Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The bear at the Bellagio



Here's the bear in the Bellagio (Vegas) xmas display.  Its adorable, but if it was real, I'd never be this close.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Senseless Sunday: fruitville


  • The peanut is misnamed since it is actually a legume.

  • Pineapples are coalesced berries.

  • If a raisin is dropped into a glass of fresh champagne, it will float and sink over and over.

  • From 1923 to 1969, Illinois had a law making American their official language[1].

  • After Canada and Mexico, Russia is the nearest neighbor to the United States, via Alaska. In the middle of the Bering Strait, Russia’s Big Diomede Island and the U.S.’s Little Diomede Island are only two miles apart. "I can see Russia from my house."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Android Top 10 Utility, Tools and Communications Apps for 2010

A lot of new apps are now available on the Android Market this year. With so many new apps and Android phones, it's hard to keep up. So, I'm going to do several top ten app lists for various categories this year. This is the 2010 installment of my Top 10 Android Utility, Tools and Communications Apps for 2010, in no particular order.

  • Star Contact by StarObject provides advanced Contacts search functionally that is missing from almost all smartphones (even Palm). Though I do not use this app every time I need to look up contact, it proves itself to be essential when searching contacts based on criteria other than a person's name. (Also listed in 2009.)
  • Easy Dialer Premium by UIP ($) does cost a small nominal fee, but it is worth the chump change! It provides a well designed speed dial interface that really should be the standard for any Android smartphone. There is a free version with small and unintrusive ads called Easy Dialer. (Also listed in 2009.)
  • App Referrer by Drathus allows one person to quickly give an app to another person's phone by scanning a simple barcode. (Requires Barcode Scanner app from Google.)
  • Blogaway by Kumar Bibek is a simple and convenient method to post articles to your blogger.com blogs.
  • WordPress by Automattic, Inc (WordPress makers) is a fairly powerful app that allows you to add and edit comments, articles and pages to your WordPress blog.
  • Shazam by Shazam Entertainment Ltd is a powerful tool that can quickly identify a work of music just by listening to it, with information about the artist, myspace pages, etc.
  • FPT System Manager by FPT Software is a powerful app provides detailed system and app information, with many tools built-in. Unfortunately, this app may no longer be available.
  • Mute by Marko Mitic is a very simple tool that allows for one-button press to toggle the fully muted mode on the Android phone. This is on my home screen and I use it almost every day.
  • Tip Calculator by Techmind determines a tip on the pre-sales tax price. It also calculates the amount each person owes on split bills. There are many tip calculators on the Android Market, but this is gets straight to the point with a simple and easy to use interface.
  • Twidroyd for Twitter by PostUp, Inc is a great Twitter client app with a lot of bells and whistles that are missing from Twitter.com homepage. It tracks multiple accounts, has LivePreview which automatically shows webpages or profiles associated with a particular tweet, and has an intuitive interface. There is also a paid version called Twitdroyd Pro for Twitter, which I recommend if you want additional control over your Twitter experience.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Senseless Sunday: stop the numbers!

  • Adding 10 inches to 6 millimeters equals exactly 26 centimeters (10 in + 6mm = 26cm).
  • Tautonyms is the word for scientific names where the genus and species are the same.
  • Taxi is spelled exactly the same in English, French, German, Swedish, Portuguese, and Dutch.
  • Mexico uses the Spanish word alto on stop signs; Spain uses the word stop.
  • Don’t ask a quantum physicist to define the time length for a jiffy. You might get a long answer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Senseless Sunday: eyeing time

  • The old statement “a broken clock is right at least twice a day” is meaningless if the clock is digital.

  • The tool used in old shoe stores to measure foot size is called a Brannock Device.

  • The eye muscle is the fastest reacting muscle of the whole body. It contracts in less than 1/100th of a second.

  • The number googolplex cannot be written out since a googol of 0’s (zeros) cannot fit into the observable universe.

No on 20 and Yes on 27 (my personal experience)

As someone who has gone through the applicant process for the Prop 11 Citizens Redistricting Commission, I can say from personal experience that the process is very bizarre. The Applicant Review Panel, which selected the applicants, is not following the constitutional requirements in how they have selected the applicants. They have extended deadlines in direct violation of the Prop 11.

My personal experience have given me the impression that the Panel didn't seem to understand how to assess the skills of average Californians when picking applicants. They have selected a body 60 individuals, many of whom might be described as academic elitists and career bureaucrats. To illustrate this point, the body of 60 applicants (in the current pool that will eventually be narrowed down to 14) is heavily favored towards those who are in the highest tax brackets, and almost all have higher education degrees. Less than 30% of Californians have such degrees and far less have such incomes, yet the current applicant pool almost entirely of consists of college grads, including a high number of PhD's.

It doesn't seem like the current pool of applicants represent the average Californian. This is not in the spirit of Prop 11. I don't believe this is what Californians expected when they voted for Prop 11. Additionally, the semi-final random selection process (random drawing for the first 8 of the eventual 14 individuals) will not be guaranteeing compliance with Prop 11 either!

Prop 11 and Prop 20 might be good in principle, but have just turned out to be yet another Sacramento mess, in my opinion. There has got to be better solutions out there. We are better off not having Prop 11 or 20 right now. Seeing the mess from the inside has prompted me say No on Prop 20 and Yes on Prop 27 this year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Right Turn rule in California

There are a lot of areas of confusion about some California driving laws. This was discussed in article that is part of an on-going series in the San Jose Mercury News that covers readers' questions about driving. The article supposedly provides some final answers about some very common driving questions. Since the article doesn't site many of its sources, it's tough to trust it 100%. The article does make some interesting statements.

