things i wrote in 2003


Phil Goldman, 39, a software engineer from Apple who co-founded WebTV, became a VP at Microsoft, and then started up Mailblocks died the day after Christmas. I had a few discussions with Phil about his Mailblocks service, a web-based e-mail system to block spam. It's based on a white-list concept, which I fully believe is the future of spam blocking (not new laws, as Congress believes). Phil's implementation of white-list and challenge-response blocking is really good, but I stopped using the service because the GUI wasn't quite what I needed, and they have some technical problems to resolve. Nonetheless, his product was a clear indication to me of where e-mail is headed, and prompted me to start using Hotmail for my e-mail hosting, since they use white-list spam blocking.
posted by Travis on 12/29/2003.

How it's supposed to work

Last night I had dinner with a group of people at the Delancey Street Restaurant on Embarcadero. The restaurant is run by the Delancey Street Foundation, which offers housing, vocational training and work opportunities for recovering substance abusers, ex-convicts and other people trying to get their lives back in order. The restuarant has drab decor, and the menu is quite a bit on the creative side (I had blackened meatloaf), and the wait staff is a bit on the rough side, but that's the whole point. This Foundation doesn't get a dime of taxpayer money. They are completely self sufficient, thanks to restaurant patrons. It was good to eat there, and see the wait staff making good of themselves. I highly recommend dining there, if not for the food, then for the cause. We need to support organizations that run good programs like that without taking public resources.
posted by Travis on 12/28/2003.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! It's really rainy here in San Jose. Not much like the snow I grew up with in Ohio. That reminds me of how my parents used to set up a humongous artificial tree in the corner of our living room in our house in Ohio. And until the year I discovered my dad dressing up as Santa Claus, each year Santa would make a noisy exit after depositing the presents under the tree. There's two gifts I remember better than any of the others: A white telescope, that I think I still have somewhere, and a modular toy that you can construct all sorts of thing out of (kind of like a cross between an erector set and legos). Happy Holidays!
posted by Travis on 12/25/2003.

Amazing Inventions

The person who invited antibiotics should get the Nobel Prize. Oh wait, he did. That stuff cleared up my strep throat in 12 hours flat.

Speaking of medicine, there is an article in today's Chron about how the U.S. government denied the state of Illinois permission to import drugs from Canada. Illinois would save millions by importing the drugs for less money than they cost here in the U.S. The feds denied the request, citing safety as the reason. The feds are worried that the viagra Illinois proposed to purchase from Canada for its medicare recipients might not be as safe as the viagra purchased in the U.S. The only difference between the two medicines, of course, is the price. There are no reports of Canadians suffering from inferior prescription medication ... because it's the same stuff. Canadians are just unwilling to be bilked by the drug companies as much as we here in the states are willing to. America is supposed to be the land of the free. A capitalizist marketplace, where the most efficient business model will win. Adam Smith wrote about the importance of a laissez faire government economic policy. Our current policies, filled with overregulation, subsidies for plowing under crops, and obstacles to an open marketplace, are anything but that. The irony is that many of these programs - particularly farm subsidies and obstacles to an open trading marketplace, were put in place and supported by the republicans, who are supposedly for "less government."
posted by Travis on 12/23/2003.

Current Spam Count

495 in a twenty-four hour period. Six months ago, the count was 180.
posted by Travis on 12/22/2003.

Who turned out the lights?

Last night's plans to see CATS at the Orpheum were nixed by the Great San Francisco Power Outage of 2003. I did, however, manage to see three things of interest: The fire department performing some sort of maneuver on McAllister Street. It appeared that a porch overhang caught on fire, and there was some sort of excitement about ten floors above. I also saw many many people failing to treat the blacked-out intersections as a four-way stop. I know it's frustrating to get stuck in traffic, but failing to navigate the intersections properly is just stupid and reckless, to other drivers, and especially pedestrians. And speaking of pedestrians, I saw a group of people j-walk in front of a hook-and-ladder truck (the long kind with the rear wheel driver in back) screaming down Market Street Code-3. That really ticked me off. Those firefighters have enough to worry about without worrying about people voluntarily walking out in front of their fire truck. Those fire trucks don't stop on a dime. As far as I'm concerned, if the pedestrians got hit, well, that's just Darwinism.
posted by Travis on 12/21/2003.

India: The Next Big Thing

One of my favorite clients when I worked at PwC was this little company in India that answered the phone when someone in America called customer service, or called Sprint to activate their cell phone, or responded to e-mails for the same companies. They speak perfect English, so callers rarely know that they are talking to someone half-a-world away, getting paid pennies on the dollar for what people in America used to do. Now I read in the Chronicle that hospitals send their transcriptions to India, and CPA firms send tax returns to India for processing. Even one of the Big-4 firms uses an outsourcing company in India to do analysis that used to be done by economists here. Large Fortune 150 tech companies are considering outsourcing software engineering to Indian programmers. And India is not slow to realize this growing trend. In the last decade, they have worked hard to quietly beef up their infrastructure: Schools that teach how to speak perfect English and computer skills, and a telecommunications and corporate infrastructure to support the movement of data, calls, and house the people to do service sector work that is being outsourced. In the 1980's, it was the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to Mexico that got our attention. We were told not to worry: Our economy was turning from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. But in the coming years, it will be those service jobs: accountants, software engineers, customer support, transcribers, etc. who lose their jobs to people overseas willing to work for one-tenth of the salary here. This will happen, and it will have a profound effect on our economy. But no one seems concerned. No one seems concerned that we will lose so many jobs because we are no longer competitive. And what jobs will replace those that are lost? Even higher specialty jobs, like doctors and lawyers? We cannot train and retrain our service-sector employees for those high level jobs. What will fill that void?
posted by Travis on 12/19/2003.


The solution to spam is not going to be found in Congress, but in technology. Congress can pass every anti-spam law they want, but the spammers will continue to move off-shore, out of the reach of U.S. law. Six months ago, I was receiving over 200 spam e-mails a day. My inbox was clogged. I now receive zero spam e-mails a day in my inbox. The only e-mails in my inbox are from people I know, courtesy of whitelist software. My address book includes the e-mail addresses of everyone I know, and their e-mails pass through to my inbox. E-mails from people I don't know go to a bulk mail folder, which I sift once a day. And 90% of the spam I was getting (that would otherwise go to the bulk mail folder) is completely blocked by a spam filter - I never see it. This combination approach of a spam filter plus whitelist leaves my inbox clean.
posted by Travis on 12/17/2003.

RSS Now Enabled

I'm still working out some kinks, but I now have an RSS feed at this url:
posted by Travis on 12/16/2003.

Too good to pass up

I just LOVE when politicians are hypocricial! It makes me smile. Today, the late Sen. Strom Thurmond's family released a statement acknowledging that Strom, widely regarded as a racist and bigot who later saw the light of equality, was the father of a mixed-race woman. Turns out that back in 1925, when Strom was 22 and living at his parents home in South Carolina, he got the family's 16-year-old African-American maid pregnant. Okay ... so let's see ... he strongly supported segregation and "traditional family values" but fathered an illegitimate black child. And he committed (what is today) statutory rape. Classic!
posted by Travis on 12/15/2003.

You are excused

My first experience with jury duty ended exactly as I wanted it to: With a peremptory challenge. We made it through voir dire, and the defense attorney used one of his first challenges to get rid of me (presumably because I am an attorney). I wouldn't mind serving on a jury; I would actually enjoy it. But this week is a bad week, with the holidays next week. The case was fairly interesting though, and I wouldn't have minded sticking around: An older caucasian man, upper-middle class, accused of domestic violence. His wife, the prosecution's only witness other than a police officer, is a hostile witness and does not want charges pressed. But Santa Clara County has a firm policy that the district attorney presses charges regardless of the victim's wishes. Our judge was fantastic. Even though she had a cold, she used plenty of humor, and was very personable to the jury. She reminded me a lot of Cameron Manheim's character in The Practice. One nice thing about the Hall of Justice: Attorneys get to go to the front of the medal detector line. If only we had the same privilege at the airport.
posted by Travis on 12/15/2003.

Saddam Captured

I woke up this morning to the news that Saddam had been captured without violence. Two thoughts came to my mind: What does this mean for the military action in Iraq; and what do we do with him? For the former, I think it adds legitimacy to what we've been doing in Iraq this year, and achieves one of our major goals in Iraq. Hopefully that will move us closer to closure and an end point to the activity there. For the latter, if we thought O.J. was the trial of the 20th century, clearly this will be the trial of the 21st century, at least for the headlines. A trial on the order of Nuremburg. But in what forum will the trial take place? And what will the charges against him be? Those are probably the next decisions to be made.
posted by Travis on 12/14/2003.


I had dinner the other day with a friend of mine who moved here relatively recently from Japan. He was telling me about how he watched a lot of American movies to learn American customs. Somehow we started talking about Christmas trees, and I realized what a strange custom that must seem like. Chopping down a perfectly good tree, strapping it to the roof of your car, driving it home on the freeway, setting it up in your living room, adorning it with lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Impaling an angel on top, and putting gifts under it, while the tree slowly dies and sheds its needles all over the place. Oh, and if you don't want to go to the trouble, you can buy a fake one. So yesterday I went to the Kiwanis Christmas Tree Lot on Union Ave and picked out a 3' tree (it's as wide as it is tall), stuck it in the back seat of my car (there are needles everywhere), and decorated it at home. The custom lives on.
posted by Travis on 12/11/2003.


Used to be that my monthly volunteering with Lawyer's In The Library was just one client after another with housing or consumer issues. The issues were rather dull, and not very complex. But for the last six months, there has been at least one client per session with a really interesting issue. Two months ago it was the woman being sued by her eleven year old son (he came along too). This month it was a tie between a very nice guy who had the misfortune of being caught trafficking twenty-seven kilos of marijuana into the country (five years in federal prison), and a very concerned mother with her high school age daughter who had been caught shoplifting at Macy's. For the latter, I explained the possible outcomes, and flagged for her when she needs to hire a criminal lawyer. The daughter brought along her doodle pad, and doodled while her mom and I discussed her crimes.
posted by Travis on 12/8/2003.


I've done a slight redesign of the website. The rambling blog is gone - there were issues, and I couldn't fix them, so it's replaced by this more focused section.
posted by Travis on 12/7/2003.


I lost my Palm organizer in Dallas. Either at the hotel, or in the taxi. It's three years old though, and probably time to upgrade to something more functional. I sync daily, so no data was lost. The replacement options are confusing.
I wouldn't mind a PDA-phone, but that requires me to upgrade to GSM, which sucks in the bay area on AT&T. So my nest best alternative will be a WAP enabled PDA.
posted by Travis on 12/6/2003.

School Officials Stick Foot In Mouth

Supervisor James Easton, a school superintendent in Louisiana, should be the one to "cep his mouf shut". He should at least try to get his story right before going on national television and acting like a fool.
posted by Travis on 12/6/2003.


I used a t-mobile WiFi WAP at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport yesterday. $6.95 for daily access. It was fast, easy to purchase and use, and very convenient. If only the airports had more power outlets available for laptop users.
posted by Travis on 12/6/2003.


My friend got the call tonight. His dad died. I'm sorry, John.
posted by Travis on 12/5/2003.


Got on an earlier flight home. So happy to be out of Dallas. The training was just getting very dry. Although today's Italian lunch was delicious.

Notes to self: I keep wondering if one of my fellow employees knew why I wasn't more friendly to her at the Hoffbrau, and how she interpreted that. And the slurper who sat next to me in class... I had no idea you could make that much noise drinking coffee.
posted by Travis on 12/5/2003.

Thurs night

Today's vocabularly phrases: "Trap for the unweary." "Circle back." "Planning strategies."

Speaking of which, the IRS is meeting here in the same hotel/conference facility as our KPMG training. Seems like if we all just got in one big room and hashed things out, we could save everyone a lot of time.

A huge pile of candy bars got deposited on the snack table outside my training room. Hundreds of them. Burp.
posted by Travis on 12/4/2003.

