(Note: finally settled on a new blog look, if you didn't notice. cheers to the newness. hope you enjoy it. same RIVETING content, different clothes)

Had the grand fortune of celebrating my and Xz's recent bdays at Singapore's newish Marina Bay Sands. Got some staff rate hookups through people at work for an overall great time.

Fun facts about MBS:
-57 stories
-Four years to build at cost of $5.5 billion. Grosses a paltry $1 billion in profits annually.
-Largest public cantilevered structure in the world.
-My fav - 25 cm of allowable wind sway at the top(!) and 60 cm of allowable seismic sway (to answer my dad's question of "wouldn't it just topple over in an earthquake?" seems someone along the line thought of that one. can't get anything past these engineers!)

Here's to closing down what has been an eventful, transitory year and moving in to my 27th with so many haps on the books to come. Got a bevy of blessings in the cornucopia this year, Mammy. Ain't that the truth.

Run an' tell that, homeboy.

MBS looms.
Infinity pool. Pretty remarkable. The Singaporeans were "cold" at the top in what couldn't be less than 75 degree (23 C) temps. Funny. To their defense, it was super windy at the top.

Ling sibs aquatically posting up.

Spectacular views.

Downtown Singapore

And wouldn't you know it - Milt just happened to pop in for the festivities, in Gandalf-esque fashion. Can't keep him from a good time, that one.

Marketing is everything

I can envision the commercial now: "Oh honey, be a dear and pass me the Collons would you?"...

To be fair, they're REALLY tasty little devils. Call it a hunch, but I'm gonna wager something's not jiving with the translation...


Saturday in S'p

A few snaps from the hood nearby where I'm currently staying. One thing that has struck me is S'pore's ability to maintain such prodigious landscaping despite supporting so much urban infrastructure. Serious time and effort is spent thinking about maximizing natural beauty within the city, that much is certain. Doesn't feel like the pop. density is really 17k ppl per sq. mile. Two green thumbs up.

Down the block.

Hark! The Great White Gringo takes survey of his surroundings.

Not in Toto anymore, Kansas

POSTED IN | 12:33 AM
You can expect plenty of shots from Singapore and beyond in the coming years but wanted to whet your Asian whistle with a few quick snaps from the weekend. I arrived just fine last week and will being a'bloggin in earnest. Stay tuned!

I arrived to S'p just in time for the haze. Pretty terrible. It's way worse in Malaysia to the north, even closing down schools and causing a lot of respiratory issues. Indonesia's annual slash and burn...an unfortunate endeavor, that.

Just happened upon these locals on the street who took me in. They're pretty great.

Los niños

POSTED IN | 11:59 PM
A few shots of front yard jollity with the nephews and their little sis. Also occasion to field the new ax. I have to say I like what I see so far! I love driving it...it is so choice...

These little ones will be much bigger the next time I'll see them, so it's good to work in some good times while I can.


Game face

POSTED IN | 11:54 PM
Joshy considers the world from his kinetic roost, plotting the next move for total playground domination.

Lake Hefner sundown

POSTED IN | 11:36 PM
And one of the best sailing lakes in the country, to boot...

The River they call Hudson

POSTED IN | 12:09 AM
Some snaps of the mighty Hudson, taken near West Point on yesterweek's trip.

Cornwall on Hudson wharf.

What a great dock, I thought. But then...
Turns out it's the most boring dock ever. Seriously...Fun Police H.Q. up in thar...
TJ's. Would that thou didst reside closer to my Midwest dwelling. Here seen in Jersey locale, near NYC. I realize it's only a grocery store, but I'll be gumswizzled if it's not still like Christmas morning. Unfortunately this establishment was a hooch free variety. No three buck chuck to go around. But dark chocolate covered, sea salted almonds? Bomb diggety.

The West Point of life

POSTED IN | 11:56 PM
Visited my old school peeps this weekend who're living near West Point now, playing in the bands at yon venerable U.S.M.A. A quick sampling of the weekend's revelries here below. But our gathering seemed to be somewhat more subdued this time, as we're all a bit older, there's now a child(!) in the mix and, well, 11 p.m. bed times seem to be a hard habit to break, even on Labor Day weekends. Great to see the ol Pals and what they're lives are like now, though. Thankful I got to visit pre-Singapore blast off. The internets are good, but nothing like seeing a place in person, no? Iffn's ya fancy a visit to the Hudson River Valley, ye shant ramble away disappointed for vistas.

But moving on from scenery, we found plenty of vittles to wrap our gums around. Took a trip down to Jersey to visit Mitsuwa, a land of Japanese Milk and Honey, it was fabled. That is, a market and food court of decadent proportions. Here we are looking COOL with the Hudson and Upper West Side of Manhattan in the background.

