Tuesday, January 31, 2006

2006 Kings versus Nuggets

Sharon and her brother Tim went to see the Sacramento Kings play the Denver Nuggets. This was the first home game since Peja Stojakovic was traded for Ron Artest. The Kings prevailed in the fourth quarter by a score of 98 to 91. Denver's losing skid at Arco Arena has reached 19 straight games since its last victory at Arco Arena on Jan. 7, 1997.

Artest had 19 points and 7 rebounds. Surprising to at least me, Artest was often the person with the ball in his hands during the fourth quarter. The Nuggets would double team him every time. Part of the reason that the Kings won was that Artest was able to pass out of the double team to cutters.

I also continue to be amazed at how quick Kevin Martin is. In the second quarter, Martin took a long lead pass in traffic and left everyone in the dusk for a dunk.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2

I have installed Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2. This release has a tabbed interface for managing multiple browser windows. This is a feature that I have lusted after for some time. I have typically have between four to seven browser windows open (Meebo.com, Typepad.com for work blogs, Blogger.com for personal blogs, Voo2do.com, Outlook Web Access, Writely.com and Netvibes.com) and find a tabbed interface much more intuitive for working in this kind of environment.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Life 1995

In the spring of 1995, I spent ten days with the Nooters in Moscow and a few days in Germany on the way home. This picture was taken in Red Square with St. Basil's Cathedral in the background. I published my diary from the trip last year. I also published a photo album of selected pictures from the trip.


click on the picture for a larger copy!
Mark Heringer 1995

All of the My Life Photos can be found here.

The person who walked across Red Square in 1995 was a much different person than the one that stared into the camera in 1991.

TiVo next on Cisco's list?

Is TiVo next on Cisco's push into homes?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lots of Finches

In fall of 2004, we bought a large flight cage and two pairs of finches. We added a third set of finches in March of 2005.

Last September, Sharon thought it would fun to put some nests in the cages. Immediately, the pair of Society Finches started building a nest and laid five eggs. The eggs hatched in October and by December the five new babys were as big as the parents.

As a result, we now had eleven finches. We have been trying to give some of the finches away. Sharon's brother Tim's family came by and took two of the Society Finches for their youngest daughter.

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Brands Rankings

What brands had the most impact in 2005? Based on Brandchannel.com fifth annual Reader's Choice Awards, the top ten brands that made people stand up and take notice in the United States and Canada were: Apple, Google, Starbucks, Target, Lance Armstrong, craiglist, Whole Foods, Coca-Cola, Oprah Winfrey and Amazon.com.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Dinner at the Gainsley's

Sharon and I had dinner at the Gainsley's. The group included two other couples that we have not meet before. Donna served a great meal of chicken cordon bleu and we had a wonderful evening.

Dinner at the Gainsleys Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

2nd Grade: Art Lesson D

Sharon spent part of the morning as the art docent for Jack's class. The lesson covered a profile of Vincent Van Gogh and the use of vibrant color. The class watched a video titled Getting to Know Van Gogh. Afterwards, they talked about Van Gogh's life and examined three of his paintings: Irises, Cypress Trees and Crows over Wheatfield (all shown below).

Vincent Van Gogh Irises

Vincent Van Gogh Cypress Trees

Vincent Van Gogh Crows over Wheatfield

As their project, the kids were given a blank sheet of white paper and asked to copy one of the Van Gogh pictures or create their own landscape as long as the color palette was bold.

In January of 1999, Sharon, Jack and I flew to Los Angeles and visited a Van Gogh display at the Los Angeles Museum. I still have a t-shirt with the paint of Crows over Wheatfield on it!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Life 1994

The four years from 1991 to 1994 were a particularly tumultuous period in my life. While the 1992 picture aptly captures the Rugby World Cup trip to Ireland, Wales and England in 1991 and to Puerto Vallarta to play rugby in 1992 and the 1993 picture represents skiing with Tomasin, Larkin and others, I had hoped to use a picture for 1994 that portrayed another major part of this period. There is some controversy around my original choice. As a result, I have substituted this picture taken in my office when I worked for the Western Farm Credit Bank. This is one of three pictures in the series that I intend to come back and replace at some point this year.


click on the picture for a larger copy!
Mark Heringer 1994

All of the My Life Photos can be found here.

