Donating the Jeep

Katina and I are donating our Jeep. The people were supposed to come by and pick it up this weekend but I guess the rain scared them away. It'll be picked up sometime this week. I have a lot of great stories with that Jeep and I'll write more about it over the break. It was the first car I bought in college and within those 149,000 miles, there's a lot of personal history.

Anyway, I hope to rack up that many miles in my new car but over many more years than the 9 it took me to rack up 149k on the Jeep.

our charities

List of our charities for my reference, e.g. taxes and for next year. (note for your reference, we only give $25 – $200+ for each of these organizations which really isn't enough.)

awesome weekend

What a great weekend.

On Saturday, I started the day at 6am, drove over to Crissy Field, around 7am started my jog over to the Ferry Building and ran back (about an hour and a half give or take), met up with IronTeam, did an hour bike spin, and ran for another 30 minutes afterwards.

In the afternoon, Katina and I went shopping. We got this cool Yamaha receiver, bought some clothes as I'm wearing out my current rotation of shirts.

That evening, we went out with my parents for Japanese food at Kirala. Highly recommend the Uni, the Unagi, and the baby lobster robata.

Sunday was a gorgeous day for a bike ride. I started from my house at 7:30 am, up Claremont Ave (had to stop 4/5ths up as my legs were tired) but then continued till I got to Orinda. I met up with an old friend though I wished more than one person showed up. We did the 3 Bears bike ride loop and it was a gorgeous day for it. We finished up by going up Wildcat Canyon and I got home around 11:30am.

The Raiders won (finally, so they're 3-4). I went to my favorite bike shop and bought a few things, more shopping :-)

After doing some work/chores, Katina and I took a walk to the market and came back home for some dinner and then back to work/some stretching/some hot chocolate before bed.

Not a bad weekend.

cold remedy -> salt water up your nose

I wish I had heard this on NPR or looked online for this solution 3 or 4 weeks ago. I had a bad cold that turned into a sinus infection that lasted for three weeks and all I needed to do was snort saltwater. I'll have to remember this for next time.

More info…
"Rinse with saline sprays. Saltwater rinses — or saline sprays — thin your mucus and get rid of irritants. Use an over-the-counter nasal saline spray, or flush your nostrils with warm salt water. The ratio of salt to water is approximately 1/8 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of water. Use a suction bulb or put some of the warm salt water in the cup of your hand to sniff it up one nostril at a time."

Katina's Family Hurricane Fund

Donate via PayPal
* I'm working with friends at PayPal hopefully to waive the transaction fees…I'll let you know how it goes.

Short version of the story:
My wife Katina is from New Orleans and her family was affected significantly by Hurricane Katrina. They're all accounted for, safe, and doing okay, and they're currently in Dallas, Texas and Brandon, Miss. If you'd like to donate to her family, we set up a PayPal link above. Otherwise, just keep us in your prayers. You know how Katina and I do things, we're going to take care of business and make sure our family is taken care of.

Here's the full story:
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans about two weeks ago (just as I was finishing Ironman Canada). Most of my wife's family evacuated and usually, they can come back in two to three days. But clearly not this time. All of our family lives on the West Bank so it looks like their property may still be in tact and wasn't damaged too badly by the flooding. Not sure what the hurricane damage was like but they can't go back home. There's nothing to go back to yet. It's looking like 6 months to a year before they can go back home.

Our family includes:
In Dallas, Tx
Katrina = (Katina's sister…yup her name is Katrina)
Joe and Gary = Katrina's 7 year old and 4 year old
Debra = Katina's aunt
Charlene = Katina's aunt
Tiphane, Ricky, Tynia (& Leroy) = Charlene's kids, Leroy is Tynia's husband

In Brandon, Miss.
Rochelle = Katina's Mom
Grandma Ellen and her husband
Darlene & Alaiya = Katina's aunt and cousin

Alaiya and Gary Frederick the Third!

Our family in Brandon is in good shape. Our family in Texas could use some help. They're essentially having to start over. The kids were supposed to start school already and so we have to take care of that. Katina and I actually pay for Gary to go to school. He goes to Arden Cahill Academy, one of the best schools in New Orleans. So, getting the kids to a good school is a priority for us. Also, everyone is pretty much out of a job, FEMA isn't much assistance, and we have four kids to take care of.

What the money will be used for:
– essentials until we get these guys settled into a job
– food, gas money, clothes
– household items, they have to start from scratch with household goods
– stuff for the kids
– medicine

We've sent some money over but not a lot yet. They still have to establish bank accounts in Dallas.

They've got apartments, three via HUD, so rent will be covered for a year. We're working on getting FEMA relief help (which is just ridiculous), insurance stuff, and other paperwork.

I'll write more as we go. But thank you already for all your support. It's very much appreciated.

what matters

Before I forget, things I learned while on sabbatical.
What matters is 1) spending time with people you care about, and 2) doing things you enjoy. I'd like to add leaving things better than you found it/changing the world for the better as much as you can and in your own way.

About This Web Site

Welcome! is my (Rafael Ebron) home on the web. It's my way of participating, sharing my random thoughts to anyone who might find what I have to share interesting. I hope some of what I write ends up being useful to somebody.

I've been on the web for a while (Geocities, etc) but I think my earliest record might be from 2000!

These days, I'm mostly writing about daily life in Oakland California, work and topics that interest me usually related to web browsers and emerging Web technology, and Ironman triathlons (and some snowboarding) which I enjoy doing. I try and not write anything too deeply personal but that is sometimes hard to do.

We still haven't figured out the Web much — how to really use it, privacy, the implications for participation, centralization of data, the scattering of profile information, authentication, etc. Let's try and figure it out.

Bear with me as I'm a notorious publisher/deleter of my own content and we'll see how the rest of goes.

*If you didn't catch it, the masthead photos are of home – Oakland, Kirkwood, and (a friend's house, which shouldn't really count but the picture was cool). Get it? This is my home page. Nevermind.

The Bedroom Closet

When we first moved into our house, our bedroom closet had a deadbolt lock on it – on one side a key hole, and the other a knob (some deadbolts have key holes on both sides). What was weird was that the key hole side was inside the closet and the knob facing the bedroom. If you can't visualize that, you could essentially lock someone in the closet if they didn't have a key. Freaked me the hell out.

When we got the locksmith re-keying all the locks in the house, he turned around that deadbolt so that the key hole side was facing the bedroom. We were thinking of removing it but he said to keep it because it's perfect if you had people coming over to work on the house or on vacation, you could just put everything in the closet and lock things up.

Every once in awhile, when I think about the lock, I still get freaked out. What the hell was that used for? Who was locked in the closet? Is the paint on the door covering up finger nail scratches on the door from someone clawing their way out? Was it one of those kinky closets? I kinda want to know and kinda don't either. The locksmith had said maybe it was for some crazy kid or crazy older person. Who knows except for that person who put that lock in there in the first place.

Snowboarding @Kirkwood, or how many times am I going to fall on my ass

I'm back from the snowboarding trip @Kirkwood. My wife and I left with the "firm" on Friday afternoon to go up to Kirkwood. We went snowboarding pretty much all day Saturday (I'm really sore today), kicked back on Sunday morning and left in the afternoon and now back to doing some work.

The snowboarding trip was fun, just did the bunny slopes and got the hang of it after a couple runs down the slope. Nothing too exciting though it was definitely fun and exhausting.

Some more thoughts:

– Snowboarding in the Spring is fun, not too busy, sunny and hot, and the snow isn't too slushy or hard just yet.

– This is a great time of the year to buy snow gear.

– I finally did get a chance to hear Mitchell on NPR Science Friday. She did a *great* job.

– I also downloaded the lastest Thunderbird and was pleasantly surprised to see inline spell checking when composing email. Very happy! Apparently it got checked-in last January but turned on by default recently.

– Noticed there was more talk about the Seamonkey plans. Ack.

– And this is going to be just a very busy week at work capped off by a Half Ironman this Saturday @Lake San Antonio aka the Wildflower course.

Hmm…this week is going to be fun.

Luz on Queer Eye for the Straight Girl

luz.gif Our (Katina and me) friend Luz Herrera will be on TV. Luz is very, very cool, and I think still single. Anyhow, I'm very happy for her and maybe she can go on and do some sort of tv career – she's cute enough for it.

Everyone is getting on tv this year it's amazing, Blake on ABC News, I got on German TV somehow, my friend Christine was dancing with her team on the Letterman show, and now Luz.