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October 27, 2013

 

Poem of the day...

What lies beyond

this land was here long before
and will be here long after
we ever explored it's rolling hills and mountains
before we crossed its vast glowing deserts and dark tumultuous seas
time has passed, and we have laughed together
the majesty of of the world, a twinkling in our eyes

together our lives are connected
with everything and everyone
just as we owe our existence to the land
and our land to the earth
and our earth to the sun
and our sun to the galaxy
and our galaxy to the universe
and our universe to what lies beyond …

 

Wow, it been a while since I blogged ...

I have done some serious neglecting of this blog :( I will try to fix that from now on. It's been a busy period of change in my life, with job changes, school, etc. it's hard to believe it's already Fall, October no less ... one of my favorite months with Halloween, scary movies and shows, baseball, cooler weather, changing colors of leaves ...

Viva Huffmania!

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May 29, 2013

 

Nationals Game and DC Trip - Memorial Weekend 2013

Here are photos from my trip to see my parents over the Memorial Day Weekend.  We visited Washington DC for a Nationals game, and while there we checked out the Natural History Museum, the Navy Memorial, the National Art Gallery (to find the painting 'The Sacrament of the Last Supper' by Dali, which I had seen there many years earlier).

Click here to see all the photos from the trip.

Here is my parents standing by Dali's 'The Sacrament of the Last Supper'



We had pretty great seats in the stadium



Photo of me in the sculpture garden


The result of nearly 49 years of marriage


My dad and I taking a break on the park bench where we usually take a break during our walk









December 24, 2012

 

Recent Events Part 2: Thanksgiving Trip Home

Here are some photos of a visit home at Thanksgiving.

My Dad and I almost always walk together in a park in my hometown named after my mother's grandfather who gave land to create the park.  We usually always sit at the same bench half way threw the walk.  Nearly every time we walk in the park my Dad complains of his hips hurting and I explain that the more he walks the less his hips will hurt, and he always thanks me when we are finished. 



Here is a photo of my mom playing Angry Birds, and one of some herbs she was drying on the counter



 

Trip To Reddish Knob


One afternoon my Dad and I decided to drive to the top of Reddish Knob, a very tall mountain top just to the west of my hometown.  Reddish Knob is one of the tallest mountain peaks in Virginia.  Rising 4,397 feet from sea level, it is also the highest point south of the Adirondacks in New York.  And it happens to have a road that goes all the way to the top leading to a parking lot that feels like it is floating in the sky with amazing 360 degree views into Virginia and West Virginia. 

We left with only a couple hours of daylight left in the day so by the time we got to the top of Reddish Knob it was nearly dusk and the mountain cast a deep shadow on the rolling hills below.  Here is a photo of my dad using my binoculars to look east towards our town. 

 

On the way there we passed threw the little town named Briary Branch where my Dad grew up.  Here is a photo of him standing in front of the house where he grew up. 



Along the way my Dad told me stories about every house or building we passed:  where friends he'd known grew up, or girlfriends he once dated lived, or places where he went fishing, or where there used to be a store where he sold walnuts he'd go gathering from the woods, or where his friend lived who's parents wouldn't let him join the Navy when my dad joined the Navy, etc. 

On the way home we got very lost driving taking a different way on on mountain access roads.  My dad suggested the route saying “it's been a few years since I've been this way, and by a few years I mean over 50 years ago”.  As we were lost I realized too that my cell phone's GPS function was useless in areas where there was no cell service, which was everywhere in the mountains.  I was never worried though because we could see periodically hunters camping for the night. 

This is the view looking east from Reddish Knob (below this image is a closeup with distinctive landmarks outlined - scroll down)

 

From Reddish Knob, looking east, you can see the entire span of earth where I spend most of my life growing up.  Looking to the east you can see a couple distinctive landmarks including Mole Hill (outlined in green in the closeup below), an inactive volcano that rises just to the west of town, and just to the east of town is Massanetten Mountain's peak which can just be made out from the Blue Ridge Mountains further to the east.  Massanutten Mountain bisects the Shenandoah Valley (see Google map below).  In between lies the city of Harrisonburg where I am from (outlined in red). 
 http://huffmania.com/blog/uploaded_images/reddishknobview1.jpg

