Ken's Photo Blog

Previous entries: [Links] [Days of Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2007] [Days of Jan. 1-12, 2007] [Jan. 16 Vertigo]

January 25, 2007

Dental Check

Papai photo of Stu, et al in SF, Dec. 2006
Stu (at the left) -- you'll be missed a lot! Good luck at H.P.
DDS stats:
"Dental education is a good investment. It compares favorably with that of other health care professionals; the hourly wage of dentists exceeds that of family physicians, pediatricians and psychiatrists. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentistry is the sixth highest paying occupation requiring a college degree or higher."
I have a normal, 6-month check-up this afternoon with Dr. R. D. Douglas in Northgate. She's wonderful and highly recommended. The dental visit went very well and no issues. Now some more stats.
"The majority of the 164,000 practicing dentists today are general practitioners. The remainder (about 20%) are dental specialists who limit their practices to one of the nine ADA recognized dental specialties. The nine dental specialties are: Dental Public Health, Endodontics [tooth pulp/root canal], Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery [e.g., teeth extractions & implants plus the jaw], Orthodontics [malocclusions/braces, retainers] and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics [gum disease] and Prosthodontics [dentures, crowns, implants]."

January 24, 2007

Wednesday comments

Stuck in the middle of the week and thinking: you, me, anyone plan on upgrading to Windows Vista soon? Will we be getting any rain for January here in N. California? It's been one heck of a dry (and below average) COLD month. Wednesday is never my favorite day of the week (unless it's the day before Thanksgiving); the name "Wednesday" comes from "...the Middle English 'Wednes dei', which is from Old English Wodnes dæg, meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden, who was a god of the Anglo-Saxons in England until about the 7th century."

January 23, 2007

Academy Award Noms

At 5:30 a.m. the Oscar nominations were announced. How does this work? A pre-vote and the top five in each category then are nominated? Of the five best pictures nominated, we saw just two of 'em ("Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Departed"). My only real disappointment is in Leonardo DiCaprio not getting a nomination for his superb role as the undercover Massachusetts statie Billie Costigan in "The Departed."
Having lunch at the Slanted Door today, it's located in the Ferry Building, saying good-bye to Sarah! :(

Papai photo of Sarah Nagy in SF, Mar. 2006
You'll be missed Sarah!

January 22, 2007

Super Bowl bound

SI's Peter King writes it best, this morning's column he wrote, "...I wanted to see Manning get to the Super Bowl for a very simple reason. It's absurd that he's been labeled as a choker. Patently absurd. He played a couple of poor games in the muck and mire of Foxboro against one of the best teams of all time. Big deal. Everybody else has lost to the Patriots over the last six years too. On Sunday, he led six second-half drives, five of which went for scores. The drives: 76 yards, 76, 67, 59, and 80. Against the mighty Patriots. And now he's got a three-game winning streak over them in the last 15 months. Good for him."
And this one from the Indpls Star online - IndyStar.com, "Let this one sink in: The Indianapolis Colts, producers of the greatest comeback ever in a conference championship game, are [finally] going to the Super Bowl."
Sorry for sounding like such a fanboy (and boring if you don't like pro sports), but this is a *significant* win.

HEROES for 2007
NBC's HEROES is back on TV, good news!

January 21, 2007

SUNDAY! The COLTS are the AFC Champions! 7:19 p.m. PST

Saints - Bears, and Patriots - Colts showdowns are finally here!
First, it's a beautiful day for a ride in the hills!

Papai photo of self JAN. 21, 2007
In San Pedro Mtn preserve atop China Camp, 1/21/07
Papai photo of view, JAN. 21, 2007
Excellent view
from near the top (3/4's the way up)
Papai photo, JAN. 21, 2007 Papai photo, Chain Breaker climb, 1/21/2007 Papai photo, Chain Breaker trail, 1/21/2007
The so-called Chain Breaker Trail (pictured above) AKA Scettrini Fire Rd. rises from about 50 ft. above sea level along the San Pedro Ridge to just over 1,000 ft. at the summit of the old round Nike Missile concrete platforms. There are so many good trails and rides in San Pedro Ridge Preserve/China Camp State Park hills; some excellent single track and enough technical climbs (hyper steep and rutty, sometimes loose and sandy) to never allow boredom to set it.
Papai photo mountain biking, Mt. Tam, JAN. 21, 2007 Papai photo mountain biking, SF Bay, JAN. 21, 2007