One of the biggest questions in California is about something called free right turn. Many larger intersections have right turn lanes that are separated (channelized) from the intersection by a traffic island. These lanes rarely have signals or signs directly associated with cars in the lane. The confusion comes from how to use the lane when there is a red light in that direction. In most cases, a right turn is allowed on a red light only after a full and complete stop. However, when there is a separated lane, the car may treat it as a yield. In other words, it's OK to precede on a right turn as a yield on a red light (if safe) for separated right turn lanes.

Here's the funny part. There is no law on the books in California that actually make this declaration, as far as I know. The free right turn rules seems to come out of the same absence of law regarding the requirement for a stop on red for those lanes. It's important to note that this rule only applies if the traffic signal is after the segregation of the right turn lane (which does make sense).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 3

Allie, her parents and myself arrived in Juneau, AK on board the Norwegian Pearl. There wasn't much to see within walking distance of the pier; just some tourist shops. I'm glad we planned ahead for a whale watching cruise.

After a lengthy ride on a bus (with a driver that was more than happy to tell her personal story of how she and her husband ended up in Alaska), our tour group arrived at a small dock in Auke Bay. The tour boat had a heated cabin. We took off from dock and headed out of the bay.


View Larger Map


At first, there were no whales in sight. As we headed north, we began to see spouts of water off in the far distance. The crew finally got us near some humpbacks. Over the next couple of hours, the boat went from one area to another trying to give us a glimpse of the whales. As the day progressed, we had better sightings.


Near the end of the tour, we watched excitedly as a whale lunged out of the water to fill its mouth full of fish. That was an impressive sight!

As we headed back to dock, I asked Allie's mom how many whales she spotted. She excitedly held up her hand showing all her fingers and said, "FIVE!" with as big of a smile as I've ever seen gleam. Everyone had a lot of fun on this excursion.

Navigation: See all Alaskan Cruise articles here

Links to Alaskan Cruise articles

Alaskan Cruise pre-day
Alaskan Cruise Day 1 and 2
Alaskan Cruise Day 3
Video of Whale Watching cruise
Alaska Cruise Day 4: Skagway and the Safari
Alaska Cruise Day 5: Glacier Bay!
Alaska Cruise Day 6: Ziplining
Alaska Cruise Day 7: Not Alaska (B.C.)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Nice to have authentic burrito

One thing I miss from Salinas Valley is regular access to authentic home cooked Mexican food. There's plenty of good Mexican places in Silicon Valley, but there's something just a little bit better when eating Mexican food closer to the source. Finding places like that require a keen eye and a good memory. Since I'm not likely to get Mexican home cooking these days, I have to be mindful of where to go to find good authentic food. One place I found is Chavez Supermarket on Fair Oaks in Sunnyvale. It is not an actual supermarket. It's a small Mexican grocery store. Go in and walk to the back of the store. Order tacos, burritos or whatever. Then, enjoy.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tuesday Two: Loonie fingers


Tuesday Two


springtire

NASA and Goodyear teamed up to develop a "spring tire" that can bare 800 lbs without air. It is designed for Lunar and Martian exploration. The tire is more energy efficient and won't blow-out (which sucks on Earth, but would really suck on the Moon.)

cemssys

CEMS Systems now has a portable fingerprint reader, useful for roaming and ad-hoc security checks, such as construction sites or bus boarding.

Epoch-Fail


Remember those obnoxious jerks that used to walk around city streets supporting a loud boom-box on their shoulder? Well, there back! Here's an invention that tells the world that you just don't care about other people around you. It's the Stereo Neckphones!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Two: Shingles Thermometer

Tuesday Two


shinglepic

Dow will soon make a roof shingle that generates solar power. It's called DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle. Home and business owners will soon have more options to help power their homes, businesses and occasional gazebo. Viva Sol!


pillsthermo

CorTemp Ingestible Core Body Thermometer Pill isn't just a mouthful of words, it's actually a thermometer that you swallow! Once the pill is ingested, a quartz crystal sensor vibrates at a frequency that is relative to the body's temperature. This creates a low-level signal that can be detected outside of the body.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Failed predictions by Sylvia Browne


Sylvia Browne makes a lot of predictions. Every once in awhile, she claims this or that successful prediction. In her book The Other Side and Back, Browne even boosts,

I could fill a separate book with my predictions that have come true...

She doesn't talk about her unsuccessful predictions very often, from what I've seen. I imagine she has many, indeed. I'm not going to get all high and mighty about failed predictions. I'm just going to list a few.

In the book mentioned above, Sylvia has a list of predictions for the year 2000 that did not end up happening or that where so basic that they really don't count (whether right or wrong).

Predictions:
  • Three major hurricanes, with hits in Florida and Carolinas (among other regions). Fail. According to USA Today, "no hurricanes hit the USA" in 2000.
  • Notable earthquake hits Niagara Falls in 2000. Fail. The last notable quake in that area occurred in 1897.
  • Bill Bradley won the presidential election and there was "close competition from the Reform Party". Fail and Fail. Though that election may have been stolen with the wrong outcome, Bradley and the Reform Party were no where in sight.
  • David Letterman quits his nightly show at the end of 2000. Fail. Even after the scandals of 2009, he's still running strong.
  • Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston marry. Success! But is this really a prediction or something that was rather obvious? She also predicted they wouldn't last long. They didn't last, but they did last longer than many Hollywood marriages.
  • In 2000, there would be a new flu strain that would start in the Eastern U.S. Asian immigrants coming into the U.S. would "help quell this flu virus". Fail. Although a new flu strain popped up in 2005 called Avian Flu, and that was actually blamed on an Asian source. So, I count this as a double and triple fail.
  • In the year 2010, aliens will be seen on Earth and act as observers. She also predictions they will teach humans about the anti-gravity technology. I'll make a counter prediction. No aliens. No anti-gravity devices.
There are many other unsuccessful predictions, though the point seems to be made fully.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

gol10dr's butt learns to tweet


@gol10dr: .

