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Perry Reed

Perry Reed -

Last Build Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 17:54:33 GMT


A few random thoughts

Thu, 29 Sep 2011 17:54:33 GMT

I saw a Denny’s ad on TV and knew it was Denny’s even before they showed the logo, just from looking at the food.  It’s always yellow!  I’m serious, the food in Denny’s ads (and presumably at Denny’s itself, although I wouldn’t know), is always yellow-ish.  It’s the strangest thing.  The next time you see one of their ads, look for yourself.


Received a card from DirecTV a few days ago notifying us that they’ve upgraded our free RedZone channel this season to the full NFL Sunday Ticket.  Woo!  Of course, this also means that I won’t be very productive on Sunday afternoons for the next several weeks.


Speaking of sports…  Fox Sports Radio is FAR more entertaining than ESPN Radio.  The Fox guys have actual personalities, not just catchphrases.


I went to the county tax collector the other day to renew the tags on my cars.  They gave me a waiting list number and it was the next number called, less than a minute after I arrived.  I was in and out of the place in fewer than five minutes total.  That sort of thing never happened at the DMV in California!


Windows 8 is pretty nice! I’m running the Developer Preview on my tablet PC now.  I fully expect that by late next year I’ll be able to replace both my Tablet PC and my iPad with a tablet running the release version of Win8.  Although, those new Kindles sure look nice, too…  iPad suddenly has a ton of real competition.


I saw a news article yesterday about a bag of severed heads found near a school in Mexico.  The article also said that, in addition to the heads, they found “threatening notes”.  Really?  Are the notes necessary?  Aren’t the severed human heads enough of a threat?


I’m watching The Green Hornet (the movie remake) this afternoon.  Why does Cameron Diaz keep showing up in movies that I would otherwise enjoy?  Seriously, enough’s enough.


My golf and scuba gear is packed!  Parents are on a plane here to watch the kids, and Beth and I leave for Cancun on Saturday morning.  Should be a very nice week, although we’ve never gone anywhere without the kids for this long before.


Fri, 19 Aug 2011 12:45:43 GMT

Last night I was a bit bored and flipping around the TV channels and saw that some channel I’ve never heard of was showing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the Peter Frampton / Bee Gees remake).  I figured, what the heck, there’s nothing else on, so I tuned in.  But then something odd happened.  That’s not Frampton!  That’s Olivia Newton John.  And I recognized the song, too.  They were running Xanadu instead.

Now I should explain something. Xanadu is one of two movies I can think of that I have never seen, but have always enjoyed the soundtrack (the other being Pretty in Pink).  So, I decided to watch it for a bit and I learned something…

It is awful.

Shockingly, embarrassingly bad. The acting, the story, the cheesy effects, even the clothing (I know it was 1980, but even that doesn’t explain all of it).  Even Olivia Newton John, who was smoking hot back then, couldn’t save this one!  And Gene Kelly?!?  How the heck did they convince him to do this movie?  I understand it was the last feature film he ever made.  I’m guessing he quit acting in disgust.

I still like the music, though. I wonder if Pretty in Pink is any good.

Canadian football

Sun, 17 Jul 2011 01:22:08 GMT

So during a long summer and faced with the possibility of no NFL this year, God help me, I was watching Canadian football.  It was just awful.  Only the Canadians could take something as awesome as football and eff it up this bad.  It's like they wanted to play football like we do, but couldn't quite figure out all of the rules, so they just made some stuff up.

On several plays, the offense had three receivers in motion running at the line of scrimmage before the snap.  It's like they've confused the forward pass in football with a hockey breakout pass.  I half expected the refs to call a two-line pass penalty on anything going over 10 yards.  (And what's with the red flag that the refs throw? Do Canadians not have the gene that lets them see yellow?)

At one point, the offense did get called for having too many men in the huddle. In American, ahem... REAL football, you get 11 players a side.  In the CFL, they get about 30.  I think the problem in this particular huddle was that they had the entire team, some fans from the stands, and a couple of beer venders.

There was a nice interception, and the player was trying to run it back for a touchdown ("touchdoon"?).  But seeing as the Canadian football field is over seven miles long, he passed out from exhaustion before he could make it to the end-zone.

And what's with having only three downs?  Can Canadians not count all the way up to four?  I'm kidding!  I know Canadians can count to four... provided they remove one of their mittens.

