Tag Archives: vacation

My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Sights Part 2 (Copenhagen Denmark)

Copenhagen Denmark

Last week after speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, my wife and I had the opportunity to see some of the sights in nearby Copenhagen Denmark.

Copenhagen is just across the straight, or the sound, or the Øresund, from Malmo Sweden.  We took the train across, which only cost about 13 US dollars.  As we were travelling across the Øresund Bridge, we could see a really cool wind farm to the south.

Once we got to the Copenhagen airport, we took the Metro train to Kongens Nytorv or The King’s New Square.  There was a construction wall around the entire square, so we didn’t actually get to see it.  Here is what the new square looks like on Google 3D maps right now.

Right when you exit the underground Metro station in the King’s New Square, you are greeted by a grand department store called Magasin.  Here is a photo of the storefront.

In the above photo of the department store, you can see two pyramid shaped glass structures on street level.  Those are big skylights opening down into the underground Metro station.  Pretty cool.  And if you look closely you can see several large glass prisms mounted inside the glass pyramids.  On a sunny day I bet those prisms shine a rainbow of light down onto the Metro passengers below!

Directly across the street from this grand department storefront stands another big beautiful and distinguished building.  It’s the Det Kongelige Teater, or Royal Danish Theatre.  This photo is actually the side of the building.

And this is the front.  Quite elaborate.  Inside it seats 1,600 and as a theatre geek I really wanted to peek inside the auditorium.  The lobby was open and there was a small cafe inside, but everything else was closed.

This is a bar and some really neat architecture that we noticed behind the Royal Danish Theatre.  It’s almost an alleyway, but it’s quite beautiful.

Just around the corner from the Royal Danish Theatre is this bright and fun canal street called Nyhavn, or New Harbour.   I dare you to try and take a photo of this place that isn’t postcard or magazine quality!  It’s practically impossible!

Nyhavn is a walking street, not a driving street.  There are a ton of small shops and bars and restaurants.  And the street is filled with these little wooden sheds selling local goods.  It’s very much a street-fair atmosphere.

Many boats and small ships line the canal.  The vintage schooners are there on permanent display and some are quite historical.  The boat pictured below is actually an old lightship.  Think lighthouse, but actually on the water.  This particular lightship served Gedser Reef in southern Denmark for over 50 years.

This was new to us.  Love locks attached to a bridge railing.  Apparently it’s a relatively new tradition for younger folks to show their unbreakable love by attaching a lock to a bridge and then tossing the key into the water.  Interesting tradition.

Some municipalities consider it vandalism.  I’m torn on the subject.  It’s kind of beautiful.  But I can see how it could get out of hand.

We noticed quite a crowd continuing past the New Harbor canal and over a bridge beyond the river.  We had nowhere to be so we joined the crowd.  There had to be something good over there.

There was a big warehouse building across the river that most people were going to.  Out front these giant seagull statues looked to be made out of thin plywood sheets.  Pretty cool.

Then we saw some people eating food outside the building so we knew we were about to enjoy a surprise lunch.  The decor for this dining area was extremely industrial and warehouse-like.  Check out the 2 story shipping container dining area pictured below.  Amazing.

Yeah.  Now I totally see that guy smirking at me while I took that photo.  I’m just glad he didn’t do anything to completely ruin my photo!   🙂

We were pleasantly surprised when we went inside the building.  It was a large warehouse space filled with about 40 colorful and fun street food vendors selling some awesome street food!  It was pretty amazing!  It’s called Copenhagen Street Food.

It’s sort of like an American food court at a shopping mall, but way way better!  Way way more choices and super unique choices too!  It’s quite literally a food truck party!

My wife and I couldn’t decide between an ostrich burger or a pulled duck burger.  So we got one of each and then we shared!  Both were crazy good!  But I couldn’t get over how yummy and juicy the pulled duck was.  There was no sauce or anything.  I think it was just pulled and then simmered in some sort of light oil.  Or maybe grease.  Don’t care.  It was delicious.  I wonder what Thanksgiving turkey would taste like if you pulled it and then simmered it in oil or grease.

