May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – Write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. ~Neil Gaiman
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Facebook - Wreaths by Nicole
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
I've been halfway around the world but only experienced New Year's Eve in one foreign city and that was Naples, Italy. When I was their in the late 80's, we were warned to be off the streets at midnight as Italians believed in "out with the old." Amongst the sound of fireworks could be heard the thunder of furniture and appliances hitting the streets as the items were tossed off balconies and out doorways. What a way to celebrate though I've read that it's not as celebrated as it was then.
Below are links to some of the more prominent traditions around the world. Do you celebrate a tradition that isn't quite as mainstream?
Country Living - 15 Best New Years Superstitions That Could Bring You Good Luck in 2021
According to the Sleep Foundation, my kid requires more sleep than I do and I can see that. She expends more energy in her day than I do. But, she also doesn't have any of the problems that I exhibit, so when she get 9-10 hours of sleep, it's a good 9-10 hours. I, on the other hand, according to the Foundation, only require 7-9, but that requires me to sleep a full 10 just to get it. Here's all of the factors that affect me.
Night owl - I have always been a night owl. From the earliest recollections, I've always been more wound up at night. That may have come from my father being a shift worker and me and my brothers staying up late for when he came home. It might also have been just a natural biorhythm that puts me out of sync with a majority of the world. I've never been a morning person. A good day for me is sleeping until 11am and then getting up and going by 1pm. I really hit my stride late in the afternoon and could stay up until 2am or 3am easily. This worked fine for the years that I was a club DJ, but doesn't work so well when you have a kid.
My ideal schedule would be to get to the point where I could go to bed at 8 PM and sleep all the way through with maybe one pitstop and wake at 6 AM. Hopefully, this would give me enough energy to work the whole day through.
*** While writing this post, I came across this article that describes how pre-Industrial Europe had two sleeps. Not exactly like naps, mind you. Naps mean you sleep as you normally would and then take a short twenty minute to hour nap after lunch to get your energy back up. In the Navy, we usually skipped lunch and went straight to our rack (bed) and called them Nooners. In two sleeps, you go to bed at dusk, sleep about four hours, wake for two or three, and sleep another four hours. I've read where Thomas Edison, didn't necessarily sleep, he catnapped. He'd sleep an hour or two, work a few hours, sleep a few more hours and so on. But he also was able to flexible with his lifestyle, unlike most in the 21st century.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
I joined the Navy as a means to an end. I wanted to be a nuclear engineer but didn't have any idea how to accomplish it. Navy recruiters came to school showing a video about the Nuclear-Powered Navy and I was hooked.
I didn't end up getting my degree, but I finished out my six year service. I didn't have any desire to stay in at the time, but as the years went on, I would look back at my service with growing pride. I served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I didn't really understand everything that happened until I got back to the states and eventually got discharged in 1992. Even now, it's hard to find information on what we did, but thanks to Facebook groups, I've been able to find more and more info.
As I get older, I realize that though it wasn't my original intention, I did something that less than one half of one percent of Americans choose to do. I don't necessarily believe all conflicts are justified, but the folks that I met from Kuwait and surrounding countries during that time wanted us there. It makes me proud to have served and I support anyone who wants to join the military.
At first, I didn't feel comfortable having someone thank me for my service. I didn't know what to say to something that I didn't feel I deserved. To me, those service members who gave their lives or were in heavier combat than I ever saw were way more deserving than I. But I read an article from someone who put it in perspective. We can't all be on the frontline, but we support them by doing our jobs, like my ship, among a flotilla of ships, setting up warfare ops off the coast of Kuwait and drawing fire for main force attacking from the western desert.
When I heard of our little parade here in Winnsboro, I pulled out the old ball cap with my ship's emblem on it. With Covid, the veterans formed up out in front of the high school and listened to the high school band play the different military songs and afterwards drove off in procession to the other schools. Along the way, we got cheers and "we love you" from the kids and it felt awesome. There were several times when I thought I would tear up. My daughter and her friends were so excited to see us drive by and my heart was full seeing all of the kids.
I love this little town and it's American pride. I know America isn't perfect, but what truly makes America great is the fact that there are so many people working together to make it great. Do we still have racism, poverty, injustice and inequality? Yes, but it's our constant stride together to make it better that makes me proud of America and my service in the military.
