Archive for the ‘train’ Category

Drive wheel

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015


Here’s one of the drive wheels from an old steam locomotive.  A beautifully restored old steam locomotive. In fact, it’s probably way better than it ever was when it was actually pulling railcars, including the day it rolled out of the factory. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken in June 2014 at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, and part of my famous Machinery, Train, and Vacation series.

That was the trip to Michigan that I felt I must make. It started as a month-long drive all over the country to help me heal a little bit and morphed into a flight to Utah, a ride in Andy’s car to Colorado, a flight to Michigan, and one more flight home. I never did take that road trip I was contemplating.

The trip turned out to be the last time I was with my mother before we found out she had cancer. What a difficult year it was! But I’m alive and moving forward.

Long time no post. Let’s try to recap just a little of what’s been going on. Hmm . . . not too much, it turns out. I’ll just get started with what I can remember and we’ll see where that takes us.

Joanne and I went to Seattle last weekend. We stayed at a beautiful historic hotel downtown a few blocks from Pike Place Market. We saw the old subterranean portion of town (fascinating!), took a tour around several of the old neighborhoods, and rode the auto ferry to Bainbridge Island for lunch and a drive. It was all beautiful. The weather was quite favorable and we enjoyed the weekend greatly. We’re going to San Francisco this weekend so Joanne can attend Katie’s bridal shower and I can hang out with Clifford. Should be a ton of fun.

Mark’s current semester is winding down quickly. He’s doing very well in all his classes and looking forward to some time off during the summer (although he will be attending the summer term).

Andy is getting ready to move out of his extremely expensive downtown Denver apartment and into a friend’s house while he saves to buy his own place. I loved that apartment and the area, but he is paying an amazing amount of money to be there.

Joanne has moved into her very nice condo. She’s enjoying it and I like it too. Corey is still with her and he seems happy there also. She couldn’t resist having a pet, so she got a cat a couple days ago. It’s a beautiful animal and only has a few bad habits. I’m sure crazy about her.

Paul and Melissa are moving too! They expect to be here in Las Vegas in May. I’m looking forward to having them close by.

Katie and Cliff are still getting married. It is less than two months away! I’m tremendously excited for them.

I’m not moving. Instead, I decided a few days ago to finally take glider pilot lessons. I’ve been contemplating it for quite some time now. As my Loyal Readers no doubt know, I have long loved sailboats and not particularly loved powerboats. I dislike the noise, the discomfort, and the pointlessness of the whole thing. Sailing takes skill, things move slowly and yet seem quite exciting, and the trip is enough for it to be enjoyable.

I took some flying lessons back when I was in college and discontinued them after three or four lessons for pretty much the same reasons I dislike powerboats. They’re noisy, uncomfortable, and pointless. I have long wondered whether I’d feel about sailplanes the same way I do about sailboats. So I’ve decided to find out. I haven’t had my first flight yet, but I’m hoping it will be soon and frequently thereafter.

As a bonus, the sailplane license is much less expensive to get and sailplanes are much less expensive to rent after you have your license. The only downside is that you’re even more of a slave to the weather than you are with a powered plane. That ought to be okay, though; our weather is pretty good most of the time.

Since I haven’t started flying yet, I’ve started studying. I found several FAA publications that offer a lot of information for glider pilots and I’m reading them like crazy.

Speaking of reading, I got a Kindle the other day and I absolutely love the thing. It’s just like Andy told me – reading is just more pleasant on a Kindle. Recommended!

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: joyriding dog! Two positions are available.

See you tomorrow.

Detroit zoo

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013


Here’s the Detroit zoo. Not exactly all of the Detroit zoo, of course. But it is a sign. Bears and giraffes and great apes, oh my! Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam (the old 3G exclusive iPhone-cam, that is), taken during a vacation to Detroit in June 2011, and part of my famous Vacation series.

I’m not going with my famous Statue series on this one. Even I have standards. A sign is not a statue. Well, I guess it could happen, assuming the sign maker is a true artiste. Okay, what the heck. Also part of my famous Statue series. And while I’m at it, the sign does mention a train and food service, so it’s part of my famous Train and Food series too. But that’s it.

Been a good couple of days since I last posted. LRN4 is now three days into her current ten-day round of chemo and we’re hopeful for continued improvement. She’s feeling great. As of Monday, her white cell count was still at 0.8, so we’re hoping this round drops it even lower. She has upped her Nexavar intake to two pills a day and she’s doing just fine with that quantity. So things are going very well.

