Olympics, Day -13

January 30, 2010

Men's Downhill Course

About two weeks to go, but this is the last weekend of “normal” life in Whistler.

Changes have been evident already.  We don’t have our normal ski-in/ski-out access to the mountain for we are next to the race course, so we’ve been driving to Creekside to get on the gondola.  Otherwise it has been a quiet January.

But come Monday morning the Creekside gondola closes, all of the parking lots are taken over by VANOC and our lives on public transportation begins.   We’ve rented a locker in the village so we don’t have to carry skis back and forth, but what is normally a short walk to get going becomes two bus rides.  And while there are grocery stores further away accessible by car, bus is the only viable transport to the nearby Creekside Grocery and the adjacent BC Liquor Store.  We’ve been stocking up.  And on Thursday security of the venue steps up a notch and the vehicle checkpoint on the road up our hill is established.

Most of our complex is empty as is typical except for weekends and holidays.   Upstairs has been occupied for a couple of weeks…IT managers for VANOC.  Our next door neighbor, one of the few permanent residents, is off to Florida soon and his place will then be occupied by two members of the Canadian women’s alpine team.  Otherwise we don’t know what to expect.  What is certain is that the underground parking in our complex has 26 spaces for 16 units and we all have two parking permits but only one assigned space.   We’ve planted one car in one of the unassigned spaces and will then use the assigned space for comings and goings.

Kindle, iPad and Me

January 30, 2010

So far I’ve not yielded to the thought that I ought to have a Kindle.  Despite usually being an early adopter, and liking to read,  in practice I barely keep up with newspapers and periodicals, much less make it through a book.  Though I did experiment.  I downloaded Kindle for iPhone about a year ago and have since assembled an odd collection of four books:  Dreams from My Father, Googled, Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, and The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science.  I enjoyed the first, have barely started the second, and the latter two were recommended to me as ones that could help me guide contemporary grad students and so are more reference works.  The experience on the iPhone has been fine, but clearly not matching those reading on the real thing.

Then in the course of the past three weeks some unrelated triggers.  Ron blogged about the Kindle experience with Fly by Wire; I thought I would enjoy the book.  Our friend Dan Lowell received a Kindle as a Christmas gift and he isn’t quite ready to admit it, but I think he is enjoying it too.  But the iPad announcement was coming this week.  And so now the decision is more complicated.  Nonetheless thinking about the decision resulted in an impulse to get my fifth Kindle book today, Fly by Wire.  Reading it on the iPhone would be fine and if I later decided on either a Kindle or iPad, the book would be readable (for the Kindle for iPhone app will run on the iPad).

Not so fast, need to examine my assumptions.   The publisher of Fly by Wire is Farrar, Straus and Giroux, a subsidiary of Macmillan, and Amazon and Macmillan are at odds.  As of today I can’t buy the book–hard copy or digital–directly from Amazon.   Time will tell, but can you say VHS-Betamax?