The dessert selections were also pretty great.  We decided on these yummy looking cheesecakes.

In the same warehouse building, next to Copenhagen Street Food, was the Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.  It was inexpensive and we had the time, so we paid admission and checked it out.  There were quite a lot of displays that used multimedia technology.  Videos, audio, lasers, projectors, etc.

One of the art exhibitions was a virtual reality exhibit.  Each wooden room ran a different visual and audible virtual reality loop that you could interact with.  It was pretty interesting to interact with art in that manner.

As the sun was setting, at about 4pm, the Nyhavn canal started to become lit up for the evening street party.  During our leisurely walk back through the street-fair we bought some souvenirs and also some hot chocolate.  It was too early for us to eat dinner.  Plus we had just eaten lunch at the food trucks not much earlier.  But there are lots of restaurants and pubs to choose from on Nyhavn street.

One evening while we were there, we noticed all the TV’s at the pub we were eating at were showing a big World Cup qualifying game between Denmark and Ireland.  And that game was being played right there in Copenhagen!  We had no idea.  If I had known, I would have looked into tickets to attend the game.  Even though neither myself nor my wife are into soccer (football), it would have been a pretty cool thing to witness first hand right there in Denmark.

Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post all about the wonderful food that my wife and I got to experience while we were in Malmo and Copenhagen!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Sights

Malmo Sweden

Last week after speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, my wife and I had the opportunity to see some of the sights around town.

The weather there was pretty mild with highs around 45 of 50 degF and lows around 35 or 40.  It rained one afternoon and one full day while we were there, but the rest of the time it was partly sunny.  The cold wind never really settled down, though.  It was most definitely hat, gloves, and scarf weather.  And this “Florida boy” (Florida transplant, really) doesn’t even own a scarf!

Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden, but it’s not a huge city.  It’s about the same size as the city limits of Orlando Florida.  Not including the surrounding communities.  Just the city limits proper.  So imagine if you were driving away from downtown Orlando and as soon as you hit the city limit a few miles out, it became rural countryside.  That’s Malmo Sweden.

Malmo is located at the very southern tip of Sweden, which is a very very long country north to south.  Sweden is actually the same height as America, from the top of North Dakota to the southern tip of Texas!

This photo shows several hotels along the canal.  This area of town has lots of canals and waterways.

Here you can see the famous Øresund Bridge.  This bridge crosses between Sweden and Denmark.  Part of this bridge is over the sound (the strait) and part of it tunnels underground (and under the water).  We went over this bridge 4 times while we were in town.  It’s pretty cool.

The Øresund Bridge was the setting for the popular Swedish/Danish TV crime drama titled The Bridge.  I have not seen the TV show, but I’m told it is quite good.

Here is a photo taken from the beach of the famous Turning Torso building.  It is the first twisted skyscraper in the world!  It is mostly apartments, which is pretty cool for those residents!  It’s not cheap to live there!

Here is a closer view of the Turning Torso.

The below photo, taken from the beach, shows a building in the sound called Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, which is an open-air bath.  It’s basically a walled structure on the water with pool decks and stairs and ramps into the water for easy access  to swimming in the sound.  It also has saunas for quickly jumping from hot to cold and back.  Clothes are optional at places like this and my wife and I decided that it was not for us.    🙂

Also, it was quite cold.

I have one word for these people:  Pneumonia

Also I have one more word:  Shrinkage

Do women even know about shrinkage?

This is just a really cool looking office building that was across the street from our hotel.  It’s right outside the central train station entrance.

This bank building is also right outside the central train station entrance.  I thought it was a cool melding of modern or contemporary architecture and old or historic architecture.

Malmo’s Old City Hall building was beautiful inside and out.  We were honored to have dinner there one night with the other conference speakers.  But the facade was undergoing renovation, so it was mostly covered up.  We could only get a view of the below small portion of the historic and beautiful building.

This photo shows a typical view of the downtown area of Malmo.  We noticed that bicyclists in Malmo are highly regarded by city planners.  In many areas of the city, the bike lanes were quite impressive.  Most intersections even had a set of stoplights for the cars, plus a smaller set of stoplights for the bikes, and then a third set of crossing lights for the pedestrians.

