Friday, December 28, 2012

One of Those Days

Did you ever have one of those days?

I'm having one today.

It started out innocently enough. I woke, fixed lunch and breakfast for my sweetie so she could go to work, then fixed breakfast for my future in-laws, who were leaving to drive back to Michigan.

Then I took a nap.

It was when I woke, rested, that things began to go subtly, horribly wrong.

It all began with a trash bag. I ripped the bag from the roll and began unfolding it. Then I opened it.

Or, rather, I didn't open it.

Forty-five minutes later I was cursing and the bag still wasn't open. I had rolled it between my thumbs and between my palms, stretched it over the edge of a table, and even used my teeth, but I just couldn't get it started. It was only after I ripped the bag in frustration that it obligingly opened. The rip meant I had to deal with a second bag. It wasn't much easier.

Somewhere during the bag-opening routine, I decided it would be more pleasant if I had some entertainment while I wore my thumbs to nubs. That was when I realized I couldn't find my iTouch.

I looked everywhere-- on the bedside table, under the blankets, under the pillow, on the floor beside the bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, by the computers, in my coat pockets, inside my shoes, in the refrigerator, in my pants pockets!

My pants pocket! Let's see, keys, cell phone, that five dollar bill I thought I lost, six bits and two pennies, a mini flashlight, iTouch... Damn! There it is! I swear I looked in my pockets twice already!

Okay, so maybe my streak of bad luck is over. In fact, it certainly is. The new underwear that was too tight suddenly isn't and Bad Kitty has sat on the keyboard of my laptop three times now without terminating the file transfer that has been running for more than three hours now. My sweetie will soon be home from work, onions are simmering in butter and will shortly  be an essential component of cream of broccoli soup, and the internet connection on my honey's new desktop, which has been giving me conniptions all day, has suddenly decided to oblige me long enough to write this post.

I guess it's a pretty good day after all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mountain Park: Impressions

A Visit to Mountain Park, GA

Ever since I learned Pine Lake had a more-or-less sister city in North Fulton County, I've been wanting to visit Mountain Park.

A month or so ago I sent out a query on the Pine Lake announcement mail list and got a reply from Elisabeth Shields; she was curious too and wanted to go.

Since Elisabeth's husband George punked out at the last minute, and since Janet Hill decided shopping at Macy's was the higher imperative (You Go, Girl!) and there would be just the two of us, I picked Elisabeth up in my Miata with the top down. Although it was chilly, she was kind enough not to allow me to leave it down. We roared away to begin our adventure.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Visit to the American Museum of Natural History: Diomaras

On Monday Heather and I caught the bus into New York City to visit the American Museum of Natural History.

I've been telling her the bus is more convenient than the train (the train requires a transfer), so don't you know it, we had an hour delay because of a wreck on the way in, and heavy traffic on the way back.

From the Port Authority Bus Terminal we caught the C subway four stops and didn't even have to go to the street to enter the museum.

One of my favorite museums is the natural history museum at the Smithsonian, so I had high hopes. I wasn't exactly disappointed, but I found the AMNH poorly lit and the displays poorly designed. In general, there was too much stuff and not enough explanation. Still, I had a good time-- until it was time to eat.

Both the salad and hot bars were priced by the quarter pound-- $2.99 for four ounces! I knew prices would be high, but that was just out of line. The man in front of us paid $68 for a light lunch for himself and his son.

So anyway, even though it was dark and I wasn't allowed to use flash, I got pictures.

My favorite is the photo of the elephants, above. The African Mammals diorama room was dark, but by bracing my camera on the railing on the balcony I was able to get an in-focus shot.

Here are some shots I got of the various dioramas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Motorcyclepedia Museum V: Motorcycles as Art

I'm a big fan of machinery. It can be elegant and strangely beautiful. Here are some details from the museum.

I love the art deco Indian horn cover, above.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Motorcyclepedia Museum IV: A Brief History of Motorcycles: Part 2

This 1923 Henderson Looks Like a Motorcycle
By 1930 or so motorcycles looked like motorcycles. All the major components were there-- and motorcycles wouldn't look very much different until the 1960s.

Motorcyclepedia Museum III: A Brief History of Motorcycles: Part I

Exact Replica of 1885 Daimler, the World's First True Motorcycle
The first motorcycles appeared in the late 1880s. Here's an 1895 Pennington--unlike the Daimler above, not a replica:

The first production motorcycles were bicycles with attached motors-- motor bicycles. The earliest manufacturers offered kits to convert bikes to motor power as well as bicycles with motors already attached.