I’m still worried about my beloved pickup. As I may have mentioned before, it runs very rough for the first minute or so after startup when it’s been sitting for three or four days. There’s no smoke and no check engine light. I decided to call the shop that installed the new engine and discovered that they’re no longer in business. Fortunately, I believe my engine warranty is good at other shops. Need to dig it out of the file cabinet and check. My current theory is that there’s a slow coolant leak into one of the cylinders, which is a very bad thing indeed. It could be something else, but I’m struggling to guess what that might be. Very, very bad.

I have an 1.5 terabyte external drive made by Seagate. It works perfectly with a PC, but not at all with a Mac. I’ve been struggling with it for years. After doing some internet research, I discovered that Seagate external drives have some circuitry that automatically shuts the drive off after 10 or 15 minutes of non-use. This seems to work fine on a PC, but it makes a Mac eject the disk every time. Seagate has released two or three different attempts to make the drive play nicely with a Mac, but none of them work. How can the drive manufacturer not be able to figure out how to disable or override that feature? Well, they can’t. It turns out the only solution is to buy a different enclosure, [amazon text=which I did&asin=B0065DUJ0C]. The price was great and reviews were at least decent. It came today. Installation of the drive was simple and very quick, and it has been working perfectly so far. Finally, that drive appears to be reliable. Note to self – no more Seagate drives. Ever.

LRN4’s chemo/doctor visit appointment is at 7:45 tomorrow morning, so that’s it for tonight. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: whipped cream assault!

See you tomorrow.

Worst farm

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013


Here’s the absolute worst farm in the world.  I would think that a farm of about half an acre, all of which is tightly sandwiched between two thousand-foot-high cliffs, would be a difficult place to raise really healthy crops.  Seems like the amount of sunlight would be rather severely limited, for example.  But what do I know about big-time agriculture?  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone cam, taken at the model railroad museum in New Jersey, and part of my famous Train series.

Nice weekend, I suppose.  LRN4 still seems to be as sick as ever, though, which is quite sick indeed.  I may have mentioned it before, but I’ve never known her to be this sick for this long.  In fact she’s never before been either this sick OR sick for this long.  So to have them both happen at the same time is pretty bad indeed.  She’s tried three antibiotics so far.  The throat culture no longer shows any active bacteria, apparently, but she’s still in a tremendous amount of pain in both the throat and ears and now she’s dizzy and sleepy all the time.  I suspect that the dizziness and exhaustion are a byproduct of the second antibiotic, which hasn’t gotten out of her system yet.  Hopefully, that stuff will be gone within a few days and she can start perking back up.  In the meantime, things are pretty tough around here.

On the positive side, neither LRN2 nor I have gotten whatever it is that LRN4 has.  So far.

And it’s imperative that I don’t get it.  Our cruise starts in just over three weeks.  Since LRN4 has been sick for about three weeks and counting now, I don’t want to start with a cycle of this horrendous bug.  We’d absolutely hate to have to miss the cruise.

Which I’m getting excited about.  It’s not exactly like I’m not getting enough time off from work right now, but I’m still excited to be on the ship for a couple weeks, tour around the islands again, take some fun classes (but probably not ukulele lessons this time – sorry!), eat some really great meals, see a few shows, and generally enjoy lounging around.  In a totally different place from here.  Not that I’m not enjoying lounging around right here as well.

Anyway.  Efforts continue on learning Visual Studio C++.  I’ve finally gotten to the part of my wretched book that actually teaches how to program the Windows GUI.  There are multiple ways of doing it and . . . wait a second.

Okay, I’m back.  After doing just a modicum of research, I’ve decided to dump what I’ve been studying for more than a week (C++/Microsoft Foundation Classes) and switch to the more modern tech (C#/.net).  I should have done this from the very beginning, but I thought I needed to be compatible with legacy libraries.  But you know what?  I don’t have to and I’m not going to. It’s become painfully clear that MFC is really outdated, so I’m starting over and I think I’ll still become productive more quickly anyway.  And the big bonus is that I get to jettison that idiotic book I was reading.  After 14 chapters, that is.

Anyway.  I’m full of new-found enthusiasm!  I’ll get started first thing tomorrow (well, I exercise first thing and eat breakfast second thing and shower third thing, so I’ll get started fourth thing tomorrow, although that sounds terrible, doesn’t it?).

