Sunday, August 31, 2003

Here's an article that suggests that men and women really can be "just friends". Speaking as a man with several close female friends (my two closest friends in the world are both female) it's nice to see some affirmation that I'm not insane :-).
Music for Mass
Gordon Zaft and Peter Dodge, cantors
Kathie O'Sullivan, piano
22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: For The Beauty Of The Earth (DIX)
Penitential Rite: spoken
Gloria: spoken
Responsorial Psalm: (OCP Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: Refrain from Praise His Name (Joncas), verse of the day
Preparation of the Gifts: All Good Gifts (Keil)
Holy,Holy: (Hurd)
Memorial Acclamation: (Hurd)
Great Amen: (Hurd)
Our Father: Yantis
Lamb of God: (Hurd)
Communion: Blest Are They (Haas)
Recessional: I Sing The Mighty Power Of God (ELLACOMBE)
The University of Arizona(tm) Wildcats whomped the UTEP Miners last night 42-7. Fortunately or not, that's about the only "gimmee" on an otherwise tough schedule.
Noted engineer and author Henry Petroski weighs in on NASA's engineering culture. Petroski has written a number of good books and he's a good writer, check it out.
More cool info on food and nutrition -- some nutritionists believe the Glycemic Index is a key factor in blood sugar levels. It raises more questions about the role of carbohydrates in nutrition, and in particular which carbohydrates are "good" and which are "bad". There's also a link to Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load values.

Friday, August 29, 2003

I know you thought I'd forget -- here are my Friday Five:

1. Are you going to school this year?

I am going to skate school, and also I'm taking a 6-week yoga class in about 3 weeks. Beyond that, I have a paper to revise.

2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?

Skate school at Gateway Ice Center. Yoga class through Pima College. I got my Master's in EE (2001) and my B.S. in computer engineering (1985) from The University of Arizona(tm).

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?

History, philosophy, science and technology studies (STS).

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?

Math and physics. Ironic, no?

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?

Favorite teachers... hmm. Of course I have to give a shout out to my thesis advisor, Dr. Bernie Zeigler. And my STS mentor, Dr. Jen Croissant. My instructor/coach at Gateway, Glenn, is topnotch too. And of course my very first skate instructor was the lovely Dawn!
Some good reading for today -- check out Lose The Buddha. This is a great blog about health and fitness -- a lot of her struggle sounds reminiscent of others' stories and to some extent my own. Erin is a good writer with a lot of good stuff to say, so check it out.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

For all you aviation buffs, here's a piece of history -- the Boeing 707 prototype has been refurbished and sent to the Smithsonian for display. While the 707 was not the first commercial jet airliner (that was the de Havilland Comet), it had a huge impact and became a workhorse of the airline industry for many years. It's cool this piece of history has been saved.
I went with my friend Amber Lee to Steward Observatory last night, to look at Mars. Steward was hosting a public viewing session using their 21-inch telescope. Besides Steward, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and the Flandrau Science Center were all hosting viewing with various telescopes (Flandrau's planetarium hosts a 16-inch telescope). We first looked through a smaller (8-inch, I think) telescope and then went to stand in line for the Steward 'scope. We waited almost 2 hours to get to the telescope, but were rewarded with a terrific view. The wait was worth it in part because it was partly cloudy earlier but cleared up before we got to the eyepiece. Anyway, the view was terrific -- Mars was incredibly bright and one could see the ice cap and some other features. A very fun and memorable evening!
As most readers are aware, I'm very interested in transportation and how cities can improve their transportation systems. A CNN report shows how the recent gas crunch spotlighted Phoenix's miserable public transit system. While Tucson's transit system is, I think, much better than Phoenix, it too needs improvement. Tucsonans will be voting on a ballot measure to raise taxes to improve bus service and build a light-rail system.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I meant to blog yesterday about the latest UA news -- some students have filed a lawsuit against The University of Arizona(tm) (and, presumably, the Arizona Board of Regents) because of the 40% tuition increase for this year. The Arizona Daily Star claims they're naive. The basis of the lawsuit is the Arizona Constitution's requirement that the state universities be "as nearly free as possible." Of course the UA student newspaper, the Arizona Daily Wildcat, reports on the issue as well.

