Kenilworth in Black & White Tuesday, Jan 6 2009 

6 January 2009
I’m sitting in a hotel room (the Radisson again), having just repacked all of my luggage for the return trip. We had a pleasant dinner of breaded plaice washed down with a good pint of John Smith while watching the unfortunate result of the Tott*ham v Burnley Carling Cup match. All of this on the heels of an otherwise lovely day.
When we got up this morning, it was a very brisk -5 degrees Celsius outside, but sunny. So, we went on up to Kenilworth Castle. Kenilworth, from all reports, is one of the largest set of Castle ruins in all of England. I must say, it was pretty remarkable.
Kenilworth Castle
And, being there on an early January morning gave us the place nearly to ourselves. Almost all of our photos are untainted by the casual tourist. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died early in the visit even though I had charged them the night before. So much for grey-market batteries, eh? So, the first half of our visit is well-documented, the second half…considerably less so (although my wife did take a lot of photos, too).
From Kenilworth, we drove on in to London. I had to make a quick stop at the Cargo facility. After all, even on vacation, duty does call. I met with the guys there for an hour or so, then we continued on to Bath road to secure lodging for the night. We are at the same Radisson Edwardian Hotel in which we started our Hogmanay journey and in a very similar room. We started off in a different room, in a different wing, on a different floor. However, Hotel issues with plumbing (boilers went out) and our issues with smoking rooms, places us in the 3rd room of the night and here we will stay. For tomorrow we must depart and return to the home of our birth if not necessarily the home of our heart.
Thank you everyone for following along with us, for encouraging us and for allowing us to share our journey, our love, our passion for this country with you.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 7 January 2009)

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Old Bricks Wednesday, Sep 17 2008 

Old Bricks

17 September 2008

This photo is of the side of our house in Arlington.  The bricks look old and worn, but not nearly so abused as most of the bricks in Galveston, Texas.  We continue to send our healing thoughts and prayers to folks in the Houston/Galveston area as they attempt to get their lives back on track after Hurricane Ike.  The Daily KRuMB continues to see an elevated number of hits each day, due to our Google ranking on searches about Ike and Galveston.   I thought it might be a good idea to include the text from the Houston Chronicle article that Starr found a couple of days ago.  This remains the most recent news we have about our beloved island and its Historical Landmarks.  What follows is quoted: 

Some 7,000 documented historic buildings are located on Galveston, an island that served as a gateway to Texas in the state’s early days. Of those, it is estimated as many as 1,500 of the structures sustained serious damage during Hurricane Ike.

An early assessment by the Galveston Historical Foundation shows the following conditions at historic sites.

U.S. CUSTOM HOUSE: Built in 1861, this structure serves as the headquarters for the Galveston Historical Foundation. It was flooded by as much as 8 feet of water, which damaged files, archives and equipment. An upstairs door is damaged. Roof damage, if any, is unknown.

 ASHTON VILLA: This 1859 Italianate mansion lost two to three windows on its second floor and had up to 18 inches of flooding that likely caused extensive first-floor furniture damage.

 BISHOP’S PALACE: This home, also known as the 1889 Gresham House, is the most visited historic building in Galveston. It appears to have sustained little damage, as was the case in the catastrophic 1900 hurricane. The home had as much as 3 feet of flooding on its bottom floor, which is slightly below ground level and is used for a ticket counter and offices. That floor is under renovation to become a visitors center.

 THE ELISSA: The famous 1877 tall ship, restored in 1982 by the foundation, lost several sails but otherwise seemed to ride out the hurricane well. The vessel is attached to the shore through large steel pipes driven into the harbor bottom.

TEXAS SEAPORT MUSEUM AT PIER 22: This is Elissa’s home berth. It suffered damage to the brick and wooden pier, with a suspected total loss to the wooden workshops used for maintenance of the ship. The museum itself, in the 1990 Jones Building, suffered little damage.

 THE SANTA MARIA: This 1937 restored wooden shrimp boat fared well in her slip near the Texas Seaport Museum with only minor damage.

 MICHEL B. MENARD HOUSE: Built in 1838, the city’s oldest residential house sustained little visible damage.

SAMUEL MAY WILLIAMS HOUSE: Constructed in 1839 and one of the oldest residential houses on the island, it appeared to sustain little damage.

 GARTEN VEREIN: An 1880 German dancing pavilion in Kempner Park managed by the foundation, Garten Verein appears to be undamaged.

 ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH BUILDING: The state’s oldest German Catholic church building, the wooden St. Joseph’s building was built in 1859. It closed as a church in 1968. The building lost one window but otherwise appears undamaged.

