Personal

Happy Twenty Ten All!

NewYears_NY_2010_Bob

Well I’m glad that’s over… 2009 good riddance and looking forward to a more prosperous New Year for 2010. This year I spent the New Year’s celebration with friends. If I can get a hold of the pictures I’ll forward along; I may censor the dirty tiger pics, but that remains to be seen.

This year I’m going to try and take up a daunting task of a 365 project. A summary of that link is I vow to take a picture every day and upload a post every day with that photography. As you can read this, I’m already late on this but have a back log of photos to process and load. The thought here is to improve both my writing skills, get a full album view of life through my lens and ultimately push myself to be a better photographer. Note: The above picture does not belong to me; credit is due to Bob Jagendorf, a much better photographer than I.

In addition to the photo365, I’d like to accompany each post with some music. Yes why don’t I make it harder on myself but the goal is set and let’s see how I do. The first song I heard in the new year was Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind which I think being both one of the top 10 songs of the year and being very appropriate for both New Yorkers and the new year, it was fitting.

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Enjoy the new year all and let’s hope all those list and resolutions you set come true! Here’s a shot I took of some graffiti on the inside of our lobby door (It only lived 2 days before the super painted over it). I took this just before Christmas and I think it’s good advice for 2010:

photo365_2010_001

Personal

My Personal Knitting Factory

A few years ago, the woman was looking for new hobbies to pick up on her downtime. Reading, walks around the neighborhood, yoga and going brain dead in front of the TV are the easy stress reducers but after watching a woman commuter on the R train, she got the idea to start up knitting. Come Christmas time I acted and picked up the Vogue Knitting reference book, some needles, and now she can stitch, graft, yo and bind off to her hearts content.

But the hobby didn’t take off from there… A few small scarfs and square hot pads later, the whole kit was put away. Then some how the kit’s screams from under the bedside table became too loud to ignore and after this summer the needles went back to work. Good thing too… as she’s been inspired, she’s come out with some great items for gifting this Christmas: beanies, scarfs, hats, and these booties. Here’s to seeing the shop is going to be open for a while…

booties

Lifestyle

Poignant thoughts on priorities and focus

It was a great Thanksgiving weekend, despite having “walking pneumonia”. I’m still not recovered but sitting here trying to get my focus straight for the next week I have been reading a lot lately and found these thoughts I saved on a paper in one of my books. I don’t have a source, if you know it please send along:

Take a look around you, right this moment, and you’ll see the results of your past priorities. Whatever has been most important to you, whatever has been the focus of your time and commitment, has come to pass.

If you’re satisfied and fulfilled by where you are, you know what it took to get there and you can continue cheerfully along the same path. If you’re not completely pleased with the results of your past priorities, the first thing to do is change those priorities.

Every moment of every day you are committed to something. When enough of those moments are focused on a particular priority, on a particular possibility, that possibility will come to life.

Look at the possibilities that you’ve already brought to reality as the result of your focus and commitment. Whether you like the results or not, the fact is that you’ve definitely achieved results.

The question now is, what results would you like to achieve next? Aim your focus, aim your commitment, aim your priorities, aim the efforts of each moment in the direction of those results, and they will most certainly happen.

Time to get focused again.

Personal

Re-org and update notice

I’ve noticed this is my first post in almost 2 months. It’s not for a lack of “free” time but mostly a re-prioritization of other things I need to do in my life. Since the provision of time off, I’ve spent some much needed time with the family and with my future wife.

I realize it’s not financially justifiable for me to not push immediately for a new job but I’ve been working head down for almost 4 years. I’ve felt I’ve made a justifiable difference in the companies I’ve worked for, earned them millions of dollars in sales and yet my end result of it all is I’m now looking for a new company to start all over again with. For those that are employed these feelings of prioritizing self worth and focus may not be immediately apparent but I’m finding it exceptionally positive for me to get centered before jumping back into the career field.

In being so well organized and time focused in my career, I’ve left my personal life quite in disarray. I have over a decade of digital documents and history of work cluttered on multiple disk hard drives, CD’s and even floppies. I’ve consolidated, organized and triple backed up the important financial histories, address books, work projects and personal projects. I’ve spent some time upgrading the backed of most of my web sites (AV.com, GPC.com) and rebuilding my Shopping site (which still needs now the content). I’ve made the decision to consolidate and standardize my social profile by privatizing most of the non-work related content, and making my twitter, FB, stumbleupon, and other sites more accessible.

