Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

Lab with SAD...

These short days seem to make 'Tucker' more melancholy than usual. I am wondering if dogs can get Seasonal Affective Disorder. His face has been getting a little droopier everyday. Maybe he is just upset that the holidays are nearly over?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Foggy Morning Walk

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays

Built in 1795, by Reveloutionary War veteran Jacob Shook, the Shook House lies close to the Pigeon River in Clyde. It is one of the oldest if not the oldest house standing in Haywood County. Francis Asbury, famous traveling preacher who helped establish Methodism in the United States, stayed in the house in 1810. Revival meets were held in the attic and camp meetings were held on bottom land adjacent to the house. The original part of the house is of post and beam construction.

The horticulture students where I work decorated the home for the holidays. I thought it looked very festive.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Birthday

all the best for the rest of your life!

Sunday, December 17, 2006


This will be meaningful for a few colleagues. T-shirt available soon :-)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Studying makes all the difference!

Two-wheeled ornaments

There is a theme here.


Great weekend here. Weather is simply fantastic. I miss the cross-country skiing in Vermont, but it is warm enough to run in shorts by the late afternoon here...for the time being anyway. I am also testing out free photo loop programs. I really liked the ease and flexibility of FilmLoop.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Industrial Blues

Lots of old sawmills around Western North Carolina. This one happens to be very near to where I teach. These abandoned underutilized spaces inspired me to produce some spartan graphics.
Maybe I am just already anxious for spring.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Misty Morning

Another great view off the back of the deck. The fog was really dense this morning and after walking the 'boys' I snapped this shot. There is something new to see everyday.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rad Santa

Old Bullbunky posted an ornament photo and associated history. In stealing his idea (imitation is the sincerest...and laziest form of flattery), I thought I would post an image of one of my favorite holiday tree ornaments . This is an ornament that my mother got for me from Hallmark a few years ago. It is a fit Santa riding a mountain bike. Of course I took it into Photoshop and played for a while...until something kind of comic book like appeared.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Snow and Something Grows

Well it started off to be a beautiful morning and as the day progressed a front moved in. When I left work it was windy and snowing. It had snowed almost 1/2 inch by the time I left work and they canceled evening classes. I picked up Mexican food for dinner and by the time I arrived back on Sesame Street there was almost an inch on the ground. They have already delayed the opening of the college tomorrow until 10:00 a.m. It is clear that we are no longer in Vermont !!! An inch of snow...please :-)
The baby is growing and Christine is glowing and barely sleeping since our addition seems to be kicking, grabbing, and moving all the time.

Not quite winter sunrise.

Walking the dogs this morning was a visual treat. Usually we can't quite see to the real Smoky's, but this morning you could.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


It had been a few days since I posted anything, so I thought I would put up a couple of experimental shots that have been highly adjusted in Photoshop. Truth be told someone who knows what they are doing can probably accomplish this stuff with two clicks of a mouse, but I dilly and dally taking the long way home.
I also have been meaning to post two books that I highly recommend. Of course one has been out forever and I just got to it in my stack. The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Friedman. He made a strong case for what needs to happen for companies to be competitive in the global economy. I really enjoyed the case studies and personally I learned a lot about the computer industry and the ever flattening world. Not that I agree with it 100%, but I think it should almost be required reading for anyone studying management today.

The second book I just finished is Naked Conversations: how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Some of you may already be familiar with Scoble's efforts at Microsoft. I have a personal fascination with blogs and we have decided to make a blog the Internet "Front Door" in my Division at I wanted to do some background reading. The book was actually developed using a blog and they make a strong case for positive results (most of the time) that the two-way conversation a blog can allow can bring to a business...especially a small business, but good examples of the impact of blogging at large corporations is also provided.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fall Foliage of a Different Sort

The Fall color outside is rapidly waning, but fortunately I have a job that allows me to work with plants all year. The greenhouse provides and endless source of subject matter.
Foliage shots are always a lot of fun for me and the variety of pigmentation found on leaves is astonishing.
The closer you get the more interesting things become.
You think he would tell his neighbor to not to scare of the next meal.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Feed Me Seymour !!!

