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Monthly Archives: May 2006

Check it out

I’ve been working on a video for the St. Dom’s Young Adult Coffee House. Check out this intro that I put together. I’m still working on the other elements of the video, but this is the completed introduction.

Categories: General | 1 Comment

NDtv on the Move

For those of you who aren’t regular visitors to the NDtv website, I wanted to let you know that you’re really missing out! NDtv has been growing astronomically since I left them just over two years ago now. Wow… graduation was May 16, 2004, can you believe that? It’s true – two years and two days ago.
Anyhow, NDtv is really making me proud. I can’t say how pleased I am with all of the progress they have made. And much of the thanks must really go to Adam Fairholm, my hand-picked successor. I’ve mentioned Adam before in this blog, but I think he deserve some recognition again. Great work Adam! Keep it up.
NDtv was recently featured in a very positive article in ND Works, the Notre Dame Faculty magazine. You can read the article by clicking here. Now, to be honest, I’m not sure the article is entirely true when it claims that NDtv has become such a wild success that people just can’t get enough of it. Perhaps it is, but if that’s the case, I find myself asking why more people don’t turn up for the special broadcasts of Late Night ND hosted at Legends.
But it is certainly true that NDtv is growing. Only two years ago I left it as a tender bud, delicate and oh so fragile. One false step and it could have been uprooted entirely. I’m sure I mentioned it before, but I was honestly afraid that NDtv would collapse upon my departure – that is, until I met Adam. When Adam showed up and got involved my senior year, I knew that he was the guy who had to carry NDtv forward. It was awesome because he was only a freshman at the time, so here was someone who could really help NDtv grow for three years. As it turns out, he needed less than two turn NDtv around into a young media empire. They moved from a broom closet in the basement of South Dining Hall into comparatively palatial new digs in Washington Hall – something which I had helped promote during my tenure as Executive Producer. Beyond that, they even made the big move from local access cable to their own campus cable station with 24-hour broadcasting capabilities. That was something else I had been envisioning. In fact, I sent Adam an e-mail during my last few weeks at Notre Dame telling him how, when that day came, he would have the women swarming around him because of his power and influence over the campus community. I think Adam is just too modest to admit that my prediciton turned out to be accurate. Having their own station and studio really gave NDtv the boost that it needed to become a great media outlet on campus. Under Adam’s amazing guidance, the programming line-up has been expanded many-fold from the twice-monthly program we produced when I started NDtv, active student involvement has grown, and the quality has improved dramtically.
Though Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, I can’t help but feel a little proud when I see just where NDtv has gone. I am thrilled to, in some way, have left a lasting mark at Notre Dame, and grateful to Adam for his willingness – no, more than that, his ardor – to carry it forward and bring it to the cusp of greatness.

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As the fog rolls in…

The weather here in San Francisco has been wonderful for the past several weeks. Over this past weekend, it was about 75 degrees in the city, which is uncommonly warm. Resports from certain sections of the city even went as high as the low 80s, but we certainly didn’t see temperatures like that in the Richmond.
It has been nice to have warm and sunny weather. Basically the entire month of March and the first part of April was rainy, so it was good to have a little bit of a change. But the days are starting to grow cooler and I saw the first wisps of fog this morning, and we all know what that means… Summer in San Francisco has started.
Contrary to popular belief, California isn’t always warm and sunny, not even during the summers. In fact, summer in San Francisco can be, at times, downright dismal. It is not uncommon for the high temperature to be only somewhere in the 50s. Not frigid, of course, but certainly not pleasant. And the sun is a rare sight during a San Francisco summer. One nice thing, I suppose, is that I work in the East Bay where temperatures tend to be a little warmer and there tends to be a little more sun. Truthfully, I enjoy a good rainstorm, or a nice foggy day, but I also don’t want to have fog for three months straight. But it seems that might be what I have to look forward to.
On a side note, my social calendar is filling up very rapidly. I’m booking things about a month or even two out now, so if you were hoping to get something on my social calendar, I either have to REALLY like you or you’ll have to wait a month or two. I’ll be putting up a “Request for Social Access” on this site soon for those of you who want to get together with me.
P.S. I’m not serious about putting up an online request form, but I am serious about having a very full calendar. :-)

