More Fall Thoughts

My housemate went to Maui for a week.

For some strange reason, I offered to take care of her dog while she was gone. Before you think I’m completely off my rocker, I must explain that on a a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being cutest, this dog (a 5-yr old red heeler named Sadie) probably rates about a 9. And then, besides the cuteness factor,  I figured she would help me break my horrible habit of staying late at work during the week.

On Sunday, I took her for walk in Emigration Canyon. Have you ever been on one of those trails that is just barely wide enough for one person? This was one of those, and we headed off through the fall foliage for parts unknown. Fall is a pretty short season in Utah. Most of the trees and shrubs had shed their leaves so the the color palette was quite bland – red, tan and more tan on all sides, but the views were still spectacular. It was quite easy to see anything that did not “belong” to this landscape.

We followed one trail for awhile and then doubled back towards the parking lot. On the way out, I learned that the trail we had been walking on was one of the ‘original’ trails used by Mormon pioneers who ended up settling the Salt Lake City area. It had also been used by the Donner Party (of Donner Pass fame), Pony Express riders and gold prospectors on their way to CA. That was a sobering thought. After all those years, the trail still looked the same!

On a personal level, I was awed. I could hardly imagine what it must have been like to travel on such a trail and not know there was a Starbucks or McDonalds up ahead somewhere. Even though I rarely patronize either of these businesses, I still gain a bit of comfort to know I will eventually see them somewhere along the way when I’m traveling .  I think people from that era were wired much differently than we are nowadays.

When we emerged from our trail, I wasn’t quite ready to quit for the night. I found another trail head and charged up the hill. After about 100 yards we met the first human being I had seen all afternoon – an affable man wearing a bright orange vest and cradling a gun in his arms. That sent a shock wave through my consciousness. Oh yes, this is fall.  We are in the wilderness. This is deer hunting season., and it is near twilight.  Something told me perhaps this is not the best time to be charging through the underbrush enjoying the out-of-doors.

I called to Sadie.  She gladly obeyed me, and we called it a day.

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Happy Fall

This is a wonderful time of year in Utah. Temps are averaging in the 80 -90 degree range, there is sunshine every day, a little crispness in the air during the mornings, and the leaves are just starting to turn yellow.

Of course, I’m biased; fall is my favorite season of the year.

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Stats lie

I thought there would be some interest in my pics based on blog stats, but that turned out to be a fallacy. Oh well…..

Too bad; they are great pics, but if it’s not your thing or you “just don’t have time” , so be it.

Anyhow, I came across a great audio capture of one of the songs that made a big impact on my childhood. In fact, he was one of the musical influences that made me go through all the rigors of studying music in college.

Have you heard of Quincy Jones? He is a musical genius who has mostly played the role of producer and arranger for others, although he is a great performer in his own right when you can coax him out of his comfort zone. When he was young (teen years), he was pals with Ray Charles. If you have ever watched the TV shows Ironsides, Sanford and Son, Bill Cosby Show, seen the movie Austin Powers, The Color Purple or listened to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, or the song “We are the World We are the Children” you’ve heard his work. I’m adding a link to one of my favorite Quincy arrangements he did of Marvin Gaye’s infamous song “What’s Going On”. I think it’s very appropriate for our current times. What really is going on? For your own sakes, break through the KoolAid and see things how they really are!



PS – One of my other “all-time-favorite” musicians is Jimi Hendrix. he and Quincy grew up in the same area. Go figure! 🙂

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Peru pictures. Please give feedback!

At last! My photos from South America

Hello All- I am excited to share my photos taken while traveling in South America this summer.
The first half of the trip (Galapagos Islands) is still in in progress…the photos I took there were taken with conventional film and need to be converted to digital format, but the last half of the trip (Peru) was shot in full digital glory. Trouble is, I ended up with more than 800 images!

I love them all, but realize you may not have the same patience, so I’ve reduced the count to around 180 and split them into albums. I’ve uploaded the albums to .

Please click Here to visit the album homepage.

From here you can view them as a slideshow, view them individually, download copies, order prints or even post comments (which are very welcome from me 🙂 )

Whichever way you choose to view them, I think you will gain a good sense of the trip’s flavor and perhaps even feel like you are there. Enjoy and please give feedback!

– Nadine

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Back to normal life

Pictures from my SA trip are still in the works…it turned out there were more than 800 images, so I’m still going through and picking out the good ones. when I get it, I’ll put it on this blog.

