Sunday, October 23, 2011


How many favorites do you have bookmarked in your internet browser?  I counted & I have 194, not including the ones buried inside folders (I didn't count the number of folders either).  That number is surprising to me especially since I thought I went through them every once in a while I deleted a few - maybe a few too few??  My favorites are websites that I visit everyday from world news, other blogs, a certain social network, nature/science websites, and yes some celebrity magazines (US & UK).  I don't have much free time to watch tv, so the majority of my news does come from the internet.  Some of my favorites are there because I might need to refer back to that information for a future project too - research, and some are there to help me with things I'm learning (photoshop tutorials, photography tips).  While others are bookmarked for items I think I may want to purchase in the future.  Parts of my house are going through a massive fall clean up/out - maybe I need to turn my attention to my favorites.  But if I delete the bookmark, should I print out the information & file it for future reference?  That just creates more filing for me - but then again I would have it forever in case of a computer crash.  How do you manage your bookmarks/favorites to keep them under control?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Music

Our recent cold front actually brought some cooler weather, so it now actually feels like fall (actually in the mornings feels like winter).  I really like winter clothes & think I look better in them than summer (they cover up more stuff), but I hate to be cold - seriously I really don't like being cold.  We haven't bought our pumpkins yet - just been too busy & it has been a little warm.  I did start listening to some Halloween music today; even practiced/learned to play the theme music to the movie Halloween - the old John Carpenter movie, not the new one.  I'm practicing this to play a bad joke on my husband.  Just listening to that music gives him the creeps - that movie sure scared the poop out of both of us (still does) & that tune just brings it all back.  I plan on telling him how I learned a song on the piano - naturally he'll listen (like a good husband) - then wham - I'm gonna start with that 5/4 time Halloween song... love it.  (disclaimer: I am not a pianist - never took piano lessons, but I can read music - this is an easy piece - thank goodness.)

There are a few tunes around that I consider Halloweeney.... I'm sure there are tons out there - sorry but I'm tired of Monster Mash & Purple People Eater songs.  Here's a link to a few of my favorites (these links should take you to Amazon's website of downloadable MP3s:

Toccata & Fugue in D Minor -

Nessum Dorma (Puccini) -  (actually this is just a good song to listen to anytime - but it was played in the movie The Witches of Eastwick)

O Fortuna - (you may not think you know this one - but it has played in several movies too)

Tubular Bells - (actually I think my uncle introduced this music to me before the Exercist movie came out)

Psycho - (this is always a favorite of many - but the movie was a little before my time - it scared me when I was younger, but still doesn't measure up to Halloween)

Funeral March -

Moonlight Sonata -  (which coincidentally will be my next piece to try & learn - although it will certainly take longer than an afternoon)

Padme's Ruminations - (I love all of John Williams's compositions - this one from Star Wars 3 (yes I liked it too) is creepy and knowing she is sensing something going wrong (using the force) in the situation just makes the music sadder)

The Resurrection Stone - (from Harry Potter 7, part 2 - again the music is great, but don't know if the situation makes it sadder - not so much scarey music, but certainly emotional)

I'll stop there; there are many hundreds more - which are your favorites?  I'll let you know how my bad joke on my husband goes... good thing he such a good sport.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pig Showing - County Fair

