Our First Tramway Excursion

Monday, 28 Jan 2008 | Family

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Toni and I took a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway yesterday. It was a first time experience for both of us. I have worked in Palm Springs for a long time and have wanted to ride the tramway, but just never got around to doing it.

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The tramway boasts the largest rotating tram cars in the world. These tram cars whisk you from the Valley Station (2,643 feet) to the Mountain Station (8,516 feet) for a total ascent of 5,873 feet in about 10 minutes.

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This was part of a belated birthday present for Toni. She wanted to go to the snow on her birthday, but we were both sick at the time. I planned to go on Sunday because I had a good feeling it would snow at the top of San Jacinto Mountains due to the abundance of rain in the past week.

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The mountain top was completely covered with clouds, so there was no visibilty at the top. Actually we couldn't see anything during the ride up and down because of the heavy cloud cover. But once we arrived at the top, we were both pleased to see falling snow and 5 inches of powder on top of 10 inches of icy snow. We both went outside for a little while to enjoy the snow, but the 28 degree temperature, falling snow and wind had us returning to the station for shelter.

Toni had a wonderful time and wants to return again with Erin. I'm so glad I was able to fulfill her wish for a snow filled experience. :)

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Taffy's a Movie Star

Monday, 28 Jan 2008 | Disney, Entertainment, Pets, Photography

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Taffy has been featured in the Walt Disney motion picture Underdog!

One of Toni's students said they saw Taffy in the movie. They said it's the picture you have of Taffy on your desk, Mrs. Fletcher.

We didn't think much of it, but were curious, so we rented Underdog over the weekend just to see the end credits. Sure enough, Taffy's picture shown above is the tenth dog photo shown in the credits.

Later, I realized I had submitted the picture to Walt Disney online, but had forgotten about it. Since I wasn't notified about its inclusion, I assumed it didn't make the cut. Toni and I are so proud of our Taffy. ;)

Oh, and don't worry. It hasn't gone to Taffy's head at all.

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Dinner with Terry's Family at Ricardo's

Saturday, 19 Jan 2008 | Friends, Restaurants

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It's always great when I can meet with friends while attending CES. It had been a year since I had dinner with Terry and her family. This time we met at Ricardo's Mexican Restaurant on Flamingo. It's just past the Rio and Palms casinos.

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I've know Terry for years. We got to know each other because we both used to sell Ty Beanie Babies on eBay. There was a bulletin board about Beanie Baby collecting on eBay that we would both frequent. Since then, Toni and I have made it a point to get together with Terry when we find ourselves in Las Vegas. I met her husband Bill on past trips. It was funny because I called Terry one night prior to meeting at Ricardo's to touch bases and Bill was convinced he didn't know me. I just had to kid him about it when we had dinner.

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Leslie is Terry's oldest daughter. She just go a job working for an insurance agency and is loving it. Leslie tends to be the more talkative one in the family. She's quite a conversationalist. It's always fun to see her. Strangely, I didn't photograph the food. But I did enjoy it. I shared my beef chimichanga with Leslie and Leslie shared her chicken enchiladas with me since I couldn't decide. Terry and Laura recommended the chimichanga and Leslie recommended the chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. Bill had enchiladas, but isn't much for Mexicna food.

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Laura is the younger daughter. She is going to college for graphic design and working at a school cafeteria part time. She is fun to talk to as well. She's a bit quieter than Leslie, but can carry on a nice conversation if coaxed a little.

Terry and her whole family are great. I just love seeing them when I'm in town. I just wish I could see them more often. Why is it the people you enjoy seem to often live far away? Hopefully, Toni will be with me when I go to Las Vegas next time and we'll get together again. Thanks Terry and family for a lovely evening.

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Entourage 2008 Auto Loads Pictures

Saturday, 19 Jan 2008 | Apple, Computers, Macintosh

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I installed Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition yesterday. I have been waiting anxiously for this new version of Office because I know it would run natively on Intel processors which my Mac Pro uses. The speed increase is very noticeable and overall I was very pleased with the upgrade.

I use Entourage for my email client. At a certain point, Entourage 2004 decided to not allow pictures in HTML email to load automatically. You could set it so pictures would auto load for emails from contacts in your address book. Well, I hoped in the new version, it would allow the user to override this security protection. Much to my dismay, even when the contact was in my address book, I would have to manually tell Entourage 2008 to load the pictures in many of the emails. This is very tedious.

This morning, I decided to look through the preferences settings. Much to my delight, I discovered there is now a setting under General Preferences, Security that allows you to download photos in all messages! I am such a happy camper now. Thank you so much, Microsoft. I am so appreciative of this option. Now I don't have to see that annoying "To protect your privacy, some pictures in this message were not downloaded" message all the time.

I do have an issue with the notification sounds not working with the new version of Entourage, but that is not too hard to deal with. I understand Microsoft is aware of it and will post a fix. I realize there will be some issues with a brand new piece of software. I don't mind them as long as it doesn't impact my use of the software too severely and the manufacturer is proactive fixing the bug.

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Jenny and Tina at 2008 CES

Sunday, 13 Jan 2008 | Food, Friends

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I was fortunate to meet Jenny and her best friend Tina at CES this year. I have known Jenny through her blog, but had never met since I live in Southern California and she lives in Rochester, New York. Jenny and Tina were representing Kodak at CES. They often get to go on trips together for work. It world be great to have a best friend to share experiences with as well.

I saw Jenny by herself first at the Venetian because Tina was working the Kodak booth at the time. We chatted for a while and took some pictures. It was so neat to finally meet Jenny. I feel like I know her pretty well through reading her blog. She was so sweet and gave me a neat book from the Eastman Kodak House, a bunch of Moo cards and stickers. :)

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Jenny and Tina are huge In-N-Out burger fans, so I suggested going there for dinner after Tina was done working for the day. I picked them up at the Mirage where they were staying. We only had a little time because they had a business dinner later that evening at Smith & Wollensky. It's a treat for them to have In-N-Out food because there aren't any In-N-Out restaurants in New York.

I had a lovely time with them, albeit too short. Unfortunately, they were leaving the next day. Hopefully I'll meet up with them again. They every bit as nice and friendly as I imagined, if not more so. Thanks Jenny and Tina for making my Las Vegas stay a little brighter.

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2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival

Sunday, 6 Jan 2008 | Culture, Entertainment, Photography

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I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival Black Tie Awards Gala. This is a charity dinner held at the Palm Springs Convention Center and film awards ceremony. The film festival is a great event for Palm Springs, founded by the late Sonny Bono. This year's awards gala drew over 1,600 attendees. Many celebrities can be seen walking down the red carpet into the event. The atmosphere is akin to the Academy Awards, complete with screaming fans camped outside hoping to get a glimpse of their favorite star.

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I was the staff photographer for the Palm Springs Mayor, Steve Pougnet and City Manager, David Ready. I was charged with photographing the event and specifically photographing the Mayor and eight lucky middle school aged kids. The Mayor selected these young men and women from the local areas to get dressed up and attend the dinner and awards ceremony.

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As an added bonus, I was given the opportunity to take photographs of the celebrites during the awards ceremony. It was such a joy to have access to an event like this. I enjoyed a nice dinner, good company, and was able to do one of the things I love the most; photographing people. It was hard work, but the results are well worth it.

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