Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 ChristmaZ PhotoZ

These three photos do not show any of the tribulations in getting one wife, one dog and who knows how many cats into the same room of the house in order to get a decent X-mas photo for this season. And truth to be told, we only tried with three cats since Willow would not have been happy in front of the camera this year. She was snoozing on her "perch" and when that happens, better not disturb the wild one...

Hence, better check the slide show...

All that said, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2011 !!!!

And to be totally honest, photos were not taken until after New Years, and not uploaded uploaded until the 6th of January, so if you feel you got shafted, don't take it personal - everyone did this year (again)...
Wife was sick before and throughout holidays but recovered somewhat for the New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 ChristmaZ PhotoZ

These three photos do not show any of the hassles in getting one wife, one dog and four cats into the same "session" in order to get some X-mas photos for this year (and if you pay attention, we never managed to get all four cats "together").

Hence, better check the slide show...

All that said, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2010 !!!!

And to be true, these photos were not uploaded until the 4th of January, so if you feel you got shafted, don't take it personal - everyone did this year...
Wife was sick throughout Christmas and I got a small dash of a cold just after New Years, so photos got stuck in camera far too long.

Friday, August 28, 2009

AmaZing Fly-over...

Just got back from walking the the dog. As we were talking to a neighbor up on the hill, a Korean Air 777 slowly passed overhead - very low altitude! Cool in itself, but this one was followed by TWO small (fighter?) jets tailing it just by the tailwings. Very cool scene.

Called one of the local news stations to report it, but in retrospect, it was likely just a photo shoot by Boeing, before the plane is delivered to Korean Air (since there's nothing on the news, nothing on the blogosphere, at least not yet).

And, did I carry the camera? No, of course not... Gotta buy that smallish Canon!

Update: According to reliable sources, it was all part of a Boeing golf event. More events like that, and I might even start to like golf (yeah, right)...

Monday, August 10, 2009

It Ztarted raining...

Since this was such a big news in the media, I just have to mention it here as well. We got rain! Actually a mini soaker. Not that it shouild be strange, but what was strange is that we went for soooo long w/o any noticeable precipitation. Think we were up to close to 90 days or so, and that is rare in Seattle, especially early summer.

But, not complaining and it was also sort of "on schedule" since I told everyone that when I was starting to put up siding, the rains would arrive. Sure enough, I was about to cut the first strip of Cedar T&G siding when it started coming down.
All said, sun's to arrive with full summer later in the week again.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

RainZ, what rainZ? - and HealthCare

They sort of more or less promised rain for today, but we only got a misting, if even that, when walking to Starbucks in the morning. When lunch hour arrived, so did the sun and it turned out to be just another gorgeous day. Perfect for some work on the wall...

On a more serious note, there has been a ruckus over the past few days over a badly needed healthcare reform. Congress is on summer recess, and that means they are home and reaching out to their community/constituents.

But why are people so scared for healtcare reform? It is sorely needed. It is a Royal (or should we say Federal?) shame that a country like the mighty United States of America does not provide even basic healthcare for its citizens. No, in this country, you either are lucky in getting it (in esssence tax subsidized) from your employer, or you better "pay up" yourself with "after-tax" dollars - and that at a much higher premium than what an employer pays for same "services".

If healthy, it is only a sizeable cost (~$400/month and up) but if you happen to have some type of "pre-existing condition", meaning you've actually been sick before and its "on record", you might not be able to find an insurance company willing to take you on. Or in a better case, take you on but at such a cost that you cannot afford it. In either case, you are SOL when it comes to healthcare - unless you have an emergency and then you'll be treated at the local ER - at great expense to the hospital, the system, and the country (possibly after you've been stripped of everything you own, and forced into personal bankcruptcy).

We live in an increadibly rich nation, and it is unfathomable that we do not prioritize heathcare. ANY modern nation on the planet has a system that provides for some basic (in most cases actually really good) coverage, and that at a far lower overall cost than what we in essence are paying in the U.S. (we are spending some 2-4 times more than the closest nations, and with pretty lousy outcome).

On top of that, if it can be a way to measure success, even with all the money that we waste on ineffective healthcare for a few, we still only rank 30th nation or so in life expectancy for our citizens.

It is time that we - as a nation - step up to the plate and TOTALLY reform the system so we can start early on with guaranteed healthcare for the young, for the students, for the "prodcutive years", and for when you are settling down in retirement. Switzerland, England, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Germany, France, all have systems that provide far better coverage and services than ours, and that at a fraction of the cost.

So America, what are you afraid of? Why are you out and screaming "no socialism" to Predident Obama and members of Congress? Providing healthcare to a country's citizen is not socialism, it is just simply basic compassion. And when doing it smarter, wiser, cheaper than the corrupt system we have today, it is also sound Economics - one of the cornerstones in America's economic power.

