Long time no post

Hi – Dan here. It has been a while since my last post. I have been busy with outside activities. The big new one is because …

—–Original Message—–

From: Dan Danecki [mailto:ddanecki@stanford.edu]
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:26 PM
To: bdanecki@earthlink.net; mdanecki@student.umass.edu; cdoxygenrider@earthlink.net
Cc: dan@danecki.us
Subject: I is a student again!

Check out my new email address! Pretty neat! Think it will impress anyone?
In case you did not know, Stanford and MIT are the top two engineering schools in the world.

-Dad

What this is all about is that I am taking a course in Computer Architecture at Stanford University through their industry partnership program. My company Sun Microsystems is in that program. Many of you may not be aware that the name SUN stands for “Stanford University Network” which is still the name of Stanford’s internal network. The founders of Sun attended Stanford (well, most of them anyway). Here is a link to more information:

http://scpd.stanford.edu/scpd/about/

The other thing that keeps me busy, which has been going on for four years now, is my involvement with the Merrimack Valley Venture Forum. This is a non-profit business and networking group meant to promote entrepreneurial activity in the region by “Connecting People, Ideas, and Resources” (which is our mission statement). I am Chairman of the Program Committee and a member of the Board of Directors. Our committee is the group which hosts monthly events featuring (usually) a keynote speaker followed by a panelist discussion led by a moderator. The participants tend to be company leaders in the Merrimack Valley region and talk about topics such as an industry sector like medical devices or nanotechnology, financing options for your company, exit strategies, and so forth. The events are typically held at UMass Lowell, my alma mater, which is only 10 minutes away from our house. So no excuses! I do this for education, the networking contacts, and because I enjoy entrepreneur related topics. Check us out at:

http://www.mvvf.org/

I need to study for my mid-term exam now, so gotta run. 😉

Las Vegas on business

Better late than never. The past several weeks have been very busy due to work travel and college graduation activities so I am a bit behind on my blog entries.

Vegas, baby!

I actually got to go to Las Vegas on a business trip. Sun Microsystems does not have a facility there, but they are building a new data center
hosted by one of the top data center hosting companies in the world. Check out http://www.switchcommgroup.com/ . The provisioning team needed help in doing the build-out and asked for volunteers. That was an easy decision for me.

So for the week of May 7th through 11th, I was there. Being the first time I have ever been in that part of the country, it was exciting. I am still not sure what to make of that city. On one hand, Las Vegas is a colossal waste of natural resources and energy. On the other hand it is an incredible well-done testimonial to living life to the fullest. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The temperate hovered around 100 degrees the entire time I was there, one time peaking at 105 degrees. It really is true that it is dry heat so that it does not feel nearly as bad as the same temperature in a humid climate. I stayed in two hotels, both just off the famous strip. The Flamingo Hilton was mostly geared for vacationers but went out of their way to make me feel wanted. The Westin did not, but was a typical decent hotel.

The Westin did have a casino as part of the lobby. It took me a couple times at first to figure out what they meant by play 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, etc. lines and bet 1, 2, 5, and some of the other options but eventually I got it. One night I started with $5, drained it to less than $2.00 but then hit some jackpot to raise it to $7.50. It eventually got back down to $5.00 when I cashed out. so I broke even and played for one hour. A good night, I would say. Then the next night I started with $10 which yo-yo’d until I eventually lost it but I lasted 90 minutes. $10 for 90 minutes of game playing is not so bad. I did not try any tables. I did watch a couple, and saw one older gent lose his chips at the craps table but then took out his wallet and put down three $100 bills for more. I guess that is nothing compared to the “High limit” rooms behind glass. Not too much activity there from what I could tell.

The first night I went out to dinner with the work gang at a German beer garden restaurant chain called the Hofbrauhaus made exactly like the original in Munich. I had a plate of various sausages and tried several brews.

Another night I ate at Morton’s steak house and had a $46 Chicago Style Bone-In Ribeye Steak. That was one of the cheaper entrees. They had a $96 double porterhouse steak at the high end.

Rounding out the other meals were Lawry’s “The Prime Rib” and excellent Mexican at Cozymel’s.

One night I played tourist and walked the strip taking pictures. The strip takes a while to go up and down. Quite the elaborate buildings. Very different how everyone is dressed to show off, and people walk along with beer and margaritas in-hand.

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Another night I went to see Red Rock Canyon to the west. I got stuck in a traffic jam so the sun was already over the mountains by the time I got there but I made the most of it. Red Rock Canyon was all about colored sandstone. It is a very popular rock climbing and hiking area. I did some power-hiking in the short time I had available before it became too dark. Those rocks make for great footing! I was in a different part than the main visitor’s center and loop road, however. If I ever get back to the Las Vegas area, I would definitely like to visit the Red Rock Canyon again.

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http://www.nv.blm.gov/redrockcanyon/
http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/

Thursday night I got to fulfill a long desire to see the Hoover Dam. Very impressive engineering accomplishment for its time. They finished the six year project two years early. Worker were paid $4 per day which at the time was a very good wage during the depression. They stayed in a town created to house them at the top of the canyon leading to the work
site called Boulder City. I stopped there on the way back. It is a very nice town, great main street, and excellent microbrewery. The dam was originally called Boulder Dam because it was built in Boulder Canyon. A few years later Congress passed legislation to change the name to Hoover Dam.

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Boulder City brew pub

One souvenir I have that they were selling for $5.00 each is a section of the original copper transmission lines used. They are hollow and make a nice pen holder.
https://www.vegas.com/attractions/outside_lasvegas/hooverdamsouvenirs.html

Airboat flips

From today’s Boston.com site:

Boat flips, dumps tourists in Everglades

April 11, 2007

MIAMI –A group of tourists got a little more adventure than they wanted during an airboat ride in the Everglades.

A commercial airboat carrying five adults and four children flipped to its side Tuesday in the alligator-infested waters near Tamiami Trail.

“They spent about an hour in the murky mash,” Miami-Dade Fire Lt. Eddy Ballester said. “I am sure they had the scare of their lives.”

It wasn’t clear how authorities were notified of the accident, but the tourists were brought ashore by rescue teams on airboats. One boy had a broken collarbone, and the airboat driver and another man were treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

The airboat struck land before ending up on its side, said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Mechanical failure might have caused the operator to lose control of the airboat, he said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Florida vacation

During high school vacation week Dan, Barb, and Matt went to Florida (5 days Feb 27 thru March 3rd) to take in some Red Sox spring training action and other activities. We had GREAT weather, unseasonably warm in the mid 80’s all week. We had arranged for a Ford Mustang convertible which turned out to be an excellent choice. It even had Sirius satellite radio as a free extra.

[TIP: Click on most photos in this March 4th post for a full size view in a new window, which you may need to expand depending on your browser]

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Our flight was from Boston to Miami to Ft. Myers, and the return was Ft. Myers to St. Louis to Boston. Frequent flyer points don’t give you a lot of choices, and we were group 6 for boarding 🙁 Fortunately for all flights we got plenty of overhead cabin room since we had all carry-on luggage. We stayed at the Ft Myers Marriott Courtyard, about two miles from the facilities.

    DAY 1

We did miss the pros working out at the training facility on Wednesday since the games started that day which means they moved out to the City of Palms Park already. They are not at the training complex very long. The week before was the best time to go, but that is Massachusetts school vacation week, not New Hampshire’s which is where Matt goes (Bishop Guertin HS). We did see the minor leaguers working out, though. We read in the spring training program that this year, the Red Sox set a new record high of 12,441 visitors over a 10 day period at the complex, with 2,577 on Feb 22nd!

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We then decided to take a drive to see the Everglades. It was a couple of hours drive, mostly because we were on a route that had stop lights every intersection for 30 miles. In general we spent a LOT of time waiting at traffic lights down there. There are a lot of people living in that area, which means a lot of cars and traffic lights.

Once we got to the very northwest corner of the Everglades, we saw a coconut tree and a pelican diving for food at the visitor’s center.

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We then went on an air boat ride at this place. The boat goes through the swamplands with lots of mangrove forests and saw grass. There were birds everywhere, mostly the white (common) egrets with black legs. However, one time we came across a flock of Roseate Spoonbills.