Categories: A Day in the Life | Comments Off

A Hipster Grandma

I spent most of the day doing household chores yesterday. Saturday night I went to a farewell party for my friend Shane at Priory West. Shane is getting married in August and he and his fiancee, Leilani, just bought a condo in Foster City. Shane is moving to the new condo this coming Sunday, and Leilani will be moving in after the wedding in August. Anyhow, that party and the post-party festivities kept me out up until about 3:30 a.m., so I slept until nearly 11 a.m. on Sunday, but once I was up, I spent most of the day cleaning the apartment, as I said already.
The worst offender, by far, was the kitchen. There were dishes and foodstuffs that had been left sitting out – or worse, hiding – since Easter. It was pretty ridiculous. I gave the kitchen a full service cleaning, starting with all of the dirty dishes, then doing a complete clean of the countertops and the stove, and then mopped the floor. The kitchen floors had never been mopped since we moved in, actually, and who knows how long it had been before that. Needless to say, the floor was filthy, and the water in the mop bucket evidenced that fact.
When the cleaning was done, the kitchen looked better than I remember it looking in a long time. Dishes weren’t piled up in the sink, pots and pans full of three-day old food weren’t left sitting on the counter, the blender/food processor was put away, there was no more splattered oil and pasta sauce all over the stove, food derbis wasn’t scattered about the floor, and trash wasn’t just lying around on the counters and kitchen table. It looked great, but something was missing.
I decided that it would be best to permanently free up a little counter space by moving the toaster oven. At Easter we “temporarily” moved the toaster oven into the dining room using a table from my bedroom, but I decided that I wanted to move it out of the dining room back into the kitchen to free up my table. Originally we had the toaster setup on the counter, but with the microwave there as well, we had virtually no room for food prep. So I headed out to look for a wire shelving unit for the kitchen. I headed to Bed, Bath & Beyond where I was almost certain I would find something. No luck! It is the first time in memory that they have let me down. So off to Sears I went.
Now Sears was in a different place than Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I headed off if my car. Along the way, I came to a stop at a light just before getting on the freeway. I looked to my right and noticed a car with spinning rims. “Ridiculous,” I thought ot myself. Spinning rims are silly and ghetto, if you ask me. I looked into the car expecting to see some “too cool for school” type guy, but was shocked to see a grandma! I was stunned. What in the world is a grandma doing driving a car with spinning rims? I lauged the rest of the way to Sears.
Now, surely, I thought, Sears would have a simpe kitchen shelving unit. It turns out I was wrong on that count, as well. Interestingly, Sears actually had almost exactly what I was looking for, except it wasn’t for sale. They were using metal shelves to display all of the housewares. I asked if they actually sold such carts, but was told, “No.” The sales associate, though, confided that they had actually just bought the shelves from Target which was just down the way in the mall.
I made my way to Target and looked around. You think they would organize things a little better there. It took me about 16 minutes to find the chrome shelving unit I was looking for. I even asked an employee where to find them and was directed to the completely wrong level of the store. Ironically, when I asked the employee where they were I was only two isles away from the correct, but unsigned, location. Alas.
I made my purchase and headed home.
I put the shelf together last night just before watching the end of a movie from Netflix, “After the Thin Man.” It looks good. It is a 3-shelf unit, with the toaster oven on the top and plenty of space for dry goods and other kitchen essentials.

Categories: A Day in the Life | Comments Off

Happy Mother’s Day!

I just wanted to wish my mom a very Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!