Seriously, Arena football is better than this crap.

(OK, that was mean.  I take that back . I think that all football fans can agree that Arena football sucks ass.)


Mon, 11 Jul 2011 22:30:25 GMT

NEVER BUY A VANILLA VISA GIFT CARD! The things are a complete scam and a rip-off. Here is what happened to me today:

Beth is going out of town this week so she bought me a Vanilla VISA Gift Card with $100 on it so I’d have some money for the week. My paychecks go into our “usual” checking account, but we paid bills and it’s empty until payday on Friday. Her paychecks go into a different account and I don’t have a debit card on that one; normally I just let her pay for everything until the main account has money again, but since she’ll be out of town, this seemed like an easy temporary solution.

I tried to use the gift card this morning to put gas in my car, but the card was declined at the pump. So I went inside the gas station and it was declined again at the counter. I called the 800 number on the back of the card and the automated voice told me that there was a credit of $100 on the card, but the available balance was $0. Weird.

So I hit 0 until I was put through to a customer support guy. He told me that since I had swiped the card at the pump, it had put a hold on $100 on the card that would be returned in “about six days”, or roughly a day after Beth gets back in town. This is what makes me really angry: They put a hold on the money, but also declined the sale! YOU CAN’T DO BOTH. Put the hold and allow the sale, or decline it and do nothing. In essence, the $5 Beth spent on the card was buying us the “privilege” of letting Vanilla VISA play with our $100 for a week.

I asked to speak with a supervisor, but the customer service rep wouldn’t let me. Instead, he put me on hold and after several minutes came back and said that his supervisor would release $25 of the hold, but not the other $75.

Clearly this is a complete rip-off. It’s totally unfair to both hold the money and decline the sale. It’s unfair and it should be illegal. The idiot on the phone said he understood that I was “frustrated”. I replied that I was not frustrated, I was furious.

Not that I think it will do much good, but I’m filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, the Florida Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau. If I can think of anyone else to file a complaint with, I will. From what I’ve found online, I’m hardly the first one to get ripped off by these crooks.

I know many people use these cards as a convenient way to send gifts; heck, my parents do. I strongly recommend against it. Avoid these rip-off artists. They should be out of business (at the very least).

Little League photos

Mon, 23 May 2011 13:35:09 GMT

Some photos of the kids from this year’s Little League baseball / softball:

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Fri, 01 Apr 2011 02:37:40 GMT

I spent the week in Lakeland at the annual Sun-n-Fun fly-in and airshow working with the Civil Air Patrol.  Normally, CAP will deploy people there all week, including overnight, to run several missions, including logging incoming aircraft (for the week of the airshow, Lakeland is the busiest airport in the country), searching for ELTs (more on that in a bit), and other tasks.  But the Air Force didn’t provide the funding this year, so instead, we arrived daily and focused on recruiting, drug demand reduction, and showing off our newest airplane.  That was my job, actually; hanging out by the plane and talking to people about the plane and about CAP in general.  At least until today (more on that in a bit)!  Here is the setup we had: We had our new Cessna 182T, and a Blanik L23 glider.  Behind them are our communications trailer, command trailer, and a very nice FEMA trailer.  Here is a better look at the Cessna, which is brand-spanking new – only 85 hours: It’s a really pretty plane, and it’s got a nice panel, too, a state-of-the-art Garmin G1000 glass cockpit: Across the way, there was a display with an Evektor SportStar, a small Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) made in the Czech Republic.  It’s not particularly notable, except that when I first started my flight training, it’s the first plane I flew.  Here’s a picture: Surprisingly, for such a very small and simple plane, it also has a nice glass cockpit: So, the week was going just fine until today.  We knew that a cold front was headed our way and it was going to collide with the warm humid air over central Florida..,. meaning the potential for severe storms.  Turns out there were several very severe thunder cells and a number of tornados across Tampa and central Florida today, including one that hit Sun-n-Fun.  Not sure that there was an actual tornado there (there are mixed reports); I think it might have been straight-line winds that did the damage, but the winds were measured at 70 m.p.h. sustained, with gusts up to 90.  That’s hurricane-strength and too much for a bunch of tents and airplanes, many of which were poorly tied down or not tied down at all.  The result looked like this: It was actually a lot worse than what I was able to capture, because most of the flight line was quickly closed by the police, who later closed the entire airshow.  CAP was ready to help find any missing planes and locate all of the ELTs that were going off, but the local officials wanted everyone out, so we departed. Speaking of ELTs…  For those that don’t know, an ELT, or Emergency Locator Transmitter, is a device in every plane that transmits a warbling siren signal automatically when the plane comes to an abrupt stop (e.g. crashes).  Normally when an ELT goes off, the signal is detected by the FAA and other authorities who contact the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) who will dispatch the Civil Air Patrol to find it.  It’s one of our key missions.  Here is a link to page on Wikipedia where you can hear what one ELT sounds like. Today, with all of the planes flipped over and otherwise tossed around, we figured there must have been 50 or more ELTs going off all at once.  It’s something I’ve never heard before and likely will never hear again.  Here is what it sounded like (as captured on my handheld nav/com transceiver): (Warning!  The sound is pretty obnoxious.) Anyway, I made it out of the parking lot with my car… I was worried, because it was a grass lot that was now mostly deep water and mud, but I know the trick to driving through mud even in a two-wheeler (heavy foot on the gas and NEVER stop rolling).  And now the next few days are supposed to be sunny and beautiful.[...]