Classes, Day 2

Back to classes today. Our instructors delayed the start until 9, so I was able to sleep in a bit, and go to the hotel gym before class. Lunch was horrid - they tried to do Chiense food, and it's just nasty. Leftover scrambled eggs in the "fried" rice, and a chicken and beef dish that shouldn't have been served. The fortune cookie was good though.
posted by Travis on 12/4/2003.

$20 sandwich

Last night's dinner was a $22 hamburger, courtesy of room service. Tonight's dinner was a $20 BBQ chicken sandwich, courtesy of room service. The potato chips were made even more delicious - I may even say irresistable - by dipping them in the BBQ sauce. These Texans sure do know how to cook. And when in doubt, they smother it in BBQ sauce.
posted by Travis on 12/3/2003.

Dallas, cont.

Classes. From 8am to 8pm. Zzzz.
posted by Travis on 12/3/2003.


I saw the Greek version of The Nutty Professor & Family at 24 Hour yesterday. The four of them collectively needed to lose about 600 pounds (4x150). I hope they stick with their new exercise regimine.

John's dad is near death, from cancer. I've seen that first hand twice. I'm not sure if a slow death is better or worse than a fast one. I think it's good to be able to say goodbye though.

Flying to Dallas. I parked at the Park-n-Ride lot for $5.95 a day. They run a good business there. The owner drives the shuttle bus. Lady next to me on the shuttle was as wide as she was tall.

KPMG training is so much different from PWC training. PWC sent out detailed instructions about the trip and had a limo for me at the airport. KPMG didn't even tell me how to get from DFW to the hotel. I had to hunt down a shuttle bus. I saw more churches and car dealerships between DFW and downtown Dallas than anywhere before. But the hotel is pretty nice, my roommate doesn't seem like the type who snores horribly (I had a bad snorer for a roommate a few years ago in New Jersey), and the hotel has a nice pool and gym facility.

I walked over to the book depository area about a mile from the hotel. I had some trouble finding exactly where the grassy knoll was, but I found it. Like my mom said, it's quite a bit smaller in person than one imagines. But it was very easy to picture exactly where everything happened. It was pretty weird.
posted by Travis on 12/2/2003.

Radio Silence

I'm off to Dallas for work for a few days. Talk amongst yourselves.
posted by Travis on 12/2/2003.


Cincinnati police were attempting to arrest Nathaniel Jones, 41, a 400 pound African-American man, who was acting in a disorderly way and under the influence of cocaine and PCP at 5am Sunday at a fast food restaurant. The arrest took seven minutes, and required the assistance of six police officers. Nathaniel died after the arrest, for reasons that haven't yet been determined. The Cincinnati police have a long history of difficulty dealing with the city's minority population, but this is one incident that I don't see a problem with. I've seen the seven minute tape of the arrest, and I don't see how the police could have acted any differently. Nathaniel refused to comply with the police orders, and when that happened, the police properly used force to effect the arrest. Nathaniel became compative, which prompted the police to increase the amount of force they were using. At one point, Nathaniel backflipped two officers onto the pavement, and another officer used pepperspray to subdue him. It's too bad Nathaniel died, and of course we don't yet know what he died of, but he could have avoided dying if he had simply put his hands behind his back like the officers asked for. Even if the arrest was unlawful or improper, that is not a legally justifiable reason to use force in self defense.

In unrelated crime news, a tech company in SF got robbed last weekend. They tried to get money out of the vending machine. But the vending machine only dispenses free food. No money inside.
posted by Travis on 12/1/2003.


Roy Disney was forced out of the Board of Disney this weekend, removing the last Disney family member from the company. That just seems wrong.

As I type this, the news is reporting that Pioneer High School in San Jose is in the midst of a five-alarm fire. That on the heels of a San Jose elementary school being demolished by fire just two weeks ago. Both are in the SJUSD.
posted by Travis on 11/30/2003.

Christmas is here

This morning I put up the Christmas decorations. Lights, wreaths, stuffed Christmas bears, and all sorts of other stuff. No tree yet though. My townhouse complex put the outdoor lights up last week, and they're looking nice, as always. Then I helped mom install a kitchen light. It looks really nice.

A couple of strange coincidences had me running into Whitney Q. last night right here in my little village of Campbell. Oddly, I saw her in SF on Friday evening, but didn't stop her to say hi, because that would have been weird. And it wasn't until today that I made the connection between her and an article about her in the Campbell Reporter a few years ago that I remember reading.
posted by Travis on 11/30/2003.

Food... hmmm good.

After swimming Erick and I headed over to a Singaporian-Malaysian restaurant near USF for a late lunch. Pretty good food. USF has a very nice campus - I didn't realize it was so nice. USF was one of my law school backup choices. Friday dinner was at Catch on Market Street - took around 2 hours to eat because the service was quite liesurely, but we were under a heater, and the atmosphere of the restaurant couldn't have been more pleasant, so it was a great dinner. Saturday lunch at Max's - didn't realize the Bistro Salad came in two sizes.
posted by Travis on 11/30/2003.

Economic Reports

So far the economic reports from the Thanksgiving shopping spree are positive - record breaking, in fact. That's a great sign. That and the fact that the previously empty AOL/Netscape office building next to my building in Mountain View is now occupied.
posted by Travis on 11/29/2003.


I haven't swam (swum?) in an Olympic-sized swimming pool since two summers ago when Tim, Curt, Greg and I had our swim-a-thon at the Santa Clara Rec Center (followed by a massive indulgence at Cold Stone Creamery). Today I shelled out $15 to swim at the USF Koret Recreational Center's Olympic-sized pool, and it was very nice. Expensive, but worth it to swim in that size of a pool now and then. It was also very clean.
posted by Travis on 11/28/2003.


Thanksgiving dinner with five friends in San Francisco. Traditional turkey, and all the fixings. I'm still stuffed the next morning. And I think I have a cold again. Hopefully it will go away during the day.
posted by Travis on 11/28/2003.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Work let out early yesterday - the managing partner left us all a voice mail telling us to go home at 4. I left at 2. Went to the gym for a bit, then met Lee for dinner at Vaso Azzurro in downtown Mountain View (not to be confused with Vaso Burro, which is something completely different). We both had very good chicken dishes. I had never been there before, so it was good to try a new restaurant. Pearl tea afterwords, and then I headed back to the gym to swim for a bit.

I picked up a carton of Cool Whip at Safeway for the pumpkin pie I'm bringing to Thanksgiving dinner today. The place was pretty packed, but the lines weren't outrageous. Channel 5 was pulling up in their remote van as I was walking out. I wish Safeway installed those self-checkout stands like Albertsons and Home Depot. I'm sure the Safeway checkers union is fighting hard against that.
posted by Travis on 11/27/2003.


When I was at the eye doctors the other day, an elderly woman and her semi-elderly daughter were talking about the Medicare reforms that were passed this week. They were convinced that any tinkering with the system would be a bad thing. They're probably right. I've heard that the AARP was lobbying heavily for the reforms, but not out of the interest of their members but
out of the interest of the funding they get from the drug companies. The next day, my mom told me about my grandmother's experience with Medicare, and how they covered all but a tiny portion of her recent $6k hospital stay. That's what the system should do.

On a related note, there was recently discussion in Congress about the legality of people buying prescription drugs from Canada, where it is cheaper. One congressperson made the comment that we need laws against these purchases, to protect U.S. citizens from "dangerous" Canadian drugs. These drugs are, of course, the same ones being sold in the U.S. Another Congressperson commented that there aren't very many Canadians dying from inferior prescription drugs, so obviously the dangers aren't that great.

Indeed ... why should we pay more for prescription drugs if we can get them cheaper by driving across the border (either Mexico or Canada), or buying through an on-line service that imports them from across the border. Aren't we a capitalist country?
posted by Travis on 11/26/2003.


Dinner with mom last night at Fresh Choice. We used to eat there a lot when we first moved to the Bay Area. We commented on how the offerings have gone down hill in the last fourteen years.

Lunch today with Andy, my former coworker from PwC. Lunch at Pasta?. We all thought he was joking on his resume when he put "stand-up comic." He wasn't, and provided us all with so many rolling-on-the-floor laughs that it made working there almost enjoyable. Almost.

After much thought yesterday about LASIK, I decided against it. My cornea isn't very thick, and Dr. Turner and his staff gave me indications that my thickness was on the border of being too thin to be able to use the best methods to achieve the best results. I don't want to risk problems, either now, or later in life if I need additional eye surgery for cataracts or something else, due to not having enough thickness remaining in my cornea. I've been wearing contacts for seventeen years... life will go on.
posted by Travis on 11/25/2003.


The building I work in sits on the site of one of the early Fairchild Semiconductor buildings. Unfortunately that means the land is a toxic waste nightmare, but it is kind of neat being so close to the origins of Silicon Valley. One of the founders of Fairchild was Eugene Kleiner, who later went on to be a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the VC fund that provided the money for many of the start-ups in this valley. Eugene died last Thursday at the age of 80. Most of the people who work for high tech companies in the valley owe their jobs, directly or indirectly, to the efforts of Eugene Kleiner.
posted by Travis on 11/25/2003.


I had my LASIK evaluation with Dr. Turner this morning. The appointment lasted about two hours, and they put all sorts of drops into my eye and poked it with ultrasonic tools. Bottom line: I qualify, but barely. My cornea is 506 somethings thick, and that's on the low end of the bell curve. That means they will use the ThinFlap process to carve off as thin of a flap of the cornea as possible, and they will use the knife, not the laser, to cut away the flap (the laser requires a thicker cornea). I verified with my health insurance that I can use my health care spending account for the procedure. It will cost either $3,125 or $4,125 - the higher cost if they can use a Wave-something machine to customize how many cells are taken off of which parts of the cornea, versus a same-thickness setting for the whole cornea. The more expensive custom thickness machine requires a thicker cornea, and a smaller correction - mine is borderline on the high side. They'll make the decision about which machine to use on the day of the operation.

So I'm scheduled to have this done on January 15. I need to read through the literature more and do my homework on the success rates before deciding for sure if I'm going through with it, but from what I saw today, as long as I can get over the idea of my eyeball being cut and lasered, it sounds like a good thing. Many of my friends have had this done, including a few who used Dr. Turner, and everyone has praised it.
posted by Travis on 11/24/2003.

Thanksgiving, round 1

Brunch with Frank, Patrick and Erick at a nice cafe off of Market Street. My eggs with bacon was good. Tonight was the annual SBQA thanksgiving dinner - about 50 people at Teddy's house. I think it was the best organized of the 6 or so that I've been to, but it was different this year. It wasn't the same, and I miss that.

Tomorrow is my LASIK evaluation, in San Leandro. I've had to go without contacts for 3 days, to let my eyes return to their "normal" shape. I didn't realize contact lenses distort the shape of the eye, but I guess they do. Tomorrow I'll find out if my cornea is thick enough for LASIK, and if I otherwise qualify. If I do, I can set aside the right amount of money in my health care spending account to cover the procedure for 2004.
posted by Travis on 11/23/2003.


Props to Jose and Sang, two friends of mine who passed the bar exam. Way to go!
posted by Travis on 11/23/2003.

Almost a holiday week

Lunch at Panda Express - good "orange-flavored chicken" and fried rice. Dinner at a Thai restaurant on Powell Street in SF - I had a very good flat noodle dish with ground beef and basil. Then we went to see You Should Be So Lucky at the NCTC. The show was good, although I had a lot of memories of the last show I saw there one of the actors was the same as the last show I saw there.
posted by Travis on 11/22/2003.

low pass rates

I've been told that the 49% pass rate (something like 64% for first-time takers) is accurate; it's from the CA bar website. Lowest pass rate since 1986. Thanks for the info, David, and congratulations!
posted by Travis on 11/22/2003.


It's cold. Really cold.

Today is the 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination. I can't imagine the president being killed ... what a shock it would be to the country, the economy, and the stability of the world.

