July 30, 2004

White Mountain Peak This Weekend

I'm heading to White Mountain Peak this weekend. My goal is to mountain bike to the top of White Mountain Peak. I tried last year but ultimately failed. This time I am certain we will make it to the top. Also, this time I would like to spend more time investigating the bristlecone pines. It would be cool to find and photograph the oldest known tree in the world. I'll report back on Sunday or Monday.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:32 PM | Comments (264)

Friday Fun

What happened to Yahoo! ? Did someone hack it and change it around a bit? No, it was the Shizzolator. Try to have the shizzolator process my blog, or try it against the white house website or against johnkerry.com. All good and entertaining stuff.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:29 PM | Comments (1637)

Listened to John Kerry's Speech

I got home in time to watch the video preceeding Kerry's speech and I got to watch the entire speech. I thought it was a pretty good speech overall. I'm going to remember the campaign promises that he's making and compare them to what Bush is promising. I think Kerry made some good points about foreign policy, stem cell research, and the deficit. We'll see how things play out.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:01 PM | Comments (1442)

July 29, 2004

Pint For A Pint

I donated a pint of blood today. This was my first time donating blood and I wasn't expecting all of the interesting questions that were asked of me. But not to worry, there were no issues that prevented me from donating blood. I was pleasantly surprised was that I got a coupon for a free pint of ice cream from Baskin Robins. Now I have to see what flavor Timber wants.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:47 PM | Comments (558)

Hope Is On The Way

I listened to most of John Edwards' speech at the DNC last night and I was impressed. I've heard him speak before but I though this was his best speech yet. Speaking from a toastmaster's perspective he does all the important things correctly, like body language, vocal variety, focusing attention in different areas as he is speaking, etc... He should work with Dubya to get his speech giving abilities a boost. :-) While I'm 99 % certain that I'll vote for Bush again I'd still like to hear what the Dems have to say. After all, they have made some good points about how our new foreign policy is tarnishing America's image around the world. There are some serious problems that we need to fix.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:46 PM | Comments (53)

July 28, 2004

I've Seen Better Days

Don't you love days when you don't have any meetings scheduled? I currently enjoy that condition on Wednesdays and Fridays. I view those as my hyper-productive days, or at least they have the potential to be hyper-productive. But today all sorts of things came up at work that did not allow me to work on my extensive to-do list which ends up making my day not as productive as I would like it to be. One thing that I am learning is that as you work your way up through an organization you get invited to more and more meetings which reduce the amount of real productivity that you are able to put out. And I'm further finding that when this happens having the ability to effectively delegate becomes more and more important. Anyway, I've made it through the morning speed bumps and am finally able to get on with my to-do list. I guess that's obvious if I have a minute to write something in my blog about it. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 02:13 PM | Comments (476)

July 27, 2004

Niles Dog Show

I went to the Niles Dog Show this weekend. Timber's friends Diane, Jackie, and Terry had their dogs in the dog show. The dog that ended up winning best looking male was a bulldog named Barkley that was dressed in a pimp outfit. There were a lot of dogs there and a lot of people that were probably a little bit too into their dogs. But overall the dog show was pretty cool.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:59 PM | Comments (70)

Good Burritos In MountainView

I went up to IKEA this weekend with Timber and on the way up there she wanted to stop at Taqueria La Bamba. She told me that they had pretty good burritos and El Salvadorean food. So we got a burrito and a pupusa. Both were pretty good and the food wasn't very expensive. I would definitely come back and recommend this place. My only complaint is that they didn't seem to have any salsa anywhere.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:05 AM | Comments (81)

July 26, 2004

I Want Access To Other Stores

I'll probably have to do more research to find out why this happens, but I'm frustrated by the fact that I cannot buy songs from the UK, Germany, and France iTunes stores. I found a song on the German store and I tried to buy it but I got an error message telling me that I could not purchase that song. I'll find out why and post it later.