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie…

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 02:27:46 GMT

I admit I don’t really get the whole Charlie Sheen thing.  I mean I get why people are watching; it’s not  just a train wreck, it’s a high-speed maglev train wrecking into the Hindenburg carrying a load of fireworks and strippers.  But I’m not sure what Charlie is in it for.  I mean I can understand wanting to nail porn stars three at a time; I am a guy.  That sort of thing will kill you, but slowly.  But sucking in piles of cocaine will kill you quickly.  Very quickly.  Just look at the guy!  He looks like he’s aged 20 years in the last six months.  And he has no more teeth thanks to the crack that he’s chain smoking like Marlboro Lights.  Obviously he’s bat-crap crazy, but he seems to have it all going for him, what with the popular TV show and more money than God.  Why the death wish?

Word of the day

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 12:44:39 GMT

Today’s word of the day is “abomination”.  Try it!  It just rolls off the tongue; it’s very fun to say.  Plus, the meaning of it is fun, too.  Something so bad, so wrong that it simply shouldn’t be.  Try using it in every day conversation, like at your local coffee shop.  “This non-fat mocha latte is an ABOMINATION!”  Remember, that this is the kind of word that must be said very loudly to have the desired effect.  Have fun!

Christmas lights

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 02:51:38 GMT

Our outdoor Christmas decorations are pretty much all done now.  I added a few new lights this year, including wrapping our mailbox in a lighted garland and twin strands of “warm white” and “cool white” LED lights around our tree by the street.  These required installing a new outlet on our mailbox post, which is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.  I also replaced the photovoltaic sensor on the mailbox post because the old one was faulty and the mailbox lights stayed on all the time.

My favorite new lights this year, though, are the flicker flame bulbs I put in the mailbox post light and on either side of the garage on the carriage light fixtures.  They don’t put out much light, and I’ll put back the CFL bulbs I usually use after Christmas, but with all of the other lights out there, I figured we didn’t need any additional light for visibility.  I also replaced the white floodlights we always have illuminating our mini-palm trees by the porch with red, green, and blue floods.  The normal white lights will also go back after Christmas.

With all of the lights I have out there, Beth has started calling me Clark W. Griswold, but I don’t think I’m anywhere near that level of getting carried away.  Besides, when I put out new lights or decorations, I usually retire old ones.  Our lighted snowman was falling apart (literally) and was thrown out after last year.  I also no longer put out the lighted snowflakes and have been cannibalizing them for spare light bulbs.

I really like the newer LED bulbs that we started using a couple of years ago and have been using more of them.  I especially like the combination of the “cool white” of the LEDs in contrast to the warmer white light of the incandescents and the “warm white” LEDs (which are new for us this year).

Here’s a photo I took earlier this evening:


It wasn’t quite dark yet when I took it, but it is very difficult to get a good photo of the lights in full darkness.  You can see the difference between the cool white LEDs on the icicles over the garage compared to the warm white incandesecnts on the raindeer on the right.  There are also some flickering white lights on a tree on the other side of the garage (next to my car) that are not in this photo.