The 1997 picture from this series is on the board behind me in this picture.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Funeral Mass

Sharon and I attended a Funeral Mass for her ex-husband Allan Greenwood. Although we did not know that he was coming, Sharon's brother Tim was also there. The Mass was held at Good Shepherd Church in Elk Grove.

Towards the end of the Mass, a family member got up and read a letter that Alan had written about 18 months ago when he knew that he was losing his battle with ALS. I do not believe that I have ever been to a service before where this was done. The letter mused about his life and spoke directly to a number of people who were in attendance. It stirred a number of emotions.

After the Mass, everyone gathered outside and the family released a number of white doves.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Very Long Day

A very long day...

Up early, Jack and I went and spent a couple of hours helping set up for his Cub Scout Pack's Pinewood Derby. We organized the room, set-up the track and then tested the track and the electronics. As part of the testing, we came to the unfortunate realization that Jack's car was not running very fast.

After we finished setting up, we raced home and picked up Sharon. As part of her birthday celebration, we took Sharon to Chevy's for brunch.

When we finished brunch, we stopped and got some parts for his pinewood derby car. While Sharon took off to spent the afternoon shopping, Jack and I headed home. We spent a frantic 30 minutes tearing the wheels and axles on his car apart and putting them back together. As soon as we were finished, we headed to the Pinewood Derby

My goal for this year's pinewood derby was to "show." Last year, we did terrible; our car had problems making it down the track. This year, Jack's car ended up running very well.

Each den runs a number of heats with every car running once in each of the four lanes. Jack's car won one heat, finished second in two heats and a very close third in another. The times for all four heats are then added together. The car with the lowest total time wins.

When they started flashing the results on the screen, I was elated for Jack to get third! I was also amazed at the results. The combined difference for the four races between the top three cars in Jack's den was 32 thousandths of a second!

The top three cars from each den compete at the end. Jack's car ended up taking 7th out of all of the cars in the pack. I felt like we made a pretty good showing for the day and was very pleased with our results.

Afterwards, we helped take everything apart and clean up the hall. On the way home, we stopped and got some of the ingredients that I needed to make Sharon dinner.

Sharon had requested that I make her Fettucuni Alfredo for dinner. After making dinner and then cleaning up, I finished the evening making Sharon a birthday cake.

2005 Pinewood Derby Results

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2005 Pinewood Derby Pic 4

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2005 Pinewood Derby Pic 3

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2005 Pinewood Derby Pic 2

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2005 Pinewood Derby Pic 1

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pinewood Derby Day 12

Pinewood Derby Day 12

Dirty Dancing

After getting Jack down, Sharon and I watched Dirty Dancing.

2006 Basketball Game 3

Jack played in his third Little Dribblers Basketball game of the season. They played against St. Elizabeth at St. Francis. Jack scored 4 points in 10 minutes of play.

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Continuing Birthday week...

Continuing Sharon's birthday week celebration, Brun and Kim stopped by with their girls to drop off a present for Sharon. Starting last Monday, Jack and I have been doing something everyday to celebrate Sharon's upcoming birthday!

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Obituary for Allan Greenwood

Obituary: Housing advocate inspired others battling nerve disease

Friends and colleagues of California Housing Finance Agency lawyer Allan D. Greenwood spoke with admiration Friday as they described his courageous battle against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Virtually paralyzed by the degenerative illness, the 49-year-old resident of Elk Grove continued to work from home, using a specially equipped computer, until late 2005. He died Saturday.

A graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law, he had worked for the housing agency in Sacramento since 2000, hammering out financing deals for affordable housing developments.

Mr. Greenwood had previously been legal counsel at the Federal Land Bank Association of Yosemite in Turlock, and Western Farm Credit Bank in Sacramento.

He was diagnosed with ALS in June 2003, about six months after he began slurring his speech, said his wife, Sheila Souza Greenwald.

Almost immediately after that diagnosis, she said, he cut back to part time, started working from home and traveled with his family as much as he could. By the end of 2004, he needed a wheelchair. He lost his ability to speak by early 2005, and by summer "was pretty much completely incapacitated," his wife said.

Throughout the ordeal, Mr. Greenwood - who was known for his strong-willed personality - refused to feel sorry for himself, said Rick Okikawa, a friend and colleague.

In addition to playing a key role in his son's life, Mr. Greenwood was a voracious reader and an avid skier, scuba diver, private pilot and runner. He also enjoyed working in the yard of his family's home in the Laguna section of Elk Grove.

"As you know with ALS, it is a rare neuromuscular disease where the victim remains mentally alert, but slowly loses the use of the body," Okikawa said. "In essence, an ALS victim is trapped in their own body, unable to perform basic functions independently.

"It's a brutal disease, it really is. But what made Allan exceptional was the way he faced adversity. He remained very positive."

Terri Parker, executive director of the agency, called him not only an excellent attorney, but "just the essence of human dignity, a role model for all of us."

Born in Los Angeles County, Allan Davis Greenwood was raised in Oregon and Santa Clara County. His parents divorced when he was in elementary school, and his father died when he was 12.

By the time Mr. Greenwood was 16, he was living on his own, supporting himself by working two jobs while attending high school in San Jose, his wife said. He later enrolled at the University of Oregon, where he graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in English literature.

At Santa Clara University, he earned an MBA and a law degree concurrently, again working two or three jobs at a time to pay his expenses, his wife said.

"He worked as a house painter and as a waiter, mostly in upscale restaurants," she said.

The couple met in 1994 at an office Christmas party. She was working as a loan officer. They married May 8, 1998, and had one son, Christopher, now 6.

In the mid-1990s, his wife said, Mr. Greenwood prepared a timeline for the rest of his life: By 2015, be semi-retired, have a commercial pilot's license and be teaching English part time at a community college.

"He felt that a man was defined by his life experiences," his wife said, "There was always something new he wanted to do, and he never hesitated. He didn't have the inhibitions most of us have.

"Allan experienced more in his lifetime than most of us will experience if we live to be 100. That's the only thing that makes this easier to accept."

Allan Davis Greenwood
Born: Jan. 2, 1957
Died: Jan. 14, 2006

Remembered for: His courage and good humor while battling the deadly Lou Gehrig's Disease

Survived by: Wife, Sheila Souza Greenwood of Laguna; son, Christopher of Laguna; sisters, Janice Wright of Portland, Ore., Melinda Plummer of Eugene, Ore., and Cindy Greenwood of San Jose

Memorial services: 1 p.m. Wednesday, Good Shepherd Church, 9539 Racquet Court, Elk Grove

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wolf Den Meeting #4

Jack and I went to the January meeting of his Cub Scout Wolf Den. The boys worked on a family tree for their immediate family, did a word search and interviewed their parents.

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Pinewood Derby Day 10

Pinewood Derby Day 10

The problem that we have now is that the car with the wheels is a little too heavy. I am probably going to remove one of the weights from the top and build a compartment that we can add a variable amount of smaller weights like buckshot.

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Stardust exceed expectations

Stardust samples exceed expectations - Space.com - MSNBC.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Life 1993

Tomasin, Julie, Chris, David, Drew, Morgan and I spent a weekend in a cabin at South Shore. This picture was taken while Tomasin and I were skiing at Heavenly and the boys were in ski lessons.


click on the picture for a larger copy!
Mark Heringer 1993

All of the My Life Photos can be found here.

