Show and Tell

Today on The Daily Post the Daily Prompt is all about Show and Tell.

You’ve been asked to do a five-minute presentation to a group of young schoolchildren on the topic of your choice. Describe your presentation..

Growing up I didn’t have a very clear idea about what it would mean to graduate from high school and eventually get a job. I never gave much thought to a career or how I was going to support myself when I would be on my own. I was actually content in becoming a draftsman. It was the combination of all the shop classes I was taking and the technical drawing class I enjoyed that was coloring my limited view of the future.

One summer while I was reading some comic books I sent away for starter kit for selling greeting cards that was always advertised on the back of most comics. I had my eye on all the wonderful ‘stuff’ that would be mine as I sold the cards and the money started rolling in. After my first successful excursion around the neighborhood I realized my riches were not going to be as great as I had hoped. I did find an interesting prize available for the amount of cards I sold. I received my Estes model rocket starter kit a couple of weeks after sending in my order.

That rocket kit changed my life. I had an amazing run with model rockets. I consumed everything I could find on the topic. I read every library book I could find, joined the Estes model rocket club and delved deeper into my passion for space and NASA. I decided I needed to go to college so I could become and Aerospace Engineer.

My five minute show and tell for the kids would involve model rockets. I would bring a whole collection of rockets that I have made. Some from kits, other I had designed and built from scratch. I built a custom launch pad that looks like a launch pad at Cape Canaveral with a red launch tower and exhaust ports from th e smoke. I would talk about the hobby and how everything come into play; math, science, construction techniques, craftsmanship, painting, etc…

Of course the whole presentation will culminate in an actual launch. Nothing beats seeing that rocket start to move off the launch pad. The smoke billowing around the pad, the slow rise at first and the quick acceleration as it shoots into the sky. You hold your breath for the seconds it takes for the rocket to reach apogee. As it starts to fall back to earth you hope the chute will deploy properly for the gentle ride back to earth. You see the puff of smoke as the delayed charge expels the chute. And then the race begins as you follow the rocket while it descends trying to arrive at the spot of the landing at the same time as the rocket.

Hopefully, I would have the kids hooked after that. Maybe if I’m lucky some of them will gain an interest in math and science. Who knows maybe even one or two would follow my example and become Aerospace Engineers…

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Seven Days on the Road

The Daily Prompt for today on The Daily Post is almost cruel…

You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week.

Who hasn’t thought of just taking off on an adventure at the spur of the moment or after a particularly long day. The mind races at the possibilities. What would you do? Where would you go? My initial response to this question when it popped up in the reader today would be the most expected for anyone that knows me – Disney. By the end of the day I had a new adventure…

I would grab my camera equipment, rent a convertible and drive across the country. I would love to explore as much of the old Route 66 as possible. I’m not even sure I would be able to complete the trip in the seven days but I would have one hell of a good time trying. I can only imagine what I would find along the way.

Are you sure I only get seven days? Damn, just realized I have to go to work tomorrow. Going to be hard concentrating with my mind still traveling the Ol’ Mother Road…

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We have to grow up?

We have to grow up? When was this rule implemented? Was it passed by majority rule? Not fair! Recount!

Today’s Daily Prompt on The Daily Post is All Grown Up.

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

To be honest I drift between feeling like a grown up and feeling like a kid. I certainly do not act like a grown up when I can get away with it. I have to have fun. I make my own fun at work to the dismay of quite a few people. I am that little kid inside everyone. Most people think they do not have to let that kid out, but I have a hard time keeping him restrained.

I remember turning 33. It is not your normal birthday that strikes fear in peoples lives. For me it was the realization that I was not as old as I thought my dad was when I was 12. My parents are only 21 years older than me but they seemed so much older than I felt when I turned 33. To this day I have to think about how old I am when people ask. It is just a number, it doesn’t mean anything to me.

To be fair, I did feel like a grown up on the day my oldest graduated high school. And I know this year when the youngest graduates I am going feel that way again. But in the back of my mind I’m thinking… woohoo! Time for me to play! Kids out of the house away at college lets me have more time to do those ‘kid’ things I want to do.

When the day does eventually arrive when I always feel like a grown up I hope it is after a very long life of living like a kid..

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Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?

Is yes an appropriate answer? I would be happy with any of those locales. I’m sure people who know me would be surprised that Disney is not the answer to this Daily Prompt question on The Daily Post blog. To be honest it was my first thought but it felt too easy. Although I would enjoy another visit to Disney, and eventually I would love to live closer I wanted to explore this question differently.

