April 26, 2007

Sharks Versus Red Wings

The Sharks got past the Preds in 5 games but the series was closer than the overall tally showed. Luckily the Sharks are well rested and ready to start their series against the Detriot Red Wings tonight. Detroit should be a really good test for the Sharks since they are a deep and talented team and they also have home ice for the series. I also think Detroit will play smarter than the Preds by staying out of the penalty box. But I think the Sharks will power through in 7 games because they are bigger, faster, younger, and more balanced than the Red Wings. Some analysts think the Sharks will win the cup this year. I hope they do but I know the road will not be easy.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:28 PM

April 23, 2007

Happy Belated Earth Day

Well another Earth Day has come and gone and I've become more and more Californian as time has gone on. I didn't do anything big in the past year, but I did reinforce more environmentally friendly habits, and upon reflection I think I did some good. First here are my Earth Day posts from 2004, 2005, and 2006 so you can gain some perspective on my environmentalist evolution. When I compare my progress over the last year to previous years I think I made more of an impact by what I did NOT do as opposed to what I did do. Some examples of this are:

1. We (Timber and I) did NOT buy a McMansion and hence saved quite a bit of energy and carbon emissions. We still have our condo (which is vigorously guarded by Wookie). Our condo has two shared walls (energy savings) and windows only on one side (more energy savings). We also put in a smart thermostat (more energy savings) as well as a ceiling fan (yet more energy savings). We use the more energy efficient bulbs and do a great job of turning things off when they aren't being used. We rarely have to run our heater or air conditioner. Our condo association has a lot of extra money and I think it would be cool if they started putting solar panels on the tops of the condos.
2. We only went snowboarding once this season. This one was not by choice, but I'll count it anyway. We saved quite a bit of gas and emissions by not going to Tahoe much this winter.

Now for the things that we did do:

1. Drove my truck even less than last year. Since this was a mild winter I've been able to leave my truck at home more often and instead drive the Vespa to work and elsewhere. I've gone 3 to 4 weeks at times without having to fill up my truck. The Vespa is still running great, it gets great mileage and it easy to park. I don't think it does so well on emissions, at least not as well as you would expect, but I'm still too cheap to take it to a smog check place to see what its actual emissions are.
2. Started paying more attention to locally/organically grown foods. First, I'll prefer local over organic. It would be even better if I can buy locally grown organic foods, but I'll take it as it comes. I'm still not at the point where I can justify buying the ogranically grown bananas that look the same yet cost twice as much, but I'm sure I'll get there some day.
3. I've read up more on environmental issues and what individuals can do to help lessen our impact in the past year. An interesting blog on the subject is No Impact Man. An interesting book is Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century, make sure you check it out from the library instead of buying it. :-)

In Summary:
As always I don't think it would work to have people completely change their habits in one fail swoop. Instead I think constant change like the rising of the tide is the way to go. Try to do something each year, and try to get better and better each year. You'd be surprised at how fast you will see progress. In summary I think I'm ready to move beyond the basics (recycle, change light bulbs, turn off lights when not being used, etc...) and get more advanced. Here are some things that I'll try to do in the next year:
1. Grow more of my own food (easy to do since I grow none of it now).
2. Always bring my own bags to the grocery store. If I don't then I'll have to put 10 cents per bag into a fund and donate it to the Democrats. OK, just kidding about donating to the Democrats, I'd NEVER do that. Maybe I'll donate it to the Sierra Club or something.
3. Buy more local/organic foods.
4. Eat less meat.
5. Buy things used whenever possible.
6. Try to find cleaner energy to buy (not sure if this is possible where I live).

Posted by troutm8 at 04:44 PM

April 20, 2007

Fresh Local Strawberries Are Here

As I was leaving work yesterday I saw that the fruit stand (run by Spina Farms) at the intersection of Bailey and Santa Teresa is open. You can check out my Google Map of it here. I stopped in to see what they were selling. Yesterday was their first day open and the only thing they were selling were strawberries. I talked to the lady that runs it for a few minutes and she told me that the strawberries are from Gilroy and they are grown along the highway between Gilroy and Hollister. So I bought a flat (about 6 small green containers worth) for $10 and took them home. I had a few before walking Wookie and they were really good. They made the strawberries I got from Costco a couple of weeks ago seem like they weren't real. Now I have to find something to do with all these great strawberries. Anyone have any good recipes?

