Archive for August, 2011

Spitting frogs

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Here are the famous Detroit Zoo spitting frogs.  Great Art taken this summer at the (duh) Detroit Zoo and part of my famous Statue and Vacation series.

Extreme short shrift.  It’s already after 9:30 and I need to get to sleep.  I get into my office and start watching Jay Leno’s Garage videos.  Boy do I like seeing those beautiful old cars, and actually seeing them being used is even better.  Highly recommended.  But be prepared to waste a bit of time.

Need to get ready for a power outage tomorrow.  We were recently notified by our lovely power company that the power will be out for a few to several hours tomorrow while they’re working on the local transmission lines.  That’ll be a bit inconvenient.  I’m shutting down computers tonight and otherwise pretty much dealing with resetting clocks and turning things back on tomorrow.  Shouldn’t be too bad.  Just need to remind LRN4 to get her car out of the garage before it goes dark.

Got our confirmation on the October cruise.  I have our passport and credit card data entered into the Princess website.  Nothing can stop us now.  We’re (well, at least I am) really looking forward to it.

I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: milk-stealing cow!  And it happened in one of our former hometowns!

See you tomorrow.

Trail markers

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Here’s a pretty busy trail marker.  Looks like the crossroads of the place.  Great Art courtesy of my good old Minolta pocket-sized digital camera, taken during our fun hike a few months ago and part of my famous Hiking series.

Wow. Yet another looong blog-free period. Did you miss me, Loyal Readers? Hello? Anybody there? No?

Well then. At least I’m reading this, and that’s what really matters, no?

Lots of stuff going on.

By the way, greetings from the train!

Anyway. Lots of stuff going on. LRN2 and LRN3 are still here. Not for long, though. They’re both on the way out the door first thing tomorrow morning. I’ll miss them! It’s been such a great visit. Except we didn’t visit nearly enough. They spent a bit of time playing games. I spent a bit of time reading. Also going to work. WAY too much of

Getting ready to take care of that last little problem, though. LRN4 sent me a note this afternoon, telling me she heard from the nice folks at Princess Cruises, who offered us a generous discount on a two-week cruise to Hawaii in October. We had been planning to do that in January (probably on a different cruise line, incidentally), so we did about fifteen minutes of research (the swimming pool is covered, which is highly important; also, the weather in Hawaii is quite good in October) and decided to go for it. She called a travel agent, who was surprised to discover that they could actually get us the cruise for the advertised price! So we’re in. Cool. Can’t wait to go now.

We already love Princess Cruises. On our Alaska cruise a couple years ago, the service and food were outstanding. The ship that time wasn’t really appropriate for a trip to Alaska (no covered pool!), but we really loved the quality of the experience otherwise. So we have high expectations. Need to see if any of our cruising friends want to and are able to go with us.

I haven’t been spending enough time creating lately. I feel like I’ve been busy, but I really haven’t been. I’m consuming too much content and not creating enough of it. So I’m trying to turn over a bit of a new leaf. I still want to read meaningful things and see and hear a reasonable amount of entertainment, but I’m committed to creating something every day, even if it’s very small. I’ll report here (which is creating something in itself, so the mere act of reporting fulfills the goal!).

So let’s talk about some things I have in the creation pipeline. I’m sure I’ve talked about RoboWar already. I’ve decided to go ahead with it, in spite of the fact that I won’t be able to charge for it. At this point, I need the experience and perhaps a bit of notice more than I need the money. So I’m going for it. Ought to keep me busy for the next several months.

But first, I’m making my UNO scorekeeping app. Can’t find anything out there that’s free and good, so I’m making one. It’ll have a few useful features and will hopefully be useful to a few people. And it’ll be absolutely free, of course.

There’s another interesting opportunity out there right now. My work has announced an app contest. They’re looking for things that have a business use, of course, and they get the rights and the source code when it’s done. But they’re giving away an iPad and some other electronic junk to the contest winners! Yes, I know I already have an iPad, but I’m sure we can all agree that’s something you can never have too much of.

The real challenge, though, is the idea. The major limitation the app has to work within is that it can’t access company-owned data, but it still has to have a real business use to us. Challenging! How can I make something useful that can’t access or store any data? I’m cogitating on it. One idea provided by our finance people is an app for Cost Account Managers (of which I am one) that tracks data on an ongoing basis. I don’t yet know if it’s practical, though, since I believe financial data is something the app isn’t allowed to access or even save. I’ll have to get a ruling on that one. Another idea – some tool that does back-of-envelope-style guidance & control calculations. Hmmm.

Listening to an episode on Everything Creative that features Mormon Mommy bloggers. It’s very interesting. I’m finding all kinds of useful ideas (you don’t have to be a mommy or even a woman to join their group!) and will definitely recommend it to LRN4. By the way, have I recommended her blog lately? It’s really going well and it’s quite entertaining.

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. I think it’s largely related to my slug-like lack of creation, as already mentioned. Also, I’ve really let my dietary and exercise choices revert to some bad habits, thus undoing some progress I had made. I’m committed to reversing that reversal, starting today. I keep thinking I’ll improve my habits when something is finished (after the boys go home, for example), but then something else important always seems to come along. So I can exercise just a bit of self-discipline regardless of my circumstances. It’s either now or after my heart attack, no? Plus, it makes me feel good to exercise a bit of self-discipline.

Interesting week in space. Not a good week, but an interesting one. The Russians lost a Breeze M with a Russian-owned (but European-built) spacecraft on it. It made it to orbit, but not to a usable one. To compound it, the spacecraft doesn’t seem to have deployed its solar arrays and they can’t seem to talk to it. So it had a very limited lifetime as of yesterday or the day before. I haven’t heard whether they’ve been able to contact it or have given up.

The important thing to me, though, is that this is just one more problem with a Proton upper stage. The Breeze M has been very problematic for Khrunichev. And the Block DM hasn’t been exactly stellar either. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I do know that they have a history of being much less than forthcoming with data. I suspect these continuing failures without clear explanations will cost them more and more in the commercial market as time goes by. If I were contemplating buying a ride on a Proton right now, I would want to hear some very frank talk from the Russians. It will be interesting to see if they eventually get it. They’re still very much fighting the cold war in Moscow.

Time to quit. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife employment agency job opportunity: sunglasses-stealing monkey!

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Here’s an old gasoline tanker.  Absolutely beautiful.  Great Art taken at the Henry Ford Museum and part of my famous Machinery and Vacation series.

Well.  It’s been a long time again, hasn’t it?  LRN4 correctly pointed this out in a comment today, so I thought I’d make a bit of an update.  There are actually a few things to talk about, too!

Let’s start with this past weekend, shall we?  LRN4 and I used our Groupon to stay Friday night at the bed and breakfast in Auburn, which is a very old gold mining town about 45 minutes east of Sacramento.  The place was nice and the people were very friendly and helpful.  We enjoyed it.  Saw a bunch of the town.  The old town area had a bunch of nice old buildings, a few small but interesting museums, and some other nice stuff. We did a bit of exploring on Friday afternoon, spent a nice evening and night at the hotel, got a very good breakfast, and spent a bunch of time in old town on Saturday morning.  We were done by about noon and were thoroughly hot and sweaty by then.

Hiked back up to the car and left for Sacramento to look at a few cars for LRN4.  Did I already mention we’re selling the Suburban to LRN3?  Well, we are.  That means I needed another car at the office.  My beloved Honda took that spot.  That means I needed another car at home.  The Taurus fills that bill nicely.  That means LRN4 needed another car.  So we went to look.

Drove a couple of Fiat 500s.  I have to say I was very favorably impressed!  The cars are way cute, very well-equipped, and all kinds of good things.  There’s just one problem – they have no power.  None.  Utter dogs.  Still, we came this close to buying one, and I think we would have been happy with it.  However, we decided to just drive down the block a couple of miles and check out the Mini Coopers, which LRN4 has been dreaming about for years.  They brought one out for us to test drive that was her favorite color and had just about everything she wanted on it.  One drive was enough to convince both of us and we bought it on the spot.  Got home with it at about 6:00, completely exhausted but happy.

That car flies!  LRN4 is worried about getting speeding tickets in it.  You start it moving and, before you know it, you’re way over the speed limit.  The handling is outstanding, it has automatic everything, navigation, bluetooth, Sirius, voice commands, automatic temperature control, and a whole bunch more stuff.  Not to mention traction and stability control and just about every other kind of “control” the nice folks at BMW can invent.  I love it.

Moving up to today, it’s LRN2’s eighteenth birthday!  Happy birthday. LRN2!  We’re celebrating on Saturday, which is convenient because that’s when he’ll be home.  I’m really excited to see him.

Moving up to tomorrow, LRN3 is coming!  LRN4 picks him up at the airport mid-morning.  We’re excited about his visit too.  The house will be full for a couple of weeks.  Fun, fun, fun!

But it’s time for bed now, so I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: therapy kangaroo!

See you tomorrow.