June 12, 2014

Golfing in the Pacific Northwest

Mike is all smiles at the CLUB (Contractors,
Labor, Union and Business) tournament at Gold
Mountain in Bremerton after winning KP or
closest to the pin on the Par 3.  Still got it! 
Great golf outing with Mark Broughton of Rainier
Investment Management at Sahalee.  Carved out
of the native northwest forest, this course makes
the most of the Pacific Northwest's evergreen trees.

Wildflowers provide a little moment of zen amidst
the sometimes frustrating game of golf.

The CLUB charity tournament charges a little extra
scratch if you want to take your second shot where
Bubba Watson would have hit his drive.  Sign
of the times...  a few years ago, they used to
call it Tiger's drive.

What?!  We won a TV?  Not because of our
golf expertise, but because we had the right
raffle ticket.  We're proud to be major sponsors

of this event that helps sick kids at the local,
state and national level.
Good luck high five from our playing partners
Jerri and Butch Henry.

June 3, 2014

Sisters, OR and Pronghorn Golf

The Three Sisters mountain range in central Oregon.
The stunning Sisters from Pronghorn Golf Course.

Love these gnarly old trees on the course...
unless your golf ball is behind one.
Mike taking aim at the Par 3.

Sand on the left, water on the right?  As Robin
Williams would say, "they put sh*t in the way!"
Pronghorn clubhouse.  There are two courses here -
one public and one private.  Both exceptional.

June 2, 2014

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is on the Atlantic side of Florida,
a beach peninsula with water on both sides.
Looks like this Tiki guy forgot
his hat and sunglasses!

Dinner with our Florida family!  Mike's brother 
Charlie, wife Deb, their son David and his
 girlfriend Caroline. 

Cocoa Beach became famous in the late
1960's as the setting for "I Dream of
Jeannie", the sitcom with a 2,000 year
old genie (Barbara Eden) being found
by an astronaut (Larry Hagman), who
instantly became her master.  Very
popular counter programming to

We found the street named in honor of the show!

Beach combing was pretty safe, with the possible
exception of this bad boy sitting on the beach -
a Portuguese man 'o war.  Their venom filled
stings paralyze their prey, and can really ruin
the day for a swimmer.
We actually stopped into Florida for recurrent pilot simulator
 training, practicing cockpit procedures.  Walking on
the beach was a welcome sunshine break. 

June 1, 2014

Kennedy Space Center Florida

 Behold the Vertical Assembly Building, built in 1966,
  STILL the tallest one story building in the
 world at 525 ft.  Those large grey doors on the
left side opened to allow the rollout of the huge
Saturn V rocket.   Also used for the shuttle program,
it's ready for a beauty makeover should the need
arise for any future space traffic construction needs.
Explore:  to travel in or through an unfamiliar place
to learn about it or familiarize oneself with it.

A fitting word for the Kennedy Space Center entrance,
in front of the "Rocket Garden" of historic rockets and capsules. 

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed Neil Armstrong
and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, the first humans ever.
We were able to walk down the same orange catwalk,
now significantly closer to the ground it was on
July 16, 1969 when we saw the launch.  The
crew had to walk across this at about 500 ft.!
Remember all those Mission Control guys with their
white shirts and headphones?  This is the actual panel from
 the Mercury capsule phase of the NASA Space Program,
back when John Glenn was the Captain in 1962. 
Mike and I trying out some cramped quarters for
flying.  At one point after his Air Force career,
NASA recruited him.   He was a great candidate,
with his physics and math background, but decided
against applying.  As it turns out, that's when the
space program was starting to slow down, so he
could have waited years for a slim chance at a mission.

St. Louis was my home at the time of
the walk on the moon.  Everyone from
that era remembers being glued to our
little black and white televisions.

The impact of the Space Race was a fearful unknown.
Within weeks of Russia's launch of the first man
into space in 1961, Kennedy was ready to announce
 America's answer back to the challenge.
Mike under the massive Saturn V
rocket, a human-rated expendable
rocket used by NASA from 1966
until 1973.  A multi-staged liquid
fueled launch vehicle, it remains
the tallest, heaviest and most powerful
rocket ever brought to operational
status.  It's the only vehicle to launch
humans beyond low earth orbit.
Longer than a football field!
Hell of a ride for those 24 guys.  

