Happy Me

Random thoughts

Tomorrow we have our Bon Odori Festival at temple. I will help cook teriyaki chicken and Brenda and Kendra will dance. The boys will hang out and play games and eat food. All that good stuff.

The next day I go off to Oregon for five days to work on our property. I have some nice and competent guys helping me clear the land and put in the septic and well. I have a lot of work to do just figuring out what they are talking about. I have never worked up land to make it livable before. I'm the type of guy that has a hard time figuring out how the sprinklers work. It's all an adventure....

I am trying to get a lot done organizing my classes for the fall and getting my model projects together.

One project is going pretty well and the other is slowing down due to contract negotiations. It is pretty stressful to deal with money and it makes people crazy. Why do things potentially as great as money and sex make people so crazy!

Anyway, both projects have amazing potential to both make money and help kids learn science. Does helping kids learn science make people crazy? I don't think so... so I guess it can't be so great.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
The Football Game

Making a come back?

Hi again!

I'm back and hope to once again join the LJ world. Kendra has been after me to write things and has complimented me on my past posts. I didn't know she cared!

Anyway, what's been up with me?

I haven't been doing much fishing, but Kai and I went to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska and caught some kings and sockeye salmon in late June. I now have replenished my smoked salmon supply and can last through the winter. I will try to remember to convey the details of this trip in the future.

I have been busy trying to develop some models to help teach molecular science. One project is a set of molecular modeling kits and the other is a DNA model. Both can be used by educators to make the molecular world come to life. I am in the process of negotiating with the companies and it is slow going. The projects are mentally stimulating and I feel I am doing creative and important work.

My teaching responsibilities will expand as I am working with the Discovery Center for Science and Technology to offer six classes in Fall 2007. These classes will be similar to the ones I taught for homeschoolers. The classes will be advertised by the Discovery Center soon and descriptions should be on their website in the near future. I call these classes "Molecular Mania"!

www.discoverycntr.org

One slight apprehension I have in going "public" with these classes and molecular manipulatives is that I will likely become a spokesman for these things. i.e. I will become "Dr. Steve" and take on a larger than life persona. I am not too worried, as I understand the need for a handle, or something that people can grab onto and relate to.

Anyway, that's all for now. I have to get ready to take a picture of Cory driving off for the first time. A driving instructor will be here in 10 minutes for his first driving lesson! YIKES!

Happy Me*

Smug mug me*

I am hoping someone will come up with a caricature of me from these photos. Good luck and may the cartooning force be with you.
Happy Me

The Feather River

The Feather River Trip
I’m done brining and smoking the salmon from a fantastic trip to the Feather River above Sacramento. My friend and former colleague from my Amgen days, Marco, and I went out on the Feather with Dave the guide. Dave has been doing some great guiding over the past few weeks and he has found sturgeon, salmon, striper and shad milling about the Thermalito Outlet and around Yuba City. I've never fished with Dave before, and after this trip, I think I will be seeing more of Dave in the future.

Marco and I met Dave and his deckhand, Sal, at the Outlet at 5 am(%*&^(*^*%$#@@!$%^*&??). Both Marco and I were ready to go, both of us were psyched at the possibilities of a combo trip. Marco is an experienced fisherman, but has never fished for salmon before. Dave said that he had seen shad and sturgeon jumping the previous day and he bought bait for the sturgeon. I had never seen a live sturgeon before, but I had heard of their monstrous size and appearance.

The Outlet
As Dave got the gear prepared, he warned us of the turbulence of the waters we were soon to fish. If you haven't seen the Thermalito Outlet, let me give you some idea of what we were dealing with. The Thermalito Afterbay is a reservoir that forms after Lake Oroville which, I suppose, is there to help regulate the flow of water into the Feather River. The Outlet is where the flow enters the Feather as thousands of cubic feet of water per second rushes out of a concrete water superhighway causing rapids and whitewater that would sink a 24 ft boat in seconds.

Of course, Dave steered clear of the major turbulence, but after skirting around the main white water, he settled into a relatively calm pocket right next to the rushing water. The boat was rocking, but it wasn’t too bad, kind of like being on the ocean, and a relatively calm ocean at that. Dave warned us and hoped that others would not try this, as only very experienced boatsmen could do what he does here. Dave somehow kept us stationary and told us to drop our lines into a hole that he promised would be productive.

Magic on the water, even without fish
Dave’s confidence certainly calmed me, even after I lost the first two bites of the day. I was really surprised I lost the fish, because the Kwikfish lures we were using had these massive treble hooks and I thought I had set them. Oh well.
I wasn’t too concerned, especially after Dave and Marco also lost fish. But the real reason I wasn’t concerned was that the sun was coming up and the beauty of the scene was startling. First, double rainbows started to form in the west. Then, the sun peeked through the clouds and its light glistened off the little bubbles that were popping on the surface of the water. I was so taken with the glistening bubbles, that I didn’t even stop to take pictures. I was almost feeling guilty that I was enjoying myself so much and I hadn’t yet caught a fish. In fact, I had lost two already, and I think in the ten trips I had made previously I had lost a total of two salmon.

