Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The great Johnny Bench


I wasn't a big sports nut growing up, but every red-blooded Oklahoma boy knew who Johnny Bench was. As close to a sports hero as I ever had as a kid.

Once could easily make the case the JB is the greatest catcher of all time (though Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is gaining ground fast). In his book "Catch Every Ball", Bench relates the story of the rookie pitcher who insisted on throwing a fastball, regardless of the fact that Johnny kept waiving him off. Eventually Bench relented and let him throw his heat, which he CAUGHT WITH HIS BARE HANDS. I'm pretty sure that pitcher remembered his manners from that point forward.

Bench is a class act too. No "Tiger-Woods-type" scandals in this guys history.

I am quite proud to have his statue in front of my hometown ballpark!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas eve blizzard


Oklahoma City had a blizzard on Christmas Eve. 14"+ (a record for any snow event in OKC
recorded history). Only the 5th white Christmas in recorded history for this town.

Here are a few of the pictures I took:

First a couple of the snow actually falling:


Then, some more snow covered things:




Friday, December 25, 2009

New with love and respect to old...

bright and shiney

Meet the new kid. My big Christmas present. The Nikon D3000. Sleek, light, and very cool. I love it and will be taking many many pictures with it.

That is NOT to say that I'm tossing my old, reliable, amazing buddy Mr. D70

Old faithful

This camera has been an amazing photography companion, and I look forward to using BOTH cameras quite a bit going forward.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snow in OKC


Growing up in OKC (1963 - 1984), we had 1, count'em 1, white Christmas, and that was a few flurries in 1974 (I think).

So far today, we are at about 6", and they think it will not stop until about 6:00pm.

Don't try to tell me that there is no evidence of global climate change.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Trees


I find myself looking at these leafless trees and I'm somewhat captured by the stark beauty of the geometry within.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday tradition saved!


Our family has a holiday tradition surrounding Nouveau Beujolais. Each year, we try to drink a bottle together sometime before the first of the year. For those of you who are unaware, the Nouveau is one of the few wines that is marketed in the same year that the grapes are picked (it's actually a "Primeau" by strictest definition).

By drinking a bottle before the end of the year, we are trying to capture and share
"the luck of the vines".

Now, this year, we didn't manage to crack it open at Thanksgiving. We took it to Waco, thinking we would share it with the kids down there, but for some reason, we never opened it. We left the bottle down there so that they could share it sometime in the next two weeks, figuring we could surely pick another bottle up on our way home (through Dallas).

Imagine our surprise, when we stopped at 3 different places and NONE of them had it in stock.

Luckily, I found what I believe to be the very last liquor store in OKC to carry it, so Christmas is SAVED!!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

A little too much school spirit


In my recent break, I had honestly forgotten the thrill of driving around with my Nikon handy, ready to grab the most bizarre (aka batsh*t insane) stuff that I see. It really sharpens my observational skills.

This, for example, was on the side of the road on my way back from lunch. Tired of the usual stuff, I decided to drive around a little farther than usual from the grindstone to fast food other than Sonic, Taco Bell, or McDonalds. In this quest (I landed at Quiznos), I came across this on a street I had yet to venture down until now.

For those of you who aren't quite sure what you are looking at, this is a "discount caskets to the public" store, and what do you find in thier showroom window?

school spirit

That, my friends, is a "Sooner Crimson" casket with the University of Oklahoma's logo enblazoned right above where your face would be if you were to be the final owner of this beauty.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

LED Wrapped Trees at Chesepeake


Went to the Chesepeake corporate HQ campus this evening. They have lit up each and every tree in the joint with bright shiney LED strands.

Here are some other shots:





Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The coffee cup that says it all


At my previous job, one of our purchasing agents (thanks Craig!) got this mug for me from one of our chemical supply houses.

The warnings include:

"Harmful if swallowed", "May cause cancer based on animal studies", and "Can cause reproductive effects".

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) is equally disturbing.

Now, if you excuse me, my morning cup-o-joe awaits...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fish on Green Wall

Fish wall

FYI, the green textured wall is painted wallpaper, and the shark is taken from Frank Zappa's "Yellow Shark" CD.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Hey remember back on July 10th, when I posted a 109 degree day?


And it's still a week and a half from the first day of Winter!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Raw Rural Kansas Shot


Last weekend we attended a memorial service for my sister-in-law's father in Moran, Kansas. It was actually our second trip to Kansas that week (we had gone up to Wichita to see "Avenue Q" on the previous Wednesday), and we are headed up again (well, to Kansas City, MO, anyway) this weekend to visit with Caryn's folks.

This grain storage site against the cold-but-sunny-blue Kansas sky caught my eye.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lots of lights


With the rapidly decreasing cost of LED Christmas lights, the "enrobing" of facades of buildings in colored and white lights is becoming much more popular.

All of these buildings are within about 3 blocks of each other near downtown Oklahoma City.





Monday, December 7, 2009

USS Oklahoma Anchor


This being the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, it seemed fitting to post this -- one of the 3 anchors retrieved from the wreckage of the USS Oklahoma, which was sunk by 5 torpedos in that battle.

And, yes, this is my first post in many a moon. Sorry about that - I've got pics for the next few days at least, and if I can just get back into the habit, we'll be celebrating the 1000th post before too much longer.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baxter's vet appointment


Baxter had his vet appointment this morning. Other than a touch of puppy red eye and a really BAD case of tartar coated teeth, he's in pretty good shape. Here's the shocker -- the Doc says he thinks our little guys is -- hold your hats -- 8 years old. That's based on a little cloudiness in the eyes and the previously mentioned tartar build up.