 HISTORICAL FOUNDATION WAREHOUSE: This warehouse on Mechanic Street was inundated with at least 10 feet of water and sustained extensive damage. Much of its contents was destroyed, including equipment used during Dickens on the Strand, the popular holiday festival.

 GALVESTON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM: Housed in the 1921 City National Bank Building, the museum is a joint project of the historical foundation and the Galveston County Commissioners Court. A floodwater line can be seen below the entrance to the first floor. Unless there is roof damage, the building is believed to be unharmed.

 Source: Galveston Historical Foundation.

End quote.

As you can see, the condition of the Tremont House Hotel, and the fate of the 2008 Dickens on the Strand Festival remain unknown.  

~MB

Addendum:  News Update on Historic Galveston.  Special thanks to Donna who found this:  http://www.click2houston.com/video/17485318/index.html

Frank Billingsley of Houston’s Channel 2, hosts a Walking Tour of Galveston Island, including visits to many of our well-loved landmarks.  It takes about thirty minutes to view the whole thing, but it’s well worth the time.  One small segment includes a quick interview with a representative from the Tremont who seems very positive about getting things back up and running—but no time frame is given.  He said the hotel damage is pretty much limited to the ground floor and a few windows.  One restaurant owner indicated his repairs and rebuilding would take “months.”  Of course, there isn’t much going on yet, in the way of clean-up and repair, because there is no power and no water.  Fisherman’s Wharf (our Saturday night dinner spot for many years), Rudy and Paco’s (our new favourite restaurant on the island), Willy G’s (our Sunday night dinner spot), and many, many other places we know well, all have extensive water and mud damage.  Furniture is tossed about like matchsticks.  Walls are already molding in the humidity, and first floors will probably need to be gutted completely.  Fisherman’s Wharf’s harborside deck seems to be completely destroyed (remember the spot where Clay stood to take our photo on the Elissa a few years ago?).   High water marks on the Strand are at about nine feet; on Post Office at about six feet, and on Broadway at about three feet.  Pretty much every retailer, every business for that matter,  in the area will have lost nearly everything they didn’t move to a spot higher than that.  The property damage is mind-boggling.  And, at this point, at least until services are restored, and work crews can begin, there’s no telling how long the recovery efforts will take.  So, still no certainty about Dickens on the Strand.  And, if there is a festival, where people will eat, shop, sleep, etc.

We’ll keep our Daily KruMB readers as updated as we are on all this.

Headed Home Tuesday, Sep 16 2008 

10 September 2008
Headed home from Miami after a successful trip. Our contractor left earlier in the day, while the vendor and I shuttled to the airport together and discussed the business bits of the trip. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I think the trip was a success…a think I don’t always have after a station visit.
Headed Home
This is the very end of Terminal E at the Miami International Airport. And, it’s the only photo I took today despite numerous, wonderful opportunities. It is what it is.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 16 September 2008 )

Listening to:
Swear it Again by Westlife
from Westlife

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 250
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Remembering Thursday, Sep 11 2008 

Heroes Park, Arlington, TX

11 September 2008

Seven Years Later

I’ve been thinking a lot about how seven years seems like so long . . . and like it was only yesterday.

When I talked to Kyle this morning, he said I’d missed a call from him (I was unhooking the truck and trailer) just moments after he left the house.  Apparently, there was some sort of ceremony taking place at our neighbourhood’s new Heroes Park.  Kyle said there were police cars and sixty or so people; traffic being directed manually, etc.  He was hoping to tell me, so I could run down there . . . and I would have! 

As it was, immediately after unhitching my rig, I chose to remember 9-11 by doing some searching online regarding any ceremonies taking place in New York or Washington.  I learned that today was the day the new Memorial site at the Pentagon was dedicated.  I went to the television, but could find nothing, so I read everything I could find online.  Entering the new memorial, visitors pass under an archway marked with a stone carved: “September 11, 2001–9:37 a.m.,” the exact time of the Pentagon attack.  The stone itself bears the scars of that attack—it is a stone recovered from the smouldering, wrecked wall of the building. The architecture of the park is arranged in rows, symbolizing the years in which the victims were born.  The surrounding wall doesn’t just keep out the freeway noise—it’s built beginning at a height of three inches and rises to 71 inches—it symbolizes the youngest victim, a three-year-old, and the oldest.  The park consists of a bench, a pool of water and a tree, for each of the 184 victims of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.  Each bench bears the name of someone who died there that day.  To read the names of those who died within the walls of the Pentagon, you must face the building.  To read the names of those who died on American Airlines flight #77, you must stand facing the western sky.

