Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Different Kind of Christmas Shopping

Power Tools From Sears...

Here's a quick peek at the unpainted results of my handiwork:

And here's some of the tools I used to put everything together:

Time to add some tarpaper and shingles, and put on a coat of paint.

Travel Rain Delay

The Tower Put Us On A Ground Hold...

I awoke this morning expecting to finish up some maintenance details around the property, take a few pictures of my finished but unpainted and uninstalled cupola, then hit the road back toward our little island by 9 AM eastern.


Upon reviewing the satellite picture and radars at Ft. Rucker, AL and Jacksonville, FL it was clear that unless we wanted to travel in a driving rain all day that alternate plans were in order.

Things only look slightly better in 24 hours, but I made an executive decision to wait until tomorrow to make the trip.

I was tempted to act like the airlines by loading our luggage in the car, then driving out to the end of the driveway and sitting for 45 minutes to an hour before returning to the terminal building departure gate my mom's house to wait out the weather--but I thought better of the idea in the end.

I make weird jokes about the prospect, but I admit that this Christmas holiday certainly has been a difficult one for people that had to fly to get to their destinations.

I have a rule about Christmas and Thanksgiving travel--it goes like this.


Pretty simple, huh?

Another trick that is guaranteed to piss off your wife and mother is to travel ON CHRISTMAS OR THANKSGIVING DAY. You can OWN the airport and rental car counter on Christmas day.

Early on the the Sunday morning (6:00 AM) after Thanksgiving is also a good time to go to the airport. I've flown to an ASME conference in Orlando on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving three or four times back in the 1990's and the airport was a Tomb. The car companies were giving away rental cars and you could walk into Disney and Universal without standing in line because all of the kids were back in school.

Another holiday travel trick I used to use involved going to the Florida Keys on Labor Day Monday. There would be a traffic jam of cars moving north from Key Largo to Homestead, and my Suburban would be the lone vehicle heading south on the overseas highway. of three vehicles southbound...but you get my drift.

The hotels were half price and the restaurants were glad to have your business and the weather was exactly the same as the week before Labor Day without the bulging crowds of college students and Hemingway wannabe's.

I guess that is one of the better advantages of being unemployed self-employed is that you don't have to live on everyone else's holiday and vacation schedules.

So now I have to go install a couple of ballasts in the kitchen lights and then cook some breakfast. Y'all be safe if you're traveling today--make an executive decision like I did if you have to.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goin' To Alabama

With My Banjo Computer On My Knee

After seven more hours in a car today, I'll do some writing and some construction and until then...

Talk to y'all later

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The History Of Christmas

Click Here And Take A Look

Via my blog friends and idols over at Powerline.

Too Tired To Eat

I Need Another Refrigerator

Dang I'm Tired.

I'm starting to think that anyone who believes that working in the construction industry is harder than working in a restaurant kitchen should be taken out and flogged--or at least dressed in cooking attire and dumped into the Souse Chef position in a 50 seat restaurant for a couple of evenings.

Do that and you'll have a different attitude toward your restaurant experience the next time you go out to dinner.

Any way...this cooking for large crowds fantasy of mine is starting to get the best of me in spite of my best efforts. It's not the actual menu design and cooking that's the problem, it's the logistics of getting all of the food done on time, having it hot on the buffet line, and accomplishing same in a small residential kitchen.

In the past I've prepared an entire Cinco de Mayo feast for over thirty participants a couple of years ago and done several meals for six or eight, but I think that yesterday's "Christmas Feast for Sixteen" finally got my goat when it comes to single oven cooking.

By 3 PM yesterday I must have looked something like a whirling dervish, spinning around at orbital rotational velocity having already delivered my horseradish crusted beef tenderloin and two pans of uncooked cornbread dressing to our friend's home, along with chafing dishes and ancillary supplies that were in my way on the counter tops of my little kitchen.

Then reality set in as the oven, not my efforts and ability, proceeded to create a logjam in the food delivery process. Pat's scalloped potatoes took a little longer than planned, the glazed ham needed 75 minutes of heat at one temperature, and I still had shitaki mushroom gravy and the Oysters Rockefeller appetizer to put together.

Picture me stirring gravy with one hand and opening fresh oysters with the other.

It can't be done..but I had to wait until the last minute to open and prep the oysters because there wasn't room in our fridge for two pans containing two dozen oysters with spinach toppings. When it was all said and done, I figured out that I should have prepped the Oysters earlier in the day and delivered them along with the balance of the earlier shipment to the scene of the crime dinner venue.

When the dust finally settled about seven thirty PM, seven pounds of ham, five pounds of beef tenderloin, and gobs of other stuff that I can't recall right now were consumed and my Mom and Pat dragged me back home and laid me on the sofa to recuperate.

