One is sweet and the other is … a web developer

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This is Peter's web site, a very slow-motion blog.

25 April 2022

It is Anzac Day but that is not why I am posting something after a year and a half of silence. Instead, it is to share with you our drastic change of plans… I am coming out of retirement and will stay in Washington, DC for a few more years.

At the time we left for Portugal, my understanding was that I just had to re-enter the US once a year to keep my status active. Then I read that if you are away more than 6 months, you have to justify to the immigration official at the point of re-entry why you were away for so long and risk being sent back. Coming back for a perhaps a week every 6 months is a nuisance but still manageable. However, more recently I found out that US permanent residents are required to reside in the US permanently! Or more precisely, are required to spend more time in the US each year than out of it.

I got away with it last year because COVID made travel so difficult and many people were stranded. In early February 2021, when I thought I needed to be back, 3,000 people were dying every day in the US and most international flights were canceled. We decided that it wasn't worth the risk of catching a deadly disease so we came back within a few weeks of us both being vaccinated in June/July.

It makes no sense to spend half the year in the US and half in Portugal, partly for the expense of maintaining two households but also that I need more than emergency travel health insurance if I am in the US that long. So, after much debate with Lan, we agreed last weekend that we, or at least I, will move back and get a job. I am already in DC having just returned from Australia and so now I am applying for jobs. We bought a condo (US)/flat (UK)/home unit (AU) in SE DC last year to maintain a US "physical address" so I will live there.

31 December 2020

Another update from Portugal (letter 22) covering February through November this year.

19 June 2020

The site has been updated to work with phones, something I should have fixed a decade ago and I have added two new pages of content:

I also added some notes about the update on This web site and included the two “Update from Portugal” emails I sent with links to the respective photosets as letter 20 and letter 21 under Newsletters. However, the most time-consuming part of the project was modernizing all the code and modifying an existing image gallery to allow long captions.

29 November 2018

We took a cruise on a smaller ship to the Canary Islands (part of Spain) and then the island of Madeira (part of Portugal): 106 photos. As always, click the Information icon (or Menu on mobile) once in Google Photos to see the captions.

Please refer to following caption.
The Auditorio de Tenerife.

27 September 2017

Not something to celebrate in the normal sense but I had a crash while riding my bike to work which put in me in hospital for 2½ days and then I was off work for a month recovering. It also left me completely deaf in my right ear.

What is worth celebrating, and is indeed quite humbling, is the extraordinary efforts my coworkers and neighbors went to to find me when I failed to show up at work at the normal time. Thank you. You know who you are. See the whole discussion on our office communications system (last names are removed). Sorry, it is a screenshot and at 8.6MB it is a large image; it will load in a new tab, then click on it to expand.

4 June 2017

Trip to Japan! Two sets of photos depending on your level of interest: ~500 photos and ~100 photos but click the Information icon once in Google Photos to see the captions.

Please refer to following caption.
Perfectly behaved Japanese school children wait for the train. So cute!

14 August 2016

In one of my best runs ever, I completed the 14km/8.7 mile (~1/3 marathon) City2Surf race in Sydney in 57:40! I managed 59:xx twice in my late teens but those times were not directly comparable since that was before timing chips so it was time from the gun but in both cases I think I was fairly close to the front and so it would have been just a minute or two to cross the start line.

13 June 2015

Trip to Brazil! Two sets of photos depending on your interest: ~500 photos and ~100 photos but click the Information icon once in Google Photos to see the captions.

Please refer to following caption.
The cathedral as reimagined by Oscar Niemeyer.

5 October 2014

I made a weekend trip from DC to NYC by bike! See the photos but click the Information icon once in Google Photos to see the captions.

Please refer to following caption.
My beautiful (folding) bike.

7 November 2013

Two years since I last posted anything! Goodness. Since then we finished the main work on the house and been on trips together to The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark then to the UK by plane and back across the Atlantic by ship. Lan has taken separate trips to Iceland and London, Paris & Lyon. I failed in my effort to ride a bike to New York in a weekend but did make it to Delaware. I ran the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon in 3:14:40 (last year I ran injured and so was thrilled to manage 3:33:33) and will go to Australia shortly.

23 September 2011

It's been a long time since I've posted anything but I must tell you about our experience with our house renovation.

