Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CNN is reporting that Obama is going to pick Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano for secretary of Homeland Security. Wow! While I certainly disagree with the Governor on a number of issues, she's a very smart and capable woman who would do a terrific job at DHS. Good for her!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Here's a transcript of John McCain's concession speech from last night. I thought it was extremely gracious, and vintage McCain.

I would not -- I would not be an -- an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it.
So... Obama won. As I had predicted, the market took a dive of almost 500 points.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Miscellaneous stuff -- here's a cool article about my friend Rae's grandson who was miraculously healed through the intercession of Bl. Alberione.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Small stuff...

I bought gas yesterday for $2.219/gal! That's compared to just 3 days earlier (Tuesday) when I paid $2.559! Crazy stuff, but I'm not complaining.

This from our Intel Singers practice on Wednesday (neither of these was me):
  • "What does 'rall.' mean?"
  • "It means 'watch the conductor!'"
We all laughed :-)

My prediction... if Obama wins, the market is going to take a big dive on Wednesday. like 400 points. The market doesn't like change and doesn't think Obama is its friend so it's going to tank. Check back and we'll see if I'm right!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've long been concerned about euthanasia and the slippery slope down which our society is sliding. Here in Oregon, of course, while we have rationed health care, you can legally have a doctor help you kill yourself. So much for compassion.

Anyway, thanks to Mark Shea for pointing out this good discussion on the truth about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

The notion that certain patients lack worthwhile lives is a judgment which Western law and medical ethics have long rejected and which no civilized society should accept. This is, moreover, no "private" decision. The question whether some citizens (doctors) should be allowed to kill other citizens (patients) is a decision with profound ramifications for the safety and well-being of the whole community, not least its most vulnerable members. The community, rightly, jealously guards its power to decide when human life may lawfully be taken and it has, again rightly, strictly limited those circumstances. The decision to allow doctors to kill patients who consent to have their lives ended is no more "private" a matter than a decision to allow plantation owners to buy and sell slaves who consent to be owned. There are, indeed, few questions which are of greater public import than the question whether to permit VAE/PAS.

Energy Independence

I've been doing a lot of thinking about "energy independence" since it's been in the news and a large part of the campaign cycle.

I'm really amused by the ads and hype that talk about this subject while showing pictures of... power plants!! It's nuts.

According to the Energy Information Administration, petroleum makes up 39.8% of our available energy. 70% of our petroleum is used for transportation, 24% goes for industrial use, 5% for residential and commercial (heating oil, propane) and 2% for electric generation. 2%! That says that power plants and petroleum have almost nothing to do with each other!

If the Chevy Volt and other electric (mostly) cars sweep the market, it would be possible for us to eliminate oil imports eventually (we currently import 52% of our oil). While this is a good goal it will take a while to get to that point, especially since the Volt's power train is aimed at cars (the biggest target), not trucks and other big vehicles that require lots of horsepower (bulldozers, diggers, etc.).

Natural gas is another story. We import about 15% of our natural gas consumption. This area is ripe to be replaced with renewable energy, except for one problem. Much of the natural gas consumption for electric generation (30%) is used that way because natural gas-fired power plants are good for peak power generation. (Natural gas plants can ramp up power output much more rapidly than coal plants or nukes, about the same as hydropower). This is a hard niche to replace with wind or solar, both of which work better as supplements.

A reasonable mix would be coal/nuclear (working to elimination of coal) for base load, with renewables to supplement, and natural gas/hydropower for peak loads.

Friday, October 24, 2008

End of an Era

After 24 years, Lute Olson has retired as UA basketball coach.

I have to say, it seems to me that (not surprisingly) things were never the same after Bobbi (his wife of many years) died. Thanks for the memories Lute!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just got back from Courtney and Geoff's wedding down in Laguna Beach... it was beautiful! Stephen and Sissy went all out for the wedding (of course) and a wonderful time was had by all. I'm so glad I went! The weather was wonderful, and there's nothing like seeing old friends and hearing them say "I'm really glad you came!". All I could say was that I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and it's true. After the wedding I got to hang out with Stephen & Sissy and some of the family for a few hours -- so good to catch up with them.

While I was gone I also had the pleasure of hitting up a local In-N-Out Burger (of course). Mmmmmmm. The flight back (Southwest) was on a plane painted to look like Shamu! It was so cool! I also had the "pleasure" (as I found out when I got home and opened my suitcase) of having my luggage inspected by TSA! Fortunately nothing was lost or broken, and of course I didn't have any contraband!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Yes, I'm Alive

Sorry I've been MIA. Let's see... had a nice birthday -- many cards, emails, texts, etc. from family and friends -- I felt very loved! Almost makes up for being so darn old now! Grrrr.

On 9/27 I finally made the other trip for the summer I was hoping to make -- up to Mt. St. Helens. As it happened I got a beyoooooooooootiful day for it! It's an awesome sight and as it happened it was National Public Lands Day so I got in to the vistor center for free! Amazing stuff and highly recommended. The other trips I wanted to take this summer were to the Evergreen air & space museum (or whatever it's called) in McMinnville -- they have the Spruce Goose there now along with lots of other stuff (I saw the Spruce Goose back in the late 80s when it was in Long Beach); a boat trip on the Willamette River; and a trip to see Grand Coulee Dam. It doesn't look like the last will happen now that fall's here and the weather is ukky. Which it is..

