Author Archives: Alan Bates

Random Wednesday


At Sprouts, we found this strange vegetable. Apparently everybody but us has heard about Romanesco. I like the logarithmic spirals but it looks very unappetizing. I’d try it though.

It’s calving time at the ranch owned by Heather’s relatives in western Oklahoma.

My sore back is getting better via yoga, strength training, ibuprofen and a heating pad. If I leave the heating pad on, Abby claims it. This is she during the Super Bowl. How about the Buccaneers and Tom Brady?

MIL had a leak in her house and she called a plumber. A couple young guys came out. One of the manhandled an augur up on her roof during a strong cold wind. I get so tired when I hear certain people talk about “….kids today don’t want to work.” I know that’s wrong. I see hard working young people almost every day.

Shakespeare Memorial

One of the curious things you find in old parks. This is a tribute to Shakespeare at Tulsa’s Woodward Park. Designed by notable art deco architect Adah Robinson and erected in the 1930’s I believe. I love random stuff like this.

Our World – Mall Walking

I am trying to stay active these days and I was all set to go walk somewhere the other day when it started raining. So not wanting to get wet, and possibly melt, and also not wanting to do the gerbil thing on a treadmill I decided to go mall walking so I set off to Tulsa’s remaining shopping mall, Woodland Hills Mall.

It was surprisingly busy but not overly so. Most everybody was wearing a mask and it was easy for me to socially distance. So off I went. It has two levels so I did a loop on the lower level and and another loop on the lower level. I also looped into the three major department stores.

Anybody besides me think that carousels are spooky. I do, I was scared of them when I was a kid. Son Logan rode this one plenty when he was little. He seemed to like them.

Apple Store

The Apple Store is still closed. You have a problem with your iphone, you are basically on your own. I always found the people at the Apple Store to be helpful. The Microsoft Store is also closed, but who cares right? Unless you worked there, then you care plenty.

At the far end of the mall I came across these dudes. All staring at their phones. What are they looking for? Time drags when waiting on somebody else shopping. I always find something else to entertain myself.

The department stores sell furniture. We buy furniture from time to time but it has never occured to buy furniture there. It would seem that the overhead was pretty high. Right before this section I passed some recliners. A woman was in one of them fully reclined. I told her that she looked pretty comfy, She said that she was thinking of buying one. I told her that I bought a recliner exactly like that one and loved it. She said, “really.” I said yes, it has worked out well. I was lying to to her big time but I learned in MBA school that it was important for people to be happy with their purchases.

They had this bar for sale also. It’s kind of cool.

Way back when, when work clothing was more formal, coats and ties. I used to love buying and wearing that stuff. What made it work was experienced clothes salesmen who could figure out what kind of clothes looked best on a particular person. They got replaced by people who were selling lawn mowers last week. All they could say, no matter how bad something looked, was “that looks good.” The good places always had a good selection of ties and one particular person that could match ties and shirts to a suit. That was the best part. You could tell those places by their displays. I found the displays of ties and shirts on my mall walk to be pretty dismal. Oh well, I don’t have to worry about any more.

This was a welcome sight. Are short skirts and dresses making a comeback? I was in high school during the golden age of short skirts back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was wonderful. I’ve read that hem lines go up and down with the economy. Is this a forerunner of better times then?! I hope so.

The perfume counters, I hate those things. Somebody wants a particular brand of cologne then you had to search around these areas forever.

Bath and Body Works. How do people stand working in there. So many scents and smells that all meld together in a ugh.

Jerseys. I don’t have any sports teams jerseys. I think it is creepy to get a jersey with somebody else’s name on it. I have Dallas Cowboys shirts but they don’t have any player’s name on them. I actually pop in here to see if they have team caps on sale. I got a very cool Mexican national soccer team cap in here one time for $5. Nothing on sale today though so time to move on.

Ah yes, my favorite sporting goods store, Victoria’s Secret.

The mall has a new (to me) store featuring Native American themed goods. All very nice and very colorful. I’ll be back, I like that kind of stuff. Photos are free!

This shirt doesn’t apply to me. I am as white it gets. Anybody else do the DNA thing with I got mine and it is fun and interesting and all that but what gets me is how they send updates to your ancestors origins. Mine has swung all over the place. Used to be a lot of Danish involved, the latest one has no Danish but lots of Irish, British, northern Europe generic, Sweden, and Norway. Used to be rumored that there was a little Native American but nope, not a drop. Don’t worry I am not a white supremacist, I hate those people, just stating facts. Oklahoma has lots of Native Americans and many of them are blue eyed and whiter than me so I think the shirt is aimed more toward them. The various Tribes all have the right to determine who is member of the tribe and who isn’t so one has to be careful claiming to be a little bit this tribe or that tribe.

