Friday, December 28, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thanksgiving was good, was home for a quick visit with the family but no time to see most of my friends, unfortunately. Got back to a very hectic couple of weeks at work trying to get stuff out before the end of the year. This last week was a lot quieter though.
Christmas concerts for Oregon Chorale went very well, unlike last year I felt very well prepared and could just enjoy. A couple of people I knew (including my choir director from church) came so that was nice.
Speaking of which we've been having a lot of extra rehearsals for church choir... rather tiring but of course Christmas is almost upon us and we're still a little shaky on a couple of things, so we will have a looooong rehearsal tomorrow after Mass. We have a string quartet for midnight Mass! I'm really pysched about that, it's very cool.
In the news today ... Tony Blair has become a Catholic. Not surprising, really. God bless him!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Update 11/8 p.m.: I couldn't reach her on the phone, but she left me a vmail that she was home; they had stabilized her BP but still don't know what caused it to spike. They'll be working on it but it's a bit scary still, especially since she lives 30 miles from town.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Yesterday the sun shone! It was great. Work was busy, then choir practice. After choir our conductor (he's an astronomy buff) had brought binoculars and was showing people the comet that's visible right now (something Holmes?). It was very cool!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Singing is very busy right now. I'm singing in 3 ( or 4 depending on how you count them) choirs: Oregon Chorale, Intel Singers and church choir. I'm also singing a concert this Sunday with a subset of the Chorale, it's a benefit. So there's that concert 11/4, then Intel Singers has 4 concerts in the week and a half after that, then the regular Chorale concerts will be 12/1 and 12/2, and we're singing at the Grotto 12/10. Eeep!
I am going home for Thanksgiving. It will be nice. I was just there 6 weeks ago but it will, of course, be good to be home.
Today would have been my mom's 77th birthday. I would have teased her horribly about being so dreadfully old! I miss her more than words can say. I love you Mom, rest in peace and pray for me.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday was just church and skating for a bit, then got my hair cut (was way overdue).
Today's my long day... skating lesson this morning early, then work, then choir practice 7-10. I'm tired already.
This seems to be the month for updates... I'm waiting for the new Ubuntu release to come out on Thursday, then later this month (hopefully) is NetBSD 4.0 and OpenBSD 4.2. Yay!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I had a great trip to Arizona... got to see some people that I had not seen in a LONG time. Of course there was not enough time to see everyone I would have liked :-(.
Fall came on Sunday, and it really did arrive. Driving down to the rink Monday a.m. there was fog on the fields.. and a chill in the air. The weather was pretty nice this week but Friday the rains came, and now it's the usual Oregon grey and cold. The Oregonian helpfully commented:
Less of a surprise is how the weather took a wintry turn regionwide Friday, likely to be the first in a long string of wet days stretching into late next week. October, just around the corner, tends to mark the beginning of a rainy season that typically lasts through May in western Oregon.
Well! Yep, 8 months of rain to look forward to. I know folks in Az think I exaggerate this stuff, but I'm not. Oh well. And to add insult to injury (so to speak), Costco has Christmas stuff on sale already! At the end of September! Sheesh.
On the positive side, I took my car in to Sears today because the oil change place claimed my battery was going bad. Sears said it was fine. While I was there I saw a nail in my right front tire -- they checked it out, but amazingly enough even though it was 2+ inches long it had not gone through the tire, but instead followed the curve of the tire. So no flat and no charge! I was psyched.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Intel's revival rides on new tech. Check it out.
There may be an answer to why so many American bee hives have been dying off.
Everyone's in a tizzy that some nuclear weapons were flown over US soil. I'm not that excited. It's not like they are going to go off. Seriously, they are designed for that not to happen.
Finally, some more in the long line of why adult stem cells are better than embryonic stem cells: -- skin stem cells used to mend spines in rats. So why are so many people excited about embryonic stem cells? Follow the money!
Monday, September 03, 2007
Saturday: got up and left Twin Falls. I couldn't see it at night, but Twin Falls is right next to the Snake River, which runs in this deep gorge right next to the town. It's pretty cool. Drove straight to the tailgate party and got there exactly on time. Had a good time at the tailgate, then walked over to the football game. BYU's campus is right up against the mountains; it's a beautiful setting. Unfortunately we played pretty poorly and got soundly thrashed 20-7. Sheesh. After the game, I was walking back to the car and got to talking to some BYU fans. They wanted to know if I'd enjoyed my stay, was I welcomed, etc. Of course I told them that their hospitality was awesome (it was). Mormon folks are almost always very kind and welcoming. It was a pleasure to enjoy their hospitality.
