Saturday, January 26, 2013

Videos Of The Snow Falling On The Outer Banks Of North Carolina


Here are a few videos of last nights snowfall one the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We don't get much snow around here, so when it does snow it is a big thing. Not quite enough snow fell for making snow angels in the driveway.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Its Snowing Its Snowing

We don't get much snow here on the Outer Banks and when we do it is a big thing. Here are some photos and movies of the falling snow. Won't be long until we can go out and make snow angels in the driveway.










Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Project Completed

Veronica had a lot of Copic markers, colored pencils, gel pens, bic markers and other assorted writing and coloring instruments that she uses for her artwork. It had got to the point that she was having a hard time keeping track of and finding whichever specific item that she needed to use on a project.
Veronica had found a DIY (Do It Yourself)  project, where for a minimal amount of money and a couple of trips to Home Depot, I could put together a storage system that would neatly keep all of Veronica's pens and markers in one location and readily accessible when needed  
These are a few of the many pens and pencils that Veronica has and how they were previously stored




At Home Depot the below shown hardware and a plastic eggcrate fluorescent light louver were purchased. We also purchased an Art Bin brand plastic storage container for this project.

 

After cutting the eggcrate louver sheet into 2 shelves of the same measurements, the shelves were put together using the hardware obtained at Home Deport.


 The attached and completed shelves were placed within the Art Bin brand storage container 


The eggcrate louvers were cut so that it ended up a square shaped storage area that was 19 x 19 little square openings. This made a storage container that could hold 361 pens, markers or pencils. 

  

Below is the storage container neatly organizing the different styles of pens, markers and pencils. Unfortunately some of the coloring instruments were too tall for this particular storage unit.








Because we needed a deeper storage unit for the longer coloring instruments, we converted a less rigid storage bin into a large coloring instrument storage unit. The same hardware and eggcrate louvers were utilized for this storage unit as those used for the more rigid unit that housed the shorted coloring instruments.
The second unit holds approximately 2oo of the longer coloring instruments. There is even room in each of these units for expansion.
Veronica divided the instruments by type ands/or brand of coloring instrument. She divided the coloring pencils into color hues/shades and because of the diameter of the pencils, she was able to put 2 in each of the eggcrate sections with the pencil points in the up position thus making it easier for her to see and pull the color that was needed to be used in her artistic creative endeavors.
Now any time that Veronica needs a specific coloring instrument, she knows exactly where to find the item.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gun Control- A Reality Check

I have been waiting a bit to write this entry up. Last thing I wanted to write was a "knee jerk"
response to the tragic events that have recently occurred....actually the ongoing and continuing tragic events that we seem to read about daily and on some days, multiple times during the course of any given day.
Everywhere you turn there is reports and news about gun related violence.
No doubt about it, gun related violence is everywhere in this country.
Just look at what has been reported this morning in the Detroit Free Press.
The headline reads 2012 was Detroit's Most Violent in 20 Years; shootings, "bloodshed  have become the norm".
"We've lost respect of each other," Mayor Dave Bing said. "We've lost respect for life."That kind of sums things up pretty well but lets take a big step back for a minute.
Let's go back to the beginning.
It all started in China, where gunpowder was first created. In the ninth century, alchemists blended charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur into a powder called huo yao, which was used to treat skin infections [source: Kit Meng]. Armies quickly learned the powder could be used in bombs, mines and other weapons [source: McLean Brevard]. Gunpowder was transported to Europe in the 13th century, likely over the Silk Road trade routes through central Asia. Rival nations refined gunpowder recipes in the ensuing centuries before arriving at the optimum mixture: approximately 75 percent saltpeter, 15 percent charcoal and 10 percent sulfur [source: Nolan].
Historians typically recognize Chinese fire lances, which were invented in the 10th century, as the first guns. These bamboo or metal tubes projected flames and shrapnel at their targets. Cannons appeared in Italy around 1320, where they were modified as European nations waged many wars. By the 16th century, European firearms had become far more advanced -- and far more deadly -- than their counterparts in the East. This above mentioned historial information was found at How Stuff Works on the internet.
At the beginning and during these modern times, gun were used by the military kill their enemy...guns were used for self defense of both humans and animals ( although at times the differences between the 2 might be difficult to find and guns were also used tool use in obtaining food and clothing.
Guns have gone through huge changes since the development of the first one.
Humans have made the guns bigger and more powerful...some smaller but equally as deadly as their larger counterparts. We even have gone so far as to make guns that are almost invisible, or at least they were at one time, when being carried through an x-ray machine.  They have evolved to the point where you can fire one round with each squeeze of the trigger or multiple rounds with each trigger pull. They also have evolved to the point where you can't even hear the guns go off when firing.
Bigger bullets, more powerful bullets, bullets than can pierce almost anything have been made by us humans.
On and on it has gone....on and on it currently goes and will go.
Now lets take a quick look at "gun control" A person wants to buy a gun, they go to a store, fill out the appropriate paperwork, go through criminal check, wait a period of time, hand over those greenbacks...get a license....get a gun. Basically the same occurs with rifles Some rules for obtaining a gun or rifle are the same across the board and some states might have variations or different variables involved in the purchase of these weapons.
These checks and counter checks are our "gun control".
Some people want only the military and police to be armed with guns. This will never work unless the Constitution is re-written and we know that most likely will not happen in reference to bearing arms. Even if it did happen, if I want a gun, I can go into and town or city and find someone that will sell me a gun. These weapons are everywhere...some held legally and some possessed illegally.
They is no way that you can ever get all of these weapons off the street. If the government tried to collect all of these weapons, the gun market would explode (no pun intended). The prices would skyrocket but the bottom line would be that us humans would still be able to get our guns but we would be in the supply/demand arena and would have to pay a higher financial price.
Anyone who is mentally challenged, socially challenged, addicted to drugs or is a stark raving nut case can get a gun if they really want one. The gun control that is currently in place will not hinder this individual from obtaining a weapon.
There is no stopping this fact. Sure the government can make it harder to get a gun/rifle legally but the secondary/black market is over flowing with these objects.
If you are a law abiding citizen, you can go through the proper procedures and get a gun but unless you take the appropriate measures of securing this weapon once you have it, it can easily get into the hands of someone that has evil and deadly intentions....even a family member. The person having the gun in their possession has the responsibility of applying "gun control" over that weapon.
Now comes the time to ask one the BIG question...is it the gun that is at fault or is it the human that has physical control that carries the burden of responsibility.
Here is a scenario....a person leaves a gun on a kitchen table. The gun that is laying there is nothing more than an object...a man made object but just an object none the less. This object has no power to lock and load itself nor does it have the ability to point itself at someone and discharge a round..at least under normal conditions.
This object is nothing more that an object that has the potential to be a deadly object. The only way this object can become a deadly object is with the introduction of a human being coming into this scenario.
This gun can be deadly because it was made by humans to do certain things but it remains just an object on that table until there is some type of physical interaction between the gun and a living thing.
Once that gun is touched or picked up, it becomes an object that can harm or kill but not just because of its very nature...being a gun...but because of that physical interaction we humans have with that object.
So what is the answer to this issue.
Personally I do not see a clear cut easy answer. There are people that hunt and people that own weapons for their own protection and the protection of others and their property.
Unfortunately there are those people that use these guns with evil and criminal intentions.
We as a human species in general have had serious input into the evolution of these weapons. We created these weapons and some use these weapons. Some to do good and some to do bad. The good person will handle and secure the weapon properly so that it can't harm another person and is kept away from those that want to do bad. The "bad" person will use the weapon to achieve their own criminal goals.
So how do we find the right balance between my rights to have a gun for self protection, the protection of my loved ones and my property versus the criminal types that use these weapons to take the lives of innocent people. Where is that line of balance drawn...or can there ever really be a balance when it comes to these weapons  and our rights.
We as human beings need to come up with some solid answers before there is another Sandy Hook School or any other senseless killing that you can read about on a daily basis. As long as there are "bad" people in our society, there will be more of these senseless tragedies that leave us scratching are heads and asking WHY?
**Note... that the opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone.  Please don't let them influence your own personal opinions or beliefs.




