November 30, 2006

A Little Effort Helps

On Monday I had a soccer game with my Habana Cuba team. We played a team named Tobiko and beat them 12-6. This would have been a close game if the goalkeeper for the other team had put some effort into it. Let me explain. We scored 4 or 5 goals from or near the half marker, some 40 feet away. The goalkeeper was basically standing on the line, in the middle of the net, and when my team would fire a shot he wouldn't really move. Once we picked up on this we started taking pot shots from all over the field and a lot of them got in. If he had put some effort into getting into the proper position in case the ball is shot, communicating with his defense on who to cover, and actually move (or dive if necessary) to make a save, the game would have been much closer, and in my opinion much more entertaining. I was playing goalkeeper for my team, and while I let in 6 goals I was moving around, making an effort, and making saves. Most of the goals scored on me came from rebounds (either off of me or the wall) or one timer shots when the other team would make a pass to an open person. I think all goalkeepers have a bad day in net every now and then, but even when those bad days hit it is important to keep trying and forget about the last goal. The goalkeeper for Tobiko did none of that and even started arguing with his team. My favorite games to play in are really close games where the score is either tied or we are ahead or behind by one. That way I have to make big saves to either preserve the win, or keep us in the game.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2006

Zoom Zoom Clunk

Late last week Timber was seeing some problems with her Mazda Tribute. The overdrive light would flash on and off and the check engine light went on. In addition to these anomolies she noticed that the engine sounded different. Shortly after noticing these things she made an appointment at the dealership to get it checked out. On the day of her appointment she and I left the house at the same time. By the time I got to work there was a message for me and while I was checking the message (from her), I got a phone call on my office phone. It was her and her car was having problems. The problem was that the transmission wouldn't shift out of first gear. So she had to get off the highway and park it somewhere. I got some information from her and then coordinated a tow truck to go pick up her Tribby and take it to the dealer. Then I left work to go pick her up. Once the tow truck (big flat bed) got there, the driver picked up her Tribby and we led him to the dealership. We went inside, told them what was wrong and then went on our way while they checked it out. She got a phone call from them later telling her that she needed a refurbished transmission and it was going to cost A LOT. Being a Ford owner, I know a little bit about transmission repairs and the fact that they can be expensive. And you have to assume that the dealership is going to charge you an arm and a leg for the work. So we decided to call around, 17 places to be exact, to find out what other shops charged for the same sort of work. We basically had two options, either have them rebuild the transmission themselves or get a factory refurbished transmission and have them put it in. And that's where we are now. The decision is ultimately up to Timber, and we have whittled it down to three places, and while it won't cost as much as the dealership it will still cost a lot. And you also have to factor in the guarantee on their work and whether or not they sound like a bunch of clowns when you talk to them about the car problems. But it got me wondering how difficult it is to be a mechanic or run a mechanic shop in the Bay Area. Obviously there is a lot of competition. At any rate we will see how things work out.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2006

A Timber Kind Of Day

Today was a Timber kind of day. It started out by us going up to San Francisco and checking out the Farmer's Market at the ferry building. While we were there we picked up some really good looking apples along with some pumpkin & cheddar tamales and tortillas. Then we walked around inside the Ferry Building. It was kind of a mall inside, but it was our kind of mall. It was filled with bakeries and specialty food stores. :-) After that we went over to the International Car Show at the Moscone Center. We got to see the Tesla (electric car with awesome acceleration), We looked at lots of different cars before going back to pick up my truck (did I mention I only had to pay $7 for parking?). After that it was off to Little Star Pizza. For dinner we had caprese salad, Chicago style pizza, and split a piece of cheesecake. All of it was excellent.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2006

