Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Work in the News!

Every once in a while, I get a little press coverage. My contribution to this is actually very small, but it is one of the things I can point to and say "I helped with that".

Music Detective

I've been finding some new favorite music lately using a little detective work. I heard some music in a commerical that I liked this morning. I quickly googled a few words of the lyrics, "imaginary girl this is a song for you". Scanning down the results, I see a listing from a lyrics site that shows the band as Silver Seas. I plug "Silver Seas" into and bingo! There is the same music playing I just heard on the commerical whose product I don't even remember now. Now to check if the public library has any of their albums . . . darn, no luck. How about Youtube? Some rough cell phone footage complete with background chatter:

Some of these other songs on my play list I found in Doctor Who episodes. I've also picked out a few "why haven't I heard of these?" from Brenda and Neil's playlists.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Crafty Cars

Here is a good rainy-day project. You just need some HP card stock and a HP printer with genuine HP ink. OK, maybe any paper will work. Probably any printer too. I'm surprised they didn't but HP logos on the cars.

One patrol on the sub, I used a photo copier create plans and build a 30-inch paper model submarine (there is a lot of time to kill on patrol). Having unlimited access to ships drawings, it was very detailed. Being paper, however, it didn't last long. Someone stuffed some hoses into the locker I kept it in and crushed it. Maybe that is why they make the real ones out of 4" thick high-strength steel.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." -Pancho Villa

A coworker who was leaving HP, sent this e-mail out his last day. It has a lot of great quotes:

Hello all, or should I say goodbye? This is the misty sentimental email I said I might write on my last day. If you didn’t know me or don’t really care, please feel free to move on to your other emails. I won’t mind.

In the spirit of the cross-tech meeting [a large weekly engineering meeting], I figured I’d guide my way through this with some quotes that seemed appropriate.

“He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea.” -Thomas Fuller

It seems fitting, considering the state of things. I hope my boat doesn’t sink.

“I hope some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays its eggs in my brain because later you might think you’re having a good idea but it’s just eggs hatching.” –Jack Handy

Maybe this explains why this felt like a good idea back in June but now seems a little scary. Maybe it wasn’t so much a good idea as it was hatching eggs short-circuiting my brain.

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes he can make, in a narrow field.” –Niels Bohr

You’ve got to love Niels Bohr. His old model of the atom has been very useful training tool over the years, even if it was wrong. This quote might just sum up my last 15 years at HP. Ok, maybe you don’t have to love Niels Bohr, but I’ll bet he was a pretty likeable guy.

“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.” –Abraham Lincoln

Alright, here’s where it gets misty. In my time here I have met many people. Over the last two weeks, I’ve spoken with many of you about the respect I have for you, how much I appreciate our friendship and all the hours we’ve spent together. Some have said extremely nice things to me that really made me feel good. While the future is uncertain, my friendship and respect for you will endure. People like Bill Stickle, Tom Leen, Dave Kamp and Ron Hellekson have provided me with some great role models. I will take the examples they have given me into my next career and for the rest of my life. All are excellent scientists and people I would call friends any day of the week, even on Saturday. There are more but the list would get long. You know who you are or at least I hope you do. Maybe I’ll write a book someday and be able to thank some more people. Or maybe something will hatch in my brain and it will write the book for me.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” –Oscar Wilde

This has carried me a long way. All the tours, training, projects and new tools, sometimes I wonder how much of it was intelligence and how much it was just being clever and imaginative. I sincerely hope that all of you who have come through the SEM lab at one time or another have walked away with some bit of valuable knowledge or a piece of my enthusiasm and felt better for it.

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” –The King (Alice in Wonderland)

That is the end.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Top Ten Olympic Sports We Can Do Without

It seems like every night this week there has been Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh on my TV in their skimpy outfits playing another volleyball match. Beach volleyball is an Olympic sport? O.K., but do I have to watch it every night? How many matches does it take to win the medal? They've only won 105 straight matches. Why not give them the gold and let everyone else play for silver and bronze while we watch the more modestly clad swimmers do their stuff.

