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Monday, February 28, 2011

Garage Half Done

The galvanized steel frame is complete. Note the burgundy and clay color scheme. Two white 10 x 10 garage doors go on the front.

Inside - the entire garage is light gray. On the south side will be one white man service door and two small windows.

It was a busy day. The garage crew and kit did not arrive until around noon. Four men worked to assemble it - until it got too dark at 7 PM.

I am impressed with the quality of materials - the engineering of the design - and the professionalism of the crew.

Most of the work today was getting the frame all squared away. After that - the roofing went on fast. The roof panels were about 3 feet wide and the exact length of the roof. the side panels are the exact length for the sides - they overlap and latch together.

Tomorrow - they will install the steel side skin sheets over the frame - and put on the trim. Big jobs left are - hanging two 10 x 10 garage doors - and the hurricane anchors into the ground.

I am disappointed with this time lapsed video. I was using the little camera on my MacBook Air laptop - taking one picture every 20 seconds. This is about one hour's work from 6 PM to 7 PM last night and it was getting very dark. You may ask where the rest of the day's video is - well - some jerk closed the laptop without saving the video. I found a free program called zonMotion. You can set the camera to snap a picture at a chosen time interval.

Garage Raising Day

There is a bit of fog - all is quiet except for the birds chirping. I hear a chain saw in the distance. Just another beautiful quiet Monday morning on Seminole Drive.

It is 8:30 - and the builders have not arrived yet. The girls's cars are gone for the day.

Hopefully - they get here soon and are able to complete the erection in one day. If they do not - would this be what those commercials talk about when they say "erectile dysfunction?"

The picture above is a garage of similar size and construction. Ours will be 24 x 26 - with two 10 x 10 garage doors just like this one. The main difference will be colors. Ours will be maroon with tan roof and trim. The garage doors are big enough for a camper.

This garage will be 100% steel - frame - sides - roof - doors.

Cost - you put 10% down on placing the order and pay the balance on completion.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

FSU 36 - Miami 16

At the halftime - Noles were leading by 20. Near the end of the second half - the lead dropped down to 3. At the buzzer the Noles won by 7.

At halftime - FSU honored the 1972 team that played UCLA for national championship - losing by 5. Almost the entire team came back for the event - almost 30 years later.

Today We Watch FSU From The President's Box

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Man in the Sea Museum - Panama City Beach

Today while waiting for Lulu's plane from Houston - I spent some time in the Man in the Sea Museum. It is along the highway and is certainly worth the $4.50 admission fee. I used to teach a 9 week unit on Oceanography in my Earth and Space Science Classes - and it was fun seeing many of the tools I taught about.
Sealab was an underwater home that was anchored of the coast of Bermuda about 200 feet down. Divers used to live there for 10 day stints. They were trying to prove that extended time under sea pressure had no ill effects on the divers - if they were properly decompressed when they surfaced. My Prius is in the picture to compare size.

This is a mine sweeper. It was towed from a helicopter and used to find explosive mines in the water after a military conflict.

This sub could go down as far as 600 feet and stay there for 6 hours. It was used when we lost an atomic bomb off the coast of Spain in 1966. It found the bomb - and safely brought it to the surface.

This guy was talking about German submarines off the coast of Panama City FL in 1942. He claimed there was a tavern along the harbor coast that would use the venetian blinds to signal the Germans in the subs. After midnight - they would come into the bar to drink beer. You recall in 1942 my grandfather Roy Everhart was killed when a German sub sunk the USS Norlandia off the coast of Haiti in July 1942. Who knows - maybe the Germans that killed him drank in this tavern.

The Beaver Mark IV was capable of diving down to 2000 feet. It had a 30 inch diameter port hole on the front.

There are tons of diving suits at the museum. This one could go down to 1000 feet. It is called a rigid suit.

Eglin Air Base - Sweet Little Treasure Near Fort Walton Beach

This is a MOAB - Bunker Buster - the most powerful non-nuclear bomb

You might ask, "What are you doing Harry - 150 miles west of home?"

Originally - Lulu planned to drive to Houston for a library visit. Then we would have stopped in New Orleans for a Mardi Gras weekend in New Orleans. But schedules change - and a 2000 mile drive seemed a little much for just one school library visit. I had to twist her arm a bit - but Lulu finally relented. I drove her to the new Panama City Airport - and she took a non-stop flight to Houston. The drive to Panama City is 2 hours - and yesterday after I dropped Lulu off at the airport - proceeded to Eglin Air Base.

