July 14, 2008

Survived Another One

Ha! 33 couldn’t hold me down, and I advance to 34.

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February 10, 2008

Christmas 2007

Elizabeth and I headed to the comfortable environs of Niwot, Colorado for our winter vacation, from December 23, 2007 through January 1, 2008. At the home of her parents, we celebrated Christmas and New Years. It was fun to be part of their Christmas traditions. Since there were so many (adult-aged) people around for the gift-opening, it took nearly all day! Quite a celebration. Attendees included Elizabeth and me, her parents Janice and Richard, her aunt Mary Frances, her brother Chris and his girlfriend Amy, her brother Greg and his wife Nicole, and her brother Andrew.

There were many other activities while we were there. Of course, most vacation days are orientated around meals, and there always seemed to be something tasty. We made use of the Longmont health club, to try to work off the ridiculous amount of food. I used cross-country skis for the first time, and there were occasions that I could almost imagine that could possibly be a very efficient form of transportation. We enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee at the Winot Coffee Company. We visited Elizabeth's brother Greg and his wife Nicole, in his new auto repair business. The mellower evenings involved watching the Season 2 DVD's of The Office and reading Alan Greenspan's autobiography.

December 30 was our second anniversary! (See wedding pictures here, and here for our first anniversary.) We celebrated with a lavish dinner at the Greenbriar Inn, a lovely restaurant near the mountains. Interestingly, one of the highlights of the meal was the cheese plate with dessert... Lots of delicious choices.

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September 09, 2007

Sillickfest 2007 and Autumn Adventures

Belatedly, I've attached some pictures from the August Sillickfest adventure. This was another fun week in upstate New York, at the refurbished Standing Pines camp (near Inlet).

I've enjoyed each of my trips up there. This time around, some of the activities involved getting used to the new setup. Elizabeth forced me to swim around the island three times (each on different days), but that was a record for me. The water was cool and clear. The 2006 trip is documented here, while 2005 (an important trip!) and 2003 are also available in the archives.

I've also attached a couple of pictures from a hike with some co-workers up Mount Baldy (August 11, immediately after returning fit-and-trim from New York). We took the Ski Hut trail, and descended straight down the bowl. It was a moderately difficult hike, and it was pleasant to be down off the mountain before dark.

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July 30, 2007

Infantry In Battle

I just finished reading through George C. Marshall's Infantry In Battle, a "lessons learned" document from World War I. (I stumbled across a reference to it from an old co-worker's blog.)

It contained a number of case studies from the Great War, used to illustrate a number of infantry concepts (obscurity, simplicity, terrain, time/space, mobility, surprise, orders, command/communication, fire/movement, artillery, etc). The case studies are morbidly fascinating... In each example, anywhere between tens to thousands of men slogged it out in the fields of Europe, often loosing their lives due to bad information, shaky leadership, or sheer chance. There have been a number of movies that depict the trench warfare of WWI (dark skies, muddy trenches, another wave of men getting cut down by in a hopeless charge at machine guns), and this is a good complement to understand why those things were happening (on a tactical level).

It follows, then, that the leader who would become a competent tactician must first close his mind to the alluring formulae that well-meaning people offer in the name of victory. To master his difficult art he must learn to cut to the heart of a situation, recognize its decisive elements and base his course of action on these. The ability to do this is not God-given, nor can it be acquired overnight; it is a process of years. He must realize that training in solving problems of all types, long practice in making clear, unequivocal decisions, the habit of concentrating on the question at hand, and an elasticity of mind, are indispensable requisites for the successful practice of the art of war.

July 15, 2007

Summer trip to Indiana

With some scenes very similar to 31st Birthday, Elizabeth and I spent a very pleasant week with my family in Indiana. We celebrated the Fourth Of July, my birthday (several times), and, well, we celebrated anything that we could think of.

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July 14, 2007

Birthday Again

Another triumph, as I advance in years again! I'd like to thank my family and friends for the well-wishes, gifts, and (especially) the singing.

Here are some previous birthday notices on this blog:

Oddly enough, I didn't have an entry for last year.