Pedestrians are definitely third class citizens to the bikers.  If you accidentally walk in a bike lane, you are likely to get run over by a speeding bike!

Here is an example of the super fancy and super expensive desserts that you might find only at the most extravagant of dinner parties or expensive restaurants in Sweden.

Just kidding! This was just the display at a small bakery at the central train station!  Yeah.  Super fancy!

Below is a photo, at dusk, of Malmo Castle.  It’s basically right in the middle of downtown.  It’s surrounded by a moat.  And there is a museum inside.  Sadly, we arrived too late to experience it.

Speaking of arriving late.  We were in Malmo in early November and it got dark at like 4pm!  Southern Sweden and Denmark are at the same latitude as the southern parts of Alaska.  During the day, I never saw the sun get above what I would consider the 10am position in the sky!  By the time 6 or 7pm rolled around, we felt like it was 10 or 11pm!  Crazy!  This extremely early darkness hampered some of our tourism in the area.  And it definitely hampered a lot of our photography of the area.

There are several different open-air squares in Malmo.  In the square below, there were some nice big trees that were decorated for the holidays with large lights and large ornaments.

There are quite a few grassy parks in Malmo.  I noticed that many of them are actually cemeteries.  But unlike the cemeteries in the US that I’ve experienced, these cemeteries sequester their burial plots into small squares and leave room for walking and playing in between.  Interesting concept, sharing the grassy park with the deceased.  It seemed a little strange at first.  But I think I like the idea.

A large percentage of Malmo’s residents live in apartment buildings.  So gardening is totally out of the question for most residents.  Except for those that buy one of these garden plots.  It’s an area with small plots of land that you can build a tiny house or a shed on and you can grow grass or trees and bushes or even a full blown garden.

This is a beautiful church called St. John’s Church.  It has a very smooth and rounded architecture style.  I find it soothing to look at.

We went inside to see more beauty and were surprised that there was a wedding in progress.  I quickly and quietly snapped a photo of the interior before leaving quiet as a mouse.

This awesome church is St Pauli Church.  It has a large central tower surrounded by 12 smaller towers which represent Jesus and the disciples.  It has a very sharp and rigid and angular architecture.  It’s almost shocking to look at.

This is the Caroli Church.  It was created for the German population that was living in Malmo in the 17th century.  At that time, the Germans didn’t have a church in Malmo and had to attend church across the sound in Copenhagen Denmark.  Which back then was probably not real easy to get to.  This church was designed by the same architect as the St Pauli Church above and you can see the similarities.

One place that we tried but failed to see while we were in town was the Malmo Chocolate Factory and Museum.  But we got there sort of late.  Well, it was only 3pm on a Saturday.  But they had just closed.  So we missed that, which would have been pretty cool, we think.

Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post about some more of the fun sightseeing that my wife and I did in Copenhagen Denmark!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

Kurt’s Guide to Disney World Resort Hopping

Resort hopping?

If you are a guest at one of the Disney World Resorts, you can visit several of their other resorts during the day and enjoy quite a bit of entertainment by resort hopping.  Not to mention all the awesome and interesting dining options.  Disney has an “open resort” policy which means that you are allowed to visit their other resorts and enjoy their amenities.  But Disney is very careful to point out that using a pool at another resort is strictly forbidden.


[Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, image from Tripadvisor.com]

But aside from the pool issue, there are lots of reasons to resort hop while you’re staying at Disney.  I will attempt to run down the major reasons below.  Please let me know if I got anything wrong or if I missed something important!


[Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort pool, image from Tripadvisor.com]

Resort choices

Fort Wilderness Resort

  • near: Magic Kingdom, Epcot
  • dining: 1 casual, 2 dinner shows (Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ), 1 bar
  • activities: archery, canoe/boat/kayak rentals, pony/horseback rides, movies under the stars, campfire sing-a-long, bike/jog trails, basketball, volleyball, arcade
  • transportation: boats to Magic Kingdom and Wilderness Lodge and Contemporary

All-Star Movies/Music/Sports Resorts

  • near: Animal Kingdom, Wide World of Sports, Blizzard Beach
  • dining: food courts, pool bars
  • activities: movies under the stars, jog trail, arcade

Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts

  • near: Wide World of Sports, Hollywood Studios, Epcot
  • dining: food courts, pool bars
  • activities: movies under the stars, jog trail, arcade

Caribbean Beach Resort

  • near: Epcot
  • dining: 1 casual, 1 fast food, pool bar
  • activities: mini golf, adventure cruise, campfire, bike/jog trails, arcade

Port Orleans Resorts, French Quarter and Riverside

  • near: Downtown Disney, Epcot
  • dining: 1 casual, 2 fast food, 4 bars
  • activities: carriage rides, adventure cruise, campfire, bike/jog trails, arcade
  • transportation: boats to Downtown Disney

Coronado Springs Resort

  • near: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Blizzard Beach
  • dining: 1 casual, 3 fast food, 3 bars
  • activities: campfire, jog trail, arcade

Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • near: Animal Kingdom
  • dining: 1 fine, 3 casual themed, 3 fast food, 2 bars
  • activities: safari animal viewing, African art & artifacts, campfire, jog trail, arcade

Wilderness Lodge

  • near: Magic Kingdom
  • dining: 1 casual, 2 dinner shows
  • activities: bike/jog trails, boat rentals, movies under the stars, campfires, arcade
  • transportation: boats to Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness and Contemporary

Old Key West Resort

  • near: Downtown Disney, Epcot
  • dining: 1 casual, 3 fast food
  • activities: fitness center, campfire, movies under the stars, bike/jog trains, basketball, tennis, volleyball, arcades
  • transportation: boats to Downtown Disney

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

  • near: Downtown Disney, Epcot
  • dining: 1 casual, 3 fast food, 2 bars
  • activities: spa services, campfire, bike/jog trails, tennis, basketball, arcade
  • transportation: boats to Downtown Disney

Contemporary Resort

  • near: Magic Kingdom
  • dining: 1 fine dining, 1 character dining, 1 casual themed, 3 fast food, 4 bars
  • activities: monorail runs through, water sports rentals, volleyball, tennis, jogging trail, campfire, movies under the stars, arcade, nighttime fireworks cruise
  • transportation: boats to Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge

Beach/Yacht Club Resorts

  • near: Epcot
  • dining: 1 fine dining, 1 character dining, 3 casual, 2 fast food, 3 bars
  • activities: fitness center, mini golf, campfire, movies under the stars, adventure cruise, boat rentals, bike/jog trails, tennis, volleyball, arcade
  • transportation: boats to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk and Swan/Dolphin

Boardwalk Inn Resort

  • near: Epcot
  • dining: 1 fine dining, 3 casual themed, 3 fast food, 1 bar
  • activities: mini golf, campfire, movies under the stars, bike/jog trails, tennis, arcade
  • transportation: boats to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Beach/Yacht Club and Swan/Dolphin

Swan and Dolphin Hotels

  • near: Epcot
  • dining: 2 fine dining, 5 casual, 3 fast food, 5 bars
  • activities: fitness center, tennis, volleyball, basketball, arcade, jogging trail
  • transportation: boats to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk and Beach/Yacht Club

Polynesian Resort

  • near: Magic Kingdom
  • dining: 1 character dining, 1 dinner show, 2 casual themed, 3 fast food, 1 bar
  • activities: movies under the stars, boat rentals, campfire, bike/jog trails, volleyball
  • transportation: monorail and boats to Magic Kingdom and Grand Floridian

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

  • near: Magic Kingdom
  • dining: 3 fine dining, 1 character dining, 1 casual, 3 fast food, 2 bars
  • activities: spa services, boat rentals, adventure cruise, movies under the stars, jogging trail, arcade
  • transportation: monorail and boats to Magic Kingdom and Polynesian

Getting from place to place

Epcot is a major bus hub, so you can get to pretty much anywhere from Epcot via bus.  Epcot is also a boat hub for the Boardwalk, the Beach/Yacht Clubs and the Dolphin/Swan resorts.

The Magic Kingdom is  a boat hub for the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, the Wilderness Lodge,Fort Wilderness, and the Contemporary.  The Magic Kingdom is a monorail hub for the Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian.  A second monorail line runs between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Animal Kingdom is also a major bus hub.

Yuo can get to Downtown Disney from pretty much any resort.  Also, Downtown Disney is a boat hub for the Old Key West, Saratoga Springs and the Port Orleans French Quarter/Riverside resorts.

Have fun!

Thanks for reading my blog!  Let me know if I got anything wrong or if you have any information to add!  And also let me know if this blog post helped you in any way shape or form!  Thanks!

Kurt

My unexpected (but fully paid) vacation: Day 9

This is my little digital journal from the government shutdown.  Today is day 9 (Friday Oct 11th), not counting the weekend.  Click here to see all of my government shutdown journal entries.

Today I got up at 7am because I wanted to get canoeing pretty early.  I could have set my alarm to get up before sunrise, but I’m on vacation so I just got up whenever I woke up today.  I checked Facebook real quick and then ate some breakfast burgers, since they make for a pretty quick meal.

Then I drove about 30 minutes to Pine Island Conservation Area.  Here it is on Google Maps.  My original NASA boss, Gary, told me about this place many many years ago and I’ve been wanting to check it out and have just never made the time.  This government shutdown is allowing me to do all sorts of stuff that I’ve been meaning to do, though.

There was a map station at the entrance and according to the map there were two separate canoe trails.  A 2.3 mile loop run and a 3.0 mile run.  The loop was obvious on the map, but the 3 mile run was not completely obvious to me at the time.  After studying it later at home, I’m fairly certain that the 3 mile run and the 2.3 mile loop overlap on the Indian River side.

I started on the south side of the sanctuary at the start of the 3 mile run.  My thinking was that I would quit after the 3 mile run run if I was tired.  My problem was that I actually started in a lake next to the run instead of starting in the run.  I didn’t actually realize that I was in the lake till I got to the opposite end and noticed that it didn’t take a sharp right turn as the map showed.  Oops.  No harm, though.  It was a nice warm up run.  The lake was dead calm.  This photo was taken on the lake at about 9:30am.

pine-island-canoeing-1-selfie

Had I used my GPS app on my phone and zoomed out a bit, it would have been obvious that I was not in the correct body of water.  But I didn’t do that.  Oh well.  Lesson learned.  So after I took my tour of the south lake, I got my canoe put in at the start of the 3 mile run and immediately started encountering manatees.  Huge manatees.  Manatees in large groups, no less.  I did my best to avoid them, but these things had no respect for my personal space.  They acted like they owned the place.  🙂

I didn’t see more than a couple jumping fish and some birds in the south lake, but in this canal there were tons of wildlife.  I saw alligators, manatees, ospreys, large cranes, and even a bald eagle.  As soon as I got out into the Indian River, there were tons of fish running in schools and lots of fish jumping out of the water.  This is a fisherman’s paradise.  I, however, am not a fisherman.

The breeze was starting to pick up and work against me while I was traveling north on the Indian River, but I stayed close to the shore where the breeze was minimal.  By the time I got up into the north part of the sanctuary and at the start of the 2.3 mile loop, the breeze was calm and I felt pretty good so I kept going.  I hadn’t really been paddling very hard.  I was just taking a nice leisurely pace.

The north part of the sanctuary has multiple marsh ponds connected by small channels.  There was one spot where I wasn’t even sure I was going to fit my canoe through.  This is a great way to see natural Florida marshland.  This is probably the same landscape that the first settlers saw way back when.

The largest pond at the north end of the sanctuary was a bit of a challenge since the wind was working against me.  I was travelling north and the wind was pushing south.  But I knew as soon as I turned around the northern border, I would be travelling south on the Indian River with the wind at my back, so I pressed on.

So after making the turn around and ending back in the Indian River travelling south, I was expecting the wind to push me south and I was planning on just lazily riding it home.  But apparently the wind died just as I arrived.  It was dead calm.  I don’t believe this happens on the Indian River very often.  It was pretty weird.  The glassy smooth water did allow me to see lots of fish, though.

My rear was starting to hurt from sitting in the canoe, so I stood up and paddled and I could see even more fish.  I know stand up paddle-boarding is a popular activity these days, but is stand up canoeing also a thing?  Did I just start a stand up canoeing thing?

You can see a fish in mid-air in the photo below.  You can also see that I’m in about 1.5 feet of water.  The lakes and canals in this area are fairly deep, but the Indian River is very shallow unless you are out in the middle where the boat channel is located.

pine-island-canoeing-2-jumping-fish

In this glassy smooth water, I also saw some dolphins feeding.  I didn’t get close enough to them to get a good photo, though.  I saw some small stingrays in the Indian River too.  Here is a photo I took of a small stingray resting on the bottom.

pine-island-canoeing-3-stingray

So when it was all said and done, I actually ended up canoeing on both trails, plus repeating a large portion of the 3 mile run, plus a lake.  By my estimate, I canoed 7 miles or more today.  I started a little after 9am and finished a little after 4pm, so I was out on the water for 7 total hours.  It was a long day, but I was not paddling hard during any of my day.  Most of the time I was just taking it easy and paddling gently.  Although, that being said, I’m sure my shoulders and back muscles are going to be killing me tomorrow.

The weather today was really nice.  The high temperature was 85, I think.  It was mostly sunny all day long.  I think I applied SPF 50 sunblock three separate times today.  I think I got a bit of sun on the back of my neck, though, because the last time I applied it was sweaty and I don’t think it took very well.

Here is a Google map of the Pine Island Conservation Area marked up showing my path today.  This is not a GPS trail … I did not use my GPS today because I wasn’t sure the battery in my phone would last that long and I wanted to make sure my phone was available for emergencies.  This is just a satellite image that I manually marked up with my path.  Click on the image for a full size version.

Kurts-pine-island-route

So that was basically my entire day today.  Afterwards, I stopped for some ice cream.  Then I got home and rinsed off all the canoeing stuff, then I took a shower and ate a grilled swiss cheese sandwich.  Then I relaxed on the couch for a bit and now I’m writing this blog post.

It’s sorta funny that sitting at the table typing into my computer, I still feel like I’m standing in my canoe and it is gently rocking back and forth.  It’s just a bit dizzying.  I wonder how long it will take to wear off.  I wonder if it will impact me getting to sleep tonight.  I’m about to find out because it’s 10:30pm and I’ve had a long day in the sun, so I’m going to bed now.

So that was day nine of my unplanned furlough slash vacation.  My to-do list had 21 items on it last night when I went to bed.  Tonight it now has 20 items on it.  I’ll take it.

What will Monday hold for this furloughed government employee? Stay tuned! 🙂

Kurt

My unexpected (but fully paid) vacation: Day 8

This is my little digital journal from the government shutdown.  Today is day 8 (Thursday Oct 10th), not counting the weekend.  Click here to see all of my government shutdown journal entries.

Today I slept in till 10am because I was up pretty late last night working on my computer.  After getting up, I caught up on my Facebook news feed and threw in a load of laundry.  Throughout the day today I put laundry either in or out of the washer and dryer in between other tasks I was working on.  At the end of the day I had washed and dried 4 separate loads of laundry.  Yay me!  🙂

I know I should exercise more often than just once a week, but this is all I’ve motivated myself to do so far.  Today I fast walked for just over three miles while listening to my Adam Ant station on Pandora on my phone.  It was a nice cool morning today and it feels like Fall is trying to make an appearance in Central Florida.

fast-walking

It’s weird that the Adam Ant station plays Duran Duran, but the Duran Duran station does NOT play Adam Ant.  What’s up with that, Pandora?  Are they similar to each other or not?

I want to thank my sister and her friend Missy and also my friend Mick for introducing me to Adam Ant along with lots of other great British music in the early 80s.  I was probably 12 or 13 years old which is probably too young for many of the lyrics in Adam Ant’s songs, but I was probably not understanding the lyrics anyways.  I think I turned out okay, regardless.  Now that I’m older and wiser and actually paying close attention, it seems to me that Adam Ant sang mostly about sex, but he also sang quite a bit about pirates and also a little bit about native american Indians.  Weird.

