Monday, January 30, 2006

Don Hayward, husband of Darla Belshe, died

Don Hayward, husband of retired SJSU Journalism professor Darla Belshe died Saturday after a battle with brain cancer [newspaper obituary link]. I met Don several times during my years working in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He was the voice of Spartan Football, and often he was the voice of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications as well. I remember working with him when he was narrating presentations we did for the School. He was a very nice man and I liked him.

Darla was a fantastic broadcast journalism professor who put in far more hours than she was paid for. Her students put together the university's update news television news program. She cared deeply for her students while at the same time driving them toward excellence. She had the ability to organize every detail necessary for their success and her retirement left a very big void, too big for any one person to fill. I really miss her and miss working with her. I am really sorry to hear of Don's passing and of Darla's loss of her husband.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Kenneth Sloan in 1991

Kenneth 1991

Time check
Back in 1991, when all these other photos were taken, my youngest son Kenneth was four. This picture was taken in Patterson, CA where we then lived. Ken is now 19.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

I got "naked"

Scoble in 1991

My copy of Naked Conversations Came
I had preordered Naked Conversation's [Link] awhile back using a link Scoble (it seems funny to call him by his last name, but that is what folks do) recommended I follow. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and it finally came. Wow, it looks great. Sue said it doesn't look all Geeky at all. That is a compliment! Robert, [Link] you did good!

Ken Wong

Ken Wong

Ken Wong, a good and loyal friend
I have been spending some time looking back on pictures of old friends from years gone by at SJSU. It is amazing to look at these pictures and think about the context of who they were when you knew them when and where their lives have taken them since then. Like the others, this picture was taken 15 years ago. Ken worked for me in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications for a number of years. But, he was more than an employee. Ken was a friend. I used to say I never met a Ken I didn't like and that was one of the reasons my youngest son is named Kenneth.

Ken was there for me and helped a lot during a very hard time in my life. He was always a good friend.

My vault a pig sty?
You may get the idea from looking at this and other pictures that my old office in the vault in the now torn down Whalquist Library North was a pig sty. Yes, it is true. But it was also cool in a funky way and became a popular hang out place. I rode out the Loma Prieta Earthquake in the doorway of that vault. The walls were a foot of heavily reinforced concrete and the door was nine inches of armored steel plate. It was pretty secure!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lynn Benson Johnson

Lynn and Ginny

Lynn Benson Johnson: Friend, Photographer, Writer, Mother, Blogger
I cannot say enough about this wonderful and dear friend. I have known her for years. She was a Photojournalism student at SJSU fifteen years ago when these photos were taken. Even though she was about 20 at the time, she was always and always will be, smart beyond her years. She and I took country western dance lessons together, how that went is one of the funniest stories of those years [Link] and we spent a lot of time together both at the university and off. She and her husband Brian are friends of Sue and I. We don't see them near enough.


Lynn and Brian have a beautiful baby boy that neither Sue nor I have yet seen. But, I feel like I know him already because his mother chronicles his life so well...

Lynn with camera

Lynn's blog is one of those not yet discovered secrets of the Internet!
Lynn is not only super smart, she is whitty and an amazingly talented writer. She is one of those writers who is both a craftsman and very creative. At San Jose State she followed up her Photojournalism degree with a Master's in English. Her style is both documentary and emotive.

Read her blog
Read her blog [Link] and she will show you how this medium can be used to give a voice to a great talent. Read her blog [Link] and see how wonderful it is to be alive and a mother raising a baby who changes every day, as we all do. Read her blog [Link] and you will see how wonderful life is and how life is an ongoing story and how every day we live is an adventure. Read her blog [Link] and you will see what Dan Millman meant when he said "there are no ordinary moments." Read her blog [Link] and you will see how lucky anybody is who can call Lynn a friend. But, no matter what you do, remember I was one of those people who said folks should read Scoble when he had 18 readers. For very different and equally valid reasons I am now telling you about Lynn and saying, read her blog [Link].

Young Scoble at SJSU

Young Scoble

Young Scoble
Fifteen years ago, when Robert Scoble was at San Jose State University and we used to hang out and chew the shit in my old office (which was a vault) in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at SJSU.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Marie's birthday

Marie on coat

Today is Marie's Birthday
Marie is my oldest friend. I have known her for over 31 years. Last Thanksgiving, as you may know, Marie lost her sister [Link] in an awful car accident. Recently I was in Sacramento and got to see both Marie and her husband Kirk Roby. They are some of the nicest people you could possible know.

