Wednesday, October 29, 2008

BB King's Blues Club

Tonight, there was a Blackboard customer appreciation event here. A live band. Pretty good but very loud. Great barbecue ribs, lots of salads and grilled vegetables. I'm not sure how long I can deal with the high volume.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freezing in Orlando

So much for the thought of warming up in Florida. I am attending Educause in Orlando, FL, and they seem to over-air condition everywhere. I am taking a seminar on Enterprise Architecture and I'm glad I brought a jacket. Others are suggesting bringing fuzzy slippers and blankets from the rooms. Even outside, it is in the low 60's. Last night, after arriving late, we went to a Greek restaurant with outdoor seating and by the end of dinner, it was getting pretty chili. There is an upside-down building just across the street from the hotel and I found this image on Google. Couldn't get a good picture on my cell phone. I'm not sure what it really is though someone said that they thought it was a restaurant.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rider Visibility

Last week, while on the road trip, I noticed something while following motorcycles on the highway. In Oregon and northern California where there was a fair amount of dark green vegetation along the highways, I occasionally caught up with and followed a motorcycle whose rider was wearing black. I.e. black helmet & black leathers and occasionally riding on a mostly black bike. With the overcast skies, the chrome wasn't reflecting the sun very well and the itty bitty lights many bikes now have facing the rear were difficult to see in the flat light. There were many times that they pretty much vanished from sight due to the dark background. Obviously, this wasn't the case while crossing the desert, but even then, they tended to vanish from behind when they were following a darker, large vehicle. On the other hand, those wearing white helmets and especially those with high-viz clothing were very visible even with the flat light from overcast skies. When the sun was out, all of the specular reflections from the chrome that many cruisers have is pretty visible but then again, a lot of it isn't visible to the rear. Loud pipes don't help much until you are right on top of them and you usually see them by then anyway. Just an observation...

Thursday, October 23, 2008


On Tuesday, I had my appointment with a WIN consultant to do an IHP or an individualized health plan (or something like that). She helped me establish some long and short term goals such as reducing my BMI or body mass index. I.e. loose weight. I've been working on loosing weight for what seems like forever. My long term goal is to drop one category or roughly 20 lbs. Pretty ambitious but doable. Since April, I picked almost 10 lbs, I believe, just from reduced walking last summer. I think that I needed to keep up the same intensity instead of just the same distance. Last year, after walking 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill, I was dripping with sweat and pretty tired. Now, that same distance and speed barely raises my heart rate. I thought that calories burned was a function of distance not effort. I.e. walking 5 miles burned roughly 500 Calories or roughly the same as running 5 miles. Over the summer, I managed to average about 10 miles per day but there was very little effort required. In other words not much exertion since I maintained a normal walking pace. I guess the calories burned isn't the same. A short term goal is to jog twice a week and add more fresh vegetables to my diet. Also, I'm trying to take the bus every day so every morning, I walk to the bus stop then walk from Wood Center to Butrovich, and then reverse the path in the evening. I think it is about 3 1/2 miles. They also challenged me to eat a better breakfast. I usually just have a diabetic shake (200 Cal). More than filling since I'm never hungry in the morning.

I also stopped wearing my pedometer since all the "programs" are over. Slacking off again...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Interesting Scooter

I noticed these at a used car dealer next door to the motel in Fresno. Basically a trike (two rear wheels and one front), 149 cc, 8.8 HP, and manufactured in China. They are still trying to figure out how to register them in California. No emissions certificate. They didn't have any other information and they have only been on the lot for two weeks. They can't sell them until they get the registration issues straightened out. Apparently, a dealer in Florida had managed to register them there. Anyway, very warm here with daytime temps approaching 90°F. We drove from Las Vegas to Fresno through Barstow and Bakersfield. Someone almost ran into us as they were passing a truck, double yellow line, and a whole long line of approaching traffic. They were driving down the center of the road pushing all traffic onto the shoulders. People around here seem to drive incredibly fast. I guess now that gas prices have gone down, people don't really care about conserving anymore. There was even several Toyota hybrids that blew by me. I didn't know a Prius would go that fast...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Manzanar Reunion

On Tuesday, we travelled through Death Valley to Las Vegas. I hadn't travelled on this particular route before and we went over three passes. The roads were pretty steep, narrow and wound all over the place. It would have been a great motorcycle ride. We came here so that my mom could attend a reunion (64th) of her high school class. The number of people coming kept getting smaller so they started combining it with other classes. Now it includes anyone who attended school in Manzanar. So it is now called the Manzanar School Reunion. There are a number of other Sansei's here like myself as well as some yonsei's. The park service gave an update and the founder of the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles gave a talk. Pretty interesting history. I ended up getting an educators resource kit which has a number of DVD's as well as copies of their newspaper, and the poster used to advertise the evacuation. I still think that there is little mention of the internment in history books.

