Idea: Amazon "Suprise Me!"

May 26, 2013 4:25 pm

Dear Amazon,

Here's an idea to make some easy money.

You already have my wishlist and my credit card information.  Now just let me sign up for a "Surprise Me!" service: Every so often randomly select something from my wishlist and send it to me.

Let me select which wishlists to include, a maximum price limit, the payment option to use, and a frequency.

If you want to be nice you can give me a small discount on each item purchased this way (like you do with the "subscribe and save" service).

This really shouldn't be very hard to implement, so I expect to see this rolled out soon.

It would be kind of like those CD/Movie club things, except I'd get stuff I actually want and I'd be able to easily skip deliveries or cancel the service.


Views of the Bay

May 12, 2013 3:30 pm

Driving to Tilden Regional Park from Livermore takes you along a "mountain" pass where the road winds back and forth from the Bay-side to the valley-side.  There are some stunning views from some of the pull-offs.  So on our way home from the park we stopped so I could hop out and take a few pictures.

I turned the pictures monochrome because the images were very blue and there wasn't much of any other color visible.

Here's a view of San Francisco over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (or locally, The Bay Bridge, even though there are many bridges over the bay).  The gigantic tower in the background is Sutro Tower.


This is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The second tower is just barely poking through the clouds.  And I believe that's Alcatraz in the lower-left corner.  I used a very strong noise removal filter on this one which gave the whole image an oily quality to it which I like.


Tilden Regional Park

3:14 pm

IMGP0009asLast week we learned about Tilden Regional Park.  I don't remember how, but I had stumbled across something that mentioned the "Steam Trains" which sounded interesting.  As it turns out, they have a great little narrow-gauge, scale-model (I think it's 1:5) train system.  For $3 per person you get to ride the train around for about 15 minutes.  They have tunnels and bridges and roundhouses and water towers. It's great fun.


Heather thought it was pretty fun, but she was a little unsure about the whistle.  It would startle her every time it blew.


Also in the park is a "Little Farm" with some animals.  Heather loved watching the ducks and chickens run around.  She made sure to keep an eye on the rooster which kept crowing.  The cows weren't interested in us much because we didn't bring any food for them, but we were able to get some face time anyway.

From there it was on to the carousel.  Yes, this park also has a carousel (and no parking/entrance fees!).  The carousel is $2 a ticket or 7 tickets for $10.  Given that Heather's favorite part about Disneyland was the carousels we figured this was a good bet.  And she got very excited when she saw it and realized what it was.

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Heather mostly had her ride face on, but she was loving it.

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And here's photographic proof that I was there too.


Getting up to the park takes us through Walnut Creek, so, of course, lunch on the way home was at the new Chick-Fil-A.

Word of warning:
We decided that anytime anyone comes to visit us from now on we'll need to go ride the train and carousel.  They run all year round, weather permitting.

2007 Honda Civic Efficiency Update

May 7, 2013 7:41 pm

Just an update on the gas mileage efficiency I've been getting with my 2007 Honda Civic (automatic transmission).  The orange line represents the average, which is currently hovering just above 30MPG.  The EPA rating was 25/36 so I'm doing pretty well still.

It does look like the efficiency may have dropped a little bit starting around autumn 2011.  But it's hard to say for sure since the gasoline formulations change regularly what with the summer/winter mixes and inconsistent ethanol levels.


18 Months

May 2, 2013 3:15 pm

Our little Heather Bear is 18 months old! It's unbelievable.

As of her checkup this morning, she weighs 23 lbs 4 oz (57th percentile) and is 32.75" tall (77.14 percentile). And she's doing great! Everything is right on track.

Heather fell off the front porch last week and got her first duck lip. That's healed now, but her nose is still scraped up. Well, and her knees are constantly scraped and scabbed. She falls down on concrete a lot.

She spends a lot of time in her crib, just playing. When she wakes up in the morning, before and after her nap, before she falls asleep at night. Some days, I think she spends as much time playing in there as she does out here. She just lays in there and watches the mobile projector and plays with her binkies and critters and blanket. Go figure.

And now, pictures!

She really enjoys wearing Kyle's t-shirts.


And my hat:


Eating eggs like a big girl:

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Oh, and speaking of food, she loves to feed Kyle and me. If she's eating a cup of goldfish, for example, she will grab one, turn to me with her mouth open wide (modeling what I should do), and cram one in my mouth. If I don't open my mouth for it, well, too bad. She'll try to force it in between my lips.

Heather will also pretend to eat. She grabs an empty bowl and spoon, dips the spoon in the bowl, then puts it to her mouth. Or my mouth, while smacking her lips. It's hilarious.

And a couple more pics from Disneyland:

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We love her so much!