Bar results came out last night. I have heard from several of my friends, but not all. So far everyone I've talked to who I personally know passed, despite an unconfirmed 49% pass rate.

I went swimming for a bit last night. The Monk was there, as usual.
posted by Travis on 11/22/2003.


Thank goodness it's Friday! And next week is a short week! It doesn't get much better than that.

My one-hour meeting in SF went well yesterday. I beat the commute in both directions. After the meeting I had dinner with a group of people at a French (?) bistro restaurant in SoMa. The food was fairly good - I had a salad, chicken breast, and chocolate mousse for dessert. Drove past Cirque de Soliel to drop off some of my dinner companions on my way to the freeway saw the familiar big tents in the SBC Park parking lot (that doesn't sound nearly as catchy as Pac Bell Park).

It's cold now. The heater turned on during the night last night. My garden is going nuts ... I haven't done much pruning, and probably won't until early spring. At least there are no more mice. :)

Tonight is the night the July bar exam results come out. Good luck to those of you who will find out your results tonight!
posted by Travis on 11/21/2003.


Doh, I have a cold. My first of the season. One of the few fringe benefits of my work is that our first aid kit is very well stocked with cold medicine. I guess that's so we can keep working even when we're sick. Okay, it doesn't sound as much like a fringe benefit any more.

Back up to San Francisco this afternoon for a client meeting.
posted by Travis on 11/20/2003.


Call me a victim of peer pressure ... all my friends are doing it ... so I'm jumping on the bandwagon too. I have an appointment with Dr. Turner next Monday for a LASIK evaluation. I'm in my company's open enrollment period, so if I qualify, I need to set aside the money in my FSA before the end of the month for next year. So many people I know have had it done, and have been very happy with the results.

In other news, it turns out that Michael Jackson has been trapped by a law put in place because of him! Back in '93 when he was first accused of molesting a minor, the minor refused to testify against Michael (despite a $25 million out of court settlement), and the legislature passed a law that allowed DA's to *force* minors claiming to have been molested to testify against the accused molester. This time around, the 12 year old victim will have to testify, whether he wants to or not, because the DA has said they will use that law to elicit testimony from the victim.
posted by Travis on 11/19/2003.

Great Crepe!

Lunch today outside Embarcadero 4 at the Crepe Cafe. I had the Hawaiian; Erick had the breakfast. Then a banana hazelnut chocolate spread crepe for dessert. Oooohhh. Oooph. That was so good.

I came up here today for a 7am meeting. Who has a meeting at 7am? What kind of nonsense is that?
posted by Travis on 11/19/2003.

Michael's imminent arrest

A few months ago - maybe even a year by now - one of the networks aired a British-made expose on Michael Jackson. I thought at the time that Michael came off like a child molester, but some people disagreed with me. Well, I guess we'll see ... sounds like he'll be arrested shortly on child molestation charges. Good luck settling out of court on this one Michael.

SF today for meetings. Nice weather - not too cold.
posted by Travis on 11/19/2003.


Aaaah, back at work after 3 days off on vacation. E-mails all over the place.

Don't ever use IKEA's delivery service. Better to rent a U-Haul. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Notes to self for things to include in my book, when I write get around to writing one: The monk at the swimming pool, and the pickle spider.
posted by Travis on 11/18/2003.

NYC Photos

A few pictures:

On the Brooklyn Bridge

No Standing next to the Freakatorium

John and Jon found a way to get a rapid divorce
posted by Travis on 11/17/2003.

NYC: Day 5

I woke up at 5:45 this morning and finished packing, and walked over to Penn Station. NJ Tranisit took me over to the Newark airport transfer, and the shuttle train took me into the airport, direct to Terminal A. My flights back to SJC were uneventful. Ugh, so much unpacking to do!
posted by Travis on 11/17/2003.

NYC: Day 4

Sunday morning brunch with Leland, JY, Adrian and John was at a French restaurant called the Flea Market.

After brunch, we walked around lower Manhattan, in an older area that had a lot of really interesting character. JY bought a nice jacket. We stopped at Yonah Shimmel for a knish. By the time we got back to JY's apartment, we were pretty tired, and rested for a bit before heading out to dinner. Jonathan remembered a great Japanese sushi place near Times Square, Hakata, so after buying a souvenier, we headed over to the restaurant and met Adrian for a very good dinner. After that, we headed over to the theatre for Avenue Q. The show was great, and our seats had a very good view, despite being in row N. After the show, John took me over to an old church that had been renovated, and that was very interesting.
posted by Travis on 11/16/2003.

NYC: Day 3

NYC cable has "TV on demand." So I was able to bring up a recent episode of Sex In The City while eating my ham and egg on a roll from the deli around the corner. The cable system here is so far advanced compared to San Jose. What is wrong with us? I can't even get broadband internet where I live, in Campbell, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Our local government has done a very crappy job of negotiating and advocating for necessary advancements in our infrastructure.

I had lunch with my cousin Brian at ___ near where he lives in the upper west side. The chicken sandwich was delicious, but I couldn't eat all of it. I haven't seen Brian in around 10 years or so. He is a producer for the NYC NPR station, and does freelance writing for newspapers in the subject of classical music. After lunch, I came back down to midtown and met up with Jonathan and his friends John and Patrick. We went shopping in lower Manhattan - my first trip to a Prada store. It was quite a culture shock. We stopped for hot coco at The Factory Cafe, and stopped by the Mayflower (?) bakery to get some cupcakes for dessert tonight. After shopping, we took the subway up to Adrian's condo in the upper west side. What a spread. John entertained us with piano music, and we had a very nice roasted chicken dinner ala Adrian, and delicious desserts. Their friends Tom and Robert stopped by as well, and we finished the evening with a spontaneous ABBA performance courtesy of Robert and John.
posted by Travis on 11/15/2003.

NYC: Day 2

Hello from Times Square!

I got up bright and early this morning, considering the time change, and took the subway from Penn Station down to the WTC site. I grabbed my favorite NYC breakfast - ham and eggs on a bun - at a deli near the WTC site that looked like it was run by the Sopranos. Everyone was yelling in Italian, construction workers everywhere, and me, ordering my ham and egg and on a bun. I walked around the WTC block, took some pictures, and observed the reconstruction. It was interesting, and I'm glad I saw it. I bought a new pair of shoes at 21st Century shopping plaza, and then walked down Wall Street and through the fish market area, in search of the Brooklyn Bridge. I found the bridge and the on-ramp, and walked across the bridge to Brooklyn. Then I took the subway from Brooklyn up to the west side of Central Park, walked through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then took a bus over to Gracie Mansion. That was a waste; nothing to see there. Bus back down to 57th street and walked to Times Square in search of some souveniers that I couldn't find. I did find some yummy honey roasted peanuts from a street vendor. Subway to Penn Station, and walked home to JY's to rest.

A few hours later, Jonathan took me to H&M - a European version of Old Navy. He picked out a nice hat and sweater, and I got a long-sleeve shirt. Their men's department was not very big, and clothes were everywhere without a whole lot of logic. They were cheap though. After shopping, we went to Koreatown to meet Adrian and Leland for Korean dumplings. They were delicious. We got a variety of dumplings - pork, kimchee, seafood, vegetables, and had a shrimp and scallion pizza thing for an appetizer. We had a lengthy and very insightful discussion about the Matrix. Bill came to $16/person, which everyone said is a bargain for Manhattan. After dinner, we walked downtown and went by an outdoor filming of Sex In The City. What a production! Search lights everywhere, equipment everywhere, extras everywhere. Didn't stick around long enough for any of the main characters. Then it was on to XL in Chelsea, where Jonathan and Adrian said the only proper drink for me to drink was a Manhattan, given my location. It took me no less than an hour to drink that. In SF, such a place would also be a dance club, but here to operate a dance club they need a special permit that is more difficult to get than a liquor license, so traditional bars are more plentiful than on the west coast. After XL we went to a place called SBNY for a short bit, and then back home.

I don't think I could live here - it's very cold, and Leland said that these temperatures (40's) are nothing compared to the real winter. I lived in those temperatures for 13 years in Ohio ... gak. It's also very noisy.

I checked my e-mail and found a message from Amy R. I went to elementary school with Amy! We lost touch for many years, but she tracked me down on Yahoo. Amy was the smartest kid in school, and she had a great personality too. So it wasn't a surprise to learn that she's a doctor. :) Way to go Amy!
posted by Travis on 11/14/2003.

NYC: Day 1

Parked in off-airport long-term-parking for $6 a day - not bad! Cheaper than a taxi. Flew to Denver on UAL; flight delayed two hours from Denver to Newark due to winds in Newark. Plane finally left. All-time scariest landing due to high winds - my plane was being thrown about like a toy. Captain deadheading next to me said everything was fine, so I stopped digging my nails into the arm of the chair. Took the NJ AirLink train from Newark to the RailLink station, and then the NJ train from RailLink to Penn Station. $12, and easy to do. Walked two blocks from Penn Station to JY's place, where he and Adrian were just sitting down to a delicious dinner.
posted by Travis on 11/14/2003.

Radio Silence

I'm off to NYC for a few days.
posted by Travis on 11/12/2003.

Hilarious eBay Feedback

posted by Travis on 11/11/2003.

It Came In The Mail

Today was a normal Monday, apart from a bad traffic backup on Highway 85 southbound. My normal fifteen minute route to the gym turned into a fourty-minute slow-and-go. The backup was so bad that I changed into my workout clothes in the car as I plodded forward at 10 miles per hour past Saratoga Avenue.

After the gym, I picked up the mail on the way down the driveway. I could tell something was different as soon as I pulled the mail out of the mailbox. The pile of mail was heavier than normal. An oddity, although that couldn't have foretold the horror that I would discover just minutes later in that very same pile.

I parked in the garage and lugged all of my stuff into the house. That was when I started to sort the mail. It was the third piece in the pile. I let out a scream that even scared my pet parrot Lacie. "Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara" was printed on the envelope. I knew right away what it was. I started to panic as I pulled out the contents. "JUROR SUMMONS" was printed in big red letters across the top of the letter.

There was no mistake about it. By order of the Superior Court of California, my service was required to serve as a prospective juror, from December 15 to December 19.

I walked in a daze upstairs. I started pondering what I could do to get out of jury duty. Not return the information form? Pretend I never got the letter?

I looked up at one of the three big certificates on my wall, and I read the words: "Supreme Court of the State of California. By order of this court, Travis A. Wise was admitted as an Attorney and Counselor at Law." No, I thought, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to try to get out of jury duty. I should do my duty and uphold the oath I took three years ago.

But wait, there was a line on the information form asking for my occupation. There will be no mistake about what I will write there. ATTORNEY. No lawyer in their right mind would want me on a jury. I spent an entire year trying in vain to learn the Rule Against Perpetuities, and goddamn it, if I'm ever on a jury, I'm sure as hell going to try to use the Rule Against Perpetuities.

Even if it's a criminal law case.

(for those of you who aren't lawyers, this is when you laugh)
posted by Travis on 11/10/2003.

Packed and ready to go

I'm going to be in Concord on Tuesday (yes, back to my favorite client!), and SF on Wednesday. My gas reimbursement is close to paying for my car insurance as well as fuel. I had to pack last night for NYC on Thursday, since I'm gone so much this week. I've done a lot of the big tourist attractions already, so this trip is mainly to visit Jonathan and Adrian, lunch with my cousin Brian, see the WTC site, take some pictures of the skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge, and visit a few museums and Gracie Mansion. I found a long-term parking lot near SJC that will let me park there for about half the cost of the taxi rides I would normally take to/from the airport, so that's a good deal, and I won't have to hassle with a taxi.

I have Lawyers In The Library tonight. It's actually not in a library at the site I go to - it's at Fenwick & West's office in downtown Mtn View. I'm hoping for some interesting clients, like last month's client who was being sued by her 9 year old son.
posted by Travis on 11/10/2003.

