Friday, May 27, 2005

Rosario Resort Review or how we spent 3 days on Orcas Island

Lately I find myself doing reviews on a variety of things. This is one of those reviews.
In a spur of the moment, no planning moment, my partner booked us a short vacation on Orcas Island in the San Juans.
She usually plans about a year in advance, so making reservations 2 weeks in advance was definitely a spur of the moment.

The San Juan Islands are located between the U.S. and Canada as part of Washington State.
The location provides weather that is not always typical of Washington State's reputation. This trip was no exception.
The weather was spectacular!

We stayed at the Rosario Resort.

{Author's note: my mother always said if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Sorry mom!}

Rosario Resort should be an excellent place to stay. Perhaps because we are not part of the yachting set, we didn't appreciate the nuances of the place.
To better know our point of view, we are...

My partner is a curvaious artist/writer type, while I am an older computer geekish painter/writer type.
We work for a living and have some disposable income.
Our tastes in food, art, music, and activities vary from refined to common place.
I figure we are your average, non-millionaires.

Back to the review.

Expectations are everything when considering and evaluating what you get.
From Rosario, we expected a very nice room with a view of the Rosario Mansion across the inlet.
What we got was a very large well appointed room that had the sound proofing of a cardboard box and the view of a very own personal evergreen tree.
And this was one of the upscale hillside rooms.
To cap off our stay, on the last morning, we were awaken to the gentle humming of a CHAINSAW!
When asked how our stay was, my partner didn't mention the ability to hear our neighbors walking around, flushing the toilet or whispering to each other.
No, she only mentioned that she didn't appreciate the chainsaw wake up call. To that, the desk clerk said something like, well they didn't start until 9:35!
Like the 5 minutes after 9:30 had some significance!
For my partner that was the topper to our stay at Rosario Resort.

My recommendation is if you want a better view, nicer people and quieter rooms, stay at the Cascade Harbor Inn.
They are located just below the Rosario hillside rooms and the folks were far more friendly.
We even got a tour of one of the rooms because we had stopped to take the picture we wanted to take from our Rosario Resort room.

Be assured that the small fact of our room "sucking" was not the only whine we had with Rosario Resort.
We received a $50 credit for the restaurant when we registered. Thinking that this was a pretty good deal, we had dinner in the Mansion's restaurant the first night.
I must admit the food was great! Expensive, but great! The menu is limited. But even that was not the biggest drawback.
Our dining experience started out with the host and hostess heatedly discussing some scheduling issue as we approached...
After a few moments, they realized that we were serious about having dinner there, anyway, and seated us at a view table.
The service was very good and we never wanted for anything. except for the host and hostess to NOT continue their "discussions" several times during dinner beside our table. Clearly, they were aware of my partner's desire to help people and were indirectly seeking her out. Unfortunately, the only thing they were invoking from us was annoyance, which they were of course obivious to and entertained themselves without our assistance.

That said, the trip was very enjoyable. When we were awaken in the middle of the night (room notes above), we were able to view a beautiful full moon gleaming on the water across the Sounds. We had absolutely gorgeous weather. And the other people and places we visited made the trip to Orcas Island a memory worth the remembrance.

In particular, the points worth the trip were:

Mt Constitution is 2409 feet above the Sounds and provides a 360 degree view of the Olympics, Cascades, Puget Sound and in particular on the day we were there of Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. Simply spectacular!

The town (I use that term loosely) of Olga. We stoppped at Cafe Olga for lunch. To our surprise it also housed the James Hardman gallery and a place for the Orcas Island Artworks members to show their varied art. I was entranced by James Hardman's music and Rita McKinney's watercolors. Purchasing pieces from each.
Now, onto lunch. If you are on Orcas Island, go out of your way to stop and eat at Cafe Olga. You will not be disappointed. A more pleasant place to eat can not be found and the food we had was world class. Low snob appeal, sorry.

There is a small cafe on the main drive through Eastsound, that I am sorry to say I forgot the name, where we went each of the 3 days we were on the island. Twice for ice cream cones (a summer vacation tradition for us) and once for breakfast (on the chainsaw morning, which saved that day).

Other things of interest were the Deer Harbor herons, Orcas Island Pottery (this is a must see for the electic pottery displays and the beautiful view of the Sounds)
If you are into things like kayaking, hiking, whale watching and bicycling (in particular bicycling) there are lots of activities and opportunities available.
We are into beach walks, folksmarching, art and quiet. Art is definitely here on the island. But the beaches are mostly private, marching wasn't scheduled while we were there and quiet... well you heard the room story so that overshadows any quiet memories.

We will explore the other San Juan islands next time and maybe hop the ferry over to Cafe Olga for lunch and the art. For us, Rosario Resort was the low-light of that 3 day jaunt.

As with all reviews, these are my opinions. It would be best to form your own. Just be warned, I told you so!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Still playing around with Video postings

I recently came across a site explaining more about how to do video blogs. This entry is an attempt at posting an embedded video. Hopefully it does not take to long to load. {but you my need to be a bit more patient then I am}

The site contains a step by step tutorial on how to create and post a "free" vlog entry here in Blogger.

I did things a little different then the tutorial explains, so don't blame them for any lame behavior that I created in this post.

Click to play

This is my first attempt, so setup and video quality will improve as I learn more.
Note, that the video display box will change color from black to blue when ready. Also the "play" control button will become active when the video is ready to play.

Arlene and I are a little goofy some times, but boy do we enjoy ourselves.
Hopefully, you will enjoy this too.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Feeds from Space... part deux

Later the same evening another broadcast came through. Not much substance in this one. I thought I would just let you see what we saw.

What the heck could this be?

Feeds from Space

Feeds from Space... the original

As odd as this may sound, I have discovered a little known, abandoned radio space telescope in of all places Kent, Washington. I know, how can this be? Got me, but there it was. To my surprise, all I needed to do was flip the switch and everything came alive.

I have decided to keep its location a secret, because it always seems that anything of substance gets turned in a commercial venture. It is extremely difficult to tune the station so that anything gets through. But as I find a way, I will share what is received.

To that end, I am sharing the first transmission.

Feeds from Space - May 14, 2005

click here to download

Feeds from Space by Handmade Enterprises films - Satellite broadcast "captured" on May 14, 2005
Music by BeatFreak via
Images via NRAO VLA collection additional attributions provided via VLA images page 1 and page 2
Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5


Friday, May 13, 2005

Firefox videos show the impact to users !!!!

Firefox is getting a "word of mouth" advertising campaign.
The videos listed below are humorous and attention getting.

Even with these ads being spread throughout the Internet, IBM is still promoting the use of Firefox internally.

The Office

The Mobile

The Notebook


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

podcasting, so what!

Up until last night I just wasn't really interested in listening to the various podcasting content that was available. That is until Kevin Rose posted about the latest TWIT (This Week in Tech) podcast.

If you happened to follow TechTV awhile back, you probably know that G4 (aka Comcast) purchased TechTV and morphed the two in a demographical targetted, pain in the brain. There are several shows that held my interest even after the merger, but they are now succumbing.

The ScreenSavers, now named Attack of the Show, was one. Bottom line on this one is that it moved from a tech savy, fringe info, intelligent show to your basic babble and high school level production quality.

Another is X-Play. This was an entertaining banter and reviews of the two hosts. Now recently just blah, blah, blah.

Could it be that intelligence is on the way out and only the mindless drivel (oh, wait, that's redundant) that connects with junior high level bathroom humor is what sells on TV?

Someone in marketing missed the point... think about all those folks that are age 35 and older. With all that disposable income. Forget marketing {WHAT!!!???} Let's just talk ratings. Clearly, something is changing. Can the ratings be higher now that G4TechTV is feeding us? If the ratings show that I am wrong, well then so be it. I would doubt they have increased. But if they have, then let's take a step back to radio... wait... no, how about a podcast!

Yep, I would rather be listening to a scratchy, lispy, radio broadcast of an intelligent set of techies talk about whatever comes to mind then switch on G4TechTV.


Saturday, May 07, 2005

New deck with Arlene attached

She actually wanted to spend the night outside

Monday, May 02, 2005

LadyMissTree's Blog

One of life's little mysteries is the coincidence. You know those things that happen from time to time, making you say hmmmm, I wonder why that happened? or How interesting! Just such a coincidence occurred to me while searching for the definition of blog fodder.

Somehow I found my self reading the blog entries of LadyMissTree. I really have no idea how I got there. I could not backtrack my steps. But there I was reading and enjoying her turn of a phrase.

I have learned that there are really no coincidences. I believe that these so called coincidences are connection attempts that are fulfilled or not. In addition, I have learned that they should never be overlooked. So, to that end, I wrote LadyMissTree for permission to include her blog in my links.

I am writing this at my usual wakeful period of 2 AM. Which is of course 7 PM in Melbourne, Australia. Did I mention that LadyMissTree is located in Melbourne?

Thinking that I would probably not hear back from her, since in today's world random emails from someone unknown are most likely are spam-canned, I decided that I would publish her link and then remove it when she wrote back and said not to include it. pretty lame justification, don't you think?

Given that premise, here is the link to LadyMissTree's blog

In addition, here are some of my favorite entries:

No Weddings & A Funeral

Trip Diary #3-American Gods

A dummy's guide to Australia part 2

A dummy's guide to Australia part 1

BTW, the trip diary finally gave me the reason why I am awake at 2 AM writing blogs. Everything is coming into focus!!

can't sleep, clowns will eat me!

Well, that's about it for now. Hopefully, the circuit completes and I find out why the coincidence. Hooroo!

P.S. while I was writing this, I received a note from LadyMissTree giving me permission to publish her links.

Probably just a coincidence, that she wrote back and I was up at the same time.
Don't you think?