Thank you to those that served and are still serving.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
For the first time in thirty-six years, Danny Elfman releases a single called 'Happy'. More commonly known for being Tim Burton's go-to composer, Danny is responsible for the BATMAN (1989) theme, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE CORPSE BRIDE, and the theme to THE SIMPSONS. For many of his fans, they will know him from his original band Oingo Boingo who gave us 'Dead Man's Party' and many more.
After signing with Anti-/Epitaph, 'Happy' hits the streets with an ode to 2020 it would seem. Gruesome effects bely the lines that state he is "so happy." It's typical Elfman macabre and I'm glad to see him back. Check out the video below and also "Dead Man's Party."
***Warning*** There is foul language if you are concerned with that.
HAPPY - Danny Elfman
DEAD MAN'S PARTY - Oingo Boingo
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Autumn Trails is something that's been happening in Winnsboro for sixty-two years. We visited for the first time last year and enjoyed the fun, but was really won over by the friendliness of the area's inhabitants. This is one of the reasons that we decided to leave the Dallas area and move out here, in addition to my parents both being within 35 miles of town, instead of two hours.
The many festivities included rodeos, arts & crafts, parades, trail rides and a flea market spread out over the weekends of October. The first weekend hosted barrel racing at the Winnsboro Rodeo Arena. The Kid would love to do this if we only had more room in the apartment for a horse. And barrels. The following weekend saw the Trail Ride parade and mule rodeo. See my previous post about the mule rodeo, which was tons of fun.This past weekend was packed with plenty for everyone. There was a Antique Car Parade, trail ride, and classic car show with old cars from just about every decade over the last one hundred years. The Bowery and other streets were blocked off for the Arts & Crafts fair while the Kid and I hosted a spot over at the city park for the Trades Day, Swap Meet, and Flea Market. We missed out on the Chili Cookoff and Pie Baking Contest, but we'll definitely make it next year. We suffered through with a little rain on Friday and cooler temps all weekend, but not enough to not have fun.
There is another event for the last weekend of the month. The Jack Cross Livestock & Dairy Show celebrates 50 years at the Jack Cross Pavilion at City Park Saturday October 31st. Though no where near as big as the Stock Show in Fort Worth, which is canceled by the way, this should entertain young and old alike.
Though not part of Autumn Trails, the downtown area will be hosting a trick or treat event for the kids at all downtown businesses from 4 to 6pm, so be sure and bring the little ones out for that.
Have a happy and safe end to Autumn Trails and a safe and happy Halloween!
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Saturday, October 17, 2020
We've lived in Winnsboro for eight months now and even though I've known about mule rodeos, I've never actually been to one. Well, tonight was the first and definitely not the last time we go to one.
In the time we've been here, we've become rodeo geeks. We don't ride, but we love to watch and experience rodeo culture. The July 4th Rodeo was really exciting and Lilly was set on wanting to be a barrel racer. After I explained how we lived in an apartment, horses were expensive, etc etc, she quit harping about it.
Then last night she decides that we should get a mule because she thought some of the events looked fun. I have to admit, I think they did too.
Below, you'll see some of the photos and some video that I took. Have you been to a mule rodeo before? If not, and you get the chance, do not miss out on a lot of fun!
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
In Morehouse Parish, we had reports of a Bigfoot roaming around. In fact, the local paper ran an article about a sighting on April Fool's Day. That didn't slow anyone down from believing it which shows how bad folks wanted it to be real.
In addition to Bigfoot, we had other weird places. One such place was a stretch of road called Girl Scout Road. I don't know where that name came from but there were always the rumors of devil worshippers to an old lady who was said to be a witch living out that way. We used to drive it late at night looking for anything out of the norm and the only time I saw any such malevolence was the night a friend and I took a short cut home from church. We witnessed a very large bonfire but didn't see anyone tending it. Of course that could have been because of the speedy departure when my friend gunned the engine of his '67 Cougar and got us out of there.
One thing that I did witness was in Southeast Arkansas. A girlfriend and I joined a couple that we knew and headed up to a spot that was simply referred to as the Light. The tale that was told is one that has been repeated all over the country. A long time ago, a train conductor was checking the track when he fell and somehow the train rolled over his neck freeing his head from his body. Through supernatural powers his body now walks that track, which has since all but disappeared, waving his lantern to and fro' looking for his head.
