Getting Educated

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A couple years ago I got moved from a commercial position at work to an engineering type job and it has been a transition. I went from having almost constant interaction with my fellow commercial people to hardly any interaction on a daily basis in engineering. Literally there are some days where I don’t talk to anybody else at work. So that has been a struggle but I got a little break earlier this week.
An engineering company in town hosted a natural gas engineering symposium and invited a bunch of people to come in and learn a few things free, gratis, breakfast and lunch included. Sign me up is what I say.

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Plus there were continuing education hours involved. Those of us who are Licensed Professional Engineers need to have 15 hours of continuing education every year. So free hours were a bonus. 

So I am not really an engineer’s engineer, or anybody’s engineer for that matter but I love learning about the new technology and in the natural gas world there is lots of new technology. The machine above is an Expander Recompressor. It takes natural gas and cools it to about minus 130 degrees F to partially liquify it in order to remove the ethane, propane, butane, and natural gasoline out of the gas. This machine is cool. It does that without oil. It uses magnetic bearings! Dealing with oil at minus 130 is the pain in the butt. It can be done but using magnetic bearings is a lot better. 

They talked about levitation. You turn a switch and you levitate the shaft. on its bearings. It can stay levitated for years. Who says there is no magic in the world. 

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And we got a shop tour. They said to ask before I took photographs. This is about the only one they let me take. I literally asked them if I could pictures of the windows and they said yes. What I really wanted to take a picture of was this gigantic stainless steel apparatus that was headed to one of our national laboratories to use liquid helium to cool a particle accelerator. That would have been a cool pic, but no can do, oh no!! So you get these windows instead. Just imagine something ginormous, very cool, and made of shiny stainless steel. 

But that is just a quibble. Getting a shop tour is a rare privilege these days because of safety concerns. Believe it or not but that is a huge thing these days and I fully support it. And part of safety is avoidance of risk and it is just a lot easier to just say no, but this company said okay. Of course we got a safety briefing from their safety guys and we had safety guys bird dogging us through the whole tour and we wearing our PPE (“Personal Protective Equipment”) hardhat, safety glasses, and ear protection. 

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But hey, I got over it when we went to Tulsa’s Oktoberfest later. I soothed my feelings with an imported malted adult beverage. 

I have seen some other cool stuff lately that I can post pics about, but that is for another day.

Have you seen anything cool lately?

Skywatch Friday – The Door was finally Unlocked

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Above is a very poor photo of  a building in downtown Tulsa owned by Tulsa Community College. The building is right on Boston Avenue and I’ve always been intrigued by the little projection it has over the street. Periodically I have wandered up there, acting like I belonged but the door from the inside to the deck outside has always been locked.

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Looking north on Boston Avenue

A couple weeks ago I was walking by on my noon stroll and I noticed a woman sitting up there. So hey, I went over and ventured up the elevator, found the door and there I was outside. I didn’t have my camera so I took some photos with my cell phone using a hdr app.

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That is Boston Avenue Church way down there. It was the subject of my last Skywatch Friday post.

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And here is a closeup. 

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And here is looking north again. We have some humongus parking lots here in Tulsa.

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And going to the west to Holy Family Cathedral. Tulsa is unique in that we have a bunch of big churches downtown and they are thriving. 

Anyway I stayed a while taking in the sights and then left.I guess I was legal. I didn’t see any no trespassing signs or anything. So I am going to be bring my Nikon some day. 

I’m linking  with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – A Walk in the Park

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This past weekend son Logan and I decided to take a walk around Tulsa’s Lafortune Park. Lafortune Park has a big playground, picnic areas, tennis courts, a high school, baseball parks, and two golf courses with a walking path about 3 miles long winding around it all. 

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I didn’t bring my camera, just my cell phone. Luckily there were some pretty decent skies.

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Part of the trail was a little muddy. In the 26 years we have lived in Tulsa I bet that I have either walked or run around Lafortune hundreds of times. 