Personally, I think the students have a point. The state's level of support for the university system has decreased over the years, and tuition has increased dramatically. When I started at UA as an undergrad in 1981, tuition was something like $530/yr in-state. This year, with the latest increase it's something like $3500/yr. That's a huge increase in 20 years.
Yow! We had a heck of a storm yesterday. Fortunately I missed most of it as I was in Phoenix for work. The scariest is probably the 6 cars that were trapped when live power lines fell on them. Fortunately they all were smart and stayed in their cars until help came.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Okay, I think I have fixed the problem with the comment number not being correct. I guess this has been broken since Blogger did their software update a few weeks ago. Ooops :-(.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

I guess we should have seen this coming -- convicted pedophile and former priest John Geoghan has been killed in prison.. It's a sad end to a very sad story.
The lovely Jeanetta has informed me that YACCS (the commenting system) is screwed up on my blog, and even when there are comments it doesn't say so. I suspect it's been broken a while. My apologies, I'll try to get it fixed! In the meantime you could always email me (link at upper right). Thanks J!

Friday, August 22, 2003

Thanks to Mark Shea for this link -- Howard Dean supports legalized euthanasia. How sad to see how far the party that once supported the rights of all now has abandoned the weakest and most defenseless at both ends of life.

HD: I think states have to make up their own mind. It's a very difficult moral problem,. I as a physician would not be comfortable administering lethal drugs, but I think this a very private, personal decision and I think individual physicians and patients have the right to make that private decision. I am very amused by the Right Wing--including the president and administration--who talk about liberty but then decide they're going to scrutinize everyone's behavior and tell them what they can and cannot do. There can't be a much more personal decision an individual makes than how to die and I think that is a personal decision left to individuals, their physicians and families.
My Friday Five:

1. When was the last time you laughed?

Last night, hanging out at 'an establishment' with my friend Amber Lee.

2. Who was the last person you had an argument with?

Hmm. I don't have too many arguments. Probably Amber Lee, or Michele.

3. Who was the last person you emailed?

My friend Tim.

4. When was the last time you bathed?

I showered this morning. If this means taking an actual bath... wow, I don't remember. I rarely take baths anymore, although now that it's mentioned a bubble bath sounds pretty good right now!

5. What was the last thing you ate?

I had some maple & brown sugar oatmeal for breakfast this morning.
Robert Cringely's column this week is about Microsoft and, in passing, an introduction to the Mailinator. The Mailinator is a truly awesome idea -- it's like General Delivery at the post office. Have mail sent to any username you want, and go pick it up later. Of course the problem is that others can read it too. Still, it has a number of uses that could make it a very handy tool in your arsenal.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Happy birthday Tucson! Yep, Tucson celebrated its 228th birthday yesterday. It's nice to remember in our country that tends to think of things in an Anglocentric fashion that this city was founded long before many others in our country.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I didn't mention it yesterday, but at last night's meeting I was elected Vice-Chair of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee, a City of Tucson committee that advises the Mayor and Council on transportation issues. I've served on the committee since November of 2000 and with the previous Vice-Chair stepping down and my schedule having cleared up a bit now that I 've finished the Living Stones program, I was glad to be able to pitch in and help in this way. It should be a good experience.
Today's Star has an article about the latest in self-mutilation: suspension. Yep, apparently people pay good money to have hooks inserted into themselves so that they can be strung up by 'em. And you thought tongue-splitting was depraved.... Sheesh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Wow, this is sad. A 21-year old woman was convicted of burying her newborn baby alive. Of course the ironies abound in this situation -- the woman knew about the "Safe Baby" program where mothers can drop off their healthy newborns for adoption, no questions asked; but she didn't use it. And of course the irony of the statement from the deputy county attorney:

Mayer wondered, "When will people stop making excuses for killing babies?" and said the baby's life was "snuffed out by the selfish and callous actions of the defendant."

Indeed, some of us have been wondering that for a long time. Porzel pleaded guilty to manslaughter and will be sentenced to 5 years.

Monday, August 18, 2003

If you, like many people, wondered (in the aftermath of last week's blackout) why Texas has its own power grid, Slate gives you the answer. In brief it's a combination of dodging Federal regulations and Texas stubborness. Did you know Texas uses more power than any other state (including California!)? It was news to me!
The Star has an article today about my alma mater, Amphitheater High School, and their 2003 football prospects. Coach Friedli has been there for 26 years; my junior year was the last year they won the state football title. It's been a tough ride lately, and the school has just moved down from 5A to 4A due to declining enrollment. Though much has changed, I can still say I'm proud to be an Amphi Panther.
Here's a really cool article from MSNBC on last week's blackout. There are a lot of interesting bootstrapping questions in getting a grid restarted. In some ways it's comparable to getting a new CPU booted with an operating system for the first time. Stories like these remind me of the Stephen King novel, The Stand. The part of the book where the survivors are trying to get the power plants restarted always fascinated me.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The Arizona Daily Star has a nice special section on the Aspen Fire today. It's good coverage of a very sad subject, but thanks be to God no one was injured.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Music for Mass
Gordon Zaft, cantor
Liz Jones, flute
Kyle Frank, piano
20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: The King of Love My Shepherd Is (ST. COLUMBA)
Penitential Rite: spoken
Gloria: spoken
Responsorial Psalm: (OCP Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: Refrain from Praise His Name (Joncas), verse of the day
Preparation of the Gifts: Servant Song (McGargill)
Holy,Holy: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: Yantis
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Communion: This Alone (Manion)
Recessional: I Am The Bread Of Life (Toolan)

Bishop Kicanas was present at this Mass, which usually has no music.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Friday Five:

1. How much time do you spend online each day?

Hmm. That's hard to say. At work I am basically online all the time since I test web-based apps. For personal pleasure, probably 2-3 hours a day.

