28 February 2009

Blazing Angels part 2

The day is mine! When we last met, I was stuck on the mission flying through the ice canyons to destroy the heavy water plant. Before we begin, may I re-emphasize HOW^$%%#&$%#$ REDICULOUS THIS STUPID LEVEL IS AND HOW IF I EVER MEET THE *&^%$%^**$ WHO DESIGNED IT I'M GOING TO SKIN HIM ALIVE!!!! Ahem. Anyway, I hate to say it, but there aren't really any tricks, you just have to keep flying the mission until you figure it out. The only real hints I can give are to try different planes. they all fly differently and you may have better luck with a certain one. I wound up using the Spitfire. Also, each time you re-try the level try something different. Find out which corners you can fly around full speed and which ones you have to slow down for. See if you can fly around obstructions a different way. You may be surprised. And remember, there is a rediculous time limit, so you have to go full speed 99% of the mission. Once you get through the first canyon (yes you read that right, FIRST CANYON!!!! THERE ARE MORE!!!) you have to bomb some German ships in an alcove. This is rather tight flying, but is not terribly tricky. Then you follow Joe through ANOTHER canyon, but this time, there are enemy fighters in there with you. Take my advice: IGNORE THE FIGHTERS! Shooting them down does you know good, and if you don't shoot them, it doesn't matter. Just concentrate on flying through the canyon. Once again, stupid time limit. After this canyon, you have to shoot down the fighters and sink some more ships. Fortunetly, this cove has more room than the last one, so you don't really have to worry about crashing. However, these enemy fighters are a pain. They have equal planes, and these guys are GOOD. Use the target follow mode here. Trust me. Once you destroy the enemy, Joe will unceromoniously disappear and you have to follow him again. Look for the blue arrow on your radar, that's him. He is busy going through the last (finally!) canyon. Follow him, this is just like the last one, fighters and all. By the way, each canyon is worse than the last, and the time is harder to beat, but without realizing it, by practicing the mission you are getting better at canyon flying. After the final canyon, you finally reach the heavy water plant. Just bomb it and get it over with. No problems here. Oh and one last thing, there's a sub to sink at the end too.

After that HELLACIOUS mission throught the ice, it's time to get back to the real world. Now you have to assist the DDay landings at Normandy. This seems fairly standard shooting bombers and ground targets. Biggest trick is there are soooo many targets. Each time you come around, use the joystick to select the target closest to you. This makes it easier to see. Here you have to beat both a timer and the little meter saying how many friendly troops are left. It's not terribly hard, but you have to be quick. And the land targets are low and tucked into small ravines. Try not to crash! Oh and also, one of your wingmen is killed on this mission. Just like landing your damaged plane on a previous mission, this is part of the story and nothing you do can change it.

After saving the Normandy invasion, you have to rid Paris of German troops. By now it should be becoming clear that the missions are getting harder. Imagine the last mission, but all the enemy tanks are in between tall buildings. The biggest challenge with this mission is to not run into the buildings. To avoid this, your best bet is to fly along roads, rivers, etc as much as possible. There are a lot of them, but you have plenty of time to take them all out, so relax and watch out for the buildings. Also, unlike previous levels, if you are called to help another area here, you have to go immediately. You can not wait until you finish cleaning up the area you are at, or you will lose. After cleaning up all the Germans, you have to take out the fleeing German general. This is very bizzare, because he will pop up and dissapear on your radar repeatedly in a pattern that is physically impossible. Your best bet: Hang out by Notre Dame, just circle over the river. With about 35 seconds left on the timer, he will appear in this area on three boats on the river. Take these out, then a few fighters, and the mission is done.

Your next assignment is the Ardenne Woods, more commonly called the Battle of the Bulge. This one seems to be quite a doozy. First up is a wave of German fighters to take out, then some armored columns, then a bomber wave. Oh, and you have one restrictive time limit to take out all of it. Well, this is where I am now. I was going to wait longer to post this next installment, but since I am leaving now and who knows when I will get back to the game. So when I do, I will continue my little narrative. Have fun!

27 February 2009

Farewell Kingsland

Well, tommorow I leave for the frozen north, and what better final flag friday here than to show a few landmark flags I will miss driving by every day. First is this pair, the foreground one at Kingsland Park and the tall one at the police station.

The tall one from the other side.

And this large flag, at the Freedom Self Storage in St Marys near the base.

I always love to see a little patriotism on my way to work in the morning. I do hope I can find some in the liberal north!