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Spring semester has begun at SJSU

They're back

I shot this photo with my cell phone while walking to my desk this morning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

We went to Ikea

Susie at Hawgs

Today Susie and I went to Ikea after work and looked at furniture. We are going to get book cases for the den where we currently have boxes of books. I took this photo with my cell phone.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Crazy times at the help desk

It was a very busy day at the Help Desk where I work. Here is how I spent today [Link].

I bought my first thing on Ebay

It was a train, of course. An ALCO also. I got a great rating for my fast pay and am excited to get it. It is an engine I have wanted for a long time, a Spokane International RS1. My long term Ebay goals are to sell on Ebay, but I figured buying is an important and safe first step to starting to build a reputation. On Ebay, reputation is everything.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

From steward training

I am in steward training in san jose. This is new steward training, for new stewards. It is a great opportunity to meet new activists and see thier enthusiasm.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Nicole's birthday yesterday

Nicole and Madison

Yesterday was Nicole, Jeff's wife's, birthday. If you haven't met Nicole she is a really nice and sweet woman. She is a good wife for Jeff and a great mom to Madison.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Susie, the purrfect evening

Susie with kitties

Susie with her babies. A perfect way to spend a rainy winter day.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Today is Robert Scoble's birthday

I just looked at my calendar and that is what it said. As I remember he is 41 today. I admit, I have not yet checked his blog and the information is likely there. He has been a good friend and a source of information and inspiration over the years. His wife Maryam is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, as well. I should dig out some of the old SJSU pictures of Robert and post them to my blogs. That would be fun.

Having the flu stinks

This has a been a rough few weeks. First Sue got sick, then I got sick,
then I got sick again. I am feeling better now and am back to work. The first blossoms of Spring have been seen in the last couple of days. That is great. Winter in this area is short and Spring comes early. I like it that way!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The nicest things start with a kiss

Susie with a glass of wine

One of the favorite relaxing things Susie and I do is watch Desperate Housewives on Sunday evenings. The theme of the January 8 episode was kissing, and the different types of kisses. At the end of every episode is the Mary Alice voice over, which is the voice of her speaking to us from the great beyond. In this episode she was talking about kissing while showing scenes of different people on Whisteria Lane kissing. Here is what she said:

The act itself never varies. But each kiss carries with it a meaning all its own. It can convey a husband's eternal devotion. Or a wife's enormous regret. It can symbolize a mother's growing concern. Or a lover's growing passion. But whatever its meaning, each kiss reflects a basic human need. The need to connect to another human being.

Susie and I started our lives together with a kiss. It's a kiss we will never forget.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

One hard working Susie

Nonna Sue and Madison

Susie has been working so hard on deadline, I feel sorry for her. It is almost midnight and she is still working. She was sick all day on Christmas Day, too. What a lady Susie is. I love, appreciate and admire her very much.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Rainy Day Saturday

Today I have been busy working on the February bike club newsletter. Usually this would be one of my favorite things to do on a rainy Saturday like today, but I am feeling pretty crummy. I have had this terrible sore throat since last Wednesday and I guess I am not going to be able to ignore it anymore.

On Wednesday I ignored it because I wanted to go to MacWorld. Thursday I had training for my student assistants, so I had to go in. Friday I wanted to go to the union meeting in Sacramento, so I went. Then I wanted to see Marie and Kirk. I have been thinking about Marie a lot since her sister was killed in that awful car accident last Thanksgiving [Link].

It was great seeing Marie and her family yesterday. Anthony, her oldest grandson, is 12 and is almost as tall as Marie is. Since she is only 5'2" that is not really very tall. Jessie, her oldest son, who was born just a few days before Candy and I got married, is now 30. Kirk is a great guy. It was good seeing Heather and Jessie and all of the other grandkids. But, it was pretty late by the time I got home.

Today I have been on deadline with the newsletter. The cold has settled into my head now and my sinuses are running. Eric Pettis, who is in Nicole (Jeff's wife's) family has an electrical business. He and an associate came over and did a bit of wiring. It was work getting ready for them and the must and fungus from under the house has gotten into the house. But, it is great having the work done. I now have a 20 amp circuit going into the den, just for my computers. That is way cool. Plus, the hot tub is wired again. That will be great after I recover.

