Oct 29, 2013

Homecoming at Oklahoma

This past weekend, I visited my friends Forrest and Sue Frueh in Norman, Oklahoma.  It was homecoming weekend with lots of alumni and a good home football game (OU beat Texas Tech 38-30).  Here's one of the sights.  More about the trip later...

Oct 20, 2013

Celebrity Sighting...

Yesterday, I saw Alabama Coach Nick Saban at Woody Anderson Ford in Huntsville.  Wow!

Oct 19, 2013


Today, Mary Ann and I decided to go through my ties.  Some are for Summer, some needed cleaning, and others simply needed to go to Goodwill.  Here was the scene when we had them all spread out for sorting:

I don't like to get rid of things.  Some of these ties date back to the seventies.  My closet is much lighter tonight!

Oct 12, 2013

The Metal Shapers...

There's a group of people all over the world who are interested in the somewhat esoteric subject of metal shaping.  Given a piece of sheet metal, what is required to form, bend, shape, and fabricate it into some new object?  Naturally, the Internet has enabled many of these folks to get connected in forums such as AllMetalShaping.com and MetalMeet.com and a Yahoo! metalshapers group.  It was a matter of time before they would decide to gather in some common location to exchange knowledge.  I got to see one of these gatherings this week.
I first became aware of this intriguing interest group several years ago through my friend Dan Shady.  Once a year he would disappear for a week to attend a metal shapers' get-together somewhere in the midwest.  The early history of these gatherings is described on the metalmeet site.  In fact, much to my surprise, I learned that the very first such gathering, FormFest 2001, took place right in my backyard in Huntsville, AL!  These gatherings have now proliferated and take place in lots of locations around the world.  I'm sure that the expansion of TV shows related to automobile and motorcycle fabrication has expanded public awareness in the metalworking craft.
One of the people who hosts a metalworking event is Kerry Pinkerton of Harvest, AL.  This week, about 15 metalworkers from as far away as Sweden assembled at Kerry's home for the "DixieLand Metal Shapers Gathering."  Kerry's lawn becomes a parking lot, with trucks, trailers, and RVs everywhere.  Dan Pate, from Minnesota, is a regular attendee at this event and hauls a huge gas-fired griddle on which he cooks breakfast every morning of the 5-day assembly.  Steve Hamilton travels all the way from Fond du Lac, WI.  A family from Rockford, MI, was in attendance.  Another gentleman, Brent Click, came from Greenville, SC.  And of course there was Per, whose last name I never learned, all the way from Avesta, Sweden.  Per has a website displaying some of his work.  One of my favorites is his homemade motorcycle helmet:

Dan Shady treated the gathered clan to a barbecue feast on Friday night and invited me, for which I am grateful.  The food and fellowship were both great.  Dan's son, Deron, and grandson, Daniel, were both there and I enjoyed seeing them.  The group had a tool exchange, in which every participant makes and donates a tool for another member.  There was an abundance of good will and camaraderie   The projects were so varied as to defy description.

Oct 5, 2013

Scottish Outing....

Today, Mary Ann and I went to Sharon Johnston Park near New Market, Alabama, to attend the North Alabama Scottish Society's Scottish Festival.  Here's a little taste:

That's the Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band.  They are a performance and competition band based in Birmingham, Alabama.   The band's sponsors include GUINNESS® as well as the St. Andrews Society of the Middle South and the Caledonian Society of Alabama.  The ISMPB also operates with the support of partner organizations Birmingham Irish Cultural Society and Irish Society of North Alabama.  According to the band's Website, they "perform regularly around town with the traditional Irish pub band Jasper Coal and lead Birmingham's Annual St Patrick's Day Parade."

As we were driving to the festival, I jokingly asked, "I wonder if they'll be serving Haggis?"  I had heard of some Scottish dish made of God-knows-what entrails and offal that was one of those "must-try" experiences if a person ever went to Scotland.

Wouldn't you know that one of the first food vendors we saw was Hamish's Kitchen, "The Frying Scotsman."  And there on the menu, big as day, was Haggis!  It was described in all its delectable goodness -- "Sheep (Heart & Liver), Beef, Oats, Barley & Onions, Steamed."  I had fish and chips, thank you.

The festival is a delightful event.  Of course the perfect weather contributed to that.  But the park is a perfect venue with plenty of parking space, clean rest room facilities, lots of space, a pretty lake, a nice performing venue, and plenty of picnic tables and shade.  Highly recommended.