The Other Donner Party

Jennifer and I just got back from a weekend in Truckee visiting our friends Rick and Kelly. Rick was a co-worker of mine back at Xetex. We have been trying to get together for several months now, especially since they bought a new house there in Truckee. As it turned out they were also celebrating their daughter Alexandra’s first birthday this weekend.We also did a little cross-country skiing while we were there, hitting the trails at the Tahoe Donner resort on Saturday afternoon and the Donner Memorial State Park on Sunday morning. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 50’s. Unfortunately, this led to icy conditions and fog Sunday morning around the lake.

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Look At This Cutie

Well, she did it. She had been threatening to get a hair cut for many many months now and finally scheduled an appointment last weekend. Today, at 3:15pm, the long locks were left behind. Inspired in part by Paige Davis from TLC’s Trading Spaces show, Jennifer found a hairstyle she liked by uploading a picture of herself to the The Hairstyler website and produced a mock-up for the hairstylist to work from. I’ve posted before and after pictures for all to enjoy.

Site Updates

Well, the holidays have pretty much come and gone. I’ve posted a few more photo albums from the trip to Michigan, as well as a few photos I had forgotten I had taken at Rachel and Brian’s wedding rehearsal dinner back in October. I’m testing a new template that I put together using some of the new extensions in the BetterHTMLExport plug-in for iPhoto. Let me know what you think. I’ve also updated the Reading and Music sections based on the gifts I received over the holidays (thanks everyone!).

Electric Desktop

I’ve found a number of web sites over the past few years that have excellent pictures suitable for computer desktops (well, I like them). Here are some of my favorites so far:End EffectMandoluxTazl DesktopsThe desktop images at the following web sites can be hit or miss, but I’ve found a few good ones among the cruft:MacDesktopsMacMonkiesAnd this site has a number of desktops plus links to many other desktop sites:Rampant Mac

Are You Buds With Bin Laden?

There’s a new series of commercials now on the air and produced as part of the Detroit Project proposing that SUV drivers (or more specifically people who drive gas guzzlers) help fund terrorist activities. It’s an interesting take on the effects of the terrible gas milage that these vehicles get. In spite of the fact that the technology exists to produce ultra fuel efficient vehicles, the auto industry has been loath to drop or reduce the production of their cash cow because there is such a demand. SUVs have stopped being Sport Utility Vehicles for a large majority of the population and have become Social Utility Vehicles instead. Their drivers view the vehicles as sexy and/or studly, perhaps because of the attitude they presumably portray – perhaps due to the blatant disregard for the problems they cause? They also tend to be more expensive than smaller cars, thus becoming a status symbol. Others view them as being safer… even though they are more apt to roll-overs and increase the risk of a casualty when a smaller car is involved in an accident (in reality, the quality of the car is more of a factor). And then of course, there is the environmental impact. Some environmentalists have gotten so fed up with SUVs that they have made it their mission raise awareness as well as make owning an SUV a social shame. Which brings us back to the commercials. If the automotive industry will not choose to be more responsible, then the perceptions of the population will need to be altered. If the demand for SUVs decreases, that’ll mean less income for the auto industry. And as we all know, money talks.Personally, I don’t think there’s a problem with owning an SUV if you really need it, i.e. if it is for a legitimate commercial purpose or recreational purpose. You’ll have a tough time towing that boat around with a Yugo. But if it’s purely “just because”, well, all I can say is you’re fair game.

Mac Updates

Updates for two cool Mac software packages have come to my attention. First of all, that Collapse! game that I mentioned in an earlier post is now available for Mac OS X, as is its successor Collapse! II.Also, a new version of the free, extensible web export plug-in for iPhoto called BetterHTMLExport has been released. A few of the new features to 1.6.4 were ones that I asked the author to add (after making a small donation of course): album name and comment now exported; added ability to add custom information to be exported; and several new variables available to templates (nextThumbFileName, previousThumbFileName – based on advice from Ian). I haven’t tried the new update yet, but I will inevitably test it out on one of the new rounds of photos to be uploaded.