The satellite image below is taken from Google Maps and shows the location of Reddish Knob (yellow “x”), Mole Hill (green outline), approximate city limits of Harrisonburg (red outline), and Massanutten Peak (dashed orange line represents area of mountain, solid orange line represents visible mountain line from Reddish Knob)
 http://huffmania.com/blog/uploaded_images/reddishknobmapofvalley1.jpg

This is a picture of Massanutten Mountain taken from my brother's backyard (who lives just outside the city limits to the east of town, between Harrisonburg and the base of the mountain)

 http://www.huffmania.com/photos/easter2012/images/img_0752.jpg

 

Recent Events - Family Trip to the Beach, and Visiting My Niece in NYC

It's been a LONG time since I've blogged about anything.  My excuse is that I’ve been pretty busy with work and also school.  I started taking classes last summer get certifications in web design and to learn a thing or two about making websites, which I certainly have in the process.  In the past year I've built over 10 websites for various Habitat for Humanity affiliates and organizations. 

Click here to see all the Beach and NYC Photos

I also went on several trips recently.  Here are some photos from my trip to the beach with my family and photos of a trip to visit my niece who now lives in New York City attending NYU; she is a brainy creative kid.

The roof of her apartment has an awesome view of the city in all directions. 

http://www.huffmania.com/photos/beachtripandnyc/images/img_0898.jpg

My Nieces' Apartment wall (you can see some of her creative influences)





My Dad using his metal detector




My whole family at the beach (wow there were a lot of us, the white shirts were a good idea)



My brother recently remarried and his new wife has 4 kids of her own so there were a lot of us this year. It was a lot of fun even if pretty noisy.  Next year I'll bring some ear plugs ;-)



April 29, 2012

 

Cabin Trip

I just got home from a really fun weekend trip up to a cabin near Glade Valley NC (with Amy, Jeannie, Matty, Emily, and Andy).  The cabin belongs to a friend of ours and she loans it out to friends on a regular basis.  Its a wonderful place to get away and enjoy the outdoors.  Her cabin and the surrounding area is so beautiful. 

Today we decided to hike in Stone Mountain State Park.  We climbed up what seemed like a million steps to the top of a mountain where suddenly there was a large open area made of rock, and when I say large I mean humongous.  Its like the mountain has a bald spot of stone.  There were several areas where you could walk out and see a spectacular view from on top of these interesting stone landscapes.  All of these stone areas curve downward towards the valley below (I almost lost my Nalgene water bottle as it started to roll!) 

I walked around some trees and to the west and I saw an even larger stone mountain that looked nearly twice as tall, in the direction we were heading. 

The trail zig-zaged several times and I thought “thank goodness this will be over soon” (oh but I was wrong).  When we got to the top of this mountain the view was truly amazing (I wish I would have taken a picture).  After resting for a while we started the decent on what seemed like an infinite series of steps (I stopped counting after 50 steps) and my legs became rubber. 

At the base of the series of steps and around the corner was a interesting serious of farm buildings where once a family had farmed this area.  Behind these buildings looked strait up at the giant stone mountain we had just looked down from. 

Then after walking through a shady cool ravine we started walking next to a fairly fast-moving creek ultimately leading up another enormous set of stairs and down another to the base of what looked like a giant stone water slide.  A sign said it was 200 feet from the top to the bottom.  Then we walked up even more stairs, and finally back to the visitor parking lot. 



   


 

The Godfather

Last weekend I went to visit my friends Robert and Carla in Richmond.  They asked me to be the God Father of their daughter Amy.  It was a very wonderful experience!  I got to see Robert and Carla's family who I haven't seen in a while.  Amy did so well during the baptism ceremony.  (The next day Robert and I went out to get some things and we stumbled onto a Blockbuster Video that was actually in business, it was a shock because I haven't seen one in quite a long time.)  The day before they had a birthday party for Amy's big brother Mark who was about to turn three.  I brought him the first two Hardy Boys books because I have fond memories of my dad reading those to me. 

Carla told me that now I'm “part of the family”, and that's a family I couldn't be happier to be part of!  


 (in this photo you can see Amy has found my ear.)



    

April 10, 2012

 

EASTER 2012

I just got home from a very fun trip home for Easter. I saw my whole family including all my nieces and my nephew (including my oldest niece Hannah who I haven't seen in almost five years, and her serious boyfriend Brain, and her rescue pit Bentley). It was lots of fun visiting home. See below for photos.
Click here for all photos.

http://www.huffmania.com/photos/easter2012/images/img_0698.jpg
My dad walking up ahead of me on the path at the park.