So anyway, I did my laps and got about 1.6 miles in, and stayed dry! Didn’t buy a thing either.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

“The Sentinel” by Lee Child and Andrew Child

The Sentinel

I just finished The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child. It’s another Jack Reacher story. Lee Child has written a bunch of books featuring Reacher, an ex-Army MP officer who is big and tough and travels around the country and runs into many bad guys harming good people. This is another one of those books and this one falls flat on its face. I am not going to tell you the plot, but there is not a whole lot of action in this book. It’s mainly narrative and dialog. Boring narrative and boring dialog.

I hate to say it but maybe the book falls short because it has two authors. Lee Child collaborated with his younger brother Andrew Child on this book. Apparently this is the first book of a four book deal struck with the two authors. I’ve never really enjoyed fiction with two or more authors. This was a quick read and I am glad that I did not buy it. Thank goodness for our libraries!!

Anyway, that is how I feel.

The Sentinel by Lee Child

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Innocent Bystanders – What Do We Do Now?


One of my guilty pleasures is people watching and taking photos of other people in public spaces. I call them “Innocent Bystanders.” I’ve been at it a long time but since Covid that hasn’t happened too much since I am doing my best to stay from people. I don’t take photos of my people that might embarrass them or show them in a unflattering light. I put a lot of them on instagram and more than once I get a comment like, “Hey that’s my girlfriend!” And I respond with something like “Well you are a lucky dude is what I think.”

The photo above is from the late 1980’s when Heather and I went on a cruise. They had a midnight buffet one night with all these ice sculptures. Heather had me take photos of all the sculptures but truth be told I don’t care about sculptures. I loved the people watching. This couple were kind of like the rest of us, all dressed up and don’t know what to do next.

The photo was taken in dim light with a film camera so it is quite grainy.

I have no idea what happened to the couple. The ship were on was Royal Caribbean’s “Song of America.” It has been sold and renamed several times and served various duties including a stint as a hotel ship during the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. It is now known as the MS Celestyal Olympia owned by Louis Cruise Lines. It has been inactive the past year due to the pandemic.

Skywatch Friday – Ominous

I’m doing lots of walking these days. I haven’t run at all since last spring. I still think as a runner though, strangely enough. The above was taken last week here in Tulsa. It was kind of an ordinary color photo and but then I “messed with it” added some hdr and turned in black and white and it looks very ominous. Oklahoma is the king of ominous skies. With global warming there is a “lot of energy” in the atmosphere as the scientists put it. That’s not a good thing.

And here is a patented front yard sky shot from the house. I also “messed” with this photo. At least it is not ominous.

I injured my back last week and the doctor gave me some exercises to do. It’s basically yoga and all told between the stretching, the strengthening, and the stretching again it takes about an hour and 20 minutes and it is pretty strenuous but I get that feeling of well being afterward. The critters love that I am down on the floor with them. Which is fine but you know they need to get their own yoga mats. What do you think?

I am still geocaching. I will never stop. I am going to have a geocache hidden in my gravestone when my time expires here on earth. I might get it set ahead of time to make sure its done right. Anyway I digress again. This cache was at a park and I posted the video on instagram and one of my Igram buddies said hey, his grandson put that out as a scout project. I love the gentle fuzzy corner of the internet I am in with photobloggers and instagram. It makes the world a little smaller and kinder. Just so you know though I get rough and rowdy on twitter and I’m kind of in between on facebook. I have been unfriended by scores of people on facebook.

I’m on linkedin as well. Mainly the oil and gas part of it. Right now they are all swooning because Biden is going to destroy the oilfield and our economy is going to die and blah, blah, blah. Those two things didn’t do too well unde the last guy. Presidents come and go, and energy prices go up and down, and I don’t think there is much correlation. The oil and gas guys don’t want to hear that though.

Oh well, I’m getting off topic now. Everybody stay safe and post lots of great photos.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – From Here to There

We’ll start here, Lizzy up on top and LJ on the bottom. We converted our dining room to a sitting room. It’s got a huge south facing windows and two leather chairs. The cats have made it their room. They can snooze while keeping an eye on the goings on in the neighborhood.

Here’s Abigail on my heating pad, or in her reckoning, our heating pad. I’m kind of down in the back the past week. I went to the doctor today (Monday) and he says I might have a touch of arthritis. We talked about various exercises so he gave me some illustrations. And you know what?? They are yoga poses he proposes!! I’ve missed yoga and it shows. I haven’t been to a class in a year. I’m evaluating my options. Yoga is good for you folks, and no yoga is bad for you.

My wife’s cousin Cheri Lou is sending my photos of the goings on at the 3G Ranch. Calves are what is going on. Calving season is ultra important at any ranch. My advice is to not name them.

Heather and I are a couple of wild and crazy people. We took the plunge and got a Costco membership. Woo Hoo!! Kind of like Sam’s Club really. Don’t get mad at me!!

