Category Archives: Personal

Toyota FT1 Photos

Photos of the new Toyota FT1 sports car, which was displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit MI. I don’t know if my photos will do it justice, but the car really does look good up close and in the flesh. This is supposed to be the replacement for the legendary Toyota Supra. Enjoy the photos, while I continue testing this theme :)

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Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

Misty Blues Skydiving Team at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Misty Blues Skydiving Team at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
The weather forecast before I left said it was going to feel like 112 degrees. I don’t think I’ve ever felt 112, but it was certainly a lot of degrees, I can tell you. Despite the searing heat I was able to take in some fantastic aviation showmanship at the Vectren Dayton Air Show and even capture some of it with my camera gear. I rented a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens which, coupled with my Nikon, can zoom in and count the barnacles off a sperm whale from the other side of the Atlantic. I also had a monopod with me but found it was better hand holding the big green monster and letting it hang off my black rapid strap between flyovers. A sore back and shoulders were a small price to pay for the enhanced handling.

I had brought enough water and salty snacks to carry me through to September, but I didn’t want to take a chance, since I still had to drive home alone. I’m quite sure I drank enough water that, if I were a camel I would have grown a third hump on my back.

Twin F-16 Fighting Falcons at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Twin F-16 Fighting Falcons at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

The first fast movers to roar by were a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcons, driven by some immensely talented gentlemen, then there was the customary barnstorming biplane, piloted by Gene Soucy and another more modern, the Porsche 911 version if you will, flown by Mike Goulian, in his German Extra 330C.

When I was there two years ago I witnessed a mock D-Day attack with B-17s gracefully strolling by, but this year they had something a little more animated for us. In their place were eight Japanese fighters and bombers from the movie Tora Tora Tora. They swooped, circled and dived down for what felt like half the afternoon, while chest pounding pyros were set off sending great plumes of thick chewy smoke into the air. The wind direction ensured that the crowd got a mouthful of it.

Japanese Zeros at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Japanese Zeros at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

There was even a British Sea Harrier flown by Art Nalls, an ex Marine aviator and Harrier test pilot. After success in real estate ended up buying his own, which he keeps in Maryland, near the sea I presume. If you think Land Rover parts are expensive, I can’t imagine the cost of maintaining a Sea Harrier. Perhaps he keeps it in Maryland so he can fly over for an oil change and check up.

What airshow is not complete without the skydiving team? The Misty Blues were to fulfill that obligation, an all women team lead by Cindy Irish who has over 2,100 jumps under her belt. Then as Gene Soucy flew his Grumman Showcat, a perfectly good bi-plane I might add, Theresa Stokes decided to climb out and stand on the top wing and pose. She has to be stark raving mad especially since she wasn’t even wearing a parachute.

More historic aircraft were shown to us, by way of the A-4B Skyhawk, the same plane that John McCain was shot down in, the P-51 mustang and two F-4 Phantoms. The mustang named “Quick Silver” was privately owned and had a special paint job commemorating veterans and paying tribute to various branches of the military. The two Phantoms were actually QF-4s, named so because they were fitted with remote control devices turning them into multi-million dollar RC toys. During the weekends they’re used as part of the Air Combat Command’s Heritage Flight, while during the not weekend days they’re used for target practice. We were told, eventually they’d be shot down, probably a fitting end for a fighter aircraft, like a ship’s captain I presume.

Blue Angels Diamond Formation at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012
Blue Angels Diamond Formation at the Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012

Last but not least were the Blue Angels and their amazing precision flying. These guys were so cool I’m sure they could text and fly while eating Klondike with one hand hanging out the window. In close formation there’s a mere 18 inches between the tip of a wing and the canopy of the next guy. If you’re reading this on a laptop, the size of your screen diagonally might be 17 inches, just add one more, then imagine hurtling through the air at over 400 miles an hour trying to maintain that distance, while not getting bonked on the head by the wing on the other side, simply unbelievable.

