Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Great Vermont Edublogger

Cynthia McCune on laptop

Yesterday was the big day at BlogHer
Yesterday I spent the day at BlogHer. The highlight of the day was meeting Barbara Ganley from Middlebury College in Vermont. She is a Lecturer in the Writing Program and English, and the Director of The Project for Integrated Expression at Middlebury College. She has been using blogging quite extensively in her curriculum since 2001. I first met professor Ganley when we sat next to each other in the morning session. She had two boxes of wine and we spoke quite a bit about local wineries and wine shops. Her work, and the Edublogging session she was one of the panelists on, was very inspiring. I hope to release a podcast from that session later this week. I think we will be looking very closely at her work as we prepare for this fall's journalism courses.

I am sleeping with a blonde

Susie as a blonde

Susie goes blonde
I love it! Susie's hair came out very light, enough to say it is blonde. I am very excited. I have wanted her to go lighter for a long time. This photo does not do it justice. I think it looks great and I hope she stays this way. I feel like it is Christmas.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

BlogHer Party

Blog Her Attendees

Cynthia McCune and I are at BlogHer
This is a huge event attracting women bloggers as well as A-lister's from all over the world. I spoke with a woman blogger who came here from Australia. I was unable to attend the day sessions yesterday due to an urgent family matter I had to attend to. But, I got to meet a lot of great people at yesterday evening's party.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Madison the Artist

Madison with crayons

Miss Madison Loves Her "Colors"
If you give Madison a hand full of crayons and some paper she is entertained. She really is a sweet kid, very smart too!

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Monday, July 24, 2006


Grete and George on Mountain

We have been thinking a lot about Grete and George
Sue and I have been thinking a lot about the memorial service we went to yesterday. Grete's death was so tragic and sad and it has been very hard on her family and friends, us included. It was so touching to see the turnout and the support of so many of her family and friends, despite the extreme heat. Neither Sue nor I will ever forget it. The loving nature of Grete was membered in so many ways by so many people. George spoke about their love, some of the favorite times he and his wife shared and about how they met. She is missed by so many of us who loved her.


Pixel and Shadow on Couch

Heat Spell is an Extreme Event
This is the hottest for the longest I ever recall it being in the bay area. I heard it referred to as an extreme event on the radio today. It got up to 115 in Concord where I grew up. The heat here is like the heat I use to get in the valley. From what I hear from folks in the valley it is like Las Vegas in the summer there.

We have plugged in the old air conditioner in our room and thankfully it works. It is running 24x7, at least as long as the power stays on. It keeps the house cooler and we have a refuge in our room from the heat.

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Camera Phone Post: Pig with a Lexus
I went to Kaiser this morning. It is always hard to park there. The lot was jammed packed and this pig took two spaces! It took me a long time to get a space. What an arrogant jerk! It was two compact spaces too.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

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Camera Phone Post: A Picture from Luci
Luci sent this photo of, "Old ships out of water." Today we are in the worst heatwave I ever recall here. It was 107 when we drove into San Jose at 5 pm. The power has reportedly been out for days in some parts of San Jose due to heat. The lights just went out here at our house. Power is on down the street. This evening was Grete's memorial. Turnout was huge. The church was sweltering. At nine in the evening it was it the mid nineties in downtown Los Gatos. This is amazing.

She says it is 100 in Seattle. They just celebrated their first anniversary.

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Camera Phone Post: Susie at ocean
After our last night at the haunted house B&B we stayed at, we headed down the coast. We had breakfast at the Tides in Bodega Bay. Then we headed inland to pick up all the wine that everybody bought. We did more wine tasting at De Loach and then lunch in Petaluma. The coast was nice. As we headed inland we passed mile after mile of cars lined up trying to escape the heat.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

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Camera Phone Post: Cyclists at winery
Our "whine-and-dine ride" on Saturday the 22nd started with 11 of us riding to Occidental from the campground at Casini Ranch on the Russian River. From there about six of us went to Freestone to visit Wildflour Bread, a great bakery there, while the remainder of us had second breakfast at Howard's Station in Occidental. We then rejoined on Graton Road as we descended into Sebastapol.

It got hot, I mean really hot! When we got to Pellegrini Winery they were very welcoming. We had liberal wine pourings and personal tour of the place. We had a great time and bought a lot of wine (to pick up later.) The ride back was an ordeal, with temps well into the triple digits. Despite the heat everybody seemed to have a great time.

Friday, July 21, 2006

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Camera Phone Post: Ice cream break
On the way to the Russian River Rally, a big annual event in our bicycle club. It was hot, hot, hot! We stopped for ice cream at a great shop in Sebastapole.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

That was my dad

My father was a railroad man
Lloyd Sloan was a railroad man. He was a big man who drove big trains. To a small boy, it seemed he literally moved mountains. He became the mountain. He was my father and he had powerful magic.

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

My dad's train

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

The City of New Orleans
Arlo Guthrie made popular for my generation this song by Steve Goodman. The lines from the song that to this day cut through me like a knife, are these:

And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel.

My dad

And that was my dad
A big magic man, who had a magic carpet that seemed to me to be as big as a mountain. In 1977, on this day, he died after a disease took away all his magic powers. He was 58. I was 21. That was four years after I graduated high school, less than a year after Steve Jr., my first son, was born.

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Grete Johnson Remembered

Grete Riders at top of Kennedy

Whine and Dine Remembrance Ride for Grete Johnson
In 1975 Grete graduated from Los Gatos High School. Yesterday, just over 31 years later, a group of her friends gathered just down the street from that school for a bicycle ride in her memory. Before the ride all who were there who knew Grete shared memories about what a nice person she was. A friend and fellow cyclist who knew Grete from Toastmasters rode with us. We rode together as one group. We stopped at the top of Kennedy for a group photo. There were so many of us that folks on the side of the road stopped to watch us go by. After the ride we went to Una Mas to see more people there who did not go on the ride. We had a line out the door of the restaurant and out into the parking lot, somebody noted, "this is the largest number of people we had ever had here." There was easily 55 people attending between the ride dinner.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

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Camera Phone Post: A scooter revival
I saw this cute new Vespa scooter in the Kaiser parking lot. Scooters are so fun to ride. My scooter gets over 100mpg and cost about $1600 new. A fillup costs me about $2.25. Modern scooters are four-stroke and have a catalytic converter, so no more blue smoke like the old two-stroke Vespas. Considering the great utility, low cost, fun factor and great mileage they have I am not suprised I am seeing more and more of these on the road. Since gas is expected to hit $9 a gallon by the end of the decade, I think we will see a lot more.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Edupodder Podcast: Perspective of an Indian Student

Perspective of an SJSU student from India

Edupodder Podcast 25
21:17 duration, 19.4 MB MP3
Posted July 18, 2006

Conversation with Kamlesh Kudchadkar:
To listen to high quality audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
Kamlesh and I had a conversation about what it is like to be an Indian student at San Jose State University. Kamlesh Kudchadkar is a Computer Engineering graduate student in the SJSU College of Engineering. He came to SJSU from Bombay. He shares his experiences, opinions and perspectives in this podcast recorded on June 6, 2006 in downtown San Jose.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Twelve years ago we married

Susie and I at La Foret

Twelve years ago Sue and I married
We were married in a restaurant named La Foret, in New Almaden south of San Jose, on June 17, 1994. We try to go back every year. It is very elegant. We served Silver Oak cabernet at our wedding and sometimes when we go we order a bottle. The food is excellent, this year we went to Sunday brunch.

Ridge wine grapes

After dinner we went to Ridge Winery
Ridge has some of the world's best Bordeaux Blend wines grown right in the hills above San Jose. Two Ridge wines, the 1971 Monte Bello and the 2000 Monte Bello, took top honors in the 30th Anniversary celebration of the "Judgement in Paris" famous tasting. We had a fun tasting and a very nice time at the winery. The view from the vineyard there is stunning. Even though it was very hot we had a great day.

view from Ridge

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Night out for Jeff and Nicole

Nicole and Jeff

Friday night Nicole and Jeff went on a date
Susie and I babysat miss Madison. We had a great time, so did they.

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Grete on a ride

Grete on a ride

Grete Johnson passed away on Tuesday, July 11, 2006.
All are welcome to join in a memorial service at 7:00 pm on Sunday, July 23, as detailed below.

A memorial ride will be held later, and will be listed in the Black and Blue Bottom.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

7:00 pm

Los Gatos United Methodist Church
111 Church Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
phone - 408-354-4730


Following the service there will be an opportunity to continue sharing in the patio area. Please bring finger food to share.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to:
Alzheimer's Association
Northern California & Northern Nevada
2065 W. El Camino Real, Suite C
ountain View, CA 94040

The VMC Foundation - TurningWheels for Kids
2400 Moorpark Ave Suite 309
San Jose, CA 95128 

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Help Desk dinner in Sunnyvale

Great dinner with SJSU Help Desk Staff
Today the staff of the Help Desk took Susie and I out to dinner. We had great Indian food and it was very fun! Most of the staff have been on internships and it was great seeing them all together again. They have become like part of our family. Pictured here, left to right, Pranav, Kishwer, Kenny, Aditi, Shahina (who is now working with Sue at IBM), Nupur and Akshay. It was especially great to see their lovely saris. We had a great time.

Just last May

Grete at GWBR

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bob McDermand

Bob McDermand

Bob McDermand is a local cyclist, a good friend and a uber rider. Recently Bob retired and so what is he doing to celebrate his retirement? He is riding across the US, and back again! His story is here.

In 2001 I wrote a story on Bob for Cycle California when he turned 60. That story is here.

Many miles together

Grete Johnson, 2003

Our bike club is like a family. When we ride together we talk and talk and talk. After the rides we socialize and talk more. Those of us who have been in the club for years share many miles together. We have been through many hills and many valleys together. We look out for each other. When we have problems we wait for and we help each other. That is what families do. There are folks in the club who are closer to me than some of my siblings. These folks, they are my family.

One Tough Cookie, a story and great memories by Grete Johnson.

Surprise meetup

Unexpected meetup with Scoble
Yesterday evening I went to the Silicon Valley Podcasting Meetup group for the first time. Most of the meetups I have been to have been very casual events. I almost didn't go to this one. I had not been feeling well yesterday. I was still stunned and in a daze after learning of my friend's unexpected death. I went expecting the meetup to be what most of the former ones were, just a bunch of folks sitting around talking tech. I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and sandals, today being a hot day. It was very organized. The folks from Podtech being there in force. I met uber geek Eric Rice and heard him talk about podcasting, vblogging, Second Life and more. He seemed to have several threads of conversation going in parallel. The big treat was seeing Scoble. I heard somebody say he was coming. I said wow, it will be great seeing him again. The person who told me said, "do you know him?" I said yes, "he used to work for me and Bob is a friend." Then he said, "I am his new boss." Bob and Maryam had driven down from Seattle. It was good catching up.


Sad news
I am still reeling from the news of the sudden and unexpected death of a friend. I do not want to say more because I do not want other friends to learn of this from my blogs.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Yesterday's Whine and Dine Ride

Cyclists at Sanborn

Cyclists at Sanborn
Last night we had a very pleasant ride up to the youth hostle outside of Saratoga. Steve Carney, Peter White, Colin Johnson, Brian Abbott, Deb Lefferts, Candy Elezy, and Chuck Shultz rode with Jeff and I.



Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Another long tail

Sloan Cats

I discovered Catster
Yesterday while looking at an RSS feed for a new pet related Internet startup, I saw a reference to Catster. Of course I had to follow it! Now our cats have their own Internet presence. This will be expanded upon. Talk about the long tail!

Monday, July 10, 2006

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Camera Phone Post: At lunch with Delilah
Today I had lunch with Delilah, an old friend and coworker at SJSU. We went to the new Bold Knight on First Street. It was kind of a belated celebration of her recent birthday.

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Camera Phone Post: Kernel Panic Monday
This is a Macintosh "kernel panic" which is the same as a Windows "blue screen of death." This is how my day started.

Friday, July 07, 2006

We had lunch at Hawgs

Jeff and Madison at Hawgs

Lunch with sons and granddaughter
Today Kenneth, Jeff and Madison joined me for lunch. We all went to Hawgs and had a great time. It is nice having my family so close and being able to enjoy times like these.

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Sloans with green thumbs

One big zuke

Correction, this is a Zuke, not a Cuke!

Jeff and Nicole's garden grows
They have planted vegetables in a couple of giant planters in their back yard and are realizing a harvest of fresh grown food.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

July third campus BBQ

Staff BBQ at SJSU

Before Holiday BBQ in Academic Technology
On Monday, the day before the holiday, we had a BBQ at lunch. Shown here (left to right) are Shahina, her friend Silve who was visiting from Texas, Kishwer and Mary Fran Breiling. Mary Fran is the head of the Center for Faculty Development, Shahina and Kishwer work at the Help Desk.

Looking back on fun house warming

Katherine and other of Sue's IBM friends

Kathrine's House Warming Lots of Fun
Last Saturday we went to the new home of Kathrine, one of Sue's work friends. It was a lot of fun. I got to meet a number of Sue's friends from IBM I had never met before. They were all very nice people and we had a very good time.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Busy and fun Fourth of July


Big busy fourth of July
Yesterday was a busy day! In the morning, I mean early in the morning, six am early! I had to be at the bike club for our annual pancake breakfast. The breakfast is at 8am and it is the board of the club that is responsible for preparing breakfast for two hundred in the wee hours of the morning. After that I went on a short 26 mile bike ride that included about 49 club members. After I got home from that Sue and I went shopping. Then, last night we went to Deb Wade's house for a party and a very impressive fireworks show. It was a very full day. I fell right to sleep after getting home.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

AOL cancellation story and Cluetrain

In a June 21 WNBC Today interview Vincent Ferrari was interviewed after he recorded a conversation he had with an AOL representative named "Jon" who gave him a big hassel when he tried to cancel his AOL account. It took him a total of 21 minutes to get this task accomplished. Vincent recorded and posted the conversation to his blog. It was then picked up in the blogosphere and the media. To quote the 12th thesis of the cluetrain manifesto:

There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

I am going to play this for all the employees who work at the University Help Desk. Yes, always assume that anything you say to a customer may be posted to the Internet. But, that is not the reason you need to treat clients with respect and listen to them. The reason you need to treat clients with respect and listen to them is because they are our customers and they deserve the best we can give them!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

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Madison with dip on her face (Camera Phone Post)
Yesterday we had a very nice dinner party at Jeff's house. Jeff, Nicole, Madison, Kathy (Nicole's mom), Fran (Sue's mom), Kenneth, Shahina (from the help desk and IBM), Silve (Shahina's friend), Sue and I were there. It was a lot of fun!

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