Sunday, September 30, 2007

Busy Saturday

Stonelick Park BeachI started Saturday with an instrument flight proficiency check. Aside from some practice a couple weeks ago, it had been quite awhile since I had flown by instruments alone. I wasn't considered current. One way to get current is to take a proficiency check that involves flying with an instructor and performing various prescribed maneuvers, instrument approaches, and a hold. We flew from Blue Ash, to Lunken, to Clermont County, and then back to Blue Ash. Since it was such a beautiful day (check out the sky in the picture to the right), I had to wear goggles that limited my view to only the instrument panel. I did fine and received a sign off.

Shaw FarmsAfter lunch Dianne and I drove out East of the Milford, Ohio area to visit Shaw Farms. Some folks at work were talking about the fall harvest activities there so we decided to pay a visit. There are a lot of activities for kids including stuff to play on, hayrides, farm animals, a cornfield maze, music, etc. as well as lots of pumpkins, gourds, corn, hay, apples, and preserves to buy. It was a nice stop to make on a warm, sunny day. The photo shows some of the mums, piles of pumpkins, and kid activities available. I also got some photos for the latest Macro Monday project involving fruits and vegetables. A little farther down the road we stopped at another farm (I forget the name) and saw them pressing apples to make apple cider.

Stonelick Park BeachA little farther Northeast is Stonelick state park. The park is constructed around a large lake. We drove around the park and stopped at the beach. Even though it was a beautiful day, the beach was pretty dead except for a couple people and a couple of kayaks and a canoe. The photo at the top of the page was taken at the park as well as the photo to the right. It's just a little bit early to see a lot of fall colors on the trees. We hung out for awhile on a bench and then drove through the park -- OK, we were trying to exit but ended up drive through most of the park by mistake. There were quite a few people camping with trailers and tents.

After that we wandered back toward Cincinnati. We stopped for a bit at Raymond Walters to take some pictures for a pre-lab discussion on how to properly measure volume, length, and temperature. You'd be surprised how many people have trouble reading and recording the liquid level in glassware. Hopefully this will help them get started on the right foot.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Funnel-web Spider

What Lovely Eyes You HaveLast week, just above the ants, this spider had a nice web in the leaves of a plant. I think it's some type of funnel-web spider. This guy wanted no part of me and wasn't happy with me taking pictures. Since the web was in the shade, I used a flash. The first time the flash went off the spider dashed down the narrow end of the funnel web and vanished into the plant. After a few minutes it came back out. But it wasn't happy. It was running back and forth around the web and then back to the safety exit near the plant. I like the spider's eyes in the picture at the right (click on the image to see a larger view in Flickr), but the photo below gives a better view of the stripes on the body.

Checking The Web

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lego Art

Thanks to 'The Views of the All Seeing Eye' site, I stumbled on the 'Art of the Brick' site of Nathan Sawaya -- an artist that uses Lego bricks. Nathan has a nice gallery of work area on his site. Clicking on a thumbnail will bring up multiple views of the project from different angles. Star Wars fans will recognize the Han Solo project show at the right.

I never made anything like this when I used to play with Legos.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wonder Why Wednesday

I stopped at the grocery store tonight. We needed a couple things and I thought I'd scan the aisles for some typical items. I got to the olive shelves and was looking for some sliced black olives that weren't the store brand. The top three shelves were filled with green olive products that were pitted and stuffed with various items. The bottom couple shelves had black olives -- various sizes, whole, sliced, etc. While looking at the shelves, I noticed all the green olive products were packaged in glass containers and all the black olive products were packaged in cans. Why is that? Seems like with lined can technology today you could put acidic or salty things in cans. Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ants on the Plants

Saw these large ants tending to these brown patches on these broad leaves. OK...does that sentence give any useful information? No...except to a biologist I'm sure it very clearly points out I know nothing about plants or ants. I had an Uncle Milton ant farm when I was a kid, but I never saw anything like this. Can anyone shed some light on this one?

