Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Riding Giants

Riding Giants We saw Riding Giants (Netflix DVD).  It's a documentary of surfing big waves, covering the early 1950's through the 1990's.  For those of us who grew up on the Pacific coast during the 1960's it's a fantastic movie.  I give it an A.

The NY Times is a little more conservative in its praise - what would you expect from an Atlantic coast paper <g>?

Mostly the waves are in Hawaii.  There is a segment about big waves
that break off the shore in Half Moon Bay, a particularly dangerous
spot called Mavericks.

Big wave surfing started with long wooden boards and progressed to short boards like snow boards.  It used to be that the surfer paddled his ass off to catch a wave on a long board.  Nowadays they are towed by a jet ski to catch bigger waves further out from shore, called Tow Surfing.  It's all terrifying, and the film captures it with interviews, film and photography.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005


There is an article in the Wall Street Journal warning people about phishing and telling them how not to be a victim of it.  So, what is phishing you ask?  It's a request for personal information which appears to come from a valid source, but which comes from a bad guy wishing to steal your identity and/or money.  It's like fishing.  The bad guy casts out baited email into the river of email recipients.  He gets some bites from ignorant and/or stupid people who respond by giving him the information he asks for.

I'm not sure how much education can stop people from biting the bait.  The stupidity of the general public can not be....  Anyway, here are the hints from the WSJ.

Don't respond to e-mails asking for
personal or financial information -- passwords, account numbers, Social
Security numbers, and the like.

Don't click on links in emails from
financial institutions and other organizations that have your personal
information, and don't paste those links into your browser.

Don't taunt phishers by following
their links and giving them false information -- a visit to a fake site
can trigger a "drive-by download" of crimeware.

Don't download or open files attached to emails purporting to be from financial institutions, eBay, PayPal, and the like.

Don't trust phone numbers in emails. These can be faked, too.

Basically, if email from a financial institution
or organization that has your personal information does anything other
than inform, don't trust it. We hate to say that, because such email
communications are supposed to make life easier. But until basic flaws
with email and the Web are fixed, it's not worth the risk.
Enough don'ts.

What should you do?

If you think a communication requiring
you to take action might be legitimate, type in the organization's Web
address yourself from a new browser or call. Again, don't copy the Web
address from the email or trust a phone number supplied by it.

Send emails you think might be
phishing to and to the organization
mentioned in the phishing email. Most organizations also offer an email
address, such as, that you can write to.

Make sure your Internet connection is
protected by a firewall, your PC is protected by antivirus software,
and run antispyware software periodically to check for malicious
programs on your machine.

For more information and tips, see the following sites:

The Federal Trade Commission's consumer alert on phishing, which includes information about what to do if you are scammed.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group's tips for spotting phishes. The group also has tips for what to do next.

Microsoft's tips on preventing phishing;

Tips from the Washington Post;

Take Mailfrontier's quiz
and see if you can separate the phishes from the legitimate email
communications. Most importantly, read their tips. You'll probably wind
up hopelessly paranoid about links in email. That's good.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Are you a morning quiet person?

I have discovered that I like quiet in the morning.  Like the sound of birds singing, sprinklers going, trains about a mile away, newspaper pages turning... and not much else.  A cup of coffee is nice.

In Motion Fitness Other morning things I like:  warming up in the hot tub and swimming under the stars.  Ooooo.

An article in CNN says that the best time to exercise for fitness is the early afternoon.  A web page at Columbia University says exercise whenever you feel like it.  Morning workouts get you going and improve your mood.   Afternoon workouts relieve stress and are more productive for muscle tone.  I guess that means I should swim in the morning, but do physical therapy for my shoulder in the afternoon.  Okey dokey.