Posted by troutm8 at 05:38 PM | Comments (576)

July 24, 2004

9-11 Commission Audio Available Free on iTunes

I was looking around on the iTunes Music Store last night and I saw that the 9-11 Commission Hearings are available for free. I believe there are a total of 38 files that include the testimony of Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, and others, and they are unedited. I downloaded them all and dropped them on my iPod. The total storage space required is roughly 700 Mb. Check them out if you have the time and storage space.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:47 AM | Comments (46)

July 23, 2004

Very Cool Architecture Site

I found a really cool site here about twenty five tall buildings around the world that are studied. Even if you are a novice to architecture like I am it is certainly worth checking out.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:59 AM | Comments (1017)

July 22, 2004

Old ThinkPads Absolutely Suck

Old IBM ThinkPads absolutely suck, especially when they are your primary work machine. I have been using the same T21 as my primary work machine for two and a half years now and it is starting to fall apart on me. Lately I've been getting errors at boot up time that it doesn't know what the date or time is, so I have to go into the bios and reset them. That gets pretty tiresome after having to do that every day for a week. And then there are the speed issues. This machine takes 10 minutes to boot up and then another 5 minutes go by before any of the applications that I need to run on it come up and are usable. It is too bad that I don't drink coffee because that would be a perfect break for it. And today my machine refused to start up when I got to work. I called the internal helpdesk (which is pretty good) and based on the error message that I was getting they recommended I get a new hard drive which they promptly put in the mail. But later in the day I found my spare hard drive (that I've been meaning to put linux on) and tried that, and got the same error. So I called them back and told them it wasn't a hard drive issue and they recommended that I reset my bios to the factory defaults and that worked! I think it is time to get a new work machine. Lastly, after I was able to get my machine booted up and start catching up on some of the work I couldn't do without my laptop (luckily I have a linux box which can do everything except for company email) I started seeing that the cut and paste functionality within some of the applications that I was using no longer work. It is so frustrating I can hardly contain myself. This definitely proves to me that if you heavily use your computer, 2.5 years is about the max that you can use it before running into serious problems. It's too bad the people that control the allocations of work machines don't feel that way.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:28 PM | Comments (1063)

July 20, 2004

Baked Halibut Recipe

Here's a baked halibut recipe that rocks. I'm going to cook this tonight and take it for lunch tomorrow.

Baked Halibut Recipe:
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 onion (chopped)
1 square of halibut (no more than 2 pounds)
Liberal amounts of Cheddar and Monterey cheese

Cut halibut into chunks and place at the bottom of a square pan. Mix
the sour cream, mayonnaise, and onion in a seperate bowl, and then put
them on top of the halibut. Sprinkle liberal amounts of cheddar and
Monterey cheeses on top. Then place in oven. Bake at 350 degrees
Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:33 PM | Comments (57)

Update On Timber's Foot

Timber's foot seems to be getting better. She worked from home yesterday and wasn't very mobile so I spent the day working from home as well and helped her. Today she was able to drive to work and limp around work. Hopefully she'll be back to 100 % by the time we attempt White Mountain Peak.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:59 PM | Comments (1990)

July 18, 2004

Shopping, Golf, and Foot Injuries

This weekend consisted of shopping on Saturday, golfing at Sunol Valley GC (Cypress Course) today, and Timber injuring her foot so severely that we had to bring her to the hospital to get it x-rayed before determining that it was not broken. Overall it was too eventful for us staying around town. Luckily it was just a severe bruise but she'll have to use crutches for a while until she can put weight on her foot.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:05 PM | Comments (133)

July 16, 2004

UN To Monitor US Elections?

If you haven't heard about this yet then you can read about it here. Personally I think this ridiculous. I don't think there is any legitimate need to have the UN come in and observe our elections. I question the motives of anyone that suggests we need UN oversight of our presidential elections. We'll wait and see if this initiative gathers any steam.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:31 PM | Comments (751)

WWW Inventor Knighted

I had a chance to listen to Tim Berners-Lee talk back in April and I was happily surprised when I read that he had been knighted. I think one of the most interesting aspects about his invention and life thereafter is the fact that he didn't go out and cash in. Instead he worked on setting standards through the W3C. I wonder how many people are better off because of Tim. I know I sure am.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:07 PM | Comments (922)

Fire spares homes, chars 435 acres in South San Jose

By Chuck Carroll

Mercury News

Firefighters continued to stamp out the remains of a fast-moving grass and brush fire that burned overnight in the foothills of South San Jose and that spawned 100-foot flames and threatened homes and major power lines.

The fire blackened about 435 acres in the Basking Ridge neighborhood between Silver Creek Valley and Coyote Valley, just east of Highway 101. It started near dozens of some homes shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday and quickly spread to the southeast, pushed by winds that might have blown the flames right into some homes had they been from a slightly different direction.

``The wind was blowing parallel to the hills. That was lucky,'' San Jose fire Capt. Karen Allyn said.