There are several good ant identification sites on the web. A few examples are Ant Web, Bug Guide (useful for more than just ants), and these photos from the MS State site. I learned a little about ants. The most important thing I learned is there are a heck of a lot of ant species out there! From the lack of ocelli, the 12 segmented antenna, the smooth arched back, and the single segment pointed me to some type of Camponotus -- a carpenter ant. However, from descriptions it doesn't make sense that I'd see them tending to stuff on the top of broad plant leaves. And what are they working on? They were continuously touching one and then the next with their antenna. I'm hoping some myrmecologist will leave a comment.

Busy Ants

Monday, September 24, 2007

Knockout Roses

Early RoseMichele and John have lots of rose bushes at their place. I've snapped several shots of the roses on my visits, but they didn't turn out that well. I did luck out the other day. At the right is a shot of a rose that was just starting to open up. That flower was in direct sunlight. One of the plants is in some partial shade under a birch tree. When I was there the sunlight was being partially filtered by the leaves. The result was some interesting direct sunlight and shadows on the roses that was constantly changing as the wind moved the leaves. I took a bunch of shots and the one below was the best.

Rose in Shade

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bella Luna

I've been meaning to make some restaurant posts about new places we've tried. Last night Dianne and I went to Bella Luna for the first time. We've lived in the Cincinnati area for over a decade and haven't ever been there.

Bella Luna is an Italian restaurant that is family owned and operated. It's a little East of downtown on Eastern Avenue (duh). As we learned last night, they have a standard menu that has all the traditional family recipes and a separate, shorter menu with specials that change every couple months. Not having been there before, we just stopped in without a reservation. We lucked out and got a table in the bar area. Reservations are a good idea.

I started with Italian wedding soup that was excellent. I had a stuffed pork chop from the specialty menu that came with steamed vegetables and roasted red potatoes. Everything was great. Dianne started with a Caesar salad with anchovies and had a thin turkey breast wrapped around asparagus and fontina cheese for her entree. Her choice was also good and had a fantastic white wine sauce on it. We split some bread pudding for dessert. That was killer!

Our waiter wasn't the best, but perhaps he was a bit busy managing the tables in the bar area. Next time I'd make a reservation and get a table in the main dining room.

Bella Luna is definitely worth the trip! If you're a first timer, their web site has a 10% off coupon. This is one of my new favorites for local Italian fare.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blue Ash Airport Days

Spin in a PittsOn Saturday Dianne and I went to the Blue Ash Airport Days. For a small airport, it really is a nice event. It goes beyond being simply an airshow (although for me that's the most interesting part). They have an antique car show, 5k run, stuff for the kids, static displays, food, and rides in planes, helicopters, and a monster truck.

For being late September, it was pretty hot! However the sky was blue and the wind was light so it was a beautiful day for flying. There were several airshow performers (local and national) that put on some good aerobatic performances. The photo on the right is of Brett Hunter in his Pitts biplane doing multiple spins from high above the field. The smoke trail tells it all as he went up, stalled, got into the spin, and spiraled down. He did several more turns before pulling out.

BatmobileI'm not a huge antique car fan, but there were a lot of nice vehicles there for the competition. One of my favorites was this version of the Batmobile. It was pretty well done and had lots of buttons, levers, and 'bat gadgets' in the car. Clicking on the image will take you to a larger version in Flickr. I have a couple other photos here and here.

Cincinnati MissThe Tri-State Warbird Museum at the Clermont County airport in Batavia, Ohio (just East of Cincinnati) brought over their recently restored P-51 Mustang called the Cincinnati Miss. Paul Redlich, the president of the museum, flew the plane and did several passes over the field. Although he was flying relatively slow, it still gives you chills to hear the sound of that plane as it goes past. When not flying, the Cincinnati Miss was on static display in the warbird area.