@gol10dr: Vkp

@gol10dr: V vn

@gol10dr: Oops! Sorry my phone was in my pocket, tweeting all by itself!  Butt tweeting?

RT @fcsuper: RT @gol10dr: Oops! Sorry my phone was in my pocket, tweeting all by itself!  Butt tweeting?

RT @gupta9665: RT @gol10dr: Oops! Sorry my phone was in my pocket, tweeting all by itself! Butt tweeting? hahahaha. so you both share same id on Twitter ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ocean's Edge

Sun sprinkles below
Waves' crests and pitches dancing
Cliffs glorious view

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Astronaut declares government is hiding evidence of aliens

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, a member of the 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission, has recently declared last year that the U.S. and other governments are concealing evidence of aliens and UFOs. Mankind has long wondered if we're "alone in the universe. ...only in our period do we really have evidence. No, we're not alone," Mitchell said.

He bases this conclusion because he grew up in Roswell, NM and have had individuals come forward to him that admitted to see some of what was going on with the infamous Roswell crash. When even insiders are coming forward, it is hard to ignore the questions regarding aliens.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Tuesday Two


GM Prototype using Lexan GLX PC resinExatec, LLC has developed a glazed polycarbonate material as a lightweight alternative to glass which promises to revolutionize automotive roofs and other exteriors. The material is known as Lexan GLX PC resin.

CPR Training AED's have saved many lives since 1985. There is a myth that the FDA would not approve AED's because the device had to be used on an unconscious patience, which violated a rule that required patience consent. Fortunately, this is nonsense. An AED was actually approved for home use by the FDA in 2004.

Epoch-Fail

The M80 Stilletto is a high speed ship designed for special ops. It has reached over 50 knots during early tests. It represents possible leading technology in future wars. It is also under consideration by the U.S. armed services. Sounds impressive. The problem? It's being advertized. The fact that the makers of the M80 Stilletto are promoting it as a product in a public venue shows that it might not be a military game changer. If this was a serious option for the military, I'm doubtful most of us would have known about it for at least a decade.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 1 and 2

Allie, her parents and myself boarded the Norwegian Pearl in Seattle on Sunday in early May 2010. This was Allie's and my first time on a cruise ship. Walking to the cabins was a bit of a surprize. The Pearl has long and narrow corridors (to access the cabins on each deck) that extend nearly the full length of the ship. Even with the ship still docked, this was a little unnerving. We got used to it by the end of the day.

The cabins where about as I expected. A bit smaller than I'm used to. There was enough room for two of us in each cabin without tripping over each other too often. The restroom was the most cramped. I'm not a big person (not even close), and I even had a little trouble getting comfortable on the toilet. The bed was comfortable and spacious. The curtains were very thick. When closed, they would literally make the cabin fill like night, even in the middle of the day.

Although I felt the ship was very large, it didn't seem to have some of the amenities that one comes to expect from an offering of this sort. The shops were in one small section of the ship. There was a couple of gift shops and a jewelry shop and that's about it. The lounge area at the center of the ship seemed spacious at first. However, after seeing how quickly it got cluttered with various events, it also seemed a bit undersized.

Once the ship left Seattle, we spent the rest of that day and all of the following Monday at sea (called a "Sea Day"). The four of us spent most of this Sea Day getting acquainted with the ship. Our cabin had a nice balcony. I found it to be very relaxing to just lounge on the balcony, watching the ocean fly past me. I was able to spot dolphins once or twice. During lunch at the buffet restaurant, we spotted some whales too.

The food was so-so. There was a good selection at the buffet, but the quality did not live up to expectations. Monday evening, we dined at a restaurant at the rear of the ship. Our table was right at the stern. Before the sun set, I was fascinated by the water being churned up in the wake as the ship moved forward. The restaurant was decorated in a Russian-style. The food was good. Unfortunately, this would be best food we would encounter on the ship over the next week.

Navigation: See all Alaskan Cruise articles here

Sunday, July 25, 2010

California Nature (final version/republished)

Your journey roads herald adventure,
Impelling me to climb your cloven heights,
And romp carelessly,
as aureate poppy fields beckon.

Sun-kissed waters bounce along your shoreline.
They entice me to surf the crashing calm waves.

Canopy-enveloped valleys thrive with floral scents
That draw my ingression, but I forestall.

Instead I caper like Racetrack Playa’s sailing stones,
Which tickle your basin by some unseen will.

I endeavor to hike your proud hills,
And find places to gaze lostly into lakes full with sky.

Vineyard nectar overflows like sweet sweat,
To spur my soul’s arousal as I partake.
Your boundless attributes gratify my wanderlust,
And allure me to appease your nature.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Walk Through the Forest (old high school assignment)

Statistics:
By Matthew Lorono
Dated 7/26/89
For English Class (High School) writing assignment
Teacher review and bonus: "Excellent! Bravo! +25"
Personal commentary: This is fairly inventive written work that is surprisingly entertaining, despite the fact that I was 16 when I wrote it. It is in a simpler yet still enjoyably moody style. It does mix past and present tenses in a way that I would now avoid.


