February 28, 2006


I picked up a book of sudoku puzzles while in Las Vegas and I've had a blast solving them with Timber. She and I sometimes argue about the right approach to solving them, but at some point we are going to have a little contest to see who can solve the same puzzles faster. If you're reading this Timber I have a message for you. That message is this: You're going down grandma!

Posted by troutm8 at 09:29 PM | Comments (76)

Photos Posted

I posted the photos from this weekend's trip here. In our 4 day weekend we flew to Tucson, played golf, checked out a mission, went to a BBQ, checked out Saguaro National Park, checked out Biosphere 2, checked out the University of Arizona, went to a wedding, flew to Las Vegas, had a deep fried twinkie, checked out a bunch of casinos on the strip, checked out Red Rock Canyon, checked out the Hoover Dam, did some shopping in Prim, and flew back to San Jose. Whew!

Posted by troutm8 at 09:24 PM | Comments (109)

Hoover Dam

Our last day in Vegas (2/27), we went to the Hoover Dam to do the tourist bit since I had never been there before. The water seemed pretty low, and people that we talked to while walking around the dam confirmed that it was a lot lower than normal. Apparently there has been a drought for roughly 5 years. That got me back to a question that came to mind while I was playing golf in Tucson. The question is this, Tucson and Las Vegas are building homes like there is no tomorrow, and people are moving there (and presumably the rest of the southwest) in droves, where is their water going to come from? How long of a drought will be needed to change the net migration of people to where they start leaving the southwest? Will it happen in my lifetime? When I read Collapse, the author talked about how the natives in the southwest had the same sort of building boom (see Mesa Verde) and then had to leave after a long drought choked off their supply of food and water. My guess is that it will happen again at some point. At any rate the Hoover Dam was pretty damn cool. After checking out the dam we went to Prim to check out the outlets. After that we caught our flight back to San Jose.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:01 PM | Comments (48)

Las Vegas Monorail

I hadn't checked out the new monorail system in LV, and after trying it out I have to say that it is barely functional. They charge $15 for an unlimited day use ticket and it pretty much only goes up and down the strip. We stopped at a few casinos going up and down but to get anywhere from the monorail requires a bit of walking. Overall the monorail was an interesting experience but I think it could have been made more convenient for people to use.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:35 PM | Comments (73)

Deep Fryer + Twinkie = Crazy Delicious

I finally found a place that makes deep fried twinkies. I won't name it because I don't want to find it again. :-) I'll probably never have one again, but it was an interesting culinary experience. They put batter around the twinkie and then deep fry it for a while. Once it got out of the fryer, they shook the grease off and then dumped powdered sugar and chocolate sprinkles on it. I waited a short while for it to cool down and then tried it. It tasted more like a donut than a twinkie with the outside fried part accounting for most of the taste. Overall it was very rich, and the texture was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Please kids, don't try this at home.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:34 PM | Comments (87)

Red Rock Canyon

I had never heard of Red Rock Canyon before Sunday (2/26), but apparently it is one of the top 5 rock climbing places in the US. We drove west out of LV for a short distance (past Red Rock Casino) and to Red Rock National Conservation Area. We checked out the rocks as well as Indian Petroglyphs and an old Agave roasting pit. It kind of made me forget we were in LV.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:27 PM | Comments (172)

Las Vegas

We left Tucson Sunday (2/26) at 7:05 AM and got to Las Vegas at 7:15 AM. I wish all my plane rides where that short. :-) My mom picked us up at the airport and we proceeded to run around town.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:18 PM | Comments (74)

Jon's Wedding

Jon's wedding took place in the late afternoon at a place called Reflections by the Butte. It was a pretty nice place and the wedding went off without a hitch. The reception also took place at the same site. We stayed as long as we could before having to leave so that we could get ready for our trip to Las Vegas the next day.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:11 PM | Comments (47)

Biosphere 2

After we were done at Saguaro National Park we went to check out Biosphere 2. You may wonder what Biosphere 1 was, and the smart ass tour guide that we had said (in an obnoxious way) that the earth was biosphere 1. He had an accent and I assumed he was French. :-) I think he actually turned out to be Italian. But the geek in me rejoiced in getting to go on a tour inside Biosphere 2. It is amazing to think that a group of people could build a closed system, cut off from the outside world and run experiments on a very complicated closed system. The only thing that did not live up to my expectations of Biosphere 2 was the chump tour guide. I can understand him not enjoying getting ignorant questions, but you would think that at some point he would have perfected an answer or stated facts at the beginning of the tour that weren't so condescending. It got to the point where people didn't want to ask questions any more because they didn't want to hear him go on rants. I got to the point where I would turn around and happily snap photos instead of listening to what he had to say.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:37 PM | Comments (49)

