Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yesterday at Florissant

Yesterday was a fun mini-adventure for the family. My father ("Pops" to the boys) joined us on our little excursion to Florissant Fossil Beds NM. We had a good bit of fun at the National Monument with a well guided tour given by a park ranger. The boys both picked up Jr. Ranger badges and in doing so, they learned a good bit about petrified wood, carbonized plant and insect fossils. After the one mile walking tour we went to the yurt and learned about how the paleontologists work through the shale to find various fossils. Currently they are not "digging" at the monument site but they definitely have a good bit to see. After we wrapped up our visit there, we made our way to the preserved homestead just up the way. Our final stop was to spend an hour at the private quarry inside the town of Florissant. Given a little bit of time, we were able to pry apart some of the shale and find our own small collection of leaf fossils.

Interesting Morning

It was one of those Sunday mornings: I'm just laying there in bed, on the edge of sleep and I hear that noise. It is kind of like a strong, directed, whooshing tone. Well the picture at the right is the give-away. Every so often, usually in the spring, we will have an early morning visitor above the field behind our back yard. It just so happens that this was one of five hot-air balloons traveling through our neighborhood this morning. This one disappeared to the north, probably landing at Challenger MS. Of the other four, I saw one touched down across the street, a second one did a touch-and-go (which I had never seen with balloons), a third came down in the same area but I only caught a glimpse of it over the tops of some houses to the south of us. The last one I watched land in the field behind our house. I was able to stir both of our boys for just moments--long enough for them to see some evidence of the balloons before passing out again for more shut-eye.
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Is the family web page really that bad?

Yes and no. When our service provider changed from Adelphia to Comcast, I moved a majority of the web site across to the new account, but not all. I guess I need to give it a little sprucing up. Currently plans are to add links to this blog, to the Picasa site for pictures, and to remove some of the older, uninteresting content. I hope to also freshen up the genealogy links and maybe get more of the family involved with the site itself. I have even considered registering a domain to have a permanent presence on the web for the family.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Anyone out there?

Well, that may be what people are thinking if they ever visited this site and came back a second time. I think it has been nearly a year since I signed on for a blog, and nothing. Well Steve Lave just sent me an invite to his blog and I thought maybe I should start making some entries here. I have been posting photos to my Picasa site and if you are interested in airplanes and the like, it has some nice shots. I was impressed when I handed over my older digital camera (Canon S410) to Alex and he actually snapped some nice shots. Pictures are one thing, content is another.
So things that I have been up to lately:
- New job position at Maxim
- Pre-planned Summer activities with the family
- Mildly studying US History (through The Thomas Jefferson Hour)
- Getting back into books--heavy stuff right now
- Yard work

My preoccupation of late has been the new reading. My latest finished book was Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller. I picked this up on a recommendation from Mike Fuchs (coworker at Maxim) and I was able to burn through it in less than two weeks. It helped that for one week I was on a business trip to Champaign IL for training in my new position. Anyways, the book was a good follow-up to the "bible survey" that Mike and I had been attending. This was a weekly, one-hour review of various chapters out of the bible, directed by Charles Sharman and attended by a number of folks at work. I was able to stick it out for over a year--a little longer than Mike, and I feel that I got out of it what I had been expecting.
The book however, was more down the lines of my beliefs (or thoughts at least) with a strong focus on the realities of physics and the undeniable truth of the real world. I won't go into my view point right now, but suffice it to say that this book was enlightening and refreshing. It was good to see that someone could articulate the juxtaposition of science and religion so well. I try to keep an open mind, to always be willing to participate in a discussion on the subject of religion and science. This book pointed out why that is a good thing for people on both sides of the debate: to always be willing to listen to each other and to adjust your point of view.
I have just started into a book that I have had sitting on my shelf for about 15 years: Pi in the Sky by John D. Barrow. It is a book on the history of numbers and mathematics. I also just bought The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin, again on the recommendation of Mike. We seem to share an interest in the background of science and I find it refreshing to have someone to talk to about the subject again. I even brought in a couple of my older books in for Mike to flip through: Chaos by James Gleick, and The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics by Timothy Farris.
Next on my Amazon wish list (though I seem to keep popping into Barnes & Noble to pick them up) is Dark Side of the Universe by Iain Nicolson, Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg, and Becoming Jefferson's People by Clay Jenkinson.