It is another 50 miles to Eglin near Fort Walton Beach - but this museum is worth it. It reminds me of a flashback to the 1950s when my Dad and I used to belong to AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) and PVMC (Panther Valley Model Club). We used to go from air base to airbase where we would have model airplane meets. I remember all the German and Japanese planes covered with weeds - excess booty from World War II.

I am staying overnight in Panama City at a cheap Comfort Inn. The price was right and it has free internet - so I am in hog heaven. After I file this story - I plan to tour the town's historic sites - and then pick Lulu up at the airport at 7 PM - and chauffeur her home.

Eglin Air Base is where Air Force pilots train. It is famous for two special missions. During WWII - it was on this isolated field where General Jimmy Doolittle trained a ragtag crew of pilots to fly B-25s off a carrier (never before done) to attack Tokyo right after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Here - Colonel Tibbetts and his crews practiced dropping the first atomic bomb - the one that ended World War II.

The United States Armament Museum is a fantastic collection of historic aircraft and bombs. It is right along the highway - no big fences around it - you can walk among the pine trees and aircraft - kicking through the pine needles while your mind wanders through these once secret weapons - now pieces saved from the melting pot.

This is a Russian MIG-21 - for years the top plane behind the Iron Curtain

This is a BUD (Big Ugly Dish) - we used to have one in Pennsylvania to watch Seminole sporting events intercepting wild feeds over the satellites

This is an F-86 - first production plane to go faster than sound. This one was also named BETTY after my mother-in-law.

You must be an officer to fly all planes - except for these Hueys and other helicopter

The A-10 Warthog pilots trained here. This plane supports ground troops with low level combat strafing

The C-47 Goonie Bird - General Patton named this plane and the jeep as the two most important vehicles of WWII

Plaque remembering General Doolittle practicing here for the Tokyo Raid

B-25 - my Dad's favorite plane from WWII - he built a 6 foot long flying model of this aircraft

The SR-71 spy plane - flew fast and high as it photographed - Russia - Cuba - Libya - and many other secret places. My buddy John Orlando loves this plane

This "smart bomb" has a camera in the front and can be steered to the target

"I won't leave my wingman!" - Incredible story - these two F-4s were over North Vietnam. One ran out of fuel in enemy territory. His wingman told him to put down his tailhook. The wingman then pushed the plane over to Laos where they both ran out of gas - and were rescued in safer territory

This is a cruise missile capable of traveling 1000 miles at treetop level and delivering an atomic bomb to a pinpoint target. It can be launched from a plane - ship - or submarine

Fat Man and Little Boy were the two atomic bombs we dropped on Japan ending WWII. This is Fat Man - dropped on Nagasaki. It was carried by a B-29 and the crew trained here
This is our new Toyota Prius sitting near a B-25 and B-17. The Prius got 53.1 MPG on our trip from Tallahassee to Fort Walton Beach. It holds 12 gallons - with a range over 600 miles on one tank of gasoline. On some stretches of the trip it was running on electricity and the MPG gauge read 100 miles per gallon. It will pick Lulu up at the Panama City Airport today at 7 PM and wisk her home in 2 hours. She will have been over to Houston - made a school library visit - and returned home in 36 hours. She is my hero.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Massive Earthquake Hits Christ Church New Zealand

This is a picture of the Christ Church Cathedral that I took in October in New Zealand. Compare it to the picture below

This is a picture from New Zealand taken today - 1 PM their time - about 1 AM - our time. We experienced an earthquake while staying in the hotel just to the left of the blue car. Note the cathedral tower down

About an hour ago - I woke up with a shutter. I opened my computer. To my amazement - I read that a massive earthquake just occurred in Christ Church - New Zealand. 63 people are confirmed dead. Ironically - the earthquake recorded 6.3 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter of the quake was 6 miles out of town and 3 miles deep.

When we visited Christ Church - New Zealand - in October - a more gentler earthquake shook us awake there. We were staying in a hotel downtown very near to the Christ Church Cathedral. Note in the picture above the massive damage to that church.

