Showing posts from 2013

Winter Wonderland

The first snow of the season has struck the DC area. We have a couple of inches all around. Not as bad as past storms but bad enough to close the federal government and all the local schools. Sunshine and I stayed home, however, I was teleworking. Sunshine set out to do some house work. Normally we take a stroll around the neighborhood in these days. If only to combat the cabin fever that sets in.  This day we did not. The day was not all lost, it turned out to be a great afternoon. So we took a drive to the mall and had some dinner at the food court.  This is another post from the iPhone. Be safe and have a great winter. 

What the heck is wrong with the Senate?

Used without permission from Harry Reid's website. Okay Senator, what exactly are you thinking?  Are you sure this is how you want to handle appointments? It seems that the Senate is too busy to pass a National Budget, however, you are capable of changing the Senate rules to stop the filibuster in the case of presidential appointments. So,....  Let me get this straight.  You can change the rules with a simple majority?  However, a few short years ago, you thought this was a bad idea,  I think you will hear from some folks about your tomfoolery in the Senate. The founders envisioned the Senate to represent the state governments in the Congress.  Well, since the direct election of the Senators, the Senate has failed its mission.  It no longer protects the rights of the states. When FDR tried to expand the Supreme Court, the Democrats stood up to him, because it was not a bad idea.  The sham you are pulling is also a bad Idea, and I personally think you are go

Fall is here, Winter is coming!!

Blue Skies This has been one year.  I would say it was a great year, but that would not be entirely accurate.  I have had some years that have been worse, but I have had many more that have been better. As fall is here, i wanted to say how much I really like fall.  The weather is not to hot, and not to cold.  I was working at my house that I am selling, and took this picture.  The sky was so blue.  It was a little chilly out, but I didn't mind.  I stay bundled up in my fall clothes, and its isn't too cold to work. Winter is coming, the bad thing about this time of year, is it is dark when I go to work and dark when I get home.  I do so enjoy the day time. Here are 5 things I like about fall: Cool nights, and Warm days  (Should this count for two?) Football is here, all though my teams are not doing well, I like football. Christmas is just around the corner.   Thanksgiving.  I love food, and thanksgiving always has food. It is easier to cuddle with my suns

November 2013 Quick Hits

This November has been one heck of month in life and times of Tronster.  Last month, our leaders shut down the government for a couple of weeks, throwing a monkey wrench in my plans.  This month, I have been transferred to a new company and I moved to another location. The shutdown has affected the selling of my old house and now I still have it, and I wanted sold by now. Moving forward, we had an election here in VA, I am sure if you live in the USA, you have heard about this election.  It was all over the news.  It ruined TV for two weeks, as the ads on TV were terrible.  But that is over now, and our taxes are sure to rise in the next few years.  Oh well.   The short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas apparently is a different this year.  Which would explain why ever since Halloween there has been Christmas stuff at the stores.   I must say, the announcement by many retailers to open up on Thanksgiving is disappointing to me.  Why not leave this time of year alone. A

Moving down the road!!

Well I have missed a few posts that I have been wanting to make.  I have been relocating Casa de Tronster.  Not a real big move, just 6 miles down the road.  But what a hassle it can be. Sunshine and I are downsizing from a 3200 square foot home to a 1300 square foot home.  This means I have a lot of "stuff" to go through and find a way to store it.  We decided to get a storage unit.  This unit is now 80% full.  We have moved about 90% of our stuff and the new place is almost a home.  We have a couple of more things to unpack, but it is moving along well. A couple of things I learned moving: 1.  First in last out. When you load truck for moving, the first thing on the truck is the last thing out of the truck.  You may think this is common sense.  I have moved a few times and I normally remember this particular rule of physics.  I wanted to share this with you.  So if there is something going into the front room of a place you are moving into, make it one of the last t

Jakarta Drive Through Zoo.

