Skywatch Friday – Low Water on the Arkansas River

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I went running one warm winter afternoon not long ago. It was getting late afternoon and for some reason the river was way down. I have seen it lower. One time I walked almost clear across it. The bottom is hard rock with deep crevices. There is a lot of old construction and oilfield debris. There is also a lot of fish in the remaining pools. I have seen them while crossing the bridges. Here is a video made of the river back in 2014 when the river was low and running clear. It shows among other types of fish a shovel nosed sturgeon which was unexpected.

I am really taken with the idea of all that life taken place hidden in a river running through a big city.

So, how are things where you live?

Skywatch Friday

Greyhound Bus Lines – “Leave the Driving to Us”

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I found a Greyhound bus in downtown Tulsa last week at the bus station. Nobody any it but it looked ready to go. It is fully up to date it looks like with handicapped access, power, wifi,and reclining seats. Other than that, I am not sure that buses have changed much over the years. I would bet that of the features listed, only the reclining seats worked. I have never rode in too many buses but a lot of stuff didn’t work. Stuff like the restroom, the air conditioning, or even the bus itself. Anybody else spend some time on the side of a road in a broke down bus??

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My longest bus trip was from Albuquerque to Mexico City in 1971 as part of a High School trip. I don’t think we rode Greyhound but it was a long ways. The crow flies distance is 1172 miles. I’d add a couple hundred at least for the roads. I don’t remember much about it except it was fun. We got broke down a couple times. I wish I had a decent camera back then. I remember the small towns were pretty cool. Mexico City was great.  The highlight was the pyramids at Teotihucan. They were spectacular.

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So who rides the bus lines these days? I guess people who have a lot of time and not much money. To visit my Dad in Idaho would take two days and 23 hours but cost only about $200 one way or less than half what it cost to fly and be there in 6 hours, including layovers. I think it would be a miserable journey though.

I got on good ole youtube to look at old bus commercials. Back in the 60’s they showed people dressed up in suits and ties and nice dresses to travel on the bus. Kind of like flying used to be.

Things have sure changed.

Our World Tuesday – The Boxyard

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They already have a bank with an ATM!!

I checked out a new shopping center in downtown Tulsa last week. It takes up a fraction of a city block and is constructed of thirty nine shipping containers. The containers were actual containers used in international commerce for the last ten years. Or at least that is what their website claims. It is called the Boxyard and I love it.

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I was kind of semi aware of it and knew that it was built kind of quickly so I was expecting something kind of rough but to my surprise it looks very cool and the design is very attractive. It just opened a couple months ago but they already have several businesses open.

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It is laid out on two levels centered on a plaza on the first level. They packed a lot of potential businesses in a relatively small space. They have spaces for both retail and food and beverage businesses. I’m intrigued by the whole thing because of its use of recycled shipping containers and the idea of a “micro” shopping area. Tulsa’s downtown is pretty frothy right now with new businesses popping up and people investing in renovating old buildings.

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It has been a remarkable transition. When I first showed up in Tulsa twenty five years ago there was very little going on downtown. No restaurants, no bars, no retail, no nothing. Now there are lots of such businesses and there are lots of people living downtown and I think an active downtown is good for the whole city.

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There is this gigantic “OPEN” sign you can see through the glass of this space for a bar on the second level. I’m looking foward to it actually being open during warm weather. Maybe Heather and I can have a beer up here on this patio of this remarkable space.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday.

Skywatch Friday – A Noon Walk and a Full Wolf Moon

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I got away from work for a little while Tuesday at noon and drove to nearby Gilcrease Museum. I didn’t go into the museum but I went for a walk on the adjacent city park, Stuart Park. There was a sign there to be on the lookout for a bobcat and to report sightings. So that kind of perked my interest. I didn’t see any bobcats but I did take a few photos. It was very warm, almost 70. This is after being 4F on Saturday morning. Now we are supposed to have an ice storm on Saturday. Oh well, this winter if you don’t like the weather just wait a little bit and it will change.

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And then last night when I got home I noticed the moon was almost full so I got my trusty camera out and took a shot. It is the Full Wolf Moon, or almost full I guess. I love taking shots of the moon. I have dozens of them. I don’t know why, it doesn’t really change does it. I imagine I’ll be taking lots more as time passes.

I’m linking this post with Skywatch Friday. Come join us. A new link starts Saturday at 2:30PM Central Time (US).

Hidden Figures – The Story of the Black Women Mathematicians at NASA

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The whole family went to see Hidden Figures today. The story of the black women mathematicians who helped American win the Space Race back in the 60’s. It follows the lives of three black women “computers.” Back before digital computers were used, humans who were held the jobs named “computers” did the calculations for lots of scientific endeavors.

The movie is set in Langley, Virginia, part of the South, and the computers were divided into white and “colored” groups. The movie follows three of the women. One who was the the supervisor of the colored group but did not receive the title nor the pay of a supervisor, another who had a crucial role in calculating the trajectory of John Glenn’s trajectory out of orbit back to earth, and another women who although had advanced engineering degrees, was seeking to become the first women with the title “Engineer” hired at NASA.