Sore back and all I found a few geocaches this past weekend. Fun, fun, fun. In my book. There are two types of people in the world. Those who love geocaching and losers, I mean people who don’t.

To learn more about what it is watch this video.

Sign up for a free membership, check it out. Let me know what you think.

I’m linking to Our World Tuesday today.

Shadow Shot Sunday at the Zoo

Last week we took a little family trip to the Zoo. While there I captured images of shadows.


I am a sucker for wooden pedestrian bridges. I have dozens of shots of them. I don’t know why I like them so much. Found this one with some shadows.

And I got a fairly sharply defined streetlight shadow.


I am also a sucker for iron work and the resulting complicated shadows such as this one at a picnic pavillion in the Zoo.

Since the zoo trip we got the kid back to college. He’s pretty happy, maybe too happy to be away from us. We miss him too! But we are also enjoying have the house to ourselves again.

Brother Bob is out of quarantine at his Assisted Living Apartment. He’s been in either hospitals or Long Term Care for over a year and has really worked hard to get to a more regular living option. He’s enjoying mingling (safely) with his fellow residents and is partaking of the activities the place has.

So that’s about it for today!! I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

Critter Videos for a Pandemic Age

Sometimes when looking at animals I do short little videos. A still photograph is okay with critters who are stationary but sometimes I like to provide a glimpse of the movement of the subjects. Don’t worry, none of these videos are longer than fourteen seconds.

These are the flamingos at the Tulsa Zoo. I love flamingos for the Florida vibe plus even when they are not doing much that are moving around. I find it very comical. These birds were locked up because it was too cold for them outside. It kind of reminds me of recess in grade school when it was too cold to go outside so we were in a cramped room and repeatedly told to not make so much noise.

Giraffe’s are the most ungainly animals but they are fun to watch if they are in an energetic mood. The energy here is the youngster, all full of piss and vinegar.

Sea Lions are very graceful and beautiful. We were just getting glimpses from them in the murky water the other day.

These geese I saw on a golf course were hilarious. They were definitely headed somewhere. I glitched the video a little bit.

Back in the real world here in Oklahoma new Covid-19 cases per day have been in a sustained decline since the first part of January. But…

Deaths per day have increased tremendously. Hopefully they will start trending down as well.

So stay safe folks. Wear your mask, maintain distance, and stay home whenever you can. Our son just got over his infection early this week. My wife and I were tested and found negative and we isolated as well to be extra sure that we didn’t infect anybody. I got my first vaccine shot yesterday and will get the booster in three weeks. I am so happy that the new administration is taking steps to streamline vaccinations and ordering enough medicine to have everybody vaccinated by the end of the upcoming summer.

I am linking with Saturday’s Critters, come join the fun!

Weekend Reflections – Inside and Outside

At the YMCA I temporarily joined while my regular gym has shut down temporarily for the pandemic. The Y has this big huge south facing wall of windows. Kind of nice to sit in there in the sunny warmth on a cold winter day.

A shot through glass to the tanks at a local brewery. We started going out to such places that took masking and social distancing seriously. With the advent of the new strains we don’t go out hardly at all. Plus both of us have received our first vaccine dose and we don’t want to get sick while for the second shot.

Mcnellies Reflections-1-Edit HDR

And an outdoor shot at a local restaurant. We eat outdoors if the weather is mild.

I’m kind of puny this week. I had a back spasm late Tuesday of unknown cause. That was the day I got my first covid injection but I doubt that caused it but who knows, right? So I have an appointment to see an orthopedic doc Monday so I am self treating with a heating pad, tens unit, ibuprofen, whisky and beer until then. Wish me luck!!

I am linking up with Weekend Reflections.

Note, I may have posted some of these photos before. If I did it is purely a side effect of the self treatment plan.

Skywatch Friday – Trees

lafortune trees hdr nik 01

I went on a walk at Tulsa’s Lafortune Park. The trail is 3.1 miles long and loops around two golf courses, baseball fields, a tennis complex, a high school, a public library and there is almost always something going on except it was a cold windy day and I had the place to myself. The skies were overcast so I took photos of the trees on the golf courses.

lafortune trees hdr nik 02

I love trees in the winter. Their twiggy fingers reaching to the sky. I love trees in all the seasons, how about you.

I got my first Covid vaccination shot this week. I think it is crazy that every state in the union has their own way of doing things. I spent two days refreshing my browser every ten to fifteen minutes. The other thing is that here in Oklahoma just because a site says no appointments available doesn’t mean anything you have to click through to be sure. I know others out in blogland have related similar stories. Anyway, I am glad we are finally getting a foothold, a beginning, to rid our earth of this awful disease.

I’m thankful for the vaccine and for the many millions of caregivers around the world who have risked their lives taking care of people who got sick with the disease.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come join us.