No worries this time. The sun, rainbows, glistening bubbles, river and jumping fish made all of this very magical. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, at this time I saw my first sturgeon. It surfaced like a whale and it’s big head, being prehistoric and all, looked like some smaller relative of Nessie. Whoa!!!!! What a fish.

Salmon “R” Us
Then, wham, I hooked and landed a beautiful 18-lb chrome salmon. It was gorgeous. Soon after, Marco landed another beautiful chrome Chinook and we jetted out of the mouth of the turbulence and into calmer waters.

Sturgeon in the otherworld
We rested a little and settled into some sturgeon fishing. As we sat in the very calm water, we saw a few of these monsters rise. It was otherworldly. One shot straight up out of the water, completely perpendicular to the surface, like some dolphin shooting up to catch a ring in a show at Seaworld.

Shad City
The sturgeon didn’t seem to want to bite, however, so after an hour, we moved to Shad City. All of these different holes were within eyesight from the Outlet. It took about 30 min, but we then started catching shad. The shad were small, 3-4 lbs, but they were full of fight. Shad are thought to be the best fighting fish, pound for pound, anywhere. We found this to be true. We both caught about five each as we figured out where the shad were hanging. There were times that, like a salmon, the shad would run and there wasn’t anything you could do about it. These little guys were lots of fun.....but our arms hurt from fight them!!!!! I didn’t want to admit it myself, but Marco actually complained about the soreness of his arm!!!

5-minutes a bite
Since we had already caught Marco and my limit of salmon (which is one until July 16th, then it goes up to three), we went back to the salmon hole to get the deckhand, Sal, his salmon. Since we bagged two salmon earlier, a couple of boats tried the same hole after we were there, but found the waters too tough and bailed. Dave moseyed into the spot and as soon as Marco’s lure hit the right spot, BAM, he was hooked. marco graciously handed his pole to Sal and after a minute, the fish got loose. It wasn’t 5 min later when I hooked into another fish and handed the pole to Sal. This time Sal brought home the beauty and we had another 18+lb chrome chinook.
The bank fishermen were stunned, as we must have been at the spot for less than 10 min and we hooked two chrome beauties.
Later, we went back to the spot and I hooked another 18 pounder for Dave within five minutes!
Dave sure had the spot down cold by this time. I found out later that Dave hooked a 36 lb king the next day in that same salmon hole.

It has now been a week since that trip, and today I’m taking the boys back to the Feather River! Life is good!

Tomorrow, Kendra and Brenda go to Washington DC for the National Spelling Bee!!!
Good luck Kendra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chinooks on the feather

American Shad
  • Current Music
    Black Flag
Happy Me

Update

It's been awhile, but I haven't forgotten about LJ.

Kai, Cory, and Harrison, one of Cory's friends, and i are in Bakersfield this morning, getting ready to fish the California Aqueduct!

Yes, people fish there and today we will try it for the first time. I would be happy to hook a legal sized striped bass (stripers), and some people have caught stripers over 20 lbs in the past week. We checked out the scene yesterday, and it looked a llittle slow, but what the heck, we will try it soon. Cory and Harrison are out picking up some continental breakfast while I write and let Kai sleep in a little more.

What is happening with me?

Some of the things that have been keeping me busy are:

1. Home stuff, that is, lots of things to do around the house. Kind of banal, but definitely challenging, as I am not a home repair maven.

2. Kids. Of course, as always.

3. Science projects-
a. Checked out the excitement for a summer camp focusing on the stuff in my science classes. It looks good, but may be lots of work for me to set up.
b. I have started to work with Paul H. at Zometools to develop Zome molecular modeling kits, ones like I have been using in my science classes. I have the rough plans for an initial kit and one that is very inexpensive. I have been using the virtual Zome modeling program developed by Scott Vorthmann and I'm really having fun with it. Not fun fun, but fun feeling productive and original fun. Paul and I ran the molecular modeling ideas by the people at Star Education in Culver City and they loved it. Star Education is a school, store, after-school education program, summer program, outreach program. etc.

http://www.starinc.org/about.html

Paul and I had lunch with several of the teachers and administrators and enjoyed their enthusiasm and commitment to education.
It was great to see their support for the modeling ideas. They really took to it, since they have been using Zome for years and love to see another application for it.
That's all for now. Time to fish! Wish us luck!
  • Current Mood
    anxious must fish!
Happy Me

Kendra's first spelling step

Kendra won her Conejo Valley Homeschool Bee yesterday. She won with the word "audit". That reminds me that I have to get our taxes together by next week.

She was poised but almost was disqualified when her mother tried to tell her to ask for a sentence (from the audience). Just kidding, she didn't come close to being disqualified, but another mom did mention the communication to the Bee Coordinator and thought that there was signing going on. Oh brother. Luckily, the runner-up poo-pooed that allegation, since she had the best view of the situation.