I took a short video of the flicker flame bulbs which shows them off a bit.  It’s very blurry for some reason, but I really like how the orange “flames” look on the mailbox over the lighted garland and with the blue-ish light from the LED icicles.  The odd perspective of the video came from me using the camera turned on its side.

Flicker flame bulbs

Some new photos

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 19:58:40 GMT

First, the kids’ school photos for this year:



Here is the “official” photo of Nicole performing in the 2010 Cheer Jam last month:


And finally, a look at my new office setup:


I spent a lot of time over the last few days, cleaning up and re-organizing my home office.  The two monitors in the front are used by my desktop (hidden under the desk) and my work laptop on the right shares the larger centered monitor and keyboard and mouse via a KVM switch.  The small monitor on the right isn’t hooked up to anything, but is available for use should I need it.  Behind the smaller monitor on the left is all of our network gear (and there is a LOT of it) and behind the main monitor is an external hard drive and (currently) a lot of empty space.  My various USB docks are on the right and I’ve got my two iPods, Palm Pre phone, and Livescribe pen docked.  My Blackberry is sitting on top of a Livescribe notebook on the desk.  And the white and black device on the right, next to the small monitor and the laptop, is a Sprint Airave femtocell.

I admit it’s not the most attractive workspace in the world, but it works for me and is a whole lot better than it was before I re-did it.

Plane down

Sat, 30 Oct 2010 01:42:25 GMT

I saw this video on today:


The plane in the video looked sadly familiar…  Turns out it was this plane:


This was the plane I did most of my flight training in, including my first solo (after which this picture was taken) and my checkride.  Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the crash, although I’m guessing the pilot is suffering from a bruised ego; but I talked to my friend who owns the plane and the airport and she said that insurance will probably total the plane.  That’s a shame, it was a fun plane to fly.

Here’s a more detailed video about the crash from an article here:

The piece has some glaring errors, though.  First, the reporter says the pilot was taking off to the east on runway 32.  Not possible.  Runway 32 goes northwest (hence the number 32, which means the runway heading is 320 degrees, which is northwest).  In fact, the pilot was using the opposite direction of runway 32 which is runway 14 (140 degrees being the opposite direction of 320).  He also says that the situation could have been worse but for “light winds and quick thinking by the pilot”.  I’m guessing that a gust of wind and some poor piloting is exactly what caused the accident.

Football and cheerleading

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 00:54:51 GMT

We got back this year’s New Tampa Sharks football and cheerleader photos for the kids.  Here are a bunch of them:





The team “attitude” photos were pretty cool.  They took individual photos of everyone and then composited them into a single picture:



Lastly, here’s a video of Nicole’s squad performing at the 2010 Pop Warner Cheer Jam at the USF Sun Dome:

Fun in stereo

Sat, 09 Oct 2010 23:41:30 GMT

Beth’s old car stereo hadn’t worked right in a long time, so I bought her a new one.  The old one was a JVC head unit so I got a new JVC unit thinking that the installation would be pretty simple, hopefully just a plug and play.  Of course it didn’t work out so well.  Turns out JVC changed their standard connector on the back of the stereo so the old one wouldn’t work and I had to do all of the wiring manually.

I was out of connectors so I went out in search of a good solution.  If we were still in California I would have just gone to Frys where I’m sure they would have had eight different good options, but we’re not so I tried Home Depot first.  They had crimp connectors which are OK, but tend to come loose over time.  They also had some heat shrink connectors, but those are a pain when you have so many wires all bundled together and besides, my workbench is made of particle board which is not a good surface for using a glow torch to heat shrink the connectors.  So, I figured the crimp connectors weren’t a horrible choice but maybe I could do better.

I drove over to Radio Shack since they’ve always had wiring and electronic supplies, right?  Nope, not any more.  The guy said they stopped carrying that stuff so clearly I no longer have any reason to ever set foot in a Radio Shack again.  (I don’t need a new cell phone or iPod accessory…)  The guy there suggested Best Buy so I drove over there.  They had nothing either.  But I did notice that the car stereos they were selling were significantly more expensive than anywhere else I’ve seen, including Crutchfield from whom I bought the one I was installing.  (I know I could have gone back to Crutchfield for wiring supplies, but Beth wanted her stereo installed TODAY so ordering online wasn’t an option.)