From the NY Times

A powerful earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, during the city’s busy lunchtime rush on Tuesday, flattening office buildings, destroying several homes and killing scores of people, officials and eyewitnesses said.

Prime Minister John Key said that at least 65 people were confirmed dead in the 6.3-magnitude quake. The mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, declared a state of emergency and ordered the evacuation of the city’s downtown area, The Associated Press reported.

Television footage from the scene by 3 News New Zealand showed emergency crews pulling shaken and injured victims from the stricken buildings, including one four-story structure, the Pine Gould Guinness building, that was partially damaged by the temblor. Emergency crews were working to evacuate people from another building that had caught fire shortly after the quake.

The search and rescue mission was being further complicated by repeated strong aftershocks to the zone, officials said.

“Government agencies and emergency services are still putting together a picture of the damage,” New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, Bill English, told reporters in the capital, Wellington.

Mr. English and the civil defense minister, John Carter, said that Christchurch’s main hospital, which sustained minimal damage, was preparing for multiple casualties. Some victims had already been airlifted to hospitals outside the earthquake zone.

The Christchurch Airport was closed and said on its Web site that it would reopen Wednesday morning only for domestic flights.

Photographs and video from Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city with an urban area of nearly 400,00 residents, showed people running through the streets, massive landslides pouring rocks and debris into suburban streets and extensive damage to the iconic Christchurch Cathedral. One witness called it “the most frightening thing of my entire life.”

Click on "Massive" in the above headline to see my story of when we were hit by earthquake in New Zealand right next to this church

Monday, February 21, 2011

Garage to Be Built - Monday Feb 28th

The company just called to say they will be here next Monday to build the new garage. It should be done the next day. This garage will be assembled on our lot at 1816 Seminole Drive - down the street from our home.

It will be 24 x 26 by 12 feet high. It will have 10 x 10 garage doors. It will be burgundy sides with tan roof and trim - white doors.

It may remind you a bit of the barn we had back north in Tamaqua - but this time it is 100% steel - frame - roof - sides - doors.

Busy Sunday - Seminoles Beat Maryland - Then Supper with Friends - Finally Willie Nelson Came to Our Street

Willie Nelson at The Moon on Seminole Drive in Tallahassee

Sunday was a beautiful sunny warm day in downtown Tallahassee. We have been having an early spring this year - the days go up to the 70s and the nights hit 50.

The day started a little slow - some yard work- a few chores around the house. At 3 - Lulu and I hopped on the scooter to the civic center- and enjoyed a great basketball game.

FSU Marching Chief Playing The War Chant

Maryland had come to town after just beating the league leading Duke team by 20 points. They were loaded for bear - really big - and it was a brawl. Our girls prevailed by 6 - and now are tied for the ACC lead with Duke.

After the game - we had supper guests - our good friends Josh and Melissa. Melissa is Lulu's counterpart. She is president of ALISE - Association of Library and Information Science Educators. Josh is a psychologist for FSU. After supper we walked up the street to The Moon - a local nightclub and juke joint - right on our street at the corner of Seminole and Lafayette.

As we arrived at The Moon - the parking lot was packed. We could see Willie Nelson's bus hidden behind a high fence with a guard posted there. We went inside - and there was not an empty seat in the house unless you count the stools roped off for Willie Fan Club members. The show was scheduled to begin soon - so we went SRO - standing room only. We nudged slowly toward the stage - and as the lights went down we settled in about 20 feet from the microphone.

Willie Nelson at The Moon - 2/21/11

To my surprise - the crowd was docile - unless you count the "Charlie Manson Like" character that was right in front of me pawing a few "Charlie's Angels" around him that were maybe 30 years younger. A couple budges to the ribs calmed him down a bit - and we settled in to enjoy a really neat show.

Willie played for 2 hours straight - barely stopping between songs that lasted anywhere from one to three minutes. Do you remember when songs were short like that - so that deejays could play them and fit lots of commercials in? Others say that you couldn't fit more than 2 minutes on a 78 RPM record. Who knows - but when holding up my camera to video Willie - it was nice being able to rest after 2 minutes.

Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys

Willie played all the hits. He had a very small band - piano (his sister) - drums (his borther) - base - harmonica. Willie did all the heavy picking to my surprise. No other guitars were visible.

