Friday, December 28, 2007

And another one... this one at least is Christmas-y!

Bwahahaaha! check this out, courtesy of Bojack's blog:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It's snowing here! It's not sticking, but it is snowing lightly. Whee!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Long time no blog! Sorry 'bout that.

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!

Monday, November 12, 2007

So... Penryn is officially shipping now. It's about time! We'll see if our stock gets a bump out of it or not.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bulletin -- I just got a call that my sister is in the hospital. It's a bit unclear, I was told that she was getting her blood pressure checked and that it was too high or something, so they sent her to urgent care and then the ER and decided to admit her. Please pray.

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

Things have been busy. Sunday was our Oregon Chorale concert -- this was a subset (23 people) of the Chorale, a special gig at St. Mark's Anglican church in Portland. We wanted to do this since we've not been able to attract Portland audiences to our concerts. It's a small church but it was probably 1/2 to 2/3 full and they seemed to enjoy our music. Very tiring, but fun.

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

Whoa! Arizona beat UCLA 34-27!!! And I MISSED it! I set the Tivo but for some reason it did NOT record the game, dangit!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So... life has been kinda busy lately. We've enjoyed a brief spate of what I guess would be called Indian summer (or whatever the PC term is now) -- highs in the mid 60s and sunshine, it's been nice. Of course, it will not last. Work has been busy but in a good way.

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

So... had a nice, relaxing weekend, which I really needed. Saturday watched my recording of the Arizona-USC game, but the last 30 minutes were cut off (ARGH!). The defense was awesome! Offense, not so much, but still, they looked so much better than last week against OSU -- almost like a different team.

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

Wow, long time no blog. I've been around, just not blogging here.

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

It's my birthday... 44 years old! I felt old today. I sleep like crap anymore, actually, I either don't sleep at all, or I can't get up. Sheesh. But today was an okay day, traveled to Dupont for work, on 3 hours of sleep I was pretty tired. Now I'm packing and getting ready for my trip to Arizona tomorrow. It will be great to be back in the Grand Canyon state... I miss it.
So, the nation paused today to recall the attacks of Sept. 11th, as it should. Flags flew at half-staff, and I noticed that many people mentioned it to me in small ways. For myself, I prayed as usual for the repose of the soul of John Badagliacca, and for his family. I've been wearing a Mercy Band with his name on it since sometime in early 2002, and I pray for him daily. Rest in peace, John.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Intel's revival rides on new tech -

Here's a cool article on my employer --
Intel's revival rides on new tech. Check it out.
Some interesting news tidbits...

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

I'm home from my trip, safe and sound. Some highlights:

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

On the road... I'm in lovely (well, how would I know, it's dark!) Twin Falls, ID. it took me 9.5 hours to drive here from Hillsboro. Some impressions of the drive...
  • 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.
Okay, that's it. Time for a brief sleep, then on to Provo to watch the Wildcats play BYU.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Check out this interview with Joel Spolsky on software development etc. Here's the money quote:

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.
Having worked at both large and small companies, I think this is a pretty good summary.
Phew, what a relief! :-) Actually this is a pretty neat quiz.

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.

Roman Catholic


Neo orthodox


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan






Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Reformed Evangelical




created with

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yay! I just got my tickets for the UA-BYU game next Saturday (game + tailgate party). I'm really looking forward to a little road trip! I'm hoping to get out of town midday Friday (although I have a hell of a lot of work to do, so maybe a bit dicey); drive to Boise or so Friday, then the rest of the way to Provo Saturday a.m. to get there by 1 p.m.

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

A couple of articles worth noting ... first, a rather length article on Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith. Apparently Blessed Teresa went through a very protracted and painful period of aridity. It's not surprising, I suppose, that people view this so differently. People of faith see it as a testament that she was able to be faithful in spite of such pain and hardship, and people of no faith see it as some kind of self-delusion.

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

Just a quick update.... last week my dad and stepmom were visiting, so we had some time to hang out etc., including dinner with my aunt and cousin and her daughter. It was fun.

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

Like a lot of people, I suppose, I've been reading a lot of coverage of the I-35W bridge collapse. I was struck by how a lot of chances made the impact far better than it otherwise might have been. For example:
  • 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've been watching some of the coverage of the horrific bridge collapse in the Twin Cities. It's truly horrible. I remember going over that bridge on one of my visits.

