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Lowlands from Pike
Lowlands from Pike
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Real Life Happenings

This area is all about my ‘real life’ as opposed to the SCA or my family or any othe the other obvious categories. (Hits: 5311)
Grand Canyon Trip (Feb 1996) (16)
On the way to Estrella, I took a side trip to the Grand Canyon, here are scans of the original film shots.
Heidelberg Trip (Jun 1996) (9)
Work sent me to Germany to setup a server and do some training. While there, I did manage to get out a bit :)
Brian & Nancy Ellen's Wedding (July 2001) (10)
Yet another hot day, although, not too bad and, for once, an event (even though it is a mundane wedding, it had most of my SCA friends there) where it didn’t rain! This was July 21st, 2001, a break from the hectic Pennsic preparations that most of the last 6 weeks consumed. The wedding was preformed by Brian’s dad in the “oldest functioning courthouse in America.” It was a short and sweet ceremony with maybe 100 people in attendance. Then, we retired across the street to a bed and breakfast where a reception was held. While I didn’t get as drunk at this one as the last one, we still had some fun (see below).
Tornado (Sept 2001) (13)
This was an interesting day.

I was at work late on Monday, the 24th of September 2001. That day, a strong cold front was moving through the area and at lunch (I went out for lunch), it looked ugly outside, but there had been no rain or anything. My next thoughts on weather occurred when the lights starting flickering on and off.

Now, a few comments about my work place. I work in the basement of the Center for Adult Education and the area my department is located in is actually a converted bomb shelter (the building was built in the 50’s). It looks fine, but don’t try to use a cell phone or listen to the radio. Normally this state of affairs is a pain in the ass.

Another aspect to working in this building is indicated by its new name: Inn and Conference Center. The Marriott Corp runs a 250 room hotel and 50,000 sq ft conference center on the ground floor, with a few meeting rooms in the second floor and the basement floors. That means we get another group of maggots that don’t know where the bathrooms are or that wander into our office area and no you can’t check your email here, every week.

So, back to the story, once the lights started flicking (meaning the computers had all shut down or rebooted depending on the BIOS setting), we decided to see what was happening out in the world to cause this state of affairs. We get our power from the U of MD College Park campus and it is pretty rock solid even in thunderstorms. Well there is a loading dock not too far from the office suite that affords a limited view to the west. From that vantage point, we could see that it was raining sideways and blowing real hard but, nothing too interesting.

That is when the ruckus started upstairs. Apparently, the Marriot people (we don’t hold them in very high esteem) thought that it was a good idea to send the conference du jour people into the lower concourse outside our office suite. The upper concourse (ground floor) is a long, much windowed affair, so in retrospect, that made a certain amount of sense, although the auditorium would have been as good. Being nosey I wandered up the stairs to see what could be seen and possibly give the conference managers a boot in the ass for finding a new way to annoy us.

Devastation was what I found. The front of the building is at the top of the stair and was this area of big trees and picnic tables. Well mostly there was fire wood and not a picnic table to be seen. Nothing was going on at the moment (weather-wise), it was ugly looking, but not even raining. So I went outside to inspect the damage (rather than stand there with my nose pressed to the glass like everyone else). It was impressive. I could see the President’s House (not normally visible because of the trees). While I was standing there, one of the Marriott sheep dogs (not really security, I am not sure what they call people who usher you around at a conference) wanders up and we chat about the damage for a few minutes. Then he mentions in an off hand way that “they are sort of asking everyone to stay inside for a while.” To which I reply, “This is over, it isn’t coming back.” He looks sheepish and wanders away.

Well, I was done looking here anyway. Now it was time to see if I get a new truck or not. The other side of the building didn’t fair any better, trees down everywhere. My truck was on the second story of the parking garage and in an interior space, so it was fine. Oh well. I retrieve my cell phone (see bomb shelter comment from above, no point to having it with me in the office) and go up to the 5th level. From there I can see that 193 is closed and no surprise. It takes me a few minutes to work out a way to get out of the parking garage by vehicle. The front is blocked by trees, the back faces MD193. So the only way out is to go out the back, come around the front of the building and up Adelphi Rd a bit before doubling back towards College Park proper.

Why would I want to do that? Well, I now believe that this was a tornado and it did wander off towards my rental house... Also, I duck back inside to call Kim and find out if there was anything going on up there. As it turns out, it passed about two miles away from the house and tore up a bunch of houses in Laurel, but no damage at the house other than about 4 inches of rain in one hour. She was also waiting to hear from me, since she had the news on TV, she knew more about College Park than I did. She told me that they confirmed that it was an F3 tornado and College Park was a war zone (which I already knew).

OK, so now off to see the rental; easier said than done. I waited an hour or so before setting out to let traffic die down and I stuck to the back streets where possible, but it still took me an hour and a half to make it the 3 miles up to the house. I am renting the house to a couple of college kids, Adam and Mandy. Mandy is finishing up her degree and Adam is out in the wide world working. So, en route, Adam calls my cell phone and tells me, “Mandy says a tornado hit your house, but it is OK.” Cryptic, to be sure, I tell him that I am on the way already and will meet him there as he is on the way home from work. Also while on the way, Oswulf called me with a flyby report from Sean, he passes by the road the house is on the way home from work. According to Sean, the street looks like it was bombed, no details on the house, but it doesn’t look good from Cherry Hill Road.

