Jul 17 2012

What are the odds?

For some reason I ended up on Google Earth today and went over to take a look at my house. Here’s what I saw:

My home, the solar panels, driveway and … what’s that in the lower left corner? A tent? Can it be? Yes, it is a tent! There is some new imagery up on Google Earth and I had not seen this before. This shot was taken on 6/16/2011. Pia and I had the tent up for 3-4 days last year. Funny!

Jul 16 2012

A poem for Max

If you haven’t cried yet, now you will. Liz from work sent me the poem below and I’m going to get a towel to wipe my desk. Thanks Liz!

An angel came to me one day,
A ball of fur in hand.
The angel gave the ball to me,
As we stood there in the sand.
She said to me, “It’s just a loan,
For only a short time.”
And she would surely return one day,
For the ball of fur wasn’t mine.
I looked down at the ball of fur,
Two eyes stared back at me.
I fell in love upon that day,
As I held it close to me.
Years went by and my love grew,
As close friends we became.
I looked down at my ball of fur,
Life was never again the same.
No matter where I found myself,
My friend would be there, too.
Then one day the angel came,
I didn’t know what to do.
She said that now the time had come,
To take my friend back home.
I watched her leave with tear filled eyes,
As I remembered “It’s just a loan.”
— Hoyt Northcutt

Jul 14 2012

Bye, bye Max!

5pm today became one of the saddest days in a long time.

Earlier in the day I had picked up my mountain bike from service and I thought it would be a good idea to take the dogs for a slow ride up to the mailbox and around. On our walks Frisco always disappears for about 10 minutes in the hills next to the house, but Max stays close by. He followed me down the driveway and onto La Vida Trail. We headed for the section where La Vida Trail turns into Los Suenos Trail. I was riding as slow as I could and Max paid a visit to a neighboring home. I heard a truck approaching behind me and just stretched out my arm as a signal for the driver to slow down. Max came up the hill just as the driver was passing me. He got hit frontal by the CenturyLink truck and I saw him tumbling under the car a few times. I can’t describe what I heard during the accident and I really don’t want to remember it.

I checked on him quickly and saw that he needed medical attention urgently. Yelled at the driver to stay there while I headed back home to get the car. Grabbed a blanket back at the house, sent Frisco to the garage (luckily he was there) and then rushed back down to the scene of the accident. I did not feel a pulse and I did not detect any breathing – just 2-3 mins after the accident had happened. I checked a while longer for vital signs and some neighbors also stopped to see what had happened. We lifted Max into the back of the car and I dashed towards Santa Fe. Oakley gave me directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic.

When I arrived there I was almost certain that he was gone – still it hurt like hell to get confirmation from a nurse a few minutes later.

He’s going to be cremated next week and soon after we receive his ashes.

Thanks for your time with us, Max. You made us happy even if you were a pain in the ass every once in a while. I miss your flapping ears already …

Luckily I got this recent video of him when he was wearing his “i-m-afraid-of-the-thunder” shirt:

A short update:

I had to go back in time to figure out when exactly Max joined us. We picked him up from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter on January 31st 2003 (that made him my companion for 9.5 years). He was most likely born around Oct/Nov 2002.

This is the very first photo I took of him on the day we got him (without a flash, because I did not want to scare him):

Jul 12 2012

Allsup’s attempts murder!

I should know better, but I was tempted: after dropping off Pia at rock climbing camp today I had to go gas up the car at Allsup’s. I was hungry and went inside to purchase a burrito. Back on the highway I opened it and took a first bite as I merged onto 599. “Oh, that’s unusual that they put green peppers in it.” was my thought as my bite met something green and crunchy. “That’s not a pepper!” was my next thought as my tongue relayed some serious heat in my mouth. The next few minutes I spent sucking on the straw of my iced coffee to try to counter the effects of the freaking jalapeno from hell. It’s been an hour and my mouth is still not back to normal. Going to sue them for attempted murder …

Jul 9 2012


A number of sites tell me that I can’t make comments, because “a browser setting prevents my login” (see screenshot above). The browser setting in question is “allow third-party cookies” and I switched it off for a reason (leakage of information to places I don’t want information to be leaked to). If you use Disqus (or other third-party commenting systems), don’t expect comments from me.

Jul 9 2012

Katy Perry 3D

Listen up moms and dads: when you signed up to be a parent nobody told you that you would be subjected to popular music for years of your life. Now that Pia learned how to change the channels on the car radio, I’m under a constant bombardment of “hits” while I’m driving. Katy Perry, being the queen of pop music these days, is a constant passenger in our car (and at home). I dismissed her as a music studio fabrication and did not pay much attention to her.

On Friday last week, Pia dragged me into the movie theater to see the Katy Perry documentary. In 3D!