There are always adventures at a zoo! The Jakarta zoo has a drive through area where you can see some dangerous carnivores. There are a few international visitors to the zoo, and they wanted to make sure no one is injured due to not thinking.  Putting up signs in the local language would not be good enough.  (Or it did not work in the past).  So they painted big signs with advice.  Lions will eat people as much as a gazelle.  The king of the jungle will catch you if you run.  So this was one of the signs as we entered into the area that was housing the lions.  I thought this was a great idea.  I read about once a year or so as to how someone has been eaten by a hungry lion, tiger or bear in some reserve or refuge for big hunters.  They may not have this sign in the zoo you are going to, but it is still relevant no matter what zoo or wildlife venture you participate. It was a warm day when my friends and I hit the zoo.  The Lions, as you can see, were not all that interes

This is a test. A test of the blogger iPhone app.

As a test of the iPhone app, I figured I would try to post something from my phone. We shall see if this works and try to determine if this is a viable option for adding content to this great blog.  Thursday I took one of my vehicles in for the annual safety and bi-annual emissions I am subject to as a resident of the DC metro area.  On Thursday the great truck I drive back and forth to the hardware store failed its safety inspection.  Why?  Because of the light "behind the camper" is out. Really?  That is why you are going to fail this great truck that has served me so well?  Wonderful. Can you fix it?  Seems like a reasonable request. Oh no, we would have to remove the camper to perform that repair. Great. Now I have this great bug red sticker that says rejected.  On the way home I pick up the required lamps. The plan is to fix this travesty on Friday. Lord knows I do not want my burn out light (behind the camper) to cause any problems.  Today I returned to the inspection s

New York City!!

Road Trips are so Much Fun.. Recently Sunshine and I went on another road trip, over the next couple of posts, I will share with you are experiences of setting up the road trip, some lessons learned and places we visited.  I really hope you all enjoy the stories as much as we enjoyed living them. Summer vacation time  is on its way.  It has been very wet here in Virginia.  Our typical July 4th consists of going to downtown DC and watching the parade then the fireworks.  A long day, considering it does not get dark until 9 pm and the parade starts at noon.  This year we took some time off from work, loaded up the SUV and headed to visit some friends. Our first stop was New York City.  Sunshine is from the Philippines and her old neighbor has moved to New York. We decided to stop by and visit.  Visiting friends in Queens, which if you are wondering is no where near Syracuse, we loaded on the subway and headed to Rockefeller Square to see were they put up the Christmas

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Gals On one of our road trips, we stopped off at a McDonalds.  McDonalds is a place to stop in a pinch. Its not a place I think of when I am hungry.  Well one of the McDonalds we stopped at had a great 50s theme.  The restroom doors were decorated. Just thought I would share this little interesting tid bit of information with all of you.

Nashville Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee A great opportunity was presented to me a couple of weeks ago, so my wife and I took full advantage.  Leaving our home in northern Virginia, we headed to east Tennessee to spend the weekend with a dear friend.  Well, they did not want to sit around and do nothing, so we loaded up the old SUV, and headed to Nashville.  It was only a day trip, and we had had Tickets to the General Jackson showboat.   The folks that put on this show are very friendly. We load up the car, pick up another friend and off we go.  Arriving about an hour before departure gave my wife and her friends the chance to go shopping at the near by mall.  Then we grab our tickets from the desk and off to the pre-boarding area, where there is a musician entertaining us while we wait.  Directions for what to do are announced and then boarding begins.  During the 3 hour cruise there are two separate lunch settings.  Since we were a little hungry, we got the 2nd seating.  Figures. From

Places to go, Places to eat.

Where has Tronster been for the last couple of weeks.  I like to try and update the blog about once or week or so, but work has been tough, and we have been traveling again.  Once my dad told me "Young people go see stuff, and old people go eat stuff."  They live in a small town, and the culinary selections for my parents are limited. A couple of weeks ago, Sunshine and I loaded up and headed to east Tennessee.  This past Memorial Day weekend as a matter fact.  We first joined some friends at the Philippine American Association of East Tennessee.  There we have some great fellowship and some great food.  Because we traveled 8 hours to get there, some of our friends saved us a little bit of the food. But this post is about the Applewood Farmhouse Grill, in Pigeon Forge.  Its not on the main road, but just a block off.  The grill front yard is full of apple trees.  There are a couple of shops around that I would liked to have checked out, but we had to get to Dollywood.

