Porsche 944 Turbo RIP

Alas, my car was destroyed by a rear-ender in Los Gatos a couple of weeks ago. I think the driver was changing lane and didn’t see the line of traffic in front. The collision was strong enough to push me into four more cars, but I think mine was the only one to be a total loss. Fortunately no-one seems to have suffered any real injuries, although I had a stiff neck for a while. Apart from the loss of a car of which I was rather fond, the biggest issue is the time and cost of finding a replacement.

I’ve settled on an Acura RDX as a replacement: it’s a small SUV like thing that drives like a car, but is a bit higher and has good space and practicality. The practicality will finally allow me to tow a small boat, as well as taking lots of tools and wood etc. in its boot.

It has a voice operated control system that has trouble with my accent – I say things like “navigate to home” and it replies “air conditioning off” or “fan level six”. I just hope it’s not running Windows.

This image is from the launch of the car – mine is a pearl white – rather like my first 944 Turbo.

Sailing in the Bay

Merit 25After a busy week we all went up to Redwood City and spent a couple of hours out on the water in a Merit 25. The boat is apparently based on the J24, but has better accomodation and is more of a cruiser. The boys enjoyed taking the helm and helping with the rigging, and of course sitting on the bow getting wet as we surfed down the waves!

It was surprisingly warm, with moderate winds and waves. Nice to be out on the water again, even if in a very tender monohull (half-cat). Two hours really only gives enough time to go out and come back – tacking out, running back – although the wind changed a bit on the way back in and we ended up close-hauled for a while and had to tack up the channel.

The affair was organized by Spinnaker Sailing – they offer Friday night sails as well as club memberships, bareboating, classes etc.

We’re installed in the US of A

It’s great to be back in our house – even though there’s a great deal of work to be done. It was very sad saying goodbye to all our friends and family in Europe, and I am looking forward to the opportunities I will have to visit them again.

Having been in a rented house for three years I now realize meant we lived with a sense of impermanence that didn’t motivate us to really create a home. Now we’re back we seem more interested in working out what we really want in our home – not just things, but the atmosphere and style of the place.

The lesson I have learned is that home is something that must be created, invested in. It could be anywhere, and it doesn’t have to be a house you own, but perhaps it’s easier that way. The key is to treat it as a special place and plan and implement together. That way it becomes a reminder of the relationships that make up the family. In a good way (just kidding).

Happy Christmas!

What a year it has been! Sadly our last in the UK for a while, but rich beyond measure. We’ll write a proper retrospective later – perhaps in time for the Chinese New Year (our excuse for a late Christmas letter!), but this time around I would like to acknowledge all the gifts of kindness and support that we have received from our family and friends, during a year that has brought more change, and more challenge than most.

We will be moving back to California during January – our house is ready, and it will be nice to be back in the place we made our own through extensive re-modelling in 2002. We will of course be leaving behind our friends and my family, but with low-cost air travel, e-mail, and cheap phone calls, we hope to stay in touch.

Our possessions are ahead of us – probably somewhere close to the Panama Canal by now. They are expected in Oakland on December 24th, and if customs clearance proceeds as expected, we should be able to start unpacking quite quickly – perhaps even in the first or second week of January.
Lots more to say – but the most important point is simple:

Thank you all for your support and friendship over the last year, and let us wish you every blessing for Christmas and the New Year!

Tim, Marina, Caelean and Jeremy

Integrating my photo blog

I have maintained a separate page and blog for my thoughts about digital photography, but it’s hard to keep more than a couple of sites active and interesting, so I’m going to incorporate my comments on photography in this blog. The first thing I’ll do is re-post the old articles here, and then in the future any thoughts I have on the subject of photography will be posted here as part of the normal flow.

I’ve also added a new topic labelled Photography, that you can use in the sidebar on the right to find all the photography-oriented posts (as opposed to posts about pictures and the photo gallery).

The old photo blog was published by blogger.com and was available from Blogspot at http://tim-photoblogs.blogspot.com. It will probably will stay up for a while.

More tech: building a computer

Along the same theme as the previous post, Caelean and I are building a computer. Actually it’s one I built a while a go and have now taken apart.

Caelean reads about it first, and makes some notes and draws the critical things, then we sit down with the bits and look at them to understand their roles and how they fit together.

Actually building a PC is really easy, as all the interfaces are standardized, and you mostly have to simply plug things in. But there are some ways to get it wrong (blow up chips with static, bend pins on plugs etc.), so we have to be careful.

In any case Caelean likes building – but this is rather different from Lego, where you can work visually and by feel. For this project one has to understand the parts and what they do to some extent. There is some configuration (jumpers, location in the case etc.), and without care it won’t behave as expected.

We won’t be booting up for a while, but so far it’s been interesting and a good experience for both of us, I think.