Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The British Consulate in San Francisco held a morning conference on the theme of Opportunities in the NHS.
The speakers gave an overview of the current NHS and it pretty much aligned with what I understood to be NHS current status. Change is a foot.
Thank you to all speakers and the consulate for a very informative event.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
The weather forecast was right, a storm had pass through on Saturday and Sunday woke to clearing blue skies. I had 6 hours of travel ahead, starting with the train from Mountain View to San Jose, then train San Jose to Sacramento, and finally bus from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe, home to Heavenly Ski Resort. The sun was just disappearing when I arrived in S L Tahoe.
The journey up had passed quickly, I had never traveled through the east bay area before and Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe was a constant climb, wave after wave until we started to hit the snow level. There is one pass that clings to the side of the mountain. Just think, Lord of the Rings snowy cliff scene. Spring has arrived a Lake level, lots of dirtied hard pack snow piled up from the winters falls. I found my accommodation no problem, 2 mins from the bus station and ski hire was across the road so by 9pm I had checked in and got my ski equipment and had been out for half chicken dinner.
Lifts opened at 9am that day due to filming but I was ready at 7.30. Got breakfast in and I joined the queue for the gondola. Conversation in the queue(I should say Line) soon started. The gondola quickly consumes the queue and I am at the top of the mountain. I had my back to the view on the way up but what a view it is.
I have studied the piste map so I have the basic geography worked out. From talking to locals I decide to head to the Nevada side for a start and then work my way back across the mountains to the California side. I'd be tired by later in the day and thus I would have less miles to get back to the gondola. The skis are put on and boots tightened up. I am skiing on the new, well, not so new now but new to me, wide ski's. Instead of 195cm, I am reduced to 166cm and they look short and dumpy but I soon settle in and turning with fun. I stick to the piste, fresh corduroy has been laid over night but I have my eye on the trees and the off piste sections. The views from the top of the chair lifts are magical. You could take photos for ages but there is skiing to be done and new parts of the mountain to explore. The snow conditions are squeaky powder on piste and crusty tracked powder snow off piste. So, it is tricky going off piste but the sun soon soften up things and by the end of the day the snow at the bottom of the hills is spring like.
Higher up the mountain and in the shade of the sun were the two main off piste areas, the Milky Way and Mott and Kilbrew Canyons. The Milky way was comparable to the black run at Glas Maol, Glenshee, Scotland and the Canyons were like the back corries at Anoch Mhor, Nevis Range except the gullies were tree lined. Not much sun gets in, so the snow was hard moguls, not much fun but a thrill to get down and out in one piece, I never entered Kilbrew, it's a hike out and given its name, maybe some don't make it out?
Trees are present to all altitudes and you are free to make your way done through them any way you can. Being more confident in my new skis and shaken off most of my 12 month skiing rust I headed in to the trees. The shorter length skis certainly gave more control and confidence in turning in short notice and the snow while crusty was a touch lighter given the shade from the branches. You start to stitch together a few turns and feel in control, then with a twitch, an unexpected tree and plop, a nose dive into the snow is required to put a brake on proceedings. Refreshing cool bath of powder encapsulates.
Dusted down it time to head for some lunch. An excellent wooden lodge with in door and out door dining options does nicely. I opt for the BBQ option and a seat in the shade. It's been a great morning. I have 3 hours left and so I start my journey back to the California side and sure in enough an hour or so later I am at the other side of the resort. I am in ski touring mode rather in pursuit of the most turns, the legs tell me they require a rest but I am skiing more in harmony with the mountain as my eye and motion are now completely sinc. The snow is slippy in the strong sun light and I take in a black run, now problems and good fun. Then it is back into the trees, the snow similar to piste conditions so turning is much easier and keeping out of the way of the next tree becomes more daring as you try out tighter and tighter routes. Good fun.
The legs are just about dead beat by this time and sure enough 3pm is approaching. So, it is up the chair lift and across the mountain and down to the top of the gondola. A safe end to a great day.
Dinner is in Nevada, just across the road from my motel. Casinos galore and that is where I have my dinner but no time for gambling as I needed my sleep.
8am bus the next day does not arrive to 2pm but I team up with a couple of Australians lads for the morning and time soon passes. By 8pm I am back in Mountain View, at the coast.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
My house mate Jon runs a glass class at weekends and he kindly extended an invite to join in one so I did today. His business is called, Temperchi.
You start by getting your safety glasses and a tutorial on how to light and turn on the gas, propane and oxygen correctly. Very professional. Then it is a case of mastering a bit of eye, hand co ordination. You have the mandrel (the metal rod where your glass bead will be formed on) and the other willl hold the glass you want to melt on to the mandrel. Sounds straight forward enough but you have to keep both the glass and the mandrel at the right temperature. Now, once you have glass melted on to the mandrel then you have to keep turning that at a constant rate to ensure your bead is round, let it go too hot and it will start to run, too cool then when you try and add the next color then they won't mix so well. The first small bead in made and I learn a lot from the feedback from Jon, Don and Sarah.
Next Don gives me a tutorial on how to add dimples to a bead. Easy in the experts hand but not so easy for the pupil. I have two other goes and I start to get more comfortable with the processes. It is therapeutic watching the glowing glass bead being formed. It's like creating your own planet.
A big thank you to all of you for letting me be part of your class. It was very enjoyable.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Maybe make three days in a row if I make it to training Saturday morning.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
I visited the weekly farmers market today to sample the local produce. It was well attended by the locals and there was a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables on sales. Not so much meat products, just two I think and two fish mongers. Given the heat that is understandable. Dinner was broccoli, onion, red peeper stir fry to toss through some pasta and the Sword fish steak completed a tasty little number.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
For years I have felt like I have been living in my own little oasis in a land full of eternal dessert. This week I learnt that there are many oasis out there and that the dessert will bloom again.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Individual empowerment. We create value online via the clicks we make but today most of that value is taken by the provider of the service.
It is our data, to be use to our benefit or sold on our terms, when we choose.
Check out the work of the Attentiontrust.org
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
How to build testing in from the start and to produce a team capable to deliver quickly with less bugs. Yes, faster you can go, the less bugs you will create.
A thought provoking discussion with panel members from Google, Yahoo! and Simply Hired.
Touched on all the issues that I believe are key to the future of search. Especially, the concept the I call 'pre' search. You can read more about this on my other blog, Consumer Thoughts.
Monday, March 13, 2006
What a great event. Thank you to the SHDH team and all who attended for a memorable experience. I lasted to 6.30am, we started a 7pm!
I hope I am still around for the next one.
The photo is me and Bill Daul discussing the visualisation of trust on the web.