May 28, 2007

PCH on Memorial Day

Elizabeth and I did a pleasant drive on this Memorial Day, along the Pacific coast and through the Malibu hills. We've done this drive many times before, and it is always a pleasant one.

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May 01, 2007

2007 Festival Of Books

Elizabeth and I spent several hours on a pleasant Sunday wandering around the LA Times Festival Of Books, held on the campus of UCLA. Los Angeles is moving towards "June Gloom" weather, with the marine layer burning off in the late morning and sliding back in the early evening, but it was clear and sunny when we were out. We walked around Royce Hall, observing the people at the Festival as much as exhibitors in their tents.

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April 29, 2007

Wedding Flickrshow

I ran across a nice little javascript library/service called Flickrshow, which allows a publicly-available Flickr photoset to shown as a slideshow on your own webpage. I've made one up for some of our wedding pictures (after the break).

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April 15, 2007

Easter Dinner 2007

As in the past, Elizabeth and I spent a pleasant (three day) Easter weekend in Los Angeles. Although there were some tax-related activities, we also spent time walking around the neighborhood, watching movies, playing at the beach, and eating food. (Pictures attached.)

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February 18, 2007

Getty Villa

Elizabeth and I hadn't visited the Getty Villa here in Los Angeles since it had reopened, so it was about time. Actually, I had wanted to go last month, but I hadn't realized that one needs tickets in advance. (The tickets are free, but it took about a month before we could get a weekend time.)

The Villa is set up like an archaeological dig, with patrons entering from the top of the canyon above the main museum. I imagine that this was due to the limits of the plot of land: The villa is situated in a fairly small canyon. The architecture, as with the Getty Center, is almost more interesting than the exhibits themselves. That said, I enjoy statues, and the Greek and Roman period, so it was a very pleasant afternoon. Pictures attached below.

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January 10, 2007

Winter Break 2006-2007

Every year, we usually have some significant vacation time between Christmas and New Years. (See 2003-2004, 2004-2005, and of course, last year's wedding between 2005-2006.) This year, Elizabeth and I went to visit the Borlik side, in Indiana. (We spent time with her family in Colorado over Thanksgiving, and anticipate switching next year.)

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October 30, 2006

San Simeon Kayaking

Over the Labor Day weekend, Elizabeth and I drove up through the central coast of California. (Yes, I am almost two months late in posting these pictures.) We stayed some in San Simeon, famous for the Hearst Castle. It was peaceful and relaxing; a welcome change of pace.

Continue reading "San Simeon Kayaking" »

October 29, 2006

Dawkins At Caltech

Richard Dawkins, a well-known author and evolutionary biologist, gave a lecture at Caltech this Saturday, sponsored by the Skeptics society. We were fortunate to attend, thanks to a co-worker who is a Caltech graduate.

The Beckman Auditorium (on Caltech's campus) was sold out, and there were lines of people waiting to get it. The auditorium seats 1150, and we got seats in the back of the first level. There was a surprising (to me) number of senior citizens, considering that Caltech contains many young students. (Other people in my group, based on their experience with other extra-curricular lectures on campus, pointed out that older members of the nearby community are the most likely to attend these types of things.) It was definitely a friendly crowd for Dawkins, and they erupted into cheers and applause at several of his statements. There were relatively few nutcases. The afternoon began with the president of the Skeptics society advertising their email list, lecture series, and upcoming geology tour in southern California and Nevada ("Evolution: The fossils say 'Yes!'").

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Bathroom, Part 3: Days 6 through 10

Well, much progress was made last week on the bathroom but there is still a lot to do. A history and some pictures below.

Continue reading "Bathroom, Part 3: Days 6 through 10" »

October 22, 2006

Bathroom, Part 2: Days 4 and 5

The saga of the bathroom reconstruction continues. I've attached some pictures from Thursday and Friday night.

Continue reading "Bathroom, Part 2: Days 4 and 5" »

September 04, 2006

August Vacation

Our summer vacation had been pushed to August, rather than the usual July, because of scheduling conflicts. But it was a great two weeks of frolicking with both families.

The first portion of the trip was to the Adirondacks in upstate New York, for the annual Sillickfest. I've been there twice before, in 2003 (see blog entries here, here, here, and here) and, most notably, last year, where Elizabeth and I were engaged. The second part was in Boston, hosted by our friend Marcy. The third part was in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, with my family. (Pictures and story below.)

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August 20, 2006

Passed Her Quals

Congratulations to Elizabeth, who passed her qualifying exam! Now, she can read this comic strip and laugh in recognition.

July 11, 2006

Time To Bust A Lime

This may be the only time that we will make Key Lime pie with fresh limes. Tasty, but a lot of work.

June 22, 2006

Our Wedding

There have been many huge events over the past couple of months, and nothing has been posted to this blog. It is a crying shame, of course, but now that school is complete (more on that later!), perhaps I can fill in some of the gaps.

The biggest gap on this blog, of course, is the story of the successful start to my marriage to Elizabeth. The wedding ceremony was held on Maui, Hawaii, on December 30, 2005. Before then, we had about a week on the island with our families, and after the ceremony, Elizabeth and I took our honeymoon on the island of Kauai.

Continue reading "Our Wedding" »

November 07, 2005

Announcement In South Bend

The South Bend Tribune ran the engagement announcement on Sunday:


August 27, 2005


I asked and she said yes. Elizabeth has consented to marry me.

Continue reading "Engagement" »

July 05, 2005

Indiana Summer

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Elizabeth and I traveled to Granger, Indiana, to spend time with my family. It was a pleasant and relaxing weekend, as the weather in Indiana was comfortable and sunny. We didn't really have to drive anywhere, but rather spent the time enjoying the green backyard and chatting with my parents.

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June 05, 2005

Catalina Adventure

During the long Memorial Day weekend, Elizabeth and I journeyed to Santa Catalina Island, which is about twenty miles off of the shores of Long Beach. We spent the time wandering through the streets of Avalon, boating in the harbor, touring the interior of the island, and looking at fishes.

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May 11, 2005

San Diego Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, my parents visited the lovely southern California town of San Diego. Elizabeth and I joined them, and we had an excellent time. On Friday, we drove through Mission Beach up to La Jolla (pictures below). On Saturday, we had breakfast in Old Town San Diego and toured the amazing San Diego Zoo. On Sunday, we had a brunch on Coronado Island (which is not really an island at all).

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April 10, 2005

Parker Mesa Overlook

One of my favorite hikes near Los Angeles is the "back" way to Parker Mesa Overlook, part of Topanga State Park. (The venerable guide Afoot and Afield in Los Angeles refers to it as "Topanga Overlook", but I'll go with the trail markings.) Today was perfect for a hike, with cool ocean breezes, a sunny clear sky, and green hillsides (from the winter rains). So, I strapped on my backback (dusty, and unfortunately not necessarily mountain dust) and headed on a little walk.

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March 28, 2005

Work Projects At Home

So what is the boundary between work projects and home projects? This past weekend (and tonight), Ive been working on a piece of C++ code that will be used to do some specialized data lookups / interpolation at work. Why in the world should I be doing this, when there are other personal projects that I could be doing? (These questions sound like they might be rhetorical devices, and Id use it as a point to jump into some philosophical allocution that emphasizes the virtue of work. While I certainly think that work is virtuous, there are lots of ways of being productive, and I am honestly trying to figure out if I should do things like this.)

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March 27, 2005

Easter Weekend

It seems appropriate to celebrate the springtime, as the fertile earth brings forth a new growth. Elizabeth and I enjoyed a warm and sunny LA weekend by walking through our neighborhood, driving on Pacific Coast Highway, and cooking a delicious dinner. Yes, there are more food pictures attached.

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March 06, 2005

Weekend Fix-Its

There were three things that needed fixing this weekend. Hopefully, all of the tasks were accomplished.

First, I needed to replace the fluorescent light in my office. I had tried replacing the bulbs, but that didnt work (and the new bulbs worked in a different fixture). So, I decided to replace the ballast and the lapholders. The ballast was fairly inexpensive, and the trick was just to match the same voltage and power settings as the previous. The installation had a couple of hiccups: The wires from the new ballast were shorter than the old ballast, so I had to use pieces from the old wires to reach all of the way to the lapholders. I set the wires up so that I do not have to replace the lampholders if I replace the ballast. Also, I accidentally mis-connected one of the lapholders, so the light would not start at first. After talking with my dad, and double-checking the connections, the problem was solved. I am now bathed in the cool bright light.

