Friday, December 31, 2004
As a thriller, I feel like too many things happen to the protagonist in too short period of time for the story to be believable. Much like Dan Brown's Deception Point, there are just too many outlandish plot twists.
As a political statement, it was more interesting. My emphasis in college was statistics; I got interested in computers using them to build econometric models. It is my experience that you can use statistics to argue almost any side of an issue. Along these lines, the following statement by Crichton in the author's message rings true to me:
"We know astonishingly little about every aspect of the environment, from its past history, to its present state, to how ot conserve and protect it. In every debate, all sides overstate the extent of the existing knowledge and its degree of uncertainity."
Thursday, December 30, 2004
"BitTorrent does not require the wires or airwaves that the cable and network giants have spent billions constructing and buying. And it pounds the final nail into the coffin of must-see, appointment television. BitTorrent transforms the Internet into the world's largest TiVo. "
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Jack took a private ski lesson for almost an hour and a half at Granlibakken. This was his first time on skis. Jack had complained about the idea of skiing for days, but once he got going he did great. One of my goals for the trip was to get Jack into a lesson; I was very pleased to have gotten it done.
By the time, we got back to the car, it was about 1:30 p.m. and we started for home. We stopped and got a couple of fast food burgers in Truckee and then joined the long line of cars trying to get on the freeway. The chain control was right at the base of the grade leaving Truckee going west. Once we got on the freeway, the traffic crawled up the grade. It snowed pretty heavy all the way to Applegate. It ended up taking us about 5 hours to get home with two short stops.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
One of the problems with going to Tahoe during the week between Christmas and New Year's is that there are a lot of people everywhere! We may decide next year to try and take this trip at a different time.
We did some shopping and then had lunch at the Cafe Echo. This restaurant was next door to where we stayed last year. We both had fish tacos and the food was excellent again.
Afterwards, we ended to Granlibakken and spent a couple of hours sledding. As we left, I made a reservation for Jack to have a private ski lesson the following day.
Years ago (1997?) at a Western Farm Credit Legal Conference, Sharon and I had dinner at the Crystal Bay Steak and Lobster House. She had been very impressed with the food. We had dinner there on Tuesday night. The food was again up to Sharon's standards!
Monday, December 27, 2004
It was an easy drive up through Truckee. We stopped at Squaw Creek Resort. I had mentioned to Sharon that Morgan, Drew and I had ice skated there ten years ago. This was probably a tactical error on my part. It is a very nice hotel; Sharon liked it a lot. We will probably look for an opportunity to stay there at some point. We ice skated for about an hour and a half.
Our hotel reservation was at the Cal Neva Resort [not as nice as the Squaw Creek Resort :-)], just over the Nevada border on the way to Incline Village. After checking in and getting settled, We headed out for dinner.
The place that Sharon wanted to go was closed on Monday nights. After stopping one other place that was booked, We ended up at Jason's Beachside Grille in Kings Beach. After a hour wait in the bar during which time we fed Jack, neither of us were very hungry and ended up having burgers.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Saturday, December 25, 2004
One of the things that Santa brought Jack was an ESPN Game Station [21 electronic, arcade-style games featuring baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf and soccer]. After opening the presents and having breakfast, Jack and I dragged the box up to the bonus room to put it together.
I got a little bit of a shock when we sat down with the manual. The assembly instructions included 87 steps and the suggested assembly time was 2 1/2 to 5 hours! Three hours later, it was up and running. Sharon and I had talked about trying to put it together Christmas Eve after got back from her brother's; I am sure glad that I did not try to start then.
Given that we went out to dinner for Thanksgiving, Sharon decided to cook a turkey dinner for Christmas. After dinner, the three of us watched Elf.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Thursday, December 23, 2004
2004 has been an exciting and varied year for us!
Sharon spent the first three months of the year working as in-house counsel for Tower Records on a temporary assignment. She had a great time; while we were fixing dinner one night, Sharon noted with glee that "I get to call Peter Frampton's attorney tomorrow."
