Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting settled in

G'day mates! 'Ow ya been?

Me? I've been busy. But it is all starting to settle down as we get settled in.

I am of course as per usual right in the middle of cooking dinner so this request of yours for a blog post comes at a most inopportune time.

Since it's been a bit since I posted I'm just sorta guessing that you've been requesting updates from Yours Truly --don't swoon ladies, I'm human!

In the space a 5 days the main living room went from looking like this:

To looking like this:
All those boxes are about where the chair is.

No need to swoon ladies, I'm human!

But if any of you do need something to swoon over, how's this?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Moving... Day Six.

So far 15,000 (fifteen-thousand) pounds have been moved by the Millennium Possum Van and the shoulders, arms, back and legs of yours truly. That means the library is moved.

Yes, we have a "few" books. Well, that also includes magazines from yesteryear and some other crap involving paper products that one or two persons living here don't want to part with yet... Would now be a good time to tell them that the back door of the van "accidentally" popped open going up a hill and half the archive boxes fell off and landed in a ditch?

Fortunately practically ALL of the thousands of vhs recordings were tossed.

Dvds are light. I like dvds. Dvds are cool. And light. Did I mention they are not heavy?

Now that all the heavy stuff is done I shall celebrate with a bottle of bubbly. I'm not sharing!

And I spent money yesterday! Some shelving display units, glass-top outdoor table, timber outdoor chairs, 3m table umbrella, 2 barstools, new mattress for MIL, semi-permanent outdoor gazebo. The MPV easily took it all in one trip :)

Still to get will be the new barby.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

WTF has dave been up to?


Here's the latest from my facebook:

Day two of the move. I forgot to take pics of the new place so the first thing to go into the van this morning will be the camera bag, PROMISE!

Yesterday was four (4) runs in the Millennium Possum Van (MPV) for a total of around 6000 pounds and one hundred kilometres. What accounted for the weight. Boxes. Boxes filled with books and magazines. It wasn't even till the 4th (fourth) run that I even got to the boxes of books from the library shelves (even then that only accounted for half the 4th load). Yes, 5000 pounds worth of boxes of books and magazines to go into "terminal storage" at the new place.

Did I mention that I married into a family of packrats?

 At least I got them to throw out a few hundred POUNDS of old VHS recordings so I suppose I should be thankful for that!

The MPV is rated for a metric ton (1000 kgs or 2,205 US pounds) but the first load was less than half as I wasn't sure how it'd go up the hill out of town. No problem at all, didn't even notice the weight in the handling, acceleration or braking. 2nd load was around 750 kg and it also did fine with that. Put 1,000 kg in third load, mostly centered weight and the MPV was only 2.5 cms down. She had no problem with the hill, piece of cake. Slightly overloaded last run, down 3.5 cm but absolutely no handling, power or braking problems.

I really like the MPV.

Did I mention I used to do this sort of thing for a living? In fact last night after doing those four runs and loading and loading heavy boxes I actually dreamed I was back in Fairbanks Alaska working for Midnight Sun Transportation Service driving the RPS truck.

I woke up in a sweat!

Well, off to go load up more boxes! Heck, I'm not even stiff or sore this morning, WEE-Hoo!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Varietal Is The Spice Of Life!

Ha! Did any one of my loyal readers get the pun/joke? Exchanging varietal for variety? An I'll betcha din't thunk I knews how too spellz (qoute) varietal (end quote) niether.

No? Fine, be that way.

The variety will come from the fact that I'll be tossing up pictures from any ole trip at any ole time for you to enjoy. That way I don't have to type much about any one particular trip or event. All I'll need to do is come up with silly captions  one or two sentences long to entertain the masses (that'd be YOU) and save wear and tear on my fingertips.

Brilliant, eh?

These first phour ore phive pictures shall be of Yours Truly. Why? Cuz it's my blog and I can post what I want, nothing says you have to view it. Oh, wait, please don't go!

Anyone remember those t-shirts in the USofA in the 80's with a pic of a baby with shades on and the caption "Born To Be Bad"? Hint, think of the film Twins. I say those sayings were DECADES late!

Here's proof:

Yeah, me bro and I were badasses mates. And I'd like to say I was pretty darned cool for a 2 year old!
Bro is the one with the silly grin, I'm the one with the badass frown. And I'll have you know that the shoes I'm wearing in the picture are now bronzed. BRONZED I tell ya, BRONZED!

Yo! Bite me!

And I of course had the most badassed mom (and the Greatest Mom) ever!
Ummmm, yeah, I was hanging on for dear life. Why do you ask?

What? You mean not all 4 and 5 year old kids get to do this nowadays?

