santa cruz wharf

29 May 2009

watch out for the wave

Here is a link to the YouTube clip of a presentation from last week’s event where the public was first introduced to Wave.


Those who know me…know I am a fan.  Yeah…I’m concerned they know too much about too many.  I don’t want my medical records tied into my telephone calls. But I am fairly certain this is where we are headed…it’ll be a lot like the computer on The Enterprise. (Not the Enterprise staffed by the United States Navy…the Enterprise staffed by Star Fleet Academy.) 

This is an actual demonstration and technical presentation, it runs over an hour.  I’ve provided some timestamps below to portions I thought some of you may be interested in. If you are feeling geeklike I highly recommend the entire presentation. 

Wave is going to be phenomenal.   You will be able to IM, blog, chat, email, twitter, phone text, with multiple people in real time…at the same time.

One feature gave me goosebumps. You will be amazed. Towards the end at about 1:12:30 is a real time instant message translation from french to english that will amaze you. 

I’m fairly certain it will translate Vulcan to Klingon
The wave makes me wet. Be still my heart.

explanation of the concept

demo of interactive IM/email with photo drag and drop

19:00 ish
“bloggy”  some of you will love this.

44:00 bean soup demo
I’m too fond of automatic spell check correction…but I understand how cool it is

about 49:25
is a demo of a who-is-up-for-a-movie/outing conversation demo which I could totally envision Rhiannon and her posse using just about everyday.

From the link you can also signup to be notified of when Wave goes live. I can’t wait.

28 May 2009

Looking at the sky on Friday ~ Idaho Storm (9)


We had just left Fairfield, Idaho, rushing the fifty or so miles to Mountain Home…skirting thunder storms, braving harsh wind.  I’m on the back of the bike, without any face shield, protecting the camera lens from the rain…and my only thought is “I gotta get a picture of this for Tisha’s Looking at the sky on Friday.”  True Story.

LATSOF 2009.05.14 idaho storm

25 May 2009

In Idaho…they are just a little more free…

2009.05.15 MD a
Waking up in Boise, on my second day of The Tour, we walked into down town to find a quaint place for breakfast, taking our time and enjoying the day.

In a tree lined park surrounded by high rise office buildings we came upon a group of military.  From every branch, men and women of all ages in various uniforms from combat to dress. They stood at ease around the the edge of the grass talking casually to one another.  At one corner, lining both sides of a staircase, representatives from each branch stood at attention.

2009.05.15 MD b  2009.05.15 MD c
A crowd was gathering.  We asked a young Marine what was going on, and learned it was some sort of early Memorial Day observance.  He said there would be a choir from the local school singing Amazing Grace, speakers and such.  We walked down the grassy knoll, looking around.  There was a podium and a few rows of chairs arranged around two flag poles. 

2009.05.15 MD d A young man was playing the violin:  “My Country Tis of Thee,”  “Battle Hymn of The Republic,” “American the Beautiful” lilting through the park.

At the base of the flagpoles was the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross.  A rifle, bayonet into the ground, with a helmet hung on the gun stock, and boots placed in front. 

Going back to the Civil War, it is used today in Iraq and Afghanistan as a sign of respect for the fallen among the still living members of the troop. Frequently the dog tags of the fallen soldier are hung from the rifle. I do not know the name of the soldier on these dog tags.
2009.05.15 MD e
People were gathered in small groups.  Some families. A few small children. Gentle hugs of greeting. Groups of men shaking hands and slapping backs as men will do.  Some in the formal business suit attire, many in motorcycle gear. 

DSC_0124 For a moment I felt as if we were crashing the event. But I noticed office workers from the surrounding buildings coming out…and other passersby stopping. We both knew without discussion that we wanted to stay.

2009.05.15 MD f
Half a dozen people were taking pictures, so I reached for the Teamster’s camera.  There was laughter and smiling.

The speaker opened by thanking the city of Boise and the company Quest for their sponsorship.

He spoke of the meaning of Memorial Day, and the importance of remembering not only those who have given their lives in military service, but also those in law enforcement and fire fighting who have been killed in the line of duty.

2009.05.15 MD gThere were introductions of additional speakers and the honoring of a local man who was a veteran of World War II, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. 

There was an American Flag presented, saluted, and folded thirteen times before being laid at the Battle Cross of the Fallen Soldier.