We didn't stop in Death Valley at all so no pictures. It was as pretty as I remember it and there were quite a few tourists stopped in the middle of the road taking pictures. No wildlife so I'm not sure what they were staring at.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Today, we made it to Lone Pine, CA, and stopped by the Manzanar National Historic Site which is run by the National Park Service. In case you didn't know, Manzanar was an internment camp where people of Japanese ancestry were moved to near the beginning of World War II supposedly for their own protection. Surprisingly, when they arrived, they noticed that the barbed wire and machine gun turrets were turned inwards. My mom and her family were internees. Since we are on the way to a Manzanar reunion, it seemed fitting to stop off at the camp especially since my parents had never been to the visitors center here since it opened. It is pretty similar to the Japanese American Museum that we had stopped at in Los Angeles last summer. This difference here is obviously the location. Many locations were marked with signs even though there is no trace of the original structures.

This is a monument located in the cemetery located at the western edge of the camp. Lone Pine Peak is behind the camp with Mt. Whitney to the northwest (not visible in this picture). A very scenic location if you are here for recreation but a very hot and dusty location in the summer and cold and windy in the winter if you aren't here by choice. It was pretty windy here today but a very nice 72°F.
This monument, the guard shacks, and the visitor center building are the only ones left from the original camp. I wasn't aware that Canada and Latin America had similar relocation programs in place during the war. In Canada, they weren't allowed back to the Pacific coast until 1949. If you are ever in the neighborhood, you should stop by Manzanar. You may be surprised at what you may learn.

On another note, the road from Bakersfield to Hwy 14 would have been a wonderful motorcycle ride as it wound all over the place through a canyon following the Kern River. Many 20 mph turns with a rock face on one side of the road and a drop off on the other. But this is supposed to be a blog about walking and exercise so I should mention that I have been a real slacker these days. Today, I walked only a couple of miles. I walked from one end of town to another this evening after dinner. I tried out a pedometer application on my iPhone and it worked really well. I knew the length of town from my gps while in the car and the step count matched it within a few percent. The only problem is the app needs to be running in the foreground and the display appears to stay on. Doesn't do much for battery life. I didn't bring my pedometer and didn't feel like breaking out the gps. Hopefully, tomorrow, my exercise pattern will improve.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On the Road Again

Yesterday, I flew down to Oregon to accompany my parents to a Manzanar Internment camp reunion in Las Vegas. We are planning on stopping at the Manzanar National Historic Site located 9 miles north of Lone Pine on highway 395. Hopefully, there won't be any snow. Last year, there was a high school reunion, also in Las Vegas, and the National Park Service had a great presentation. I can't wait to see their visitors center.

Saturday evening - Corning, CA, nice drive with wonderful weather. We went a bit over 400 miles today. Just before stopping, we went past a semi along the side of the road with burning rear tires. Lots of black smoke and it was starting the grass and brush along the road burning as well.

Sunday evening - Bakersfield, CA, another beautiful weather day. At our hotel, there were a couple of these old trucks around. Probably on their way home from a show somewhere. Both were done as hot rods rather than restorations.

Drivers around here seem to go incredibly fast. I think they don't care what speed limits are nor care what gas costs. Also, I think turn signals are considered a courtesy and why would anyone go out of their way to be courteous. Trucks, on the other hand, seem to be obeying the speed limit which is a nice change from our trip this past summer. I saw lots of motorcycles with most of the cruisers and touring bikes riding intelligently. On the other hand, all (not some but ALL) of the sports bikes I saw were running well over the limit and weaving back and forth through traffic. Including vehicles that were already well in excess of the speed limit. Crazy...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where's Broadmore, AK

I have one of the non-gps iPhones but still play with location based services. Today, I'm sitting in the Fairbanks airport and my phone reports that I'm in Broadmore, AK, when asked to update my location. This is a significant improvement over the last location update from Barrow, AK, when the phone placed me about 500 miles add of the west coast of Africa in the middle of the Atlantic. I think it was confused. The temperature next to the Arctic Ocean didn't feel tropical at all. Supposedly, they are using cell tower triangulation so maybe the system didn't know about Barrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Still Playing with the GPS

After registering the new gps on the Garmin site, there was a link to another site called MotionBased that you can log into using your MyGarmin credentials. You can also upload from the Forerunner to the site where you have access to much better maps (Google maps) and also the option of exporting directly into Google Earth, as can be seen in this screen capture. There are some serious limitations to the Lite version (free) such as you can only access your 10 most recent uploads and no totals or summaries are available. I'm a sucker for things like this so I'll try it out for a while. You also have access to look at tracks submitted by other members to discover new trails of routes in your area. The site isn't limited to running but also includes a number of bike rides.