Friday, March 31, 2006

Cool cat blog

"Every cat has his day" is the motto of this blog [Link]. This is a blog about cats done by a person who identifies herself as Zuleme. According to the boggers profile: the author "is a writer, videographer, musician and general creative octopus living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire." The author works at a shelter in her area caring for and finding loving home for cats. Writing about some of this Zuleme said, "We did our first video shoot at the shelter and I will edit Pawprints for our local channel on Tuesday. Maybe I'll even make it into a purrcast."

Edupodder Podcast: Who needs ink?

Who needs ink forum?

The Future of Newspapers
On March 30th 2006 the Commonwealth Club in San Jose put on a forum entitled Who Needs Ink? The Future of Newspapers. Sue and I went there and we even ended up on the channel two news! It was right across the street from SJSU right after work.

This was a timely forum given the recent sale of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain, which includes the Mercury News to McClatchy. Many employees of the Mercury News were in the audience. Students were admitted free.

Jim Bettinger, Director of the Knight Fellowships Program, was the moderator. Speakers at the forum were Peter P. Appert, Publishing/Information Services Analyst, Goldman, Sachs; Jerry Ceppos, Former Vice President, Knight Ridder; Dan Gillmor, Director, Center For Citizen Media; Joan Walsh, Editor-In-Chief of Salon, After the forum I asked them some questions directed at Journalism education. Finally Zach Davis, an eighteen year old high school journalism student, offered his perspective. Link to podcast on button below:

Podcast Here

For great in-depth coverage
Ryan Sholin has a great post [Link] and several subsequent posts on his blog [Link]. Ryan did a fantastic job covering this event.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Bike Club Podcast

I have a bicycling podcast
This is a lot of fun for me. I really enjoy doing this. It is a great way to showcase a passion of mine, my great friends, and a great solution to some vexing problems our society has. Anything that helps resolve the energy, fitness and the obesity problems we have is a great thing to be involved with

My Bicycle Club podcast:

Oh yea, it is also on iTunes!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

SJSU Reflection

Tower Reflection

It is Spring Break
This is the wettest Spring Break I recall. It is cold, much more like January than the end of March. Normally winters here are so short, not this year. The halls are empty on campus. I can hear footsteps echo as we walk. It is quiet time, the puddles are undisturbed. It's a great time for reflection and enjoying them.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Edupodder Podcast: The Student Entrepreneur

Lambert Lum and Terry Thompson

SJSU student entrepreneur Lambert Lum's perspective
Lambert Lum, SJSU MBA student and a young entrepreneur talks about the business he started in the campus community, He discusses how his studies prepared him for entrepreneurship and what he feels the university is doing right and what it can do to better prepare students for the business world.

To listen to this podcast, click on the podcast button immediately below this text, Podcast here:

Podcast Here

Friday, March 24, 2006

Restaurant Review: Tony Soprano's

Tony Soprano's Pizza

Tony Soprano's
87 E. San Fernando St., San Jose, CA 95113

This is new downtown pizzeria has a website [Link.] The Downtown San Jose, San Jose State area has been exploding since both City Hall and the new King Library are at the corner of San Fernando and Fourth Street. Local eateries are not so dependent on student and faculty customers who go away Summers and this has allowed more places to open and greater gastronomical variety to be available. Some of the places that cut back their hours after the dot com bubble burst are back and others have opened. Even new shopping venues have emerged. This is fun!

Tony Soprano's is one new place that shows a lot of promise. Today we got one of their New York style (thin crust) pizza's for lunch. It was really good. This is a great new place to checkout. My "new scale" rating [Link] 89.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A quick trip to Winslow

Winslow in Love

I finished Winslow in Love
I really enjoyed this book. My review of it is here [Link]. When I get into a book that really grabs me like this one did, it is like taking a trip for me. I can't put it down. All I can think of is reading the book. It becomes a journey into the written word. Canty is a visual writer and my visual mind and imagination take over and it is like being deep in a movie. All day yesterday I had visions of coming home, putting a log on the fire, pouring a glass of wine and cozying into the book. When I finally got home I did not take the time to start a fire, I poured the wine and sat down and read, and read, and I finished the book.

