Heiser Christmas Letter 2005

Excellent European Adventure

We spent ten days each in London and Paris. While I visited museums, Loretta took the personalized walks she created before the trip.

Race relations in Paris seemed cordial, so we were shocked later by the riots. We imagine the anger is largely about poverty and unemployment rather than about racial or religious prejudice.

Both Paris and London were competing for the 2012 Olympics: it was "gagnez les jeux" versus "back the bid." We had the pleasure of being seduced by both cities.

It was clear to us that the London subway bombers would be quickly identified by security cameras. "CCTV" advisory signs were everywhere.

I recently tried to visit as many New York museums as possible in eight days, and got to ten. Next trip, I will bring a compass.

Segway Ride is Exciting

The Segway Personal Transporter is like Harry Potter's broomstick: lean forward from your toes, and away you go! Don and Sue Kosy joined us for a ride along Santa Monica beach. On an earlier ride I had a spectacular crash but wasn't hurt.

Reading

Autobiographies get more interesting all the time. Tom Honoré, fellow volunteer at the Hippie Kitchen, and Murray Geisler, RAND Corporation analyst, wrote theirs in a spirit of reflection. I am tempted to do so, too. Lynn Conway's amazing autobiography is posted online.

Lynn has lived two lives as a computer architect: first at IBM, then at Xerox PARC as an entirely different person!

Let me recommend Malcolm Gladwell's best–selling Blink, from the author of The Tipping Point. It's a quick, fun read, just right for me while I'm learning to use my intuition.

Also check out the stunning photographs in Wildlife Spectacles by William G. Conway et al.

Soft is stronger than hard,

Water than rock,

Love than violence.

–Herman Hesse

Bring The Troops Home

I've been reading a lot of articles republished by truthout.org and have found them accurate and stimulating. Their coverage of the war has been especially informative.

Podcasts

Podcasts are free radio recordings; I subscribe to Left, Right and Center and Le Show, both from KCRW.com. My teacher Eli Jaxon–Bear has started podcasting too. Podcasts are like Tivo for radio. Bryan Stearns gave me an iPod music player, perfect for listening to those shows while jogging. We saw lots of iPods in London. I can also burn podcasts onto CDs for the car. Other days, I listen to Robert Greenberg's wonderful music appreciation lessons from the Teaching Company.

Another musical experience you might enjoy comes from the Music Genome Project at www.pandora.com. Name an artist or song, and they'll stream similar songs to help you discover music you might like.

Loretta Reports

Loretta has successfully completed her ripple–stitch afghan with a matching pillow. She's enjoying leading PACE exercise classes. Moshe is teaching high school algebra, and his girlfriend Nelissa works at an elementary school while majoring in history at Cal State LA.

Peace and Love! Best wishes for 2006!

Loretta and Dick