Visiting NYC

Did the Wee Toaty Explorers visit New York? Oh, yeah. They were all over the place.

First, we had to have a silly pun. Isn't this a nice firefighter kitty?

I thought it would be hard to place items in New York, but this is one blasé place.

I went to the Big Apple and so you know who had to be there.

Ok. Ok. Had to do a tiny one:

Click on any of the pictures to see a bigger slideshow.

Room With a View: New York, New York

I flew all the way out here for a three and a half hour meeting. Yes, it is OK to be jealous.

My favorite thing so far: Taggers who don't know where they are.

Wee Toaty Explorer Annual Report

The mayor of Wee Toaty Explorer Town hereby calls this meeting of the WTE executive committee together in order to provide the annual State of the Wee Toaty Explorers Address.

When we look into our crystal ball, it is hard to see what the future will bring; however, it is pretty dang easy to call to mind some of the ups and downs of our brave cadre over the last twelve months.

We had a bit of a rough start to the year as at the beginning our travel schedule continued the previous year's trend toward staying at home. And sure there were a few protestors.

But you can make a purse out of a sow's ear and we did the best we could until winter finally arrived and traveling increased. We shot on location fifteen times this year.

And it is true that we got a little lost in Oklahoma, so we only visited ten different US states this year.

We did have one chance for a pleasure trip, although we had some trouble keeping everybody together. We wound up with three photo shoots in one park alone.

I have done my best to remain your "law-n-order" mayor-for-life, and we remain committed to keeping our force on the streets.

Sure, there have been two crimes unresolved -- your wife misses you Mr. Crab and we're real sorry about Billy's Bicycle -- but we remain vigilant.

Our thoroughfares and waterways remain in tip-top shape, with goods and cats -- to say nothing of the dog -- making their way around without fear of molestation.

And we must not forget our fine young folks in the military who have been doing a great job protecting us as we invaded six states for the very first time -- Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah. Although we couldn't seem to figure out how to visit a foreign country this year.

I am proud to report that our fisheries and dining industries are ship-shape!

And the revival of our wire-making industry is probably my proudest achievement.

On a serious note, I must say that our office has been upfront in admitting that mistakes were made with the so-called 'illegal alien' matter.

And the less said about grilled octopus, the better.

All in all, I think this has been a good year for the Wee Toaty Explorer Experience. Although I am as surprised as anybody that we are still doing this three years later, if I could paint a picture of our future, it would be so bright,

I'd have to wear shades.

Thanks for sticking with me these three years, folks. I think my favorite this year was the bears, although the protesting Ps were pretty good. Did you have a favorite?

You can see all of the Wee Toaty Explorers in reverse order by clicking this link. Or you can see last year's annual report here.

The Wee Toaty Explorers have now visited 67 locations. Here is a map, color coded by year:

Room With a View: Reno, Nevada

Sometimes it's easier just to spend the night in a hotel near the airport.

Local Torch

London, 1948

Good News for Veggies

Now I have something I can do with all the veggies my garden is going to produce.


I was going to complain about tourists being all the same -- wandering into the street, not looking up from their maps -- but then I noticed he was actually in the crosswalk. Edgar Mitchell gets a pass.

The astronaut is from indicommons, here. The rest of the picture is mine. (Click on the picture; you'll see.)

a band, a title, a picture: an album

This week's internet meme (modified slightly from the source):

Step 1. Go to Wikipedia's random page generator. The title of the page is your band's name.

Step 2. Go to Wikiquote's random quote generator. Pick a quote. The last three or four words make the title of your album.

Step 3. Go to the flickr indicommons page. One of the nine pictures is your album cover picture.

Here's mine:

The question is: What kind of music is it?

(This image is from the collection of the State Library of New South Wales: Artist and dog arrive by Melbourne Express (taken for J.C. Williamson), 10/12/1937 / by Ted Hood)

Bull Exerciser

The indicommons delivers yet another good picture.

Via Flickr:
Image Title: Bull exerciser
Date of original: c.1950
Original Form: Photographic prints
Original Collection: Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection
Item Number: P106:114

Click here to view our digital collections. You can find this image by searching for the item number or image title.Click here to learn more about OSU Libraries' unique special collections and archival collections.