In spite of their father’s complete lack of musical ability, Drew and Morgan continue to shine artistically. Drew got cast in a musical theater review of Steven Sondheim songs that was lead by the director of the UCI musical theater program. Morgan continues to excel at the piano and play in the high school jazz band.
In March, Mark traveled to Arizona for baseball spring training and a side trip to Sedona.
Jack played his second season of baseball. After playing T-ball in 2003, he played in the Rookie Division of the Elk Grove Cal Ripen League this year. Next year, he is looking forward to moving up to Single A.
In May, Mark flew with friends to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate Connor’s impending marriage. He landed a 7 ½ foot striped Marlin in the Gulf of Mexico!
Sharon had a wonderful time serving as the Art Docent for the afternoon kindergarten class at Jack’s school. She is looking forward to doing it again in the next school year.
Mark finished up his sixth year at Sutter Health. It has been an exhilarating and rewarding place to work. Sutter Health’s IT Department was rated 44th overall and 4th in healthcare in the 2004 Information Week Top 500 Innovators rankings!
In July, we traveled to the northwest for the Wallen’s 25th Wedding Anniversary. It was a great party in a gorgeous setting at the Wallen’s home on Puget Sound.
August was a very busy month! We took our seventeenth annual trip to Almanor with the Tomasins, Wallens, Hunters and Chabriers.
Afterwards, Sharon, Jack and Mark spent fifteen days dodging hurricanes and covering 1,500 miles in 15 days in Florida. Highlights of the trip include: DisneyWorld; snorkeling with manatees in Homosama; watching the sunset on the gulf of Mexico in Naples; an airboat ride in the everglades; snorkeling in the coral reef off of Key Largo; South Beach; Key West and; the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Drew returned to the University of California at Irvine for his sophomore year as a theater major, Morgan started her senior year of high school at Union Mine and Jack started first grade at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School.
In the fall, Jack played his first season of soccer. He had a great season and scored 14 goals in eight games.
Sharon finished the year expanding her business to include processing of Small Business Administration loans.
Wishing you a happy new year,
Mark and Sharon Heringer
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
We are now starting to get telemarketing calls from India. The first one surprised me and I hung up on them. Starting with the second one, I begun asking them what country they are calling from; all of the calls are coming from India. The most recent call was for Discover card.
I am concerned that this is a loophole in the law. I sent e-mails to Boxer, Feinstien and Ose complaining about getting telemarketing calls from India and asking if this was legal under the current law.
Is anyone else getting telemarketing calls from India?
Monday, December 20, 2004
Sunday, December 19, 2004
The Wongs have a boy the same age as Jack. The two of them had a great time playing basketball, hockey, football and video games.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
Afterwards she went to a Christmas party at T0wer Records. Although it tailed off for awhile, Sharon has been doing more work for them lately.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Last night, I was sitting at the island in the kitchen working a Christmas letter on my laptop, connected wireless to the home network, selecting songs off the computer in the den and playing the music on the speakers attached to the Airport Express in the kitchen.
Monday, December 13, 2004
On Sunday, Drew went on a casting call for extras for the next two Pirates of the Caribean Movies. He said that they had advertised in Harley Davidson magazine for pirate looking men with long hair. As a result, there were some very interesting looking characters in line (e.g. long hair, missing teeth, ...).
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Afterwards, Sharon, Jack and I went to the Pavilions Shopping Center on Fair Oaks for the afternoon. Santa makes an appearance and they have complimentary carriage rides. This is the third year in a row we have spent an afternoon at Pavilions during the Christmas season.