31 October 2010

I ran the Marine Corp Marathon again and improved my time significantly finishing in 3:24:50!

20 September 2009

If you love ME*, you'll want to review the photos from our trip to Maine last month.

* For those outside the US, the postal abbreviation for Maine is "ME".

29 January 2009

I've added some letters calling for peace and justice in the Middle East. These were prompted by the killing of 1,300 Palestinians including 400 children and then a remarkable segment on 60 Minutes that showed the impossible conditions faced by Palestinians in the occupied territories—I've never seen anything so honest in the US media. If you missed the program, I urge you to be become better informed and watch it online.

20 January 2009

Presidential Inaugurations only come around once every four years and this one, more than any other, was the one we wanted to be part of. However, the 20th January date means winter and the week before was bitterly cold. After arriving home on the previous Thursday when it was uncomfortable to be outside for more than 10 minutes, I told Lan I couldn't and wouldn't stand on the Mall for several hours to watch a ceremony and speech that was going to be broadcast on television. Fortunately it warmed up somewhat so the maximum temperature expected that day was 0°C/32°F and our neighbor expressed an interest in going.

We went, we eventually got on a train and then another train, we walked and we walked, we found a spot and we waited. We were cold but glad we did it.

19 December 2008

Letter 19, almost in time for Christmas!

26 October 2008

I ran the Marine Corp Marathon and was thrilled to finish with a time of 3:51:47! Well, I ran most of they way—I'm a big believer in walking breaks to rest up a little and I took the photo at right during an early stop with a disposable camera.

You might be amused by my footwear: Vibram Five Fingers Sprint! To me there is convincing evidence that running shoes encourage the non-elite runner to a adopt a bad technique which ultimately results in injuries. Of course Nike and the other shoe companies don't want you to think this way. Their solution to injury avoidance is ever more sophisticated and expensive shoes. Ideally we'd run barefoot but this is the next best thing though you have to build up gradually since, unlike the Kenyans and Ethiopians who ran 5 miles barefoot to school each day, the muscles and ligaments inside our feet are weak and the soles of our feet are soft. Read more about why taking of your shoes is the solution to the problem that You Walk Wrong

Please refer to following caption.
Runners ascend through the mist toward Georgetown Reservoir.

This is at about mile 6 so I was feeling quite fresh at this point. I was carrying a disposable camera with me to take this shot. Stopping to take a picture provided an excuse to stop for a moment. My training was based on running for 10 minutes, walking for 1 minute and repeating until finished but particularly where there were a lot of spectators, I found it difficult to stop. For the first several miles, stopping would have caused significant disruption to other runners but the crush of the crowd made it impossible to run as fast as I intended so stops weren't really necessary.

12 October 2008

Hardly any new content but a total site redesign which was long overdue. See This web site for details. (No, I don't live in Amsterdam but it is such a nice photo of homes.)

28 September 2007

My mother came to visit and the three of us took a trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls which was wonderful but brief. There is a photoset on Flickr. Start at the picture above and to the right of the pink flower. When you get to the Jefferson Memorial, you know you are back in America.

Of particular note was the "Journey Behind the Falls" at which I attempted to capture the noise and violence of the water using the camera's video mode, now on Youtube.

Please refer to following caption.
Canada photoset on Flickr.

21 December 2007

Photos of my trip to Australia.

2 November 2007

Not actually on this site but I now have a photoset on Flickr of a really good walk I took last Sunday. Note the "Map" link so you can see where my path took me.

22 September 2007

Calls for justice: requests to make the world a better place. I also removed the section on "great kids" since it was hopelessly out of date and I have no intention to maintain it. Besides, the older ones are adults now.

3 September 2007

Books I've read

10 December 2006

Trip to Letter 18: Move to Alexandria, Virginia; sightseeing; fooling a few of the people; boats.

19 November 2006

Trip to Longwood Gardens that we did in May.

15 November 2006

Update on where we live.

10 November 2006

Trip to Canada (4 pages).

8 April 2006

Visiting Lan at the Cherry Blossom Festival.

31 January 2006

Long weekend at the Grand Canyon.

8 January 2006

Australia trip highlights.

9 June 2005

Utah trip highlights to Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks.

2 April 2005

Letter 17: 10 years in the US, Washington DC and of course, the election.