About 150 firefighters from the San Jose Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection attacked the flames Thursday with bulldozers and five aircraft including a helicopter that scooped up water from Coyote Creek-fed Parkway Lakes. At about 5:45 p.m., about 10 firefighters who could be seen on a ridge off Piercy Road were dwarfed by angry-looking orange flames burning heavy brush and trees in a ravine.

No one was ordered to evacuate even though the flames came to within about 100 yards of some homes, which had stucco siding and non-flammable roofs. Anxious residents gaped at the fire and made plans to leave if there was a turn for the worse. Some shot video or still photos as black and gray smoke billowed out of the towering flames and drifted toward Morgan Hill.

The blaze was contained at about 10 p.m., with no damage to structures reported. A dehydrated firefighter was sent to the hospital.

Allyn said fire officials hoped to declare the blaze under control sometime this afternoon. Crews will stay all night to keep an eye on hot spots in the steeper ravines.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:46 AM | Comments (1579)

July 15, 2004

Who Says SJ Is Boring?

I heard there was a grass fire near work before leaving today and I saw it on my way home. The fire was on the east side of 101 in south San Jose. There were helicopters flying over to the ponds by my condo to pick up water and fly them back over to the grass fire. It was an interesting sight to see. And I'm comforted by the fact that even if my house burns down my blog will live on. Just kidding, there's no danger to my house. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 11:00 PM | Comments (463)

July 13, 2004

Finally Finished Denali Page

I finally finished my trip page from the Denali backpacking trip. You can find it here. As it says in trip page, we are tentatively planning another backpacking trip there in June of 2034. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 08:40 PM | Comments (84)

July 12, 2004

Roscoe's Or Not It Doesn't Matter

Jenny's friend Ann told us that there was a Roscoe's Chicken And Waffles that opened up in Oakland. After we found that out we were on a mission. We found that it was located in Jack London Square and we bided our time until we had the chance to go. That time came this weekend, Sunday to be exact. We were happy to see that we had avoided the after church crowd and we were able to go right to our table. I noticed that the sign didn't say Roscoe's on the outside and only said "House Of Chicken 'n' Waffles". All the items on the menu seemed to be the same as at the Roscoe's down in LA, but I just checked and it is indeed different. Here's the official Roscoe's menu. To make a long story short Timber and I split the 1/2 chicken and two waffles dish. Oh yeah, and the fried chicken was smothered in gravy just in case we thought we were going to be halfway healthy. But it was delicious. Rong asked if they were affiliated with Roscoe's and the waitress said "Not anymore". So we enjoyed our food and then pulled ourselves out the door to go walk it off. Next time you're near Jack London Square and want some good southern food you should definitely check out @#$%*&'s House Of Chicken And Waffles.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:05 PM | Comments (65)

10 Signs you might be Working at IBM

10 Signs you might be Working at IBM

by David Letterman

10 You lecture the neighborhood kids selling lemonade on ways to improve their process.
9 You get all excited when it's Saturday so you can wear shorts to work.
8 You refer to the tomatoes grown in your garden as deliverables.
7 You find you really need Freelance to explain what you do for a living.
6 You normally eat out of vending machines and at the most expensive restaurant in town within the same week.
5 You think that "progressing an action plan" and "calendarizing a project" are acceptable English phrases.
4 You know the people at faraway hotels better than your next-door neighbors.
3 You ask your friends to "think outside the box" when making Friday night plans.
2 You think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.
And, the number one sign you work for IBM...
1 You think a "half-day" means leaving at 5 o'clock.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:37 PM | Comments (68)

Hacker Followup

This article sheds a little more light on the case of the Alta Vista hacker. I would still be surprised if Laurent really did something like this. And how do they determine how much $$ in damage he allegedly did? I doubt any hackers can hack into a computer and then burn the motherboard or anything. My guess is it cost that much in effort to fix the problem or that's how much the lost productivity of that server cost the company. I'll post more about it when I find out more.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:20 PM | Comments (79)

Potential Problems For Dubya

Never one to shy away from politics or add my two cents, I thought this article was quite interesting. It sounds like there are some conservatives that are getting a little cranky at what Dubya is doing in Iraq. I would go farther to say that there are other things that I'm cranky about too. But always willing to help, here's my advice on how to fix what I'm not happy with. Obviously, I doubt anyone in power will actually listen to me, but if they were to actually look at my track record you would see that IBM is doing pretty well now that they have put their support behind linux, which was one of my suggestions in April of 1999.