Just busy with work and choirs and skating and so forth, staying busy. A week from Saturday I'll be in lovely Laguna Beach for my friend Stephen's daughter's wedding. Fun!

Here's a cool video from, check it out (thanks to Mark Shea for the link):

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

R.I.P. Greg

Today is my brother Greg's birthday -- he would have been 52, or as we say in my family, "Freakin' ollllllllllllld!".

Rest in peace, big bro. I miss you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This is sad.... She's happily married, dreaming of divorce. Actually I think that headline is really misleading. She doesn't seem at all happy to me, and has no respect for her husband. The conclusion the article reaches (that the availability of divorce makes her able to stay in her marriage) seems ludicrous to me. Other studies have shown that the majority of divorces are originated by women. The easy availability of divorce has produced this unexpected result -- instead of settling in for the long haul and working to improve (not just tolerate) their marriage, apparently many women are constantly looking over their shoulders so to speak -- wondering if they made the right decision. It's really sad. If I were this woman's husband and read this article I would be discouraged beyond belief.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yes, I'm still alive!

Busy, busy busy. A week ago (8/14) Oregon Chorale was the demo choir for a workshop for the Oregon chapter of the ACDA. The clinician was composer Vijay Singh (not the golfer!). It was a lot of fun. We had four pieces we sang, then he worked with us to demonstrate different techniques. We're all self conscious about our group breaths now! eeep.

Went to Crater Lake 8/2 - 8/3 with my high school chum Zoe. It was beeyoootiful! Weather was great and the lake is... awe-inspiring.

Was reading a great interview with Archbishop Chaput of Denver... here's a great quote:

We don’t serve our country by abandoning our religious convictions in public debate in the name of good manners or a mistaken idea of pluralism. Democracy thrives on the competition of ideas, and it dies without that healthy conflict. We need to stop being embarrassed when we talk about our faith, and we need to insist that others respect it — including our political parties and leaders. Everyone can make telephone calls, and write emails and letters. And everyone can simply shut off the TV and computers one night a week to read, pray, talk and share time with the family. That’s a rebellion — the best kind.
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.

That's about it for now... summer is running down. Where did it go?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday was the 40th anniversary of Paul VI's encyclical on human sexuality, Humanae Vitae. Two wildly different viewpoints:

Thanks to Mark Shea for the second link.

In other news, if you've not been following things Catholic, Rod Dreher weighs in here and here on the controversy over P.Z. Myers's deliberate desecration of the Eucharist.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Texts from B16!

Apparently the Holy Father texted the pilgrims at World Youth Day in Sydney:

"The Holy Spirit gave the Apostles and gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen! - BXVI."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

RIP Greg

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my oldest brother Greg's passing. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, and in other ways a million years ago.

Rest in peace, Greg. I love you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm back... returned safely (if exhausted) July 6th. Work has been a bit hectic since then but it's calming down this week. Busy prepping for my skating test July 27th. Whee!

On a *very* sad note, it appears one of my fave restaurants back home, Shari's, has closed. Waaaaaahhhh! This stinks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In Scotland!

I know I said I was going to post my observations on the Chorale's blog but I decided some of them are too personal to be of general interest so I'm posting here after all.

Yesterday (Friday) I got up at 5 a.m. after about 4 hours of sleep (bleah) and Amy came to get me at 6 and took me to the airport. A very long dull series of flights (our flight attendant on the PDX --> PHL flight was a hoot though!) and our group arrived in Glasgow at 9 a.m. this morning, got to the hotel and eventually got to check in. Took a shower and changed (wow, did that feel good!). Then we went on a brief bus tour of Glasgow and got to see the (Presbyterian) Cathedral. Of course it was originally a Catholic cathedral; but unlike so many others (the Nieuw Kirk in Amsterdam comes to mind) it wasn't entirely gutted/looted during the RevoltReformation. It still made me sad though in the way that all the lost treasures of our Catholic forebears makes me sad. It was beautiful. We sang "The Glory of the Father" in the main church and "Good News" in the crypt.

After that I rested a bit, then went to the vigil Mass at the (Catholic) Cathedral. It was nice but a little sad. The Church in Scotland doesn't seem particularly strong. The music was, unfortunately, schlocky American music for the most part, with no cantor and a really loud organ (but hey, it was a Saturday vigil, not Sunday a.m., and in the summer to boot). It included such favorites (not!) as "Seek Ye First", "On Eagles' Wings" and "Be Not Afraid". Bleah. But the priest (a missionary priest from South Africa) was terrific. Attendance was light and the people's responses timid. Strangely enough, after communion we knelt for the final prayer, blessing and dismissal -- how odd.

I had some time to walk around downtown in the afternoon; there were a lot of people walking around (a lot!) and it was cool. There are a lot of beautiful women in Glasgow! Wow!

