Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Don’t Pump Gas At Noon: “Hot Gasoline” Costs US Drivers Over $2.3 Billion a Year

You know gasoline prices are getting bad when it takes a physics lesson to make a point. So today class, we are going to learn why gasoline served “hot” ends up costing motorists as much as $155 milion a year in Arizona and almost $2.5 BILLION nationwide. First some facts:

–The state with the lowest gas temperature, according to federal data, is Minnesota. It has an average fuel temperature of 53 degrees, and its consumers pay $37 million less annually for gas. Source:

Vietnam Sailing Ship

Here it is, the handmade wooden sailing ship brought home from Vietnam. This fine beauty somehow survived the assault it took in the belly of several planes, as the current security measures would not allow me to bring it home carry on.

There was some damage to the base, but nothing a bit of glue would not fix. The real challenge was getting all of the rigging back up without it becoming a tangled mess!

It is even bigger than 'The Rock' but does not even come close in the weight department. How much did it cost you ask? Only $35 dollars. I have vowed to Deb to get an even bigger one next time!

Leaving For Panama

Deb and I are all packed up and heading off on our vacation to Panama. The camera is charged and ready, so if I can get an internet connection I will shoot some photos to the blog. We are leaving just as the finishing touches are being applied to the shop and landscaping. We hope that it will all be done by the time we return. The shop just needs a lock on the door and some final wiring to the furnace and we'll call it done. Landscaping needs plants on the water feature, boarders around all of the plant beds, drill seeded grass to be planted in the backyard and a final clean up for it to be done.

Monday, August 28, 2006

HK admits pollution is hurting business

Hong Kong’s chronic air pollution is hurting business in the territory, a senior government adviser said on Monday in the first official admission that worsening air quality is affecting companies’ investment decisions.

“Up to a year ago [pollution] really hadn’t hit our pocketbook,” said Victor Fung, chairman of the government-backed Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council. “But now people are not coming to Hong Kong to take that job because their kid has asthma,” he said at a briefing.

New York to L.A. in Two Hours

A new generation of supersonic private jets could trigger a boom in luxury high-speed flight -- without the sonic boom normally associated with breaking the sound barrier.

Lockheed Martin's advanced Skunk Works unit is designing a small, 12-seat passenger jet that would travel at 1,200 mph (Mach 1.8) but which would produce only a whisper of the annoying crack once emitted by the retired Concorde.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

How Far Did I Fly?

From: BOI (43°33'52"N 116°13'22"W) To: PDX (45°35'19"N 122°35'51"W) Distance: 344 mi

From: PDX (45°35'19"N 122°35'51"W) To: NRT (35°45'53"N 140°23'11"E) Distance: 4822 mi

From: NRT (35°45'53"N 140°23'11"E) To: SHA (31°11'52"N 121°20'11"E) Distance: 1142 mi

From: SHA (31°11'52"N 121°20'11"E) To: HKG (22°18'32"N 113°54'53"E) Distance: 764 mi

From: HKG (22°18'32"N 113°54'53"E) To: SGN (10°49'08"N 106°39'07"E) Distance: 925 mi

From: SGN (10°49'08"N 106°39'07"E) To: HKG (22°18'32"N 113°54'53"E) Distance: 925 mi

From: HKG (22°18'32"N 113°54'53"E) To: NRT (35°45'53"N 140°23'11"E) Distance: 1842 mi

From: NRT (35°45'53"N 140°23'11"E) To: SFO (37°37'08"N 122°22'30"W) Distance: 5124 mi

From: SFO (37°37'08"N 122°22'30"W) To: PDX (45°35'19"N 122°35'51"W) Distance: 550 mi

From: PDX (45°35'19"N 122°35'51"W) To: BOI (43°33'52"N 116°13'22"W) Distance: 344 mi

That is a total of: 16,783 miles!
More than 33 hours of flying!