Closeup of a tire from the Lunar
Rover, aka "Moon Buggy". 
LBJ was always a space program enthusiast.  Once
he was president, Kennedy put Vice President Johnson
in personal charge of the space program.  By
 the end of his term, the financial constraints of the
 Vietnam war and the Great Society forced him to
 find a means to wind down space exploration expenditures. 

May 31, 2014

Trying to speak Welsh

The longest city name in Wales - are you ready?
chwyrndrob- (deep
 breath) wllllantysiliogogogoch, which means 
The church of St. Mary's in the hollow of the white
hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of
St. Tysilio's by the red cave.    Zip code, anyone?

Cardiff on a bustling Saturday morning.
Love the Welsh flags, with the red dragon.
Brains Brewery, founded in Wales in 1882.
The local lager is called Skull Crusher.

Oh, the warm crumbly goodness
of Welsh cakes.  Like a tiny scone.

Seafarers War Memorial on the Cardiff waterfront.
Cardiff is a mix of white collar
 professionals and college students.
Demographics are 95% white.

Spectacular Wales Millenium Centre.  On the left, the Welsh
 saying "Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen" means
 "Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration".
On the right, "In These Stones Horizons Sing" refers to
 an orchestra and choir piece commissioned and performed
 when the center opened in 2004.  Sadly, Welsh seems
 to be a dying language.  75% of Welsh citizens admit
 to having no Welsh language skills at all.
Dr. Who fans:  the museum is here, complete with
a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space)
time machine on the dock.
Bessie, Dr. Who's mode of transportation
during his earth exile.  No normal roadster,
 she's equipped with an anti-theft force field,
a remote control drive and a minimum inertia
 hyperdrive (in order to drive at breakneck
 speed and come to a sudden stop without the
 car's occupants being tossed through the
 windscreen).  Not too far from Google cars?
Famous children's author Roald Dahl, who wrote Charlie
 and the Chocolate Factory (Willy Wonka), James and
 the Giant Peach and many other books, was born in Cardiff
 to Norwegian parents.  His mother used to weave tales
about trolls to him as bedtime stories.
What a fun tribute to him in Roald Dahl Park! 

Party Central in Cardiff, Wales

Loud and proud 10K runners on Queen Street.
One of many "hen" parties, the name for  bachelorette
 parties in Wales.  Bunny ears and pink sashes are standard attire.

It was a warm spring night, but
something tells me they don't tone
it down much when the temp drops.

This bride-to-be was 
looking for BIG fun!

The "Keep Calm and Carry On" slogan
was started by the British government
in preparation for WWII, to be used only

if Germans occupied Great Britain.
Never used, most of the 2 million posters
were relegated to the pulp mill following
V-Day.  A few copies turned up in 2000, and
 the slogan has become a popular cottage industry.

Not sure who was flirting with who here?!

May 30, 2014

Shakespeare's Stratford-on-Avon

Stratford-on-Avon is the birthplace
of the world's most famous
 playwright, William Shakespeare. 
We were delighted to meet Falstaff, one of Shakespeare's
best comedic characters, during the Royal Shakespeare

 Company's production of Henry IV.  He's a liar, a braggart,
 a glutton and a coward, but the audience still loves him.   

The day we toured Shakespeare's
home, live actors were performing
short scenes from plays on demand
from the audience.  Here is Juliet,
asking, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?".
Prince Hal contemplates his royal birthright, with
Shakespeare watching over his shoulder.

There are 2,200 miles of navigable
canals in the UK, with hundreds
of locks.  Built by the Romans,
today they're mostly used
 by leisure houseboaters.
This parking garage in Stratford boasted a "Healthy
Heart Level 3", which is code for "we have no elevator".
Loved the reference to Hamlet's jester, Yorick.

The Royal Shakespeare Company,
or RSC as it's known here, where
great actors, directors and backstage
crew interpret Shakespeare's work
with reverent passion.
The Avon river has a healthy thriving swan population.
At least 100 adult swans were aggressively cruising,
looking for a chunk of bread or a photo op.

All quotes from Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's father was a tanner, and this workshop
was right next to the kitchen where he grew up.  Pretty
disgusting when you realize the leather was tanned with
urine.  Smelly household :P
An example of a traditional English garden, with boxwood
hedges surrounding geometric plantings of colorful
Anne Hathaway's family home, where she grew up,
before she married Shakespeare.  She was actually
pregnant prior to the wedding, quite the scandal.