A Walk through the Forest


To who ever sees this:

I was walking along the yellow lined edge of the forest of Evaile. The trees around [me were] of a dark rotten nature. As I walked on, the trees seemed to close in, ever so unnoticeably, but yet, I did notice. I noticed only after I stopped walking. It was then I saw. I saw the trees closing in on me. One branch even dared to tap [me] on the should[er]. I looked. It was a branch of a tree I remembered seeing just five minutes before.

The Sun was going down, and I continued to walk on, to avoid being stuck in the trees; walking along the yellow lined edge of the forest of Evaile. The forest [grew] closer, overlapping the path, even as the very same forest [grew] darker. Yet, I still walked. I still walked through this forest.

It was now twilight, and I still walked. The trees closed in so that I brushed up against them continuously. I gained many scratches, but I still walked on and on. The trees now seemed to take on [the persona] of some evil torturing force. Yet I resisted, withheld, and walked on. The trees closed in even more closely. I was now walking through them, blazing a trail through the trees, and yet I walked on. Wait! I decided I should stop. The moment I did stop is the same moment I fell through the ground into an underground [cavern]. My antennae were brok[en]. My bubble bursted. My brain liquefied.

These are my last words to the Universe. Those who may find this, please take it to Gor and tell my family, for I am dead.

High General Lansorrit-
Banvon Tō of Gor

Monday, June 14, 2010

49ers moving to Santa Clara

On the night of the election and before the results were finalized for the Santa Clara Measure J vote, the 49ers organization put up a sign in front of the Great America overflow parking lot. The next morning, news reporters began discovering the new sign even before the paint had dried. The sign boldly declares the new site for the San Francisco 49ers future stadium in a move that makes it known they are leaving San Francisco city limits and moving into my neighborhood in Santa Clara.

It was said that the 49ers spent $4 million on the campaign to pass Measure J. With only about 11,231 yes votes (59.6% of the total votes 18,840), they spent about $356 per vote.

With this sign, the move of the 49ers to Santa Clara is about as official as it comes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Land (old high school assignment)

Statistics:
By Matthew Lorono
Dated 7/26/89
For English Class (High School) writing assignment
Teacher review and bonus: "Excellent descriptions! +25"
Personal commentary: The goal of this written work was to push myself to describe something completely new in relatable term, but not to resort to writing about the macabre. At the time I felt this work was better than it really is. It’s a bit repetitive.


Another Land


There was a place of another plane of life on some uncharted planet. This place was to the north of the smallest continent of the planet in a tree littered plateau with a brown sky at day, as brown as cherry oak; and a light mist that can move into one's very soul causing a peace within. The smell of the plateau was one of freshness. It made one feel young. The days and nights were both of a crisp, calm, and cool origin. One's soul would seem to reach out to the mist and try to join with it. To open your mouth would make your tongue swell up with sensations of sweetness that would encourage one's soul to reach out to the mist even more than just feeling the crisp, calm coolness. The muscles of any creature would feel relieved at the very sight of this land. Being in this land would make one, of any intelligence, to lose any sense of direction or of time. Both seemed to stand still before the wake of the mist of that land. For that reason, little and big sounds alike spread little distances. A huge bell's toll would toll not far enough to make a signal to others more than a football field's length away. It's a land of peace, tranquility, enjoyment, and everlasting unendingness. A land that fulfills to an extreme all of the sensations experience by the sensational creature called human.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Man Lost for 2 Days in Cube Maze

CHICAGO, IL – AP October 30, 2006 – Police reported that local man Michael Tanner who was recently reported missing for over 48 hours was found at work, lost in the maze of cubicles. According to authorities, the local firm where Michael Tanner had just started working has over 5 acres of cubicles in one building. The building is divided into four sections, each nearly filled with cubicles from wall to wall.

Michael Tanner had just started working at the firm earlier in the week. His wife became concerned after he didn’t return home from his first day of employment and contacted the local police. After he was missing for 24 hours, they opened a missing person case and began a local search for Mr. Tanner.

“We didn’t know where to look. Mr. Tanner reportedly commuted to work by bus. This didn’t provide us with any leads to follow,” stated one of the investigating officers.

A co-worker actually found Michael Tanner after seeing an email bulletin issued by the human resources department asking everyone if anyone had any information as to his whereabouts. “I got this email from HR asking for help in finding Michael. They included his badge ID photo. As soon as I saw it, I know who it was. Michael appeared to be working in the cube next to mine this morning when I walked in. He seemed disheveled and out-of-it, so I assumed he was [an] IT [member] setting up the cube for a new employee. Who knew he was actually lost?” reported Imam Wong who discovered Michael Tanner.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s as though this firm’s cubicles actual form some sort of wilderness of technology,” stated the police chief.

Michael Tanner stated he was happy to be found. He had an urgent need to use the restroom near the end of the work day. When he got out of the restroom, he had forgotten which way he came from. He looked around for someone to ask, but couldn’t find anyone in any of the nearby cubicles. Apparently, because of a series of recent lay-offs, over 80% of the cubicles had remained unoccupied. It turns out that the maze of cubicles was so vast, even the Exit signs weren’t any help. When he finally did find an exit, he realized he had forgotten his ID badge to allow him to leave. After spending over half an hour trying to find his way to the main entrance or security, he settled into a nearby cubicle to rest. He fell asleep.

