Sunday, September 25, 2005


Well, it has been a while since I added anything, and I do see that some have been checking daily, so I figured I ought to add something!

I have been doing a lot of work outside the last few weeks, an hour or two at a time, for while most of the Gulf Coast has been dealing with terrible destructive weather, here in Citrus County, it has been gorgeous. Doing a lot of hammering to reclaim bent and damaged sections of aluminum, I have replaced damaged and missing sections of roof trim and skirting around the mobile home, much of which was lost in last year’s hurricanes, which found this area more inviting.

And more of the same to reclaim some material to build a shed on one end of the place to cover some utilities and provide a parking place for my lawn tractor, which I have also gotten working, no small accomplishment given that I don’t do engines! Let me pass this on: there is some stuff called Sea Foam, that is a cleaner for engines of all types, and is used in different ways depending on what you need to clean or for general tune up of the whole system. In the latter case, you simply add it to the gas. Marvelous stuff!

I used four different types of metal sheeting on the roof. One piece, 12 inches wide of one style of this material is $25 at Home Depot, so a bit of reshaping and hammer time was well justified! On all the repairs, all I had to actually buy were several boxes of the special large headed self-drilling sheet metal screws used to assemble this stuff. In Boston, where I worked in home repair for 20 years, it was a hammer and saw; here it is tin snips and sheet metal screws! Of course, they also have these things up there they call hurricanes, but they don’t really…

The corner posts of the shed are the remains of my power pole that was snapped in two in last years storm.

One day last week, as a break, I did go see a movie, something I used to do at least weekly, but of late have not done for a long time. I chose to see Lord of War, with Nicolas Cage, and I can heartily recommend this one! It is played subtly, but with great effectiveness, and in addition to its subtle moral commentary, provides a fascinating look at the whole subject of arms dealing, while at the same time acquainting you with a man you would otherwise probably never know, and yet feel you do when you get home after seeing it. All aspects are well done, writing, editing, pacing, imagery, and while not at all a pretty movie, it is one of those special experiences that the best movies can create.

Also one day last week, I once again acted as host and guide to a couple at an Orlando theme park, this time, an older neighbor couple at Sea World. They are selling their house and moving to 60 acres atop a mountain in Georgia, and after being here for 10+ years decided they ought to at least see one theme park before they left. Knowing of my “profession”, they asked me to accompany them, and as it was on their gas, I accepted. (It is now a very expensive drive to visit in my van, so I have cut way back on my visits.)

Sea World seems to be a very confusing park, with a layout that appears to have been (not) designed to simply connect randomly placed buildings with walkways as needed. The “map” they supply at the entrance does little to aid in navigation, and though we managed to have a very enjoyable day, and get in pretty much everything we wanted to see, it left me with an overwhelming sense of hunger to somehow solve the mystery of efficiently touring this park. To that end, I downloaded and compiled about 60 aerial photos of the park from Terraserver and am going to study them and see if I can work out a better map and a better touring plan. I also intend to return to the park this coming week to independently explore it and see what I can work out. I have only been to this park three times, including a 1995 visit, and the last two visits were with others, so have not had the chance to really explore it.

I also discovered that for an additional $60 per person, one can sign up for a guided visit to the park, which puts one in a VIP group that is taken around the park by an employee, with several perks including front of the line access and a catered lunch with Shamu. The entire park, with all shows is covered in one day, so it can be done, and I briefly considered taking this tour as a shortcut to solving this mystery. Maybe someday, but for now, I shall seek my own solution.

I will end with one other thing I noticed the last week that again points out one of the significant differences between the familiar ways of the land of my upbringing and my new home here where it is warm. I was over at Wal-Mart and as I left, I glanced over at the vending machines outside. As expected, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and snacks were offered in these automated and stylish machines, but there on the end of the row was one such as I had never seen. It was similar to the others, and just as stylish, but what it offered…

Live Bait!


I'm surprized that was the first time you ever saw a live bait vending machine, Jud... Why, in Salem Massachusetts on route 114 out of town, there is one such machine. I noticed it when I stopped there to get a Pepsi one warm summer morn about 8 years ago!

Hey, if you get tired of knocking tin Jud, you can come up and saw real wood at my place, -although, my latest thoughts for home improvement include a wrecking ball.

Addendum- While we're on the suject of vending machines, you should check out Japan... Several on every block in the cities, vending everything from 3 kilo bags of rice to beer!

One last question... How are the fish sandwiches at Sea World? Or the chowder?

Hi Dave,

Here I get all excited about 3 comments and boom- it is just one on-going one! Hold the wrecking ball, but then again, you have that whole "winter thing" coming soon, so maybe I won't drop by! As to the chowder and the sandwiches, couldn't tell you- the flour thing you know? Besides, I have had the best clam chowder in the world at Kelly's on Revere Beach, so just wouldn't be right to go anywhere else and ruin that memory!

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