And it should come as no surprise to anyone that a person who had such a fun childhood should turn out to be a studly, well-adjusted, loving husband. Complete with facial fur and a cool shirt under the ubiquitous and requisite flannel.
At least that's what Wifey-Poo says!

Let us go back up North! Specifically to the East Coast of the USofA.

Heeeeeeeeeere we go!
*please note the cool reflection of my shirt in the window*

Now that we are there, it is over the hill and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go!
Yes, we are now in Florida.

And what would a trip to Florida, USofA, North America be without a visit to a beach?

Shall we head up to North Carolina? Sure, why not? This is the last picture of Biltmore House I'll be posting. The place is overwhelming. Very impressive. Built at the height of The Gilded Age.
If I ever have enough money to build something like Biltmore I will do something very different with the money instead of building a palace in the middle of nowhere (at the time) like the Vanderbilt's did. Perhaps that's why I'll never have that much money in the first place?

Meanwhile, somewhere in Charlotte NC
a plaque is photographed by me.

As we journey northward we find ourselves at Arlington National Cemetery. Located of course in Arlington Vagina Virgin Virginia. My Granma made a point of telling myself and my Uncle that we will find her brother's grave whilst we were at Arlington National Cemetery whilst laying my Father to rest.

Fortunately, we did.
This is the grave of my Granduncle. The brother of my Grandmother. The Taccarinos immigrated to the USofA and many of that line served in the USofA's armed forces. The irony of the fact that almost all of the descendants of the Taccarinos vote for a political party that doesn't like immigrants is lost on most of those descendants.

Shall we go zip across the river to the National Mall? Actually, we went under it on the subway. BTW, the DC metro rail system is very nice. I didn't have a problem with it, easy to figure out, easy to use, very affordable, friendly attendants and can get you anywhere in the area.

First up is the WWII Memorial. It's only been (fairly) recently opened and is quite impressive.
I thought about cropping out the sewer cover from the photo but than I thought, "Heck, it's in Washington DC! There SHOULD be a picture of a sewer in a DC photo!"

Yours Truly of course. Don't swoon ladies, I'm human!
Note that the ladies in the background are doing an admirable job of not swooning around me. They must have great willpower!

Something that is rather interesting about the older monuments in DC is the fact that there are a great many non-christian symbols built into them. In fact, I can't recall seeing a single cross. What surprised me though was the WWII Monument.

The WWII Monument was only opened in 2004. I had expected there to be many christian symbols on it, but I couldn't find a single one. But I did see (and photograph) "pagan" symbols that most everyone there did not even notice.

Take note of the drainage grating in the above picture. Do you wonder what sort of pattern may be on the grating? Wonder no more mates!
Obviously in reference to the US Pentagon of course.

My Grandfather on my Mother's side was a USofA Air Force Captain in WWII. When my Mom was a wee infant they were stationed on Guam. Obviously this meant that I had to have my picture taken next to the Guam marker in the WWII Memorial. My Uncle is with me.
Can you guess which one I am?

I think I did a sorta ok job on the framing of this next one.
What do you think?

The last two pictures (yes, I'm almost done today!) go together but at the time I did not know they did. If that makes any sense!

The first is a randomly taken pic at the WWII Memorial and the second is a pic I purposefully of a badly sunburned girl. Only after looking that the pics on a large screen did I realize the first one also contained the sunburned girl! Her sunburn looks like she had acquired it the day previous as it was only around 10:30 AM when I took the pictures.

And, ummmm... That's gotta hurt!

And the backside too!
Apparently she doesn't know the value of treating sunburns with rosehip oil and pure aloe vera juice. And now she's wearing a tank top so she can burn those lily-white shoulders too! Dum-de-dum-dum-DUM!

Coming soon to a blog near you: A first glimpse of The Millennium Possum Van!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Food, Trip Pictures, Garrett's Shop!

And what do all these have in common? They are all in the same blog post silly! Sheesh.

Firstly, let's head back to downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, North American Continent, Earth, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy.

These are more pics from Panther Stadium. I was playing around with lighting and lens flare over the two nice panther sculptures out front. Which pic do you like better?

This one?


Or this one?
BTW, and I've mentioned this before, the trick to getting really good lens flare effects is not to clean the dust off your camera lens for a few days. Just saying mates.

Hey look! Homemade crackers by Yours Truly!

If you'd like to know how to make them (and how easy they are to make) hop (don't skip, HOP!) on over to this right-up write here. I added a few spices to the recipe for this batch. Ground coriander seed and ground sumac berries. No, not the poisonous kind of sumac --well at least I hope not! Oh, and half olive oil and half sesame oil. They WERE very tasty. Just remember to let them cool completely before you eat them, they taste so much more better when they are cool.