Code - Location
BOI - Boise [Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field], ID, US
PDX - Portland [Intl], OR, US
NRT - Tokyo (Narita) [New Tokyo Intl], Honshu, JP
SHA - Shanghai [Hongqiao], CN
HKG - Hong Kong [Intl (Chek Lap Kok)], HK
SGN - Ho Chi Minh City [Tan Son Nhat Intl], VN
SFO - San Francisco [Intl], CA, US

These flight paths where generated using ETOPS.

Er, what is an ETOPS?

ETOPS is an acronym for Extended-Range Twin-Engine Operations.

Without an ETOPS rating, an aircraft with only two engines must be able to get to an airport where it can safely land within 60 minutes if an engine fails in-flight. ETOPS extends this "rule time" to 90 minutes or more, up to a maximum of 180 minutes. Obtaining an ETOPS rating requires certification of the reliability of an airframe/engine combination as well as an airline's flight operations and maintenance. Usually extra equipment is required as well, such as additional backup systems for electrical power. ETOPS does not require over-water equipment (e.g., life rafts) or additional fuel tanks, though these are usually required for the typical missions of ETOPS-rated aircraft.

Some pilots claim ETOPS really means:

"Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim."

From Above

Note: Most of the shots below are zoomed in croppings of much larger images, so if you view time full screen they will not be very clear.

Somewhere in Shanghai. This is a cloudless day, so the 'fog' you see is smog! This is how most of China looks, covered in constant pollution.

Shanghai Construction

Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Taiwan coastline

Time for some Tai Chi in Shanghai

Good To Be Home!

It was a tough 28 hours, but it's over! I made it home at around 5:00pm Boise time yesterday. I managed to shower, eat and walk the yard before I crashed at 7:30. Now, here I am at 4 in the morning rested and wondering why the rest of the world is sound asleep?

Security was quite robust as soon as I started to get on planes heading even remotely in the direction of the United States. It started in Hong Kong with a full body pat down, any carry on thoroughly searched, and then searched again before boarding the plane! I had my laptop swabbed for explosive residue, and was forced to check my Vietnam wooden ship the whole way home. The ship made it home though, with some minor damage to the stand that can easily be fixed with some Elmer's glue. All in all, I thought that the airports did a good job making sure the flights were safe and I had no worries.

It feels strange to not have humidity! For the last 2 weeks I have been perpetually wet! Humidity ran at 90 percent or higher the entire trip, often with temperatures 85 to 95 degrees. I sweated in places you didn't know could sweat. Between your fingers, top of your hands, behind your ears, they all can do it, you just need air as thick as yogurt to make it happen. It seems odd to be sitting here in the dark by an open window letting in a cool dry breeze. Hell, I even have a blanket wrapped around me! 48 hours ago I was sitting in a Hotel with the A/C set to as low as it would go, fan on high and I couldn't see out the window because of the condensation on the outside of the glass!

Mishra has been my constant companion since I arrived home and even now she appears to be proof reading everything I type. The problem is, she also reaches out with a paw from time to time pressing on the keyboard to add some extra letters. And since I have digressed into random musings, might I also mention this. Hard wood floors are living beasts! I have the window open in the dining room letting in a 55 degree breeze here at 4 in the morning. About every 5 minutes as the floor cools the contracting wood will give off a loud snap that if you don't know what it is will wake you up and cause you to walk the house looking for an intruder. I just got up from my typing and walked around on the floor to a symphony of loud pops and snaps so I can type in peace for the next half hour.

I am off to start cleaning up the next round of photos to be posted.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We Might Have A Problem...

Here I sit in Japan waiting to catch my delayed flight to San Francisco. This delay has a strong chance of trapping me in San Fran with no hope of getting home until Sunday! How much this sucks can not be properly described because even if I don't get stuck, it will take me over 24 hours to get home!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Heading Back To Hong Kong

Sitting here at the airport waiting for the flight back to H.K. It has been a good trip in Ho Chi Minh City with lots of good photos. Very hot and sticky here so far! Laundry will be the first thing on my list as soon as I hit the Hotel tonight.

Oh, I bought a ship... A large hand made wooden ship with sails and everything! The masts fold down so the whole thing fits in a box and I can get it home. It is still going to be a challenge to get in the overhead, but after the 'Rock" from last time I feel I am up to the challenge!