2009.05.15 MD hThe men and women from the staircase stood behind the podium. 

2009.05.15 MD i

The Stars and Stripes was presented and raised to half mast with the Idaho state flag. We pledged allegiance to our flag and sang our national anthem. We heard the stories of local men and women who have given the last full measure of their devotion in duty as soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, national guard, coast guard, police officers, and fire fighters.

I wondered if this kind of ceremony would ever be allowed in my town.  I sorta doubt it.  The University of California at Santa Cruz is famous for violently protesting military recruiters at all career events.  Certainly no public school child would ever be allowed to sing “Amazing Grace” in public.  They seem to be able to celebrate with more freedom in Boise than in Santa Cruz.  That makes me a bit resentful.

Three wreaths were presented in red, white and blue.

2009.05.15 MD j
2009.05.15 MD k

The blue wreath by an officer of the Boise police department, and the red by the local fire chief.  The white wreath sent me from teary to tears.  A Vietnam Vet whose own son died in Iraq.

2009.05.15 MD l
2009.05.15 MD m 
The speaker announced that the anthem from each branch of service would be played, and invited anyone in the audience who had served to wave when their anthem was played.  One by one the songs filled the downtown area.

The Caissons Go Rolling Along
Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder
Anchors Aweigh
From the Halls of Montezuma, To the Shores of Tripoli
Always Ready

2009.05.15 MD n Each song was greeted by spontaneous applause…and while I saw a few people wave…what I noticed was the men who snapped to attention.  In jeans, or gear, or business suit…as their anthem played they stood straight and silent drawing no attention to themselves, a few with tears in their eyes.

2009.05.15 MD o As the commanding officer of the Idaho National Guard gave the keynote address I was distracted by a bucket of long stem red roses next to where we were standing.  When the songs and speeches were finished they invited anyone in the crowd who had lost a love one in the line of duty to bring a rose to the Battle Cross of the Fallen Soldier.

Out of respect, I took no pictures as these family and friends picked up a rose and took them forward.  Young women with babies.  An older woman crying on the arm of her son.  The sunglassed guy in the armani suit. Fathers and Mothers holding tight to one another. Quite a few kneeled at the cross for a moment as they left their rose.

There were salutations and the bugle played taps.  We walked away quiet and in awe of the experience. Although we were strangers, our patriotic hearts were touched by the emotional tribute we had stumbled upon that morning in Boise, Idaho.

2009.05.15 MD p

I missed you guys! (back at catching up….)

2009.05.02 weather checkAs many of you know, The Teamster has been on  his "Five-O Tour”…a three week motorcycle ride followed by a golf trip with his brothers to celebrate his fiftieth birthday.  A full month of five-o frolic and festivities.

2009.05.02 away He launched phase one of The Tour on May 2nd taking off from his home in the central valley of California, heading to the south west United States.

Phase one of The Teamster’s Five-O Tour was a solo ride including stops in Tehachapi, Laughlin, The Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Salt Lake City.  (for those of you across the pond… that includes the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.)

I had been invited to join him for phase two… which is where I have been for the past eleven days. (I have so missed you guys!) I had hoped to be able to post “from the road” but we didn’t quite get the hang of a single laptop. Not that we don’t share well….it was the time constraints of time on the road and all the fun destinations.

The Teamster wanted his tour to be as unplanned as possible… to be able go where ever the bike might take him.  The one real requirement was that he be in the city I was flying in to…on the actual day I was flying in.  Given my schedule and his route, he determined Twin Falls, Idaho was a good place for us to meet up.

As I started surfing the internet for the lowest airfare available…I was having a difficult time finding flights.  I went to the Twin Falls airport website to check which airlines fly into it.

One airline.
A small regional carrier called
SkyWest…an affiliate of Delta Airlines.

I learned a few other little tidbits about the Joslin Field, Magic Valley Airport of Twin Falls.

There are over 28 domestic flights out of Twin Falls each week…serving more than 840 passengers.  (Imagine…over 840 passengers each and every week !!! ) The longest flight from Twin Falls is 174 miles. The smallest commercial aircraft flying out of Twin Falls is an EM2 with 30 seats. A nice little plane…. all things considered. (remind me to tell you the story about the crew on my flight.) It was after 10pm when I landed….so no pictures.

Our first leg was all Idaho, from Twin Falls to Boise via Ketchum and Mountain Home. For the most part we wanted to stay off the major highways and keep to the roads less traveled.

Ketchum was a destination recommended by The Teamster’s son, who is active duty AirForce, stationed in Mountain Home.  Ketchum peaked my interest as the place where Hemingway spent many years…and ultimately his tragic last two years. The landscapes are beautiful, and the town is an upscale art community full of galleries and boutiques.

