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August 2009
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October 2009

Goodbye, girlfriend

06_09 cat in a window closeup

Today someone left us, she succumbed to an unknown feline illness the vets couldn't diagnose. It was her time; the illness reduced her to a shadow of herself, unable to walk, unwilling to eat, plaintively expressing her misery; it was time. We decided not to make her suffer further and took her to the vet for the last time. Ruth was stronger than me, she took her on that final trip while I hid out at work.

09_06 safyl tinged with blue

She was a typical cat, often disdainfully putting up with the people who took care of her from her days as a little kitten, often bored with what was going on around her, often asleep... and often so happy to see us when we came home or got up in the morning. Her given name when we adopted her, Saphyl, never quite fit. To us and everyone who visited our, actually her, house, she was Sophie, or just Soaf. She, in her own small way, helped fill our lives. 

09_05 sophie eyes w soft pencil effect

In the big scheme of things it was a minor event, a cat.... a pet... passing away. In our little scheme, it was a major sad event. Goodbye, girlfriend. 


Rubicon Harvest Festival

Francis Ford Coppola's Rubicon Estates' Annual Harvest Festival member's party... great food, GREAT (really GREAT) wine, great friends and family...

09_09 rubicon stained glass

09_09 rubicon harvest panoramic 2

09_09 rubicon harvest panoramic

Fountains and the Band
09_09 rubicon fountains and band

Death of Era

09_09 death of an era

When we checked into our hotel in San Francisco, a look out the room's window revealed we were across the street from a San Francisco icon: the old Tower Records store at the corner of Bay & Jones.

One of the original record store chains, Tower Records was killed by the advent of digital and internet music, and the rise of the super-stores selling music. Founded in the 60's, the chain quickly became the standard for record stores. I clearly remember coming into The City and making Tower Records a mandatory stop. A slow decline in sales, as well as some really bad management decisions, led into bankruptcies and all the US stores closing in 2006. A few overseas stores and a website survived, under different ownership.

This San Francisco store stands, empty racks still in place, as a reminder of time marching on and those who suffer the consequences of not adapting to changing times.

Oakland International Airport- A different view

09_09 In flight

For years and years I have been flying into the Oakland International Airport, rushing to get a rental car and then zooming off to wherever. Days later rushing back to the airport to return the car and catch a bus to the terminals to fly out.

For all those years I have been going past two areas on the airport property that always intrigued me. Yesterday I had some time to burn waiting to meet folks coming in on a flight so I took a bit of time and visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Park and the Oakland Aviation Museum.  

Click here for a complete set of images.

The Museum was great because it was not a bunch of prettied- up airplanes all restored to their former glory. For the most part this was a bunch of old planes in and around an ancient hanger, most all showing their age. You get a real feel that these planes and their hanger had been worked hard and then discarded when no longer of use.

09_09 aviation museum panorama

How to know it is going to be a bad day...

09_09 bad day How to know it is going to be a bad day...

(ripped from today's headlines)

1. Bad guys' day goes bad.

Coffee break pays off for Minnesota deputies

MANKATO, Minn. — Two Blue Earth County sheriff's deputies didn't have to work too hard to track down four burglary suspects. The suspects, in fact, pulled right into the Happy Chef restaurant where the deputies were on a coffee break Wednesday night. The deputies had been investigating three residential burglaries that night that had similar methods of operation. When they were on their break at Happy Chef, a report of another burglary came in from Le Sueur County with a description of the suspects' pickup truck.

A truck matching the description then pulled into parking lot and the deputies didn't have to go far to make an arrest. And, the stolen goods, including laptop computers, other electronics and jewelry, were in the back.

Captain Rich Murry said even a coffee break can be productive.

2. Good thing the resident fell asleep on couch or it could have been a REALLY bad day!

Airborne car rips through 2nd floor of NY house

NEW YORK — Police say a drunken driver sped through a stop sign and hit an earthen mound before going airborne and smashing his Jeep into the second floor of a New York home.

The spectacular wreck happened just after midnight Saturday in East Moriches (MOR'-ih-ches) on Long Island.

The Jeep ripped a giant hole in the side of the house, then fell into a foyer on the first floor. It came to rest on its rear end with its headlights pointing skyward.

The only person home at the time was asleep on the couch on the first floor. He was not hurt.

The 20-year-old driver suffered minor injuries. A passenger walked away unscathed.

Suffolk County Police charged the 20-year-old with driving while intoxicated, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

Reality skews slightly off center

Look around. Everything look normal? Sure, a fleeting glance assures you that everything is just as you would expect it.

How about that sign over there? it looks like a ubiquitous sign for a piece of property for sale. Read it again... does that really make sense? Why need more parking for something that is not there yet?

09_09 additional parking

Okay, okay... maybe if you DON'T think too much about it, the sign might make a warped kind of sense.

Walk on down the street. Why, in this lush humid environment (compared to Phoenix!), does someone put out plastic flowers?

09_09 plastic flowers

Oops, sorry... it it is a trick of light that redefines what we expect to see. What is real appears plastic when lit by artificial light just before sunrise.  

Reality in a very reality- based world moves slightly away from our pre-conceived expectations when we look closer, in the early morning at Lafayette, Indiana.

Is your computer male or female?

09_09 Computer-Trash This has been around for a while, but it is still funny...

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la casa.'
'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'
A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether 'computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The mens group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:
  1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
  2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
  3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
  4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
The womens group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine ('el computador'), because:
  1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
  2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
  3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
  4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.