Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On the other hand

On one hand

On one hand and on the other hand
This video from talks about the war.

Big Trains

UP steam locomotive

Ken and I are making a movie
My youngest son Kenneth has been scanning hundreds of train photos taken in the late thirties and early forties. These were taken by and/or are from the collection of Bill Darrough. This is an amazing collection of photographs. In a conversation with Bill's brother Jack in August of 1988 Jack said, "Bill died in 1942, he was 22 years-old. He suffered from severe teenage acne and they had treated it with massive doses of radiation, which at the time was thought harmless. The radiation cleared his acne but Bill died of cancer." According to Jack, he and Bill came from a railroad family. The members of a railroaders family were then given passes and could travel free on the nation's passenger trains. The period that Bill lived in was near the climax of the era of steam railroading in this country. Jack said Bill would pack two suitcases, one with film and the other with sandwiches and the young man would go on trips alone photographing trains. In my opinion had he lived he would have been one of the greatest railroad photographers of the twentieth century. It is an amazing story and so Ken and I are trying to tell it. We will be presenting the video movie in March at a railroad convention named Winterail.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Little Trains

CCMRC train run

On Saturday we had an operating session
Saturday we had an operating session at the California Central Model Railroad Club, the train club that Kenneth and I belong to. One of the most relaxing things I know is going to this club and running trains. The club members are a great bunch of guys and it is a lot of fun.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Family Visit

Madison Sloan

A visit to the grandparents
On Saturday night, as Ken and I were working on our Winterail show, Jeff, Nicole and Madison came over for a visit. Madison chased and played with the kitties as we visited and shared family news. Madison also posed for the camera a lot. It was a fun visit.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Old trains

Sp 3106 on Sunset

Old train pictures
Twenty years ago, over the space of a couple of years, I printed a huge train picture collection. These were photos by a fellow named Bill Darrough. It was an amazing collection and this year I am doing a show about it for Winterail. It will be a lot of work, but the pictures need to be seen.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The students are back!

ASC SJSU stage area

Spring Semester is Here
School started last Wednesday and boy have we been busy! It is like everyone found out about the Academic Success Center over winter break, they are coming in droves! It is amazing how the campus can change over night. It is so quiet when school is out. I like it both ways quiet is nice but students are why we are here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Life Certificate


"Hey, my name is Rianna,
I am a Junior at Tesoro High School and I am on the varsity song team." This is what her MySpace blog says. According to the LA Times, "Rianna Woolsey, a 16-year-old cheerleader, last logged onto on Dec. 6, 2005. She died the next day when her car smashed into a tree near her home in southern Orange County." Her page that has not changed since her death. The page is a time capsule of a life cut short. The only part that is different is the section where readers post comments. Since her death over a year ago, friends have written nearly 700 messages there.

When I look back over my life I think often of the last words spoken by friends and relatives before they died. My first wife crashed into a telephone pole on April 21, 1991. She was 33 when she died. This blog post is about more than the fact that we must be aware that every day may be our last, that we are not immortal, that we must live life in the present because we never know what the future holds. All of this is true. The extension of it is also true about our blogs and our other Internet presence.

Every blog post we make builds our legacy and tells the story of our lives. This is so important, this is what folks will look back on when we are gone. This is our lives with permalinks and cached in Google. Her words, my first wife Candy's words, or my sister's words, or my father's words, all these words and stories I have and the stories you have we hold in our memories can now be written and shared in a world by us and those living with us and preserved for a world without us. Rianna's continuing story is in the comments of Rianna's MySpace page. Her memory is shared for those who never knew her there. It is a story started by her before her death certificate and still being written by those who remember her.

Gone the Sun
In the book Gone the Sun, Winston Groom writes, "Sometimes I think we should be issued another paper, a Life Certificate if you will – which could contain some brief statement for historical purposes that could explain how a person lived and what they accomplished and where they failed and why."

This is your last blog post
Rianna's MySpace page has become like Groom's Life Certificate. Even more poignant than the last words spoken, those last words blogged. What will they be? As you blog always keep in your mind, this may be the last blog post. Someday it will be, likely when you don't expect it to be, someday it will be. We are writing our own autobiographies. These words will shape our memories. They will be our life story.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Balmy days in San Jose

Students in shorts

Students enjoy balmy false Spring days
The days have been lovely. It has been great to be able to go out in lighter apparel, especially after our recent cold spell.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Brad Mangin

Brad Mangin

Brad Mangin in San Francisco
Earlier this month I ran into Brad Mangin at MacWorld. Brad is an excellent, excellent, sports photographer who graduated from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1988. After meeting Brad at the Apple event I went to see his presentation the next day at the San Francisco Apple Store. Brad's specialty is baseball. He is a regular shooter for Sport's Illustrated and Major League Baseball Photos. He is a heck of a nice guy too and has been a friend of the school's for years. He has come back to SJSU many times to be supportive of our students and our photojournalism program. Brad's presentation at the Apple store was about his work; how he has continued to develop and market his sport's photography through Of special interest were the many photos he has of Barry Bonds. What a great photographer Brad is! I really enjoyed his presentation.

