Monday, June 30, 2008

Manhole cover #2

The second manhole cover design, this one featuring the seal of the city. On top is former US President Andrew Jackson on horseback (a matching statue exists downtown). On bottom is the outline of the county with the St. Johns River running through it. More about the seal here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Manhole cover #1

During a stroll around the neighborhood the other day I noticed two different manhole covers for the sewer lines. This is the first one, bearing the initials of the city's Electric Authority, who also administers the water and sewer lines.

Manhole cover number two tomorrow - I'm sure everyone will wait with bated breath! :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to my beautiful bride

We celebrated my wife's birthday yesterday by having the family gather at one of her favorite restaurants - a bar-b-que place called Sticky Fingers. They are most known for their bbq ribs, so their "mascot" is a frog named Ribbit (Rib-it... get it? Because frogs say "ribbit"... yeah, a bit of a reach). For some reason they had a person dressed in the mascot's costume last night coming around to visit tables - we have never seen this happen, but the opportunity to have your picture taken with a six foot tall neon green frog is too good to pass up, especially if it is a birthday. :)

I think the frog is green because it is green with envy that I got to marry such a beautiful and wonderful woman and he, as a frog, did not. :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

God provided quite the show yesterday afternoon with gnarly grey skies, heavy clouds, lots of thunder and lightning:

Culminating in my first catch of lightning on "film" - I only had to stand there (under cover) and snap off photos for about 20 minutes before I finally got a good one (using the Nikon point & shoot that doesn't react as quickly as the DSLr):

Visit Tom for more Sky Watch Friday shots - hopefully with less voltage.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bicycle and Dugout

Taken at the small community baseball field/park nearby.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "W" is for Water Pump

For ABC Wednesday this week we have W for Water Pump. Not much explaination needed... they pump water... google it if you must. :)

This particular water pump is found inside Fort Clinch on Amelia Island, Florida, a 19th century sea-coast fort.

Visit Mrs. Nesbitt for all the ABC Wednedsay fun!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lovely Label

We don't drink wine, but we cook with it quite a bit - red wine reductions for steak, white for chicken - but I do enjoy the labels; there are some very artistic labels on wine and liquor bottles. Some vodka bottles are almost pretty enough to use as decoration. :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Are you going?

To Scarborough Fair:

With apologies to Misters Simon and Garfunkle. :)
"Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme."
As the philosopher Voltair once wrote, "Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung."
But it isn't an original tune, it actually dates back hundreds of years:
The song tells the tale of a young man, who tells the listener to ask his former lover to perform for him a series of impossible tasks, such as making him a shirt without a seam and then washing it in a dry well, adding that if she completes these tasks he will take her back. Often the song is sung as a duet, with the woman then giving her lover a series of equally impossible tasks, promising to give him his seamless shirt once he has finished.

As the versions of the ballad known under the title "Scarborough Fair" are usually limited to the exchange of these impossible tasks, many suggestions concerning the plot have been proposed, including the hypothesis that it is a song about the Plague. In fact, "Scarborough Fair" appears to derive from an older (and now obscure) Scottish ballad, The Elfin Knight (Child Ballad #2), which has been traced to at least 1670 and may well be earlier. In this ballad, an elf threatens to abduct a young woman to be his lover unless she can perform an impossible task ("For thou must shape a sark to me / Without any cut or heme, quoth he"); she responds with a list of tasks that he must first perform ("I have an aiker of good ley-land / Which lyeth low by yon sea-strand").
As the song spread, it was adapted, modified, and rewritten to the point that dozens of versions existed by the end of the 18th century, although only a few are typically sung nowadays. The references to "Scarborough Fair" and the refrain "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" date to nineteenth century versions, and the refrain may have been borrowed from the ballad Riddles Wisely Expounded, (Child Ballad #1), which has a similar plot.
Read all about the history of Scarborough Fair and the song at:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Outwit, Outlast, Outstand-in-line*

A little bit of glare from the windshield on this shot taken from inside our car as we drove past the site of auditions for the TV show "Survivor" that were held this morning in a nearby store. The auditions had already been going on for over an hour by the time we drove by so I'm sure the line had thinned out some by that point, but there were at least 50 or more people waiting outside for their chance to spend over a month living in rough conditions - all for the chance to win $1 Million dollars.

*The show's motto is "Outwit, Outlast, Outplay" for those that don't follow along at home. My wife has long been a survivor fan while I generally sit at the computer and visit all you wonderful bloggers until the show is over. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Pretty blue sky and cotton ball clouds for this weeks Sky Watch, hanging over a lake (really a giant retention pond to collect rain and runoff water from the nearby appartments and shops). These appartment/condo communities have overrun our city in the last 10 years - they're everywhere. At least these are colorful, providing somewhat of a contrast to they typical monotone, cookie-cutter buildings everywhere else. And the fountains in the lake are nice to look at while eating in one of the small restaurants that reside just behind where I stood to take the photos. But enough about the ground - this is Skywatch! So enjoy the lovely sky - mid-80s with a slight breeze; perfect Florida early summer. :)

A closer shot for a better view of the fountains.

(Taken on the Nikon S210.)

Visit Tom for all of the Skywatch Friday fun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Camera

My wife has been wanting a small point-and-shoot camera to carry around in her purse that would be easier to use and lighter than our Pentax DSLR, so since her birthday is coming up we did some research and found a good deal on a Nikon Coolpix S210.