The next day, embarrassed by his predicament, he simply roamed an area of cubicles that were actually only 1000 feet from his own cubicle. “When I woke up, other employees had already come and started work in nearby cubes. I felt embarrassed. I attempted to leave the area to find another group of employees who maybe didn’t see me sleeping. After awhile, I just picked a desk to rest at. I didn’t see a single person the rest of the day. I knew my wife must be worried, so I attempted to use a phone to call out, but didn’t remember the code to dial outside. So I tried to call the front desk, but they didn’t set up 0 to get the operator. The operator was actually a four digit code that would be impossible to guess,” stated Michael Tanner.

After failing to again find his way out for a second day, he again settled in a random cubicle. “I was tired and hungry and not thinking straight by this point,” he added.

Again, he had awoken after nearby coworkers started work. I was even more embarrassed than the day before. “I just sat up and pretended to be working by turning on the computer and trying to get it to logon on. I guess this is when Imam first saw me”, Michael Tanner continued. “He just came up to me and said, `Are you Michael Tanner?’. I replied that I was and he gave me this big smile and said a lot of people where looking for me. I was so happy, but so very embarrassed too.”

“I’m just happy we found him,” his wife elated.

The firm’s HR department issued a statement which read in part, “We are gratified that Mr. Tanner was found safe and secure. Measures have been taken to improve navigability of our complex.”

Asked as to why Michael Tanner couldn’t just look over the cubicle walls, his wife responded, “He’s only 5 feet 3 inches tall. He’s short, but not a little person. I’m told their cube walls are the standard 6 foot tall. Large corporations need to take greater care in designing the layout of their cube mazes. My husband has experienced a traumatic experience similar to that of being lost in the wilderness.”

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Alaskan Cruise pre-day

Allie, her parents and I flew up a day early to Seattle for our Alaskan cruise, this past May. My friends Dave and Miriam picked us up at the airport. Because of all our bags, they had to bring both their cars.

They had two rooms prepared for us back at their house. After relaxing for a while at their place, we all headed out to Seattle for some touristy sight-seeing. My in-laws had never been to Seattle. This extra day was a great chance to show them around.

We had lunch at the Crab Pot, which is fun restaurant that service seafood in the family style by dumping a bucket of it into piles on the table. As usual, the food was very fresh and delicious.

 photo IMG_0016.jpg

After that, we headed over to the Public Market on Pike St. This is where that one seafood vendor throws fish across their store. I think there was also a tulip festival going on, since small tulip vendors filled the sides of the street with their booths.

 photo IMG_0018.jpg

Later, we all headed back to my friends' house. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and then settled in for the night. Our cruise ship boarding time on the next day was around noon, so we were not rushed into going to bed early.

Navigation: See all Alaskan Cruise articles here

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Expression of Love

(From conversation in 1999)

I love you, Bevie


I love you bigger, my Mattybear!

How can you love me bigger? My love for you is so deep!

Because, I fell in love with you first.
You tripped me.


I tripped you into falling in love with me, my love?

Oui!

Will I ever be able to catch up with you in my love for you?

No!

Why?

Because, I started falling first.

So, I'll just hafta live with the fact that you will always love me more?

Bigger! Oui!
You tripped me, and I fell in love with you first.
You didn't give me any choice but to love you.

How did I not give you a choice?

Because, Matty, you tripped me!

How did I trip you?

I was walking, and you came along and tripped me.
How could I not fall in love with you?

When did this happen?

That night..., the first time we...

Is that when you realized you had feelings for me?

Oui!

Did you have feelings for me before that night?

I didn't let myself have those feelings until I let go that night.

How could I not help but to love you, Beviepie?
I love you more than anything in the Universe!

And I love you bigger than that, my Mattybear.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bode's Law

Bode's Law, or Titus-Bode Law, is a now refuted law governing planet location with our Solar System. It presumes a relationship between all of the planets in their distances from the Sun.

Formulation

The Law relates the semi-major axis, a, of each planet outward from the sun in units such that the Earth's semi-major axis = 10, with

a = n + 4
where n = 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48 ..., with each value of n > 3 twice the previous value. The resulting values can be divided by 10 to convert them into astronomical units (AU), which would result in the expression

a = 0.4 + 0.3 · 2 m
for m = , 0, 1, 2,...[1]

For the outer planets, each planet is 'predicted' to be roughly twice as far away from the Sun as the next inner object.

Origin

It's name comes from the fact that it was promoted by Johann Elert Bode when in 1768, he wrote the second edition of his astronomical compendium Anleitung zur Kenntniss des gestirnten Himmels, which states the following.
Let the distance from the Sun to Saturn be taken as 100, then Mercury is separated by 4 such parts from the Sun. Venus is 4+3=7. The Earth 4+6=10. Mars 4+12=16. Now comes a gap in this so orderly progression. After Mars there follows a space of 4+24=28 parts, in which no planet has yet been seen. Can one believe that the Founder of the universe had left this space empty? Certainly not. From here we come to the distance of Jupiter by 4+48=52 parts, and finally to that of Saturn by 4+96=100 parts.

History

At the time, Saturn was the farthest known planet. Bode's Law gained credibility when Uranus and then Ceres where discovered. These bodies happened to fall in line with predictions made by the formula. However, this Law become refuted when Neptune was discovered at a location from the Sun that was no where near its predicted location.

Also, to further refute Bode's Law is the fact that other systems exist in our Solar System which do not follow its formula. Although the moons around Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus do follow some sort of pattern, they do not follow Bode's Law; nor do they share patterns with each other.