2009.05.14b ketchum2009.05.14a ketchum

A few raindrops fell as we came into town.  We decided to have lunch to let the weather pass. 2009.05.14c ketchum

The Kneadery was a great choice.  Not only did they serve breakfast and lunch…they had plates of free brownies and cookies to snack on.2009.05.14d ketchum

2009.05.14h hemingwayWe stopped at the chamber’s visitor center to get directions to Hemingway’s grave.  There are no signs or indications of where he is buried. 

Just go to the back road of the cemetery and look for the grouping of three trees.

2009.05.14e hemingway 2009.05.14f hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is buried amongst his wife Mary, and other family members.  His gravestone is covered in pennies.

2009.05.14g hemingway 
I looked up why people leave pennies on grave stones…there are several theories on how it began. In our time, it seems to be a way to note that people have visited the grave…and have not forgotten.  Hemingway had a great talent…and battled many demons in his life.

2009.05.14i storm a
We headed out towards Mountain Home. About 50 miles in, the weather turned threatening.

2009.05.14j storm b 
2009.05.14k storm c

We could see a storm approaching and the wind was getting a bit too strong. We stopped in a tiny town called Fairfield.  It was a good thing. For sixty miles past Fairfield there is nothing.  No towns, no services. not even a barn to take shelter under. Down the road, just before the horizon…the rain was pouring.

We hung out in a cafe frequented by local cattle ranchers and cement plant workers.   Ordering a piece of their delicious red raspberry pie we fired up the laptop to find out what the weather was doing. 

Those of you who read The Teamster know while we were waiting…the wind was so strong it blew my helmet off the bike and broke the face shield screw. That was while the bike was parked next to the building.  You can imagine how strong the wind was on the open road.

The Teamster checked their little motel to make sure they had a room available…just in case. The beauty of The Tour is that we can alter our plans at a moment’s notice.  I started tracking the storm using various county Doppler maps. Periodically one of us would go outside and stand out in the middle of the road to check the horizon.

I love the internet! We knew how many miles to the next town.  With Google we could see the terrain and the type of roads.  Via Doppler we watched the storm moving in the opposite direction of our path.  As soon as we saw it start to break we headed out.

2009.05.14l storm d

It was beautiful to see the blue sky break though with all the silver linings. The wind was a little strong…but it was a blessing moving the storm away faster!

2009.05.14m storm e

2009.05.14n storm f
By the time we got to Mountain Home, the wind was just a breeze and we had blue sky all around.  Originally we had hoped to visit with The Teamster’s son.  However he was out of town at a top secret location practicing maneuvers in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.

2009.05.14o g 
We hit Boise just about dinner time.  We drove through downtown looking for a interesting restaurant, possible accommodations, and the best place to park.  It was a true example of unsuccessful back seat driving…smile. We spotted “Cool Hand Luke’s Steakhouse and Saloon” with designated motorcycle parking right across the street! 

2009.05.14q lukes

See the little tower lookin’ place on the left side of the building?  That is where we were seated…watching the city at dusk.

2009.05.14p lukes 

2009.05.14s lukes

2009.05.15r lukes 
We split a wonderful meal.  Cool Hand Luke’s has delicious food and very friendly people. It was the perfect place to relax and end our day.

16 May 2009

mothers' day (catching up part one)

Mother' Day was just about perfect. I picked Sugar Cookie up at the train station in the morning. Everyone who knows her knows she one of those Vera Bradley crazies. She generously initiated me into the club with a very cute bag in my favorite color and brown.

We went to my folks where The Cub was waiting with a morning treat for me... a tomato bagel toasted with garlic herb cream cheese plus a Sobe. The three of us headed to church where we met Little Missy. Little Missy had a bouquet of tulips....she knows they are one of my all time favorite flowers. (part of the day is about me me me....laughing...)

At church the Mothers got special chocolates. The message included a list of eleven ways Mothers overdue things and make themselves tired and their kids annoyed. I was only guilty of four of the items...although one of them the kids triple checked. whatEVER.

After church we met up with Little Missy's novio and went to the cemetery. As most of you know...I gave birth to the Sugar Cookie...but Little Missy and The Cub are gifts. They lost their Mama to cancer when they were little and we always make a point to remember and honor her on this day. My folks have a whole row of
Lily plants and we picked a bunch to put on Linda's headstone. They are Little Missy's favorite flower... she used it on her tattoo she really likes to use them.