1 March 2005

Added panoramas. More to come soon.

14 February 2005

Updated to XHTML/CSS. Little change in content but I'm working toward full standards compliance for faster loading and cross-browser compatibility. Another newsletter is on the way.

22 May 2004

Updated humor section dealing with men and women.

3 November 2003

This is just news rather than something new on the web site. After 7 months and 172 job applications, I finally landed a job with Wall Street On Demand as a web developer. Such a relief!

12 July 2003

Letter 16: Out of work, trips to New York, Amsterdam and France.

26 June 2003

More photos added to Old photos - Peter

29 May 2003

New site placed online with the same content as the previous Geocities site. However, this site uses PHP and mySQL to dynamically generate the pages for a fancy menu and easy future updates. See This web site for details.

28 July 2002

Letter 15 News about us and thoughts on the so-called "war on terrorism".

7 March 2001

Letter 14 with news for the whole year, particularly our "green card" application. As before, you can read it online, or you download the Acrobat file if you intend to print it.

Speeches I made in my public speaking class - text and diagrams only; no audio.

Update to Pillsbury Doughboy.

13 October 2000

Bumper stickers. [Since removed. See speech instead.] This is page 5 of the humor section. Need I say more?

20 August 2000

Historical photos for Lan and Peter.

12 February 2000

Pages 3 and 4 added to the humor section.

27 January 2000

Letter 13 is posted. As well as the standard online version spead over several pages, you can also download the Acrobat file and print your own copy. Peter has a job, we've been to Florida and seen lots of bumper stickers.

15 November 1999

It has taken me a while but I've added photos to the text about Sydney to show off it's stunning scenery. Previously, there were only photos of our house.

12 November 1999

For reasons I don't understand, the search facility stopped working, so I've removed it. The counter was reset in the process too. I've also added an aerial view of downtown Denver.

28 October 1999

I've posted an aerial view of where we live. It seems that it is from a high-flying plane instead of a satellite but it's still impressive..

In other family news, our car turned over 100,000 miles today.

8 October 1999

While moving the Search box to the Home page, I accidentally reset the counter which had reached 400. Since August, I've also left-justified the menu items to make them easier to read.

3 August 1999

I've rearranged the "Interesting Things" section and made a category for Computers. In particular, you can now experience a complete waste of time with the Minesweeper game that I wrote in Java. [2020: removed because the Java applet no longer worked.]

10 July 1999

For a bit of fun, I've added a Java animation on an "entry page". [2020: That was removed in 2008! Animated entry pages were common on the early internet but they just wasted the time of site visitors so the solutioin at one point was to include a “Skip intro…” link. Eventually everyone realized they served no purpose so they are all gone now.] If you are a Java programmer, please comment on my code. I would like it to load faster and I don't think I've made proper use of object-oriented techniques. It used to have continuously changing color but it took too long to load so I've scaled it back.

21 June 1999

I've added a page on Linux, the UNIX operating system for PCs and my progress using it.

11 June 1999

Search and Site map were added [2020: now gone] but are presently accessible only from here and from the Home page. These services are provided by an external site called FreeFind which sends a "spider" out to a designated site to find out what's there. The results are kept on their server. I considered constructing a site map by hand but I could not implement a search function. Try it but read the "Important" note.

Since June 4, I've also added a page on the BMW Isetta accessible from the Cars section.

4 June 1999

The site is complete now that all 12 letters and associated photographs in the Coming to America secton are loaded. .There are 62 pages with text and menus like this one and 199 photographs, some of which have text explanations, making a total of 261 pages on the site.

I had to open a second account as "peterlan" for letters 1 though 6 and then interlink the sites as I was up to 10.5 MB out of a maximum of 12 MB in the "lanpeter" name. Homestead suggest this approach if 12 MB is insufficient. If I had known it was going to get so big, I may not have done it!

21 May 1999

Full site placed online on with the exception of the letters in the Coming to America section. I had inteneded to get to this point a lot earlier but I had a computer meltdown and then I needed to catch up with my college work.

Since 18 Aprl, I've also bought a 56k modem and Homestead released an off-line editor. Previously, everything had to be done while logged on with my 14.4k modem which tied up the phone line for hours.

18 April 1999

Beta site placed online. Only a few sections but it did include the section on Australian music.