Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can We Believe This Man? Now? Please?

WMD's in Iraq, nuclear weapons in Iran, uncountable numbers of overblown "terrorism" warnings, now the collapse of the US economy. Last I heard, the economy was still growing, albeit slowly, but nothing that seems to warrant the dire forebodings the government is putting out.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekend Activities

* Elfin Forest Reserve - sans kids, did the Way Up Trail to the top. Only 1.5 miles but straight up. A bit too hot still, but will be a good one to try during winter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

World's Most Dangerous Golf Course

I wonder what the rules of golf say about a plane interfering with your line of play.  Free drop perhaps.

Bob N. and the NC Times

Does Bob Nanninga work for the North County Times?  Or is he just extremely available for comments on every article the NC Times does on Encinitas, especially when it concerns the city council.  Reporter Ruth Webster sought fit to get Nanninga's comments on the sidewalk dining policy that might be under consideration for alterations.  Why were none of the other 10 or so council candidates consulted for their views?  Granted, Bob N. does own a downtown business, a restaurant in fact, but that pertinent information was not mentioned in the article.  The Bob Nanninga political machine is hard at work it seems.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend Activities

* Hiked Calaveras Mountain for the first time. We didn't make it to the top this time but plan to in the near future. I give the city of Carlsbad two years max before they develop this land.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Activities

* Hiked Elfin Forest Reserve for the first time.



* Adventure Guides event at Indian Hills.

Topos

I wanted to teach my son how to use a compass, something I learned back in my pre-GPS Boy Scout days. I started digging on USGS topographical maps. They finished with the basic mapping project in 1992 and are now in update mode. Their website doesn't give a lot of detail, but they said they will update the maps that have the greatest interest. Most of the maps around San Diego were updated in 1997 (except for the Encinitas one which was updated in 1975 making it fairly useless).
The USGS does offer free scans of the maps. Here is a good blog post on how to download the PDF's of the maps. I tried to print them out on regular paper but Adobe couldn't tile the larger image onto 8.5x11 paper, it just printed a scaled image or a single tile. The only way I could use regular sized paper was to select the area of the map I wanted and print only that selection (note that Foxit Reader does not offer this feature). It was trial and error to get the selection to fit onto one page, otherwise it would be cropped. I actually taped a couple pages together to get a usable map this way.
I still might buy software which I assume solves all these problems, but I would really like to find out if they update their maps more than the USGS or just use the same ones.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How 'Bout Them Angels!

Let's see another Series win this time.

Windows Mobile 6

CingularAT&T is offering a free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 for Blackjack 1.0 owners. I am applying the upgrade now and will report back after I have used it for a while.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Weekend Activities

* San Elijo Lagoon nature center hike - the new nature center is started to come along nicely. It is still too big for my tastes but I can't wait for it to be completed.
* Choctaw kickoff meeting at Poinsettia Park
* Fun at Cottonwood Creek Park

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

US Military Mythbusters

I recently finished two books that purport to bust some of the myths that surround various aspects of US military history.
The first is "Dirty Little Secrets of Vietnam War" by James Dunnigan and Albert Nofi. In the '80's I knew Dunnigan from work with wargames (the Avalon Hill paper and cardboard variety, not the "Call of Duty" kind). From the title, you would expect top secret information to be divulged about nefarious operations and political wrangling. But while the book is good, it does not really contain "secrets" per se. It does have tons of stats and facts about the Vietnam war. Some of which dispel certain myths (such as the supposed "defeat" we suffered during the Tet Offensive in 1968) and backs up others (the gradual degradation in the morale and quality of the military during the war). If you are interested in learning the numbers behind some of the generalizations of the Vietnam War, I highly recommend this book. If you are looking for top secret blockbuster information, look somewhere else.
The second book is "Patriot Battles" by Michael Stephenson. This book goes over the armies on both sides of the American Revolution. The first half of the book has details on the men, weapons and equipment of the opposing ground forces. Although the jacket says it will dispel myths about the Continental Army, it really doesn't have any true revelations. Probably the most startling to the casual reader is the ineffectiveness of the American militias. The common view of the militias is that of brave men grabbing their musket from the mantle and heading off to fight the red coats at a minute's notice. In fact, the militia had a terrible record against the British in standard engagements. Only late in the war (such as at Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse) were they used effectively and then only as a screen for the line. The second half of the book has accounts of the major battles. My main gripe about the book is the author's occasional comparison between modern warfare (mainly Iraq) and the Revolutionary War. These comparison have a political tilt to them and come off as clumsy and out of place. The primary reason for the book seems to be to put the American side down. Very rarely does he give credit to the commanders and men in the Continential Army. The Amazon reviews have the same views, but a bit on the harsh side.

Shaara Revolutionary War Saga

Jeff Shaara's Revolutionary War saga, Rise To Rebellion and The Glorious Cause, are my favorite Shaara books. The first volume covers the years leading up the revolution, independence and the war through 1776 (Concord, Bunker's Hill, etc). The second book covers the war from 1777 through the surrender at Yorktown. The books follow the primary military and polical figures of the time: Franklin, Adams (both Sam and John), Washington, Greene, Cornwallis and others. The American figures are suger-coated a bit but the English are given fair treatment. The "first-hand" accounts of the events prior to the war, such as the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party are very well done and have a nice intenseness to them. My only regret (other than having only life to give for my country), is that Shaara did not follow a grunt. I love the low level point of view given in his later books and it would have been great to see Valley Forge from the infantry's perspective.

Weekend Activities

* A nice hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. We really enjoy the nature center their as it is very hands on and the people are great.