Thursday, July 30, 2009

Congress may need to get with some technology

Just flipping through the channels.... hit C-SPAN... and figure to fill my political appetite for the day... I then come across a common scene... the Cardboard Poster!

So when Congressmen/women are on the floor debating the merits of a particular bill, they often use props, specifically large cardboard posters. On such posters are really simple facts that are typically not referenced/sourced and that are accompanied with some cartoonish figure. The fact of course in only a smidgeon of the story and is often presented in a way that causes political lines/tensions. In the case of this poster, the word 'somethin' and 'tsk tsk' is used. I often wonder if the Congressmen/women are presenting to each other, or the viewer. Either way, I'm sad that such little debate happens and I hope the real political work is done behind scenes.

Anyway, why the Cardboard poster? Can we not get Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation in the Chambers? (Not a PC person, have a computer with both MAC/PC operating systems)....Just make sure that the presenters get their few slides (that would take the place of the few posters) in early, so there isn't the common 'computer failure' problem :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Celsias Blog for me!!! Cha-ching

Here is another blog post that posted about a week ago... It's about making decisions under uncertain conditions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekend Trip to PHX

So my weekend trip began with me flying out of Bellingham, WA, which is an hour from Vancouver and involved me crossing the border (which if you haven't done is quite fun, because you get asked invasive questions from someone you don't know... go try that on the street). After a connection in Seattle and a small layover, I got to PHX at 3:30pm. I cleaned my place up and threw out some food that was NASTY (tofu doesn't age well, nor does sour cream) and finally Heather got off work to visit.

Instead of heading straight to the pool, we came home to a dehydrated, panting Hudson
(Heather's cat), which meant that we had to do several things. First, he drank a bowl of water, literally. Second, he looked like he rolled in some mud, so Heather held him in the shower and I washed/shampooed him (Hudson got more affection than she did)... I was shocked I didn't get clawed. After a call with the vet, Heather was convinced we still needed to check his temp. OK....I wait for Heather to go get a thermometer and she comes back and say's "Here, you do it?" Ummm, "how?". I don't see through the mouth working, so she says "it has to be anal."

Oh ok.....yeah not happening. I already washed the cat . . . and I think he's ok, so that is your job Heather. Anyway, after a few attempts, Hudson registed a 103F, which was high, but good enough. I walked away from the experience changed, even if I didn't watch it happen.

Anyways, Friday, we did the pool, a nice Udon soup dinner prepared by Heather, and we went out to a few bars in Scottsdale (so glitzy). We were both tired and knew we had to get up e
arly, so we retired quickly in the night. On Saturday morning, we headed up to Flagstaff (which is at least 20degrees cooler). I talked Heather's ear off, trying to find any story she had never heard of. I don't know how she listens to me. We stopped at a casino on the way to watch
Heather shove $10 through a slot machine faster than I have ever seen. I only had Canadian money on hand, so I stayed away. Anyways, we ended up doing a volcanic ruins hike and a few hikes around some pueblo ruins. Here are the pics:

Sunday: We woke up and Heather made her AppleSauce Pancakes. . . I LIKE VERY MUCH! After finishing, she just kept going, making a picnic for our lunch in Sedona. I helped by cutting celery & snap peas into ridiculously thin strips... I'm realizing that Heather seems like a professional cook.... when she does decide to do so, it is reallllyyyyy good... but she supposedly doesn't do it often. Anyways, we walked around the streets of Sedona and Tlaquepaque (try saying that).. We found this awesome park, that I have dreamed of finding.... it had a bird
garden, bocce ball court, checker/backgammon tables, mini golf course, waterway, plenty of grass, and my favorite... A HUMAN SIZE CHESS BOARD...YES!!!

I flew back Monday,... to keep the misery short, I was supposed to leave PHX at 6:45 pm.. I left at 11:15pm. That's what a monsoon and a changed airplane tire will do for you. Either way, I stayed in Seattle that night and got home the next morning.

1 Day left of work for Riley... 4 days left before I'm in NC.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weekend Trip to Victoria

This past weekend, I spent a good 24 hours in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, and just off the mainland in the ocean. To get there, me and a friend named joel, had to take the bus starting at 8:30 am to get to the ferry and eventually to get to downtown Victoria at 12:30pm. The ferry was really cool because you just sit out in the breezeway and watch the islands pass by (while everyone else stays inside, for some odd reason.

After we got to Victoria, we found ourselves around the 'touristy' area of town, with Parliament, a National Geographic IMAX museum, wax museum, and famous Empress Hotel all around us. We stopped by Parliament to be told tours were in a couple of hours (so check that off the list); we stopped by the museum to find that tix were $28, and the exhibits consisted mostly of natural history (which I find myself pretty well versed in, so check that off the list); wax people scare me, and thus check that one; and the hotel is pretty damn cool (check the pic below), but we looked like vagabonds (big backpacks), so walking in probably would have been an interesting experience.

We also ran into a street performer who was juggling flames and balancing an axe on his chin while some kid kicked him in the legs... yeah, kicked him in the legs (btw, what is the deal with street performers, they do cool stuff, but they try to make people laugh and its just awkward... I just begin to feel sorry for them. If you're going to do something odd, just do 'that' something odd and don't try to make me laugh... I leave it to comedians to do that). Also, I saw Darth Vader playing the violin (!)

