Monday, June 30, 2008

Smoke and Ash Continues

Sunset in smoke

Coatings of Ash

Once again this morning my car had a light coat of ash on it from the hundreds of fires that continue to burn throughout the state. I was born in California and have never ever seen anything like this. It is absolutely amazing.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Sun filtered through trees

Smoke: fear, anxiety and pessimism

I used to think that fire season was California's fifth season, it started somewhere between late August and mid-September and lasted until the first rains in October. This year it seems to be replacing summer entirely. This is a very interesting summer. "May you live in interesting times," is reputedly a Chinese curse, though I have been told no authentic Chinese saying to this effect has ever been found.

With the thousands of burning fires, oil prices setting constant new records, the stock market sliding into bull territory and the dollar becoming worth less and less, I have been sensing more and more fear, anxiety and pessimism in people. The smoke makes it seem worse. We are in a world where things change very rapidly.

That reminds me of another quote, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," that was Franklin D. Roosevelt in his early 1933 presidential inauguration. By 1933 the depression had reached its depth and our country was then also gripped by fear, anxiety and pessimism. The winds of history changed and, after the war, the bad times were slowly blown away.

Much of our fear, anxiety and pessimism is a choice. If we make that choice and dwell on our fear, anxiety and pessimism we may in fact perpetuate the bad times and help things get worse. If instead we choose to be optimistic we can help bring a wind of change and through our positive attitudes and helpful actions we can become part of that wind of change.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Made In China

Tiananmen Square Protester

Remembering Tiananmen Square

As we settle in to view the Olympics. Let's not forget how much it has cost. "The time for the Chinese government to provide the fullest possible public accounting of the thousands killed, detained, or missing in the massacre that followed the protests is long overdue," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack said in a statement on the eve of the 19th anniversary of what China has called the "June Fourth incident."

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly," Martin Luther King Jr.

Train show great fun

Jeff, Madison and Jacob at Slide show

Fun slide show in Santa Clara

Friday night's slide show at the Santa Clara train depot was a lot of fun. Despite the heat that evening we had a good crowd. Jeff came along with Madison and Jacob. Most of the photos I showed were taken before he was born. It is amazing looking back on these old photographs. It doesn't seem like so much has changed. But, when you see the photos, you see, so much has. I saw Jon Porter and we talked a lot after the show. He is an old friend. That was nice.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Photos from Whine and Dine Ride

Photos from the June 17 ride

June 17 Whine and Dine Ride

These photos are posted here from last week's Whine and Dine Ride. It was a great ride with a wonderful social time after!

[Click here to see more photos]

[The Entire Whine and Dine Photo Collection]

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

That 70's Train Show Friday

(I did not write this) - - This month’s meeting of the Central Coast Chapter, NRHS, will be held Friday, June 20, at 8:00 p.m. in the meeting room of the South Bay Historical Railroad Society located at the Santa Clara Caltrain Depot, 1005 Railroad Ave., Santa Clara 95050. Everyone is invited to attend.

Following a brief business meeting, Flimsies founder and Winterail roadie Steve Sloan will give us a look back at railroading three decades ago in his own version of "That ‘70s Show." While the TV show’s star, Ashton Kutcher, plays a photographer in the latest Nikon ads, Steve is the real deal, having extensively photographed the SP, WP, Santa Fe and many other roads in the years just before the mega-mergers that turned everything into...what it is today. So make it on down to the depot and see what you missed before you were born, or what you remember but never got around to photographing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cameraphone: I am at Apple

I am on the Apple campus for a training today. We had lunch at Macs Cafe. It was a good session.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grand Father's Day Weekend


Father's day weekend was grand

It was great spending this weekend with family and friends. It started Friday evening. Sue and I went to see the movie Sex and the City. That was a great film to see following our trip to New York. We enjoyed the movie as we have seen all the episodes of the series.

Saturday morning son Jeff and I went on a bike ride to Morgan Hill. We did 41 miles. On the way we met up with an ACTC ride and had lunch with them at the Morgan Hill Starbucks. There were many of our bike friends on this ride. We had a great ride. The weather was perfect.

Saturday evening my friends from the model railroad club came over. We had a meeting and talked about trains until almost midnight.

Sunday was Father's Day. I met son Kenneth in the morning and we went to Stacks for breakfast. We had breakfast early but there was still a lot of people there. The wait was not too long and we had a great time talking and enjoying the breakfast. Ken had to go to work, so I went home and put together the bike club newsletter and then went shopping.

Sunday evening son Jeff, his wife Nicole and grandkids Madison and Jacob came over for a barbecue. Again, the weather was perfect. Sue's mom Fran also came over and we had a great family evening. We had a great time just hanging out, visiting and talking. Madison is a princess and Jacob is a fine happy baby. Madison got a spot of dirt on her nose. I read a book to her we bought on our trip east. At dinner I opened one of our best bottles of wine. It does not get much better than that!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

July Bike Club Newsletter

July ACTC BBB Newletter in PDF

July ACTC Newsletter has Gone to Printer

This has been a busy last week. A week ago today we returned from a multi-week vacation. Between work and family priorities it has been busy this week. I did get some great family and riding time in, but this issue was rushed!

