Happy Birthday Luna!

March 6, 2011

One of my earliest posts spoke to our coming loss of Boomer.  We put her down a few days later, September 12, 2009.

Our plans around my sabbatical in Winter 2010 suggested to us that we should wait for our next dog.  And so we did.  But in late spring we welcomed Luna, a nine-week old yellow lab, into the family.  At midnight, Luna turns one.  And when last weighed is now 61 pounds of energy.

Luna is a sweet, sleek, athletic yellow lab.  Tobae hadn’t had a puppy before, but I had, and all other things equally she has been an excellent pup (this is a gentle way of saying Tobae has sometimes been pretty chagrined with her behavior).   She has become an accomplished mountain dog, especially fond of snow.  For students of genetics of yellow labs she has a pink nose, but is not a “Dudley”.  (And Tobae, *stop* calling her Pinky.)

Some highlights of her first year:

Visiting the “family mountain” Dickerman Mountain (a traditional Mother’s Day hike, except for our two years skiing Mount St. Helens)

With her pooper scooper, July 4 weekend at Whistler:

Along the trail to Gothic Basin in Summer 2010 (on a trip to begin to spread Boomer’s ashes in the mountains she loved):

Our “white trash” fortifications to prevent her from getting onto the roof and chewing up the roof jacks:

Video of her backcountry ski trip with Tobae, Sean and Sean’s dog Amico.  Tobae is holding the dogs up, Sean has skied down to take video.  (Whenever we play the video, Luna perks up when she hears Sean’s voice)

The low light of the year was son Mark, Facebook employee, insisting that a dog cannot have a Facebook account.  But as I read the terms of service, she will be eligible as soon as she is 13 (dog years!).  I really don’t care that dogs don’t fit the Facebook business model.

[Update, 3/7, 5:45 pm.  A Facebook page for a dog (not a profile!) courtesy of son Mark…]

Tobae is coming to see that Luna is “The Best Dog in the World”!


30 Years of Husky Football

March 5, 2011

After 30 years as a Husky football season ticket holder, I’ve decided not to renew my tickets.

I like college athletics.  I competed in Division 3, as have both my sons.   I like to watch football.   That was something I did as an undergraduate at Caltech (won one game), something I couldn’t as a graduate student at UCSD (they had abandoned football after that loss), and didn’t at MIT as a postdoc.  Arriving at UW in 1981, brought new opportunity!  And certainly Division I football is the front porch of UW, a catch phrase popularized by past President Mark Emmert and now adopted by Interim President Phyllis Wise (though I think they would be hard pressed to show the connection directly by analysis of donor interest in academics, athletics or both).

Three problems for me:

One problem is that our athletic front porch is exceptionally ugly right now.

1) I know and like Athletic Director Scott Woodward.  I was very disappointed to see him move to Intercollegiate Athletics simply to fire an 0-7 football coach.  His expertise was much more valuable in Gerberding Hall.  Two years later the question of whether he is a particular good AD is argued.  And so galling is the last day contract extension as Mark Emmert moved on.  And as reported in the Seattle Times, the unchallenged reasoning is laughable:

Emmert said he wanted to ensure that the position was solidified before he left UW.

(By the way Seattle Times, is there some reason that you don’t link to the underlying documents that you have obtained by a public records request so that a reader can do an independent analysis?)

2) And a good thing that contract was solidified, so that just a month later when embroiled in foot-in-mouth controversy, Interim President Phyllis Wise had her fiscal hands tied and firing Woodward would just create more angst and red ink.  Perhaps her public chiding of Woodward was more around anger over the actions of her predecessor?  And the chiding:  a university president doesn’t recognize that open discourse, even when embarrassing, is a core value of the academy?

3) The Husky Stadium renovation has been scaled down, but in no way in line with safety issues alone.  Do we need $300 million from the regional economy moving in this direction?  What is wrong with Qwest Field?  Tradition is argued.  So students are moving to the end zone?  See my second problem below for related commentary.

4) Scoreboard Baby.  Well researched about an era with a weasel football coach.  UW administration shares culpability, but I don’t see legitimate change occurring in response.  Prosecutorial discretion or not, the basketball rape scandal this year is a measure that from the top down, UW doesn’t care about its own reputation or credibility.

My second problem is schedule frenzy.  What happened to 12:30 p.m. games that lasted a little over three hours?  Game time is now most often announced on the Monday eleven days ahead.  How is one to plan life?  And games starting as late as 7:30 p.m.  Ever entered the north gates near the Dempsey during one of these late starts?  Nothing worse than an already quite drunk crowd.  Pragmatically I must shed tickets and getting face value (which varies too little across the stadium) is difficult.

My third problem is the loss of the track.  The Pac-12 championship will never return to Seattle…

My solution is simple.  Just buy re-sold tickets on StubHub for the games I can actually attend.  Thinking back to the economic model for stadium renovation there should have been much more concern in approving financing around this new reality.  The frustration of season ticket holders isn’t just a losing team.