After taking a carriage ride and wandering through a few shops, we had an appetizer at Piatti's and then went to dinner at Bandera.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Managed by Donna Gainsley, this team includes about 60 plus people working on implementing and supporting Lawson, Kronos and a couple of smaller applications; more than fifty people made it to the lunch.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
It was taken August 1, 1985 at Lake Trinity. Drew was eight months old and the group was celebrating Robbie Hunter's first birthday. Right to Left in the picture, it is Tomasin, Nooter, Wallen, Dave Hare and me. Dave Hare died of brain cancer in February of 1992.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Running on the treadmill, I watched the Sonics run out to a 20 point lead on the Spurs and hold on to the win on NBA League Pass on DIRECTV.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Last year, we saw got to see LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony play at Arco Arena. Tonight, we got to see Emeka Okafor play. He is probably the early favorite for Rookie of the Year. I was dissappointed not to have a chance to see Gerald Wallace play.
Monday, December 06, 2004
An odd thing happened. As my facial hair has gotten grayer over the last five years, it has done so in a pattern. As my beard grew out, there was a distinct stripe on one side: dark above the stripe and grey below. It almost looked like the beard had been dyed that way. I did not like the effect and went back to just a goatee.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
We watched the Kings roar back from a 20 point deficit to beat the Celtics on Comcast SportsNet West. With 11:37 left in the second quarter, the Kings trailed by 20. With 4:01 left in the fourth, they led by 26 (112-86).
Saturday, December 04, 2004
The Explorer has almost 148,000 miles on it. I was thinking that I would try to get two more years out of it, but now I am starting to rethink that strategy. In particular, if the automatic transmission fails (something that they expressed concern about when they replaced the transfer case), I am not sure that I am willing to make that investment.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Sharon and Tim went to the Sacramento Kings versus Indiana Pacers game. The Kings spanked the depleted Pacers by a score of 113 to 87.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Afterwards, we went to the Cheesecake Factory restaurant for dinner. I have eaten at this restaurant chain one other time in Las Vegas. Both times, the service was very poor.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
It is a somewhat odd test. There are a number of questions that ask you which answer is the most correct. Additionally, you have to pay close attention to qualifiers like always and maybe. To complicate things even further, the methodology and the exams were originally designed in England. As a result, there are some odd words and phrases.
I did three practice tests last night and never felt good about any of them. Nevertheless, I got a passing score on each of the practice tests, missing only about half of the maximum number of questions that you could miss and still pass the certification exam.
I think I passed the exam, but there were enough curve balls on the exam (things that were not really explicitly in the class) that I left the test with a certain amount of uneasiness.
At the end of November 2003, the team had 12 wins and 4 losses (0.750) with 10 home and 6 road games.
At the end of November 2002, the team had 13 wins and 5 losses (0.722) with 8 home and 10 road games.
At the end of November 2001, the team had 13 wins and 4 losses (0.765) with 7 home and 10 road games.
At the end of November 2000, the team had 10 wins and 4 losses (0.714) with 7 home and 7 road games.
At the end of November 1999, the team had 10 wins and 2 losses (0.833) with 7 home and 5 road games.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Sharon pointed out to the class that She and Jack had been to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Peterburg which boasts the most comprehensive collection of Dali's work in the world.
The second lesson plan was titled "Artists Paint Gatherings." It focused on pictures of people gathering and learning the difference between warm and cool colors. The lesson talked briefly about Eugene Louis Boudin, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot. It highlighted a painting by each Artist: Fair in Brittany by Boudin; Village Market by Pissarro [shown below] and Skating in the Park by Morisot. As part of the lesson, the kids colored pictures of Pilgrims and Indians at the first Thanksgiving gathering using only their warm color crayons.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Friday, November 26, 2004
Morgan came over for dinner. We barbecued some steaks. Afterwards, Morgan, Jack, Sharon and I played a brusing game of basketball on the hoop in Jack's room. It was Sharon and Jack against Morgan and I.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Ultimately, I am glad I struggled through this section and finished the book. McCourt's description of the abject poverty of his childhood is stunning. Winner of the 1997 Pultizer Prize for a biography, I have never read anything that personalized poverty as this book did.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The Kings beat the Rockets in a very close game. The final score was Kings 102 and the Rockets 96. Jack and I watched the game on Comcast Sportsnet West on DIRECTV.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Sunday, November 21, 2004
With Sharon gone most of the last week, I have been banging around the house after I get the kids to bed working on a couple of projects. Over three years ago, I bought a Linksys Wireless B Broadband Router. I have always struggled to get VPN to run over this router. After spending more hours than I care to admit fussing with the router's configuration over the last couple months, I gave up and bought a new Linksys router/wireless A-G-B access point. I spent one late night reconfiguring the home network. My home wireless network now includes:
- Linksys Dual-Band Wireless A+G Broadband Router
- Linksys Wireless-G PrintServer - This is attached to the printer in Sharon's office so she can print to the printer from anywhere in the house.