I have to plug In Motion Fitness in Chico, CA.  They are open 24 hours a day during the week and open at 5:30 weekend mornings.  Very early in the morning I have the pool to myself most days.  They keep the pool heated 12 months a year, rain or shine, and when the clock is working (about 60% of the time) you can even time your laps.  Perfect.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Blue)

AAA We saw a terrific film (Netflix DVD) called "Trois couleurs: Bleu" ("Blue" in English).  It's French with English subtitles.  It stars Juliette Binoche as the widow of a famous composer.  Her husband and daughter died in an automobile accident.  She runs from her pain, lives alone in a not-first-class little apartment.  She swims!  And, there is music.  The music is almost like a character in the story, popping into her consciousness when she would rather avoid it.

Blue is the first of three movies in a trilogy (Blue, White, Red).  The other two are also on order from Netflix, and I'm looking forward to them.

I give this one an A.  The NY Times liked it too.

Macey's Blanket at 14.5 inches

Macey's Blanket I spent a good part of the day knitting on Macey's baby blanket.  It's about 28" wide, which is a little narrower than I had intended - let's hope it stretches with use.  And, it's about 14 1/2 inches long.  It has taken about 3 balls of yarn so far, so ultimately I'll need almost 9 balls, which is pretty close to the amount I calculated in the beginning :-)  Math is a good thing.

So, a day of knitting includes the television.  I watched:

  • some bad women's tennis.  It took Amelie Mauresmo (ranked 3, from Switzerland born in France) three sets to beat Anabel Medina Garriques (ranked 33, from Spain).  Of course, how bad can tennis be when played at the pro level?

  • a movie on HBO.  It was called "Silent Fall" about a psychologist who tries to help an autistic child tell who killed his parents (Richard Dreyfuss, Liv Tyler, et more).  I'd give it a C+.  At least it didn't distract me too much while knitting.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Four Brothers

Four Brothers We went to see "Four Brothers" in the mega theater today.  It has been described as a modern "Sons of Katie Elder".   Well, maybe.  The four brothers were likable in a tough guy, criminal sort of a way - and these were the good guys.

I'd give it C because it was pretty stupid and I didn't see the humor in it.   The NY Times calls it an atmospheric, propulsive and ultimately preposterous melodrama, which sounds right to me.

The setting is Detroit.  The saintly mother of the four boys (two black, two white) took the boys in as foster children and they became a family.  The mother was killed and the boys seek revenge.

But... I still like Mark Wahlberg :-)

Olympus C-60 in the trash

I received my Olympus C-60 back from Olympus today.  I sent it to them a few weeks ago because it was broken (lens wouldn't close, camera not operational).  They needed an okay from me before they did the repair.  I declined the repair and asked them to return the broken C-60 to me.  Here's why.

They told me it would cost $155 to repair my camera.  I bought it reconditioned from Olympus and it was no longer under warranty.  I originally paid just a little more than the cost of repair, so it didn't make sense to repair something that had probably been repaired once already.  I had a lemon camera and throwing good money after bad didn't make sense to me.

I just put the camera in the trash, and to put it politely, I'm disappointed in the high cost of repair charged by OlympusAmerica.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Dog Days Garden

I'm still playing with my new camera, so here are some pictures from the garden this morning.

August Fountain August Rosemary Here's the fountain.  The ground around it is dry and only the most sun loving plants will bloom.

... like the rosemary bush on the right.

Double Delight Gardenia Another sun loving plant is, of course, the rose.  This Double Delight is new this year.  Its blooms are smallish, but we hope with care and feeding it will be more robust... or maybe we just planted it in a too shady spot.

A shade loving plant is the gardenia, which is still making timid blooms.  This gardenia is in a mostly shady spot which happened to be in the sun when I clicked the shutter button.

The weather man says it's only going to be 94F, with sunset at 7:51PM.  Come ON, Fall!

In America, Anyone Can Be President.  That's One of the Risks You Take.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Persy's Evening Rounds

Persy Persy Persy has an evening routine that is as regular as clockwork.  As soon as I have come upstairs to finish my day, and Jan has disappeared, she starts screaming downstairs, and if she has a mouse in her mouth then she's screaming with an open mouth - very loudly.  As soon as she has dropped a few mice around on the living room floor and strewn a few on the stairs, she quits screaming and comes upstairs to see if she can get me to play.  She's definitely a night party animal.

