Columbia Bottom Conservation Area

It was a beautiful day here in the St. Louis area.  We went to the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area where the Missouri River end and flows into the Mississippi River.  It’s in far North St. Louis County. They have some pretty popular sunflower fields there.  I shot a couple of videos with the drone while there.  Watch in full screen for better quality.


A Storm Brewing

I was cutting my grass this afternoon and the sky was getting darker by the minute.  I was hoping I’d get the grass done before the rain started.  Once I saw that I was going to be able to finish the mowing I started thinking about how cool the sky would look from the drone, so I got it out and took a quick flight.  If you look carefully you can see lightning in the distance.  I had to bring it down a couple minutes earlier than I wanted to as I was getting high wind warnings.



Getting a fill-up shouldn’t be that difficult

True Story…  I was running some errands today and needed to stop to get some gas and get my car washed. So I pulled into the gas station and put my credit card into the pump as usual.  The screen on the pump usually displays the message, “Please enter your zip code and then press Enter” as a security measure.   This time it only displayed the last part, “then press Enter”.  I know the procedure so I enter my 5 digit zip code and press the Enter key.  The screen is now displaying “****” (4 asterisks) indicating to a rational person that it’s missing a digit. Nothing else happened so I hit Cancel and it prints out a receipt for $0.00.  Well, I think, “I guess it didn’t catch one of my zip code digits”, so I try it again.  The same thing happens.  I end up canceling again and get another receipt for $0.00.

Well, another pump cleared of cars so I decided to try my luck at the other pump. This time I get the full message, “Please enter your zip code and then press Enter.” I enter my zip code, see the 5 asterisks indicating my secret code. I hit enter and up pops the message, “See cashier.”

So I go into the station and tell the guy the first pump was messing up and showed him my receipts and tell him I want a fill-up on pump 4.  I try to hand him my credit card and he says, “How much gas do you want?”

“I want a fill-up.”

“But how much will that be?”

“I don’t know but I want to fill my tank. Here’s my credit card.”

“How much gas do you want?”

After an awkward look, “I want a full tank of gas.”

“But how much?”

“Full, you know, to the top of the tank.”

“But how much gas is that?”


I finally just grab my credit card and ask for the zero receipts I’d given him in case there was a problem later with my bill.  I left quite perturbed. 

Mere moments later, at the next intersection, I pull into another station, a different company and brand, and pull up to a gas pump there.  It’s a more modern pump than the first place had.  It asked for and I submitted my super secret zip code and up pops the message, “See cashier”.  So I’ve obviously been labeled a ‘problem customer’ by the credit card company or else Captain Unleaded has sent out a Petro Alert to all of the gas stations in a 50-mile radius about me.   So I go into the station to “see the cashier”.

I lay my credit card on the counter and say, “I want a fill-up on pump 2.”

“How much gas do you want?”

“I want a full tank of gas, hence the term, fill-up.”

“But how much will it be?”

“I have no way of knowing until I fill it up.”

“I don’t know either.”

He thinks for a moment and says, “Well, how many gallons of gas does your car hold?”

“Fifteen, I think”, I say. “It’s not empty but it’s getting low.”

Mr. Wizard picks up a calculator and starts punching numbers into it and after a minute he says, “Looks like about $40.”

“I haven’t put that much gas in it in years.”

“Well, how much do you want?

“I want a fill-up.” …….. After a blank stare from Wizzy, “Give me $20.”



My Florida vacation…

Here’s a video I put together (finally) mostly of the area where we stayed.  The condo we stayed in is for sale ($965,000 if you’re interested).  It has a private small elevator to the second-floor condo.

There is some drone footage in this video but most was shot handheld.  I posted some drone footage from Sanibel Island the day I came home. It can be viewed here.



I’m pissed at Lester Holt

I think Lester is probably a nice guy and as decent and honest journalist but I had a dream the other night that I was running a restaurant with some family members.  The lunch rush was just over and I was on the phone talking with someone.  This guy who looked a lot like the famed broadcaster comes into the restaurant and pulls out a gun and is in the process of committing a robbery.  In the midst of this brazen crime, I quietly tell whoever I’m talking to on the phone that we’re being robbed at gunpoint. 

‘Lester’, as I now refer to him, realizes I’m ratting him out and in that calm demeanor Holt is known for, quietly says that he knows what I’m doing and points the pistol at me at about three-feet away and fires.  The Deafening sound of the blast shook me awake, startled and confused.  Luckily I didn’t kick my dog off the foot of the bed as I have once or twice in the past after being suddenly awakened by a bad dream.  Poor Gus.

I remember trying to duck away from the blast but I have no idea if I managed to avoid the first shot.  I have no idea if there was a second shot.  I have no idea if I lived or died.  I have no idea if Lester got away with our lunch proceeds. I just have no idea how it all turned out. I do know that last night I saw Lester Holt anchoring The NBC Nightly News and he seemed to have no remorse for his bad behavior.  



Flying over the Sanibel Causeway

We drove over to Sanibel Island and then onto Captiva Island for lunch at the Mucky Duch Neighborhood Pub on Friday, our last full day in Florida.  Partway across the Sanibel Causeway, there is a fishing/picnic/rest area.  I launched the drone off of a picnic table and did a little flying around.  I did a quick edit and this is what I ended up with.



Something I haven’t done in about 50 years…

We took a 27 miles bike ride this afternoon. Okay, it seemed like 27 miles but was actually a bit less than 10 miles.  Okay, … 3/4 of a mile IS less than 10 miles! 

Beautiful riding conditions with beautiful scenery even if I was a little wobbly. It’s different than riding a motorcycle, that’s for sure. I told my brother if a cop was following me I’d probably be pulled over for a sobriety test.  This was a stop at the beach.

Back to reality on Saturday as we fly home.



Show and Tell – Dad goes back to school

I posted this video back in 2011.  My young friend Tommy had to do a presentation for a communications class he was doing.  The object of his presentation was also my friend.  A few years ago young Tommy was diagnosed with colon cancer.  His battle with cancer ended peacefully yesterday morning.  Tommy was 39 years old.

Tommy and his dad both walked to the beat of a different drummer.  I think that’s why I liked them both so much.  Rest in peace, young man!