After that, drove up to SLC and found a Motel 6 and crashed for the night. The next morning, got up and went to 11 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Wow! What a beautiful place. Mass was very nice, including a fair amount of singing in Latin (including the Sanctus and the Credo (!)). No choir, just a cantor. After Mass there was a tour, which was fascinating. Then a quick bite to eat and skating for an hour (see my skating blog for info), and then I hit the road for home.
I-80 is pretty dull, but I did take a moment to stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I actually walked out on them a bit. The salt is harder than you'd think, but it really sticks to your shoes! I also enjoyed seeing Pilot Peak. It's a very majestic looking mountain.
I had originally planned on stopping for the night at Winnemucca but when I got there, decided to go further even though it was already almost 10. Not a good idea, in retrospect. I got to Ft. McDermitt and saw a sign saying "next services 100 miles", which was pushing it a bit, so I turned back and filled my tank. Then I continued.
I stopped at a rest stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere, to use the bathroom. It was SO dark, and so clear. A million stars, and even the Milky Way. I can't remember the last time I saw it, but it was heart-stoppingly beautiful. It's a shame so many city folks have never even seen it!
Anyway, drove on. Thought I could stop at Burns Junction, but it turns out there really isn't anything there, so continued to Burns (Oregon). The last 90 miles was nasty -- pitch dark, no traffic, narrow windy road with no shoulder, and signs saying "Livestock". I had nightmares about hitting a cow. As it turned out, I hit a bunny :-(. Very traumatizing for me, and of course not so good for the bunny either. Finally got into Burns about 12:15 and found a nice hotel and went to bed.
Monday morning, got up at 9:30 (PDT) and hit the road. Central Oregon reminds me of northern AZ, it's all high desert. Miles and miles of nothing at all, then a few ranches. After a while the air began to get increasingly hazy. When I got to Bend I found out that there was a big forest fire near there, they were evacuating people on US 20 (the highway I was on). Continued on my way and finally got home around 5. It was a nice trip, but a long one!
I took a bunch of pictures that I'll post on my MySpace page when I get a chance.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
- The Columbia Gorge really is pretty. The Columbia is a big freakin' river. Like, really big. The upper Gorge reminds me of the Colorado a bit, this huge river flowing through a desert... though in this case it's high desert.
- I really love my car! It's so much fun.
- Stopped for lunch in The Dalles. What an odd place.
- I didn't get a good luck at the Bonneville dam, and I guess Grand Coulee is a ways up. I wanted to see some dams and I didn't really. I'll have to come back.
- There's a lot of agriculture, all irrigation based, around Pendleton. It's neat.
- The valley that La Grande is in in really pretty... very pastoral and lots o' cows.
- There was a sign marking the 45th Parallel, halfway from the equator to the north pole. I guess it really IS a long way to the pole from here.
- There was a forest fire outside Ontario, OR. Spooky orange glow in the hills...
- It was raining at one point and I couldn't see a darn thing... was thinking "Dang it! Need new wiper blades!" and then it occurred to me to turn the defroster on. Problem solved! I don't think of such things in August.
- The moon rising above the clouds in Caldwell, ID. Pretty.
- The Mormon temple in Boise... eerie at night.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Having worked at both large and small companies, I think this is a pretty good summary.
Basically a small company has a flavor to it, whereas a big company is sort of like checking into the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It's a nice hotel but it has 5,000 rooms, so don't expect anybody to remember your name. A small company is more like a bed and breakfast. You're going to have a great time because you get along with people and it's a much friendlier experience. You don't really mind that the bathroom is down the hall because the people made a special vegetarian meal for you and then showed you around town. On the other hand, you might be at a bed and breakfast where they have weird leather implements and lots of cats.
|You scored as Roman Catholic, You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.|
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Saturday, August 25, 2007
Sunday I'm hoping to go to Mass at the Cathedral in Salt Lake -- it's supposed to be beautiful; followed by skating on one of the Olympic size rinks there, then start heading home at a more leisurely pace. Should be fun and I hope to take lots of pictures!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
For myself I'm in the first camp. I think God probably did this to keep her from becoming proud and arrogant. It reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila's lament about how God treats his friends.
The second article is Astronomers puzzled by cosmic black hole[sic]. It's not really a black hole (i.e. a gravitational singularity), rather it's a vast expanse of... nothing. Fascinating stuff, really.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I decided to go ahead and use some of my more-available time to join the choir here at work (yes, Intel is so large there's a choir at the Jones Farm campus!). Went to my first rehearsal last Wed., it was not bad. Rehearsals are just for 1.5 hours at lunchtime on Wednesdays.