I love working right next to the big library. Sometimes on my breaks I just walk over to the browsing library and there I find gems like this. What a treat!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Today at SJSU

Snow over SJSU

Yellow lamp

Saturday ride to Croy

Croy waterfall

Saturday I led a bike club ride
Really it was kind of a mistake because I did not intend to list a ride during a production weekend. But, I did. It ended up being a really good ride. We rode to Croy Park. I rode 48 miles. There is a canyon there with about seven waterfalls. With all the rain there is water everywhere. It was sunny and clear, if a bit cold. It turned out to be a great day for a bike ride and I still got the newsletter done.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Started a novel today

I just started reading "Winslow in Love" by Kevin Canty. I started it at Starbucks where I was walking to when I took the picture I posted earlier. It was raining and when I walked into the shop Starbucks was hushed. I ordered my coffee. Every table was taken. A man who was drawing in a journal motioned to me. He was making a very detailed drawing of Satan and he offered me a seat at his table. I figured he was not going to want to engage in idle conversation and I thought to myself, "I wish I had his kind of time." He never said a word to me. I opened my book for the first time. The first sentence of the book starts like this "The rain fell on downtown Portland, not in any kind of usual way..." It got me on the first sentence.

Spring, in name only

Spring rain

Spring rain is one thing, but this is ridiculous. It is raining buckets. I cannot remember a winter that has lingered so long here. It is Spring, but in name only. When it is clear it is cold. The snow we had in March stayed on the hills for days. Even the trees are confused.

Time for a new book. Time to have fires and cozy nights and wait for the real coming of Spring.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

April 2006 Bicycle Club Newsletter Here

The final version of the Almaden Cycle Touring Club's April newsletter. the Black and Blue Bottom, is posted here [Link]. This is as I sent it to the printer. I had no time for editing or Alpha or Beta versions this month.

The American Hand Made Bicycle

Kellogg Spectrum Bicycle

A matter of craft
I think the difference between a custom hand made bike frame and an off-the-rack frame is like the difference between an off-the-rack suit and a tailored suit. Not only can a frame builder take into account your height, but also your proportions, inseam, weight, build and how you ride. Plus, of course, what you wish to spend is a major factor. We are all built different but off-the-rack bikes often offer generic off-the-rack sizings.

Plus, there is the art of it. With a custom bike you are riding a living, moving piece of hand crafted art. You are supporting real artisans. The personality of the builder is in the bike. He/she hopefully has expressed that. How he/she thinks you will use the bike is reflected in everything from the length of the tubes to the types of materials and the construction methods used in the bike.

Joe Starack built my first custom bicycle, a Rivendell, and Joe Bell painted it. Local builder Dale Saso built my other custom bike. That bike was the result of visits to Dale’s shop, of long conversations about types of tubes, materials and riding styles. I remember holding and looking at bare steel tubes and going through boxes of fork crowns and being able to specify the most small of details on that bike. It was a collaboration effort. I saw the bike evolve from metal. My Saso bike is the result of the many conversations Dale and I had. Does that make me faster? No. Does that enhance my own personal riding experience? Yes, very much.

You may be surprised to find the cost is not as high as you fear. Only you can decide what you want. That’s what makes’em so cool.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Edupodder Podcast: J-school, Newspapers and Podcasting

Professor Steve Greene

SJSU Journalism Professor Steve Greene
Long time SJSU Professor of Journalism Steve Greene discusses the concurrent sale of the Knight Ridder chain of newspapers and the announcement of SJSU's participation in Apple Computer's iTunesU initiative [link]. This very candid discussion focuses on the decline of print journalism and the growth of emerging technology as a way of delivering news and the effect that all this is, or is not, having on the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at SJSU.

To listen to this podcast, click on the podcast button immediately below this text, Podcast here:

Podcast Here

The ides of March

Friends update
It has been a long time since I have been able to update on how a lot of our friends are doing. There have been a lot of changes in our friends lives.

Notable birthdays
Today is Sally and Jonathan's birthdays. Sally, as always, is in Boston but this year Jonathan is is North Carolina, away from his family.

Chauncy Update
As mentioned Jonathan is in North Carolina. He is working for a tech support call center there. Diane is slated to move east in the middle of April after the company shee works for completes their end of quarter reports.

