Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

 

Disney Does Fireworks

Friday, January 17th, 2014

disney fireworks

Even before I woke up today, Helaine was plotting. She was on the phone with Cousin Melissa planning our evening.

“Would you be interested in dinner at Disney, then fireworks,” H asked as I degroggied myself.

Disneyland is in the neighborhood. It’s only 25 minutes away.

Dinner was very nice. The fireworks, even nicer!

I don’t want to take anything away from Disneyland, but if you’ve been to Disneyworld you’ll wonder who shrunk the castle! It’s much smaller here than in Florida.

The fireworks, however, are another story. They are big and perfectly choreographed. We were centered in front of the castle. It was the perfect vantage point.

Here’s the last 45 seconds of tonight’s show. It was shot on my cellphone, handheld. You’ll get a very good idea what the show’s like. It’s Disney. You expect a certain level of ‘special.’

Computers Make Life Easier And Scarier

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

google-now-screenI’m very confused. Computers looking over my shoulder have made life easier and scarier. This isn’t a new subject from me, but it hit home last week as we prepared to leave for the weekend.

My phone and tablet both run the Android operating system. That means they both have Google Now, which claims:

“Just the right information at the right time.”

I opened Google Now and saw my flight times listed. I didn’t tell Google I was flying. It figured that out from reading my email.

It figures a lot out from what I do.

There are currently offers to track packages heading my way and links to articles about Comet Ison. It knows about the packages from my email and the comet from my browsing history.

Google Location historyMy weather is there too. While in Milwaukee, Google Now posted the local forecast plus a link to the weather at home.

It knows where home is.

Because I often use my cellphone’s GPS there are maps tracking my every move! Actually, I’m tracked when I’m not using the GPS too. The readings just aren’t taken as often.

Google Location history 2I assume Google can figure out who my doctor is and where we shop for groceries. It knew I was at Fenway Park June 24th. It can tell when I’ve spent the day at home.

Remember, it’s not just my location they know. Google also knows what’s at those locations.

I can turn most of this off. I don’t. There are two main reasons.

First, if I turn it off I’m the only one deprived of the info. Google and their pals will still know.

Second, it’s valuable to me.

Having my flight information, or weather in a strange city, or sports scores from just the teams I follow are more valuable when easily found.

Having Google Now is like having my own personal assistant. Does it know any less than a flesh and blood personal assistant would?

The downside is this information will be used in ways we can hardly imagine. And it will be used without your knowledge even when it’s wrong!

While we were in Milwaukee my GPS readout briefly shows me at my parents old condo in Florida. Who do I see to correct that glitch?

When the government pushes back against fears of surveillance it’s often stated the information is anonymized. Red herring. My actual name is the least important part of this equation.

I’m truly conflicted about all this. So much power to do good. So much potential to be evil.

The Advantage Of Not Forecasting On-The-Air

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

I’m watching the Pats/Broncos and remembering winter. They’re not pleasant memories.

If I was still forecasting in Connecticut, I’d have been talking about Wednesday’s potential storm for days already. Fellow forecasters, I feel your pain. The forecast has vacillated like a bride-to-be on “Say Yes To The Dress.”

Even today no one knows for sure. I certainly don’t.

However, the models have begun to stabilize. The forecast solution has become more consistent run-to-run.

Wednesday looks like rain all across the East Coast. In fact, it looks like rain most of the way from Canada to Florida! Early Thursday the rain turns to snow, but by that time the storm’s moisture should be mostly spent.

In New York City the potential is there for enough wind to keep the balloons grounded Thanksgiving Day. No one wants that.

Here in SoCal it’s temps near 70° and a slight chance for rain Thursday and Friday. Slight.

Back Home In Connecticut

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

I am home. My mom is now in rehab. My dad is supervising my mother’s care.

I usually kvetch about travel days. Not today.

Because of my mom’s condition the reservation wasn’t made until late yesterday. Helaine booked USAirway’s noon flight from West Palm Beach to Washington National then a second flight to Bradley.

Spoiler alert: Everything was on-time!

I fell asleep as we rolled down the runway, woke up 45 minutes later and read Rachel Maddow’s “Drift” until Sully asked me (and everyone else) to turn off my electronic gear. People reading actual books should be compelled to close them too. It’s only fair.

I was in the window seat, 13F. The guy in 13D was reading a book on a tablet too!

We flew the IRONS4 arrival to DCA. This is a standard approach to Runway 4. My right side window was going to have good views today.

It’s a straight shot from Richmond to National flying over the spectacular Virginia countryside. From time-to-time we also flew over interesting off-the-road parcels with huge satellite dishes and radomes. I suspect these are not facilities you can drive up to just to take a peek.

Arrival spectacular, but uneventful.

As I was checking my connecting gate a woman fifteen feet away tripped and fell to the floor. I ran over and helped her to her feet. Still a Boy Scout.

I needed to take the bus connecting the terminals at DCA . As I was walking to the curb the woman ahead of me tripped and fell to the pavement. I helped her up too. I’m a Boy Scout and obviously a bad luck charm!

My second flight was an Embraer 175, an 80 seat jet designed and built in Brazil. Think New York City studio apartment with wings! It does, however, have a huge bathroom for a little plane. Impressive!

I was in my seat kibbitzing with the flight attendant (anyone who doesn’t know how a seatbelt works in 2012 deserves whatever befalls them!) when a voice rang out from the seat behind me.

“Geoff?”

Helaine tells me I have a distinctive voice. It was certainly distinctive enough for Milford Deputy Police Chief Tracy Mooney to recognize me today!

Once the plane was airborne she asked me to pose for a photo with “Flat Stanley!” There is a story. Don’t ask.

Speaking of photos, I believe I can be arrested for the photo at the top of this entry, snapped as we climbed out out from DCA. It was too good a photo not to take. The White House is hidden just under the wing, but the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Mall, Ellipse and most everything else you can think of for Washington is visible!

Anyway, I’m home and back-to-work tomorrow. Glad I went. Glad I’m back.

Heading South.. . If I Can Leave Connecticut

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

I’m at Gate 30 at Bradley.  This is mainly unfamiliar territory for me.  I am flying to West Palm Beach via Charlotte.  Delayed!

I got a call least night during the news.  My mom slipped or fell and was taken to the hospital.  She is there now.

There’s not much else I can say.  What’s put my mom in the hospital is just a piece in the spiral of health issues that come with age.

The Scruffy And Fidgety Flier Returns

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The small white dog and I are on the sofa. We are coasting toward the end of the day.

We live in amazing times! What I did today is a true marvel of modern life. I spent the morning and early afternoon with my folks and was home in time to watch some TV with Helaine.

I flew down Bradley-Baltimore-West Palm Beach. Today John and Alyce drove me south as I returned Ft. Lauderdale-Bradley.

I saw the largest bag of airplane candy ever. Unless you’re throwing a party on the plane, why? I am a major candy eater and even I went, “Whoa!”

M&M’s you are a trailblazer!

I am the scruffy and fidgety flier today. I haven’t shaved since Friday.

I have no idea what the woman on the aisle thought? I just wouldn’t sit still. Luckily, middle seat open.

There was no WiFi. I had no printed entertainment. The only thing around was the airline magazine. That doesn’t take long to complete.

During the last hour of the trip I tried to identify where we were by looking at the darkened ground, identifying landmarks (mainly city lights and roads) and remembering maps. I probably look at maps a little more than you. (Click the map. It’s a 3D view of the flightpath from FlightAware.com)

I watched Long Beach Island, NJ go by though it’s only now I realize that’s what it was. I picked up Sandy Hook then looked up into New York Harbor. Low clouds blocked the skyline. Shame.

We headed to the Long Island shore, Brooklyn then Queens. We flew over the Rockaways then headed toward New Haven. Unusual approach to Bradley for me.

The plane flew north just east of I-91. I looked down at a steep angle to see Hartford as we flew directly over the river. Just past the Bissell Bridge we turned left and landed on Runway 33.

Uneventful. Thank you Sully.

I’m still on vacation until Sunday. Hopefully there will be more to keep me busy.

I will shave tomorrow.

Sunday In The Sunshine State

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

It’s called the Sunshine State! Unlike the Garden State this motto works! My two days in Florida have been sunny and mild. I love Connecticut, but I also love walking around in a short sleeve polo shirt after dark in January.

