Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rocket Man

I couldn't wait for my son Chris to open his birthday presents.

Sure enough, he said "Cool!" when he opened my gift.
The box was ripped open and we examined the contents.

The Space Race had begun. (some assembly was required).

It took a little confusion, some bickering, the instructions being passed back and forth, but the mighty space vessel had begun to take shape.

Finally construction was completed, under budget and on time (that is, just in time for lunch).

After lunch we went scouting for a launch area. The broad flat farmlands of Hadley were deemed suitable by our engineers.

The ship was moved onto the launch platform.
Final check-outs of the engines and controls were completed.
Weather and wind conditions were ideal for immediate lift off.
'Nogostica 1' was ready.

All systems...were go. Countdown was initiated....

Lift off, and recovery, went flawlessly. The mission was a complete success.

In this photo the ship makes a (near perfect) 3 point landing on some bizarre planet.

Nogostica 1 went on to complete a total of five missions before being hauled back to base for refit and reconditioning.

Post Flight

After the missions, we went over the bridge and into Northampton for a coffee and a walk-about. I took some pictures of some stuff I thought looked good (kind of a red brick theme thing going on) .

This dog made himself comfortable while he waited for his owner.

Spoleto's is one of many restaurants in town that has outdoor seating.

I thought this building was a nice shade of green. Kelly called it 'seafoam'.

Peace out.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Take Me to the Bridge

We had to spend the bulk of the day painting and doing overdue chores.

We were able to wrap it up about 3 o'clock and head out for something fun to do. Brought the bikes in case the opportunity for a ride presented itself. Kelly had read something about Colonial Harvest Day in Westfield, so there we went.

To get there we passed by the Great River Bridge project.

Basically, their building a new bridge that matches one built in the 1930's, and rehabilitating the original. When completed each bridge will handle traffic in one direction, and hopefully this will ease the traffic congestion that currently plagues this section of the city.

Can you see this sign?

This guy didn't.

We got to the town green, around which the event was being held.
Although it wasn't the most elaborate town event we've ever seen, it was fairly well attended, and everyone seemed to be having fun. There isn't alot of area in Westfield's town green for an event like this. To compensate, the various booths, exibits and attractions were spread out from the green, and down nearby Court St., which was closed to traffic.

Some people were decked out in colonial garb, with some tents pitched encampment-style.

This guy had an interesting booth with Native American type stuff, a lot of snakeskins, horns and turtle shells made into utensils, jewelry, musical instruments, ect.

These people were learning how to Doe-See-Doe their hearts out.

There was a large used book sale outside the local library. I picked up three books for $1.50.

According to a flyer I read, this event was put together by a non-profit organization called "Westfield on Weekends". They have several events throughout the year to promote civic pride and education of local history and heritage.

We continued on to Rt. 10 north, and stopped at the Red Rock Pizza, to grab something to eat.

From there we drove through Easthampton. Having our bikes with us, we gave the Manhan Trail another spin, to burn off some of the freshly acquired calories.

It was beautiful as always as we rode in the cool autumn air.

This bird formation can only mean one thing....

Another nice sunset as we loaded up the bikes and got ready to head back.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Birthday Boy

The day started rather gloomy, but the all-day rain they were forecasting never materialized.

By mid afternoon the sun was out, to stay. I passed by that small ranch in Ludlow again, and this time the horses and donkeys were out, along with the cattle.

Had to stop and take a couple pics, and this horse came over to oblige.

My son turns 15 this week and I wanted to get him something fun, yet educational. Something to make him say "cool!" Something I would like if I were 15. Something his mom would say "Keep that at your dad's." I knew just where to go.

We headed up Rt. 47 to Hadley, then suddenly ran smack into this Friday afternoon traffic jam going over the Coolidge bridge.

It wasn't too bad though, I've seen much, much worse. The recent road improvements appear to be having a positive effect. Besides, the slow crawl over the bridge only gave us time to enjoy the great view.

We were soon in Northampton and pulled onto King St., then we parked by the Stegosaurus.

The A to Z Science and Learning Store. Yep. It'll make you go "Cool."

Really, and I'm not just being a geek.

It's as if the toy section of the Five and Dime store of my childhood was reborn as this place. Rubber band powered balsa-wood gliders. The same balsa wood gliders. Things that make sparks, things that fly, float and walk. Things to build, things to examine, things to read. Games, puzzles, mind teasers. Magic tricks and scientific experiments. Kites and fossils.

It's a great little store. And if liking it makes me a geek, well then, hand me a pocket protector.

Coincidentally it's the store's 20th birthday, and they are having a 20% off sale today and Saturday. So if you've been waiting to get that microscope...

We got my kid what I was looking for (to be disclosed later...) and we headed out.

Right across the street is the Hotel Northampton. My sister stayed there once, she said it was really, really nice.

We picked up some necessities at ol' Wally World, of course, then home.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blips and Blurbs

Have a rough day? It was probably better than this guy's.

Some scientists studying some old radio wave recordings from space discovered a strong 'blip' whose origins are unknown. Hmmm. Is there anybody.....out there. Actually, researchers say they think only two phenomena could be behind the radio burst they discovered: the merger of two neutron stars or the final evaporation of a black hole. Bummer.

The trees continue their slow burn. Nothing too stunning yet, but it's coming...

Found a date for that happy looking scarecrow guy from a couple posts ago. Blonde.

It's strange, but I've been craving a Wendy's hamburger ever since those 13 local stores closed. Proof that you always want what you can't have. At least what you can't have conveniently. I bet when they finally reopen, it will be a landrush.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I've noticed an inordinate amount of crunching under my feet these days, it seems it might be a bumper year for acorns.

Oaks cycle between lean years and bumper, or 'mast' years of acorn production. Usually about 4 or 5 lean years followed by a couple good years. This happens so that the number of foraging animals, squirrels, birds, chipmunks, ect. diminish over the lean years, then the bumper crop hits with fewer animals to eat the acorns.

It was a nice warm night to walk around Noho, ice coffee in hand, full moon in the sky.

Some good tunes were emminating from this little bar, called the Basement (or Bassment?). I didn't see a sign, just asked this guy having a smoke outside.

This George Jetson looking vehicle is sold nearby at EZ Rider Motorsports on Rt. 5. It gets 85 mpg. and can go 70 mph. The top folds back into the rear trunk area.

I had an interesting chat with the owner of the dealership (this is his ride). He's very optimistic about the scooter industry in this country, and I hope he's right. There also is a brand of motorcyle coming out of China with an automatic transmission that hopefully will be a hit here.

Here's his website:

As far as I'm concerned, it would be a happier world with motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles buzzing around, instead of 2-3 ton automobiles that seat 5+, with one person in them.