Categories
Insulators Photos

A Windfall of Insulators 💨

Henry continues successfully defending his crown as potentially The Luckiest Kid Ever™ 😌.

First, he was invited to visit Fresno to survey & sample from the huge collection of Lou Hall. Lou is the former president of the national insulator club & has been collecting for half a century! He and his lovely wife hosted us for four+ hours, setting up Hen with a great variety of interesting pieces. Thinking of Margot, they even gave us a cute painted snowman made from an insulator!

Afterwards we camped near Exeter, CA (roughly an hour south), where the hosts had previously given Hen some insulators. This time Big Henry (the host) came through with some even bigger glass, plus some hundred-year-old magazines that our Henry saved from being used as kindling (!).

The next day we drove into Exeter for breakfast with collector Dave Brown, who likewise entertained us with his impressive collection (even including insulators embedded underwater in his pool!) and generously provisioned Hen with as many items as our now-sagging Westy could carry. Here’s a gallery from our visits.

Following our return, the ongoing storms continued to wreak havoc on our area, and strong winds toppled a eucalyptus tree that in turn felled a giant electrical tower—narrowly missing our neighbor Severn’s yard! Noticing that repair crews were working around the clock to replace it, Henry & I drove over with our big camera lens. He of course proceeded to chat up the linemen—and they of course were happy to provision him with a bunch of insulators! 🤪

Check out a separate gallery of shots from the day.

Categories
Christmas Photos

Waving In The New Year 🌊

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” So it’s said of the Postal Service, and so it could be said of this year’s Christmas trip.

Grandpa Liggett had been due to join us in SJ the day after Christmas, but weather & Southwest Airlines had other plans. Happily, he was able to reschedule for a week later, and we made the most of it by using Margot’s new AirBnB credits to book a lovely little place near Monterey, just half a block from the ocean.

Although rain & wind whipped the whole coast during our visit, we were able to get out to favorite sites like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, taking in sights of everything from adorable otters to scary giant Japanese crabs.

The weather made for some spectacular waves, and my photo assistant Henry nervously & vocally deterred me from heading too close to any danger. “Just don’t let my dad get taken by a sneaker wave!” added Margot.

Happily we made it home dry(ish) and happy. Check out the gallery for a full tour.

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Photos Videos

Night Delights

Continuing our theme of sharing tasty holiday leftovers, I’ve gathered up a couple of fun memories from the last month or so.

Towards the end of November, we were delighted to visit nearby History Park & join in the ceremonial relighting of the Stephen’s Meat Products sign. That may not sound like a big deal, and it probably wouldn’t be in most Henry-less households, but our guy loves vintage signage & has long been a fan of the San Jose Signs Project. Until the sign was recently removed to make was for the new Google campus, it cheerfully lit up the sky near our neighborhood. Now it’s been relocated to History Park, and we loved joining the mayor and hundreds of area residents to celebrate the work of local sign- and printmaking artisans—then see “Stephen” dance again!

Here’s a little gallery from the evening.

Then, right before Christmas, our neighbor Severn hosted a lovely backyard party & enlisted Hen to be his sole engineer! Our guy delighted his numerous passengers—including the Sugar Plum Fairy!—until they’d finally run the engine’s battery down to zero. Check out a small gallery plus some video from the event:

Categories
Photos Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Vol. 2

Following our lovely Thanksgiving feast, on Friday we loaded up the Westy & set sail for San Luis Obispo & points beyond. SLO is a great little college town we’ve visited a few times (e.g. four years ago at Thanksgiving, and again the next year with “Farmer Seamus“). This year we had a ball fanning out to explore great little shops like Junk Girls before settling in for chow at the irresistibly named Finney’s Pub!

After spending the night in a cabin in nearby Arroyo Grande, we gobbled up some Old West Cinnamon Rolls, then tooled around the charming beachside town of Cayucos, where Hen & I attended an insulator show back in May.

From there we were off to—as Bob Newhart would put it in Elf—”the Show, or The Big Dance”: riding four-wheelers around the dunes of Pismo Beach. Four years ago the four of us hit the beach, and this year Henry, Maria, and I hit the sand while Margot & Finn kept an eye on Seamy.

We capped our evening with a walking tour of the beautiful holiday lights at the SLO Botanical Garden.

Finally, on Sunday, we scored some delicious breakfast, dropped by a historic train depot & railcar diner, and then headed north. Check out our gallery to see the whole excursion.

Categories
Photos Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Vol. 1

While the weather is conspiring to keep Grandpa Liggett away from SJ for a few more days than planned, it’s a good time to catch up on some of the many photo memories we neglected to post during our busy last few months. And, of course, leftovers are often the most delicious part of Thanksgiving, so let’s dive in.

This year, like last, our pal Maria flew out from Kansas City to join us. Unlike last year, happily, the festivities didn’t involve Seamus rubbing himself on a barnacle-encrusted log & then sharing his nauseating scent with us on a long, twisty van ride. 🤪

Instead, we kicked things off by making a whole range of treats—popping corn from Maria’s garden, whipping up deviled eggs & key lime pie, and even sampling weird tree fruit in the neighborhood. Finn & Maria took the Miata out for a spin to Santa Cruz (during which she duly mortified him by brandishing some faux gang signs!), and Hen of course provided copious tours of his latest collections (insulators, Legos, and beyond).

