October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I'm not going to do any trick or treating tonight, but I think we are going to dress Dio up (he was Batman last year) and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. After being on the run for the past two weeks I am definitely not going out tonight.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Helped Forrest Move

On Sunday Timber and I went up to SF to help Forrest move out of his apartment. He quit his job and is moving to Indonesia for 6 months to work as a contractor for the NGO Build Change. He spent a month in Bandeh Aceh earlier this year as a volunteer. His apartment in SF was on the 4th floor and didn't have any elevator, so it took a little while to get his boxes and small furniture out of his place. After we were done we went to Rogue in North Beach for some beer and food. The food was OK but the beer was pretty good, and they had a lot of beers on tap to choose from. Good luck in Indonesia Forrest!

Posted by troutm8 at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Back To Alaska

On Friday (10/27) morning we dropped Bob and Sugar off at SFO for their trip back to Alaska. It was a long day for them, and when I talked to my brother that evening after they had gotten home he sounded very tired. I really enjoyed having them here, and I hope they enjoyed their trip. It was fun to take vacation time and take them around the bay area doing things that I normally don't go and do on my own. We'll have to do it again sometime.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

Dinner At Parents' House

On Thursday Bob and Sugar spent time preparing for their return trip to Alaska. In the evening we went over to Timber's parents' house for dinner. Timber's mom mades lots of great Filipino dishes. She made fried rice, lumpia, chicken adobo, and a bunch of other dishes for which I cannot remember the names. For desert we did some chocolate tasting with chocolate that we bought at Scharffen Berger and then had a small bit of Peter's Bakery's burnt almond cake.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Golf And Aziza

On Wednesday the four of us (me, Timber, Bob, Sugar) played golf at Los Lagos. Much like Kim Jong Il, I had 11 holes in 1 during my round of golf. Just kidding of course. I must be a basketball fan because I scored more than the Phoenix Suns. :-) After golf Timber and I did stuff around the house while Bob and Sugar went up to SF for dinner at Aziza. They liked it and I think Timber and I will try it out sometime.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)


On Tuesday (10/24) I went to work while Bob and Sugar spent the morning shopping at Valley Fair. In the afternoon they headed up to SF for an early dinner at Flippers and to watch the opening performance of Chicago. They said it was pretty good.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)


On Monday (10/23), Bob, Sugar, and I took the long way to San Francisco. We had wanted to catch BART at the Fremont station, but got there too late and couldn't find a single parking spot anywhere. So we decided to drive up via the east bay and get into SF via the Bay Bridge. Once we got there we parked near Fisherman's Wharf and checked it out for a while before catching the ferry to Alcatraz. While we were at Fisherman's Wharf we checked out the Boudin bakery and Bob and I split a whole Dungeness Crab ($19) and a sourdough bread bowl of clam chowder. Both were pretty good. We had to walk down to Pier 33 to catch our ferry to Alcatraz since Hornblower won the contract with the Park Service recently. The ferry ride over the island was quiet and uneventful, and once we got to Alcatraz we did the audio tour through the cell block. I think that was my third time doing the audio tour, and it is still pretty good. :-) The only drawback of going was that there were people everywhere, so it was hard to get up next to the cells or read all the information. The night tours are much better for that, but the drawback to the night tour is that it is much colder. After finishing our tour we caught the ferry back to SF and caught a bus to North Beach. We walked around North Beach for a little while and stopped at truffle place for a treat as well as Panta Rei for paninis. Then we hit Stella Pastry for some cannolis. After that we high tailed it back to my truck and hit Citizen Cake on our way out of town. Unfortunately they were closed, so Bob and Sugar had to go back another day.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

Gilroy Shopping

On Sunday (10/22) Bob and Sugar spent most of the day shopping at the outlets in Gilroy while Timber and I ran errands.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2006

Santa Cruz

On Saturday (10/21) we spent the day in Santa Cruz. We started with breakfast at Hobart's, which is usually pretty good. Jenny, Rong, and Kayden joined us for breakfast and then we met up with them again on the boardwalk. After breakfast we did a little bit of shopping in downtown Santa Cruz and then went to get a Tunisian donut at "The Crepe Place". We brought the Tunisian donuts with us to boardwalk and ate them there. They weren't all that good. After the donuts Bob and I went on the Giant Dipper which is an awesome roller coaster. After that we went on some lame haunted house ride and then walked down the boardwalk back toward where we parked. Once we got back to the car we drove down the pier and then went to Marianne's for some ice cream. Their ice cream was exceptional as always. Once we got back to San Jose we went to University Chicken (formerly Cluck-U) for some nuclear hot wings.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

