Friday, June 29, 2007

Sugar Coating and All

Coating of sand is required for beach playI have to tell you about this kid I saw at the beach the other day. It was one of those perfect summer days—warm, windless, with lazy, rolling surf that cools the skin. Beaches are perfect playgrounds for kids and pockets of children were building sandcastles and chasing each other around in the shallow water.

On this particular afternoon, I was mesmerized by a boy splashing in the sudsy water. He emerges from the soup and with spindly legs exuberantly tromps towards the soft sand; arms flail and water drips. The child scarecrow drops to his knees to pay homage to the warmth and softness that beckons. He flops onto his stomach and chest and dabs his face into the granular pillow. Like a cook carefully breading a chicken breast, he sits up, turns over, and lies back down to coat his backside. A child can lie still for only so long, and soon our sand-child sits up again and proceeds to anoint his head with sand, sprinkling his hair with the beach’s fine-grained sugar.

Most people pull back with disgust and think twice about all that gritty sand invading places where the sun don’t shine. But I see this child, so free and unencumbered. Fully sugarized, the boy jumps up and sprints to the water. He’s obviously delighted with the beach’s contrast of water and sand and begins the dipping and coating process anew.

Monday, June 25, 2007

BREWfest: Music on the USS Midway

Last week’s BREW 2007 Conference was a chance for Paul to give his presentation (Developing C++ Class Libraries with BREW) on Friday to a full house. The conference itself was sponsored by Qualcomm at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego on the harbor.

As one of only two C++ with BREW presentations, Paul received a good response after his talk. He was in his element, sharing his techniques for using C++ effectively with BREW.

A view of the hull as we board the USS MidwayThe other C++ talk at the BREW Conference was presented by Ted Witkamp from Riffware, an up and coming cell phone product company. Check out Riffware’s new Guitar Tuner product. This cell phone program lets you tune a guitar or musical instrument with your cell phone. That gets my vote for a very cool cell phone application. (Paul will use it to tune his bass and guitar, too.)
Fighter aircraft on display on the flight deck of the USS MidwayThursday evening was BREWfest, the after-hours party sponsored by Qualcomm. This year it was held aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. I loved the setting. Being aboard the aircraft carrier provided gorgeous views of San Diego harbor and its downtown skyline.
Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls stylin' on the USS Midway Besides good food and drinks, attendees were treated to a concert by the Goo Goo Dolls on the flight deck of the Midway. Not being a Goo Goo Dolls aficionado, I must say I nevertheless did recognize some of their songs. Lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik is an energetic performer. Pretty awesome for a forty-something guy!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kellen the Engineer

My father (who was named Graham after his father, who in turn was named Graham after his father, who is the Graham of a previous post) graduated from Georgia Tech and was a helluva ‘n engineer—an aeronautical engineer. He designed airplanes and studied things like stability and control. This was a big departure from the previous Grahams, who were both missionaries and ministers associated with the Northern Presbyterian Church (the Presbyterian Church split over issues of slavery in the 19th century). Graham, my father the engineer, had three sons and five grandsons, none of which were named Graham, but two of the grandsons carry Graham as a middle name, as does one of the sons. And of all those progeny, one of them went into the field of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, which is about as close as you get to my father’s field of study. So it is with particular pride that I watched my son, whose middle name is Graham, participate in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering commencement ceremonies at UCLA. Way to go, Kellen!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Air Temp: Perfect; Water Temp: Trunkable

Air Temp: Perfect; Water Temp: TrunkableJune Gloom has given way to early summer sun. The Surf Conditions sign at Stone Steps says it all.
Air Temp: Perfect; Water Temp: Trunkable
This translates to 75 degrees F and 68 degrees F, respectively.
Beach Day AccutermentsThe beach day accuterments: chair, towel, fins, body board, and book bag containing this month's Book Club Selection: Isabel Allende's Stories of Eva Luna.
June Beach Day

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

BlogHers Act

BlogHers ActProject #1: Choose a global issue—BlogHer’s red-hot issue for the year

Making a difference on a single global issue for the next 12 months

Project #2: Creating an Election ’08 Voter Manifesto

If you could tell the presidential candidates what is most important to you, what are the top four hot button issues you would ask them to address?

Deadline for post: June 15, 2007.

Project #1: Choosing a single global issue is mind-boggling. There are so many. Addressing worldwide poverty, fighting childhood illnesses such as malaria in developing countries, fighting for human rights, or world peace are all worthwhile goals. But I have to say taking care of our planet has got to be the most important issue. If our planet cannot sustain human life then everything else becomes irrelevant. So, do you define this single issue as global warming, pollution control, population control, or environmental protection? I believe global warming is a symptom, and like good medical care, you don’t just address the symptom, but you address the cause of the symptom. Global warming is caused by airborne pollutants, which are caused by various industries from many countries, including the United States and China. Global warming is a big issue, certainly not solvable in a year, but raising awareness of its importance at the global level is an achievable goal. That’s my vote.

Project #2:
  1. Foreign Policy. I would like the ’08 candidates to address our foreign policy, specifically in regards to Iraq, but more generally. I would like our nation to return to its legacy foreign policy that eschewed preemptive war and relied on diplomacy to promote democracy and peace. I don’t believe you can gain new friends and allies by engaging in preemptive war. We need to bring our troops home now and end the war in Iraq. “Do as I say and not as I do” may work for an overbearing parent, but it doesn’t work when you try to export democracy. Indeed, exporting democracy is not necessarily the best way to create a peaceful alliance with other countries.

  2. Health Care. Our entire medical/pharmaceutical/insurance industry pretends to offer healthcare. But in fact, its number one goal is to make money and usually this happens at the expense of the people the industry purports to serve. As our country ages, this problem will grow. Medical care should be affordable and accessible to all people. Alternative medical arts should be incorporated into traditional medical arts. (As a side issue, our health is also undermined by the powerful food industry that promotes unhealthful food and dietary choices. Effective education can help loose the bonds of the fast food/snack food/hormone and antibiotic laced meat and dairy products.)

  3. Education. Public education should be available to all and it should be effective. Limit all class sizes (probably to 20), reduce the importance and number of standardized tests, increase salaries for teachers, reward creative thinking and peer mentoring for students, and help parents become supporters and advocates for their children.

  4. Environment. Global warming is a “global” issue, but it needs to be a national issue, a state issue, and a local issue as well. This is an umbrella issue and it needs to include finding alternative energy sources, such as wave power, wind power, and solar power. Our remaining wilderness areas need protection.
Feel free to weigh in by leaving a comment!

Monday, June 11, 2007 Where the women bloggers are LogoLast week (actually 5 days and 8 hours ago, according to my listing) I joined, an open consortium of women bloggers. Their motto “Where the women bloggers are” embraces the simplicity of their coherence: women blogging. Their membership of more than 11,000 grows each day. I was excited to join since I feel that the organizers are women who take blogging seriously, who write about serious issues but don’t exclude humor, and who are not limited by a political agenda or a woman-only exclusionary feel. Indeed, men are welcomed too. When you join, you can write a description of your blog and categorize it by picking one or more labels that apply to the topics you write about. My blog is sufficiently general that I had to choose multiple categories, such as Entertainment and Books, Health and Wellness, Politics and News, Sports and Fitness, and Travel Blogs.

If you go to any one of the above categories, I guarantee you’ll find a blog that’s interesting, well-written, and worth checking out. On the whole, I have found this organization to include a tremendous number of writers who think, feel, and express themselves with flair.

Here’s my BlogHer description.

BlogHers ActIf that isn't motivation enough for me to feel excited about joining, the BlogHer group came out last week with an incredible proposal, which they have named BlogHers Act. In their own words:
BlogHers Act will take on two things—
  1. Making a difference on a single global cause
  2. Identifying the top four issues that women online want the U.S. Presidential candidates to address in order to win our votes in the ‘08 Election.
Until June 15, BlogHers Act is soliciting opinions from their members on what this single global cause should be (global warming, world poverty, the Iraq war?) as well as the top four issues that the U.S. Presidential candidates should address. These are year-long initiatives that member bloggers will help address and act upon. So I have but a few days to weigh in and contribute. After June 15th, they’ll produce a survey based on the submitted ideas and then tally the survey results. The real action will start at their annual BlogHer Conference - '07.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh, no! Where did my nook go?

