November 4, 2012

A Mast Year

This has been a "mast" year for acorns in Houston.

This means we get a real lot of them:

This is a shot of our back alley. It is almost covered with acorns, and it has been blown clear every week for the past month.

The local naturalist say that it is because of our drought last year. The oaks respond by producing many more nuts than they usually do. I understand that pecans are responding the same way.

Oh, and I took a new job. Executive Chairman of TerraSpark Geosciences.

Wish me luck.
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September 13, 2012

On the road

Doreen and I will be in Paris for a while.
I should be posting (sporatically) here.
We'll be back soon!

September 9, 2012

Cooking Moroccan Food

The other night we had Paul over for dinner. It was great seeing him here in town.

Paul is making much better use of his sabbatical than I am, having been to a retreat in the cascades, taking a class at Oxford, and celebrating the 50th anniversary of his little childhood church.

But we did cook a spicy shrimp tagine.

So I had to wear my fez.

Photo link: -- via

September 3, 2012

Brazos Bend

Doreen and I drove down to Brazos Bend state park today.

We saw a garter snake. We also saw a couple of alligators, lots of lizards, a turtle, and many birds.

It was warm, but that didn't really bother us.

There is an alligator in there if you look real closely.

You can see him in an unedited video. I will try to edit it down to something more reasonable.

or here:

Then we drove to Alvin to eat Bar B Que at Joe's. It was OK.

It is always fun.

August 27, 2012

The COH delivers

Last week Thursday I noticed that there was a leak in the water main leading up to our water meter. It was just a small leak, but we all know what happens to small leaks in the street.

So I 311'd the problem. (I tried to do it online, but it was not possible. They need to get someone from Google to help them with usability) I called and my line was picked up in under a minute. It took no more than 2 minutes to report the problem, and then I signed off.

I was not particularly optimistic about when the problem would be resolve, but was very pleased to see  the City of Houston water guy in the street Friday morning when I was coming home from a meeting. (Yes, a work meeting. It is mostly pro bono at this point, but I hope that will change at some point)

The streets were wet, so the leak was hard to spot. I showed the guy where the leak was, and he flagged it.

The next day (Saturday!) when we came home from Waffles with Waltraud, our street was blocked off (inconvenient) and the main was being repaired!

IT took a couple of waterless hours, but the pipe was fixed.

The street is still a mess, but I hope that will be resolved, too.

So, it is a win for the City of Houston!

August 26, 2012

Family in town

My brother Mark and his wife Becky were in Texas this past week. They came down to pick up the fez that I brought back from Morocco.

Well, his new grandson and his pregnant daughter may have had something to do with that as well.

We had good, though short visit.

They are already back home in Wisconsin.

(This post is mainly a test of my new hardware)

August 19, 2012

On Sabbatical

On June 29th, 2012, I sold the company that I was working for - Object Reservoir - to Landmark Graphics, a subsidiary of Halliburton. This was the conclusion of about 18 months worth of work.

This gave me the opportunity to take a sabbatical.

Now, my sabbatical is not a goal oriented sabbatical like some of our good friends engage in. I admire the author of that blog, and read his updates, shall we say, religiously.

My time off is spent in more prosaic ways.

I have planted a garden, and have harvested some beautiful radishes:

I have cooked a lot of seafood, mostly on Fridays, including a lot of soft shell crab:

That takes a lot of butter and oil:


but you end up with a beautiful meal:

Since I am not longer driving to work, I am spending a lot more time with Blaze.

This shows what she feels about this:

I was also able to drive up to Austin one a whim and see my newest nephew, Oliver:

I also grew a beard:
but I shaved it off.

I also got a new coffee machine. A Quickmill Achille 0996 spring driven lever operated espresso machine. I will probably write more about this later.

The first several weeks have been busy. Very busy.

But I am trying to find a way around that.

More later.

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August 16, 2012

More testing

I am trying to see how well this tablet will work once we start traveling.

There is always a trade off of with verses capability.

I want the performance on a laptop, with the with and flexibility of a tablet.

Maybe I should have bought a netbook

August 14, 2012

New toy

I just got a Samsung Galax tab. This is just a test to see how well the Swype works on this machine.

July 1, 2012

Object Reservoir purchased

The company I have been working for over the past 18 months has been purchased by Landmark Graphics Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton Corp.

Back in January, we sold our services group to Weatherford.

Both deals were very good for all companies. You frequently hear about win-win deals. This was really a win-win-win deal. WFT got a great group of engineers, and we got some money to try and expand some oft he software we were working on.

HAL got some wonderful software that they would not have been able to develop for what they paid, and our investors got a little of their money back.

We would have preferred a bigger sale or more time to move the needle, but you have to play the cards you are dealt.

Now on to another adventure.

June 30, 2012

Radishes from our garden

These are radishes from our garden.

Isn't this a great photo?

Doreen took it. That is my hand.

More later. I will be posting more soon.

I have news!

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June 5, 2012

The Transit of Venus

In 1768 Captain James Cook left London in the Endeavour  Bark heading to Tahiti to record the Transit of Venus.

I left my office today at 4:30 to get to Hermann Park, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science to do the same.

We both had problems.

Capt Cook had cannibals.

I had traffic.

Capt Cook ran out of water.

I ran into crowds:

Capt Cook ran into violent indigenous populations.

I ran into lines:

Capt Cook had to chart the unknown coastline of the Southern Continent.

I had to find a place to park.

But we both saw the Transit of Venus.

Like this:

and this:

Then I had to go and have a beer, leaving behind these lines. Just like Capt Cook had to head back to London to drop off his findings, before he let Captain Bligh head back to Tahiti to pick up some breadfruit.

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Break, break, break,

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

(thanks Mark)

May 15, 2012

Stones and Stent

I had my stent removed this afternoon.

I will save you the gory details.

But let me say that lidocaine is not the best pain killer in the world.

Or at least when you are trying to push a golf ball through a garden hose it is not the best pain killer in the world.

The penny is for scale. They did not push a penny into me. But they did pull that green coil (that is the stent) out of me.

The stones came out about a week ago. They did not hurt.

Here is the whole stent. You can see it in the CT scan in the previous post.

I am glad that is over.
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May 10, 2012

Kidney Stones

Yes, this is me. You can see the stent here. That is my right side:

Here is a stone:

And another in the other kidney:

You can see the stent in cross section (red arrow) and another stone (blue arrow):

The highlights are mine.

With any luck, the stent will be out next week.
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May 5, 2012

Wonderful World

I heard this on the plane coming home. A great version of this song.

May 4, 2012

Flying into Oslo

It was a beautiful day to fly between Frankfurt and Oslo. I woke up just in time to see us cross the coast.

The camera phone really does not do this justice. The islands were popping out as if they had a spotlight on them:

Then the landscape is dotted with small lakes:

and an occasional mine:

There was a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Oslo Airport!

Then I got to my hotel, The Continental, and this is my view:


Home Saturday.

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