Just as an ice-breaker, I'm listing some things that we like to do or have interests in.
There's no particular order other than the fact that sports is a primary
interest of mine. I invite you to read the items below and write me to comment on anything that stikes you.
- If they keep score, I'm usually interested. While I enjoy the
Pros, I have a special love for collegiate athletics. I've seen
many important events in my life, but my biggest sports thrill to this
day was to be at the NCAA Final Four when John Wooden closed out his
historic coaching career at UCLA with a national championship.
Coach Wooden has long been the person I most admire. His death at
the age of 99, while sad, was an opportunity to again bring him to the
attention of later generations who may never have been exposed to his
teachings and example as a great human being. |
Since the Univ. of Texas is my Alma Mater, I bleed burnt orange.
I've replayed the recordings of the 2005 Rose Bowl and 2006 National Championship games
dozens of times.
time the games end with Texas winning a narrow last second victory over
Michigan or USC as I sigh in relief. The UT teams do well enough
nationally to keep my interest up. Believe me, if UT had lost, I
wouldn't spend another second watching the replay. It hurts too
my friend King Konghorn. The San Diego Chapter of Texas Exes is
large and active. We gather each week at a local eatery to watch
the Longhorn football games. Once a year we have a large BBQ in
which we fly in food from Salt Lick BBQ in Austin. This raises a
lot of money for our scholarship fund. I wish I could be less
emotionally invested in the success of the Longhorns or the San Diego
Chargers. The past few years haven't been my best as a fan, I
suppose. The Longhorns of late have been mediocre at best and the
San Diego Chargers are probably going to leave town next year. I
try to convince myself it's only a game and not that important.
But who the heck do I think I'm fooling with that blasphemous
talk. Vince Lombardi said that football isn't a matter of life
and death...it's more important than that.
Since I attended the Univ. of Wisconsin for grad school, I'm a fan
of Bucky Badger as well. However, I'm not as intense a Badger
fan as I am a Longhorn devotee. As
I said, "Ya dance with the one what brung ya." But the Badgers
did get me hooked on hockey long
before their return to power in Big-10 football and now basketball.
Like Austin, Madison is another great university city. I
living in both places.
also follow auto racing--especially Formula One and Indy cars.
I'll watch NASCAR races if I happen to catch one on, but that's mostly
because I want to be able to take part in the conversations while
chomping down on some chicken wings at Hooters. NASCAR seems to
have lost its appeal once they tried to expand the market out of its
natural home in the South. It ain't as much fun unless it's
between the Good Ol' Boys who appreciate NASCAR's orgin and traditions.
I'm afraid my interest in NASCAR is mostly to see if Danica
Patrick can ever pull herself out of the back of the pack. I want
to see women succeed in non traditional roles.
As for participative sports, I am eternally grateful to Dick and
Kathi Dwelle for getting Janet and me involved in snow
back at the Univ. of Wisconsin. As a result, the long cold
winters in the Midwest turned from an experience in misery to a
joy. From that humble beginning of about 600' vertical drop in
Upper Michigan, we've been blessed to enjoy the Rockies, Wasatch, and
Sierra mountain ranges out here in the West. To me it is a
religious experience to be on the mountain on a beautiful day. I'm
completely blown away by the magnificence of it all. I
still love to ski, but Janet quit years ago because she hates being
cold. On a recent trip to Breckenridge, CO I found the base
altitude (9600 ft) alone was extremely challenging. Just looking
for the TV remote in our villa was exhausting. My skiing days may be severely limited or over.
was how I spent any leisure afternoon with other grad students.
Then it seemed we started having to take someone to the health center
with injuries about half the time. That was a clue that we were
getting a bit long in the tooth for the game.
I used to play more tennis.
However, I kept attracting crowds of people who would come over
and look at my Jack Kramer racket. A dad would say to his
children, "I told you they use to make tennis rackets out of wood.
And none of you would believe me." I had to trade a car in to
afford it, but I finally switched to a carbon fiber racket just about
the time all my friends gave up tennis for golf.
Golf is something I have
purposely avoided much the same as I avoided contract bridge when in
college. I've watched it consume people alive. But, alas I
may eventually yield to golf so as not to be a social pariah. I
like the 19th Hole tradition. I even took golf lessons and
went so far as purchasing my own clubs. Who knows, I might have
a go at playing with others.
Fishing is another thing
I like to do when given the opportunity. Being here in San
Diego, you can frequently catch a ride on a friend's boat or take off
on a charter with a limited size group to do some ocean fishing. While we take what we
can get, we are always in search for yellowtail, blue fin tuna, and
albacore. Some of the happiest moments in my life were spent swapping
yarns and drinking soda with my good friend, Charlie Jack, on a lake
in Wisconsin as we sat in a small boat day after day catching
absolutely nothing other than rays from the sun.
is something my nose does. We have friends that still jog
despite knee surgeries and hip replacements. The father of a good friend is John
Bingham, affectionately known as
The Penguin, who use to write a
monthly column in Runner's World magazine. John is a living
testament of how an out-of-shape. middle-aged smoker can become a
revered runner. He travels the globe with a huge following.
Yet with his fine example, I still confine my running for dashing to
and from my car in a rain. And in Southern California, those are
|Travel - We have enjoyed traveling around the U.S. and to
several other countries. Wherever we go, I'm always looking for
the "hole in wall" places favored by the locals. Ok, some
of that is because I'm pretty cheap and hate to spend a lot of money
on atmosphere contrived for tourists. When visiting other
countries, I particularly like to experience common, everyday things
like public transportation systems, food stores, open air markets,
sidewalk cafes, and--get this--restrooms!!! Restrooms around the world
can be a whole adventure in and of themselves. |
I actually like the challenge of learning some amount of language
to get by in other countries. It's frustrating when you can't
and very gratifying when you can. However, I have found that the
language problem can be just as severe when traveling to places like
the heart of Boston.
|Movies and Theater
- We see lots and lots of movies. However, we almost never see
movies in the theater anymore. If we do, we go to the
bargain priced matinees early in the morning. You can do that
when you are retired. But the bulk of the movies we see are via
Their service is truly worth it because you can finally see excellent
foreign films or low budget independent films that rarely make it to
the movie theaters for more than an eye blink. We have also
discovered ways of streaming just about any movie or TV show over the
internet by using XBMC or Kodi.|
Live theater is quite active in San Diego. There are several
excellent repertory theater groups throughout the area.
In addition to the traveling theater troupes that visit all major
cities, San Diego is blessed with
The Old Globe Theater and the
La Jolla Playhouse.
Books - We
can't seem to have enough. Sometimes we even read them.
Bookstores and libraries are some of our favorite haunts. When
we go out of town, we try to stop by the "Friends of ... Library" in
the area we are visiting. Amazon.com worries if I don't buy
something from them every so often. Too many books and an aging
memory has made it necessary for me to create an inventory listing of
what books we have. Finding that we had acquired two copies of
the same book on more than one occasion was a bit disconcerting.
Television - Of course,
anyone who loves sports as much as I do watches a lot of TV.
have always loved television. The image on sets these days is so
compelling that it is difficult not to watch it all the time.
Every time new technologies and better sets are announced at the
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I can't wait to get my socks
blown off at a demo. I'd like to tell you we mostly watch Public
Television, but the truth is I get sucked into a lot of other shows I
wouldn't watch if I wasn't retired. However, I just don't watch
any of the reality shows that now dominate the air. The DiscoveryHD and Travel channels are the gift
that keeps giving. I think we are actually saving money we might
have spent on travel just by watching these station to filter out
places that may not be right for us after all. Like a lot of
people these days, I've thought about "cutting the cable", but am not
quite there yet. We've gone to a digital subscription for our
newspaper and are still trying to get use to it. So cutting cable
TV may be too much too soon at this time.
Cooking and Wine - Like most of us,
I like to eat. My waistline shows it. Consequently, I like the idea of being able to
prepare good food. I don't understand why there are so many
people who enjoy eating but refuse to learn to cook at all. And the
number of these people is increasing over time. That's why
someone like Rachel Ray can become a food maven overnight. My latest cooking adventure is cooking sous vide with a precision water immersion cooker. I got turned on to it by following Thomas Keller and his book Under Pressure. It's
not really hard and the results are really spectacular. I'm also attracted to sous vide because it reminds me a lot of being back in the laboratory and experimenting.
am not a wine connoisseur nor an expert, but I genuinely feel that wine
complements good food. Do you ever find that there is synergy
between foods that you can't explain? Pairing things like milk
with chocolate cake or cheese with slices of fresh apple produce
effects greater than the sum of the components. The same thing
happens with wine and certain foods. And you don't have to buy
expensive wines to attain this enjoyment. Honestly, I can't
distinguish the difference between a $15 bottle of wine and a $200
bottle. So don't worry that I've gone high hat. As much as
I like wine, years in Texas and Wisconsin have taught me that nothing
goes better with BBQ and brats than a cold beer.
