Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Couple of Pics From Nearby 

I was just coming back to my apartment when I saw a great sunset. I had to grab my camera. Here are the best two. I'll see about putting up more in the coming days...

Sunset, taken from a nearby breakwater, looking West across San Francisco Bay.Posted by Picasa

Looking south arcoss the bay.Posted by Picasa

The New Time 

I don't know if everyone has seen the new Wendy's ad. To promote its Dollar Menu, everyone in the ad uses Wendy's food instead of dollars to express how expensive different things are.

In a converstaion last night with Caltechgirl, I mentioned how this idea could be expanded, and I came up with a good measure to express time: Hollywood marriges. You could say, "I only had that job for a Jennier Lopez," or "That flu lasted a Drew Barrymore."

Now I must be off. I need to talk to my mom for a Jason Alexander.

Added Later:
OK, not Seinfeld Jason Alexander, but the Britney one. I guess everybody already forgot about that one.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Of Dusting and Lost Remotes 

I'm back. Never went too far, I guess. I spent the week throwing out old magazines, deleting old emails, and cleaning neglected corners of the apartment. Plus no work. Not a vacation exactly, but then again I'm more organized about things in my life than I have been for literally years.

But I can't find that damn VCR remote! Blast! You'd thing after cleaning the whole apartment it would turn up, but no! Oh well, I think God just doesn't want me to get the idea that I can actually get control over all areas of my existence. I'll just bet that remote is in the same Black Hole that periodically feeds on loose socks. I'm sure it will turn up sometime.

As for the blog, I went ahead and did a bit of minor dusting here too. "Blogs of the Month" is now "Featured Blogs" (more realistic, plus I never do well with deadlines). Added a few new Friends' Blogs (although some of them post less than even I do), plus a couple other sites here and there.

As for the three new Featured Blogs, Whole Wheat Blogger discusses current events and religious topics, The Mighty Middle dishes it out to both political extremes, and Bibi's Box features much snarkiness.

Almost makes me look forward to going back to work. it doesn't.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Melancholy? You Bet 

Melancholic can be a tough way to be, but I have to admit this one does fit me pretty well...

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.
What Temperment Are You?

Found via the Choleric Caltehgirl.

Help Name My Fish 

I had a great weekend. Finally, I brought my bed up from my mom's in Fresno. No more sleeping on the fold-out couch, unless I have company over to spend the night.

I also decided to add a few pets to this apartment. To begin, I started off small. I took care of guppies for a postdoc at UCSB, so I figured I would get a few for myself.

Guppies!Posted by Picasa

Since I couldn't think of names right off the bat, I thought I would take suggestions. Anyone? There are four fish total, and I'll take the names I like best. Feel free to suggest as many names as you like.

Hurry! It's bad luck not to have names, and guppies aren't the most robust pets out there. I'll let you know what names I decided to go with.

Friday, January 13, 2006

In Memory of Stuart Quan 

Stuart Quan: 1962-2006. Picture courtesy of martialinfo.comPosted by Picasa

I hate it when I return to Fresno and hear bad news:

Fresno martial arts teacher, actor and stuntman Stuart Quan died back on January 8th. He collapsed suddenly while skiing at Sierra Summit resort. He was only 43. His funeral took place last Friday in Fresno and was attended by thousands of people he connected with over his eventful life.

I had the good fortune of being his student for a couple of years during the late 80's and early 90's. Kids loved him. He had a great sense of humor, he pushed everyone to do more than they thought they could do, plus he could kick anyone's ass if it was necessary. When I was taking his classes (and ever sine then), I would wonder what the heck is this guy doing still teaching in Fresno? He was a working actor, constantly taking roles in movies and television series. He was a martial arts champion, earning the friendship and respect of the world's martial arts community. But yet his primary commitment was to his dojo in Fresno, especially to the kids who trained and learned there. He was truly one of Fresno's best kept secrets; a local celebrity to be sure, but he generally flew under the radar of the city's consciousness.