I am off to eat some strange food here in the lounge and then board the plane.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Company Claims To Have Developed New Technology That Provides Unlimited Free Energy

From The Article:

“We are under no illusions that there will be a lot of cynicism out there about our proposition, as it currently challenges one of the basic principles of physics. However, the implications of our technology go far beyond scientific curiosity: addressing many urgent global needs including security of energy supply and zero emission energy production. In order for these benefits to be achieved, we need the public validation and endorsement of the scientific community”.

“We’re playing our part in making that happen by throwing down the gauntlet with today’s announcement – now it’s over to the scientists to ensure that the real potential and benefits of our technology can be realised.”

Vietnam Photo Flood

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Nice Hotel In Shanghai...

As long and you don't want to brush your teeth!

Hello From Ho Chi Minh City!

Just arrived in Ho Chi Minh and all is well. This stop is for 2 days, with the goal of buying large planter pots for next summer. I have already consumed a Vietnamese Iced Coffee, which is a brew of very strong esspresso and sweetened condensed milk over ice. Very strong and really good! As usual the van ride from the airport to the hotel made for some great photos and I expect to get quite a few while I am here in Vietnam. I have almost finished the lightning storm video and will upload it when I get a chance.

As usual, my desire to update my blog is directly related to how much interest (that means comments) I get from you all! So, I'll leave it up to you...

Shanghai People

Cool Bandwidth Test

Pretty slick way to test your internet speed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Monster Lightning And Thunder Last Night!

Around 1:00 am last night (Hong Kong Time) I was launched out of bed by the sound of Thunder. I held my hand to the window during the storm, the concussions were amazingly powerful! Quite scary actually! It was an amazing show out of my 17th floor window as the rain poured down and the sky flashed continuously. I did shoot some video with my camera, and If I get a chance tonight I will add that to my photo flood. Things are going well, health is good, fatigue level is starting to get better as my body begins to understand that this is just the way it is going to be for awhile. Off to lunch for me now.

Shanghai Photo Flood Soon!

A break in the work pattern should allow me the time to upload more photos soon. It is once again time for Moon Cake here in China. Booths are set up everywhere in China to sell this bean cake for the upcoming festival. This lady wanted out of the frame in a bad way! I did ask her if I could take her picture, she said 'yes', and then she seems to have had second thoughts. Now that her photo has been posted on a very successful blog for the world to see... Bean cake sales should TRIPLE!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Greetings From Shanghai

It is currently 5:00pm here in China and I am in the Dragon Air Business lounge waiting for yet another delayed flight into Hong Kong. Very hot and humid here today. I have consumed no less than 6 bottled waters so far! I am feeling good and look forward to a full night of sleep tonight. Last night was a tad rough with the up every hour pattern that my body insisted on. I have shot some photos and will try to post them in the next 24 hours. I will spend 2 nights in Hong Kong and then head to Vietnam. Off to find some food...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tired And Cranky!

Well it is 2:00 am to me and that makes it 5:00 pm here in Japan. Flight was smooth, food was good, but I could not sleep as usual. Once again I am in the NW Lounge watching big planes take off and land. I watched "RV" starring Robin Williams. It was stupid funny with a couple of laugh out loud parts. After that I watched "Over The Hedge." Great animated movie and one I will want to buy on DVD. Next leg to Shanghai leaves in about 20 minutes so I must go...

Until next time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Starting The Journey!

I am currently sitting in the NWA business lounge waiting for my flight to head to Narita, Japan and then onto Shanghai, China. When you all get up tomorrow morning at 7:00am I will be getting off of the airplane in China... So sleep well! As usual I will do my best to keep you all up to date on my adventures. If there is an internet connection, I'll get something posted.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fires In The Hills

Storm Packs Powerful Punch, Knocks Out Power To Thousands

BOISE -- A major storm moved through the Treasure Valley tonight, uprooting trees, knocking over power lines and started dozens of fires from Ontario to Mountain Home.