Posted by troutm8 at 09:46 AM

April 19, 2007

Sharks In Control

After yesterday's game (3-2 win) the Sharks now have a 3-1 series lead over the Nashville Predators. They won the game by mostly playing dump and grind hockey, not giving up many penalties, and most importantly Nabby standing on his head. The next game is in Nashville on Friday. Hopefully the Sharks can close them out but I have a feeling this series will still go 6 or 7 games. In other NHL news the Rangers swept Atlanta to be the first team to make it through to the second round. Other than that I haven't seen any real surprises.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:30 PM

April 18, 2007

What Are They Thinking?

Ok, read this article, and for item #2 please explain to me what the author was thinking. In case you're lazy like most of us I'll tell you what they say. The article is about four ways to make a bad job good. Item #2 advises the reader to "Decrease your commute time by moving closer to work.". Uh, excuse me? If I have a bad job, I can make it less crappy by moving closer to it? I can understand that if the title of the article is "Four Ways to Improve Your Commute" but really, what ever happened to the simple advice of "If you have a bad job, leave that job for a better one.". It is simple yet effective. Maybe I'm missing something or I'm too simple minded but that's what my advice would be.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:53 PM

April 17, 2007

Sea Otter Classic

On Saturday Timber and I woke up early and got ourselves to the Sea Otter Classic to do our volunteering. As it turned out the $30 was not cash but the wristband (which they never checked) to get us into all the events at the Sea Otter Classic. Our volunteer work consisted of working the cross country race course in two different spots to make sure the racers did not make wrong turns. Overall the trail was poorly marked and there were several spots where people were not sure where to go. That's where we came in. And I'm happy to report that we didn't lose any racers. :-) There were some really cool racers. There were tandem, full suspension mountain bikes which are totally awesome and there were single speed mountain bikes which are crazy. Toward the end of our shift it started to rain and even though we brought rain gear we started to get really wet. We had signed up for a 2.5 hour shift but it got to the 4 hour mark, was raining cats and dogs, no racers had come by in 30 minutes, and we both had to use the bathroom really badly when we decided to ditch our post, find a restroom, and get back to the main area. So that's what we did. Sorry. After we got back to the main area we checked out some of the booths and then got out of dodge since it will still raining quite a bit. We did manage to score some $20 bike jerseys from Voler at one of the booths. Other than that the event was fun but somewhat uneventful. I'm considering racing in the cross country beginners mountain bike race next year. The only thing that concerns me is that some of the last racers to go by had a look in their eyes that said "I just got my ass kicked by this course", so I'd like to check out the trails before I sign up.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:15 PM

April 16, 2007

New Release of OYE

In case you haven't heard already we released a new version of OYE today. You can go here to get it. Some of the new stuff includes:
Advanced Search
More Customization Options
Firefox 2 Support
Metadata query support (limited fields)
More Languages Supported (but still no Klingon)
Performance Improvements
Updated Lucene Index
Updated JVM
Lots of bug fixes...
If I told you how many bugs there are you and my employer would probably kill me. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 05:45 PM

April 13, 2007

Is It Really Volunteering?

Timber and I have been talking about going to the Sea Otter Classic for a few years and we finally decided that this was the year to go. So instead of just going we decided that we would go and volunteer. That would be a great way to attend and help out at the same time. So we contacted the volunteer coordinator and setup our volunteering adventure. We have to get there really early tomorrow morning to help get drinks and snacks ready at a feed station for one of the bike races. Oh, and they'll pay us $30 for 2.5 hours worth of work. Excuse me? I thought we were volunteering? You're telling me that I'm going get paid to help out? OK, since I wasn't expecting to be paid for the work I have to figure out something to do with the money. Should I buy a t-shirt, buy some food, put it in my retirement account, or just donate it? We'll see...