I keep working on my Scottish accent, it's getting pretty good :-) but I worry I will use it in front of a Scot and offend him! It's too cute though.

The weather was cool earlier but has turned cold and rainy... and it's almost July. Sheesh!

I've been up for about 31 hours straight now so I am going to get ready for bed. We are leaving at 9 tomorrow for Inverness!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tour Blog!

One of my fellow Chorale members has set up a blog for our tour... so I will blog all my tour stuff over there. Check it out here!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How sad... the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) is leaving Yokosuka, to be decommissioned at Bremerton. She's served for 47 (!) years and is the last conventionally-powered aircraft carrier in the US fleet.

Other news of interest to me... once again my alma mater is making me proud! The University of Arizona ® is leading the Phoenix Mars Lander mission. Way to go UA!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I attended the Hillsboro Symphony concert tonight. It was a Pirate theme (yes!) and the special guests were Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket, founders of Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19th!). It was really a lot of fun, and a pretty full house too!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My apologies for not blogging more often ... life has been busy! Choir tour in less than 6 weeks! Eeep. I'm all paid up for that except for some incidental costs that we don't have a total for yet. I'm very excited.

From the Oregonian -- Intel starts to think outside the cube. Fortunately I was only in a cube for the first 6 or 7 months I was at Intel, then I moved into our lab once the remodeling was done. Still, the new pilot (it's called TWWW, The Way We Work) is... interesting. Some people seem to really like it, others hate it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On April 15th, Intel started having complimentary fountain soda, coffee and tea for regular (blue-badge) employees like myself. Since then my coworkers and I have been enjoying drinking ourselves into an aspartame and/or high-fructose corn syrup - induced coma. Yea! :-)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I was watching the tail end of a Nova episode on PBS; it was on the Huygens probe of Titan. Practically every person they interviewed was from The University of Arizona®. It makes me proud to be a Wildcat!

Monday, March 31, 2008

My alma mater is saving lives! The UA's Sarver Heart Center new CPR method has been shown to be more effective at saving lives.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter. We had a very nice Vigil celebration at St. Cecilia's, and I have to say our choir sounded terrific. I still get very homesick for SSPP at the Vigil though, and I miss singing the Litany of the Saints for our catechumens and candidates.

I did get some sad news -- my friend Chris's mom (and my ex-gf Joanna's mom) Betty passed away this morning from complications from lung cancer :-(. Please pray for the repose of her soul, and for Chris and Joanna's and the family's consolation. They lost their dad a few years back (I guess it's been 14 or more, can't quite recall) so it's doubly hard that way. They are a little younger than me so both deaths were quite untimely :-(. Betty was a great lady, very kind to me and a loving mother. I pray she's at peace with the Lord now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wow, I am wiped out. Between the Adult Sectionals competition and Oregon Chorale concerts Sat. and Sunday night, I am totally exhausted. But of course there's work to do... ah well.

I'm still sick, too. Actually I feel a lot worse today. I'm sure it's because I was holding it off until after the competition and concerts, and now that that's over my body is saying "Enough!"

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I'm famous! Check out this article in the Oregonian about my skating!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

I don't really remember what I was up to last leap day... it seems so long ago, and 1500 miles away.

In other news, my boss's boss's boss's boss (I think that's right) is in the news, and not in a good way... Microsoft emails reveal Intel pressure over Vista. I don't have any knowledge of this and wouldn't comment if I did, but it has to be damaging to Intel.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day! And, happy 96th birthday Arizona!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Sorry for not blogging in ages... life has been busy but that's no excuse.

Tonight our choir is singing for 6 p.m. Mass, then having practice afterward. That's cruel on a fast day, but we need the time. We are in the process of looking for a new permanent accompanist, since our last one was let go after our Epiphany concert 1/6. We are trying to take the time to write a good job description that captures what we are looking for -- not just someone to play for us, but someone to minister with us. Hopefully God will bring the right person to us soon.

In other news... I am preparing to do my first-ever skating program at the upcoming Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals competition March 8 - 9. The gory details are on my skating blog. It's a bit scary but I'm really excited about it.

Also that very same weekend (eeep!) is our next Oregon Chorale concert set. It's a Shakespeare program, complete with dancing and lots of Shakespearean songs and all kinds of cool stuff. I opted out of the 'extra' stuff since I will be skating that weekend.

We're still prepping for our summer tour of Ireland and Scotland. We've made 3 payments (out of 5) and it's now non-refundable. Between land costs, air fare, and miscellaneous extras the tour will be about $5000. It's a two week tour. Whee!

Work has been pretty busy, between actual work to be done and Focal (Intel's performance review system).

The weather has been.... cold. And dreary. Last week and the week before we had some overnight snow/ice/slush. It wasn't much of an issue for me but did make me cancel one of my skating lessons because I couldn't get to the rink early in the morning. I don't think it got much about 38 or 40 all week. This week it's rain, rain, rain, highs in the low to mid 40s and lows in the upper to mid 30s. Bleah. I'll be really, really glad when spring comes.