I’ve had additional time to refocus on photography again. I purchased a new lens and have also consolidated and cleaned up my galleries. Creating a Flickr site for the photography and using my smugmug site more for an online repository for all my pictures. There’s still more work to do here but it’s getting there.

With the added time I’ve had the opportunity to read more, finishing books on Johnny Cash, John Adams, and Savannah GA (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). I’ve reviewed my paper subscriptions and moved much of my reading to online; consolidating everything into RSS readers or twitter feeds now. I’ve also evaluated my subscriptions and am keeping items that I’m most interested in (NY Local, Food, Photography, Travel, and Music for personal and Info Sec, Mobile, Cloud Computing, and many other IP tech solutions for career related reading). I’ve dropped periodicals that were not keeping my interest (Rolling Stone, Forbes and Travel & Leisure mag), not written well (NY Mag), or ?I just don’t have the time for them (ESPN).

I’ve been traveling a lot again and with the added time I’m still participating in industry events (Just completed the SC World Congress 2009 event).

All of this has not translated into work on my blogs, which I’ve just reciently committed to get back to. Unfortunately I’ll be doing some journalistic “No-Nos” in that you’ll see some old, historical posts pop up that are back dated. This is mostly for my own “Personal Journal” rather than to be periodically accurate, but I have over 40 started posts that need to be finished and I’ll try to keep them dated to when they were started – most are personal related for my own record. I’ve also started writing for Minor-Ripper which I’m committing to post every Wed and hopefully at one other time per week (twice a week) and keeping up with my local reviews on Yelp.

Last I’ve taken the time to reevaluate my time and study for the GMAT for future work on an MBA. This coincides with additional research I’m doing in my industry for consulting and future career work. More to come.

Cheers and best regards,

Personal

My first completed website

I picked up web design as a hobby in 1998 when I worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Part of my project was working with the LLNL team to study of the effects of high temperature and intense compression (as a result of long term pressures or immediate pressures via earthquakes) on the tuff from the nuclear waste repository site located in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. With that project I needed to learn coding and the Solaris OS which was what most of the fracture modeling and computational data was run on.

Because a lot of our study was waiting… waiting for pressure systems to build over time and waiting for computer modeling to finalize, I spent a lot of time learning other systems in the LLNL lab including understanding what all this World Wide Web and AOL Chat room excitement was about. I picked up HTML and my first site was actually a very simple web page based on astronomy and began with “This is the intro site for Austin “Vegas” and his interests”.

I parlayed that knowledge into my education and built my first professional web page for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Doing a web search today, I found that it’s still up and being used by the engineers there (unfortunately it needs update, as my Professor is no longer with Cal Poly) :

Advanced Air Pollution Control Controlling Particulate Emissions with Electrostatic Precipitators

Although the Yucca Mountain project was canceled a few years ago, excellent research was developed on how rock materials fracture and of course I started on a path of web design as perpetual side projects…

Personal

New Lens – New Photo Potentials

Photographers say it’s not the hardware but the skill in the photographer that will bring out quality photos. To a certain extent that’s true. If you don’t know basics of working with light, balance, framing and subject matter your lot of photos will look like grandma’s scrap book.

However, I’ve been up inspired with the quality of pictures I’ve been taking given the basic lens kit I have when I purchased this camera last year. The clarity and consistency of the photos taken with the stock lens have been disappointing. So I shopped and settled on a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 as a new “walking around lens” primarily to improve my night photography, landscapes, and low light (indoor) shots – which I tend to take quite a bit these days. I also like the ability to f-stop down to 1.4 now (check the muffin/tea shot as an example).

Here’s the first two of many photos to be taken at Joe’s coffee shop on Waverly in NY:

Culture

Halloween Pumpkins 2009

We were able to produce 2 pumpkins in our small pumpkin party. Unfortunately neither one of us were winners (robbed by SK!) – but here are the end results (Law’s is the double sided R.I.P. pumpkin with the alien carved in the back for projection on the wall):

Personal

Remembering 9/11 in 2009

I was not here in New York during that now infamous day. Having lived, shopped, conversed, and shared public frustration with the lack of physical resolve at the WTC site with many of whom have, I feel a connection with the event that I wouldn’t have still being in California. It’s eight years after that tragic incident and this year I have the time off to come down and experience the memorial live.

The city is in mourning not only by it’s people, but the sky’s darken, weeping along with those that have lost family, friends and colleagues. I missed the public reading of all the lost names, however, a list is walled up at the Deutsche bank construction site near Ladder Co. 10 for all to read, comment and add condolences.

This is the interim site for the WTC memorial. Patriotic flower wreaths stand next to plaques of remembrance calling for everyone “Never Forget”, flags and posted firemen standing at attention to the throngs of mourners paying respect.

After snapping a few photos, I joined most of the firefighters at O’Hara’s Pub for a pint, some song, and a cheer for the families of loved ones lost. Here are a few of my pictures and the rest of the few can be seen in the Gallery.

Personal

That phone call I wish I took

It’s Summerstage Saturday, and we make a late ditch effort to get up to Central Park to catch one of my favorite NY Hip Hop artist’s: Q-Tip. He’s rocking a show today and as we walk up at 2:30 pm, the line to get in, is horrendously long. This is typical for many big acts, and if you’re not in the park by 12 for them, you’ll most likely be enjoying a good sun tan in line, rather than the show going on 2 football fields away.

We packed a cooler of wine and beer, snacks and a large blanket, and join the smart people just outside the venue under the trees. Even though you can barely see the stage, you can hear the show just as well, and the park around the venue is always filled with fans you can head nod with when “Electric Relaxation” drops.

The Q-Tip show off the hook and one of my fonder concert moments in the park next to hearing Beastie Boys. Being so into it, I missed a call from mom and was able to check the voicemail about an hour after it was left.

As it starts, I could barely hear the message, the noise of sniffling and obvious concern was all I could hear as there was still music playing. I knew instantly something was wrong and ran clear of the stage to hear the rest of the message. What I could make out was my father was in a motorcycle accident, was airlifted to a hospital and Mom wasn’t sure if he’d make it.

At that moment everything around me disappeared.

I replayed the message over and over to get what ever info I could and called her back. First home – no answer- and then the cell which went straight to voicemail. I called my sister and left her a short frantic message: “What happened to dad? Call me back!” Called mom again. Called my uncle but he’d changed his number. Called my cousins – voicemail again. Called my neighbors and again, no answer. I’m in the dark…

My heart has sunk, I’m lost, confused, don’t know anything except that all I know is my Dad is dying. I continue to call the people I know with no result as I walk back to our party blanket. The party is over and I let my friends know I need to go.

Hungry and uninformed, we take a cab (still in cell phone range) down to Curry Hill to get some food, but I’m uncertain I’ll be able to eat. I already contemplate looking for flights home on Sunday but want to hear news first before I book. While I’m sitting at Dhaba staring at food I should eat but can’t stomach right now…. then finally I receive the call.

My mom’s been in the ICU and hasn’t been able to call me. She’s distraught, uncertain of the outcome of my father but she’s spoken to him and he seems to be positive. Apparently he went out early in the day to Carnegie to meet a friend, that was late and decided to hit the trails solo. After 30 min, he started to hit some big trails and got into trouble coming down a hill and rolled the ATV coming off too fast on a berm. Bouncing down a hill, he was banged up and with no one around, crawled a mile or two until someone else found him. Paramedics were called and he needed to be air lifted to the hospital, where they were “working on him” to keep him alive. Serious.

Mom was having trouble articulating but apparently he’s broken 8 ribs, shoulder, leg and the most serious a punctured lung which is filling with fluid. He’s not in pain with all the morphine pumping but has come out of surgery and already calling to make sure the ATV, gas tank and his gear is not stolen. I’m going to talk with him today and determine if I need to head out there on Monday.

My thoughts, love and prayers are going out to my father for a complete recovery.

A Tribe Called Quest: Electric Relaxation

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A Tribe Called Quest: Stressed Out (LP Version)

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Photo credit to Peter Ruprecht