From there we went to O'Mei...a wonderful Chinese restaurant my Mama chose for brunch. There were seven of us...and we ordered eight dishes plus dumplings and rice. We ate it ALL.

I have some weird uncontrollable issue with camera flashes...we took about a dozen eyes were closed in all of them.

We hung out with the folks for a while....and I decided to go back to The City with SugarCookie. Being a fellow Trekker she took her Mama to see Star Trek. OH WOW. It was wonderful. We loved it!! I know - I know not everyone does...but I'm even more of a JJ fan now than before. The movie gave this Picard fan a whole new appreciation for Kirk!

Live Long and Prosper.

08 May 2009

Looking at the sky on Friday ~ mayan storm (8)

latsof 2009.05.08

An afternoon tropical storm blowing in on the beach at the Mayan Palace. The warm wind felt refreshing late in the day.

LookingattheskyI love having a meme to play that gives me a chance to post my sky pictures…I have quite a few!  Visit the crazy working mom…and play along with us next week!

06 May 2009

that’s retarded.

Actually THIS is retarded. 
This post.
It is a post about the word retarded.

The thing is…some yahoo named Diesel tagged me in
“The Retarded Meme” . (Actually he is some Google named Diesel…but you’ll have to read up on Mattress Police to truly understand.)

dumb bookWouldn’t ya think if you bought a guy’s book  he would tag you in
“The Brilliant Meme” ?
Or at least
“The Thank You Meme” ?
Apparently not.

Then again…now that I think about it….I actually bought three copies of his book.  I guess that pretty much explains why I’ve been tagged for his “Retarded Meme”

new book

(note to self…remove name and email address from mailing list for upcoming novel,
Mercury Falls .)

it all started when Diesel and Mrs. Diesel (commonly referred to as “the Saint” ) were commenting over Big Fat Tacos,  about a newspaper article reporting the ridiculousness of a campaign to get people to stop using the word “retarded” because of some scene in the movie “Tropic Thunder.”

For reasons beyond my understanding, a series of events unfolded, resulting in
Diesel’s desire to be the number one retarded site on the Internet.

Where in Sam Hill is that loveable banshee,
Grûndir the Implacable, Nazgûl and Meme-Wraith when you need him?

I know half of you are scrunching up your brow and cringing just a bit cause the word “
retarded” is frequently used in conjunction with the word “mentally.”

For the most part when you hear someone say, “that’s retarded” or “you’re retarded” or
“don’t be so retarded” it is a reflection of how they perceive your apparent lack of mental aptitude. 

To those who have a family member who is mentally challenged this can be offensive.  Indeed it is usually meant to be offensive and derogatory.

That however, is a very limited view.

In some cases it is a wonderful word…as in “Flame Retarded.” Watching footage of the out-of-control southern California fire…I bet people wish their homes were Flame Retarded

WITHOUT the reference to mental…
the definitions include:

retard -
cause to move more slowly
operate at a slower rate
be delayed
hinder, obstruct
decelerate: lose velocity

retardation -
deceleration: a decrease in rate of change
the extent which something is delayed/held back

retardant -
any agent that retards, delays, hinders

How dare anyone try to get me to stop using such a perfectly good word as retarded !!

The Rules: (why do all memes have rules?  They tell you what to write about…and then they give you rules to play by. The weblog world is comprised of a bunch of control freaks.)
The Rules according to Diesel are:

1. You must write a post using the word retarded. I don't care what it's about -- Joe Biden, teenage boys wearing girls' pants, whatever.

2. The word retarded must be a link to this post.(meaning Diesel’s post….not mine.)

3. You are encouraged to tag five other bloggers to do the same.

this is a tough assignment…I don’t want to offend anyone…but Diesel is sooo encouraging…and I think these people would appreciate him.

The Queen of Memes ~ Mimi Writes
(cause she understands importance of tagging)

Matt-Man ~ Bagwine Ruminations
(cause he will be hysterically offensive)

Sandee ~ Comedy Plus
(cause I KNOW she has a retarded joke)

Linda ~ Are We There Yet?
(cause she has a teenager and they use the term)

Starrlight ~
Here Comes A Storm…In The Form Of A Girl
(cause I get her sense of humor, she has a teenager, and her blog name is as long as mine…the trifecta of tagging)

and Diesel….you owe me a Big Fat Taco.

Comedy and Connecticut at Cancun ~ AGAIN!