Baby on board. Quinn really got into the spirit of things at the Japanese smorgasbord, even though (sadly) she isn't into "solid foods" yet. *moment of silence* I think she has a lot of chubby potential though, considering her parental roots (viz. the woman behind her). 

Rook so good! Eel sushi with plain soba noodles and dipping sauce. All for about $10. Not too bad considering it's near NYC. Great Asian ambiance though. Had to fight for a table among the throng and weave through the ingesting hordes to find a place. Good times.

What was left. *gasps* 'He didn't finish the sushi!!!,' they exclaimed in unison terror. Fear not, brave readers, that's one grenade worth falling on, in the name of caloric honor everywhere. I cracked my knuckles and shouted 'SAVE YOURSELVES' while moving in for final jabs with the 'sticks and wasabi.

Thus concludes adventure snapshot No. 1. Please turn the tape over...

Stu Fam Reunion ot ten

POSTED IN | 10:47 PM
Stuart Fam Reunion went down in usual congregational fashion a few weekends ago. This is only a portion of the whole pack, but we made do in the beautiful Denver scenery and temps. It's great to have a family that values these types of gatherings and spends money and time to make them happen. Certainly a great bunch of folks! Maybe with any luck our progeny will be able to weed out those SteWARTS-ers.

Getting back on the Wagon

POSTED IN | 12:17 AM
*Ahem* It's always a bit awkward. To say the least. A bit like a neglected friendship that's a crust shy of a pork pie.

Clearly I realize the last post's been in February. Oh, how I realize this. The anguish of keeping yon faithful readers without every intimate detail of my most exotic comings and goings. But, to spare you the copious details of yestermonth, I'll just splash a few photos your way of the last few months, yes? Reader want a photo treat? Good. Good.

So it's been a heckuva summer (add a "dude" to the end of that sentence if you fancy). And as I look toward moving Singapore-side in about two months(!) to begin working for SIM, I couldn't be more blessed in all arenas of life: family, job, friends, a spot of travel here and there. Ehem...romance. Yes, yes. Kind of a big'n, that.

So I think you get the picture. But I think it's a safe gamble to say the ol' blogging buckboard is off the hitchin' post and rolling again. And I'm riding shotgun, friends. That is, more blog posts headed down the prairie pipeline. Keep your bonnets and buckskins peeled.

Wichita Mountains. View from atop Mount Scott.

 More mountains

Lil' G the niece rolled over on the big 1 year old in July. She prefers the shove now chew later method.

 One happy baby.

Fourth of July went off without a loss of life or limb. Or fire. Unintentional fire, that is. Here nephew Joshy awakens his inner pyro with a always-popular, gateway firework - yes that's right...the noble Roman Candle.

And lo, Hannah locked on and didst smite her paper foes. It was the first time she'd fired a gun. Don't have too many of them in Singapore or Australia, see. Hilarious racial profiling moment of the day came when Ken, the range owner standing behind, asked her if she knew martial arts. I did not hold back my smirk. Stereotypes, man. Funny stuff. Was also impressed though when Hannah traded in her .22 for a British military .303 model.

Yours truly locking on the 250 yard target with the Brit .303 model. Was 1 for 2 at that distance on iron sights. Meh.

The Fatman reading a little bedtime story to the nephews, with dramatic inflections. "Face Vader you must, Luke..."  Carson takes a TO to check on the NASCAR haps in the background.

The niece enjoys a cold one on a hot one.

Joshy makes it look easy.

Okie clouds post summer storm.

The end.

Colorful Colorado Calls

POSTED IN | 11:29 PM
Well, here we are in February, Friends, and the blog train has not had many stops at Post Central lately it would appear (we've had a terrible time with our coal suppliers out of Shanghai if you must know). And it seems it might be hit or miss in the coming weeks, too, as I venture to Charlotte for two weeks later this month (more info on this to come) and am starting full-time newspaper work...uh...tomorrow! It's so great to be fully employed, after being at half throttle since October. Like, really. What a blessing. It's the same newspaper, I'll just be writing non-sports stories now too. And getting health benefits tossed in the shopping cart to boot. Most excellent.

I'm looking forward to unfurling the journalistic sails under full time winds for the venerable Tinker Take Off flagship. *breaks leg*

So step the mast and hoist sail, mates! There's wind and work aplenty to catch.

But I won't leave you without a pull on the ol' photographic hip flask. No, no. I wouldn't do that. Just enough to wet the whistle, though. It is a school night. A few from my fam's Colorado ski trip yestermonth. We shacked it in a great cabin family style and had a right go of things in Breckenridge. Some choice RUFers joined us for a wolf pack muster and polar bearin', hot tub action.

And my shoulder still hurts from my yard-sale, full-speed skiing wreck on the mountain. Ski-trip accomplished I suppose.

Till next time...

Colorado morning.

Part of the wolf pack, heading up the mountain: Dinah (from right), Me, Mike, Rachel, Josh. (Photo by The Fatman)

 (Kayaking in Colter Bay, Jackson Lake - Grand Teton National Park)

For whatever reason, my personality doesn't often let me sit back and just smell the roses.

Because if I'm totally honest, I'm a schemer at heart. A craftsman of life plans, goals and travels. An OCD ponderer of the future.

I often spend my time thinking of my and others' goals and needs, and how I can get us on that magical path toward realizing them. To be stationary is to lose ground by my reckoning. To stop scheming is akin to shutting down whole batteries of running rats inside my mind. And people, when those rodents aren't churning, morale is down, lemme tell ya.

But certainly one NEEDS to stop and take survey at certain stations in the year and see just what the hey-ho actually happened. You have to rest and simply be thankful that you're breathing and have few, if any, physical needs to be met (if you're like me). And that's just really awesome. I praise God for that, and not enough.

But the time for reflection is nigh upon me, friends. Certainly it is meet and right so to do.

2009 was one for the books. My books, anyhow. As I started the year in Wyoming, with the mercury dipping to negative 30 Fahrenheit, and then ended the year back in Oklahoma, with a record-breaking snowfall of 14 inches just before Christmas, I had veritable wintry bookends. With a warm filling in between (although, thankfully, I missed the worst of the Oklahoma heat).

But to highlight some moments, I've conscripted my friend, the List. I trust he will be succinct, if not informative:

-Rang in the New Year with old and new friends at the Stuart casa, while meeting the extended Ling familia for the first time. Xiao Chen and XiaoYi, you'll have to revisit Oklahoma, perhaps when it's warmer! (for your sakes')

-Won an award from the Wyoming Press Association for my photography.

-Saw B.B. King live.

-Saw some of America's most beautiful scenery with some great friends and family: Yellowstone Nat'l Park two times; camped in Grand Teton National Park; Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park; Bozeman, MT; Sun Valley, ID.

-Increased my "been-to" state count to 38.

-Lived alone in Wyoming and realized (through the loneliness) my utter need for God's daily grace as a result of those low times.

-Was blessed by really awesome Wyoming friends and a very supportive church family. Holla!

-Enjoyed Wyoming visits by Mr. Loeffler and J Voth and J Aldrich. You don't know how much those good times meant to me, boys.

-Quit my newspaper job and moved back to Oklahoma without a concrete plan(!) of what was next. 

-Was unemployed for 1.5 months.

-Became one of those hyped "40 million Americans without health insurance," a status I still hold (although I'm working on that).

-Saw U2 live with JA. Thanks for treating me, buddy.

-Found a great writing/photog job at a nearby newspaper. Then got another paying blogging gig on top of that. Scawing!

-Had a lot of fun with my fam, especially the growing number of nieces/nephews.

-Visited Las Vegas with the Army Band for Vet's Day parade. (was somewhat underwhelmed by the city as a whole, though)

-Celebrated my 26th birthday. I am A LOT cooler now, people!

-Decided on a move to Singapore (Singapore!) to do full-time media missions work for two years. (a big decision)

-Further realized I have awesome friends who really care about what's going on, who I am and where I'm going. I also realized I really need to appreciate those people more. And how.

So how about some pics!

The most excellent Ling fam, posting up at the Stuart casa for New Year's revelries. Braving the comparative Oklahoma cold, they made the venture from Australia and Singapore...not exactly a stroll around the block.

Ah...the lovely countryside of Converse County, Wyoming.

Cold Wyo deer.

How Wyo rolls in the winter. Insulating blubber anyone?

The Wyo Gang on the March ski trip to the Snowy Range.

Grant Teton National Park at dusk. The most beautiful mountains I've laid eyes on. You have to go. Seriously.

Wheat harvest time near Sun Valley, Idaho.

My first visit! With Dave, Sarah and Hannah. Epic, friends. Just...glorious. And I think I'm still feeling that margarita we got in Cody. Sheesh...

Yellowstone Lake partially iced over in May (above) and the Yellowstone River Lower Falls in panoramic version.

Typical Wyo ranch life.

The Oklahoma snow storm to rule them all. 14 inches of powder on Christmas Eve to fulfill even the loftiest of white Christmas expectations and set a new state record.

Happy New Year, friends! Happy New Year, indeed.