Today was my first day back at Pilates. I had dropped it for the summer since I was swamped doing sabbatical coverage for one of my coworkers, but now that that's over I was back.... wow, am I out of shape! I'm sore. Due to choir practice (see above) I'm only going to be able to go 2x a week. It will have to do.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
- It took place in daylight. Can you imagine how much worse it would have been in the dark? Rescuers would not have been able to see, people would have been more scared, there would have been huge panic.
- It took place in the summertime. If it had been winter how many people would have survived the freezing cold water, not to mention if the bridge surface had been slick from ice?
- Some lanes of the bridge were closed. That meant that there were fewer cars on the bridge than there otherwise would have been, and that they were going far slower.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I have to say in looking at the damage that it's hard to image it not being some kind of deliberate act considering the fact that more than one span fell. On the other hand if it were Al Quaeda et al I'm sure a) they'd have taken credit already and b) it would have been a bit flashier. Hard to say.
Update: Actually, after looking at some film again, I think what happened is that the center span fell, and then the two towers were unbalanced (it was a cantilevered structure), and so without the weight of the center span the other spans fell in.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I have a lot of crap going on in my life right now, but I really love working at Intel. Thanks be to God for a good job!
It was a somewhat surreal experience. The congregation was quite small (25 - 30) and the church was quite warm (summertime in Oregon and most places around here don't have AC, unfortunately). The music was .. amazing. Truly amazing. The Mass parts were the Byrd "Mass for Five Voices" and the rest was plainchant and a Byrd Motet, I believe.
I'll definitely go again, but preferably when there's air conditioning!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
It occurred to me later, what's the deal with referring to yourself in the 3rd person? Why do people do this? They do it with children a lot and we tend to not think anything of it, but it's really rather strange when you think about it.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Marie had our season ticket for the concert, but she didn't come, which hurt.
The last piece for the concert was the Barber "Agnus Dei" (choral setting of "Adagio for Strings"). It's such a powerful, intense piece. Some of my fellow basses were commenting afterward on what an intense, emotional experience it was, and it's true. It takes a lot out of you. Music like this is what makes life... worth living.
Monday, May 28, 2007
For all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country... let us pray for them. For their families, "Thanks" doesn't begin to express the sorrow and gratitude we feel.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I'm sorry to report that Marie and I are splitting up. Marie has decided that she needs to spend some time on her own, pursuing her own interests and tending her own garden, so to speak. We will continue to see each other but we won't be "a couple" and we'll have to just take things as they come and see how it goes. She will be attending PSU in the fall and hopes to graduate in December '08.
In many ways I think this is a good thing for Marie, and I wish her the best of luck. She will remain very dear to me and I do hope that after some time we may be able to get back together -- something I know she would like as well. I love her very much and I know she loves me too, so this is very hard; we have been together almost 2 years.
Thanks for your understanding.
Here’s my point. People who take the question of human truth, freedom and meaning seriously will never remain silent about it. They can’t. They’ll always act on what they believe, even at the cost of their reputations and lives. That’s the way it should be. Religious faith is always personal, but it’s never private. It always has social consequences, or it isn’t real. And this is why any definition of “tolerance” that tries to turn religious faith into a private idiosyncrasy, or a set of personal opinions that we can have at home but that we need to be quiet about in public, is doomed to fail.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I see I didn't actually blog it (my apologies!) but I did get the car I looked at. It will need a couple of small things done soon (brakes, etc.). Here's a picture! Every time I see it I think "Pretty car!"
It's a real joy to drive, too. It's a 5 speed and it's got a lot of get-up-and-go even though it's just a 2L engine. I'm really happy with it.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I'm in the middle of purchasing a car! I just put a deposit down on a '99 Ford Escort ZX2. It's bright red and fun to drive, sporty but not so sporty I'll pay out the wazoo for car insurance. I just got the CarFax report (view it here 'til 5/24) and it's clean. Friday morning I'll have a mechanic check it out and if it's okay I'll buy it!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I had a good visit. Saturday night was my godson Tommy's confirmation. He's 10. I was so proud of him! The priest asked them a question during his homily and Tommy raised his hand right away because he knew the answer. Later we played a game of chess and I came thisclose to losing! He's so bright. The whole family (he has 4 sisters (!)) is a real inspiration, especially when you read too many depressing stories about "kids today".