I found some footage of a lone bagpiper walking among the benches as he plays “Amazing Grace.”  And I found a couple of nice news reports about the new site.  I also learned that at 3:30 p.m., both Obama and McCain gathered with folks at Ground Zero in Manhattan to remember the lost, there.  I’m hoping to find some footage of that.  We, as Americans need to remember much, much more often, how we pulled together on that day, and think far, far, less of how different we think we are, one from another.  That the two candidates joined for this event, today, is heartwarming.  Kyle had said he hoped something like that would be done, and I doubted the likelihood.  I’m glad I was wrong.

As I drove home this afternoon, I took a quick, impromptu turn in at Heroes Park.  I did a U-turn, and parked my truck, immediately across from a no parking sign. (Isn’t that crazy?  Where are we supposed to park to visit this little place?)  I walked down the marked path, and read the engravings, such as: responsibility, sincerity, dedication, sacrifice.  I walked all the way down to the wall bearing the names of Arlington’s fallen in the line of duty.  Under each name, is either a Fire or Police Department badge symbol, and the words “Last Call” or “End of Watch” with a date.  A beautiful wreath seemed to be perhaps a remnant of this morning’s ceremony.  And I picked up a piece of trash and carried it back to my truck.  <sigh>

Tears for many reasons.

~MB

Verrazano Narrows Bridge Saturday, Jun 21 2008 

20 June 2008
Last time I was in New York, I flew into EWR and drove to JFK while being regaled with tales of growing up in the area by three very knowledgeble individuals. This time it was the reverse in that I flew into JFK and out of EWR. But was still enchanted by tales of growing up in New York. I’ve used the Verrazano Narrows bridge before as a photographic subject, but never coming from this direction. So, when we got within sight of the majestic old bridge, I started snapping photos. I like the way this one turned out with the cloudless sky supplying the negative space
Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Thanks for driving, Lou, so that I could take the photos.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 21 June 2008)

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

Since 1936 Monday, Dec 17 2007 

10 December 2007
Monday, and back at the grind. But, it’s different. This is the holiday season, and since I’m in Operations for an airline, it’s also our high-stress, busy season. It’s no wonder I drink. By the time I got home I was in a foul, foul mood, enhanced, oddly enough, by the rainy, misty cold. Normally I prefer that, but this Monday I didn’t. My wife, who’s honing her empathic skills on a daily basis, figured this out and offered to take me out for food & drinks. On the way to our normal haunt we decided, on a whim, to drive a little further away and go to the Mexican Inn.
Mexican Inn

I like their Queso Loco and Marita Beth is quite fond of their Enchiladas. We both tolerate their Margaritas, too. We walked in right behind some dear friends, Brett & Jill, and just in front of some other friends, David & Heather (and their brand new baby) who had just come in from Lousiana. They all joined Carl and his new wife (and baby) at a large booth while MB and I took a separate booth. Children give me hives. At some point, Brian joined their larger table, too. We enjoyed a nice, quiet (sans children) dinner and margaritas then went home. I needed that.
Cheers.

~KR (10 December 2007)

Listening to:
The Last Christmas on Earth by The Evangelicals

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/5
Focal Length: 18.6 mm
ISO Speed: 250
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash fired, auto mode, red-eye reduction

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The Colours of Bradford Pears Saturday, Dec 15 2007 

7 December 2007
As if to put paid to all my whinging about fall in North Texas, these Bradford Pear trees decided to colour my world, at least for a few days.
Beautiful Bradley Pears

I just love the tri-coloured hue they achieved: red on top, yellowing in the middle while maintaining a summer-like green at the bottom. These trees are in the courtyard I walk through each morning on the way into my office. Today, when I walked through, those trees have lost all their red, and the majority of the leaves are of a sickly yellow colour, although some green still tinges the fringe of the foliage.
Cheers.