What happens when an Agave gets gloriously out of control in the conservatory.

Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long
That's right, boy
You can do it
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long
'Cause if you feed me, Seymour
I can grow up big and strong

Would you like a Cadillac car?
Or a guest shot on Jack Paar?
How about a date with Hedy Lamarr?
You gonna git it.

Would you like to be a big wheel,
Dinin' out for every meal?
I'm the plant that can make it all real
You gonna git it

I'm your genie, I'm your friend
I'm your willing slave
Take a chance, just feed me and
You know the kinda eats,
The kinda red hot treats
The kinda sticky licky sweets
I crave

Come on, Seymour, don't be a putz
Trust me and your life will surely rival King Tut's
Show a little 'nitiative, work up the guts
And you'll git it

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Excellent Holiday

I guess if I had to come up with a common thread for this Thanksgiving it would have to be 'catching-up'. I was able to visit with my parents, the neighbors, new friends, and catch up on the phone with three old and dear friends from the University of Florida that I hadn't spoken to in awhile.

My friends from UF and I are a little shocked at where the time has gone. A couple of us are pushing 40 and the others were not far behind. Where did the time go? Maybe this is the way it is supposed to be...If you are more or less enjoying life then perhaps time flies. I think it is probably better than it crawling by.

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Now if only the gym would allow creativity.

This video from YouTube caught my eye and made me laugh. For all of you who spend too much time at gym indoors. This group found a way to make your workouts a bit more exciting.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Peaceful Day in Western North Carolina

I just got out and enjoyed the weather today and took a few pictures of things that caught my eye.

Is it just me? or does this tree trunk remind anyone else of "The Scream."

Yes that is poison ivy! (Toxicodendron radicans)

Happy Thanksgiving Day (Late)

This picture comes from the The Museum of Hoaxes and it makes me laugh. Appropriate.

We had Thanksgiving early with my folks last weekend, but yesterday we got a second awesome dinner from our neighbors across the street. They also invited some other friends of theirs and everyone had a marvelous time.

The mother of one of the dinner guests attended. I guess she must be in her 70's, but it was hard to tell. Her name was Rosa. She was born in Cuba, but left as a young woman in 1955 for Florida. She lived, married, and raised a family in Florida over the next 49 years and recently moved to North Carolina to spend time with her daughter. She was a delightful guest and provided lots of insight into "pre-Castro" Cuba. It must have been a marvelous time to be there.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Going to the well one time too many...

So first, my DSL modem mysteriously died this no Internet for the biggie because my folks were up visiting from Richmond. I got ahead on my work so I could enjoy the weekend relaxing with them. We don't get to see them often enough.

Well, Friday night we all got ready to go to bed and Christine and I decided to watch a little TV downstairs to unwind. Suddenly, we heard a noise that sounded like the washing machine is filling up....but no one was doing laundry! The hot water heater...emergency pressure valve opened and let out several gallons of water all over the laundry floor. Then all three toilets in the house started to "run" simultaneously. The water pressure inside the house is usually 30 - 50 psi, but had risen to well over a 100 psi (the needle on the pressure regulator readout had gone all the way to the backside of the gauge).

We live in the mountains and share a well with our neighbors, so as we opened all the taps in the house (to keep the pressure in check) and began to clean up we called the neighbors to make sure they were aware of the problem...cause according to logic they should be having similar issues. The well is 500' deep and has an industrial strength pump. This setup is not that uncommon where we live. Well our neighbor comes over to help and says he is having no problem because he shut off the water to move a hot water you might guess he hadn't done quite that, in fact what he had managed to do is disengage our pressure regulator at the well head and leave his pressure regulator (off-line) operating the pump. we had it more or less figured out, but set up an appointment with plumbers in the morning to see what we could do to make sure this didn't happen case either of us wanted to do some sort of plumbing repairs or upgrades in the future. However, "nice neighbor" did not fully believe us and decided to repeat his engineering wizardry in the middle of the night and duplicated the problem again....leading us to have to all get up and turn taps on etc. at 2 a.m. I think after we spoke the second time he got it :-)

