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Saturday, August 30, 2014
Meet the Klings - Diane Kling - Simon Barrass - Jennifer Barrass - Joe Kling.
After we moved into our new home at 1816 Seminole Drive - we put our old home at 1607 Seminole up for sale. I did not want to hire a realtor - I am home all the time and enjoy a challenge.
It started back in 2004 when we bought the place because it was 3 doors from the George and Joel Dawson and it had a pool. Lulu was convinced if she did not buy a home with a pool - I would never build one. Not only did I buy a home with a pool - I installed a new one. So Lulu was happy. We then went into a 10 year improvement binge - new guest house - new workshop - new pool - new floors - new roof - new windows - new kitchens and baths. We closed in the carport to make a garage - had the whole place landscaped - and put in new driveways - did I miss anything? We thought it was our home for the duration - so we spent way too much.
When we bought an extra house down the street - visions of building from a clean sheet of paper filled our dreams. Lulu was happy where she was but she was game to design the inside of the the home. My job was to shape the outside - you can tell that from the plain box I chose. We expected all sorts of arguments - but in the end - without one argument - our builder Gary Shiver turned our dreams into reality. Bill Richardson put our ideas on paper - our secret weapon.
To sell the house I made a this web page -
Then we waited for the offers to pour in. One day I got an email from a Jennifer in England. She said she loved the web page and house. She wanted to buy it. It reminded me of getting one of those emails from a Prince in Nigeria. I blew her off with - you must see the place before you buy it.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki - Hawaii. You may recall this hotel from the Elvis's movie Blue Hawaii in 1961. Hawaii was just a state 2 years ands this was one of the only places on the beach.
The open air lobby allows ocean breezes to flow through
I remember one young lady using a beach lounge by the pool under the Banyan tree - when the life guard came and routed her from her squat. She replied to him in perfect German - got up and hopped into the pool.
Lulu used to teach a course for the University of Hawaii every summer. We would have a lot of guests come over to spend some time in our condo.
From January 5th to the 9th - no one will be chased from the pool - unless Lulu points them out to the life guard. She reserved a room in the historic section of this Hawaiian landmark. Now she will have the right color of towel to prove she is legit.
One time I surprised Lulu with an anniversary dinner on the veranda. Drew - Keith - and Robin were along for the party. They witnessed a pigeon bomb Lulu's pretty white dress. To my joy - the hotel paid the bill for the meal and the dress cleaning.
It was off the coast of this hotel where Lulu and Harry learned to surf - see video here -
Harry Surfing Video
At one time it was the only hotel on the beach
Just like Seek is the Capital of Coaldale - Waikiki is the Capital of Honolulu. On the map you can see how close the beach is to the airport. You can also see Pearl Harbor - Tora! Tora! Tora!
To the east of the Moana Hotel is Diamond Head - an extinct volcano.
In the day time I sit on those porch rockers and watch the people and cars go by.
This Banyan tree has a pool - restaurant - and bar - under its boughs.
This photo shows the Moana Hotel before there were cars.
California on Monday became the first state to require that antitheft security features come enabled by default for every smartphone sold in the state.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the so-called "kill switch" bill -- introduced in February by State Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon -- on Monday, after it passed the state legislature earlier this month. A smartphone kill switch enables an owner to lock down a phone if it is stolen, rendering it inoperable. A spokesperson from Brown's office said the governor was not available for comment.
In May, Minnesota became the first state to pass a kill switch bill, but that law does not require the feature come turned on as the default setting, when a consumer initially sets up his or her new smartphone -- a distinction supporters of the California bill deem very important.
"Opt-in does not end the problem. Because it will not be ubiquitous," said Leno on the Senate floor in April, the first time the bill was presented. The idea is that if thieves expect the software to be enabled on all phones, they won't bother stealing them in the first place. After a heated debate, the legislation narrowly failed its first go-around but passed after a second try two weeks later.
"California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," Leno said Monday, in a statement.
The law aims to address what government officials have called an "epidemic." One in 10 smartphone owners in the US has had a phone stolen, according to the mobile security firm Lookout. In 2013, more than 3 million Americans were the victims of smartphone theft -- nearly twice as many as the year before, according to Consumer Reports. In San Francisco, which Leno represents and over which Gascon presides, thefts of mobile devices made up 65 percent of robberies in 2013. In Oakland, it was 75 percent.
"Seldom can a public safety crisis be addressed by a technological solution, but today wireless consumers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief," said Gascon, in a statement.