ParliamentThe Empress Hotel

After walking the streets for a while and doing some window shopping, we visited Vancouver Island Brewery and Phillips Brewery. We got a tour at the former and learned quite a bit of info (4 ingredients to any beer are : water, barley, hops, and yeast, used in that order... also all beer fit under two types of beer, ales and lager, depending on whether the yeast bottom feeds or top feeds).... anyway, we had some interesting convos with some peeps there and got to see the assembly line.

After that, we did some more window shopping. Joel got some soap on his hands in an organic soap shop, and decided to rub them on some clothes on a street mannequin, only to be yelled at by the owner and a pedestrian. He walked briskly off.... I acted like I didn't know him and began to talk on my cell phone (I happen to think it worked out for me).

We then proceeded to Beacon Hill Park to play some football and check out the park/beach scene. We came across South Park School (seen above) and met some 'very interesting' people that you'll have to ask me about. Anyway, we concluded our night by going to a bar that had a volleyball court on top. We hung out with a bunch of different people, and were having a good time until Joel decided to throw a haymaker at the volleyball and knocked it over the large net onto the street.... in my opinion, Joel didn't have a good day with luck. We then spent the rest of the night at the bar and on the dance floor, all while having our massive backpacks nearby. Walking out at 2am of a pretty nice bar/club with those on must have garnered some remarks from some people, but they don't know me!

Morning After

PS Pictures were taken with no battery life, which was kinda hard to do

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Everybody's doing it!

Hey all (or actually, few.... I need to enhance readership),

I just had another blog officially posted at It can be found here:

PS If you want to find more articles written by 'yours truly', click on the link to the right of this story titled, 'See other articles written by Riley'

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Impressive...well, not quite so impressive events of the past week

As the title suggests, I have had some 'not so impressive' moments this week. I wish I had a top 10 list, but I guess I have 2-3 days to finish the list out. In no particular order...

-I went golfing Wednesday. The whole time I was on the course, I had 2 birds flying around me... most likely because I smelled or something, but I like to think that I had some sort of magical aura, and they were warding off ..... something. This also reminds me of the last time I golfed in Tempe. I had a crow doing a suicide bomber dive towards my head on at least 3 occasions (most likely because I was carrying nuts as a snack). Talk about taking my focus off the game.

-That same day, I birdied a par 3.... the hole was 61 yards long. Yep! You decide what is impressive about that (I'm pretty sure Tiger Woods has never birdied a 60 yard par 3, see scorecard, which you can click on). I probably should have took a 2nd ball out and used only my putter on the hole.

-I ran 3 miles today... decided to take my shirt off to see if I can get the white torso a little more 'not-white'. I'm pretty sure I initiated some conversations in the passing cars.

-I've been conducting interviews with city staff all week. After the 1 hour of talking to them, I get to go listen to the 1 hour interview and transcribe onto the computer. You know the saying, "I'll never have that _____(enter time, ie 1hour) back".... well in my case, I'll never have those 2 hours back.

-I laughed for about 2 hours Wednesday at work in my cubicle. The problem was that I was at work, and so I kept it all the laughter inside.... it was worth it, but the abs sure got a work out. (check out the website,

- I usually get to work at 9:45am. I knew I had an early meeting on Wednesday, so I set the alarm for 8am, with the goal of getting to work at 9am (for a supposed meeting at 10am). Why? Good question, since my normal time would have gotten me there on time. Instead, I get to work at 9:15am, only to play around on the internet for a while. Turns out, that the meeting was at 9am, making plenty of sense why I decided to wake up so early.

-Tuesday I rode my bike to work (like most days). When I got off work, it was raining. When I got home, the guy I am living with, just started laughing. It was one of those kind of laughs that just spoke, 'You're an idiot... and I'm loving every minute of it." To me, the rain felt pretty good, considering I have lived in PHX for the past year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'm back

A year and a half ago (January 2008), I started to write for an online climate change blog called Celsias, so I could further develop my writing skills (as I was not in grad school yet) and also stay on top of current enviro news. Over the course of the next 6-7 months, I had wrote 10 articles, which you can still find, each one giving me enough chump change to fill up the gas tank.
My Profile Pic @ Celsias, Shenadoah Mts in back

After I started graduate school, I found it harder to continue with Celsias because I was already doing enough reading and writing. . . I took a good 8-9 month hiatus (Heather bet me how to spell 'hiatus' and I won) from Celsias. But now that I am in summer, and often find ample amount of time to do something at work, I have started again. Except this time, I'm basically writing from my head and not having to do loads of research to write an article. This one took me maybe 30-40 minutes, so in the end, I hope that it doesn't sound like I put less time into it. You be the judge...

PS if you like it, DIGG it at the Celsias website

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Will my Masters degree pay off?

So I was reading the NYtimes on my day off here in Canada (It's Canada Day, ironically right next to July 4th) and came across this article.

The article discusses the merits of obtaining a Masters degree and whether its worth the investment. Some degrees pay off, others don't. Also, they talk about whether its smart to enroll into graduate school when the economy hits the proverbial outhouse (note: I was in grad school when it hit the outhouse). The overall message that I got from the article is that in most cases, it is not advantageous financially to do so, but at the same time, a HS degree 30 years ago is today's Bachelor's degree. Then again, when the school is picking up the tab, it's probably a different story.

Finally, there is the elephant in the room? Of course no one mentions ifa MA in Sustainability is worth it, but who knows? I happen to think it is going to create huge dividends for me and my peers.... if I didn't why would I be doing what I was doing. Thoughts?