Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mumbai Attacks

We were in India on vacation during the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai. If you have any doubt about the evilness of Muslim extremists, read this riveting account of the 11/26 attacks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Books

* "Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War" by H. W. Crockett III - An interesting if odd look at the Civil War. I appreciate the different point of views at looking at Lincoln and secession but the "lost cause" mentality is pretty thick.
* "Strategic Battles in the Pacific" by Earle Rice Jr. - good basic intro to some of the most important Pacific Theater battles. An explanation of why Midway was not included would be very welcome.
* "Driving Like Crazy" by P. J. O'Rourke - not one of his best efforts.
* "A Gift to My Children" by Jim Rogers - I haven't read any of Rogers' other books but I hope they are better than this. The advice for his children mostly center around China becoming the center of the universe.
* "Superfoods for Dummies" by Brent Agin and Shereen Jegtvig - a good intro to superfoods and should whet our appetite for more.

Operation Orchard

Is this the definitive account of the Israeli strike on the nascent Syrian nuke site?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Lego League competition - The kids did awesome at their first contest, especially given the long day. With a couple of tweaks to the robot and the project presentation, they could place much higher.
* Open houses at Pacific Ridge and Grauer Schools - the first step in the long journey towards junior high
* Selena Gomez concert at House of Blues
* Worked on the garden
* Jaya performed at a duet concert, Bengt performed at his regular piano recital

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Man on the Bench

This is one of the most interesting but saddest stories I have read in a long time. I realize that stories like this happen all the time, they are rarely publicized or have a somewhat happy ending. It also raises many questions:
* What caused Jeff Pastorino to fall into such a mental illness that we couldn't function in society anymore? It didn't sound like he had any previous mental issues. Was it just a failed romance that caused him to snap?
* Why didn't his family look for him? You would think one of his brothers would try to track him down after a while. Maybe they did, but it wasn't mentioned in the story.
* What if someone you knew and loved disappeared one day?

Friday, October 30, 2009

End The Fed

Ron Paul's idea is too radical for the small-minded leaders in office today.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Hikes along the La Costa Glen and Scott Valley trails with several geocaches
* Planted carrots and spinach seeds to round out my winter crops
* Jaya started youth group meetings

Curse is Broken

The post-season voodoo hex the Red Sox have put on the Angels is over! I find it ironic that Dave Henderson threw out the first pitch. Apparently his magic wore off 24 years ago.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Inaugural PIPE

We had our very first PIPE at South Carlsbad State Beach. Lots of fun and great food.
Friends pix can be seen here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Lego League
* Sophie's Birthday - she got a new collar and a new toy
* Gardening
* Trying to stay cool
* Parents for Sunday dinner

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shantarum

I preparation for my upcoming trip to India, I read the novel Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It is very long but easy reading book about an Australian escaped convict who "escapes" to the Bombay underworld. I enjoyed the parts about the slums the most. The entire section on the Afghanistan sideshow could have been cut out, in my opinion. It didn't add anything to story and seemed to be author's excuse to add some mujahideen warrior action into the book.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Activities

* More bike riding - On one ride, my cell phone popped out of my wedge bag by Moonlight beach. A riding partner noticed when we got to Solana Beach. We retraced our path and called the number. Some nice people renting a beach house on 4th St. had picked it up and it was a quick ride over to claim it. For future rides, I will remember to zip the wedge bag completely :)
* Some nice trips to the beach.
* A friend gave Bengt a fencing exhibition. This friend competed at the college level and still had all the equipment. Bengt liked it and we might put him in class.
* Hiking in the trails above Green Valley.
* Nice BBQ with friends.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Books

Read some more books:
Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion edited by Ronald Numbers - An interesting sounding book but was very academic and almost unreadable. The essays kept referencing other works and was difficult to get the point.

An Apple a Day: The Myths, Misconceptions and Truths About the Food We Eat by Joseph Schwarz - A good book that explains the basic science and current research about food, additives, sugars and anything we put in our mouths. I highly recommended it.

Walking San Diego: Where To Go To Get Away From It All by Lonnie Hewitt and Barbara Moore - Not as detailed as Schaad's "Afoot and Afield" but had some new hikes.