Posted by troutm8 at 01:39 PM

Don Imus Circus

The Don Imus circus reminded me of a song from the Broadway Musical Avenue Q titled "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist". You can check out the song lyrics here, and you can buy the song here.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:37 AM

April 12, 2007

The Playoffs Are Here

The NHL playoffs are here, and so is my playoff beard. The Sharks beat the Preds 5-4 in double OT yesterday. I'm watching as many games as I can even though the only series I care about is the Sharks/Preds. I may even end up going to one of the games with Timber's dad. The tickets cost a lot, so we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:51 PM

April 10, 2007

Dee Dee Dee

My brother first told me about Carlos Mencia a while ago but I finally ran across his show on Comedy Central not too long ago. Overall he is pretty funny, but I think his comedy is hit or miss. Some of the skits are really funny while others are just not funny at all. This embedded video clip is a good example of his work.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:42 PM

April 09, 2007

Off The Wall Sucks

Off The Wall Soccer sucks! If there was another better place to play indoor soccer I would jump ship in a heartbeat. Over the years Off The Wall Soccer has gotten more and more restrictive for no reason. When I ask the employees why they did the rule change they have no idea. It used to be that you would check in for your game on the field, and if you were running a little late you could put your jersey and shin gaurds on right before the game, and you could use your own ball for warmups. None of that is possible now. Now you have to check in at a station before the game. The station changes position every time I'm in there, so I have to look for it before I can check in. And now you have to wear your jersey, shin gaurds, shoes before they will check you in. You also can't use your own soccer balls for warmups. They give each team two soccer balls to warm up with. And now they've changed their website so that you have to login to be able to check your schedule. First, I have enough logins all over the place and don't see the need to have security around checking soccer game schedules. Second, they add no value. If they made it easy to find my team information once I logged in that might be enough for me to accept it. But no, you have to login and then hunt around for the information even though they list the teams you play on. They could also have email or sms reminders and other useful things, but they have none of it. I don't know who did their new system but it was not thought through very well and sucks.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:39 AM

April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. For Easter dinner we had my parents and Timber's parents over to our house. For dinner we made ham, tri tip, rice, salad, scalloped potatoes, lumpia, sangria, and tiramisu for dessert. Overall it turned out pretty well and I think everyone had a good time. My parents aren't in town for very long and I enjoyed getting to see them while they were here. I'll get to see them again on Wednesday evening.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:28 PM

April 06, 2007

Interesting Ruby Book

In case you are interested in learning Ruby in an entertaining way you should check out this online book. I have a project at work to finish and I figured a good way to learn Ruby was to use it for that project.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:50 AM

April 05, 2007

Cake Thief

I don't know how often this happens within other companies or even in other places at my company, but we have a food thief on the loose. My loss has been a couple of diet cokes that I put in the fridge, which is frustrating but not that big of a deal. I've talked to other people that have had their leftovers and other food items taken. But the heist yesterday really takes the cake, literally. Yesterday another group on my floor was having a small birthday party for a guy named Kapil. It was to be a surprise, and they put his cake in the conference room and then went around to gather everyone on their team. By the time they got back to the conference room their cake was gone. I still can't believe it. The cake said "Happy Birthday Kapil" on it, so it's not like someone else could mistake that birthday cake for their own. So now security has been notified and someone put a note on the fridge threatening to put laxitives in some food in case the food thief strikes again. All I can say is if the food thief continues and gets caught there is going to be a lynching. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 01:57 PM

My Maps

I read something about My Maps from Google today and think it is a pretty good idea. When Google released information on how to use their maps api last summer played around with it a little bit but didn't really spend enough time on it to make it useful. You can see my doodles here, here, here, here, and here. But now that they have the my maps interface over the api (which is something that I was too lazy to write for my own purposes) I think it makes Google Maps even more useful. Imagine a world full of bloggers that map their locations and routes, and then include maps along with their blog entries about going to the grocery store, then getting gas, and then going home. It will be fascinating. :-) But with the kidding aside I think it will be useful for people to record information about trips they make, give detailed instructions for others to follow, or just show their pictures on a map without having to use smugmug. So go out there and play around with it and have some fun. I certainly will.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:52 AM

April 04, 2007

Baseball is Back

The regular season has started and I'm looking forward to going to some Giants and A's games this season. I'm also probably going to hit some baseball games when I'm in other cities this season. Some of the teams I may go see on their home field include the Cubs, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Padres, Dodgers, Mariners, and Angels. We'll see if how many of those I'll be able to hit this season.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:40 PM