The male friend told us of his experience with it along with tales of his family who had seen it. We set up at a spot down the road a bit from where the light was supposed to appear. It was well after dark and nothing could be seen for about an hour. Then one of us noticed what looked less light a lantern but more along the lines of a patch dark that was not quite as dark as the rest of the night. A few more minutes and then, yes, it was a light that resembled the light source that a train conductor would use. Not a flashlight but an old-fashioned kerosene lamp. And it was coming towards us. It eventually died out and did not reappear, but it was enough for me. I will not say for certain that it is that doomed conductor, but something definitely did put on a show that night.
Where I live now in East Texas with the abundance of woodlands really reminds me of where I grew up. This makes me wonder what is roaming those areas, too. So what stories have you heard or actually witnessed yourself? Have you heard the calls of the Sasquatch or have you witnessed the will-o-wisps trying to lead wanderers deeper into the woods? Tell me your story, I'd love to hear it!
Thursday, September 24, 2020
I don't listen to radio much anymore. Pretty much the only stations that gets played in the car is one of the Kid's Pop stations with the same ten songs on repeat. There are maybe two songs out of the bunch that don't irritate my ulcer. And that's saying a lot.
When I do get to listen to something I like, it's usually met with sullen silence from the progeny and I will eventually relent. You know how it goes; It's better for her to be happy and you suffer in silence than the other way around.
When I had my Google Pixel (original) I would listen to my 91X app through an audio plug into my dashboard. 91X is a station that's been around since 1983 starting on the Baja Peninsula and eventually moving stateside to San Diego. I was first introduced to them while I was stationed in San Diego for electronics training with the Navy. They played alternative which back then included my favorites The Cure, Oingo Boingo, and The Cult, just to mention a few. Unfortunately, since I've upgraded to a Pixel 4, I can't wire it to the dashboard because the Pixel 4 does not have a headphone jack. That's really the only problem I have with the phone though. Time to upgrade to a Bluetooth jack I guess.
I also listen to 91.7 KTX out of Denton, Texas. It's format is AAA (Adult Album Alternative). I've always been a fan of this format because it's playlist varies just like my tastes. This playlist is just a forty-five minute sample of what was played this morning. They also have shows that highlight World Music, Jazz, Blues and much much more. I can pick it up on the car radio on a good day, but if I drive down a hill I lose signal just a little. Fortunately, there's an app for that!
So, question of the day is this: Are you a radio listener? Apps? Or do you value your silence (there's a future blog post about this)? If you do listen to radio or apps, what are they? Inquiring minds want to know!
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
|Just look whose in this movie!
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
|White square highlights my camera
used as a webcam with the
DroidCamPro app for Android.
Below are two articles that I came across that I think could benefit all parties. The first is from the Dropbox Blog and is about how to rock the conference video meeting, but can be of benefit to anyone using webcams for staying in touch.
A BBC reporter on how to be a video conference rock star
This next link is how to use an old cell phone as a camera. I have two webcams and a DLSR that I use as cameras, but that camera on my phone is pretty sweet, too. I use the free version of DroidCamPro and it works great.
Zoom, Google Meet, Teams: Can't get a webcam? That old phone in a drawer can help.
Hope this helps you when you are communicating with work or friends and family.
Monday, March 2, 2020
But we're even closer to my parents now. Mom is just down the road about 10 miles and Daddy is about 35 minutes away, half the distance that he was. Hopefully, as they get older, I'll be close enough to help out around the house for them.
There were several benefits that we looked to capitalize on by moving to the country and a smaller town. The cost of living is way down. My apartment that I'm in now is about $500 cheaper and just as nice, if not nicer than the one in Dallas. We are approximately five blocks from downtown Winnsboro, Texas. I can get out and walk without having to cross hazardous streets. There are trees everywhere! No traffic! Lilly can ride her bike all over creation and I'm looking to get one for me and then we'll start our own bike gang. The stars at night are gorgeous and I'm preparing my telescope as the evenings warm up. There are several lakes in the area. Plus, there is just something about the country. Yes, there is a train about five-hundred yards away and it passes at three or four in the morning, but it's a train. I love trains. The church down the street chimes every half hour or so. I love that sound. It's just a whole different world and I missed it and I'm glad that I'm back in it!
As the days go on, I'll start introducing you to my new town and maybe you'll want to come and visit yourself.