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July 14, 2003


Twenty-nine years ago, I was born. Things have changed over the years: I've grown an additional five feet or so, and subsumed about 160 pounds of additional mass. (At my current rate, I'll be 13.5 feet tall and weigh 370 lbs when I'm 65 years old. It should take me about 10^24 years in order to encompass the Earth, so I had better get workin'.)

I should list some goals for the coming year. I would like to continue to do interesting work, learn good stuff in the MBA program, continue to improve my relationships with my loved ones, do more traveling outside of the United States, maintain and improve my house, play my saxophone more often, write more in my blog, and "stay hungry" (in the ambition sense). (Take these notes with a grain of salt, as I have spent about five minutes thinking about them.)

Next year's birthday should be an interesting milestone, given humanity's base-ten fetish.

July 13, 2003


My birthday rapidly approaches, and I have received several gifts related to my dining room table. My parents gave me a runner for the table (as well as a full-on tablecloth and other stuff), and my girlfriend brought over some roses. My girlfriend also gave me a set of dishes for my birthday. (I must have been a good boy this year.) Everything looked quite nice, so I took some pictures.
My dining room table, with runner and roses.
I took a similar picture during the day. My dining room window faces west, so a sunlight illuminates the room during the late afternoon.
Another view, centered on the roses.
A close-up view of the rose. I used a flash, which led to interesting reflections off of the petals. Some introductory information about optics can be found here.
Elizabeth gave me a set of dishes from Pfaltzgraff. It is the "Petals" pattern. This is really my first set of real dishes, as I have been using a set from the Notre Dame dining hall.
A closer view of the dishes. A placesetting consists of a dinner plate, a salad plate, a deep bowl (excellent for cereal lovers), and a mug for coffee. Elizabeth gave me eight settings, which allows me to either have a nice dinner party for several close friends, or go over a week without washing.

July 11, 2003


I have been reproved by an old friend about the amount of writing in this blog. Things have been very busy, but I have a couple ideas rolling around. For one thing, I have recently been in an automobile accident (no injuries, not my fault), and it would be nice to write a reference about the process of insurance claims, etc. I also have some pictures of my grandfather's house that I would like to post. I've also been involved in some interesting philosophical discussions, and maybe I'll try to find a way of summarizing them.

July 04, 2003

Mackinac Island

For the past several years, I have spent the July 4th week with my parents and sister, because I get several days off from work. We have traveled to Madeline Island in Wisconsin, Seattle and central Washington, San Francisco and central California, and others. This year, we spent a couple of days in northern Michigan, and visited Mackinac Island. We have visited it many times over the years, and it is one of our favorite vacation spots. The island is located between the upper and lower parts of Michigan, so the weather is usually very pleasant during the summer. The island itself is quite inhabited, and is an interesting mix of natural beauty (with the lakes, cliffs, and forests) and Victorian-style civilized affluence.

Note that the correct pronunciation of the "Mackinac" is detailed here. To sum up: The mainland city is spelled like "Mackinaw", but all of the other places are spelled with an "ac". But all are pronounced with an "aw". Strange.

One of the ferries to Mackinac Island.
We took the Arnold Line from Mackinaw City to the island. This picture is of our ship as it approached the pier.
My dad, as we walked off of the pier into the city on Mackinac Island. The island is a rough circle with a circumference of about eight miles. (For reference, see this black-and-white map or this larger color map.) Most of the tourists stay in the city area, which is on the southern side of the island. Even though it is a bit of a tourist-trap, the buildings are interesting to see (all Victorian-style), and everything is well-landscaped without being Disney-esque.
Some of the nicest houses are on the cliffs above the city. These grand old houses are just west of the Grand Hotel. They are mostly private summer residences.
My dad, my sister, and me. (Photo taken by my mom.) Cliffs to the west of the Grand Hotel.
A rest stop on our hike around the island. This was on the west side of the island, looking out towards Lake Michigan.
The Mackinac Bridge connects the upper peninsula of Michigan to the rest of the state. It is one of the longest suspension bridges, with a total span of five miles. This picture doesn't really do it justice.
A two-lane road runs around the island, but no motorized vehicles are allowed. Most people bike around the island, but there are some hard-core fitness buffs (like my family) that walk around it. (In previous trips, my sister and I would run the circumference in the morning, before breakfast.)
The lake has dropped several feet, exposing some of the shallow rocks. These ducks don't seem to mind too much, though.
Rear view of my sister, mom, and dad, as we neared the eastern edge of the town.
The ceiling of the Mission Point Resort lobby. Mission Point seems to be a more relaxed alternative to the somewhat pretentious Grand Hotel.
We relaxed on these chairs for a while, to relax after our long walk. The chairs are courtesy of the Mission Point Resort, and offer a pleasant view of the lake.
My sister and I swinging on at the Mackinac Island school. The swings used to be larger and more fun (more dangerous?), but they had made some improvements over the last couple of years.
Horses did the bulk of the heavy transportation, and could be rented to tourists. There are several typical smells associated with Mackinac Island: Freshwater lakes, evergreen trees, fudge, and horses...
My dad, playing on the playground.
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It is a very impressive and old building, and at least one movie ("Somewhere In Time") was filmed at it. We were unable to sneak onto the porch this time (but we will never pay $10 per person to look around). It has a commanding view of the lake.
The view of the harbor, from the cliffs east of the town.
There are a number of excellent old houses on the east cliffs, too. I would have to imagine that it would be a very relaxing summer to spend it in one of these beautiful domiciles. (Winter would be rough, though, and most people leave the island.)
Another view from above the town.
A view from above the Mission Point Resort, looking down at our lawn chairs.
The Mackinac Island harbor, as our ferry left.