There were hardly any kids in the bee as they probably were intimidated by Kendra's spelling prowess. Understandable, but that's a shame, since others don't have nearly the pressure Kendra has put on herself. One speller did very well and pushed Kendra to 22 rounds before missing "misinterpret". I guess that's better than missing a previous word, i.e. "nervous". Anyway, kudos to the runner-up, Anna Barson, and to Kendra who did what she does so well and carefully. You know what they say, staying on top is harder than getting to the top.

The next bee, the area bee, is on February 23rd at Chaparral Middle School. She will compete against school winners from Moorpark and Oak Park. There is not a private school area bee this year.

Kendra is well prepared and Brenda has been working very well with her.

Bee season begins with a small, careful step.
Ooh look, a pictureCollapse )
Happy Me

Update????

Sorry I have been negligent updating my journal. Lots have happened in the past few weeks. Here is a brief account.

I finished 3rd in my 10 team fantasy football league. I did pretty well overall, considering I lost 4 of my top 6 draft choices due to injury and one of the two I did have was the underachieving Randy Moss. Luckily, I had Steve Smith and picked up a few good free agents during the season. I scored the most points in the league during the final week, but unfortunately I was playing for third rather than first place. Oh well, there is always next year.

I went fishing with brother Jay on Jan 7/8. It was rather slow, but we did bring in 3 beautiful steelhead on the Smith River near the OR border. One of them was a Smith River beauty of 16 lbs, I had some when we got back and it was marvelous. Much better than salmon. The Smith River is absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful rocky cliffs and majestic redwoods. Jedediah Smith State Park is a must for those of you that haven't yet visited this area. It is a little hard to get to, but it is well worth it.

I have been slightly obsessing with the Alito nomination and have emailed my US senators about it. Something must be done before this administration gets to brand their image on the US for another 2-4 decades. That image, let me opine, is rather conservative and corrupt.

I am presently visiting Auntie Genny and Uncle Sam in Honolulu. Auntie had respiratory failure and a heart problem. I am here for support and to help get the house ready for her to return. She was in the ICU for about two weeks!!! Then after they thought she was getting better, she had a relapse after her first day in rehab. Hopefully, after her final test today, she will be given the green light to go home tomorrow. If anyone has comments or suggestions about COPD, CHF, 70-80% blockage of her left carotid artery, or anything else relevant to a 60 year smoker (or I should now say, former smoker), let me know. The MRI she is having today will be to assess her carotid artery. If it is aproblem, they may want to have surgery.

Hawaii is beautiful and has wonderful people. I've found the Aloha spirit to be alive and thriving, despite the recent negativity and selfcenteredness that has gripped our country. I think it all starts at the top and unfortunately our top looks like a bottom. In other words, our administration is run by asses. In any event, some Hawaiians think they are losing that wonderful Aloha spirit, but other parts of the country never had it and they are going downhill from there. I find myself anticipating drivers' needs and yielding to them. A couple of drivers have cut me off, but I noticed they were haoles (yes, haole is in Webster's 3rd!) that looked like they were right off the boat. Many haoles that live here (probably like davidd) embrace the Aloha spirit. There is much to embrace.

Aloha!!!!!!
  • Current Music
    music of the chirping birds
Happy Me

Happy New Year

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year and a good time relaxing with family and friends this vacation.

We are taking it easy and I'm looking forward to fishing with Brother Jay next week on the Smith River.

Kai had a belated birthday party the other day. The kids ran around the house enjoying air hockey pinball, dodgeball, handball and other activities. Cory helped with the kids and Kendra helped with keeping Yuki company. We had cake and ice cream and all was good.

Last week, I took the boys to Kernville and we fished the Kern River for a couple of days. Cory caught 7 rainbow trout and Kai and I caught another 7 between us. We released most of them and gave away a few to a family that lived on the river. We brought home a few and Cory and I ate them. #14 treble hooks and salmon eggs were the ticket. We met a number of very nice people who were extremely helpful with information about the area and fishing techniques. We had a great time together. Happiness......

We ate New Yera's Eve dinner at Ali Babas and spent a little time at Terry Hinricher and Lori Jacob's. They were nice to have a little party. Thanks Terry and Lori, we appreciate your hospitality.
  • Current Mood
    bouncy bouncy
Happy Me

True Truths

I remember in high school we had an underground newsletter called,"The True Truth". I loved the name.
Anyway, this is a revised form of a comment to another letter in the Star today. I had to run off to cook breakfast so I didn't post it in this form, but it's close.

"Sometimes faith has to give way to facts. At one point we thought the earth was the center of the universe, then scientists came out with facts that convinced us the earth revolved around the sun, and many didn't like it. Those who had faith persecuted those with the facts.

Those with faith now push ID without facts, only guesses. Facts support evolution, and because of that, scientists are not guessing when in their support of evolution.

People can believe what they want to believe, I respect that, I respect beliefs. Just don’t make those beliefs into science and force that on our kids. Just like the earth revolving around the sun was at one time a new truth. Our kids have the important job of teaching us new truths in the future. To discover these new truths, they must be armed with facts, not beliefs."