Volcano erruption seen from space

June 23, 2009

File this under “COOL!!!”

While orbiting the Earth on June 12th, astronauts aboard the international space station saw a very unique event.  Looking down at the Kuril Island Chanin (Northeast of Japan), the astronauts observed a volcanic explosion.  With calm lower and upper level winds, they enjoyed a once in a lifetime event as the plume of smoke and ash shot up towards them. 

What is also awesome is that you can see the Pyroclastic flow as well as the shockwave emminating from the volcano.  You can see the shockwave thanks to the low-level clouds being pushed out in a near perfect circle around the island, again, tanks to the light winds.

Take a moment to read the whole article:  link.

Rain, rain (don’t) go away

June 15, 2009

This has been a very wet Spring for me so far.  It seems that it has rained (if not poured) every-other day so far, and I am not complaining one bit.  Why?  SOD! 

That’s right, I’m talking about my yard.  For years I have been trying to revitalize a section of my yard where the grass has disappeared.  I finally caved in a few weeks ago and had sod laid in the hopes to once again see green where I was seeing brown.

The most important responsibility for handling new sod is keeping it watered.  By watering the sod for a month, you are encouraging the roots to grow and develop, locking the new grass to the existing lawn.  With all of this rain, I have only had to turn on the sprinklers three times so far.

The irony of this all is that it was the rain that caused the grass to disappear in the first place.  Due to the way the yard is sloped and the position of the tall trees next to the lawn, this section would remain overly-saturated and shady.  In the efforts to resolve this, I am installing a new “drain pit” near the downspout that is causing half of the problem. 

So, for now, rain, rain (don’t) go away.  Keep on coming and make my grass grow!!!

Website update

June 12, 2009

As our current members and readers will notice, I have changed the display of the website this week.   I believe this new look provides a cleaner and more user-friendly layout.  If you look to the right, you will see that the site wide feeds for posts and comments have been increased from the five most recent to the ten most recent.  To the left, you will see some of our community members’ badges.  While they are static at the moment, once I receive a few more from our users, the ads will change each time you visit the main website.

Lastly, the biggest change will be the fact that I will communicate with you more through the main website and less via e-mail.  With the increased number of users, I believe it will be easier for me to make a single post on this site that you can all comment on, rather than me answering various e-mails when questions come up.  That doesn’t mean you can’t e-mail me if something specific comes up. 

Welcome to Blog-Now v2.0!

Learn to drive!

June 11, 2009

I hate to lecture people, but please, learn how to drive when it is raining.  For starters, turn on your headlights.  Most states require you to turn your lights on whenever you turn on your windshield wipers.  But for a matter of safe practice, do it even if your state doesn’t.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to see a gray car driving down the highway with no lights on when there is dense road spray and/or heavy rain is coming down?  It is next to impossible.  The car blends in perfectly with its surroundings.  So please, ALWAYS turn your lights on.

Secondly, don’t tailgate.  People drive too closely to one another as it is when the road is dry.  Do you remember the three-second rule?  That is, leave three seconds between you and the car in front of you.   When it is raining, your ability to stop is decreased, so you need to leave more room between you and the car in front of you.  And, if the vehicle two cars in front you happens to be a gray car without their lights on (hint, hint), you might be finding yourself having to break quickly due to an accident.

Lastly, use your turn indicators.  You should be using them anyway, but please, use them when it is raining.  It is hard enough to see the lines dividing the lanes in the rain.  If you drift from one lane to another, the people behind you might not know you are actually changing lanes, rather that the lane is shifting.  This could cause the cars behind you to accidentally drift into a different lane and possibly causing an accident.

Ok, this ends my quick rant on driving.  Remember, you are driving a heavy piece of machinery that can kill if not operated properly.  While you might be confident in your driving skills, you still need to take extra caution and practice smart driving habits in bad weather.  After all, I want you all to live to read my blog!

Closet treasures

June 6, 2009

I was cleaning out one of my closets last weekend and stumbled across a game that I hadn’t seen in ages. 


Tomy Pocket Game "Shootin' Gallery"

Tomy Pocket Game "Shootin' Gallery"

Looking at the back of the game, I see that it is dated 1976.  It’s hard to believe that this old Tomy Pocket Game is that old, as well as still functional.  The plastic casing is a bit scratched and cloudy, and the paper background is slightly warped, but other than that it is in good working order.

For those of you who are old enough to remember, can you believe games like this one would fascinate us for hours?  I guess it was our version of the Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360, except that it was portable and didn’t require batteries.

Maybe you should search your closets and see what treasures you might find.

Dusting off the old blog

June 6, 2009

Hey there folks.  Long time, no write!

Over the past few years, I have been very busy developing multiple websites and involved in various discussion groups.  As such, I have let this site fall to the back burner.  I’m glad to say that I am back!

For any followers from my old WordPress.com site might notice, I have merged a couple of posts from other websites into this one.  I’m trying to consolidate my “general interest” works into one blog.  If you notice new “old” topics suddenly appearing out of the blue, this is why. 

Thanks for the understanding, and I hope you all have a great weekend!

National Maritime Day 2009

June 2, 2009

On May 22, 2009, I attended the National Maritime Day celebration in Baltimore, MD. Set aside to honor and reflect on the maritime industry and those who serve, the day was marked with speeches honoring those who served in wars and conflicts dating back to World War II and special guests participating in the ceremony. What made the event special was the vessel being used to hold the ceremony that day.

The Nuclear Ship (NS) Savannah is a one-of-a-kind vessel in the US Flagged fleet. Her keel was laid on May 22, 1958, and in one-year time, the ship was launched on July 21, 1959.

Her name and date to begin construction were chosen to honor the historic Steam Ship Savannah. On May 22, 1819, the SS Savannah set off to create history by becoming the first steam ship to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean. Departing from Savannah, GA, her steam-powered paddle wheels and sails carried the vessel across the deep blue to Liverpool, England in 28 days.

The NS Savannah operated commercially for only a few years before being retired. While she was designed to be an active commercial and passenger vessel, her real purpose was to be a test platform and international emissary to show the peaceful application of nuclear power. However, due to her unique design and concerns over nuclear power at the time, her ports-of-call were limited.

She is now a floating museum.

If you notice in the toolbar above, there are pages containing many photos of the Savannah and pictures from the ceremony. Please take a few minutes to view the images. If you have any Savannah stories or photos to share, please feel free to comment and share with the rest of us.

(This site is under construction, so presentation might change during your visit.)