Second, my stupid heavy laptop stopped booting. This was a major problem, as there was some critical data on that machine. Interestingly enough, Sonys support page does not even recognize that my laptop (a Sony Vaio PCG-GRT150 according to the box) exists. I did find some very helpful advise on the Hardware Analysis Forum which seems to indicate that there are thermal issues in the RAM chip bay. After following some of the directions in the post, and leaving the RAM access panel open (for improved heat flow), it seems to work okay. Backups were made. I plan on implementing some sort of network folder redirection, as discussed here and here, to avoid the fear of lost information.

Third, MovableType and MT-Blacklist seems to handle comment spam fairly well, especially in the newer versions, due to the comment moderation feature. However, an increased number of bastards are starting to use Trackback as a mechanism for spamming sites, and that gets put onto the blog immediately. No good. Ive installed jayseaes MT-Moderate, which will hopefully take care of some of this problem.

February 21, 2005

Palm Springs

In the tradition of other long weekends, Elizabeth and I drove to Palm Springs, over the President's Day weekend. It was a special opportunity to relax after midterms, and celebrate the ending of Elizabeth's chemo treatment. Although there was some rain, we had an excellent time lounging at the beautiful resort hotel, looking around the town, and exploring the nearby Joshua Tree National Park.

Continue reading "Palm Springs" »

January 08, 2005

Winter Break 2004-2005

I've continued the virtuous tradition of spending a week or two with my parents (and extended family) in Indiana, over the Christmas season. It is always a good time, and an excellent opportunity to rest, relax, and prepare for the coming year.

I've attached some photographs from the trip below.

Continue reading "Winter Break 2004-2005" »

December 11, 2004

Christmas Wish List 2004

It is that time of year again: My family and I exchange wish lists, to aid in our gift searches. I've attached my list to this entry. Also, please see last year's list for reference.

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September 23, 2004

Oregon Visit

Over the long Labor Day weekend, Elizabeth and I were the well-treated guests of Mary Sillick (Elizabeth's aunt), in Eugene, Oregon. It was a relaxing trip, with visits around the University of Oregon and Eugene, the local pools, and Mary's comfortable backyard. The highlight of the trip was an overnight camping trip to Lake Waldo, about 60 miles southeast of Eugene. I've attached some pictures from that trip.

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July 14, 2004


Let's just say that I am 0x1E years old today (hexadecimal), or 036 (octal). 11110 (binary) years just looks silly. Or (switching back to base-10), I am 10957 days. Or 946,707,779 seconds (at least, I was at 11:20am CST). The big one billion (seconds) is coming up in about a year and a half. That's a lot of candles.

Last year, I said that I would like to do interesting work, learn good stuff in the MBA program, continue to improve my relationships, travel more, improve my house, play my saxophone more, write more, and stay ambitious. I can safely say that I have done interesting work this past year (especially on the Long Range Strike Aircraft and VAATE programs, as well as NexSys work). And the FEMBA program has been very good. I have greatly enjoyed being back in the academic world, and I think that I have learned a lot about being successful in the business world. My relationship with Elizabeth has grown and flourished over the past year, and I can point to that as a success. Unfortunately, my traveling hasn't been as wide-ranged as I would like, nor have I really written or played music as much as I should have.

As my twenties end and my thirties begin, what can I say? I sometimes feel like I've always had the mindset of a thirty-year-old anyway, even as a teenager. Today is a day like any other, and if there are transitions in life or in my character, they tend to happen so slowly that I don't notice them. The past 30 years have been really good, and I have every reason to believe that the next 30 will be as good or better.

The summer intern that I am working with this summer was surprised that I am so happy and smiling on my thirtieth birthday. Why shouldn't I be? I am working towards a good life, doing things that I love.

