The Useful Duck!

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Intercostal waterway

We rented kayaks. The intercostal waterway is more like a big lake behind the kayak rental shop.
We paddled around a looked at people's backyards.
We met a fellow fishing who had lots of interesting info which I have forgotten.
His advice for fishing was to just use the pole in the closet of the hotel. Buy frozen shrimp at the store, rip off their heads and thread them on a small hook.
He also said the best seashells were past the end of the road at Ft DeSoto state park. I think he said to turn right.
We did not see dolphins but got within 10 feet of a stingray. That was cool.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Simple pleasures

If you freeze a Ho-Ho it is like ice cream. A lot better than keylime pie on a stick. (Cause it didn't cost $3)

Monday, December 28, 2015

We visit Tarpon Springs

I woke up early Sunday morning.
Well, it was more like 7:30 a.m.
I woke up to the crash of garbage bins and the neighbor using a tile saw on his roof. I moved into the living room to observes the sun shining on the inland waterway. There were faint wisps of clouds and  just the hint of rain. A cool breeze wafted through the screen.
I went back to sleep.
I was awakened by the sound of bells from the chicken church.
Our plan was as follows.
1. Get up early
2. Either go to Lake Magdalene Methodist Church which features beautiful stained glass windows, by MuddyValley, which I have see referred to as the 8th wonder of the world, or go to the Chicken Church.
We were leaning pretty hard towards the Chicken Church. However, the ringing of bells pretty much gave us a clue that we were out of time. The road to medocrity is paved with sort of good intentions.

So we went to Tarpon Springs.
My wife drove and daughter navigated. I also attempted to navigate. This was less than successful.
The goal was to find a Barnes and Noble as daughter had a gift card. Lulu likes bookstores.
The day after Christmas we walked down the beach to a grumpy local bookstore. They were way over priced. I found a Crazy Kat Book and a whole Collection of the "Motion Picture Boys."
Lulu found me the CS Lewis boxed set of Science Fiction.
Barnes and Noble now has records. People are paying $25 for vinyl albums. They had an odd collection. Madonna, Bruce Springsteen Born in The USA, and CCR Greenriver, Adele, and a bunch of rap music. Sort of an odd collection.
I didn't buy anything.
But I digress,
Tarpon Springs is an old Greek fishing community. Mostly Sponge diving.

There were too many people. It was a nice town. There were long lines for food.
We had Gyros at the Parthenon Restaurant. They really like to set their cheese on fire. Then everyone yells something. I must be "run! fire!" in Greek. We avoided the flaming cheese.
I also had a chocolate coated piece of Key Lime pie while waiting for a table. It was kind of nasty.
We did not go to the Sponge Diving museum.
Next we drove to New Port Richey. My wife keeps finding small bungalows for sale there which are quite cheap. We drove by several houses for sale. They were nice small houses. Prices are now going up. This would be a good time to contribute to my 1.2 million fund.
I didn't quite hear my wife and thought we were visiting Nude Port Richey. I was somewhat hesitant about visiting.  I really need to get my ear tubes cleaned.
More things happened but no one probably cares. This post is way too long. I'm going to the beach.
Have a nice day...

Note: we have lots of room and no real schedule so if any readers in Florida who are close to tampa want to hang out at the beach before it starts raining. We are going toward Sarasota Wednesday. Just when the rain will start.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A day at the beach

I wish I could have got a photo that include the irate lady in the unfortunate bikini yelling and making rude gestures at the sign. AND the Cubans laughing at her!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I interrupt my vacation to complain about Blogger and My Galaxy 5s

I have moved away from home computers. My MacBook is having issues and I just don't feel like wiping the hard drive and reinstalling a system that I don't really like anyway. I switched from an iPhone to a Galaxy 5s. It was not an improvement.
I'm typing this blog on my daughter's Acer chromebook and it is really pretty decent. Here is what I don't understand.
I use Blogger which is a Google owned product. I use the app for my smart phone. The app makes it really hard to follow other people's blogs or to moderate comments. The app for the Galaxy 5s puts a strange photo of rain on Facebook when I try to link it to my Facebook page. It also makes it hard to place photos. Basically, the Google app for Blogger is really pathetic. But yet... Google employees get paid a lot of money to do, well... what do they do? Make programs worse? Remove features? I don't really get it.
I spent the day at the beach.
I saw dolphins frollicking in the surf. I saw pale white chicks with horrible tattoos.
I walked to a bookstore with my daughter and almost bought a Crazy Kat cartoon book.
I may go see MuddyValley's stained glass window tomorrow. But the church is an hour a way. I have a feeling it won't happen.
I'm going to go back to work eventually.
I hate being old...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas in Florida