My thoughts are with his family, friends, and students. A memorial with tributes from both the famous and ordinary can be found here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Terrorist Is A Terrorist 

Looks like there was a bit of excitement at one of San Francisco's Starbucks:

Bomb found in coffee shop -- nearby streets closed off

It seems like those in the know believe that this may be linked to some past vandalism at other SF Starbucks locations. Apparently those perpetrators felt those Starbucks locations should be replaced with local coffee shops.

I can't say I disagree with that. Starbucks is the company that charged New York recuse workers for water on September 11. Plus, they committed the unforgivable excuse of introducing the word "Venti" into the American lexicon. I don't go to Starbucks. Maybe only with friends and co-workers a few times per year.

Still, the nutjob (or nutjobs) who came up with this little prank need some punishment brought into their existence. You do not put a pipe bomb into a busy eating establishment! Where exactly is the exception to the rule that says we don't hurt innocent people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There's a word for a person who thinks it's OK to kill, maim, or damage the property of innocents, attacking without even trying to avoid causing pain to innocents. That word is : terrorist.

Think it's cute to put a pipe bomb in a Starbucks and show up "the man?" It wouldn't be cute to the person who was just stopping by to get a cup of coffee and lost a limb as a result of your "political beliefs."

Oh, so maybe you think anyone who frequents a Starbucks deserves what the get. There's a word for that too: psychopath. Society has ways of dealing with either type of person.

Catch the guy, throw him down a dark hole, and let civilized methods like boycotts be the method of showing displeasure with a political or corporate entity.

Plus Ten 

In celebration of ten years: In January 1996, I moved out of my childhood home and began classes as a UC-Santa Barbara Gaucho. There were many difficult adjustments: living in a tiny dorm room with an aloof roommate, being denied my biggest addiction (television) because the dorm's TV kept getting wrecked. Having to walk down the hall to use the bathroom and several hundred feet to get a meal.

Still, after a lifetime of wanting and waiting to get out of the house, there were plenty of new things to be thankful for: living in a dorm that was less than one hundred feet from the beach, being able to come and go without even so much as notifying anybody, being in an intellectual environment far more stimulating than the one I was in before (this is even with the shenanigans of a dorm full of spoiled college kids).

Among those nifty new things was that mysterious Internet. "Get email," one friend in particular said. "Ha, just what I need. Another method that people can bug me. Please." Still, I went ahead and signed up for the free University email, and after promptly forgetting my password and having to ask Computer Services for a new one, I plunged into the online world.

It's funny; I still don't know who I initially figured out how to use Netscape and email. Nobody showed me, I just somehow figured it out.

Needless to say, I found the Internet was perfectly acceptable. That whole email thing was sort of useful, too.

On that note, here is a reprint of the first email I received, an appropriately cheesy and oversent forward, the first of what would be many. I certain most of you are very familiar with this one, but I will repost for the sake of posterity, and for those who somehow missed it:

Children of the Eighties, continued . . .

We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first "lost
generation" nor today's lost generation; in fact, we think we know just
where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak. We are the ones who
played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just building blocks and
gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts with safety scissors that never really cut.
We collected Garbage Pail Kids and Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little
Ponies and Hot Wheels and He-Man action figures and thought She-Ra
looked just a little bit like I would when I was a woman. Big Wheels and
bicycles with streamers were the way to go, and sidewalk chalk was all
you needed to build a city. Imagination was the key. It made the Ewok
Treehouse big enough for you to be Luke and the kitchen table and an old
sheet dark enough to be a tent in the forest. Your world was the
backyard and it was all you needed. With your pink portable
tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a
skirt like the Material Girl and a glove like Michael Jackson's. Today, we
are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly
and have no idea why. We recite lines with the Ghostbusters and still
look to The Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through T.V.
stations and stop at The A Team and Knight Rider and Fame and laugh with The
Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster and what you talkin' 'bout
Willis? We hold strong affections for The Muppets and The Gummy Bears
and why did they take the Smurfs off the air? After school specials
were only about cigarettes and step-families, the Pokka Dot Door was
nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron
reincarnated? We are the ones who still read Nancy Drew and the Hardy
Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume, Richard Scary and the
Electric Company. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and
friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop Velcro Reebox - and
pegged jeans were in, as were Units belts and layered socks and jean
jackets and jams and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just
tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands
made you cool. The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red
Kool-Aid to the neighborhood kids- never drank New Coke. Entertainment
was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was
high heels and an apron; the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy but never made
you stop; Pogoballs were dangerous weapons and Chinese Jump Ropes never
failed to trip someone. In your Underoos you were Wonder Woman or
Spider Man or R2D2 and in your treehouse you were king.