It was a very hot day, but I was glad to make it back in one piece with no major sunburn or heat stroke, which is probably a first for me. Viewing the photos online really doesn’t do the air show justice because you don’t get to smell the smoke, get deafened by the afterburners, or end up with a crick on your neck, but if you want to see more of my photos, head on over to my Vectren Dayton Air Show 2012 set on flickr.

Polar Bear Plunge

Reuben Yau - Polar Bear Plunge 2012
This year I’m participating in a fund raiser to support Special Olympics Ohio (donations welcome). On February 18th, I will be doing the Polar Bear Plunge at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. I’m told it’s going to be in a open air pool near the Polar Bear Exhibit and not actually in it! While I like Polar Bears, I don’t particularly want to get that close to one, especially since I’ll probably look like an injured albino seal.

This is my first time raising money for Special Olympics Ohio, a great cause helping people with intellectual disabilities train and compete. According to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission about 2.5 million people in the US, or around 1% of the population are affected and of those only 31% are employed.

I have no idea how cold the water will be or how long I’ll be in it. It doesn’t really matter to me, this is not about me, it’s about supporting this great organization. I’m going to jump into a pool in the middle of winter, I know you won’t, but you could could offer some support by donating. Check the change in your pocket, perhaps hold off on one latte for this week, you know any contribution is going to be greatly appreciated.

If you visit my donation page, you can also enter a short message which will appear in the scrolling Honor Roll.

UPDATE:
Our group raised over $5000 for Special Olympics Ohio! It was 45 degrees with a light breeze and the water temperature was, well, cold! Our team was the first up on stage, the first three team members went in, then it was our turn. After a short intro by the emcee, we were given the countdown and off we went. Hitting the water was fine, it was when I surfaced that I experienced the full body shudder of OMG it’s cold. I got out and got changed into some dry clothes feeling quite refreshed.

RIP Remington

RIP Remington

About a week ago my puppy Remington was diagnosed with cancer. It all started when we noticed he had blood in his urine. He had a course of antibiotics for a UTI but that didn’t do anything. After that was another type of antibiotic for possible prostate infection. When neither worked, we took him in for an ultrasound and a needle biopsy. A couple of days later we learned he had cancer, that was a week ago.

We were referred to the OSU oncology center who performed another ultrasound. The tumors were adjacent to his ureter and around his spleen, which was more than likely the source of the bleeding.

We spoke to the doctors several times over the last few days trying to figure out the next best course of action for him. We spoke to them again this morning and had scheduled a cat scan to get a much better idea of the location of the tumors, prior to a surgical procedure to remove them.

We were out this afternoon and had dinner, when we returned home it was obvious that something was very wrong with Remy. He didn’t come and greet us in his usual goofy way, he just lay in the kitchen, he couldn’t even stand. It was quite clear that the tumors in his abdomen had further attacked his body leaving him unable to function. He was very lethargic, had white gums and was somewhat cool to the touch, he was bleeding inside and we knew he wasn’t going to last the night.

We hung out with him in the kitchen for a while trying to postpone the inevitable. We knew there was nothing we could do to save him.

It was obvious he was in pain and we didn’t want him to suffer any more. We took him to medvet. I wept the entire way there.

It was hard signing the paperwork, very hard. We thought we were going to have many more months with this sweet puppy before this day would arrive.

We spent our last moments with him comforting him as best we could.

Now he is no longer in pain. Very soon he will be running through a forest being goofy, playing with lots of other dogs and his favorite toy.

I will miss you puppy.

RIP Remington 10/22/2009 – 7/1/2011

Beer Thirty in Columbus OH

Since moving to the Columbus area, I’ve practically been a hermit, rarely venturing out. I live and work on the outskirts of Columbus, rarely needing to travel inside the I270 circular. There are a number of really great neighborhoods within the I270 ring, like Upper Arlington, Clintonville and the Short North, but to me and my limited travels, I jokingly call anything within I270 “downtown”. On the occasion that I have driven through “downtown” I’ve noticed a number of bars that would be quite interesting to visit:

Betty’s Bar
435 W Nationwide Boulevard

Phil & Young’s Tavern
1455 Harrisburg Pike

Amicon Grill
1168 Chambers Road

Claddagh Pubs Of Polaris, LLC
8745 Sancus Boulevard

Ok so the last one is not downtown, but I pass by it all the time and yet have never gone inside, which is really quite odd, since I used to frequent an Irish bar in London (a lot!) before moving here.

