Friday, September 30, 2005
The frontal system that is about to blow in from (where else?) Canada will bring strong winds, cooler temperatures with a prediction of rain, sleet, snow or a combination of all three next week. I guess there will be little of the color left in the mountains by next weekend.
This evening, I have been invited to a party at a friend's house. There will be lots of work people there. Later on I have been invited to a card party at another friend's house. An action packed start to the weekend.
I hope that you have great plans for the weekend!
Don Bergquist - 30-September-2005 - Denver, Colorado
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The church got rebuilt on the side of the block opposite its original location, and then the skyscraper went up around it. And by around, I really mean "around."
The other side of the building is a concave curve that wraps around half the church from the altar to the narthex. It is a cool building trimmed in green lights at night and reflecting the morning light interestingly on days with good sunrises.
I hope your day is a good one!
Don Bergquist - 27-September-2005 - Denver, Colorado
Monday, September 26, 2005
I am sitting at my desk in my home office. It is about 05:00 MDT in Lakewood, Colorado and I have just heard the most amazing story on the news. The president, in an attempt to encourage conservation of precious fuel and help the country recover from the refining loss caused by the recent hurricanes has suggested that nobody drive anywhere unless it is absolutely necessary.
Now, is it just me or does it seem ironic to anyone else that the president has now been to the hurricane zone (where he can be of no conceivable aid) seven-or-eight times? Didn't he just tell us to not drive unless it is absolutely necessary?
If I should eschew the use of my Honda Civic Hybrid on the extra trip to the grocery store, why is he flying half-way across the country in a private Boeing 747, transferring to a fleet of SUVs and driving into a disaster zone where he cannot do anything more than look at the devastation and say "Yep! Looks like you've seen better days." What a horrible waste of fuel that is! But then he's nor really known for being the sharpest pencil in the drawer.
I guess the poor guy cannot win for losing. I'm sure he thinks that if he did what he should do (stay in the white house and do his job, perhaps) people would say he was doing nothing. He seems to not understand the difference between staying on vacation (appearing not to care) and making a show of pretending to care by staging a bunch of photo ops.
I hope your day is irony-free.
Don Bergquist - 26-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Saturday, I got up at that special time I like to think of as butt-ugly early o'clock. I was out the door before five yesterday morning and headed west. The road up to Guinellas Pass is not an easy road to drive at the best of conditions. It took me far longer than normal to get to the lake in the dark because there is no striping on the road and trying to see it at night is a challenge.
I got to the reservoir at 05:45 and spent the next hour seeking-out the path to the lake, setting-up my equipment, and then sipping my coffee and waiting for the money shot. This picture was touched-up a bit to bring-out the detail on the sides of the mountains. The original (un-retouched) photos can be seen for this stop and my entire trip by clicking the link at the top of this entry.
After sunrise, I shot a few pictures on the park grounds, then climbed the hill back to the parking area and headed west across the pass. With the sun up, it is definitely easier to negotiate the road. It was a lovely morning. For those of you here in Colorado reading this: the road over Guinellas Pass is horrible… it is worse than before they started working on it! (I have to say this or a bunch of other people will discover it and spoil one of my favorite drives by turning it into another "rush hour" drive.) No, seriously, they have done a wonderful job resurfacing the road across the pass and it is now only really a suspension wrecker at the very beginning and the very end.
My route, as shown in the map below, took me over four mountain passes. I loved it. It is too bad that the light went bad by the end of the morning. I was forced (by building cloud cover) to curtail my drive before noon and head home. All-in-all, however it was a wonderful day.
I hope that you have had a great day where you are!
Don Bergquist - 25-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
About the Author:
Born in England in 1949, Robert Rankin is a writer of fiction. His novels tend to be a bizarre admixture of Humor, Science Fiction, Occult, and Fantasy. The style of his novels tends to rely on running gags and dressing urban legend up as fact. Rankin has had many of his novels become best sellers.
I first became aware of Robert Rankin in a bookshop in Dallas, Texas. At the time, I was hopscotching my way around the country on a daisy-chained business trip that took me to twelve cities in twelve weeks. I had gone through all the books I had brought with me and was looking for something to entertain me for the last few days of the trip. What caught my eye was a book with Elvis on the cover: Armageddon the Musical. I have read a few of his others and they are all entertaining.