Staying Street Smart in the Internet Age by Mark McCormack - A decent book on managing a company; helps if you are the head of a sports and entertainment agency and can do whatever you want

Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Company picnic at Liberty Station. Got there early to grab some geocaches, then enjoyed some great food and games. Liberty Station is a very nice neighborhood, it has so much within a quick walk. We enjoyed the small museum at the NTC Command Center.
* Saw "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" - was decent, but quite different from the book.
* Dog hike at San Elijo Lagoon - too hot even for the lizards
* Quick trip to Cardiff Beach - nice way to beat the heat
* Harp and flute concert at La Costa Valley - wine and Subway subs!
* Installed a new reverse osmosis system - finally found one that fits our new sink cabinet, a Whirlpool model that has a smaller storage tank. The install went well consider I had to rebuild the drain system from the p-trap up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life's Little Celebrations

My sister-in-law, who is a fabulous photographer, is having an open house for her new studio.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Lego League

Jaya and Bengt started on their First Lego League team this weekend. We got the standard parts and the competition mat but won't get the challenge for a couple weeks. They are very excited but will it will be very challenging to build and program the robot to complete the tasks. I am allowed to provide guidance but not solutions.

Weekend Activities

* Got a touch of the cold which left me quite congested.
* Dog walks at Manchester Reserve and San Elijo Lagoon (twice).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Activities

* PIPE (Post Indian Princess Event) meeting/BBQ. We got assigned a March event at Palomar Mountain SP (if it is still open).
* Small amount of biking.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Spent half of Saturday biking.
* Attended our third consecutive Dogs Days of Summer festival in Cardiff. Sophie hates it more each year.
* Went to the Ruben Fleet Science Center with the kids. We checked out all the exhibits before taking in the IMAX Wild California film. I got sick watching the movie; no more IMAX for me :(
* Took Sophie to the Lagoon to chase lizards and rabbits to make up for Dog Days.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Socialist in Training

I recently partook in the government's Cash for Clunkers program. I was able to turn my nearly useless and extremely clunky 1991 BMW 750iL into $4500 of my kids future tax dollars. The car was falling apart and got terrible gas mileage. My new Kia Spectra is exactly the opposite.
Now that I have a taste of getting government handouts for no work, I can't wait for health care or the next deficit busting program.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Very nice party at a friends.
* Finished the toe kicks and baseboards in the kitchen.
* Cruised through a 20 mile bike ride.
* Walked dog at Pipe Hike and lagoon nature center.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kitchen

We are currently working on a kitchen remodel. We chose an IKEA model and to save money, we did most of the work ourselves. Our neighbor, a contractor, did the demolition on the old cabinetry and some of the minor plumbing. It took some long weekends, but we have most of it done.
The old kitchen had an Ell cabinet and countertop that we didn't like since it obstructed the entire space. We designed a galley-style kitchen with cabinets on either side of the walls. Notice the sink, which is a single-compartment farmhouse style. It is one of the things we really love about the new design. Some parts had to be custom made to fit the space. There is a small bookcase over the stove that Jyoti made since IKEA didn't sell a 6" cabinet. The other major custom piece is a desk for Jyoti's work area. It is made out of the same butcherblock countertop but lowered between two base cabinets.
Here are some pictures:








Weekend Activities

* Lots of walks with Sophie: San Elijo Lagoon, Swamis, Cottonwood Creek Park, Pipe Hike.
* Worked on the kitchen, again.
* Vacuumed the backyard. We have a gravel backyard and I have to use a landscape vacuum to pick all the leaves and pine needles.
* Did some biking, but the heat was brutal.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reading List

A slew of books read:
* "Havana Nocturne" - featured on episode of Fresh Air, this book sounded interesting. I found myself much more enthralled with the story of the revolution than with the mob scene. The mob side of the story was quite predictable, pretty much like the "Godfather" whereas I did not know much about Fidel Castro and his revolution. Good research and writing on both fronts.
* "Mortal Syntax" - a nice book on grammar. I could do with less of the pithy stories.
* "Provence A-Z" - a guidebook to Provence by the King of Provence, Peter Mayle.
* "Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel" - less a guide than simply motivation to start vagabonding.
* "A Good Year" - watched the movie (starring Russell Crowe) first, then read the book. I liked them both, although they are quite different.