Remember when I told you that Wifey-Poo and I bought a van? A 2001 Mitsubishi Express short-wheel-base? Built at the old Mitsubishi plant right here in South Oz btw. Anyways, we shall be using it for camping. And we now have a tent. We have a big tent. No, scratch that. We have a HUGE tent!

When the front awning of the tent is lifted up and staked up the whole thing is 6 metres long. We set it up in the backyard the other day. Our backyard wasn't large enough to fully stake the tent down so it doesn't appear "tight" in this pic, but trust me on the fact  that it is GREAT! And I can stand up completely straight without hitting my head! Two separate rooms in the back, windows, 2 entrances.

We'll only be setting it up if we are staying more than one night in a place. Otherwise it'll be inflatable mattress in the van, no worries there mates. We've already got a folding picnic table, chairs, 2 cookers, LED lights, portable DVD player, sleeping bags (the kind that you can zip together *wink*). Just need to get a nice inflatable queen-sized mattress and a fold-up gazebo and we'll be set! And of course a portable loo with it's own pop-up ensuite. And of course a sun shower. Eventually we'll hopefully get solar panels on the roof.

Eventually we'll get a couple of 12V AGM batteries for powering heaters, a/c, fridge, laptops, and whatnot.

We won't exactly be roughing it, that is for sure mates :-}

I am quite sure that there are some of me mates up in Alaska (*cough cough* you know who you are) who wouldn't even regard this as camping, more like a luxury home-away-from-home type of thingy.

Getting back to my recent USofA trip. Specifically the day in Florida. Gramma had us take her to her favourite park by the river. Very nice place. Fountains, covered picnic areas, long jetty (remember the fish school pics a few posts back?) and a building that part of it housed a small nautical museum --you may remember seeing the 100 year old outboard Evinrude a few posts ago.

Yeah, now that's a powerboat!

Gramma couldn't understand why I was taking so many pictures of everything. "That's just a tree. Whaddya need a picture of that for?" was an example. She is also very deaf. And she talks very loud. Whenever you have a conversation with gramma everyone within 20 metres will hear every single word. More about that in another post.

There is a nice fountain out front for the local kids to play in. I finally got a pic with only one of the brats children in it.
More about the brats children and the fountain in a later post.

Meanwhile, back at the way-too-warm-than-they-are-supposed-to-be Luray Caverns, Yours Truly takes more pictures.

And this one too, also.

These next pictures are all going to be from the same place. Garrett's Antiques and Indian Shop to be precise. Everything in it is either antique from the area or authentic Native American craft. No made in China crap here! The guy who owns it is half Cherokee, I'm guessing mid-60's as he served in 'Nam. He travels around to the major tribes and reservations bulk-buying handicrafts from craftsmen and craftswomen.

He also has works from indigenous peoples throughout the world; I even saw an authentic Aussie boomerang in one corner!

It's in an old trading post, well over 100 years old that's for sure. He also has cords and cords of seasoned, split firewood around for sale too. There is a great peach tree around the back. He encouraged Anna and I to help ourselves to the peaches else they'll just go to the squirrels.

We chatted with him for almost half an hour before we even went inside. He knows so much about so many different tribes! Friendly, mellow, laid-back he is. Needless to say we got along great!

I'll shut up now and just let the pictures tell the tale of Garrett's Shop.


















I can always relax wherever and whenever I am. Born with that skill, I was.

If you are in the Charlotte area, be sure to check Garrett's place out, you won't be disappointed mates!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Trip Pictures and Meet My B.I.L.

And just why do those two things go together in a blog post, I hear you ask. You'll just have to read on through the post to find out why. So there.

But first, let us start with a picture of my dinner from a few nights ago.
The salmon on the salad was GREAT!

The was a very nice sculpture garden just before the National Air and Space Museum. This is of course one of the sculptures. I thought this one was cool looking.
I'm guessing the artist is trying to show you what can happen to your bearings if you don't keep the properly lubricated. Then again, maybe not.

Of course one of the things I was NOT going to miss was the Nat Air n Space museum. In fact, you've seen some of the pics already as I have purposefully not been chronologically correct during my picture posting of the trip. Hey, it's my blog and I can write what I want!

Bzzzzzzt! Off-Topic Alert Approaching!

I had not realized that the silly-ass word verification thingy-ma-dooley-bob was turned on in the comments. Apologies abound mates as I HATE the darn things! So, word verification is now OFF. If that has kept you from commenting then you now have absolutely no excuse not to comment.

BzzzzzzzzzT Off-Topic Alert Receding!

