Monday, September 5, 2016

US - Hannibal & Mark Twain Lake


We had never been to the little town of Hannibal, Missouri, a riverboat town on the Mississippi River famous for being the boyhood home of Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain), a well known author & lecturer in the late-1800's.


The town still has a "steamboat", but it stays docked in Hannibal and takes tourists out on the river for short cruises.  The paddle-wheel is just painted on the back side of the boat; from the wake, it looked like it uses a more modern engine.
The riverboat, coming back from a tour.


Main Street still has many of the beautiful old-style buildings.  Each building was unique.  During the summer tourist season, I've heard that people dress up as Mark Twain and characters from his books to explain the history: Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Becky Thatcher...


We expected some sort of celebration for Labor Day weekend (the unofficial end of summer), and we weren't disappointed!


The parade started with a vintage fire engine.


Followed by this beautifully restored car.


Then things started to get weird...
 It turns out, this was Hannibal's 3rd annual Steampunk Festival.  "Steampunk" seems to be how modern day people think people in the 1800's envisioned the future - lots of gears, everything driven by steam, personal jet packs, strange vehicles.  (Think of descriptions from the futuristic books by H.G. Wells & Jules Verne.)


We're still not sure what a "furry" (back row, 2nd from right) was doing at a Steampunk Festival, but everyone was welcome!  


Aside from many wearing similar goggles, every costume was unique.


Near the end of the parade H.R.H. Queen Victoria was riding her mobile throne!


And pulling up the rear, the beginnings of an airship. 


Queen Victoria officially opened the festival.


Many of the costumes were quite elaborate.


We don't know what the backpack was for but it was very ornate. It was either her personal time machine or it held her beer.. hehe.
 

A non-steampunk couple dressed appropriately for the Victorian era.  The man was riding the penny-farthing (bicycle) and letting some little kids try it.


This was one of the performers.  The instrument is called a hurdy-gurdy, and even though it's a stringed instrument, has a sound similar to bagpipes when the crank is turned.


Another person at the festival.  We don't know whether she was a performer, or just dressed that way for fun.  The lizard clinging to the front of her dress is real.


Could he fly? The boy has a personal flying machine.


This woman is using an old (ca. 1905) sock knitting machine. Load the yarn, turn the crank, and out comes a sock.  Originally from Michigan, she said the market for heavy, woolen socks that are good at -75 deg. F, don't sell all that well in Missouri.


A mysterious "police box" in the middle of Main Street, which looks suspiciously like Dr. Who's Tardis.


This vendor used an old stereo camera to make & sell old-fashioned 3-D tintypes - photos printed on tin plates, rather than paper.  The dual photos are viewed with an old-fashioned stereoscope to see them in 3-D (a technology that is being revived for 3-D video with Samsung VR & Google Cardboard.)


A rather interesting spectator.  Note the tail.  


She was also wearing a dog mask, and a t-shirt that read "People Against Humanity".


What do you think this machine is? Some old technology - in this case, a Linotype machine, used in the printing industry. 


It was hot, so we stopped in a vintage fountain shop for some ice cream.  See something heart shape there?


Main Street in Hannibal.  


If you go, I highly recommend the chocolatier near the end of the block.
 

After leaving Hannibal, we stopped at Mark Twain State Park, near Florida, MO.


Mark Twain's boyhood home.  The house was moved to the park, then the visitor center/museum building was built around it.


The museum houses furniture & other belongs of Twain's, including this carriage.


The park was having an "open house" for the Labor Day weekend.  In one area, they had a spot to try archery, slingshots, and kayaking - all free!  SinE tried archery for the first time and turned out to be quite good with a bow. 


I learned that I'm probably more of a danger to myself than whatever I'm shooting at with a slingshot.


Kayaking on the Mark Twain Lake looked like fun, but many people were waiting, it was hot, and they only had 5 kayaks, so we didn't try these.


This is the Clarence Cannon Dam on the east of lake.

Wrote by Steve


Saturday, July 30, 2016

華僑


最近從朋友認識到一位印尼華僑,她才嫁來美國两年,知道我是馬來西亞人,感覺有點相近。我們可以講福建話(她能講但不會寫及看中文),類似的食物,還有身在不同民族的國度。

她講起她的護照有名但沒姓,雖然她知道她的中文姓名,可是因為早期排華,身份證名都不用中文名的并音而是一般民族名,沒報姓,也有些人是隨便報一個姓。我問那很多文件資料都要填姓呢?她說是填,不詳。我無言。
她講起她的國家也是貪污,但現在的政府好些了,他們的首長還說,看看馬國的貪污 ~ 意思是印尼才沒像馬國那樣,現在沒得比了。他們的首長名字,我不詳,可是她却知道馬國的第一號官及夫人的名字。我無言。

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sewing


相公拿他的衣問我看是否能補救。我回說,這夠破舊了,像那些之前破的就丢吧。
他說這件是他喜歡的衣,之前在F15工作組。
Steve asked me whether I can save his shirt.  I said just buy a new one, it is old enough that you can get rid of it like previous shirts. 
He said this one is different, it's one of his favorite, ex-team shirts.