26 February 2009

Lake Jackson Mounds

This is the Lake Jackson mounds site, on the northern edgeof the Talahassee area. The site consists of six arthen temple mounds, two of which can be visited. There is evidence that the Lake Jackson Indians participated in a southeastern socio-religous complex known to archaeologists as the Southern Cult or Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, which flurished around 1200 AD. It is believed that the society had a well organized political system with tribal leaders residing in regional centers, such as this one. The remains of important tribal members have been found here with burial objects such as copper breast plates, shell beaded necklaces, braclets, anklets, and cloaks. These indicate trading ties with other major pre-historic settlements throughout the southeast. They traded shell beads and tools, as well as salt and shark teeth, in exchange for copper, soapstone, and mica

This site was abandoned around 1500 AD for unknown reasons. Descendants of the residents here met members of the De Soto expedition in 1540.

When I came here before in 2003, there was a large orange sign here that said "Water not fit for consumption, do not drink." Since the sign is nolonger here, does that mean it's now safe? *shudders*

It is hard to imagine how the site would have looked, as erosion and vandalism have taken their toll on the mounds, and plants have overgrown the site as well.

The people here are knwon to have hunted deer, turkeys, turtles, fish, and other small game using spears, bow and arrows, traps and snares. They also grew corn, beans and squash, as well as gathering berries and roots. They built small, simple houses of natural materials, but did most activities outdoors.

25 February 2009

Old Fort Park

This is Old Fort Park, also known as Fort Houston because it was located on the plantation of E.A. Houston. It was hurriedly built by locals in the Civil War to prevent the Union army from capturing the capitol at Talahassee. The Union army was stopped at Natural Bridge by an army that included Houston's son, Patrick, who commanded the artillery. Now the fort is a peacefull park in a nice neighborhood near the capitol. A silent testimony to the dedication of the local citizens to defend their territory.

24 February 2009

Korean memorial

This is the brilliantly designed Florida Korean War Memorial a few blocks from the capitol. The information here is from the state Department of Veterans' Affairs Website.

The designer said of the memorial:
The main entry to the Memorial occurs at the corner of Gaines Street and Suwannee Street in Tallahassee. The concrete walkway, which meanders through the existing trees in Cascade Park, provides an approach where one will catch glimpses of the memorial area through the trees. It reveals the Memorial in small pieces or frames, and refrains from disclosing the entire Memorial until the visitor has fully arrived. At the terminus of the approach, one crosses a threshold marked distinctly by a change in the walking surface.
The focal point of the memorial plaza is a large vertical circle that represents the purity of life through perfect geometry. This the "Circle of Life." The top of the circle is broken, signaling an interruption in this purity. A broken fragment that would complete the circle is lying adjacent to the large circle and has become embedded in the ground. The names of those killed in action are etched on the inside of the broken fragment which once completed the "Circle of Life."
The Memorial represents those who have fallen and shows that the Korean War interrupted the lives of all involved, including family, friends, and those of all services who fought there. This interruption in the "Circle of Life" left an indelible mark on our nation, a mark that will never be replaced -- a point in history.
The visitor will find a large map of Korea located on the ground of the Memorial. The map is divided into two parts by the "Circle of Life" element. The Demilitarized Zone shown on the map is what guided the placement of the circle.
The final major component is the timeline. Upon entry, the visitor will be able to walk around the outer edge of the Memorial and experience a timeline that chronicles the War. Along the timeline are rough-hewn markers that give a brief story of the war and its major battles. Markers are placed in relation to the time of the occurrence.
-- Shawn Bliss, Designer

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Korean War Veterans' Memorial was on December 2, 1998 at Cascade Park in Tallahassee. The dedication was December 11, 1999, and was attended by about 1,000 people from all over the state. The keynote speaker was Governor Jeb Bush. Among the dignitaries attending were Harley Coon, National KWVA President and Kwang-Sok Ryu, the Korean Consul General.

Here are the names of the 583 Floridians who gave their lives in the war.

A ceremony was held on Saturday, June 24, 1 pm marking the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the war. Attending were Lt.Gen. Bob Milligan, USMC (Ret.), Comptroller, State of Florida; Edward Magill, National 1st V.P., Korean War Veterans' Association; Lt.Col. Robin Higgins, USMC (Ret.), Executive Director, Florida Dept. of Veterans' Affairs; Scott Maddox, Mayor, City of Tallahassee; and Frank Brogan, Lieutenant Governor, State of Florida

23 February 2009

Union Bank

Just a quick stop at the public parking near the Florida State Capitol. This is the Union Bank of Florida building, Florida's oldest surviving bank building.