2. What is your browser homepage set to?

My browser homepage at home is set to this blog. My browser at work is set to an intranet site.

3. Do you use any instant messaging programs? If so, which one(s)?

I have AIM but I'm almost never on.

4. Where was your first webpage located?

My first webpage was either on my old StarNet account or on my University of Arizona(tm) account.

5. How long have you had your current website?

"current website" is hard to define, as I have this blog, my skating blog, and my personal homepage. The oldest is definitely my personal homepage, which has been hosted where it is now for about 3 years, I think.
One year ago today I was laid off from my job at NewMonics. What a year it's been.... out of work for 9 weeks, then a job at TCI Solutions... learning to skate... finishing up my Living Stones program... and finally, a new job at Scientific Technologies. Lots of ups and downs... I'm very grateful for all God has done for me in the past year, and for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.
Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Prelude: Ave Maria (Victoria)
Gathering Song: Immaculate Mary
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: (OCP Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: (Chant Mass w/verse of the day)
Preparation of the Gifts: Alma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina)
O Sanctissima (St. Gregory Hymnal #206)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: Servant Song (McGargill)
Recessional: Hail, Holy Queen

Thursday, August 14, 2003

We often complain that the bishops aren't teaching, aren't doing their job. Well, here's one who is. Thanks, Bishop Galeone! And thanks to Mark Shea for the link. There's also a cool article on NFP on the St. Augustine diocesan website.
I don't know whether this is insulting or amusing (ElfGirl?), but check out the Hawaiian Pidgin Bible. Thanks to Catholic Light for the link.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

If you, like many people, buy and sell things on EBay, you may have received emails like some I've received claiming to be from EBay and asking you to click on a link they provide. Don't do it! In every case I've seen, these are attempts to trick people into revealing their EBay confidential information. Ebay has published information about this problem, and suggests you forward suspicious emails to Be careful out there!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

A belated Friday Five:

1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?

That would be Dallas, TX from 6/28 to 7/5 of this year, to visit Maria, Rob, Kristen and Bethany.

2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?

That would probably be getting stuck at Gitmo for a week when I worked for the Navy. Several of us were finishing up a CSSQT aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN-69), but since the COD plane was broken we missed our flight to Norfolk and wound up in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for about a week until we could get home via Jamaica-->Miami-->LA.

3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?

I would love to visit all the lower 48 by car, preferably in each season. And of course, Rome, Paris, London... also I have friends in Portugal and Chile I'd love to meet. And Beijing!

4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?

Mmph. Probably car. I've never traveled any appreciable distance by train. Planes are pretty much a necessity for any long distance but all you ever see is airports.

5. What's the next place on your list to visit?

Hmm. No current travel plans. I'm thinking about trying to organize a family reunion for next summer though, that would probably be in Ann Arbor, MI.
President Bush visited the Tucson area yesterday and made a speech about his Healthy Forests initiative. The Star has a nice online slideshow of his visit. Of course not everyone was glad to see him.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Wow, a great piece by Michael Novak on the controversy over the William Pryor nomination. He's right on. Ellen Goodman wrote a really stupid piece about this last week, claiming that for people to say that the Democratic Senators who are trying to stuff this nomination are anti-Catholic is "chutzpah." I tried to write a response but I was so mad about it I couldn't write anything that sounded reasoned and logical.

Are we to understand the Democrats as asserting that only religious people who have "shallowly held" beliefs are reliable as judges? Will judges of "shallow" beliefs have the courage to override their own feelings in order to apply the law impartially?
Whew! Tucson had a record-setting high of 110 degrees yesterday! That's damn hot! Phoenix was 116...

Sunday, August 10, 2003

The Arizona Daily Star published a brief synopsis of letters they received. It's really quite surprising -- they only received 165 letters, and published about a third of them. All the more reason to get off your duff and write when something's important to you.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Happy Blogiversary!

Yep, one year ago today I started this blog and made my first post. I have to say it's been quite a year. I've worked at three different places, finished up my Living Stones program, and began taking skating lessons.

