Somebody's Watching Me

So I have made it to Edmonton, AB. Yesterday as I wandered around the West Edmonton Mall, I decided to check my email. So I tapped into a popular computer stores wifi they were freely distributing. I was shocked to see that there was an email informing me that my phone was found at Yellowstone Park, and currently at one of their information centers. This came as a big surprise, especially as the last call I made was in Glacier National Park. But to be on the safe side I double checked my car where the phone was last placed. It was there.

So a quick call was made to the Census Bureau office, who got the call in the first place from Yellowstone. Turns out that a phone was found that had the Peoria office number, as well the number of former coworker. The office workers assumed it was mine, as I had openly talked about hitting the highway and heading west before north. That is the reason they called my parents to let them know about my missing phone. And thus sparked some confusion and concern that I would be attempting my own "Into The Wild" story.

After calling my folks to let them know I was alright and in possession of my phone, I began to wonder what the odds that someone who also had worked for our office was also in the park during the same time I was there. Was it someone who heard about my potential adventure and decided on one of their own? Or even more sinister, do I have someone following me? If so, I think I have shaken them here in Canada. I've only seen two cars with US license plates on them. Plus, if they are trailing me, they have lost their ability to contact who ever hired them in the first place. That is unless they also read this and figure out where their phone is.


Moving Me Down The Highway

For the last year or so, this blog has remained fairly dormant. This is mostly because my life has been the same. Working for the Census Bureau was interesting at times, but those stories really couldn't be told in this area. But a week ago last Thursday, that all changed. My temporary assignment ended. I found myself with all the time in the world and some money in the bank. After months of working almost every day, I decided it was time for a break.

And while most would take a short little trip, I decided to set my sights a little further. A week ago, Sunday, August 22, I hit the highway with the initial goal being Alaska. Why? I say why not? Before departing I had visited all but five US states. (South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Hawaii, and Alaska) I have told people part of it also stems from the fact that I know many who plan for their retirements, yet never get to experience them. So while I have this break, why not make something of it? The trip was also motivated by a discussion with a friend where we talked about how some people talk about stuff, and some people do stuff. It was time to do stuff.

So now I am about half way towards the Alaska border. I'm hoping to upload a few photos from the trip so far, as well as a few stories. But for now, just know that in the last week, I have crossed off three of those states to visit.


Fly Like An Eagle

USAF Thunderbirds 15

"Sky-High" is the theme this week at PhotoFriday. I took this photo of the Thunderbirds last year at the Prairie Air Show in Peoria, Illinois. Coincidentally, the Prairie Air Show starts again tonight. Still debating if I am going to venture over to see what they have to offer.


Step Out On The Leaves


It has been a while since I've posted anything, so I'm jumping back in with a photo for PhotoFriday. This week the theme is bloom. I took this on a lake in the Upper Peninsula.


Just Like A Yo-Yo

I think I have a new hero. The kicker is his description of Eric Stringer.

You can read the whole story if you are too lazy to watch the video. And there are more videos here, as well.


I'm Moving On

My blog has now been moved here: http://ryancordell.blogspot.com/.
You might have been brought here from the old location at ryancordell.com/weblog.htm. If so, welcome.

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Big Wheels Keep On Turning

Filling Up At The Kwik-E Mart (by rycordell)

PhotoFriday this week has the theme Wheels. This is timely, as a couple days ago, my beloved 1989 Toyota Camry passed the 200,000 mile marker. That is around 8 trips around this planet we travel, or .8 of the distance to the moon.


Another Brick In The Wall

Olympic fever is catching on. In a matter of minutes the official torch will be lit. I'm a little upset I didn't make some plans to head to Vancouver for these events. I am a bigger fan of the Winter Olympics, plus I have a good number of friends up there that I would love to hang out with again.

And while I will not be physically be there to watch the events, my face will be looking down over Vancouver during the games. How is that you ask? Have I developed that top secret satellite I have been working on? No, not yet. But my face is one of over 13,000 on the Molson 2010 Mural. A wall of faces that help celebrate the spirit of the Olympics.

My face has coordinates 50,8 on the big wall, if you want to look it up.
While it is not as cool as being on a wall at the Elsinore brewery, it is still an honor to be one of the many.


Dolphins Make Me Cry

Free Dolphin Show (by rycordell)

Surfaces is the theme this week at PhotoFriday. While most probably will go with surfaces as a noun, I have decided to use it as a verb. This is yet another photo from my freighter trip. As we approached the California coast, the sea life came out, and put on a show. I watched as the dolphins played in the wake of the Hanjin Phoenix. A few even chose to race ahead of the ship in a game called bow riding. Here is some of my video of bow riding in action.

You can click on the photo to be taken to a larger image.


We Spotted The Ocean

Captain I Think I See Something (by rycordell)

PhotoFriday's theme this week is distant. Here is another shot from my freighter adventure. Nothing like being half way across the Pacific Ocean to make you realize how small you are.