On Thanksgiving itself we took Seamus (who was sporting a shirt while his skin healed up from surgery) over to Los Gatos for a beautiful walk.

Afterwards we chowed down on a terrific feast, and we finally finished things off with a rousing round of Telestrations.

Check out our gallery to see the action.

Categories
Christmas Photos

Merry Christmas 2022!

Hey gang—Merry Christmas!

We’ve kept things quite & close to home these last few days—heading over to Vasona Park for our annual tour of the lights, then visiting the little Stone Church for Christmas Eve services, and then staying home on Christmas Day.

Seamus eagerly assisted in the unwrapping (and, unfortunately, in the bacon consumption!), and we felt just as lucky as ever to be able to give & receive so many delightful gifts. Margot & the boys whipped up some delicious breakfast rolls, cheesecake, and finally dinner. It wouldn’t be Christmas around here without some Legos, and everyone pitched in on Mom-O’s Lego botanicals & Hen’s new Galaxy Explorer.

Check out our gallery from the last few days, and stay tuned for more after Grandpa Liggett arrives mañana!

Categories
Photos

Sunset Son 🌅

Perhaps needless to say, I’m always thrilled when Finn suggests that we hang out, particularly when that gives us a chance to put the Miata to its best use—squealing tires as we carve up mountain roads en route to Alice’s Restaurant.

Last Wednesday we headed up the hill, glimpsing a truly staggering sunset—an ocean of glowing clouds stretching out to the sea—along the way. Check out my handsome co-pilot (and pilot soon enough!):

After night fell, we kept the top down & recorded a trippy little timelapse en route home. Here’s a 5-second sample:

And if you somehow want the extended version, well, here’s that, too:

Categories
Photos

Wings Over G-Man

San Francisco recently welcome thousands of naval personnel to town for Fleet Week, and I was glad to sneak away from work a bit with Margot & Henry to check out the action.

While they headed over to the de Young’s new Egyptian exhibit, I walked the shoreline, praying for the fog to part. Happily it did, and the city was treated to a thrilling performance from the Blue Angels! Here’s Lego Henry saluting the team in formation, and the full set of pics lives in our gallery

Then on Sunday, Hen & I headed down to Salinas, where we’d enjoyed some airshows in the past. This year featured an aerobatic performance by the incredible F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter:

Hen & I took turns using my big cam, and he caught some beautiful shots of several vintage P-51 fighters flying in formation. Check out our gallery for the whole show.

Categories
Insulators Photos Westy

Porterville Insulator Adventure

For the last several months, Henry had last Saturday circled on his calendar, as it was the year’s last scheduled gathering of insulator collectors in our region. That, of course, was not to be missed.

Thus we headed out in the Westy after school, trucking out all the way past Fresno. We camped in dairy country at the ranch of a lovely couple named Frances and Henry, who kindly gave our Hen three insulators from his collection:

Afterwards we grabbed breakfast at a railway cafe that featured cute model trains running around the ceiling. From there we were off to the event, where Hen scored some great deals & got to visit with his old friends. Check out our gallery from the outing.

Oh, and here’s a little draggable 360º pano I captured at dawn with my drone:

Categories
Photos Videos

¡Viva Gorillaz! 🙉

After having had the date circled on the calendar for the better part of a year, last week Finn & I finally got to trek to San Francisco to see his favorite band—Gorillaz—perform live on stage at the Chase Center.

The band (comprised of a lead singer, a rotating cast of guest musicians, and four cartoon avatars who perform on the big screen) has been around for 20 or so years, giving Old Man (and Woman) Nack a chance to have enjoyed them before the Finnster was even on this planet. It was fun to move across time & space, connecting with (and over) them now.

Given that the show took place mainly in the dark, we don’t have many photos, but here’s a little gallery of clips in case you want a taste of the copious energy & showmanship.

Categories
Milestones Photos

Henry the Eighth (Grader)!

Check out our handsome G-Man, stepping into his own as the sole Nack rep at Hoover Middle School. Here’s to a great year, kiddo!

Here he’s rocking his “WEB” shirt, denoting his role as an ambassador to help younger kids get acquainted with the school.

And here he’s being Peak Hen, taking beautiful morning photos—including ones featuring insulators. 😌

Categories
Milestones Photos

Bring on the Bells!

Can it really be, we have a high schooler in the house?! And yet, the day has come—Finn’s first day as a Bellarmine Bell:

We were glad to help kick off the year right at yesterday’s picnic & Mass, where we met Bellarmine chancellor Fr. Wade. Here’s to a great first year!

Categories
Milestones Photos Summer '22

A Golden Evening at the Brown Palace

After rolling into Denver on the Mountaineer, we were delighted to reunite with Margot & Finn (who’d driven down from Leadville), then rest up at our cool hotel just across from the Rockies’ baseball stadium.