Cat's Eyes

Shadows eyes

Shadow has stark eyes
When shadow got outside in November we finally found him under a bush. It was his huge eyes that gave him away. They were peering out like giant headlights that seem to pierce inside your soul.

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Editorial: Dangerous cyclists and drivers

Amid reports of another cyclist almost killed by another apparently negligent driver a cyclist wrote, "it be nice if all cyclists could file a class action suit against any drunks/aggressive drivers who we all face but are lucky enough to escape from."

I think this would only be fair if the reverse would be true; if good motorists could also collect from aggressive cyclists who create a dangerous situation with the possibility of causing an accident the good drivers are lucky enough to escape from.

Just as there are bad drivers there are also bad cyclists. A week ago my wife Sue and I were driving west on Shannon after a hike. We passed a cyclist who was going up hill. As we descended the road (at the speed limit) the cyclist pulled up behind us, inches from our rear bumper, filling up my rear view mirror. He was a big guy with a white beard who looked like Santa Claus and was riding what looked like a green Masi. There was no place for me to pull over to let him pass. Everytime the road pitched up he dropped back. When the road pitched down he was back in my mirror. I maintained the speed limit (as I always try to do) no matter the incline.

If a deer had pulled out in front of me I would have had to hit the deer or else, had I hit the brakes, have this idiot cyclist plastered all over the back of my Subaru. Had the idiot cyclist been driving a motorized vehicle his tailgating would have been clearly against the law. But, some cyclists seem to think it is okay to "draft" vehicles at any time without the drivers consent. Had I not been a cyclist myself this dangerous behavior might soured me on all cyclists.

I think we should prosecute all folks on the road who drive or ride dangerously and should be able to file appropriate suits. I wonder how we would identify this class though as it involves both motorists and cyclists as well? Perhaps we could call them "idiots on the road"?

As a driver/cyclist I am constantly amazed and frightened by what folks on the road do these days. I always try to leave at least four seconds between myself and whatever is on the road in front of me except when I pass. When cyclists draft cyclists, even when both are consenting and working together it is hazardous But, at least both parties are consenting. I crashed my bike a couple of years ago when I was on my way to work drafting another cyclist. A car pulled out of a side street, through a stop sign in front of my riding buddy. I broke three ribs when my buddy had to stop quickly and I hit his rear tire. The car that pulled out in front of my riding partner kept going without stopping. When cyclists draft cars that do not consent to being drafted, it can be frightening for the driver and add to road hostility.

I was almost hit twice within about 5 minutes last Friday by lunatic drivers; and I was in my car! I think there is a growing level of anger and selfishness that is manifesting itself on our roads. Cars are lethal weapons! Have you seen car ads on TV lately? They show people driving like lunatics and sell cars based on how they can be used aggressively!

In my opinion: Anything that can be done to lower the tension level on the road and increase civility among road users is a positive thing. I believe only by treating each other with respect, building change one user at a time, refusing to give in to anger, giving folks space and at times returning kindness for rudeness can we diffuse the mess our roads are. In my opinion it is not about car vs. bike, or even car vs. car. I think it goes deeper than that.

If you have time for a video, I wish we had this kind of patience and respect for each other and could manifest that in how we use the roads.

Too many innocents are dying, both cyclists and motorists!

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tupper in Sue's Lap

Tupper on Susie's lap

A rare moment for tupper
Tupper is a sweet kitty. But, she is rarely is a lap cat. Recently though, she settled into Susie's lap.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Portland drivers in the snow

Thank God we live in the bay area!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hills close to home

Susie on hike

Another Picture from our walk in the hills
I love that this is so close to where we live.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sun through trees

Sun through trees

Picture from our walk in the hills
On Monday we went for a hike, then went to see a movie, then went out to dinner. It was a great day!

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Train Wreck: Stay out of first cars

Commuter train wreck

Most commuter trains today work in push mode
That means the locomotive is very often behind pushing the cars so the train is like it is moving backwards. Riding in the first car or two on a train in "push mode" is not a good idea. The passenger car is like a hollow tube and if the train runs into anything, like another train with a locomotive on the front, the riders of the train are at a severe disadvantage.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We like to hike together

Susie hiking

We like to hike
We are lucky to live in an area surrounded by hills and groves of trees. It is a great place to go for walks. The views can be stunning from the hilltops. Hiking is one of our favorite ways to spend time together. Yesterday we went for a hike in Almaden Quicksilver Park.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Christmas Mayan Caribbean Escape: Enlightenment

Chichen Itza, El Castillio

One of the greatest things about going away is learning how other cultures have answered the common questions of life. On December 28, while we were in Mexico, we took an excursion to Chichen Itza. What an amazing place. Going to the Mayan Riviera and not going to Chichen would be like going to Egypt and never going to the pyramids. It was a full day trip, but we will never forget this wonderful adventure.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Camera Phone Post: From the InDesign User Group Meeting

Rich Media PDF's and Podcasting
Bob Connolly presenting at the Bay Area InDesign User Group meeting Thursday January 11 on using Adobe InDesign to build interactive PDF "rich media" files. Connolly's presentation was great! According Connolly, "Acrobat documents “converged” with audio, video, and interactive content— it’s the wave of the future and it’s called rich media." Just a couple of hours earlier, at MacWorld, I saw a presentation by Phillip Torrone of O'Reilly Publication's Make Magazine. Torrone's presentation was on the future of Podcasting and the ability to use RSS 2.0 feeds to feed PDF podcasts. It was an example of serendipitous synchronicity that these two presentations were made at almost the same time. Taken together the possibilities are much greater than the sum of the parts.