Weekend Activities

* Rode a couple of nice bike rides.
* Hiked the nature trail at Elfin Forest.
* Celebrated the soft opening of the new location of Gaffney's Wine Bar with some wonderful tastings. My favorite was a delicious cab franc.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Activities

* After several years and hundreds (if not thousands) of attempts, Sophie finally succeeded in catching her elusive prey, a lizard. This trophy was caught in the San Elijo Lagoon, on the nature center hike.




* Checked out the Del Dios Gorge hike, northward from the trailhead. This is trail #12.





Thursday, June 18, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Attended the last Adventure Princess event with Jaya. In a twist of fate, it was at the same venue where we had our first event, Fiesta Island. I will miss the good times, but I made many friends that I will have for life.

SOHO Lecture

I attended tonight's SOHO's Third Thursday Author Series lecture on Consolidated Aircraft/Convair. Both authors were at the Adobe Chapel to present their work, "Consolidated Aircraft Corporation". I am interested in Convair both from an aviation enthusiast standpoint and the from the fact I work on one of their former factories. The authors, from the Air and Space Museum library, were true experts in their field and very passionate about the subject. The audience was as well, most of them being former employees or children of employees.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Worked non-stop on the kitchen and some real progress on the finishing touches.
* Went to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - it was cute, much like the first. Air and Space Magazine had an article on how "real" the movie was. However they were speaking only of the set that was built to mimic the real museum. Because if you see the performance the Wright Flyer puts on, you would think the plane was powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135, not a 12 horsepower 4 banger.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Weekend Activities

* My parents came down to celebrate Bengt's and Jyoti's birthdays. They brought cake and pie. We watched Jaya's soccer game in what is considered inclement weather.
* Checked out the new farmer's market at Flora Vista Elementary. It was a bit light on the fresh produce and had a lot of prepared and packaged foods. We bought some delicious hummus and baked pita chips.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sophie

Sophie with her stuffed animal.

Book Return

A while back, we visited the UCSD Library. They seems to have some staffing cutbacks and aren't able to put the books back.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Visited the somewhat new Del Dios Highlands Preserve. It was a bit sunny and the kids were grumpy so we only did a mile or so. We will go back in the fall and make it to the reservoir.
* Saw the new Lake Hodges Pedestrian/Bicycle bridge. It was surprisingly high off the water and Sophie was a bit scared.




* Caught a great CYT production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
* Great Memorial Day BBQ at a friend who is celebrating her 50th birthday.
* Finally got the veggie garden going with a trip to Sunshine Gardens; and what visit to Sunshine Gardens would be complete without a cupcake from Elizabethan Deserts

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Jyoti's cousin Abhi was in town so we did a very typical San Diego experience and went to the zoo.



Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Worked on kitchen remodel
* Hike at San Elijo Lagoon in perfect weather

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Disney Cruise

My parents took me and my brother's families on a 7-day Disney Cruise recently to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. This was my first cruise and didn't know what to expect other than the stereotypical cruise experiences.
Disney ships leave from Port Canaveral so we flew into Orlando the night before departure. We stayed the night in the airport Hyatt. It was a decent hotel with a nice pool the kids enjoyed when reuniting with their cousins.

Orlando Airport
Orlando Airport

The next morning we boarded Disney buses for the 45 minute trip to the port. The buses had a video to inform us on what to expect. They were very nice and the trip was pleasant. At the terminal, there was the usual security theater. Everyone gets a "Key to World Card" which acts as a room key and credit card. The kids cards were supposedly set to "no charge" mode but some shops did not seem to recognize this feature. We had to get our pictures taken so they could visually verify us when getting on and off the ship. There was a cool model of our ship, the Magic, in the lobby. We also registered the kids for their respective activity centers.

Disney Buses
Disney Buses


Terminal
Terminal

We finally boarded and we were immediately slammed with the sales pitches. The first was two guys selling bottled water and beer by the case (at much less than bar prices they claimed). We ate the buffet and hit the pools while waiting for our staterooms to be ready.
The rooms were small but nice. Better than a mid-range hotel room. The kids had bunk bends to sleep in (the bottom bunk was formed from the sofa). Our room was on deck 2 (second lowest) and toward the stern. I like having the lower deck since the motion was less. However, our aft location gave us some noisy nights. We eventually complained about it and an crew member came by to check it out. He made some adjustments to the bunk bed but after that the weather improved so the creaking mostly stopped. The loudest noise came from the thrusters which are using when pulling into port which usually happens early in the morning. I didn't mind since I like getting up early but if you are sleeper, make sure to get a room amidships.