Go See This Tree NOW

This is the third year that Timber and I have gone to pay homage to the best Christmas Tree in the whole world. You may ask "Why is it the best?" My answer is quite simply that there is no fan fare, there is no ice rink to overlook or other famous spot. It is just some people that put lights, ornaments, and a giant tree topper on a giant pine tree in their front yard. This Christmas tree has to be 100 feet tall. It is so tall in fact that you can see it from highway 87 as you go south and get onto highway 85. And I'll tell you where it is. It is at the intersection of Devon Park Ct. and Chynoweth Avenue. You will not be dissapointed if you go check it out. Just make sure you go to see it before the lights go out every night at 10 PM.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Well today is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is a day to give thanks and be grateful for the good things in our lives. I'm thankful for my family, friends, Wookie, good health, and life in general. Today we went to Timber's parents' house and all the standard Thanksgiving fare. And as always I ate more than I mean to, but what are you going to do? I'll work it off eventually. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

Testing Testing

This is a test to see if the app I hooked into my blog can receive emails and post them directly to my blog.  Here goes...

Posted by troutm8 at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2006

Beer Battered Halibut

Over the weekend I made beer battered halibut. Even though it is easy to make I just don't cook it that often. I think I have some sort of phobia for deep frying things at home. I mean, what do you do with all the gease when you're done with it, put it in your Vespa? Overall it is really easy to make. All you need is a halibut filet (which you cut up into small chunks and take off any skin), the batter stuff (in a box), a can of beer (preferably something you don't want to drink), and some grease to fry it in. In this case the beer was a can of Coors Light. Thanks to Bob for supplying the beer that I didn't want to drink. You mix the dry batter mix and the beer, then you drop the chunks of halibut into it. Then you put the battered halibut into the hot grease and you come out with simply delicious beer battered halibut. We had it with garlic fries and salad. The next day we made up for it with an epic bike ride.

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

Prudhoe Bay

I talked to my brother yesterday. He's in Prudhoe Bay (lat 70.255254 Deg, lon -148.336991 Deg) right now for a project. I asked him how the weather was, and he told me that it warmed up to -10 F. It had been -47 F the previous day. I guess I won't complain about the rain in California. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

Cheap Eats Weekend

Over the weekend Timber and I ate out quite a bit, but all of it was cheap. I think the total cost of eating out for the two of us was $50. Here's the breakdown:
Friday Night -> Good Persian food at some place near Xilinx (can't find it on Yelp or in other places). We had beryani, kubideh, and chicken kabobs along with saffron rice. The food ware pretty good and pretty cheap.
Saturday -> Lunch at Andele in Los Gatos (not very good but pretty cheap) and pumpkin creme brule (very good and $5) from Icing on the Cake.
Sunday -> Early dinnner at Pizza My heart ($8).
The stars of the weekend were the Persian food and the pumpkin creme brule, but it just goes to show that you can get good food in the Bay Area and you don't necessarily have to pay a lot for it.

Posted by troutm8 at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

Java Opened Up

Earlier this week I heard about Java being open sourced by Sun. I think it is interesting, but I doubt I will actually go and check out the source code. I may eventually do that, but I seriously doubt I would ever go and actually try to commit a change to it. But I digress. I wonder how many people will actually go out and contribute? Only a handful is my guess. Business-wise what does this mean? I'm not sure, I doubt it will help Sun and it may hurt IBM a little bit, but I don't think there will be any changes. So why do it? Good question, I don't know but I like Steve's analysis.

Posted by troutm8 at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)


Like many other Americans I went to watch "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" this weekend. While I have to say that there are several funny parts of the move, like when his chicken gets loose on the subway or when children come running to his ice cream truck only to see a black bear reach its head out and roar at them, it is a pretty lame movie overall. There were plenty of disgusting parts and plenty of jokes that just weren't that funny. My recommendation is that if you really want to watch this movie you should wait to get it on Netflix and not pay full price ($10.25 around here) for it. Yeah, and $10.25 per person to watch a movie? That's just ridiculous. That has got to be a major reason why people are buying huge TVs nowadays, you only have to skip out on 100 movies (if you have a date :-) ) to pay for the TV. And considering the cost of other things like soda, popcorn, etc... you only have to skip out on about 60 movies to pay for the big TV. So net net skip Borat and buy a big TV instead.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Started Tutoring Again

