Does finding yourself on Google Street View count as a selfie? In May 2014 I was hanging out in front of the Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá, near Bógota, Colombia, when I noticed what was obviously a Street View car driving by. I decided to check Google to see if the pictures from that day are now available. They are. You can see me taking pictures of the cathedral and some pigeons in the plaza.
[button link=”https://email@example.com,-74.004163,3a,75y,191.59h,90.85t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1suQMEr8tp7tzHNHv9oihTUw!2e0″ type=”icon” icon=”search” newwindow=”yes”] Google Street View Zipaquirá[/button]
In November 2013 I traveled to Salt Lake City. I took a drive up to Montpelier, Idaho via US-30 through Wyoming and back around Bear Lake and back to SLC. It is very dramatic countryside. Flying in to SLC you can see Bingham Canyon Mine. It is a huge scar on the Earth that I happen to see in a movie the following week. I cannot remember which one but it used the mine as the exit with a huge gun battle in black and white. The sky was mostly clear during my trip. The color and texture of the rock make for some interesting photography. I played with some tone mapping software to try to reproduce what I had actually seen. I got up early one morning looking for a place to take some golden hour shots of the sun rising. I got a couple of interesting shots.
The most interesting part of the morning was when I was driving down this dirt road through Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge just after dawn but before the sun had broken over the mountains. There was skunk running down the middle of the road. The little guy had no interest in letting me pass.
Back in SLC I took pictures of the tabernacle and the state Capitol building. Later in the week I drove down to visit Provo, the BYU campus and watch the sunset over Utah Lake.
Overall I found it to be beautiful country and the people we very nice. Everywhere you looked there were people going about their business but all dressed up.
Here are a few select pictures from my October 2014 trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I traveled there with a coworker for a conference that was held right downtown. We took the opportunity to walk the city a bit. The streets were busy that weekend with an Octoberfest. We hit the tourist spots, took a night bus tour, and then decided it would be a good idea to walk to Camden to see the Battleship New Jersey. Apparently New Jersey is not that safe. Who knew. I had just read Ben Franklin’s biography and enjoyed wandering the streets where he lived.
Within a few minutes I received three messages of attempts to access my Apple ID and Facebook accounts.
[box type=”shadow”] The first notification was from Apple. Someone had tried to log into my Apple ID enough times that the account had been locked out. Unfortunately this happens all too frequently to me. Their system automatically locks the account in response to what is effectively a denial of service attack. I have to go through their iforgot system to unlock my account. I’ve had it happen to me several times in the same day. At some point Apple decides that I need to reset my password because of the repeated unlock activity. Ironic it is because of my strong password that the attacker have not gotten in. My password is a string of randomly generated gibberish that I don’t even know thanks to LastPass. It’s kind of ridiculous that Apple locks me out of my phone and then requires me to prove my identity by sending a code to the same phone. Come on Apple. If my phone is trusted then why is it being locked out?[/box]
[box type=”shadow”] The second attack came in the form of an email from Apple Corporation address to an iCloud.com that is not my primary Apple ID (clue #1) from an address that is not Apple (clue #2), with a greeting of “Dear Apple Customer” (clue #3), and with hyperlinks going to a Russian web site (clue #4). The thing is, how many people take the time to scrutinize their email like this? It looks legit. It’s asking for my password. Ok. Right? The lesson here is that if you get a message like that, don’t click on the link. Go to the web site directly if you think you actually need to change the password. Using LastPass would have protected you from the phishing site by not entering in your password in the fake site.[/box]
[box type=”shadow”] The final message came legitimately from Facebook caused by someone trying to log into Facebook as me. In this case the email had something that Apple should take note. There was a link to disavow the password reset request that was actually going to Facebook.com. Even then it made me nervous because Facebook allow and their entire business model is based on user-generated content. So just because it’s on Facebook.com does not prove that it is legit. Unless someone has the username of “login”, I’m pretty sure that it is legit – but only pretty sure.[/box]
Driving through Dallas a couple weeks ago I noticed a new building next to the highway across from the West End Marketplace and Dallas World Aquarium that wasn’t there before. The architecture was unique although it reminded me of the museum at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. I heard about the new Perot Museum but did not realize that was it. I tried to get someone to go with me but apparently everyone has already been.
The dinosaur exhibit is very good featuring dinosaurs mostly found locally. The had some footprints from Glen Rose and a proto-turtle from Dallas when it was beach front property. The dinosaurs reign over the fourth flour with a pterodactyl hanging from the ceiling, a T-Rex and a full size diplodocus.
Third floor starts the more traditional exhibits about the universe and energy. There’s a whole section on fossil fuels and gemology. When you get to the second floor there’s a robotics lab with all sorts of hands on exhibits for the inner twelve year old. I miss the old Robot Wars TV show but this helped.
The was no traveling exhibit at this time but Sherlock opens next month and may be worth a return. On the ground floor there’s a small theater showing the usual course of 3-D educational films: Galapagos, Robots, and Tornado Alley. I need to check when Galapagos hits Netflix.
Overall it was a good way to spend three hours. I recommend going the next time you have some out-of-town visitors who want to see Dallas. Be sure to ask for educator discount.
In November 2014 I travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina. I think it was my first trip to Charlotte. My previous experience of North Carolina was seeing it from I-75 behind billboards reminding me how many exits were left until we reached South of the Border, a tourist trap in South Carolina that took advantage of the differences in state laws to sell fireworks. I had some free time in the evenings and managed to take in a few sights offered by this town.
