Archive for June, 2010


Last week, I put up a chart with measurements of the plants growing in my garden.  I measured again this week, and there is quite a big difference.  I am really starting to get excited, as things have really taken off.  I have a few new tomatoes, and the plants have grown by leaps and bounds.

We also found three strawberry plants and a red pepper plant at Price Chopper for $1 each.  What a deal!  I planted them on Sunday, and am hoping it’s not too late for them to produce this summer.  Time will tell.

Here are the charts for last week and this week.  Look at the difference!

Yesterday, I had a few of the TCRPMG members join me for a trip to Five Rivers in Delmar, NY.  I have blogged about this place in the past, and each time I go, I find another reason to love it.

This time was no different.  We did our usual walk around the pond and I got some great shots.  As we were getting back to our starting point, one of the members spotted a turkey.  The turkey has 4 or 5 babies with it.  Being a wildlife preserve, the turkey and it’s babies did not seem phased that we were there and even walked within three feet of us while we were shooting them.

I had never seen a baby turkey before.  This was awesome!  I was so happy that we had come to that spot at that particular time.  Here are a few pics I took last night.

When I was younger, I was always told that I couldn’t go in the pool for thirty minutes after eating because I would die.  Actually, it was because you would get cramps and drown, so it’s kind of the same thing.  I always knew it was total BS and never really paid much attention.

As I am sitting here thinking about what to write for this post, this “old wives tale” hit me.  Where do some of these crazy things come from?  Who sat around and decided that if I swim right after eating, I will sink to the bottom of the pool like a rock?  What if it was a shallow pool and I could just stand up?  Growing up, we only had a four foot deep pool.  For a good portion of my life, I was tall enough to stand up and keep my head above the water.

Well, I looked it up on Snopes, and they have dismissed it as crap.  Maybe it was just a cruel punishment from parents, taking their fun away.  Or maybe they just didn’t have Snopes to check out the facts.  Either way, I missed a lot of swimming time as a kid because of it.

What kind of “old wives tales” did you have to endure as a child?  Are there some that you still have to deal with?

Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

It’s 1:30am and we just got home about an hour ago from our usual Wednesday night ride. Just had a sandwich and figured I need to get a blog done for today.

As the title says, I will be keeping this short and sweet, as I am getting up early in the morning to go on a Patriot Guard mission.  We will be riding to stand in a flag line and be there for the family.  As you will read in the Wiki link I added, the Patriot Guard was originally formed to ward off protestors at Military funerals.  The Westboro Baptist Church members would protest the funerals with outrageous statements that men and women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because we tolerate homosexuality.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is very sad that we have to have these funerals, but I am glad that I can pay my respects to this young man that gave his life fighting for our freedom.

So, in the morning I will hop on the bike and head up to Queensbury, and along with probably 100 or more motorcycles, we will escort this soldier to his final resting place at the Saratoga National Cemetery.  When we get there, the bikers will hop off their bikes and line the road into the cemetery as the funeral procession rolls in.  If you can make it to pay your respects, please do.  Let’s show this family how much we appreciate what this soldier did for our country.  Hope to see you there.

*Image courtesy of http://www.amlgnp104tn.org/files/PatriotGuard_Riders.jpg

After my review of the FlipSide 300, the folks at LowePro sent me the FastPack 350.

The FastPack 350 is a bit larger and has some extra storage space. It also has room for a 17 inch laptop.  You might recall that in my review of the ProRunner 450AW, I had a difficult time fitting my laptop in.  This was not the case with the FastPack 350.  My laptop fit in much easier.

The FastPack 350 is set up a little differently than most camera bags I have used before.   Your camera equipment goes in the bottom of the bag, and that section opens to the side instead of from the top.  Inside this area, you can store a DSLR with with a 70-200mm lens attached, along with 2 or 3 extra lenses and a flash.  There are also two velcro pockets that can hold memory cards.