1. Iraq, increase the number of troops there in the short term so that you can keep the tours of duty to one year or less. Second, allow the military to do what they have to do to protect themselves and do that job that they have to do. While this is going on work with our allies to get us more help in Iraq. Lastly, as the infrastructure and security in Iraq get better start lowering the number of troops there until we have people just performing advisory roles. Obviously this wouldn't happen overnight but I think our overall goal will be to get all the way out of Iraq and let them do what they see fit with their country. And don't do any more of the pre-emptive invasions for a while. Instead concentrate on securing our own borders, improving our infrastructure, and deciding what to do with illegal immigrants that are here already.

2. Stop chasing the gay marriage ban. I don't think you have the political capital at this time to get it and I think you are going to further polarize the populace. Leave it alone and concentrate on getting your judges approved instead.

3. Balance the budget. It is going to hurt us in the long run to have these record deficits. Cut where you need to cut and consolidate where we need to consolidate but the end result needs to be a balanced budget and having our national debt payed off.

That's all I have for now.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:34 PM | Comments (296)

Fahrenheit 9/11 Is A Documockery

The title of this blog entry says it all. After hearing all the hype from the left and the right about Fahrenheit 9/11 I went with Timber to watch it on Friday. The summary of my review is that this movie is not really a documentary but instead an opinion piece. But I won't dwell on that here. I'll mix a little politics and fun poking in with my review to keep it entertaining. When the movie began, the director began with how Bush illegitimately won the presidency. That was bullshit and people know it. And don't give me excuses about how Gore won the popular vote. It's all well and good to win the popular vote but it is the electoral votes that count. If you don't like it change the law. If you didn't know about the electoral college then it is your own fault for being ignorant. There were problems in Florida and they eventually had to stop recounting the votes, make a decision on who the winner was, and move on. The winner happened to be Dubya in this case. And remember that Gore didn't even win his home state. Don't blame Florida, blame Tenessee. I've read that if the recount had finished Bush still would have won. Moving on, I was surprised to see all the people protesting at the inaguration. Timber made the interesting comment that she guessed that roughly 50 % of the people that were protesting actually voted in the election. I bet she's pretty accurate. This article (Page 2) states "The voter turnout rate for citizens was 60 percent in 2000". Later in the movie, the director shows us what Dubya did (not much) when he found out about the attacks on 9/11. I have to admit that I was a lame duck too when I found out about the terrorist attacks. I watched the news all day and didn't get any work done because I was in utter shock like the rest of the country. Then he goes on to link the Bush family with the Saudi Royal Family and with the Bin Ladens and paint the picture of a conspiracy. Later he mixes in Iraq, which was presented as being a happy place where nothing bad happens (kind of like the Disneyworld of the Middle East). Obviously Iraq being portrayed as a happy place was complete bullshit. Then the director goes back to Flint, Michigan, where he is from and somehow ties that to the conflict in Iraq and concentrates on one family that had a son in Iraq. Their son dies and the director shows the pain and anguish of the mother in graphic detail. I thought his extended coverage of her crying and being very upset was classless. It showed me that he was more interested in getting good coverage for his movie and didn't seemed concerned with letting her have the privacy to grieve for her fallen son. Overall I think this movie was one sided, mostly inaccurate, lacked cohesion, and jumped around too much for all the sequences to really make sense together. I watched Bowling For Columbine and while I disagreed with most of his opinions in that movie I think he asked some very good questions. Unfortunately he did not have any good questions or themes in this movie. I thought he could do a better job with this movie if his theme were something like "Always question your government" or "Think critically about Bush's motivations". Instead it was a long diatribe against Dubya without giving sufficient evidence to back up the claims. If you've read my review this far it is probably obvious to you that most of my views differ from that of Michael Moore. But when I listen to differing opinions I listen with an open mind and I give them credit when they make valid points. Sometimes they are even able to change my mind about an issue. But after watching this movie with an open mind I can honestly say that if people out there are influenced by this movie without questioning the motivations and credibility of Michael Moore then they are simply idiots. No matter how you feel about this movie or Bush there is no more important thing to do this fall then get out and vote. I think the Dubya haters have a chance to get him out of office if they all go out and vote. But I doubt they will be able to get out and vote in large numbers, and as a result they will be hating him for another four years. I think it is odd that they hate Dubya because he seems like a very likable guy to me. In the movie he was talking about smoking out Osama Bin Laden and he was talking about how he found his dog trying to catch an armadillo. In moments like these it seems like normal people can relate to him and understand where he is coming from. But my Dubya bashing concentrates mostly on his public speaking abilities. He is a terrible public speaker and could really benefit from joining Toastmasters. But I encourage people to decide for themselves how they feel about Dubya and how they feel about Michael Moore and his movie.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:34 AM | Comments (77)

July 08, 2004

Gmail or G-Unit?