Pinewood Derby Day 9

Pinewood Derby Day 9
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Mass for Allan Greenwood

A Mass will be said for Allan Greenwood on Wednesday, January 25, 2006, 1:00 p.m., at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Elk Grove. The Church address is 9539 Racquet Ct, Elk Grove, CA 95758.

Following the service, Sheila is inviting family and friends to celebrate and share tributes of Allan's life at one of their favorite restaurants, Todo Un Poco Pizza & Bistro at 9080 Laguna Main St, Ste. 1A, Elk Grove.

Anyone wishing to give a memorial gift may contribute to a trust fund that has been established for Allan and Sheila's son, Christopher. Contributions may be mailed or dropped off in person at any local Golden 1 Credit Union. If you mail your gift, it should be sent to the Elk Grove Blvd. Branch and identified by using the name of the Trust which is:

Sheila Greenwood in Trust for Christopher Greenwood
In care of: Golden 1 Credit Union
8469 Elk Grove Blvd.
Elk Grove, CA 95758

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Allan Greenwood

Sharon's ex-husband, Allan Greenwood, died on Saturday after a three year battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease). He survived by his wife Shelia and their six year old son Chrisophter, his sister Cindy Greenwood and two half sisters. Our thoughts and prayers are with Shelia and Christopher. Allan was two weeks older than I am.

Pinewood Derby Day 8

Pinewood Derby Day 8
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Bored Meetings

In a newly published study, researchers say that having too many meetings and spending too much time in meetngs per day may have negative effects on the individual.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pinewood Derby Day 7

Pinewood Derby Day 7

Jack and I spent a big hunk of the holiday afternoon working to bring the car up to weight; pinewood derby cars can weigh 5 ounces. After getting the car to the shape that we wanted, we had to add 2 1/2 ounces. We did this by adding a lead plate to the bottom of the car and then drilling out the top and adding even more weights. We smoothed over everything with putty and left it to dry.

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New Tech Concepts for 2006

From Popular Mechanics, 15 New Tech Concepts For 2006:
  1. Driver Monitoring System
  2. Body Area Network (BAN)
  3. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)
  4. Metadata
  5. RAND Flash Memory
  6. Nanoparticle Batteries
  7. SPIT (SPam over Internet Telephony)
  8. Micro Fuel Cells
  9. Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  10. Coal Gasification
  11. Perpendicular Storage
  12. Presolar Interstellar grains
  13. Crime-Lab-on-a-chip
  14. Blind spot detection
  15. Pedestrian Protection System (PPS)
  16. Ajax
  17. Mobile VoIP
  18. Modular Pebble-Bed Reactor
  19. Mobile WiMAX
  20. Mobile Satellite Video

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Sharon, Jack and I went to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House to celebrate my birthday.

Pinewood Derby Day 6

Pinewood Derby Day 6
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Stardust Space Probe

With the successful return of the Stardust space probe, astronomy buffs will soon be able to join an Internet-based search for dust grains. The Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley has created a "virtual microscope" that will allow anyone with an Internet connection to scan some of the 1.5 million pictures for tracks left by speeding dust. Each picture will cover an area smaller than a grain of salt. The web-based virtual microscope will be made available to the public in mid-March.

The Stardust@Home project's home page is:


Discoverers will get to name their dust grains!

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Friday, January 13, 2006

2nd Grade: Art Lesson C

Sharon spent part of the afternoon as the art docent for Jack's second grade class. The lesson plan looked at religious artwork. The class talked about three pieces of art: Meeting of St. Anthony and St. Paul by Sassetta; St. Joseph the Carpenter by Georges del La Tour [shown below]; and Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer.

For their art project, the kids drew their own praying hands with a charcoal pencil in the style of Durer.

Pinewood Derby Day 4

Pinewood Derby Day 4
Pinewood Derby Day 4