Categories: A Day in the Life | 3 Comments

Parking Meters of Berkeley

Friends, let my experience with the Berkeley parking meters today be a warning to you all! The parking meters in Berkeley are terrible. I drove into work for the first time today because I had dinner plans in Berkeley this evening and I didn’t want to have to worry about BART and the bus late at night – very inconvenient. Unfortunately, I don’t have a UC parking pass, so I had to park on the street. It wasn’t a big deal – classes aren’t in session so there was parking to be found. Unfortunately, the parking meters in Berkeley are less than ideal. I pulled up to a meter, dropped in a quarter and got my 20 minutes. Glad that my meter was working, I popped in two more quarters, and noticed that I still had 20 minutes. The two quarters didn’t work! Bizarre, I thought, so I pulled my car back into the spot directly behind my original, and popped a quarter into the meter. Nothing… it just sat there blinking “-0:00″ at me. Thinking maybe the quarter got stuck or something, I gave the meter a gentle thump on the side. Well, that made SOMETHING happen, but not the something I wanted. The meter started to blink “FAIL” at me. Great, another broken meter.
In Berkeley, if your meter is blinking “FAIL” you are allowed to park there for free up to the length of time permitted by the meter. In this case, it was 2 hours. I was kind of happy about this because it meant my first two hours would cost me only $1 (the 75 cents from meter one, plus the quarter I lost in meter 2). I went about my merry way, and then decided to go out and move my car a few minutes early. I got to my car at 10:26 a.m. and what should I discover but a parking ticket! I looked at the meter, and it was no longer blinking “FAIL;” rather, it was blinking “-0:00.” This was not acceptable. I dropped some quarters into the meter (it worked this time) and then set about contesting the parking ticket. I wrote up a letter about why the citation was invalid and then walked it the two blocks to the City of Berkeley Transportation Finance Office. I dropped off my request for an Administrative Review and was told that I might hear from them by June 15.
At least, I figured, I was now parked at a working meter. Boy was I fooling myself! The meter worked fine for a few hours, but come about 2:30 I went to feed the meter and…. nothing. It wouldn’t add any more time, it just ate my money. What a rip off! Not wanting to get another ticket I elected to move my car. I moved it around to a third meter just around the corner, fed the meter and…. it worked! Yes, a good meter, I thought. All was well with this third meter for the first 90 minutes or so. After 90 minutes, though, when I went to feed the meter again… it ate my first two coins, then accepted the third, and then on the fourth coin the meter broke and started blinking “FAIL.” I decided it wasn’t worth my effort to move the car to another meter, but it also wasn’t worth the risk of getting another ticket to let the car sit, so I decided to drive about three-quarters of a mile away to some free parking where I left my car for the rest of the afternoon.
Apparently parking meters are causing serious trouble in Berkeley. Many of them are broken or have been vandalized. Some people have even gone so far as to create official looking “Out of Order” signs to hang on meters in order to get free parking! It’s pretty ridiculous. It is estimated that 99% of meters in the city of San Francisco work properly. In Berkeley? About 30% work correctly.

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

Who was more generous?

Today is graduation day at UC Berkeley. That means that classes are over and it’s time for summer break. What am I going to do with my three months of summer? Oh wait, that’s right… I work here, I don’t get a summer break. My how I do miss a good summer break. It almost makes me want to become a professional student just so I can have summers off. Or maybe a teacher of some kind… perhaps down the road, just perhaps.
Speaking of graduation, as at many Universities, Notre Dame included, it is customary for the Cal senior class to leave a gift to their new Alma Mater. At Cal, this has been the tradition since 1874, when the senior class left a gift of $48.10 for Books. $48.10, you ask? That’s a tiny sum! Perhaps it sounds a tiny sum. After all, if the Class of 2006 left that gift, with a predicted donor base of 1800 students, it would represent a generous contribution of only 2.67 cents per graduating senior. The goal of this year’s senior class is to raise $60,000 for Cal, an average of just over $33.33 per student.
Now it’s time to have some fun with numbers – you know how I love math.
The question is this – assuming that this year’s class reaches its goal of $60,000, which class was more generous? First, it is important to realize that the value of $1 in 1874 and the value of $1 in 2006 are very different. A quick Google search yielded a wonderful table of conversion factors to convert 2006 dollars into dollars of any year starting in 1800 (and estimated values into 2016), and vice versa. Looking at this table, I discovered that $1 in 2006 is equivalent to about 5.9 cents in 1874. If you’re working ahead of me here, you’ll already have calculated, then, that $48.10 in 1874 is roughly equivalent to $815.25 in 2006. Wow, still not very much, right? $815 vs $60,000?
But there’s more to the story. This year’s senior class has over 1,800 students. How large was the class in 1874? I asked myself this question, and set out to find an answer. It took me about 3 minutes to discover that the graduating class of 1873 had 12 students. I conservatively estimated that the class of 1874, then, would have had about 14 students. It could have been more or less, but not by much. At 14 students, each would have given $3.44, which is equivalent to $58.23 in 2006 dollars. Adjusting for class size, we see that this would require the Class of 2006 to raise $104,818 to be only just as generous as the Class of 1874.
Way to go, Class of 1874!