June 06, 2004

Camp Pendleton Mud Run

Several of my co-workers and I decided to run in the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. The mud run is a grueling ten kilometers of hills, dust, water, and mud, on the US Marine base near San Diego. Individuals can race too, but we chose to run as team of five, and thus had to cross the finish line together. Proceeds from the race benefitted the Marine Corp and Navy.

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San Simeon Mini-Vacation

Both Elizabeth and I had Memorial Day (May 31) as a vacation day. What better way of honoring the patriots that secured our freedom than to enjoy that freedom, with a couple of days in the sun? The drive up the central California coast was beautiful, and it was good to get out of the hustle of the big city (or would the term "wide" city be more appropriate for Los Angeles?) and into the relatively quiet countryside.

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April 29, 2004

Elizabeth Swim Competition

Elizabeth participated in a swim meet on April 18, at Loyola Marymount college . She swam in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle events, and took home ribbons in each. (She got 2nd, 1st, and 3rd, respectively, in her age group. Nice job!)

I played a critical role, by being her official lap counter.

Continue reading "Elizabeth Swim Competition" »

March 07, 2004

Getty Center

It was a warm and sunny day today in Los Angeles, with temperatures in the 80's and a cloudless sky. (I suppose that it isn't a very unusual occurrence, as weather reports show.) We decided to enjoy the day by spending some time at the Getty Museum, which overlooks west LA. The Museum has beautiful architecture and gardens, as well as interesting artwork. I took some pictures, for your enjoyment.

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February 15, 2004

Valentine's Day Dinner

Elizabeth and I have been dating for eleven months, which is definately worth celebrating (especially since it was Valentine's Day yesterday). We had originally planned for a weekend in Palm Springs, but I couldn't get a hotel reservation anywhere. We decided to make dinner together instead. Continue reading "Valentine's Day Dinner" »

February 08, 2004

Linebacker Lounge

Sooner or later, everyone ends up at the 'Backer.

January 17, 2004

Winter Vacation 2003-2004

I always have several weeks off at the end of the year, as my division of Honeywell gives a paid vacation between Christmas and New Years. (This is an aerospace industry tradition, I believe.) This gives me some time to return to the land of my fathers, my birthplace, my motherland: Granger, Indiana. The sights are familiar, and the warmth of my family more than makes up for the coldness of the weather.

We had several celebrations over the course of the stay, so I had the chance to see many of my extended family. My dad's siblings and their families joined us for Christmas Eve dinner, we went to my grandfather's house for Christmas day, and we hosted three other parties (a reunion with my mom's cousins and families, New Year's Eve, and my dad's birthday). This, as well as the holiday preparations (including gift buying and other preparations), kept everyone busy. The time went by too fast, but these pictures document its passing.

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December 24, 2003

My Christmas Tree

While I was attending grad school (at the University of Texas in Austin), I purchased a little Christmas tree, to decorate my spartan apartment. I've continued to put the little tree up each year, since moving to Los Angeles (about five years ago). Now that my townhouse is bigger and less spartan, it might be time to get a bigger tree. I've attached some pictures of this year's assembly, as well as of my lovely assistant.

Continue reading "My Christmas Tree" »

Thanksgiving in Colorado

I had the fortune of spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my girlfriend's family, in Colorado. The food was plentiful, and the trip was quite pleasant. I've attached a couple of pictures from the trip.

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December 07, 2003

Christmas Wish List 2003

My family and I have gift exchanges on Christmas. I've attached my wish list on this blog, to make it easier to transmit. Please note that this only covers a small part of what I want... Unfortunately, the stuff that I need most (time, inspiration, improved cognative function) are not acceptable candidates for gifts. I have to apologize for the shortness of the list. I will attempt to add more to it, especially when I dig up my reading list.

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November 16, 2003

Elizabeth Birthday Dinner

On November 2, my girlfriend Elizabeth became 30 years old. As I am a much much younger man (29.5 or so), I really don't understand what it is like to have the wisdom that comes with such an age. Still, such an occasion should be embraced and enjoyed, and we invited a number of friends to my place for a little dinner party. Elizabeth and I made lasagna for our guests, and they brought side-dishes. About ten friends were able to make it out on a Sunday night, and it was an enjoyable time.

