Monday, November 26, 2012

FSU vs. UF

I didn't give Florida much of a chance in this game.  It seemed to me that Florida had made a steady march in the wrong direction leading up to this week, and Florida State had done just the opposite (with the exception of the NC State game).  I guess I'll have to subscribe to a different theory, that being Florida played either up or down to their competition this year.  Florida was up for this game!

On to the picture highlights...

I typically take some shots during pre-game warm-ups.  I usually get some great shots, but it makes me feel guilty because it's like cheating.  I normally don't pay much attention to the kickers warming up, but since Caleb Sturgis is a home-town product, I wandered over to take some pics.  What really caught my attention was where he was practicing... kicking field goals from the 35 yard line... the OTHER 35 yard line... on the FSU side of the field 35 yard line... 75 yards from the goal post 35 yard line!  I dare say that Caleb will be playing on Sundays next year.

Here's some high net worth represented for you:

Here's a cheated shot of Jermaine Washington hauling one in.  Yes, it could happen during a game with a really long lens from the other side of the field.  As it was, I was standing in the middle of the field during warm-ups... but shhhh... don't tell anyone.

It was Senior Night for FSU, and that included Chief Osceola... his last ride before passing the baton to a new Chief.  He put on a good show too.  Congrats.

Bjoern Werner was up to his usual stellar level of play.  Maybe schools should do a little more recruiting overseas.  This is one good German football (not the round kind) player!

Unfortunately for FSU, Werner's stellar play couldn't overcome six turnovers.  It's nigh impossible to win a football game when you hand the other team the ball six times.  Here's Mike Gillislee running the ball in for a score on the first play after FSU coughed up a kickoff.

Even after a third quarter spark from FSU, Gillislee's running and Driskel's passing proved too much for the Seminoles.

E.J. Manuel had a rough night throwing, but a pretty good night running the ball.  He's a big fellow, and looks like he could do well at the next level if he evens out his play a little.  Here he is blowing through the Florida line for a nice gain.

Florida did a better job holding on to the ball, and that was the difference in the game.  They did have one miscue, involving Werner of course.  You know when your quarterback is tackling a defensive end, something is amiss.

I'm not usually into artsy photos, but this one struck me... I call it:  "Portrait of a Football"

One last shot of the Driskel/Gillislee duo that stuck the knife in FSU this night.

And, of course, the quarterback gets the cheerleader in the end....

See much more of the game here.

And see a wide variety of pics at

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cape Canaveral Air Force Base

I recently was treated to a behind the scenes personal tour of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base by a close relative who just happens to be in charge of security for CCAFB and Patrick AFB.  The occasion of my visit was to watch the night launch of an Atlas rocket.

And I don't mean watch from the peanut gallery outside the southern gate from where most folks watch.  We were CLOSE... inside the blast damage area.  This picture was taken at the border of the blast damage area, within which no one is allowed during launch.  The blue light is the road block.

Unfortunately, there was a technical glitch and the launch was scrubbed for the night.  So, we stayed an extra day to catch the launch the following night.  That turned out to be a blessing as we had the day to drive around the base and take in some historical sites.

When I was a kid growing up in central Florida, I watched the Mercury and Apollo launches from our house.  Visiting the launch complexes from where these emanated was a special experience for me.  The history represented by these places sends tingles up and down your spine.

Here's Complex 14 from where the manned Mercury flights launched.  The pad is in the left foreground.  The rail is what the tower rode on to back away from the rocket prior to launch.

Here, on a plaque mounted on the launch facility building, are the seven astronauts of "The Right Stuff" fame:

I got goose bumps walking on the same ground as these pioneers walked.

I had an uncle that worked in the launch control building, seen here.  Those periscopes were a necessity... those launch control buildings were close to the pad!

This is Complex-34, the Apollo launch site with a Delta-4 ready to launch in the background.

The Apollo-1 memorial attached to the side of the launch platform.  A terrible tragedy and worrisome start to a world-changing program.

On a lighter note, here's a coveted shot of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse.  Coveted in the respect that not many folks can get this shot.  It's not on the normal public tours.

We even caught a ride on a Navy Patrol around the sub harbor and out into the ocean.  You read right... there's a Navy sub base on the Air Force Base.  Go figure!  Actually, it makes perfect sense.  The boomers do their ballistic launch tests from this port.  What better place to test your rockets than Cape Canaveral?

Well, we headed back the second night (at 2:00AM), and got all set up to watch the launch.  This was the view from our vantage point across the water.

Unfortunately, this was the view across the water in the other direction...

Therefore, no launch.  We couldn't stick around for a third try, but it had been a wonderful two nights and one day.  I felt privileged to see the history that so many don't get a chance to see.  I've heard rumors since the demise of the shuttle program of opening up some of these historical sites to the public.  I hope they do.  Everyone should have the opportunity to share in this history.

See more in these galleries:
Cape Canaveral
Patrick AFB Police Dogs

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