Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Fire Sprinkler in Action....

Most people have never seen a sprinkler go off and snuff out a fire.

My nephew is a fireman in Maryland, who works in the UL testing facility of the Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute and he lit up a fire for me in the lab.

I watched oil-fed flames quickly blossom and start crawling across the ceiling and then - poof - the sprinkler kicked in when a pre-set temperature was reached and the fire was stopped cold. Impressive.

He's a good fireman and a great instructor to others. He set up a traveling exhibit for County Fairs where the public could look into a typical motel room, watch drapes catch fire and see a sprinkler quickly douse the flames.

Hopefully THAT is the only time someone sees that scary situation!
(Click on photo for details.)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What IS That??

Hmmm, so far there have been zero comments on photos I've posted from my recent vacation so I'll stop subjecting blog viewers to any more.


While looking at the Walk Of Stars, the tour guide mentioned that when younger people saw this symbol, they assumed it was a cell phone. Radio performers from the past would wonder about that??

Apparently they had no trouble with the twin masks of comedy and drama that represents stage actors honored with a star and the motion picture camera symbol was loud and clear as was a tv with rabbit ears.

This familiar looking symbol, to them, was a CD or even a DVD, but what was that thing covering part of it?

Vinyl records are making a comeback so maybe it will make more sense to younger star-gazers along Hollywood Boulevard.

I thought the tour guide's comments were good observations.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Hooray For H o l l y w o o d !

As some of you know from my blog, I just returned from a vacation that included Los Angeles and that meant spending some time in Hollywood.... Tinseltown .... the Dream Factory.

I had not been back there in more than 30 years so I don't know how long the sign has been on a hillside overlooking the San Fernando Valley, but it looked bright and clean and I thought it was a nice gesture to someone who worked at Universal Studios so many years ago, early in my career in California.

And, speaking of respect for the craft, most people arise from their seats when a movie ends, brushing popcorn from their lap, and stretch or chat with their friends as they shuffle down the row and head for the exit. Not me.

A lot of diverse talented people worked hard to make what is shown up on the big screen and they deserve our attention when their name is flashed or scrolled quickly past our eyes at the end.

I sit there and give them my kudos. And sometimes there is a "gag" reel or funny outtakes as an added bonus at the end!

Pirates of the Caribbean last night was a good example of paying homage to the cast and crew and CG artists and grips and 3rd assistant directors and best persons.

After all the credits had been projected, the movie started fresh - 10 years later.

Wow. We four people in the huge theater saved ourselves from waiting for the sequel.
The problems I had with the cop at Universal Studios now seemed insignificant.

He was just doing his job and I had discovered they served Boddingtons at an Irish pub at the Tour Center.

(Click on photos for details)

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just off Hollywood Blvd......

Well, no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without spending at least a day walking along Hollywood Boulevard.

They've cleaned it up a LOT so it doesn't look shabby the way that Times Square in New York used to!

Here's a stretch near the intersection of Highland, about 5-10 blocks from the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

This is the street with the Kodak Theater where they present the Academy Awards each year. Next door is the famous Graumann's Theater and across the street is the Roosevelt Hotel with the well known Cinegrill.

Oh, did you notice the pink colored stars embedded in the sidewalk? They are part of the Walk Of Fame. And, here is where it started to get strange.

We had good instructions from the internet and had parked the shiny black rented Mustang convertible (hope it has a top, we never put it up to check!) and took a great narrated walking tour in this area, including a stop at Kodak, Graumann's, the El Capitan where "Pirates" just opened, the Pig 'N Whistle for a beer( surprise: they had Boddingtons) and the Egyptian Theater next door.

Now we were on our own again and must have made a wrong turn because we were walking AWAY from all the noise and traffic and hustle and bustle of the crowds and street performers and people selling $5 Maps To The Star's Homes.

It was a quiet residential side street and up ahead I could see a seedy-looking bowling alley and a couple of neighborhood taverns .... and what looked like another pink star in the sidewalk.

But it was all by itself on the cracked and dirty pavement. But I went ahead and snapped a picture. This was a vacation trip after all so you take pictures of EVERYTHING.

( Click on photos to enlarge for details)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Now THIS rings a bell....

Before YOUR next trip to San Francisco, go online and arrange to join a group of 12 other zany visitors to put on firemen's coats and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge in a shiny red 1950s restored fire engine. The husband and wife owners even live in a former firehouse.

They keep ringing the bell, hit the siren (once) and you wave and smile at all the people waving and smiling at you as you rumble up and down the streets of San Francisco then race across the bridge, looking up at the fog shrouded towers.

After a stop in Sausalito to take pictures with the bridge in the background - fog permitting - you come back across the bridge and eventually end up back at the embarcadaro.

We even passed a REAL fire engine and the crew stopped rolling up hoses for a moment to give us a friendly wave.

I'm still downloading pictures I took there, in Los Angeles and in Denver and soon will have albums set up online to give you ideas for planning YOUR next vacation out west.
(Click on pictures to enlarge for detail.)

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Ego Tripping.. (click here).

THIS has to be the most blatant self-promotion I have ever done but, by golly, I really like the result a local writer came up with after he interviewed me for two hours about me and my life.

And this just covers the first 68 years!

(No, that is not me. That is a Charles Manson picture I found on the internet.)

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A Vacation from Retirement?

The 8th of June.

It has been three years since I retired from The Post and Courier and I have enjoyed every day!

I started blogging about a year ago and that's been a terrific way to go back and relive my life - elevating the high points and somehow NOT dwelling on low periods.

The difficulty is finding a word that describes taking a break ...from taking it easy. How can you "vacation" when you are not working 9-5? I mean, everyday is Friday afternoon with the weekend stretching out in front of you.

This is NOT a complaint. Most of my blog postings are not about finding fault. They usually are shared thoughts about something positive or unusual that might be of interest to others. At least I hope so.

Let me lie back and think about that as I recover from my latest "vacation."

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Coming soon: Vacation Update

The first evening back from a 16-day vacation that included 5 days in San Francisco, a full week in Los Angeles and 4 days in Denver, means a tall stack of mail, a LOT of unread newspapers and digital photos to capture.

There also is a query or two about my mother and her experience with Harley-Davidson.

Give me a few days to catch my breath and I'll tell you all about it!

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