Archive for March, 2009

Seeing the International Space Station

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


Last night, I walked outside to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station. There is a website that will tell you right when it is overhead in the night sky. I knew it would be over Temecula from 8:51PM to 8:55PM. I had heard that with the new solar panels, it is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon.

The website, Heaven’s Above, gives a detailed sky map and also a distance. The closest it would come to me is 700 linear miles.

It was there. It was bright. And it was FAST. Subjectively, it was about twice as fast as an airliner. And I know that an airplane is never going to be much more than 10 miles away from where I am standing. The realization of how BIG the space station is and how FAST it has to be going was simply amazing.

Camilla’s Camera

Monday, March 30th, 2009


Ever wonder what the world looks like to a 4 year old girl? Camilla took Dad’s camera and snapped some photos so we can see exactly what her world looks like. Click below to see all 17 photos – complete unedited.


Camilla's Camera

Monday, March 30th, 2009


Ever wonder what the world looks like to a 4 year old girl? Camilla took Dad’s camera and snapped some photos so we can see exactly what her world looks like. Click below to see all 17 photos – complete unedited.


Rogue Biergarten with Dan and Karl

Sunday, March 29th, 2009


On my last day in San Francisco, I met with my old buddy Dan (who runs TC-Associates, an extremely awesome Chinese language specialist translation agency) and Karl (official artist for the city of San Francisco) for their normal Friday afternoon get together. Dan had just flown in from the East Coast, and Karl had picked him up at the airport.

Rogue is a micro-brewery based in Oregon, with a few small pubs in that state. There is only one location outside of Oregon and this is it, located in North Beach in San Francisco. Great beer, good food, excellent outdoor biergarten.


Here are Dan and Karl. Oh, what’s this on the table? Plaques? You’re kidding!



I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Jogging in San Francisco

Saturday, March 28th, 2009


I lived in San Francisco proper from October 1990 until June 1991. I lived in Noe Valley, probably at 224 Liberty Street (I looked on Google’s Street View, and the addresses are not very clear). I moved here after leaving Taiwan and finishing a Summer Chinese program (my second) at Indiana University in Bloomington. I left when I was hired to do international computer sales in Los Angeles. While I lived in San Francisco, I started jogging on a regular basis. I always remembered my jog from Mission Park up to the Haight and into Golden Gate Park as being the height of my physical fitness for my 20’s. I’d finish exhausted and take a sweaty 5 dollar bill out to buy a drink or something to eat.

I decided to recreate the jog again, this time tracking it by GPS. You see the results above. The original, one-way jog was less than 2 miles (up some significant hills, but still …). I was up to at least 6 miles when I was 42 and living in Foothill Ranch with Gabi and Dan-dan (Camilla was still in utero).

Anyway, I managed to complete the jog and double back for about half the distance this time, then walk a bit and settle into a streetside cafe for a bagel and latte. So very urban …


Watchmen Review

Friday, March 27th, 2009


I read the Watchmen in the original comicbook form years ago. It was astonding at the time. I rechecked on Wikipedia, and it looks like I only read the first four issues (out of 12) before I left the country for Sweden in 1986. In the first 45 minutes of the movie, there are so many scenes (like the one above) that are indelibly etched in my memory.

And the movie was very faithful, on a frame-by-frame, shot-by-shot basis to the original. The Comedian. Rorschach. Dr. Manhattan. The Silk Spectre. They’re all there. As violent, as misanthropic, as big and as small as before.

On a personal level then, Watchmen is great. I’m a fanboy.

As a middle-aged adult, I’ve read the whole graphic novel (as the comic book series was later repackaged), but it didn’t sink in. I couldn’t even tell you how it ended, because I don’t remember. I don’t want to. There are some books that you read, love, and put down BEFORE the ending, never to pick them up again. You do this so that the characters live on, in mid-life, unvanquished, unsaved, striving, in mid-step. And they stay there forever. I did this with Watchmen. And with another favorite book, Prague.

I’ve seen the movie now, and understand that the ending is different somehow. For me, I personally tail off somewhere around the time the prison riot starts. After all, you have to see Rorschach with the psychiatrist. And Rorschach in prison. “You don’t understand!”, he yells to the angry mob of prisoners. “I’m not in here with you. You’re in here with me!”

This is the time to leave. While they’re all still there, working on their troubles (save the Comedian, RIP). Great work.

Seeing Jack Pelton in San Francisco

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


I had a great dinner with Jack at the Tadich Grill in San Francisco on Tuesday. Great place. Fun time. Afterwards to Vesuvius for a few beers, a few stories and solving problems of the world. Good to see you, Jack!


San Francisco

Monday, March 23rd, 2009


I’m in San Francisco for the Conference above: Game Designers’ Conference. Probably not posting much. Here until Thursday or Friday.

First Day of Spring

Friday, March 20th, 2009


Today is the first day of Spring, and the flowers are blooming everywhere. We got quite a bit of rain this winter, so the desert flowers are out everywhere around us. Gabi has the rose bushes trimmed back and the first buds are out already. I missed the rose bushes last year when we were a city family in Budapest.

Aaron and Camilla Sliding

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I just started using the new iMovie editor from Apple. It’s clearly better than the original one, but has a high learning curve. Anyway, Aaron is now climbing and sliding with the Big Ones.