Skywatch Friday – New Weather Station KOKTULSA141

20170624-153406-8

I got a new weather station to replace my old one which finally succumbed to our Oklahoma weather after years of service. The old one was like a mini space station with solar cells for recharging batteries and all sorts of other things. My new one is pretty much self contained and uses rechargeable lithium batteries. The old one just transmitted to a panel in the house. The new one has no panel. It transmits directly to a hub that ties directly into our wifi router and is thus full time on the web. I have it on the Weather Underground here. Below is a screenshot of the output. And I have a widget off to the right.

Gadgets are great but gadgets that are interconnected are just nirvana in my book. My running watch that synchs my phone and Al Gore’s interwebs while I run is another version of nirvana. What did we do before internet synched GPS watches? Of course when things don’t link and synch and I am up to my elbows in MAC and IOP addresses it gets a little frustrating. Nothing that a few beers and some judicious cussing and and google searching and good old fashioned guessing at the settings couldn’t fix.

How about you? Are you all linked and synched or off the grid. You are not too far off the grid if you are reading this.

Skywatch Friday

Bixby “Corn to Run” 5K and a Rant about Race Shirts

DSCN8686

Saturday morning I ventured to the Tulsa suburb of Bixby to run in their “Corn to Run” 5K.

DSCN8682

Bixby is home to some of the highest price residential real estate in Oklahoma but it still has a small town feel especially the old downtown area.

DSCN8687

There are still thriving businesses downtown of all kinds. Restaurants, dance studios, and such.

DSCN8688

I have no idea why the town thinks they need this thing.

The 5K is part of Bixby’s “Green Corn Festival.” The town is known for its truck farms that produce all sorts of produce including corn. More and more of the farms have sold out to real estate developers and so the acreage devoted to farming continues to decline.

DSCN8689

The festival has a carnival with rides, carnival food, and lots of food trucks besides.

DSCN8692

I love this gigantic wall clock on the municipal building

DSCN8693

The typical milling about before a race. And then we were off.

DSCN8694

I only stopped to take this one photo. I love this house. We wound around to the east side of town and then down south and then back up. There was not much traffic control, it was not really needed, not many people were out and about and those that were had the good sense and courtesy to not bother the runners. The course was well marked, especially for me since almost all the runners were ahead of me for some reason.

DSCN8695

And the finish line!! The guy on the PA made if fun for everybody and held off the awards ceremony until the everybody made it in.

DSCN8696

Including the police department, who finished last.

20170624-102545-2

I ended up getting second in the 60 to 70 year old category.  There were three of us in case you were wondering. The little dog tag is something that they gave everybody who finished.

Satisfaction

The race was well organized. Lots of helpful volunteers, the water at the end was cold, they had snacks, ample portapotty’s, the course was well marked and free of problems. The race started on time and they started the awards promptly and moved through them quickly. The race director and the people helping him did a great job. This should have been a totally satisfying race but it wasn’t quite for me and I’m going to tell you why.

They only had shirts for people who had registered by June 16. None for anybody else. The only thing said on the registration process was that shirts were not guaranteed for those who registered after that date. Okay fair enough, I should have known, right? Well maybe. I have run in over 150 races since I started running them twenty three years ago. Most of them I enter just a few days before the event and many the morning of the event. This is the first race where I didn’t get a shirt. Sometimes I had to take a different size shirt. Several times the race director had extra shirts made up and I got them a month after the event. Here they made no attempt to do any of that. They should have said “Guaranteed no shirt” after the 16th. Many races have an option for no shirt at a discounted entry.

IMG_1067

Logan and a run shirt.

I know why they do this and I get it. I have helped with several races and what drives race directors crazy is trying to figure out how many people are going to show up. So if you want to make sure that everybody gets a shirt then you have to kind of guess and hope that you didn’t order too many. The shirts are not free and the value of a shirt an hour after an event is basically zero.

DSCN2215

Logan with his cousin Shiloh and Uncle Irvin at a race in Idaho.