We have some ointment for his eye, and Tuesday, he goes in for a combined neutering and teeth scaling.

Friday, August 21, 2009



Meet the new guy. Baxter, this is my woefully neglected (of late) but wonderfully supportive and faithful blog reader base. Woefully neglected (of late) but wonderfully supportive and faithful blog reader base, this is Baxter.

Here's the story.

On August 11th, The Kaufman County Sheriff, along with the Humane Society of the US, the local Humane Society, and a host of other folks, raided a puppy mill in Prairieville, TX. They seized over 550 dogs (plus 9 cats and a goat). The United Animal Nations, of which Caryn and I are volunteers, were called in to assist in the care of the animals in a temporary shelter until their final disposition could be decided.

Caryn went down almost immediately and stayed until the shelter closed on August 19th. I took a day off of work and came down to assist during the weekend. The heat was hot and the wind was most certainly not dry (America's "Horse with No Name" for those who missed the reference). But the puppies, cats, and goat were well cared for in the hands of some amazing volunteers from about a dozen organizations.

Daily life for a temporary shelter worker in a situation like this involves getting in around 8:00am, running around and feeding/watering the animals, waiting about 10-20 minutes for the food to be eaten and the bowels to start moving, then sweeping back through to clean up the combined overnight and additional morning mess. Rinse, repeat for the afternoon.

One one of the morning cleaning runs, I was working with a woman with huge heart and some amazing reserve of stamina named Dallas. I was taking the top cages and she was taking the bottom ones (did I mention that Dallas had a huge heart and an amazing reserve of stamina?). As she reached in to a cage with 2 yorkies, she suddenly stopped and asked me to run and get one of the disposable cat litter pans with a puppy pad to line it. When I got back with the requested supplies, she stood up and gently plopped a little shivering ball of fur on the pad. One of the yorkies had just given birth.

Shortly thereafter, the Vet arrived (Dr. O'Bryan from Tyler -- a hero of Beowulfian proportions in this endeavor). We had summoned him because we weren't sure which dog had given birth, and we needed to seperate out the mommy and get her to the maternity area. Dr. O'Bryan reached in and pulled out one of the yorkies, turned the little doggie towards the light and pronounced in his remarkably knowledgeable and assured manner that "I don't think it is him".

We placed him into a cage of his own and moved the mom (who was now nesting in preparation for another pup) off to the maternity ward.

That afternoon, as we made our cleaning run, it was my turn to visit the bottom cages. When we got to the seperated yorkie, I noticed that he had basically not moved from the position we put him in that morning. He had not eaten, not drank any water, had not messed his pad, and was basically just shivering in the back. I reached in to pull him out, and even though he was scared to death, he licked my hand. My heart was FULLY touched at that point.

The next day (Sunday) I did the morning run, then I had to return to OKC to be fresh for Monday's work. I made sure to visit the little guy, who had, by now, finally relaxed a little and had eaten, drank, and left a small present for us on his pad. He was still scared, but he actually wagged his tail when I reached in to clean.

The Judge ruled on Monday, revoking the mill owner's rights to the animals, and authorizing the HSUS and UAN to distribute the dogs to the various breed-specific rescue groups and humane societies that had lined up to recieve them. As they were making the preparations, Caryn called me and told me that my little guy had not been claimed, and we decided that we would go ahead and ask to adopt him outright.

The woman who ran the puppy mill had been boarding 8 dogs at the time of the raid, and the Judge had given the owners of those dogs until 6:00pm on Tuesday to reclaim them. At 5:45, a woman showed up looking for her yorkie. She had the paperwork, she knew the microchip number. My little guy, "Matthew" turns out to be 3 months old. He was matted to the skin, as if he had never been brushed before. He had been boarded in this awful puppy mill for 1/3rd of his little life. But he was legally hers, and she was claiming him.

So, plot twist -- the dog that I had developed the connection with is not the one in the picture.

The other volunteers at the shelter were well aware of our connection with Matthew. The cried with us when he was taken. But they also knew that there were other yorkies, other guys who needed us as much as he did. Caryn found Baxter and connected with him. He is (we think at this time) about 2 years old. He was found in the whelping room and is intact, so we suspect he was a breeding male (the puppies from the story above could well be his). He has some serious dental issues (read: his breath stinks to high heaven), but he seems to otherwise be in good health. His first grooming is today, and his vet appointment to discuss both the teeth and his "fixing" is tomorrow.

We don't know much about his history, but he recieved his vaccinations at the shelter. All of the dogs in the seizure tested negative for heartworms. This wasn't because she actually medicated them, it was because the conditions at that horrid place were so bad that mosquito larvae couldn't thrive (all together now: EWWW).

Clem and Ziggy have been awesome in welcoming him. Ziggy showed him how to use the doggy door and the two have them have been engaged in peeing wars ever since. Queen Clementine is happy as it doesn't look like he will be challenging her "alpha" status any time soon.

I'll post tomorrow with post-grooming pic, plus details from the vet appointment.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dang, it's hot!!


I"m going to claim heat issues for not posting until now. You can easily see why above.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Downtown Statue


The artist of this statue was Leonard McMurray. A full shot of the piece is below.

Leonard was the father of my brother's best friend when he was in high school. He was a great sculptor, creating a number of fairly famous works. Among his works in Oklahoma are The 89er, at the Oklahoma City Civic Center, The Legend of the Great Westerner (informally called "Buffalo Bill") at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and Healing Hands, at City of Faith Hospital/Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. He passed away just last year.


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