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I love pedestrian bridges. Logan is now 20, when he was about 3 he liked to go hide under this bridge and pretend he was a troll. The kid used to drive me crazy!! Perfectly good playground 100 feet away. Oh well. 

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There he is. He lags a little behind but it works out because I take pictures and study on things and eventually he catches up to me.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Camera Critters – Oklahoma Aquarium

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Logan and the Sea Turtle wave at each other. My employer helped pay for this exhibit.

Once a month during Heather’s Book Group meetings, Logan and I have “Boys Night Out.” Recently we checked out the Oklahoma Aquarium in the Tulsa suburb of Jenks. They recently opened up the Polynesian Reef Exhibit.

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It’s beautiful. The exhibit looks better than I photographed it.

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I love this colorful Red Spined Starfish. 

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And this turtle. 

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The African Cichlids have been there a while. I love the colors and the random patterns.

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If you are an Oklahoma fisherman, these striped bass are the ultimate in Oklahoma. They are huge.

We had a good time. Check the Aquarium’s Website for information to plan your visit. They are open late on Tuesdays which makes it very handy for Boys Night Out!

I am linking this post to Camera Critters and Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Tulsa’s Boston Avenue Church

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In a city of Art Deco masterpieces, the Boston Avenue Church is among the best. It was built in the 1920’s and is still just beautiful. It is even more beautiful on the inside and the church is very accommodating to those who want to tour the building.

And of course since it is a 15 story building that stands tall by itself it almost always makes for a decent Skywatch Friday photo.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

Our World Tuesday – Tulsa State Fair 2018

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Last Saturday I went to the Tulsa State Fair. I love the Fair, I try and go every year. I love the sights and sounds , and the people and all the colors.

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I got there kind of early so the midway wasn’t very busy yet.

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Don’t you love it. I wouldn’t touch cotton candy with a ten foot pole. I haven’t had any since I was a kid. I am kind of a sensory guy and the texture totally creeps me out. Plus, too danged sweet.

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Photos, I take my own photos, thank you very much.

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I checked out the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. I did a separate blog post on it yesterday. I love all the cakes! I spent the most time there. 

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Then I went to the far eastern end where the crafts were. I love the quilts. There were lots of quilts there. Very nice.

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This little teardrop trailer was a winner in a woodworking classification. Isn’t it gorgeous. These little trailers are very popular in geocaching campouts. I’ve always wondered about the practicality of these things. Like I am 63 years old and there is no way that I could change clothes in this thing. They are cool to look at though. 

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Pumpkins, lots of decorated pumpkins. I love decorated pumpkins. There were no Trump pumpkins this year, that I saw unlike previous years. Maybe they don’t allow them.

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They had a lego competition. Lots of great entries.

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I moved over the adjoining building where they had the birthing center (for critters not humans, just so you know, although they could probably handle that too, that would give them little kids an education don’t you know!) and the petting zoo. I didn’t go to either one of those. I took one look of vintage veterinarian tools and I saw all I needed to see. 

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And then over the FFA exhibits. I love those. It is kind of the best of small town Oklahoma. (Which is the best of Oklahoma in my opinion.) They had pumpkins also. They had a bunch lined up outside of the building. I didn’t see any Trump pumpkins here either. (I am going to call them Trumpkins from now on.)

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They had a Smokey Bear pumpkin inside. As a Forest Ranger’s kid I am always into anything Smokey Bear.

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There were lots of Snoopy themed pumpkins.

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This is my favorite. No Trumpkins inside though.

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The various FFA chapters have table displays and I love looking at those. Lots of work and creativity involved. This is for the Oolagah, Oklahoma Chapter. Oolagah is a town about an hour north of Tulsa, near where Will Rogers grew up. I loved the photo in this display. All those pretty young women and the guy, dressed in pink. Obviously confident himself and smart enough to hang out with women. I have always preferred the company of women, myself. Kudos the guy, whoever he is. I salute you. And whoever had the genius idea of inverting the expected colors. Nice.

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A flower display.

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Displays on native grasses in Oklahoma.

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And this was an FFA project, to restore this beautiful Massey-Ferguson tractor.