We are on vacation. I'm not much of a vacation taker. However, I said if we are taking grandpa we are going to Florida for Christmas and my wife bought tickets on sale.
It was more of a joke statement.
But, here we are.
We left Portland in the pouring rain. There was just a little problem with the am/pm thing. We thought we were leavng at 12 noon on Christmas Eve. The tickets were for 12:30 midnight on the Eve of Christmas Eve.
I was able to take off at 3 pm and we went to my wife's sisters house for clam chowder and they gave us a ride to the airport. It was a dark and stormy night.
There was a mixup on the flight. The airline changed planes and all the people who  had booked four months in advance got their seats all mixed up.
There were some unhappy folks. One large family of immigrants were quite upset. The father called customer service to complain even though their only change was that the family of six was divided into two groups of three. Since the rows were three on one side of the aisle and three on the other side this really made pretty good sense.
We got two seats in two consecutive rows and one seat a couple rows up. But they were window seats.
My wife asked politely and the stewardess talked to the very nice Korean family and they agreed to switch seats so my wife and daughter could sit together. 
I was watching to see if wife and daughter were getting settled and the 20-something kind of greasy guy that had the aisle seat slipped in and took my window seat.
I was a little upset at first but then I realized he really kind of smelled bad. 
Sitting by the aisle gave me at least the hope of escape.
My bad luck worked in my favor this trip as it soon became apparent the the foul smelling duck that has stalked me in the past had somehow followed me past the TSA outpost and was in fact on the flight with me. He was quite happy that I encouraged him to quack and soon I was enveloped by his familiar essence and reassured by his familiar quack. It improved my flight considerably. He put his headphones on and didn't even look at me throughout the flight. 
We arrived in Houston three and a half hours later. My brain attempted to escape through my left eye socket. It was rather painful. I took a decongestant but it really didn't help that much. We got slushy drinks at the Houston airport. My wife's sister made delicious ham sandwiches. I lost half my hearing and felt foggy and disorientated the rest of the way to Tampa. 
My wife got us set up with a rental car and took us to Madeira Beach where she had found us a condo on AirB and B. It was very nice. We overlook the inland waterway and have a pool.
The first order of business was to hit the beach. The water seemed just a little chilly. But then we thought of the ocean at Lincoln City and it seemed much warmer. The sand is incredibly white and soft.


We woke up Christmas morning to a beautiful day. It is hard to imagine Christmas and nice weather together. Christmas is the bright spot in the middle of a cold dreary winter. You can't have snowmen taped to the window when it is 80 degrees F. 
After three cups of coffee and a simple gift exchange the ladies took to the beach and I took a nap. 
Later we did a little exploring. We were going to take in a Christmas buffet but ended up at a Thai/Sushi restaurant. The chicken was a little dry and a bit bland. I over applied the hot sauce and that really upset the duck. 
Later in the evening Lulu and I took a walk on the beach. All was fine until the duck decided to speak up in front of a nice couple having a romantic stroll on the beach. Twice...
Apparently the sound of the ocean was not loud enough to cover the quack and the couple seemed somewhat nonplussed. Lulu was quite indignant and tried to push me into the ocean. I think my daughter does not really appreciate me the way she should. It was not me, I'm very polite, it was that rude duck.

We capped off the evening with a trip to Wafflehouse. They never close. There were locals. They were all very polite. There was a family out on a date. Mom had a new boyfriend. The daughter had a new baby. Mom also had a five year old daughter. The boyfriend was showing the girls his Harley. Lots of people ride Harleys here. No one wears a helmet.
Except for this guy (see above photo) who not only had a helmet but also had training wheels. Nice to see someone concerned about safety.

There was also a nice older lady with a Crystal pendant. It had amazing healing powers. She introduced herself to the family. Her son was from New Jersey, he said he had a computer IT degree and was a certified hacker. He wouldn't give the nice lady on the date (who had either a very good bra or new boobs) computer advice as he was on vacation but he did wish everyone Merry Christmas.
We had a good day. 
It is now midnight and we are thinking of going swimming in the heated pool. It is midnight and we are still on Oregon time. We may just stay on Oregon time and eat every night at Waffle House at 11 p.m.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!
Coffee, Grits, Raisin Toast... I love Waffle House!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Winter blues

Another lazy farmer cartoon from collieguy

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Yesterday morning, update! I was exposed to poopwater!