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Lynn and Brian's baby is growing

Alexander Johnson

This is just in from Lynn Benson Johnson

Hi All,

Seems like only eight weeks and a few days ago I was doing something that didn't revolve around baby care. Or maybe not. I can't remember. Anyway, here's Darling Baby Alexander at eight weeks old today, in an outfit given to him by Robert and Jocelyne Dieu of Bordeaux, France. Yes, our baby is transcontinental (as well as incontinent :). He's been smiling for a month now and seems to speak fluent Hawaiian. We're very proud.

Love love love,
Team Johnson

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Friday, January 13, 2006

From a union meeting

I am in sacramento at a union meeting. I am on the union's communication committee. When I woke up i had a wicked sore throat and no voice.

I almost did not come and I left home late. But, now I am glad to be here

Thursday, January 12, 2006

MacWorld 2006, not what it used to be

Moscone North

Not the good old days
A decade ago MacWorld was a happening place. Apple had licensed the platform and companies like Power Computing [Link to wikipedia] circled Moscone with Humvees, made some pretty wicked computers, wickeder posters [Link], and had some very clever marketing that really made MacWorld zing. Both halls of Moscone were full. The place was wild, exciting and very, very fun. You could go to MacWorld and bump into folks like Guy Kawasaki walking around the exhibit floor and talk to them. Those were the days. Today the north hall is empty and the only thing I saw circling Moscone in the name of MacWorld was a short string of motor scooters. You remember scooters, like they use in third world countries.

Blogging from my phone

I have been wanting to blog from my phone. I am.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

MacWorld 2006

David Blatner

Live from MacWorld
It is a good show. I have met some authors I have wanted to meet and seen some very cool products. I am convinced the future is in for some very big changes. The new Mactels are very cool. Great cameras that have built in wifi. Super new tools for podcasting. I have bought some books and a upgraded video card for my Mac G4. This is really good stuff. I would write more, but I am burning daylight!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This is our university

Tower Hall in Winter

Winter break
It is winter break at San Jose State University and the campus is quiet. Winter break is a short pause between semesters. It is marked by alternating days of rain and days of crisp cold clarity. For a few weeks in January the faculty and students are gone and the campus belongs to the staff. The campus is quiet. Footsteps echo in the corridors. Even though we still have to work, it is now our place. This is our university.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Great place to ride

Me with bike

Yesterday and today I rode my bike
It has been crisp, cold and clear the last couple of days. The tender green shoots are coming up and yesterday I saw a herd of deer on my ride. This is such a great place to ride a bicycle, I love it here! California Spring is only about a month away in the bay area and already I can see the buds starting to appear on the trees. Soon, those buds will be blossoms!

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Kenneth's birthday a good day

Kenneth and Pixel

Today was Kenneth's 19th birthday. We had a good day. We met Jeff and Madison, went to Frans, and then to Stack's [link] where we all had breakfast. After that we went to the Tails and No Tales Cat Show [Link.]

Madison's mom Nicole was away for the day and despite her mommy being gone Madison did great and was very well behaved at the cat show. We all had a great time. We saw lots of cats and people showing their cats. Later in the evening we had Chinese food and cake and celebrated Kenneth's birthday together. We even opened a bottle of really good wine.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

True Grit

This is a repeat posting of an entry made in my old blog two years ago:

Grit in kitchen

One of the definitions of "Grit" in Webster's dictionary applies to people. It is, "firmness of mind or spirit, unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger." "Grit" was the nickname of Frank Graziano, Sue's father, my father-in-law. He got that nickname the best way, he earned it. To me Grit is the role model of what a good man should be. Today is the anniversary of his passing from among us. I am proud to have known him. I am proud my sons got to know him.

He did not live or die wealthy in terms of money. But he was overflowing in abundance of the things that really matter in life: integrity, humor, honesty, determination, reliability, responsibility, dependability and more. Grit was down to Earth. You always could depend on him to be fair even when it meant his own self-sacrifice. He would not yield his principles, even when being steadfast allowed him to be taken advantage of. He had true grit and was widely admired. We miss him.

After he passed away on this day in 1998. Sue wrote these words that were read at his memorial. The photo shown here, is a scan of the photo Fran takes with her wherever she stays. It shows Grit in a typical position in their kitchen. Grit lives on in so many hearts

Eulogy to Dad

We would like to honor our father and friend to us all with some words and feelings we hold. He was a truly devoted family man and a husband of 49 plus years. He helped create a loving home and family with his equally devoted wife. His children and family received the riches of his love and understanding. He loved us unconditionally with his beautiful, open, giving nature. A child could not ask for a better father.