Local Number Portability

Local number portability (LNP) becomes a reality on 11/24. This will let cellular phone customers transfer service to another provider but keep their cell phone number. It will also allow people to "cut the cord", and transfer their wireline phone number to a cell phone provider. AT&T Wireless' LNP info. Consumers are, of course, footing the bill. Most cell phone customers have been paying a monthly fee of about $1.00-$1.50 to fund LNP for several months, and there is no indication this charge will end anytime soon.
posted by Travis on 11/10/2003.

Controversial license law looks doomed

The law that allows people who break our immigration laws to get drivers licenses looks like it's headed for a dead end. Good. Sorry, but people who break the law shouldn't be granted privileges just because they are unwilling to abide by our laws.
posted by Travis on 11/10/2003.

Mass Transit Sunday

Breakfast at Tangerine. I had the Hawaiian omlet. It was okay, but too watery. Coke not refilled - boo. I did run into Jaysen though - I haven't seen him in months. I managed to get katsup on his nice white shirt too. Erick had the Thai omlet, and looked better. I called my old neighbor - Sharon - who now lives in PA, and talked to her for a bit - she loves Pennsylvania.

Oh, I forgot to review Scary Movie 3. Saw it last night at AMC Kabookie. It was okay, but not as good as 1 and 2. The entire movie seemed to just be a parody of two other movies, one of which was Signs. I had seen Signs, so I got the parody, but anyone who hasn't seen it will not understand much of SM3. Maybe the Scary Movie series has run its course.
posted by Travis on 11/9/2003.

Squid heads

Dinner at Juban last night in Japantown. I ate two squid heads. I've never had those before - just the rest of the squid. There was other good food too - beef, rice, tea, calamari (very good), and scallops. Erick cooked it at the table - good choice, given my lack of cooking skills. I'm getting pretty good at broiling chicken breasts though!
posted by Travis on 11/9/2003.

Dean First Democrat to Forgo Public Funds

Dean rejects taxpayer funds for his campaign. Way to go. The rest should follow his lead.
posted by Travis on 11/9/2003.

Yahoo Popup Blocker

Yahoo Companion has a new feature (beta): Pop-up blocker. It seems to work well, and allows a white-list of permissible pop-ups. Very nice. Very very nice.
posted by Travis on 11/8/2003.

Hacked in

At least eight wide open WiFi hot spots where I'm at ... I'm tapped into one. Free high speed internet. If I lived here, I would have free DSL, essentially. The one nice benefit of dense housing in a high tech area. There's no real danger to the owner of the open connection, at least not from people like me, and admittedly the manufacturers of the equipment do make turning on encryption somewhat cumbersome. I have it on at my house, but frankly, if I lived in a dense neighborhood, I might just turn it off and let people use the connection, in the spirit of sharing. Of course, my computer is normally off, so no one could possibly hack in even without a firewall. It's just the connection that is open. What amazes me though is how many people haven't changed the default password on their WiFi router. With that left unchanged, a malicious person could lock the owner right out of their own internet connection.
posted by Travis on 11/8/2003.

Rainy Saturday

After breakfast at Mel's Diner, I had coffee with Ed at Starbucks. That's not very noteworthy, except I don't drink coffee, and I don't go to Starbucks often. Actually, I had a peppermint hot chocolate, and that was very good. I'd have another in an instant. Then lunch with Jose at Fuzio's. We both had delicious pasta dishes. More hot coco on Market Street while Jose and I got caught up on lawyer talk. Bar results come out shortly. Of everyone I know, he has the least to worry about. It started raining like crazy in SF ... torrential downpour, by SF standards, which of course means most people's ability to drive rationally immediately goes out the window. People were doing wacky things with their cars. Back to Potrero gym with Erick ... my second time there - nice place, I like it, less crowded than Van Ness, and good equipment too.
posted by Travis on 11/8/2003.

Thai Dinner

Dinner tonight with Antonio at Amarin Thai on Castro Street. Honey Beef, and a spicy chicken dish. The honey beef came out 15 minutes after the chicken, and only after I pointed out that we were missing a dish .... they consistently have bad customer service there! Not happy.
posted by Travis on 11/7/2003.


Last night I was running late for a meeting. 85 south, from Mountain View to Union Ave. Not a pretty commute at 5:30pm. There's two or three areas where traffic just comes to a dead stop. So I hopped in the carpool lane. Got there in 25 minutes. I felt bad about it, but ... well ... I won't do it again. I've rarely seen cops patrolling the HOV lane, and never after sunset. I blame my manager for planting the idea in my mind. Sorry to all the people I skipped past.

Lunch today at Pasta? with Austin and his dad James. Austin suspects I like hanging out with the Chungs for the entertainment value. He's on to me after three years!
posted by Travis on 11/7/2003.

Vallejo Police Say Kidnapping Claim Was a Hoax

Not a surprise. It just sounded a little too fake - not enough details, and no one turned up missing. The boy's family should pay for all the police work that went into finding the "missing" girl. What a waste of resources. And now the next time a Vallejo kid does in fact get kidnapped, we'll be more skeptical.
posted by Travis on 11/7/2003.

West Wing

Good West Wing last night. I enjoyed seeing Air Force One scenes again, although the ending shot of the plane in the clouds was a bit much. I thought they did an excellent job with Bartlett during the tornado disaster, although I would have liked to have seen him give the memorial speech -- it's been a while since he's given a really moving speech.

Lunch at the Veritas cafeteria with Antonio. Chow mein and black bean chicken. Pretty good, and no cafeteria near here beats Veritas. Their fountains are also really nice, although I think if I worked there, sooner or later I would probably fall into the one at ground level. Heck, I might even do that on purpose for the right price. There were a few military planes flying around - one big transport, and a few helicopters.
posted by Travis on 11/6/2003.

Half way to the weekend

Most of my clients are in the east bay. But I don't like the east bay, other than Berkeley. South Bay or San Francisco. I'm back in Concord today. Don't ever let anyone suggest that Concord isn't the happening place.

I had a seven layer cookie for dessert last night at Max's with Erick. But that wasn't good enough. They put marshmallow creme, hot fudge, and vanilla ice cream on top. The ice cream wasn't that good on a stand-alone basis (cough), but the whole thing balliwacked together was rather amazing.

The peanut butter that came with my english muffin ($1.05 for a scoop of eggs and an english muffin) this morning is Smuckers. On the package, it says "made in Orrville, Ohio." Colleen and I stopped by the Smucker's outlet store and factory in Orrville a few years ago on our way to my grandparents. I didn't get to see the factory, but the store was quite impressive - Smuckers doesn't just make strawberry jam and peanut butter. They make darn near everything you could ever think to spread on a piece of bread.

Last night I had my FM stereo thingy on (the adapter that turns my cell phone into an FM radio) and I got to use the hands free headset feature, when Antonio called. It worked pretty well - I was impressed. I just wish the ring came through into the headset speakers. My Nokia did that, and I'm not sure why Motorola doesn't patch the ring circuit through to the headset.
posted by Travis on 11/5/2003.


Recruiting lunch was at Don Giovanni. We started with bruschetta and lightly-fried calamari, both of which were very good. The bruschetta was not overly toasted, and the calamari was not too fried. I had the chicken parmesan, which had a bit too much cheese on top, but I was able to scrape some off just fine. The selection of potatoes on the side left something to be desired, but the chicken was large enough to fill me up. Chocolate gelato for dessert, which was very creamy and delicious. Nice atmosphere with brightly painted walls. Staff is very attentive and provided refills quickly.
posted by Travis on 11/4/2003.

Happy Birthday

Yesterday Lacie turned two years old. It didn't seem to phase her, although she did look poofier than normal.
posted by Travis on 11/4/2003.


My eighth grade economics teacher, Mr. Lundgren, taught us the word Tanstaafl. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Mr. Lundgren was a great teacher, but he probably didn't do many corporate recruiting lunches. It was one of the best perks of working at PwC. During recruiting season, I often went on one or two lunches and/or dinners a week. My officemate Jackie and I had our list of favorite restaurants (all of them five-star), and we knew exactly what we were going to order at those restaurants. We had a lot of fun doing that, and we worked well as a team, helping to sell our company to the recruits. Of course, not much selling was required - PwC sold itself in Silicon Valley. Now that I'm here at KPMG, we don't do quite as much recruiting, because it's a smaller office, but every few months I get to do a recruiting lunch. After yesterday's binging on leftover Halloween candy, I have to skip the dessert though. After I "graduated" from eighth grade, I saw Mr. Lundgren once or twice on the Los Gatos Creekside Trail. When I was in high school, I heard he died from cancer. Mr. Lundgren was a tough teacher, but I learned a lot from him. He was the closest thing to a college professor I had up until Mr. Granger's chemistry and biology class in high school, but that's another story.
posted by Travis on 11/4/2003.


It's good to learn something every day. Today's fact: Lnu. Last name unknown. Assigned by the Embassy. Very interesting.

There was so much junk food at work today it wasn't even funny.
posted by Travis on 11/3/2003.

Seven Deadly Sins

Most of the admins at work decided to bring in their leftover Halloween candy, so as I walk around, I can't help but pick up a snickers bar here and a twix bar there. This has to stop. Plus Hilary has these delicious brownies at her desk ... extra chocolate, extra nuts, extra butter. I'm going to die.

Got my FM radio headset for my cell phone today - works really well. I'm impressed. It's a bit bulky, but it works well, and that's worth it.
posted by Travis on 11/3/2003.

Squeaky update

The mouse is gone! After about 3 weeks, I opened up the furnace closet, and there are no signs of mouse activity since I installed the screens. Victory! I replaced the furnace filter and checked the gas burners in the furnace, and everything seems set for winter.

I got a new hands-free headset at Fry's yesterday for my cell phone. It's made by body glove. I'm quite happy with it - it has a boom mike, which I wasn't keen on at first, but it works really well. Makes up for the low volume on the phone itself.

Mopping has always been my chore, and I've never liked it - takes too long to prepare, and the mop usually didn't work very well. So it has been neglected. But no more! I bought a Clorox wet duster thingy for $15 at Safeway (less $5 coupon), and I am impressed. Mopping is not a chore any longer. I did have some trouble getting the bottle of detergent to work properly, but once I figured that out, it was great. It's safe on wood too, although I don't have any wood floors.
posted by Travis on 11/2/2003.

Slow Leaks

Ever since I got my first car 10 years ago, I've had trouble with slow leaks on my tires. Constantly! I don't know what I do that causes them, but sure enough, at least once a year, one of my tires can't hold the tire pressure. When I replaced my tires in July, I went to Just Tires on Winchester. Janet Amos is the manager/owner, and she's great. Janet is a short African-American woman who knows more about tires than anyone should ever know. In between customers, she stands in front of her store and smokes cigarettes. Then she has to coax her two tire-changers to empy out the ash bucket every night. She has a lot of character. Anyhow, when I bought my 4 new tires in July, I signed up for the extended warranty. I hate those things, but given my history with tires, it seemed like a good idea. Sure enough, yesterday I had a slow leak, and my tire was flat within 24 hours. So I took it over today, and they fixed it, no questions asked. I've referred other people to that Just Tires store, and they've had similarly good experiences.
posted by Travis on 11/1/2003.


After work yesterday, I checked into the Harbor Court Hotel, near Embarcadero. I got what had to have been the smallest hotel room in San Francisco. It had a double bed, because a queen-size bed couldn't have fit in the room. But for the price, it was just fine. Once I located the TV above the closet (the only closet I've ever seen with its own fire sprinkler), I turned on CNN and watched the incredible footage of the lawyer getting shot. I was mesmorized. Apart from the JFK assassination and Reagan shooting, it was the only time I can recall that I've seen someone actually getting shot on television. I was amazed how the shooter just calmly walked away from the scene, as if nothing had happened. I was also amazed that the bystanders (including the media) did so little to apprehend the guy. But thankfully the lawyer was not seriously hurt. I remember when I worked for a family law firm, we had some very threatening calls from the opposing parties. A few times we even locked the doors in fear. I don't know what kind of case the shooter had ... but I wouldn't be surprised if it was family law. Those clients take their cases the most personally.