好吧,就縫補,大大小小的洞在两個袖内邊及腋下週圍。
他問我從那學會針線。我從媽媽那學到一點點。(我俩位姐有到外上學缝紉,針線方面好多多,她們一定不屑的看我這樣的雕品小技也要貼上網。)
Alright, I was starting to stitch those broken parts, several holes. There were holes around both sleeves and arm pits.
He asked where I learned how to sew. I said I learned a little bit from my mom. (Both of my sisters are much better in sewing.)
Steve says he doesn't know how to sew, so while he was single, he just used a stapler to repair things like broken belt loops on his clothes.
我分享的重點是,相公說他完全不會縫紉,以前單身,如他的褲帶扣破時,他是用打書機釘補在褲上。
所以,我這夫人不是少奶奶命有丫鬟婢女的。夫人是大至吸塵機,小至打書機。我喜歡做小的,有成就感。這段就不寫英文了,寫也看不懂,我指他。


用了两個小時半總算把洞封密,我的'巧手'還可以吧?
沒回應,相公已睡了。
It took me 2.5 hours to seal the holes. Is the result okay?
No respond, Steve is already in bed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

US - Tennessee


美國有50州,每個州都有名勝景點,如果一年安排幾天只旅遊一個州,50年才能遊完。
哇,不要說遊完全世界,好像遊完全美國都不容易,不知還能活多少年,還是萝想就好,實不實現就看命。
7月7日我們駕車來到Tennessee 州旅遊幾天。
We stopped at Kentucky Dam, a lock & dam on the way to Tennessee.


The Woodlands Nature Station was closed when we drove through Land Between the Lakes.  This is a side route in the park.  


We followed this jeep until the water had completely covered the road.  Neither of us attempted to drive across.  The people were from the area and said the water is normally about 10 feet below the road level at this spot, but they had major storms the night before.


Fort Donelson - a Confederate fort during the U.S. Civil War.


 The Parthenon in Nashville, built for the Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exhibition. This is a full-size reproduction of the original Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.


We were fortunate enough see the original Parthenon on a visit to Greece in 2009.  The original temple was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.


Close-up of one of the pediments, this one showing the birth of the goddess Athena.


Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategic war, and skilled crafts.


Athena Parthenos!
The statue of Athena is over 41 feet tall, and Nike, the goddess of victory in Athena's hand is 6 feet 4 inches tall.  Even taller than Steve!


The tour guide provided some great info about the artistic construction of the temple. 

A few notes: the extra tall steps going up to the temple cause the head to naturally bow as you go up to the temple doors.  As you enter, the door frames the statue. Unfortunately, the large bronze doors at the entrance aren't open to see this.

The pillars in the main hall could have gone to the ceiling but were split about waist-level on the statue by the horizontal beams. This immediately draws the eyes to the statue.

Due to its size, from the waist up the statue is oversized, which makes it look "correct" when viewed from below.

In the original temple, lighting would have been much dimmer, so the gilded statue in the dim temple would have been a much more impressive sight.


One of the figures on the 7.5 ton giant bronze doors.  Many people, including Steve, feel the need to pet the lion's nose.


A reproduction of one of the griffins adorning the roof of the Nashville Parthenon.  The Greek version of a "maneki neko" (beckoning cat) statue?


The opposite end of the building.  The pediment on this end shows the competition between Athena and her uncle, Poseidon, to become the patron god/goddess of Athens.  Athena won. 


The visitor's center at Stone's River National Battlefield.  We stopped just long enough to get a stamp in our National Parks passport.


We stopped in Chattanooga, TN, and visited the Ruby Falls cave on Lookout Mountain.




"At 1,120 feet underground, Ruby Falls is one of the deepest commercial caves in the world. "




 


"At 145 feet tall, Ruby Falls is one of the largest underground waterfalls accessible to the public."


"Ruby Falls" - the tall waterfall inside the cave.  Named for Ruby, the wife of the cave's discoverer.
This was one of the more beautiful caves we've visited.


The top of the inclined train on Lookout Mountain.


A panoramic view of Moccasin Bend from Point Park on Lookout Mountain, part of the Chicamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.


Time for a little quiet meditation at Point Park, part of a Confederate fort on Lookout Mountain.
我坐在石岩上,想起一個故事,有一僧人懊腦自己禅坐常昏沉,所以決定坐在石岩上以警戒自己精進專注,但還是失敗,結果跌下山崖。當僧人跌下時,即心生懺愧,就這一心生起,却被菩薩救度了。
你相信這故事嗎?
我呢,連這樣的決心試法,都不敢。


After leaving Chattanooga, we took a southern route, sneaking up on the Great Smoky Mountains from the North Carolina side.  We stopped briefly in Bryson City for information and some great ice cream from The Chocolate Shoppe, before heading up to Cherokee and into the mountains.


  At an elevation of 6,643 feet, Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the park.


The trail from the visitor's center to the observation deck is only 0.5 miles, but the altitude makes it a tough, uphill walk.


The 360 degree view from Clingman's Dome was spectacular.  This is the view to the east.



360度的視野。


眼界有多遠?
How far is the view?



看世界是需要眼,更需要腿,才能帶着眼去看。
To see the world, we need eyes.  Legs are important too, to take the eyes with us.



但眼不能看得遠,眼還得帶着心,才看得遠。
However, the eyes couldn't see very far.  The eyes need bring the heart, then we can see the far view.


The North Caroline-Tennessee border passes through the mountains.
Standing in two states at once!


Gatlinburg.  A tourist town - a cross between Niagara Falls in Canada and Branson in Missouri. 


The next morning, we went back into the Smoky Mountains to explore more.  This is the old homestead house at Cade's Cove beside the visitor's center.


At the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Steve found the Tiny Titan - a small computer cluster used to teach high performance computing concepts.  Now, he wants to build one at home.


On the way home, we stopped to hike a little at Lilly Bluff overlook on the Obed Wild & Scenic River.
This trip we drove about 1,450 miles through 6 states: Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.
至今,10年遊13州。

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