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And then on to the critters. I swear the pigs were making eye contact looking for a friendly face. 

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Some handsome sheep.

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And the cows. These are Herefords. What my Dad called white faces. You don’t see too many of them these days. 

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The longhorns are always impressive.

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Another longhorn.

At the beer garden at the Oklahoma State Fair

I finished up and rested up with a Spaten Optimator at the Beer Garden. That and a corn dog was the only thing I paid for at the Fair (except for the $6 entry fee, and a $1 tip to the shuttle bus drivers, and a corn dog.) So, I’ll be back next year!

I am linking with Our World Tuesday 

Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show and Grand National Wedding Cake Competition – 2018

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I try and  get to the Tulsa State Fair every year. I don’t go for the rides or the food, or the all the cheesy vendors flaunting their wares. I go for the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition that goes on at the fair only on the first weekend. 

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It is the 25th year of the competion and it is directed by Kerry Vincent. A tough and demanding judge. Nice to the amateurs and really snarky with the whiny professionals.

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The theme this year is “I am a modern classic.”

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This year, like every year, the cakes in the professional division are very well done and very elegant. I am not going  to provide very much more commentary. The cakes speak for themselves.

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Traffic jam caused by an interview in the middle of the show.

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This is one of my favorites.

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I thiought this was spectacular. 

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The spray of flowers and bird on top.

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The water dripping from  the fountain below.

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This is also a favorite. Inspired by John and  Jackie Kennedy.

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I loved this one also. A Wedding on the Prairie theme.

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And that is a wrap. It is open one more day, tomorrow, Sunday September 30. It opens at ten. It gets very crowded and the later you go on Sunday the bigger chance that some of the competitors have taken their cakes home.

“My Struggle: Book 2: A Man in Love” by Karl Ove Knausgaard

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Karl Ove Knausgaard is a Norwegian writer who has caused a stir with his autobiographical fiction. I finished Book 1 about a year ago. I loved it but it was exhausting to read as Knausgaard delved into every single detail of his life. Book 2 is the second of six of his My Struggle series and it was every bit as fascinating and interesting as the first. It covers marriage and his three kids and his love hate relationship of being in a marriage and taking care of his kids, while trying to write.

He strips away the veneer of what society expects him to say about his thoughts on marriage and child raising and says what he really thinks, and his reactions to what he thinks. He applies the same process to the literary world and expresses the tiredness and resentment he feels toward readings and writings and literary things in general. He would rather spend the time writing rather than talking about his writing.

The whole thing is intense and I could only take about 50 to 60 pages at a time. Many paragraphs are over a page long. The angst is intense. So I’ll be getting Book 3 soon. I buy the books because it takes me too long to read them to get the library version.  You can get the Kindle version on Amazon for $10.

Want a pro tip – I am moving away from Kindle except for very low priced books. I found an online used  bookseller who will sell me Book 3 of the series  for $5 including shipping. Meanwhile I will give my copy of Book 2 to  our excellent local used book store Gardners. They will give me $5 credit against future books (yes I checked, they don’t have Book 3.) So my net cost of Book 3 is approximately $0. Sorry I digress into my thriftiness. 

What about the poor authors you say? They will miss out on royalties as I execute my strategy. Yep, I feel sorry for them, but I am trying to solve my problems. They can worry about their own problems. I still buy lots of books especially from authors just starting out. I happily pay full price for those books.

Skywatch Friday – Closing out September

Harvest Moon 2018 (1 of 1)

This month we had the Harvest Moon. I love full moons. I take photos of all I can and apply all sorts of filters and editing to them. I hope that doesn’t bother you.

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I went for a walk last week and caught a sunset and as a bonus I got lots of long narrow tree trunk shadows.

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This is the Powerline Trail on Turkey Mountain, here in Tulsa. It’s the fast route from the north end of the wilderness park to the parking lots on the south end. It’s not the easiest though, you go straight up and down a couple of big hills. But is hard to get lost on it.

Various sights around Tulsa this week.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday