June 27, 2006

BBQ Photos Posted

I finally got around to posting photos from the BBQ on Sunday. We had lots of food (tri tip, baby back ribs, shrimp skewers, white rice, fried rice, lumpia, macaroni salad, watermelon, corn on the cob, cheesecake, pie, beer, water, soda, etc...) and we put a pretty good dent in the food. We hung out and ate until it was time to go to the pool. Jackie got thrown into the pool when she was trying to sunbathe, and the wheels fell off from there. Timber's parents came by and Dio also showed up. He had a lot of fun splashing the water in the fountain on our patio. All in all it was a good time and I'm going to have a hard time eating all the leftovers this week. You can find the photos here.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:27 PM | Comments (175)

June 25, 2006

BBQ a Success

The BBQ we had at our house today was a success. I'll post more information and photos later this week. Time to catch up on some World Cup Soccer.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:26 PM | Comments (151)

June 21, 2006

Happy Summer Solstice

Today is definitely one of my favorite days of the year. It is the day in which we have the most daylight the entire year and for me it really gets the backpacking season humming along. Timber remarked today that this is the first June that she can remember when I haven't dragged her out of town every weekend. I've learned that the really cool backpacking places in California still have a bit of snow in June, so I'm shifting my restlessness to the span between early July and late October. Now is also a great time to go to Alaska. The photo included in this post is from June 23rd 2004 right outside of Fairbanks at the Alaska Pipeline. On that day they got 21 hours and 48 minutes of daylight. Now that is something I can deal with.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:13 PM | Comments (157)

La Quinta Improvement

When Timber and I made plans to go to Orange County this past weekend for Linda's wedding, I was planning on bringing Wookie with us. Because of that I booked a room for us at a La Quinta in Costa Mesa because they allow dogs. We ended up not bringing Wookie with us, but when we got to the La Quinta we saw that they have been listening to their customers and made some changes. The picture included says it all. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 10:53 PM | Comments (83)

June 18, 2006

Linda & Jorge's Wedding

We went to Linda and Jorge's wedding yesterday. It was a Catholic wedding, so there was a lot of standing up, sitting down, and kneeling. One difference between this wedding and what I would consider a typical Catholic wedding is that it didn't seem to go on forever. Timber and I sat toward the back and the 70 - 200 mm lens really came in handy (I'll post the photos later). After the wedding we went to the reception, and there must have been 250 people there. All in all it was a great time and we wish Linda and Jorge nothing but the best.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:29 AM | Comments (75)

June 17, 2006

Made it to OC

We left later than we would have liked last night to head down to OC for Linda's wedding, but we're here now and have some time to check out the area before going to the wedding later today. I think Timber is going to force me to go shopping. Grrrrr.... The traffic on I-5 wasn't too bad last night and we made decent time getting down here. It is going to be 88 Deg F today, so I'm glad I didn't bring a wool suit.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:40 AM | Comments (82)

June 15, 2006

New Lens

Well it finally came. Timber and I got a Canon EF 70-200mm F4L USM lens and have been playing around with it for a few days now. I suppose it is an early birthday present for myself. :-) All the various reviews and people that I've talked to have said that this is a fantastic lens and a few days into having it I'd have to agree. But what I find really amusing is that in the description of the lens they say "High-performance, L-series telephoto zoom lens combining light weight and compactness with an f/4 maximum aperture." and "If you're going backpacking with a tripod, save your back and get the 70-200/4L." The reason I find those quotes amusing that this is a monster of a lens. It is 6.8 inches long without the hood. With the hood on it I'm guessing it is closer to 9 or 10 inches long. Also it is very solid which translates into it is heavy which means I don't know how the hell I'll ever take it backpacking. When it is mounted on my camera it looks like I'm carrying a hand cannon (no pun intended) around and that I'm a paparazzi guy out looking for celebrities to annoy. We are going down to LA this weekend for Linda's wedding, and I'm sure it will perform well there (assuming the wedding photographer doesn't cut my throat). I'm sure it will also be interesting when we go into a coffee shop with celebrities in there worrying that we are going to try to take their photos. To set the record straight I don't care about celebrities and I don't want to take any pictures of them. The only way I would ever want their autograph would be on a check payable to me. Oh yeah, we got a UV filter for it too. I'll post photos from the wedding when we get back.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:36 PM | Comments (83)

Overdose on $1 Hot Dogs

I went to the Oakland A's game last night with Paul, his son Sean, and Sean's two friends. Generally Wednesday's have the A's selling $2 bleacher seats, but since we didn't get there early enough they sold out and we had to pay $10 for the bleacher seats instead (darn!). But we promptly made up for the more expensive seats by feasting on the $1 hot dogs. I ate more than I should have (3 hot dogs to be exact) and enjoyed watching the A's beat the Seattle Mariners 7-2.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:17 PM | Comments (42)

Explaining Soccer to Americans

To those Americans out there that are not interested in soccer and wonder why productivity drops around the world as a result of the World Cup this posting is for you. The World Cup is the most watched sporting event on the planet and arguably also the biggest. It is certainly the biggest sporting event for me and supercedes the NHL and NBA Playoffs which happen to be going on at the same time. But instead of focusing on soccer being the most popular sport in the world I would like to dwell on why. Here are a few reasons.
(1) Soccer is cheap - You can play soccer nearly anywhere in the world and you don't need a fancy field or a lot of equipment to play. You can play soccer with as little as only a ball (or something that acts like a ball). You don't really have to have shoes, a net, sidelines, refs, or any of that other stuff. Just a ball and some people that want to play. That's it.
(2) Soccer is simple - I'm a big advocate of simple is better. The basic rule of soccer is that you put the ball in the other team's net to score, and you can't use your hands to do it. That's pretty much it. Everything else is icing on the cake. Compare that to sports like baseball, cricket, or American football. Great sports in their own right, but you can't just tune into a game and instantly know what is going on. You can with soccer.
(3) It is a Beautiful Game - Because it is so simple and elegant it is a beautiful game. There can be different styles of playing, different strategies, and players that specialize in different things (defense, free kicks, goal keeping, etc..), but when a team makes great passes, runs into open space, anticipates each other, makes great saves, etc... it is a real joy to watch.
The World Cup is important to many people around the world because it is a tournament that really has the best of the best. It takes two years of qualifying just to get into the tournament, and by the time you get there you have what are essentially the best 32 teams in the world. Each represents their country, so these are the best players from the best soccer countries. The winner of the tournament also has bragging rights for 4 years. That's only 5 times in a generation. It's really as big as any sporting event can get. I'm guessing there will be at least 1 BILLION people tuning in for the final. In summary, try watching the World Cup this year, a few billion people can't be wrong.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:10 PM | Comments (60)

Disappointing Loss

I watched the US loss to the Czech Republic on Monday (recorded), and I have to say that I was severely disappointed by the loss. I don't think we played all that badly in the first half and the two goals that the Czechs scored in the first half were very nice. But in the end we didn't play well enough and are now in a big hole. We need to get some points against Italy, but they looked strong against Ghana and I'm definitely worried. If we can't perform with our backs against the wall then we don't deserve to move on. We'll only get the opportunities that we make for ourselves.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:46 PM | Comments (86)

June 12, 2006

World Cup Primer

If you are going to watch the World Cup (who isn't?) here is a good primer combining soccer information and economics put together by Goldman Sachs.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:03 AM | Comments (65)

June 04, 2006

Sushi Rolling Party @ Forrest's Pad

We went to a sushi rolling party at Forrest's pad in SF yesterday. The photo included in this blog post is the panoramic shot from the roof of his apartment building. Overall it is a pretty nice view. We brought Unagi and Tuna with us and made lots of different rolls. Also, a lot of people that had never rolled sushi before got a chance to learn and practice.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:10 PM | Comments (92)

POMS Conference

On Friday and Saturday I attended the POMS Conference in Carmel with my team. We (Alfredo and Jerry) gave our presentation on Saturday. I had to admit that this conference ended up being far more interesting than I was expecting. I was expecting lots of really high level academic talk about services research without any real world experience or proof that the theory could actually work. Instead I saw a good mix of practical applications coupled with research and theory. Also many of the researchers were interested in partnering with us to futher their own and our own research. It was a fruitful endevour overall.

Posted by troutm8 at 05:21 PM | Comments (97)

June 01, 2006

Almaden's 20th Anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Almaden Research Center. It was cool to see the posters of all the projects that were currently underway as well as a really big poster showing the inventions made at Almaden in a chronological order. This article says a little bit about the anniversary. They capped off the festivities with a visit from the Mythbusters. They spent some time answering questions and the closed with an experiment testing various methods to find the best method to cool a beer from room temperature to cold in 30 seconds. Based on the people that helped them test the various methods (ice, ice & water, ice & salt water, fire extinguisher, liquid Nitrogen), the fire extinguisher did the best job of getting the beer cold and drinkable in 30 seconds.

Posted by troutm8 at 07:29 PM | Comments (64)