thingelstad

Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: June 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Horse Run

We are having a great time here at C-Lazy-U. Every evening they send the horses out to the pasture for the night, and the wranglers get up early to go get them back in for the day. Sometimes they send them down the main road to a pasture across the way, and it makes for an amazing sight, and sound.

Horse Run

Road Trip So Long You Need An Oil Change

oil-change-small.jpegYesterday we passed a milestone on the Summer of Love. After 29 days on the road and driving 4,541 miles the Honda Odyssey kindly let us know that it was due for an oil change.

Before we left on our trip my friend Kent had the revelation that our trip was so long that even with a fresh oil change, which we had done, we would need to have an oil change on the way. This, rightfully so, justified in his mind an entirely new level of road trip. One that exceeds all relevant norms. In fact, after learning of our oil change he reclassified the Summer of Love as an “epic” trip.

There isn’t that much in Sedona, so on our way back from the Grand Canyon yesterday we stopped in Flagstaff to run a number of errands — including getting the oil changed at Flagstaff Honda.

Summer of Love Index – Updated

Number of days on the road so far: 29

Mileage on the 2006 Honda Odyssey at the
beginning of the trip: 48,139

Mileage on the minivan at the end of the day, June 2nd: 52,680

Total miles driven during Summer of Love: 4,541

The average number of miles driven per day: 156.59

Cost of fuel for the trip thus far: $921.78

Cost for fuel per mile driven: $0.2030

Number of hotels stayed in: 9

Total number of photographs taken during the trip so far: 1,955

Average number of photographs taken per day so far: 68.79

See first index for comparison.

Take a Lap in the Lazy River

Have a couple of minutes? Join us on the Summer of Love for a trip around the Lazy River at Mandalay Bay. Mazie’s very first time in a lazy river.

Happy Fathers Day 2008!

This year marks something that will not happen again until 2014, when Mazie turns 9. Father’s Day is the day right after Mazie’s birthday! Father’s Day is always the 3rd Sunday in June. After 2014 it won’t happen again until 2025, on Mazie’s 20th birthday. Now, I know what you are all wondering. When will Mazie’s birthday be on Father’s day? Never. It gets to the day before, and then flips back away because Father’s Day moves back due the third Sunday thing.

I love being a Dad and as the years pass I realize more and more that it’s the most important thing in my life. Your job changes, your hobbies come and go. Your family is always your family. Your kids are forever your kids. Taking this summer off has provided a luxury that I’m so lucky to have. To be able to spend all my time with my family. Completely unrelated, I was reading The Soul of a New Machine today and this passage seemed so fitting for the day (p. 279).

During that summer, West suddenly remembered bike rides he’d taken with his father on Sunday evenings, and he found time to reassert that tradition with his oldest daughter. Suddenly, it seemed, he realized that his children were growing, and apparently he intended now to guide them on their way. He said one evening: “That’s the bear trap, the greatest vice. Your job. You can justify about any behavior with it. Maybe that’s why you do it, so you don’t have to deal with all those other problems.”

I like to think that I’ve kept my priorities in order, but I think the “bear trap” reference is appropriate. Its good to remind myself what is important and where priorities lie. I’m grateful to have this summer for that, and to have Father’s Day every year to reflect on it.

See also: Father’s Day 2006

The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder

books.jpegA while back at one of my book club meetings John Riedl mentioned the author Tracy Kidder. I expressed my ignorance and he was dumbfounded. “You haven’t read Kidder? Soul of a New Machine? You have to read it.” His conviction was strong enough that I figured I needed to read it and rectify this horrific literary gap. I finished it today, and really enjoyed the book.