Arrrrrgh. A Garden Report

I don't know what else to try. I tried cayenne pepper. I put up an 8 foot high fence all around the yard. Then I went away for one day, and all my sunflowers have been eaten.

I have no idea how a deer could have gotten in here.

That said, the peas have gone crazy and are producing pods all over the place.

This is part of a series. Go back to the start or continue on to the next part.

Room with a View: Verdi, NV

All that money makes such a succulent sound...

Room with a View: Reno, NV


One of the things we learned biking across the country from DC to Minneapolis: Don't trust a car driver to tell you how steep or how far away something is.

Today, I was reminded that when she's only driven it, even a cyclist can fall into the trap of thinking the road is flatter than it is.

I took a ride up to Cascade Shores today, and I had had the distinct perception from driving it that Pasquale Road was fairly flat. In fact, it is much more flat than Red Dog Road, which leads up to it. However, as you can see here, there is still a 200 foot climb after leaving Red Dog and getting onto Pasquale.

Even so, I enjoyed the six miles on Pasquale. It is wonderfully shaded and, although you can't see the lake from there, it is fun having the ground fall off from the road so dramatically on the north side. I had a nice long sit on the porch at the market up there (the grill wasn't operating, but the owner made a good-smelling bowl of soup for his friends). Along the way, I passed a pair of women power walking on Pasquale with bells on their shoes.

I assume they weren't Morris dancers. I wonder if the bells were to warn off bears.

Or mountain lions.

The smoke isn't thick or anything, but the smell of the fire is in the air and there is a bit of a haze that's only distinguished from the normal pollen clouds by color. And there was a bit of a roughness in my throat the whole ride.

Room With a View: Boulder, Colorado

This Year's Five Mile Ride

I've been able to do this once every year so far. I took a six mile ride up the hill to the Old Five Mile House. (It's six miles because I didn't take the direct route.)

The green is the elevation profile and the blue is my speed, according to RunKeeper. The Old Five Mile House is 1085 feet above my house. I tried Willow Valley Road all the way this time, and it has a fifty feet or so drop before getting into the climb. When I got to the point on Willow Valley I had ridden before, I dropped to 2 miles per hour because I was stopping at every patch of shade to rest.

I can't make it to the top of this hill, but I think I can make that bit of shade fifteen feet ahead.

This time, Willow Valley was paved all the way, which is nice:

Of course, the really important thing is that I made it:

And they seem to be honoring my mother's passing (Mom lived in New Mexico):

I came back down via Scotts Flat Road/Scotts Valley Road. Scotts Valley Road is steep and graveled -- I'm glad I didn't try to go up it, but coming down was a little scary, too, because of the lack of control I felt in spots. Still, I made it home safely. Runkeeper tells me I hit 32.7 miles per hour at one point. I can assure you that was not on the way up.

Vote for Nevada City

I'm not a big fan of the Facebook likes and junk, but if Nevada City can get more votes than the other 9 cities in Outdoor Magazine's list of top ten river towns, then we get to be on the cover.

And you can vote every day.

Go here to vote.

Nevada County Independence Day Parade

I don't know about you, but I am worried that the guy on the Segway doesn't know what's about to hit him. Watch out for the angry Scotsman, lad!

Oh, I see. There's some sort of monster on the horizon:

Yes, friends, this can mean only one thing: it's time for the annual 4th of July Parade. This year, it's back in Nevada City.

This is small town America, overlooked by a courthouse.

And always ready to make a buck.

We're not too proud to let all the flags fly, even those of other states. Hello, Maryland!

The parade had all the standard things. Hyphenated-Americans? Check!

Dogs (with safety socks)? Check!

Kids (and more dogs)? Check!

Painted horses? Check!

An almost disrespectful number of flags? Check!

Firefighters? Check!

An odd confluence of American Patriotism and American Separatism? Check!

Political partisans trying to teach chemistry? Check!

Political partisans attempting to teach theater? Check!

Soapbox derby cars? Check!

Which reminds me, the monster at the top was also a soapbox derby car.

And not the wayward child of the biggest float:

One thing that I bet our parade had and yours didn't: