February 22, 2003: Well, I finally developed the film on a little disposable Kodak camera that was in my car and I found a few great pictures were on it!
Thanks to Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold for taking this picture of me and my A4 while we went off roading in the mountain range overlooking Malibu, CA. Here's a great shot I took of Adam at the same spot, just looking the other way :)
And by far, the coolest surprise was the one picture I took of Travis "Shoebox" Neslen when I went to visit him out in NC last year. That night we just kicked back and enjoyed a few brews together, which is always a great way to spend a night :-)
All in all, it's been a good week. Last night my friend John and I hung out and we had a really nice night together. It was off to San Francisco for dinner at the Schnitzel House on 9th street. It's an authentic little German restaurant that makes some excellent food! I had the black forest venison stew and it was awesome! John had the same (as it's his favorite dish) and we had a couple of half liter beers to wash down the meal. After that it down to the Castro for a little walking to burn off dinner, do a little people watching and hang out. After that we headed back to Dublin. It was just a really cool night :-)
This weekend the weather is beautiful! 70', sunny and blue skies :-)
February 19, 2003:
The trip started around 1:00 PM when I arrived at Captain Aqua's SCUBA shop to pick up my air tank. There, I met Pat, who would end up riding down to Ventura, CA with me and also would become my dive buddy for the weekend. Pat is about 50 years old and lives in my local area. He's a really great guy and I was glad to make his acquaintance on this trip.
After packing all of our gear into my Audi, we began the 6 hour trip down to Ventura. Time flew as Pat and I spent the time chatting it up, getting to know each other, and talk about diving. He's been diving for many years now and has traveled around the world to dive at some of the better spots. I was definitely impressed with some of the sites he has visited and I only hope that I get to visit half of them over the upcoming years (hehehe, one more reason to travel!). He's also an experienced shell collector and very familiar with lots of different types of aquatic life. This would prove to be helpful as we dove together as he would point out some specimens I would have missed.
Anyway, about 6 hours after we left, we made it down to Ventura Harbor. We unloaded our gear, stowed it aboard the boat and went out to grab a quick bit to eat. After that, it was back to the boat where we got aquainted with some of our fellow divers and the boat crew before heading off to bed.
The weather forcast for the weekend wasn't too great, as there was a front moving in, so we weren't sure what to expect. Well, that first morning, I woke up and didn't feel too good. I didn't really sleep well, partly because I was excited, partly to the guy sleeping in the bunk next to me who snored as loud as me (don't worry, he'd get his the next night :-) and partly due to the 6-8 foot swells rocking the boat. I got out of my bunk around 6:30 a.m. and headed topside in just my swim trunks. After about 5 minutes of trying to get my sea legs, I found myself heaving up over the starboard rail! Hehehe, ahh well, I had to admit I started to feel a lot better after that.
to try and get my bearings and get ready to go under, but feeling the way I did, I decided to play it safe and abort the dive. I dragged my sorry ass back on the boat and took it easy for a bit. That turned out to be the smart move (that and taking the seasick meds that Pat gave me) because one hour later, I felt a lot better and was ready to make my first dive. That one went great, though it only lasted 18 minutes with a max depth of 41 feet in the 58' water, it was great! During the course of the rest of the day, I'd make 4 dives all together. The dives all took place off of Santa Rosa Island starting from Sandy point and working our way to Bechers Bay.
The next two days would be spent diving off of Santa Cruz Island. We'd work our way from Frazer Point back to Smugglers Cove and down to Bluebanks. I'd do a total of 7 dives (4 on Sunday 3 on Monday) off of Santa Cruz. Max depth on those dives was 84 feet.
Ok, so that's about it for now. I'm pretty tired and am going to hit the hay. All I can say is that I'm hooked on diving and can't wait to go again!
More updates to come.
