Nate’s Notes: The Things I Do For Love

If you would have told me that I’d be dragged out of my bed before the sun woke up, be thrown in a car seat and watching a fanatical woman run around outside a McDonalds in Nowhere, Nevada…I wouldn’t have believed you.  If you would have told me that woman would be taking pictures of statues, the flag, the sunrise and the ground…I would have started to get scared.   If you would have told me that woman was my Momma…well, I would have been scared because that is my life. 

As I sat there that early morning, watching my crazy Momma kneel down just feet from the drive-thru lane so she could get a better angle on the bear statue, I closed my eyes.  I closed my eyes hoping I could go back to that warm yet lumpy hotel bed.  I closed my eyes hoping that when I opened them she wouldn’t be acting so silly.   I closed my eyes hoping her next move would be to come back to the car, put the camera down and behave sensibly.   I mean, who jumps out of a car after ordering her baby’s oatmeal and orange juice, on a barely light morning, in the middle of almost nowhere to take pictures??? 

Just so you know, there were cars behind us.  Just so you know, I was slightly concerned.   Just so you know, people were watching, even pointing.  I’m used to the stares and funny expressions of passersby.   But usually I’m on her back to save the day and distract people with my charm.   I’ve even added, “move along”…and “we walking…we walking” to my phrases.  I sat helpless though, strapped in the car seat for like the twenty-eleventh hundred mile.  When I opened my eyes, instead of returning to the car, I saw my Momma had actually climbed on top of the baby bear to get a close up picture of some deer animal with really big things coming out of its head.  I, of course, slapped my forehead and tried to cover Lyla’s eyes. This was mistaken as misbehaving and earned me a glare from Daddy.  I think I heard the woman at the window ask, “Is that woman climbing the statues?”  Oh man. Welcome to my life.  

Some kind of deer with really big things that come out of its head.

Some kind of deer with really big things that come out of its head.

As I resigned myself to this life, I watched my Momma.  She was so focused.  She was unaware of people staring…or she didn’t care.  She was even smiling a little.   She was happy.  And that made me happy.  I could actually tell that she loved what she was doing.  Not like she loves me and Lyla…but pretty close!  As I watched my Momma that morning, I actually loved her just a little bit more for running around crazy like that.   The things I do for love…really aren’t so bad. 

RSWL: National Parks

Okay, the past few RSWL entries have admittedly been related to my recent road trip…and this one is no different!  I still have some residual fuel from that adventure!  If you read Nate’s Notes, you may remember we stopped at a few National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Sites on our journey to and from Minnesota.  We LOVE, not just like, National Parks.

It’s August! You may wonder what August has to do with National Parks.  Well, it just so happens the National Park Service turns 97 on August 25th!  Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their National Parks.  That’s 97 years of protecting land, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close-to-home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.  Together with volunteers and park partners, the National Park Service safeguards more than 400 places to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. 

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Since we here at The Transmogrifier are kind of number obsessed (i.e. how many photos can we take, how many photos can we upload in a day, how many brick textures can we amass…), I thought I’d break down the National Park Service by some numbers.

11,700,000,000 visitors
121,603,193 objects in museum collections
97,417,260 volunteer hours
84,000,000 acres of land
4,502,644 acres of oceans, lakes, reservoirs
2,482,104 volunteers
85,049 miles of perennial rivers and streams
68,561 archeological sites
43,162 miles of shoreline
27,000 historic structures
2,461 national historic landmarks
582 national natural landmarks
400 endangered species
401 national parks
49 national heritage areas
1 mission: The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Preserving history, protecting nature, and creating opportunities for people of all ages to learn isn’t just some “Random Stuff We Like”.  It’s something we are extremely passionate about.   It’s something we support on every level.  Seriously.  That’s why our team decided to offer our images for free to National Parks, as well as State Parks, Non-Profit Museums and any other Non-Profit Organization whose purpose is to educate people about history or nature and preserve it.  That’s how much we believe in supporting these organizations. Seriously.

Have you checked out our Gallery of National Park images?  We have 16 of the 401 represented so far.   Never fear, we aren’t even close to done visiting, photographing and uploading our Nation’s parks and landmarks.  

So, bet you can’t guess where I’ll be with my family on August 25th!  Any guesses?  I’ll give you a hint:  It starts with “National” and ends in “Park”…and sounds like “Yosemite”.  **Big Smile** 


Sources: &

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TMG Philosophy: Cause and Effect – Part Two

A while back I wrote on the idea of cause and effect, specifically as it pertains to choices we make in life.  Amanda, added to that with her entry on “Choices“.  So, I am sure it will not be surprising to you that since I titled the first entry “Cause and Effect – Part One”, I would therefore have more to say on the subject.

So here goes:

If you have been reading our blog for some time now you will (hopefully) notice that there are a number of recurring themes.  One of those broader and more common themes is the idea of personal responsibility, especially as it pertains to how we all make choices in our lives.

We can choose to be happy or sad.  We can choose to see people a certain way.  We can choose how we treat people.  We can choose how we treat ourselves.  You get the idea.  Life is a series of choices we get to/have to make and the bottom line is that what we get out of life is a direct result of those choices – the good and the bad.  Cause and effect.

Here at The Transmogrifier, we all chose to give up other jobs we had in order to pursue this passion.  Some thought we were a bit crazy (or even a lot crazy) but it was nonetheless, our choice to do so.  Over the past almost year that we have been focused on this, there have been times when all of us have wondered and even said out load that maybe this wasn’t the best choice, or the best timing, or… We doubted if we made the right choices.

Another theme you will see repeated in our blog is the sense of adventure that we appreciate and enjoy (as much as we can!)   The choice for all of us to dive into this adventure and take on what will be an ongoing effort for years was a big one.  Like some of the great explorers hundreds of years ago – we had no map to go by when we set out on the journey.  We simply have a desire to explore and create and we hope you are willing to go along on this journey with us to see what we create.  Though we will at times have doubt about our choices, we have chosen to push forward.

So, let’s see what the effect is for this cause we have embarked on…

SketchUp IMHO: Textures, Textures Everywhere and Not a One to Use…

If you have been following my blog here on SketchUp (if so – thank you!) you will be aware of two things.  First – you will of course notice that it has been quite some time since I have posted something (more on that later), and second – I really, really like SketchUp.

Except for one thing…

The textures that come with the program.

Since this blog is a part of the two sites we currently manage, one for research images and one for textures, you may think that my criticism is a thinly-veiled comment that is really only self-serving.  While it is true that there is an obvious connection from this post to what we do – trust me – my issue with textures in SketchUp goes back years.  Long before our texture site was even a twinkle in my internet camera’s eye.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it is great that they provide a set of textures to get you started on modeling.  Actually, not many modeling programs provide textures with the program at all, so the fact that they do is a generous addition.  Adding textures to a model helps tremendously in the presentation of your work, and if you plan on rendering your model – then REALISTIC textures are a MUST!   Most of us who do modeling in SketchUp just go out and scour the internet for good textures, but wouldn’t it be more convenient to just be able to grab textures within the program, instead of having to go out and find them…?

The lack of a good selection of nice, high quality textures (in my humble opinion) is the one thing that is holding the program back even just slightly.

Hmmmm… wait a minute… I wonder if they would be interested in working out a deal…?  We could provide them a set of say, 500 hi-resolution architectural textures for free, in exchange for a little mention somewhere on their site… What do you think…?

I think I may have hit on something…

(Okay – admittedly – that last part was a not-so-thinly-veiled plug for our site.  I do, however, still strongly believe that the program would be better with a nice selection of good textures!)