Bring your own fork

April 24, 2006 - Monday

 The View From The Conception

Here’s a fun View From Here for a change. I went on a 2-day scuba trip over the weekend on the Conception Dive Boat and had a great time. I met up with a bunch of regulars from my local dive shop (Aqua Adventures Unlimited) in Santa Barbara for dinner on Friday night and we spent the night on the boat. Here’s the Conception’s bunkroom:

Channel Islands, CA
(Mine was bunk 4, the open one on the bottom left)

When we woke up in the morning, we were on our way out to the Channel Islands. We encountered a pod of either gray or humpback whales on the way and chased them around for awhile, and dolphins were all around us playing in our wake and bow waves while we did it. I managed to get a pretty cool shot of one of the dolphins:

Dolphin

Once we reached the islands we dove for two days around Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands. Here’s the view from the Conception on Day 2:

Channel Islands, CA

No scuba pictures this time — I was just trying to get back into the whole cold water diving thing, so I didn’t bring the camera housing. It’s just as well, too, because I really needed to pay attention to my buddy underwater. First because I was navigating for us and he had no idea where we were and kept swimming off in the wrong direction, secondly because he kept trying to kill me: He was spearfishing and almost stabbed me with the spear once, and later he almost slashed my throat with his dive knife while he was trying to dispatch a fish when a wave pushed him and he starting flailing around trying to keep his balance. I backed waaay the fuck off from him after that.

But we all survived and I got some good dives in and had a blast on my first liveaboard diving experience. They’re doing another one in June and I’m definitely signing up for it.


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April 20, 2006 - Thursday

 The View From Hunt Valley

If it’s Wednesday night, this must be another suburb of Baltimore. And what do you know? It is! Here’s the view from room 610 of the Hunt Valley, MD Hampton Inn:

Hunt Valley, MD

And let’s not forget the room:

Hunt Valley, MD

I keep asking our sales team to focus on signing customers in the Caribbean and Florida Keys, but they just aren’t listening. Fuckers.


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April 13, 2006 - Thursday

 Putting Pages On Word

As the resident trainer here at the small company I work for, I’m responsible for developing training programs and material for both our external customers and our internal employees. My current project is for the employees and it’s A) driving me insane and B) a delicious exercise in irony.

Background: Our CEO is a Mac devotee. He loveslovesloves them to the extent that everyone here uses a Mac and we have only one Windows machine in the entire organization (it’s used for testing purposes) and it is rarely even turned on. Everything here runs on Mac, right down to our website. Coming into this as a Windows guy from all the way back to 3.11, this has been a bit of an adjustment for me. Fortunately, most of the apps I use on my Windows machine are also used here at work on the Mac without too many major differences: Firefox, Word, Excel, Powerpoint — and Mac’s cleverly named “Mail” works pretty much like any other mail application out there. Pretty much.

But a new edict has recently come down from on high. Our Mac devotee CEO has decided that we will no longer use Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. Instead, we will now use Pages and Keynote, two applications that are part of the Mac OSX operating system and are similar to Word and Powerpoint — but different. And it has fallen to me to put together a quick-start guide for our users who don’t know these applications. Users like me.

So I’ve been trying to play along in the pro-Mac spirit and create these user guides in Pages rather than in Word. But I’ve been having a hell of a time doing it, partly because I don’t know how to use Pages. What would have taken me just a few hours in Word has taken me days in Pages. Now, to be honest about it, part of that time was taken up with me travelling and doing my training in San Jose, and a lot of the rest of the slack has been me wasting time because I keep getting bored with trying to teach this old dog new tricks. But quite a bit of it has been just plain wasted time because I’m using Pages instead of Mac. Because, to be fair, Pages does what it does fairly well. But to be honest, Pages doesn’t really do all that much. And it also sucks.

And that’s where the irony comes in. Because I have given up on using Pages and am now writing my Pages quick-start guide in Word.


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April 11, 2006 - Tuesday

 Dionne Warwick Must Die

Greetings from San Jose, where I’m suffering from a persistent earworm of Dionne Warwick asking me if I know how to get here. There are a lot of different ways I could go with that, comedy-wise, but the bottom line is that I’m stuck in San Jose with Dionne Warwich singing in my head. I’m screwed.

But what the hell… At least I’ve got a view, right? Wrong:

The View from San Jose, CA

Well, okay, but I have a nice room, right? Sort of:

The Room in San Jose, CA

It’s a handicapped room — my “closet” rod is three feet off the ground so my jacket’s sleeves are brushing the floor, and the shower has grab rails and a hand-held showerhead. But what the heck, my butt-crack has never been cleaner.


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April 10, 2006 - Monday

 Touch And Go

Sigh… I’m back from vacation. Our oddessey of sun and sand and scuba and Caribbean delights and delayed airline flights ended when we landed at LAX at 1:00 a.m. this morning. I was in Curaçao exactly 24 hours ago, but now I’m hip deep in the sewage of work and I am totally out of vacation mode already. And to make matters worse, I’m flying to San Jose, CA tonight.

From Curaçao to San Jose in a day and a half with just 4 and a half hours of sleep in my own bed in between. Talk about vacation whiplash…


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April 6, 2006 - Thursday

 Vacay Upday

So you’re asking yourselves, Hey, Selves, I wonder how Chuck, Beth and Zoe’s fabulous Curaçao vacation is going? And because you’re an intelligent, discriminating person with an appreciation for the finer things in life — evidenced by the fact that you read this blog — you checked here to see if I posted a vacation update. And what do you know? I did!

So how’s the vacation going? I’ll let Zoe tell you from 40 feet down on her first “real” scuba dive:

Zoe's 1st Scuba Dive

Gotta go… Another shore dive beckons…


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April 3, 2006 - Monday

 The View From Curaçao

Curaçao, Day Three. So far, it’s all about the snorkeling. Zoe and I snorkeled all day yesterday, had dinner, then went back out for more night snorkeling with my underwater flashlights. Lather, rinse, repeat today. Beth has soaking up the sun and reading her book, but swears she’ll hit the water soon.

Zoe is becoming quite the little snorkel-hound. She has a sharp eye, too — she’s pointed out an octopus, a flounder, a cowfish (I think), and a moray eel that she tried to show me but was gone by the time I got there. She and Beth are going to do a “Discover Scuba” dive with the folks at The Dive Bus while I do a 2-tank shore dive. I’ll join them on my 2nd dive so we can dive together. It’ll be Beth’s intro to scuba and I’m not sure if I want her to like it or not — on the one hand it’d be great if she were as into it as I am so we could do it together, but on the other hand she’d expect me to carry all her and Zoe’s gear.

We’re renting a car Wednesday-Saturday so we can explore the island at our leisure and also to be able to get to Sunset Divers at the west end whenever we want — I’m probably going to do some boat dives with them, and we all want to snorkel their house reef. We’re having fun snorkeling here at the Hilton, but there’s really not all that much to see here. There, it’s supposed to be great.

Anyway, enough about what we’re doing/planning. It’s time for the View From Here. Here’s a very special View From Here, panorama-syle, from the balcony of Room 519 of the Hilton Curaçao:

The View From Curaçao

And here’s the room:

The Room In Curaçao

And now… I’m off: Curaçao is calling…


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Have never had the sense of smell.

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