Willie has probably made more money as a songwriter for such songs at "Crazy" by Patsy Cline - and "You Were Always on My Mind" by Elvis. Willie is 78 years old now - like the 78 RPM records - and had no trouble remembering the words. He also was very gracious throwing his headbands to the crowd after each song. He put on a dynamite show.

After a little research - I found out that Willie owns 3 million shares in a company called BioWillie. It is a company that makes a biodiesel fuel product that runs in a regular diesel engine without modification. Even though the stock is currently trading at 2 cents a share - it is something to hang his hat on.

FSU Girls Basketball Team Warmup to Beat Maryland - 2/21/11

It was all over by 10 - and Josh - Melissa - Lulu - and I walked back to our home. Watching Willie perform like that - at age 78 - made me feel good. I figured 2000 people paid $50 - $100,000 - to help Willie with his IRS problems. And at 63 - I was also pretty proud of myself standing in front of the stage for 3 hours after a few drinks - and not having to visit the bathroom.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

FSU Girls Basketball Beat Maryland 72-66

After starting out in a 9-1 hole - FSU is beating Maryland at the half 36-28. Game is on ESPNU. We are sitting right behind scorers table. Go Noles!

Harry's iPhone

We are home now. Seminoles hung on in second half to win 72-66. this was a fantastic win over a Maryland team that just beat Duke on Thursday night by 18 points.

Maryland's team was big. Sometimes they had 5 girls on the floor over 6 ft 2 in.

FSU is tied for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with Duke.

For the second game in a row Lulu and I were on the "kiss cam" - disgusting fan everywhere.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Springtime is Building Time - Can You Say ManCave

We bought a second house down the street on a large 250 by 210 foot lot. We plan to build a new home here - but not before we sell our present home. But that doesn't stop me from building a "man cave."

My landscape engineer - Dave English - is preparing the pad site for the new garage. This site is complete now - the building permit is posted on the lot. I ordered the new steel garage form Carolina Carports. The storage garage will be 24 x 26 x 12 feet tall. It will have two large 10 x 10 garage doors - big enough to "hide" a motor home or two.

The garage will look something like this -

- except it will be maroon in color with tan roof and trim. The materials are precut at the factory. The crew comes to the lot with the materials and builds it like an erector set. It is all steel - roof - sides - frame - doors. The building is certified to the Florida Hurricane Code to withstand winds up to 150 MPH.

Supposedly - within three weeks - I will be moving all of our excess "baggage" from our present home - and preparing it for sale. If we are lucky and it sells fast - we plan to move into the present brick home on this lot. Although this is a pretty neighborhood right downtown with lots of neat homes - sales are very slow right now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saturday Night With Randy Newman

Randy Newman sings "You've Got a A Friend in Me" in Tallahassee.

One of the nicest things with living by a college campus is the entertainment. Saturday night - we went to see Randy Newman the famous songwriter and musician.

Florida State just spent $36 million on a renovation to the Ruby Diamond Auditorium. This was our first chance to see the results. We sat in the next to the last row in the balcony - everything sounded good to me.

The parking was good - the access and exit areas were upgraded - and we were out of there quickly. You may recall that I bought a tuxedo for Lulu's inauguration - and I wanted to get my moneys worth out of it.

It was past 10 o'clock when the concert was over - we went out for a drink. The waitress asked if we were ready for supper - I proceeded to tell her that we eat supper at 5 PM. I also told her I was married to my first wife for 40 years. She responded - "Boy do you look tired!"

Bond.......Harry James Bond.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back to Ticket Reality at FSU in Tallahassee

We are sitting in the sixth row at the foul line across from the Noles bench. We left home at 2:30 - parked the car - there were plenty of tickets for sale. A nice lady offered me two tickets on the rail for $5 each. Ticket face value here is $18 - not the $65 that faced us at Duke and UNC last week.

FSU led by as many as 15 - and settled for a 7 point victory. UVA had it down to 3 near the end.

It was a costly victory as Chris Singleton - our future NBA draft pick - left the game in the first half with a twisted ankle. They x-rayed it and he sat out the second half.

Singleton is the second big man that is down for the Noles. Terrance Shannon - a 6-9 bruiser - had his knee scoped last week and is out for the season.

