Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visiting Dallas Cowboys HQ

Last Thursday I got a chance to visit Dallas Cowboys HQ at Frisco Texas in lieu of a UNT social event Stars at Star. Nicholas was my guest for this event. Star is the name of Cowboys's HQ, Stars are selected UNT faculty and the guests of the event.

The Star has a grand atrium which has  beautiful Italian marble floors with engraved names and quotes of Dallas Cowboys players and coaches, hangs artist Leo Villareal LED sculpture titled “Volume Frisco" (2016). This dancing LED display includes more than 19,200 white LED lights embedded in 160, 40-foot-long, stainless steel mirrored rods hanging from the ceiling.

LED Sculpture 
On the right hand side of the atrium is the Super Bowl station where Cowboys' past glories are on display on one side - 5 super bowl trophies - the most recent one dated 1995,  giant super bowl rings on the otherside . At the end of the station is the Helmet wall - with all 32 NFL teams' helmet hanging on the wall. Paying a bit more attention, I noticed that there were two helmets lit up - Cowboys' and Packers' - the lit helmets are indicative of Cowboys upcoming game - which is, for this Sunday, Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys.

The glass wall on north end of the atrium faces Cowboys' full size practice field.

Walking down a stairway, and passing the walk of stars, we arrived at the event venue.

Cowboys' Super Bowl Trophies
Helmet Wall - 1 - NFC team helmets

Helmet Wall - 2 - AFC team helmets
outdoor Practice Football field
Star Walk
Cowboys Helmets and Uniforms

The Stars at Star was a social event to entertain UNT's partners from local communities - companies, government officials and etc. It featured a progressive dinner (a.k.a Buffet type dinner) and a keynote speaker of Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys EVP and chief branding officer, daughter of Dallas Cowboys' owner. It was a great speech about pillars for business success. Our self paced tour of the facility was curtailed at the Cowboys' Hall of Fame - the names pro-bowlers, stories of Super Bowls.

We stepped onto the lit-up practice field before leaving.

As we drove home, a huge yellowish Moon was just above horizon in the eastern sky at the end Warren Parkway, in front of us.

Stars at Star

the Featured Speaker

Dallas Cowboys' football field in the dusk
End Zone

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Newfoundland and labrador - Miscellaneous

We went to Canada a few times - first time to Vancouver on our way to Alaska, and 2nd time at  Banff, and Jasper National Park and Calgary, Alberta, and the 3rd time the eastern most province of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador visiting Gros Morne and Tera Nova National Parks.

Despite the fact that visiting Canada does not feel like going abroad, there are some interesting differences between Newfoundland and Texas:

1) Street signs are placed 100 yard before an intersection - no sign at the intersection! I missed turns a few time because of this.
2) Trash basket instead of trash can. We observed that there were big baskets (wooden boxes) in front of every house in a small town we passed by. We wonder what they were and eventually figured out that they were trash "can"
3) Newfoundland people has strong accent - most people's ancestors were from Southern Scotland  - per my boat tour guide.

Newfoundland was rainy and/or cloudy 3/4 of time. It rained so much - the main high way through the park collapsed at several locations due to rain during our visit there. 

Many gas stations are still on honor code - fill the tank first pay later - like what we were 20 years ago in USA. Our kayaking group mates - two Canadians  - were very proud of this and teased us on that we had to pay first before filling the tank.

Gros Morne Discover Center

Collapsed high way due to rain
pay attention to the base of power line post - basket of rocks is used to stabilize the post in strong wind

It is still fill tank first pay later
The newfoundland is so large - north point to south point is over 1000km! Travel by air is preferred. Due to low population density, one has to take tiny airplanes for air travel there.

Small regional airplane

Nicholas had to lower his head in order to walk on the airplane
Due to the frequent rainy/cloudy days, red seems to be favorite colors there. The ubiquitous red chairs are prominently placed in Gros Morne. We saw red-roof cabins there more frequently than any other place we visited.

Red chair at Gros Morne 

Red roof cabin by the baty

National park's van

a red roof cabin near a light house

The resort cabins are  prefabricated matchbox! But the inside was decent, especially the cabin we stayed at Tera Nova. It was cozy. It rained a lot when we were at Tera Nova. The cozy cabin was a good place to have "home-cooked" dinner, take a hot shower and read books!

Inside of a "resort" cabin at Gros Morne

Cabin at Tera Nova

Bed room felt rustic

interesting signs on the wall

reading a book in a cold rainy night

Restaurants at Newfoundland we visited were typically small with OK food. But we got what we paid for. We went to a expensive restaurant  - have to wait and the food was good but the serving portion was small. 

decoration in a restaurant 

A restaurant inside Tera Nova 

Fisherman showing off his lobster

Rocky harbor is the center for tourists visiting Gros Monre National Park, it looks pretty ordinary most of the time. But on this sunny evening, it looked gorgeous and poetic under the setting Sun. 

Sunset at Rocky Harbor
Street light at Rocky Harbor, Gros Morne

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Newfoundland and Labrador - flowers, plants, birds and animals

Green mountains, ember tablelands rocks, white clouds and blue sky dominated our view during our Canada trip. Small colorful wild flowers, pink, white, yellow, blue, purple, bright yellow dotted the vast landscape here and there and they brought variation, change and freshness to the vista. The dark red flower is Sarracenia purpurea, i.e. turtle socks, or side-saddle flower, it is carnivorous. The remnants of withered pine trees, lifeless and grey, postured and they attracted attentions as well.

a common flowers in Canada, remember seeing at BanfF 
white flowers
wild flow at Gros Moron

Sarracenia purpurea, i.e. turtle socks, or side-saddle flower

The skeleton of a whale,   sea gulls - single or couple, sparrow, some sea birds, these were lives I saw. There must fishes in the water which I could not see. 

Newfound lands claim to have highest density of mooses in the world; black bears are native to the area as well, and we saw none on the trails. The first day at Gros Morne, it was cloudy and then rainy, not a best day - as we drove up a hill on the way to our cabin in the afternoon, we saw a cow (female) moose by the roadside and staring at our car, it walked along the road a bit, and looked at us again and then start running ! On the day 4 at Gros Morne, in the afternoon, for this stretch of highway, there happened to have no other cars except ours, a black bear crossed highway leisurely in front our car, I slowed down and stopped the car and let it take its time.

Colorful wild flowers, birds, moose, bear and even dead pine trees brought surprise, unexpected excitement, or beauty,  made a planned trip more like an exploration, and more fun.  

West Brook Pond - connected to glacier former Canyon

A pine tree remnant at the mouth of wet brook river 

skeleton of a whale

sea gull

sparrow carrying 

A couple

another couple

cow moose

a black bear crossing highway