The movie follows these women as they deal with and overcome the petty and smothering stupidity of segregation and discrimination against black people and women. It reminds me of how far we have come and it also reminds me how far we have left to go.
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The movie is set in 1961 and what strikes me is that I entered engineering school in 1973 a mere 12 years later. By then we had we had big mainframe IBM computers and we had learned the Fortran programming language in high school. In 1973 all the engineering students still used slide rules and much of the classes were about how to use them in engineering calculations. A few of the “rich kids” had calculators. By the end of my Sophomore year, nobody used slide rules and everybody used scientific calculators.

Fast forward to the mid 1980’s and I was building pipelines in Mississippi and Louisiana. I dealt with lots of local people while buying right of way from landowners and arranging for contractors to build the line and dealing with various state and county officials in getting necessary permits. By that time black people had the right to vote and the “colored” and “white” restrooms and water fountains were a thing of the past but race seemed uppermost on man people’s minds. I’d get leading questions from people on first meeting them where they were trying to determine what my attitudes were towards the subject and I’d get baited on various subjects. I heard some outrageous things I’ll tell you.

And we have come a long ways and we have a long ways left to go. I get on facebook and there is still a lot of racisim out there in my opinion.  Most of is coded and obtuse and a lot of it is denial that there is still a problem but it is there.  Sometimes I think we are in danger of sliding backwards to the bad old days. We are also in danger of thinking that we have the race issue solved. We don’t, we have come a long ways and we have a ways to go.

I used to think that there was some sort of relationship between technology and social justice. In other words as we progressed technologically then all these smart people would all insist on doing the right thing. I’ve lost faith in that as we see countries like China and Russia progress technologically and expand their middle class but they remain repressive in a different manner. They don’t threaten people with torture any longer, they threaten them with losing their jobs.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox and say that this is a great movie. It is based on a book that I have ordered from the library.

 

Skywatch Friday – Crossroads Sunset

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Logan has a friend who lives out south of town in the middle of nowhere. I don’t mind taking him for a visit because there almost always good photo ops at various places on the way including this crossroads where the main road turns. For some reason I like to take pics of the sunset with car headlights. It seems to me that it adds a little bit of motion to a set piece. I’m just a lowly picture taker so what do I know

I’m still learning how use Lightroom and Photoshop and I am definitely in the “Why had I not done this earlier?” mode. I really like how the various parts interact. I can open up and do basic edits in LIghtroom and then pass it easily to PhotoShop where I can send it to a Topaz filter. And like magic it sends to the Topaz edits back to Photoshop and Photoshop sends them Lightroom and in Lightroom I can publish directly to Flickr. It works so smoothly it is almost scary.

Next I’m going to learn layers in PhotoShop. I’m interested in layering images on top of each other. Just of the heck of it at first but I also want to see what I can do creatively with the techniques.

Oh well, enough for all that. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Our World Tuesday- New Year’s Edition

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Found me a nice suspension bridge at the nearby Ray Harrel Nature Park. All great nature parks have nice bridges, right?

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I love railroad tie retaining walls. The look all old school and woodsy. They end up kind of blending in and becoming part of the landscape.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday.

 

Shadow Shot Sunday – New Years Eve Walk at Ray Harral Nature Park

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Logan and I went for a little hike on New Years Eve. He had his wisdom teeth taken out a few days ago and he was supposed to be quiet but by NYE both he and I were pretty owly and needed some fresh air and walking time. I have a hard to shake sinus infection and so I haven’t been doing much either.

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So off he went!! He isn’t into running much but he was pretty restless. We went to Ray Harral Nature Park in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa. I kind of like it. It has lots of trails and not very many people. By planning your route you can get a couple miles in by varying the loops available.

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The woods were grey but I did find a cardinal hiding from me in the shadows for a bit of red.

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I finally catching up with the kid. There is something about pedestrian bridges that I love. I alos feel compelled to tilt the camera. For some reason it seems more interesting.

How about you? What do you tilt the camera for?

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday today.

I wish everybody a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Best Short Stories of 2016

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The Best Short Stories of 2016 is the latest release of an anthology of short stories that comes out every year and I have been buying and reading faithfully since the mid 1980’s. I love short stories. The author has to get to the heart of the matter quickly and not waste precious words, everything has to count. I love the variety of stories plus each author has the opportunity to put in a blurb about the story, their inspiration perhaps or what they were trying to do with the story.

The stories are selected by a assigned editor who sets the tone. In my very gauche way of thinking there are types of editors and it reflects in the stories they select. The first group of editors emphasize stories where the main action is in the mind of the characters and here the story is full of conversation between the characters and most of the action is in the thoughts of the characters and is reflected in very subtle clues in the action. Awkward silences and such.  The second type of editor picks stories where things actually happen and the dialog and narrative is in direct consequence to the action that is taking place.

This book emphasizes the first which is not my preference generally but it works here. The editor, Junot Diaz,  also seemed to pick stories by authors outside the mainstream and the stories reflect that. They are very interesting for the most part and reflect viewpoints that are not my own which is one of the main benefits of reading in my view, seeing the world through another’s eyes. This book has several stories which are very lively and interesting reading.