After using the 24 Hr. Fitness on Folsom and 2nd (what an interesting gym), I changed into my Halloween costume, and went to dinner w/Erick and Fuzio (sp?). The table next to us had four SFPD officers, getting ready for Halloween duty. They were talking about the lawyer shooting.

We took MUNI over to the Church St. station, and spent about an hour walking around the big Castro party. It was packed, even at 10pm, and a lot of the costumes were unique, but frankly it wasn't all that. So we left. MUNI was packed, so we had to walk to BART.

This morning I had brunch with Patrick at Orphan Andy's. San Francisco has a lot of really good diners, and Patrick seems to know most of them! Good Denver omelet.

My leg continues to have a lot of trouble, particularly the LCL tendon. I'm having to wear a half-leg brace to stabilize it, but it still hurts tremendously going down stairs and inclines.
posted by Travis on 11/1/2003.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween. I drove up to Daly City BART, nervously parked my car, and BARTed in to SF. Checked to see if my friend Emery was driving the train, but he wasn't. There were a lot of strangely dressed people on the train. A few of them were even in costumes. Not many people in the SF office are in costume though.
posted by Travis on 10/31/2003.

No indictment for San Jose officer

Grand Jury (public, no less!) finds officer acted appropriately.

Lesson: When the police come knocking on your door, it's not a good idea to be holding a knife or anything that could possibly be used as a weapon. And if by chance you are holding a knife or other weapon when the police enter your house, it's best to drop it immediately. Holding the knife or weapon above your head will more likely than not result in bad things happening. This should be common sense to everyone, but I guess it isn't.
posted by Travis on 10/31/2003.

Halloween Toy Gun

Oh, I know. Let's take a fake weapon to one of the most guarded places in America, and see what happens. Maybe I'm just different, but it's obvious to me that it's a BAD IDEA to bring any sort of weapon - fake or real - to any place that is heavily secure. An airport. The White House. Congress. A courthouse. Come on people, use those brain cells!
posted by Travis on 10/30/2003.

This Is My Work...

posted by Travis on 10/30/2003.

On Target

I ran into Rick yesterday afternoon while I was running an errand. He looks like he's still very much enjoying his job as a youth counselor for a community organization. Rick announced to everyone within earshot that I rock. It was like an oral Friendster testimonial. Rick rocks too.

I went to Target to stock up on gum. I've been out of gum for quite a while. There was a whole aisle of bulk quantities of gum, all around $1.50. It was hard to decide. I had Anderson on the phone and he gave me his suggestion. In the end, I went with a few varieties of Trident, because the packaging is small and easily portable. Buying gum reminded me of a former coworker of mine with the most attrocious bad breath. It turned into an office-wide situation.

I came home and broiled the last two Foster's Farms chicken breasts I had in the fridge. They'd been frozen in the freezer for about 6 months, so it was time to use them. Mmmm, good.

My VCR clock did not properly adjust to DST. It swung two hours instead of one. So I tried to fix it last night. The darn thing is automated to pull the time off of PBS somehow, so it was hard to override, but this morning I noticed it was fixed. I also had to adjust my X-10 timer because it's dark out earlier, so I need the lights to come on earlier.

I've been buying a lot of stuff on eBay lately. This week I bought an adapter for my cell phone that turns it into an FM radio w/headset. That's pretty nifty ... it's actually exactly what I need. I was playing with Hung's cell phone at the gym last night - his has a camera, and all sorts of neat graphics. I refuse to upgrade to AT&T's GSM service though. My current calling plan is far to good to lose, and I keep hearing that the GSM service in the bay area is not yet adequate.
posted by Travis on 10/30/2003.


40 minute commute this morning. Motorcycle down on 280 at Saratoga, so I took San Tomas, then cut over to Lawrence. San Tomas was the bottleneck. I should have just gone to Lawrence right away.
posted by Travis on 10/29/2003.

Protein Pasta

Dinner at Pasta Pomodoro last night with Michael, after gym. I had a shell pasta with chicken and veggies. It was very good. For a buck extra, I got the high protein pasta. Tasted just fine. Not like that low-carb bread I got at Trader Joe's a few months ago that tasted worse than cardboard. Some things you just can't do without carbs. Speaking of which, I know it's close to Halloween because the admin's at work have their candy out on their desks. I think I had 3 miniature Twix bars yesterday and a "fun pack" of M&M's. Don't get me started on those "fun packs".
posted by Travis on 10/29/2003.

Human Resources

It's interesting the way different companies manage their people. When I was in school, I thought working for a big company would be nice, because of all of the training and programs that large companies put in place for their employees. But my friends at smaller companies seem happier than what I've seen at the big companies I've worked for.

At PwC, Halloween was a big event. Half the office dressed up, and the company converted an empty floor of the San Jose office into a haunted house. There was cake served, and it was a big event. At my current company, from what I've heard, hardly anyone dresses up. I think it's indicative of the differences between the two companies when it comes to their people. Some things are better, some are worse. Most are just different.

My office area is very loud - lots of people making noise, some of it unnecessary. I wear earplugs most of the time, but my left ear is hurting, so no earplugs today. Our head partner noticed yesterday. Maybe he'll move us to a quieter area, or relocate the people who make so much noise.

The interior window of a manager's office near my area was broken over the weekend. The whole thing shattered. No one knows how. It looked very odd, and everyone was trying to guess how it happened.
posted by Travis on 10/28/2003.


"Yes, I'll sign the ban on partial birth abortion," Bush said at a White House news conference. "And no, I don't think the culture has changed to the extent that the American people or the Congress would totally ban abortions." That's an undersstatement. I can't wait for this new ban to go up to the Supreme Court. Why is it in America that abortion is a religious/moral issue, and in Europe it's a medical issue.
posted by Travis on 10/28/2003.


The news is packed with details about the fires in southern California. Over 1,000 homes burnt. That's just amazing. I wonder how much our horrid forest policy contributed to these fires? I'm talking about how the government does not allow deadwood to be harvested. Bill Wattenburg on KGO has some pretty strong and informed opinions about that.

I ran into Michael at the gym. He is also a fan of Kill Bill - he even got the soundtrack already. The movie did have good music.

It was so weird leaving work when it was dark. Usually I leave with at least an hour of sunlight left. Traffic was bad today - as it always is on the first day after a time change.

I made a chicken breast for dinner. Well, really all I did was heat it up, and put some sauce on it. But that's more than I normally am able to do for dinner!
posted by Travis on 10/27/2003.

Public Address System

We have some of the most inarticulate people assigned to make announcements over our PA system. Some days, it's just hilarious. Reminds me of this website.
posted by Travis on 10/27/2003.


We've been told that people in their 50's and up should take a baby aspirin daily. Now they find out it may cause cancer. Doh. This weekend, there was a report that an American doctor determined that the use of chopsticks was linked to hand problems. Nevermind that it's been used for thousands of years in Asia without too much of a problem.

I had a good talk with Jonathan on the phone last night... he's far away in NYC. I'll see him in a few weeks when I'm there on vacation. My new phone made beeping noses during our conversation; I think it was telling me that I had unread e-mail waiting for me, even though I thought I turned off that feature.
posted by Travis on 10/27/2003.

Back to normal

Normally I run at lunch 4 or 5 days a week. Last week I didn't at all, to try to gain weight. I lost 3 pounds. So back to running this week - maybe I'll gain weight.

I'm starting a new project at work, and that's always exciting, and a bit difficult as I try to minimize the number of other projects I have to work on simultaneously. Multitasking just doesn't work really well with what I do. It's overrated anyhow.
posted by Travis on 10/27/2003.


I bought the remaining missing pieces for my Halloween costume today - now I'm all set for Friday. I tried to have brunch at Hobbee's, but the wait was too long, so we went to some nearby restaurant in Palo Alto Town and Country Village. 2 eggs, scrambled, with ham. Then it was time for badminton at Gunn with Dale, Erick, Antonio, et. al. I played better than I thought I would.
posted by Travis on 10/26/2003.

Museums and Movies

Spent yesterday in SF doing cultural stuff. Brunch at Baghdad Cafe with Patrick and Frank - good western omelet, although I still give Squat and Gobble the highest omelet review. Then over to the Civic Center where we caught the start of the anti-war protest. Asian Art Museum - we went through the first floor Korean art exhibit, with a very unique modern art display using water; third floor focusing on southeast Asia; second floor focusing on China and Japan; and a calligraphy exhibit. It was so hot in SF that we had to stop at Ben & Jerry's on the way home for a scoop of (Brownie Mix) ice cream. Patrick made us dinner - delicious noodles and fried won tons. If I can ever prepare food one-tenth as well as he can, I'll be all set!

Then I drove over to Metreon to meet Erick for Kill Bill. I was apprehensive about seeing Kill Bill since I don't like gorey movies, but it was so good, I was amazed. Very artistic, very unique. Two thumbs up. Although the guy sitting in front of us was going to town with his hankerchief in his nose. I ran into Anderson in the hallways - it was good to meet him in person finally.
posted by Travis on 10/26/2003.


Margaret Cho last night at the Flint Center. Third row in the orchestra pit. Couldn't get much better than that. She was hilarious. Erick told me to listen for the priscimons part, and he was right - it was great. Dinner with Ed afterwords at the Village Cafe in Santana Row - good chicken breast entree.

Talked a bit yesterday with Nicole. She's the head personal trainer at 24 Hr. Mountain View. I went to high school with her - she was my same year. She was the beautiful girl everyone wanted to date in high school. She's very cool.
posted by Travis on 10/25/2003.

Published in a book, sort of

Gosh, I didn't realize I was published in a book. Two years ago, the "Dummies Guide" people contacted me and asked me if they could use a quote from me about a book they wrote about home buying. Said sure ... they said they'd send me a copy of the book. I never got the book, so I figured they didn't use the quote. I did a search for my name on Amazon, using Amazon's new "whole-book search" feature, and this popped up:

posted by Travis on 10/24/2003.

Must See Thursday

Thursday, that means tomorrow is Friday, yippie. Had lunch today with Shannon at Pasta? Good food, very reasonable prices. I had my favorite - chicken sandwich. Shannon had a delicious looking spinach (?) salad. I may get that next time. Dinner with Dave The Law Student at Tied House. He credits me with him going to law school, although I really can't take the credit. He's doing really well - much better than most, in his first semester of his first year. Keep it up, Dave.

This has been an interesting week at work. My favorite client has had a lot of very unique situations going on that have made this week extremely interesting. One of these days, I'm going to write a book. I keep saying that. Tomorrow it's back up to Concord for the quarter sign-off. I have to be there at 8:30, which means I have to leave home at 7. Ugh, what a way to start off a Friday! But I'm seeing Margaret Cho at the Flint Center tomorrow night, so that makes up for it.
posted by Travis on 10/23/2003.

West Wing

Last night's West Wing was very good, and comfortable. I watched it from the comfort of my new bed, complete with featherbed mattress cover. Very nice. But I wish the Korean pianist had defected. That would have spiced things up a bit. And loading the wrong speach on the teleprompter ... you just knew that was going to happen.

My new phone (v60i) has the ability to act as an FM radio. I'm bidding on the special headset on eBay. That would be very nifty. Unfortunately, the phone doesn't have an alarm that is easy to set up. I used my alarm clock on my Nokia quite often. I've found the workaround: Set up a daily recurring appointment in the datebook called "Alarm". Zero duration, no alert. When you need an alarm, edit the event's time and turn the alert on. It's too bad it has to be that complicated.

The features I really like over my Nokia are the voice dial; ability to rearrange the main menu; and the shortcuts. I'm not keen on how the phone displays e-mails though - the lines don't wrap around as I would like them too, and it makes scrolling through the messages cumbersome.
posted by Travis on 10/23/2003.

Wait, no more popup ads? (or) X-10 now X-11?

Oh no. What has now become my favorite company has filed for bankruptcy. Does this mean that if I buy one of those small cameras, I can't spy on those half-naked women in my patio like in the pop-up ads?
posted by Travis on 10/23/2003.