She's on a diet.  The picture on the right shows a cat that isn't toooo overweight, and the vet didn't scold me the last time she went in.  Now that she has lost a 1/2 pound or so she is much more active (see paragraph #1), and enjoys playing and can even clean her bottom again (yuk).

It must be almost Fall.  During the daily brushing she is losing less hair these days.  Oh, boy, I can't wait for those cold nights, cool days, and beautiful autumn colors.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sacramento Monarchs

Arco Arena Arena Scoreboard We took a little day trip to Sacramento today to see the Sacramento Monarchs, WNBA sister team to the NBA's Sacramento Kings.  Monarchs.  Kings.  Get the connection?

As you can see from the pictures, the Monarchs play in the ARCO ARENA.  The local sports franchise has sold itself to the highest (I hope) bidder.  And the scoreboard, on the right, shows several other sponsors.  I count 8 sponsors in the picture on the right (Arco, Chevrolet, Comcast, Pepsi, Raley's, McDonalds, Budweiser, Verizon Wireless).  So never forget, kiddies, sports is a business.  The Maloof family, owner of the Sacramento basketball franchises and much else, is not a charity for the good of the community - no matter how many touching family scenes they project to the fans in the audience.

The Monarchs are very good basketball players.  There are two Stanford alumni on the team and we got to see them both play today - Nicole Powell and Olympia Scott-Richardson.  It was good to see them.  Nicole didn't score much, but she made a couple of terrific passes that helped win the game (6 assists, second highest in the game), and she played the most minutes of all the players (33 out of 40 game minutes), and she had the most defensive rebounds (4).  The stars today were Ticha Penicheiro, Kara Lawson, and Yolanda Griffith.  All three were wonderful to watch.  We enjoyed the game.  Oh, by the way, they won today, and had already clinched home court advantage in the playoffs - the best team in the West.

View from our seats We had good seats, near the floor.  The Arco Arena is pretty small and old.  I can see why the franchise wants a new home.  Even though it's old and small, we liked the environment.  The fans are supportive, and many of them have been faithful since the beginning in 1997.  Today's attendance was 13,027.

Today Ruthie Bolton's jersey was retired (#6).  She is a very good and much loved basketball player with several honors to her name, including two Olympic Medals (Sydney and Atlanta).  It was a touching ceremony.

Another good day.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

CATCFI was prepared not to like this film, but what a surprise.  I loved it.  The NY Times and Roger Ebert give it lukewarm approval, but I give it an A+.

I read the book recently, so the Roald Dahl story was fresh in my mind.  The story followed the book pretty closely, except some family background for Willy Wonka was added.  The Wonka family background didn't bother me as much as it did the reviewers.

The music!  I loved the dancing and singing Oompa-Loompas.  I won't try to explain the music.  Rent the DVD/Video.

There was quite a bit of adult humor which I thought was hilarious.  It will probably go over children's heads, which is probably a good thing.

I put this one on my list of good movies for the year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Macey's Baby Blanket

Gauge Swatch I started Macey's blanket.  The gauge swatch, to the left, has three different stitch patterns in it so I could see which one I liked best.  "A" is basketweave; "B" is a diamond pattern which is almost invisible in this yarn; and "C" is Double Basket pattern.  All three are from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  I liked "A", Basketweave, because the little pastel flecks show nicely.

The color isn't exactly true here.  The yarn is a lavender with bright accents.

With gauge swatch in hand I did the calculations for how much yarn I would need to do a blanket approximately 30 X 40 inches.  It works out to 10 balls, and I only had 4.  Oh, darn... another trip to the yarn store :-)  I was lucky and picked up 5 more and kept one in reserve at the store.

Since I wanted to rest my shoulder anyway, I spent much of the day knitting.  Here's the result:

Baby blanket begun I cast on 151 stitches and started the work.  So far I have about 3.5 in. done.

