Monday, August 31, 2009

Secret Message to the One

Mmmmm. delicious!

For everyone else, I apologize for being cryptic. I couldn't resist this special post for a special person.

Rick's Roadshow: Orlando in August

Welcome to another installment of Rick's Roadshow: Orlando in August. I'll be honest. I'm not a huge fan of the Orlando area. I come here on business a few times each year. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky. Maybe I just don't want to hear a zillion kids running around screaming. Maybe I just can't handle the swampy air humidity. Maybe....ah I'll stop. No sense being all negative. Now for the positive stuff: I am staying at the Gaylord Palms Resort, which is a very nice property with a pleasant environment and nice rooms. It makes being in Orlando tolerable! Rather than share photos of the things I deplore about Orlando, I thought I'd share some unexpected photos from right here at my hotel. I walked around and took a few photos of things, like this koi pond at the top left. I have always enjoyed watching koi swim, their group behavior, the way they are attracted to people- especially when there are koi pellets involved! I think the Chinese like koi because they represent long life or something. 
above: I thought this was interesting. It's supposed to look like a garden patio sitting area. The table and chairs are covered in moss, which is quite lovely.
These next two photos of the "sail boat" are not al illusion- the boat is inside the hotel. It's not a real sailboat of course, but it is surrounded by water. It is a restaurant, cleverly designed as part of their "Key West" motiff within the hotel. Perhaps that's one of the things I like about the Gaylord Palms, is that they design the property with lots of interesting things to see and experience, so it's not just another hotel bar or dining area.
 I should have put this photo first- but I'm adapting to the new changes in Blogger with images and have yet to figure it out. So this is where this image will stay. Anyway, this is the area leading into the "Key West" section where that sail boat
is above. There are a bunch of little gift shops and things scattered through here too, a great way to cajole guests to spend money onsite. The shops have a range of things that you would expect to find in Key West, so you feel like you've been somewhere other than just Orlando!

I like this photo here, with the hammock. It is at the edge of the Key West waters, a little beach with a cozy hammock and picnic basket positioned perfectly. For some reason the fake pink flamingos don't seem to bother me much! It all looks so inviting, doesn't it? I love hammocks- we used to have one in the back yard when I was a kid. When we first bought the house in Palm Springs, we planted a lot of palm trees. In particular, two in the back yard near the pool area. I remember thinking that we positioned them just close enough that someday we could hang a hammock between them. I just noticed the other day that they are getting tall enough, so maybe next summer I can once again have a hammock in the back yard.
Oh darn it, this other photo of the koi fish won't move where I wanted it, at the top. So I'll have to  leave it here and close today's post with a soothing image of koi. Yes, that's it- I meant to do that. To leave you, gentle reader with a calm soothing visual. Thanks for following along Rick's Roadshow: Orlando in August. Be sure to stop by again tomorrow- wait til you see what I have to show you!
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Travel Tales, Part II

You may recall back in July I wrote a post called Travel Tales. It chronicled a few incidents I observed while on the road. This past week, while I was in San Francisco I witnessed another episode that I thought was worth of a fresh Travel Tales follow up installment. I should start off with the admission reminder that I am somewhat of a germ-o-phobe. That being said here is the scene: I'm at SFO airport, waiting for my flight home. I'm at the gate area, relaxing with my Wall Street Journal newspaper when a woman sits down in the open seat next to me. She has a white bag with some food she had just purchased. As she settle into her seat, she pulls out a white carton of hot soup, and a piece of French baguette. All of a sudden, the whole piece of bread falls out of her hand and onto the floor. As it was sudden movement, naturally it caught my eye. She was still fiddling with her things and there the piece of bread sat on the filthy airport carpet at our feet. And then, the UNTHINKABLE occurred. She reached down, picked up the piece of bread and yes, you guessed it- she proceeded to EAT THE BREAD that had been on the FILTHY AIRPORT CARPET. I discreetly pulled out my camera and took these photos moments after. The top left is her hand, dipping the scum-laden, bacteria covered piece of bread into her soup.

above: The circle indicates where the piece of bread landed on the airport carpet. As if this were not enough, at one point, her plastic spoon fell onto the floor as she was eating. So keep in mind, the spoon was wet with soup. And yes, once again she reached down, picked up the spoon from the airport carpet and continued using it. SHE DIDN'T EVEN WIPE OFF THE SPOON. So there must have been carpet fibers, dust or worse- fecal matter or something like that on her spoon. God only KNOWS what that spoon picked up. Ugh, so utterly disgusting. While slurping her soup, the woman proceeded to strike up a conversation with me, so I used the opportunity to snap those photos. I pretended I was "experimenting" with my camera, trying to shoot a photo of a plane on the tarmac. That allowed me to get the photo of her hand with the bread and the soup. Oh it was so gross. It reminded me once again, how disgusting people can be. Now- all that being said, I should state that I fully understand that there are people in far worse situations, hungry, destitute and desperate who do not have food to eat. I have full sympathy for such people and would never judge someone in that situation eating and not wasting something just because it had fallen on the floor. But I differentiate between someone in that situation compared to this business woman who should have better judgement. So tell me, am I crazy about this? If your piece of French bread and soupy spoon both fell on the floor at the airport, would you eat the bread and use the spoon? Leave a comment, I'm curious. Thank you for stopping by.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rick's Roadshow: San Francisco