Categories: Commentary | 1 Comment

Color Theory


by Jose Maria Parramon

I find the physics of light and color fascinating. And when you have an artist as a roommate you get to hear a lot about colors and their properties. Mike and I were talking about colors one day not too long ago and he handed me this book. This is a quick and easy book, it took me about an hour to read the whole thing. Did I read each and every word on each and every page? No, but I read it closely enough to have a better understanding of some of the different properties of colors and how they interact.
Everyone grows up learning that the three primary colors are Red, Yellow and Blue. In some way, this is true, but in reality, the “primary” colors all depend on the medium. Are we talking about light or paint? The computer age has replaced the color yellow with green (RGB color space) because red, green and blue are the primary additive colors. Light has an additive property – the more color you put in, the lighter the resulting color. Mix these three colors equally, and you get white. But any kid can tell you that mixing red, yellow (or green) and blue crayons won’t give you white! The physics behind this is called subtractive color. Since we can’t paint with light – except on the computer, kind of – a whole new process of color mixing has been developed by artists over the centuries. The new “primary colors” for an artist, then, cyan, magenta and yellow, which are complementary colors to red, green and blue, respectively.
“Color Theory” is written primarily for painters and other color artists, but I found it to be a very easy to understand exploration of how humans perceive color and how various colors interact. For example, while it is theoretically possible to create all the colors of the rainbow with the three primary colors (along with white and black), the technical application borders on impossible due to what this book calls the “gray trap.”
Unless you are an artist, this is probably not a book worth buying, but if you find it at a local library or have a friend that owns a copy, I would recommend spending an hour or so with this book just for the intellectual thrill.

Categories: Reviews | Comments Off

To Sell or Not to Sell?

Gas prices have been on the rise for the past few years, and the past several months have seen astronomical jumps in the price per gallon. Here in San Francisco, fuel prices are unimaginable. The average price per gallon in San Francisco has increased by nearly 50 cents in the past month, and by a full $1.40 since January of 2005. Whereas it used to cost me about $30 to fill my tank, my visit to the gas station on Friday ran me a full 33% higher – $40. And this is just for regular gasoline. Here is a chart that tracks gas price in San Francisco since I moved here in November of 2004.

gaschart.png

Unfortunately, it appears that there is no end in sight to this upward trend. A recent Business Week article claims that certain stations in San Francisco have topped $4 per gallon for premium-grade fuel. Disturbingly, Guy Barnes, president of Fast-Ad, one of the companies that produces the gas station pricing signs that we have all come to dread, say that his company has been receiving a growing number of orders for sign numbers stamped with a giant “4″ and a decimal point! Does this really mean that we will soon see the average price in San Francisco hit or top $4 per gallon? Analysts in this same issue of Business Week predict that it is possible for gas to reach as much as $6 per gallon as the U.S. average. Considering that San Francisco is typically above the US average by at least 30 cents, that means San Francisco could be facing $6.30 – $6.50 per gallon, or more.

The costs to keep a car in San Francisco are high enough without having to worry about the gas prices being so high. I pay $1,200 a year just to park my car at home. If I drove to work and parked there (which I don’t), you would have to tack on another $1,032 per year. On top of parking charges, there is also insurance, regular maintenance, repairs, amd of course, fuel. Thankfully, being on the newer side, I haven’t had to have any major repair work done on my own car. I estimate the cost to keep a car in the city of San Francisco for an average person to be close to, if not just over, $6,000 per year. Drop this by $1,000 if people don’t have to pay to park at work.

So the question is, should I keep my car? I have stopped driving it because the cost of gas is so high and it is only slightly less convenient to take public transit to and from work. It takes a little longer to take the bus and BART, but at least I can read while commuting instead of being stuck behind the wheel. If I sold my car, sure, I’d have to find some alternative method of getting to and from the grocery store, but why not just buy a $1,000 motor scooter. Those things are sufficient to get you around town, and cost a lot less to park, insure and maintain. I’ll have to seriously consider whether or not it’s worth keeping this car.