Status

The discovery of Pluto and more recently other Kuiper Belt objects have proven Bode's Law to be false. It appears that Bode's Law was a misguided attempt to explain an observation that did not have enough data. Given what is known now, it seems that perhaps there is some sort of rule that applies to naturally formed orbiting body systems, but there is no formula that can predict the arraignment of such. Perhaps Bode's Law can be useful in the future, not to predict planet placement in other extrasolar systems, but maybe to point us in the direction to understand planet formation and resonance. We can see there is some sort of resonance. We can also see that a particular resonance is not shared between different systems, and only applies in a limited fashion. It is not useful for anything else. Although it really cannot be called pseudo-science, since it was based on observation and did make some predictions that panned out, it is really not useful science today. Further complicating the issue is that the definition of planet has changed. Ceres and Pluto are no longer considered planets. This means that any use of Bode's Law in the context of what is now known can be called pseudo-science.


Planet Distances from the Sun (from Wikipedia.org)

Mercury factor: 0
Bode’s Law: 0.4, Actual: 0.39

Venus factor: 1
Bode’s Law: 0.7, Actual: 0.72

Earth factor: 2
Bode’s Law: 1.0, Actual: 1.0

Mars factor: 4
Bode’s Law: 1.6, Actual: 1.52

Ceres factor: 8
Bode’s Law: 2.8, Actual: 2.77

Jupiter factor: 16
Bode’s Law: 5.2, Actual: 5.2

Saturn factor: 32
Bode’s Law: 10, Actual: 9.54

Uranus factor: 64
Bode’s Law: 19.6, Actual: 19.2

Neptune factor: 128
Bode’s Law: 38.8, Actual: 30.06

Pluto factor: 256
Bode’s Law: 77.2, Actual: 39.44

Monday, May 17, 2010

Alaska Cruise planning

A couple years ago, Allie and I decided that we'd go on an Alaskan cruise with her folks. The main location that interested me was Glacier Bay. Also, I wanted a cruise that was earlier in the year before the big crowds. I didn't know much about cruises (I've never been on one before) so I had to rely on my research. I wanted to book our cruise last year, though several factors forced us to wait for a 2010 cruise.

The first cruise line I looked at was Carnival. However, they don't have any ships that goto Glacier Bay early in the year. Other cruise lines didn't have round trip journeys (which means we'd have to fly back home on some very long flights with layovers). After researching, I found that Norwegian Cruise Line has at least a couple of ships that go up to Alaska during May with round trip itineraries that include Glacier Bay. They start in Seattle and end in Seattle. As a bonus, my best friend lives in Seattle.

The ship that seemed to have the best itinerary for us was the Norwegian Pearl. The ship, its accommodations and amenities appeared to be modern. After a lot of discussion, we pulled the trigger by purchasing 2 balcony suites for ourselves and her parents. Balcony suites are expensive, but since this was likely the only time that Allie and I would ever go on a cruise to Glacier Bay, we had to get them. By September last year, we were set for an Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl for seven days starting on May 9th.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

High School Poems II

Duff
Brown, brush
Lies, burns, moisturizes
Forestial protective top soil
Dirt


Boulder
Common, terrestrial
Sits, cracks, crumbles
Is at the mercy of weather
Big rock


For Extra Credit
Great way to improve my score
Ain't this just so great?!


I had classes that covered poetry for 4 years straight, and by the second year, I just started recycling much of my works,just adding extras to cover differing requirements.

I'm not going to add any other poems from my schools years here. There's over 50 or so, but nufin really any good. Some were very ambitious, and I may revisit them later for future projects anew.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

California Nature (Rev. B)

Your journey roads herald adventure,
Impelling me to climb your cloven heights,
And romp carelessly,
as aureate poppy fields beckon.

Sun-kissed waters bounce along your shoreline.
They entice me to surf the crashing calm waves.

Canopy-enveloped valleys thrive with floral scents
That draw my ingression, but I forestall.

Instead I caper like Death Valley’s mysterious-moving-rocks,
Which tickle your basin by some unseen will.

I endeavor to hike your proud hills,
And find places to gaze lostly into lakes full with sky.

Vineyard nectar overflows like sweet sweat,
To spur my soul’s arousal as I partake.
Your boundless attributes gratify my wanderlust,
And allure me to appease your nature.

Friday, April 30, 2010

California Drone

There is this photo going around of a supposed UFO that was flying over Capitola, California in May 2008. There's an AOL News article which discusses this photo.

California Drone


There is a likelihood that this photo is a hoax. According to the AOL article, "someone using the name Raji posted images on the Web site Craigslist, answered a few questions from UFO hunters around the world, and then just disappeared into cyberspace."

I have found alternative sources for the photos on flickr.com. In fact, there are a ton of photos uploaded as of March 28, 2008 on the TCorp account. TCorp has sixteen photos of the California Drone, including what appears to be two versions of the craft. The interesting thing about flickr.com is that it gives you the information about the camera used to take the photo. The original version of the photo above was taken with Konica Minolta DiMAGE X. Those who are searching for this "Raji" should keep this in mind. Several other flickr.com accounts also have photos, including hoax debunkers that have some interesting perspectives.

My impression of the California Drone photos is that they are hoaxes. Problems with the photo above? Although the angle of the sun/shades is similar across view of the photo, the angle is different in its depth. The light source between the object and the power lines is from the right side of the photo, but the light sources' height from the presumed ground is different. Also, the light intensity between direct sunlight on the object and the power line pole is much different. Another problem is focus. Both objects are in focus, but differently. It is almost as though they where taken with two different cameras.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Are Aliens Really Alien?

