Monday, October 30, 2006

It May Be Winter-Time...

If you read my blog regularly, you'll hopefully notice that I try to keep the topics diverse. Variety is a good thing, right?

Well, you will have also noticed, no doubt, that even with 48 blog entries, there are some themes that get repeated. Most notably, I seem to find a way to work in something regarding the John Huston film classic, 'Moby Dick' every several blogs, or so. (What can I say? The more I watch it, the more I take something new away from it!).

Another fairly common motif, especially with my own pictures, is the sunrise or sunset motif.

This blog is showcasing one of the typically awesome winter-time sunrises that we see here. I luved the cloud shapes and the colors, and had to snap off a few shots before they changed (wait 5 mins to drive to a clearer view of it, and the clouds and colors have already changed -- so these were taken from my front porch).

Anyway, enjoy....

As Capt. Ahab put it: 'Tis a mild, mild day, Starbuck -- a mild looking sky'.

Sorry, couldn't resist. As always, click the pics to enlarge.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Milestone...

Well, it took 205 days, 12 hrs, and 37 minutes, but the little blog visit counter at the bottom of the page finally reached 1,000 visitors at 11:15 a.m., on October 17, 2006.

Thank you to those several of you who seem to visit regularly, and for your comments and guidance. I've enjoyed reading several of your blogs as well.

I realize that blogs get more visitors, if they have something to read when they get there.

When I first started this blog, I didn't even let anyone know that I started it, except for one person. It took me a few entries before I let anyone else know that I had started this blog. In the beginning, I relied mostly on Clip Art to embellish my blogs. I quickly found that to be cumbersome -- first, finding the appropriate clip art image, & then cutting and pasting the art to the blog.

As time went by, I tried to only blog when I had my own pictures to post, instead of clip art. The positive side of this 'all my own photos' idea was that everything in my blogs were original, and unique. The downside of it was that when I had no new pictures to post, my blog entries became few and far between.

This month, with my daily vacation postings (see archives, October 8 thru October 17, 2006), visits to the site increased dramatically. I took a TON of pics on vacation, with an eye on using some of them later on, when other new picture ideas/ blogs start to run scarce.

So, faithful readers, and new arrivals to Awesomely Plain, thank you for continuing to visit my blog. I hope to try to keep it interesting, and unique, so that when you visit, you will find something worth your time.

As always, enjoy the archives -- alot of good entries, even from the start, if I say so myself. Some gems are in those first several postings, starting in March of this year. The pics in this blog are 'blasts from the past' -- each one corresponding w a previous blog entry that I especially am proud of! Click on the pics in this blog posting, and you will be taken to the blog entry to which the picture corresponds. Enjoy these nuggets from past blogs!

Here's to the next 1,000 visits... CHEERS!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Random Thoughts From Vacation...

For some reason, eating at a McDonald's inside an airport tastes better than a McDonald's outside the airport...

The probability of a person needing to go to the bathroom on an airplane increases by how crowded that row of seats are...

If you can read lips pretty well, and have an active imagination, there is no need to purchase those airline headphones to enjoy the in-flight movie...

Customer Service is not dead...

Always be nice to the natives...

Newport, RI is beautiful...

Subways are the horizontal equivalent of elevators -- no one looks at anyone, or says a word...

Big Cities offer everything I need... except for the essential quiet, simplicity & ease of access of a small town...

Even when it is windy, rainy and cold, Maine is absolutely beautiful...

Country Buffet is delicious anywhere!

Travelling opens your mind, & your wallet...

The best flight is the flight home...

(Click the pics to enlarge)...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fall Vacation: Day 7 (Connecticut)...

On our last full day in New England, we started off by visiting Mark Twain's house in Hartford, CT. It was another excellent tour. Our guide, Jason, was top notch. And the house was very interesting -- both historically, and visually. As was the case with most of the tours we took, no pictures were allowed inside; but I did snap a few of the outside of Mark Twain's house. The accompanying museum was pretty good. I especially liked the way they had some of Mark Twain's quotes etched into the walls inside the museum hallways. Nice touch. The opening picture is one of the quotes, which I thought was appropriate at the end of a week of travelling.

Next, our final touristy thing was a Steam Train ride along part of the Connecticut River, followed by a boat trip along the same river. The train ride was a bit of a let down, honestly... it was too short -- only about 45 mins, round-trip. Actually, only about 20 mins of that counted, since the return trip was along the exact same strip of track, just going backwards -- so, no new scenery opportunities on the way back. And the scenery that was visible from the train, wasn't terribly helpful. Most of the trip had trees on either side of the tracks, blocking any real views. Much like you'd see driving on the interstate. It was pretty, but not quite what I thought it might be, scenery-wise.

Next, we off-loaded from the train, and went onto a boat to get a river's-eye view of the Connecticut River. This was better than the train, as far as scenery, even tho the colors hadn't peaked yet. Looks like we were either a week too late (up north), or a week too early (in southern New England). But, mother nature doesn't operate on a fixxed schedule.

And, all in all, everything we saw and did was pretty much excellent. Everyone was helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. The tours we went on were all very good, and our week in New England was great.

Lastly, and most important of all -- a HUGE thanks to my brother for putting it all together, and doing all the driving -- no way I could've planned it as well, or got us to where we needed to go w/o getting us hopelessly lost. He really did a GREAT job getting it all laid out & organized, which made it really effortless & relaxing for me. I had a really great wk -- saw alot of really awesome things that I will never see again, I'm sure. And, most of all, had a really great time all week long.

Though travelling and seeing new things is always fun, and interesting, it is always nice to get home again. Which is what I'll be doing for most of the day on Sunday, October 15th. So, no blogs for tomorrow. But, I will try to post some final thoughts & impressions, and a few more assorted pictures of the trip, either on Monday or Tuesday.

Feel free to check the archives (right hand side of the page), and take a gawk at each day's entry. In addition to Saturday's posting, I also just finished posting our adventures of Friday, since I got in too late on Friday nite to have a chance to publish that entry. So, take a look. Anyway, each day is posted.

I hope you all enjoyed sharing my vacation with me. It was a really good time, but I'll be glad to sleep in my own bed, under my toasty electric blanket again, on Sunday nite!

Until my next posting... Peace. Out.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fall Vacation: Day 6 (Vermont)...

Our day in Vermont was sunnier and clearer than the previous two days. The scenery was very pretty, almost tranquil. The colors hadn't quite peaked there -- unlike in New Hampshire (where we were about a wk too late), in Vermont, we were about a week too early! But, again, the landscape was pretty awesome.

We started out by doing the tourist thing at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream -- was actually a really good tour. Of course, anytime I can have free samples of ice cream automatically makes any tour 'really good'.

Then we did a tour of The New England Maple Museum. Again, free samples -- this time, of Vermont maple syrup. Delicious! The tour guide there was top notch -- he really knew his stuff. And the gift shop was excellent, and not terribly pricey at all.

The rest of the day, we spent travelling southward, thru Vermont, and spending the night in Massachusetts. Had a great visit with one of my brothers, and his adorable wife. All in all, it was a really good day. Here is a video of us blazing thru Massachusetts, on our way to visit family.

Some of the more scenic pics are posted here of the day in Vermont. Click the pics to enlarge.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fall Vacation: Day 5 (White Mtns -- New Hampshire)...

White Mountains (NH), Fall Foliage - WMV
Avalanche Falls, NH - WMV

The all-day rain that was threatened yesterday did materialize, but was mostly just a light mist. The big rain storm blew threw overnite, before we got to The White Mountains.

We missed the 'peak' colors there, probably only by about a week -- most of the leaves had fallen already, and the big rain the night before didn't help things. But these areas are higher in elevation than the areas in Vermont, Connecticut, & Massachusetts, which we will be going thru on Friday & Saturday. So, I'm hoping that we will catch these lower elevation areas at their peak of color. Plus, the weather is supposed to be mostly sunny the next two days, so I'm optimistic about some really great pics to take & share w you all.

But, despite missing the peak colors in the areas we went today, and despite drizzly weather, some decent pics were still taken. I also too a few videos, including ones of fall foliage & of Avalanche Falls, both in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. (Click on the WMV links at the beginning of this blog to view the videos). And, of course, the scenery was beautiful.

Enjoy these pics from today. Keep your fingers crossed for some excellent fall foliage pics for Friday, and especially Saturday!

Click the pics to enlarge. More on Friday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fall Vacation: Day 4 (Salem & Maine)...

Head Light Lighthouse - Portland, ME - WMV

Today was another good day, even tho it was pretty windy along the coast, and overcast.

The first new place we visited was Salem, Massachusetts. Of course, being close to Halloween, and in Salem, we went to the Salem Witch Museum. Was a good presentation there, but I noticed it was very politically correct. The two most noticeable things about Salem (besides all of the Witch themes & shops), were that alot of the people there wore black, in whole or in part. And there were at least 3 schools doing field trips there. Goth is a fairly popular look. The natives were all very nice, and helpful people.

Next, we headed up the coast, to Portland, Maine. When we got there on the coast, it very windy, and HELLA cold! But, it hadn't started raining yet. Took quite a few pics of a couple really kewl lighthouses that were there, as seen on this blog; as well as various coastline pics. Also, I took several videos of the Head Light Lighthouse. To view one of them, click on the "Head Light Lighthouse - Portland, ME - WMV" link, above. You can see & hear from the video how blustery n cold it was -- but it was well worth the it!

All in all, it was another good day. Had some exceptional food.

Tomorrow -- Thursday -- is definitely going to be a rainy day for all, or most of it. Hopefully it won't spoil our fall foliage watching. Come cloud or rain, pics will be taken!!

Looking ahead, Friday and Saturday have some really good things planned, including some really good foliage viewing opportunities -- and the weather is supposed to be clearing up. So, tomorrow isn't 'do or die' as far as chances to catch the fall colors. But, I'll take what nature gives me, and of course, share some of them w you.

Until tomorrow -- you know the routine. Click the pics to enlarge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall Vacation: Day 3 (Boston)...

Boston: Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market - WMV

Today was entirely devoted to historical sights around Boston -- and there are plenty. We saw all of the 'big' things: Old North Church, Boston Commons, historic graves & buildings. I haven't been to alot of really large cities -- but of the ones I have been to, Boston is the best 'smelling' city. Well, at least the parts that I saw today. I took a video of the outdoor foodmarket at Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, which was filled with especially tastey aromas. We had a delicious lunch there. (Click on the "Boston: Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market - WMV" link, above, to play the video). All in all, alot of walking -- even took a subway! But was another good day. On Wednesday, we go further up the coast, to Maine. A bit of a disappointment today, tho -- we got a call that the Whale Watching Cruise that we had booked for Wednesday, had to be cancelled, due to expected strong seas. So, I can't tell you exactly what to expect for Wednesday's posting -- you'll just have to check back to be surprised.

For today's posting, I could share the typical, expected 'historical' pics -- Statues of Paul Revere, famous buildings, etc... But, I figure you have likely already seen them in books, or on TV. So, instead, I'm gonna post some more 'unique' views of my day in Boston.

As always, click the pics to enlarge. Enjoy!

More tomorrow nite...