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And of course, there were ALLIGATORS! We got pretty close too. I am sure these ones are so used to tour boats coming by multiple times each day throughout the year that they could care less, but still it was a rush.

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We finished the sightseeing at Big Cypress National Preserve. There is a .5 mile walkway through the forest with lots of signs pointing out items of interest. It was like a rainforest through there, although that was in part due to the heat and humidity we were experiencing. The amazing part was there was not a single insect to be found (on our entire trip).

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We finished the day eating at an excellent seafood restaurant back in Ft. Myers called the Prawnbroker. We were told by our waiter that Jonathan Papelbon was in for dinner the other evening along with Gabe Kapler.

    Day 2

This was a day to go to the beach. The temperature was predicted to be sunny and warm, in the mid-80’s, with only a slight chance of rain. And it did not disappoint. We chose Ft. Myers beach, since the other choices were a bit more of a drive. So we put the convertible top down, put our sunnies on, and headed out. When we got there around 10:00 AM, the public parking lot was already full and there was a lot of traffic on the one main road along the island. Fortunately there was a private parking lot just a little farther up the road for $5.00. I was thinking, “What a bargain – I will gladly pay that for all day parking right across from the beach, compared to what I would pay to park in Boston or somewhere like that.

It was a busy place, with some similarities to Hampton Beach but much nicer. The sand was very fine, white, and like powder. Very soft, and it would tend to stick to our skin. A steady wind from the ocean blew it around and quietly drifted onto our blankets and stuff. The water was surprisingly warm, in the mid to upper 70’s maybe? It just felt warmer than New England coastal waters ever get. There were not too many people in it, but we were, even going underwater.

Later we took a walk along the pier to get an energy drink and see the scenery.
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There was a pelican that hung out at the end of the pier, probably to get handouts from the people fishing. He was quite comfortable with people so Barb was able to get real close for a picture. These things are the equivalent of Canada Geese in New England. We assume this one was a male, because of the coloring. pelican 2 thumb

Here is a female. pelican 3 thumb

We also got close to an egret.
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We took the long route home, down southward to the other end of the peninsula through the town of Bonita Beach. There were some very nice and no doubt very expensive homes around there, but also a lot of homes along the road that were For-Sale. Dinner was at the Ft. Myers Ale House which we could walk to since it was right next to the hotel.

    Day 3

Game day. We wanted to arrive early to catch batting practice and possibly snag some autographs. The gates open 2.5 hours before the 12:35 game time (there were two games that day, with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first start of his new Sox career in the evening).

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So we got there around 9:45. Matt was immediately able to get Johnny Pesky’s autograph as he was sitting just over the railing next to the dugout.

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Later, Terry Francona came by and signed a lot of autographs. Matt got his also.

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Not very many other regular players stopped by. Manny, Big Papi, and Youk signed a few autographs just briefly but by that time the area was packed. Matt did get one of the “invitees” who played in Japan last year (Alex Ochoa). We then walked around inside and bought some souvenirs.

It is a nice park, with a feel to it like LeLeacher park in Lowell, only a bit bigger and nicer.

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In these spring training games, the stars only play a couple innings before pulling them for the subs. We did see a good lineup to start, however, including Manny’s first game of the spring season.

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The Japanese media were all over the place and on the field. When the other Japanese pitcher, Hideki Okajima, came on for a few innings, the media all came running out to take pictures. He pitched good.

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One unknown pitcher for the Sox gave up six runs in one inning. The Red Sox eventually tied it in the ninth but then lost it in the tenth. No big deal since they don’t count for anything anyway. We had an early dinner at “The Shrimp Shack”. Good food, good prices, casual
atmosphere, lots of senior citizens. We were definitely the youngest people there. We arrived before 5:00 PM and still had to wait for a table.

On Saturday we left early for our flight to St. Louis to Boston. When we arrived, it was 53 degrees but felt like 30 to us. And the sun was noticeably cooler.

Star Wars props

I was in California this week on Sun business. At the San Fran airport, there was a display of music, video, and electronics gadgets over the years, both for home use and studio. One enclosure had some Star Wars props. Here are a couple camera phone pictures. They are the original Darth Vader mask and two light sabers. The light sabers looked like two long fluorescent bulbs with a glass (acrylic?) enclosure over them. It must have lit up and they enhanced it later in the studio.