Daily comics

posted by Travis on 10/22/2003.


Faith Fancher died recently. She was an anchor on KTVU-2, and turned her breast cancer saga into a televised series during her battle.
posted by Travis on 10/22/2003.

New Phone

I got my new cell phone by FedEx today. My old Nokia was acting up, so I upgraded to a Motorola v60i for $50 bucks and a one-year renewal. So far, I like the new phone a lot.
posted by Travis on 10/22/2003.

Importance of Living Wills

This horrible story illustrates why making one's wishes re: medical procedures known to friends and family is so important, and where required, to legally document those wishes. If I was ever in a persistive vegetative state, the last thing I would want is for a feeding tube to keep me alive for 13 years. Geez. What kind of life is that?
posted by Travis on 10/22/2003.

IKEA saga over

Ikea delivered my bed last night, and I assembled it in around 20 minutes. Yippie! I'm quite happy with it. But it'll be a long time before I use their delivery service again.

Lunch yesterday at Walnut Creek Il Fornaio. Delicious broccoli soup, chicken sandwich, and vanilla dessert.
posted by Travis on 10/22/2003.

New Phone

My cell phone is nearly completely toast. I've used it for over 170 hours according to the call timers, so I guess it's served its useful life. I called AT&T and ordered a Motorola v60i flip phone, for $49.99 plus a 1 year contract renewal. Not bad.

Tonight IKEA is supposed to deliver my bed. Fingers crossed.

Last night's Lawyer's In The Library was uneventful. I only had one client show up, but she was a really nice lady, with an interesting problem. Her nine year old son is suing her in Superior Court. No kidding! That was a first for me. The other lawyer, from one of the big firms, had a real attitude going on ... what a pain. I'd hate to have to work with her.
posted by Travis on 10/21/2003.

Factory tour

Spent most of the day in South San Francisco at my client's office. Got the factory tour again - that's always interesting. Tomorrow it's back up to Concord. Stopped at Wendy's on the way back for a Frosty. Yummy. My cell phone is really acting very strange - it's still usable, but having a lot of problems that requires me to cycle the battery in and out. I'm bidding on a new phone (at least new to me) on eBay - a Motorola v60i. I don't want to change service plans to GRS (I'm on AT&T) - my current rate plan is too good, so I need to buy a replacement phone privately.

IKEA informed me that my matching bedside tables are no longer available. I could go on backorder, but rather than do that, maybe I'll just rearrange some more furniture and use my old bedside table. IKEA should have their database better updated, so that products aren't displayed (or are marked as on backorder) on their website. There's really no excuse for the website not to be updated that way.

Lawyer's In The Library tonight. I have a ride-along attorney - someone new to the program who wants to sit next to someone experienced. It's funny to consider myself "experienced" at LITL, but I have been doing it for nearly three years now. Thank goodness I'm covered by malpractice insurance!
posted by Travis on 10/20/2003.

Squeaky fenced in (or out?)

Time for an update on Squeaky. I opened up the water heater closet, and there were no signs of the mouse. The access point was a 1" air gap between the bottom of the door and the concrete floor. I went to Home Depot Friday night and got some aluminum screen material, and affixed that to the closet doors. There's no way Squeaky can get in or out of the closet now. And I don't think she can get access into the house itself; the water heater closet is on the back of the garage, and it's fairly isolated from the house. Between the screen and the rat poison that I left in the closet, I think this should be the end of the mouse saga.

Lunch then meeting tomorrow afternoon in South San Francisco at my favorite client; the one from Concord that became my second home last month. Their factory is in SSF, hence the visit there. Tuesday it's back to Concord for me.
posted by Travis on 10/19/2003.

Blue Cars and Mattresses

Mancini's delivered my new mattress. Yippie!

Larry, the fuel efficiency guru, reports that the blue car I saw and commented on yesterday is the Sparrow Electric Car. Turns out the car is classified as a motorcycle by the USDOT, and is able to use HOV lanes. They are manufactured near by, in Hollister and Castroville. Speaking of fuel efficient cars, I have still not decided between a Honda Civic Hybrid or a BMW 3-series to replace my current car when that time comes. If only the Hybrid had a fold-down rear seat, my decision would be so much easier.
posted by Travis on 10/19/2003.


I kind of expected *something* to go wrong with the IKEA delivery, since my friend Tony had some bad experiences getting IKEA to deliver things. Sure enough, they called and said they wouldn't be able to deliver the bed today; so it's rescheduled for Tuesday. They did refund me the delivery charge though, so I ended up saving a few bucks by waiting 2 extra days. The mattress will be delivered on time today though from Mancini's.

I redid some of the X-10 configuration today; still trying to figure out the best way to X-10 the attic fan. I gave up on the wireless remote control switch - that thing was worthless. It's too bad there isn't an inexpensive X-10 wall switch that works with flourescent bulbs.
posted by Travis on 10/19/2003.


After only three 'quality' hours of sleep last night, I got up this morning and went on a 7 mile hike in Big Basin. I had hiked that trail before, only reverse of how we did it today (it's a loop). There were 13 of us, which made for a good hiking group. Unlike Half Dome, we all stayed together ... I learned my lesson on that. I got a little car sick on the way there, and even more so on the way home, but no fluids were lost. Erick was a good sport sitting next to me and rolling down the window for me to get fresh air in.

After the hike I went over to Mancini's on El Camino to look at mattresses. The list prices were much more than I intended to spend, but much like a used car dealership, the price magically came down to $399. So I bought one. I think my appearance (I must have looked like a poor college student) helped. My new bed will be delivered tomorrow morning from IKEA, and the mattress in the afternoon from Mancini's.

Dinner tonight with Austin at Kan Zeman. Our dinner was interrupted by a belly dancer. Two of them actually. All I could think of was "treadmill."

Last week I was driving on 280 south in San Jose and saw this car. I thought it looked cool. And dangerous.

posted by Travis on 10/18/2003.


I had a meeting up in SF today, so on my way home I spotted the big purple IKEA building, and couldn't resist stopping in. I ended up spending over $800! I decided to buy a queen bed, matching entertainment center, and matching bedside tables ... so I did. The bed will be delivered Sunday morning. I put together the entertainment center after work (using the high powered screwdriver ... much better than the rinky dink Black and Decker rechargable one), and the bedside tables are on backorder - I'm trying to order them on-line. I also bought feather pillows and feather quilt comforter, and all the necessary accessories. Now I need to go out and find a mattress. I'm very happy with the entertainment center. I'll post pictures later this weekend. I now have a twin bed (frame, mattress, box spring, and nice headboard) for sale if anyone wants it. I'll put it on Craigslist later this weekend.

I ordered 4 prints of digital pics I took over the last year from Terry recommended it. I ordered 5x7 size, to see how they come out. In anticipation of them looking good (!), I bought 4 black frames at Ikea and hung them on the wall. Hopefully the pictures look good. I think the megapixels were large enough. Two were of Half Dome, one of a closeup mushroom, and one of Kitty, my cat.
posted by Travis on 10/17/2003.


At my friends' house last night, they had a lot of really nice artistic photos up on the wall. I thought they were professionally done. My friend said no, he had taken them. I was so impressed. Then I found out he took them with a 4 mp digital camera, and had them printed by oPhoto. I could not believe it. They were so good! I don't think my little 3mp camera could take pictures that good. The quality of the camera is not high enough. But I was very impressed that digital pictures could be turned into such nice works of art.
posted by Travis on 10/17/2003.

Japanese Salmon

I had a very nice homecooked salmon dinner tonight, courtesy of some friends I haven't seen in a few years. I haven't really ever liked fish, but I've had salmon twice in one week now, and I don't even think about it as "eating fish". After dinner we watched a TIVOed Survivor, and some funny Japanese show from Spike TV with English dubbed over it. It was a stunt show, and the dubbing was hilarious. I have to watch that again if I ever have a chance.
posted by Travis on 10/16/2003.

Restaurant Review

Spice Islands Cafe
posted by Travis on 10/16/2003.

No Wings Wednesday

Doh. No West Wing tonight. Gak.

Mom reports that grandma had an apparently mild stroke last weekend. Not sure if she's still in the hospital or not. Get well soon Grandma.

I'm sensitive to news about NYC since I'm going there in mid-November, so the Staten Island Ferry crash caught my eye. The news says the pilot may have fallen asleep. The guy went home and tried to kill himself. I feel bad for him, if his actions really did lead to the death and dismemberment of all those people, but you know, you really can't fall asleep at the wheel when so many people are under your control.

Today a SFPD officer was arrested for sexual assault, occurring at the Folsom Street Fair, while he was on duty. The details of the assault sounded pretty bad. SFPD, and all of SF for that matter, has some of the strangest things go on up there.

A woman in Florida has been in a coma for 13 years, following a heart attack. She's been kept alive only by a feeding tube. Other than bodily functions, she's apparently not responsive or thinking. Family disputed what to do - husband wanted the tube pulled; parents wanted her kept alive. Courts have been handling this for over ten years, and ruled at various times for each party. Yesterday they ruled for the husband, and the tube was pulled. What an awful way to die. But I know if I was in a persistent vegetative state, I wouldn't want to live that way for 13 years.

My company issued our annual raises today. I'll try not to spend it all in one place. Gak.

Safeway has trouble keeping 8th Continent 1/2 gallon jugs of vanilla soy milk in stock. I wish they could stock more. It's almost always out when I go, and that's the only kind I like.
posted by Travis on 10/15/2003.

Hilarious photo

from NYC.
posted by Travis on 10/15/2003.

Asinine Laws

The Wright Amendment is keeping me from earning my 4 Southwest Airlines credits when I fly to Dallas this December for work.

The Wright Amendment, you say? Yes. Want to fly nonstop from Washington's National Airport to San Francisco? How about from New York's LaGuardia to Los Angeles? Or from Dallas's Love Field to Chicago (or San Jose, in my case)? You can't. It's against the law. That's right... illegal!

What happened to America being a capitalist country? Free competition, marketplace economy, etc.? Sometimes it makes me want to reregister as a Libertarian. There's no excuse for continuing to limit airline competition.
posted by Travis on 10/15/2003.

More mouse poison...

I put two more industrial size wedges of mouse poison in the closet. I heard Squeaky running around when I did that. I don't know if she has access inside the house or not. She's rearranged some of the insulation around the furnace, so I think she's making a nest.

In related news, I started removing some of the ivy in the patio. I've heard mice like ivy, so the ivy is coming down. To be replaced by something new next spring. I've had good luck with grass ... maybe I'll plant grass in the garden boxes, because everyone who has seen the garden knows I can't keep flowers alive longer than a week.
posted by Travis on 10/15/2003.

Your neighborhood + a hooded sweatshirt =

posted by Travis on 10/14/2003.

Supreme Court announces cases for this term

They've agreed to hear the Pledge Case. It could go either way - some USSC decisions have said that these words are injecting too much religion into government; other cases have said that the words are "mere decorum." The court has previously ruled that school children cannot be forced to recite the pledge. If I were a justice, I would come down on the side of striking the words out of the pledge. Sorry, but I don't believe in god.
posted by Travis on 10/14/2003.

New Radio Station for Squeaky

92.7 seems to have made some antenna improvements over the weekend, as it's now coming in much more clearly in the South Bay.

Squeaky lives. I checked the furnace closet last night, and even though there are no new mouse droppings, the box of poison was moved slightly, and I saw Squeaky run out of the closet and along the patio fence. I bought two bigger boxes of mouse poison at Albertson's last night. Have I mentioned how much I like Albertson's self-checkout system? I really do. But they don't have the 8th Continent brand of soy milk that I like in the 1/2 gallon size. Otherwise, I might switch from Safeway to Albertson's as my preferred grocery provider.
posted by Travis on 10/14/2003.


Forgot to mention I watched 3/4 of Baraka, an interesting thematic movie yesterday. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would initially. Someday I want to watch the rest of it.
posted by Travis on 10/13/2003.


