The beauty of Busch Gardens

October 31, 2009

One of the most beautiful amusement parks in the world has to be Busch Gardens at Williamsburg.  Crafted with an old European theme, the park is hidden inside of a wooden parcel of land that spans a private lake.  Unlike many modern theme parks, everywhere you turn, you see as many trees as you do shops and rides with intricate flower arrangements to finish off the visual buffet.

Making the park even more beautiful is visiting it during the fall.  A mixture of traditional fall decorations as well as accents for Halloween makes your visit there a true treat for the eyes.  Below are just a sampling of the natural beauty you can find at Busch Gardens.

The last photo is of the Loch Ness Monster roller coaster ride.  The ride has two interlocking loops that straddle the lake and wooden walkway below.  This gives both the riders and the pedestrians below a thrill as the cars race upside down and then uphill.

The yellow and grey of the roller coaster structure blends in well with the autumn colors of the trees that surround the ride and line the lake.  As you can see from the photo (taken from the air in a sky car), the parks minimalistic approach to ride placement leaves much of the natural beauty in place for all to enjoy, making Busch Gardens one of the most beautiful parks in the world.

Dilbert truism

October 29, 2009

This comic strip is so true!

I am one of those coworkers with little toys on my desk (one from one of my bosses).  My favorite is a simple 3-D puzzle made out of plastic blocks, requiring you to figure out how to assemble them together to make a predetermined shape.  On the really stressful days, taking a minute to play with the puzzle seems to lift the mood.  Even my coworkers will come over and play with the puzzle while talking about work.

Unfortunately, there are a few coworkers that frown on making the office environment “fun.”  I can understand that (to an extent), since I don’t like listening to my coworkers music or their telephone conversations down the hall from my office.  But toys?  Toys are harmless! 

I do think that there should be a limit on the amount of novelty on the desk though, but more for practical reasons that for the distraction aspect.  If you cannot spread out your paperwork and your files since your action figures or desktop putting green are in the way, then you have too many toys on your desk.  Just take a few of the items off the desk, and then rotate them in and out over the course of the month.  That will put the “novel” back into “novelty.”

The Flu and H1N1

October 29, 2009

Every time this year, you always hear the question “Are you getting the flu shot this year?”  My answer to this question is always “No.”  It isn’t because I think it is a government conspiracy or that I am too cheap (well, maybe I am cheap).  No, I don’t get the flu shot because I was one of those lucky few who came down with the flu the only year when I did get the shot.

I know, I know … they tell you that you can’t get the flu from the flu shot, but it is hard to come up with any explanation other than that.  I’ve never came down with the flu in my adult life during flu season except that one lone year.  And I tell you, when I was sick I mean I was “sick.”  I was in and out of work for two months, with some weeks just doing my work over the computer or the phone.  Fortunately, my employees were well trained and could run the office without me.  The only times I would come in was if something official had to be signed or if there were bills to be paid.  But enough about that.

So, the next questions is if I am going to get the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccination this year?  I haven’t decided yet.  My friends’ husband came down with swine flu this month, and is in the process of recovering, so I know that it is around me.  However, do I take my same position on this as I do with the flu shot?  Will I get swine flu if I am vaccinated?

For the time being, I will not be making that trip down to the doctors for either.  If the swine flu epidemic continues, or if more people around me come down with the illness, I might change my mind.  In the mean time, I will take my chances.

Thank goodness for Webroot!

October 29, 2009

I think I picked up a “virus” (or maybe just malware) through Facebook earlier today, resulting in new instances of Internet Explorer opening up on their own.  Most of these pages were to generic websites, though a few were to adult-related content (not a good thing to see when you are sitting in a restaurant).  However, the more pesky aspect of this virus was that it would redirect my Google and Yahoo searches to third-party websites, making it impossible for me to find what I was looking for.  Enter Webroot Antivirus with Antispyware!

I’ve had Webroot on this laptop for years, but I didn’t renew my registration in the Spring.  BIG MISTAKE.  I logged into the program, renewed my subscription, and within a few minutes it identified the bad program and quarantined it for me.  Since then, no more erroneous websites!

If you are having a similar problem you might what to check out Webroot.  It is an annual subscription (unless you pay a little more to extend it for two years), so that is a slight drawback, but it is well worth it if you ask me.  I would have to spend the better part of the weekend restoring my laptop if I decided to reformat the drive to remove the virus, and I can tell you that I have more exciting things to do with my weekends than that. 

This isn’t a paid endorsement.  This is my personal testimonial on the product.  If any of you use Webroot and want to sound off on it, do so now.

Up, Up, and AWAY!

October 28, 2009

After a weather delay, the new Ares I-X rocket lifted off of the launch pad down at Cape Canaveral in her maiden test flight.  This flight lacked a payload, but was fitted with numerous sensors to test the design and flight of the rocket.  The flight lasted just a few minutes, but that was more than enough time to obtain the information NASA was looking for.

The Ares rocket is the future of manned space flight for NASA, as the existing Space Shuttle fleet is due to be retired soon.  The Space Shuttles have served as the work horse for the United States and the world for three decades, and suffered two fatal accidents in the process.  The Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia were both destroyed in flight – the Columbia disintegrated during re-entry in 2003, and the Challenger exploded during lift-off in 1986.

Not only was the Space Shuttle fleet living past their designed life span, they were not equipped for the next stage of NASA’s mission, being the return to the Moon.  Proposed by the Bush Administration, the US should be returning to the Moon by 2015.  This will be the year the Orion Crew Capsule should be ready for use.  The Constellation Program will use the Ares I rockets to launch the Orion Crew Capsule into space, while a larger Ares V rocket will lift heavy payloads to be sent directly to the moon.

I look forward to the day where we can see man walking on the moon again.  Other nations, such as China, are already working on their own programs, creating a modern space race.  Even though the US has already “won” that race, it will be a great achievement if the US can beat China in the race back to our celestial neighbor.

Rain Rain Go Away

October 27, 2009

It has been raining steadily for the past few days, knocking down all the pretty leaves from the trees.  However, it is doing something even more detrimental. 

As you know, I am conducting an experiment with two different brands of grass seed.  I’m concerned that all this rain might harm/kill all my new grass that has grown.  And if that doesn’t do it, plastering a ton of wet leaves on top of the new grass might do it.

Looking at the forecast, the rain should end by Thursday, so I will try to get out there on Friday and clear up the mess so the grass will get some sun.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

The Beauty of Fall

October 27, 2009

One of the best things about the changing seasons (other than the fact that Winter is coming) is how beautiful the trees become.  I was out walking around my neighborhood over the weekend looking at the exciting colors in the trees.  Unfortunately, it was starting to rain, so I only had a few moments to snap some pictures.  The picture below is the best image of the bunch.  The trees in the middle just “pop” in this picture, which is even more impressive when you consider that it was sprinkling and the sun was nowhere in sight.