Outlets and Grilling

On Saturday (10/21) Bob and Sugar spent the day shopping at the outlets in Gilroy while Timber and I ran errands and got some things done around town. For dinner we grilled up some tri tip and chicken & pumpkin sausage. That along with the rice, salad, and appetizers made for a pretty good meal.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

Berkeley Time

On Friday (10/20) we went to have Chicken and Waffles in Jack London Square for breakfast. After breakfast we checked out a huge restaurant supply store, which interestingly enough, had a gargantuan mounted polar bear near the entrance. It is apparently, according to the boone and crocket plaque, the 9th largest polar bear ever shot. Next we hit the North Face Outlet in Berkeley and then ran over to Scharffen Berger (chocolate maker) for a chocolate factory tour. While on the tour we learned in detail about how chocolate is grown, processed, and then molded into different shapes. We also learned about what makes chocolate different, and of course we had some samples. I highly recommend the Scharffen Berger tour. After the tour we did some shopping around Berkeley before grabbing a pizza from Zachary's (Chicago style) and bringing it home.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

Golf and Sharks

On Thursday (10/19) during the day Bob and I played golf at Summitpointe Golf Course while Sugar did some shopping at the Great Mall. Neither of us played particularly well, but we had a good time. In the evening we went to the Sharks/Red Wings game with Timber and her dad and watched the Sharks dismantle the Red Wings 5-1. I couldn't help but notice the sad faces on all the Red Wings fans as they left the building. Sorry suckers!

Posted by troutm8 at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)


On Wednesday (10/18) we went up to Sonoma to do some wine tasting and a vineyard tour. We started out at Viansa and got to walk around the grounds a little bit checking out the grapes and then did some wine tasting. After that we went to Benziger for a tractor tour and some tasting. I didn't like any of the wines enough to buy any, but I did learn a lot on the tour and enjoyed tasting the grapes in the vineyard and checking out the cave where they let the wine age. Afterwards we went into downtown sonoma and did some cheese tasting before heading home. It was a nice relaxing day in wine country. Once we got back into town we went to Korea House for dinner. That place always hits the spot.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

Haight & Ashbury

On 10/17 we went back up to SF, and this time Timber came with us. We started out in the Mission District at a Taqueria called, imaginatively enough, La Taqueria. We had heard that this was a great place and they did not dissapoint. Timber and I split a carnitas burrito (our standard across all Mexican food joints) while Bob and Sugar had a carnitas taco and a carne burrito. We all agreed that the food was good and that we would come back. After our lunch we walked around the Mission for a little while doing some shopping before heading over to Mitchell's Ice Cream. The last time I tried to come to Mitchell's there was a line out the door but not this time (mid day on a Tuesday). The ice cream was very good and I would highly recommend it. After our ice cream treat we headed over to an Indian cloth store called "Bombay Bazaar (Indian Groceries/Videos)" so that Sugar could find some material she was looking for. The lady working in the store drove a hard bargain and we didn't end up getting anything there. But I saw that there was an Indian ice cream shop next door and decided to check it out. I ended up getting a chickoo ice cream bar while Timber got the saffron flavored ice cream. Mine was decent while hers was not. My brother described it best. He described it as the taste of water from a warm water hose when you first turn it on. Yup, warm water hose water is exactly what saffron ice cream tastes like. After that bad ice cream experience we went to Tartine Bakery which is supposed to be readlly good. We got some Sharfen Burger chocolate pudding, a pumpkin tea cake, an eclair, and a few other miscellaneous items. They were all fantastic. After our snack we went back to Timber's car to see that it was in the process of getting towed away. Here's how the conversation went:
Timber: Hey, I think my car is being towed away.
Me and Bob: Nah, that is probably some else's car.
Timber: No, REALLY, they are about to tow my car away.
Me and Bob: Oh Shit! Let's go stop them!
And we ran as fast as we could to get over there before they could drive off with Timber's car. Once we got there my brother yelled at the guys (3 of them) to drop the car. There was a guy working on the back of Timber's car that looked like a bum that said "You don't know what the fuck you're talking about", and the fat guy running the operation said "oh Shit!" really loud. We talked to them for a minute fore the girls caught up. As it turned out, the place where we parked turned into a traffic lane during commuting hours (starting at 4 PM) and we got back to the car around 4:12 PM. But luckily they had to drop the car and we only had to deal with a $60 parking ticket instead of having to get Timber's car out of a tow yard! After dodging that bullet we put the car on ice at the Metreon parking garage and checked out the Apple Store in Union Square before catching the bus up to Haight & Ashbury (hippie-land). While we were walking around on Haight we ran across the Adidas Concept Store that Timber knew about. She said that they sometimes have a DJ playing music while people shop and it is the kind of stuff you normally don't see from Adidas. So we checked it out and I can understand why it is a concept store, given that most "concepts" don't make it out to the public. :-) But I got a pretty cool hat from there. After that we did a little more shopping before having dinner at Cha Cha Cha. The food was only average. On the way back to the car we saw a bunch of dirty hippies that looked like they were organizing to try to rob people. And on the bus ride back to the Metreon Bob and Sugar saw some people doing cocaine on the back of the bus. Talk about a fun and exciting day in SF! On our way out of town we hit Tango Gelato which put us in the unenviable position of having had ice cream 4 times in a day. Never again!