Previously posted example of an Encinitas quirky nook (Click to read previous post)I previously picked this eclectic building for one of Encinitas charming “Nooks and Crannies.” So, here’s another question for you. What do you get when you cross the above nook with this—

Demolition bulldozer razes lovely nookAah, some would say progress; others—loss of character.

Even in death I see a bit of pink paint on the poleEven in death I see a bit of pink paint on the pole. RIP

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

500 Career Saves for Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman of the San Diego Padres after career save 500The Padres beat the Dodgers tonight 5-2 at home, but the story was not the win, it was yet another Trevor Time save. And it wasn’t just another save—it was number 500. Trevor stands alone with the best number of career saves ever. It was a sweet win against the Trolley Dodgers, against whom Trevor has earned 58 of those 500 saves. I only wish I had been there—these pictures are simply captured from my TV.
Trevor Hoffman career save 500
Trevor Hoffman career save 500 Congratulations, Trevor. Congratulations, Padres. Barry who?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Sara and Patty about mile 18: Photo by ChristiI never knew it was so much fun to run a marathon . . . (Actually, I do. I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 1979. I think it was fun. I don’t remember!) My daughter Sara (“Hare”) and her running buddy Patty (“Turtle”) ran the San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon yesterday and had a fabulous time pounding the pavement. Sara confesses “I don’t think I would have finished without Patty encouraging me,” but you’d never know either one needed a push. I hung out at the finish line so I could see them cross. It’s a feel-good experience watching the runners near the end. Some are in pain, some are exuberant, some are barely lifting that one foot. Couples, friends, and family members hold hands for the last 20 yards. A few sprint, just to show they can.
The Turtle and the Hare: Photo by ChristiThe Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon provides live race-day results. I could track Sara’s progress in the morning (10K, half-marathon, and 21-mile splits are reported on the website). I timed my arrival at the finish, navigating traffic, parking issues, and crowds entering the San Diego Marine Corp Training Depot (MCRD) as we all patiently waited in line for individual searches and screening similar to airport security checks.

Approaching the finish!
Congratulations to Sara and Patty (and Taryn and Mary and David and John and . . . ) and all the other finishers who completed the 10th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Is Global Warming a Liberal Cause?

Earth from Space (courtesy of NASA)Today I learned about a publishing company that seeks to counter what it sees as a left-leaning bent in children’s books—books that try to teach diversity or global responsibility, for example. The article is a Los Angeles Column One article appearing in today’s paper (Stephanie Simon, Los Angeles Times, Teaching kids right from left, June 1, 2007.) Among other topics, Kids Ahead imprint seeks to publish titles debunking global warming targeting the preteen market. Its parent company, World Ahead Publishing wants to counter The Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming which urges youngsters to take action to fight global warming, a Scholastic title due out in September. Brilliant! We can’t have children growing up being sensitive to our environment! Any action that results in government meddling in the lives of free Americans would be harmful to us, according to Eric Jackson, co-founder of World Ahead Publishing.

World Ahead Publishing is the publisher of the dubious and unconvincing title Thank You, President Bush. Check out the Amazon reviews (where reviewers tended to give it either a 5 or a 1—but nothing in between). Publishing that title robs World Ahead Publishing of all credibility. As a serious book, it is an ignoble propaganda tool. As a parody, it is a hilarious depiction of power gone wrong. Fodder for SNL skits. A sad tribute to the worst president ever.

But getting back to global warming: Since when is global warming a liberal cause? Global warming is fact. Perhaps, what to do about it can be viewed as a liberal or conservative cause. If Eric Jackson has his way, we will do nothing until the problem is solved by private enterprise (or we wait until the problem becomes unsolvable). Jackson sees any government involvement as a bad thing. If polar bears become extinct, so be it.