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Viewing entries by
Robin Wade

Shark Diving/whale watching in Cape Town

Just received pics from our friend and international do gooder, Paul Makepeace.  Paul is from Brisbon Aus, but spent several years here with IFDC.  Now, I think he's based in Johannesburg, although it seems that many of his updates are from Nairobi.  I suppose I can classify this blog post as one more adventure I haven't experienced yet.

A few photos of Sarah and my trip to Cape Town last week end. It was fortunate that Sarah was in Johannesburg for the week with work so I went down from Nairobi and caught up with her for the weekend. we went Shark diving on the Sunday and the bay was full of Southern right Whales--great weekend
Hope you are well
Take care
paul

First 25 (1980) Raft Race slide scans back from Walgreens.

Just received the first 25 scanned slides back from the local Walgreens.  Although it's great to see these ole '80's pics, the quality of the results was less than impressive.  Low res, washed out pics, and obviously I was/am much better looking than then.  I'm seeing lots of friends in here.  -- Jogging any 30+ year memories?

Looks like we'll be sending the entire lot of 250 or so slides to ScanCafe, which seems to be the scanning service getting the best reviews.  If you have slide scanning experience, please share!

Museum of Alabama - meeting yesterday.

We packed up our first set of three benches for the exciting new Museum of Alabama project in the back of the truck yesterday and carried them to Montgomery for inspection.  Vicky Lewis, the project lead Architect with the  supercool Museum design group, PRD out of DC flew in for a couple of days of fast paced inspection, design, and whatever else she does to ensure that the construction of this project flows right along.

Vicky had a couple of great suggestions of rounding the top inside edge of the back to be more comfortable.  And round the outside edges of each section for comfort as well.

The Museum board of directions was meeting yesterday, walked thru this stage of the entire project, and seemed quite happy with their first viewing of the benches as well as the rest of the project. 

I love this project, but it's certainly out of our norm of "one of a kind" pieces of furniture.  Also the quantity of 35 benches and stools is just a bit daunting (at this time).  Hopefully by this time next week, after we've had a chance to move through several existing large dining table projects, I'll have a better handle (and confidence) on this one.

The Museum (this phase II) should be open well before the end of the year.  As you can see, there's more than a little work to be accomplished in the mean time. 

Museum of Alabama - Montgomery

Museum of Alabama - Montgomery

Museum of Alabama Phase II

Museum of Alabama Phase II

Vicky Lewis (PRD Group - Washington DC) on site at Museum of Alabama project in Montgomery.

Vicky Lewis (PRD Group - Washington DC) on site at Museum of Alabama project in Montgomery.

Museum of Alabama, in the History and Archives building in Montgomery walk thru of current progress of Phase II construction. 

Museum of Alabama, in the History and Archives building in Montgomery walk thru of current progress of Phase II construction. 

A Tesla in Alabama! What's this world coming to???!

A friend was in town earlier this week, and dropped by in her Tesla.  Amazed!  My gosh this "car" is amazing.  First, I'm not sure we should call it a car.  I think it deserves it's own category.  This is a "something??" on steroids.  - Well, maybe it's "somethingS".

1)  Beautiful work of art.  Feels nothing like any car I've ever seen/felt/touched/sat.  Beautiful workmanship, minimal design, none of the old "car" limitations of transmission or engine that just takes up space.   It's interior and exterior should be sitting in a gallery or museum.

2)  Over the top safety design throughout.  Perhaps the safest "car" on the road. 

3)  Over the top speed.  The test drive only a few blocks around town were at downtown speeds, but I could feel (from the passenger seat) that it was ready to GO. 

4)  Over the top technology throughout.  So much I didn't see, but I felt like I was inside a beautiful huge computer starting with a touch screen display.  I have serious "judgement" of the way our car makers have placed limited GPS + systems in our cars.  For the most part they've been crazy expensive, but my issue is how "dated" they become within 6 months.  Note;  Apple's getting it right later this year when they introduce a bluetooth link from our iphone to monitors that all the car makers will be installing.  This sytem, following Tesla's lead, will allow our common pc technology of auto updates to firmware. 

5)  Oh I forgot one.  Almost seems like a byproduct of this amazing work of art.  Earth friendly, and might just help ween us from our massive, gluttonous addiction of petroleum products.

I almost forgot - It's made here in USA, Fremont California.  At first it sounds odd, but right in the middle of Silicon Valley makes perfect since, since it's just a huge computer.

No - it's a work of art, i mean it's a race car, a possible path from fuel (middle east) dependency.  -  As multi-functional as Elon Musk's super cool  Swiss Army Knife! 

Back to Tesla.  I thought they began over $100k.  This morning Google told me they begin at $65 or so.  Still way too rich for my blood, but (one more) amazing thing about this "something" - if it's primarily a computer, it'll be getting much better every few months, it'll be knocked off like crazy, the knockoff's will get quite good in time, and the price will drop every few months. 

One of the pics below is of it beside Linda's 13 year old Volvo, which is aging quite well.  Hopefully the Volvo will hang in there for at least another couple of years, and by that time, maybe we can trade for a TESLA. 