On a more fun note, the student's studying Forestry have a Timber Sports Team. As part of an opportunity showcase they put on demonstration for county high school and middle school students.
Many of the competitors wear this cool modern day armor so that they get to keep all their fingers and toes in the case of a mishap. As you can imagine, Timber Sports are not the most forgiving when it comes to injuries.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Essence of Pete

Googlized Spam

(THE LINK for your viewing pleasure)

MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.05

Categories: Main dish
Yield: 8 Servings

1.00 pk Frozen hashbrown potatoes,
-thawed slightly (32 oz)
0.50 c Butter or margarine, melted
1.00 t Salt
1.00 t Pepper
0.50 t Garlic powder
2.00 c Shredded Cheddar cheese
1.00 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed
-(12 oz)
1.00 cn Cream of chicken soup
-(10 3/4 oz)
1.50 c Sour cream
0.50 c Milk
0.50 c Chopped onion
0.25 c CHI-CHI's Diced Green
-Chilies, drained
2.00 c Crushed potato chips

Heat oven to 350'F. In large bowl, combine potatoes, melted butter,
salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In another bowl, combine cheese,
SPAM, soup, sour cream, milk, onion, and green chilies. Add SPAM
mixture to potato mixture; mix well. Pour into 2-quart baking dish.
Sprinkle with potato chips. Bake 45-60 minutes or until thoroughly

MMMMM --- doesn't that just make you Hungry...for those of you with
Gourmet tastes you must try this one out.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Christine Photoshopped

Christine put up with me taking a few images this evening. I thought this one was particularly interesting and I spent a little time with it in Photoshop.

Late Autumn on Campus (Experiments)

I needed to get out from behind the computer and it was another great day, so I took a walk around campus and had some fun with my camera. I cropped the picture above out of a shot of some red leaves.
Photo of window outside the old grist mill. The window on the opposite side of the building interrupted the reflection.
Grist mill in motion. This resulted in a weird visual effect. The wheel came out looking warped. It is as round as a 100-year-old water wheel can be.
Finally a more traditional fall photo.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Eclectic Weekend

On Saturday (It was 75 F) I finally caught up with several projects that I had been putting off. First, I mowed the lawn, for what will hopefully be the last time this season. Then I assembled a crib for the new baby that my folks ordered for us (everyone has been so generous, we are very thankful and lucky). Finally, I fixed a connection to one of our gutters to the underground pipes that take the water away from the house and out into the backyard. The Indian summer ended last night and we awoke to the mountain peaks being covered with new snow....first of the season.
I saw this car parked at the gym today...all I can say is that this is very Bothersome. Who finds this funny in our world today ??? So many kids frequent the gym...I know the owner probably had no real malicious intent, but why even kid about stuff like this. I don't know too much about guns, but the one in the gun rack did not look like anything you would normally use for hunting game.
Finally, ever been driving along enjoying the view out the window and then splat!!! I am glad to see the birds are eating well :-)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Laughs

Most of you have probably already seen this, but if is good for a laugh on an otherwise disturbing election day. I say disturbing, because at least where I live, I had trouble finding any candidates that I felt like supporting. I hate when it comes down to electing the person who I feel will do the least harm...but more and more that is what I am doing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mocha Latte Morning

There are still a few persistent leaves, but for the most part they are all on the ground. I took the dogs out for a frosty (16 F) but pleasant walk this morning and was treated to a nice ice show.
I'll admit it. I am fascinated by leaves. You would think I made my living off of plants or something?
Official winter is still off 7 weeks or so, but it is starting to feel a little more like it here everyday.