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

An Ambassador of Christ

I’ve been away from this for too long, I know. There is just so much grace in this world that I often want to sit back and enjoy it, soak it all in! Of course, this is selfish, I know, so I am once again turning my attentions to this blog, that it might have some small impact on your lives this day. I have so many wonderful things to write, to share with all of you! I pray that the Spirit will send me the words to communicate these things to you over the coming weeks.

Last week I attended the first presentation in a month-long series about living as a Catholic in the world. How important a job it is that we have as the Children of God! Some people misunderstand the Christian life, viewing it as impossible – God expects perfection they say. But this is not the case. God knows that we aren’t a perfect people, God knows that we will sin. Yes, we are called to turn from sin and to live a holy life in service of God and his will, but this is not an expectation of perfection, it is merely an invitation to strive for it.

Remember this: as Catholics, we are part of the BODY OF CHRIST! Lumen Gentium, one of the Dogmatic Constitutions of the Catholic Church, says this about our role as laity in the world, “These faithful are by baptism made on body with Christ and are constitutes among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly function of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.” This means that, regardless of whether or not we feel worthy to be members of Christ’s body, we are! As members of Christ’s body, then, we are called to live a life in service of others.

Those of you who attended Holy Thursday Mass will remember the celebration of the Washing of the Feet. The washing of the disciple’s feet by Christ is told in John 13:1-20. In this passage, Christ, even though he is God, humbles himself by washing the feet of his Apostles. This act is more than a gesture of kindness, it is a challenge – a commandment – that we do the same for others:

You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you
ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you,
you should also do.

Remember, the Apostles weren’t perfect, and yet, here they are, served by our Lord and Savior, and called to take the message of God’s love to all the world. Christ came not to be served, but to serve! And he calls us to do the same. We are called, each and every one of us, to be an Ambassador of Christ’s love to the world. “But I’m a sinner,” you might say, “I am not worthy of the love of Christ, and I can’t possibly be Christ for others!” Wrong! You are the perfect person to be Christ for others. Sin is a perfectly normal aspect of the human condition. If we were completely without sin, there would have been no need for the salvation that Christ has made possible through His death. Christ has saved us from the POWER of sin – but this is not to say that he has eliminated sin from the world.

Forget not that the Apostles, themselves, were sinners. Peter drew his sword against the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear, and he later denied Christ three times. But these sins did not in any way diminish the love Christ had for Peter, nor the responsibility that Peter had to bring Christ’s love to the world. To say that our sinfulness makes it impossible for us to be the love of Christ for the world is to let sin rule our lives! Do not let your sin control you, because to allow this is to turn away from the salvation that Christ suffered to secure for you. The love Christ has for YOU is boundless – it is a love that took Him even to His death, the painful death of a criminal.

Many of us may be scared or hesitant to accept the love the Christ offers us. We can’t help but think that we can’t possibly be worthy. Surely God doesn’t mean to love ME. Surely His love is better offered to someone else. But He does love you, and this love brings with it so many wonderful gifts. But it also brings responsibility. It brings the responsibility, as I have outlined above, to be Christ to others. But this responsibility is not a burden, my brothers and sisters! It is the most magnificent privilege you could ever possibly imagine. It is a privilege that exceeds any other you could ever imagine for yourself. You are called to bring God to others. To bring Christ to others. To bring the Spirit of the Lord to others. This is the greatest gift in the world, and it is yours to bring to others. Oh the joy! God lavishes His love upon you and calls to you, “Child! Even one drop of this love is sufficient to sustain the world. Take, then, this infinite supply, and give as much as you can to every person you encounter.” God gives us more love than we could ever possibly need. And he gives to us freely. Even in our sin God loves us. He forgives us our sins. He calls us always back into His loving arms and gives us another infiniate supply of his healing love.

God’s love is in your heart and in your life. Turn not away from that love. Accept the love that he gives to you, and live in that love. If you choose to live in the love of God you will never want for anything else in this life, for everything that you need will be provided for you. Accept God’s love, be God’s love, live in God’s love!

I love you all!

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