Panchito on a Bombing RunThe highlight of the flying day for me was the low passes made by a restored B-25 Mitchell bomber called Panchito. The photo here shows the bomb bay doors open as if on a bombing run. The plane has a brushed aluminum finish that was reflecting the ground. Check out the large version in Flickr to see the reflection from the field along the bottom of the fuselage. You can also see the green of the grass and the brown of the taxiways reflected in this photo pass shot. Yesterday I stopped by the airport and got some pictures of the plane when it was on static display (click here and here). I poked my head inside the hatch where the waist gunners entered the plane. Yesterday I saw it land and the pilot put it down right on the numbers and used most all of the 3500 foot runway to slow down and stop.

Motorcycle JumpIn between a couple of the airshow acts there was a group of three motorcycle riders putting on a freestyle jump exhibition. The photo shows one of the guys at the top of his jump. It's hard to appreciate how high they were, but this photo showing the ramp gives you an idea. Those are mature trees so I'd guess they were at least 25-30 feet in the air. The starting ramp was really narrow and the finishing ramp sounded pretty rickety every time they landed. But they all hit every jump perfectly.

My favorite photo of the day is the high dynamic range (HDR) image of a PT-17 biplane shown below. I love the traditional paint scheme on those planes. It's a WWII era training aircraft. I can't imagine working up from this to a P-51 like the Cincinnati Miss. The way the airshow is set up in Blue Ash, you are pretty much looking into the sun when watching the air acts. That makes it hard to get a good photo as you get the shadow side of the planes. This plane was parked the same way. However, the HDR process brings out some of the detail in the shadows and I think makes for a more interesting image here. I also like the shadow the plane, and especially the wings, makes on the grass. The background isn't the best, but I caught it without any people around. You can see all my photos from the day here. The set also includes some photos of the Lima Lima squadron practice yesterday.

PT-17 at Blue Ash

Friday, September 21, 2007


One of the many things I've learned while taking macro photos in Michele and John's garden is that I don't know much about insect and plant names. One site I've found helpful for butterfly identification is the Butterflies and Moths of North America site. I like that the site has a map search option that lists species found in a given county. However, it's sometimes hard to get a positive identification because of the limited number of photos. I just got info from one of the site administrators on how to submit photos. I plan to submit some photos like the one of this Skipper (of some type) below that was tasting the sedum blossoms. There is another shot of the Skipper here.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bending the Stalk

This bee was so large, the stalks of the coleus were bending under its weight. The light was a little flat through a thin cloud layer, but I like this photo anyway. I also got a couple shots of a Silver-Spotted Skipper on the same plant that you can see here and here. I like the second Skipper photo with the red leaves in the background.

Bending the Stalk

Monday, September 17, 2007

Flying After Work

VOA ParkIt was a beautiful, sunny day here with little wind. After work I went to the airport to fly a bit. It was nice and smooth today. I took a couple of pictures while the autopilot was doing the flying. Here is a shot of the former Voice of America location in Westchester, Ohio that is now mostly a park. The white building towards the top of the photo was the main VOA building.

I flew to Middletown to practice some power off landings. When heading back, the afternoon sun really lit up the buildings at the AK Steel plant in Middletown. That's the photo below. I saw two hot air balloons that launched out of the Warren County airport, but I couldn't get a good photo. I did get a shot of the Kings Island amusement park as well as the corn maze that Pat blogged about a couple weeks ago.

AK Steel Middletown

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Busy Weekend

On Saturday morning, I got back in the air flying the Tiger. Tony had completed his annual inspection and I needed my biannual flight review. The flight review was an hour of ground instruction followed by 1.7 hours of flying with an instructor that worked with me for my instrument rating. Although the winds aloft were pretty stiff out of the North, it was a beautiful clear day to fly. We worked through various maneuvers prescribed for the flight review and also flew a couple instrument approaches. Since it was such a nice day, I had to wear glasses that restricted my vision to only the instrument panel. Surprisingly, I did pretty well with the landings even though I hadn't been flying for a couple months.