A question I've asked myself is that what if the beings we call aliens (visitors from other planets) are really not aliens at all, but inhabitants of our own planet. There are several ways for this to be true. The idea of ultraterrestrials and metaterrestrials is not new. However, there , is one more possibility that seems just as likely from a particular perspective.

There is a possibility that we are being visited by beings from the future. This is based on two assumptions. First, the human species will continue to evolve throughout time. Second, time travel is a technology that we will eventually obtain. If these two assumptions are true, then the most likely source of "alien" encounters is actually future evolved human-descended visitors that come back in time to observe their primitive past. They would come back to study us or to see us out of curiosity.

This would be that two major class of visitations would occur: site-seeing and scientific, or tourists and scientists. Almost on a lark to describe this possibility, I coined the term Future Evolved Terrestrial Tourists and Scientists (FETTS).

This would mean that some beings either come back to observe ancients times much in the same way we visit the pyramids or other ancients sites. In fact, there are stories that every president of the U.S. in modern times has seen U.F.O.'s at some point in their life. President Carter himself is even on the record as being a person who has seen one.

This also means that some other beings comes back to experiment on their primitive ancestors, much in the same way that we modern humans experiment on great apes, including climps.

This explanation is actually more likely than others if time travel proves to be easier than space travel. According to current understanding of the Universe, there is no reason as to why time travel shouldn't be allowed; though General Relativity does demonstrate that faster-than-light travel impossible. With this fact, assuming visitations from beyond are real, it seems most likely that these visitations are from our own world.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cars: Protecting the protection


OK, I just saw something truly ironic.  A Prius had corner sticker bumpers for its rear bumper cover {which protects the main bumper, which protects car from nothing more that 2 MPH impacts}.  That has got to be worse than buying floormat covers to protect factory floormats that protect the carpet on the floor from getting dirty.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Casted Braches (final version)

Night’s pale spirit dashes spiderwebs upon earth,
Like villains cast onto silver screens,
Lying without breath; but breathing, as wind affects,
To spook our children on All Hallows’ Eve.

Creaks and cackles echo,
While creep jostles our own essence.
This comforts ghosts banned from bliss,
As they hide from Inferno’s joy.

Clamoring so, and wailing,
Lost souls seek new abodes;
Haunting our windows as light upon memories;
Whisking about, agitated, frustrated…then night wanes.

Apollo rides out with his own cast of characters,
To sweep away specters and their weeps,
And comfort bring to little ones as they arise,
Oblivious to the crypts under tread.

About this poem:
Casted Branches is about the pain of lose of a loved one, and the phases we experience when dealing with that lose. The challenge was to find new ways to express that kind of lose with a fresh and creative approach, since the topic is one of the most common and poorly written for poems. Cast Branches is prolly the best and most thoughtful poem I have written. In a way, it summarizes a period of my own life that stretched for several years. I also understand how this poem may be used to address the ending of a relationship, though this is not how I personally relate to it.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

High School Poems I

I know a man with a big nose,
I'd swear it was a water hose.
He'd say it was not,
but it sure dripped a lot.
It ran all day;
Enough to fill the bay.
I told him his faucet had to be fixed.
So he gave his lip many licks.
His nose still ran with that slime.
Oh, how I hate the color lime.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Brave Man

There once was a brave man
Who said, "I will, I can!"
So he did go
And tried, ya'no,
But he got scared and ran.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hetch Hetchy exposed

Here's a photo of an exposed section of a southern portion of the infamous/famous Hetch Hetchy Aquaduct as it cuts through Santa Clara, CA.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Beviepie

I used to sing this little ditty to Bevie (circa 1998-1999), set (roughly) to the tune of the ol' Spider-man cartoon theme song. It used to make her giggle...well, because it's pretty silly.

Beviepie, Beviepie

My-oh-my Beviepie

She's so cute

Yeah she is

She a beaut

I want to kiss

Hey hey,

There's my Beviepie

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Days of Honor (florist version)

Each sunrise is a badge
we branshish with pride.
Honor of many days
Is our grace and blessing.
We flourish, grow,
And bloom with fullness,
To gift our energies
For this day.
Becuz we are flower & sun.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

49ers Santa Clara Stadium links

My thoughts about the Santa Clara stadium for the 49er's:

-City of San Francisco have been promoting one ridiculous stadium plan after another for almost 2 decades. The 49ers finally got fed up and starting looking around other communities.

-Only 8% of session ticket holders currently at Candlestick live in San Francisco. Many more live in the Silicon Valley area. 49ers simply want to move to where the money and support is at.

-Sharing a stadium with Raiders in Oakland is nonsensical at best. Even the ridiculous Treasure Island proposal is very poorly conceived. (Yerba Buena island would have to be turned into one massive on and off ramp)

-I don't think 49er fans don't want to see their team sharing a stadium with Raiders anyway, even in Santa Clara.

Websites that have information about the proposed Santa Clara stadium for the San Francisco Bay 49ers:

Santa Clarans for Economic Progress
Santa Clara Stadium Facts

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Days of Honor (full version)

Each sunrise is our badge
That we branshish with pride.
The honor of many days
Is our grace and our blessing,
We flourish and grow
And bloom with fullness,
To gift our energies
For this day,
As though our emblem is
Both flower and sun.

49ers in Santa Clara

A measure in support of a new stadium for the 49ers in Santa Clara is going on our June ballot. There are groups against this activity. It is always easier for opposition to confuse issues in the minds of people. They are trying to do that here with rather silly points. One argument I've seen used against the stadium is that it would require more police on the day of the 49er games. Umm, of course it will. This is job creation and good for the economy!