January 20, 2007

Saturday

Papai photo of self Hilary Clinton announces on her Web page this morning she's officially throwing her hat into the Demo ring for the '08 battle... no comment. (I'd advise the Dems to run the likely hard-to-beat ticket of Clinton-Obama... not that *I'd* ever vote for them.) Also, still pretty stoked for the NFL championship round games tomorrow... With the four teams remaining it couldn't have turned out better.
Our neighborhood is close to three or four perfect staging points for mountain biking. China Camp is an easy destination, just a 1.5 mile ride on the roads and you are already in the hill trails there. Mt. Tam is a little further to get to, about 6 miles on the roads before you hit the trails. I've done that several times and it's a long three hours roundtrip to summit and back. Then we have the Lucas Valley ridgeline which is demanding and very tough -- it rises to 1800 ft. above sea level and will totally take it all out of you.
Papai photo neighborhood from my mtn bike perch JAN. 2002
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I've got mountain biking on my mind, a lot. The Marin County Civic Center is in the distance and the background is the Lucas Valley Ridgeline. Foreground is a steep climb up Chain Breaker Trail in San Rafael Barbier Park in the China Camp hills/San Pedro Mountain Preserve. Stoked!
Today we picked up a set of weights (dumbbells), weights table, and a bench; then we went to Mike's Bikes and I scored a new Specialized mountain bike.
Papai photo of new Specialized Stumpjumper 120 mountain bike (MTB), Jan. 2007
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New Specialized Stumpjumper 120 mountain bike.
Papai photo of exercise room with new dumbbell weights and bench, Jan. 20, 2007
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New dumbbell weights and workout bench. The dumbbells range from 5 lbs to 25 lbs each.
Image 2 of the new system.

Papai photo of Golden Gate from small private plane in 1996
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Golden Gate from a small plane (Jay was the pilot) in 1996
(From my photo archives).

January 19, 2007

TGIF always the best

Yesterday I mentioned the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) -- a tax law passed by Congress around 1969 that has never been adjusted for inflation. It "kills" people living in certain states with lots of deductions. One obvious example is here in California. Property taxes are high because homes cost a lot; the state income tax is high too, reaching nearly 10%! Mortgage interest payments as well add up considerably -- combine those three aspects and you'll be a victim of the unfair, retrograde, and probably illegal AMT. The AMT kicks in at a certain level depending on your income and amount of deductions; at that point you are limited in how much you can deduct (so much for the dream of mortgage interest deductions) and other taxes I mentioned above. You'll pay anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 or more in extra federal income taxes, plus a penalty for not paying the damn thing early. You are pretty much screwed and Congress is petrified to change this thing. This AMT generates about 100 billion dollars per year, so the new Congressional plan of "pay as you go" will have to account for that missing revenue. Spend less anyone? Who wants to give up their favorite entitlement? Don't we now pay farmers to NOT grow crops? Don't we pay farmers extra to produce milk that is not needed? Ridiculous. Small potatoes I know but you have to start somewhere.

Papai photo of Boca in Sept. 2005
Boca restaurant entrance (2005)

This evening Cindy and I are going to Boca Steak in Novato. I think it'll be an improvement over our first visit more than a year ago (average service and all that). In any case it will be fun since it's TGIF and a nice end to the week leading into the huge game Sunday pitting the Patriots at Colts. It splits our household in fact! It's still just a game but GREAT entertainment value. My dream is that the Saints pound the Bears and represent (the NFC) and play the awesome victor of Pats - Colts.

January 18, 2007

Drinking too much?

A woman died last week in Sacramento from drinking too much water. She entered a radio station contest and had to drink the most water for the longest time and holding it, without going to the bathroom. The longest holdout would win a Wii ("we") video game console. Why would ANYONE EVER enter such a sad contest? Society and the radio station morning DJs that serve them continue to find new lows in entertainment. Read all about it here.
"...In audio recordings which have been posted on the [Web], the DJs are heard joking about contestants dying of water intoxication, even referencing the death of Matthew Carrington, a student who died after drinking too much water during a fraternity hazing. A caller, who identified herself as Eva, also phoned in to the show to warn that the stunt could kill, but she was dismissed by being told that contestants had 'signed releases, so we're not responsible.'"

On to other stufff...MS Windows Vista 2007 logo badge

  • A new Mountain Bike (I miss raging)
  • A new Computer (or more RAM and upgrade to Windows Vista) for our office
  • A new Canon camera body
  • Federal Taxes and the AMT
  • Presidential Sweepstakes in 2008
  • New Computer - How many of you reading this are not backing up your data on your PC? How are you going to preserve the digital photos you shot into any sort of posterity, near term -- even the next 5 years? Hard drives do crash or wear out (and fill up) so are your most important data files (spreadsheets, Word documents, image files, Turbo Tax files, and other assorted) backed up to some other reliable media (e.g., a removable or separate external hard drive or gold quality disks such as CD-ROMs or DVD data disks)? Take heed and do it now.

    New Camera - Canon will be announcing some additions and updates to their DSLR line-up in early March at the PMA. I should have a solid plan then for my new camera body -- something like a 5D upgrade or a new 3D. Then my current camera bodies will be function as secondaries or backup bodies. PMA 2007 link is here.

    January 17, 2007

    Wednesday

    Hmmm... What do I have to do today? Retrieve and index then safely store away DVDs with thousands of documents scanned on them. Prepare a transition project plan for Court and then photo shoot a retirement party. In between I have a project status meeting with the Cert Scanning vendor and Bar colleagues along with miscellaneous other tasks. The bills do get paid. Therefore (thanks for the re-reminder Conrad Erb!) I'll be getting some new rechargeable NiMH 2700mAh batteries from Thomas Distributing. The batteries' primary reason is to adequately power a Canon 580EX Speedlite for top recycle times (between flash discharge).

    Papai photo of Ron (center) 1/17/2007 in San Francisco Papai photo of Ron and colleagues 1/17/2007 in San Francisco
    Ron's (building engineer) retirement party

    January 16, 2007

    Technicalities

    Papai photo of San Diego Skyline
    San Diego skyline
    I apologize for the technical glitch which permanently erased my Saturday and early Sunday morning blog entries. The FTP (file transfer program) program glitched on me, I got impatient and before I knew it, everything was lost! However, I had a backup file from Jan. 10 and the 12th to restore from. For me to pull back Saturday's entry will require a re-keying effort which isn't going to be done.

    Papai photo of HDTV screen capture, San Diego sailing.
    Saturday and Sunday we watched the NFL playoffs -- very happy with every game's outcome. Patriots at Colts next Sunday -- the winner here should mostly likely go on to win the Super Bowl in Miami on Feb. 4.
    Last night we watched the Golden Globes. My favorite moment was when Sasha Baron Cohen ("Ali G" and "Borat") accepted best actor for comedy film. I have never seen him as he really is, outside of one of his three characters and being himself. It was close to surreal.

    Last Saturday I wrote about recent shoulder surgeries on the acromioclavicular (AC) joint (AC Joint repair - Denise (and I might be able to use one), and Rotator Cuff repair - Dad). To sum up, these have gone very well. Offical AAOS.org info here on the shoulder.

    I was watching Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958) the other day and voila! there was Fort Point (my Jan. 6 entry; and Ft. Point without the extra safety fences of the modern era) and Jimmy Stewart dives into the water to rescue the suicide prone gal (Kim Novak). Did "Vertigo" inspire the feds to overly safety protect this location? Just wonderin'.
    Here are two photos to compare, one taken in 1958 and the second in 2007:

    VERTIGO production photo from 1958

    Papai photo of Golden Gate/Fort Point from Jan. 2007

    [Previous Entries: Days of Jan. 1-12, 2007]

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