When my kids were little we would spend a week each summer at a cottage on Oneida Lake, NY. The actual cottage was one my wife’s family use to rent when she was growing up. The same owner still lived in the main house and remembered her family. Oneida Lake is only 30 minutes from our house so it wasn’t a grand vacation but it always was a fantastic time. Days spent playing on the beach and swimming in the lake were followed by trips to the Sylvan Beach amusement park. I’ve shared a few sand castle building pictures from those days in a previous post: Far From Normal.

When the kids were older we ventured farther from home. We traveled to Old Orchard Beach, ME one summer on advice from a few friends at work. We fell in love with the place. Numerous vacations were spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying the local scenery. The light houses still hold a fascination for me and to this day I plan on returning again to put my new photographer skills to the test. I would also love to travel farther north along the Maine coast and visit the Acadia Nation Park. I have seen some wonderful images from that park and I am sure I could find plenty to explore.

I’ve spoken previous about growing up on a farm (Buffalo Nickel). I mentioned how I use to love spending tie in the fall hunting, but it wasn’t just when I was hunting that I would spend my days in the woods. I practically lived out there. There were trails through the woods surrounding the farm. I could ride my bike a half mile up one road, enter the trails and ride through the woods coming out on a perpendicular road at the opposite corner of the farm. I would ride back up to the trail start and do it all over again.

The woods have always held a special place with me. The serenity found deep inside a forest always brings out the kid in me. Playing hide -n- seek with friends, following a creek to find the best places to try and build stone dams. That one pond that you were not suppose to swim in but on a hot summer day it was the best place to be. You just always had to be ready to grab your clothes and run.

And now I love grabbing the camera and going for a walk through the woods behind my house. There is so much to explore. So many little images that can be captured. The way a leaf catches the sunlight or the way water tumbles or the rocks in a creek bed. Every time I go for those walks I find new images to bring home with me.

Winter Creek

Winter Creek

Rocks and Water

Rocks and Water



Up until a few years ago I really would not have had much to say about mountains. We have lived at the foothills of the Adirondack State Park for over twenty years but the best I can claim is traveling to Old Forge, NY to visit the amusement park there with the kids. I suppose I could also fall back on my Disney fondness and mention the numerous Disney mountains but I’ll spare you this time.

In 2011 we finally made the time to hike up Bald Mountain, just north of Old Forge, NY. We had been saying for years that we should do this. Friends at work were always talking about the hike up the mountain and the views from the fire tower at the top. It just seemed like we were better at making excuses than plans. I wish we had done it sooner. It was amazing! The climb is not difficult at all. Everyone was right, the view is fantastic. We missed peak foliage in the fall by about a week but it was still great. This past year the weather was less than cooperating but I already have it on the to-do list for next year (multiple times, no reason to just wait until the fall!).

Lake View

Lake View

Another View

Another View

Fire Tower

Fire Tower

The reason that I would also select mountains is due to my photography. I have been exposed (pun intended!) to the most incredible images from across the US and the world. I want to explore these rediscovered areas with my camera. I especially have fallen in love with Yosemite National Park. I became captured by the beauty of that park as I read about Ansel Adams. I then checked out numerous books of Adams’ images from the library (they are now on my wish list at Amazon). Wow! is the best I can do right now.

So, my answer to today’s daily prompt question is still Yes! to all three choices. What is your choice?

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Happily Ever After…

Today on the Daily Prompt are three simple words Happily Ever After which when expanded becomes:

“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?

Believe it or not this is a lot tougher to answer then I originally thought. There are quite a few reason’s for my trepidation in answering which I’m not ready to delve into but for now, the short answer is No. But I think I will be able to get to that ‘Ever After’ place eventually.

Lets see if I can expand on that no answer. My first excuse for not living in the ‘Ever After’ state would be I am tired of the cold. Or more appropriately, tired of being cold. I live in Upstate NY and the older I become the more I do not like being cold. Sure, I can add more layers and turn up the heat but I think I’m ready to try living in a place that has a more moderate temperature. I’m sure if I lived down south I would be complaining about the heat, but I’m thinking I would like to give it a try.

The second reason that ‘Ever After’ place is hard to reach would be my new found photography fascination. I love creating pictures. I don’t think my issue is about where I live as much as it is about being able to do more of it. This one will have to wait until the kids get out of school (last one is a senior in high school this year). As soon as they are supporting themselves… look out. I’m going to really follow this new passion of mine. For now I am happy exploring and learning all I can where I am.

The last barrier for entrance into ‘Ever After’ is possibly a silly one, but for me it is something I have grabbed onto and won’t let go right now. I would love to live closer to a Disney park. [stands to face room] Hello, my name is Mike and I am a Disney addict. [room responds] Hello, Mike! [sits back down] I caught the fever, insanity, craziness, whatever you want to call it back in 2003. I have mentioned this before but I would love to be able to ‘pop’ into a park any day of the week. Grab a quick meal, ride a few attractions, catch a show or attend one of the special events. This would definitely be the thing for me.