Here is my Top Ten Lists of Olympic Sports We Can Do Without:
  1. Beach Volleyball. Anything that requires 17,000 tons of imported sand worth $1.2 million should probably be left at the beach.
  2. Table Tennis. Forest Gump made it seem cool, but why aren't they showing it in primetime?
  3. Bicycle road race. Without all the colorful sponsors on the jerseys, and the lack of team tactics, who cares? How about team time-trialling instead?
  4. Sailing. Anything relying on natural forces should probably be left up to mother nature.
  5. Handball. I remember my dad playing this when I was a kid, but does anyone still play this? In front of an audience?
  6. Trampoline. Oh, do I even need a reason?
  7. BMX. Isn't that what the X-games are for?
  8. Badminton. Anything requiring 'birdies' should be left in the back yard.
  9. Field Hockey. I've never seen this played, but I imagine there is a reason for that.
  10. And finally, Basketball! Watching overpaid US pros stomp on powerhouses like Greece and Angola didn't make prime time. Why not?
To fill the void, lets bring back tug-of-war, which was last contested at the Olympics in 1920. And let's use the political leaders and their top staff. Now that would be prime time material! Especially if they wore skimpy swim suits!

Lucky Duck

Disgusted with work the other day, I took my lunch outside by the pond. There is a bench off to one side, which, while sitting upon, you can see very little that is man made.

A duck swam by, seemingly disinterested in me. He came to the edge, hopped out, and began to eat the cherries which had fallen from the tree overhead. He seemed to swallow the cherry and spit the pit out in the same movement. Amazing.

Ever wonder about the origin of the term "lucky duck"? I think it is because ducks are natural born fliers and swimmers. I had to learn to swim, and have yet to learn how to fly. I can ride a bike, which I bet that duck can't do.

On a walk around the pond, I sampled some ripe blackberries, and saw several cherry and one apple tree. You could almost live off the land around here. Especially if you liked cherry-flavored duck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vampire Music

Polly pointed out to me that Stephanie Meyer, the Twilight Series author, mentions she listens to music while she writes. She even put her playlist on line:

Ironically, she claims her greatest muse is a band called Muse! Check out a ridiculously cool video by them at

She also had a "Twilight Concert" featuring the lead singer of Blue October, Justin Furstenfeld (conspicuously missing from the above play list):

I'm not even half-way through her first book, but I like her taste in music! I was also interested to see that she list both Maeve Binchy and Douglas Adam among her favorite authors.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

KoolAide Boat

Sailing with Rachel the other day brought back some vague memories childhood memories of the KoolAide boat.

Mom dug up a picture for me. Dad bought it with $80 and two cigarette carton ends he got from a checker. Pretty good investment, I'd say.

I have more memories of using it as a swimming pool than I do of sailing in it.

Any good memories or stories from the boat?

Last Lecture of Randy Pausch

I read about Randy Pausch in "The Week" (Aug 15th, pg 31). He was a Carnegie Mellon University professor who gave one final lecture before dying of cancer. He said "experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

Here is a three minute video on him:

And the full "Last Lecture" on YouTube:

Highly recommended viewing!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cuddles the Krazy Kat

We've had a lot of fun kitty-sitting Cuddles while Stephanie has been in Europe. Cuddles has made truces with Roo, who wants nothing to do with her, and Mitsy, who would love to be her playmate. She is also very patient with Ann Marie, who would carry her around like a baby all day if we would let her.

Here is a video of some of her antics:

Link if video doesn't work

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Sister Missionaries, Scene 5

Scene 5 – The Pizza Dude – Missionaries are at another door.(Berkely at door, Jason delivery pizza)

M1 - Knocks on door

Voice from behind door: “Is it the pizza dude? Wo, that was fast!”

M2 - “No, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. We have something for you more nurishing than pizza.”

Person – (Door opens) What could be better than pizza, dude?

M1 - How about the bread of life? Jesus said “. . . I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Person - Well, I’m still hungry after hearing that. Dominoes delivers, so they are coming to us. They also have a free drink special , so I don’t think were going to be thristy for a while.

M2 - Well, we would like to share a message with you while you are waiting.

Person - No thanks. Maybe latter. Door Shuts

Missionaries start to leave. Pizza dude arrives.

Pizza Dude - Hey, I recognize your name tags. Are you ladies Mormon Missionaries?

M1 - Yes. So are you familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints?

Pizza Dude - A little. One of the guys I work with just joined you church, and man has he changed. It has made me wonder what is different about you guys? I’ve been meaning to track you guys down.

M2 - We’d love to tell you about it. Can we set up an appointment to have someone visit with you?

Pizza Dude - Hey, you deliver too. That would be great. Let me get rid of this pizza and I’ll give you my address.

Person in house. “Hey, it’s the pizza dude! We’re saved.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I went with Rachel on a YM outing Saturday. One of the leaders is on a sailboat racing crew. She brought her small boat to show the girls some fun. It was at Fern Ridge.

Remember Dad's KoolAide boat? Any one have a picture of that?