There will be no time to edit this one. It has just barely gotten done in time to go to the printer. Here it is, I hope you like it!

Thank you everybody who has made this a fine edition. Thanks especially to Naomi for helping so much with the newsletter production and to all the folks who contributed stories, pictures and other content. This has gone to the printer.

Smoke before summer

Sun blotted out by smoke

Smoking Friday the 13th

Normally this happens in September, not June!

The Indians Fire, which has been burning in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey for over a week, blotted out the Sun on Friday the 13th. It caused the street lights to come on in mid-day. Ashes rained down on the south side of the city like a light snow that evening. Just the day before I had washed my car.

What an early fire season. It is not yet even summer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quiet Summer Friday on Campus

Robin on bench at SJSU

They day we went home

Judy and Ray at SFO

The flight home; June 8, 2008

June 8 was the last day of our vacation. We left our hotel at an amazingly early time in the morning. After we cleared security and everything we were waiting to board our flight, Sue said, "hey isn't that Ray?" Yes it was! Our bike club friend Ray and his girlfriend Judy were on the same flight! They very nicely gave us a ride back from SFO to our home in San Jose.

[Click here to see photos on Flickr of this day]

This means the collection of photos from this vacation are complete! You can now see the whole vacation on Flickr. There are folders for each day of our trip.

[Click here to see our vacation photo collection on Flickr]

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

NYC is Hot, Hot, Hot

Street performer in New York

Hot and bent out of shape in Manhattan on June 7, 2008

June 7 was the start of a wicked east coast heat wave. By California standards 92 is not that hot, but the high humidity made it seem like it was ten degrees warmer. How hot was it? It was the seats in the cabs were covered with sweat from the previous riders hot.

After I went to Starbucks we started the day by going to a patio near the top of our hotel. Then, after we checked out leaving our bags for later retrieval, we took a short ride on the subway where we met and talked with one of many nice New Yorkers. We got off the subway uptown and went to Grand Central where we met our friend Colleen. Then we walked around more, as it got hotter, and had lunch. Then, another cab ride took us to Canal Street which is like a big flea market. After that we walked around Soho, Little Italy, Bleeker Street and ended up in an air conditioned bar where we downed Coronas as we waited for Sue's brother John. Each Corona was seven bucks, but heck we're on vacation. John met us at the bar and we had more Coronas as a Yankees game played on the TV.

After the bar we went to the South Street Seaport which was cool in more ways than one. We watched this guy turn into a pretzel, and we had a pretzel. Then, we went to the water and looked at the bridges and the boats.

After the seaport we went back to Little Italy which is pretty much surrounded by Chinatown. There was a ton of people there and found a nice restaurant that was my favorite meal we had there. We drank a bottle of Barbaresco with it. Then, it was another Taxi ride to the hotel. We retrieved our bags and then got another Taxi which took us on another mad mouse ride out to Jamaica near JFK as we had a wicked early flight for California the next morning.

About these photos, Using the slideshow feature of Flickr, in my opinion is the best way to view this. No one photo is meant to tell the story. It is all about the show.

[Photowalk: click here to see photos on Flickr]

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A New York City Day

New York City Taxi

Photowalking in the Big Apple: June 6, 2008

Using the slideshow feature of Flickr, in my opinion, is the best way to view this. No one photo is meant to tell the story of our walking. It is all about the show. The story is how we wandered through the city from our hotel to Central Park, Strawberry Fields, The Dakota, a NY deli, a NY wine bar, a coffee house, Bleeker Street, Little Italy, and back to our hotel at night via taxi.

In my version of photowalking I photograph what my eyes see and take advantage of the free and easy nature of digital photography to create a photographic journal of our wanderings.

[Click here to see more photos]

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vermont to The Big Apple; June 5, 2008

Times Square Movie in Quicktime

Photo walking New York City; June 5, 2008

This day we left Vermont and flew to JFK on Jet Blue. From JFK to NYC we had the first of several insane cab rides for this leg of our trip. This day was the first day for my NYC photo walking. After we checked into the room we took another cab to B&H photo (just to say I have been there) then we walked back via Penn Station and Times Square. Finally we ended up in Central Park. Dinner this night was one of the best pitas I have ever had. It came from a sidewalk cart.

What is photo walking? In my version of photo walking I photograph what my eyes see and take advantage of the free and easy nature of digital photography to create a photographic journal of our wanderings. What better place for this than New York City?

[Click here to see still "photo walking" photos from day]

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Montreal Redeux

Hôtel de Ville

More Montreal Photos Posted

Because of spotty Internet access, and the fast pace of these days, I fell behind posting photos to Flickr. This morning, when I couldn't sleep due to jet lag I caught up a bit. These are from June fourth.

[Click here to see June 4, 2008 Montreal Photos]

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

On the way home

We are flying west over the United States in the seemingly long, but not really long, flight home. We have had a great trip.