Towel Sculpture
Towel Sculpture

Our first two days were at sea, heading south. The winds where quite strong and made being on the top deck interesting. The crew said this was one of the windiest cruises they have ever had. Thank goodness for stabilizers or it would have been ugly. In spite of the wind, we hit the pools, the arcade and the of course the food.

Kiddie Pool
Kiddie Pool


Hot tub
Hot tub

Our first port of call was Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. Most of our group went on a swim-with-the-dolphins excursion. The rest of us when on a guided mini-bus tour of the island. Our driver, Mr. Quick, drove up and down and all around the island. He was very proud of his home and pointed out all the interesting facets of it. One thing that I found particularly fascinating was the way the BVI'ers handled construction. They usually only build one floor at a time, but they left all the plumbing, electrical and re-bar fittings sticking up into what will someday become the next story. Its looks like the house was devastated by a hurricane, when in fact the opposite was the case. This was the Magic's first call to Tortola and Mr. Quick might get a comment to two regarding his saucy description of a local bar and its full moon festivals; let's just say the stories of panties did not mesh with the Disney crowd. Overall, I thought Tortola was bit shabby, but the people were nice and welcoming.

Overlooking Tortola
Overlooking Tortola


Opposite side of Tortola
Opposite side of Tortola


The second port of call was a mere 30 miles away at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. We didn't have any shore excursions planned, so we wanted to get some snorkeling in. A guidebook suggested a couple of beaches so we went to get a taxi. A tip for you: get the price before piling in the cab. We weren't thinking and probably got ripped off. Obama's stimulus money hard at work. Anyway I made it back in booze savings. The snorkeling was average. The beach was crawling with "waitresses." They weren't mean or pushy, but they kept coming by asking if we wanted something to drink or eat. After a couple hours, we had enough. We did find time to get to a couple geocaches which was fun. As for the booze, here is a tip: don't go to the place closest to the dock, walk another 50 yards and save loads of money. I simply crossed the street to "Al's Booze Barn" and saved tons on some Johnny Walker Swing a friend asked me to get for him. I also picked up some Cointreau for myself and Kevin.

Shark
Shark outside Al's Booze Barn

After another day at sea, we pulled into Disney's own island, Castaway Cay. Right from the dock, you knew this was an extension of the ship and of Disney, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. First, the snorkeling was great. They filled the lagoon with a bunch of old buoys, boats, etc. to attract tons of fish. The only drawback is it takes a bit of swimming to get out to the good stuff which limits the range of the kids. Second, the food was great. My brother and I did an morning 5K. The heat was brutal, but I did pretty good.

Flying Dutchman
Flying Dutchman at Castaway Cay

The highlight of any cruise is the on-board entertainment. I was expecting some B-level Disney shows rehashed from the parks, but I was woefully mistaken. The shows were first rate amazing productions. My favorite show was the "Golden Mickeys", a take on the Oscars which features the big Disney animated films. The girls' favorite entertainment was karaoke; they participated every night it was offered. I even joined in for a song or two. The crew members who ran the entertainment were very professional and really kept things going.

The New Rat Pack
The New Rat Pack


Disney Trivia Game
Jaya and Dad dominating Disney trivia


Pirate Game
Pirate Game


Fun on Deck
Fun on Deck

The other focus of a cruise is the food. The quantity is a given, but the quality is what matters to me. Breakfasts were average. We usually ate at the buffet in order to save time. It is hard to mess up oatmeal, donuts and bacon and Disney didn't. Lunch was usually taken on deck at the fast food stand. Decent burgers and fries. I don't expect much for lunch and I wasn't disappointed. Dinners were excellent. I like how the menus changed each night. I tried to stay on the lighter side but everything was great. The service was also top notch, better than almost any restaurant you find on the mainland. I especially enjoyed the black tie nights where I could break out my James Bond Mk I tuxedo.