- Airport Express with a pair of Altec Lansing speakers and a small subwoofer attached. I can wirelessly stream music from my den PC running iTunes to anywhere in the house. I was not getting very good results with the Airport Express on the old wireless-B access point. I am very happy with the performance with the new router.
- Tivo Series2 DVR with a Linksys Wireless-G USB Network Adapter - Tivo uses the internet to update the program guide. Additionally, from any browser, you can select programs to record and send the command to our DVR.
- Sharon's Dell Laptop in her ofice has a Linksys Dual-Band Wireless A+G Notebook Adapter.
My work Tablet PC is configured so that it automatically attaches to either my home wireless network or the work wireless network depending on where I am. VPN runs great wirelessly over the new router; this means that I can sit anywhere in the house with my work PC and it is just like sitting at my desk at work!
One of the things that I have struggled with is back-ups for Sharon's business. I am looking at adding a Linksys Network Storage Link with a USB hard drive to the network to support back-ups.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
I kept Jack out too late last night; it was almost 11:00 p.m. by the time we got from the Kings Game. While it did not seem to effect him physically, he was very emotional.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Monday, November 15, 2004
Sunday, November 14, 2004
As I logged on and started to look at the Comcast on-line sign-up, I found a press release on the Kings site that Directv had signed an agreement with Comcast SportsNet West late Friday night! Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 16, Directv customers can watch Kings games and other Comcast SportsNet sporting events on channel 656!
Saturday, November 13, 2004
The group met at a park just off Russell across from Toomey Field for a barbecue. 15 guys showed up, including a number of wives and a bushel of kids. We socialized for about an hour and a half and then headed across the street to watch the UCD Davis versus North Dakota State football game.
The Bison beat the Aggies by a score of 25 to 7. The game was not even as close as the score. UC Davis had five yards of total offense in the first half.
At half time, Tomasin, Wallen, Hunter, Chabrier, Matthew Chabrier, Chris and Michael Tomasin, Jack and I threw a rugby ball around and played a little touch rugby on an IM field south of the stadium.
By the end of the third quarter, Jack had had enough ("This is a boring game, Dad."), I took off and met Sharon in West Sacramento. She took Jack and I headed back to meet up with the group at the park.
Eventually, we headed downtown to a restaurant called Cantina del Cabo. It was kind of an odd place. On the positive side, there was a wide selection of beer on tap. In spite of the name, the place did not serve Mexican food. It had an odd meal that included mostly burgers and steaks.
About 11 p.m., Wallen, Tomasin and I wandered down the street to a place with live music. Wallen and I headed back to my house about 11:30 p.m. and got home a little after midnight.
With Wallen setting the pace, we covered the first mile at an 8:07 pace. Geselbracht kept up most of the first mile and then dropped off. The splits for the next four miles were 8:05, 8:08, 8:13 and 8:19. I stayed with Wallen until about 1.25 miles to go. I felt like I had a piano on my back for the last mile and turned in an 8:35 split. I finished about 200 yards behind covering the 6.35 miles in 52:30 for an average pace of 8:16.