Tag Archives: Subaru Outback

Meerkat turns 1,000!

I’ve been waiting for this day since early April, when we first brought our Meerkat home. Meerkat, of course, is our Subaru Outback. I think every Subaru in the United States is born in Indiana, and our Meerkat is no exception.  Vehicles traditionally are thought of as female, so I suppose “she” is the appropriate pronoun.  Our adoption agent was Sandy Jackson, and the adoption agency was Grand Subaru.  Sandy actually had to get the car from another dealer in Indiana, so when we took Meerkat home, she already had ~250 miles (400km) on the odometer.

I can’t speak for other manufacturers, but Subaru specifies a break-in period… and that’s why I’m celebrating today. The break-in for our car is 1,000 miles (1,600km), and coming home from work I hit it today!

DSC_0014As I approached my milestone of mileage, I decided that a song would be in order. One of the really cool features of our Outback is the versatile sound system. The head unit has two AM settings, three FM settings, and three SiriusXM settings, with each of these having six presets, for a total of forty-eight presets. It also plays CDs, has a 3.5mm (headphone jack) input, a USB port and Bluetooth. The USB port has a 64Mb flashdrive right now, containing ~45GB of music.

I finally settled on Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”.

It was 0810 (GMT -6). It was a beautiful Spring morning, with just the right amount of sunshine. The car turned over 1,000 just about the time I was passing a county mounty who was taking pictures. Remember the counry song “Convoy” recorded by C.W.McCall? The citizen’s band (C.B.) craze of the 70’s was pretty much single-handedly created by that song- in C.B. lingo, a “county mounty” is a county sheriff’s police car, and “taking pictures” means they’re using radar to catch speeders.


So, Meerkat hit 1,000 miles today (better hurry up and grab a slice, that virtual cake won’t last forever!) In practical terms, we can now take Meerkat out on the open road!

That’s all of the news that’s fit to print for now- I need a nap. I wanted to share this little bit of everyday joy before the details faded.

Before I forget- a quick note about today’s photos. The first one is of Meerkat (of course) patiently waiting for me to snap a few frames. The second is me in the de rigeur photographer’s pose, shot against the driver’s side rear door window.

When you’re done here, if you like you’ve read and seen, take a look at some blogs that I follow: Ed Mooney’s very cool blog https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/22587945/ and Mary Widdicks’ hilarious blog-  http://outmannedmommy.com/about/


Fly low, keep your powder dry, and always remember to keep Ridin’ the Storm out!




Late Sunday on an abandoned spur 05.18.14



                                                                                                                                                                                                Blog title note for readers outside the United States: although I make every effort to include metric equivalents in my writing, my dates are always expressed as MM.DD.YY.

Lots of sunshine this past Sunday. Jennifer and I had just returned from the gym, and dinner was at least an hour away. It had been a sunny day, and its setting phase was bright and deep. I said I was going to go over to some railroad tracks near the house and take some pictures. Jennifer suggested I take Mr. T along for company… and that some fresh air would be good for him. He said yes, so I grabbed my Nikon and we piled into Meerkat, our Subaru Outback, and were off for an adventure.

Mr. T is our youngest son, and he is also my neighbor in the Secret Underground Lair. And even though he really does have a name, his blog pseudonym will forever be Mr. T, as that is how he was first introduced.

In five minutes, we were at the site of our shoot.

As we walked across the street, and as I looked around, I was struck with the realization that we had lived in this area since ~1993, and I did not know this line was abandoned. I pointed out that there was not a hint of shine on these rails to indicate and recent usage; the ties (sleepers) were mostly rotting and in some areas the tracks were barely visible under gravel. In a nutshell, a fantastic place to shoot.

We walked probably a quarter of a mile (~500m); so much of the track had been pulled up and actually stacked on the side of the right of way. I was composing a shot of some track that had been stacked four high, and suddenly realized that the piece at the top was actually a set of parallel tracks that had been cut (possibly by a saw, as I saw none of the characteristic markings of a blow torch). They were all stacked neatly, as if  some giant child had stacked them up, intending on completing his railroad layout tomorrow. Unfortunately for our hypothetical giant child, it seems tomorrow never came. There were three or four neatly stacked groups of rail, all with their ties still attached. In Another place was a large stack of ties- probably close to fifty, if not more… I can imagine a gardener reading about these massive hunks of wood, free for the taking… if only the location were known!

As with my previous photographic outing, https://hochspeyer.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/happy-happy-joy-joy/ I simply had an experience that was beyond words. I shot eighty frames that Sunday, and would have shot more were it not for the untimely demise of my battery.

Mr. T and I returned to Meerkat, and we gloriously drove off into the sun… er, can’t say that. We drove off in a generally northeasterly direction.

Until next time… I am hochspeyer- one f-stop short of a six pack.

*Don’t forget to visit my data analysis blog…it’s more fun than it sounds like… hochspeyer.blogspot.com

Happy happy, joy joy

Remember the Nicktoons cartoon “The Ren & Stimpy Show”? I do. I was not a fan of the show in any way, but the episode with the “Happy Happy, Joy Joy” song somehow has stuck with me. I’ve only seen this episode a few times, but I consider it the high water mark of the series. So, what does this have to do with a photography blog? Ren and Stimpy ran from 1991-1996. As I mentioned, I was not a fan of the show; I did not even like the style of the cartoon. To summarize, from my viewpoint: Ren was an idiot, and Stimpy was just plain stupid (to quote Ren, “Stimpy, you IDIOT!!!) There are a number of cartoons that have been produced with a pair of characters that take on the world. The earliest I can site is the interesting pair of pairs found in “The Flintstones”- Fred and Barney, and Betty and Wilma. Later, there was the antagonistic pairs of Rocky and Bullwinkle versus Boris and Natasha. There was Pinky and The Brain. My favorite cartoon pairs were Pinky and the Brain, and the Angry Beavers”  Daggett and Norbert.

One day, Ren was feeling down. Stimpy built a “happy” machine, and Stimpy “made” Ren happy… they spent much of the episode (as I recall) singing, “Happy, happy, joy, joy”. Happy is easy; joy- not so much. Happy is a good thing, and can be quite uplifting. But I think happy is often more knee-jerk than anything,

Joy, on the other hand, is tougher to define, and seems to be harder to latch on to these days. It is dichotomous; one does not have to be be happy to be joyous, but chances are, if one is filled with joy, the happy may follow. A few days ago (Tuesday or Wednesday… I’m really not sure) I told Jenifer that I planned to take my camera to work on Friday. Her approval consisted of, “Watch out for trains.” When I registered my camera on the Nikon website, I checked the “Other” box in the interests area, and wrote in “Railroad/Industrial”. I got off work around 0730 and was home before 0900. In that time I shot nearly eighty frames… I love digital! In honesty, I’m wondering if we would even know Ansel Adams name if he had digital available to him.

The point of this particular blog entry is this: the morning was beautiful, and so was my mood. The weather service on my phone said the local conditions were mostly cloudy, but my observation was that it was partly cloudy at worst. As I warmed Meerkat up (Meerkat is our Subaru Outback), I planned out my stops; I had one or two locations in mind. Of the two, only one was visited, but three others ended up being added.

I was out for barely an hour, and in that time shot almost seventy frames. That hour was pure joy, and I am thankful for it.

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