Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Pretty impressive! They're really tall, the highest at about 150feet, and there are smaller ones about 75feet. Seems each of the big ones generates enough electricity in a day to power an average home for about a month.
Luckily the humidity is going to be about 10% the whole time. We've been drinking a lot of liquids and Shawn's been eating like a freakin' horse the whole time. It's impressive to see him eat about 3 meals at a single sitting.....
We went to dinner at this great seafood restaurant called Fisherman's Market & Grill. The food was great, and plentiful. We sat outdoors, with the warm breeze blowing over us as the sun set for the evening:
So, there's a movie theater called Cinemas Palme D'Or (how chichi is THAT?) in one of the shopping malls (a Westfield, like the one in Silver Spring). We went there to see Thank You for Smoking. It was pretty good - full of irony, some comedy, and overall quite entertaining.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Live from Palm Springs:
We're having a discussion at dinner about cartoons. We're coming to a conclusion that guys who watched Mr. Magoo as kids seem to have stopped watching cartoons at an early age. Those who didn't like Mr. Magoo (like me) still seem to enjoy cartoons as adults.
Whaddya think? Does this hold for you? Add a comment and let us know in an informal poll!
When I picked up my latest cellphone, I didn't realize how handy the high-speed modem function would be!! I've been able to be on the internet the entire time I'm here at anytime I want either using just the phone to look up something when we're out and about, or when using my laptop at the condo for full-fledged activities.
Even better, I've figured out how to share out the connection so that me mates on this trip can have their computers on the internet at the same time. The connection is only 230kbps, so things are a bit slower than cable modem, but it's been amazingly useful for us all to be doing our own thing at the same time. Because the local network I set up uses the internal wireless modems on each machine, we can be in our own rooms, or surfing on the patio, or all playing with our computers in the living room.....
The new round tramcars rotate on the inside so that passengers can stand in one place and be rotated 360degrees to see the entire view. The entire trip was about 10 minutes, and the tram rotated fully twice during the trip up. They said we were moving about 21mph.
We started from the bottom at about 2600 feet (where it was about 85degrees) and at ended up at the top at about 8500 feet (where it was about 55degrees). The view from the top, as the tram docked, was beautiful and even scarier:
We had dinner at the Elevations restaurant, where the food was excellent. Going up the stairs to the restaurant was a chore. Because the air was so thin, we got out of breath pretty quickly. On display in the restaurant was some of the mountain wildlife. They didn't move, so I guess they were stuffed:
It got even colder as the sun went down (into the 40s), and we caught the 9pm tram back down. The lights of the different cities was amazing.....
Doesn't feel like 100degrees, but the humidity is only like 7%, so that's probably why.
Can't believe they're mowing the lawns outside of the condo in the middle of the day.....
Sunday, May 28, 2006
By the way, the first airport building was pretty much totally open when we came off the plane. The building was really just an outdoor area with a roof. Weird. As we walked through to the second building to get our luggage, here's the view of the mountains with the sun setting:
Here's the welcome sign in the second building (this one was enclosed):
By the way, subtract 3 hours from the posting times while we're here to get the local California time.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Saturday, May 20, 2006
ASD's photographer of all our events took a group photo of us. Hopefully I can get a copy soon and post it here.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Ever wonder why there are so few potato chips in those huge bags? Turns out that there are two reasons: (1) the bags get a squirt of nitrogen before sealing to help protect flavor and inflate the bag, and (2) the inflated bag helps keep the chips from getting crunched when they're packed in their shipping boxes.
I never knew that!
(Seen on the Food Network)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
SICK!! Do you hear me? This is too funny! Mr. Cameron is a great comedian. I always laugh at his antics, but this one made me pee a little.....
Yoga Puts Me in a Bad Position
Copyright 2006 W. Bruce Cameron
Experts tell you that to stay in top physical condition, you should keep your strength and cardiovascular workouts in even proportion with your stretching exercises. For years I have done this, keeping all three at the same level, which is to say, zero. But when a newly opened yoga studio sent me a letter telling me I could come in for a free lesson, I was eager to go because it stated the program would be tailored very specifically for my personal needs, which I took to mean there would be a wine-and-cheese party afterward.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word for "smarter than the average bear." It is based on the belief that if you lie twisted up on the floor, one arm behind your neck and the other sticking out between your legs, ankles on opposing shoulders, your knees grinding into your backbone, you will find yourself in a state of mental and physical serenity that only a chiropractor can fix.
When I arrived at the yoga studio I was disappointed to see that I wouldn't be able to take a lesson after all, because a new Mexican cafe had opened up across the street and was giving out complimentary samples. One has to have priorities in life, and my priority is free food. While I was in the restaurant, however, I ran into two yoga students who enthusiastically sold me on the number-one benefit of yoga: Each lesson ends with a nap! It's called "kielbasa," I think they said--the instructor turns off the lights, gives everyone a blanket, and lets you lie there like a kindergartener at rest time.
