Tag Archives: photos

Happy July 4th, 2014!

The mighty Mackinac Bridge.

The mighty Mackinac Bridge. Click to embiggen.

I haven’t posted anything in awhile so I thought I’d at least throw up a small entry hoping everyone has a safe and enjoyable July 4th celebration. That’s for my fellow Americans, obviously. You folks in other lands probably don’t join in on this most gratuitous excuse to light off tons of sky explosives. Or maybe you do. I’m always up for a good excuse to set off explosives.

I’m on vacation and Anne and I just got back from a couple of days up at Mackinac Island. I’d not been there since my early teens and she, despite being a life-long Michigander, had never been so we decided to head up and stay at a very expensive hotel on the island proper: The Stonecliffe. We got a package deal that included round trip ferry tickets, one round trip horse-drawn shuttle to and from the hotel, complimentary breakfasts, and the room itself which had a very nice view of the Mackinac Bridge from our third floor window. We were supposed to take a boat tour of local lighthouses when we got to Mackinaw City, but it was canceled due to high winds. Which, considering how green around the gills Anne was looking after the very bumpy ferry ride over, is probably for the best. It was akin to riding a good log flume and Anne had forgotten her Dramamine.

Just a few of the zillion or so bikes moving through downtown at any given time. Click to embiggen.

Just a few of the zillion or so bikes moving through downtown at any given time. Click to embiggen.

The island is interesting in part because there are no automobiles allowed other than a handful for emergency services (fire, ambulance, etc.). If you want to get around the island you either walk, employ a horse of some fashion, or ride a bicycle. Anne and I are still working on getting into the habit of walking and our hotel was a couple of miles further into the island from the downtown area near the shore so we took the hotel shuttle back and forth rather than trying to walk it as we didn’t want to be unable to walk once we got there. I’d guess the stretch of shops and attractions is at least a mile or so long and we walked up and down it a couple of times over the day and a half we were there so we definitely got our exercise in.

It was fascinating seeing all the horse drawn carriages and flatbed service vehicles. The island’s UPS person had his own wagon that he pulled around with the items he had to deliver, but he was still dressed in his traditional brown uniform. It definitely gives you a good idea of a time period before cars became ubiquitous and how much slower life was as a result. The trip to and from the hotel into town was 25 to 35 minutes depending on how many folks the horses had to haul. It was much quicker if you used a bicycle.

Random tourists and more bikes outside of Doud's Market.

Random tourists and more bikes outside of Doud’s Market. Click to embiggen!

Speaking of which, this island would be paradise for bike enthusiasts like George Wiman. The number of people on bicycles is just amazing once you get into mid-morning and beyond. The amount of horeshit all over the place is pretty amazing too, though the teams of people who clean it up do a surprisingly good job at it. Still, if we ever have to go back to a car-less society, I vote we stick to bicycles and not horses. You can bring your own bike to the island (we saw a number of folks in far better shape than we doing  just that) or you can rent them from any of a dozen vendors at fairly reasonable prices. The island is quite hilly so you’ll want something with at least three gears to make going up those hills a bit easier. They had every kind of bike you can imagine for rent including tandems and those third-wheel extensions that allowed a child to sit behind an adult and contribute to the effort. We didn’t rent bikes this time out, but we’re planning on going back and doing so next time.

So that’s a small update on what I’ve been doing over the past few days. Needless to say, my legs are very sore from all the walking. Not to mention being on the third floor of the mansion/hotel we stayed in that doesn’t have an elevator. We had a good time and if you’ve never been to Mackinac Island then I would highly recommend it. One thing I was fascinated with is the idea of living there year-round which there’s about 500 people who do just that. They had a DVD on sale about living there during the winter which made it seem very idyllic, but the handful of folks we talked to said it could be pretty rough. There’s a period of time where there’s too much ice for the ferries to make the trip, but the ice bridge hasn’t quite formed yet so unless you fly out (there’s a small airport on the island) you’re pretty isolated. Oh, but what a place to be stranded! The homes are amazing and the view is wonderful.

Here’s a few more photos to close this entry out:

How I know when Anne is making my lunch for the day.

Anne is gracious enough to make me my lunch every morning. This is always a time of great anticipation and excitement for the cats. In this pic Jasper is being way more patient than usual as he often will stand on his hind legs next to Anne to try and see what’s going on. Cuddles, on the other hand, always sits in the same spot and is very patient in his wait to see if perhaps Anne might leave a bit of sliced ham or turkey in their food dishes.

Yes, they’re a little spoiled.