If this "something" were a car, it would have to be the best car in the world. 

Linda's 12 year old Volvo still looking pretty darn good beside this new Tesla "something" 

Linda's 12 year old Volvo still looking pretty darn good beside this new Tesla "something" 

Tesla dashboard - Energy Consumption Graph

Tesla dashboard - Energy Consumption Graph

Telsa Alabama - beautiful minimal detail throughout. 

Telsa Alabama - beautiful minimal detail throughout. 

Tesla right in front of our sawmill.

Tesla right in front of our sawmill.

Just found this one - 1980 fund raiser

I just ran across this oldie.  A 1980 photo of Dad and me awarding the City Police Department with funds that purchased bullet proof vests.  We were shocked to hear they didn't have them.  Larger cities had been using them for a few years.  We had raised over $6k that year from the proceeds of the Raft Race, and we were honored to help a bit.  My gosh time flies!  

 

1980 Fund Raising for bullet proof vest for local Police Department. 

1980 Fund Raising for bullet proof vest for local Police Department. 

Muscle Shoals - the movie

We missed the first screening of this new documentary a few months ago, and have been anxiously awaiting this afternoon's viewing.  It was worth the wait!  Greg 'Freddy' Camalier got it right.  This wonderful story about our community's rich music history told through many of our neighbor's eyes (Rick Hall, Swampers, etc) and every top recording artist of the 70's on.  -- Great fun hearing Aretha, Greg Allman, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood, Keith Richards, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Alicia Keys and on and on and on - share their memories of recording in Muscle Shoals.

Although most of us know many of the "player's" in our super cool local history, this movie put together lots of the parts that I was missing.

My gosh, our community is on a roll.  "Muscle Shoals - the movie" is another wonderful gem.  Looks like it'll be released in September.  Can't wait to see it again.  

Muscle Shoals - this movie is amazing.

Muscle Shoals - this movie is amazing.

Welcoming two UNA International Students with tour of our best

Linda and I have been wanting to support UNA's International Student Program for years.  Finally signed up Monday for their "Friend's of International Student Program", met the two super sweet students we'll be hosting, Gina and Aimee (their English names), and yesterday began their tour with a McFarland Park river side picnic breakfast then straight to the Florence Farmer's Market.  It was fun introducing them to some of our fav local farmers.

Later we introduced them to the best Chinese restaurant in the South, the Rice Box, where  our friend Chiong Chen (UNA Art Department Chair) joined us for lunch and Maggie Chen (owner of the restaurant) along with her children Wilson and Kelly stopped by for the welcome as well.

Aimee and Gina seemed thrilled to have met our friends, and to have found such a wonderful restaurant just up the street from UNA. 

 

Tour of Florence Farmer's Market

Tour of Florence Farmer's Market

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A few pieces in Santa Barbara

Just received these pics from Steve Ainsley, previous publisher of the TimesDaily and recently retired as publisher of the Boston Globe.  We made several pieces for he and Ann last year, but just now sent pics.  

His home is obviously quite stunning.  But I have to say, the cliff top view of the Pacific from their backyard is as well. 

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Any locals remember this 70's event - The Great Cypress Creek Raft Race?

This weekend has been dedicated to finding tubs, dusting off pics, newspaper articles, letters, bumper stickers, awards and other historic memorabilia related to this notorious event.  This afternoon we'll be scanning the ones that'll fit, and hopefully soon placing here on a page dedicated to the event.   

The Great Cypress Creek Raft Race was a local event that Dad and I began instigated beginning in 1978.

The Great Cypress Creek Raft Race was a local event that Dad and I began instigated beginning in 1978.

Dr. Zhang finalizes Health Institute - this is huge

After year's of work with the city and UNA, Dr. Chunsheng Zhang's amazing health institute deal finalized yesterday.  So exciting to see this one come back together after all the hurdles we seemed to have set out in it's way.

I hope we all will welcome Dr Zhang's team and support this amazing new learning center that will be a huge addition to UNA's already diverse program.

Dr. Zhang's UNA health institute deal (finally) finalizes. 

Dr. Zhang's UNA health institute deal (finally) finalizes. 

Wednesday sunrise meeting

I take Frassie for a swim most afternoons after work.  Wednesday was my second "meeting" on the water.  Andy Mann, pres of the exciting new (to the area) Progress Bank (building presently under construction)  joined us for a swim before work Wednesday.  Andy's a much better swimmer than I am.  Frassie still thinks she can take him.  Either way, we had a wonderful start of the day, enjoying another of the areas many beautiful assets.

I also talked Andy into a couple of video "commercials" for the Bank.  I'm looking forward to review.  If he'll approve I'll share them as well. 

Here's a great shot of Andy with the morning's sunrise right behind. 