Power is out across the Treasure Valley. Idaho Power says about 52,000 customers are without electricity. That represents 144 individual outages. Most of the outages were caused by downed power lines and trees into power lines. Crews are working to get power on again, but a spokesman says it may be several days before all the power is restored.

Fire Trucks Head To Fire

Fire Trucks have just gone by the main road behind the house heading to a fire visible with the binoculars off of the back deck. About 3 miles away. Getting larger as I watch it.

Weather Graph Of Wind Storm

I-84 Closed At Nampa

House Takes A Pounding!

It went from blue skys to a raging dust storm in a matter of seconds! Winds from 50 to 55 mph ripped over the house from left to right if you are standing in front of it. Hot tub lid ripped off, ceiling fan destroyed up on covered deck, all door mats are gone, all newly planted trees are now leaning, debris everywhere! I did get out and shoot some video and will post as soon as I can.

We are fine, Mishra is fine.

Currently the smoke from all of the fires have blackened the sky and the smell is very strong. News is breaking into standard programming to report the effects.

Will keep you posted.

Massive Wind Storm Slams Boise!

Major storms move through Valley!

A major storm front is moving across the Valley at this hour.

Here's what we know- A fatal accident in Nampa near the Karcher Exit has forced the closure of Interstate 84 both directions. Police are letting people off the freeway at Karcher Road. Zero visibility is making driving dangerous.

A fire is burning in Middleton, and crews tell us it is "getting away from them." It started in a hay stack and moved in to a garage. Viewers tell us it has consumed "several acres."

Dozens of trees have fallen down across roads, and debris is a problem in Boise and elswehere. Wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour were reported in Boise around 8 p.m.

A viewer reports a fire in Columbia Village at Yamhill and E. Lake Forest.

Ada County Dispatch has limited all traffic to emergency only.

Viewers report a large fire near New Hope Road in Star.

High winds have caused numerous power outages across the Valley

There is word of a fire burning behind the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. No other details were available.

There is also report of a fire at Sandy Point.

Monster Typhoon Crushes China

Oh, just thought I would remind you all that I will be leaving for China on Tuesday for 12 days. I just want to make sure I am not forgetting anything. Lets see, code red terrorist alert... Check. Super Typhoon... Check. Bird Flu... Check.

Nope, I got it all!

Did I Mention The Mosquitoes?

BOISE -- West Nile concerns now have the attention of the governor.

The latest number of human West Nile cases in Idaho has climbed to 132. Of those, 34 are from Ada County. (We live in Ada County.)

Eleven of those infected have serious neuro-invasive forms of the virus. The numbers have prompted Ada County commissioners to declare a state of emergency.

The commissioners met to hear the data this afternoon about the numbers of mosquitoes in Ada County that actually carry the virus, and the growing number of people who have contracted the virus.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Flight Home

1:50 am: Board plane again, listen to the safety rules again.

2:00 am: Plane leaves Seattle.

2:15 am: Cabin dark, most people sleeping, somewhere around 20,000 feet and still climbing. Right engine (yup, the one they had been working on) suddenly revs up quickly and with great noise, plane wobbles noticeably as pilot reacts.

"What were those safety rules again?!"

2:15:10 am: Everyone is WIDE awake now and you can hear some people making panic noises and some sobbing. I don't feel death is eminent at this point but sleep is now out of the question.

2:15:20 am: Engine is now beginning to spool down. I look down the aisle and the flight attendant is sitting straight up in her jump seat with an "Oh shit" look on her face. I draw what comfort I can from her professional opinion and continue to crane my head in the window to somehow see what is causing the engine excitement.

2:15:30 am: Both engines now sound the same and the plane flys straight and level. Chatter is contagious as everyone speaks their concerns to who ever is next to them. We all look to the flight attendant, waiting for the next surprise the plane has planned for us.

2:17 am: "Good morning from the flight deck. You might have noticed an increase in the rpm's in the right engine about 3 minutes ago. This was an engine recalibration and is completely normal. I'm sure some of you might be concerned with our recent service delay, but there are no problems and we should arrive in Boise at 3:30 am. Thank you for flying Horizon."