Lalli Update
I spoke with Kimberly Fracchia Lalli. She and her husband Steve had twins born on December fifth. One twin is a son, Ried Steven Garret Lalli, and the other is a daughter, Piper Rose Lalli. They were a bit premature but are doing well. The twins are keeping momma quite busy.

Family update
There are some things happening on the falily front.

Kenneth came over
Ken came to dinner last night. It was great seeing him. He is looking for a new job in the area.

My sister is coming out
That is happening on Sunday. We are planning a get together then.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Winterail Epilogue

Vic and others

Still recovering from the weekend
It is Tuesday now. The next winterail is a year away. These events are so much work, so much fun too. It is great seeing old friends and renewing old friendships. I saw Ken Compton, Paul Ogren, Brian Rutherford, Tom Green and others. We have so much history going back to when photographing trains was my main hobby. So many memories. We used to go train chasing together with one or both boys in tow. Those were great times. After it was over, Sunday morning, Jeff and I went to the Stockton diamonds and watched a couple of trains go by.

UP train at Stockton

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Fallen Flag: Slides at Winterail

Winterail show

All digital Winterail
Except for the three favorites, and a few slides put on the screen to salute some icons of railfanning like the recently deceased Will Whitaker, this was the first all digital show. Only one slide projector was set up and its roll was not critical for any of the shows. For years, up until my sister's cancer, my roll was central. I ran the slide projectors. But, I had to be away. The last show I did in 2003 was the last all-slide Winterail.

Now I am back, now it is digital, now I am peripherial. My shirt no longer says "projectionist." It now says "roadie." That is okay, the shows are better now. Some things that were once major issues in the past, like slides jamming and tray changes, are now not issues. Slide registration is now perfect. Time lapse sequences are no longer a major pain to project.

Has the show lost some of its theatrical awe? No longer is the audience greeted by a huge bank of slide projectors up on a podium. It is more work-conference like.

As I sat up by the one remaining projector I was often reminded of what it must of been like when dirty and hard to work with steam engines were replaced with diesels. The job got done a lot cleaner with diesels than with steam. With diesels the job could get done quicker with less people. But, for some it was never the same. Will next year be the start of three favorite jpegs replacing three favorite slides? Stay tuned for Winterail 2007, March 10, 2007

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Saturday at Winterail

Winterail crew sat morning

Jeff and I are working at Winterail
It is a break during the show. I will not get to post this until later. It has been a fun show. I missed the last two shows because of my sisters illness the first year and her death last year.

It has been a good show. All the shows are digital. The advantages of that has outweighed the disadvantages. The transaction has been very smooth. The show could be run on a much smaller crew. If we were paid for what we do I would be worried about being laid off. I guess there are some advantage to not being paid.

There are a lot of folks I know who I only seem to see here or at the side of the tracks. I don't seem to go to the tracks often any more.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Desk pita party

Help Desk kids

Help desk training and lunch day
Yesterday we had a morning training and a noon lunch together. We have such a great crew and I am so proud of these young people. Over sixty percent of all the trouble tickets that came into San Jose State tracking system were closed by our team. These students each work half-time or less. The other, less than 40 percent of the tickets, are closed by all the remaining full-time staff employees. In short, these kids rock! For all but one of them, this was the first time they ever had a Pita. We had a great time.

GWI statistics

GWI statistics for Feb. 2006
This screen shot shows the percentage of trouble tickets closed at SJSU within the University's ticketing system. Over 60% of all the tickets in the system at the university this month were closed by the Help Desk Staff made up of myself and our seven half-time student assistants. All of the students who work here are from India and they are a close hard working group. I am very proud of them.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

One less tooth

Casden loses a tooth!
Steve sent us these pictures of Casden after he lost his first tooth.

Casden before

Casden after

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Eating out here is cheap!

If you think eating out is expensive here!
Try Europe or Japan. This chart is from this is as per [Link].

Restaurant chart

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Podcast: Staff Union Meeting Mar. 04

CSUEU Board of Directors meeting, March 4, 2006
These conversations were recorded at the CSUEU Board of Directors, SEIU Local 2579, meeting in Sacramento, California. It is about 45 minutes long. It is made up of three seperate recordings.

  1. CSUEU President Pat Gantt's president's report to the board.
  2. A recorded conversation with CSEA President J.J. Jelincic.
  3. J.J. Johnston SEIU's California Area Director's presentation on the International's review of local jurisdictions in California.
To listen to this podcast, click on the podcast button immediately below this text, Podcast here:

Podcast Here

Thinking of the passing of my sister

My sisters and I

Thinking of passings
The following started out as an E-mail to a friend who lost a loved one and ended up as this blog post:

With today being the one-year anniversary of the passing of my sister Lura, I have been thinking about the passings that we all have in our lives. I have been there at the beginning and at the end of life in this world. What I keep coming back to is the transience of much of what, in the moment, seems so important and the preciousness of what, in the moment, seems so expendable. We spend so much of our time focused on our work and tasks we let take precidence of how we spend our time. Yet, the most precious commodity is the time we spend with those we love. Too often we let that slip through our fingers thinking we can get it back "later."

The most important aspect of life is love and precious moments lost can never be recaptured.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Protest at SJSU

Cindy Chavez

Faculty, students and staff rally for higher quality
Today at SJSU a group of faculty, students and staff spoke out on issues related to quality education at our university. They spoke in opposition to higher fees, reduced class availability and more crowded classrooms and in favor of better wages and working conditions for faculty. It seems amazing to me that in a flat world where our citizens are having to compete on a global scale that we are cutting education and making it more inaccessible. It seems to me we should be going in the other direction. The group of about 75 marched on the office of SJSU President Don Kassing.

Gus Lease at rally

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday night reflections

Vic and Annie Neves

Winterail preview
Last night, after the union meeting, I went to San Leandro to the home of Vic and Annie Neves. It has been three years since I was involved in Winterail. Yet, I was welcomed back into the Winterail [link] family like I had never left. Vic and his new wife Annie are great folks. We ran all the shows that will be shown next week and we rolled until after midnight. The shows this year are all video. The last time I was at Winterail it was the last all slide year. The two years I missed were the transition years. What a change! I enjoyed the event. It was too much fun.

Hand Built Bicycle Show

Hand Built Bicycle Show
This weekend there was a great bicycle show in San Jose, I went today. It is so amazing to see such great cycling events as this happening right here in San Jose. I saw a huge number of great bikes and met some very talented bicycle builders. I even ran into my friend Dale Saso. It was also, too much fun. Stay tuned for a related podcast!

Favorite quote from the oscars
Berthold Brecht, "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

I am in Sacramento

From the union meeting
It is a cold clear day in Sacramento. I attended a committee meeting last night for the communications committee and I am going to be recording some sessions today and maybe doing some interviews. The most recent issue of the University Employee featured a large picture of mine and a story I wrote. That was cool. I hope to be out of here by two and then I am going to meet Vic Neves to talk about WinterRail. That will be fun!

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Going to a union meeting

I am heading off to a union meeting in Sacramento. I am doing a presentation on emerging technology and labor unions. The title is, what emerging technologies should unions be paying attention to. More information is here [Link].

Link to PowerPoint file for presentation [ppt, 204KB, link]

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

March Madness

No, I am not talking about Basketball
For some reason March has become a crazy, busy time for me, almost running a close second to Christmas. I have so much going on. I decided not to go to the Emerging Technology Conference just because it is too much. There are events almost every weekend and I am going to be on the road, and it all starts tomorrow. It is too crazy making. WinteRail is coming, family events, union meetings, too much, no mas, no mas...

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Visit with my cousin Debbie

Debbie and I

Great visit with my cousin
Yesterday evening we had a great visit with my cousin Debbie Suehr. I have not seen her for 15 years. I really enjoyed making a connection with her and my Idaho relatives again. She works for the Bureau Of Reclamation, as she says, "the dam water people." They were having a meeting here so she was in town. She found our number out of the phone book. Jeff and Nicole went to Cirque Solis last night and we got to spend a fun evening with Madison. So we all hung out together! It was such a fun visit. We looked at pictures from our visit 15 years ago, when our kids were small. It was great catching up.

Great wine with dinner
Here is my review of Hook and Ladder Pinot Noir the great wine we shared at dinner [Link.]

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A family day

Madison on knee

Today we are going to son Jeff's house and will be watching little Madison while Jeff and Nicole go out. That will be a lot of fun! And, suprise, my cousin Debbie from Idaho will be joining us. She is in San Jose on a work related conference and called to let us know she is here. It will be fun catching up.

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