Jul 27, 2007 - Camping at Flowing Lake

My daughter-in-law's folks have started camping annually at Flowing Lake Park. Melanie was gone for a few days, so Austin called to invite me to be with them.

It is at a quiet lake just large enough for some water skiing. (Can you see the moon?)

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Jul 16, 2007 - Camping in a Yurt

So far this summer I have been taking vacation one or two days at a time. Melanie & I decided to take a day together.

20070716_yurt_camping0 We rented a yurt near Mt Vernon at a family camping place. We walked some nature trails, swam in the pool and played some music together.

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Jul 12, 2007 - Andrew's Germany trip

Andrew just got back from a tour of Germany with his German class from High School.

tour group in front of castle

See all the pictures!

Jul 08, 2007 - Checking out the iPhone

Jessica and I went to the Apple store to check out the hot new iPhone. It really is a cool device.

the iPhone

This was a picture I took with another iPhone that I then mailed to myself. It was very easy, very smooth. The most amazing thing about the iPhone is that it does work like advertised.

It is an expensive device. Also there are a couple of little things that I would like to see improved. However, if Apple is responsive and does fix these issues in updates, I really think I would like to have one!

Jul 07, 2007 - Fun at Silverwood

There is a theme park in Idaho called Silverwood, just across the border from Washington state. It had an unlikely start as a vintage airplane museum. Although is seems like a long way from the usual entertainment centers, it is a huge blast of fun.

It has a lot of rides, but the roller coasters and water park make it worth while. I think the Avalanche Mountain family raft water slide is the best ride in the park because of the combination of sheer fun and doing it as a group. At each turn, you slide way up the embankment, get soaked, scream and laugh yourself silly. The two wooden roller coasters are excellent. And late in the day the wait may be only one or two rides.

on wooden roller coaster

Melanie really enjoys the roller coasters! She rode the one at the Vancouver PNE as well as the Silverwood one. Notice that Melanie's expression is the same in both pictures - she is having a screaming fun time!

We drove out to near Spokane, camped at Little Diamond, spent the next day at Silverwood and returned the following day after camping again.

The weather was very hot. If you got wet at the water park, you would be nearly dry before getting on the next ride. It was a great trip.

Jun 10, 2007 - Larry Graduates!

Today I finally graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computing and Software Systems.

Larry and President Mark Emmert

The graduation was at the "Hec" Edmundson Pavilion on the UW central campus - the same place where Austin & Alan graduated from Inglemoor High School.

Melanie, Larry & Andrew before

The weather was beautiful. All of my family was there. It was great!

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Jun 07, 2007 - Andrew's Mohawk

Every school year Andrew lets his hair grow long until he very nearly looks like a tall hobbit.

Andrew hobbit hair

When the boys were young and the summers started, they wanted to get their hair buzzed off. In recent years Andrew has had fun by getting a goofy haircut just before school let out and then cutting the rest off once school was out.

Andrew's mohawk

This year he went for a mohawk!

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May 23, 2007 - My Cubicle

I thought you might want to see where I work. I have a cubicle on the north end of a building. Being on the end it doesn't get too much traffic and is pretty quiet. It overlooks some local greenery.

Right now I have a lot of computer monitors. Left-to-right: a desktop Mac, my main desktop PC (2 monitors), my personal MacBook laptop and a new work PC laptop (2 monitors). Its fun.

cubicle view

I also have a small museum of technical artifacts. The white items are ultrasound transducers that I often use as props while solving issues in discussions or as props for teaching.

my museum

The other things are mostly old data storage devices: floppy discs, optical discs, hard drives, etc. The hard drives often have an angular beauty to them, and their strong magnets can be fun. I also have an early Motorola "brick" cell phone. The comments from random passersby are often quite interesting.

May 21, 2007 - Alan Starts at Philips

I talked with some of the mechanical engineering guys at work about what opportunity there might be for Alan to work the summer at Philips. Alan submitted his resume and dropped by to talk with some of them informally when he was here during his Spring Break. After he got back from school, they invited him in for an interview. And then they offered him a summer internship position. He started today.