2:18 am: Service carts are being prepped for drink service. Three loud dings and a chat on the phone later. "We are sorry but the captain has asked us to cancel beverage service due to expected turbulence on our way to Boise. Thank you for your understanding."

3:20 am: After much chop and engine revs up and down we land in Boise to deplane in the 82 degree heat. I contemplate updating the blog when I get home, but I am too tired.

Welcome To Tomorrow

I sit and watch the men working on the plane. I and many other sleepy people, sick of chocolate bars, the book we've been reading for too long, and the fact that our asses have fallen asleep, wander around the terminal looking "done.".

I notice that many "old" men are doing better than I am! They almost seem energized by the fact that things are just not going as planned. I think that plans should go "as planned" and my plan was to be well into a deep sleep by now. Now some people are not letting a simple thing like being stuck in an airport interupt their sleeping patterns. In fact as I look around I see many "attractive" people in various stages of sleep. The most beautiful people have their mouths open, so we all can enjoy the view!

Soothing music is being played to keep us calm, which seems to be working so far. From time to time however a loud ding goes off, followed by "an update" that they are still working on the airplane. This service is being discussed in whispers however as we all can obviously see that they are still working on the airplane... through the big friggen plate glass window!

I now hold in my hand a 6 dollar food voucher, which would be great if any place where you could buy food was still open. I also received a 25 dollar coupon good for any Horizon flight I may wish to suffer through in the future.

Oh, I almost forgot the children! They, not bound by the laws of civility are screaming their distaste at being kept up so late.

Well I will keep you posted as usual.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Travel Hell Day

All I want to do is get home. Just a simple trip from Sacramento to Boise. I started at 4:00pm and it is now 11:00. I am currently sitting with all of the engines turned off while mechanics look at the plane. The day has been riddled with "slight delays" that then turn into "rescheduling events.". I am blogging as the engines turn on and then off, rinse and repeat. When the engines are off the plane begins to heat up quickly, it is quite a treat! People are beginning to get that "attitude" that goes with being stuck on a small, hot, "The rest rooms are currently closed, please remain in your seats with your seat belts securely fastened, thank you for your understanding," plane sitting out on the tarmac.

I will update this post as things develope.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

F1 vs Ferrari vs Fiat

Three cars race against each other but the Fiat and the Ferrari 360 Modena are both given headstarts against the Formula 1.

The Next 15 Days

Hmmm, I wonder if it will stay hot over here in Idaho?

Shipping Containers As Homes?

Time To Change The Locks?

Landscaping Progress

15 boards of sod.

A whole bunch of guys.

Makes a yard.

Flowering Cherry by the front door.

Where the boulders live.

Later this week a flag stone path will be put in between the house and the shop.

The World Of Rock Placement

Who knew?

Two tons a boulder.

Load them onto the truck.
Time to plant the boulders!

This Weeks Project!

Nope, It's Not Over Yet!
Large berm, trees, water feature and grass go here.

Large berm, boulders, trees, and grass go here.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Idiot Of The Month

Shop Update

Sheetrock has arrived and awaits the installers.

Walls are insulated.

Shop sports a new paint job.

Landscaping has begun!

On your way to the front door. The hose sticking out of the ground will hook up to a drip line to water each plant and tree.

Many trucks and men show up to begin transforming our dust bowl into a green landscaped yard.

More sod and a berm. {an earthen embankment or wall, usually erected to provide protection from the weather or act as a landscaping screen.} Since Idaho is so flat, the big thing to do is make a rounded pile of dirt, plant some rocks and bushes in it and call it a berm!

We now have sprinklers! They spent 2 days setting them up to cover the whole acre. Next comes laying the sod.

Boulders for the front yard. Next time you see a boulder, really stop and take time to enjoy it, maybe even give it a hug... One thousand dollars for six!

Giant pile of rock brought in to fill the swail in the front yard along the road. Apparently Idaho does not get much rain, but what they do it comes down hard and fast.