Posted by troutm8 at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2006

China Town

On Monday (10/16) we spent the day running around China Town, then walking to Russian Hill, and then ending our SF trip with a walk around the inside of Grace Cathedral. China Town was quiet because we got there early (took caltrain up from San Jose) and it was a weekday. Walking down Grant Street, the tourist area, things were very quiet. Then we got over to where the locals shop and the sidewalks were packed, even in the middle of the day. We picked up a few pork buns along the way, but didn't stop at any restaurants to eat. After having our fill of China Town we walked to Russian Hill passing by a cable car museum and then going to a Morrocan Shop named La Kasbah. Then we walked to Grace Cathedral, which is a beautiful cathedral filled with excellent stained glass and other religious artwork. After spending time there we went to Union Square for a little bit of shopping and then called it a day. We saw a lot in San Francisco on this day.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2006

Pumpkin Festival

On Sunday (10/15) all of us went to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival for a balmy (just kidding) day of activities. We started out by having breakfast at the Half Moon Bay Coffee Company. Their pumpkin pancakes were as good as ever. We then spent some time checking out the booths and pumpkins. After we were done we headed over to Arata's Farm where they had a straw maze and lots of pumpkins and other stuff. We went into the maze as teams (boys against the girls). Bob and I made it out in just under 15 minutes while the girls got out in a little over 20 minutes. The maze was fun and I felt like a mouse for a little while. After fun at the maze we went to Little Creek Ranch for some pumpkin launching. It wasn't launching big pumpkins with catapults, but it was using a really large slingshot to launch fist sized pumpkins a couple of hundred yards at a target. It was a blast. After we had exhausted our pumpkin supply we called it a night and headed to Famous Dave's for dinner in Gilroy.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Family Visit

On Saturday (10/14) my brother and sister-in-law came to visit, and started their two week vacation down in California. We picked them up from SFO and then took them on a quick tour of San Francisco before heading over to Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley for breakfast. Their specialties include scrapple (some kind of mystery meat) and souffle pancakes. The food was pretty good and they seemed to be happy with their first meal in the Bay Area. We then did a quick tour of Berkeley before heading back to San Jose. For dinner we went to Krung Thai in San Jose, and they enjoyed that meal as well, especially the green tea sweet rice with mango ice cream. Yum!

Posted by troutm8 at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2006

Basketball Game

On Thursday Timber had a basketball and I had the opportunity to go and watch it. So I did. I also brought my camera with the hand canon on it and took photos of her team getting beat down. The final was a 48-25 loss, but Timber scored 13 of her team's 25 points. Most of my photos turned out to be crap because of the low light and all the movement in the gym. I can definitely see the value in a lens with image stabilization if you are shooting in gymnasiums. Afterward we talked about team strategy and checked out the rest of the Campbell Community Center (where she played) and then called it a night.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Vespa

Last week we celebrated the first year of having our Vespa. Here's to many more years of Vespa enjoyment!