The Cicadas are coming!! The Cicadas are coming!!

The Cicada is an insect that is pretty large and has wings.  The east coast of the United States is about to be hit with a wave of cicadas from a Brood II infestation(?).  Apparently there are two prominent types of cicadas.  The ones that live underground for two to eight years and the ones that live underground for seventeen years.  This is the year of the coming of the seventeen year breed. Now it is rumored these guys will be in the millions this coming week. (Maybe next week).  According to the all knowing Wikipedia  these little guys only live about 4 to 6 weeks after maturing to the adult version. I am no expert on insects.  I do not pretend to know all that much.  That is why a wanted a little more information on these critters to make sure there was no danger for me or my family. Turns out they are pretty much harmless.  To humans anyway.  The female will crack open a tree limb or two and plant thousands of new eggs for 2030.  I am sure I don't want to see them

Air Boat Rides!!!!

If you are on a trip to south Florida, the Everglades are place to stop.  The landscape is majestic and different from just about anything you can see anywhere else in the world.  There are wetlands everywhere, but the Everglades are awesome.  In the tradition of things to do when you are on vacation, an airboat should be on that list. I had the opportunity to visit the Florida Everglades in Coopertown, FL. We woke up early on Saturday and hit the road heading south on I75.  Florida uses lanes that have tolls without toll booths.  I believe they called them "Hot Lanes"  Apparently they take photos of your license plate and send you a bill if you do not have an EZPASS device. Regardless, we arrived at the airboat ride establishment at a good hour.  They had been open for about an hour, but there was no traffic.  Our group was big enough for a small boat.  (The boat could hold 8 and there were 5 of us)  They have larger boats for bigger groups, however, our was a goo

Planning for Summer 2013

Welcome back to The A to Z Challenge is over for 2013.  I had such a great time and enjoyed reading several of the blogs I had not seen before.  I have been on break for a couple weeks.  We had an extremely busy work week and I was just plain tired afterwards and did not have the opportunity to update the blog. The challenge concentrated a lot on the adventures of Tronster, and I have decided to stick to that philosophy.  If we get into my thoughts, that could be a long dark trip and professional help maybe required to recover. In that case, I will continue to talk about some of my adventures. Sunshine and I are planning our summer vacations at this time.  We have so far identified Dollywood, Lake something or another in Canada and the Baseball hall of fame.  I also think one weekend we are going to go Monticello.  Other road trips will include visiting friends and family in South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio.

Survival- Reflections of the 2013 A to Z challenge

This past month has been very good for  I personally started the challenge last year and missed two days.  This year, I was better prepared.  When I knew I would not be able to get online and update a post I did them in advance.  A great way to complete the challenge.  In addition, I talked about something I have a lot of experience about.  I also began to add more photographs.  There was even one day when I changed the layout on my blog. (Incidentally, I might be changing it again soon) I also found many blogs to follow.  I have added them to my bookmarks.  I see many great posts on the challenge this year.  Here is a list of a few that I enjoyed.  There are many more, but I haven't got them all posted in my bookmarks yet to share. Kat In Africa       Adventuring At Home     A Passion and a Passport     Traveling Suitcase Most of these focused on similar topics as mine.  Traveling. Even last year's challenge presented me with several that I follow.  Th


The Republic of Zambia is a land locked nation in southern Africa.  The capital city  is Lusaka.  I know what your thinking, I can't believe I am learning something new during the A to Z challenge of 2013.  Regardless, my travels to Lusaka included a trip to a near by lodge to have a day at the Safari. It is about an hours drive outside of the city of Lusaka.  My host was kind enough to drive, considering I do not know my way around the country side.  The cost includes a full day of activities, food and drinks.  I do not drink alcoholic beverages myself.  Its a lifestyle choice I made when I was very young.  My host and friends however, do enjoy and occasional cocktail.  While sitting on the porch of the lodge we place our order.  I receive the same drink as everyone else.  A rum and diet Pepsi.  It was very weak so I had no problem with the drink.  I guess that is what you get with open bar. This particular lodge kept the dangerous animals in fenced 2 or 3 acre areas.  It