Saguaro National Park

We got up early on the morning of Saturday, February 25th and ran out to Saguaro National Park. Some of the facts on these iconic cacti are amazing. They can live up and sometimes past 150 years, they can be up to 30 feet tall, and they can way up to 20 tons. They also can, on average, bring in about 200 gallons (enough water to last a year) in one rain storm. We spent the better part of the morning at the park, and it is quite a beautiful place.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:48 PM | Comments (79)

February 27, 2006

Checking Out Tucson

Timber picked me up after golf and we ran around checking out Tucson. We quickly realized that most of the getting around required using side streets and that it could take a while to get places because of all the stop lights. We also checked out the University of Arizona area to see if there was anything there worth going back for later. After our sight seeing was over we went to a BBQ where we got to meet Jon's bride to be and hang out with his family and friends. It was a nice and relaxing gathering.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:55 PM | Comments (59)

Vistoso Golfing

On Friday, February 24th a bunch of us guys went to play golf at Vistoso Golf Club. It is apparently ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the US. It was a beautiful but challenging course surrounded by a stark desert landscape. There were all sorts of catci and other desert plants once you got off the fairway, which for me was quite often. On one hole, Reed teed off and put his ball right through a cactus. It was a pretty cool thing to see, but when we studied the cactus a little more closely we saw that other people had done the same thing. When playing desert golf courses you pretty much have to leave the ball alone if it goes off into the desert since you don't want to waste too much time looking for it and don't want to get bitten by any snakes. Overall it reminded me of how much I enjoy playing golf and it was good to spend the first part of the day with the guys before the wedding.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:54 PM | Comments (70)

February 24, 2006

Made It To Tucson

Timber and I had a relatively uneventful trip to Tucson this evening/morning. We both got home at a reasonable hour, and I took Wookie for a nice long walk so that he would be relaxed when we dropped him off at Spots. Then we packed everything in the car and went to Timber's parents' house. Her dad took us to Spots, where we dropped off Wookie. He wasn't too happy about being dropped off, but hopefully he'll have fun while we're gone. Then we got dropped off at the airport. The check in part was pretty easy, we grabbed a quick bite to eat, got through security (by basically stripping down), and got on our plane (America Worst) and got on our way. We had about an hour layover in Las Vegas, where we tried to find the Coffee Bean in the airport but were unwilling to have to go through security again to get to our plane, then jumped on a small plane and headed for Tucson. Once we got to Tucson my golf clubs actually showed up along with our other bags and then we went to get the rental car. Since our flight came in so late (1:16 AM AZ time) most of the car rental companies were closed. I was able to talk Hertz into staying open until I could get there to pick up my car and they did not let me down. I even payed a little bit more to get the GPS system. While driving to our hotel, we were certainly glad we had it. Neither of us have ever been to Tucson, it was dark, we were both tired, and we probably would have started killing each other after a few wrong turns. But we made it and now I get to sleep a bit before playing golf tomorrow.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:27 AM | Comments (75)

February 23, 2006

Tour Of California

I got a chance to go check out stage 3 (the time trial) for the Tour of California bike race yesterday. All in all it was a pretty cool experience. I got to see the cyclists in the top 10 (George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriski, etc...) finish, and I even got to take some photos. I was lucky that it took place so close to work.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:29 AM | Comments (70)

February 19, 2006

Snowtest Passed

Timber wasn't feeling good this weekend, so I figured one way to make her feel better was to take her and Wookie snowshoeing. We went to the Eagle Lakes area. It was also our first opportunity to take him to the snow. We wanted to test him to see if he like the snow and how he would do in it. All tests passed. His feet were fine, his long legs suited him well, he used the bathroom in the snow, and he played a lot in the snow. I think we can now safely say that he was the snow dog that we were hoping for. Next stop, snow camping.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:56 AM | Comments (82)

February 17, 2006

Clubbing With Wookie

I went clubbing with Wookie on Monday night, Pet Clubbing that is. I went to find him something for ticks. I ended up with Front Line Plus. When we got home I put it on him, according to the directions, and he wasn't very comfortable. He was a bit more lethargic than normal but did nearly get back to normal before going to bed. He was all the way back to normal the next morning. Hopefully this stuff works.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:50 PM | Comments (14)