A fresh round of Rick's Roadshow installments return once again over the next few weeks. I've been in San Francisco on a short business trip and managed to snap a few photos while walking to and from a business meeting. I make efficient use of my time, especially when it is a compressed schedule. Whenever I get up to SFO, I'm reminded of what a wonderful city it is, and I wonder why I don't visit more often. This was purely a business trip with hardly any free time, but this photo above is of the Bay Bridge (not to be confused with the landmark Golden Gate Bridge).
above and below: While walking to and from a business meeting I passed by these street vendors with all sorts of interesting wares for sale.
they sold things like wind chimes, lambskin rugs, shawls, and jewelry
above: The entrance to the Ferry Building Marketplace. It is located in the historic Ferry Building at Market Street, and features all sorts of shops selling food, produce, local fresh fish, artisan cheese, chocolate, and fresh flowers .
above: The Cowgirl Creamery had some incredible cheeses. Wow I could have gotten lost in there.
above: Miette Patisserie featured fabulous French pastries.
above: Farm Fresh to You, which features seasonal organic produce harvested fresh from the farm in the Capay Valley.

above: This sign explains all the different types of organic tomatoes they offered.

above: Next up was the Hog Island Oyster Company, which was hopping!

above: Guests at the Hog Island Oyster Company were busy gobbling down oysters while the nice men behind the counter shucked the oysters in front of you.

when I left the Ferry Building Marketplace, I couldn't help but notice this sign. I thought it was pretty cool. But then again this is San Francisco, and it is a cool city!

above: one last photo, of Mr Seagull who stopped to say hello to me before I left.
Thanks for stopping by Rick's Roadshow: San Francisco. Get ready for more travels, as I head to Orlando, then Chicago then Rhode Island!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Hippy Green Grocer

Last week I was in Portland, Oregon on business for a few days. I always enjoy getting up to the Northwest part of our country. It's so green- in more ways than one. It is green in the sense of the landscape and foliage- a stark contrast to Palm Springs or even San Diego, where the hills are all brown from low rainfall. Portland is naturally green and easy-on-the-eyes. But Portland is also green in another manner. Green as in eco-friendly. Restaurant menus are printed on recycled paper. Recycle bins are available in most places consumers go. It just seems Portland is more green than many other places I visit- and believe me, I get around the country. In addition, wherever one goes in Portland, you can easily find all sorts of natural and organic products. I drove past this cute little "country store" called The Green Grocer. We stopped in for a look around. It was a wonderful little store with all organic and natural products. I bought some organic ice cream bars, and organic peanut butter crackers as a snack. Also had a nice chit-chat with the hippy chick who was working. I had a feeling she may have been the owner, but it wasn't clear. She as all excited because some movie is using the exterior of her store in a major Hollywood movie sometime soon. I already forgot what the name of the flick will be, but it didn't really matter anyway. I just thought this little store was so cute. I wanted to patronize a local business, especially since it was full of wonderful organic products. Anyway that's my little Portland story of the Green Grocery. Any green stores in your area?
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Chicken Bone Vexation

Last night after a long day at work neither one of us were much in the mood to cook dinner. We talked ourselves into dashing out for something close by so we could hurry up and get back home to get some more work done before going to sleep. Now when we're home in Palm Springs, there are plenty of options for dining. But when we're in San Diego, the restaurants close by the beach house are really not all that great. So we ended up at Applebee's. Not exactly my favorite Casual Dining Restaurant to begin with. I much prefer the local chain Coco's to be honest. But anyway I digress. So we went into Applebee's and studied the menu. We looked and looked and looked and had trouble finding anything healthy. I eventually settled on the Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta bowl. Dinner was served fairly promptly, for which I was grateful. I had a few bites- it lacked flavor and wasn't all that good, but as I was hungry it worked. Suddenly I took a bite and felt something sharp cut into my upper gum. I winced in pain and had an immediate "empty the mouth of its contents" reaction. Being ever the gentleman, I grabbed a side dish and spit out what I had tried to eat. The sharp pain persisted and I realized I had bitten down on something foreign. I was in a fair amount of pain, so I excused myself to the gent's room in an attempt to discreetly dislodge the foreign item from my mouth. The manner in which it was wedged in between my teeth, and the depth it had been pushed in made it quite difficult to remove. Finally after an hour fifteen minutes I managed to extract what I later realized was a chicken bone sliver. It looked something like this bone at left. Ok not exactly, but you get the idea. Blech. I was so grossed out by this. I returned to the table and let the manager know what happened. Of course she deducted the cost of my meal from the bill. Good job, because I certainly wasn't about to eat any of it. As we waited for the final bill, I stared out the window and saw the In-N-Out Burger joint across the parking lot. I was still hungry and longed for something to eat. But I had lost my appetite for anything. I'll admit that I can't exactly fault Applebee's that a massive chicken bone sliver appeared in my pasta bowl dinner, but it has turned me off on ever dining with them again. The quality of the food wasn't all that great to begin with. I'm wondering if they started buying lower grade/quality chicken to save money, hence the chicken breast with scraps of bone sliver in it. Blech. So goodbye, Applebee's, hello anyone else. One good thing came of this Chicken Bone Vexation...a topic for today's blog post. Thanks for reading.
-Rick Rockhill