From there we were off to Denver’s famous Brown Palace Hotel, an 1892 icon, to celebrate my folks’ 50th anniversary 🎉.

Though the hotel was founded by a Brown unrelated to Leadville’s famous Unsinkable Molly Brown, she did stay there just a week after escaping the Titanic (!). We were happy to add our names to the illustrious guest list, alongside everyone from the Beatles to Bill Clinton.

Dinner was exquisite, as you can see in the gallery. Thank goodness the chocolate truffles are exclusive to the location, as otherwise we’d all be equally round in no time. 😅

Categories
Photos Summer '22

All aboard the Rocky Mountaineer!

[Check out our photo gallery]

Following our great morning in Arches, the big show finally arrived: we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer train in Moab! The train itself (about which Henry could of course provide excessive amounts of detail 😛) was really lovely (clean, spacious, featuring overhead windows), as were all the staff.

Hen of course did his Hen thing, charming the crew by sharing his love of railroad minutiae & insulators:

The ends of the train cars featured neat covered vestibules that let us get some fresh air while shooting photos. I’ll always be grateful that Henry’s quick thinking (and keen observation of telephone poles suddenly disappearing) alerted me to an oncoming tunnel, thereby saving me from smashing Adobe’s new 360º camera into a wall! Here’s the slightly scary footage:

Happily the rest of the two-day excursion was far less dicey, as we wound our way from high desert through gorgeous river valleys:

After a quick overnight in beautiful Glenwood Springs, we arose for Day 2, kicking things off with Henry meeting the train crew & getting their printout of the previous day’s operating instructions:

Honestly it couldn’t have been more perfect, and if you’re ever tempted to make the trip, consider it highly recommended!

We were of course a bit sad that the journey, like all good things, had to come to an end, but it was great to roll into Denver & reunite with Margot and Finn for a great 50th anniversary celebration dinner with my folks. More on that next time!

Categories
Photos Summer '22 Videos

Glorious Arches!

Being in Moab with several hours free before the Rocky Mountaineer was scheduled to depart, we signed up for a tour of the spectacular Arches National Park. Our expert guide David did a great job of driving us around the park, providing color commentary (literal & figurative) on the ancient formations and their history.

See our gallery for a ton of amazing views!

And check out Henry & me taking quite the spin:

Categories
Photos Summer '22

Exploring Ogden’s museums

Following our day at the Golden Spike, we got up early to visit Hill Air Force Base just south of Ogden. As you can see in our gallery, Henry & I loved admiring the huge range of historic aircraft while attempting to out-nerd one another. 😌

We even poked my 360º camera out to capture an interactive view from inside the ball turret of a B-17 Flying Fortress:

Hen & I had to shake a leg to get through the museum in time to make our way back to downtown Ogden & meet up with my folks to tour the great railroad museum there.

Check out the gallery from inside & outside beautiful Union Station.

Afterwards we sprinted town back to Salt Lake City to drop off our rental van, then hop aboard a scenic evening bus ride to Moab to begin the next day’s adventures. More on those next time!

Categories
Photos Summer '22 Videos

Flying the Spiral Skies

Having driven all the way out to Promontory Summit to visit the Golden Spike site, we figured what the heck, let’s press on to see the Great Salt Lake’s massive & iconic Spiral Jetty sculpture. Here we are taking in the sight of the enormous earthwork, in both our human & Lego forms. 😌

The gang was kind enough to indulge me in a little drone flying, the results of which you can see in this video…

…and this draggable 360º panoramic shot from above:

What an unforgettable spot!

Categories
Photos Summer '22 Videos

Golden Spike Revisited! 🚂

The morning after our great afternoon with Ben, we headed north to Ogden, Utah, where Henry & I stayed in 2019 while attending the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike being struck. Following some seriously hearty breakfast…

…we headed up to Promontory Summit, site of the Spike interpretive center. Unlike last time, when tens of thousands of fellow spectators crowded the grounds, we had the place more or less to ourselves, enabling us to walk right up to the working steam engines.

Henry was of course in heaven, impressing the train crews with his detailed knowledge of their gear, and finally charming his way aboard the engines & ultimately into a private tour of the maintenance shed!

Here he helps back up the wood-fired “Jupiter” engine into her maintenance bay:

Check out our gallery for a full view of the adventure.

Categories
Photos Summer '22 Videos

Fourth of July—with Ben! 🎆

Our summer adventure started off with a bang—literally—as we celebrated the Fourth of July with my childhood best friend Ben Dodds. Ben & his sons live in Salt Lake City, where Hen & I met up with my folks following our flights that morning.

Seeing Ben & catching up on old friends was a real treat, as was having him show us (in our weird little rental van!) around the area, including ascending to the beautiful Wasatch National Forest…

…then knocking back a few Polygamy Porters (“Why Have Just One?” 😅) at dinner.

Check out our gallery to see the goings-on.

Categories
Videos

Hot Rod Hen

If you could choose one car to be the first you ever fire up, a vintage Boss Mustang 302 would be a pretty great one! Happily that was Henry’s privilege on Sunday night as we visited our friends Philip & Rachel in San Francisco. Watch him rev up the delight: