Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy birthday Owen Chauncy

Owen Chauncy

It seems like yesterday that Owen was born, we were there! Today he is two. He and Mom Diane are celebrating without daddy. Jonathon is in North Carolina preparing for their move there. It has to be hard being apart for them. According to Diane, Jonathon is interviewing back there. They have sold and moved out of their San Jose while they both look at homes they can buy in North Carolina with the equity they got out of their condo, like this [link] and this [link].

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Seems like bad timing to me

Downtown fences

A big Cinequest welcome in San Jose?
It is hard to understand why the City of San Jose and VTA chose two days before the Cinequest near San Jose State to close the closest light rail station and put fences up right by the movie theater which has struggled so hard to succeed in downtown. This is a fine welcome to folks who may be coming downtown for the film festival.

Graziano Coro Wine Review
I have a review of Graziano Coro Wine on my opinion blog [Link].

Sweet Granddaughter

Madison Sloan

Little Madison
Friday evening we had dinner at Jeff and Nicole's. It was so much fun. Of course my favorite part was playing with my sweet granddaughter. She is such a sweetie. She has a definite mind of her own. It is fun watching her grow up.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

That was the weekend that was

Naomi and Jim

Weekend of contrasts
Yesterday was sunny and warm, today was cold and wet. We spent Friday evening with Jeff, Nicole, Madison and Kenneth (expect pictures of that.) On Saturday morning I posted a podcast [link to audio] of a conversation I had the night before with Jeff about our bicycle club trailer. Then, later that morning I led a bicycle club ride. It was a great ride and the weather was perfect.

About the time I returned, Sue and Fran left to go to Diane's place to help her and Owen move out. JC is already in North Carolina. Diane has to be out on Monday and she is staying at her mother-in-law's place while they transition to their new home. I went to Burrell School to pick up a wine shipment. The people there are nice, it is close and they have a good location. Their wine is good, but in our opinion only a few of their wines are really good. I like their Pinots and Amador County Zins and some of their blends. It shocked me to see someone in there buying 9 cases of their wine. That is a couple of thousand dollars worth.

This morning I put together another podcast for the bicycle club, this time about the recent Amgen Tour of California bike race [link to audio.] Today it rained and around noon I finally went to Costco. Fran came with me and we went to lunch. Susie and I have been putting going to Costco off so long that we were virtually out of everything. We have been shopping week-to-week for groceries. Our freezer has been virtually empty. I spent over $500 and the better part of today doing that. Then, this evening I put together one of the two remaining unassembled pieces of furniture in the den and we gave the cats flea treatments. That was the weekend that was.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tower Hall, SJSU

Tower feb fourth of july

February Fourth of July
I love the tower at SJSU, I am always looking for new angles, new ways of shooting it. This angle made me think of fireworks! I have been at SJSU since 1979. I love being here, working here and having the university as a part of my life.

Frances turns 80: The journey home

Trombone salute to Fran

After we finished wine tasting we drove to Petaluma. Along the way we stopped in a redwood grove and drove across the Russian River on an old bridge. We even went up Sweetwater Grade that I had ridden so long ago [Related 1999 Photo Link]. We arrived there after dark and went to our next destination, a downtown hotel. When we came in the door we found a young boy watching TV and apparently running the hotel. His parents were not there. We had reserved a suite with one room with a queen bed and another room with two beds. The boy led us up a narrow, twisting stairway to a very tiny suite. The smallest of the rooms had a bed with a trundle bed under it. If you pull out the trundle bed there was no room to walk! Fran and John were going to share that. I think not! It was totally inadequate! We told him so, left our phone number and went back to our car without accommodations.

Cell phones to the rescue, as we sat in our car Susie started calling around. Within a few minutes she had secured two new rooms. That was the low point of the trip. The high point was this: Susie had made reservations at a restaurant called Graziano's in Petaluma for dinner [Link]. That is why we had chosen that town to spend the last night of our trip. Graziano's is owned by Graziano Perozzi [Link]. It is a very nice place with great food and a good wine list.

The restaurant and Graziano Perozzi was great. Graziano Perozzi came over and spoke to us and especially Fran. He said, "I hope I look as good as you when I am 80." He, his family who were there at the restaurant, the employees there and us sang Happy Birthday to Fran while Graziano Perozzi's nephew, who was visiting from Italy, played the Trombone. It was one of those really rich moments in life and Fran was in tears.

We lingered over dinner, then drove back to our Motel.

The next day we took a leisurely drive south, through Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge and around San Francisco. We stopped for a yummy lunch in North Beach. Then, finally, we stopped for coffee in Palo Alto. Last, we made dinner at home and enjoyed a great bottle of Hook and Ladder Pinot Noir. Life is good.

The next morning, John flew home.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lap cats

Cats on Susie

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Frances Turns 80 Redux

Three Grazianos

Looking back, great getaway for Fran's birthday
Thursday of last week we drove to Healdsburg. We went via a Sebastapol and a pretty drive along back roads in the Russian River Valley. We did some wine tasting along the way, including a stop at Hook and Ladder Winery [Link] for a tasting. This new winery is owned by the De Loach family. We were the first people ever to come in for a tasting there and the wines were amazing! Healdsburg resident, tech writer and blogger Dori Smith [Link] had made some recommendations for dinner. She was right on the money and we ate at Cena Luna [Link] in downtown Healdsburg. The food there was great and the wine reasonable. That night we stayed at the Haydon Street Inn [Link]. This was very nice, a good Victorian. But it was a cold night, the room we had had big picture windows and we did not find any heater in the room. Thankfully the room had a big down comforter on the bed. The shower in the room was very funky. Sue ended up showering in her mom's room. Breakfast the next morning was very good!

After breakfast Friday my brother-in-law, John Graziano, and I went to Williams Selyem [Link]. John is the winemaker at a great New York winery, Millbrook Vineyards and Winery [Link]. Both Millbrook and Williams Selyem, along with Pebble Ridge Vineyards [Link] (which includes Vista Verde,) is owned by a fellow named John S. Dyson [Picture Link]. Williams Selyem produces some of the world's best Pinot Noir, exclusively to their mailing list. Their winery has no tasting room. Lynn Krausmann is a winemaker there [Link] and she gave John and I a tour along with extensive tasting both from bottles and barrels. Since this was early in the morning and I had a lot of driving to do I can truly say this is the best wine I have ever spit out in my entire life!

After the visit to Williams Selyem we went back to Healdsburg. We went to a bike shop where we looked at bikes. Then we hooked up with Sue and Fran who were shopping. We went out for lunch and had some great Mexican food at a place John knew from one of his previous visits to Williams Selyem. Then we did more wine tasting as we headed south to Petaluma. We stopped at Rochioli Vineyards [Related Link] and Arista Vineyards [Link]. I will leave the Petaluma portion of our trip for another posting.

New digital Nikon
We bought a new digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 8400 [Link]. I have been looking for an advanced non-SLR camera that shoots Camera RAW [Link]. Few do. This one does. This model was recently list priced at just under $900. We found it being clearanced for just under $400. Susie can take it to London with her and it is small and light enough for me to carry on my bike, unlike my D2H [Link].

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Too fast to blog about it

Bike racers in San Jose

Too fast to blog
Lately it seems life has been going too fast for me to get it down on the computer. My mother-in-law turned 80. We had a great get away to Healdsburg and Petaluma. We discovered some great new wineries and wines. I spent a day photographing and podcasting at a bike race. I did another edition of the bike club newsletter, 24 pages! Sue has been working like a demon. Kenneth came to visit. We bought a new digital camera. There has been no time to sit and think or collect my pictures and blog. Today was the Tour of California. What a great event! Too much fun. Must blog soon!

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

From Healdsburg

Sent Thursday: We are in Healdsburg at the Hadon Street Inn a very nice bed and breakfast. We had a very fun day of eating and wine tasting. We were the first walk in customers at a new winery called Hook and Ladder and we really liked their wines. We had dinner at a nice restaurant named Cena Luna and had nice wine with Great conversation.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

A day with John and Fran

Wednesday Sue's brother John Graziano, her mother Fran and I went to San Benito County to Vista Verde Vineyards south of Hollister. San Benito County has to be one of California's best kept secret wine regions [Link.] Sue's brother John is a winemaker at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery in New York [Link] and they are owned by John Dyson. Dyson also owns Vista Verde Vineyards as well as Williams Selyem [Link], which makes some of the best Pinot Noir in the world. Like Williams Selyem, Millbrook gets a lot of its fruit from Vista Verde. Anthony, the manager of the vineyard gave us an awesome tour of the 440 acre vineyard in his 4-wheel-drive pickup.

Vista Verde Vineyards

Then we went to San Juan Batista where we had a great Mexican food lunch and toured the mission and the historical buildings there.

John and Fran

That evening we had a fantastic Italian dinner which Fran cooked and enjoyed some great conversation and a great bottle of wine, an Italian Barbaresco. It was a good day. We are going away soon to celebrate Fran's 80th birthday and I will try to continue posting to this blog from my phone.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My train news photo gets used

Altamont Press used one of my train photos from 1984 in its on-line railroad news publication [Link].

Podcasts: Two for Valentines Day

For your listening pleasure, two Edupodder podcasts
On Valentines Day 2006 at SJSU there was a meeting of the Learning Innovators group at San Jose State. At the meeting I presented on the subject of podcasting. Rather than it being a talk about what a podcast was, we just did a podcast. That meeting was itself recorded and so this is a podcast of the meeting where we did a podcast.

Podcast eighteen, 63.5 minutes, 14.6 MB - This is a recording of the 2006 Valentines Day meeting of the learning innovators group at San Jose State. At this meeting we produced a podcast, which was presented here in the Edupodder Podcast as the previous show. This included recording, mixing, down sizing and FTP posting the file to the server. Finally we updated the RSS file that is the podcast. The whole time we recorded the session. There is plenty of conversation about that whole process here [Audio Link].

Podcast seventeen, 2.2 minutes, 556KB - This is a demo of doing a podcast. This was produced during the Valentines Day meeting of the learning innovators group at San Jose State University [Audio Link].

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Jonathon leaving today

The Chauncy's at our house

Today is the day Jonathon is scheduled to leave for North Carolina. They have sold their condo and JC is leaving first to get a job there. He is driving to Reno to pick up his twin brother and they are driving out together. They came over to our house on Sunday. It is the last time they will be over before they move. They are our best friends. It is hard to believe they are moving away.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Train geek night

SP4449 GS4 1984

Last night I went to a meeting of the model railroad club I belong to. We looked at train slides until almost midnight. It was a lot of fun. I showed photos from this trip in 1984. This was before Kenneth was born. The older boys and I followed this train then we drove to Canada in the 1979 Dodge Omni we then had. Chasing steam train excursions was nuts, even then. Shortly after this photo was taken a train fan, in a hurry backed his pickup into our car narrowly missing hitting Steve Jr.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

I have a new podcast!

ACTC Podcast

The Almaden Cycle Touring Club Podcast
Here is the link to my new podcast [Link]. This podcast is about the bicycle club I am the publisher for and it is a lot of fun. It is wonderful how this medium can be used, not only to tell people about an organization but also really put a human voice to the organization. The first contact we have with the world is sound. We hear the world through our mother's womb before we even see it. There is something really connecting and human about podcasting. I think the human voice is under rated.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Our bike club meeting podcast

Club Meeting Podcast
We had a great bike club meeting this evening. If you want to hear a few interviews from tonight's meeting please checkout the podcast. Here it is, Click on Podcast button to listen:

Podcast Here

This is almost live Internet radio and I think it really gives our club a human voice.

SuperBowl Sunday with Chauncys

Diane and JC

An end of an era
For many years we have had a tradition of spending SuperBowl Sunday with the Chauncys. Susie, not being a football fan, would often go to a movie and then come to the Chauncys at the end of the game. This year she came with her mother toward the end of the game. The Chauncys recently sold their condo and will be out of the condo by this time next month. They are moving to North Carolina and JC may actually be leaving quite soon to find work in the state. This may be the last time we get together at their place here in California.

Click on the podcast button to hear an audio podcast of this special time together:

Podcast here

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

ACTC Awards dinner podcast

Susie and Guy Dancing

Great awards dinner
We had a great time at the award dinner and even made a podcast:

Podcast Here

This is live Internet radio and is actually three conversations stitched together, 1.3MB, 6min, MP3 format file

Friday, February 03, 2006

Home Improvement

Susie at Ikea

Doing our homework
We have been busy doing things around the house. The shelves are up and we are stocking them. We still have a file cabinet and a TV stand to build in the den. Also, the new ottoman came and the family room looks great.

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About chasing trains

Susie calls me a Hobbiest
My oldest hobby is chasing and photographing trains. I have been doing it since I could drive. I love doing it and wish I could do it more.

SP 4312, an SD9E

I love trains

BCR RS3 573

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sitting at the station

Light rail train

Sitting at a railway station, got a ticket for my desination
I am at the lightrail station waiting for a train. I like this way of commuting. It is so much less stressful than driving. I like to drive but the traffic is nuts in the morning and it just stresses me out and I do not need that. I can blog on my phone, read a book, listen to music or podcasts, or just chill on the train. There is a small Italian diner called Capisce at the station I want to try with Susie some time after work.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Waiting at the station

Pixel in the bookshelves

I am sitting at the light rail station waiting for a train and writing on my phone. It is cold and I suspect it could rain at any moment. Susie and I have been busy. Last weekend we bought and installed a room full of shelves. What used to be the den is now the library. I am still sore. It looks great and the cats love it. All kinds of new places to climb.

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