Yesterday I started tutoring again after a brief hiatus. I didn't start tutoring right when the semester started due to my vacation (Alaska, Mexico, Brother's Visit), but now that all my vacation is done for the year I can get back to tutoring a student every week at Oak Grove High School. This time I am working with a student on Algebra I. Right now we are doing y-intercept equations (y = mx + b). As always with math they give them tons of problems to do for homework and hammer the concepts into the students by having them solve, graph, and make tables of values from every concievable angle. But I do have to say that the textbook, which is specific for California, is very well done. I think they have improved the textbooks somewhat from when I was a kid. At any rate I think it is good to expose the kids to tutors from different backgrounds because it gives them a chance to see how math can be applied to different fields and why it is important for them to learn it. And you never know, you may be able to convince them that math is fun.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2006

Man Vs Wild

Tonight I got to watch my first episode of Man Vs Wild, a show about surviving in the wilderness with just the clothes on your back and maybe a knife. Living in Silicon Valley, I'm faced with these situations all the time. :-) The host of the show is a British ex-special forces guy, and in the first episode he is dropped off in the Moab desert and has to find his way back to civilization. My critique is that the guy may know what he is doing (he obviously survived) but he is recommending people do things that only special forces or expert rock climbers could do. He recklessly goes into slot canyons climbing on and around every boulder he comes across and then when he is swimming through the water and gets to a bunch of trees jammed up that he can't get around he decides to go under it and nearly drowns. Then he reaches a dead end, and instead of turning back he climbs up putting one leg on each wall for about 50 feet until he gets out of the canyon. The real kicker is when he is walking around in the desert (in the mid day sun) he decides to urinate on his t-shirt and put it on his head to keep him cooler. I'm not joking. The guy is whack job. First, you're not supposed to be running around in the mid day sun, and secondly, you're not supposed to be taking a lot of chances doing stupid stuff like jumping around on boulders stuck in slot canyons and tracking down rattlesnakes so you can kill and eat them. I can't wait to see what this guy does if he goes to Alaska. A much better show is Les Stroud's Survivorman because his advice is much more reasonable and is less likely to get people killed if they try to follow it.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

Baked Paprika-Parmesan Chicken

I ran across this recipe and decided to give it a try last week. It was pretty easy to make and tasted good (according to myself and Timber). The only drawback that I can think of is that it took an hour and 15 minutes to cook. Other than that I would recommend trying this dish. If you go to the link you will see that Yahoo! came out with a food section. I haven't had much time to look around at the recipes and goodies here, but overall I think they have done a nice job with the site. What would be really cool, and I doubt they will do this, would be being able to enter what materials I have, and the quantity, and get recipe recommendations based on my preferences (vegetarian, can't eat peanuts, can't have milk products, don't like fish, etc...). Perhaps I'll have to find that application elsewhere or just write it myself.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2006

Skin And Bones

Earlier this week I got the latest Foo Fighers album "Skin and Bones", which is an etirely accoustical album with some of their more popular songs (Everlong, My Hero, Times Like These) along with a few new ones. If you like the Foo Fighters already then it is a no brainer to pick up this album. I liked it from the first time I played it, but the more I play it the more I like it. If you dislike the Foo Fighters then I doubt this album will make a fan out of you. Your loss.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Farewell Forrest

On Wednesday evening Timber and I had dinner with Forrest, Jenny, Rong, and Kayden so that we could say farewell to Forrest before he leaves for 6 months in Indonesia. Hopefully Forrest will make it back in one piece and we'll see him in 6 months. Good luck Forrest!

Posted by troutm8 at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

That's News To Me

Here is an article stating that "High-income earners are being preferentially targeted by online "phishing" scams, research has shown." Wow, that's news to me and quite inciteful. How much money did that cost to find out? In other news, "Poor, illiterate people with no internet access are immune to phishing scams, research has shown". Just kidding about that last part. I wonder if we are going to fund other wasteful research such as:
Does the Easter Bunny exist?
What do boogers really taste like?
Who framed Roger Rabbit?
Does paying bills on time help improve your credit score?
Are speeders preferentially targeted for speeding tickets by the highway patrol?
Do hybrids really get better gas mileage?