Cats and fish - Having
always been a dog person until I got married, the thought of cats made
after my wife talked me into one, I realized how wonderful cats can be
as well. I adore them as much as I like dogs. At the moment we have lost all the cats that have
blessed our lives. We are "on hold" for new cats because we want
to be able to travel spontaneously for a while. However, pets
are just so cool. I'm thoroughly convinced I'd be fond of a
snake if we had one.
We had a terrible habit of caring to death
any goldfish my kids would bring home from a birthday party or school
fair. When my son was very young, he was skimming a book on fish
diseases and said they didn't cover the most deadly illness--The Moys.
I eventually learned that I was trying to keep the tank too
clean and that I had to cultivate proper bacteria in a fish tank.
Since then I have expanded from a fresh water aquarium to a salt water
reef tank as well. I didn't realize it at the time that you have
to become an amateur marine biologist to keep a successful salt water
tank. It's a challenge and a bit of work, but enjoyable
|Computers and other gadgets - I spend loads of time on my
computer and the internet because it fits in so nicely with
about everything else in which I'm interested. The ability to
research or find out more about anything by sitting at a keyboard and
monitor in my own home is intoxicating. It's a never ending
source of education and entertainment. I find eBay an amazing
phenomenon of commerce. I've started to sell things on eBay that
were useless to us and cluttering up our garage. There always
seems to be someone willing to pay you for something you were prepared
to throw away. Now I'm hesitant to throw anything away for fear
I might be depriving someone of a treasure.|
I've become interested in two things related
to computing. First is the use of Photoshop to restore and
retouch photographs. I've always been interested in traditional
photography and darkroom techniques. Digital photography has
moved much of the darkroom process to the computer. It's absolutely fascinating
what can be done. I like trying to restore and enhance old photographs.
The picture with Mel Gibson in the Photo
Gallery is 100% real. I didn't "Photoshop" this picture.
We were fortunate to be able to spend the day on the set
with him when my mother-in-law had a small, but significant, part in
What Women Want (she
was the little Asian woman who directs Mel Gibson to an address in
Chinatown). At the time, Mel Gibson was unquestionably the most
popular male actor in the business. Of course this was long
before his tragic anti-Semitic tirade. I honestly thought he was
a terrific fellow.
I considered myself a pioneer in the use of GPS for navigating our highways.
I was using my handheld pocketPC to successfully navigate the highways
both here and abroad long before there were dedicated GPS devices. But time and technology moves so fast that
consumer navigation devices were coming out so fast that they were
almost obsolete by the time they got to market. So one of my
hobbies became just watching the technology grow by leaps and bounds.
Today, you can get a smartphone
that provides sophisticated navigation, cell phone, web browser, email
machine, hi resolution camera, TV and video player, and all the
handheld apps you can think of in one small easy to carry device.
I couldn't even contemplate this capability 15 years ago. It is
such a thrill to see all these things come into existence.
love electronic navigation devices. We had a research division at
work that was doing leading edge research into military applications of
GPS technology. So my interest was particularly keen. You
know how guys just hate to stop and ask for directions? The truth
is that I hated to ask for directions because I could never remember
the long verbal series of turns and distances-usually given in some
unintelligible local accent. I would always get the directions
out of sequence. It's really embarrassing to get lost even after
having asked for directions. A woman doesn't mind asking for help
because she'll keep asking the person to repeat themselves until she's
remembered the sequence. If a man has to have directions repeated
more than twice, people treat him as if he is brain damaged.
Electronic navigation has almost put an end to the problem of getting
lost, whether it's on the road or out hiking around. I say
"almost" because my friend John Shockey and I have had hilarious
incidents in which we have watched our GPS issue insane directions at
critical times. One still needs to use a healthy dose of common
sense in working with any electronic device.