I guess I'll finally reveal to the world my gmail account. It is tom.carroll@gmail.com, so let's see how long it takes before I start getting spam at that account. This is my test, this blog entry is the only place where I reveal my gmail account, so I'll be able to trace any spam that I get back to this blog entry. It should be a good way to see who reads or at least crawls my blog.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:54 PM | Comments (44)

Former Collegue A Hacker?

I found an article the other day about a former collegue that got arrested for hacking a few years ago. I would have never thought that he would do something like that and I still have serious doubts about his guilt. As they say, innocent until proven guilty. I'll follow the case closely and see where it leads.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:48 PM | Comments (45)

Starbucks Scrub

I was checking through Slashdot today and I saw an entry about a guy that travels around to every Starbucks in the world. You can find his site here. You might ask "Why would someone want to do that?" His answer is "to be different". My answer is that this guy is crazy. First, he probably has way too much money, if he doesn't then you know he's really crazy. Second, aren't all Starbucks the same? Isn't it like the McDonald's of the coffee world? You don't hear about someone going around the world to visit all the McDonald's do you, because they would definitely be seen as crazy. This guy should go around the world to visit all the Walmarts while he's at it.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:42 PM | Comments (194)

July 06, 2004

Finished Captions From Alaska Trip

I finished putting captions on all the photos from the Alaska trip. You can see them on the right side of my blog. Enjoy!

Posted by troutm8 at 08:40 PM | Comments (203)

Happy (Belated) 4th Of July

Happy 4th of July Everyone! Sorry it's a bit late. :-) On the 4th of July this year we went over to J&R's for their neighborhood block party. I was telling Timber that you can see these sorts of parties in the midwest or in small towns, but it is pretty unusual to have it happen in a larger town like San Jose. That being said, they blocked off the street and had a parade, watermelon eating contest, neighborhood softball game, ice block racing, hot dog cook out, dessert potluck, dog show, and lots of fireworks to finish it off. I'll have to have them tell me when a house in their neighborhood gets put on the market. Timber and I made three desserts that looked like American flags. The one shown in the picture is made mostly out of Jello and it was easier to make than it looks.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:38 AM | Comments (64)

July 02, 2004

But Our Planning Was Obviously Less Than Perfect

That quote from this article says it all. All you can say about this situation is that someone dropped the ball and the stock took a hit as a result.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:50 AM | Comments (154)

July 01, 2004

Activity Log of Alaska Trip

It feels like my vacation to Alaska was way too short. Here's a quick run down of my activities while I was there:
6/16: Flew to Anchorage after work.
6/17: Hung out in Anchorage, didn't do too much.
6/18: Went to Anchorage Zoo, climbed Flat Top, checked out Ship Creek.
6/19: Drove up to Denali, got backcountry permit, stayed near Healy.
6/20: Backpacking in Denali, went into the park.
6/21: Dayhiking in backcountry unit #8.
6/22: Returned from the backcountry, went to Wonder Lake, drove to Fairbanks.
6/23: Toured Fairbanks (UAF Museum, Food Factory, Pipeline, Goldstream Valley), drove down to Denali Highway, slept along the highway.
6/24: Finished driving Denali Highway, drove down Richardson Highway and then Glen Highway to get back to Anchorage. Once back in Anchorage drove to Russian River (on Kenai Peninsula) and fished for sockeye salmon through the night.
6/25: After having waders spring a leak and getting skunked on the Kenai and Russian Rivers, headed to Soldotna for a little sleep, woke up and drove to Homer, fished near the ferry terminal where we caught Grey Cod, Flounder, and Irish Lord.
6/26: Halibut fishing out of Homer. One of my best halibut fishing trips ever, I must have caught at least 20 halibut.
6/27: Came back to Anchorage, vaccum packed the fish, had halibut for dinner.
6/28: Flew back to San Jose with a long layover in Portland.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:14 AM | Comments (71)