His friends had the good fortune of his genuineness, warmth and good humor. He brought so much laughter and happiness into the lives he touched. He always looked out for others and often put their needs before his own. He had a rare quality that drew people to him and allowed him to find the goodness in others. There was never any pretension or prejudice about his feelings toward anyone. His love and friendship were very real.

He considered all the people that helped him and his family in his struggle against cancer with the utmost gratitude, appreciation and trust. Even as he bravely battled this disease, he never lost his outstanding sense of humor. His courage, spirit and will during this difficult time were indomitable.

He was an exceptionally honest, trustworthy man and a true gentleman. Men this good are missed terribly when they leave us, but we can all keep the memories we hold dearly alive in our hearts. We deeply admire his fine qualities and are so proud that this gem of a man was our father.

We can be sure he will continue to watch over us.

We love you Dad.

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A little boy at camp

Kenneth in sleeping bag

Just a little over a decade ago Kenneth was a little 8-year-old. One of our favorite things to do was to go camping at a place called "camp." This is a place where his first mom went since she was a little girl. After she died, this is where we buried her ashes. I hope we can go back there this year.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Just yesterday, so long ago

Kenneth and Jeff

As Kenneth's birthday has been approaching I have been thinking a lot about it. It seems like he was just a little boy. Now, in 12 months he will be 20. Days go by so fast their passing seems trivial. But, each day is unique and never to be repeated again. And kids, they grow up so fast.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More on Borello at Bascom

Borello at Bascom

VTA light rail and the Union Pacific railroad run parallel in this location. One of the things I did not mention in my previous blog entries is there is a sign at the intersection saying the "train" (I do not know if that applies to both the Union Pacific railroad and the VTA light rail) does not blow its horn at the railroad crossing. Coming eastbound from Borello (note some maps show this as Quail Hollow Drive, it is posted as both) an eastbound VTA train will be at about a 160 degree rear angle, to the far right rear, of an eastbound vehicle. This is commonly called the drivers "blind spot." According to a friend I spoke to who works for VTA, the light rail is going 45 mph as it approaches this intersection. Lacking a train horn warning, the first warning drivers who are looking to their left, over their left shoulder, to merge into oncoming traffic may get that a train is coming at them at 45 mph from the driver's blind spot, on the far right, is the gates coming down on top of, or behind, their car. There is a lot of traffic coming from two very different and difficult angles here. Remember, this is the main exit from a senor citizen mobile home park!

There is a stop sign on Borello, before the crossing gate but I believe there is a fence next to the tracks obstructing the view of any approaching VTA train. The line of site for cars merging onto southbound Bascom from eastbound Borello is such that you cannot see approaching southbound traffic on Bascom from Borello until you are on the tracks themselves, so you often are forced to stop on the tracks, potentially in the path of an oncoming train. A train, traveling at that rate of speed, with an electric motor and with steel wheels on steel rails runs very quiet and has a much longer stopping distance than even a bus which has rubber wheels on concrete.

Link to map with more details [Link.]

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Accident at Borello and Bascom

Borello and Bascom Accident

Last month Susie sent this article [Link] to Gary Richards. Richards is The San Jose Mercury News's "Mister Roadshow." He writes a daily traffic article that runs on the second page of the newspaper every day. So far Susie's story has not run and the hazard continues. I noticed when I drove through there last week that there was sulfur waste from the burning of highway flares there. Last night when I went over to Fran's (to put a license plate sticker on her car) I saw a SUV near the intersection laying on its side on Bascom. Bascom was closed in the northbound direction and lots of emergency vehicles were on the scene. This is a terrible intersection with roads, light rail tracks, freight railroad tracks, lots of traffic and all converging at one place and with tight angles. This needs to be fixed!

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ken and Nicole's birthdays coming

Ken and Shadow

The kid is growing up
Saturday is Kenneth's birthday. He will be 19 (his last teenage year.) We are planning to go to breakfast that morning, then go to a cat show that afternoon and finally celebrate that evening. Then, on the 19th, is Nicole's birthday. That is the the last of the events in our holiday season, that is until Jeff's birthday in August.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

My Food & Wine Reviews Here

I have posted a restaurant and a wine review on my opinion blog [Link].

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wild windy new year

Fran, Chauncys & Sloans

Wild New Year's Day
It was one of the most extreme wind storms I ever remember here (our redwood trees were dancing.) It was followed by a long black out. But, despite the loss of power, we got together with Fran, Kenneth and the Chauncys and had a great time celebrating Christmas on New Year's Day.  After being sick, it feels like we lost a week.

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