I told the woman at the yoga center that I wanted the lesson that ended with the nap that sounded like sausage. Within a few minutes I was led into a large gym and guided to a flat mat on the floor.
The instructor was a painfully slender and fit woman whose arms and legs glowed with fake muscle tone. "Before we begin," she announced, "are there any special needs or requests?"
"I'm not sure if it is a need or a request, but I'd like a pillow," I told her.
She laughed--apparently this wouldn't be "full service" yoga kielbasa. "Let's begin," she said, and within minutes was talking us through a series of complex exercises like this: "Take the outer part of your inner right thigh and push it toward the center of your lower left knee, opening your hips" I fell to the floor as if I'd been tossed from a moving bus. "Now reach for the ceiling," she coaxed softly. "Try to feel your rib cage shatter, as your ligaments snap and your muscles shred. That's right. Feel your organs fail and your brain stem swell."
This might not be exactly what she said in her quiet, evil chant, but it is how I interpreted it. Then she had us bend at the waist, feet and hands flat on the floor, at which time it occurred to me that I'd eaten a bean burrito for lunch--and that I was just moments away from having it occur to other people as well.
The sensation was similar to what happens when you swallow an air hose and then become a professional contortionist. Nearly sobbing with effort, I concentrated on not becoming a human Hindenburg while the instructor continued her sadistic drills without any hint of the promised Polish sausage.
"Up down," she commanded. "Ache hurt. Pain die." (Again, this might not be exactly what she said.)
Finally she had us twist ourselves into a position for which the word "impossible" was invented, and I experienced what I suppose might be termed "explosive decompression." It sounded like a tuba player being sat on by an elephant. Everyone looked at me in alarm. "It's okay, I feel a lot better now," I assured them. The people closest to me were so relieved they had tears in their eyes.
By nap time nearly all the students had left, which I thought was rather odd. After all that work, why wouldn't they stick around for kielbasa? It was the best part!
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Write to me at Bruce@wbrucecameron.com
The biggest component of the price of gasoline - recently around 60% - is the cost of crude oil. Worldwide, crude prices have more than doubled in the past two years, causing gas prices to rise.
Refining, transportation, and marketing account for another 20% of the pump price. Then there are federal and state taxes: currently about 20%
Today, the U.S. has around 170,000 service stations. ExxonMobil owns - and sets pump prices - at less than 1,000 of them. The vast majority are independent businesses, whose gross profit per gallon is around 5% - that's less than 12 cents, based on the average price in January.
Of course, the prices you pay at the pump goes up and down. This is due to supply and demand: for crude oil globally, and for gasoline locally. But the way the money is split - between governments, suppliers, refiners and station owners - has hardly changed in 25 years.
During 2005, we invested an average of almost $50 million every single day to meet future oil and gas demand. Since 2001, we have invested $74 billion, on six continents, in projects designed to secure long-term energy supplies. In fact, over the last fifteen years, we have invested more than we have earned. Naturally, our earnings go up and down with the business cycle. But our commitment to plan and invest for the future does not.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
You can see that it holds my phone, plus my Plantronics headset is attached to the closing strap for easy portability.
My only issue is with the belt loop; because it's attached to the case on both sides, I can't easily remove it without taking off my belt. That's a minor issue, though, since I rarely attach stuff like this to my belt. On the other hand, the belt loop is stretchy (like the closing strap) so it's easy to slip onto two fingers for a better grip on the case.
My friends say that I'm obsessive about collecting bags and cases, but here's an example where holding onto one of these really paid off.....
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
However, James (a co-worker) is running in the marathon. Check out his link, and donate freely!
I had like 30 windows open in the middle of some research and wasn't about to log off, so I tried to find the runas command on the file. No go. Don't know why - just another stupid Windows "issue" I'm sure. Microsoft wants people to not use admin accounts for daily use, yet they put up roadblocks all over the place if the logged in account is a regular user.
I finally gave up and closed all the open windows, logged in as an admin, and provided admin rights to my normal login. AT THAT TIME I FOUND OUT that if I tried loading the app in Active Sync logged on as an admin, that just created a whole other set of issues because the PDA wasn't attached to that account, blah BLAH blah BLAH blah BLAH. Made me wanna have a STROKE!!
Oh well. I logged in as myself with my new admin privileges and installed the app. Fuck it - I'm gonna leave the admin privileges there.
I tell ya, when they have pen input for the tablets completed (which I read they're working on), Windows on my home computers will be so history.....
Monday, May 01, 2006
These, of course, are dedicated to my Military Buds, far-flung though they may be! (Hi, Maykel! Hi, Sandra! Hi, Dave! And everyone else, too!)
I don't know how they do it, but I'm enjoying the freedom to pick and choose these as I wish. If they suck, I trash 'em without having to worry that I've wasted money.
I'm slowly getting over the I have to buy the music so that I own it on my hard drive and it's mine all mine issue. As long as I subscribe, the music IS mine, all mine.....