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.
Hey, this is cool! There's now a podcast of the daily Mass readings! Check it out.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An interesting series of articles from Fortune magazine on the future of nuclear power in the US. I've been saying for a while that if people are serious about global warming, we are going to need more nuke plants. Lots more. The government should certify one or two base designs that can be replicated in large numbers, which would alleviate some of the cost and time associated with these one-off designs we seem to get.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Today is my dad's 77th birthday! Happy birthday Dad!!

I will see him next week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Today's the second anniversary of my brother Greg's death. *sigh* I really miss you, bro -- could really use your advice and love right now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some good coverage in today's Oregonian on Intel's next generation of processors, code-named Penryn. Also an interesting post on the Silicon Forest blog -- Why Oregon?

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!
Yesterday I attended a Latin Mass with the Cantores in Ecclesia. The Mass was at Immaculate Heart Church (built in the 1890s) in NE Portland. It was the Paul VI Mass, not the Tridentine Mass.

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

My Mom passed away 23 years ago today.

I miss you Mom, and I love you.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Predictably, the mainstream media have been falling over themselves about the latest document from the SCDF on the doctrine of the Church. It's unfortunate that the reporters either haven't read the document or didn't understand it, because they (actually, the headline editors are worse) have put a pretty horrible spin on it... the truth is that the new document doesn't say anything new, it's just a reiteration of Dominus Iesus. Sheesh.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Since I couldn't sleep, I checked the news and sure enough, the new motu proprio on the Tridentine Mass has been promulgated. I've not read it yet but it appears that the main difference is that the faithful can ask for the Tridentine Mass without having to go through the bishop. I'm not sure how this is going to work in practice since presumably the bishops could still forbid priests to use the 1962 Missal without prior approval. Despite all the hoopla I expect this decree won't mean a thing to the average Catholic in the pew. For those that are interested in the Tridentine Mass though, it should be very welcome news.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Good news for Tucson ... StarNet reports that it looks like the central city aquifer is beginning to recover from decades of overpumping.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I was shopping at the grocery store over the weekend and a woman was shopping with her small child (probably 2-3). She was speaking to the child saying things like "no, Mommy can't do that" and "don't pull Mommy's hair" and so forth.

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

Woo-hoo!! The UA Wildcat softball team wins the Women's College World Series!!!!

This is their 2nd straight, and their 8th time on top. These women are AMAZING! Go Cats!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Holy cow! YouTube is amazing.... I just discovered there's a bunch of video of the Pride of Arizona Marching Band on there... it makes me so homesick! Check this out:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

So... tonight we had our first of two performances of the last concert of the year for the Oregon Chorale. It was at a church in Tigard. We've had sunny and (for here) warm weather, and this place apparently had NO air conditioning. It was really hot!

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

It's Memorial Day. A friend posted a link to this video. If you can watch it without tearing up.... you are a hard person indeed.

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

Sad News...

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 a really cool essay by Archbishop Chaput of Denver, Religious Tolerance and the Common Good.

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

Bwahahaha! Check out Deacon Payne, Seminary Formationator! It helps if you are up on your obscure heresies... thanks to Catholic Light for the link!

New Car

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

A really nice article in today's Oregonian -- Priest is a blessing to soldiers. In a time when so many can say nothing nice about the Catholic Church or the priesthood, it's nice to see something positive. God bless the chaplains, and all priests.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Car Update

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

So, I'm back home in Portland. It was really hard to leave the sunshine and blue skies and warmth, to come back to highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s... *sigh*

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

I'm on vacation this week, having a lovely time visiting friends and family in Tucson and Phoenix. Yesterday Tucson's first In-N-Out Burger opened, and it was a zoo! I slipped in just before closing to get a 3x3. Yummmm!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wow, this is a pleasant surprise! The Supreme Court has upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion! Maybe there is hope for our country after all.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Phew! I'm still trying to get my taxes done! Fortunately, the IRS says I have until April 17 this year!

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

Happy Holy Thursday! We sang for 6:30 p.m. Mass tonight... this is such a good group, they are a lot of fun to sing with and it's amazing how well they/we watch and are sensitive sometimes. I'm still homesick for Tucson though, and remembering and imagining what it was like tonight back at SSPP... *sigh*

Friday, March 30, 2007

From yesterday's Oregonian, an interesting article that describes Intel's performance review process ("Focal"). Having gone through my first Focal this week, I came through okay and got a reasonable raise. I'm told Focal isn't nearly as daunting as it used to be, however.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Someone has posted video from the Oregon Chorale St. Patrick's Day concert, check it out:

