Mona AlanBy profession, I’m a senior software engineer for Santa Barbara Infrared, Inc., a test equipment manufacturer. We don’t make night vision cameras; we build the equipment used to test and calibrate them. As Harriet says, “nothing you’d want to bring home.”



In my off hours I’m:

  • an improvisational comedy teacher and performer
  • a woodturner
  • a collector of comics, slide rules, bookmarks, and other odd collectibles
  • an observer of geek culture (okay, and active participant)
  • cheesemaker
  • cosplayer
  • beekeeper
  • a proud uncle of 5 gorgeous and brilliant nieces and 2 handsome and talented nephews
  • a traveler

This blog is meant to be a collection of notes and stray thoughts which I find interesting or entertaining.

22 thoughts on “About

  1. I have never blogged or been blogged but Harriet referenced your blog in an email and I googled you and found it (Now i need to figure out whether being googled or blogged is better, but I will leave that for another day). Sounds like you guys have another one of your fabulous trips planned while the rest of us manage a trip to the grocery store and to Target if we are lucky. Keep in touch.

  2. Hey. Hope you guys are swinging with the monkeys (apes?) soon. Love the capital ka Ching. Hope it brought you lots of fiscal fortune. Enjoy. `j

  3. Fabulous picture Uncle Alan…
    QUITE stunning…
    It left me utterly speechless!
    : D
    Once again I’m completly jealous of your other-worldy travels and experiences. And yet cannot wait to hear more!

    Much love

    P.S. I was wondering why I hadn’t been receiving travel updates via e-mail.
    Why have I not heard of this website before??

  4. Loved the posting! Had to zoom to 400% though to actually SEE the two of you as cat entities. Leaving tomorrow for SB, still sorry to miss you but will certainly come again. Right now biggest challenge is how much bubble pack to put around a 3 1/2 oz. glass container of something I actually need… Have a great rest of the trip and safe travel back. I’ll catch up on your adventures when I’m back at the keyboard of Hal the Psychotic #5. Much love, LK

  5. Hiya Jonny, Kimberlyn, and LK;

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to respond before now, but it’s a little easier now that we’re back home.

    I didn’t push the blog very much before the trip because I’m still pretty new with it all. We’re shaking the technical problems out (harder when on the road), but I think it was a big success. We’ll continue using it in the future.

    Plus after the trip, I’ll keep making personal notes and observations. Stick around for whatever interests you.


  6. Hiya, Alan & Harriet (Sweet Harriet) –

    Loved the travel blog – well done! We’ve had a fun following along. You two are such inspirational travel icons – and are obviously getting very good at it by now… 😉

    BTW – Libby and I still have your France travel books from our Euro trip this summer, and would like to return them ASAP once you’re back.



  7. Alan, where are you? You haven’t updated either blog in quite a while. I really miss reading them. Will you be back soon?

  8. Hi Lauren, and thanks for the note. I am in town, and just distracted enough by life to have let the number of posts I intend to make exceed my casual response threshold (how’s that for an engineer’s obfuscation). It’s sort of like when the number thank you notes that you owe has built up to the point that you need to dedicate a large amount of time to just get started. Really, I just need to get started. I’ll use your note as the ‘kick in the posterior’ I’ve been needing.

  9. WOW!!!
    I never thought I’d see the day. I even took a deep breath and I still can’t believe it. I just had lunch with Phil, Morgan, Mooy, and Gail. Great time but too short to really catch up. I’m living in Ojai now with Gail. I like it here.

  10. Hiya Karl!
    Quite the guest list for lunch! I’m sorry to have missed that. I’m glad to hear that Ojai suits you so well. We’ll have to catch up sometime!

  11. Hi Alan!
    Gail moves to Aegis this coming weekend. Maybe we can get together before then for lunch and you can meet her and we can catch up. I’ll call you.

  12. Great pics from your travels. It sounds like you come here more often than facebook so I thought I’d post the same thing here.

    I’m (we’re) doing great. My oldest daughter is 2.5 years old and the youngest is six months. Deb and I moved into a new house at the start of the year that we got for a steal so we’ve been spending alot of time painting and putting in grass and things like that. Teaching is going well although with Michigan’s economy in the crapper, budgets are getting tight and class sizes are getting bigger. I haven’t been anywhere for the last three years and I’m guessing my next trip will be Disney World, but Deb and I did make it to Rome and London before we had kids. I found your blog a while back and see that you’re still doing the improv thing. I really enjoyed the night I spent with you doing that. I guess if I ever came back I’d have to pay the nightly cover! If you still keep in touch with Grace give her my best. I hope you and Harriet have a good Hannukah and happy new year ( I wish facebook had spellcheck!)

    Take care,


  13. There are women in optics. Looked over all your SPIE papers. Actually I am a physicist doing sw but having to deal with Mechanical Engineers.

    I have just started working with SBIR here in Austin. Talked to Steve White he promises you will get me required software as soon as you are back from Florida.

    Cute you named the SW after yourself.

    Looking forward to your return.

  14. Alan-I like your current Fo-Man-Chou disquise better than your Mona Lisa. What great tales these are. Thanks for compiling them. Makes me want to fly to a pool in Little Cayman while Andy scuba dives!!! Harriet, we miss you very much. When are you two returning? Raining buckets in Calif.

  15. Alan: your Mom turned me on to your blog. Fantastic! Will look forward to being kept up to date. When will you visit ancestral villages of Tameiron in Spain and El Quelite in Mexico?

  16. Hey Alan-
    Haven’t heard from you since we talked briefly on the phone. I don’t want to bother you, but I would like to reconnect. You can contact me at the email above or work email: stephen.black2@va.gov

    Hope to hear from you.


  17. Alan-
    Could you send me an email address where I could contact you or a physical address I could send a letter to?

    Stephen AKA STB

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