Camera Phone Post: Tablet Mac

Finally a tablet mac!
Andreas Haas is the designer of the ModBook and the president of Axiotron the maker of the Axiotron ModBook. The ModBook is the only new Mac introduced at MacWorld 2007 and this baby really rocks! I wish Apple had done this years ago, but this is very cool.

Camera Phone Post: AppleTV

AppleTV presentation
The sleeper Apple product of the show may be Apple TV. This is NOT a replacement for your Tivo. It is really a whole new toy. It is a great platform for Video Podcasting and videoblogging and brings videoblogging, as well as other multimedia content into the living room.

Camera Phone Post: iPhone Worship

Iphone worship.

Camera Phone Post: Back In The City Again

Camera Phone Post: Back In The City Again
It is as cold as I ever recall it being in the bay area. I shivered on my way back to SF for day 2 of MacWorld.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Camera Phone Post from MacWorld

I am in the Microsoft Blogger Lounge at MacWorld at Moscone. Thanks Microsoft for making this available to bloggers. Speaking of Microsoft, do you know that Microsoft has hired Stephanie Quilao as their west coast blogging evangelist? Is that cool or what. Unlike Apple, Microsoft has been very supportive of blogging and bloggers and I appreciate that. IMHO the Borg days of Microsoft are so last century.

I am very impressed with the Apple iPhone I can hardly wait to get one. It is going to be a great tool. I wonder if it will be able to be used to subscrribe to podcasts directly? From what I have seen it is still very much a spoke rather than a hub in the Apple digital hub model. As a personal device for me that won't be such a a problem, but as a tool for education that could be a real issue!

Multimedia message

Pulling into the city.

Multimedia message

I am on the train to macworld. This should be an interesting show. I am looking forward to seeing their new phone.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Buildings, reflections and light

Buildings, light and reflections

Camera Phone Post: What is the best part of having a camera phone?
You never know what you are going to see. Maybe it will be a news event or maybe it will be a great convergence of light, buildings and reflections. But, with a camera phone you are always able to capture the moment. That is pretty powerful magic!

Happy New Year

Madison at party

What a pip!
Granddaughter Madison celebrates the new year at Sunday's birthday party for Kenneth and holiday celebration.

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Kenneth turned twenty

Kenneth and Madison

Kenneth turned 20
Sunday was Kenneth's 20th birthday. We celebrated with him. Jeff, Nicole and Madison came over and we had cake and a big dinner.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

El Dorado Royale Main Pool

Here is the main pool at our hotel.
Cancun and the Riviera Maya in Mexico

This cool video has a lot of shots from where we went on our holiday escape.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Rain on campus

Rain reflection SJSU

Rain on campus
This is Winter Session and the campus is very quiet and peaceful. When the rain comes the puddles form in the usual places resulting in reflections of familiar places on campus. Reflections are like paintings laying flat on the earth. These paintings appear in the still places, then they fade away.

I took this photograph yesterday while walking across campus on an errand. The person walking across the top of the frame made the picture I think.

Christmas Mayan Caribbean Escape: Nice People

Nice people from our vacation

Nice People
We met some very nice people on our vacation. Some we had very pleasant conversations with included Scott and Carolyn as well as some others. We met a very nice couple from Canada who were our neighbors on the pool side one day and another nice couple we spoke with on a bus excursion.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

New heater for us and cats

Cat by the heater vent

A new heater for the us and the cats
Our old heater was about 30 years-old. It was due for replacement. Our Burmese cats are very poorly insulated and they sleep on and under the covers with us at night. So yesterday we got a new and much more efficient heater. We got this just in time for another cold front.

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Christmas Mayan Caribbean Escape: Flight

Flight to Cancun

Flight has two meanings. It means to fly as well as to run away. Susie and I did both. Sometimes you just got to get away. Only by leaving could we get away from the phones, computers and stress of daily life. The worst part of vacations like ours was that it had to end.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Mayan Caribbean Escape: Relaxation

Sue catching the sun

Relaxation in Cancun
After an insanely busy Fall for both of us, it felt so wonderful to get away from it all. The pace was so slow and the climate was so pleasant that words can hardly describe the relief this vacation was for us.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

We are back from Mexico

Susie in the pool

We are back from Mexico
We are back from our very relaxing trip to Mexico. We stayed at the El Dorado Royale Resort near Cancun. I will be chronicling some of the great experiences we had there on my family blog, located here!

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