The law will apply to smartphones -- not tablets or other devices -- sold in the state after July 1, 2015. There will be a penalty of $500 to $2,500 for the "knowing retail sale" of every phone not in compliance.
The bill has received some pushback from the wireless industry, which believes a kill switch could be exploited by hackers. But supporters of the law have questioned the motivations of mobile carriers, which have lucrative deals with insurance partners.
The CITA, a trade organization representing the wireless industry, derided Brown's decision. "Today's action was unnecessary given the breadth of action the industry has taken," Jaime Hastings, vice president of external and state affairs for the CTIA, said in a statement.
"State by state technology mandates, such as this one, stifle those benefits and are detrimental to wireless consumers."
The law requires the security software to come enabled by default, but other than that, not much will change for most smartphone holders. Apple and Samsung, the No. 1 and 2 smartphone makers in the world, already have antitheft software available on their phones.
Last September, Apple added "activation lock," a feature that makes it harder for someone to use a stolen iPhone. The program requires a user's Apple ID and password before they can turn off the phone's location tracking or reactivate a locked phone. In April, Samsung, maker of the popular Galaxy smartphone line, launched "reactivation lock," which prevents a locked phone from being made operable again, even through a factory reset
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Lulu in her wedding dress from 1971.
Lulu in her THS prom dress of 1972.
It's almost 100 degrees in Tallahassee outside - so we decided to do a little organizing in Lulu's attic. Even though the attic is not heated nor air conditioned - we wanted to prove that thanks to the one foot of SucraSeal insulation - it stays a relatively cool 80 degrees.
We have shelves and 60 plastic bins that we use to sort our junk. Each bin has a letter or letters on it. We have a computer spreadsheet with all our junk listed on it and the bin it can be found.
Today Lulu looked up wedding dress and prom dress. It has been 43 years since Lulu wore these dresses - the wedding dress in 1971 - and the prom dress in 1972. If I were allowed to take pictures from the rear - you would notice about a 4 inch gap going up the back. They reminded me of the dresses that undertakers use - no back. Lulu was a good sport and allowed me to use these pictures to tell the story about our super insulated roof.
Al Ernst - iphone video
Ryan Van Genderen - iphone video
One of the nicest assets to our neighborhood is The Moon. Everyone in town knows about The Moon and where it is. When anyone wants to find our place - I just say "go to The Moon - that red light is Seminole Drive - go south 1/2 mile and that is our place."
The Moon used to be an A & P Store - it would be nice if that were there too :-)
The Comedy Store is a national chain of small comedy clubs. Simply - you pay a small admission - buy a few drinks and snacks - and laugh your butt off. Last night was the grand opening for The Comedy Store At The Moon. It used to be across town - but closed last year. We are delighted it chose The Moon to reopen.
We can walk 1/2 mile from our home - drink in complete safety - and not worry about who is driving home. We can be in bed before the room is fully cleared.
They offer two shows on Friday and Saturday night at 8 PM and 10 PM. The room holds maybe 100 tops.
Last night at 7 - I asked Lulu if she wanted to go - we got showered and dressed - we bought tickets at the door. They offered $12 and $20 - the $20 was for the VIP reserved front tables. We sprung for the extra close seats - I wanted to test my new eye. The room filled pretty quickly.
There were 4 comics. First Johnny Ray - a local from Quincy was the emcee. He has always been good - a nice warmup - but I'll bet he could feature elsewhere. Next - it went so fast - I did not catch her name. A pretty young lady did a short set. We later learned that she was the wife of Ryan the opening act. I wish I had my camera ready for her - she did some very animated humor.
The two features were really good - Ryan Van Genderen and Al Ernst. You can read their bios at the end.
During the show - I realized the people next to me and behind me were there on the $12 tickets - the ticket I will buy next weekend. :-)
Drinks were reasonable - in the $4 and $5 range. Snack was also hot and tasty. Even in the exclusive front row we got out of there for $55 total - drinks - snacks - tickets.
After the show - we got home quickly - even with a buzz on.
The Moon is a nice club - we have seen Willie Nelson there - and the Fab Four (Beatles Replica Ban). We are looking forward to many more Comedy Store nights.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
This is a double decker Megabus. I went from Tallahassee to New Orleans in 6 hours - about 400 miles. Add an hour for time zones.
