Ken came over today to visit before Paul leaves. It was good to see him. We’re getting together again on Thanksgiving afternoon and again on Saturday for a couple hours for me to help him set up his Christmas village in their living room. I enjoy hanging out with Ken.

Joanne and I have a bunch more travel coming up soon, which I’ll discuss here at a later date.

And that’s about it for today. Things are great.

I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: crime-fighting fake fish!

See you tomorrow.

Truck driver

Monday, September 29th, 2014


Here’s Mia at the wheel of a very important fire truck. She appears very excited to get to that particular fire. Or maybe that’s her look of steely determination. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken during our recent trip to Sonoma Valley, and part of my famous Machinery and Vacation series.

Speaking of iPhone-cams, my new iPhone 6 Plus is here! It arrived last Tuesday. Joanne and I were in San Diego for a few days, so I actually opened the box on Friday evening. So I’ve had it for a few days already. It’s very nice. I’m still struggling just a bit with how big it is, but I’m getting used to that. My old phone was pretty much a one-hand thing most of the time, and the new one just isn’t. It has an amazing camera, which I’m just beginning to explore. It will be featured here many times. Today’s Great Art, though, is from my good old iPhone 4s.

Let’s see, what else is new? Joanne and I spent last week in San Diego, as mentioned previously. We stayed at a place just south of Balboa Park the first two nights and then moved up to Oceanside the last two. Both places were very nice and we had a wonderful time. I showed Joanne our two houses on Paseo Ajanta in Penasquitos. They didn’t look as bad as the last time I saw them. I guess the neighborhood is holding up well.

Joanne started her new job today. It went well, to hear her tell. She seems excited about it. Hopes are high for great success.

And that’s it for today. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this combination food violence news and exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: peanut butter jellyfish!

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 30th, 2014


Here are Mark, Heather, and Andy riding the chairlift up the mountain at Park City. Great Art taken in June during the McCulloch family reunion and part of my famous Event, Machinery, and Vacation series.

I’m back! Did you think I would never return, Loyal Readers? Is anybody even out there anymore? Hello? Is this thing on?

Anyway. Lots of things have happened since my last post. We went to Park City and enjoyed seeing everybody. Mark took my car home and I rode to Denver with Andy and Heather. Spent two nights there and then flew to Detroit, where I stayed until the 7th of July. Then I flew home.

Mark went to San Jose to visit friends again on the 15th. He’s on his way home right now. Should be here in half an hour or so. I’m looking forward to having him home again. He’s starting school at UNLV Real Soon Now.

Joanne and I were scheduled to go to a big jazz festival in Ontario, California on the 19th, but the promoters canceled it at the last minute. So we took a poll and decided to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico instead. We spent four days there and then went on to San Jose to see Joanne’s son Desi’s karaoke shows. While we were there, we also saw Katie, Cliff, and Mark. On our last night there, we also went to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Fun! We finally went home and life got back to normal. We’ve been out to eat at a bunch of places, been to see other things, and generally kept ourselves entertained.

And that brings us to today. Mia arrives for a five-day stay on Monday the 4th of August. We have some fun plans for her visit. Then we’re going to Katie and Cliff’s engagement party on August 16 in Emeryville. Then I go to Michigan again. Explanation below.

Now for the difficult news. My mom has been diagnosed with liver cancer. They still don’t have many details, but she’s going for radiation prep tomorrow and we expect it will start soon. She’ll get radiation for five weeks along with chemotherapy as she can tolerate it. We don’t know what the future holds for her yet, but we hope she’ll still have several happy, healthy years after this is done. So my weeklong trip to Michigan is to be there to help her get to a week’s worth of her radiation appointments. I’m looking forward to being there again and helping however I can.

And that’s enough for my welcome back post. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: meal-eating, chair-stealing thief!

See you tomorrow.

Plow cows

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014


Here are some ancient Egyptian cows doing a bit of plowing. They seem a bit ineffective up there on a platform above all the plants and weeds, but who am I to criticize ancient Egyptian farming methods? Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at the Luxor hotel and casino in fabulous Las Vegas, and part of my famous Las Vegas and Machinery series.

I think we can all agree that an ancient Egyptian plow is machinery, no?

Had a good few days since I last posted. Let’s see if we can remember what’s been going on, shall we? Joanne and I went over to the Luxor yesterday afternoon, hung around their pool (which was freezing) and their jacuzzi (which was about the temperature their pool should have been) and had a delicious sushi dinner at one of their restaurants. We walked around their shops, did some browsing in one or two stores, made our way to Mandalay Bay and back, and generally had a nice time.

Monday, Joanne came over and I acted as sous chef for her creation of her family’s traditional spaghetti dinner. It was excellent! We added a very fancy tossed salad, Italian bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and Italian blood orange soda. She had earlier helped me cut up a little watermelon with the intention of eating it with dinner. We forgot it, so there’s a lot of cut-up watermelon in the fridge right now. Help me, Mark!

On Sunday, Mark and I went to Laura’s house for a combination Melanie’s birthday/my birthday/Father’s Day dinner. It was delicious and the company was excellent. We had a very nice time. Thanks, Laura and Tyson! Thanks, everybody else who contributed! Which didn’t necessarily include me.

Saturday, Joanne and I went with the Dining and Vining meetup group to a Japanese restaurant for their hibachi dinner. The food was excellent and the chef was very entertaining. The only fly in the ointment was that it took a total of about four hours to eat the meal. The service was so ludicrously slow that it came fairly close to ruining the experience for several people. However, the company was great and we managed to have a fun time anyway.

And that brings us to today. I need to go to bed right away because Mark and I are heading to Park City tomorrow morning! I’m looking forward to the beginning of my epic trip. I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that I’ve changed from driving the whole way to flying. I looked at the cost and it appears that flying and renting a car in Michigan will be slightly cheaper than driving, so that’s what I’m doing. Mark and I will take the Taurus to Park City for the reunion, as planned. He’ll drive it home and I’ll hitch a ride to Denver with Andy and Heather. After a two-day stay, during which I expect to see Katy, Cliff, and Mia, I’ll take the Super Shuttle over to the Denver airport and fly to Detroit. At the end, I’ll fly home, where Joanne will pick me up and spend the day with me. While I was kind of looking forward to the road trip (and, indeed, that was originally the whole point of the trip!), I’m happy with the way it’s turning out. I’ll enjoy being with family and Mark and I will have tomorrow’s drive together. Wish me luck, Loyal Readers!

Not a whole lot more to tell tonight and, as mentioned previously, I need to get to sleep before my long, long drive tomorrow, so I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: 76,000 pounds of beef ribs burn in Ludlow big rig fire!

See you tomorrow.