In the Eighties, nothing was wrong. Did you know the president
was shot? Star Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb
shelter? Did you see the Challenger explode or feed the homeless man?
We forgot Vietnam and watched Tiananman's Square on CNN and bought pieces of the
Berlin Wall at the store. AIDS was not the number one killer in the
United States. We didn't start the fire, Billy Joel. In the Eighties, we
redefined the American Dream, and those years defined us. We are the
generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning our backs. The
Eighties may have made us idealistic, but it's that idealism that will push us
and be passed on to our children - the first children of the twenty-first century.
Never forget: We are the children of the Eighties.

if this is familiar, you are one of us... pass it on to all the others

All Quiet on the Western Front 

Nothing quiet like working a grave shift...

It's 12;26 am, and I'm on my "lunch" break. It's OK, the quiet is a nice change of pace from the usual chatter here on the lab floor. Just me and one other guy, doing runs to record parameters on one of the machines. It's only for a week (umm....I think).

Nice things about Grave Shift.

* Listening to my iRiver MP3 player. Right now I'm being serenaded by the Pet Shop Boys.

* No waiting for the microwave to head up the Trader Joe's lasagna that I ate tonight.

* Blogging at 12:29 am.

* Being up this late, and for once it isn't insomnia! Who-hoo!

I must go act all professional now, and wait for my co-worker to get back. Off to do a filter integrity test. What else would you want to do at 12:30 at night?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Hooray, Recovery! 

I've spent Sunday afternoon with my attention split between three activities: football, friends/family, and finishing the housecleaning.

I ended up splitting the NFL Wild Card games this weekend: two wins, two losses. I was pulling for Carolina and New England, both winners. Sadly, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati are history. A tough weekend for Florida football with the loss of Jacksonville as well.

Also history are the nasty power cord tangles behind my furniture. Cable ties are the best; thanks top them I no longer live in a tripping hazard. Any industrious person with cable ties, duct tape and WD-40 can fix anything on Earth. Duct tape to hold things together when the come apart. WD-40 to get things apart that are stuck together. Cable ties to keep it all tied down.

In the past, when I was a kid, if I was blue the first thing I did was clean. It gave me some sense of control of things immediately around me, and I didn't have to think too hard to do it. Once my room was clean, I could then tackle other issues like studying, ect. The trouble is when you're a grownup, there's much more to clean. An apartment can sure hold a lot of junk. It is taking longer to clean than when I was a kid and it was just my room. But I still have that same feeling of accomplishment, and that solving the more complex problems is within my grasp.

Returning to school, advancing my career, seeking a new love, rediscovering my faith, all seem attainable. I'm much happier, more content than even a few days ago, let alone a few weeks back.

Also, I spend good time talking to friends and family. Sadly, my mom got a bladder infection as a result of recovery from her November surgery. Caltechgirl and GMT have a bad case of the sniffles; best wishes for recovery. Also hello to Helen, I hope you are able to get sympathy you need from those close to you.

Like a character in Monty Python's Holy Grail, I'm feeling better. Hooray, Recovery

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Storm Photos 

As promised, here are some pictures I took on January 1 of the storm that barreled through the SF Bay Area. Also gives you an idea of the view just a couple hundred feet from my apartment.

A view from my balcony: post-storm.Posted by Picasa

View across the bay to Candlestick 3Com Monster Park during the Reggie Bush Bowl.Posted by Picasa

San Francisco with Sutro Tower.Posted by Picasa

The retired USS Hornet, now a museum.Posted by Picasa

Picture of waves crashing into shore.Posted by Picasa

More waves crashing into shore.Posted by Picasa