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

Oookay... apparently Arizona's former Governor, J. Fife Symington, now says that UFOs really did fly over Phoenix in 1997.
Now, THAT's a nun! Check out John Allen's inspiring mini-biography of Sr. Maria Rosa Leggol of Honduras.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Prayer requests -- 1) for M, who is losing her hearing. Please pray that the doctors will be able to figure out and halt whatever's going on, and grace for her to face this... 2) for T, who hurt her knee in a skating fall, that she be able to make a good and complete recovery and be back on the ice soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So... I handed over my Mazda 626 this morning to Allstate and got the check. *sigh* The VIN search they did indicated I bought the car 6/15/99, and today is 3/21/07, so... I had that car for 7 years and 9 months. *sigh*

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Oregon House has just passed a bill mandating private employers to cover birth control pills. It's not immediately clear how this will affect Catholic hospitals. There is apparently some kind of religious exemption for "religious employers who primarily hire and serve people of the same faith" -- but while that would presumably cover the Archdiocese, it probably doesn't apply to, say, Catholic Charities or other Catholic groups. Eeep!
Car update: The adjuster called me, and the final number for the mkt value of the Mazda was $2566. So, minus my deductible, I'll get $2066 when I bring them the car and title next Wednesday.

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

I just got back from the insurance adjuster a while ago, and my car is going to be totaled. The estimated repair cost is somewhere north of $3200, which is rather more than the car is worth. So... sometime in the next week or so they're going to give me a check and I'll give them the title and they'll tow it away. *sigh*

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

A really cool article about a Tucson original and the founding of Sacred Heart Church. I was confirmed at Sacred Heart when I was in 8th grade, by Bishop Green.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Car Accident

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 Portland is much improved over Tucson. Tucson’s rink has had 4 different management companies in the last 4 years, and appears to be on the brink of closing. Here, there are 4 different rinks in the area. However, none of the rinks here have more than one sheet of ice.

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 Arizona.

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 Tucson I had a yearly pass that covered public sessions and coffee club, and I only skated one or 2 freestyle sessions a week. Here, I skate 3 FSs a week (or try) and Sunday public session when I can, and I’m paying $80 - $100 a month for ice. Coaching is more expensive, too – going rate is $60/hr vs. $50 in Tucson.

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 Tucson. I still miss my friends there a lot; even though many of them have moved on themselves, we keep in touch. Skating friends are the best!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wow! We're having unseasonably nice weather... 62 degrees and sunny!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Year In Portland, Part 3

The People

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, Portland is a step back in many ways. On the other hand, work is a riot of people from all over – many Asian, but also African and European.

Besides being very white, the area is a mix of very liberal (esp. in Portland) and somewhat conservative (outlying areas). Not too surprising, actually; the state’s Congressional delegation is mostly Democrat and the Dems just took over the state legislature and re-elected the governor.

You tend to see a lot more overweight people than in Tucson, which I attribute to the weather. I could just be projecting, though, since I’ve gained 15 lbs. since I moved here (*sigh*). People do seem to be out and about in all kinds of weather, though, and they are very public-spirited and environmentally conscious. Also the mix of ages is not so slanted toward the young as it is in Arizona.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

So... we had a dusting of snow this morning. When I was leaving for the rink (5:15 a.m) it was snowing pretty hard, but there wasn't much of an accumulation so I assume it had just started. It snowed about halfway to Sherwood and then it turned to rain. By the time I was coming back to Beaverton (7:30ish) there was just drizzle and some snow on the sides of the road. Still, not bad for the end of February.
Another one bites the dust... the Diocese of San Diego is filing for bankruptcy. Based on what I've read so far, it sounds like my hometown diocese of Tucson handled theirs better than anybody. A small point of pride in an otherwise horrible situation.

Monday, February 26, 2007

An interesting article about the development of McDonald's Filet-o-Fish sandwich. Apparently 23% of them are sold during Lent!

Thanks to Eric Ewanco for the link.

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 Marie and I took a drive down to Mt. Angel Abbey. It's a very rustic and beautiful environment. We checked out the bookstore (managed to withstand temptation!), the museum, and the church. Unfortunately we didn't make it to the library before it closed. All in all it was a nice little excursion (it's a bit over 40 miles from Beaverton). It would be a great place to make a retreat, and apparently they have a Bach festival every summer that would be fun to attend.

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 Portland area, but most of them rehearse and perform in Portland itself. Since I’ve decided that the commute into the city is something I want to avoid whenever possible, I decided to join the Oregon Chorale (, a group that was identified for me by one of my former choir directors for Collegium Musicum back in Tucson. I auditioned for them in March 2006 and it went reasonably well. The audition included the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal, which was really nice and gave me a good feel for the group dynamic. The director (Bernd Kuehn) warned me at the time that they didn’t have any current openings but that he’d keep me on his list.

