Monday, November 12, 2007


Give DM the credit for this. I made a book. It is the first book that I've made and I guess it is a nice quality printer. It is a photobook, showing the bridges and sights along the Mississippi River that I saw on my trip in September with my mom. I ordered a couple for myself (one for me, one for Mom for Christmas).

If you're interested, it is available for purchase. I don't expect anyone to buy this book, but thought I should create the opportunity. I may make some more books. This was pretty easy and cool.

There is a link to the site in my sidebar.

A hardcover version is $39.95. This version has a dust jacket with additional information on the flaps.

A softcover version is $26.95.

The majority of the cost goes to the site that helped with the software and the marketing of the book. They also take a portion of any markup for their services.

I just thought I'd share.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


A few days ago, I awoke to the sound of hammering on the floor coming from the apartment above mine. I really hate my upstairs neighbor. It's this guy who seems to have a bad temper. I called the police one night when he was screaming at his girlfriend and heavy objects kept crashing to the floor.

But I hate him. Hate is a strong word, I know. But with that incident of domestic violence, a cat that leaps around causing extremely loud noises (in a building that doesn't allow cats), his demand to play movies at full volume at all hours of the night, and his weird compulsive habit of vaccuuming every night at 2 am (which involves him moving every bit of furniture in his apartment), I have come to dislike the man.

Well, a couple of days ago, right near the first of the month, I woke up to the hammering sounds. When I was at the computer, I saw things being hurled out the window above. Turns out it was carpeting.

Excitement built. Is he moving out? Am I lucky?

The question was answered today. No. I am not lucky, no he hasn't moved out.

How do I know? I was awakened by the sound of him screaming at someone over the phone, using the two words in his vocabulary repeatedly. Neither of those words are appropriate for children.

Dang it. I wish he'd move away.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Kind of Place

Traveling through the Ozarks, Mom and I stopped at Mystic Caverns. Here we were able to experience two, that's right two!, caves. I've become a bit of a cave junkie, having visited four now this year. Before 2007, I had not experienced a natural cave. There was a cave in the Northern portion of Minnesota that was formed from iron ore mining, but that was not a natural cave. I've been told I may have seen another one when I was very little, but I don't remember it so it doesn't count.

But back to the trip. I was excited to visit these caves. I like walking through a cave - the temperature is always the same, there is clean, crisp air, and I don't have to wear sunglasses. A young girl took us on the tour, her male co-worker watched the counter/gift shop as we headed down into the cave. Which was good because there was a creepy man hanging around and I think they did that so she wouldn't be left alone with that man. Smart kids.

It was after Labor Day and a weekday, so Mom and I had the tour to ourselves. I appreciate that. Then I can take tons of pictures! The first cave had been used to make moonshine during Prohibition and also ballroom dances were held there. It was unfortunate that the cave had that history because the damage is still evident. It takes millions of years for cave formations to grow and minutes to destroy them. But there were still cool sights to see!

Mystic Caverns 1
Mystic Caverns 2
You can see where pieces of the cave have been cut off here. The straight lines at the end show the damage.
Mystic Caverns 3
Mystic Caverns 4
Mystic Caverns 5
Mystic Caverns 6
Mystic Caverns 7

The main attraction of this cave was a formation called the Pipe Organ. It looks a bit like the pipes of a large instrument and I believed the story that if hit, the formation made loud, long sounds much like a pipe organ would. It was very large and impressive.
Pipe Organ

The soot on the cave walls shows the impact of running a moonshine operation inside this cave. I couldn't imagine being lowered on a rope through a small hole, dressed to the nines for a ballroom dance, and then partying in droves of black, sooty smoke. But to each their own.
Moonshiner Impact

This little fellow met us as we were leaving the first cave. Kind of cute, in a lizard sort of way.

The second cave was discovered much later and so it is much better preserved. This first picture shows the white flow stone in the cave that looks much like white mud. I was told that if someone stepped in the flow stone, a foot print would be left for ages, much like a footprint would show in a pile of snow (but of course the flow stone wouldn't melt away).

Mystic Caverns

This cave's major formation was a bell. It's very pretty. It also sparkles in the right light.

People see different things in the formations of a cave. This is supposed to be a dragon or a dinosaur. Do you see it?
Dragon or Dinosaur

I find this so pretty.
Mystic Caverns 2

Ripples in the flowstone.

A large column in the cave.

Cave bacon! There were formations considered to be pancakes and eggs too!

The bell one more time. This cave had a tall ceiling and so some of the formations on the ground were very flat. It's interesting to see how the velocity of the dripping water creates different formations. Each drop deposits a bit of calcite before it falls and as it hits the ground. It's very minute and that's why it takes so long for formations to be created. I am just fascinated by caves!
Bell 1

Outside the cave is serene and pretty. I noticed that we were in the Bible Belt of the country though as we traveled through. The question about this picture that has formed is, "Do you think they believe Jesus is actually buried there?"
Bible Belt

I think that is the end of the pictures I'm sharing from the trip. I've developed them now and I'm preparing my scrapbook layouts in my freetime (freetime? What is this freetime thing you speak of?) Maybe I'll complete the album before my next vacation, but that seems unlikely. I just had a week off last week (yeah!) and I have another week off in early December. I considered going to New Orleans to see where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico (which I considered on my trip with my mom and then Diana commented the same! That was pretty cool to see great minds thinking alike). I haven't decided quite yet since that involves flying and some extra costs. But 2007 could be the year of the Mississippi. Who knows?