It is smaller than a pack of playing cards, very light, very easy to use, and takes pretty good photos. Here you can see it in the palm of my hand, and I don't have big hands

One last shot next to my cell phone for comparison:

And just for fun so it doesn't feel left out, the star of my blog on most - and all previous - occassions, our Pentax ist*DL... it has been a good little entry level DSLR but I long for the day when it will be replaced by a Canon D40. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "V" is for Valley

For this weeks' ABC Wednesday "V" is for Valley.

While there are a few places in central and west Florida that are hilly enough to have slight valleys I don't have any pictures of them, so the photos this week come from a family trip to Tennessee back in 2004 with my wife and her family, where mountains and valleys are common.

Wikipedia has this to say:

In geology, a valley (also called a vale or dale) is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.

The above shot is from a lookout on the interstate in southern Tennessee looking over a large valley of the Smokey Mountains, so named because the air is often quite hazy, making things look smokey.

Below is one way we utilize valleys: dams. The dam in the shot is the Dale Hollow Dam (hollow would be pronounced 'holler' in Tennesee dialect), located in northern Tennesee on the Kentucky border an hour or two east of Nashville. The reservoir created by this dam covers 27,700 acres (112 km²) of water.

And lastly my lovely bride and I standing on Bee Rock in central Tennessee with a valley in the background.

Visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for all the ABC Wednesday fun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nice Melons

Melons for sale in front of a local grocery store.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Be sure to drink plenty of water...

In the summer months in Florida it is important to drink plently of water so you aren't left feeling dehydrated...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

June 15th in the US is Fathers Day, a semi-holiday set aside to honor our fathers. I have been blessed to have a great father who was always there to take care of me and guide me and for that I am very thankful. Happy Fathers Day, dad.

The above picture is more than a few years old - from the day of my graduating recital in college. My father is on the right, then me in the center, and my mother on the left - without whom there would be no Fathers day either... so Happy Fathers day to moms, too. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

You scream, I scream...

We all scream for the ice cream man.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A photo I took a few weeks ago from the parking lot at work - I just thought the way the clouds had a rippling effect was quite interesting, almost like folds in a bed sheet - but upside down... and grey... and really high up... and... nevermind. :)

Visit TOM for all of the SkyWatch Friday Fun.

M R Ducks - Part Deux

A rack of Donald Duck plush toys at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. I love the big round fat ones - they crack me up. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "U" is for Umbra

Had to dig deep this week for a "U":

Umbra: the darkest part of a shadow. It is actually the Latin word for shadow. You usually only see it used in relation to lunar eclipses (combined with prenumbra and antumbra).

So in the below photo of the southern wall of the Castillo de San Marcos, the left hand portion is an umbra because it is in full shadow... I think... ah, who cares. It's a "U", it's a photo. Mission accomplished. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One-thousand miles

One month to the day after buying our new vehicle she rolled 1,000 miles. And yes, as you can see from the speedometer, I was stopped before taking the photo. :)

Addition: Not only was I stopped, but the vehicle was not running - I took this photo before we left for work, so that is why the seatbelt light is on. I always wear my seatbelt. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gull on the wing

A black headed gull soaring on updrafts over the breaking surf.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Keeping watch

Do you think he is feeling a little drug out?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A typical sight when looking into the sky in Florida during many summer afternoons - a thunder storm.

Being in the sub-tropics and surrounded on three sides by water, thunderstorms pop up in the late afternoon regularly as the heat of the day builds with the humidity from the moisture of the Atlantic ocean and Gulf of Mexico, creating a perfect breeding ground for thunderstorms. They can be fierce, but are thankfully usually short lived and are gone within an hour or two, often leaving the bright sun back in place as though it hadn't rained at all.

Visit TOM for more Skywatch fun.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer Storms

A street full of water - almost a pond by this point. Luckily the storm drain is right in front of our house so it drains off pretty quickly.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "T" is for Turtle

For ABC Wednesday this week I have chosen turtle. Who doesn't like turtles? What's to dislike? They don't hop around like frogs (which creeps out my lovely bride). They aren't slimey (usually). They aren't poisonous.

Here some tutles lay out and sun themselves in the morning sun:

Turtles are reptiles of the Order Testudines (all living turtles belong to the crown group Chelonia), most of whose body is shielded by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs. The Order Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. The earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago,[1] making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than lizards and snakes. About 300 species are alive today, and some are highly endangered.

Turtles cannot breathe in water, but they can hold their breath for various periods of time.
Like other reptiles, turtles are poikilothermic (or "of varying temperature"[2]). Like other amniotes (reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals), they breathe air and don't lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. The largest turtles are aquatic. (Taken from:

Here a sea turtle at Sea World swims in a shallow pool:

Sea turtles (Superfamily Chelonioidea) are turtles found in all the world's oceans except the Arctic Ocean. There are seven living species of sea turtles: flatback, green, hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley. The East Pacific subpopulation of the green turtle was previously classified as a separate species, the black turtle, but DNA evidence indicates that it is not evolutionarily distinct from the green turtle.[1] All species except the leatherback are in the family Cheloniidae; the leatherback belongs to the family Dermochelyidae and is its only member. (Taken from:

The last photo is perhaps my favorite that I have ever taken. It is of a green sea turtle in the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL. It was just swimming slowly down the side of the large glass viewing wall and I waited for it, camera ready, and as she came past she turned her head and looked right at me - snap! Perfect shot. Nothing photoshopped at all, just a great moment captured straight out of the camera. I have an 8x10 print of it at work on my wall, smiling (?) at me all day. :)

I call the above photo "Mona Lisa of the Deep" because you can't tell whether she is smiling, smirking, bemused, happy, sad, etc - just like La Gioconda.

Visit Mrs. Nesbitt for more ABC Wednesday fun. :)