Not much else to report today.  LRN2 and I had dinner at Pei Wei the other night and enjoyed it very much.  I had dinner at Roberto’s (my favorite old San Diego taqueria – I can’t tell you how excited I was to discover there’s one right around the corner from our house) last night and LRN2 and I went to Cafe Rio tonight.  So I’ve had plenty of fast food lately.  Not too good for my Atkins-based way of eating, but I’m holding on – finally down below 200 pounds, which represents a 35-pound weight loss since the beginning of October.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.  Twenty more pounds to go, probably after LRN4 heals up and we start eating normal meals again.

Real Soon Now: Rubio’s.  I love Las Vegas.  They have everything here!

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: meatball embezzlement!

See you tomorrow.

Train platform

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Here’s a closer look at the train platform I hinted at in my last post.  Maintenance required.  Looks a little rugged now, but just imagine how beautiful and exciting it was when it was filled with old steam-powered trains and people just coming to America and anxious to get to their new lives.  There were lots of really pretty architectural details as well – they just don’t make stuff like this anymore.  Well, maybe they make it like this, but not like how it used to be.  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at the ferry/train station for the Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tour, and part of my famous Train series.

Been a pretty nice few days.  First, the biggest news: LRN1 has been accepted to Cocoa Camp!  That’s an Apple thing where they invite a few college students for a week or so between Summer Term and Fall Semester.  They bring them to Cupertino and give them some intensive schooling.  All expenses paid.  Sounds like a great time!  Congrats, LRN1!

Now the other biggest news: we signed the contract for the new house this evening!  That’s right, they’ve opened up the new section where our place will be and they Fedexed us a contract yesterday.  It got here today, LRN4 and I signed it in about a million places, and she’ll Fedex it back tomorrow.  Of course, the price went up by a few thousand dollars.  What did you expect?  Our real estate agent in Las Vegas tells us the market there just might be starting to turn around a bit, so it might be the perfect time to buy!  But probably not.

Anyway, I’m excited to get the house building phase started.  Both our real estate agent and our salesman have promised to keep us well informed of the progress, and I expect to send LRN4’s sister over there fairly often too.  I’m doubtful I’ll ever see the construction in person, sadly.  I was out of the country for most of the time when we last had a house built (in Virginia, of course), but I at least got to see a bit of the work being done.  And LRN4 was there for the whole thing.  This time, probably nothing.  And that’s half the fun!  Sigh.

In a fit of fitness-induced madness, LRN4 recently purchased a set of [amazon asin=B000VCDXNS&text=adjustable dumbbells].  They seem like really great quality, come in their own sturdy-looking plastic case, and are really heavy.  Or not, depending on whether you want them to be.  Highly recommended, both by LRN4 and several people who reviewed them.  And the price was pretty good.

In other news . . . umm . . . I don’t think there is any other news.  Oh yeah, LRN4 gave a bookmark for her website to a few friends recently.  They’ve all given very positive reviews.  One said she had her graphic designer husband look at it, and he was full of praise.  Pretty impressive!  I’m counting on her (free) website to make us rich one of these days.  It could happen!

Not much else to report and it’s slightly past my bedtime, so I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: bratwurst assault!

See you tomorrow.

Track five

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Here’s where the Queen of the Valley stops.  Good old Track 5.  Based on the appearance of the platform back there, though, I suspect the train is running a bit late.  Great Art taken at the Ellis Island railroad/ferry terminal and part of my famous Train and Machinery series.  Sort of, anyway.

Had a nice weekend.  Didn’t do all that much – we went to the Bristol Amish Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.  Had a nice time.  It’s much roomier than its equivalent in Newtown, but not really all that much different otherwise.  Fun trip!

And we also did . . . umm . . . not that much.  It was great!  I’m feeling rested.

I did, however, get some pretty big stuff done this weekend.  I finished revision 1.1 of the Brewing Co. app!  Got it submitted to Apple this evening.  It ought to be available for download within a few days!

Next project: finishing the Android version.  LRN1 got it off to an amazing start.  I just have a little bit more to do.  And I’ll do it!  I’m studying up as we speak.

Actually, I’m really watching Catch Me if You Can.  We’re only a few minutes into it, but it’s pretty entertaining so far.  Not necessarily happy, but entertaining.  So I’m going to get back to it.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: rampaging kangaroo!

See you tomorrow.