Rock And Roll McDonalds

God Hates McDonalds #2 (by rycordell)

This week's theme over at PhotoFriday is Damaged.

This photo was taken last March near Galveston, Texas, seven months after Hurricane Ike struck. A few days before I took this photo, a good friend in Kansas called me up. He asked me one of my favorite questions, "You want to go on a road trip?" I would guess ninety percent of the time those words are uttered, I respond in the affirmative. The only reasons that would stop me is work schedules or the person has proven to be a horrible road companion in the past. This time it was a no-brainer. The only question I had was when and where? Well, he needed to make a trip down to Galveston to check out 1 Mission:Galveston and the possibility of taking his church's youth group down to help. Having some time on my hands, I told him I'd pack up the car and head west. A couple days we were on the road to the coast. I was shocked at the damage that remained when we arrived in the area. We lost count of the McDonald's sings that had been blown out. And while we joked about the damage to the golden arches, the destruction to homes was heartbreaking. At the same time, we met some amazing people who both were long time residents, as well as recent arrivals, who made it their mission to help rebuild the area around them.

It is amazing the good that mankind can do, when faced with adversity. It is something that we have seen on the news this past week. Sadly, it often takes disasters to really bring out the best in man. Sometimes, I wonder why we can't put our egos, selfishness, and attitudes away and help the less fortunate around us more often?


Now You Know How To Be Dumb

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Sure it is a great way to keep in touch with friends, especially when you have friends scattered all over the globe. At the same time, it is a little annoying being kept up to date with friends, especially when you have friends scattered all over the world. Some say there is a fine line between posting useless and useful information. I would say that line is that that narrow. Posting about big news like job promotions, major relationship status changes, interesting tales from an interesting life is cool. Posting the daily color of your child's poop, your weekly gripe with your ex, or your latest Farmville/Mafia War/Bejewled Blitz score is not cool.

I basically have a couple rules about my facebook viewing. I have hidden all major games and quizes. Also, I give most acquaintances two opportunities before they are hidden or droped altogether. If they start cluttering up my feed with stupidity, BOOM - the hide button. It is there, might as well use it for the good of humanity. Oh, and closer friends get a couple extra chances.

So to my friends on the Facebook, let this be your lesson. Before you copy and paste some status, think twice. The reason you might not be getting many comments could be that you have been blocked or hidden from most people's view.

Oh, and here is my favorite stupid comment of the week. It is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or at least an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt with the arrow pointing straight up.


Take The Long Way Home

Clear Skies In The Future (by rycordell)

Slowly is the theme at PhotoFriday this week.

After years of crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by airplanes, I decided to do something different on my final trip from Korea to America. After some online searching, I found a company where I could book passage on a freighter. Talk about slowing the trip down. What usually took me thirteen hours would take about thirteen days. To top it off, that only landed me on the coast. I then decided to take a train to make the final portion of the journey.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Those days were some of the most relaxing days I have. I also enjoyed getting to know the crew and a little bit of their lives. Plus, I was able to drive the boat. Sure, it was only for a minute or so, but how many of you have had their hands on the steering wheel of a freighter? Didn't think so.


I've Wandered Much Further Today

Me and My Pooh Blankey (by rycordell)

The theme of PhotoFriday this week is Bed Time.

Three summers ago I had the opportunity to travel the rails from Beijing to Moscow. Our first stop was Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Having a few days to explore, we ended up heading out to the countryside to stay with some nomads. While we were there, we were able to ride camels, experience some of the local sports and music, as well as sample the traditional dishes. Oh, and we were able to participate in the milking of the mares. In fact it was the first milking of the year, so we even celebrated with Vodka and fermented mare's milk afterwards. Every night we were with them, we were able to sleep in a ger. Interestingly enough, even though we were hundred of miles from civilization among these nomads, they did provide us with Winnie The Pooh sheets and blankets on our bed. I'd say it made me feel like I was home, but I don't have a cool matching bed set with cartoon characters there.


Hip To Be Square

Still Light Around Midnight

This week the theme at PhotoFriday is Square. I did a quick scan of my photos and couldn't find any good ones of the rectangle with equal sides. I did how ever find one of the most famous square, Red Square in Moscow. I took this photo several years ago. Myself and two friends had taken the train from Beijing to Moscow during our summer break. After a couple days in the Russian capital, it was time to go our separate ways. One headed to Domodedovo International Airport for his flight and the other Sheremetyevo International Airport to wait for his flight. I rode the subway with them until they had to head off to different lines. Having another full night before my flight, I decided to wander down to Red Square for one final visit. We had been there a couple times during the previous days, but never in the evening. I was amazed at how beautiful it was at night. Even thought it appears to be early evening, this photo was taken right around midnight.