These races can bring in a lot of money but they cost a lot of money also. For everything from chip timing, to renting the tents and tables that you need, course security, course certification. The directors have to recruit volunteers to help them out and make sure they know what to do. So I get it, I really do. And so your costs are fixed and then you get guys like me who register at the last minute, full of expectations.

024

Logan and my wife Heather at an event in Tulsa a few years ago.

And so why do I register so late? Why don’t I get on board and register a week and a half in advance? I’ll tell you why! Life, that is why. Just with what is going on I am not sure that I am going to be able to race until a few days before and I don’t want to spend the $30 and not be able to go. Sorry, but our family schedule is like the fog until something breaks free and it is like, okay, I am going to be able to race so then I hit the interwebs looking for something to go to.  I don’t think that I am that much different than other people. Especially those with a family.

IMG_6775

I still have that shirt!

And not only that, I love race shirts. I have a bunch of them and they are one of the reasons I run the races. Many races have a cheaper no shirt option and I have never signed up for that. So, yep it may be childish of me, but there it is.

20100912_28

I still have that shirt also!

Why am I make such a big deal about this?

Doing my research I am seeing a many races using the “Shirts Not Guranteed” language for registrations after a certain date. So it is more than just this one race.

And so why should Race Directors listen to me?

Satisfaction is why. If you have ever been in a sales or marketing role you will realize that making the sale is not the end of the process. If your customer is not happy with the deal he struck then you did not make a good deal. You see that in a lot of businesses (successful businesses that is) where the after sale is treated very seriously by the customer. You have to make the customer feel good about what he or she has agreed to do. And I think that translates directly to races. I will tell you that the only way I am going to run the “Corn to Run” event next year is I am guaranteed a shirt.

Ideas on what to do?

What do I think race directors do?

  • Charge more after a certain date. Lots of big races do that. The Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Run,  and others charge more the longer you wait to sign up. I generally wait pretty late on those races also and I understand that it is costing me money and I understand that.
  • Have more shirts made after the race. I know that is expensive also, so charge latecomers like me.
  • Discount the race for people who will not be getting shirts. Why should we pay the same as people who are getting a shirt.
  • Go back to ordering more shirts and hope for the best. Yep, I know this costs more.
  • Or just ignore old farts like me.

So anyway, I hope I didn’t spoil anybody’s time nor am I denigrating the Race Director or others involved in the well run and fun “Corn to Run 5K.” I am offering my comments and I hope that are seen as constructive. I also recognize that things change and as financial pressures on races continue we may see more changes. I recognize that I may be trying to swim upstream on this issue.

aa

Skywatch Friday – A Cloudy Day at the Beach

Orange Beach 2017-

Even the rainy overcast days at the beach are interesting with the big vistas. This particular day featured fast moving showers moving through the area. I suscribe to the “hear it, fear it, see it, flee it” school of lightning. So I am not going to venture out during a rainstorm but I’ll sure take photos of those that do.

I am fascinated how the water changes color with the sky. Sometimes the water is blue, other times green, and still others grey. We stayed at the beach for a week and had no reason to turn on the television even when it was rained.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

The Secret to Selling a Million Dollar Home – Tulsa Parade of Homes 2017

Let me guess, you have a little cash saved up, you have some investors that believe in you, and you want to make some money. You want to make it quick!! And you want to do it by building and selling houses but you don’t want to mess around with little houses. You want to sell big houses. After it is a lot easier to build one million dollar house and sell it than four quarter million dollar houses, right?

Well I like the way you think and so I am going to tell you what the most important thing in building and selling big houses is. I am going to do it for free, because that is the kind of guy II am.

_DSC0102

Wait!! you say, I know all about that. The most important thing is the kitchen!! Well you know, kitchens are very important. They really are. People gravitate toward the kitchen because that is where the heart of the house is, right. So focus on the kitchen, make everything high end. Right!!

_DSC0106

And the higher end the better. Get some brass on those fixtures. That’ll do it.

Sorry, no it won’t. For a lot of people, the kitchen is where the beer is. Sorry to burst your bubble.