About the Book:
The main character, Gary Cheese, is just a guy trying to get through life. We see him grow up and do all the things that guys do while growing up. He question the meaning of life, well the meaning of death, actually, he doesn't get the point of death. He falls in love. He commits a number of youthful discretions. Oh, and he steals a book of black magic from the secret section of the library (ever library has one - but then, if you knew about it it wouldn't be secret, would it?) and tries and raise his best author from the dead.
Eventually, he settles down and gets a job. Well, he is more-or-less forced to get a job. It is, after all the seventies. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was unemployed in the seventies. Or, so the story goes. The first person to apply for any job got it. It was the law. The job that Gary gets is that of a Telecommunications Technician for the local telephone exchange. I won't spoil anything by explaining what, exactly that is, but suffice it to say it leaves him plenty of time to suss-out exactly what is going on at the Brentford telephone exchange.
As novels by this author go, this one was a disappointment. Sure, it had its moments, but it was not as good an many of his had been. If you are not already a fan, start with another novel. "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" is a good one. I enjoyed it, but it was not his best work.
On my rating scale of up to five bus transfers, I rate this book three transfers. It is better than watching the recovery from a road accident, but it will definitely not keep you from talking to your neighbor on a long bus ride.
Next week: Time and Again by Jack Finney
Don Bergquist - 21-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
I truly am awed by some of the natural beauty that Colorado has to offer.
The other night, we had a beautiful Harvest Moon rise over the park. It was bright enough to read by. I know this because after taking some pictures of it (follow the link below) I sat and enjoyed the sounds of the evening. Mostly these sounds were the yapping of the dogs being walked in the park. While sitting and enjoying the evening, I was approached by a couple of people handing-out religious tracts from one of the more conservative protestant sects. This, not being the kind of thing I read out of habit, I placed it in an important place for safe keeping. It's still there if you are interested. (...unless they have already emptied the trash barrels in the park this early in the week.)
I hope your day is beautiful!
Don Bergquist - 21-September-2005 - Denver, Colorado
Sunday, September 18, 2005
"What's in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name
would smell as sweet."
What gets me thinking of this particular quote today is the ritual that accompanies the arrival of a new person in the world. Today, my friends Tim and Becky had some friends over to celebrate their impending little bundle of joy.
Yes, they held a baby shower. There were games like "Mold a baby out of clay" (The "Let's make a baby" game.) And a Baby Goods jumble. There was food and drink and we had a good time seeing each other. We discussed (but, luckily did not play) the "Poopy Diaper" game. From what I understand it is played by melting a variety of chocolate bars in cloth diapers and then passing them around. The players may use what ever sense they choose (sight, touch, smell, taste) to determine what kind of candy bar it is in each diaper.
It was good seeing everybody and great to see that their friends showered them with so many of the useful things they will be needing with the new baby on the way. But this is not the tradition that I was talking about.
I am talking about getting another chance to lobby for the name "Balthasar" to make a comeback. Now, I am not talking about Balthasar the magi (The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter Two) who, with his two eastern mystic friends, went to see the baby in the manger. No. I am talking about my great uncle Balthasar. (Pronounced like a drunk trying to say "Bell tower" but failing and saying "Bell Tozer" instead.)
Family tradition has it that Dad lobbied (unsuccessfully, I am thankful to report) to name each of his sons after his Uncle. Mom, would have nothing of it. I am glad that Mom won this particular argument. At least, I am glad that she won in my case. Had he worn her down in time to name my little brother Balthasar, or had he won on his first attempt and my elder brother been stuck with the name, I still would have been free of it.
Although, I am thinking that I may have to get married and have a son so that I can call him Balthasar. Balthasar Oscar Bergquist. We'd call him BOB for short. Sorry to report that the child that my friends are having is a girl. They didn't buy the idea of Balthasar even when I said that Bally would be a great nickname for a girl named Balthasar.
Oh well. I hope you have better luck in selling your ideas today!
Don Bergquist - 18-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I was sent this image by a friend of mine. I cannot attest to the veracity of the attribution, but it was apparently used in a recent press conference where the president called Hurricane Katrina "One of the worst disasters ever to hit the United States."
