Sunday, July 22, 2007

Home...well, for four days at least...

I had four days at home this week... let see, other than work each day I was involved in the following:

Wednesday evening we had a dinner at the Riverside Country Club for my Father's 70th Birthday - it was attended by his family, and we had a good dinner, with good family time. Dad received a nice binder with 85 things his family remembered him by that Janet put together. (Thanks Jan) and I got him a GPS to play with. (good for getting home when you have 'old-timers')

Thursday after work I took Brent up to Sandy to play Lacrosse with his 'Adult' league, then Jill and Karrissa joined us and we had dinner at Chilli's on the way home.

Payson Canyon Cliffs Above Maple Dell Camp

Friday afternoon I went with Troy Monney from our Ward's BSA committee and we cooked up a Steak, Fajitas, Baked Potato & Ice Cream for the scouts and their leaders final dinner after a week at the Maple Dell scout camp up Payson Canyon. It was a nice drive down - then I brought back the church-owned propane grills.

Saturday morning we held our annual Ward Breakfast at Northridge Park - we used the grills as well as lots of work Jill put into making the Breakfast happen. My cold was getting worse, so I stayed in and read the latest Harry Potter book all day.

It is by far the best of the series, it answers all your questions, and (without giving up anything) has a nice ending - of course you had to have a bit of a tear-jerker in there somewhere, but I really did enjoy this one the best. I'd previously watched Harry Potter 5 with Jill in Richmond, then read Harry Potter 6 on the plane back, then finished the series with Harry Potter 7 on Saturday.

I'm now in Sunnyvale for this week, teaching at AirMagnet corporate headquarters for the week, then right after class Friday night I head up to SFO to fly to LAX then on to Sydney, arriving Sunday morning.

I'll be teaching all of next week in Sydney at the Technical University some wireless courses. Two weeks on the road again... this is starting to get old... especially when you have a cold. I don't remember being sick for quite awhile. This is no fun being in a hotel and having a sore throat, running nose, stuffed head - hopefully it will get better soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Colonial Williamsburg & Capital One

Sunday morning we drove down from Richmond, VA to Colonial Williamsburg to spend the day visiting the old buildings and seeing how folks lived back in the 1700s in Virginia.

It was a very 'polished' visitor's center and sales area selling tickets for the various things available in the area. We were only spending one day - so we opted for the simplest plan. They have reconstructed, or renovated an entire city that existed on this sight back in 1760-1790.

We were able to meet and talk with folks who work full-time as 'historical characters' - those who actually do the same things, with the same tools, as they did 250 years ago. Gunsmiths that make ALL the parts of a flintlock rifle from raw materials (400 hours of work per gun), Tailors who do all the stitching by hand with original fabrics, basket weavers, taverns, smithing, silversmiths, cabinet makers, brick makers, apothecary, surgery, etc.

I really enjoyed hearing how they actually make things, how long it took, what they used for raw materials, and the local economy at the time. Very very interesting!

I then did some private consulting with Capital One - on setting up Wireless LAN policies and how to configure their Wireless Intrusion Protection System for two days. Jill got a break to rest and spent some time at the local Mall.

Our experience in Virginia was very eye-opening. Many of our pre-conceived ideas of what the area was like were totally overturned! They place 'reeks' of history - and yet feels so very Rural and not built up as much as I would have imagined. And the trees... there are trees EVERYWHERE.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

Since Jill is out with me this weekend, we thought to go down to Monticello on the way to Richmond to 'check out' Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. I've always wanted to visit - and this seemed like a great opportunity to do so!

I had heard of a special event this morning, the Director of Horticulture at the Monticello Foundation was giving a walking tour of the forests and trees of Monticello - so I signed us up! I knew Jill would enjoy it - and I've never been very good at understanding the differences between trees. This area of Virgina Piedm
ont is all forested! Way Forested! - We walked along a path around the Monticello area learning about the different types of trees. The forest we were in was an abandoned fruit orchard, and in just 60 years - the natural forest trees have totally taken over the site. Oaks, Poplars, Hemlock, Ash, Elm, and a wide variety of other trees. It was a great 2 1/2 hours of walking through the forest.

There was over 1,000 feet of 'kitchen vegetable gardens' along the side of the main house.

Then on to the actual house of Monticello - yes it is old - like 237 years old - but still in amazing shape. It was the 'cutting edge' in design and technology. check it out at for more information.

I was expecting to be more impressed with Thomas Jefferson from this visit, but like I was sharing with Jill, I left more disappointed. The man who wrote the Declaration of Independence supposedly abhorred slavery, yet own over 600 in his lifetime. He was given over 5,000 acres of prime farmland, but with all his skills he died totally penniless, in debt for over $100,000 (and in 1826 that was a LOT of money) making his family sell everything and still not have nearly enough to pay off his debts.