My trip here has one purpose–to see my parents. There are some things you can’t do often enough. My sister and I try our best.

What we can do while here is limited. Neither parent has a lot of stamina and walks farther than front door to auto are out of the question. It doesn’t matter. I enjoy what I get.

Early this afternoon we visited my Cousins Carol and Howie. When I was growing up Carol was a lot older than me. Funny how time closes that gap, isn’t it?

Their son Michael came with his wife, their two small children and her cousin. I’m going to need a scorecard.

I love little kids and Michael’s are scrumptious. I think I got the kid liking gene from my dad.

We stayed a few hours as the Giants pummeled the Falcons.

“I’ve been looking for the Eagles,” Cousin Howie offered. The Eagles were 2011′s most disappointing underachievers.

Had the shoe been on the other foot Howie would have gotten similar crap from me. Damn! I hate turnabout when I can’t participate.

A little cake… a little coffee… we were back in the car heading back to my parent’s condo. As they sat and watched TV I walked over to a banyan tree alongside the clubhouse. It’s a rookery for egrets. Late afternoon is when they fly home for the night.

My photo session was mostly disappointing, but there were a few nice shots.

Going To Florida

Friday, January 6th, 2012

I’m on my way to Florida in the morning to spend a few days with my parents. This was put together at the last minute so Stef asked, understandably, if everything was OK? Absolutely.

It’s supposed to be impossible and expensive to fly at the last minute, but we did well. Helaine originally found a return flight for a free Southwest ticket we have (expiring this month). She bought the “to” flight Wednesday, but kept checking back. On Thursday that flight also became available for a free ticket.

I’m not sure I totally understand, but because we acted within 24 hours she was able to cancel the paid reservation and replace it with mileage. We’ll check the credit card statement, but the website says it was refunded to our account.

I plan on shooting some photos so I borrowed a couple of lenses… big lenses. They’re in my carry on. More accurately they’re most of my carry on!

It’s likely the TSA will look at their scanner and think I’m smuggling a few torpedoes!

There are a bunch of good photo spots though my original intention to shoot surfers near the Lake Worth Pier looks to be undone by flat water. Damn you good weather!

Mostly I’m looking forward to seeing my folks.

Blogger’s note: Doppler is staying at home in Connecticut with a sitter.

Photography At Green Cay

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

This is like adding insult to injury, right? I’m about to write about my afternoon in the mild air of South Florid. By all rights I should be buried under two feet of snow. I am not!

As photo expeditions go this one was well planned out. A few weeks ago my friend John had recommended visiting Green Cay. I immediately found the time of sunset and the proper place to stand to catch. Then I went to Flickr and looked at shots others had taken there. The night he suggested it John was emailed a map showing where I thought we ought to go.

Green Cay in far western Boynton Beach, Florida is farmland transformed into wetlands. With 1.5 miles of boardwalk Green Cay is publicly owned accessible wilderness.

Green Cay emulates the Everglades ecosystem with a wide expanse of marsh habitat and intermittent tree islands and cypress hammocks.

You’re supposed to learn about nature at a place like this. I did. I also learned my father’s blood has thinned out to the point you could read a newspaper through it! With the temperature in the mid then lower 60s he was ready for a scarf, gloves and a hat!

Here’s a little taste of what we saw.

One Picture Two Thoughts

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Up north preps are underway for snow. Here in Florida we’re prepping for the low 80s tomorrow. Cruel. I know.

Helaine and I went to dinner with my parents and friends of ours from Connecticut. We headed toward the Intracoastal and a restaurant called The Banana Boat. It’s seafood and casual.

“Geoffrey, everything’s casual here.” That was my mom when I asked if I had to change my shirt.

As always I brought my camera. The attached shot is what you see as you look alongside the outdoor dining area.

Two things of note -

1 – It’s January and boats are in-the-water. It’s warm here. I noted to Helaine it was humid then added I wouldn’t complain

2 -Look at all the lights out in the high rise buildings beyond the docks. It’s the height of the season. This is a prime location. If there’s no one there now… well it just shows how really awful the real estate market is here. It’s in much worse shape than Connecticut.

Tomorrow’s my folk’s anniversary. More restaurant food! I won’t fit in my suits when I get back.