February 12, 2003: Tomorrow, February 13, 2003, would have been my father's 60th birthday. It's been 2 years since he passed away and I still miss him a lot. Though he's not here in body, his spirit still lives on strong through Tim, Gini and I, as does our love for him.
picture of Dad and Noni (his mother) was taken in 2000 in Great Barrington,
February 9, 2003: Well, since I came back from my vacation, I've been itching to go SCUBA diving again. So, after lots of consideration, I've purchased some gear. Hehehe, figures, that I'd have to pick a hobby that isn't cheap to get into, but oh well. I'm looking forward to it. So, for all of your SCUBA divers out there, here is the package:
So, now that I've spent a few $$$, what am I going to do w/all of this stuff? Well, next weekend, I'm off for a 3 day SCUBA trip down to Southern, CA to dive on the Channel Islands. The name of the boat is Peace and you can check out www.peaceboat.com for more information. We'll be hitting the Northern islands on this trip and I'm stoked to go! I'll leave Friday afternoon and come back Monday night. I'm psyched!
This weekend, I went up to Angel's Camp with my friend Rick and his son Kevin (oh yeah, Rick just happens to be my manager). We brought a new water heater up to his cabin and swapped it out with the old one. It was an easy project an all together only took a couple of hours. After that, we had some fun raking a huge pile of pine needles up and burning them :) Hehehehe, made a damn hot and fun fire! We hung out for the night, got up early this morning, had some breakfast, went out for a nice crisp walk and then headed back to Dublin. Made for a nice weekend. I love hanging out with Rick's kids. They are a riot! His son Kevin (age 9) came on this trip, and he is a riot! We all kept each other laughing the entire time, and that helped make for a really nice time.
Tonight, I'm cooking up a pork tenderloin on the grill along with some spicy eggplant. Mmmmm, tasty! Ok, I'm off to have some dinner. Hope your weekend was a good one!
February 1, 2003:
In honor and memory of the crew members of STS-107
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
(biographies courtesy of CNN)
A Space Shuttle contingency has been declared in Mission Control, Houston, as a result of the loss of communication with the Space Shuttle Columbia at approximately 9 a.m. EST Saturday as it descended toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. It was scheduled to touchdown at 9:16 a.m. EST.
Communication and tracking of the shuttle was lost at 9 a.m. EST at an altitude of about 203,000 feet in the area above north central Texas. At the time communications were lost. The shuttle was traveling approximately 12,500 miles per hour (Mach 18). No communication and tracking information were received in Mission Control after that time.
Search and rescue teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth and in portions of East Texas have been alerted. Any debris that is located in the area that may be related to the Space Shuttle contingency should be avoided and may be hazardous as a result of toxic propellants used aboard the shuttle. The location of any possible debris should immediately be reported to local authorities.
Flight controllers in Mission Control have secured all information, notes and data pertinent to today's entry and landing by Space Shuttle Columbia and continue to methodically proceed through contingency plans.
News media covering the Space Shuttle should stay tuned to NASA Television, which is broadcast on AMC-2, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees West longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz. Reporters can also go to any NASA center newsroom to monitor the situation.
New information, including the times and locations of press briefings, will be posted to this page."
"Background Information on the COLUMBIA Space Shuttle Mission STS-107STS-107 Mission Summary
STS-107 Flight: January 16-February 1, 2003
Most recent flight:
Other notable missions:
Past mission anomaly: STS-83, April 4-8, 1997. Mission was cut short by Shuttle managers due to a problem with fuel cell No. 2, which displayed evidence of internal voltage degradation after the launch."
President Bush's Speech to the Nation (2/1/03)
"My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9 o'clock this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our space shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas.
It's a sad day for our nation, the nation of Israel, the families and friends of the crew members, and the teams at NASA who worked on the Columbia mission. Though today mankind has suffered a tragic loss, we will and must continue to move forward with the exploration of space and beyond. It is part of who we are as a species. We are explorers. And though we have face hardships and hurdles in our path, we will overcome them and move on. It's part of who we are, and part of the great destiny that awaits us....