_DSC0100

Or maybe you think. Dazzle with stuff like gigantic ceiling fans that look like those that powered the NASA wind tunnels. Oh yeah, those are nice but you are putting me to sleep.

_DSC0098

Or you say, nice fireplaces, beautiful wood floors, Yeah, well everybody has those.

_DSC0097

Or you say swimming pools, with hot tubs!!! I say Yawn. Who uses their swimming pool after three months?

_DSC0094

Hey, you think it is about wine cellars?? Yeah, wine cellars. And I say, wine is made to drink, not sit in its own room.

_DSC0090

Or look you might tell me, bold design in the kitchen!!

_DSC0091

And the bedroom!!! And I ask who is going to dust all that? And who is going to repaint it when they tired of your bold design. I was tired when I saw it.

_DSC0089

Or technology you tell me. Great big refrigerators!! That’s the ticket. Let me tell you about refrigherators. Most people with a life have whatever refrigerator they own clear full. If they own a small refrigerator, it is full. If they own a big refrigerator, it is full also. If you want a bigger refrigerator, that means that you haven’t cleaned yours out recently. Clean it out, and then you will have lots of room. There, I have saved you a fortune. Thank me in the comments.

_DSC0087

Or you might say, nice outdoor spaces is what people want!! And I say, why. I had a guy I used to work with tell me that when he was a kid people pooped outside and ate inside. No they poop inside and eat outdoors. You tell me sense that makes? Especially in big houses.

_DSC0080

Or you might say, Movie rooms!!! I am will put in big movie rooms. And I say, seriously? who lives like that. Most people I know watch television and movies in their living rooms. Most “movie rooms” are upstairs. Away from the beer. So if I want another cold one I have to walk downstairs and to the kitchen and rummage through the supersize fridge and then trudge back upstairs. For that I am going to pay a million bucks? Nope,not me.

_DSC0078

You say, this is Oklahoma, tornado alley, A safe room, that is the ticket!! And I would say that now you are getting closer. How embarrassing to die in a tornado in your million dollar McMansion because you don’t have  a safe room. Good call I will say to you.

_DSC0077

And don’t get into the fancy bathroom fixtures. Yawn, you are boring me. And just how am I supposed to keep it clean anyway.

_DSC0071

Or how about fancy translucent garage doors!! I am really going to sleep now. Who cares?????

_DSC0064

Or fancy scroll work on the front door? Oh yeah, great idea genius, give me a solid wood or steel door with a peep hole any day.

_DSC0057

Or how about swoopy elegant stairways you tell me!!?? Oh yeah sure I say. Let me tell you about million dollar plus houses. They all have higher ceilings which means that your stairs are longer.  Don’t whine at me about it, the more money you spend, the more stairs you get to climb. If I have the cash for such a huge house, it is going to be one story.

I can tell you are not getting it so let me explain it to you with three letters.

_DSC0070

Sex sells and you do that in the bathroom with gigantic multi-person tubs designed for recreational bathing.

_DSC0076

Are you seeing what I mean? Are you hearing what I am saying?

_DSC0092

Like this, a two person shower.

_DSC0093

Or tubs right in front of windows with a spotlight.

_DSC0095

Or frosted glass for the shy ones.

_DSC0103

Or a big old giant picture window!! Opening onto a sloping lawn. I think this tub comes with diving board, trapeze, and pole options. For the more adventurous.

Are you getting it now? I think you are.  I won’t charge you a thing.

Apologies to the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa. This week is their Parade of Homes. Go check them out. Lots of beautiful homes on display.

Happy Father’s Day Dad

IMG_1393

Another Father’s Day and I am blessed to still have my Father. He lives a thousand miles away but I think about him all the time. He is my personal hero. Dad is getting better at the group selfie thing.

Mazatzal Mountains - Arizona - Early 1960's

He grew up in the plains of South Dakota but somehow became a Forest Ranger with the US Forest Service.

Easter - Coyote, New Mexico

We lived in some really out of the way places. This was Coyote, New Mexico. In case you are wondering, I am the good looking kid. It has been years since my brother and I have held hands like that. It may be a few years before it happens again.