So I schlepped back to Home Depot and picked up the crimp connectors.  I used the self-service checkout which is fast, but there is a downside.  With that checkout you cannot chat up the cute checkout girls.  Of course the cute checkout girls probably consider that an upside…

Anyway, I got home, spent another hour and a half or so working on it, and got the stereo installed successfully.

This and that

Tue, 05 Oct 2010 21:52:09 GMT

It's gotten cold here the last few days.  FREEZING cold, like in the 60's!  I just can't handle even marginally chilly weather any more; I guess I've been in Florida too long now.  But it has been nice to open up the windows and air out the house.


I think that Tuesday has become my favorite weekday.  I usually don’t have very many meetings at work and it’s the one day of the week when I normally don’t have to be anywhere in the evening.  Although today, the crushing weight of project issues at work is dampening my enthusiasm for the day.


Owen’s football team is still winless, although they’re playing fairly well.  On Saturday, we took a 0-0 tie into the last minute and the other team broke free for a long run (helped by some blatant holding that was missed by the officials) to score the only TD of the game.  One of the players’ mom lit into the coaches before the game, telling us (in detail) how we “suck” as coaches.  Her primary complaint was that her son doesn’t play enough.  Like no coach has ever heard that complaint before!  At least she was finally coming to us with her complaints in person.  This particular woman (a horrible person) has spent the better part of two seasons now complaining about the coaching behind our backs (which of course is duly reported to us by our wives who usually have to listen to it).  So I guess that’s an improvement of sorts.  But the team is getting better each week and I don’t think we’ll go winless for the entire season.

Forgot his pads

Fri, 17 Sep 2010 00:35:05 GMT

Owen forgot his pads tonight for football practice, so his “punishment” was to run circles around one or more of the coaches for the entire two-hour practice.  It wasn’t my idea (it was our head coach’s), but I thought it was great.  Beth thinks it was mean (and assumed I had thought of it), but I bet he won’t forget his pads again…


Mon, 12 Jul 2010 23:26:18 GMT

I don’t get the thing with Mel Gibson.  I mean, I get the outrage (racism = bad), but I don’t understand why he would bring race into the argument with his girlfriend.  He’s trying to rip into her for whatever, so why muddle it up with the racism?  Isn’t that just getting off topic?  What’s the girlfriend supposed to get from that?”  I’m a lying whore and Mel’s mad at me… and black people.  Mel, if you’re trying to tear down your girl, stay on point!  Focus, dude, focus.

(This useless post brought to you by Danny Glover, who is too old for this s---.)

Oil me up

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 02:45:47 GMT

So I hear they’re now asking James Cameron the movie director to help fix the oil spill problem.  I think they’re now officially clueless about how to fix this.  Seriously, a movie director?  There’s no blue screen here.  Special effects and sh-tty story telling isn’t going to fix this!  And then I heard tonight that Kevin Costner is getting into the act as well?  Really?  Because he made “Waterworld” he’s now qualified?  Why not reach way back and get Patrick Duffy.  He was “the Man from Atlantis” after all.  Why not just get Aquaman to fix it all?

I”ve also heard that there is a fear that the next hurricane that comes along could pick up the oil and rain it down on us, which is pretty much what hurricanes usually do with the water in the gulf.  Or, in addition to the oil, that toxic oil dispersion stuff they’ve been using.  That’s about the scariest thing I’ve heard yet.

I think it’s high time that both the feckless government and BP admit that they have no clue whatsoever how to plug up that hole or how to clean up the oil.  We’re screwed, but at least this way we can prepare ourselves mentally.

By the way, my idea?  Use a bomb.  A BIG one.  Maybe even a tactical nuke.  Drop it into the ocean and detonate it under water and above the ocean floor over the leak.  The explosion would send a shockwave downward that could compress the ground and close up the hole.

Blacked out and seeing red

Sun, 25 Apr 2010 03:27:37 GMT

(image) Sometimes DirecTV really sucks.

I pay for the NHL Center Ice package so I can watch the games I want to watch.  Usually that’s the Sharks games, like tonight.  It’s game 6 of the Sharks / Avs series and naturally I wanted to watch and tuned in.  But instead of showing the game, tonight DirecTV had the game blacked out on both Center Ice channels that were supposed to be showing it.  During the playoffs, they will usually offer both local feeds of the game, from both teams.  But both channels tonight just showed a big DirecTV logo in the center of the screen.