Saturday afternoon Dianne and I went to the Sharon Woods park. It was the first public park in Hamilton County -- it's quite large and includes a nice lake, a golf course, a heritage museum, and lots of shelters and grilling sites. We walked all the way around the lake (nearly 3 miles) and also rented a paddle boat. Dianne and I never rented a paddle boat before. We pedaled around the lake a bit and then just 'parked' in the middle, put our feet up, and drifted while watching the ducks, fishermen, boaters, and people walking. It was the perfect day to relax on the water.

Sunday we got up early, had a quick breakfast at Marx's Bagels, and then drove to Columbus to see the "Bodies...The Exhibition" display at the Easton Town Center. If you're looking for it there, it's on the West end of the complex near Staples. We saw the Body Worlds exhibit in L.A. a couple years ago and wanted to see this version. Click around on both sites to see an explanation of how the actual human bodies are preserved (plastination) and preparEaston Town Center Fountained for the displays. This exhibit wasn't as extensive as the one we saw in L.A. Neverthless, it's an amazing way to see all the various systems in the human body -- both when they're functioning properly and when they aren't.

We also walked around the Easton Town Center area. It was another beautiful, sunny and cool day -- quite a contrast to the humid, 100 degree days were suffered through a few weeks ago. Although a lot of the stores are typical mall material, there are some places we don't have in the Cincinnati area and it's a nice setting with some open areas and green space. The large fountain at the right is one example. The sky was very blue today with the cooler temps and no haze. The photo below shows two girls that were having a great time playing in a fountain. The fountain had many independent water jets that were synchronized to pump water at various pressures for different durations to make the water "dance." You can see the two arching streams, caught in mid-air, that were heading towards them. The kids were enjoying it. I got a photo of a different, similar fountain as well as a sculpture and a model train near the area shown in the photo below.

Playing in the Fountain

Friday, September 14, 2007


Last week I didn't only see bees on the sedums. They were loaded with butterflies as well. The top photo below shows a few Skippers -- I think the two in front are Fiery Skippers. Not sure about the one in the background. The bottom photo is a Painted Lady. I love the eye.

Blossom Buddies


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Soup in the Cafeteria

As far as cafeterias go, we have a pretty nice one at work. There are quite a few choices for entrees, salads, sandwiches, etc. Often I’ll get some type of salad and a soup on the side – especially in the cooler months. There are usually a few soup choices available each day. I started out making my soup choice based purely on ingredients and my likes and dislikes. But sometimes the soup was pretty watery. Some behavioral observations of cafeteria patrons I call “soup sievers” have made me revise my soup selection strategy.

The soup sievers, as I call them, are apparently broth haters that dip the ladle into the soup pot but don’t immediately put their catch into their bowl. Instead they first put the ladle against the side of the crock, tilt it, and pour off as much broth as possible to concentrate the soup solids. I assume they’re trying to maximize the value of their soup dollar. This soup concentration procedure is especially problematic with thinner soups like a vegetarian vegetable. I’ve seen a couple proficient soup sievers stand at the soup area for a couple minutes in order to walk away with essentially a cup of boiled vegetables. Soup sieving is harder with a thicker soup like a cream of mushroom, but I’ve seen skilled soup sievers distill off the broth to enhance the mushroom slice content. Unfortunately, that leaves weak soup (broth or warm cream) for those that follow.

So now my trip to the cafeteria for soup involves a complex selection algorithm driven not only by the soup ingredient and my likes and dislikes but also on the type of soup (thin with solids, thick, or completely smooth like tomato), the size of the crowd (more people = more potential for sievers), and my arrival time. Sometimes, if luck is with me, a late arrival corresponds with a re-stocking of the soup station so I get first crack at a fresh pot. It’s almost like winning the lottery!

Yesterday I passed on the soup. The vegetarian vegetable had just a few pieces of stuff floating in it. And no, I’m not a siever. I like some broth so I can put crackers in to soak it up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Green Eyed Bee

The Sedum blossoms were wide open at Michele and John's place last week. The plants were loaded with bees and butterflies! Seeing several bee species side by side made it much easier for an insect newbie like me to pick out differences. This guy was on the big side and the green eyes with the distinctive dot pattern really made it stand out from the others. I didn't have bright sun that day, but I thought this image still turned out OK. See other photos of this bee in the garden photoset on Flickr. I also added some images of a clematis.

