New tech toy..

This blog can hardly be called a “Tech Blog”  Maybe I would fall into the “Travel Blog” or the “Walk a mile in my shoes” blog.  Writers are supposed to write about what they know, right?  I like my electronic toys.  I try not to follow the current trends, but when I do, I try to run to the head of that trend’s pack.

About a month ago I bought a Roku 3 for our family’s Samsung HD TV. Back when we bought the TV, money was real tight and the cost difference between the Smart and non-Smart TV was enough that we bought the “dumb” TV. Smart vs. Dumb, what does that mean? A Smart TV can go on the Internet and view content that might only be available on-line.

An example of that would be ESPN 3. This Internet only channel broadcasts some of the second market or smaller colleges men’s lacrosse games. I can watch ESPN 3 on my phone or laptop. Neither of them have a real HDMI output. The phone has one, but the picture does not come out well when plugged into the 55 inch HD TV. And not just lacrosse, ESPN 3 covers a HUGE range of sports from all over the world.

The ROKU 3 (purchased from Amazon with free delivery) delivers HD content from the Internet. That assumes that the content is HD to start. We have also watched via Livestream other college lacrosse games.  Since we also own a VIZO  Smart TV (for the kids), we have a Netflix account.  The Roku and Netflix play well together.

Are you a tech (geek) with a HD “dumb” TV? Buy a Roku 3 with confidence. The Roku people have thousands of channels available. Some are free, some are subscription based. They even have an “adult” section that they don’t advertise but a quick Google search will show you how to find you way there (if that is your thing).  And you can play games like Angry Birds on the Roku 3!

Thanks for reading and enjoy having 1000’s of channels to watch with nothing on!

Namaste

 

Shark Valley 2014..

Yesterday my DW and I went to the Shark Valley National Park in the Everglades. Here you are the visitor and the residents are free to roam. The residents are alligators, turtles and many, many types of birds.  Last year I visited this park by myself and wrote about riding a bike among the alligators.  We decided to ride the tram this year to have the experience of listening to the guide talk about the area and the animals. On a bike you can take as much time as you want, but you don’t have the guide to explain and point things out. If we go next year, we will ride bikes. We saw quite a few of the residents. I took quite a few pictures, some of which I will share at the end of this blog.

A few important things to keep in mind if you choose to visit this park.  The park is in the middle of nowhere. The park has a small parking lot that generally is full by 10 am. You can park on US 41 and walk the 200 yards into the park. I am not sure what they charge walk-ins. Cars are charged 10 dollars per car. The best months to see the alligators are December through April. Once the air gets hotter than the water, the alligators will spend more time in the water and less time along the road getting some sun. The sun will warm them up in the winter months.  Take the tram ride at least once.  The bike ride is a flat 15 mile loop with at least one of the directions into the wind. Judge the wind before heading out.

After the ride he had a burger at a Miccosukee Indian restaurant. We were not very adventurous and had cheeseburgers and fries. The food was fine for road food. There were quite a few competing air boat ride stands along US 41 during the drive. The Miami Beach Travel Guide has this page about what you can visit in the area. After our late lunch we drove back to the timeshare and caught the sunset.  Dinner was pizza at a local pizzeria that had 8 different craft beers on tap. We got to sample all of them. It was a pretty neat concept for a generic pizzeria. The food was fine, maybe a little heavy on the garlic.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the wildlife pictures..

Namaste

 

Lunch without french fries..

Yes, I admit to eating lunch out today and not ordering french fries. That whooshing sound you just heard was the hedge funds dropping their potato futures.  Maybe they can buy a few more houses from foreclosure and then rent them back to the same people that lost them in the first place.

I went to a local pizza place for lunch today. I am a big fan of ravioli. We don’t eat them very often due to my DW’s efforts to remain as gluten-free as possible. The ravioli came with a (gasp) salad and unsweetened ice tea. No sugar, no soda and no french fries.  Maybe I just might live forever!  One meal does not make a diet, just remember (in my best Yoda voice).