To sum it all up, I guess I would love to live in Orlando or Anaheim, be able to do more of my photography and be a Disney-oholic. Yep, that is my ‘Ever After’…

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Buffalo Nickel

Today’s Daily Prompt on The Daily Post is Buffalo Nickel or with a little more definition:

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

1983 Lincoln Head Penny

Ah, 1983, to return to that time 30 years ago is bitter sweet. I was 16 going on 17, finishing up my junior year in high school and about to start that final year before moving off to college. I had just decided I actually wanted to go to college so I was pushing myself to get caught up with all my classes needed to graduate properly. Up until my sophomore year I was set to become a draftsman, content to spend my days putting another’s ideas on paper.

That all changed a year earlier when I discovered model rockets. Now I wanted to become an aerospace engineer and work for NASA (P.S., I got close, I did become an aerospace engineer but I work for a company that manufactures turbine blades for aircraft engines). I spent most of 1983 with my head in the clouds. I was building rockets, launching them out in the field and reading everything I could get my hands on about space, rockets, NASA and of course, science fiction.

My school days were spent deep in the math and sciences. I had a lot of ground to make up but I did pull through. It was good for me. This would also be the year I discovered computers. I took a BASIC programming class and was hooked! I spent every free moment on the computers in the library (now kids, these were some of the first computers made, Commodore PET computers. LOL). I also talked my uncle into helping me buy a Commodore VIC-20! I even splurged for the 8Kb expansion (yes, you read that right 8Kb!).

I spent a lot of sleepless nights programming that old VIC-20. I learned a lot about programming, about the BASIC programming language and computers. I even was able to program my own games. I ended up taking that thing to college my first year (it didn’t last long, the college had a mainframe!).

I grew up on a farm so I also spent a lot of my time outside. There were chores to do, cows to tend to and crops to work on. I also was quite the hunter. When the season opened on September 1st you wouldn’t be able to find me once I got home from school until the sun went down. I’d grab the gun and go walking through the woods looking for game. It was a great balancing act! Chores, school work, reading, computers, rockets, hunting… damn, those were some GREAT times!

Ha, I wasn’t so sure about this daily prompt, but I love this one! What a trip down memory lane. I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks for traveling with me.

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Seconds! or I wish I could have stayed all day…

Today’s Daily Prompt is Seconds! or more appropriately:

Describe the most satisfying meal you’ve ever eaten, in glorious detail.

Let me start by stating I am not a fine food aficionado. I generally keep it very simple when this farm boy goes ‘out on the town’. The one exception is when I am on vacation, or more specifically, when I am at my second home, Walt Disney World. I know what you are thinking but I believe the signature dining at Disney is very good. Pricey, that is an understatement but what little I have experienced I have enjoyed.

Le Cellier Steakhouse Canada Pavilion, Epcot

Le Cellier Steakhouse
Canada Pavilion, Epcot

Of the few places I have dined in while at Disney World, Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion at Epcot has to be my favorite. Maybe it is because I am a steak and potatoes kind of guy but the food selections sit well with me and I have not had a bad meal at the restaurant. During my last visit in October I experienced my best meal, as far as I can recall, in quite a long time.

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dining Room

Le Cellier Steakhouse
Dining Room

Once you are seated the wait staff will explain the restaurant, if it is your first visit, and offer a few suggestions. Drink orders are taken and then just so you do not have to sit idly by, the bread sticks arrive. I could probably make a meal out of the pretzel bread sticks. They arrive warm with a glorious amount of butter (like a fat content concern is going to stop me now!). Luckily, once you devour the first few you can request a refill. I would almost suggest holding off so as not to fill up but I splurging so bring me more…

Le Cellier Bread sticks

Le Cellier Bread sticks

Just as I finish off my second helping of bread my appetizer arrives. The restaurant is famous for its Cheddar Cheese Soup and no trip inside is complete without at least a taste. The soup is made with Moosehead beer and bacon. How can that be wrong? I wish I had planned a little better cause I would have saved some bread to help get every last drop. I don’t think anyone noticed when I picked up the bowl to lick the inside!

Le Cellier's Cheddar Cheese Soup

Le Cellier’s Cheddar Cheese Soup

At this point I’m starting to feel a little fat and happy but I know my main course will arrive soon. I try not to fill up on my ice tea as I wait. When my meal does arrive I at first think I am getting the kids portion but once I dig in I realize the plate is big and the food is more than enough to top off the tank.