Work is being done on major San Francisco streets to move the traffic signals from the sides of the road to center overhangs. This is wonderful for those of us who are colorblind, and hate driving in San Francisco because the red and green traffic lights on the sides of the roads blend in with the storefront lights.

New restaurant review: The House.
posted by Travis on 10/13/2003.

Blue Angels

Tony, Frank, Patrick and I went to the Fleet Week airshow today, and saw the Blue Angels perform. Before the Blue Angels were several other airshow acts that were very interesting, but of course the Blue Angels' 45 minute performance was why everyone was there.

I also got to sit in the driver's seat of a fire truck. That was very cool. We later saw the fire truck responding to a medical emergency on Filmore St.

posted by Travis on 10/12/2003.

Air show

Sunday I'm going to go up to SF and see the Blue Angels perform. I don't think I've been to an big airshow with the Blue Angels since I lived in Ohio and went to Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
posted by Travis on 10/11/2003.

Closet Day

Today was closet day. Time to redo the three closets in my bedroom; gut the old shelving, patch and repaint, and install modular shelving. I did some of the work last night, and the rest this morning. Everything went in just fine, no major problems. I think I about doubled the amount of shelf and effective storage space.
posted by Travis on 10/11/2003.

Good for you, Rush

In the past, Rush Limbaugh has said that he thinks people addicted to illegal drugs should be treated harshly, and face criminal prosecution. Illegal drugs includes drugs obtained illegally, i.e. without a prescription. So now that Rush has admitted being addicted to drugs, and that these drugs were obtained illegally, I wonder when he will turn himself in for prosecution? I'm sure six months to a year in jail will do wonders as a rehab program. We wouldn't want Rush to be a hypocrite in addition to a drug addict, now would we?
posted by Travis on 10/10/2003.

Hate Crime in Mountain View

On Sunday night, three idiots from out of state beat up a guy because they thought he was gay. The beating took place about a quarter-mile from where I work, in Mountain View. The three suspects are 36 years old, 26 years old, and 30 years old. Old enough to know that beating people up isn't appropriate behavior in our society. Ignoring any enhanced penalties for this being a hate crime, and just treating it as an assault and battery, I think 4 years in jail is a good length of time for this sort of crime. That gives them enough time to sit and ponder whether it's appropriate to go around beating the crap out of someone. Given that they committed this battery because they disliked the person based on a perceived characteristic of the person, as opposed to a random robbery, I think doubling the sentence is appropriate. 8 years in jail. No time off for good bevavior - they had that opportunity before they committed the crime. The three are currently in jail awaiting trial. Don't drop the soap, guys.
posted by Travis on 10/10/2003.

Squeaky Evicted?

I think the mouse is gone. I checked the closet, and it looks undisturbed from 24 hours ago. Now I understand the phrase, "build a better mousetrap". I located the missing spring mousetrap - it was under the waterheater. It had gone off, but no mouse was attached, and all the peanut butter was gone. So the two spring-action mousetraps both failed. Of the four glue pads, the mouse clearly got stuck on one, and dragged it about 5'. But she was able to separate herself from the pad. That leaves the mouse poison. It appears that some was eaten, so presumably she will crawl up and die somewhere. I just hope it's somewhere outside, and not in the furnace closet.
posted by Travis on 10/9/2003.


Lunch at Straits Restaurant in Palo Alto, to congratulate one of our admins, Barbie, on her last day. I didn't realize until I got there that I ate there last Feb with Jonathan and his friends, the night before we went on a one-day Tahoe ski trip. I had the chicken curry - huge, good quality chunks of chicken. Good appetizers too.

I was scheduled to run the Chiropractic Challenge 10k this Sunday, but with my LCL not feeling too hot, I'll be skipping it. I've been wearing a gel brace most of last night and today, and that's helped a lot.
posted by Travis on 10/9/2003.

Restaurant reviews are back

After a one year hiatus for technical retooling, the restaurant reviews page is back! I need to spend several hours doing updates for the last year.
posted by Travis on 10/9/2003.

Santana Row

I had dinner tonight with Calvin, my friend from law school who has recently found himself in the Big-4. We ate at Village Cafe in Santana Row. I had the Angus Burger, which was very good. Calvin had a good looking chicken pasta dish. The atmosphere was very nice, and it wasn't too crowded. We narrowly missed the Quick Fare menu (or something like that) which ends at 6:30, and also looked very good. I forgot to ask Calvin if he knows the number to the Franchise Tax Board by heart yet. :)

While I was standing outside the Village Cafe, I saw some high school kids filming a scene for some sort of skit. There were two guys dressed up like football players, each with a giant chess piece. They were standing on the big chess board in the median of the main road. With a camcorder running, they ran towards each other and collided in the middle of the board. It was very strange. Fortunately I had my camera.

posted by Travis on 10/8/2003.

Hello, class!

My mom, Dr. Brown, tells me that she's using my weblog as a teaching tool for her kids. Hi kids! Isn't my mom a great teacher? When I was in the third and fourth grade my mom used to be a substitute teacher at my school, and sometimes she would be a sub for my class. I always hated that.
posted by Travis on 10/8/2003.

LCL sprain

My knees were still hurting quite a bit from the Half Dome hike, and today my left knee hurt so bad I was having trouble walking, so I called up one of my doctor friends. He said I probably sprained my lateral collateral ligament (LCL) from hiking downhill and putting a lot of pressure on the knee area. I've noticed the same pain after running 10k's, but usually it subsides by now. So I'm taking asprin, and I have to pick up a brace this afternoon. I noticed my knees were really hurting during the hike ... I think next time I would wear knee braces to help give my legs support.
posted by Travis on 10/8/2003.

The Govenator

Couple of good points in the news:

The new governor will need to turn in a budget plan by Jan. 10, giving him just a few months to deliver on campaign-trail promises not to raise taxes or cut education spending, which consumes roughly 40 percent of California's budget. Throughout the campaign, Schwarzenegger refused to say what he would cut and promised to repeal this year's tripling of the state vehicle license fee, although he has not said how he would make up the $4 billion that would cost.

Schwarzenegger must work with Democrats, who are a majority of both houses in the Legislature and hold all statewide offices except his newly won governorship.Indeed it will be interesting to see how Arnold fixes the budget - the governor has very little control over spending, as a result of all the propositions we've had in the last 40 years, so his ability to fix the problem may be more limited than he thinks.But the recall was more than a message to Davis, said former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, who called it a warning shot to all officeholders.

"It's a revolt of people who are increasingly angry at the crises that face them, and at the failure of leadership," Panetta said. "If I were a Republican, I wouldn't get too cocky about what happened."And that, I think, is the lesson. When our government fails to serve us, we will step in and fire the people who aren't working for us.
posted by Travis on 10/8/2003.

Squeaky likes PB

I finally worked up the nerve to peak inside the furnace closet to check on the mouse traps. It seems Squeaky is very smart. One of the glue traps had been moved 5 feet, but no mouse was attached. One of the spring traps had gone off, and the peanut butter was gone, but no mouse was attached. And the other spring trap has completely disappeared. Squeaky has absconded with one of the mouse traps. On the bright side, it looks like the mouse poison has been moved, so hopefully he ate some of that. Tomorrow I'll try to put the traps back in place, and find the missing spring trap. Maybe there's a mouse attached.
posted by Travis on 10/7/2003.

Banana Leaf

Dinner at Banana Leaf with Jonathan. Nothing beats a dinner of Asian Fusion food, with coconut milk rice on the side.

My prediction for tomorrow's newspaper: Yes on recall, Arnold for governor. The court challenges will be filed by 5pm.
posted by Travis on 10/7/2003.

Get Out And Vote!

Don't forget to vote today, if you didn't vote by absentee ballot. Check for hanging chads.
posted by Travis on 10/7/2003.

Feeding Squeaky

I stopped at Walgreens on the way home and loaded up on mouse supplies. My friend Phil wrote in from Hawaii advising me to use mouse glue boxes, so I picked up four of those, along with a small thing of mouse poison and four mousetraps. I put peanut butter on the glue boxes and mousetraps. That should be sufficient trappage for a small furnace closet. The droppings are everywhere, so hopefully Squeaky is still active. I am betting he'll go for the peanut butter on the mousetraps, because I really like peanut butter, and it looks really good. I'm hoping he avoids the poison, because I read that he could die under the waterheater, and I wouldn't know it until he started smelling, and frankly I really don't want to have to figure out how to fish a long dead mouse out from under the water heater. And the glue boxes isn't a good choice either for Squeeky, because them I'm going to have a barely alive mouse, or a starved mouse, stuck to the glue box. No, I'm hoping he goes for the fresh peanut butter on the mousetrap, and I'll just sweep him and the trap into a little bag and throw him out.
posted by Travis on 10/6/2003.


I have a new pet. A mouse has taken up residence in our water heater closet, on the back patio. It's not a pretty sight.
posted by Travis on 10/6/2003.

Half Dome

I'm back, and in one piece.

We departed Friday around 1pm from Mountain View, and arrived without incident at North Pines campgrounds around 5pm. Timmie and Tom had already set up camp, with comfortable seating for 15, and a great firepit. Our carload set up our equipment, just as Galen's carload arrived. With all our equipment set up, we ate a great beef BBQ, made some smores, and went to bed early. The final carload arrived sometime after we went to bed. Fifteen campers in total.

Saturday morning we woke up at 5:45, ate breakfast, organized our stuff, and departed for Half Dome at a bit before 7am. After going about 40 feet in the completely wrong direction, we headed off in the right direction with Timmie's navigation expertise. The 'stairmaster' hike was challenging - but I had built up to 45 minutes on the stairmaster at the gym, so I was prepared for that. I wasn't as prepared for the 3.5 hours that followed. I've hiked a fair amount, but I was in no way fully prepared for this course. It was absolutely grueling. After the stairmaster hike, Galen, John and I separated from the rest of the group and plowed ahead at a fast pace. That was a mistake - even though we were essentially racing the mountain, we should have stuck together. We stopped at the last spring before Half Dome to refill our water using Galen's filter pump. Just when I thought I could go no further, we could see Half Dome in the distance.

Half Dome in the distance. I'm on the left.

Half Dome in the distance. The hikers on the cables look like ants.

About 30 minutes more, and we were at the base of the final ascent.

The Cables.

That was when fear kicked in. I could see the cables, and it was nothing like what I had imagined. This was a near vertical climb, up what appeared to be 10 stories. I was absolutely petrified. But I saw the people going up, and felt I could do it. But I had no idea how I would get down, unless there was a sky tram on the other side. At 11:40am, we started the cables. I put on my gloves, and up I went.

Yes, that's nearly vertical. No, those poles aren't very sturdy.

As the cables got steeper and steeper, and the few people tickling down had fear in their eyes, I got more scared. Occasionally, I snuck a look behind me, and about threw up at the height and slant under me. After about 20 minutes, I was at the top, and shaking like a leaf. We sat down and ate a few bites, but I was nauseous - the altitude, and fear of how I was going to get down. I actually wondered how much it would cost to have a helicopter pluck me off the top.

Galen, myself and John at the top. Galen and John are proping me up.

Finally, I could take it no more - I had to start down, to try to make it. We wandered over to the cables, and took hold. Galen, the speedy one, went first. I was in the middle, and John, in his sneakers (bad idea), was behind. Once I started descending (without looking down much), I figured out how to use my hands (in their leather gloves) to act as brakes on the cable and control my descent, and just allow my feet to guide me. That system worked really well the whole way down. Once we were going down though, the peak of the hikers were coming up - they had caught up to us, including the remaining 10 of our group of hikers. They looked tired, and I saw a few scared eyes. Those of us on the descent kept saying "It's ok - going down is easier than going up - use your hands as brakes". That seemed to reassure them. I was glad we had pushed it though and beat the peak crowd to the top, because it was congested. Once I reached the end, there were people going up without gloves - frankly, this is unimaginable, and a horrible idea. If there is one lesson here, it's not to attempt the cables without gloves. I handed mine to some guy who didn't have any. He offered to pay - forget it.

