Leavenworth Winter 2019

Ever since 2014, our family of 4 loads up way too much luggage and sets off on a multi-day flying adventure. Each morning, after I’ve been appropriately obsessive about understanding the weather, we open up an aviation chart, look at airports an hour or two away, and pick a destination. We stay in hotels and B&Bs, eat out a lot, and experience the special features of each town we find ourselves in. The first year, the summer of 2014, we found ourselves one morning on our way westward to from Kalispell to Coeur d’Alene. The sky was an unbroken blue, the air as smooth as glass. We were fairly high up, crossing over the Rockies on our way from Montana to Idaho. And we heard giggling. Our two children in the back were making faces at each other, giggling unceasingly for over an hour. And so the trip was forever called GiggleFest.

Rocky MountainsHappy Passengers

Since then, we’ve flown a new edition of GiggleFest more or less each year. It has given our children an unparalleled opportunity to see things from a new and special point of view. The time we’ve spent together as a family is invaluable. In 2015, it was in the summer again. In 2016, it was in the spring. In 2017, it was in the early fall. In 2018, our calendars got away from us, and we didn’t get to GiggleFest until December. Our plan was to fly to Boeing’s aviation museum and Uber into Seattle to the Science Center, but the weather didn’t permit a safe flight. So we just drove the whole thing. We counted that as the start of GiggleFest 2019, just a ground-based version. Then in early January, we flew a more traditional aviation GiggleFest. Despite all the flying technically being in 2019, I convinced myself it was really just an extension of GiggleFest 2018, and thus we had maintained the annual GiggleFest tradition.

Pacific Science CenterThe Dalles at Sunset

Well, this year our calendars got completely away from us, but late December had an open schedule, and it looked like we might be able to squeeze in a late GiggleFest then; however, the weather didn’t cooperate. And alas, we had to again settle for a ground-based family adventure. We decided on Leavenworth.

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Encryption is Math; Math is Legal

Encryption is a fun and useful tool. It’s not magic; it’s just math. If you’re reading this content directly from my web site, you’re reading it over an encrypted connection. The words started out on my web server, got encrypted, sent over the Internet where many different servers and people could be listening, and ended up in your browser. Yet because of encryption, only you can read the words.

Public Key Encryption

I have tremendous respect for United States legislators, especially at the Federal level; however, I wonder if perhaps they sometimes attempt to pass ill-conceived laws before understanding the situation into which they’re legislating and the implications of their legislation. Consider the recent Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, sponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chair and vice-chair respectively of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. An article in The Hill quotes Senator Feinstein as follows:

I think this world is really changing in terms of people wanting the protection and wanting law enforcement, if there is conspiracy going on over the Internet, that that encryption ought to be able to be pierced.

Normally I find myself in general agreement with Burr and Feinstein on most issues, and I respect both of them because they seem to me to both genuinely care about the real safety and security of the United States. They both put reality above politics. Unfortunately, this bill and Senator Feinstein’s quote demonstrate how little they understand about encryption.

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Rosario Resort and Eastsound

Both my wife and I had a particularly stressful week last week. Long days at work, not quite getting done everything we needed to each day, not sleeping well at night, not feeling like we had much time together as a family. It all added up to a bit of extra frustration. Thursday night, late, after both children begrudgingly agreed to stay in bed, we found ourselves plopped on the sofa downstairs. It was at that point I blurted out, “Want to hear a crazy idea?”

I don’t remember exactly what my wife said, but it was something like, “Yes,” so I suggested we make an impromptu flight up to Orcas Island and stay overnight at the Rosario Resort, which is about half-way down from Eastsound (the town) along Eastsound (the eastern sound of water made by the coastline of Orcas Island).

View of Orcas Eastsound

We decided to make the decision in the morning so I’d have a chance to check the latest weather forecasts. Friday morning arrived, and after a detailed weather check, we decided to make the attempt. I’ve flown to Orcas Island a couple of times before, and I’d taken the family up once to Eastsound (the town) for a day trip. But this would be our first overnight there.

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