Posted by troutm8 at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2006

Erik Hatcher Visit

A few weeks ago Erik Hatcher paid a visit to my project. You may have read his book. He is a contributor to the Lucene project and came to give a talk and answer any questions that we had. I got to meet him and talk to him for a few minutes before he gave his talk and he seemed like a pretty cool guy (not to mention that he had a MacBook Pro with him). In his talk he referenced some other open source projects such as:

He also mentioned some companies that are using Lucene as their search engine. They are:

Some tools that can be used to test a Lucene index include:

I was particularly interested in Ferret. He also recommended the books "Ambiant Findability" and "Managing Gigabytes".

Posted by troutm8 at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2006

Stupid Brown Bear

While we were fishing at the mouth of where the Kenai River runs into Skilak Lake I had problems with one of my compact flash cards. The camera had a message saying CF Error, and I wasn't able to do anything with the disk. So I changed it out and kept on taking shots, but I was disappointed that it had a problem and I was worried that I would not recover the photos. The particular photos that I was worried about were the ones I took of the brown bear and several nice rainbow trout photos. I was able to recover them last night with much less effort than I had anticipated. I usually load photos onto my computer by plugging in my memory reader (one that reads 22 types of memory) and then plugging in the compact flash card. Then iPhoto launches and I click one button to upload my photos into iPhoto. Bang Bang Bang. With the bad flash card this process didn't work. So my next option was to get onto a Windows machine and try to import the photos into Picassa. That actually worked, which is not something that I expected. So now I present to you a photo of the brown bear swimming across the Kenai River toward us. I was the first one to spot it on the river bank and immediately traded my fishing pole for my camera with its 70 mm - 200 mm lens. This photo was shot at full extension (200 mm * 1.6 conversion factor) of 320 mm. The bear never did make it over to us (luckily for the bear because each and every one of us had a gun) and instead it got to swim through some rapids and out into Skilak Lake.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2006

Fall Colors In California

If you are interested in finding out where to go to see the trees change color in California (or the entire US for that matter) you can call the US Forest Service Fall Color Hotline @ 1-800-354-4595. If you want to go straight to California hit 5 after you've connected and you will hear the recorded message.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2006

Cabo Trip Aftermath

I learned a few things from this trip to Cabo. Here they are:
* Fly out of San Jose instead of SFO because it is definitely worth the extra cost to not have to drive far (and go through traffic).
* Driving in Mexico is both exciting and scary. The highways are very narrow and have no shoulder, so be careful. If you are going to try to drive to beaches with your rental car you should rent something with four wheel drive. We really enjoyed our 4x4 adventure and were glad we got the jeep wrangler.
* Don't try to do too much. The only day that we bit off more than we could chew was the day we tried to check out the East Cape, La Paz, and then Todos Santos. No matter how much time you spend in Cabo (or Mexico in general) you will most likely not be able to do everything that you want, so just pick a few things, relax, and enjoy them.
* Be careful when leaving the airport. There will be lots of cabs and shuttles trying to trick you into taking them instead of your pre-arranged transportation. They will also try to charge you crazy prices ($75 for a ride to your hotel from the airport)). Ignore them and get outside the airport and find your transportation.

Other Insights
1. The all inclusive resort thing is pretty cool. It was much like going on a cruise except the alchoholic drinks were free and there was no gambling. But the service was good, the food was good, and the free water taxi to the beach was the icing on the cake.
2. Try to hit the East Cape so you can swim in the Sea of Cortez without the crowds. Most tourists are lazy and aren't willing to do any more than take the water taxi from the hotel to the beach and then lay on the beach like harbor seals all day long. That's good news if you're willing to put forth a little effort to find that one special spot. If you do put forth the extra effort I guarantee that you will be happy that you did.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

The Trip Home

On our very last day we got up early and did some speed shopping (most of the shops didn't have what we were looking for) and then we raced back to the hotel for our 11:05 AM ride to the airport. It took roughly an hour to get to the airport. We then got to check in our bags and go through security which seemed to be a little more lax than in the US. We then had a solid 2.5 hours to hang out before our flight. We spent the time shopping at all the shops and doing some reading. The flight home was quiet and uneventful and then we got to go through immigration after arriving back at SFO. Overall the process wasn't too bad, and it was good to be back home.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)