I was thinking the other day that for all my occasional complaining about still being single, being lonely, and whatever other problems I've had, I really am very lucky. I've been very blessed, and while I do think that fairly often I don't express it a lot. I am blessed to have generally good health, family, good friends, a good job. A place to live, food on the table, all the material things I really need. More importantly many spiritual gifts, a wonderful parish, and of course a loving God and Father who gives me many gifts that I don't deserve. I'm very grateful.

So what's to come in the next year of this blog? Who can say? I hope that I'll be able to retain my readers (both of you! :-)) and maybe gain a few; be able to contribute some to the discussions around St. Blog's Parish; and perhaps learn a little about myself in the process. Thanks for your patronage, and I hope you come back often!
Transportation is always an issue in Tucson. Last year we had a failed transportation initiative that the city spent lots of money to promote. Now a citizens group has an initiative on the November ballot to build a light rail system in Tucson, as well as make improvements to the bus system and other improvements. It will be interesting to see how the discussion and debate shape up.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Well, they've gone and done it, the ECUSA has elected a practicing homosexual as a bishop. He's divorced too. So now the ECUSA basically has committed itself to saying homosexual acts are okay, that sex oustside of marriage doesn't matter, and that divorce doesn't matter. In doing so they've pretty much turned their backs on Scripture and the constant practice of Christians since the time of Christ (and the Jews before that). It's a sad day.
There's a big stink brewing over the nomination of William Pryor to be a federal judge. Some ostensibly Catholic members of the Senate are against him, apparently because he actually accepts the teachings of the Church (gasp!) on such things as abortion, euthanasia, and contraception. Check out Hugh Hewitt's article, as well as Archbishop Chaput's column. For the other side check out Ellen Goodman.

According to Senator Durbin (as reported by EWTN), "Many Catholics who oppose abortion personally do not believe the laws of the land should prohibit abortion for all others in extreme cases involving rape, incest and the life and the health of the mother." This kind of propaganda makes the abortion lobby proud, but it should humiliate any serious Catholic. At a minimum, Catholic members of Congress like Senator Durbin should actually read and pray over the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" and the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" before they explain the Catholic faith to anyone. -- Archbishop Chaput
UA beats ASU, again! Yep, that's right. The University of Arizona(tm) has been awarded its largest grant ever, $325 million to design and build a mission to Mars. Woohoo! UA beat out ASU among others to get this award. This is a very exciting project. UA's press release and info package on the Phoenix mission gives more details.

Monday, August 04, 2003

It's official -- my old company, NewMonics, has been essentially bought-out by Aonix. I say "essentially" because Aonix bought the IP and got (almost all) the employees:

Aonix acquires all of the software assets and intellectual property
rights associated with the PERC platform. PERC, the first Java
offering to provide real-time control, strongly complements the full
range of real-time software solutions Aonix is building. Aonix plans to
integrate hard real-time support into the PERC family, enabling it to
meet the needs of hard real-time and safety-critical applications. To
ensure effective integration of the NewMonics' technology, Aonix has
incorporated all NewMonics' employees into its organization and has
appointed Kelvin Nilsen chief technology officer of Aonix, Tim
Tumilty, vice president of North American sales and Randy Rorden,
vice president of engineering, PERC development.

This is really good news for my friends that are still employed there. I'm really glad they found a buyer.
I forgot to mention that I finished the first Harry Potter book last Thursday. I really enjoyed it. It was an easy read and a lot of fun. Of course, having seen the movie I knew the basic plot. Still, I enjoyed it a lot. I don't have any strong opinions as to "what it all means" or such things. If I had kids, I'd encourage them to read it.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Whee! I went shopping for clothes today, and as I thought, I've dropped another 2 inches off my waist. I'm now wearing jeans in a 34 waist, down from 38 a year ago!

Friday, August 01, 2003

Friday Five:

1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?

My nominal time is 8:10. However lately it's been as late as 9:15. Eeep! Fortunately I have some flexibility about my work hours...

2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?

When possible! Ideally on the weekends I'd get up at 10, but if I'm up really late Friday or Saturday night it might be as late as noon.

3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?

Get out of bed? Er, after that, it's take the cell phone off the charger, and jump in the shower.

4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?

Without skipping anything, it takes me about 30-35 minutes from out of bed to out the door -- 25 minutes on a good day.

5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?

I almost never go out for breakfast, but when I do it's Frank's restaurant on Pima and Alvernon.
The Anglican church continues its downward slide -- CNN reports that a practicing homosexual has passed the first step toward approval as a "bishop." Meanwhile the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith came out with its long awaited document, Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons.

The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

Update: Check out this article in the Christian Science Monitor on American churches and their differing approaches to homosexual unions. Also check out this article at CNN on reaction by homosexual activists to the CDF document.