Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hialeah Park Grand Reopening!

Quarter Horses
Originally uploaded by alexthoth
After 10 years of ruins the old Hialeah Park Racetrack is finally reopened to the public this Saturday and the place was packed with nostalgic and curious visitors. This might sound cheesy but it sort of filled me with pride. El Hipodromo was such a big part of my life growing up in Hialeah, not that we would go there that often, but it was always present. Although people would bash other aspects of the city, Hialeah Park was always spoken of with pride. It was our Vizcaya.

I went a few months ago when it was still in poor shape (see pics here) and the difference was palpable. I've got to give it to the people who resuscitated the old place... they did a fantastic job in a really short time.

My one suggestion to the owner and the City of Hialeah is that they create another entrance to the place, maybe on Palm Ave. One entrance just doesn't accommodate the number of visitors and is the source of bottlenecks and aggravation.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hainish Cycle

Recently I've been reading Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish novels and I'm really enjoying them. I don't know what moved me to pick them up, but I had a similar reading frenzy a few years ago where I read all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Robot novels in rapid succession.

The novels aren't really a series in that the story doesn't flow seamlessly between them. They're more like separate books set in the same universe. The stories are very sparse on the hard science fiction ideas, but each novel is full of great social commentary, which reminds me of the Star Trek episodes that were supposed to be allegories for the issues of the time. I wish I could say that the issues it deals with (i.e. race, sexuality, politics) are quaint and outdated, but unfortunately they remain current.

So far I've read Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions, and The Dispossessed. I still have The Left Hand of Darkness, The Word for World is Forest, Four Ways to Forgiveness, The Telling and a few short stories to go. Exile and Dispossessed being my favorite so far. I'll post more as I read more.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Life on Mars

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Martian meteorite surrenders new secrets of possible life

This is fantastic news. Ever since they discovered the bacteria-like remains in this Martian rock I knew it had to be alien life from Mars' wetter past. I'm really glad that continued scrutiny has strengthened the evidence. For me this bring up two questions.

1) Is there still life on Mars today... maybe deep in underground caves? Life, especially bacterial life, is almost impossible to get rid of. Even LYSOL only kills 99.9% of germs and that surviving .1% will multiply. If life evolved on Mars, it's probably still clinging there.

2) Are we descended from this Martian life? We know bacteria have these magnetite crystals. Bees, fish and birds also use magnetite to navigate and we humans have magnetite in our brains. So do we all spring from these tiny Martians that traveled here millions of years ago on rocks?

Can't wait to learn more!

Update! Here are a few links provided by Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log:

Times Online (quotes McKay plus peer reviewer saying it's not a "smoking gun." Amen to that.)

Scientific American (quotes Colin Pillinger of Beagle 2 fame)

Research from the ALH84001 team, via NASA Watch:

NASA Watch

More discussion from BAUT Forum:

Updated Again! Discovery News:

Monday, November 16, 2009


Originally uploaded by alexthoth
Got a picture of a cooler looking woodpecker at Tree Top Park in Davie! This guy was hammering away at the tree and you could hear him a mile away.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Safari Paint

I spent the entire weekend painting cute animals for Sophie's safari-themed room. I took the design of the animals from the bedding set. At first I was hesitant to do it myself cause I thought I was going to mess it up. Drawing them wasn't the problem but I'm not too comfortable with paint and brushes. Still, I think they came out pretty good and of course the best part is that I can now point to them and say I did them myself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maternity photos at the Ancient Spanish Monastery

Originally uploaded by alexthoth
Went to the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach to take some maternity shots of Marge now that she's starting to show a bit. This one was my favorite photo of the day (if not ever!). It had been raining all morning and we thought we weren't going to be able to take a single shot but the second we got there the skies cleared up and we had the whole place to ourselves.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Geisha & Ninja

geisha & ninja
Originally uploaded by alexthoth
Marge and I went all Japanese this Halloween and I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. She really pulled off the Geisha look (and 6 months pregnant) and looked fantastic. I don't look particularly Asian, but since I was covered from head-to-toe it didn't really matter.