Update on 9/11: after a bit of looking on the web, I think this is a carpenter bee. Can anyone confirm that? This view showing the shiny black abdomen is one clue and I did see some other images on the web showing this type of eye -- but others not. Maybe a species difference? Still not sure why the compound eye exhibits this dot pattern. Is it the angle the light is entering/reflecting off the various cones?

Green Eyes

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The CRG Jungle

On Saturday night, Dianne and I went to the "Welcome to Our Jungle" bout of the Cincinnati Rollergirls at the Cincinnati Gardens. The heat and humidity added to their jungle theme. The event was an intra-league bout with the two CRG teams battling. Congratulations to the Dames of Destruction for defeating the Full Metal Corsets by a score of 85 to 72.

Poor HannahThe Rollergirls weren't holding anything back in blocking for this Cincinnati only bout. An example is the photo at the right. It was snapped after Hannah Barbaric, blocked inside by Junk N Trunk, received a cut/stop block from Sadistic Sadie. Ouch! Click on the photo to see a larger version. Look at the position of Hannah's skates and you know she was going down hard. I got some other photos of Junk N Trunk, Blu, Sk8 Crime, and Panterrorize giving blocks. Early on someone gave Collier Mama a block and she fell over backwards right in front of us and whacked her head on the concrete. The helmet protected her, but she was slow getting up. It was good to see her skating again later in the bout.

Helping HandThe pack was skating pretty fast the whole night. The announcers commented on that a couple times. A testament to the vastly improved skating skills of the whole CRG group when compared to other teams they've skated against. The jammers had to skate hard to catch the pack -- reflected in the lower score. But the fast jammers yielded some grand slams for both teams. There was a lot of teamwork on both sides to help the jammers like Blu is doing here for Sadie (does Sadie really need a speed boost!?!). I also like the photo below of Rocky helping Miss Print stay on her feet and keep zooming. What concentration on their faces!

Rocky Helps Miss Print

In SyncThe Dames led from the start, but it was relatively close after the first period. The Corsets seemed to struggle in the second period and the gap widened to ~30 points. The Corsets didn't give up and narrowed the gap in the third period. There were a lot of skaters putting on the jammer star for both teams. Having Hannah on the Corsets gave them the flexibility to move folks around keep the team in the hunt. In the final jam of the event, Juwana Hurt put on the jammer star and showed her speed skating skills to get some points. The crowd enjoyed seeing that jam!

The half time entertainment for the event was provided by Cincinnati Zoo. They brought a few things like this sea eagle that was amazing to see up close. There were also folks in animal costumes like this manatee outfit. They must have been hot in there, but the kids loved it! When the sea cow came by, the kids behind us were yelling "hi manatee" and waving. A good choice for entertainment. The CRG group also presented a donation of $1500 to the Zoo! Considering they volunteer lots of time and could use the money to promote the league, it's very nice of them to give something back to the community.

Me and BluAlthough the competition was tough, the skaters seemed like they were having fun -- as shown in the photo of Rocky Balrolla. After the bout the Rollergirls stayed to meet the crowd and sign autographs. I got to meet Blu and Dianne got a photo of us. Unfortunately, some camera issues messed up my photo with the Librarian -- hopefully I can catch her for a re-take at the next home match at Castle Skateland in Loveland on October 14th when the CRG hosts the Burning River Rollergirls. See all my photos from the event in my Flickr set. While waiting for the next home match, check the Roller Derby Diva's blog for league information and results from several away matches in the coming months. Best of luck to the traveling team!

Thanks to all the CRG skaters, refs, volunteers, and supporters for putting on some wonderful derby events at the Cincinnati Gardens this year!!

