Sunday, July 23, 2006

Falling and flying...

You know that dream where you step off of the last stair and you're falling? I did that today but I wasn't sleeping. I did it five times -- and it was cool!


Playing with Alice: Golf at Nicklaus North

We're up in Whistler for the weekend with my parents and yesterday we played a round of golf at the Nicklaus North golf course. After my last couple of rounds I didn't have high hopes but it ended up being quite nice. First, the altitude helped some with distance, as did the heat and dry fairways but it was also just one of those nice days where the clubs are working well.

Kate joined us as my caddie though her real goal was to name each of my clubs as she had done almost exactly 2 years ago. During putting practice she went a step further and named the three golf balls I was putting with -- Alice, Denzel and Fredrick. To keep them straight she took my sharpie and wrote their initials on the back of the ball, but then she drew faces on the front as well. Hmmm -- now I have an extra challenge cuz who wants to hit a golf ball in the face? I teed Alice up on the first hole so that she was looking straight down the fairway and hit a great drive down the middle of the fairway. On the green I set her up to be looking at the hole and we walked away with par. Maybe we're on to something here... Maybe my golf balls just needed eyes!

From that point on, Alice was looking down the fairway or towards the hole and most of the time and each time I would ask her if she could see it. Certain of the clubs did a great job including Neo - my driver and Buddy - my 5 iron. Buddy in particular was really on top of things and was my go-to club finding the green even from off the fairway. On the 15th hole, Neo had an uncharacteristic slice and Alice bounced towards a rock wall by a bunch of houses and as hard as we looked, Kate and I could not find Alice. Denzel came in for a few holes of relief and we closed out with an 89. 6 pars, 8 fairways 31 putts and only one lost Alice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - Peeking around the world

As we drove around Provence, we kept seeing familiar climates and commenting on how this place looked like Northern California and this other place looked like Michigan, or Utah or someplace else. I started wondering what our latitude was as compared to those places and if that could explain some of this though I didn't think that any of the mapping sites would let me just see a list of places along the same latitude. Sure, I can follow a latitude line in Google Earth or at Mappoint but it is a pain and slow so I did what any geek would do when faced with this problem.

I wrote a website.

While we were still in France, I was playing around with getting GPS coordinates from both MapPoint and Google and while Google was simpler to get started, MapPoint was much more flexible. Once I got home, I took what I learned and created which lets you enter a city and it will show you a list of other cities that are at the same latitude as the one you entered. OK, technically it is close to the same latitude and I'm still tuning that part but the results are pretty interesting. For those of you who think the other way, I also have a way to look for cities that have a longitudinal similarity.

Once you've found your cities, you can look at pictures of them from Flickr or look at maps directly in the website.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

BTW, Cannes is about the same latitude as Rutland, VT, Boise, ID and Guelph, ON. Much futher north than I would have expected.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

More pictures from France

Well, we're home again but I have a few more pictures to process. On Friday, Monika suggested we visit Roussillon because it should be great for photos and she was absolutely right. Roussillon was known for having one of the biggest ochre deposits in the world and it is the source of much of the color in the nearby villages. The Mistral had started blowing on Thursday which meant that a lot of the haze that had been around would be gone and the reds, yellows and oranges of the ochre deposits would show up great against the blue sky. The first collection is of pictures from that trip. You can see the full album here.

The colors were amazing in the quarries near town

and it was much the same in the town of Roussillon as well

The other collection was from the previous day's visit to Fontaine de Vaucluse which is the start of the Sorgue River - it just pops up out of the side of a mountain in a box canyon. The water is crystal clear and the views are breathtaking.

Fontaine de Vaucluse

It was remarkable how clear the water was in the river

I still a few more pictures to get through including the Pont du Gard and Aix-en-Provence but that is for another day.