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May 27, 2006

Botanical Garden

Our gardening project has started to take on epic dimensions. What started out as a project to put some shrubs around the house has expanded into competition for the local botanical gardens. Teresa and I have added about 10 more shrubs and numerous flowers to another large bed next to our driveway. We also moved all the large stones that made up our defunct pond and made a ring around our Bradford pear. We will put some ground cover inside the ring when we get a chance. Teresa also bought a lot of ivy which we plan on putting in the front yard between the garden and the street. Don't want to put a lot of expensive shrubs there because it is on the right-of-way. I will have to post a couple photos when we are done to better show what we have done. Yesterday I managed to put some weed guard and eight 40 lb. bags of pine bark mulch down but I still need about eight more bags to finish. Plus Teresa wants to add a few more flowers. In addition, we want to add some solar lights to the garden to illuminate it at night. Teresa has been caught several times out front this morning just staring at the garden. I have to admit it looks pretty good for a couple of rank amatuers.

Posted by Michael at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2006

Church work

Last Wednesday I did some volunteer work for my church. Every third Wednesday of the month my church serves breakfast at the Oasis Social Ministry kitchen in Portsmouth. The ministry is run by the Catholic church and serves breakfast and lunch during the week. I reported for work at 6 am not knowing what to expect as I had never done this kind of volunteer work before. Breakfast is provided daily for about 75 - 130 homeless people. About 8 members from my church showed up to help prepare and serve the breakfast. I was amazed by the size of the kitchen, dining room, and the stockpile of food in the pantry. There was a very large walk-in refrigerator, walls of canned and dry goods, etc., there must have been enough food in the pantry to feed 1000 people. Anyway, my job basically involved helping prepare the food, serve orange juice during the meal, and help with the cleanup.

The menu for the morning consisted of biscuits with sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, doughnuts, coffee, and orange juice. Once people started coming in it was fast and furious. For the most part everyone was very nice although you could tell some of the people either didn't appreciate what was being done for them or thought they deserved to be fed by people who volunteered their time during a work day to come down at the break of dawn and prepare a meal for them. It was nice to know that either appreciated or not, our efforts at least gave 75 souls a good breakfast that morning. I plan on helping out every Wednesday when it is our turn. I try to help out in other ways for our church but this was one of the most rewarding things I have done in a long time. 

Posted by Michael at 8:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2006

Spending my tax return

With my federal income tax return burning a hole in my pocket, I had to spend some of it. My choices were: a shotgun, more backpacking supplies, a new computer, scuba diving equipment, or a trip somewhere. So far, I have purchased a Sony Playstation 2 and two games. That cost me about $200.00. I think it was a pretty good investment as I am having a lot of fun playing 'Ace Combat Zero, the Belkan War' and 'Brothers in Arms - Earned in Blood'. The only problem is that I am getting carpal tunnel thumb playing the games. I think I am going to spend the rest on backpacking supplies. I really want to go backpacking this Summer. I am joining the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club so that I will have someone to go backpacking with. I don't think that my age (57) will be much of a problem as I am in pretty good shape. Hell, a 70 year old Japanese man just summitted Mt. Everest. I still have many good years left in me I hope.

Posted by Michael at 9:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

What a Week !

I hope I don't have any more weeks like the last week anytime soon. Last Saturday my hosting service had a problem that affected all scripting. My main site was down for two days, my wiki another day and my blog, the one I am using now, was not restored until today. It took numerous emails to the support department before I think I finally cajoled them into fixing the problem. It probably took them all of ten minutes to actually correct the problem, but my blog was down for almost a week. I had just gone through a similar ordeal with my ASP.net hosting service. My site with them was down for three days. Funny that both of them guarantee 99.9 % uptime. I guess guarantee's like those are pretty much worthless in reality. I guess that is to be expected when you only pay about $18.00 a month for service. But for now both my sites are up and running. I have also had another issue with Apple and their iTunes music store but that is a story of epic proportions, the telling of which can only be justified by a separate blog entry. I hope this weekend will be one in which I can recover from the travails of the week.

Posted by Michael at 5:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2006

Langley AFB Air Show 2006

I went to the air show at Langley Air Force Base Saturday. The Air Force always puts on a great show. For my money, the Air Force and the Thunderbirds have always been more appealing to me than the Navy and the Blue Angles. The weather was perfect for a change. I was surprised that the crowds were not as big as they usually are. I think the news media predicted 180,000 for the 3 day event. Might have to do with the price of gas and some people might be a little apprehensive attending these types of events after 9/11. Everyone had to submit to a search before being allowed entrance, including being scanned with a metal detector or being patted down. But I don't mind such precautions if it makes everyone safer. Needless to say the show was great. I didn't stay for the Thunderbirds but I did see the B2 stealth bomber fly over. It is amazing how quiet such a large plane was. It flew directly overhead and I could barely hear the engines.
There was also a demonstration of the new F22 stealth fighter. Two F22's and two F15's put on a combined air show. The new F22 was really something to see. It had a burnished finish to it and was very moulded in appearance with no sharp corners. I also so a solo stunt plane performance where the pilot did some amazing manuevers. I took 61 photographs including the flight demonstrations and static displays. Also on display was the brand new Joint Strike Fighter. Now that is another beautiful looking aircraft. There were some WWII aircraft on display; a P51 Mustang, a Curtis P-40, and a Japanese Zero. As I was leaving for the day, six what looked like Japanese Zero's put on a display. I switched to video and captured some nice video of them. This link will take you to the photo album I have put up with some of the shots I took. I just wish I had stayed longer but since I was alone I didn't stay as long as I would have if there had been someone else there to share it all with. Teresa is not much on events like that.

Posted by Michael at 2:44 PM | Comments (0)