Had a good visit with my family too; my stepmom made a wonderful lunch on Saturday and all my nieces and nephew and brother and sister were there, it was great; also got to meet my Dad's cousin Laurie. Cool stuff!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
This week I went on a work visit to the Microsoft campus in Redmond. It's an interesting place. Yes, they do get free drinks.... soda, milk, coffee, espresso, etc. That's pretty cool. And yes, everyone's in an office, not a cube. And the cafeteria looked nicer than ours at Intel. Still... not sure I'd want to work there. But fun to visit!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Finnan Haddie (you can see me in the middle behind/between the two soloists) (not the whole song, unfortunately)
Eliot Grasso playing Uuileann pipes.
Also, check out Eliot's performance report. He has some kind words for the Chorale.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Currently I'm looking at a number of different options, from a Ford Focus to Hyundai Elantra and Kia Optima. I didn't want to spend too much money right now, just a basic car to commute in for the next 3-4 years.
This weekend is the Oregon Chorale St. Patrick's Day concert. I'm really looking forward to it.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
So... still trying to decide if I want to get a new car, or just a new-to-me car. I had originally hoped to keep this car another 3 years or so, then buy a nice new car. Oh well.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I had a fender-bender this morning. I'm okay, there were no injuries (thank God!) but I crumpled up my front end pretty good. I was going to McD's after skating this morning and managed to somehow rear-end the guy in front of me at the stop light. Dented his bumper a bit (he had an SUV), but his bumper slid over mine and crumpled up my front end. Fortunately the car is still driveable.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
A Year in Portland, Part 4
The skating situation in
Leaving my rink buddies, and especially my coach Anna, was really, really hard, and it was tough on my skating. After not skating much at all for several months, I finally found a new coach (Lucy) at Valley Ice Arena; however, I was only with her for a couple of months before she left for the summer (she was skating in an ice show), so I decided to find a new coach and also to switch rinks. I’m now skating at Sherwood Ice Arena. This rink is rather farther from my home (12 miles vs. 3 or 4 for Valley), but it’s much nicer and the atmosphere and facility are a lot closer to what I was used to in
Finding time to skate has been a bit of a problem. Even though there is a LOT more freestyle time here than in Tucson (and it’s much more consistent), the distance from work to the rink (19 miles from work to Sherwood!) means that during the week, I can only skate in the mornings before work. I’m skating less than I used to, and it’s costing me more. In
I found a new coach (Sonya), who I’ve been working with since the end of July. She’s terrific, and I’ve made good progress since then. I still really miss Anna, though – I had a really good connection with her and felt really enthusiastic and motivated to work hard. Here I am more self-motivated – this is not a reflection on Sonya, just that I relate to her differently; probably I just look at the coach-student relationship a little differently now. I suspect in some ways that’s probably better in the long run, but it was a hard adjustment.
I’ve made a few friends at Sherwood, but I have to admit that in many ways I still feel like a stranger there. For whatever reason – the environment, the town, or maybe my own demeanor – I found it a lot easier to make friends at the rink in
Monday, March 05, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
A Year In Portland, Part 3
People here are… nice. Very nice. And chatty. Extremely chatty. Everywhere you go, people want to chat you up… on the MAX, in line at the store… They’re very friendly.
The area is overwhelmingly white, though that is changing. The Hispanic influence and numbers here are growing, although the area doesn’t seem to be adapting very gracefully. My parish has a Spanish Mass on Sundays, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of mingling. Having grown up in a very diverse place,
Besides being very white, the area is a mix of very liberal (esp. in
You tend to see a lot more overweight people than in
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Happy Ash Wednesday!
I know, it seems a bit strange to wish you a "happy" Ash Wednesday. If I'd said "Holy Ash Wednesday" you'd have wanted to add ", Batman!", wouldn't you?!
I've decided for Lent I'm going to give up snacking at work. I've been doing waaaay too much of that and it's part of the reason I've gained back 15 lbs. since I moved to Oregon. Sheesh. So in the future, I'll have OJ and oatmeal in the morning, a relatively healthy lunch, and one small snack (like, an apple) in the afternoon. That should help, I hope.
Tonight our choir is singing for 6 p.m. Mass. Should be good!
Monday, February 12, 2007
Saturday evening Marie and I attended a Valentine's Day dance at our parish. It wasn't well attended, unfortunately, but we had a pretty nice time.
A Year In P ortland, Part 2
There are a number of choirs in the
In mid-September I got an email from Bernd offering me a spot in the Chorale, and I’ve been singing with them since. It really is a good group, and a lot of fun. Rehearsals are Monday nights at
The Chorale is going on tour to
Besides the Chorale, I joined the 10:45 a.m. choir at my parish (St. Cecilia in
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Fighting fire with ... nothing: Horowitz off the mark, but so is GPSC - Opinions.