To start with, Soul of a New Machine is not a technical book. You do not need to know anything about computers to read this book. Also, this book was originally published in 1981. This is a time when “super-minis” were just coming out and the computer industry was jumping to 32-bit architectures. This is four years before the introduction of the first Macintosh computer. I would recommend this book to my technical friends for the same reason I would recommend Steven Levy‘s Hackers (1984), Cliff Stoll‘s The Cuckoo’s Egg (1990) or Out of the Inner Circle (1984). There is a great depth of history and culture in this book that is worthwhile and reminds us of the roots of our profession. We still see these roots playing out today in nearly all computer related industries. Thirty years ago it was displayed by wire-wrapping boards to make CPU’s, today it’s shown in mashups. The world of programming and computer engineering, despite what many might think, is filled with passion and creativity.

Soul of a New Machine chronicles the development of a new 32-bit computer from Data General called the Eagle (or the Data General Eclipse MV/8000). Kidder does an excellent job of telling a compelling story of how this machine comes to life and dives into the stories of the people that make it. He concludes that a computer isn’t just a machine, but represents the ideas and personalities of those that create it. He’s spot on.

Kidder illuminates the culture that has filled computer labs, computer science departments, technology, and now Internet startups for years. A born-desire to solve the unsolvable. The unstoppable desire to know how something works.

As I read Soul of a New Machine I could draw parallels to products that I had worked on in a variety of different roles. It was amusing to see that while almost all the tools have changed, so much of the “how” and the “why” has stayed the same.

Daddy's Girl Turns Three

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Today my little girl turns three years old! Happy Birthday Mazie!

Mazie has been blowing my mind lately. This morning she told us “my birthday is June 14.” I know I easily suffer from being an overly Proud Papa, but she is making leaps and strides in so many areas. Clearly we are witnessing geometric growth. Perhaps this all comes at the expense of some other development. She did just figure out how to jump not that long ago.

In addition to her big jumps in vocabulary, her turn to three has also brought with it some gaming. Now whenever I tell her she can’t do something or cannot have something, apparently “Daddy is saying bad things.” Mazie is clearly establishing her own ideas and opinions and deciding what she wants to do and may, if she feels like it, take some input from you.

In return for this I now get a wonderful “Love you Daddy” at bedtime. I melt on the spot. She’s a little sweetheart with her super grin, chipped front tooth and all.

Mazie is getting to celebrate her 3rd birthday in Las Vegas. We planned this stop on the Summer of Love so that she could have her day. No driving. Morning in the pool. Chocolate cake. Presents. Whatever she wants to do. She’ll have great stories to tell her friends. Most people don’t get a Las Vegas birthday until there 20s.

Happy Birthday (Maze|Sweetie|Pumpkin Pie|Goofball)! I love you! — Daddy

Some of Mazie’s Favorite things: Mac & Cheese from Yum!, Lion, Chocolate Cake, Mango, Ralph’s World, Charlotte’s Web, Curious George, Elmo, Water, Playing in Water

Some of Mazie’s Unfavorite things: Green stuff on her Mac & Cheese, Milk (except chocolate milk), Stopping to Play to go to the bathroom

Update: Check out Tammy’s Birthday post too!

$5.50 Gasoline

We’ve happened to take our longest road trip ever during the most expensive gas prices ever. We’ve been hitting gas in the mid $4 range for a while now, but today as we were nearing the Nevada border we set a new high.

$5.50 Gas

$5.499 for a gallon of gas. Ouch.

Driving to Vegas

After days of beautiful scenery and amazing vistas our view today is all blacktop. We are on our way to Las Vegas for the next stop on the Summer of Love. We’ll be driving through the scorching Mojave Desert on our way. We are just getting close, and it’s already 103 degrees out.

Expansive, Powerful and Majestic

Our Summer of Love trip was never intended to be a camping or hiking trip. We booked all of our visits in hotels and motels and have stuck to restaurants.

We have had three stops in national parks on the trip and they made a big impact on me. Each one of them represented another facet of nature, facets that we too often forget.

Glacier National Park: Expansive
Mount St. Helens: Powerful
Redwood Forest: Majestic

Humbling.

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