Here's an example-- a 1902 Columbia by Pope:

 Note the bicycle elements-- the suspensionless frame, the thin tires, the swept-back handlebars, the seat, and the pedals. Motorcycles wouldn't lose their pedals until about 1910.

Motorcyclepedia Museum II: The Collection, Bottom Floor

At least half of the bottom floor was dedicated to very early motorcycles--pre 1910, and some pre-1900! That's an Indian Standard above. Note the twin-cylinder engine and the bicycle-type handlebars. The           headlight is electric; some models had oil headlamps like the Pope pictured below.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Motorcyclepedia Museum I: The Collection, Top Floor

Last week my Sweetie and I drove 30 miles from her home to Newburgh, New York, where we visited the Motorcyclepedia Museum. It was not her idea, but she was kind enough to oblige me.

I'd never been to a vehicle museum before. I'm not sure just what I was expecting, but whatever I was expecting, I got more. It was amazing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The waters off Cape Cod are a great place to see whales-- humpbacks, gray whales, finbacks, sperm whales, minke whales, pilot whales, and right whales, which were spotted in considerable numbers this year. Recently an Arctic-dwelling bowhead whale was spotted in the Cape's waters.

It's always a thrill.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pine Lake Woman's Club Officers

Pine Lake Woman's Club Officers, ca 1940s
Left to Right:

Emmy McBrayer
Cleo Anderson
Lucille McCurdy
Tina Sanford (Corinne Sanford)
Rosetta Rainwater
Myrtice McCleary
Irma Sims

Monday, October 8, 2012

Could This Sign Station Go?

This structure sits at the entrance to the western wetlands. I've been watching it for a while, and it gets little use.

Since there's a sign station at the entrance to the beach, I'm wondering if this one could go-- or at least get prettied up.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Then and Now

Most of my readers will recognize this little white house. It's called Duck Inn. It sits close to the playground at the southwestern edge of the lake.

At left is a photo I took last year At right is a photo taken by Claude Suttle in the early 60s.

The car parked curbside appears to be a 1960 or 1961 Rambler, although it might be a Chevy II I can't quite pin it down.

If you study the photos (just click on the image to enlarge), you'll see how very little the house has changed in fortysomething years.

Unretouched photos are below the fold.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Certificate for $25 Bond, Carl Shaub Memorial Building Corporation

Click to Enlarge

Pine Lake was developer Carl Shaub's brainchild.

Above and below is a scan of a $25 bond for his corporation.

I regret not having scanned the document in color.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I love these boulders. They can be found in the little gully near the gazebo.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tree Felling

A portion of Park Drive was closed on Monday so a couple of huge trees could be felled. Photos follow.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Downtown Atlanta, Late 1940s-Early 1950s: Photos by Claude Suttle

I wasn't sure this was a photo of Atlanta until I found this image at the Atlanta History Center's website. It shows the demolition of the Bailey's Supreme Coffee Warehouse at bottom right.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ruby Falls and Home

In 1964, when I was 14 years old, I found a marvelous book at the public library of my little town of Smyrna, Tennessee.

The title was Caves of Tennesseethe author was Thomas Barr, and the publisher was the Tennessee Department of Conservation and Commerce. The date of publication was 1961.

Rock City

In the sixties-- the days with no Interstate highways-- my family made a half-dozen trips from Ft. Huachuca, Arizona to Asheville, North Carolina and back. It was a three-day trip on two-lane roads each way, and a high point of the trip was seeing Burma Shave signs. How I miss them!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Drive Lookout Mountain

In 1970 I and a friend drove from Nashville to Chattanooga to be hippies for the weekend. We blew it, because we watched the film Woodstock when we could have seen The Who perform Tommy just down the street.

We had almost no funds, so we spent the night at campground at the top of Lookout Mountain.

I'd been up Lookout Mountain a number of times, but this time was different. We drive a good 15 miles on the level before we reached our destination-- AND WE NEVER DESCENDED THE MOUNTAIN!

Later I looked at a map and realized Lookout was a narrow, flat-topped escarpment that stretched more than one hundred miles from Chattanooga to Gadsden, Alabama.

Claude Suttle's Photos of Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is one of two 1500-foot escarpments that overlook the city of Chattanooga, some 120 miles to the northwest of Atlanta.(The second is Walden Ridge, which is often mistakenly called Signal Mountain, after the town of that name.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Find a Path Across the Gulch

I Wonder Where These Steps Lead...

Every time I go for a walk, it seems, I discover something new about our fair city.

Today it was a path that led from Oak across the big gulch to a house that fronts Spring Street.

Posts at Dogwood and Spruce

I'd like to know the story of these posts at the corner of Dogwood and Spruce...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sometimes You Just Don't Need Central Heat and Air

When I bought my house in November1998 the air conditioning system consisted of an ancient grilleless 5000 BTU 110v window unit which was fed by a 20' long power cord, since there was no outlet nearby.

Pine Lake is in Georgia, and although the climate is temperate for the South, I knew I had to come up with a plan to keep my house cool, and it would need to be in place by May.

My first thought was of course central air, but since I had just bought the house that was out of the picture for financial reasons. Soon, I thought, but I need a short-term fix.

A friend told me she knew someone who had a 25,000 BTU  220-volt window unit for sale for (as I remember) $150. I checked my fuse box and there was space for a new 220-volt circuit, so we drove to Jonesboro and I bought it.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Wide Angle Views of Pine Lake

Here are some of the results of my tryout of a cheap wide-angle adapter for my camera.

The optics aren't good at all, and when I zoom out as much as possible the corners are obscured, but it does provide wider views of the lake than I can usually get.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


On my walk this morning a blue heron was on Heron Island. I took two shots, then tried a cheap 2x filter and got several dozen blurry shots of him showing off. The two without the filter were in focus, but the heron more or less had its head up its behind, so they're not fit to print.

And so, here's a photo of a heron on my land in Second Life. Keep in mind-- this is a virtual heron. It does not exist in the real world.

Second Life is a three-dimensional virtual world where the content-- including this heron and the grasses in front of it-- are created by the residents.

More photos below the fold.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Stone Mountain Pre-Mutilation

This photo by Claude Suttle seems to show (partially) the cliff face of Stone Mountain before it was carved.

Here's another:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dragoncon Postscript

I spent a day at DragonCon in the early 90s, but nothing prepared me for my experience Saturday morning.

One Last Photo from Dragon Con

Munster Family Reunion

DragonCon Parade IV: Batman in the Parade

"It's long past time to trade this piece of crap in. Maybe a Prius..."

DragonCon Parade III: Batman's Identity Crisis

Bruce Wayne has always had problems with his identity, and it was apparent at DragonCon that his assorted personalities are having an effect on him. That's why organizers couldn't take the risk of putting him on the parade security team.

"Robin? Where the hell ARE you? The parade starts in ten minutes and you're nowhere to be found! People are depending on us. I expect you to be in the Batmobile when I get to it. It's double-parked out front and fanboyz and girlz are picking it apart! Yes, I know I dropped you like a rock when the whole Dark Knight reinterpretation came about, but I have to face it, there's been a big hole in my life ever since! You know I invited you here to DragonCon to get us back on track. Batgirl? No, no, it was just a fling. I swear, and that thing with The Penguin was just a rumor. Okay. I'm heading for the car now while there are still wheels on it. You'll be there? Great! But Robin-- no touching me in public, okay? Not like last time."

DragonCon Parade II: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Fortunately, security was hiding in plain sight as part of the parade.

Meet DragonCon's security team:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

DragonCon Parade I

This morning at nine I found myself in an elevator at the Westin Hotel on Peachtree Street with Lois Lane, The Cat in the Hat, and a Ghostbuster. Legolas the Elf had almost got on, but at the last minute got into an animated conversation in the hallway with Mr. Spock-- something about ears.

At the next stop a three-foot-tall Dalek boarded. "Would you please press floor 6?" it said. "I don't seem to have any arms."

Yes, DragonCon is in Atlanta again.

I had planned to spend the entire day, but silly me, I hadn't pre-registered and the lines at the Sheraton (DragonCon uses five downtown hotels) were so long I decided to just watch the parade.

Lots of photos below the fold!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Claude Suttle's Photos from the 1960s

Claude Suttle and his wife once lived at the first house on the left on the eastern end of Park Drive-- pictured above. He was a wonderful photographer who worked in black and white and sometimes sepiatone in the middle part of the last century, probably with a 35mm Single Lens Reflex camera. Pine Lake is richly featured, but he took photos all over the world. From time to time I use one of his images, scanned from 8" x 10" prints-- always with attribution.

One of Claude's favorite subjects-- understandably-- was his house. It looks much the same today.

Click READ MORE to see more images from the 1960s.