PICT1204

He fought forest fires for a living.

PICT1154

And suffered from the same photography frustrations as I do now. Left to right I think that is me, sister Ellen, and brother Bob.

IMG_0093

Dad was always student of history. We took a journey to Fort Sill, Oklahoma several years ago and found Geronimo’s grave in a very out of the way place on a very cold day in November.

#tbt Smokey Bear dot com posted this photo today on their Facebook site today. It shows me and my father in 1957 at the Pecos Ranger Station in New Mexico. My dad was the district ranger at the time. #ForestService #1950's #NewMexico

Here is a publicity still by the Forest Service with him and me and my Smokey Bear on the Santa Fe National Forest. I am still waiting for the royalty check.

PICT0009

Here is Mom and Dad in Ireland back in the 80’s. They had lots of fun together.

IMG_0762

This is Dad with my sister Ellen, brother Bob, and me at a church reunion in Payson, Arizona.

IMG_6165

Dad even tried a little geocaching, here with me and sister Ellen. Mainly trying to be a good sport more than a love for the sport. He was always a good sport.

He has slowed down a little bit but is still sharp as a tack and is still living life.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you.

Skywatch Friday – Lifeguard Tower

DSCN8472

Orange Beach, Alabama

Why are lifeguard towers so darn cool? Most places I have been I have hardly ever see lifeguards in them. They are very beachy though like this example from our recent vacation to the Gulf Coast of Alabama. We had pretty good weather and great skies while we are there and a pretty good time.

Skywatch Friday

Tulsa Tough 2017 – River Parks Criterium and CryBaby Hill

_DSC0009

This past weekend was the annual Tulsa Tough bicycle racing festival. A collection of bicycle races and other events over the course of three days. The popular events are the Crit Races or Criterium Races which are races over a relatively short loop with multiple laps. The first two crit races are close to downtown and Sunday is the day for the River Parks Criterium which features a loop that includes a steep hill and a very sharp turn onto Riverside Drive coming off the hill.

_DSC0976

Tulsa Tough also has longer road races, called Gran Fondos, and for posers like me they have a short Townie Ride. I was going to do it this year but maybe next!!

_DSC0015

I attended the River Parks Criterium again. For fans it is like two different races. Down on Riverside drive there is a long straightaway and corporate hospitality tents and everything is very calm and sedate.

_DSC0913

Above shows the high speed sharp turn off the hill back onto Riverside. Lots of crashes happen here as the riders are bunched up, turning, and braking to get back on the long straightaway.

_DSC0010

This tent is close to the sharp turn onto Riverside. The bags of mulch are to protect the riders who lose control of their bikes and crash into the tent. See the Red Cross flag at the far right. I was standing there when one of the medics told me. “Hey Dude, do what you want but we put the medic tent for a reason, when they lose control off the hill they land right here, so if you stay, be alert.” So I moved.

Riverside Drive is where the Starting Line is and everybody stays pretty mellow.

_DSC0939

At the top of the hill on the other section of the course is Crybaby Hill. The course is a relatively narrow residential street and and this where things get interesting. The races are going all out to get up the hill and the fans are there yelling at them and ringing cowbells and having a good time. There have enough people that they have the people in the referee shirts above who are charged with keeping a lane open for the racers. “Minding the Gap” they call it.

_DSC0936

I always get there kind of early and leave kind of early so I’ve never seen the party in full tilt. When I’m there you have people getting warmed up for the party.

_DSC0943

The racers are working very hard though. They come from all over the US and overseas to compete. The popularity of the event is growing rapidly and it really is a Tulsa happening. Especially Crybaby Hill.  Below is a short video of the racers coming through. I would be good for one loop but these guys and gals do it over and over.

I’ll be back next year!!

My World – Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Collection at Philbrook Museum

_DSC0899

Friday was my day off and I went to Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum to check out the recently opened exhibition of a selection of Cheech Marin’s collection of Chicano Art.  Marin is of course half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Who knew that he had a world famous collection of Chicano Art?