Macey is a baby girl who is due in October, daughter of Kim who is my hair cutter.  I was scheduled to have a haircut today, but it was canceled because Kim is having contractions (Macey is 31 weeks old).  I hope Macey waits until October; otherwise the blanket won't be done in time and the weather would be too warm even if the blanket were done.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Trip pictures are here

I added the trip pictures to the blog entries for our trip to the Olympic Peninsula, and corrected some spelling and typos :-)

The 2005WashingtonState category will show them all to you.  The first day is at the bottom, so start there and work backwards.

I used my older, trusty Olympus C-700 camera on this trip because my fancy Olympus C-60 is kaput.  The other day I bought an Olympus C-7000, so from now on new pictures will be from the new camera.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Last Day in Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay Sock I finally finished Vanese's socks! Now I can go home and wash them and send
them on to their permanent home. They turned out well, except for the
hopefully minor errors. I have yet to make a pair of error-free socks,
but they wear well, so I guess they're okay.

Earlier today we went to the Happy Valley Alpaca Farm. It's a small mom
and pop farm. I saw three alpacas and 3 llamas. There were two alpacas
off being bred now. Of course, I bought a little fiber from an alpaca
named Lucinda, one of the ones being bred.  With 5 oz of fiber I guess
I can make a nice scarf or hat. We'll see if this every gets done!

It's been a nice trip. Now there will be two days of driving... with a
stop in Carlton, OR, and some shopping at Woodland Woolworks :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bainbridge Island, Bloedel Reserve

We drove over to Bainbridge Island to visit the Bloedel Reserve. It's a
beautiful estate containing woods and formal gardens as well.
It took us a couple of hours to saunter through it.

Afterwords we had
lunch at a diner in Winslow. Winslow is a very pretentious little town.
The yarn shop I found was too good to carry plain old Regia sock yarn.

Here are the pictures from the visit to Bloedel:

Bloedel BarnThey were very organized, suggested we stay on the path, etc.  This is the beginning.  They had his and hers barns.  This was hers - used for sheep.  His was used to store lumber.  The grass and tree show that the flowering season is just about over, so we didn't expect to find many flowers.

Bloedel Hydrangea Bloedel morning glory But there were some flowers... Hydrangeas and morning glories to name two.

Bloedel boardwalk Bloedel Pitcher Plant Bloedel coral-root orchid One of the pathways was a boardwalk over a boggy area.  The Pitcher Plants shown here are carnivorous plants that eat insects to "beef up" their diet.  The orchid, on the right, is a rare coral-root orchid.  There are several of them here, but the environment (tree growth, etc.) is changing so there are fewer of them each year.

Bloedel Japanese Garden Bloedel pool In the formal section of the estate are the Japanese Gardens.  And the pool is one I fantasize about doing laps in.

It was a beautiful way to spend a couple of hours.  If we had come in late spring the rhododendrons and azaleas would have been blooming.  Maybe next time....

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

Hoh Rain Forest Hoh Rain Forest We went to the Olympic National Park's Hoh Rain Forest today. We were
expecting a wet, drippy environment; however, they have had a dry
summer (for them). Our rain coats were overkill, but we were taking no

The trees are HUGE Lichen on a tree trunk The sky was blue when we got away from the coast and we had a
couple of very nice short walks.
The mosquitoes were active, but Jan (a real Girl Scout) was prepared
with some Cutters.

Hoh Rain Forest I took my tripod and stopped every three feet to
take another picture.  It took us about 3 hours driving time, each way. We left in the morning, had lunch at the
rain forest, and then drove back to Discovery Bay. The day started out
*very* foggy but was clear and sunny by the time we got back.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Olympic National Park

Olympic Mountains and Glaciers

ONP Road Olympic Lupin We went to the Olympic National Park's to Hurricane Ridge today.  This was our
first stop in the park, and the drive up the road was wonderful.  At the top we took a little walk
to see flowers at the sub-alpine level.

Olympic short old tree The conditions are so harsh up there that the glaciers are still there and 200 year old trees are only twice as tall as the average person - about 12 feet tall.