There are so many really cool bars and taverns in Columbus. I probably won’t get to sample them all, but I’d love to step into a few of them, sample their food and beverages and perhaps record my visit with a photo.

What other bars and taverns in Columbus should be on my list?

2011 Spring Clean

It’s been so long since I really did much with this site, so I thought it was time to give it a spring cleaning. I chose a nicely coded wordpress theme and made a few minor adjustments. Unfortunately this site hasn’t received much attention since I’ve been in ‘head down’ mode for the past couple of years.

Enjoy the new theme and feel to drop me a line if you see something broken, missing or quirky.

Military Humor

For those of you who are into military humor, I had to repost these set of pictures, which came to me via email. I’m glad they still have a sense of humor with all the stuff they have to deal with. Thanks to all the service men and women keeping America safe.

Warning – Anhydrous Ammonia and Propane Tanks

This message is a warning originally sent from the FBI:
Anhydrous ammonia on propane tank valve
For those of you who like to grill it up during the summer, here’s a safety announcement you should be aware of. Please put this information out to ALL personnel. For those of you who exchange your propane tanks, this is something you definitely need to be aware of, especially in light of the recent news of ‘Meth-labs’ in our area. Meth cooks are getting propane tanks from exchanges at Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc. and emptying them of the propane. Then, they are filling them with anhydrous ammonia (which they now have a recipe for by the way). After they are finished with them, they return them to the store. They are then refilled with propane and sent back for you and me to buy. Anhydrous ammonia is very corrosive and weakens the structure of the tank. It can be very dangerous when mixed with propane and hooked up to our grills, etc. You should inspect the propane tank for any blue or greenish residue around the valve areas. If it is present, refuse to purchase that tank. Check out the National Propane Gas Association Website for more details. They also have pictures.

Update (7/12/2008):
The NPGA has taken down this page from their site, so here’s an archived copy of that page:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070804042015/http://www.npga.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=529

How Not To Market A Search Expo

If you’re going to try to promote a search conference, the worst possible way to promote it is to comment spam a blogger in the SEM community. Since I have math comment protection they had to have at least made some effort to fill out the form manually (unless there’s a workaround I didn’t know about).

The event talks about meeting gurus and learning the ins and outs of search engine marketing from the top experts. Do they think that comment spamming their event is an acceptable practice? Were they trying to get me to attend? I certainly never buy anything from a spammer (to discourage the practice).

What would you think if SMX or pubcon started comment spamming?

I’m going to hold this comment in my askimet bucket for now in case I decide to want to contact them or name them publically.

Exciting News

I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted a position at ECNext. I will be responsible for the SEO of some very large websites including Manta, AccessMyLibrary, Goliath and approx 40 other sites. Each contain many millions of pages so optimizing them is going to be fun and very rewarding. These sites have huge growth potential and I’m excited to be working alongside some very bright individuals.

Large scale website optimization is very different to regular SEO, although many of the same principals still apply. As time goes by, I hope to post about some of these issues here.

I’ve very much enjoyed working for Pittsburgh Internet Consulting and helping the company grow, but unfortunately this was an opportunity too good to miss. I wish them all the best in future, they’re a solid whitehat shop with a top notch crew.

This move also means that I will have to give up the badges for my Google AdWords Professional Qualification and the recent Microsoft adExcellence program, since they’re tied more to the client, than the person who took the test.

This also happens to be my one thousandth post on SEOrefugee, since my blog posts are also syndicated to the forum via RSS.

Over the next couple of weeks posts are going to be scarce as I wrap up things in Pittsburgh and move the family out to Columbus, OH.