Another thing I don't understand is the statement that projects like this shouldn't use public funds. This never made sense to me. This is America, right? Investment is the American way! If we expect to have financial gain, we should be willing to put some cash up as an investment.

The proposed stadium location is within a mile of my house (walking distance). It's near 3 freeways and right next to a mass transit station. It's going to create 2650 game day jobs and bring in an estimated $249 million dollars a year once it is built. Millions of money from taxes will be available for local programs.

If the stadium is truly state of the art, it will likely be chosen by the NFL as the sight for future Super Bowls. Just one Super Bowl in Santa Clara could bring much more money and prestige.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to just getting this dang thang built by the 2014 goal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Silent Craft Overhead

A friend of my family once told me that he had spotted dark aircraft at night flying down along the Salinas Valley. This was a couple of decades ago. He associated his sitings with military aircraft flying to and from various military bases in California. One story he told me struck me as most memorable. One night, a silent aircraft hovered a couple hundred feet from the ground over his neighborhood. He saw the aircraft beaming down a search light pointed at various places as it quietly moved overhead his location. It couldn't have been a helicopter because he would've heard and even felt it at that distance. He associated this experience with secret U.S. military aircraft. I don't know what he saw, but given my limited knowledge about aircraft, I don't know of any now or then that could hover nearly in place without making some sort of loud noise. He took this experience as evidence that UFO sightings where spotted secret military planes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lie There Lame

I know you’re not a bad person,
Though opposite seemed true before.
It may seem there was no reason,
You must now know my soul you tore.

Riving sword strokes my words became.
You shield didn’t fulfill its mission,
yet you and I both lie there lame,
A self-punishing transgression.

My sorrow is too great to hide
But something is even more true
Libraries would fill if I tried
To write words of my love for you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Casted Braches (old version)

Night’s pale spirit dashes spiderwebbing upon earth,
Like villians cast onto silver screens,
Lying without breath; but breathing, as wind affects,
To spook our children on All Hallows’ Eve.

Creaks and cackles echo,
While creep jostles our own essence.
This comforts ghosts banned from bliss,
As they hide from Inferno’s joy.

Clamoring so, and wailing,
Lost souls seek new abodes;
Haunting our windows as light upon memories;
Whisking about, agitated, frustrated…
then night wanes.

Apollo rides out to sweep away specters and their weeps,
And cast spiderwebs of His own...
Comfort brought to little ones as they arise,
Oblivious to the crypts under tread.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toyota "They did not have any respect for our laws."

I've long been suspicious of Toyota as a company. Of course, I don't trust any corporation. However, foreign companies whose lies result in the death of Americans leave a particularly bad taste in my mouth. Recent comments by a former Toyota top attorney, Dimitri Biller, really brings the point home. Biller and Toyota are now suing each other. Why is Toyota suing Biller? Because he decided break his silence, the very same silence that they apparently thought they purchased from him for $3.9 million in 2007.

Biller has stated, "you have to understand that Toyota in Japan does not have any respect for our legal system." He also stated, "they did not have any respect for our laws," and that "[Toyota had] a culture of hypocrisy and deception." If this doesn't scare people, I don't know what will.

In a ridiculous effort to discredit Biller, Toyota claimed that Biller was a disgruntled former employee who is angry he lost his job. Yeah, I'd be pissed if my company paid me $3.9 million too. Toyota also claimed that Biller did not handle acceleration cases while he worked there. Biller disputed that statement, noting that he worked as the managing attorney for Toyota on a sudden acceleration Lexus case in 2005.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Purple Elephants

I had questions enter my mind,
Purple Elephants serve what purpose?
Can they lift a lot of lumber for building?
Do they trumpet loudly, scaring monsters away?

Well, yes they can do all of that,
But so much more too!

They can clear a path through the jungle
For you to romp and play upon.
When you ride on their backs,
You can go to lands far off.

They can hold you in their fuzzy trunks;
And you can hug them and snuggle all day.
That trunk of theirs can shower you when it’s hot,
And warm you when you are chilly.

You can play hide-and-go-seek with them,
And I bet you’ll always win.
They are loyal, faithful and ready to protect.
They can even fly high to lift your spirits,
But you’re not supposed to know. Shhh

But the best thing those Purple Elephants are good for
You can love them a lot, and they will love you more.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Avatar now highest grossing movie ever? No.

I got a chance to meet James Cameron this week. I told him I liked Dark Angel, while I was having my photo taken with him. There, you can see me saying out of the corner of my mouth.

I do love Avatar. I've seen it once in AMC's fake IMAX theater in 3D. I want to see it again soon. This week, it has become the highest grossing film of all time in terms of actual dollars. However, it is not even close to being the highest inflation adjusted grossing film of all time. Right now, Avatar is #21 and Titanic is #6. Adjusted for inflation, the highest grossing film of all time is actually Gone with the Wind currently at over $1.5 billion, followed by Star Wars at $1.3 billion in today's money. These numbers are well over double Avatar's earnings of $603 million.

Though it doesn't benefit me at all, I am rooting for Avatar to approach those numbers. If Cameron can keep the magic of this new franchise alive, the rumors are that this movie is the first of a trilogy. My hope for any sequels is to not allow familiarity with the characters to interfere with making two more great films. Star Wars balanced this fairly well with its first sequel, Empire Strikes Back, but lost much of its magic since. Here's to the hope of continued high quality entertainment from James Cameron!