He was a great man, yet lived like the pinnacle of society, the top of a large pyramid of humans to give him the ability to live his lifestyle - and didn't see why more people couldn't be like him. It is the ultimate in egocentricity...

I was very impressed with all that was accomplished and the many advancements - but can't ignore the costs to all those around him.

He was a prolific letter writer, in one year alone, over 1,200 letters - all written by hand and with copies made for each. He also kept meticulous records of every 'penny' he spent in his lifetime, yet ended in such horrendous debt. It boggles the mind!

We had an enjoyable time learning even more at the old visitor's center a couple of miles from Monticello, then drove on to Richmond for dinner and to catch "Harry Potter 5" - both Jill and I loved it!

Tomorrow is Williamsburg, VA - it should be quite fun.

Teaching in DC

Ok - just another week teaching Wireless classes - this time in Washington DC - well, actually just out by the Dulles (IAD) airport. I had a total of 30 hours at home (it was sublime and we got to go and watch Ratatouille with all the kids on Saturday - then home for a great meal (thanks Jill)

Well - the classes went well - I did get to go by the famous 'Wegman's Flagship' store, it is a fantastic supermarket - well very upscale supermarket. Jeff from my office has convinced Ryan that this is the 'only' store to buy food at... and we should have one in Utah!

I was able to go into Alexandria on Wednesday evening to have dinner at the 'Charthouse' right on the Potomac - with the guy who we rented space for the WLSAT class earlier in the week.

Friday after class - after packing up all four cases, I was able to get over to IAD to pick up Jill, and timed it so well she was only waiting under a minute when I pulled up!

We drove down through the back-country of Virginia down to Charlottesville, home of UVA - it was an eye-opening drive across beautiful rolling hills of the Appalachia Piedmont area of Central Virginia. Tomorrow... Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Home, Arizona, and New Zealand in 48 Hours...

Since we had a Ward Picnic by Timpanogos Temple on Wednesday night - it was very good by the way (check out pics at Karrissa's Blog) - I was unable to get down to an Open Pit Copper Mine outside of Safford Arizona on Wednesday night. So...

Early Thursday morning I drove up to the SLC airport ready to board a US Airways flight to Phoenix at 5:15am (that's getting up WAY EARLY if you ask me) - then the flight was cancelled an I had time in line to ready an entire book (Ranger's Apprentice III) - Then luckily was able to get on a Delta flight at 8:45 to PHX - rent a car, and drive three hours across the Arizona mountains to Safford.

After meeting up with the Phelps Dodge mine engineers and getting dressed in Steel-Toed Boots, Bright Orange Vest, Hard Hat, and Safety Glasses - drove out into the dessert to conduct an RF Site Survey of a new mine location. (this was a gig with Todd Lammle) - The temperature in the truck while doing the survey showed 124 degrees (51C) - now that is pretty hot!

Got back in the car and drove the 3 hours back into Phoenix to spend the night in an Airport Hotel ready for a 6:00am flight back to SLC.

Friday Morning - bright and early (yet still over 100 degrees in Phoenix) returned the rental car and flew back to SLC - picked up the Honda Element and drove to work for a couple of hours. Then home to pack for a week in NZ and then Jill was nice enough to drive me back to that wretched Airport for a United flight to LAX.

Arriving in LAX I was forced to transfer over to the International Terminal (a story in itself) and at the Air New Zealand counter found that United's computer glitch had deleted my flight record. After a couple of hours on the phone, fighting with the staff, etc... I was finally on a late night (1:00am) flight to Auckland... fast forward 13 hours later. (wasn't that easy... just say fast forward and it all disappears)

I took a taxi to the Bed & Breakfast on Ponsonby Road just outside the Central Business District of Auckland at a place called Amitees. I've stayed her before and it's a nice, albeit small, little place to stay. Though it is very close to walk from here to the venue where I'm teaching.

One night after class I decided to try out the Fish and Chips at "Aucklands Best" - you choose the actual fish fillets from an assortment on ice in the store window - then they battered and fried them up for you on the spot. I have to admit - it was very good! I chose an Orange Roughy - not something I would have thought would make good fish and chips - but it came highly recommended. They wrapped it up in the standard newspaper way. I was amazed on how delightful it was - hot, crispy, yet NO STAIN from any excess oil on the newspaper. Amazing.

Here's some of the new fruits I saw on the way to class yesterday. It's the middle of winter here - like Seattle winters - cold, rainy, and grey.

Well, a couple more days and I get to come home! - Yea!