Madison Falls Marymere Falls Our next stop as at the Elwha River Valley where we had a picnic.
After lunch we took a quick walk to a Madison Falls.  It was a nice
little falls and an easy, paved path.
Then it was on to Lake Crescent, and a longer "hike" to Marymere
Falls.  It was easy most of the way and steep for the last 1/8th of a
mile.  The trail was crowded with adults and children, but it wasn't so
bad, and the falls were very pretty.
I took pictures everywhere and used the tripod most of the time.  My
old hands are getting a little shaky for free hand camera use.

Finally, we stopped for iced tea at the Lake Crescent Lodge.  They have
a nice sun room where we sat and watched the kids swim in the lake.
It was a good day.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Sequim, Washington

We visited Sequim, WA, today (pronounced skwim like swim with a 'k').

This morning started out very foggy... so foggy we couldn't see the
other side of Discovery Bay. Right away Jan was thinking of canceling
the whale watching trip on Thursday, because she will spend the entire
trip sea sick if she can't see the horizon. We'll see. We have until
Tues morn to cancel.

Sequim Lighthouse Model Our first stop in Sequim was the Visitor Info center where we picked up
several brochures from the very helpful and chatty volunteer greeters.
I took a picture of the model lighthouse because it looked like the fog
wasn't going to burn off so I could see the real Dungeness lighthouse 5
miles out on the Dungeness Spit.

Sequim Lavender Next we visited a lavender farm. This time of year the lavender is
beautiful, but the locals said it was REALLY beautiful a few weeks ago.
The reason lavender grows so well here is because the climate is mild -
on the same latitude as Provence, France.  Sequim is in the rain shadow
of the Olympic Mountains and gets 299(!) days of sunshine per year.

Sequim Forest Sequim RR Bridge Next we took a walk through a forest to an overlook, where we could
have seen the lighthouse if it had been clear :-)

The picture on the right is of an old train trestle that is now a walk through the
trees in the Railroad Bridge Park. There is an Audubon Center in this
park where the volunteer staff is very helpful. Neither one of us saw
any of the hundreds of different kinds of birds that live here, but the
walk was nice.

Sequim Native Daisy After a picnic lunch at the Railroad Br. Pk, we did some chores and
headed back - in gloriously clear afternoon sunshine.

Tomorrow we visit the Olympic Nat'l Pk.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Port Townsend, Washington

Discovery Bay Resort We woke this morning to light fog - a nice change from the Chico heat.  On our way to Port Townsend we could see our Discovery Bay resort from the other side of the bay.  Our unit is the one on the very top in the back... the one that sticks up higher than all the others.  It is lovely.

Pt. Townsend Victorian Pt. Townsend Victorian Pt. Townsend Victorian
Port Townsend is one of the largest Victorian towns north of
San Francisco. They have lots of 1800's Victorian houses that have been
restored. Many are B&Bs now, like the one in the center.

Pt. Townsend Condos for sale Pt. Townsend Farmers' Market There is a sign on the
under-construction deck next to this derelict old brick building in the photo on the left...
"Condos for Sale".  I was going to see how much they wanted, but never got around to it :-)  A condo here on the waterfront
would be spectacular with a view of the harbor!

We got to town early enough to find a good parking spot (parking more
limited than Capitola, but FREE). We trudged up, way up the hill to the
Farmer's Market, held every Saturday. It's a smaller market than Chico
or Santa Cruz, but good. We found some green onions and a poster to go
next to the London Tube poster in the living room.

Pt. Townsend Hanging Basket Pt. Townsend Tiger Lily Then off we went to one of the city parks... Beautiful flowers and
views. There was a group of people doing Tai Chi on the hill above the
On the way down the hill we found the Whale Watching excursion outfit
we wanted and made reservations for Thursday. ... We also found the
local ice cream and candy shop :-)
Water Street, the main drag is populated by old buildings with up to
date shops (book stores, food, art, etc.). Jan found a wonderful
Northwest carved face, made from whale bone, little bits of baleen and
antler. It's quite striking.

Pt. Townsend Dancing Fish Back at the condo, I went for my first swim after shoulder surgery!! It
was only 15 minutes, but it hurts less now than it did before the
surgery, and I expect it to get only better :-)