The baseball field where I played Little League.


http://www.huffmania.com/photos/easter2012/images/img_0722.jpg
Visiting a family friend's golden retriever farm/kennel.


http://www.huffmania.com/photos/easter2012/images/img_0752.jpg
The view from my brother's new home (you can see iconic Massanutten Mountain in the background).


http://www.huffmania.com/photos/easter2012/images/img_0753.jpg
My nephew throwing me a football.

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March 11, 2012

 

The Heavens

http://www.huffmania.com/blog/uploaded_images/heaven_on_earth1sample.jpg
After some messing around with Gimp, the open-source Photoshop

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January 18, 2012

 

Movies to look forward to in 2012!


Last year was an interesting year for movies. There was some excellent adventure and sci-fi films, including quite a few super-hero movies (a lot of them leading up to this year's Avengers).


Super 8, directed by JJ Abrams, was my favorite film of the year. It had a great blend of classic Spielberg/Goonies/Close Encounters-esque adventure and sci-fi and childhood wonder. It really was a great homage to those classic films that fascinated me as a kid.

2012 has even more exciting movies to look forward to, and by a lot! So here is a list of movies I'm really looking forward to in 2012 (chronologically), I will try to see as many of these as I can:


The Secret World of Arrietty | February.17.2012 | This animated film from Studio Chibli (creators of some of the most stunning animated movies ever, such as Spirited Away) originally came out in Japan in 2010, and involves the story of a young boy who discovers a family of tiny people only a couple inches tall living in his house.

John Carter | March.09.2012 | A fantasy/sci-fi. A story of a Cival War vetran who is transported to Mars and is involved in an attempt to rescue the princess. What is sort of ironic about this film is that its based on an old science fiction story that would have been the first feature-length animated film, but production was never completed. The ironic part is that is finally being produced by Disney by one of Pixar's most gifted directors as his first ever live-action film.

The Hunger Games | March.23.2012 | If it wasn't for the Hobit Part 1, this would be the movie I'm the most excited to see this year. The Hunger Games books was one of the most exciting books I've read in a really long time. More than any book I've read before I could not put it down. The trailer gives the impression that this film will be a faithful adaptation, which means look out for even more blood and violence than Lord of the Rings.

The Avengers | April.04.2012| This movie has been in the works for a while, following Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. This movie is what all those stories were leading up to, a super-hero team movie. Being directed by Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly, I have high expectations/hopes.

Moonrise Kingdom | May.25.2012 | A new movie from Wes Anderson.

Prometheus | June.08.2012 | From director Ridley Scott, this is a prequel to the sci-fi-horror-masterpiece Alien, which was also directed by legendary film-maker Ridley Scott (Bladrunner, Gladiator). This prequel is said to be set in the same fictional universe as the Alien film series, but not necessarily related to the story of those films. The official synopsis “A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.” Wouldn't it be cool if James Cameron does a sequel?

The Dark Knight Rises | July.20.2012 | this will be the end of the Christopher Nolan trillogy of Batman films with Bale playing Batman. The trailer looks really intriguing...

The Bourne Legacy | August.03.2012 | I have loved the Bourne trilogy. But I was a little concerned when I first read about a new Bourne movie that does not have Damon playing the role of Bourne. It seems the character of Bourne might not even be in this film. But its written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who wrote the screenplays for the original three Bourne films, and also wrote and directed Micheal Clayton which was another excellent film.

Total Recall | August.03.2012 | A remake of the classic 90s science fiction film starring Schwarzenegger, which was based on a story by science fiction writer Phillip K Dick whose stores have been translated into many sci-fi films over the years.

Skyfall | November.09.2012 | This is the third 007 film with Daniel Craig playing Bond, and is directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, The Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road, Away We Go). (It took a while for this film to get released do to financial troubles at MGM, which also postponed the remake of Red Dawn getting released.) I'm really looking forward to watching this with my dad who is a huge James Bond fan!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | December.14.2012 | After nine years the story of the Lord of the Rings returns to theatres with this prequel, The Hobbit. I cannot wait for this to get here. I loved the Lord of the Rings. Much of the cast from LOTR are returing to reprise there roles.

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