Hard Times Good Times

It was bad enough that the economic crisis crippled many private pension plans, 401ks, etc.. In many cases owners of these plans were partly to blame, ignoring the basis (or lack of it) for the extraordinary returns accumulating in their accounts; they blithely sat back and let the good times roll, hopefully right into retirement. In other cases, where retirement plans were managed by professional money managers, investors relied on them to keep their nest egg growing but at the same time safe from severe loss. In any case it all crashed like a house of cards. Paying for your own mistakes is one thing, but if you live in Hungary or Poland or certain other places, the government is now talking about seizing private pension plans [1] – what’s left of them – to pay for the State’s mistakes. I know what you’re thinking, that can’t happen here. Not in the U S of A, right? I’m not so sure, but in any case I’m merely a dog, one lacking any kind of nest egg, but if such a thing were to be considered here I can well imagine that the word target would be widely used in a whole new set of contexts.

While we wait for the apocalypse,  Mom got out for a ski today under 1-Airedale power. No not with me, rather a girly girl named Gypsy, the sweet companion of our friends Mark & Judith. There’s enough snow in the mountains to make for nice skiing, but here in the city we’re well below our annual average this time of year. Or so it seems. Later, on their way to the date night venue mom captured a moose munching on a Mountain Ash on a major downtown street. Moose are ubiquitous in the Anchorage bowl, but seeing one downtown is a bit unusual. When they get hungry they can get desperate. I still can’t get my head around how a 1-2 thousand pound herbivore can subsist, especially through winter, on branches, twigs and a few frozen berries. I miss breakfast and I’m not myself the rest of the day.

Pictures (Ski jour, downtown moose, date night beauties). Ciao.

1. Hat tip Improved Clinch via Instapundit

New Software and Look ‘n Feel

Sexy, ain’t it?

In fact, I strove to keep it similar to the previous look ‘n feel. White, clean, deliberately lean and uncluttered. I’d been using the Radio Userland blog software which served us mightily since 2003, but alas it was time to move forward.

Welcome WordPress!

Note also the addition to the Cycling Pages (sidebar). The Northern California tour Master ‘n Mom took late last year. Cheesy as usual.

Repair Update

For those of you who have e-mailed to let me know the Java applet at the Italy bike link (see Cycling Pages) is broken, and are desperate for a dose of nostalgia, Master has fixed the problem and it is once again functional. The applet requires you have the Java Runtime Environment installed and properly associated with your browser. You should safely ignore any warnings or cautions that may appear prior to the applet loading. Here at Rod’s Alter Ego we are above pretension and legerdemain. We will never attempt to steal your identity, your credit card information, or in any way compromise the highest level of trust we have earned over all these years with you, dear readers.

Carry on.

Happy New Year!

Sooner or later everything breaks, disintegrates, fades, whatever. Take our septic system: it failed suddenly about one day before Master ‘n Mom were scheduled to fly to a conference in Hawaii. Master was co-author on a paper and various members of the lab were chairing a session on computational biology. Fun stuff. Manually draining a septic tank into the drain field at midnight, at zero degrees, not so much. The second the high water alarm went off I knew it was trouble – the pump fiercely driving gallons of water into the drain pipe, which had broken, meaning the water went right back in the tank, triggering the high water alarm, triggering the pump, etc. Like a bad relationship an awful infinite loop from which nothing can escape. Most notably putrid septic water.

Once the manual draining part was over it was time for New Years Eve! Mom got an early start (note the getting ready cocktail still in hand).

Early New Years day the uprights jetted off to Hawaii leaving Lucy and me in the capable hands of our usual house sitter, along with a bold caution to minimize water usage. No problems occurred the entire eleven days they were gone but sure enough the night they got back it took only two short showers before bedtime to exceed the high water mark. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! the alarm went. Flashing orange light. Warning Will Robinson! Warning! Back into the infinite loop Master went, hose and assorted tools in hand, near midnight again in sub-freezing cold to perform a manual drain.

The conference venue in the antipodes. I’m tellin’ ya, the sacrifices needed for the cause of science.

Venue by night.

Sunsets were ceremonially announced by the conch blower. (Blogger not responsible for misspellings).

Base tans were shown off. Tans that are now freeze dried. Things fade, told you so.

Whale watching!

Mom caught Master at the beach side bar just after the game ending interception made by the Packers. Tata Eagles, maybe next year. Besides, Vick’s an asshole.

Wasn’t all whales and games. This was a scientific conference after all. Okay, the poster session was a tad informal (note the beer-in-hand aplomb with which Parminder pitches her science).

By the end of the trip they were weaving baskets. Well, sort of. Mom weaved a turtle. Top of her class. No surprises there.

Onward and upward in 2011. For those of you who missed our 2010 wrap up, you’re in luck, it is here.

Ciao baby.