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Galapagos Islands, Hulk goes Ski Jumping, Cataract Surgery, and Halloween : Alek's Ramblings

From: alek
Sent on: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:09 AM
It's been 9 months since my last "Broadcast" Email so figured I'd send out another rambling Email from Alek. If for any reason you don't want these updates, simply reply and let me know per the below P.S.

Galapagos Islands: People seem to really enjoy my travel pictures and I've been fortunate to do some neat trips thanks to my wonderful wife Wendy who works in the travel business. We were lucky to be able to do a family trip down to the Galapagos Islands and it was pretty cool to walk right up to the wildlife (they have no fear of humans) and snorkel with sea lions, turtles, and penguins. Dirk-n-Kyle were quite the water-boys and it's always a treat to see my wife in a swimsuit. I haven't gone through all of the 6,000+ pictures and videos I took down there, but a preliminary pass (more to come) can be seen at:

Hulk goes Ski Jumping: Wendy took the kids to Club Med over Spring Break, so I was able to get away to see my family in Washington State and stay at my brother Kurt's place in Wenatchee for the Mission Ridge Dummy Downhill. Not only did we have some great snow for skiing, but the Dummy Downhill was a total blast. Kurt has entered a number of times, but I brought up "The HULK" this year who did a great job against the other Puny Human entries in the ski jumping contest ... picture and video (including the HULK's SMASHing landing) at:

Cataract Surgery: While I'm getting older and slower, I've been very lucky to have pretty decent health for 48 years ... with the one exception being my eyes. Wearing glasses and contacts was always a bit of a bother, but at least I could see semi-straight with 'em. But in the last year, a cataract has developed that really impairs my vision and is not correctable - i.e. a major PIA! :-(   So next week I'm having Cataract Surgery to (hopefully) fix this. Many people get vision interfering cataracts in their 70-80's, so bummer for me that mine developed a couple of decades early. Good news is that this is a very common procedure with minimal risk and I feel good about the doctor - he not only did a great job with Wendy's Lasik a while back, but is my neighbor who allows me to put a webcam at his house for the Christmas Craziness. A rather lengthy writeup (with some visual examples) can be seen at:

Halloween: Speaking of Christmas Craziness, it's almost that time of the year to warm-up with Halloween. While post-surgery I'll have some weight carrying restrictions, I hope to put out some spooky stuff again. Recall that last year I took a break due to Wendy's Breast Cancer Surgery (she continues to do great BTW), so Frankenstein, Pumpkin Jack, and Homer Simpson are anxious to entertain the Internet again via the live webcams and X10 controls - D'OH!   ;-)   Even crazier is that over $60,000 has been raised for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research with my holiday lights. The Controllable Halloween Decorations for Celiac Disease are at:

WOW - I rambled even more than usual this time ... hats-off to those who actually read this far!    ;-)

P.S.  I write these "mail-all's" a couple of times a year by sending to the couple of thousand people in my address book. I'm always a bit surprised to get deluged with "attaboy" responses - thanks everyone that writes. As mentioned before, I'm just a "boring middle-aged suburban Dad", but some of the zany stuff on the website seems to be interesting to some - for instance, the baby hummingbird pictures consistently averages over 20,000 visitors a month - so I guess some of my stuff seems to be quite the viral attraction.

I also usually ~dozen responses saying "I'm not sure how I got in your address book, but love your pictures and please send more" And yes, I also get a few responses asking to be removed from the distribution, which I'm happy to do. I gotta say one of the funniest responses was someone who wrote in quite irate asking to be removed immediately. I wrote back saying no problem and included an earlier Email they had sent me asking for some camera advice. They then wrote back saying "oops, sorry, hadn't had my morning cup of coffee" ... and then subsequently wrote how they looked at the pictures and really enjoyed 'em, so sheepishly asked to be put back on the "couple times/year Alek's Rambling broadcast Email list"   ;-)

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