Update: blogger for android is actually worse than for iPhone. This blog has reverted to rough draft stage. Yes my punctuation and Grammer can get worse!

But I digress. We were just informed that the water in the storage building was tainted with poopwater. 

I spent an hour in it. Went over my boots. I did wear rubber gloves. Did not take them off with my teeth.

The college will pay for new boots and hepatitis shots...

Back to the post...

Yesterday it poured. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say a deluge.

Groundskeeping was dispatched to clean drains.
It was not my lack of leaf blowing that plugged the drains. Water from the city was flowing back through the drains and flooding the streets.
When I took the following picture I thought there was quite a flood. The poor deer are caught on the wrong side creek. And that leaning oak tree will probably go down.


I wandered around in the rain and worked on drains.
I discovered that I bought the wrong raingear. I was soaked.
I noticed a stream of water crossing the road and flowing into the storage building. In minutes it was flooded.

The above photo was taken from the same location as the first picture. It flooded quickly!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What happened at our house the day after Thanksgiving.

My father-in-law passed away the day after Thanksgiving.
He was 92 years of age.
Thanksgiving was a good day for him. Grandchildren came to visit him. He actually sat at the table and ate. He had somewhat of a conversation with his handicapped granddaughter, who sat with him for much of the afternoon. He watched football, he talked a little bit.
The next day he was worn out. He passed away around 4:30 in the afternoon. My wife and one of her sisters were setting with him when it happened.
Hospice was really good. They even called the mortuary.
My father-in-law was an unassuming man. He did not want a funeral service. The plan is to spread his ashes at his favorite swimming hole this spring.
Sometimes funerals are for the living. There are family members who need closure. Funerals give us a chance to acknowledge our shared history and are an important social ritual.
I don't like funerals or weddings and try to avoid them.
But I digress,
My father-in-law was a veteran.
He served in WWII as a medic. He was a Conscientious Objector and refused to carry a gun. He was selected for doctor training but would have had to carry a sidearm for self defense.
He worked as an x-ray technician and was in the Battle of the Bulge.
He told us a story about riding across France in the back of an Army truck.
He threw his duffle bag in the back but the truck was really crowded. A friend called him to ride in a different less crowded truck so he didn't get in the truck with his bag.
The truck with his bag slid off of an ice covered bridge into a river. A number of soldiers drowned. His bag was found down river and it was assumed he also drowned.
When he walked into the mess hall that evening it caused quite a shock.

I have two uncles who are in their 90's. I hope they wait a little while. Once I get over my severe cold I think I'll do some visiting...

We are going to Florida for Christmas this year. I got personal leave time from work. My supervisor says he thinks he might be able to get it counted as bereavement time and I may even get paid.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A really bad movie

It is so painful to watch a movie that could have been good. Especially when it has a star who is kind a movie icon and a director who should do better.
We watched Ricki and the Flash.
It was kind of horrible.
Moments of my life I will never recover.
I actually quit and took my shower but had to come back. It was like a train wreck. You shouldn't look but yet you do.
The music was good enough. Supposedly Meryl Streep learned how to play guitar for the movie. She did a decent job singing.
She should have skipped the guitar lessons and interviewed aging female rock stars.
Meryl's performance as Ricki, the old, broke, wannabe rockstar is just strange. I didn't quite follow the storyline. I think she abandoned her family but then was asked to come back when her daughter had some sort of crisis and her son of course was gay and someone was getting married and of course her band played at the wedding.
I think there was supposed to be a contrast between Ricki when she is not on stage and the amazing change that occurs when she starts singing.
I didn't really get it.
I'm not sure if Ricki is supposed be acting like a 17 year old with a bad attitude and attention issues but it just doesn't work.
Most musicians I have met or have seen interviewed or watched perform are not ditzy idiots. In order to play well and sing well and to keep at it for 30 years, you have to have a certain level of dedication. I suspect the idiots mostly die or quit or self destruct.
When you hear Joan Jett or Debby Harry interviewed you see hard working and dedicated people.
Perhaps Meryl modeled her character on Courtney Love.
I had been looking forward to playing the Suzi Quatro album I accidentally bought on eBay but after watching Meryl Streep's interpretation of a female rock and roll singer I just can't quite bring myself to play it.
It is the first album. Should be good.