When I was showing the pics of NASM (I'm getting tired of typing National Air and Space Museum) to BIL he was naming off every single plane in the pics. He's like that. So when he saw the picture of a painting of a whole lot of jet aeroplanes,

He immediately said, "Ah, that looks like one of Bob McCall's paintings!"

I glanced askance at BIL whilst wondering who the heck Bob McCall is.

And then, with absolutely no prompting from me, Doctor Charles William Micheal Adamson (known as Dr Mike, sometimes as BIL here on this blog) proceeds to identify every single aeroplane in the entire pic including the one waaaay to the right that only part of the tail is showing!

He also started to give little bits of info of a few of them so I told him he'd better give me info on each one! Which he did immediately.

There was one he couldn't remember what it was but that it was Britain's first civilian turboprop. He offered to go look it up but  I told him no cuz that'd be cheating!

Yeah, it was still an awe-inspiring, impressive display of knowledge I tells ya!

I then numbered each plane in the photo and had him do the same thing again whilst I typed in his identification of each aeroplane. And that was without him ever walking away from my screen to go and cheat!

I even numbered the planes out of order. Didn't phase him a bit.
And here is what he id'd each plane as and the reason why it's famous.

1 McDonnell FH Phantom (1st jet fighter for the US Navy)
2 Lockheed F-80C (1st US service jet fighter)
3 Gloster E39 (1st British jet aeroplane)
4 Curtis P-59 Airacomet (1st American jet aeroplane)
5 Hienkel He 176 or 172 (1st Deustchland jet aeroplane)
6 Messerschmidt Me 262 (1st ever service jet airfighter --German)
7 DC-4 (Douglas's 1st 4 engine aircraft)
8 De Havilland Comet (1st British commercial jet airliner)
9 Nakajima Kikka (Japan's 1st jet aircraft)
10 Sud Aviacion Caravelle (France's 1st commercial jet airliner)
11 BAC 111 (competitor to Boening 727 and DC 9 in the 1960's)
12 B-47 (1st US swept-wing bomber)
13 F-86A Sabre (1st US swept-wing fighter, this painting has Korean War markings)
14 Britain's 1st civil turboprop after WWII but he can't name it
15 Boeing 707 (only heavy four engine jet ever to perfrom a 360 degree wingover; on an early test flight. Test pilot in left seat, company shill in right; pilot started to perform a barrelroll, shill asks What The Hell Are You doing? Answer, Selling This Airplane.)
16 MiG-15 (1st Soviet swept-wing jet figther)
17 Convair XF-90 or XF-92 (delta-wing demonstrator, ancester to F-102, F-106, B-58)

Please note that all the spellings are directly from what BIL told me without looking anything up.

Can anyone else top that ID'ing? Nah, didn't think so!

One of the reasons why he know so much about this is that he is an avid modeler. In fact he's a professional modeler as he is a regular contributor to model magazines and even gets paid for it! He does kit modifications and scratch builds. A scratch build is where you start with sheets of plastic, wire and assorted fiddly bits and come up with an exact replica a some ship or vehicle used in a show.

His workstation can sometimes look like this,
but that's only after he's cleaned it up. A lot.

This is a small selection of some of the models he's done for magazines,
and yes each model is hand-painted and air-brushed.

How good is he at painting very small things?
hand painted
That is a hand-painted cockpit instrument panel that he did.

If you want to learn more about some of the incredible miniature work that professional modelers do (complete with awesomely great pics from Dr Mike himself) then visit BIL's blog World In Miniature.

Enough of BIL, let us get back to some trip pictures!

Anna and I flew to Florida to visit my granma. My uncle had given us specific directions to her house as we got close and we had the instructions from google maps printed out so that we could find out way from the Orlando airport and granma's house in Jensen Beach.

I, of course, forgot to put the directions in my carry-on. Oops. Fortunately the car rental place asked us if we wanted a dash-mounted GPS for the car. Woo-Hoo!
Just further proof that everything always works out for me. Don't ask why cuz I don't know!

Didn't take this exit.
As we were going over the river and thru the woods to granma's house we didn't think we had the time to spare on only an overnight trip. The fact that neither of us were even remotely interested may have had some influence on our not visiting Disney World.

Meanwhile back at the National Mall, this is about as close to his home state as Yours Truly got.
Yes, that IS a water bottle in my pocket but I'm still happy to see you!

All caves should have reflecting pools!
This display is courtesy of Mother Nature at her Skyline Caverns workshop.

I'm now going to post a picture of Dr Mike as he looks when he is airbrushing. In order not to frighten any young children in the audience I'm inserting a jump break.

Just click the link to see the pic!