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October 26, 2003

Vegas Reunion

During my senior year of Notre Dame, I lived in a six-man in Grace Hall. My roommates have proven to be excellent friends over the years. (Four of us live out here in Los Angeles.) We were all there last year when Sasena got married, and the experience was so pleasant that we all managed to get together this year in Los Vegas. The 2003 Grace Hall 911 reunion was held at the Vegas Hilton, on October 10-12.

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October 18, 2003

Laura's Wedding

On 2003 September 27, my first cousin, Laura Borlik, married Mark Sniadecki. The ceremony took place at Saint Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, in New Carlisle, Indiana. Elizabeth and I made the trip from Los Angeles, to ensure that Laura was safely wed. I only have two first cousins (Laura and her brother Mike), so these kinds of events are important.

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September 07, 2003

Family Visit


Several weeks ago, my parents and sister came out to visit me in Los Angeles. My dad helped me fix my plumbing problems and sundry other repair tasks, which included making an 11pm run to Home Depot. We did more than just fix my household problems, though: We went to Huntington Gardens near Pasadena, visited the Santa Monica beach, and ate at several good restaurants.

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August 20, 2003

Glaciers on Gorgonio

So there were once glaciers on San Gorgonio, eh? I've been there before. It was a non-trivial hike, and, if I remember one of my trips correctly, several people in my party had to turn back. I personally think that San Jacinto, south of Gorgonio, is actually a more difficult hike, although the mountain is a little lower.

August 07, 2003

SillickFest 2003

From August 1 through August 3, members of the Sillick family (or guests, such as myself) arrived at Standing Pines (in Inlet, New York), for their family reunion. It was my pleasure to attend. (Overall, I hope that I did not look too foolish in front of my girlfriend's family!) Elizabeth's mom had many siblings, and so there was geometric-growth of first cousins. The uncles brought guitars, banjos, and mandolins, and entertained with song. The days were spent swimming and relaxing outdoors, and the evenings were filled with games and song.

Continue reading "SillickFest 2003" »

Black Bear Mountain Hiking Trip

We did another hike, in the days preceding the Sillick family reunion. Black Bear Mountain, well-known in the region, is visible from Standing Pines. The trail, used for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter, could be climbed in only a couple of hours, but offered a good view of the surrounding territory. (A geocache is supposedly located at the top, but we did not know of its existence at the time.) Mountains are on a bit of a different scale in the east (this one peaked at about 3000 feet), but the trail was fairly steep in certain sections.

Continue reading "Black Bear Mountain Hiking Trip" »

Moss Lake Hiking Trip

Elizabeth's parents and brother, as well as her aunt and uncle, took us on a hiking trip around a lake near Inlet, New York, on July 28. The Moss Lake trail is short, but an excellent introduction to the Adirondack environs, and a pleasant stretch.

Continue reading "Moss Lake Hiking Trip" »

Standing Pines, New York

Elizabeth's mom's family, the Sillicks, have an annual family reunion, and I was fortunate enough to be invited. This event takes place at Elizabeth's aunt and uncle's cottage (known as Standing Pines), in New York's Adirondacks. This cottage is well-equipped for a summer vacation, as it is located on Sixth Lake (in the Fulton chain of lakes). I was the guest of the Mandiles (Elizabeth's mom and dad), and we stayed on the lake for several days before the bulk of the Sillicks arrived. Those several days were quite fun and relaxing.

Continue reading "Standing Pines, New York" »

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.

Continue reading "Tableware" »

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.

Continue reading "Mackinac Island" »

June 17, 2003

Mexico Cruise, part 2

The previous entry showed pictures from the start of our two-day voyage from Los Angeles to Ensenada, on the Royal Caribbean cruise line. This entry has pictures from the second half of the trip (Saturday and Sunday).

Continue reading "Mexico Cruise, part 2" »

June 16, 2003

Mexico Cruise, part 1

This past weekend, Elizabeth and I took a three-night cruise with Royal Caribbean from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico. This was an excellent weekend getaway, as we were fed, pampered and entertained throughout the voyage. We could find many good reasons to sail away for the weekend: The completion of the semester, the beginning of summer, a little anniversary of our dating, my acceptance into MBA school, the fact that neither of us has done such a thing, etc.

