Saturday, November 27, 2010

Colorado Springs

I was in Colorado again this week. However, this time I actually made it outside the Denver Airport.

It was fantastic to see some actual mountains again. Actually, seeing something besides flat brown plains was fantastic all by itself. The mountains really were gorgeous, though.

The Bultema family was gracious enough to host me while I was in Colorado. Their daughter Brianna and I attended Calvin College together in the Engineering Program.

Part of the extended Bultema family.

Colorado Springs is a very athletic city, which was very impressive considering how thin the air was. I was rather glad I had "forgotten" my running shoes when I packed. However, I did get out for several walks, a couple of yoga sessions, and ice skating:

Didn't fall down once!

The Bultemas have three adopted Chinese daughters, who are all sharp and a lot of fun. Here's the youngest daughter, Sophia, "playing" the cornucopia:

Oh, and one more thing: the Bultemas have a lot of pets. By my count there were four dogs, a cat and a turtle. Amazingly, I didn't take any allergy drugs and didn't sneeze once. I'm not sure what happened to my allergies, but this bodes well for putting up with my sister's new cat when I'm home for Christmas!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why I love my Kindle

"Towers of Midnight," the latest book in the Wheel of Time series (only one more to go guys!) was published last week. There's a lot people arguing whether books or ebooks are a better way to go, squaring off on everything from aesthetics to economics to physics. And there are plenty of people willing to argue about whether the iPad or the Kindle is a better way to go. I'm not going to get into that in this post. I'm just going to show you some photos comparing the 850-page hardcover book to my first generation Kindle:

Yeah, that's not a book you can read one-handed. Also, I have the entire series preceding this volume (12 books, all a similar size to "Towers of Midnight") loaded on the Kindle, along with roughly 100 other works.

Not a really big deal when you're at home, but when you're on the road or on a 16-hour flight, it's a huge difference.

Big Bend, Carlsbad and Parents' Weekend

I haven't done anything big recently, but I have made a couple of weekend trips. The last week in September, I was "foreman-on-duty," which meant I was on-call 24 hours a day for a week, and wound up working 12 days straight. As a result, I got a couple of "comp days" - days off I could take off when I wanted.

I used one on October 8th, taking a three day weekend to camp at Big Bend National Park. I left straight after work on Thursday, and got my tent set up just as the sun was setting. I spent all of Friday just reading, taking a break in a campground where there was absolutely no wireless reception. At first I kept twitching to check my twitter and RSS feeds, but by the end of the day, I was really enjoying the isolation.

Saturday I put in a long hike to Emory Peak, the highest point in the region. It was a 10 mile hike round trip, with a lot of up and down, but I saw some wild life along the way. I took it pretty easy the next day, but it felt really good to get out in some mountains again.

The next weekend (October 15th, 16th and 17th) my parents flew down from Seattle to visit me in Midland. During one weekend, we did pretty much everything possible to do in Midland: visited the Petroleum Museum, took them on a tour of the office and field where I work, checked out the Commemorative Air Force Museum, and introduced Mom to the iPad. And that was Friday.

Saturday we drove out to Carlsbad Caverns. We didn't get any good pictures of the actual caverns this time around, but here's a link to photos from my previous trip to the Caverns.

It was really great to see Mom and Dad again. Dad's goatee came as a real surprise, though!

As usual, there are a few more photos on my Picasa page.