Versus was also supposed to show the game, but since the Pittsburgh / Ottawa game went into overtime, they showed that instead until it was finally over.  Shouldn’t be a problem since I paid big bucks for Center Ice, but apparently DirecTV had a different idea.

I called DirecTV and spent 15 minutes on hold with their stupid automated system until finally I got a useless customer service rep who barely understood the problem in the first place.  He put me on hold so he could check to see if the game was supposed to be blacked out.  Yeah, they’re playing in Denver in a sold-out arena, so it makes so much sense that it would be blacked out in Tampa,. Idiot.  He quickly gave up and dumped me over to their “technical support” (after another wait on hold, of course).  That lady also put me on hold (again) to check to see if it was supposed be blacked out (again).

Meanwhile, I’m stuck staring at the big stupid logo on the screen, as if to remind me; hey, which TV service is screwing me out of watching the game?  Oh, that’s right!  There’s the logo right there.

While I was talking to the lady, Versus finally switched over to the game after a long postgame analysis of the Pittsburgh game, so I hung up on her.  I also sent them a nasty letter, which I’m sure will result in a form-letter response.  I asked them to explain to me why I should continue to pay a lot for Center Ice.  I thought the whole point of it is that I don’t have to watch whatever game Versus is showing, I can watch the game of my choosing.  That doesn’t work so well when they black out the channels I paid for.

When the game finally came on, I had missed about half of the first period, including the Sharks first goal.  Beth mentioned that they’d surely show a reply, but remember I’m stuck watching it on Versus, the all-Sidney-Crosby-all-the-time network.  During the first intermission, they didn’t show one single highlight from the Sharks game; not one.  All that they showed were highlights and interviews and analysis of the Pittsburgh game.  I expect that the second intermission will be more of the same.


Tue, 06 Apr 2010 19:58:13 GMT

I’ve always been blessed/cursed with a moderate amount of nerdulence.  I like computers and gadgets and Star Trek, for example.  And it turns out, that I like (some) math, too.  Those who know me well may laugh at that as I am notoriously bad at math.  It’s hard!  But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what others are able to do.  Specifically, I like real-world applications and the more unusual, the better. For example, the Monty Hall Problem.  If you’ve seen the movie 21, then you know this one.  It goes like this: Suppose you’re on a game show and the host tells you that there are three doors and behind one of them is a new car and behind the other two is a goat.  And you get to pick one door.  After picking one, the host (who knows what is behind each one), opens one of the other two doors to reveal a goat.  He then asks you if you’d like to switch your selection, or keep the one you made previously. Most people would claim that there is still a 1 in 3 chance of getting the car no matter what, but they would be wrong!  Others would say that, since one door/goat has been eliminated, you now have a 50-50 chance of getting the car no matter what, and they are also wrong.  It turns out, and this can be proven mathematically, that you have a 2/3 chance of getting the car if you switch your choice and only a 1/3 chance of winning if you don’t.  Weird, right?  But it works out in the math.  Wikipedia spells it all out. Then there is the Missing Dollar Riddle.  I’ve loved this one for years, but it’s not so much a math problem as it is a riddle; in other words a trick question.  It goes like this:  Three guests check into a hotel room and the clerk tells them that the room will be $30, so they each give the clerk a $10 dollar bill.  The clerk then realizes that they are eligible for a discount and the room will only be $25.  So he gives them back five $1 dollar bills.  They each keep one dollar and tip the bell hop $2. So, they each paid $10, but then got a dollar back.  So now they’ve each paid $9.  That nine dollars multiplied by the three guests is $27.  Add that to the $2 they tipped the bell hop and you get $29.  Where did the other dollar go? As I said, it’s a trick and Wikipedia has the answer On a more serious math note, I’ve always found the Fibonacci Sequence of numbers fascinating.  That sequence is the set of numbers that are the sum of the previous two numbers in the sequence.  For example: 0 + 1 = 1 1 + 1 = 2 1 + 2 = 3 2 + 3 = 5 and so on, so the sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377 …   Where it starts to get cool is that if you divide any of the numbers in the sequence by the number immediately before it, you get a number very close to the Golden Mean (aka Golden Ratio) of 1.618.  The higher the numbers, the closer you get to the mean.  And this is where it gets cool, because that Golden Mean is used all over the place in nature.  Here’s a neat video which shows some of it: Wikipedia has good articles on both the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Mean. As long as I’m in supernerd mode, I should also mention a couple of my favorite scientific problems / paradoxes. The first is Fermi’s Paradox, which is pretty well known.  Fermi wondered why, given the size and age of the universe, and if Earth is typical, then shouldn’t extraterrestrial life be common?  If so, why have [...]