This first entry will show some of the ship, and I will include some pictures from on-board in a subsequent entry.

Continue reading "Mexico Cruise, part 1" »

June 10, 2003

Mount Saint Mary's

Several weekends ago, my girlfriend and I went swimming at Mount Saint Mary's College. Elizabeth is an alumna, as she received her nursing degree there. She often swims at their pool, and I took the opportunity to see the inner-workings of a woman's college.

Continue reading "Mount Saint Mary's" »

May 20, 2003


This past weekend, I finally resolved to fix a leaky faucet in my bedroom bathroom. It has turned into a "learning experience" (which, in this context, is code for multiple trips to Home Depot).

Continue reading "Sunk" »

May 15, 2003

Elizabeth at the Pool

Elizabeth recently had a magazine article accepted, and the editors wanted a picture of her, at the pool, to go along with it. On the weekends, she swims at Santa Monica College, which has an excellent pool (recently built). So, on Sunday (May 4), I took my camera and we had a little bathing-suit photo session. (I swam a couple of laps, too, but my skills are nowhere close to hers. I can splash around a bit, and avoid drowning, but I cannot slide through the water like a sleek sea-creature.)

Continue to view several pictures.

Continue reading "Elizabeth at the Pool" »

May 11, 2003

Bag Of Air

Southwest flew me home from Seattle, last Friday. (Alaska Airlines took me back again, today.)

The early stages of the flight included some fun events involving cabin pressure. Soon after takeoff, my ears had trouble adjusting to the change in cabin pressure. I thought briefly that the environmental control system (or the cabin outflow valve) was having problems. (How embarrassing. Pardon me, but is there an aerospace engineer on the flight?) My ears popped, though, and all was fine. (Ill attribute it to my recent illness.)

The flight attendant, after taking our drink orders, brought around bags of Air Crisps (Nabisco-made crispy baked snacks, or chips as Americans call them). The chips must have recently been brought on board, because the bags were quite inflated. They were almost hard enough to use as balls in some sort of weird food packing-based sporting event. Or maybe as floating devices for small children. Because Seattle is at about sea level, and the cabin was probably at about 10,000 feet, there should be almost 5 psi pushing up on the sides of the bags.

This leads to the observation that ones gastrointestinal system (a bag of a different type) would be doing the same thing, if it were sealed up tight. I have to wonder how much farting goes on as the cabin changes altitudes, and if the release of non-breathable gases is something that ECS engineers should take into account.

May 07, 2003

Notes on Spiderman

spiderman.jpgThe movie Spiderman was released in the fall of 2002 (last year), and was very well received by the populace. It has recently been released to HBO, and I had the pleasure of viewing it again on my current stay in Seattle. For a large action film, it was nicely done: The acting was competent, the story was acceptable, the special effects were awesome, and the overall feel of the movie was vibrant. I liked it with a significant exception, that jumped out at me when I first saw the movie in the theatres (last fall).

Warning: There are spoilers in the rest of the essay. If you havent seen it yet but plan doing so, stop now.

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April 20, 2003

Sandstone Peak

The highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains is Sandstone Peak (known as Mt. Allen to the Boy Scouts). Jim Leigh and I went hiking there last Friday, to enjoy the day off of work and to sample the pleasures of springtime hiking in Los Angeles. A number of pictures are available on the following page.

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April 14, 2003


I can either write an entry or work on developing some of the infrastructure of this site. Because my text-processing plug-in hasn't really received much in the way of comments, I will try to post some actual CONTENT (such as it is). As for a topic, it seems reasonable to choose "travel", as it is on my mind.

Imagine, Gentle Reader, that one receives a check for a substantial amount of money in the mail. (Maybe this money was yours to begin with, but the Man grabbed it from your paycheck before you could stop it.) Suppose, then, that some dastardly villain, through some form of treachery, forced one to vacation in some choice spot. Horror of horrors, I know.

