Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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.

First Fall Hike at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center

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Logan and I decided to go on a hike today. We went to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center up north of the airport. We decided to do the little used North Woods Loop, away from the main Oxley Nature Center. We may have been the first people to use the trail on Sunday.

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How would I know? Because we were walking through lots of spider webs. That honor traditionally goes to the early morning hikers and runners. It is not that pleasant but on Sunday we were walking through webs at four in the afternoon!

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Went on the Sierra Club trail. It has my favorite walkway. 

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We saw the beginnings of Fall Color. We’ll be checking back.

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Lots of fungus.

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More beginnings of Fall Color.

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And more and more fungus. We only went a little more than two miles but didn’t see anybody. We saw lots of squirrels and cardinals and a glimpse of a few white tailed deer as the scampered through the woods away from us.

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We were only out for a couple miles and it was nice not seeing anybody. Or hearing anybody, except the squirrels in the brush, the deer in the thickets, and the wind in the tops of the trees.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

Beverly Green: Sasquatch Hunter by Andrea C. Neil

This novel is about Beverly Green a native Okie who made her mark in New York City and returns to Oklahoma to kind of slow down a little bit and get back to her roots and chill out a little bit. 

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Chickens play a prominent part of the story. Especially one chicken with an attitude.

So she moves to Guthrie, Oklahoma, the former state capitol (and still brooding about it) about an hour north of Oklahoma City. She opens a small bookstore but this being the gig economy and all she also gets.a newspaper gig as a side hustle  and raises chickens.

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Guthrie is a funky old town and is the perfect setting for this story.

The editor at the local paper where she works has assigned her the job of reporting on a local Sasquatch sighting and she dreads it. She doesn’t believe in Sasquatches see, but she was also tormented in her youth by visions of the beasts.

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This has nothing to do with the story. It is a scene from the pharmacy museum in Guthrie.

She sullenly goes through the motion of pursuing the story, talking to local characters who believe in the creatures. In the meantime she keeps running into a man who she gradually becomes very attracted to. I guess that it what makes this a romantic novel. To me it is a romantic comedy and this part of the novel is hilarious. I haven’t read too much fiction before where a female character goes on in detail about why she is attracted to a guy. 

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The pharmacy park hosts a small scene in the book. This is the family at the park. My Father-in-law, a former pharmacy and now gone, is honored there with a plaque. 

I am more into thrillers, detective stories, and non-fiction but this book drew me in and I kept going. The writing just pulled me through was very sparkly and interesting from start to finish. The story involves a Sasquatch stakeout, chickens, and a kiss (a kiss is just a kiss right? or is it?) . It seems set up for a sequel or maybe a whole series.

I give this four stars out of four, or five out of five or however many stars you like. It’s a good read, and I hope there is another one from Andrea Neil soon.

You can get the book at Amazon or if you live in Tulsa at Magic City Bookstore. Both the physical book and the Kindle version, which I got, is are reasonably priced. You can sample some of her writing at her blog.

Our World Tuesday – Trumpeter Swans of Yellowstone Park

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I saw lots of sights on my August trip to Yellowstone National Park to explore the park with my sister Ellen who works there. One of the most graceful and beautiful things I saw was a lone Trumpeter Swan feeding in a river. (I think it was either the Firehole or Madison River, I forget which, the first flows into the second).

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Definitely not a sight one sees in the wild in Oklahoma. We stopped and took lots of pictures of this guy (gal?). It was paddling around, dipping its head in the river, and sometimes tipping its entire body forward so just its butt was sticking up in the air. The Cornell Lab has a great web site on Trumpeter Swans here.

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We stayed for quite a while looking at this swan as he swam about. My sister tells me that he stays there a lot and sees it almost every time she drives through the area. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of calm.

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Earlier in the day we had been in Jackson, Wyoming and on the way back we saw a pair of Trumpeter Swans at the National Elk Refuge

Ellen and I sure packed a lot of things into three days!!

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday.

Skywatch Friday – Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley

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Sorry, not sorry, another post of my trip to visit my Sister Ellen who works at Yellowstone National Park. One day we went to the Lamar Valley in the northeast section of the park. We saw lots of bison, a couple of antelope, and went on a couple of hikes. 

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It is a beautiful broad valley with mountains on both sides and it takes a while to get there. Forget about any bars on your cell phone because there are not any to be had. Great news!!

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The Lamar Valley is known as a great place for watching wildlife including wolves. My sister Ellen tells me that you have to get up and be in place early to have a chance of seeing them.

Here is a video by the National Park Service about the wolves. 

 

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We went on a short hike but the sun was beating down on us and we wanted to get into the woods.

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We saw a couple of fishermen wading in the Lamar River. It looked like they were having a great time.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.