Friday, January 4, 2013

A Cruise Vacation Update

Our 2013 NCL cruise vacation is only about 281 days away. We have managed to just about pay the actual cruise off but still need to get our soda passes for the cruise and our transfers from the disembarkation port in Rome to the airport in Rome, which from what I have read and heard is approximately 1-1 1/2 hours away from where the ship will be docked.
The transfers are $75 per person but it is well worth the money to ride a large comfortable bus and have our luggage stored under the bus. I find this arrangement to be much better than trying to get a taxi for the long ride to the airport.
We will just have to make sure that we can get an early transfer shuttle so that we can arrive at the airport with plenty of time to get checked in and go through customs in Rome. I have a feeling that it will be hectic and busy at this airport.
We won't be able to arrange for these transfers until we have purchased our airline tickets.
We checked out various flights and we have kind of decided to stick with Delta for all of the flight segments on this trip.
We found several options for our "open jaw" flights for our arrival into Venice Italy and returning home from Rome, Italy.
We have our eye on one particular set of flights but we are waiting a bit to see if the prices go down some. The tickets have already dropped $50 a piece in the last 2 days, which was when we initially started our airline ticket search.
Another reason for flying Delta is that if we fly Delta and use our American Express Delta credit card, we get double rewards points.
We recently found out how nice it is to have these reward points. We recently purchased our upcoming August plane tickets for our flights to Minneapolis...on our way up to Canada for a week long relaxing fishing adventure. By using our Delta rewards points, we only had to pay $7.50 a piece for each of our plane tickets and this was for round trip tickets. That alone kind of endeared us to being loyal customers and reward points enthusiast.
Besides purchasing the flight tickets, we need to decide whether or not to do any shore excursions for the ports of call that we will be visiting.
We usually like to go off on our own without paying the price for these excursions but there have been times when it was better to be on a paid excursion through the cruise line. We will have to look carefully at each port and see what is available and what the cost is compared to having the freedom to go where we want and spend as much time at any give location as we choose and not having to pay a cent to do it.
There still is a lot of logistical research that I need to do especially for our time in Venice. Options of getting from the airport to a location near our hotel  in Venice are plentiful but each has its own price and benefit, getting from our hotel in Venice to the pier where our ship is docked, arranging a gondola ride with serenade (a must for any visit to Venice), arranging travel from our hotel to the islands of Murano and Burano...these are just a few things that must be researched still and fully arranged.
One major thing I got accomplished was to make our reservations at the Hotel Papadopoli in Venice for 2 nights prior to our cruise actually starting.
I will most likely go through the hotels concierge service as far as the arrangements for the gondola ride and the visits to Murano and Burano. Hopefully a long distance telephone call and a few emails will take care of those arrangements.
And of course there will be the final task and probably one of the most important, gather up enough Euros so that we can totally enjoy ourselves during this next cruise adventure.

 
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