Many weblog writers find one of the true benefits from this segment of our lives is the people we come across…and the friends we make.  As we read, we glean little insights into strangers’ lives.  Not only by their words, but sometimes by the photos they take, and sometimes by the jokes that they tell. Every once in a while we step through the monitor glass to let our online life and our offline life merge. 

cancun stocktonMonday evening
(supermom of Are We There Yet?), Sandee, (jokester of Comedy Plus,) and I met up for our second (annual?) consumption of Mexican food and hilarious conversation at the hotspot in all of Stockton, California…Cancun.

Sandee…and her silent photographer Zane, live in central California. Linda, who once lived in Stockton, now lives clear on the other side of the country in Connecticut.  Almost exactly one year ago to the day, we met when Linda came out to visit old friends.  This year Linda was attending a Dispatchers’ conference in Vegas….and couldn’t pass up making a quick side trip to visit us and others in the Golden State.

On Sunday Linda made the drive over the mountains.  As luck would have it…Santa Cruz was kinda rainy and foggy.  Still, we were able to see a few of the sights.  Contrary to popular belief I am NOT made of brown sugar and don’t actually melt when splashed with water.

After watching the surfers out at
Pleasure Point (on the EASTside,) we drove along the water through Capitola and Aptos.  Linda was hoping for sunset photos (like at the very bottom of my weblog) so we went to a very special place, Seacliff State Beach.  I have a lot of personal history tied up with that cement ship, The Palo Alto…It always makes me smile.  I know Linda enjoyed seeing the ship…not so sure she enjoyed the way the end of the pier swayed with the waves. We could tell there would be no colorful sunset this evening…for the most part the sky looked like this:

linda sc a

We had dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Manuel’s…which is right above Seacliff.  (I honestly gave her several choices…but Linda really wanted Mexican!)

As the fog rolled in, we drove back to the “westside” and
Steamer’s Lane.  The Lighthouse here houses the Surfing Museum.  Linda
wrote about her first day in Santa Cruz, and researched the history of the lighthouse…most of which was new to me. (I’m more of an Eastside sorta chick)

lh point
linda sc c

The next day we visited a bunch of places, including Holy Cross Church (Santa Cruz translates to
“Holy Cross”)

It is also the site of the Santa Cruz Mission.

linda sc eThe original structure was destroyed by a series of earthquakes, but portions have been rebuilt.

The historical area is closed on Mondays. I’m gonna have to go back and take the tour!

Linda and I headed to The Santa Cruz Boardwalk for a photo-op, thinking it would be closed.
linda sc hIt was almost deserted, but a few of the rides were running….including the Giant Dipper !!!

linda sc b In a couple weeks,
The Giant Dipper celebrates 85 years.  It is the sixth oldest roller coaster in the United States. 

linda sc kYou can watch a video clip of a ride on the Giant Dipper here.  It is one of my all time favorite places in Santa Cruz.  I am so glad Linda was up for a ride !


linda sc l

linda sc g

The Teamster is enjoying his
Five-O Tour and could not be present to ride…
I am sure he will be bummed he missed it!
There were several other
attractions” on the Boardwalk despite the weather.

We went out to the very tip of the wharf (see the aerial picture at the top of my weblog?) watching the sea lions, the sailors, and the tourists.

We made a few other quick stops (chocolate shop, microbrewery) before the obligatory trek at the harbor down to the end of the jetty

lh playWe decided to drive together in Linda’s snazzy hybrid rental over the hills and into the central valley to meet up with Sandee and Zane at the aforementioned, Cancun.

(the following two photos of the three amigos have been shamelessly stolen from Sandee’s weblog..and were taken by Zane.)

After a glass of wine at the bar, we headed over to enjoy our meal.  We thought we would pay homage to the Queen

But Zane caught us with our guards down…

three amigos
(rather amazing…my eyes are actually open)

If you would like to see more of her hubby’s handiwork…please surf over to
read Sandee’s post.

In addition to the first day post linked above…
Linda wrote about our dinner too. She has captured many sights in words and pictures…and has promised more posts.

I hope that Linda will continue to make her annual pilgrimage to the west coast.  I know Sandee and I will try and find a time our weekend schedules overlap at the delta.    

I enjoy weblogs in several different circles. Groups of people who may overlap here or there.  Sandee, Linda and I read several weblogs in common, but we also each read quite a few sites the others do not.  While we are very  different women… and lead very different lifestyles, we have gotten to know each other online from our posts and in the comment sections.  I consider it a privilege to call each of them my friend.