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 Century High School in Hillsboro (the CHS choir director is a member, and Bernd used to teach there anyway). Since it’s close to work I just work late, grab some dinner and then go to rehearsal. Our first concert was in December, a performance of the C.P.E. Bach Magnificat with the Pacific University choir. We did a performance at Pacific (it’s in Forest Grove) and another performance in Hillsboro. A week later we had another concert at The Grotto, a Marian shrine in Portland that has a huge Christmas festival every year. From what I can tell, practically every choir in the area performs at the Grotto during Advent. That concert was a bunch of Christmas music (some of which we performed along with the Magnificat, and some of which was new to me but not new to most of the group), and my Aunt Nancy and cousin Robin came, which was pretty neat.

The Chorale is going on tour to Scotland and Ireland next year, and our upcoming concert in March will be all Scottish and Irish music. It’s pretty neat.

Besides the Chorale, I joined the 10:45 a.m. choir at my parish (St. Cecilia in Beaverton). It’s a small group (usually about 14), but we do some good music. Unlike the Schola that I sang in at Ss. Peter and Paul in Tucson, this group does mostly contemporary music although there is some older stuff too (Mendelssohn, etc.). I’d not sung in a “regular” church choir for a long time (Schola only sang once a month) and it is a little bit of a grind at times, but it’s also nice to be part of a dedicated and vibrant group that works hard and has a lot of fun too. We sang a concert for Epiphany that was very well-received and a nice way to end the Christmas season.

Unlike Tucson, I’m not doing any “extra” singing at the parish. At SSPP I sang a lot of stuff like cantoring for the penance services, Thanksgiving, and during the summer. St. Cecilia has a cantor that sings with the choir (she has a beautiful voice) and other than filling in once when both of the cantors were sick/unavailable I’ve not been asked to fill that role. That’s fine with me, though, as I have plenty of other things to do!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm somewhat amused (and somewhat aghast) at the latest hoo-hah over the two anti-Catholic bloggers that John Edwards hired for his campaign. Revolution 21 calls it pretty accurately -- if they'd said this kind of stuff about any other group (blacks, Jews, gays) they'd have been fired in a nanosecond. Instead, even after the Catholic League went after them, Edwards gets an apology out of them and says he'll give them a "fair shake". A shake by the scruff of the neck would be more apropos, methinks.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fighting fire with ... nothing: Horowitz off the mark, but so is GPSC - Opinions

Apparently while I've been busy with my nose to the grindstone, there's been a minor dustup at The University of Arizona® about an article by David Horowitz ("Abusive Academics") criticizing UA professors for imposing liberal political views on their students. Apparently the GPSC passed a resolution that the Wildcat found fault with --
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

I couldn't resist...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Very Lord Gordon the Infinite of Much Moulding upon Carpet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
Marie and I attended a very cool class that's starting at our parish on John Paul II's Theology of the Body. It's a video series by Christopher West, with small group discussions afterward. I was expecting 20 people or so, but instead there were more like 60 or 70! It meets for 8 consecutive Thursdays. Good stuff.

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 Portland (Part 1)

I’ve now been in the Portland area for more than a year, so it’s a good time to look back and reflect on my (still) new surroundings.

The Job

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 Washington County at a number of different campuses.

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 Dupont, WA (between Olympia and Tacoma), so I have to travel there periodically (3 times this month, but that’s more than usual) for meetings or other activities. Fortunately Intel has an air shuttle to/from there, so I can get there in about 1.5 hours (it’s about a 2.5 hour drive if I have to drive), which makes for a long day but I can do it pretty readily.

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

And a Belated Happy Birthday to blogger buddy Brenda Elfgirl! HBBD Bren, hope it was good!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Day

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

So... sorry for the lack of substantive posting. December was a blur -- work was absolutely crazy, Marie got her bottom wisdom teeth (then had a dry socket and was in agony for quite some time), trip to Arizona and Vegas was good. Marie and I sang for 8 p.m. Mass, then I got to sing with the Schola for 10 p.m. "midnight" Mass at SSPP. It was really joyous to be home and with the SSPP-ers. Had a great visit with the family, got to see some of my skating buddies, caught up with some others. Unfortunately I did not get to see many I would have liked... ah well.

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.
This is encouraging -- scientists have found promising stem cells in amniotic fluid. Hopefully this can derail the embryonic stem cell death march.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday to Jane! She's just a lass of 22, and already she can't stand most liturgical music :-). Hope it was good!