Yugoslavia was a country started in 1943 at the end of WWII.  The country split up in 1992 after internal ethnic troubles persistant and the area was at war.  I have had the opportunity to visit a couple of locations from the former Yugoslavia.  Zagreb, and Sarajevo. In 1984 the town of Sarajevo hosted the winter olympics.   On one of my free days, some colleagues and I headed to the Olympic resort.  Located just outside the city, we had to drive up the mountain to enjoy the snow capped mountains.  Since the end of the war, sarajevo has been struggling to get tourist back in their country, so we were heading north to see what there was to offer.  Sarajevo itself was in various stages of rebuilding and during the civil war, was the center of fighting for much of the time.  I believe the city was under siege for a couple of years. As we pulled into the Olympic village and found us some parking we headed to meet our guide for the day.  Our party consisted of about 9 people.  We

"X"- Xenia Ohio

I have been to a lot of locations, for both work and pleasure.  This is one of the most difficult letters to identify for a place to explore.  I have done it.  You can go to Xenia, Ohio.  I have been there myself.  It dose exist.  It is 21 miles outside of Dayton Ohio. I stayed in Xenia on a work trip to Dayton.  In my spare time I was able to visit the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton. The Air Force museum if a fantastic place to visit with the family.  If you have any intrest in the history of flight or the Air Force.  Here they will walk you through the early years of flight.  The Wright Brothers were from Ohio, although not Xenia, when they built their airplane.  They went to North Carolina to fly the plane because of the sustained winds. If front of the museum is the Park, out back they keep several retired airplanes.  There is ample parking and the walk is very pleasant. Another exhibit in the back is a complete mock up of one of the airfields that defende

"W"- Wall.... The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China.  They began construction as early as the 7th century BC.  Most of the wall was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty.  It started off as a series of walls to protect China from nomads and raiders.  It was later connected to form the Great Wall.  Some surveys using modern methods, have estimated the wall to be about 13,171 miles long.  This distance includes some natural protectors such as cliffs and lakes. I visited the Great Wall while working in Beijing during the weeks leading to the Olympics.  We took a short drive to the wall.  It kills me that I cannot recall the exact section I visited.  I suggest for your travel junkies to start keeping a journal when you travel.  So when you look back, you can recall the great times. There are your typical tourist stuff at the wall, you can have you picture taken with people in costume and at different sections of the wall.  Each of the "actors" request a little money to pose with you. It isn't very

"V" - Vacation

While I was growing up, we never took real vacations.  We would go and visit my grandparents and one time, my grandparents took my Disney as a kid.  However, we never went far from home.  When I started working, I never really took vacations other than to visit family.  Because that is what I know from growing up.  However, once I met Sunshine, all that changes.  We have taken a major vacation every year since we were married. (Once before)  Now we look for opportunities for vacations. So I wanted to share a few idea with you all for vacation suggestions. Disney is always fun, for kids of all ages.  It is important to realize, that the Disney corporations is proud of everything they offer.  However, the customer service is excellant.  They will take care of you.  They also offer many options.  Shop around. Plan a weekend away from home, and drive a couple hours and get a hotel room.  Call it a Road Trip Weekend.  We like will drive about 5 hours to hit a weekend trip.  Three

"U"-Union Station Washington DC

Ok Fans, it looks like I am getting back on schedule.  I hope you enjoy this little story.  As my job has allowed me to travel a lot, I really miss my sunshine.  Although I fly most of the time, I have been known to drive to the work city.  Well, I can't ask sunshine to do the same, and short flights are just not worth the money anymore. (Or the time)  So we take the train.  From DC, you have Union Station. Union Station opened in 1907.  When the three major railroads operated in the area had their own stations.  It is a great place to visit while you are in DC.  Now there are several passenger trains serviced through there and many bus companies as well. Outside Union Station there is a replica of the Liberty Bell.  I did not know that until I saw it myself.  I have been to see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (with Sunshine) and that was really great. On a side note, I was watching Sentinel  the movie, yesterday after work.  There were several scenes fro