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Night Time In The Desert

Last night was such a beautiful evening. I decided to take a midnight swim under the moonlight and enjoy the warm desert air. I find the salt waters of our pool refreshing and almost healing. The glow of the pool light cast a warm feeling on the plants surrounding these calm waters. I've shared photos of the plants in our yard many times over the years, but usually they are all taken in the full light of day, under the blazing sun. But last night I was inspired to snap a few photos around the yard. This first photo above left is fun- the pool waters look green when in fact it actually glows more blue-ish-green. I had the setting on my camera on the "slow synch" mode, so the shutter would capture the low light. And so here are some of the photos I snapped in the moonlight...enjoy!

above: I like the contrast of the palm fronds against the black desert sky

above: This flowering cactus sits on the edge of the hot tub overlooking the pool.

above: a close up of the flower. The flash on my camera washed out the flower somewhat but it is still pretty, don't you think?

above: Nice contrast here of the green cactus against the palm trees and crushed rocks.

above: Here's that agave I showed a few weeks ago. This is another great contrast against the dark sky...
I hope you enjoyed these photos of Night Time In The Desert.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Art Review: Varga(s) Girl Pin Up Art

Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chávez (1896-1982) was a watercolor and airbrush artist, who started his career with the Ziegfeld Follies and for numerous Hollywood studios. He is considered one of the finest artists in his genre. He created a mastery of watercolors and airbrush technique; so much so that today the highest acknowledged achievement in airbrush artistry is called the Vargas Award. His most famous piece of work on film was in the 1933 film The Sin of Nora Moran, but later in the 1940s he created iconic pin-up girls for Esquire magazine known as "Varga Girls" in the WWII era. Later, after a dispute in the use of the term "Varga Girl". Hugh Hefner began featuring his work in Playboy magazine during the 1960's under the name "Vargas Girls". Mr Vargas died on December 30, 1982, at the age of 86 but to this day continues to be recognized as the leading artist for pin up girl art. I hope you enjoy today's somewhat edited installment of The Sunday Art Review: Varga(s) Girl Pin Up Art

Thanks for stopping by today's Sunday Art Review. Have a great day!
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Saturday Seven: Interesting Things Made From Goats Milk

A friend of mine at work gave me a bar of all natural organic Goats Milk Soap this week and I've been fascinated by how soft and silky it is when washing my hands. I've always liked goats. Even when I was a little kid, goats were interesting to me. Baa Baaa! I think it had something to do with that little beard they have- or should I say "Goatee". I suppose that's where the term goatee came from- goats. Anyway I started to wonder what else goats milk is used for. This was the inspiration for another scintillating installment of The Saturday Seven: Interesting Things Made From Goats Milk. Goat's milk is actually quite rich and delicious. it has a subtle, sweet and slightly salty tone to it. They say that goat's milk is the milk of choice in most of the world, but we never drank it growing up. Some natural markets and health foods stores like Whole Foods and such do carry it in with their organic milk section. I was fascinated to learn that unlike milk from a cow, it is not necessary to homogenize goat's milk. Goat's milk fat globules are very small and remain part of the liquid solution, instead of separating like cow's milk. So without further ado, here are the seven most interesting things made from Goat's Milk:
#1 Regular Fresh Goat's Milk: ideal for people allergic to or can't digest cow's milk.

#2 Goat's Milk Soap

#3 Goat's Milk Shower Bath Cream Gel

#4 Goat's Milk Hand Lotion
#5 Goat's Milk Frozen Yogurt

#6 Goat's Milk Cheese
#7 Goat's Milk Tablets
Bonus Entry: Goat's Milk Strawberry Lolly-pops
What have you tried from Goat's Milk? Any stories about Goat's or their milk?
-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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