A Soccer First

I've been playing soccer for 20 years, and on Monday I had a soccer first. My team was up by one person the entire game and we still lost 8-6. Oh yeah, I also realized that my team was in first place and the team that beat us was in last place. I couldn't believe it. I've been on teams that were down one or two people the entire game and ended up winning or getting a draw, but I've never been on the other side of it like that. Overall I played badly and the rest of team played badly as well, and we left people open that should not have been open given that we were up a person. But I learned a few things from the loss. First, no one is going to give you anything. Even if you are up by a person the other team isn't going to let you win just for showing up. Secondly, regardless of the situation you have to work for whatever you get. In soccer you have to play smart by passing to the open person, playing solid defense, and taking plenty of shots. I think this was a wake up call for my team and I think we are going to respond by playing well in our next game.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:39 PM

Specialty Speeches

Yesterday I took another step toward getting my Toastmasters ATM-S certification by giving the first of 5 specialty speeches. The speech required me to speak "off the cuff" by preparing five speeches and then giving my evaluator the power to choose which speech I would give when it was time for me to speak. The five choices I gave my evaluator were:

search technology
global warming
war in Iraq
presidential politics

The way I prepared for the 5 speeches was to decide on a main theme for each area and then do one walk through on each speech. The goal was to specifically not spend too much time on the preparation or practice all five speeches multiple times. My evaluator chose for me to speak about sports. The theme that I chose for this speech was about how sports are important in the development of children because sports teach them teamwork, how to win, how to lose, how to adapt to situations, how to communicate, and lots of other important skills. I also talked about how it is detrimental to the development of children to setup schools that don't give grades and athletic competitions that don't have any winners or losers. The basic idea was that in the real world there are winners and losers every day. If kids never learn how to lose and how to respond to criticism they will get into the real world and then go crazy when they don't get a "gold star" for everything they do. They are then more likely to be the coworker to come back into the office after a bad review and shoot up the place. So if you are a parent keep this in mind before you try to shield your child from all the trials and tribulations in the world.

Posted by troutm8 at 04:39 PM

April 02, 2007


CMVC is a source code and defect tracking system that has been used by IBM for a long time. It is slowly being phased out but in true IBM tradition it will most likely stay alive in some form forever. I wish I could drive a stake through its heart. How intuitive is this? I opened a defect on a problem I found while testing an application. The developer put in his fix and then returned the defect so that I can test the bug fix. I tested the bug fix and found that it did not fix the problem. So I reject it which should send it back to the developer. But instead it closes the defect. Yeah, no wonder quality software is hard to come by. With this system if it isn't fixed with the first try the problem just magically goes away... So the next thing I have to do is open a brand new defect and then copy and paste all the information from the original defect into it. I'm getting really tired of this...

Posted by troutm8 at 02:32 PM

April 01, 2007

Santa Cruz Photo Trip

As I said in my previous entry Timber and I did a photo trip with Devin yesterday to Santa Cruz. It was a beautiful, warm day in Santa Cruz with clear skies. We started out on the boardwalk where we took photos of some of the rides, people, and junk food stands. After that we went over to wharf and saw some california sea sions, birds, and a couple of sea otters. Then we went over to Lighthouse Field State Beach for the sunset. After the sun went down we went to downtown to have dinner. Overall it was a fun trip. You can see the photos that I uploaded to smugmug here.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:42 PM

Birds of Santa Cruz

Timber and I did a photography trip to Santa Cruz yesterday with Devin, and while we were out and about looking for cool things to practice on we ran across a few birds that I thought were interesting. I've never really been into "birding", but I think I may become more interested in birds as the years go by. The two birds of note from yesterday were the Clark's Grebe and the American Black Oystercatcher. I won't bore you with the details of these birds because you can click on the links for them and read about them to your heart's content. What I will say is that I've never seen a Clark's Grebe in Santa Cruz before and that American Black Oystercatchers are really cool birds with a really cool call. So if you want to see these birds and lots of seagulls head down to Santa Cruz.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:20 PM