It's certainly true in my (limited) experience that many UA profs felt free to voice their political opinions, but so long as they don't penalize students for holding opposite opinions I don't see what the issue really is.
Friday, February 02, 2007
In other news, the weather has been really, really nice lately. Like, the sun has been shining all week! It's put me in an outrageously good mood, for the most part. Tomorrow Marie and I are supposed to go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newburg. It should be a lot of fun.
Finally, a cool discussion on Amy Welborn's blog on why Catholics "revert" to the Church after being away. Check it out, it's very inspiring.
Monday, January 29, 2007
A Year in
I’ve now been in the
I’ve been at Intel for a year now. It’s a very different kind of place. Of course, it’s huge. Intel has almost 1000 times the number of people at my last job! Even at the campus I work at (Jones Farm), there are probably 4,000 people. Intel employs something like 16,000 people here in
So of course it’s very corporate. Intel has a definite corporate culture that they spend a lot of time training you on. Classes like “Effective meetings” and “Constructive Confrontation”. Actually for the most part they are pretty helpful. Everyone has a badge that you have to wear all the time, and that gets you into the building. Most people at Intel work in cubes – it’s one huge cube farm. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I work in a hard-walled lab (badge gets me in there, too), so I have a bit more space and privacy. For the first 4 or 5 months, though, I was in a cube until they finished remodeling our lab. I miss having windows, though, and the great view I had at my old job.
Despite the fact that it’s a big place, it’s really a very relaxed environment. As a salaried employee, I don’t have anyone tracking me nor do I fill out a timecard. The question is mostly, am I getting my work done and can people reach me if they need to? I really appreciate having a flexible schedule, it makes life a lot simpler.
We have a gym at work, with showers and everything. It’s great, because when I skate in the morning I can just come straight to work and take a shower there. There’s a Pilates class 3x/week that I try to attend – it’s free, even! – and it’s a lot of fun and good for my core strength. Besides the gym we have a very nice cafeteria, microwaves, refrigerators… there’s no real reason to have to leave the building once you get here.
I feel like I work a lot harder at this job than I had to at my last one, and there’s a lot of stress. The stress I feel here, though, is mostly “oh my God I have so much to do!” which is probably better than the stress I had at my old job (“oh my God there’s no way we can do all that, and the customer is really mad, and my boss is a jerk!”). I did get a nice bump in pay to come here, though, so it feels worth it. My boss and my co-workers are great, and that helps a lot too. Besides our base pay we get bonuses in January and July (or August).
One of the other advantages of working for a big company is discounts! We get discounts for all kinds of stuff – for example, my Sprint plan is discounted, discounts at my car dealer, at fast food restaurants – it’s great. We also get an employee discount of about 50% on processors, so I’ve taken advantage of that already.
Intel is a very matrixed organization, and everyone works very independently, so I work on a project team (I was assigned to two teams at once for most of last year). The rest of my team is at our facility in
So what do I do? My group puts together Software Development Platforms (SDPs) – basically, desktop/mobile/server systems that offer pre-released hardware (processors, chipsets, etc.) that we make available for people inside Intel as well as some of our partners. My job as an Interoperability Engineer is to test the SDPs from a user perspective – can they use it to develop and test their software? Are there problems? If so, can they be worked around (and how)? Since we are usually the first group putting all these pieces together there’s always something. It’s a lot of fun, though, I’m always getting new hardware to play with and I really love that. Of course there’s paperwork to do L but that’s the way it goes.
On the other hand, Intel is definitely a manufacturing company. Having been strictly a software person for so long, it’s been a definite adjustment. There’s just a very different outlook and approach to things.
I do kind of miss managing people – that was my favorite part of my old job. However, from watching my boss, I don’t think I’d want to be a manager at Intel – it looks like it would not be that much fun. I’m glad to just be an “Individual Contributor.”(Part 1 of several. Crossposted to MySpace too)
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The Portland area was hit hard by a snowstorm this morning; I estimate about 4 inches fell here at my place. So ... working from home today. Marie and I took a walk about lunchtime and took some pictures:
This is the parking lot at our condo. Here's a semi that slid across Walker Road near our house:
And.. here's one of Marie and I:
Monday, January 08, 2007
Yesterday evening the St. Cecilia choir did an Epiphany concert, performing Michael W. Smith's "Agnus Dei" as well as some other pieces. It was a pretty nice concert and surprisingly well attended. This is the first time we've done an Epiphany concert, apparently, but hopefully it will become a tradition. It's great to close the Christmas season in this way.