According to the email that this came in, Fox used the standard shorthand of using a colon after the name of the person speaking followed by the quite (or some shortened version of the quote) to state that the speaker had said something of note. Unfortunately for Fox, the meaning gets lost if you do not understand the convention. Is the president calling Katrina a disaster? Is Fox calling Bush a disaster?
Is either one of these meetings really wrong?
Have a great day!
Don Bergquist - 15, September, 2005 - Denver, Colorado
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
About the Author: David Barry, Jr. (born July 3, 1947) is a bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, who wrote a nationally syndicated column for the Miami, Florida newspaper, The Miami Herald, from 1983 to January, 2005. His other books include: Big Trouble, The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, and Dave Barry is not Making this up!
About the book: The plot of the book revolves around an unsavory group of people who run an ocean-going casino boat and use it for nefarious deeds. Being that the setting is Miami, you can count on those deeds involving murder, drugs, and guns. Dave makes sure to warn the reader that this book, like his last, has some bad people in it and bad people say and do bad things. If you don't want to read about bad things, don't read the book!
One of my favorite parts of the book was the running gag that is constantly returned to about the television station that keeps losing the reports that are out over-hyping the story of the storm. It reminded me of the coverage of the storm this summer when CNN sent out their reporters to stand in the storm to tell us that it was blowing out there.
On my rating scale of up to five bus transfers, I rate this book five transfers. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale and it kept me turning pages all the way into downtown!
I hope that wherever you are, your day is smooth sailing!
(This week I am reading The Fandom of the Operator by Robert Rankin.)
Don Bergquist - 14, November, 2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Sunday, September 11, 2005
On this, the fourth anniversary of 09/11, I feel it is my duty as a patriotic citizen of the United States of America to introduce my grass-roots drive to abolish, outlaw, spurn, and otherwise drive out of the marketplace (pun intended) SUVs.
There are plenty of reasons why SUVs should be removed from the American road. Let's start with the moron factor. The moment most people get behind the wheel of a California God-Mobile, they become complete and utter morons. They have earned the name California God-Mobile because here in Colorado if you see one with a California tag on it get away! Fast!! Nine times out of ten, the person behind the wheel will apparently be under the belief that the laws of space-time physics to not apply to them. The light that we all saw as red, they saw as green. That ice they are approaching (probably to brake upon) gives them no fear. They are certain that the surface we see as slick and without traction will be as easy to navigate for them as one made of the coarsest sandpaper.
Then there is the safety factor. I mean, sure... you've got six tons of steel surrounding you. Goody for you! But that six tons of steel is something like eight feet tall and on a precariously small wheelbase, it is too easy to move the center of gravity of all that steel out of over the wheelbase. Simple physics tells you that makes it unstable and easy to tip. ...and with all that inertia behind you, once it starts to tip there'll be no stopping it.
Oh, and before you tell me how safe they are for you, the driver, skip it! There is more than enough research to debunk that theory. You can check with Consumer Reports if you do not believe me. Why else would the insurance industry charge such a premium on the insurance for them?
Then there is the economy factor. The dependence of oil is driving this country to invade (on trumped-up charges) sovereign nations. Does this not bother you? Alternatively, are you a Fox News Channel watching slope-headed Neanderthal who actually believes that the administration has not actively mislead us so that they could invade Iraq? Even if you do buy into the reason for invading Iraq, even the president says we need to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Driving a vehicle that gets, what - six miles to the gallon(?) - is no way to decrease our dependency on foreign oil.
Nevertheless, even if we do not use any of these to support the removal of these behemoths from the road, let's look at it from a safety issue of the other drivers on the road. SUVs are a self-propagating blight. Most of the people that I have asked about why they drive an SUV say it is for the safety, or because other people are driving them. A few are actually driving them because they have lots of cargo and crew that they need to haul. Most of the SUVs on the road are being conducted by their driver for their driver alone. Therefore, we have all these huge vehicles surrounding smaller, more environmentally responsible vehicles on the road.
I don't know about you, but my Drivers' Ed classes taught me to keep an eye on the road ahead. It was recommended at that time to look through the car ahead of you to anticipate what was coming. It is pretty hard to look through the car ahead of you when seated behind the wheel of a car when you probably couldn't see through it if you were standing up! So aside from all the other problems SUVs restrict the visibility of the road from everyone else.