While eating (here the real reason for the blog) I watched a mother, daughter and 2-year-old son eating their lunch. The adults were, well adults. The young child, he was all that. I watched him playing with his food while the mother and daughter talked and ate. At some point the child felt the need for some attention and threw his toy truck on the floor. He looked at his grandmother and laughed. Not a funny kid laugh, but (it seemed to me) a mean-spirited laugh that said “now you have to pick up my truck”. The grandmother looked at child and ignored the laugh and the toy on the floor.

I started counting to myself to see how long it would take for the child to scream since the throwing of the truck did not seem to have the desired effect. The grandmother picked up the truck before the child could wind up. That was good from my point of view.

Question: Do you remember throwing your toys on the floor to get your parents attention?  I understand that this is all a big game to the young child. That laugh sounded like it was more than a game.

And, the raviolis were excellent. Maybe I should take a nap this afternoon…

Namaste

Slightly used, seems to missing the mattress

Slightly used, seems to missing the mattress

Rebuilding the hot tub, part 1..

I imagine that this will be a three-part blog. In this first blog we will talk about the history and partial demolition of the hot tub. I think in the second part we see the midway point of the rebuild and the final blog will include the stories about the rebuilding.  Bored yet?

I would have to guess that the third part will probably be the most interesting. Why? Well given my limited carpentry skills, I seem to belong in the measure it three times and cut if four-time club.  There should be some intersting moments of hindsight.  At least I am honest in my appraisal of my abilities.

The hot tub was purchased back in 1999 (I think). We have gotten quite a bit of use out of it. We have replaced the electronics twice due to lightning strikes in the neighborhood.The first time I paid someone to replace the electronics, the second time I did it myself. BTW, it was not any harder than building a computer.

The cat used to use the sides of the hot tub to stretch and scratch. This did quite a bit of damage to the wood. Over the years the termites also found a meal or three chewing on the hot tub wood. The hot tub itself has spray foam all around it and can stand and survive the winter without the wood outside. The wood provides no structural support. That is good since I had to remove about 95 % of the wood due to termite and other insect or animal damage.

At this point the bad wood has been removed and the hot tub is waiting for me to spend a few hours working my carpentry magic.

Here are a few pictures of the hot tub without the wood sides.

Namaste

 

Common sense?..

Gone out the window for sure.  In my best Rod Serling voice..

Consider this, you are in a restaurant. Your meal is late coming to the table and you have had a few adult beverages (maybe more than a few). You are laughing and having fun with your table companions. Suddenly, your dinner shows up! Starving , you grab your fork and start to shovel the food into your mouth without even tasting or cutting your food.

You start to choke, the food that you would not cut has gone down your wind pipe. Suddenly you are seeing stars and your face gets red and then starts to turn blue. You bang you fist on the table and try to cough, no luck. You turn to the person closest to you and you grab your neck with both hands, the international symbol for “I’m choking to death”.

Quickly your companion gets behind you, makes a fist and does the Heimlich Maneuver on you. The food becomes dislodged and your life has been saved. You immediately attempt to swallow the same piece of food without cutting it up. Results? Now the food is stuck in your esophagus and you are going to the hospital in the middle of the night to have a doctor remove (for the last time) this piece of dinner.

The moral of the story?

If you choke on your dinner and someone has to save your life, do them a favor and spit the piece of food out and try another piece. That piece of food won the battle.

Common sense?

Namaste

 PS. A true story (did not happen to me, thankfully!)

Summer Solstice Yoga in Times Square ..

Or for you social media people out there #SolsticeTSq . Friday, June 21 was the summer solstice. As we all know the summer solstice is the day that we have the longest period of sunlight of the year.  Now every day until December 21 (or so) the sunlight portion of the day will be less.  The science lesson is now over. See the internet for more information (or not). This year was the 11 th annual Summer Solstice in Time Square. The first year they had three people doing yoga in Time Square. This year split among five different classes during the day they had over 16,000 people participate. That is crazy! We were there.  Here is a link to their website.