Le Cellier's Mushroom Filet

Le Cellier’s Mushroom Filet

I went all out on this trip and ordered the “Le Cellier” Mushroom Filet Mignon served with a wild mushroom risotto topped with a white truffle butter sauce and micro chervil. The steak can be cut with a fork. It is tender and juicy with a wonderful flavor. I had a hard time separating the steak flavor from the topping but I didn’t care, it all tastes good. The risotto is good but seems to pale in comparison to the steak. I power my way through it, enjoying every mouthful.

My only regret was that second helping of bread sticks as I now have no room for dessert. It would have been a great ending to an already wonderful meal. Next time I’ll know to save just a little room for the dessert.

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Today’s Daily Prompt on The Daily Post is Undo or

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

This question had me searching for just the right answer. There are a lot of “things” we all can come up with that should be un-done. I have already read some great posts from other bloggers following the Daily Post. I wasn’t exactly sure what direction I wanted to go in. And then it hit me…

Reality Television

I miss the days when TV had good dramas, comedies and shows I looked forward to watching. There seems to be an over abundance of reality TV shows on the networks. I rarely watch television any more. The few good shows I do watch are generally on channels other than the major networks.  But even those networks are getting crowded with bad reality shows.

Now, I will admit that I watched the first couple of seasons of Survivor or Big Brother or even American Idol, but no more. They have pushed the genre too hard for too long. I say it is time to get back to basics.

Hate my thinking if you want but I do not want to watch any more shows about toddler beauty pageants, what wedding dress the bride is going to buy, swamp people, or hillbilly hand fishin’. Put some thought into an original concept for a show and put it on the air…

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Far From Normal

I’m trying to play a little catch up since I was gone for 4 days with limited time and internet access. Yesterday’s Daily Prompt on The Daily Post was Far From Normal or more specifically:

Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

I’ve never really examined myself with this thought in mind before. I feel normal, but I know I act not-so-normal at times. I’m the one at work stacking the empty boxes in the office next to mine just so I can knock them over (my friend Pete doesn’t mind, he knows me by now, it is his office I do this in!). I’m almost 47 but describe myself as a BIG KID that never really grew up. OK, let me think…

  1. Wait! That story about the boxes is number one! I can’t just work straight through the day. I have to play a little to get through it…
  2. I make up songs about my daughter. They are not usually very flattering. It really drives her nuts, but I have heard her singing them at times.
  3. Some of my best thinking is done in the car. I don’t plan it that way but the mind seems to do its own thing. I have gotten home before and can’t remember driving most of the roads. I guess I was on auto-pilot, which is a little freaky.
  4. I’m a big Disney fan. Last year I managed to go three times. My home and office are littered with Disney stuff. I even managed to scrounge up 5 dry erase boards at work and hung them in the hallway outside my office just so I could draw Disney characters on them. BTW – 3 of the 5 boards are 4′ x 6′ so I have lots of room to draw…
  5. Even in this modern computer age I will use the vi editor whenever I can. I can program so much faster with it.
  6. I love to build sand castles! I still have two HUGE buckets of sand castle building equipment (OK, toys). When we went on vacations to the beach I would spend hours building these elaborate sand castles. They would cover over a hundred square feet when I was on a roll.

Well, either you abandoned this post before you reached the end or you were brave enough to find out all six items. Not sure how normal or non-normal any of this actually is because it is me. And to me it is just they way I am…

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Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda…

I’m not sure why I find these daily prompts so interesting. Maybe it is the fact I have to think about something other than work, family, the latest issue with the kids… I have been enjoying a new journey into photography and maybe it has awakened a creative side I lost along my way to getting older. Whatever the reason, you are stuck reading my interpretation of each prompt.

The Daily Post‘s daily prompt is Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda or Tell us about something you know you should do . . . but don’t.

I should be exercising more regularly. I’m not exactly getting younger. I do not feel old, nor do I act old (just ask my kids), but I know I should be working all those muscles more often then bending the elbow to put food in my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not think I am out of shape. I’m 6’3″, 168 lbs and will turn 47 this year. I get quite a lot of exercise everyday at work. My job has me on the manufacturing floor for a good portion of the day. I would estimate I walk close to 4 miles everyday just within the building. My office is also in the basement so I am constantly having to work the stairs.

My photography has me out exploring on a fairly regular basis and I love to capture landscapes or outdoor scenes. It is not unusual for me to park the car and walk a few miles into the woods or along a canal trail in search of my next great image. The walking is never an issue and even when I think I have pushed it too far I am not sore the next day.

The reason I think I should be exercising more regularly is I want it to be a habit I carry forward. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize I have to start exercising because of a health issue. I know eventually my metabolism will slow down and my normal intake will start to store itself in places on me I do not want it to be.

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