Three Good Looking Guys
Three Good Looking Guys


One Good Looking Guy and Two Good Looking Girls
One Good Looking Guy and Two Good Looking Girls


Three Good Looking Girls Looking for a Good Time
Three Good Looking Girls Looking for a Good Time

After boarding, we set off for the final leg home. We pulled in quite early and I was able to watch the resupply operations for a while. It was amazing to watch the amount of stuff they are able to move off trucks and onto the ship with their little fork lifts. They only have a few hours to get everything squared away before they ship leaves again.

Disembarking
Disembarking

We had an evening flight but we got to the airport quite early. I checked for any earlier flight and we just made one which turned out to be very lucky for us. Our bags were already checked through on our later flight thanks to the Disney baggage handlers but we figured we would just pick them up later. At Dallas, we quickly checked the board for our connecting flight and noticed a gate change. We hustled on the train to the gate and just made the flight, very lucky for us. After landing, I checked on the status of our later flight which had our luggage; the leg from Dallas had been canceled. Had we stuck to our original itinerary, we would have another involuntary day of vacation. Now, we just had to wait until morning for our bags. Tip: get on the first flight you can AND you get to the Orlando airport in plenty of time for an early afternoon flight.

Mom and Dad
Thanks, Mom and Dad

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Books

Been slow with the blogging, but quick on the reading. Here is a rundown of the recent books:

"Reclaiming Conservatism: How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost - And How It Can Find Its Way Back" by Mickey Edwards - Much has been written of the demise of the conservatism and the Republican party. This excellent book covers it much detail.

"Unleashing the Warrior Within" by Richard Mackowicz - A typical self-help book that attempts, unsuccessfully, to apply military, SEAL-type tactis to everyday motivational techniques.

"Anza-Borrego: A Photographic Journey" by Ernie Cowan - An excellent photog book by former NC Times outdoor writer.

"I So Don't Do Mysteries" by Barrie Summy - I pre-read this book in anticipation of handing it off to my daughter but I decided against it after reading it. First, the teenage characters are focused mainly on boys which detracts for the story. Second, the story isn't very good. I was interested in the book becuase it was set in San Diego but the only places mentioned are the Hotel Del Coronado and the Wild Animal Park (wich a cameo from the Whaley House). Very disappointing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Monster Trucks

Is there anything more American than Monster Trucks? It has everything dear to our hearts:
* Obscene amounts of horsepower
* Excessive gasoline consumption
* Wanton destruction
* Over-the-top patriotism
* Intrusive advertising
A couple weeks ago, the family and I took the trip down to Qualcomm Stadium for Monsterjam. It was a blast! The truck drivers really go out of their way to put on a good show. At the end, Gravedigger deliberately wrecked his truck to please the crowd. Just as fun as the trucks was the demolition derby they had during intermission.
There were two negatives on the evening. One was the extreme volume of the public address system; it was much louder than the trucks and very annoying. The other was the obnoxious drunks on the trolley ride back to Old Town. The $9 beers would also have been a negative if I had been stupid enough to purchase one.




Gravedigger in mid flight


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barbary Pirates

I highly recommend "The End Of Barbary Terror" by Fredrick Leiner. This book covers the second, and last, Barbary War. A while ago I read, "The Pirate Coast" by Richard Zacks about the First Barbary War in 1804-1805. The Barbary Wars have received renewed interest lately as a result of our dealings in the Middle East as well as the increase in piracy around the world. Both books give a fascinating account of how a very young nation makes its presence known on the world stage. During the first war, American was torn between military force and diplomacy (this meant continued payment of ransoms and bribes to the Barbary pirates). Both were utilized to the end the first war. For the second, American was coming off a victory (of sorts) over England in the war of 1812. We had a good but small navy and chose to use it against the continued misdeeds of the Algerian pirates. A navy squadron, under Stephen Decatur, sunk and captured several Algerian ships and made a show of force persuasive enough to get a treaty fully in America's advantage. The American's were so successful, England and other European countries formed an naval coalition to finish the job and end the Barbary reign forever. A lesson for today? Perhaps.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Woodcutters Weekend

Spent last weekend at Camp Marston for another Woodcutters Weekend. We cut wood in the rain, sleet and snow but thankfully the wood lot had a cover on it. The kids were relieved of duty and spent most of the time playing Ga-Ga.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Patch Job

I was laid up for most of the weekend due to an operation to repair an inguinal hernia. My surgeon used laparascopy so there is very little scarring.
I had the surgery Scripps Encinitas. The staff and facilities were first rate. Should be back at work on Monday.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

History Books

Picked up a couple of history books from the Encinitas library.