Unfortunately I didn't eat half of the dishes I cooked, and I didn't eat half of what did make it onto my plate because...

I'm Tired.

Why do I do this to myself?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Here's Wishing You

A Very...

(yes...I drew that picture myself a few years ago...)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Flying Away For Christmas

Vapor Trails anyone?

I was running through the day's photos this evening after opening Christmas gifts, and I came across this photo of the evidence of the commercial air traffic over our little island about noon today.

Here...take a look:

The image was shot looking south across St. Andrews Simons (oops) Sound toward Jekyl Island.

We're under the north-south flyway and it's not unusual to see "contrails," but today the atmosphere was such that it seemed to hold the vapor trails in suspended anamation.

I count over two dozen there myself.

Pretty cool...Huh?

Christmas Eve In Paradise

Hope Yours Is Lovely...

Early Grocery Shopping

Harris Teeter Beckons...

I'm happy to report that we made it home yesterday by late afternoon with little harassment and fuss as Sunday turned out to be a light travel day.

A combination of good luck and good planning I guess.

After an early dinner at our usual table with the friendly staff at Blackwater Grill, we retired back home to recover from the trip while I thrashed around reviewing Tuesday's menu, the recipe details, and made up my final shopping list.

I plan on being at the grocery store when it opens this morning in order to avoid another situation that might cause me to have some kind of screaming epileptic fit or collapse into a deep unrecoverable catatonic state in the parking lot after encountering hoards of wild eyed last minute shoppers.

I think going early is best for everyone's safety--mine and the general public. better head over to the mall to start your shopping this morning. I know that you have all day, but why not try to get done early and head over to the local tavern before they close Christmas eve?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Rant From The Road

The ASSociated Press Strikes Again...

I was looking through Drudge this morning to see what was going on in the world when I came across this headline: "Rocket launched into space; carries satellite to guide weapons."

Holly Cow, the Russians or the Chinese are sending space weapons up into orbit I thought.


After reading for five seconds I learned that it was the United States, not our enemies that's responsible; the so called "satellite to guide weapons" is in fact in space right now, and it was launched by a rocket, not a slingshot or a "super soaker."

Beyond those facts the implication of the Headline and most of the ASSociated press article is pretty much hyperbole and the usual innuendo laced BS.

CAPE CANAVERAL - A rocket carrying a GPS satellite to better guide military weapons was launched into space Thursday.The Delta 2 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 3:04 p.m. with the modernized NAVSTAR Global Positioning System Block 2R military navigation satellite aboard for the U.S. Air Force.

The satellite is part of a constellation of 24 and one of eight that were modernized to more precisely guide weapons and a variety of civilian applications.

See, this is another perfect example of what I'm always bitching about regarding the headlines and story text of the ASSociated Press and much of the balance of the Lamestream media.

Ordinarily this would be a non-story, but by tossing on a headline they probably got a couple of inches of column space in every little newspaper in the US.

What these rocket scientist media experts fail to tell you is that your "Tom Tom" or your Garman or Magellan GPS that you use to navigate your drive to the mall today or over to Grandma's house on Christmas has been using what were originally MILITARY SATELLITES that have been in orbit for decades and are wearing out and being replaced every year.

In reality, this event was just the latest launch of a replacement satellite, not some new ominous plan to militarize space beyond the level that's been common for the past thirty years. The Europeans and the Russians are also in the process launching their own GPS type systems because our system doesn't currently cover the entire surface of the earth.

What total unmitigated, useless, moronic CRAPPOLA. Don't you agree?

Now get back to wrapping packages and mixing egg nog...and all of you men head on over to the mall and get started with your shopping for your wife or girlfriend.

Let me worry interpreting the meaning of satellite launches...

You certainly can't count on the ASSociated press to tell you anything of value.


Cupola Wins Round One

Going Home To Regroup For Christmas

Well, the hard pressure treated lumber bested my best intentions and the shop's ability to carve decent uniform louvers of the size and thickness I had designed, so I had to resort to plan "B" on Saturday.

By four o'clock I had four 35" wide x 22" high panels full of wooden louvers and plywood panels for the cupola roof cut out, but I was short one base frame assembly and the roof structure was a figment of my imagination as I had run out of lumber and energy.

I resorted to tidying up the shop, doing some more design on AutoCAD, then showering and heading out to a Bar-B-Que dinner before coming home to crash for the evening in anticipation of hitting the road back to our little Island this morning.

We'll be on the road in the rain and fog that the Weather Channel decided to predict yesterday, after telling us on Thursday that it would be sunny and clear. I swear that all of the Global Warming loonies aught to consider the accuracy of short term weather forecasts (less than one week out) before they run around screaming about forecast weather trends which run over decades if not centuries.

Time to finish packing and load the car, then we brave the "holiday weekend" morons on the road for another seven hours.

Wish us luck...if you will.