Harry Later Note - Chris Singleton has a broken foot that requires immediate surgery. We have probably seen his last days in a Seminole uniform. He was 5 of 6 from the floor in the first half when it happened. He also had a couple of giant blocked shots. Look for him to be a first round draft choice in the NBA this year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Knoxville and the University of Tennessee

A young Dolly Parton graces the walls of the East Tennessee History Museum.

The James White Fort housed the first house of Knoxville next to our hotel.

That is our Marriott Hotel sticking out behind the Womens Basketball Hall of Fame.

Neyland Stadium from an empty condo complex across the Tennessee River.

Neyland Stadium holds 110,000. People come up and down the river in their boats to tailgate before the games.

This condo reminds me of the ones in downtown Tallahassee. Brand new - cost millions to build - bankrupt - beautiful setting - right across from stadium - EMPTY.

The 1982 Knoxville Worlds Fair was here. Imagine a small bumpkin city holding a World's Fair - and people came.

110,000 people can watch a game in this tightly seated closed bowl.

University of Tennessee campus is nice. It is hilly - not much landscaping - buildings are all made of light orange brick - very modern buildings - very plain. Stadium looked like an erector set.

Lulu visited a school in Knoxville while I toured the town. Our hotel was right next to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame - but I did not go in. Instead I chose East Tennessee History Museum.

Things I found out - Eastern Tennessee voted 2 to 1 to stay in the Union during the Civil War. The people then voted to break away from the rest of Tennessee but weren't allowed. Imagine that - one state is fighting to break away from the USA and they would not allow Eastern Tennessee to break away from them. This resulted in family feuds over some leaving the Union and other not leaving. This went on for years after the war was over - even today.

Dolly Parton is very big in this area. She does a lot of good things for the people besides being a wonderful entertainer. She impresses me with not taking herself very seriously - and boy can she sing and play the banjo.

This area is very proud of the Oak Ridge Project that build the secret atomic bomb. Ten of thousands of locals worked on the project and kept their mouths shut. Of course many did not know what they were building.

The TVA project brought cheap electricity to this area and 7 states. The men did not like the government flooding their properties. The women wanted electricity for lights - but mainly to run a well pump so they had running water and toilets. Over 50 dams were built to make electricity - to irrigate farmland - to prevent floods - and for transportation. It was the biggest government project up to that time.

Finally - this area was a hotbed of women's right to vote.

I was surprised that Knoxville was only about 3 hours from Atlanta. We got out of Knoxville just before a big snow storm was going to hit. We were lucky on this trip that we had no weather problems. Hopefully we will home Thursday night.

We had the Biltmore to Ourselves

The Vision Tour stopped at the Biltmore - it was 30 degrees and sunny with a brisk wind.
It was beautiful in the winter but the spring and summer must be out of this world.

You could grow citrus fruit in the hot house - Lulu would like this on our new house.

She said - and a swimming pool would be right here.

Lulu at the conservatory with a candlestick.

A view of the Blue Ridge Mountains form the Biltmore.

We had the place to ourselves.

Spiral Stairway served 5 floors.

Swimming pool with original tiles and lights.

Two of the first bowling alleys in the USA.

I shot this pool room photo before they told me - no indoor photos.

George Vanderbilt's Biltmore near Asheville NC.

Tuesdya we toured the Biltmore - a 250 room mansion billed as the largest private home in the USA. In 1895 George Washington Vanderbilt built this 250 room mansion as a summer home. It has 50 bathrooms - and took 3 years to build. It is still privately owned by the family - but they gave the surrounding 15,000 acres of forest to the federal government on the condition that it become a national forest and never be developed.

In 1930 - the family decided to open the home as a tourist mecca. The grandson of George Vanderbilt decided that the house should be self-supporting. They get roughly 1 million visitors a year paying $60 a head. It take hundreds of caretakers and servants to keep the place up. As we walked through about 50 rooms alone - it was kind of spooky hearing the wind buffet the old double hung windows. When you went near the doors - there was a steady breeze of frigid air coming in. In some places - you could see snow flakes making their way through the cracks. I guess installing insulation and weather stripping would ruin the historic ambiance. The hardware and woodward were still in fantastic shape 115 years later.

Normally it is $60 admission - but Lulu found 2 tickets on for $20. We spent about 3 hours going through about 50 rooms and walking the grounds before the cold and winds sent us back to the car - and on to Knoxville.