Check out just a few of these links:
Sick Around the World
Canadian Health Care
An excellent - but long winded - commentary by Keith Olbermann

Cash for ClunkerZ

CARS - CAR Allowance Rebate System - is not a bad idea to stimulate the economy, but it is far too lenient when someone can go and trade in his old Chevy pickup truck, for just another pick-up truck (albeit a new Ford F-150). No, if you are getting free money (tax payer provided), you should really be forced to select a vehicle that gets MUCH better fuel ecomony than a F-150 truck.

I have nothing against the Ford F-150, and drive a large SUV myself, but if you decide to buy/drive a huge vehicle, well it should really be on your own dime.

I guess the underlying problem is that if the rules were more strict, most would be "forced" to buy (much better quality) Japanase and Korean designed/made vehicles, and that would not help out Detroit a great deal.


Monday, August 03, 2009

AmaZing weekend at the Lake and SeaFair

Spent the entire weekend out on the lake, and started out by sleeping onboard Friday night. Better to do that, than to fight the rowdy crowds at the ramp on Saturday morning. On top of that, there was absolutely NO spots available down at the marina, so a night at anchor was a much better solution.
Reward was an invasion of bugs just before midnight, followed by a tad of chilly weather (too lazy to crawl into the sleeping bag...), and an amazing moonlit sky over the bay, and then a wonderful sunrise. Amazing how beautiful it actually can be, more or less in the middle of the city.

To survive the hardship (?) of sleeping onboard, wife and dog came down Friday night with pizza dinner, and Saturday morning freshly delivered Starbucks. Call that service!

Saturday lunch we loaded up with some friends, food, and beer and jutted out into the horrible wake out on Lake Washington. That is what you get when there are 5,000 (?) boats in every shape and size racing to the area north of the I-90 bridge to enjoy the always impressive Blue Angels literally overhead. Bumpy ride, but we got down just in time to find a decent spot for the air show.

Coming back, we were lucky to find a protected spot dockside in downtown Kirkland and Aksel and I spent the following hours just basking in the sun and watching the scenery (!) passing by. Decided to leave the boat there and go home for a "real" bed, and brought along a BBQ for wife and dog. Great evening out on the deck, and still just as hard to believe these temperatures! Still way past 80F at bed time.

Slept in a bit Sunday and only we were only two heading out (the rest were too beaten up by the sun from Saturday). Ended up a tad further to the west than the day before, and we really hit the jackpot! A few amazing low altitude fly-overs in formation of six - just over our boat made the weekend! The aerials are mazing, but there is still nothing better that when a single or a few jets pass directly overhead so low that you can almost reach up and touch them.

Enjoyed checking out some of the other vessels before heading down to Aksel's friend Laurie and her family's beach side party on Mercer Island. On the way down, we saw a number of boats being "pulled over" due to speeding, inattention, and likely also BIUs. Police was really alert, and had even set up a shore side booking station with a small portable jail - and a TV crew to really make it the "walk of shame"...

Turning northbound in late evening, we just puttered up along the East shore, and even got to see a rare opening of the 520 bridge close up. Also slowly followed by a large catamaran with a helicopter - and landing platform - on top. Back in Kirkland it was dark - but no spots. Aksel waited behind while I got the trailer from home and we pulled out of the water. A truly amazing weekend out. Seattle hardly can be any better than this!

Oh, almost forgot: After wife left the boat to go home on Saturday, she had to stop and pick up some dog food. Well, she also ended up bringing home another kitten. A black little guy by the name "Edgar". So now, we are getting closer to a "zoo" again. Funny guy though, totally fearless - like all kittens!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The PreZ is having a Brew...

Last week a minor incident in Cambridge sort of escalated and ended up on the National Scene. A black professor was essentially "breaking in" into his own home, a police officer was called to the scene, and it escalated, ending up with the professor being temporarily arrested.

The Prez said something that the Cambridge Police department acted "stupidly" and boom - it WAS a national and big issue. Have to admit, it was maybe not the best comment from the Prez, not knowing all the facts at that time.

Today, the Prez, the arresting officer, the black professor, and the vice Prez meet in garden outside the White House for a brew and "conciliatory" (my choice of words) talks. Cool - literally cool - way to defuse the situation and have some guy talk over a few beers. Even a Prez needs a few of those once in a while. Even though these brews looked like VERY chilled "run-of-the-mill" beers and not something of a better "vintage".

Sort of sad though that there was probably 200 photographer at the other end of the lawn, so it did not really look like much of a private moment.

Never the less, three people that probably acted a tad stupidly and hastily got to sit-down face to face over a brew. Not a bad way to end the day.