My family spent some time at our county fair this weekend and it was probably the first time we've been during the first weekend - lots of events going on.  It was a beautiful day so we spent all afternoon there (our usual fair weather is either soaking wet/muddy or freezing record cold).  We even got a chance to watch a few events we haven't seen before (and still don't understand).  One particular one was a pig show.  The teenagers (assuming 4-H'ers) bring their pigs (these aren't cuddly ones - these big fat pigs) into the arena and walk them around and around, using sticks (I'm sure there is an official term for it - in horse world it would be a dressage whip) to guide the pig's direction (hitting/tapping around the neck to make them turn either side).  Some of the kids had a difficult time getting their pig to listen & ended up in the corner or smashed between the pig and the fence.  They walked their pig around until something happened (this is what we missed & don't understand) - the teen would hold up their hand, their family would clap & whoop/holler - then a group of men with boards (plastic) would come over & safely guide the pig out of the arena.  We can only guess, but we think it was an auction type event - the teens who raised their hands had their pigs bought (although we didn't hear any auctioneer doing his thing, and they guided the pig out with the boards to keep it safe from harm from other pigs, etc. I guess so that it would be nice & pretty for slaughter?  Another interesting thing (we did see this in action) - the teens all had brushes in their back pockets - they used them to brush off the pig's rear-ends... not sure the purpose of that other than to keep them clean, but that's what we saw.  At one point one pig was made to lay down & roll over - took several people to do that - or maybe he wasn't supposed to roll over just held for better inspection??  This will forever be a mystery since I don't see any of us going into pig showing.  Here are a few pictures from that event.

Although I really don't like them, we stopped at the petting zoo - this one had several exotic/unusal animals to pet in addition to the regular goats, miniature donkey, etc.  One animal that was really cute was a guanaco.  We've never seen one or heard of one, so I had to look it up when we got home.  Here's what I found:  native to arid mountain regions of South America (poor guy - considering our heat/humidity - must have been miserable - note:  even the chickens were panting in their cages on this day, and we had nice weather), they are in the camel family, will spit when threatened, and their fiber (hair/coat) is comparable to cashmere.  This one was a youngster and was very cute, although I still don't like petting zoos (one reason - those kids who think it is funny to hit the animals & they are old enough to know better - why aren't the parents doing something?  oh - because they think it funny - I will stop at that, although there are many many other reasons for my dislike).  So, here's a picture of that cute quanaco.

guanaco - native to South America

On a better note - my son & I entered the photography contest.  I've entered for several years off/on and this contest is intense in my county.  A lot of good amateur photographers (and student photographers) and a lot of good opportunities for photos (birding, close enough to coast, close enough to big city, etc).  I always hope to win a ribbon, but there are many times that I haven't.  I was really hoping my son would at least get 1 honorable mention, but sadly he didn't.  I was pleasantly surprised that I did get a 2nd place ribbon and an honorable mention (each entrant is allowed a total of 5 pictures). 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

About Blogging

I seem to be thinking too much about this blogging thing.... so many others manage to post more regularly like twice week or even daily.  There are certain unwritten rules that I seem to be following in my head that others are not:  don't post anything too personal, don't post anything that can identify my family (call me paranoid about keeping my family safe), don't post trivial things but post meaningful, educational, interesting (at least to me) topics, etc... Since I named this blog "From All Directions" I intended it to include many topics with pictures, but it doesn't seem that I have been successful.

Lately the weather has taken up everyone's thoughts - the drought, the rain we've managed to get lately, the amount of rain we still need (somewhere around 22 inches), the changes in humidity, etc.  So the following is a picture that I took last weekend (again at Brazos Bend State Park) of Creekfield Lake.  I had heard from one of the volunteers that the park had begun pumping water into it again (as opposed to what I was told  - their original plan of letting nature take its course), and then the next day they received several inches of rainfall.  Personally, I'm torn as to whether pumping was good or not - almost seemed too late, the lake had dwindled to only the gator hole remaining, with probably no fish, very few water birds, etc... a real disruption in the ecosystem.  However when we get rain, everything will eventually return - the natural cycle & one that people could come & watch.  With the artificial pumping they are maintaining a certain water level - which is good - but I hope they continue to pump so the ecosystem doesn't take another "hit" & can remain sustaining for all the wildlife that is dependent upon that small lake/marsh area.  Here's a picture of Creekfield Lake after the pumping, but before the rain. 

Creekfield Lake @ Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

I'm really happy to see the water in the lake, but hope the park makes the commitment to maintain a certain water level/depth.  If they are going to interfere/react to the natural cycle I think they should make the decision to keep pumping.   To see a picture of how low Creekfield Lake was a few weeks prior to this picture scroll down a bit - I'm standing on the same bridge looking the same direction - towards the pier.