It was interesting to see what paperwork he had to go through. I have been at Philips for 20 years now. (Originally it was ATL which was bought by Philips.) So it has been a long time since I have seen the starting-employment routine. I am certain that I didn't go through some of the things they had him sign for (e.g. background check authorization, etc).

It is pretty cool to go in to work with your son. However there are occasional transportation issues to consider. For instance, I have a few more classes to complete yet. So tomorrow I leave from work early - before Alan is done.

May 11, 2007 - Without Water

Last Monday, Andrew asked Melanie if he could have some friends over to watch a movie. We like having our kids' friends over, so Melanie readily agreed.

On Friday, Mel couldn't be home right away, so she called Jessica to get an update. She asked who was coming, and Jessi started listing names that added up to around 15. When she asked when they were coming, it turned out they would be there about 5:30. Oh no!, that meant that we would need to feed everybody. Thus Andrew's employer, Uncle Peteza's got an order for several large pizzas.

Earlier that day, Alan called to tell me there was a half-inch of water over the floor of the room containing the water heater and washing machine. He said he was battling it back with the wet-dry vac, and how could he get the water to stop? It turned out to be coming from the water heater. However, the valve that was supposed to stop the supply to the heater didn't seem to work, so he had to turn off the complete water supply to the house. Thus we were having a party in a house with no running water!

old water heater

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Apr 28, 2007 - New Pavement

We have had some street construction in our neighborhood for some months now. They have been correcting some old issues with the storm drains and water mains. They have completed that part of things and now have completely repaved our development.

new blacktop

The new pavement is very smooth of course and I have seen quite a few people (mostly kids) opportunistically skating in the neighborhood. Even Jessica had to try it out. She borrowed Alan's 'blades for a few passes on the road, but it was tricky because her feet were so much smaller than Alan's.

Jessi rollerblading

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Apr 16, 2007 - More Pictures

New stuff:

Apr 12, 2007 - My Last Class

I have started my last UWB class: Multimedia and Signal Computing! And I am scheduled to graduate in June!

I am definitely getting tired of taking classes. I don't know if it is because the end is so close or if it is because I haven't had a break between quarters like usual before.

I think the class content will be interesting. Some of it involves math that I haven't used in a very long time, so I feel the mental rust. Other parts are very familiar. Sometimes the two parts occur in the same lecture! So I am sitting back and relaxing some times and other times I am taking careful notes.

Most of my previous classes I have not owned a laptop computer. Now that I have one, I am taking it to all the classes (even though I am taking my notes on paper this quarter). I might use it to look up more detail on Wikipedia or through Google when the material of the moment is not too difficult. To me, it adds quite a bit of interest to the lecture.

Apr 02, 2007 - Religion & Society

Alan wrote a paper for a class at school about some ideas for revitalizing society. This got me thinking:

Religion is the human manifestation of a spiritual system. That which is spiritual is non-tangible and not under the control of humans. And yet spiritual influence may be the most significant influence we perceive in our lives.

Humans need guidance to access the spiritual realm because we do not perceive it natively as we do the physical realm. And religion is the primary means of that guidance. (But religion also gives humans spiritual influence. This can be a risky thing!)

  • For talking purposes, let's us ignore questions regarding which religion is correct. And lets also agree that genuine and complete truth does exist in the spiritual realm.

Spiritual values are a primary source of human values and religion is the conduit to them. Religion has historically been the most powerful means of uniting people. Therefore, we can see that religion can be the best means for creating vital communities.

Mar 25, 2007 - Spinning at the Park

Kenmore, WA has a park at the north end of the Lake Washington that was recently renovated. They put in a new playground for kids that is very interesting. It has play toys unlike most that I have seen. It should be very popular when the weather becomes warm.

Andrew running on Merry-go-round

They had a low merry-go-round that you could sit or stand on. You could even carefully run on it as Andrew was doing.

All of us on the merry-go-round

We tried to stand in place and move our weight around to get it to move, but we couldn't get coordinated. We laughed so much!

Here is a video of Andrew on one of the spinner cup chairs. He really got going and was quite dizzy! Funny!

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