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April 08, 2003

2003 Books So Far

Considering that I don't have any new programs to talk about, or any new pictures to display: I present the list of books that I have read this year, to date. I may have read the book before, but I must have spent time THIS YEAR on it. There are a number of nonfiction books in the list. The standards are a little easier on those: I need to have acquired the book this year, and have skimmed through a majority of it.

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April 06, 2003

Santa Barbara

DSC00241.JPGThis weekend, my girlfriend and I drove up the coast to Santa Barbara. We stayed at the very comfortable El Encanto Hotel, which had a well-tended garden and a fantastic view of the ocean from the cliffs above the city.

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March 31, 2003

Icehouse Canyon

Grigornio Los Angeles is a huge metropolis, but it takes less than an hour to get from the sprawled suburbia to the quiet of the mountains. I find it necessary to occasionally breathe thinner air and to push exhausted muscles up just one more slope.

This past Saturday, my friend, Jim Leigh, and I did some trekking in the San Gabriel mountains, north and east of Los Angeles. We chose to start near Mount Baldy, a familiar spot for both of us. We hiked up Icehouse Canyon, to a saddle, and then eventually made our way to the Timber Mountain peak. The entire trip was a bit over 13 miles, with a climb of almost 3500 feet. The attached photographs were taken on that hike.

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Los Angeles Beach Day

I haven't written much in the last couple of days, so I thought that I should "wave the flag", so to speak. This photo (click on it to see a larger version) was taken at the Santa Monica beach on Sunday. Because the weather was warm and clear, a large number of beach-goers have crawled out of their winter holes. Note the Palos Verdes Penninsula on the far left, the shadow of Catalina Island on the horizon, and the numerous sailboats on the water.

March 23, 2003

Pilot's License

Can I convince myself that a pilot's license is justified? Let me try to weigh the costs against the benefits. I will start with the benefits, because I can state what I hope to get out of it.

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March 16, 2003

Neighborhood Pictures

The rainstorms moved out of Los Angeles this morning, and the air had the crisp coolness of the San Gabriels at 8000 ft. I took my digital camera along on my run, because I wanted to capture some pictures of my neighborhood. I am not a photog, or even a photographer, but here they are.

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Running History

dsc00193_clip.jpgIt is hard to find the will to run, when I am warmly buried in my bed. The slackened muscles, relaxed after a good night's sleep, do not look forward to blasting their way down Wilshire Boulevard. But, if the will can be found and I manage to strap on my running clothes, I am rewarded with a burst of happiness within the first couple of steps.

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March 14, 2003

At 10:35 pm

Today was a pretty good day.

The physical effects are amazing, really, when things go well. One suddenly has some extra energy, almost enough to have to burn it off by running around the block. Things taste better, too. (Yummy things, at least.) Somehow, even my carped-out thumbs feel better.

March 11, 2003

Lincolnshire Posy

I had worked late today, putting the final touches on a clever solution to a difficult problem. As I sped up the 405 on my way home (fatigued from my work and pleased with my success) I turned the radio to the classical station, KUSC, to find some music to suit my mood. As luck would have it, they were playing "Lincolnshire Posy" by Percy Aldridge Grainger. I had played that music while I was in the Notre Dame Concert Band, and it brought back good memories.

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March 10, 2003

Snowboarding in Mammoth

I have decided to study the effects of repeated high-momentum impacts on the bones in my pelvis and lower back. My cousin, Rob, has graciously introduced me to a wonderful laboratory for those experiments, at Mammoth Mountain Ski/Snowboard Resort in central California.

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March 09, 2003

Personality Test

While browsing around the web today, I happened across some Keirsey personality testers. These should probably be taken with a grain of salt, of course, as there are more than 16 types of personalities out there in the world.

According to these tests, I am either an "INTJ" or an "INTP". The various descriptions of these categories seem about right.

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March 06, 2003


I took this picture of my mom and dad this past Christmas, in Granger, Indiana. They wanted a picture to put as their login icon for their new computer. (Pardon the poor photography.)

March 03, 2003

England Trip

Last year, I spent about about a month in England, mostly on business. That was the first time that I had been abroad, and really the first time that I spent significant time in any country other than the United States.

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