The phrase “normal life” is a little misleading,I think. What does “normal” really mean? Especially in this day and age?

That is good food for thought.

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adventures in peru

I broke down and purchased a digital camera in Lima Peru.

You know how they say the best laid plans get sent awry….

I was going to tough it out with disposable cameras, but soon realized the futility of that plan when I used up three disposable cameras in the first 4 days. Que Lastima! The first half of our trip was in the Galapagos Islands, but those pictures will not available until after I return home because they were shot on film. I enjoy shooting candid photos, and am fascinated by the detail and perspective you can get from taking close-up “marcro” type shots as well. Disposable cameras severely limited my options for both of these kinds of shots, and knowing I would have to wait so long to see anything was simply unbearable. Although I realize no camera can capture images as well as the human eye, I decided to take the plunge and try to come as close to it as possible by getting a digital camera of my own.

Our tour guide Franz recommended a department store near our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima Peru that sold digital cameras. Using my college Spanish, I was able to find the photo counter and explain to the saleslady what type of camera I was seeking to buy – it needed to be near the middle of the scale in price and have “point and shoot” capabilities but also allow some room for custom settings so I could experiment with different types of shots. I also wanted something that could capture video clips (just in case something fascinating happened near me). She helped me choose a fine middle-quality camera that I have been very happy with so far…a SamSung L310W. The charger is for 220 Volts with funky plugs (standard Peruvian electrical connectors), so once I return to the States, I will need to use a converter, but it will forever serve as a reminder of this magical trip! I was able to pick up the camera and an 8 GB compact flash memory card for about $326.00 USD, so I think I came out pretty well.

I have posted a couple of “teaser” shots and will post more (possibly an album) once I get back home.


first glimpse of macchu picchu

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On the road again

Wow, it’s been a busy week!
We just got off the boat from cruising the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands for three days. The wildlife was completely unafraid of us and we got to do lots of snorkeling and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. The last two times we went snorkeling, some sea lions decided to join us, and we saw a 6 foot shark — not sure what kind, but I was not inclined to investigate! This place is truly a “paradise on earth”.

I did not get my act together enough to purchase a digital camera before the trip, so my pictures will be coming later (or sooner if I can borrow from other people in our group).

Today, we’re heading out of Ecuador from Guayaquil and on to Lima Peru.

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back from the abyss

Back in the saddle again after a long time distracted….

You might notice that I’ve changed the name of my blog from “Fat Blue Spark” to “Titanium Sparks”.  This is in keeping with my new golf clubs, which have titanium heads. When you make solid contact with the ball, the impact creates a small spark.  It is kind of like the reward for making a good stroke – in addition to better ball travel, you get free entertainment!

Next month will be busy for me. First, I’ll be attending the Better Software Quality Conference in Las Vegas NV from Jun 8 – 11, 2009.  Then on Jun 22 I’ll be traveling to South America for 10 days. We’ll be visiting Ecuador and Peru.  I’m planning to post pictures and video on this blog as we travel, so please stay tuned!

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MS Office 2007 impressions— hmmmm

I’ve recently been using this project to acquaint myself with the new technology. It has a slick “new century” kind of feel and the real-time zooming is cool – I guess they want it to compliment the new Windows Vista operating system.

I tried doing some of my usual tasks (make a Powerpoint, create a spreadsheet with formulas, create and review Word docs) and have been able to feel my way around well enough to do almost everything without having to crack open a help file (thank God!).

One thing I find interesting is the fact that there is built-in support for Macromedia tools like Contribute and FlashPaper but nothing for Microsoft’s own tool Web Experession Designer.  You can actually write something in MS Word and then hit a button to “publish to website” or “post to blog”. Why would they do that for someone else’s product but not their own?  Things that make you go “hmmmm”………

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Isn’t it funny how everyone blogs about “LIFE”? — AKA the “meaning of life”

Is it just me, or is it really true that every time I visit this site, I see that “Life” is the leading tag for new posts?

What exactly does that mean? I mean, if we are all alive (and I assume we are), wouldn’t anything we write about automatically fall into this category somehow?

I also wonder if I am the only person interetsed in techology, or am I just doing this bass ackwards from the getgo.

Anyways……here  I am…. a little perplexed in Salt Lake City UT, USA

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