February 13, 2006

Survived Reno

I made it back from Reno yesterday. Jon's wedding is in a couple of weeks, so hopefully he will have recovered by then. :-) I made it back early enough to get some things done and for Timber and I to take Wookie for his first real hike. We went to Santa Teresa Park and took him on a two mile round trip hike to Coyote Peak and back. He seemed to enjoy the walk but later on we found that a few ticks had gotten on him. We inspected him, brushed him thoroughly, and got two more off of him. Then we proceeded to vaccum the entire house at 10 PM. Hopefully my neighbors don't hate me yet. Today I'm going to go get him something to kill any remaining ticks and try to keep him on the trail next time we go hiking.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:20 PM | Comments (73)

February 10, 2006

Reno This Weekend

Oh how I would love to go snowboarding this weekend. February is going to be a pretty busy month for me. This weekend I'm going to Reno for Jon's bachelor party. It is hard to believe that he's getting married later this month. I'll be going to Tucson later this month for the wedding. The picture included with this post is from when we graduated high school. Jon is on the left, I'm in the middle, and Ryan is on the right. Not surprisingly, none of us stayed in Alaska.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:12 PM | Comments (66)

February 07, 2006

A Cord For All

I saw this article the other day and just had to add a comment about this sentence -> "It can make a big difference in a region where winter temperatures may plunge to 50 below zero and stay there for days." First, the interior of Alaska can get colder than 50 below F and my last semester of school at UAF we saw three weeks straight of 55 below zero. That convinced me to get out of there after I graduated. That being said, there are lots of places to cut down trees in the interior and a lot of people have wood stoves (and no running water). Cutting and moving the trees is a lot of work, but it sounds like it is substantially cheaper than buying heating oil. On a side note, it was in the low 70's in San Jose today. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 11:52 PM | Comments (666)

International Speech Contest

I was a participant in my Toastmaster club's International Speech Contest today. An International Speech Contest is a speech contest where you can speak about anything you want, and the time window for the speech is between 5 and 7 minutes. Pretty simple overall. The reason they call it an International Speech Contest is because it gets all the way up to the international level. I ended up winning my club contest and will move on the the area level contest. My speech was about podcasting and how it can help people become better speakers. The idea is that you can record your speeches, turn them into a podcast, and have people download your speech and email you feedback and evaluations. I actually started a podcast as a result of this project and should have more show when I start adding more content.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:41 PM | Comments (68)

Super Bowl Party

Timber and I decided to have a few people over for the Super Bowl this past weekend. Wookie got to meet Cartman and J&R. He also saw Timber's parents, Dio, and got a proper introduction to Timber's brother. I thought the Seahawks would win the game, but they didn't really do much, and as a result I owe a few people lunch. Overall it was a nice gathering.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:35 PM | Comments (176)

February 01, 2006

Grow Up Cindy And Lynn

While I don't agree with Cindy Sheehan's protest of our presence in Iraq, I think she is free to protest and exercise her freedom, which incidently is being protected by us being over there. But when she got into the Capital Building for the State of the Union address wearing a t-shirt that said "2245 Dead. How many more?", I think that was crossing the line. It is one thing to protest outside while the speech is going on, but I'm pretty sure she would have jumped up and tried to do something during the speech, it wouldn't have made sense for her to be there otherwise. And to Democratic Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, from California to boot, you should be ashamed of yourself. Since when has it been ok to disrupt a president's State of the Union address? I can't think of any time in the past when such unprofessional behavior was on display at a State of the Union address. Here's a link to Woolsey's statement regarding Cindy Sheehan being arrested and taken out of the Capital Building before Dubya's speech. I think it would be interesting to see if Woolsey would be ok with people protesting in the middle of the biggest speech of her life. I have a feeling she wouldn't like it too much.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:25 PM | Comments (7270)

Turn It Down

Here's a not-so-interesting story. From what I can tell, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Apple was never given any common sense by his parents, and should sue them before going after Apple. If this lawsuit even sees the light of day I think I'm going to go buy an island and start my own country. I'll call it TOM TOM and you can only get to it by using the TOM TOM GPS unit...

Posted by troutm8 at 11:06 PM | Comments (48)

Happy 1st Birthday Dio

Dio's first birthday was on Sunday. We went over Timber's parents' house for the celebration. We had dinner and a cake for Dio. We took lots of photos all along the way. We had to clap, sing, and dance a lot to get his attention for the photos. And as always with babies, we used the shotgun method of photography. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 02:48 PM | Comments (72)