Sunday, December 09, 2012

2012 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

As 2012 draws to a close we give thanks for our health and well being. 

This year was a big one for vacations for us.  I took Tim and Kristin to Yellowstone for Spring break.  Our spring break comes at an interesting time for Yellowstone in that the road into the West entrance is closed for both cars and snow equipment (snow mobiles and snow buses).   So, there is not a way to get to Old Faithful or any geyers.  Nevertheless, we had a great Yellowstone experience by driving a long way to the North Entrance and seeing Mammoth Hot Springs and wildlife in the park including hearing wolves howl as they coordinated to harass a herd of buffalo.

In the summer we went Glacier National Park in Montana.  The roads were open and we had a great time at the park and the nearby towns.  For my birthday Missey and I took a trip to Puerto Rico.  We realized it had been 8 years since we took more than a weekend together without the kids.  I always thought we wouldn’t become one of those couples that never gets away by themselves.  We were one of those couples for 8 years, we’ll try to avoid anything like that again!

The other 49 weeks of the year were pretty busy too.  Kristin graduated from high school and started at Oregon State in Corvallis.  Dad’s day weekend and seeing the Beavers football game was a highlight for me.  Tim is a 6th grader and has science labs, Spanish, and spelling tests.  He plays piano for his school band.  Grace is a sophomore and seems to have a fair number of things to work on for school.  She plays clarinet in the school band and banjo for her fun instrument.  Missey works at Viewpoint and when she isn’t busy with that drives the carpool, cooks, and takes care of the rest of us.  I’m working at TransCore/DAT trying to be Agile and make the customers happy.  I do a fair amount of driving the carpools, volunteering for the Junior High youth ministry and school lunches, helping with homework and trying to keep the repairs ahead of the aging house.

It’s a blessing to be living close to Missey’s family.  We all gathered for Thanksgiving, Birthday celebrations, and we’ll be getting together for Christmas.  My Mom and Al came up for a visit and I got some family time in by adding some visiting to a business trip to Southern California.  I need to get everyone down to California for more of a visit.

Are Christmas letters becoming a thing of the past as Facebook keeps us in touch with more immediacy and pictures?  Perhaps, but I still like the Christmas cards, and I just don’t leave time to write something personal in each one.  So, your getting the Christmas letter even if you already “liked” all the news on Facebook.  Maybe next year I’ll feel differently.

Have a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with happiness.

Ralph, Missey, Kristin, Grace, and Tim

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Movies on Amazon Prime

I thought it would be easy to find lists of good movies free for streaming with Amazon Prime. It's surprisingly difficult to dig through the dross and and find the good ones. Here is a list I made: Free Streaming List

It's movies I'm recommending for my teenager. They are too old for her to know about.

I would be interested in ways to find the good movies buried in Amazon Prime or in Crackle.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My letter against SOPA

January 20, 2012

Dear Representative Schrader:
Dear Senator Wyden:
Dear Senator Merkley:

I urge you to vote against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate equivalent. I believe that this legislation will lead to regulation of the Internet and the abridgment of its freedom. I believe there will be less creativity and innovation if it is too easy for copyright holders to sue for nominal or inadvertent misuse of copyrights.

The music, movie, and publishing industries have a history of seeking excessive copyright length, attempting to restrict fair use, and attempting to restrict the size and use of the public domain. These industries will leverage any law to restrict competition even where the competition does not rely on stolen intellectual property. A copyright system only has value if it actually increases innovation and creates a robust body of intellectual capital in the public domain. It should not be a tool for entrenched interests and accumulators of intellectual property created generations ago.

Please vote NO!