Bourbon Street looks like this at 6 am. I was driving north on Canal Street
The day was one big blur. Just after midnight Lulu dropped me off at the Tallahassee Bus Terminal. Minutes later the Megabus pulled in. Lulu had found me a one way ticket to New Orleans for $25. By 6 am I would be in the Crescent City.
The Megabus was pretty cool - cold really. Good thing I took a sweater and a blanket - because they kept the air conditioner turned down really cool. Also the lights were completely out for the most of the trip. I took a seat in the upper deck. The seats do not adjust much and I was squirming most of the night finding a good position. I used our FSU blanket to make like a tent for both warmth and privacy. I sleep using a CPAP - and it looks like I am in intensive care in a hospital. Without it - I would have kept everyone awake with my catching of my breath. Each seat had two 110 volt outlets for computers - phones - and I guess CPAP machines.
On the lower deck there was a bath room. They also had free wifi - but honestly I was so tired I never really got set up. The bus stopped a few minutes in Luxley Alabama and Mobile Alabama. Some people go on and off at each stop.
Around 6 AM and sunrise we pulled into New Orleans. It did not seem like the bus was moving fast - but we made great time. The bus dumped us off downtown and there was a pile of people waiting to get on to go to the next stop. Lulu said if you buy early enough you can get seats for as low as $1. I bought my seat yesterday. I bought it online - and all the driver wanted to hear was a 5 digit code. At the 5th digit he said get in.
Megabus uses discount bus stops :-) People were waiting for the next bus.
My ride picked me up to take me to Rainbow Luxury Imports in Covington LA. I never crossed the 26 mile bridge over Lake Ponchetrain before - it was pretty neat.
When we got to the dealer - our car was in the showroom. Simply - I took the car for a test ride - looked it over - signed some papers - had a break for breakfast - then hopped in the car and drove home.
I stopped a couple times for stretch breaks along the way. I drove to the beach at Gulf Shore and Biloxi - and went into the Beau Rivages Casino. It was not busy - looked a little runned down like Atlantic City. There were still tons of empty building lots along the beach from Katrina.
From Biloxi - it was pretty well non-stop home except for the bathroom. When I got home - Lulu was waiting in the yard - and we went for a ride. She seemed pleased - my job was done - except for selling two of our old cars.
The seller filled the tank with 16 gallons of premium fuel - more than enough to cover the 400 miles trip home. I doubt that it will rival our 51 MPG Prius.
I spent time at the bus stop waiting for my porter to arrive. It was about 8 blocks from Cafe Du Monde.
Monday, August 18, 2014
I love electric vehicles mainly because they are so quiet and cheap to run. Too bad they are not cheap to buy.
A Segway - the computer driven 2 wheeled stand up vehicle costs around $5000. For Father's Day last year - Drew bought me a Segway tour in Richmond. It was a lot of fun - but $5000 prevents me from investing.
I visited Camping World in Panama City last week. They had a cool little vehicle called the Zap Pro-Flex 500. It is a simple little electric tricycle that you can ride standing up or sitting down. It has snappy performance. Lulu and I both rode one.
It has a 500 watt / 48 volt electric motor in the front wheel that provides snappy performance. It goes 15 miles per hour for 20 miles. Then you plug it in at night for 4 hours for a full recharge. It does not require a license plate- nor a driver's license.
It comes with a horn - a headlight - and a electric gauge to tell you how much power you have left. The price of $850.
If you ride it standing up - it looks much less like a handicap scooter. I wonder if Medicare would fund one of these. :-)
It also folds up to store it in your car - but it weighs 100 pounds - I would not want to lift it.
2 quarts of boiling hot water in 1 minute.
Note the plug and outlet with funny prongs. One prong is turned sideways.
Lowes has a nice assortment of plugs and outlets.
This is a 220 volt outlet.
Lulu is a coffee girl - but I like my tea. Lipton is just fine - no fancy flavors or colors - just the cheap stuff. A little lemon and Splenda rounds it all out.
In London they power their outlets with 220 volts. Over there my tea kettle can boil 2 quarts in 1 minute. I am not just talking steam - I am talking a rolling boil. We usually go there every summer - and I usually bring home a new kettle. In Scotland - a derogatory term for a man that stays home while his wife works is a "kettle boiler." His job is to keep the home fires burning - and have hot water available for his working wife. I am a kettle boiler.
when we built our new home - we had an extra circuit put on the kitchen counter for our tea kettle. Today I bought and American 220 volt outlet and plug. Note the different prongs so that you do not accidentally inert a 110 volt plug into the outlet - or plug the 220 volt appliance in to a 110 volt outlet.