I tried to beat my fast walking time from last week, but I was not successful.  Trying to take my own self portrait while fast walking may have been a factor.  I’m not quite coordinated enough to work the camera on my phone without slowing down, I suppose.  After my little hike was over, I passed a yard sale walking back to my house, so I quickly checked it out.  There wasn’t anything there that I needed to have.  As a matter of fact, I noticed a pair of gently used men’s underwear and also some sexy women’s lingerie.  That’s real classy, people.   Real classy.

Then I sat in my Adirondack chair on my front porch for a while and enjoyed a banana and papaya smoothie.  I caught up on my email while I sat there and I also sent out some feelers for any potential TV or film background talent needs that might be currently active in Central Florida.  I’ve done some extra/background work in the past and I wouldn’t mind doing some now since it would not conflict with my NASA work schedule.  So if you know of any leads, please let me know.  Thanks.

After I pried myself up out of my comfortable Adirondack chair, I went into the shop and changed out my old mower blades with a brand new set.  I was not able to get them off the other day by hand, but I borrowed an air powered impact wrench the other day from a friend and it worked like a charm.  I have a convenient setup in my shop where I can lift up the front of the mower using a cable winch puller (a.k.a. come a long winch) inside the doorway between two rooms in my shop.

mower-lift

Notice that the winch is attached to the header in the doorway which is essentially a strong beam that is designed to support a load.  The rafters/trusses that you can see in the background of the photo (that the lights are attached to) are not designed specifically to support a heavy downward load applied at the lower horizontal members.  Those horizontal members are designed primarily for tension.  You could cause some structural damage if you applied heavy loads to those horizontal “beam” looking portions of the trusses.  So be careful.

There is a really simple diagram on this website that shows the forces on a typical truss.  Scroll down a page or two till you see the blue arrows.  (Some of the arrows should show compression and some should show tension, so it’s not perfectly accurate but you get the idea.)

After I put on the new mower blades, I took them for a test drive.  They worked beautifully.  They sounded great and they cut like butter.  It felt kinda like walking in a new pair of shoes.  You feel light on your feet and empowered to go places.  With my new mower blades I felt like I could take on the world … or at least a few large yards.  My yard doesn’t need cutting for several more days, though, so I put the mower away and went looking for my next task.

I realized that I was starting to get hungry, so I went inside and ate my leftover Mr. Submarine sub sandwich from yesterday.  Then I installed trim around the fireplace brick in my living room.  This has needed to be done for two years now … ever since we bought this house … but I’ve been busy and this was not one of my highest priorities.  Don’t judge me … it’s done now.   🙂

It wasn’t exactly a simple job.  Most trim is just nailed into the bottom wood plate of the wall.  But this fireplace trim had to be installed in the direction such that the tall dimension was laying against the brick and the thin dimension was laying against the drywall.  That left me no place to nail the trim to, so I had to glue it.  I used Liquid Nails Indoor Projects adhesive and then I nailed some finish nails into the drywall to hold the trim tightly against the brick while the adhesive dried.  After I remove the finish nails from the drywall, I will have tiny little holes right along the new trim to patch and paint.  Oh well.

fireplace-trim

This odd installation direction is partially because the gap between the drywall and the brick is too large for the thin dimension to cover, but partially because it looks pretty good this way.  After I got my tools put away, I sat down and did some planning for going out in my canoe tomorrow.  The plan is to go out bright and early in the morning, unless it’s real windy.  It’s no fun rowing a canoe against a stiff wind.

Then I ate dinner which was popcorn shrimp wrap … popcorn shrimp, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, Italian dressing all rolled in a soft flour tortilla.  After dinner I spent an hour or so pulling stuff together for canoeing in the morning … including strapping the canoe to the top of the SUV.  Then I showered and now I’m writing this blog post.  That’s pretty much day eight of my unplanned furlough slash vacation.

My to-do list had 24 items on it last night when I went to bed.  Tonight it now has 21 items on it. Not bad at all.

What will tomorrow hold for this furloughed government employee? Stay tuned! 🙂

Kurt