  • "Faces of San Diego" by Colleen O'Connor. A nice little photo book from different periods of San Diego compiled by the sister of a former mayor.

  • "San Diego: California's Cornerstone", by Iris Engstrand. This general narrative covers the history of San Diego from pre-Spanish times through 2004. It is broad but shallow, except for Spanish exploration period which digresses too far into the situation in Europe at the time. One interesting aspect of the author is her view that the Spanish treatment of the native populations was out of compassion and although maybe misguided at times, was meant for the betterment of the Indians.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Old Town

On Saturday afternoon, we all went down to Old Town to see the sites and visit some of the museums.

* First, we went through the McCoy House Interpretive Center. This is a very nice museum with each room representing a different period of Old Town's history. Unfortunately, the docent said this house is the first to be cut when the money gets tights so is closed often.




* In the Robinson-Rose House, we saw the wonderful model of Old Town from 1872.




* We did the tour through the Estudillo House. I enjoy the period costumes that the park employees and volunteers wear.



* The kids dipped candles at the candle and soap shop.



* We ate dinner at The Alamo Mexican Food, which is the only fast food Mexican food we could find within walking distance.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Flotation Devices

Proof positive that your airline seat back cushions actually do float.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Airline Hero

There are still people in the airline industry concerned with customer service. Keeping them alive it seems. USAir will probably try to dock this guy's pay for the plane then ask for a government bailout.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Palm Is Back

As a long-time Palm user, I am glad to see that they are making a comeback. When my cell phone contract is up this summer, I will take a long look at the their Pre phone. I always loved the Palm organizer apps as they where much better than the Microsoft equivalents.

Weekend Activities

* Guides trip to Agua Caliente County Park. The weather was perfect and made for a great time at the mud caves and on the Moonlight Trail. Bengt's pinewood racer was the 3rd fastest in the tribe and he made the nation finals where he got the second round. The ranger was a bit persnickety and made us douse the campfires way too early.


* Walked dog at San Elijo Lagoon.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Track Bailed Out Companies

Now you can follow the performance of companies that have received government bail out money.  It is probably best that these companies stay healthy for taxpayers to have any chance of getting anything back from our "investement."  Although I imagine by the time the warrants and other payback schemes are coming due, the companies (aided with plenty of graft) will find a way to weasel themselves out of it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

PMBA Book

Got Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds from the library. It is pretty much what the title says it is: presentation zen. It is filled with advice on how to make better and prettier presentations. It had some good suggestions but it geared for public speeches.

Books


  • Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History - a great introduction to monetary policy. A bit dense and hard to follow (it is not 'Monetary Policy for Dummies'). Read this if want to learn about how today's economies work and how the government manipulates it.

  • The Heretic's Apprentice - The weakest Cadfael episode I have read so far but still good.

  • Did Lincoln Own Slaves? - A wonderful Q&A style biography of Abraham Lincoln by Gerald Prokopowicz (the host of Civil War Talk Radio). If you are interesting in Lincoln but don't want an epic bio, this is the perfect book for you. By the way, the answer is no, Lincoln did not own slaves (but the read page 156 to find out the entire story).

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Weekend Activities

* Yet another Sophie walk at San Elijo Lagoon. Can't wait for the nature center to open.
* Planning meeting for next weekend's Agua Caliente camping trip

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Israel Warns Of Pending Attacks

One of the most interesting stories to come out of the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza is that the IDF have been informing targets that they are targets. They have been calling or texting the occupants of buildings that are about to be flattened in the hopes that civilians will be get out. Note that this is necessary mostly because Hamas uses civilian building for military purposes. Israel is deliberately trying to avoid civilian causalities while Hamas purposely targets them.

Life with Windows Mobile 6

Cons
* Lots of dropped calls. This might force me to try and downgrade back to Mobile 5.
* Less battery life. I used to get 3-4 days on a charge, but now get only 2-3.

Pros
* Faster.
* All the organizer apps (Task List, Calendar, etc.) are much better.
* On a related note, the new Google Maps Mobile has a new feature where it determines your location based on cell tower presence. Since my phone does not have GPS, this is very nice.