Darth Vader helmet

Light Sabers

Matt makes the press

This article about Andrew next door appeared in the Lowell Sun yesterday. A friend of mine who I used to work with sent it to me. Matt is mentioned several times:

Musical youth, ready to rock the ‘burbs

By ANDREW RAVENS, Sun Staff

You’ve only been playing the guitar for three years. Did playing come naturally to you?

I’d say I picked it up pretty fast.

Why is that? Does anyone in your family play music?

No one I know (in my family plays). I just started playing and it came to me. I started playing the electric guitar and then switched to acoustic.

I understand you have recorded an EP. How many songs are on it and are they all originals?

There are five songs; they’re all originals.

What are you listening to?

I listen to acoustic, hard rock, classic rock — pretty much any type of rock music.

What’s your favorite album of all time?

Bang Bang by Dispatch.

Who are some of your major musical influences?

My mother always wanted me to get into music. It was a combination of her and seeing other friends playing.

What was the last great live performance you saw?

I went to one concert that had my old favorite band playing, Dream Theater. I went backstage, so that was cool.

Where was that?

The Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.

If you could share the stage with one big-time band, who would it be?

Probably either Dave Matthews or Dispatch.

Catch Southworth’s open mike every other Friday at J Beaners Coffeehouse & Cafe, 25 Route 101A, Amherst, N.H. starting Jan. 5 from 6-9 p.m.

Be sure to check out The Sun’s entertainment blog at TheSunBlog.com/entertainment.

Want to be in the spotlight? E-mail Andrew Ravens at aravens@lowellsun.com.

Who: Andrew Southworth Band

AKA: Andrew Southworth, vocals, guitar; Matt Danecki, drums, guitar.

Visit: MySpace.com/andrewsouthworth

Backstory: Tewksbury High School freshman Andrew Southworth is only 15, but he has already managed to land a regular musical gig at J Beaners Coffeehouse & Cafe in Amherst, N.H. He plays and hosts an open mike there and is joined on stage by Matt Danecki, who lives across the street from him in Tewksbury. The Sun recently spoke with Southworth about his budding career.

Our first Blog entry

Dan would like to make our inaugural blog posting to be something he wrote
in October of 2004, which would have been in a blog if we had one. Here it
is, written on an airplane trip Thursday, Oct 21, 2004 coming back to Boston
from California:

So, I parked myself in front of the hotel room TV Wednesday night and
fidgeted through one of the most glorious victories I have ever seen. I
couldn’t relax until there were two out in the ninth inning. I have seen too
many bad things happen over the years against the Yankees, especially in
Yankee Stadium. But not this time. It was all the sweeter being right under
their nose, in the house that Ruth built.

Early the next morning (I was still on East coast time) I was walking down
the hall in the hotel to go have breakfast and every room had a USA Today
newspaper in front of it, all prominently displaying pictures on the top
front page of the Sox celebrating. It was the biggest news in the nation,
and it finally sank in that the Red Sox and their fans were on top of the
world.

On the trip out, the pilots kept coming on the airplane intercom to give
us score updates on the Tuesday night game (game 6 vs. the Yankees).
The game was still on when I arrived in San Francisco. When I picked up my
rental car, I was somehow able to find the game on ESPN radio. I was still
in the car for the bottom of the 9th inning, with the Sox leading. I was
nearing the hotel, but instead I pulled over into a strip mall and parked
the car to hear Keith Foulke get the Yankees out, striking out the final
batter to tie the series.

After Wednesday’s game, I went out to eat dinner and ordered a
small bottle of champagne to celebrate the series victory in the greatest
comeback in sports history (some would say the greatest choke in sports
history). I told the waitress that this was a special occasion because I was
celebrating the Boston Red Sox winning the American League championship. She
asked me if I was with the team :-0 (People outside of Red Sox
Nation just don’t get it).

On the plane trip back to Boston, when the stewardess gave her
announcements, she said something like, “Welcome from your Boston based
flight crew, home of the American League champion, and soon to be world
champion Boston Red Sox! The weather in Red Sox nation is …”.
Awesome!