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20 Sep 05
So here we sit just about on the autumnal equinox. 'Equinox' is also the title of an extremely bad early 70's science fiction horror film, but I digress, but I also may have more on a particular horror film later in this blog. But regarding photography, Nancy and I took better than 500 pictures between two new digital cameras on the Scotland trip. I finally made it out to our wallyworld where I fed a CD full of these pictures into one of their computers, where they'll hopefully print them in the next couple of days. That'll be a heap of pictures. I haven't bought a camera since my old beat up VHS type video camera some 20 years ago (that one still works and is now connected to the computer -draw your own conclusions there). So there I was making up for lost time, taking nearly as many pictures as a Japanese tourist. I did resist the urge to photograph a bunch of Japanese tourists though, all of whom were wielding cameras near Edinburgh Castle. I should have given them a bit of their own medicine. It is great looking at all these pictures and reliving the trip though. I may put a few of them out here, given time and room on the page. As I said last blog, we went the bed and breakfast route. That's really a great way to go. Lots of really fine people to talk with and learn about the area. So as I said, it has set about some ideas in my head. I may already have one potential customer for if/when I fix up my old house in Menard as a B & B. Okay, back to the aforementioned horror flick 'Hoboken Hollow'. I'm not sure that's how I want the house to become famous, but either because of (or in spite of) this, it may help get things finally going if I really want to do a B & B. Anyway, you can view the really spooky trailer for Hoboken Hollow at moldingclayproductions.com (it's a 70+ Mb file, so you'll need high speed internet and an up to date media player). My stairway (lit by a lightning flash) can be seen in part of this trailer, as well as a few seconds of the 'orange room' scene that wasn't cleared with me in advance. No wonder I scraped that goddamn paint off the walls myself. I've not heard anything else about a release date for theaters yet, but it'd be cool to get it out in time for Halloween. Okay, I'll wind up with one more near horror story, which would be our going through customs at Newark, NJ on our return from Scotland (incidentally on final approach, I shot a picture out the window of Manhattan, with Hoboken, NJ in the foreground). Homeland security should be outright embarrassed for the way they treat folks coming into (or returning to) our fine country as compared to how we were welcomed to the UK. Newark was a zoo, and I resisted the urge to make mooing sounds like corralled cattle. Fortunately it was fast, and mostly organized (our luggage made it and wasn't even picked out to be searched). We made our connecting flight with a few shards of dignity intact. Not unlike dealing with movie folks, apparently. Well, that's about all I know for the moment. More later, so stay tuned.
24 Aug 05
Time to catch the blog up more or less. Two weeks ago this evening was our return flight from Scotland. My cohort at the office was out at the airport, visiting our boss who moonlights there, so I got an immediate brief on things at the office. I also learned that my cohort was taking Thursday and Friday off. So in I went Thursday morning, jet lagged and all. It took a tanker of coffee, but I made it through both Thursday and Friday and didn't conk out really well until I slept late Saturday morning. So, here we go with a little bit of the trip. For two and a half weeks, Nancy and I managed to take in a "wee dram" of Scotland. As I said, I haven't been 'across the pond' since my military brat days. It was a great welcome return and my first time to Scotland. Incredibly beautiful country from the very time we broke through the clouds on approach to Edinburgh (we heard several fellow passengers on the plane react). Yes, they do spell and pronounce the surname correctly there. It was my first time driving on the wrong side of the road (although I'd been to places before as a kid where this practice takes place). So I read up on the highway code before our trip. I'd had a prior acquaintance with a right side driver seat vehicle circa 1973 when Dad let me drive the rental car around a car park at the place we were staying in Nettlebed, England. We rented a VW Golf, a really nice small car, which believe it or not, had an automatic transmission. The right side driver's seat configuration wasn't as disconcerting as I thought it'd be, based on my prior experience. It helped me to think of everything as 'a mirror image' to our driving in the states (side of road to drive on, turns, -okay maybe not roundabouts). Somehow we made it without a scratch, but with some anxious moments such as when I made a right turn off a 'dual carriageway' and looked the wrong direction for traffic as I crossed the opposing side of the road. Fortunately I then thought to look the other direction, so we're still here. That may be one reason why USAA doesn't give us members automatic insurance on rental cars in the UK. My hat is off to Nancy for negotiating the traffic at Edinburgh Airport as some fair was letting out (with big oncoming trucks, or lorries if you will, occupying most of the width of the road). Gasoline was better than twice our currently outrageous price. But enough about that. Driving was a really neat way to see much of Scotland, versus being a tourist on a bus, thank God. We went through a number of historical sites (to include Scotland's version of Stonehenge). We took better than 500 pictures and still missed a lot. There's way too much to be able to cover in this blog entry too, so I hope to mention some more in subsequent blogs. Weather was cool, overcast, windy and sprinkly , with some sporadic sun. I'll remember the very green mountains poking up into the cloud cover. We took many pictures of things like that. Okay, last observation of the trip for this blog: The bed and breakfast industry is alive and well in the UK (and apparently quite regulated) so I hope to gain some ideas for when and if I get my place in Menard going. I'll spare our guests any toast coolers though, if I can help it. My first acquaintance with such a device was in 1970, and I can safely say, regarding this trip, that they are still very effective for cooling toast. More later.
24 Jul 05
I just found a messed up link at the bottom of my current blogs page, so as I was fixing it, I opted to throw in a short blog. Regarding my last blog, the fireworks display was held the following night after being rained out. Still a heap of traffic getting out of there, but it was worth going out there again, this time not being for naught. Last week, some film crew folks and our fearless director Glen Stephens came by the Menard house to shoot a couple POV (Point of View) shots that were needed for Hoboken Hollow. Apparently some initial screenings indicated that these would help. It was admitted that whoever said the picture was locked, may have been premature in that assessment. As they were working on these shots, I finished up scraping the orange paint from that room. It was almost with ceremony that I scraped the last board off about the same time that the grip truck was pulling away. Regarding the excursion I mentioned in my last blog, getting ready for a trip is a continual string of loose ends. Hope to get them wrapped up soon, preferably before we get on the plane. Another thing; this will be the first time I've flown commercial since 9/11/01. Possible report on all the homeland security BS in a future blog. It'll be different with somebody else flying the plane too. But enough for now. Stay tuned.
4 Jul 05
I've been through a few wet July 4's in the past, but this is the first one I've seen that actually cancelled the display at Goodfellow rec camp out on the lake. I'd been out there to help with our office, which had set a booth up to sell snow cones. Word is that they're going to do the display tomorrow evening, once again weather permitting. So there I was navigating San Angelo's only real (annual) traffic problem to get home, without even the benefits of the fireworks display. As I ventured home I saw that the baseball field was putting on their own fireworks display and they apparently weren't as concerned with the weather. So I stopped on a side road in the rain and watched most of the latter half of that display, then came on home. We'll see about tomorrow night. Next subject now. I've had the van for better than three months and had yet to see if the PA system actually fits in it, which was a consideration when I purchased the vehicle. Well my engineer's mind just about hit it on the money; I got everything in there this last Friday, without anything needing to ride on the roof. No passengers though. The reason for this was that I was providing PA system and bass playings for another benefit in Menard, to help someone else down on their luck, similar to last January. So us Menard musicians jammed a bit and then an auction was held. I understand the whole endeavor made about 5K to help out. More on that later. Next subject again. I discussed that room that was painted orange in my Menard house for the movie "Hoboken Hollow". (If you've navigated here from a Google or Yahoo search, please check my previous quarter's blogs for more about the film) Well I have nearly half of that stuff scraped off the walls so far (since those folks only would paint over, vs remove that stuff). If you're wondering why, watch the film when it comes out. I plan to repaint the room Aggie maroon and white (especially since that room was a little too close to tea-sip orange). And now for something completely different. What is the old song? "Oh! ye'll tak the high road and I'll tak the low road, And I'll be in Scotland afore ye". Well guess where this white boy and friend are headed later this month. With a surname of McTaggart, I figured that I need to pay a visit to its place of origin. My last time anywhere in UK was a few days in the grand city of Nettlebed, England circa 1973 as we were returning from Afghanistan. The parents decided a little time to decompress was in order. We stayed at a place called "The Bull Inn". This was a 600 year old building, (a wee bit older than my house in Menard) and my room on the second floor had somewhat different than a level floor. One corner was at least two feet higher, where a sole window resided. I think I remember the bed being propped up to where it was level though. I am excited to venture back "across the pond" this time to see what Scotland has to offer. I should have a fair blog entry on that when I get back (or maybe even during if I track down some internet access). Speaking of blogs, the Sunday Doonsbury comic strip showed a radio interview with some apparently accomplished blogger. The point being is how many people actually read these dammed things. Well I hope there's somebody out there. I'll have more for you to read here eventually. Comments are mostly welcomed at my E-mail address. Stay tuned if you can. Until then, I'm Timothy McTaggart. (After that who knows who the hell I'll be.)
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