Whale Watching on Orcas Island

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,photos @ 17:40

My mom and dad, Allen, Michelle and I went up to Orcas Island this past weekend to celebrate Lincoln and Chana’s marriage.

It’s a really nice place.

Besides the wedding activities, the whale watching trip we all took was the highlight of the weekend.

Saturday morning, we headed to Rosario Resort‘s docks and climbed aboard Deer Harbor Charters‘ whale watching vessel Pelagic. Once aboard, our guide, James, talked about the orca whales’ history and behavior and pointed out other local wildlife (bald eagles, porpoises, seals, etc.) as we cruised out to sea. About an hour and a half after leaving the docks, we spotted our first orcas a hundred meters or so off the boat. Soon we were surrounded by whales, though none was particularly close. When feeding, an orca pod apparently tends to spread out unless one of the whales finds a large group of fish.

We motored around a bit to try and get a better view when a group of about six whales to starbord and aft started swimming (quickly) right toward us. Every ten seconds or so, a few whales would surface: each time a little closer. Finally, one whale surfaced about eight meters from the boat. Everyone scrambled to take pictures, but a feeding orca is not above water for very long. Just after it resubmerged, two more whales surfaced literally within one meter of the boat and dove underneath us. We saw them up close and, man, are orcas big.

After that, those several whales hung around us for five or ten minutes; we were apparently right above their chosen fish. I got a couple pictures but nothing as spectacular as being there in person. Hopefully someone else was a better shot.

The tour lasted about three and a half hours (Allen said he had the Gilligan’s Island theme stuck in his head the whole time) and was a lot of fun.

That afternoon, we drove up to the top of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park. My great grandfather was in charge of the CCC‘s construction of the stone tower at the peak of the mountain, so it was something of a familial pilgrimage. The view from the top is spectacular, and we could see tiny little whale watching boats down on the water. Indeed, with binoculars, we could see the whales the boats were watching!

Seeng whales from two feet was more exciting than seeing whales from two thousand feet, but both were a lot of fun.

Tour Guide Famliy 1 Family 2 Miss Whale Watching 2006 Whale 1 Whale 2

Superman Returns

Filed under: a group of folks,movies @ 15:28

I saw Superman Returns last night with Greg.

Superman’s character makes for a difficult movie. He fights for truth, justice, and (more controversially) the American way, he never lies, he’s essentially invincible, and he’s well loved by society. Other than his alter ego’s bumbling awkwardness, he has no character flaw and has only one weakness: kryptonite.

So how do you go about making a meaningful movie with such a two dimensional character? The only inner conflict at our disposal is Superman’s departure and return (implied by the movie title) and the possibility that he gets fed up saving the world every time Hollywood calls upon him to do so.

Below there be spoilers. Read more…


Gmail’s Spell Checker Can’t Spell “Gmail’s”

Filed under: tech,useless @ 13:46

Gmail's Spelling


Two Random Links: Number Representation and Web 2.0

Filed under: a group of folks,random @ 14:29

Link The First

.999… = 1 from Polymathematics.

Allen emailed this to me this morning. I am flabbergasted at the amount of horrible reasoning found in the comments of the above post. So emotionally trying were these comments, that I strongly discourage everyone with a heart condition from reading them.

Link the Second

Web 2.0 or Star Wars Character?

I saw this on skippy.net and was highly entertained. If I recall correctly, I scored a 34.


Cal Poly, Shame on You. Don’t cheat the People!

Filed under: slice,useless @ 16:49

That’s the war cry I heard walking down Wilson Ave next to Caltech this morning.

A man was shouting these words at Broad over and over again with an odd accent. I believed it to be Middle Eastern.

cal polY
SHAME on you
the PEOple

I have tried to capture the rhythm of his chant by denoting the accented syllables with capital letters.

I walked by him, not really catching the words he was saying, and ran into Will. Will told me what the lone protestor was yelling and asked, “Do you think it’d be appropriate to tell him this is Caltech?” I smiled and said, “sure”. We walked over to him and he and Will exchanged the following words.

Will: Excuse me?
Protestor: Yes? (with polite anticipation)
Will: This is Caltech, not Cal Poly
Protester: Thanks! Cal Poly has a better rhyme (very kindly and thankfully, and with no trace whatsoever of any accent)

We walked away and exchanged amusement. Right before we parted ways, we heard the guy start to mix it up: “Caltech, shame on you. Don’t cheat the people! Caltech poly, shame on you. Don’t cheat the people!” and so on.

I have no idea what issue the guy was airing. It was just a great way to start the day hearing some dude shouting at Broad caring more about how his chant sounded than to whom he was actually directing it.


Lefthand Black

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,slice @ 17:57

It being the birthday yesterday of a friend who will remain nameless, but whose gothic tendencies are at a solid “black is the new black, jackoff” level, Michelle, Bryan, Bonnie and I joined the birthday goth, spouse and sibling at Bar Sinister in Hollywood.

On the abstract level, dressing up to go out to a club in LA sounds really lame. But in practice, Bar Sinister was a wholly unlame experience in part because the dress is themed and not just ‘typical LA trendy’ but mostly because the venue is just plain awesome.
Read more…

Google Firefox Browser Sync

Filed under: a group of folks,tech @ 16:24

I’m behind the times here, but I just installed Google Labs’ Google Browser Sync for Firefox. All my bookmarks, cookies, history information, and passwords are now synced between my office, my laptop and my lab accounts. It even remembers what tabs/windows I had open when I last quit Firefox, so I can browse at home, quit Firefox, go to work, open up a browser and I’ll see before me all the tabs I just had open at home.

And everything’s encrypted. Too slick.

Of course, this means Greg can look at porn on my laptop and make it pop up on my office computer. (awkward).

© mdawaffe (Michael D Adams) - Powered by WordPress - Full Credits