Andy Mann, President of Progress Bank "meeting" in the Tennessee River early Wednesday morning

Andy Mann, President of Progress Bank "meeting" in the Tennessee River early Wednesday morning

Delivery to UNA's school of art

I just dropped off a mix of kiln dried, but very very natural pieces of a mix of hardwoods.  Very little gets thrown away here, but most might call the bulk of it garbage.  Aaron Benson, UNA's new super talented, creative ceramics/sculpture professor will be sharing with his new students-I believe to build a piece of furniture toward the end of the semester.   I believe the class will also include ceramics, metal and more. 

Aaron just moved his family here from NY a couple of weeks ago, and as far as I can see all are thrilled to be making Florence Alabama their new home.

Wood delivery/donation to UNA's Sculpture/Certamics department.

Wood delivery/donation to UNA's Sculpture/Certamics department.

Architect Bob Whitten on Frank Lloyd Wright/Rosenbaum home on public radio

Our friend and local architect Bob Whitten brilliantly describes Alabama's only Frank Lloyd Wright home located two miles down the street from our studio.  Very nice presentation about the history and design of another or the area's beautiful "little gems". 

If you haven't toured this home/museum yet - it's a must.  

Just completed. Crow walnut trunk coffee table

This one will be hanging out here in town - in a beautiful modern home on the Tennessee River.  Kinda new age FLW design.  The delivery was rained out this afternoon. 

Walnut root coffee table just out of finishing room.

Walnut root coffee table just out of finishing room.

Driftwood in the River

Frassie found a couple of nice pieces of driftwood in the river during our afternoon swim Wednesday. 

One of my all time fav sandwiches - Banh Mi

This was my first visit to the nice but small Chinatown in Las Vegas.  Although fairly small, comprising of only a couple of large shopping centers (for the most part).  I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my fav sandwich shops of all time - Lee's.  

Linda and I found Lee's in LA a decade or so ago.  There's one near the airport.  So we made it a regimen to stop by on the way to our return flight, pick up a couple of sandwiches (always on freshly made french baguette)  for the flight.  Not sure if there's much better really.

Looks like the franchise is growing, as of course it would.  This sandwich is at the top of my list, along with - Central Grocery's (and other New Orleans french quarter) muffaletta, 

Lee's Vietnamese Sandwich - One of my all time Favs

Lee's Vietnamese Sandwich - One of my all time Favs

Main Street Hotel & Casino - refreshing change from the strip

After staying at Bill's Gambling Hall for years (right between Bellagio and Paris) on the strip, I was forced to find an alternative, when I saw that Bill's had closed.  Looks to be standard practice of demolishing the old and replacing with new and shiny.  

Main Street - i love this hotel!  This is the first time I've stayed downtown in Vegas, and I really like - maybe love this place.  Really nice (although not exactly the Wynn or Trump) but what's wonderful is the pace and the other patrons.  For the most part, they are older Hawaiians.  

I knew that the number one vacation spot for Hawaiians was Las Vegas.  What I didn't know is that they seem to all stay at these two adjoining sister properties downtown, Main Street Hotel & the California. 

The interesting thing is these two properties really cater to the Hawaiians.  They have Hawaiian travel personnel on staff.  And across the cross walk to the California they have a couple of amazing and inexpensive hawaiian/asian restaurants, and a couple more that do an amazing job with fresh fish.

What I like about this hotel.

1)  the pace

2)  didn't see a single prostitute

3)  cool old hawaiians everywhere you look

4)  4 blocks from the World Market Center

5)  2 blocks from the "Freemont Experience" 

6)  Every employee I met had worked there for a decade+. 

7)  $32  Yup, this cool, clean very nice, hotel in great location was only $32 a night.  I'm pretty sure this will be my home away from home for the two market's each year for year's to come.  Really love this place.

 

Main Street Casino Stained Glass Ceiling

Main Street Casino Stained Glass Ceiling

Main street urinals paneled with pieces of the Berlin Wall. 

Main street urinals paneled with pieces of the Berlin Wall. 

There are interesting details throughout the property.  Even the Urinals are cool - paneled with pieces from the Berlin Wall. 

Obviously doesn't have the cool modern vibe of the new Aria or Cosmopolitan - but at $32 bucks this ones hard to beat.

Obviously doesn't have the cool modern vibe of the new Aria or Cosmopolitan - but at $32 bucks this ones hard to beat.

Las Vegas Market 2013

I just returned home last night after a week at this year's Las Vegas Market ( as well as two days at the AWFS Woodworking Show that's held every other year. 

Really a great show for us this year.  Made a couple of new business relationships that I hope to be sharing quite soon.

New Installation pics - Walnut & acrylic coffee table

Walnut & acrylic coffee table

Just received these pics of a brand new installation.  Collaborating with master designer Judy Fox on this one was really fun, and I think worked quite well.  

The top is solid walnut.  The two legs are natural edge walnut slabs sandwiched between two slices of .94 thick plexy.  304 stainless bolts.   

Great work Judy!

Her contact info:

Judith M. Fox, ASID, of Markham Interiors, Fayetteville, NY.

Modern acrylic walnut coffee table

Modern acrylic walnut coffee table

Modern walnut and  acrylic coffee table

Modern walnut and  acrylic coffee table