Posted by troutm8 at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)


This past Tuesday we had elections all across the United States. I hope everyone went out and made their voice heard. I went out and voted (as always) and I saw that some of the stuff I voted for won, while other stuff lost. The important things to me were Prop 87 (I voted yes), and all the bonds that we had on the ballot for California. Interestingly enough, I heard that the supporters of Prop 87 (clinton, gore, wacked out celebrities, etc...) had spent roughly $50 M promoting it while those against it (oil companies, firefighters, etc...) spent roughly $100 M against it. On top of that my cynical side thinks that gas prices went down leading up to the election in an effort to keep us from being so mad that we would vote for Prop 87. In the end it lost 55 percent to 45 percent which means that roughly $150 M was spent to accomplish absolutely nothing. Think about it, that could be $150 M worth of school funding, 6000 Toyota Priuses (150M/25k = 6k), 25k Vespas (150M/6k = 25k), you get the idea, but instead it went to advertisers and celebrity parties. That is a shameful waste. On the bond measures I voted no on all of them because I didn't think it was a good idea to increase California's debt load to pay for roads and other important things. If they are important enough then we should either raise taxes (blasphemy, yes) or find a way to fund it in our current budget. Instead of raising taxes by $2 B to pay for something we are going to take out $2 B worth of bonds and then pay $4 B over the life of the bonds paying them back. How smart is that? Plus, we'll probably have to raise taxes later to pay off the bonds since the debt load has gone up significantly. But at least we didn't raise taxes right now... And on the national level the Dems took over the House and the Senate. Good for them. As a card carrying Republican I understand that this stuff goes in cycles and what doesn't kill us will make us stronger. And it is good to have fresh blood in the leadership every now and then. The biggest complaint I have about us having had the presidency and control of congress is that we didn't accomplish enough. We had the power to get substantive changes made (medicare, social security, immigration, terrorism, etc...) but we didn't and instead complained about the dems. We got what we deserved. We'll see how Dubya works with the Dems now that he can't get a rubber stamp on his agenda.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

Fetal Position

Last weekend I went with Timber to do some shopping in lots of different places. I'm not a very big fan of shopping itself, I generally like to just get in, get my stuff, and get out (unless I'm going to Fry's, REI, or the Sportsman's Wharehouse). I do understand that when she is shopping the process is different and I try my best to accomodate that. But sometimes I just can't take it anymore. One of those occurences happened this past weekend. After what felt like 8 hours of shopping (probably more like 45 minutes) I went over to her and told her that I was going over to the corner of the store and was going to get in the fetal position and wait for her to get me before leaving. It really cracked her up. So for all you guys out there, when you can't take shopping with your lady anymore, just let her know that you are going to get in the fetal position and maybe she'll finish up sooner.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

Damn You IKEA!

Last week I was putting together the EFFEKTIV storage unit for our home office and it finally happened. By IT, I mean I finally got a box from IKEA that had no instructions and only 3 screws. Throughout my years of buying and putting together IKEA furniture this has yet to happen, which is quite suprising to me. The process with IKEA furniture is that you get the flat box or boxes home, then you open it up, grab your bag of parts (screws, allen wrench, wood pegs, etc...) and your instructions, and then you set to work. Every time except for this one I've had everything needed, and when I was done putting the furniture together I had 0 parts left (which is always a good sign). This time, since I have no instructions and 3 screws I have to think carefully about what goes where, and try to determine what screws are needed. Then I have to go to IKEA and see if I can get them there, and if not hit OSH and find the screws that I need. If only I knew wood working (and had the space to do it) I could just say screw it and build my own furniture from scratch. Damn you IKEA!

Posted by troutm8 at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2006

Very Cool Device

This is a very cool and useful device for backpacking. I'm thinking about making one (might as well use my EE degree for something), but with a few modifications. I'll post a report when I make it.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2006

Kerry Video

Here is the John Kerry video that caused all the uproar. At least he finally apologized.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)