Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kilimanjaro Gear

My son David has signed up for a trek to the top of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. We had been putting it off, but we could put it off no longer. We had to buy gear for his trip up the mountain. Here in sunny California, winter gear is often only available during the winter months, and we were running out of time. So, Saturday was spent at the local REI getting the things he will need to climb the mountain. The bottom of the mountain is arid, but he will be climbing through tropical forest with daily rainfall until he reaches the top which is covered in an ice cap. He will need to be prepared to travel through all the environments.

His gear includes a thick pair of thermal underwear designed to wick moisture away from his body so that he stays dry and warm. The next layer is a set of insulating jacket and pants. For additional warmth, he will have a vest that he can add over the jacket. Finally he has a set of rain gear - jacket and pants. For his head, he will have a balaclava and a beanie to put over it. He will have liner socks and three thickness of hiking socks, so he can move to thicker layers as he moves up. His gloves have a liner so that he can take them off and do tasks without completely exposing his hands.

While trekking during the day, he will probably get warm and remove layers as he goes, but as they stop to camp each night, he will have to add a number of layers to stay warm. We are hoping he adds the layers before he actually starts to get cold.

We have other gear he will be taking, and some of it we can purchase later. Not pictured is a zero degree sleeping bag.

We have a lot of concerns about his trip and neither of us will be with him. We will be relying on the adult scout leaders to ensure his safely and comfort. I'm sure I'll be blogging more as his departure nears.

See my wife's entry on the subject.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It seems like my posts are getting fewer and farther between. I have been fairly busy, so there should be some good stuff to add here.

Last night I was given the largest telescope I have ever seen for home use. The tube is about 6 feet long and 10 inches in diameter. The base weighs about 80 pounds. This is not something to be moved around on a lark. I understand that it is custom built. It has a drive motor to keep it synched with the stars in the sky.

I have no idea how good it is. I'll plan to post some pics when I get it all re-assembled.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

PSS Award Ceremony

I had a pleasant surprise this last week. I was invited to an award ceremony of the PSS Commission. There was no indication what the award was for.

Now I have to admit that I went into it with some trepidation. There has been a lot of push to 'recognize' staff for their accomplishments. That usually means that you have to look through a set of names and pick somebody. My name was one of two recipients selected out of about 500. There were about 25 recipients of approximately 14,000 employees.

I was far more impressed when I heard the list of accomplishments for each of the recipients. It was clear that some thought had gone into the process.

David manages the Departmental Websites including intranet and internet applications and portals which contains over 2,000 web pages. He is very proactive in managing these websites and performs system monitoring during off-hours. He represents DPSS in countywide E-Government and E-GIS Committees. He is very creative and always looks for more efficient ways to automate manual processes. He is very dedicated and conscientious in providing outstanding customer service.
Click on the award for a larger image and text of the presentation.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scout meetings

This seems to be a week of Scout meetings. Monday night we had a troop meeting. Tuesday night we went to a meeting to learn how to earn the Eagle rank. Wednesday night was a Patrol Leaders Conference meeting with leadership training incorporated.

We are supposed to go to Death Vally with the troop this weekend, but both of my boy's got sick this week, and I don't think they will be well enough by this weekend for us to be able to go.

I feel like I've been on the run.