Monthly Archives: June 2006

Scenes from Space #31

This image was captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft as it flew past Neptune on it's way out of the solar system. It was taken from 'behind' Neptune (the side away from the Sun), and is unique in the sense that it could never have been taken from the Earth. Neptune can never show a crescent phase towards the Earth, as we are on Neptune's sunward side. Another interesting fact is that Neptune does not have it's familiar blue color from behind, as the sunlight passing through it's atmosphere is scattered forward, rather than back, so it is reddened.

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Sean’s First Hike

Today we took Sean on his first hike - we count this one as his first because he did all of the walking himself. So his career total is now 1/3 of a mile. Woohoo! He's on the board!

We took him to the Cibolo Nature Center here in Boerne. Lori and I used to go there all the time, and I still take the dogs there pretty frequently for long walks. We took him down to the creek (for those non-Texans, apparently down here you're supposed to pronounce that 'crick'), and he waded and splashed for a good hour. Good times were had by all. And as a bonus, a couple of these photos are some of my favorite I've ever taken of Sean, hands down. I ordered one of them (the portrait where he is looking up and to the left) as an 8x10 for my office at work.

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42 Words of Wisdom: #04

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

- Douglas Adams

This one is especially relevant for me recently. The past two weeks at work, we have been trying to get a baseline release of the software out, and it has been one problem after another. I spent my whole week putting out fires as one bug after another was discovered. Why don't customers seem to understand that with software there are really only two choices: it can either be on time, or it can work.

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Leftover Trip Pics

These are just some leftover pics from our recent trip that didn't have any common theme that I could post them under. Enjoy!

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42 Words of Wisdom: #03

"It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear."

- Douglas Adams

Our recent trip inspired me to choose this quote. No deep meaning or anything - just an observation. Airports are dirty, ugly places, usually built decades ago. They all look the same, and they all look dull and uninspired. What ever happened to the attitude that travelling by air was exciting and adventurous? THis was before my time, of course, but I've read about it. People used to get dressed up to fly, and the whole thing had a carnival atmosphere that was shared by the passengers, flight attendants, gate agents - everyone involved. Now they charge you more than I paid for my first car, treat you like crap, make you pay for a snack, delay or bump your flights, and expect you to feel special that they decided to deal with you at all. Is it any wonder that airlines are declaring bankruptcy?

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We spent the weekend up north, in Bartlet. Sunday morning looked ominous in the rain department, but we threw caution to the wind (what rebels!) and took the boys to Storyland in Glen, NH. It's like a miniature Disneyland, designed specifically for 1-5 year old demographic. What a blast! The boys loved it.

They had an antique German carousel, miniature roller coasters, a tiny castle, an house-sized pumpkin, ball pits - pretty much anything you can think of that a little person would love and that adults would love to do to, if no other adults were looking. Believe it or not (those who know Sean well will believe it), one of Sean's favortite parts of the whole thing was a pair of red doors (shown in the photo) that led nowhere. He opened and closed them for 10 minutes before we had to drag him away, kicking and screaming.

The center picture of the next set is unfortunately the only one I took in an area of the park called "Loopy Lab". The reason I have no others is because I was too busy having fun. "Loopy Lab" is a big room full of Nerf balls. It's also got a second floor balcony accessible by stairways in the corners. THe whole building must have one mother of a air compressor under it, as the whole floor vibrated and the noise was nearly deafening. But the whole room is full of all kinds of devices for sucking up or launching the Nerf balls. There are suction hoses that can suck up balls and launch the into the air, a ball cannon that can be filled up and then fired at the balcony, like grapshot from a civil war cannon. Bolted to the second floor balcony railing are air guns that can be used to launch balls at everyone on the first floor. It was awesome - all of the adults may have been having more fun than the kids!

Sean and Ryan both immediately took to the ball pit. What is it about ball pits that make kids instantly happy? You would think it would scare them - as soon as you put them in, they sink in waist deep. If they try to move at all, they sink deeper and deeper, like quicksand. You'd think they would panic. But for some reason, they find the sinking even funnier. Love it!

So all in all, a great trip. If anyone in New England with small kids is reading this, you should definately plan a trip out to Glen, NH for a visit to Storyland. I can't wait to take Sean back in a year or two.
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Hedgehog Mountain

Since I wouldn't get another chance to hike up north for a year or two, Dad and I decided to take a hike on Hedgehog Mountain in the White Mountains, in spite of the rain. We expected to get soaked, and therefore enjoyed ourselves even once we did. We hiked out to a what would probably be a nice little overlook on a clear day. Even on a rainy day, it was a decent view. I don't have any pictures, as there really was no break in the rain and I didn't dare take the camera out.
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Pawtuckaway Fire Tower

Adam and I took a day hike to the fire tower on Pawtuckaway State Park's South Mountain. The day was overcast and on the verge of rain all day, and the mosquitos were out in full force. On top of that, Adam and I both forgot to bring any bug spray. We did, however, see some wildlife of the "won't suck my blood" variety. We saw lots of salamanders (as you can see in the photos), a half-dozen goldfinches, a red-throated hummingbird, and lots and lots of chipmunks.

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