22 February 2009

Florida capital Inside

When I went through Tallahassee this time, I arrived to find the old State Capitol open for visitors. In 2003 when I came through before, it was not, so this was new, and rather neat. This makes four that I have been in- California, Arizona, South Carolina, and now Florida. The capitol here features the rooms where the state government worked, as well as a museum of Florida history. Seen here is the interior of the capitol dome.
On March 4, 1824, Tallahassee was chosen as the new Florida state capitol, uniting east and west Florida, which had traditionally been governed from St Augustine and Pensacola, respectively. Log buildings housed the government for two years, until a masonry building was built. Seen above is the portrait if Andrew Jackson, the first governor of Florida, that hung behind the desk of the Senate President's desk from 1929 to the 1970's.

In 1839, Congress approved $20,000 for a new capitol building, to replace the unfinished masonry building. On June 25, 1845, Floridians celebrated their home's new status as a state on the steps of the new capitol building. William D. Mosely became the first elected governor of the state. Seen here are Andrew Jackson and William Duval, who suceeded him, becoming the first civilian governor of Florida. These portraits are in the hall of Governor portarits.

In 1891, the building was refurbished, including adding the cupola and bright red and white striped awnings to shade the windows from the bright Florida sun. In 1900, it was decided by voters that a larger facility was needed, and $75,000 was appropriated for the expansion of the capital building. Frank Pierce Milburn designed the new capitol, and although it was much simpler than his usual designs, it included similar features, such as the new dome that was much like those in South Carolina and Kentucky. He also added metal reliefs over the capitol entrances depicting the state seal. When it was all said and done in 1902, this expanded building was the last in which the entire Florida government was under one roof. Within ten years, the Supreme Court was moved to a separate building. Seen above is the restored Supreme Court room in the old capitol.

Robe of one of the Florida Supreme Court Justices

The capitol building went through another change in 1923 under Governor Cary hardee. Henry Klutho, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, had already become well known in Florida for rebuilding Jacksonville following the fire of 1901, and designing the governor's mansion in 1906, before he was given the job of improving the capitol. The last alterations done were the additions of wings for the House of Representatives and Senate in 1936 and 1947 respectively. Seen above is the restored House, and below, the restored Senate room.

These hankerchiefs were traditionally dropped to signal the end of a Senate session.

Original desk from the House of Representatives, before it was moved to the Capitol wing. M. Ohmer's Sons Company of Dayton, Ohio, built all the new furniture for the remodeling of the captol in 1902, including legislators' desks and chairs. they were used in 1903 for the first legislative session to be held in the remodeled capitol building. One hundred sets were purchased, 68 for the house and 32 for the senate. The desks were oak and cost $25.50 each. When the legislative chambers were remodeled again in 1923, the old desks were refurbished. New chairs were purchased for $13.70 apiece. In 1939, when the house moved to a newly constructed wing of the capitol, all new desks and chairs were bought. The old furniture was either sold at auction, given to schools, or acquired by legislators as family heirlooms. This desk and chair set is the only original now in the state's pessession.
The capitol rotunda originally had a spiral staircase, but this was removed in 1923 and the marble stairs seen above were built. In the 1970's, the new state capitol was built, and the old one was going to be torn down, until a public outcry saved the historic building. Now the new capitol wraps around the old capitol building, the central area of which has been around since 1845.
The restored Governor's office
Governor's secretary office
Governor meeting room

And now a collection of artifacts from the various rooms of the capitol.

Who could forget the rediculous fiasco that was the 2000 election? Thanks, Florida.

An old wooden school bench from an African American school.
Flashback to the days of Jim Crow, here is a "colored" restroom door from the Whitfield Building, where the Supreme Court was housed until 1949.

21 February 2009

Florida Forts

This is a book I no longer have and really wish I still did. Though with moving to Connecticut soon, maybe it doesn't matter so much. Anyway, this book by local author Alejandro De Quesada is an excellent guide to the forts of Florida. The book is arranged in time periods, from the earliest colonial settlements to the defensive sites of the Cold War. The book covers all existing forts and several forts that are long gone, with a fascinating historical text, along with descriptions and photos of the sites today. Several are National or State parks, some are cared for by other agencies, and some are simply neglected and left to the raveges of nature. This book is excellent for a history of the state or for someone wanting to see historic places in Florida. Also good because it has good information about topics that are otherwise hard to find, such as the Seminole Wars and the early colonial disputes. Overall and excellent book, highly reccomended for anyone living in or near Florida. It can be found on Amazon here.
A History of Florida Forts
Alejandro De Quesada
218 Pages
2006, History Press

20 February 2009

Florida's Vietnam Vets

Today's Flag friday features pictures of the Florida State Vietnam Vets Memorial, across the street from the Capital building.
This is one of my favorite memorials.

What is there not to love about this beautiful, patriotic memorial?