AirFest 2010

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 13:44:03 GMT

I spent last weekend working at McDill Air Force Base at their annual AirFest airshow.  I was there with the Civil Air Patrol and we had perhaps 160 cadets or so and about 25 senior members (adults) as well.  It was very tiring, but fun!  Most of my duty was on transportation, driving a van and ferrying cadets and gear between our camp site on base and the flight line.  During the day on Saturday I also helped out at the CAP static display airplane, answering questions about the plane and the Civil Air Patrol.  The Navy Blue Angels performed both days and were fantastic.  On Sunday a big thunderstorm blew through early in the afternoon, so they had to close down the flight line for a couple of hours and suspend the air show.  When the storm had passed, they opened everything back up, but a lot of people had gone, so we got to get very close to the Blue Angels performance. Here was my home for the three days: The cadets get a very early morning breakfast: I also took several photos from the airshow.  Here is one of the coolest planes they had, an F22 Raptor.  I got a walkaround tour of the plane from the pilot; it is very very cool! Here is the CAP display aircraft, a Cessna 182 Skylane.  People enjoyed this one because we let them sit in the cockpit and take pictures. Here’s a B52 Stratofortress - H model: A B1B Lancer: A V22 Osprey: And here are several pics of a KC10 Extender tanker, from in and around the plane: Finally, the cadets in formation at the end of the airshow: [...]


Thu, 11 Mar 2010 23:09:49 GMT

Sometimes the kids crack me up.  This evening Nicole was having some sort of argument with Beth; I was in another rooms, so I don’t know the reason or what specifically the problem was; I just heard the yelling.  Apparently Nicole was upset enough to write a note and, for reasons only her little brain can comprehend, try to blame it on Owen.

Here is what she wrote, and remember, this was Nicole, not Owen:


I hat you mom

I thek you are

the dumis mom

your 8


Smile! You’re on camera

Sun, 31 Jan 2010 22:16:46 GMT

We finally got the security cameras installed on our house!  They brought a very skinny little installer dude to slither up into the small attic crawl space to run the wires.  The cameras are hard-wired to the TV in our bedroom and also to a router in our office, so that we can view the images from anywhere on the Internet.  Pretty cool.

Here’s our front porch from one of the cameras:



And here is our driveway (and my car) from the other:



Mon, 14 Dec 2009 00:39:07 GMT

Catching up a bit since it’s been forever since I’ve updated here.  Facebook has really put a dent in my blogging…  Anyway, so we returned from our cruise last Sunday.  We travelled on Holland America and I don’t think I would go with them again.  The service on the ship was only so-so, which doesn’t cut it when you expect really top notch service.  Also, the ship had a lot of technical problems with the evaporators (which apparently make water on board) and one of the engines; so much so that they cancelled the stop in Key West, a place we were really hoping to see, and cut short our stop in Costa Maya, Mexico.  We did stop in Cozumel, Mexico, which they added in place of Key West as well as our planned stops in Belize and Guatemala.

Mostly, it was great to spend time with Beth and the kids and my parents and Beth’s mom.  I’ve got a ton of photos, but not all of them are on my computer yet.  Here are a couple:


This is all of us at dinner on the ship.  I have no idea why I look so surprised.



This is us (minus Beth’s mom, who stayed aboard ship) at the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, near Costa Maya:



Wed, 18 Nov 2009 18:29:27 GMT

Here are Owen and Nicole’s 2009 school and Sharks football/cheerleading photos:






And because I’m not sure I posted it before, here is the photo with Owen’s team right before our last game of the season:


Sharks Tiny Mite cheerleaders perform at the 2009 Cheer Jam

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:11:01 GMT
Here is Nicole's big performance from this morning. She is the second in line at the beginning and the one being lifted in the air at the end.