Our class was the last one of the day, 7:45 pm to 9 pm. Yoga through the sunset and the onset of the night.  It was not dark after the sun went down. There are so many electronic billboards and signs that it is never dark in Time Square. Our day started out with driving 85 miles to Secaucus to take the train into New York’s Penn Station. We arrived in Penn Station around 5:30 pm. We were like salmon swimming upstream since the end of the day commute was in full swing and we were headed the opposite direction as the commuters.  We walked up 7 th Ave to 44 th Street  and found a Summer Solstice Yoga class in progress. I shot some pictures of this class and then we went to find a sandwich to eat while we waited for our class to start. We ate our dinner sitting on our rolled up yoga mats on the sidewalk of 44 th street.

Our yoga class got loaded into the penned off area around 7 pm and we all got lined up. In our section we had over 600 people. We sat and talked, looked around, took pictures and marveled at being in Time Square. Our space was right next to the Armed Forces recruiting center. If we turned around we could see the post where the ball drops on New Years Eve.  All during the next two hours we were part of the side-show that is Times Square.  People would lean on the barricades and take pictures and talk in dozens of different languages.

At 7:45 pm our class started. We started out on our backs, looking up at the sky.  Talk about way cool!. Over the next 75 minutes the instructor took us through various yoga posses. He was in a different area of Time Square but we could hear him and they had instructors and spotters to keep you on track if you lost your way. In several quiet moments of meditation you could hear the sirens  and the other noises of the city. At other times, I did not hear the noise or notice the lights. I heard the voice of the instructor and followed the instructors in our area. Then the instruction was given to go back onto our backs for the final pose. I leaned over to my DW and asked what time it was. She said it was 8:55 pm. Five more minutes to go. Where did the time go?  Talk about getting lost in your yoga head space..  We finished up, took some more pictures and left our yoga pen to walk around Time Square.

We walked back down 7 th Ave to Madison Square Garden. New York’s Penn Station is under the garden. We walked to the NJ Transit section and waited for the next train to New Jersey.  20 minutes later we were in Secaucus and heading home. We stopped at Rutt’s Hut for a few hot dogs on our way.  That visit is detailed in a different blog post.

An outstanding night, for sure. If possible, we will go back again next year.

Pictures, here are a few.  This link will take you to the Drop Box folder containing all the pictures.  Also, two Vine video’s can be found here and here.

Namaste

Small town parade..

Stafford Township, where we reside, celebrated their Founder’s Day today.  Here is a link to their website. We used to have children marching in this parade. Now, we see some of the same teachers and parents marching, but all of our children were at work today.  After the parade we walked around the venders mart since we had time and not much planned for the morning. We bought two hand painted wine glasses from a local artist. She gave us her card (which I lost). I found her on Face Book while Googling her. Her page can be found here.  In her case maybe having a page for you modeling business, your painting business and your social life might make sense. Just speaking as a 52-year-old father of three men. Her glasses can be seen below. She does custom work as well.

We also bought wind chimes from Hippie Bling. She also has a Face Book page which can be found here. Her page is more on the professional artist variety. Both ladies are graduates of the local high school where we live.  A picture of the wind chime can be found below.

After the parade we went to Home Depot and COSTCO. With the kids home we go through “things” faster than normal. Lunch was fried chicken the DS2 brought home from work. He fried the chicken up this morning. He works at the Acme on LBI.  I worked in the garden after lunch tying up the tomatoes. I should have done that last week.

Yesterday we had about 3 inches of rain fall. We had some very minor flooding in the cellar. It filled a spaghetti pot, that is it. I will have to dig a hole in the ground and patch the leak from the outside since sealing from the inside has not been 100 % effective.

Pictures, for sure. Here is a link to all the parade pictures I took. Enjoy!

Namaste

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