I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed it. I don’t know how much was faked for the movie, but I got the feeling we met a genuinely nice person with a lot more depth than expected. If only half of the stuff we learned about her is true, I think she has the stuff to become a role model for lots of kids out there.

Go Katy …

PS: It was also one of the first times that I thought 3D was well executed (the last song with the beach balls in particular).

Jul 7 2012

MTB clinic

On Saturdays Pia goes to a Mountain Biking Clinic at Ragle Park in Santa Fe. Here bike here at my house was too small for her and we got a new one the Friday before the clinic. She rode for 3 hours on Saturday and loved it. In fact, when I tried to pick her up at 11am she and her friend Ryan wanted to ride more on the dirt track for a while. Here’s one shot:

Jul 7 2012

Cliff Hanger

I’m off work this week and given that it’s Pia’s summer break as well, we’re trying to do as much as possible. On Thursday we went to Cliff’s Amusement Park in Albuquerque and here’s a quick video of Pia (middle) and her friends, Ryan (left) and Erin (right) riding the Cliff Hanger:

Jul 7 2012

The Touchpad suddenly became useful

Some of you may remember that I picked up one of the $99 HP Touchpads last year when they went on fire-sale. At the same time I predicted that Android would become available on the device.

I like it when my predictions come true.

Yesterday morning I went through the install process for CyanogenMod9 and put Android 4.0.3 on the HP Touchpad. The install process is not something you want your mother to do and takes a bit of juggling, but after half an hour the tablet rebooted and I was greeted by the Android Setup Wizard (screenshot below is from an older version of cm9 and not my device):

Android 4 feels snappy on the device and none of the apps I care about had any problems. I’m tempted to say it’s on par with the iPad2. Not bad for $99 …

May 27 2012

Today’s food for Pia (I’m sure I’m missing something)

The shoes I bought for Pia three weeks ago were too small today and caused her to blister when we walked for 1.5 hrs. How is that possible? Well, I guess it is possible if you add enough calories to the body to the make it expand (including feet). Here’s run-down of the foods she ingested today. I’m sure I’m missing one or the other dish, but it gives you a good idea:

  • about a quarter of a watermelon to start the day
  • 5 quail eggs fried (yes, “quail” – she likes them because they are small; got them cheap at Talin Market in Albuquerque)
  • a few pieces of bacon
  • two pieces of butter with some toast; whoops, the other way round
  • an L.Casei yoghurt mixture drink
  • some gummi worms on the way to the Apache Canyon hike (surprisingly nothing during the 1.5 hrs hike)
  • per comment: a packet of seaweed in the car (how could I forget? thanks Oakley!)
  • a monstrous “kids” taco plate at La Risa in Ribera
  • stealing some potatoes, burrito and green chile bites from close-by plates at La Risa
  • a few more gummi worms on the way back from La Risa (now warm)
  • some Mango pieces from the other day
  • a cup of instant chicken noodles (hot)
  • a frozen fruit pop (very cold)
  • a bag “Nata de Coco” (coconut pieces in Lychee water; cold)
  • two jelly fruit cups with coconut pieces from the latest “Panda” container we got at Talin

It’s 7pm and I have a feeling we are not done for today …

PS: It’s 7:30pm – add some more watermelon.

May 26 2012

22,000 Megawatts!

Let me repeat it: twenty-two-thousand megawatts! That was the power produced by all German solar installations around noon today (according to the German magazine “Der Spiegel”).

22K Megawatts is a heck of a lot of power. Der Spiegel compares it to the output of 20 nuclear power plants. There’s no other country in the world that produces as much solar energy as Germany, which seems quite odd considering the latitude-range of Germany compared to something like Algeria.

The article continues to say that solar power is now a major contributor to the energy-intensive hours around noon when the sun happens to send the most power as well. Shows you what an aggressive alternative energy schedule can buy you. Here’s my measly contribution from yesterday:

May 25 2012

Diet Coke + Mentos

And testing the GoPro HD2 …

May 23 2012

So true …

May 22 2012

Hands on Head

During a conference call today, I saw somebody doing the “Hands-on-Head” posture and it was the first time I started to wonder: where does it come from (stock art photo below)?

I heard “preventing the spirit from leaving your body” before. Is that it?

May 18 2012

Google’s “Story of Send”

I stumbled across this at work today: Google’s “Story of Send”.

In “Story of Send” Google follows the path of an email message as it leaves your home computer, travels to your ISP, ends up inside Google’s data centers and is finally delivered to the recipient. In cute little animations and videos Google talks about various aspects of their “green” initiatives and innovations in that area.

Some stuff was really news to me and it’s quite interesting to get an insight into areas that are strictly off-limits to the general public and even the press.

Go ahead and click yourself through the 9 screens – I’m sure you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was.