P.S. All derby fans please read the post below which explains the derby photo badges in my sidebar.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Participate, and Vote For Me!

The CiN Weekly is conducting a neat project called Capture Cincinnati. It's pretty simple -- folks upload photos to the site and provide some photo information including assigning it to a chapter/category. For the next 44 days, you can view all the photos and vote for your favorites. The top photos in the various categories will be compiled into a book that captures greater Cincinnati. They will also put out a DVD with photos.

So if you have photos taken around the greater Cincinnati area, upload them! Read more about the details here.

Now, in a shameless bit of self promotion, please vote for me! I've uploaded several photos I've taken around the area and would appreciate some votes. I've added voting badges to my sidebar. You can see the entire set of photos here. There are some ice storm photos, recent fireworks photos, butterfly exhibit at Krohn, Zoo Blooms, etc. I also posted a couple Cincinnati Rollergirls photos in the sports section and one in the People section. I think it would be great to have a Cincinnati Rollergirl photo in the book -- right along with the other hometown teams like the Reds and Bengals. If Jason or Jeff are eligible, I hope they add some of their derby photos and let us know to vote. In any case, I'd appreciate votes and/or comments on the derby photos (and any others you like) from all the Rollergirl fans out there!

44 days left to upload photos and vote.

My First HDR Images

I've wanted to play with high dynamic range (HDR) images for awhile. An HDR image represents an exaggerated dynamic range of light intensity in a single image. I think it's nice for situations with very light spots and shadows where you want to bring out the detail in both areas. That's often hard to do in a single image. HDR images give some interesting effects.

Just this week I got the Photomatix Pro software that creates HDR images from multiple images with varying exposures. Today I took some shots to try the software. This week the Macro Monday theme is 'rust.' While visiting Michele and John's garden, I noticed the outdoor basketball hoop next door had some interesting rust areas. I took some macro shots and used the Photomatix software to render some HDR versions. They turned out well for a first attempt. On the image below, you notice a shadow across the bottom portion of the hex nut. The rust detail in that shadow area was lost in a single image. By combining 4 images with various exposures, I brought out the detail in all the light and dark areas (like the spider web and rust on the bottom of the nut). Compare the HDR image below to this single image of a nearby area. The light was pretty flat as it was a bit cloudy. The rust detail on the single image just doesn't jump out as much. Check out my other HDR rust images here and here.

Thanks to Chris for pointing me in the right direction for HDR and panorama software. Check out his wonderful photos here.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

More Local Photoblogs

Although I've followed her Flickr photo pool for quite awhile, I just found out that local photographer Jana has two photoblogs she maintains using her Flickr photos. The first is called "Cincinnati, As I See It." The subject is pretty obvious -- photos she has taken in and around Cincinnati. The second is called "City of Sculpture" which is relatively new and includes photos taken in and around Hamilton, Ohio (just North of Cincinnati). She must spend a fortune on gas because she posts photos from all over the area. Check them out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September Activities On My List

There are several events of interest in the Cincinnati area coming up in September.

This coming weekend is the final Cincinnati Rollergirls bout at the Cincinnati Gardens. It's an intra-league bout. Note that there is another event in October at Castle Skateland in Loveland.

On September 15th and 16th, Jim Dandy's Family BBQ in Sharonville is hosting the 2nd Annual Jim Dandy's BBQ Cookoff. The restaurant is owned by a guy I used to work with -- Jim of course. After leaving P&G, he followed his cooking passion full time and started a restaurant a couple years ago. Jim knows how to smoke ribs. We enjoy the food, but didn't see the 1st cookoff. Stop by if you're in the area.

On September 22nd and 23rd, the Blue Ash Airport is holding its annual Blue Ash Airport Days. It has become a large event for the airport. There are several good airshow performers that will be there. Of course you can see the airshow from many spots off the airport property. But there are things to see and do on the airport grounds, and all admission proceeds go to Children's Hospital. There is a car & motorcycle show on the grounds and a 5k run is planned too.