~KR (7 December 2007)

Listening to:
Peak by Dayplayer
from Dayplayer

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 14.3 mm
ISO Speed: 500
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

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The Hungery Hunter Monday, Nov 19 2007 

13 November 2007
After a very long day in which I trained a bunch of people, took a break, trained a bunch of people, ate lunch, trained a bunch of people, took a break and trained a bunch of people, I was tired and hungry. The In-And-Out burger just didn't hold me over and I really wanted a beer. The previous night while out, I had spied a promising looking restaurant just down from my hotel, so off I went, not even bothering to stop and change clothes. The restaurant was called The Hungry Hunter and apparently has been serving the city of South San Francisco (The Industrial City) for some forty years.
Hungry Hunter
I walked into an immense (45 minutes or more) waiting list, so went on into the bar to wait. Luckily, they serve food in the bar, too. I got myself a simple lager called, appropriately enough, The Hunter, and tucked into the menu. The Hungry Hunter? Since when does one hunt cow? That's pretty much the menu. Cow of various types, shapes & sizes. But, that's ok. I like cow. I ordered a blued strip, ceaser salad, mashed potatoes and rice pilaf. Decent, but by no means write-home-about (but apparently good enough to write-in-a-blog-about). Then it was back to the hotel for, hopefully, a better night's sleep the previous one.
Cheers.

~KR (13 November 2007)

Listening to:
She by Kiss
on Dressed To Kill

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.077 sec (1/13)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

The Hall Friday, Nov 9 2007 

7 November 2007
Three days into Miami and I just want to go home. It's hot, humid and I desperately miss Marita Beth (and my dogs). Have I mentioned that the work we do is not very glamorous? Yeah. This is a photo of the hallway at the Marriott SpringHill Suites where we stayed this time. That's how exciting and wonderful my day was. This was the highlight.
Marriott Hallway.
Actually, that's not true. I'm just being a little cynical. I did attend the President's Conference today which allowed me to see first hand, just how much smarter the CEO of my company is than the average union-brainwashed employee. That was fun. And, the MD of the area took us to dinner at the Catch of the Day. Sea Bass, yummy! Unfortunately, I had left my camera in the boot of Lou's hired car so was unable to take photos of those, the real highlights of the day.
Cheers.

~KR (7 November 2007)

Listening to:
The Tea by The Mudville Project
on Portico

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.04 sec (1/25)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

The Royal Oak Monday, Oct 29 2007 

19 October 2007
Our final day in the office and still much to do…too much to do. It was, after all was said and done, a profitable day in the office. Terrill and I even managed an extended lunch break where we ran into Staines for a much-needed switch. Also, just prior to our leaving on that errand, I received an email from my wife requesting a trip to Mark & Spencer’s for my father. Fortuitous timing that, as an M&S was very near the computer store we had to go to for the switch. Terrill & I also located a JJB where we acquired some much-expected sporting souvenirs. An Arsenal flag for myself and a surprise for his boy. A good trip out, that. Then we stopped for lunch at a small pub there in Staines. Unfortunately, I was without my camera or notebook, and have no recollection of the name. It was nice enough. Back to work to finalize some training documents and make sure, one last time, that everything was working as needed. 4 o’clock came around early and Terrill returned to the small cave I’d holed up in to announce, “The big man wants a beer.” Therefore, off we went. I drove us back to the hotel while our companion for the evening followed. He had informed us early in the week that he wanted to take us out into the countryside for some real country ales and atmosphere. I’m so glad he did.
He took us to four pubs in this order:
The Royal Oak Public House, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6PE (see photo)
Royal Oak

The Parrot Inn, Forest Green, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 5RZ
The Cricketers Arms, Stane St, Ockley, Dorking, Surrey RH5 5TP
The Rising Sun, The Street, Nutbourne, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 2HE
Each of them was perfect in its own way. Whether it had a fantastic selection of beers, or people, or both; or perhaps it just exuded its own charm in fully measurable quantity and quality; maybe it was just the cold night air in Surrey, England that performed its magic on me. Whatever the reason, the event was special beyond measure. Terrill and our host got into heated and rambling debate after debate ranging from political ideals and ramifications to the value of NASCAR versus Formulae 1. It was very interesting to hear a Scotsman take my cause in so many of the debates that Terrill & I have had for years both political and sports-oriented. It was refreshing and validating at the same time. He, of course, didn’t take all my causes. I contineu to stand alone on quite a few. We stayed too long at the Cricketer’s Arms because of this valid and valuable discussion time, so we missed the last train back to town. But, our host’s lovely wife drove us back to Gatwick airport where we took a Taxi back to our hotel. It was lovely, refreshing, and overall a very grand evening. But tomorrow was going to be something special and I needed my sleep. It was, after all, nearly 2:30 am and we had an appointment in the morning. I packed quickly, knowing I wouldn’t likely have time on Saturday, called my wife and went to sleep. I slept fitfully being far too excited at what was to come.
Cheers.

~KR (19 October 2007)

Listening to:
Dreams by TV on the Radio
on Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.067 sec (1/15)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

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