"T" - Thailand

Oh my, Oh my.  This challenge is going by fast.  I have been late on my daily posts because of a slight technical difficulty.  Have no fear, I have another great and exciting place to talk about.  This time it is in Thailand. My visit to Thailand included a layover for two days in Bangkok, but many people visit that city, I was in Chiang Mai.  The city is not as big as Bangkok, but a very busy city.  It is the largest city in the northern part of the country.  They host an annual water party, where everyone gets wet.  According to WIKIPEDIA, 4 or 5 million or so tourist visit the city every year.  news to me.  Regardless, about 15 km outside of the city is the  Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.   Its a temple located on top of mountain by the same name.    To get to the temple, you have to climb 309 steps from the parking area. If you get a stop right next to the steps.  Not likely.  Once you reach top, even if you are not a Buddhist, you can appreciate the beauty of the temple.  As a


The challenge moves forward.  I had plan for another location.  However, I cannot find my pictures from the place, so you will have to wait.  I thought I would share something that has thwarted at least one road trip for Sunshine and I.  Snow!! Living in Northern Virginia, we do not get much snow.  We get a dusting here and there, but this was more than we were accustom to receiving.  This storm was predicted.  We were not surprised.  With the exception of the actual snow fall amount, we knew it was coming. There were no snow plows on the way to clear the roads.  It was going to take a while to get out of this one. Believe it or not, there is a driveway under all that snow.  It was very pretty until all the ATVs got out.  This was on a weekday and the federal government was closed.  Along with 90% of the rest of the area.  So Sunshine and I took a walk down the street and just enjoyed the view.  Not o mention a got a good workout clearing most of the driveway. Many of you m


One of our trips took us to Italy.  Being that close to Rome, we had to make a stop there.  What a city.  The historic markers and buildings are everywhere.  Any construction project has to have someone there looking for history.  They were working on the subway when I was there a few years ago and it was slow process, because they keep finding artifacts. They path Sunshine and I took to get to Rome was from a Cruise.  We loaded the ship in Barcelona, and Rome was our third stop.  You do not actually dock in Rome, but Civitavecchia Italy.  It is about an hour bus ride from Rome.  If you decide you want to take a tour of Rome from a cruise.  You will have a choice to make.  You an either take a tour of the city, or of the Vatican.  I would suggest take the tour of Rome.  You will see much much more.  What I learned from the cruise was that every cruise line pulls into the area on the same day, and a trip through the Vatican is very crowded.  I must admit, if you think you will ne

"Q"- Queen

This was a difficult letter for me on this challenge.  I have not been to a place with a "Q" start.  I know they exist.  There is Queensland, Quebec, Qatar, and I am sure a few I have missed. I could have talked about "Quick Trips".  Places close to home that Sunshine and I have gone too.  There is Great Falls, Mt Vernon, The Smithsonian, and many other locations.  I must say I will skip the places with "Q" names. Although I have never been in the presence of the Queen of any country, although Sunshine is the Queen of my heart. I have seen the princess of Thailand once. No, I am going to talk about a "Quick Trip" we took when we were in Ft Lauderdale FL. It was on the Jungle Queen IV.  basically it is a dinner cruise through the waterways of Ft Lauderdale.  They take a route and share some information about the city and the homes you may pass by when you cruising.  Sunshine and I had such a great time.  The serve a dinner, which is oka

"P"- Parade

Good Morning Bloggers, Todays letter will be "P", and all though I have visited a few places which begin with the letter "P" I wanted to spice it up a little bit.  Those who have been following this blog through the month of April know that I love to travel. To some far off lands, and some that are not so far off.  One of the activities you can always participate in is Parade Watching.  On our recent to Greece, they were celebrating their Independence Day.  The Greeks put on a great parade showing their First responders along with many other units in the military.  The people who attended the parade seemed to have a real good time.  The units that marched in the parade were regular military units.  They did not seem to have the performance down for the marching.  They marching bands from the military as well.  Unlike the parades you see in the united states, there were no floats. The picture to the right is from one of the three Cherry Blossom parad