Along the side of the bag, you will find a long zipper that opens to provide storage for up to a 17 inch laptop.  As I mentioned earlier, my HP 17 inch laptop fit in there with no problem at all.

The top portion of the bag opens to reveal a rather large storage area.  Inside that storage area, there is a removable zippered pouch that will hold any extras you may be carrying with you.  The storage compartment also has two velcro pockets that are great for holding extra batteries and remotes.  Along with these pockets, there are pen holders, a mesh pouch and a clip for your keys.  On the outside of this compartment, there is a zippered pocket that leads to even more storage space.  This bag has quite a bit of room!

Just like the other bags I have tested for LowePro this bag has ample padding on the shoulder and waist straps, as well as the back area.  When I was wearing this bag, it was comfortable and did not feel like it was too heavy.  I even took it on the motorcycle one day just to try it out.  It worked just fine on the bike, although I did not have my laptop in tow.

Specifications and Description from LowePro’s site;

Capacity:

1 pro digital SLR with lens attached (up to 70-200mm f/2.8), 2-3 additional lenses or flash units, 17″ widescreen notebook, memory cards, batteries and cables

Size(Interior):
11W X 6.1D X 10.6H in./
28 X 15.5 X 27 cm

Size(Exterior):
12.4W X 9.6D X 19.3H in./
31.5 X 24.5 X 49 cm

Notebook Compartment Inner Dimensions:
11W X 1.5D X 18.9H in./
28 X 3.75 X 48 cm

Weight:
4.08lbs/1.85kg

Go all day with the lightweight, comfortable Fastpack 350 backpack. It protects your pro digital SLR and 17″ widescreen notebook compactly while providing generous storage for other gear. Side-entry compartments let you quickly grab equipment and accessories, even while you’re on the move. Customize the easy-to-access main compartment with adjustable dividers. A comfortable mesh waistbelt, and an adjustable sternum strap, help distribute weight evenly. To help you make the most of this Lowepro bag take a look at our new product video.

Price: $149.99

Colors: Black, Arctic Blue/Black, Red/Black

Pros

Fits laptops up to 17 inches
Extra storage space
Heavy padding for comfortable use
Mesh side pocket for carrying water

Cons

No All Weather cover

This has been yet another great bag from Lowepro.  I really enjoy testing them, as they make a great quality bag.  See ya soon!

*Images courtesy of LowePro

After last week’s rain and this week’s abundance of sun, my plants in the garden are really starting to take off.  I decided to start measuring them once a week to chart the progress.

The tomato plants seem to be doing the best.  There are about four of them that have tiny little tomatoes growing already.  I was shocked when I looked and saw them on the plants.  One of the Grape tomato plants has five tiny tomatoes growing.  I am thrilled!  It wont be long now.

After I measured them, I built a chart to show how tall the plants are.  My goal is to update the totals next week, and every week thereafter so I can see just how well (hopefully) they are growing.   I will also try to get pictures of the tomatoes as they grow.

Here is the chart I made today;

As you can see from the chart, the tomatoes are growing much more quickly than the others.  The Green Peppers and Banana Peppers are taking forever to grow.  In case you are new, this is my first time growing a garden.  So far, it has been a lot of fun.  I can’t wait to see what grows and is actually edible.

Did you plant a garden this year?

As some of you may already know, I currently have some of my photos hanging in a gallery in Kingston, NY.  I received word yesterday that next Saturday will be the gallery reception.

I would like to invite you all to come to Barista’s Espresso Cafe in the Hudson Valley mall on June 26th to view the work Angela and I have on display.  Angela is the co-organizer of my photo group, and a good friend.

For those of you in Albany, I know it is quite a hike to Kingston (about 45 minutes), but I would love to see you there if you can make it.  It would mean a lot to me.  The event is open to the public and children are welcome.

Place: Barista’s Espresso Cafe1300 Ulster Avenue Kingston, NY

Date: June 26

Time: 4-7pm

If you need directions, please do not hesitate to leave a message here or shoot me an email if you have my email address.  I hope to see you there!  See ya soon!