Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amp Lemonade - My New Favorite Caffeine Source

Amp sugar-free lightning lemonade

Those who know me, are well aware of my Diet Mtn Dew "addiction". Well lately I've added a new drink into the mix. Lightning Lemonade from Amp (Amp is basically the "energy drink cousin" to Mtn Dew). I seriously doubt I'll ever stop drinking Dew, but in my never ending quest to try to cut down to 1 caffeinated drink per day, I think I might have an easier time with this sugar-free lemonade.

I found this drink pretty much by accident. We walked into the little PX here on Camp Blanding, and as I was looking through the drink cooler, I spied an unfamiliar can. I've had Amp before .. usually the sugar-free one that comes in the green can .. but I've always still preferred the taste of Diet Dew. I suspected that this one could be different, as I'm a sucker for Lemonade. Not that I'm eager to trade in my "man card" or anything, but on those rare occasions when I drink alcohol, Mike's Hard Lemonade, is probably one of my favorites too. Anyway, back to the story ...

I can tell you one thing that this drink has in common with Diet Dew ... the store has already run out of it for almost a week, once since we've been here. Of course they still had a whole shelf full of the "with sugar" version. I see this a lot at home. The cooler at the shoppette will have 2 or 3 rows full of regular 20oz Mtn Dew, and the Diet row will be empty. It was like that in Hawaii too. Don't the distributors pay attention to what sells out? You would think that after a time or two of finding that all of the diet drinks sold out, they would start bringing more??? lol, ok end of mini-rant.

Actually I may have more than a mini-rant in 2 weeks, if I get back to Fort Hood, and can't find these at all. That would totally ruin my breakfast menu ...

Sugar-free Amp Lightning Lemonade, and a Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar ;-)

Keep havin FuN!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Green Anole Lizard On Sand

green anole lizard on sand picture

The green anole is one of the most common lizards down here in Florida. They're literally all over the place, and you can see them pretty much every day during the warmer months. Most of the times, they'll be in a bush, a tree, sitting on a ledge, or climbing up a wall. This little guy was actually on the sidewalk outside my room. However, that wasn't a very dramatic scene for a picture .. so I scooped him up, took him over to the volleyball court, got down in the prone position, and snapped off a few shots with the my Canon 20D w/ 70-200 F4L lens.

The result is this kind of cool, "green lizard in a desert" sort of scene. (you can view it a bit larger by clicking the image to open a lightbox)

The green (or Carolina) anole is also quite common back in Texas, so I'm sure this won't be the last picture I ever take of this little reptile. Although, it'll definitely be out "in the wild", as my wife Ana has already made it very clear that we will never be able to have a lizard or snake as a pet. Darn! ;-)

Til next time ..

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fire Season In Florida

After a very dry winter, and with a bit of recent warm weather here in North-East Florida, wild fire season has arrived. I actually took this picture a couple of weeks ago, in early March, but the fire threat has definitely not subsided since then. At the time there were actually a couple of very large and out of control fires down to the South East of us ... in Duval county. This particular fire, was most likely a controlled burn ... we later learned, when we went out the range where it took place. Even so, 4 days later, there were still smoldering logs.

While I'm definitely not a fan of fires, as a photographer, I definitely appreciated the beauty of it ... from a distance of course. The contrasting colors were pretty intense, and I liked the way the heat and smoke, combined with the moisture in the air formed a cumulus cloud above the fire. Here's another shot:

Apparently, leaving Florida in a couple of weeks, will not get me away from wild fires. Not surprisingly, it's also fire season in Texas. In fact, they've already had a couple of fires right there near our house at Fort Hood. My son Justin was just telling me the other day that he witnessed a couple of kids running away after starting a fire in the woods. He did the right thing, and waited for the police and fire department to show up ... and was rewarded by getting questioned and searched himself. In the end, I think they ended up catching the little punks ... but not sure if Justin will be all that willing of a witness next time he's sees something like this take place. ;-)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Didn't Even Know They Had Armadillos In Florida

I suppose it shouldn't be a big surprise, as I remember them being all over the place in Alabama, and of course we have lots of armadillos in Texas, but this is the first one I've seen here in Florida:

florida armadillo

This little guy (I'm assuming it's a guy anyway) was the highlight of my little 25 minute "nature walk" this evening. There's a little pond, and some woods across the street from my room. Since I hadn't used my camera for about a week, I decided to take a little journey to see what I could see. Unfortunately, right up until almost the end of my walk, pretty much all I saw was dragon flies (which I've taken pictures of on previous nature walks):

blue dragon flies on a pond

At one point, I even stopped to photograph an ant hill (I can see my wife Ana rolling her eyes now .. lol):

red ant hill

Not sure what I was thinking with that one.

Anyhow, I guess I can consider this a "successful" picture taking expedition ... seeing as how I'm able to write this blog post and share a few. Who knows, maybe I'll even be inspired to start taking out my camera more often again. :-)

Catch you next time ...


Friday, March 18, 2011

Blowing Up Live Hand Grenades

Today at Camp Blanding's BWMQT class we went out to the range for the student's favorite day ... Hand Grenades.

In addition to getting some really good training earlier in the day throwing little "popper" simulation grenades on a course that measured various skills; each student also got to throw 3 or 4 live hand grenades. Here's a quick video of one of the pits "in action" ...


This is the first class in a while that's gotten to use the real live grenades, as we had a couple of "duds" a few months back ... resulting in everybody having to sit around for a couple of hours waiting for EOD to come clear the range.

This current batch was deemed to be usable. However, I have to admit to still being slightly surprised that we got through it, as these grenades are older than me ... they were manufactured in 1968.

Til next time ...


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pink House - Only In The South

only in the south

So I'm driving along the road in Lawtey Florida earlier this afternoon, when I looked over and saw this pink/purple house. It immediately reminded me of the two years I spent in southern Alabama back in the mid 90s. I've lived many different places over the years, and only in the South can I recall seeing Pink, Purple, Yellow, Bright Blue, and Neon Green houses ... with people actually living in them.

Now, I can understand seeing this sort of color scheme say in the Miami area or something. But this is the rural south, and most of these houses are in the middle of the woods. I'm not even criticizing or anything .. lol, I wouldn't mind if my wife would let me live in a purple house ... I'm just wondering how these people deal with all the ribbing from their buddies.

Anyhow, this is my random picture for the day. Who knows, if I keep my eyes out for the next month while I'm here, I might even see a yard with fake pink flamingos .. this is the south after all ;-)