This trip was like three vacations, each quite different. The first Washington where we got to spend time with my son Steve, his wife Luci, grandkids Cazden and Saxony, plus be there when new baby Solomon was born! It was very pleasant being able to spend time with them It was also good getting to know Luci's mom Vicki better. We also spent some time in Seattle and Woodinville, Washington on this leg of our vacation. We even had a case of very good Washington wine shipped back.

The second leg was the Vermont vacation. There we spent a lot of time with Sue's old college friends. I went to school where I now work, at San Jose State University (SJSU) and Sue went to University of Vermont (UVM).

UVM is in a college town, Burlington. My impression is UVM students typically live together in dorms or in the many sororities and fraternities there. The school is about a third the size of SJSU and seems to me to be a lot more intimate than SJSU. UVM's revenue includes tuition and it seems to me most UVM students are sent there by parents who pay for their tuition and living expenses.

SJSU is more of a commuter school. While SJSU student fees are high, compared to UVM tuition the cost of going to school is much lower at SJSU. SJSU students often live off campus and pay their own ways to school, often while supporting families. Many of SJSU's students are older with full-time jobs away from campus. SJSU has a lot of night classes, UVM has few if any night classes according to Sue. Also, San Jose has a big university, but it is not a college town like Burlington.

In short, you will likely never have a UVM style reunion for SJSU students. I had a blast and enjoyed meeting her friends, partying in Burlington and hearing the many stories of their UVM experiences as well as learning about everybody's life after UVM. Staying with Sheree and Richard after the reunion and our adventure to Montreal was an added bonus of the Vermont phase of the trip.

The third and final phase of the vacation was our time in New York City. I wish I could spend a month there. What a city! It is truly the city that never sleeps. We rode a subway train, took many scary cab rides and walked a lot. I did my version of what Robert Scoble and Thomas Hawk call "photo walking." In my version you photograph what your eye sees and take advantage of the free and easy nature of digital photography to create a photo journal of your wanderings. Yesterday alone I took well over 200 photos. What better place for this than New York City? We spent time there with Colleen, one of Sue's oldest friends and Sue's brother John. That was a lot of fun. I hope to be able to post many photos of this to Flickr in the next few days.

For now, we are tired, it will be good to be home. There is no Internet access on this plane, so this post will be posted after we land. If you are reading this, we are back in California.

About our vacation? We saw many new places, saw new things, saw family, saw old friends, made new friends, had adventures, made discoveries; we did all that and more.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cameraphone: At the Brooklyn Bridge

From my phone

We are at the New York South Side Seaport enjoying the view. Soon we will be heading to California and home.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

New York Myths Busted

Kabob Cart

Biggest New York Myths (so far,) Busted!

The fancy restaurants have the best food.
Yesterday we had lunch at a nice restaurant at our hotel. The restaurant had a nice terrace with a pretty view and charged over $20 for a burger. Our modest lunch was almost $60. For dinner, I talked Sue into something else. We walked by this tiny kabob cart that had the most wonderful smells and a line of people who were waiting for their orders. They seemed to know the vendor. He kidded with everybody and even with us. The food was wonderful, tender and very enjoyable. It cost ten bucks and the guy selling it was delightfully friendly. Which brings us to myth two...
New Yorkers are unfriendly
Even our mad mouse cab driver paused to help a person in the car next to us when the person in the other car rolled down her window to ask our cabbie directions to a shopping mall. At another stop, a cabbie in another cab rolled down his window to jokingly ask our driver, "where's the ten bucks you owe me?" Friendly banter then ensued as we were stopped in traffic. I am amazed at how friendly New Yorkers are. By and large they are very friendly.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Biggest things in NYC today

biggest things today in new york, hillary and empire state

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Cameraphone: hanging out in Central Park

We're in New York City. It is a warm evening and we are hanging out people watching.

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Cameraphone: heading into NYC

We made a wild rabbit ride into New York City! The cab driver was going over 70 in a 35! He almost ran over a kid on a skateboard.

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Trip to Montreal

Sue having wine in Montreal

Looking back on June 3

On June third we went to Montreal via Exporail, the Canadian Railroad Museum.

After we checked in we went to center street where we got a streetside table at Sir Winston Churchill, a restaurant. There is a big car race coming to town this weekend and the area was full of partiers including the Budweiser Girls.

[Click here to see more photos]

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama wins nomination

We are in Montreal having a great time. What a place to learn of Clinton's defeat. We live in very interesting times. Day after tommorow we are off to Manhattan.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Relaxing Vermont

Downtown Burlington

Relaxing in Vermont

We are at Sheree and Richard's in St. Albans VT. We're relaxing after having some fun, but busy, days. Tomorrow Montreal!

[Trip Photo Collection Here]

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Reunion fun on Saturday

Group in Vermont

A day with old and new friends

Saturday was full of great event with Sue's old and my new friends. We had breakfast together. Shortly after that there was a barbecue lunch at University of Vermont, where UVM's president Daniel Mark Fogel spoke. (The day before we even got to speak with president Fogel. We talked about SJSU.) After lunch some of us went on a walk along the Burlington Lake Champlain waterfront. Then, last night, we had more fun at a dinner dance for the class of 1978.

[Click here to see more photos]

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