Friday, December 9, 2011

Duncan Cuteness of the Day 12/9

When Duncan rides in my car he likes to stand on the center console and look out the windshield like he's my copilot.  I noticed today that when I'm driving on the freeway, he folds his ears back like when he's running really fast.  I <3 puppy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cuteness of the Day

Cuteness of the day: I just shampooed my carpet so it's all nice and fuzzy.  After a week now, I can see Duncan's little silver dollar-sized paw prints in the areas I haven't flattened myself.  Cute!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Richter Scale

No matter how well I understand how logarithmic scales work, my puny human brain doesn't understand it intuitively.  For example, the Richter scale.  My brain thinks a 5.0 earthquake is almost as bad as a 7.0 earthquake and a 9.0 is not much worse than that.  However, if you look at total energy released, it becomes a miracle Japan did not sink into the ocean or that anyone is alive over there.

One way to better grasp the intuitive size of an earthquake is to translate the logarithmic Richter scale into something linear, like total energy released.  This can be thought of as roughly the destructive power of the earthquake.

4.0 -- People who've never felt an earthquake before think this is a big earthquake
63 GJ

5.6 -- Oklahoma earthquake
16,000 GJ

6.7 -- Northridge earthquake (LA)
710,000 GJ

7.1 -- Loma Prieta (SF)
2,800,000 GJ

8.0 -- Lots of (unhappy) places and predicted for SoCal at some point
63,000,000 GJ

9.0 -- Japan
2,000,000,000 GJ

So intuitively, the earthquake in Japan is like 125,000 Oklahoma earthquakes all at the same time.  My silly puny brain doesn't even understand what 125,000 sizable earthquakes at once would feel like.

Source - Wikipedia -- I don't claim this to be a scientifically sound analysis; it's just to give an intuitive sense of sense of scale and how bad we are at communicating it to each other.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Usually I invite my friends over to watch zombie movies and drink pumpkin ale, but this year I didn't have anything planned and I was pretty bummed about it.

As I arrived home from work, I decided that doing nothing was unacceptable so on a whim, I dressed Duncan in his trusty dinosaur costume (thanks, Lauren!) and we went trick or treating!

I've always loved trick or treating.  The costumes and house decorations are so creative and it's the one time of year everyone's door is open and neighbors are meeting each others' families.  Parents take off work early and bring their children around in a world of make-believe and spooky fun.  However, as I was growing up, trick-or-treating seemed to be dying out with parents taking their children to malls where it was safer.  I was worried Duncan and I wouldn't find any one out and about.

Wow Mountain View, did you prove me wrong.  Mountain View's Halloween is completely off the hook.  It is bigger and better than any of the Halloweens I had growing up.  There were so many children, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, dogs, friends crowding the sidewalks that Duncan and I had to walk in the street half of the time.  All the children were giggling and the people handing out candy smiling.  Everyone was having so much fun!

The decorations were nothing short of amazing.  They included a spinning tunnel you could walk through (to get extra dizzy) and a complete animatronic-ized haunted house/graveyard display that, in my opinion, surpassed even the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland (it turns out the owner, after catching the attention of amusement parks, now consults for them on these things).

Duncan had a great time taking everything in -- his tail staying tightly curled up and his nose, eyes, and ears exploring everything.  He was quite the center of attention being his cute self in his cute dinosaur outfit (proud dad) eliciting squeals of "doggie!" from children and adults alike.  The only time he was a bit spooked was at the haunted house with all of its booming voices and sudden sprays of smoke.

As we hit the end of the houses, we did end up knocking on one door exclaiming "Trick or treat!"... that of Matt and Maricia and Duncan's good friend Luna!  After wresting with Luna and stealing her favorite stuffed turtle, Duncan and all of us went out to explore the neighborhood some more.  Then finally it was time to head home.

To top off the excellent evening, I dimmed the lights, lit a pumpkin spice candle, and watched an episode of my favorite Halloween show, The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.  I looked next to me to find my little one all tuckered out.  What a wonderful Halloween.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's spring time again

It's spring time again and all those cute little fuzzy baby animals are running about.  There's a little bird family of two living in my office's courtyard and I've been watching mommy bird and baby bird going about their business for a few weeks now.  Since the courtyard is enclosed, they run about on the ground by my feet and around the bushes without a care in the world.

The little baby bird has been growing and is just a little bigger than a golf ball now.  It spends the day running about and chasing after its mother.  The mother hops around trying her best to stay focussed on finding food despite the constant pursuit and chirping from her baby.  Once in a while it is just too much for her and she runs away from the chirping manace as quickly as she can, though she never goes too far.

When the mommy bird finds something to eat (and hasn't eaten it herself) the little baby bird runs up to her and the mommy bird drops the food in the baby bird's eagerly awaiting mouth.  The baby bird then chirps after her for more.

And thus goes the familiar story.  Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dog Philosophy

From the front page of

If you live by these dog rules, you will be a happier person!
There's a lot we humans can learn from dogs. If you live your life by the same philosophy that dogs do, you will be much better off in life. In the wild, animals fight only for two things, not a fancy car, not clothes or jewelry, they just fight for food or a mate, everything else they get after that is just pure happiness.
Dog Philosophy:
1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
3. When loved ones come home, always run and greet them.
4. When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.
5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
6.Take naps and always stretch before rising.
7. Run, romp and play daily.
8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you're not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
13. Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.
14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
17. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
18. No matter how often you are criticized, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dear Chevy Volt Driver

Dear Chevy Volt Driver,

I was driving down the freeway today when I spotted you blowing by me on my right.  At first I didn't pay much attention.  I figure if you like looking at the right-side of my car so much, who am I to stop you -- there are fewer door dings over there.  However, your brand-new-dealer-plate-oddly-awesome looking car caught my attention.  "Wow!  It's a Chevy Volt!  I've never seen one in person before," I thought as you swerved awkwardly through the traffic.  "Impressive, it looks good, has serious zip (as demonstrated), and is better for the environment!  I think Chevy has done this hybrid right."

As I sat there admiring the striking lines of your car, you cut off a fully-loaded pickup truck carrying five people and a bed full of cargo.  "It's okay, I bet that guy's on a test drive.  People always drive like that on test drives -- you have to see how your car/economical-hybrid performs on the edge!"

I pulled off the exit towards work thinking I had bid your maniacally-swerving-and-speeding self goodbye only to find you two cars ahead of me on the offramp.  "Funny, I wonder if he works where I do.  Sweet, I get to check out his car for longer.  I wish he would stay in one lane long enough for me to really get a good look.  That car is pretty hot!"

Finally, I follow behind you to the left turn towards my building.  Instead of making the left in an ordinary fashion, I see you swerve your awesome-looking hybrid sharply to the right before whipping the wheel back left and gassing it to make the turn, narrowly missing the two full shuttle busses unloading dozens of my coworkers onto the curb.

Chevy Volt Driver, WHAT THE HELL.  Where did you learn to drive like that, Speed Racer?  That is NOT the fastest way around that turn you dumbass.  Did you think you were all badass flicking right then left trying to get a "better line" so you can get to your cubical faster?  Your line was total CRAP.  If you knew anything about driving, you'd know what you did is called a Scandinavian Flick and is completely inappropriate for that situation.  What a freaking newbie.

Oh yeah, my shuttle-riding coworkers and I are thankful that you apparently can't Scandinavian Flick properly and therefore did not "rally it up" into our asses.  See you tomorrow, douchebag.

Sincerely Yours,

P.S. Nice car!