august 6, 2000
the most recent dispatch from the field... (more)
catch up on previous news postings... (more)
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july 30, 2000
Biking, hiking, and a new look... (more)
july 25, 2000
Humphreys Peak, a hike to the top of Arizona.. (more)
july 24, 2000
Scenes from lake Powell, 5 day family vacation... (more)
july 15, 2000
Natalie visits for the weekend... (more)
Another week clicks by here. And it marks the end of the first month of this 6 month odyssey. Whew!
Last Tuesday was time to make a quick, spur of the moment trip to visit family and home in Phoenix, driving down in the evening not far behind at least three thunderstorm cells that lit up the desert sky. At a typical halfway point (Camp Verde) it was difficult to see all of the shops and restaurants at the highway turnoff since a big thunderbolt had zapped their electricity an hour prior. Reports floated that a tornado had touched down here (yes Dorothy, we get 'em here in the desert). But the worse part was that the convenience store that had some battery power did not have the coffee machines on this reserve power supply.
And sadly, my little buddy "Skamper", did not recognize me when I came in the door! The little bugger reared back and was almost ready to growl! Our older and wiser dog, Fudge, was much more cool headed and came right out to say hi.
Shhhh. Do not tell my loyal canine companions that I am sharing a house here with a cat! Not ever having lived with a cat, it has taken getting used to (probably mutual), but we have our routines now, and the little guy is pretty cute, though a bit demanding on the back scratches. Sprocket spends a lot of time roaming the neighborhood, "catting" around. A neighborhood kid reported that he thought Sprocket had gotten his cat pregnant, so the folks that own this house might have a feline paternity suit waiting for them when they return.
On Wednesday I made a quick visit to my MCLI friends and co-workers back at the office at Maricopa. It's kind of strange to drop in (maybe there are official rules against it), but the welcome was warm as always.
today's photos - all photos o o o o
o o Weather in Flagstaff?
(scroll down to pictures 26-30)
Thursday brought me back to Flagstaff, arriving around noon just as a storm hugging the mountains decided to let loose with thunderous force. Not only did long overdue rain hit, but as typical of these summer storms, a blanket of pea-size hail blanketed the ground. It moved out almost as quickly as it stormed in. At the end of the day was a fine time for a bike ride up Observatory Mesa, this time my lungs being much less strained than the first time I ventured up that sharp hill.
This week as brought really good progress on our chemistry project at NAU. After struggling with trying to make use of existing programming code, I knuckled down with the MultiUser reference manual, and wrote out my own communications code (This feels like to trying to construct sensible English sentences by just looking up words in a dictionary). But now, we have a fully functional prototype of our Ideal Gas Law program, where people on different computers can manipulate volume, number of gas molecules, and temperature in a shared environment. The demo requires the Macromedia Shockwave plug-in, and of course, is more interesting when more than one person is using it.
What comes next is building a more realistic graphical interface (using 3D rendering software), plus up-front introduction, directions, and help screens. I will also be starting on a second multi-user chemistry application on balancing equations.
The best part of this week was a weekend visit from Natalie. We relaxed with no specific schedules, enjoying a few hours at the 51st Navajo Marketplace, an exquisite display of Native American art, music, and culture at the Museum of Northern Arizona. And we got to have some delicious Navajo Tacos-- all of the ingredients of a Mexican variety but served on big soft piece of Indian fry bread. Somewhere I recall reading that it was invented by a Greek restaurant owner who had a diner in Window Rock, but no matter the source, they are yummy. We also enjoyed a beautiful hike (including the rain that came), dodging crazy speeding mountain bikers, along the Schultz Pass trail.
Yikes! The time for leaving for the big part of this trip is coming up quickly, the August 30 flight to New Zealand.
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