Today I went back to the Palmer Eye Center - it is 11 days since my operation. My eye is doing fine. I test out for 20/20 vision near and far. I have thrown away my glasses - hopefully forever.
The sign above is modeled after the old sings in Las Vegas. It is very colorful and gives the clinic a festive atmosphere. That is our Prius parked under the sign. This place is 5 miles from our home.
Dr. Richard Palmer did my surgery. Today he examined my eye and said it is doing well. He said we have to pay special attention to my eye because I only have one good one.
It is about 2 hours from Tallahassee to Panama City Beach. Another 4 hours drive would have you in New Orleans.
A nice walk on the beach at sunset completed a beautiful 3 day vacation for me - a work trip for Lulu.
We love our beach tent. It is free standing - the front can be closed to use it as a beach cabana for changing clothes. I wonder if it is waterproof. It has screened windows and a sewn-in floor. That is our hotel in the background.
Even though Panama City Beach is in Florida - it appears to be "owned" by the people of Alabama. They like to call it the Red Neck Rivieria. Note on the maps that it is surrounded on 3 sides by Alabama - and the other side is the Gulf. The only thing left to complete the picture is Jackie and Tami.
The water is warm - the sand is white and fluffy. The beaches are wide.
The picture above is our sun tent in front of the Legacy by the Sea Hotel. They is a row of rentals chairs and cabanas but most of the beach people are on their own chairs and blankets. They also have coolers full of food and beverages - lots of beverages. Our hotel had a nice pool and hot tub. Outdoor showers can get you nice and clean for the 111 mile ride back to Tallahassee.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
We are very pleased with the energy consumption on the new house. When we designed it - we were very conscious of features that took advantage of the Florida climate.
The above bill was for July. Our home has 2400 square feet on the first floor. It has another 1200 feet on the second floor.
The home is lined with SucraSeal - expanded foam insulation. It has an R-60 rating in the roof and R-30 in the walls. There are no openings in the roof for vents - chimneys - etc. There is a two foot overhang of the roof all around the house for shade and rain protection. Two long porches shade the tall windows. The room ceilings are 10 feet high throughout. There are no ceiling fans.
The heat sump has a SEER rating of 19. The appliances are basic GE with low energy ratings. The water heater is an on demand Rennai tankless unit. All light bulbs are LED's that use 1/5th the power of a normal light bulb. The above chart says we used $16 for lighting for the month - that includes 10 porch lights that are left on at night.
Tallahassee Utilities has been ranked the number one public utility in the USA. They offer all of these services on one bill - electric - gas - water - sewer - garbage - water runoff - fire protection.
As you can see on the chart - the average bill for a home our size is $263. Ours was $143. As they say - of course your mileage will vary.
Florida State is ranked number 1 in the nation before they play one down. I cannot help but remember in 1988 - they were preseason number 1. They even cut a rap video called the "Seminole Shuffle." Then they shuffled into Miami opening day and lost on national TV - 31-0. They won the rest of their games that year - we went to the Sugar Bowl to watch them beat Auburn.
Being cautious - the preseason hype is just over the top. All it takes is an injury or two - or an arrest - and the season is over.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Lulu and I at the Hofbrauhaus in Panama City Beach. At 2 PM - beers are 2 for the price of 1. Note the crowd. This is the first picture with my new bionic eye.
Lulu has a conference in Panama City Beach for the next 3 days. I go along to carry her bags.
As we pulled out of our home on Seminole Drive - we noticed the moving van at 1607 Seminole. Right on time - the furniture for the Kling's arrived. It was raining lightly as they started unloading the stuff into our old house.
From our house to Panama City Beach is 111 miles if you go the shortest way - but it is not the fastest way. It rained off and on as we drove west - the highways were not crowded. As we arrived at the beach we noticed the streets were not that crowded either by cars or people. Panama City has some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world - but it almost seemed like the off season started. School starts this Monday in Florida. The clerk at our hotel assured us that the hotel was booked solid. We had to wait for our rooms - so we went to Pier Park - a neat shopping center.
Hofbrauhaus has a beergarten there. Between 2 and 4 pm they had 2 for it drafts. I am not a big beer fan - but Hofbrau is a great beer. We have traveled to the famous Hofbrauhaus in Munich to drink this smooth beer. The brewery is in the same spot almost 500 years. Someday we will visit it for Oktoberfest.
As we enjoyed our beer - Lulu was texted to say our room was ready. The hotel is about 1 mile east of Pier Park so we drove back - unloaded our bags - and got the key to our 9th floor room. As we opened the door - it was hard to miss the big Jacuzzi tub right next to the bed. You can soak in the hot tub and peer out the window at the surf.
We will spend two nights here - driving home Friday evening. Too bad - because Hofbrauhaus has free draft beer in the beergarten after 6 PM on a Friday night. I certainly could not drive after a night of that.
This picture is the real Hofbrauhaus in Munich Germany where Hitler became Fuhrer.
Our beach and pool from the lobby of the Legacy by the Sea.
Lulu loves the beach - particularly this one - note the sugar white sand and blue/green water.
This moving van was unloading the Kling's furniture as we left town.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
|Weber grill bought on Craigslist last night|
Two burners - stainless counter top - Weber
Our old house had an electric grill on the back porch. Before that we always had a grill with a propane tank underneath that used to run out at the most in appropriate times. Our new home has city gas - we even put an outlet on the back porch for a grill and generator.
We went to Home Depot to check out grills - they had a nice Weber grill for $399 - pretty basic - but the main thing was that it ran on city gas. After checking on Craigslist - we found the same model unit for sale for $165. It was about 12 miles away - so we put our carrier on the Prius and we went on a road trip. The seller lived in a nice house - he claimed that his new house did not have city gas - he had a new propane grill on his deck.
I offered $100 and he came back with $110. Lulu said okay. No tax. No shipping. We loaded it up and brought it home. We stopped by Home Depot on the way to get a fitting to hook the grill up to our house. We got a quick release fitting - just one quick slide and it is off and it turns off the flow of the gas. I can use the same connection for a city gas generator that Honda makes.
Thermometer goes to 600 F
We cleaned it up it up in the dark. This morning I hooked it up to the gas line and away it went. It has two burners - even set at medium it pinned the thermometer at 600 degrees.
Today Lulu will grill some chicken for supper - along with her foil potato bags.
|Yes I need to paint the city gas pipe - this shows the quick disconnect - no propane tanks to buy - it will also work during a power failure|
|When it is disconnected - the gas is shut off automatically. You can quickly store it inside when your travel.|
|Two burner controls and a a battery powered electric spark|
Inside there is plenty of storage without a propane tank in the way. The unit is easy to roll without a heavy tank.
Monday, August 11, 2014
I just returned from a post op visit to Doctor Palmer. My lens and cornea are in great shape. I tested 20/20 for the first time without glasses. I can read the finest print on my computer and in the newspaper without glasses. No squinting. If you look at my old pictures I was always squinting.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
We drove down to the Gulf and the bridge at Panacea FL to see the full super moon and clouds obscured the eastern horizon. All we got were these sunset pictures. We rode Lulu's 28 year old convertible thru the warm evening breezes.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Get ready for a wonderful story. We sold our old home - just 5 doors up the street. The new owners just saw it for the first time an hour ago. Their names are Joe - Diane - Jennifer - and Simon.
They flew into Tallahassee for the first time last night. We greeted them at the airport and they spent the night in a hotel.
We have the house furnished just enough for them to live until their furniture arrives on Wednesday.
They flew into Tallahassee for the first time last night. We greeted them at the airport and they spent the night in a hotel.
We have the house furnished just enough for them to live until their furniture arrives on Wednesday.
Friday, August 08, 2014
The marker over my right eye reminds the doctor to not do the wrong one. You can see my right pupil dilated wide open. You can almost see my cataract.
Praise the miracles of modern science and medicine. For 66 years I relied on my right eye to explore this world. Since birth my left eye has been simply a placeholder - a rock the doctor calls it. So you can imagine my concern when the doctor said my right eye's lens was cloudy and I should replace it. After much hand wringing I decided to have the operation.
Here the doctor is slipping the new MultiFocal lens into my eye.
Yesterday at this time I was on the operating table - with Dr Richard Palmer hunched over the microscope controlling the insertion of my new multifocal lens. The operation took 15 minutes- I was awake the entire time - and I walked off the table when it was done. The procedure is simple enough - they pounce a needle into the eye - it acts as a vacuum to suck out the old lens. Then they slide the new lens down the needle like a rolled up carpet. Finally the doctor unfurls the new lens. The cornea remains intact and pressure holds the lens in place.