You may be wondering what brought about this screed today. Well, I took a drive today and was astounded by the sheer number of these goliath vehicles on the road today. It was easily a four-to-one ratio on the intestate as I went up into the mountains. It was not easy to ignore how many there were.
I hope your day is going well and you have a clear view of the road ahead.
Don Bergquist - 11-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Thursday, September 08, 2005
For some reason we have been having a string of spectacular sunrises for the past week or so!
I hope that your day is going well wherever you are!
Don Bergquist - 08-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
In places I could not put this book down! One day last week I even walked from the Civic Center Station to my office (about eight blocks) with my nose in the book the entire way! I applaud Mr. Fry for some of his more astute observations on the interplay of historical events. I was slightly disappointed at the ease with which I guessed some of the "shocker" moments but I do tend to keep things loaded in memory as I read so I do tend to find myself flipping backward in a book as I am reading it to make sure that the little events are with me as I move through the story. For that reason, I picked up on a number of the foreshadowing events that spoiled a couple of the "Ah-Hah Moments" for me.
I give this four bus transfers out of a possible five. And it was only the predictability of some of the moments that kept it to four.
This week's reading selection is Tricky Business by Dave Barry
About the Author:
David Barry, Jr. (born July 3, 1947) is a bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist who wrote a nationally syndicated column for the Miami, Florida newspaper, The Miami Herald, from 1983 to January, 2005. His other books include: Big Trouble, The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, and Dave Barry is not Making this up!
About the book:
The plot of the book revolves around an unsavory group of people who run an ocean-going casino boat and use it for nefarious deeds. Being that the setting is Miami, you can count on those deeds involving murder, drugs, and guns.
Dave makes sure to warn the reader that this book, like his last, has some bad people in it and bad people say and do bad things. If you don't want to read about bad things, don't read the book!
Well past the mid-point of the book I would definitely recommend it.
I hope that wherever you are, your day is smooth sailing!
Don Bergquist - 07-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I hope that wherever you are, your morning (and your day) is spectacular!
Don Bergquist - 06-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Friday I went out to get parts to replace the belts on my vacuum cleaner and then, while I had it apart, I also went to clean-out the tubes that had become more-or-less packed with Saga's hair. (Saga projectile sheds. She can walk through a room and it will be covered with hair. I go through a large number of vacuum bags just getting her hair off the floor!) With the vacuum tuned-up I gave the first floor a thorough cleaning, moving all the furniture and even breaking out the shampooer and deep cleaning the carpets.
Saturday was more of the same. I finished the carpets on the stairs and upstairs and then made sure the vacuum was free of hair again and went-on to doing my bookkeeping. Suffice it to say, by Sunday with a spanky-clean home and a beautiful day unfolding ahead of me, I decided to head-up to the Indian Springs Spa up in Idaho Springs. I brought a book and decided to get a pool and cave pass to treat myself to a day of relaxation.
It would have been a bit more relaxing had there not been quite so many children there, screaming, crying, and splashing each other, but the day was still relaxing. The cave baths are geothermal springs that are fed into caves that have been bored out of the side of the mountain. There are a number of tubs in the caves filled with the hot mineral water. The entire tunnel is steamy because of all the hot water so it is like a spa inside a sauna. It is dark, quite, warm and relaxing in the caves. I started there.
After luxuriating a bit in the hot water, I headed with my book up to the pool to cool off a bit and to do some reading. It was okay, but being a weekend the pool was filled with families. To be fair, most of the children there were well behaved. But the little girl who took a proprietary view of the stairs; throwing her body across the steps so that nobody could leave or exit the pool and moving as you tried to circumnavigate her, I could have done without. When I finally decided to just step over her, her mother, who had been watching this entire exchange grabbed her brat, pulled her away from me with a scornful look at me and told the kid in Spanish to "come away from that man." I later saw her (the mother) talking to some guy (her husband?) and pointing at me. Oh well. Some people cannot deal with the fact that their children are brats.
After an afternoon of reading (with an occasional dip into the pool) I headed down for one more steam/soak in the caves and then dressed and headed out to dinner at a local salad bar restaurant. It was a thoroughly relaxing day. When I returned home, Saga was glad to see me and curled-up in my lap on the hanging chair on the deck as enjoyed the cool evening.
I wonder what I will do to top this tomorrow.
I hope that your day was as relaxing!
Don Bergquist - 04-September-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado