Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mom's Obituary

Janet Triplett Appel

Resident of San Leandro, CA

June 3, 1943 – February 1, 2016

Janet Triplett Appel passed away on Monday, February 1, 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer.  She was a valiant fighter of this ravenous disease.

Janet was born in Corbin, Kentucky and graduated from Corbin High School.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.   She began her teaching career at Crestwood Elementary School in Crestwood, KY.  She also taught at Liberty Elementary School in Goshen, KY., and in the Mt Diablo School District in Concord, California.

Janet is survived by her husband Leonard Martin “Marty” Appel and their son Kristopher Erik Appel of Emeryville, CA.  She is also survived by her brother Dr. Henry Hall Triplett Jr. of Louisville, KY., and step-father Jack Hollin of Prospect, KY. She is predeceased by her father Dr. H. H. Triplett of Corbin, KY, her mother Anna French Triplett Hollin of Prospect, KY, and her sister Maryann Douglas L’Hote of Lexington, KY.

A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, February 13, 2016, 2 pm at the First Christian Church, 3039 Willow Pass Road, Concord, CA 94519.  Another celebration will be held May 8, 2016, 2 pm in Louisville, KY.  Details on request.

Gifts of remembrance are requested to be made to the Capital Campaign for First Christian Church at the address above or at

Monday, February 08, 2016

Getting Closure

So I'm in Lodi... again.

I'm here destroying the last of our sampling points.

It's my first day back to work after my mom died.  I decided to come back because I felt that closure of the site would bring me some personal closure.  Lots of things have happened during times I've been working here.

The first time I was here for a subsurface investigation, my grandmother died.

When we were in the midst of the deepest and nastiest part of the remediation, my mom was going through surgery.

But with the closure of the site, I have the chance to close out my feelings.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Memorial Service for Mom

So there will be two memorial services for my mom.

The first will be in California at First Christian Church in Concord (3039 Willow Pass Road) on Saturday, February 13 at 2:00 PM.

The second will be held in Kentucky on May 8.  Details will follow.

Monday, February 01, 2016

In Memoriam - UPDATED

So, we're not yet sure what we're going to be doing yet or when, but there will be some sort of memorial service here in California and Dad also wants to have one back home in Kentucky.

We did want to let everyone know that Mom asked that any donations be made to First Christian Church in Concord, for their Capital Campaign in her memory.  If you'd like to honor her by donating please put "In memory of Janet Appel" somewhere in the donation.

We've checked the site and it appears that there's no way to donate electronically, so if you are so moved, then proceed the old fashioned way with a check.


Their address is 3039 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, CA  94519, and their phone number is 925-685-7503.  Their website is . 

Final News

My mom passed away this morning around ten o'clock.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

An Update on My Mom

So, things are deteriorating quickly.

Wednesday, mom fell while dad was helping her to the bathroom.  She hurt her leg and her side.  So, dad started her on morphine.  She's in pain still, and has little to no appetite.  Dad's not sure if she'll last through the week.

I've been in Napa most of January, and have two more weeks of fieldwork, but I'm close enough that I can still come back if I'm needed.

If you want the latest update from her written by my dad, you can read her blog:

Also, for a great pre-remembrance, my cousin Lisa wrote a great blogpost about my mom.


Monday, January 18, 2016

A Busy Weekend

Last week was along week in the cold and rain while working in the field.

Our schedule is all kinds of shuffled, but I think we're doing well.  I'm just starting week two and not looking forward to the predicted rain for tomorrow and Friday.

But let's talk this past weekend.

Friday, I got home and got cleaned up and Jennifer and I ran errands taking advantage of having a vehicle.  Not too much, because, we still like walking and such, but kitty litter is bulky and heavy no matter what brand you buy.

Saturday was the monthly GURPS game, and we had lot of fun.  Yes, we could see the railroad tracks, but didn't mean we didn't enjoy ourselves.

Sunday, Jennifer and I went to see "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" on the big screen at the Century Theatre in San Francisco.  That is one of my favorite movies, and i was so cool to see it as it was meant to be views.  This was all through Fathom Events, and in two weeks we get to see "Blazing Saddles" that same way.  We've already decided that right before the film starts we're gong to get the audience's buy in that we're not going to be quiet, but everyone can speak lines along with the movie.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Back to the Field

So today was the end of the second day back in the field for me.

And this is real fieldwork, not just another site remediation.  We performing a massive subsurface investigation for a relatively small site.  And we've had an army out here doing the work.

There's the crew from my company which including the project manager amounts to six.  Then the drillers have five.  There's a pair of guys performing traffic control.  And then there's the public relations representative.  I'm used to less than half of this for a job.

And then on top of this we don't have an office out here like we've had for the last few remediations, so things were arriving all day on Monday.

[Princess Irulan Moment]

Oh, and did I mention that I'm the site supervisor?  Yeah, all deliveries at the site are looking for me, so I have to leave in the middle of whatever I'm doing and take and/or direct the deliveries.

And in addition to all this I've learned a few things:

Humans are smart and invented things like tables and chairs for a reason.  That reason being working on the ground or while sitting on a cooler and writing on a clipboard on your lap wears your back out really quickly.

I've been doing this for almost twenty years in various capacities and for a surprising number of companies.

It's surprisingly easy to rack up 20,000 steps (or more) just walking around the site.

Anchor Brewing has a series called Zymaster.  Whichever one I had last night was very drinkable.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Books Read in 2015

So, in 2015 I think I read the most books in one year ever for me: 104.

Of course, around half of these were not new.  With the death of Terry Pratchett, I decided to re-read everything he wrote solo as well as Good Omens.  Of the rest, some were bad, and some were just weak.

The most exciting book was probably The Fold by Peter Clines, and the most moving was certainly The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Geek Stuff

As you can see, I've been doing some minor blog renovations.  I widened the columns and added some new widgets.  To the left is the Goodreads Reading Challenge progress.  I'm reading my 100th book of the year right now, and honestly there's no way I could have done it without reading Pratchett.  To the right is another Goodreads widget that shows my activity on that site.  It allows me to just track my books there and not have to work as hard to keep the current read updated.  I'm still tracking the list of read books below that though.

I've recently finished the latest from Christopher Moore, Secondhand Souls, which was a lot of fun.  It's also cool to read books that take place near where you live, and most of his books take place in San Francisco or down near Big Sur.

Two books recently completed are Peter Clines' 14 and The Fold.  Now, I had tried to read his Ex-Heroes series, but quickly got angry with it being another bunch of zombie books.  These ar3e so much better and more fun.  Of course, they're tied in slightly with the Cthulhu mythos, so if you're not into that, well, that's your fault.  The first is about a surreal apartment complex that was essentially built by the good version of Ivo Shandor from "Ghostbusters".  Then the second is about the... downsides of crossing into parallel worlds and what kind of attention you're likely to attract.  They're a shared universe kind of thing and are a great read.

A few months ago, I had the house to myself, and I needed something strange to watch.  John had told me about the book John Dies at the End by David Wong.  I happened to come across the movie version,l so I thought it might be good to have on while I played SimCity.  Well, SimCity didn't last, because the movie was fascinatingly surreal.  It has two of my favoriate actors for secondary characters Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown.  They're both the kind of actor that if I see they're in the movie, I almost have to watch it.  So, I had to try the book, and it was so much stranger that the movie.  The movie essentially took the beginning and most of end, and merged them.  It was done, I'm sure, to make a faster paced movie.  So now I'm onto This Book is Full of Spiders, and it's already moving fast.  Plus you have to like any book that has an Epiprologue.

And then there's my computer gaming going on,  We've had two rainy Sundays recently, and while Jennifer has been watching TCM, I've been playing Civilization: Beyond Earth.  I have to say, I wasn't a fan of the turn based gameplay at first, but I'd have been slaughtered by now otherwise.  It's a hell of a game.

Finally, there's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I had so much fun with this movie.  No spoilers.  And I so want to see it again.  Soon.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Spending Time With Mom

I'm really not sure what to say at this point.  After a little over a year of good progress, my mom is really struggling now.

A few weeks ago she was in the hospital for a few days due to a fever.  I saw her in the hospital and she was pretty tired.

Then almost two weeks later she was in again.  But this time, there was harder news.

And then mom and dad made the decision to transition into hospice.

And so, this weekend, apart from visiting on Wednesday and Friday, I threw myself into chores at home.

Jennifer and I got boxes of Christmas decorations from storage, and spent Saturday and early Sunday morning decorating.  We also had pad see ew for Thanksgiving, because we were neither of us interested in turkey this year.  I got my fix of semi-traditional Thanksgiving food by having country ham when I was at my parents'.  And then yesterday, I told Jennifer I was going to do more chores.

So, after taking the empty boxes back to storage, while Jennifer cleaned up plastic pine needles and did general cleaning, I took care of lots of "manly-man" tasks around the house that I had been putting off.

New wheels on our wheelie cart.  Check.

Assemble and hang giant map on stairway.  Check.

Hang fancy shelves and mirror in bedroom.  Check.

And then I assisted in the last stages of clean-up.

And the house looks great:

This year we bought a set of advent ornaments for the tree in our foyer.  That's what's in the basket and why the tree seems so bare.

Friday, October 23, 2015

At This Time, I Only Eat Hot Dogs and Artichokes

So, John and I regularly chat during the day on YIM.  Some days it's only a few sentences, and others it's long conversations.

His first message to me today was to ask if I'd seen the super-cut "Star Wars - The Force Awakens" trailer.  It combines all of the footage from the three trailers.  I finally got some time and watched it.  You can too:

I told him when I was done that I was now seven-years-old and want all the toys.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Duck Army Videos

Have you seen the Duck Army video?

When I showed this to my wife and friends, there were 8 million views, and as I compose this there are over 9.6 million views.

Now, Adam Savage (of Mythbusters) saw this video and had to have his own collection.

And we all have the same reaction as Adam does.

But Adam made a duck bomb.

Adn then now, he has made a hanging bomb.

And here's how he made it.

Now, as Adam says, these are dog toys.  My Dad and I could not imagine them lasting long against a dog, but apparently, they are pretty sturdy.  Also, pretty annoying.

I'll admit that I did this post mostly to have all of these videos together for myself, but...  Share and Enjoy!

Music Thoughts

Yesterday, Mark Knopfler's song "Going Home" from the "Local Hero" soundtrack came on my iPod.  I think I listened to it four times.

When touring with Dire Straits, Knopfler used to close the concert with that song.  I first heard it as the last song on the live concert album Alchemy.  It's an amazing song.

And actually the entire "Local Hero "soundtrack is interesting with some very touching portions.  And listening to "Going Home" you can easily see why he was chosen to do the soundtrack for "The Princess Bride".

Monday, October 12, 2015

Long Weekend

So, I took a long weekend on Friday (in no way connected with not getting Columbus Day off on Monday) and had a special fun weekend.  I'll take it backwards.

Sunday, Jennifer was look for something to watch on Amazon, and she happened to come across "Back to the Future".  Now this movie is 30 years old, and I would have bet large sums of money that we had watched it together, but apparently not.  So we watched it and she really enjoyed it.  I asked if she wanted to watch Part II, and she said sure.  We almost didn't watch Part III, but she was hooked.  It was a great movie marathon.

Saturday was our monthly GURPS game.  We had a good length session and had lots of fun and laughs.  I was sore and a little distracted, but that was to be expected.

Friday, I started a new tattoo piece on my arm at a tattoo shop called Tigers Blood Social Club that Jennifer and I found on Alameda a few months ago.  And Friday, it was my turn back under the gun.

I've been pondering the concept of this portion for a bit, and have been looking at this artwork for inspiration.  The symbol in the artwork is a stylized S from the font that DC uses for the Kryptonian language in the comics and was also used on "Smallville".  I asked Ryan, the artist, to combine the artwork with a design from this t-shirt.

It was a long session, but we talked about movies and music and comics.

Ryan is traveling next month, so I'll be going back in December, and we'll see if we can finish this one.  I will say that the arm (at least where I got mine done) was a lot easier than on the back.  He was rarely tattooing and making my skeleton vibrate.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Hearing the Martian

So, I take regular walks at work to keep from sitting all day.  I thought it would be good to listen to something other than music, so I've been catching up on my podcasts.  Until I started walking, I hadn't listened to podcasts since finishing fieldwork in Lodi.  You see, I like to read while on BART, and so I have music for that, and I would listen to podcasts while I was driving to and from Lodi.

Now my two main podcasts are Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier's "SModcast".  I've been listening to it pretty much since the beginning, and it's lots of fun.  However, I ran out of those.  I also listen to Kevin's "Fatman on Batman" in which he interviews people associated with Batman in movies, TV, and animation.  Lately it's become an overall celebration and chat about all things comic books with Marc Bernardin.  I have also recently run out of those as well.

So, I went looking and found out that Adam Savage does a podcast called "Still Untitled".  Now, it's not news that I really like "Mythbusters", so this just kind of follows along.  And this podcast is all kinds of fun.  My only complaint about it is that it is too short.  Or at least, it seems that way.

I've already written about Andy Weir's The Martian, but there is more to the story now.  Adam interviewed Andy in the video below:

And recently, I listened to the podcast spoilercast of The Martian.  I won't embed that one because if for some reason you haven't read it yet, and want to, the temptation to watch may be too strong.  Just remember that the movie opens Friday (tomorrow).  One of the things the guys brought up regarding how good the book is, is how great the audio book is.  You see, the majority of the book is written in first person journal format, and the act of having it read to you is a lot like hearing a real first person account of a tale.

So, I picked up the audio book.  It's about an 11 hour MP3.  I started it on Tuesday, and with travel to work, daily walks, and lunches and things, I have managed to be about 8.5 hours into it right now.  It took a bit of will power to get over personal the stigma of smiling, giggling, and snorting at the funny bits while I'm walking around the block in Walnut Creek or while on BART.  And those BART rides haven't all been just from MacArthur station to Walnut Creek, yesterday it was going through Oakland on the way to and from San Leandro.

If you can take the time, listen to the book.

And then tomorrow, go see the movie.

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