One of the first things I learned is that the town is named for Queen Charlotte (Queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland, later of the United Kingdom and Hanover 5/19/1744 – 11/17/1818). So there are references to the Queen City and Our Queen everywhere. The county Mecklenburg is also named after her.
Near the airport is an office park that contains among other businesses a University of Phoenix campus. In front of one of the buildings is a metal statue of a man’s head. The piece is called Metalmorphosis by Czech sculptor David Černý. I made my detour. I had lunch from a street food vendor selling Maryland crab cakes and southern hushpuppies while sitting by this statue.
Another thing to see in Charlotte is the Mint Museum. It’s actually two museums, one downtown and one in Randolph. One admission gets you into both. The titular mint was shutdown before the civil war but the building remained and is today the museum. It features all sorts of glassware, pottery, ceramics vases, and such from all of recorded history and all over the world. It featured comparative styles of pottery from Central and South America, both pre- and post-columbian. There were also pieces from near and far east. The part that I found most interesting was the collection of North American pieces. Some of these pieces I had seen in grandparents’ homes and taken for granted. It made me look at them in a different way especially when they progressed to the late 20th century. The Uptown museum featured a very interesting traveling exhibit on the Panama Canal at 100. Pictures were not allowed so all I have is a picture of a steam shovel bucket. The focus on the exhibit was not so much about the Canal but about regional art before and after its construction, and how that art became the world view of the Canal project.
Later in the trip I wandered around downtown. I missed the Wells Fargo museum because I did not realize it closed so early. I wandered through an old cemetery in the dark on my way walking to a Sushi restaurant. I saw Marvel Universe Live at the Time Warner Cable center because it was next to my hotel. Downtown has a lot of museums and street art. I have included a couple of those pictures in the gallery below.
On the last day I made two stops on the way to the airport. The first stop was at Fort Dobbs. It was the weekend after Veterans Day so they had a event showcasing military history going back to the colonial days. These reenactors dressed up in their period garb and came out to let the tourists watch them play soldier. They featured live firing of period weapons from black powder to Viet Nam era machine guns. The juxtaposition of these different periods looked like something out of Bill and Ted. The actual fort is long gone. Its now just a historic site on a hill surrounded by suburbia. The only permanent structure was a small cabin the served as a combination museum and gift shop.
The second stop was the birthplace of President James K. Polk, 11th US President. I timed my visit to be there for their birthday party which also happened to be a big grand re-opening/re-dedication event for them. Once again their were people dressed in period costumes although this time they were only from the turn of the 19th century. Once again there was a black powder demonstration. That’s always a crowd favorite.
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In July 2012 we took a little family vacation to Austin. My son had just graduated, was heading off to college and did not join us. My daughter was able to bring a friend. We got a condo right on the river, or at least where the river used to be. We spent one day out on jet skis, another day at Krause Springs, and another day in Austin culminating with dinner and a concert at Stubbs. All in all it was a nice trip. Krause Springs is a hidden gem. If you ever go there, get there early, right when they open. It gets really crowded in the afternoon. It is a little spring-fed swimming hole on the west side of Lake Travis. They have a spring fed swimming pool, picnic areas, and a butterfly garden. The lake level was really low and some of the side branches looked tragic with boathouses out in the middle of grassy fields that had once been the lake.
I’ve been to a couple of concerts at Stubbs. They have a small venue inside where you can site at the balcony and watch. They have a larger venue out back that is used for larger gigs like when SXSW is in town.
Austin is a nice place to visit. Sixth Street always makes it interesting. There’s a Tapas Bar on the south end of downtown called Málaga near the bridge where you can watch the bats fly after a day of watching kites fly in the park. Keep Austin weird.
Back in April 2012 I traveled to Savannah, Georgia with a couple of co-workers for a conference. Each evening we would try to take in the sights around town and out to the beach. I took a lot of pictures especially of Bonaventure Cemetery. That cemetery was made famous by the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Walking around Savannah are other movie locations like Forrest Gump. The town has an interesting water front where there are stores down buy the river connected to the town by their upstairs level. We had good food, visited a lighthouse (Tybee Island Lighthouse), Forsyth Park, and marveled at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I tried to cull my thousand pictures in to a sampling that were representative or, as in the case of the taffy factory, told a story. Enjoy.
Here’s some scans from a box of slides that are probably from about 1965. They feature pictures from Marineland and Sebring. I’m unsure of the exact dates. The pictures of Spirit of America reference the record breaking run in 1964.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library is located on the campus of SMU. You pay $7 to park and $16 to get in. Get there early as parking can be tricky. The museum starts with an introduction to his childhood and proceeds through his live to his two terms in office. It is an interesting time capsule of the beginning of the 21st century. The major exhibits reflect on the election, 9/11, No Child Left Behind, and the economic collapse of 2008. On the other side of the museum is a temporary exhibit on Christmas in the White House with pictures and displays from several presidents. I recommend visiting the museum if you have any interest in history regardless of your political views.
My aunt sent me an album of old family pictures. I like looking at old pictures to see the details in the background. Like a picture of my grandmother from 1912 shows a stack of newspapers. When you zoom in on the papers you can see headlines from the first Balkan War Turkish defeat in Greece. In another picture you can see the house number that corresponds to census records that I found. Since these are family pictures it’s also neat to see family resemblance between the generations.