_DSC0905

Tirando Rollo (I Love You) by Gaspar Enriquez

It is amazing. A wide variety of styles of both established and new artists. They were all new to me. I had never seen an exhibition dedicated to Chicano art before.

_DSC0901

If La Virgen Returned by Pablo Andres Cristi

Many of the works are political or religious in nature and they all express strong emotions such as the above work by Cristi reflecting his feeling that the Catholic Church has hurt his people more than helped.

I have not heard the word “Chicano” used very much in decades. Growing up in New Mexico it was a common term and seemed interchangeable with Mexican-American with connotations of cultural pride. I don’t know why I haven’t heard it in Oklahoma especially since there is quite a bit of Hispanic cultural influence here. From my brief survey on the internet the term is still controversial and not everybody considers in a positive light.

I found the art to be remarkable and very good and succeeded maybe in enlarging my world a little bit. The exhibition recently opened and will be a Philbrook until early September. Check the Philbrook link  for deatails.

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Summertime in the City

20170608-171819-1

Summer is here and we have already had our vacation so we are grinding it out.  Logan is taking summer college classes downtown. He missed his bus the other day so he got to sit in my cubicle and read.

20170607-094725-1

I took a class earlier this week on Leadership Training. It was held at a hotel and the swimming pool was next to the meeting rooms. We should have brought our suits.

20170605-205305-1

Coming back from vacation in Alabama we found a decent liquor store with a knowledgeable clerk who gave me tips on all sorts of local and regional brews we don’t get in Oklahoma. This is a Key Lime Pie Gose.  Gose beers are kind of sour and salty and they are just the thing in the summer. This one was great.

DSCN8569

I wore my hydration pack for the first time for my weekly run on Turkey Mountain. I can carry 1.5 liters of water instead of just 750 ml that I can carry in my water bottle plus a lot easier to carry. You have to watch your balance though climbing up rock faces. Too easy to lean backwards too much. The pack doesn’t make me any faster but I can run farther and not be so wiped out at the end of the run.

DSCN8584

Logan is getting a few more weeks of job skills training at Goodwill Industries. They have a pretty decent program for kids on the Autism Spectrum. Next up they will help him find a job.  And then they provide job coaching. We are grateful for the support.

DSCN8583

I won a $25 Goodwill store gift certificate at a Goodwill event just before we went on vacation. What do I buy at Goodwill? They surprised me with their collection of inexpensive books. So I got a box of books!! Which I will recycle through my account at used book store here in town that basically costs me a dollar when I exchange like for like quality of books. Sometimes I think I am extraordinarily cheap. Maybe but I like making a game out of it also.

What to do the rest of the summer. On the list are

  • Visiting my sister, Ellen who has started work in Yellowstone Park as a seasonal worker for a vendor. Check the link for her blog. She is making the most of her time there.
  • Going to see my Dad in Idaho.
  • We were talking that we have not been to New Mexico in a while. The green chiles are calling me

How about you, what do you have on your plate?

Oh yes, the latest Microsoft Windows upgrade has slowed my machine down tremendously. I thought I might have to get a new one but I am trying a huge increase in RAM from Crucial dot com. I am going from 2 gb to 16 gb at pretty reasonable cost. If it works. I’ll let you know. It should be here in a couple weeks. I can’t hardly run photoshop any longer.

Skywatch Friday – Arkansas River Run

ArkansasRiverDaytimeMoon

I went on a run after work Monday. I saw a lot of stuff like the scene above with the daytime moon. I love daytime moons.

DSCN8548

I saw a bunch of geese all swimming in one direction like they were zombies. I thought they flew north instead of paddling north.

DSCN8550

I saw a bridal shoot going on in the middle of the river.

DSCN8551

I saw another runner checking out the shoot.

DSCN8545

And some bicyclist zoomed on past me. Zooming past me is not hard. I like my shadow selfie.

DSCN8542

I passed the golden dome of the Greek Orthodox Church.

DSCN8544

I went across a bridge where there were a bunch of locks. I knew that it was just a matter of time before this tradition hit town.

Four slow miles in the 90 degrees heat.

I’m linking this post with Skywatch Friday