Saturday, September 24, 2016

Toulouse

I had never been to Europe. Vancouver to the Caribbean. Maine to Southern California. But never across the Atlantic.

What took me there was the annual Space Simulation Working Group meeting endorsed by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. I am the current representative to this group for NASA Glenn Research Center.

More than the tours and the many pages of notes I took during the various talks, on this trip I began to weave connections to other group members. Perhaps this was because I wasn't traveling with a companion from NASA GRC. Maybe it was because I had finally seen more members repeatedly and they, me. Could be all the wine. It doesn't really matter why. I'm just glad for the experience.

In the meantime, though, we were lodged in the Pink City of Toulouse. The city center. And I was able to wander about and snap a few photographs.

Here they are: https://goo.gl/photos/dC9NuZQ4WVriy82M9

Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

First Day of School

The first day of school.

Everyone has to perform the morning choreography with precision for all to greet the bus on time. For our dog, it is the first day in months that she would enjoy a peaceful and quiet home all day.

Everyone enjoys the first day of school.






Saturday, August 6, 2016

GenCon 2016

I had only attended one GenCon. GenCon is short for Geneva Convention, which began in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It was started by Gary Gygax - a co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. Gygax is as famous in gaming circles as, say, Steve Wozniak is among computer geeks.

The year I attended was 1992. That was GenCon's 25th anniversary. In fact, I ran a couple short role-playing events at that convention. One interesting tidbit was that I bought a painting from Mark Poole at that time. It's hanging over my fireplace.


Anyway, Mark was at this convention, too. I got to show him what I had done with his work (that, incidentally, also graced the cover of Dragon magazine #201, which sits on my mantle).

My wife loves meeting artists and actors and authors. They're just regular people, but to her they're special.

Also special were the two days I got to spend with my daughter absolutely geeking out. Everyone we met was gracious and accommodating. As much as she enjoyed just spending time with her dad, Sarah was surprised at the spectacle that is GenCon. She expected rooms full of sweaty, middle-aged men playing board and role-playing games. What she found were tens of thousands of people who absolutely overlook one another's quirkiness.

You may have never seen a Utilikilt anywhere else. There, you'll find several people wearing them without irony or comment. You can meet game designers, artists, authors, and musicians here. Beyond gaming, you also have anime and cosplay.

Another aspect of the convention that my daughter found noteworthy was the breadth of attendees. Old and young, male and female of all races and ethnicities. Although I would say that Caucasians were over-represented.

Without further ado, here are the pictures.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ohio Caverns

Several months ago I realized that my kids had never seen caverns. So as a day trip this summer we went to Ohio Caverns. It is fifty miles west of Columbus.

We picked a beautiful, partly cloudy day for our trip. The driving was easy and it was an opportunity to drive my wife's new car.

Since we had a twenty minute wait after getting our tickets, we ate a small picnic lunch. Then we enjoyed the hour-long guided tour through the caverns.




The path to the entrance was a sloping, looping sidewalk. Inside the caverns it was cool, dark, and damp. The temperature inside is a constant 54 degrees. A nice respite from the summer heat.










The narrow path took us past limestone stalactites and stalagmites, outcroppings of iron oxide, and exposed veins of flint.











The caverns were the prettiest I had seen. It was a very nice excursion and a wonderful way to spend the day as a family.


Patio Refinishing

I have a stamped concrete patio that's been neglected for twenty years (by me). Its color had faded from bright red to a spotted pink-and-gray mess.

Before


After researching several options, I settled on using Surecrete Eco-Stain and HS 240 Acrylic Sealer. The first color coat was Kayak, followed by a coat of Oak. Once that was dry, the sealer was sprayed on.

Here are the photos.

Plastic sheet to protect the house and deck

First coat: Kayak

Second coat: Oak

Sealed with HS 240

After