Well getting there is such a chore, I figured to park at the Home Depot across the street and walk over to avoid the fallen tree problem, but Home Depot and the whole strip mall has it’s own issues and police have that blocked off. It is now dark though. No, Dark. There is still heavy cloud cover and there are no lights anywhere. All of North College Park is without power. The best I can due is pull into the downed trees on 47th Place and walk from there. I decide to walk down Cherry Hill Road, even though there is lots of really slow traffic there because I could avoid all the downed wires on 47th. Over on Park Drive there aren’t as many downed trees and lines, so that was a good call. Here though, the neighborhood guys were already cutting up the trees and using trucks to pull them clear to open the road. This gusto and cooperation is heartening to see. So I am able to jump through the remaining tree wreckage and get to the house.

Sure enough, the house is fine, though the extent of the damage to the neighborhood isn’t obvious because it’s so dark. I come back two days later to take the pictures below and assess the damage. It takes me two more hours to find a way out of this heavily damaged section of College Park and get home.

Oswulf and Ragnal’s Wedding (May 2001) (16)
Oswulf and Ragnal’s Wedding (Sam and Kelly) took place on Sunday, May 27th, 2001 in Winchester VA and Hedgesville, WV. The day dawned somewhat dreary (especially for me since I was in Lexington Park, MD, about 150 miles away at that time) and included a short but intense rain before clearing up a bit and being a fine day. The ceremony itself was held in the chapel on the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Then there was a brief reception at a (slightly) renovated bank in downtown Winchester (about 10 minutes away) where the presentation was done and the speeches, cake cutting etc. This was catered by the university and with the exception of some champaign, was dry. Then the festivites moved on to the home of Kelly’s parents up in Hedgesville, WV. An official one stop light town about 35 minutes north off of I-81. That was a VERY wet site with lots o catered food and kegs and, well, we won’t go into all of that, but it was a good time. Pictures of the Precession and the Ceremony were taken by Kim, the rest by me.
Epcot (January 2002) (20)
Here are some shots that I took while at Lotusphere 2002. Amazingly, none of them are of the conference itself, which was OK. Away from the show, I had about as good a time as I have ever had on a mundane vaction.
John and Christy's Wedding (Oct 2003) (12)
And there were those who thought this day would never come....
Judith's Wedding (April 2006) (3)
Judith, a friend of Jess' in the SCA was getting married in Delaware and sent us an invite. It was dark and rainy outside, so the pictures are not great. Here are the best of what I have.
Tornado (Sept 2006) (6)
My parents had a F1 tornado in their yard. Sadly the large wooded lot of my childhood was leveled. Fortunately, the house suffered only minor damage and while my father was injured, he is OK now.

It's amazing what 300 year old oak trees look like after 15 seonds of 90 mph winds.

18th Century Woodworking (Jan 2006) (7)
In mid January each year, Williamsburg hosts a Woodworking in the 18th Century conference. It's limited to 300 or so people and it's 3 days of lecture and show and tell in the DeWitt museum basement theater. This year's topic is chairs. Not something I really know a whole lot about, therefore a good topic.

I happened to notice a reference to this in a woodworking magazine and looked it up online and lo and behold there was an interesting woodworking event in the mid-Altantic (i.e., not the Pacific NW or Maine) and I could afford it, it was $375 plus another $55 for the spouse pass to a class and the banquet. I thought about it for a few weeks and then decided what the hell?

As it turns out, I was lucky. Woodworking geeks sell out both sessions of this show quickly every year. I guess I looked right as it went up and bought in right before it filled up.

I really had no idea what to expect, the online materials were thin. Seems that's the case because they sell out and they don't need to market it very hard. I took the option that included hotel space in the Williamsburg Inn very close to the museum.

That was a huge move. The room was very nice, convieniently located and you know what? There aren't many guests in Williamsburg in mid-January. In fact, there may not have been anyone else on our floor. Very nice.

Jess had a good time just chilling away from work and the kids. We also took our computers, all 4 of them. The bellhop had never seen so much technology packed into two bins in his life. We immediately setup my wireless access point/router on the broadband in the room and setup the computers so we could raid that night with our Everquest guild. Yes, we are geeks. But we are also the current primary raidleading team, so we need to be on if we can.

During the days I went and geeked on wood, came back and got food with Jess and then geeks on computers into the night. It was a pretty good time and I think we may go back next year, though, I am not sure we will bring our computers. Also, I would tack on another day so I could look around Williamsburg some. Jess got to tour the village, but I didn't have much time for that.

17th Century Woodworking (Jan 2007) (25)
The next in the series at Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

This was good, if somewhat different than the previous conference. The topics were wood carving and joinery in green wood, an interesting way to work if you have access to green wood.

Kitchen Remodel (26)

Jess will come in and fill out the details, but in a nutshell, we decided to remodel the kitchen on a whim and completed the project in only 3 weeks.

The pictures cover the before, during and after shots and I think everyone will agree, it's a HUGE improvement.

18th Century Woodworking (Jan 2008) (20)
This is the third year we have attended this event in Colonial Williamsburg and it was the best yet. For one thing, we didn't bring PCs. In past years we had online obligations in our other hobby that required us online in the evenings. This time, we shuffled things around so we could enjoy the time as a real vacation. And, while we didn't do anything amazing, it was a fun and relaxing time.
18th Century Woodworking (Jan 2009) (4)
Time for the annual conference in Williamsburg, Va. This year we were looking at bedrooms. The main project was a Federal style dressing table. Most of that time was spent on inlay and stringing. Also there was carving a ball and claw leg for a low post bed and a few other items.
Thanksgiving in Colorado (2012) (50)
Jess's mother wanted us to come out and visit for Thanksgiving this year and made it possible for us to afford to do so. A good time was had by all. Here are a few photos taken when we could get away.

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Wayne at work
Wayne at work (wprecht)
Real Life Happenings
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Trans Siberian Orcestra
Trans Siberian Orcestra (wprecht)
Real Life Happenings
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