Although not in the immediate Cincinnati area, on September 29th and 30th the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends event is being held at Rickenbacker Field just South of Columbus. Besides a large group of P-51 Mustangs, there will be lots of other warbirds attending the event and an airshow including the US Air Force Thunderbirds. The Legends part of the event are the aviators who flew these planes. Check out the list of aviations legends that plan to attend. They've held these events before, but usually in Florida or some distance away. I'm going to have to drive over for this one.

Do you have other favorite September events coming up in the Cincinnati area?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunday Fireworks

On Sunday Dianne and I went downtown for the WEBN Labor Day fireworks associated with the Riverfest celebration. It is by far the largest fireworks display I've ever seen first hand. Dean and family came down from Dayton to join us.

Most of the items are launched from barges in the Ohio river between the Purple People Bridge and the Taylor-Southgate bridge near downtown Cincinnati. Literally hundreds of thousands of people flock to both sides of the river and the surrounding hills to see the display. The only reason we go is that the company Dianne works for makes an event out of it. The office is located at 1 Lytle Place which is almost perfectly centered between the two bridges. They provide passes, parking, and a semi-restricted viewing area so we don't have to battle the masses flocking to the river. It's a great viewing location. We waited in her air conditioned office until a half hour before the event. Pretty painless for such a wonderful display!

I hadn't tried taking fireworks photos before. Below are a few shots. No Photoshop composites, just long exposures. The last one was during the finale when there was a continuous rumble of hundreds of loud reports below the other charges. It was so intense the smoke didn't have a chance to clear. Click on an image to go to Flickr for a larger view or see the entire fireworks photo set on Flickr.

Fireworks 93

Fireworks 64

Fireworks 65

Fireworks 144

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday Excursion

On Saturday, Dianne and I started the day with dim sum at the Grand Oriental restaurant. They have the best in the area we've found -- anyone else have other favorite dim sum spots around Cincinnati? The BBQ pork buns (baked of course) and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf are a couple of my favorites. They also had a nice steamed baby bok choy dish -- although there was a little grit in a couple of them.

After lunch we continued North on a trip to Springfield to visit Competition Accessories. Along the way we stopped in Dayton to drop off tickets for Sunday's fireworks with Dean. The main purpose for our trip to Competition was to get a new motorcycle helmet for Dianne. They have a great selection. Since fit is so important, it's nice to go somewhere to try on several different ones. She settled on a Nolan helmet that has some nice features including a smoked visor you can raise and lower -- pretty handy as you can't be taking your sunglasses on and off while on the bike.

We took a leisurely back-road drive home. Along the way, we stopped in YellowYellow Springs Springs to look around a bit. The bike trail, formerly the railroad line, goes right through town and the old station building (in photo at right -- click to see a larger image in Flickr) is a rest stop. It's a nice community with vibrant, eclectic selection of stores likely driven by the student community of Antioch. While walking around, we noticed many signs mentioning the preservation of Antioch College. Didn't know what was up until we got back and found that the Antioch University trustees voted to close Antioch College for at least four years, starting next year, for financial reasons. Obviously that will have a huge impact on the community.Muscians

In Yellow Springs we listened to a couple of musicians playing the drums and bag pipe. We also saw this rig for hanging chairs off of a square trailer hitch. Never saw anything like that before.

On the way home we again ended up in the Mason/Deerfield Township area and decided to have dinner at the Encore Cafe. It was very good! I had a roasted shallot soup with chives (gotta get my onion fix while out to eat) and a chicken Napoleon (baked chicken layered with roasted red pepper, prosciutto, and provolone) on orzo with seasonal vegetables and drizzled with a bleu cheese sauce. Yum! There were a lot of other entrees on the menu that looked good. The only bad thing is we were too full for dessert -- always good at a Sturkey restaurant.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lots of Stingers

Continuing with the garden photo posts, here is a selection of bee and wasp photos I took while looking around. They were more interested in the nectar than they were in me. Lots of activity! Click on an image to see a larger view or go to the Flickr set here.