The hidden messages under our desks.

My cubemate has been sitting at the same desk for the past 4 years. Today while reaching for something under his desk his hand brushed up against a flat magnet adhered to the side up near the center drawer. It’s been there the entire time and he had no idea. It’s one of those magnets that usually contain some form of uplifting message that you slap on a fridge or a filing cabinet.

The message written on this one is… interesting.

oddsecretmessage

For the record, he says that if that’s what it takes then knock yourself out.

What the hell?

That’s no ornament. It’s a space station!

I had a vacation day yesterday and we decided we should go up to see my folks because we didn’t get a chance to do so over Thanksgiving. As I’m sitting on the couch putting my shoes on to leave I head a rustling in the Christmas tree next to me. We had set it up last weekend and gotten the lights on it, but still haven’t put the ornaments on. This hasn’t stopped the official SEB cats from falling in love with it as the tree skirt is apparently very comfortable. Jasper, in particular, loves playing with the fake berries and pine cones that decorate some of the lower branches. So I looked over to see what they were doing in case one of them was chewing on a branch which they know they’re not supposed to do and I didn’t see any cats under the tree.

Then I looked up:

What the hell?

Jasper is only a year and a half or so old and in that time he shot up from a kitten I could literally hold in the palm of my hand to a 15 pound adult cat. He’s bigger than Cuddles who has at least a year on him in age. Last year when he first experienced the Christmas tree he climbed it several times. Apparently he doesn’t realize he’s not a little kitten anymore.

It was pretty clear he was having an “oh shit” moment where he realized he not only was in trouble, but he had no idea how to get down without breaking his neck. It took both Anne and I to extract him from the tree.

On the one hand I’m glad my laziness kept there from being any ornaments on the tree for him to break, on the other I’m hoping he’s had enough tree climbing adventure that he won’t feel the need to do it once we do put the ornaments on. Still, it makes for a great picture.

The paw flags read: Help us help them.

Adventures in charity fund raising in the IT department.

Here at “The Automotive Supplier™” where I work there are several charity events put on by various departments throughout the year. The next one takes place on February 29th and is being set up and run by the IT department in my building (a whole whopping three people including myself). My pseudo-boss — in that he’s technically not my boss but he keeps an eye on me — is a golfer and he’s leading the charge on the event so he went with what he knows. Thus we are doing a mini-golf event with “holes” laid out throughout the cubicals and hallways of the building to raise funds for the Michigan Humane Society.

Of course we can’t dig actual holes into the floor for this event so we had to come up with some clever way of providing a target that would determine a successful putt. Being IT we of course had to come up with the most overtly geeky targets we could manage. Thus I give to you The Mouse Holes:

The paw flags read: Help us help them.

Yes, 18 crappy old mice have sacrificed their tails in order to provide a suitable way to determine a successful putt. They’ll be sitting on a sheet of paper with a circle on it so that if the ball hits the “hole” hard enough to knock it out of the circle it’ll be considered to have “popped” out of the hole putting a bit of finesse back into the game.

Now I’m a pretty big geek, but it would never have occurred to me to turn old mice into “holes” for a mini-golf game. Looking at the end result I feel a little more normal than usual. That’s some damned geeky shit.

Retro Flashback to the 80’s! (#Blogathon)

Well that flashback to the 70’s was so popular that I thought I’d do one for the 80’s. This pic is from a Christmas morning circa 1985 or ‘86. I was probably 17 at the time.


Click to embiggen!

Looking at me now it’s hard to believe I used to be that skinny. And had that much hair. And no beard.

Retro Flashback to the 70’s! (#Blogathon)

Somehow we got around to discussing the 70’s on the live video feed and I felt compelled to dig out and post the following picture of me, my mother, and sister from some time in the 70’s. Fear the plaid pants:


Click to embiggen, IF YOU DARE!

I’m not sure how old I am in that picture. I’d guess 8 or 9 years. Man I hated those pants.

Gee, I wonder what this button does? (#Blogathon)

If you’re not sure what a button does sometimes you’re better off just leaving it a mystery:

The Boeing 767-300 was undergoing a heavy maintenance check at the company’s Alliance Airport hangar, when the nose gear suddenly folded up, as it would if the plane was in the air.

[...] At the time, mechanics were running the aircraft through a series of functional tests, according to Tim Wagner, a spokesman for the airline.

Amazingly, no workers were injured when the gear collapsed. During ground tests, mechanics often sit in the cockpit or stand near the belly of the plane.

I’m sure it’s a mistake any under-trained airline technician could make.