At the base of the cables, we rested, and began our descent down the mountain. The descent took about 3.5 hours. The hardest part about the descent was our legs - they were screaming in pain, and at times, we just had to stop. We knew the end had to be coming somewhere, but it just seemed to go on forever. Finally, we made it to the bottom, and then back to the campsite, at 4pm. The whole hike took about 9 hours. The rest of our hikers returned at 6:30pm, two and a half hours later. In hindsight, we realized how fast the three of us went, and how hard we pushed.

We headed over to Curry Village for a (free) hot shower - that was one of the best showers I've ever had. That night, we had Jakrin's wonderful BBQ Thai chicken and pork chops, smores, and went to bed. I was in so much pain, mainly on the sides of my kneecaps.

This morning, I woke around 4:30 and stretched out of the fetal position, and immediately regretted it. My legs felt awful. After some hobbling around, I was doing better, but the whole day I've been in some pain, especially when I stand up.

Everyone else woke around 7:30, and we had breakfast and disassembled camp. At 10am, we departed. We took the shortcut on Priest's Grade, which for our rented SUV turned out to be a mistake ... the brakes couldn't handle it. Just before the last stopsign of the shortcut, with Galen's car about 10 feet in front of me, I lost brake power. It's one of those things you think about theoretically, but don't really know exactly what to do when it happens. I downshifted to first, and used the parking brake to try to stop. We rolled onto a sidestreet, and smoke poured out of the wheelwells. After letting the car cool for about 15 minutes, we tested the brakes, they seemed fine, and we continued, using downshifting as our main way to slow down. When we stopped for lunch, we determined the brakes were fine, and the remainder of the drive was normal.

Lessons learned: Don't even think about attempting Half Dome without sturdy workman's gloves for the cables. Bring a carabiner for the cables if you are afraid of heights - it'll be a pain to take off and put on around each pole, but it'll make you feel secure knowing you can't fall more than 10 feet or so. Forget about making it to the top if you start the trail after 8:30am - it'll be pitch black when you finish. Oh, and most importantly - water. I took 4 liters (1 gallon), and finished it just at the end. A minimum of 4 liters is a good rule, or bring fewer liters and a filter/pump.

One of my friends said, "I accomplished something yesterday that a year ago I was convinced would never be possible." That says it all.
posted by Travis on 10/5/2003.


I'll be in Yosemite for the weekend, so no posts for a few days.
posted by Travis on 10/3/2003.

What does Arnold have in common with WMD?

Yesterday the Times "broke" the story that Arnold has apparently sexually harassed some women over the years. There was also an article by some U.S./U.N. inspector in Iraq saying that he has found no indication of weapons of mass destruction (the supposed premise for the war in Iraq).

MSNBC, CNBC, and several other news programs that I watched made it sound like both of these two revalations were surprising or unexpected. Please. The only people who could have been surprised by either have had their head in the sand.

Of course Arnold sexually harassed some women at some point during his bodybuilding and/or acting days. That's seems in line with the bodybuilding culture. What I give him credit for is coming forward immediately and saying, "Some of these allegations are false, some of these allegations are true, and I am sorry for my actions." Have you ever heard another politician say that? No obfuscating. No mincing words. The man took responsibility, and apologized. And the story died because of it.

As for the WMD... most of the people I know assumed there would be no WMD found in Iraq before the war started. So confirming that now is not a shock. Yes, Iraq had WMD at some point in the past. There's ample evidence of that. But they were smart enough to get rid of them at some point before the war started. No big surprise. Does this mean we fought a war, killed a lot of people, and spent a lot of money for the wrong reasons? No. WMD was not the only reason we fought the war. But it does mean that our politicians were not being honest with us.

I guess that's why I find Arnold refreshing. The man seems honest.

Several weeks ago I mailed in my absentee ballot voting yes on the top, and Arnold on the bottom. No regrets.
posted by Travis on 10/3/2003.


I went to Costco with the Yosemite Food Team and bought a whole lot of meat. Then we marinated the meat at my place. So much meat. Did you know you can actually buy $100 packs of beef at Costco? Amazing. Anyhow, the food is all prepared for the trip. All that's left is for me to pick up the SUV tomorrow, and we're off.

I watched Survivor tonight. Poor poor team Morgan. Team Drake is just kicking their butt. Rarely on Survivor have we seen a team so decimated so early!
posted by Travis on 10/2/2003.

Half Dome

Man, coordinating a trip to Yosemite for 15 people is hard work. But it's almost all done. We depart tomorrow at 1pm. All of the equipment is in the right place, tonight we will buy and prepare the food, and tomorrow morning I'll pick up the SUV we rented from Enterprise for my carload of 5 people. The weather forcast for Yosemite is still really good - low in the mid-40's, high in the low 70's. And the cables are still in place for the trip to the very top.
posted by Travis on 10/2/2003.

Winging it

Ahhh, a refreshing ending. The new producers wrapped up last seasons kidnapping in a very effective way. And they got John Goodman out of there, so they can move on with better storylines.
posted by Travis on 10/1/2003.

West Wing Wednesday

Aww yea, episode 2 of the season. Last week's preview made this week's show look very good. I hope it lives up to the preview.

Our team lunch today was at Kirby's (?) on El Camino near Castro St. Very good hamburgers.

I watched the Guardian last night. I don't think I've ever seen that show before. It was okay ... but I thought the main character/lawyer got himself into a conflict of interest that he didn't handle very well.
posted by Travis on 10/1/2003.

Yosemite countdown: 3 days

I'm all packed. All the camping gear and hiking gear is in the car. Tomorrow I'll take it and some other hiker's gear over to Timmie's, and he'll transport it over to Yosemite. Thursday a team of us will go grocery shopping for 15 people, and prepare some of the food. Friday morning I pick up the SUV from the rental car place, and we leave at 1pm. So exciting.
posted by Travis on 9/30/2003.

Early morning accidents

Last night at dinner, I found out I had to be in SF at 7am for a client meeting. 7am?! So I woke up at 5:15, got ready, got gas, and off I went. At 280 and 85, I made an executive decision to take 280 up instead of 101, because I thought I could go faster and more than make up for the increased distance. Then I saw the brake lights. Overturned pickup truck on the left, banged up car on the right, rescue vehicles all over. Fortunately the commute wasn't too bad yet, so it only took 10 minutes to get through.

On another note, this was the first time I was able to get into and out of San Francisco by myself without a map. And I've only lived here for 14 years!
posted by Travis on 9/30/2003.

Eating a cow

Dinner at Paolo's was stuffing. There were several appetizers before the 14 oz steak that I truly think was the largest steak I've ever had before me. I only ate a few bites - I was stuffed. Of course, I had room for some cheesecake. ;)
posted by Travis on 9/29/2003.

The Practice

When I was in law school, I watched The Practice religiously. I really enjoyed the show. I watched last night's season premier, and wasn't too impressed. Most of my favorite characters are off the show, and the replacements aren't appealing to me. I also thought the plotline involving insurance fraud was a joke. We'll see if I watch next week or not. I'm eagerly awaiting West Wing Wednesday.
posted by Travis on 9/29/2003.

Segway meets Radio Shack

Build your own Segway! Be sure and read the "Rolls Royce vs Model T" section for a good laugh, especially the "Safety features."
posted by Travis on 9/29/2003.

Returning to the scene

Tonight my department is having an end-of-fiscal-year update dinner at Paolo's, in downtown SJ. I haven't been to Paolo's since the fall of 1999, when I was interviewing with Arthur Andersen and they took me there for lunch. Andersen made me an offer, but I turned them down for PwC. The irony is that if I had worked for Andersen, I would have ended up either at PwC or KPMG - the two firms that absorbed most of the Andersen staff in the Bay Area.
posted by Travis on 9/29/2003.

Light Rail

Fascinating article on Santa Clara County Light Rail in the Mercury News today. Highlight:
Santa Clara County's light rail system was the least productive in the nation and has operating costs that are more than twice the national average. ... San Jose isn't a dense place, and light rail doesn't work because the jobs and entertainment venues are so spread out... The initial mistake was choosing a form of mass transit that doesn't work for the city. It makes even less sense to compound the mistake by continuing to pour more money into a system that drains huge amounts of money and will never be a main source of transportation for anything more than a tiny, select group.Amen.
posted by Travis on 9/29/2003.

Fall gardening

My legs are sore, but not too sore to keep me from getting some gardening done. I extracted a full trashcan of leaves and trimmings, and cleaned a huge rootsystem out of the patio drain. That should let the winter rain water drain more easily. I also swapped the modular shelving out of my old closet, so now I am ready to do the demo and installation on the three closets in my bedroom. I will probably hold off on doing that until mid-October, when I can set aside one weekend day just to do that. Safeway had plenty of the soy milk brand that I prefer, so I stocked up. Sometimes they're totally out, and that sucks.
posted by Travis on 9/28/2003.

Trailblazer race

This morning I did the Microsoft Trailblazer 10k on Stevens Creek Trail. I improved my pace to 8:25, and finished in 52:10. That compares to the Run For the Community two weeks ago, which was 8:50 pace and 54:54 finish time.
posted by Travis on 9/28/2003.

New TV

I spent the morning hiking around San Francisco. I'm getting more and more familiar with the streets, plus it was very good exercise. Breakfast was at Bagel Bros on Castro Street - I got a toasted chocolate chip bagel with peanut butter. That was delicious. And the cashier was so chipper and personable that it made my day. You don't get that kind of service very often these days.

I also visited with Oreo, Darren's parrot.

Then it was off to Costco for what is becoming a weekly Costco run. I tried the Very Berry Smoothie - it was very good, but I could just taste all those carbs! I bought a Panasonic 27" TV. I couldn't fit the box into my car, so I left the box behind. The picture is a little fuzzy, but I need to play around with the settings a bit more.

posted by Travis on 9/27/2003.

Kicking the vending machine

Okay, today was the last straw. I put in my 65 cents, and my Baby Ruth bar did not come out. I'm fed up!


Would you please forward this to whomever services the 4th floor vending machine?

Either the machine does not work properly, or it is not being stocked properly. Of my last five purchases, three have resulted in no food being dispensed. I can tell by looking at that some of the candy bars are not being loaded onto the turnstiles properly. This seems to be a much more severe problem with this machine then any other vending machine I have encountered (a 60% failure rate among my recent purchases). I've grown tired of going down to the first floor to get my 65 cents refunded each time. Can we either get the machine fixed if it's broken, or get the person loading the machine to load the turnstiles properly?

Travis Wise
posted by Travis on 9/26/2003.

How much will you charge me for that cookie?

SMU's bake sale got shut down pretty fast.
posted by Travis on 9/26/2003.

Sue's Indian Cuisine - Lacking Variety

I had lunch with Darren and Austin at Sue's Indian Cuisine. I'm a fan of Sue's - it's regarded as one of the best Indian restaurants in the South Bay, and I concur. But the lunch buffet is lacking. There's only about 5 entree dishes available, and only one or two chicken dishes. That's just not enough. For $9, I expect a chicken curry entree, a lamb entree, and mango ice cream for dessert. I'm told there's another Indian restaurant in Mtn View on El Camino Real that I need to try. I think that will be my next destination.
posted by Travis on 9/26/2003.

Segway recall

Government is recalling the Segway scooters. Seems people kept falling off of them. No!
posted by Travis on 9/26/2003.

Casual Friday's

There's some guy walking around the office in shorts. Clearly taking casual Fridays too liberally.
posted by Travis on 9/26/2003.

A new Outlook on spam

Review of Outlook 2003's anti-spam features. I use a whitelist through Hotmail, and it's brilliant. No more spam.
posted by Travis on 9/26/2003.


I missed the first episode of Survivor, so I got cought up tonight. My favorite Survivor is Rupert. I love his personality, and he used to be a gravedigger ... he looks just like it. Go Rupert!
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.

Debate about Illegals

I thought this exchange between Camejo and McClintock was very interesting last night - probably the most interesting part of the debate to me:

CAMEJO: ... I really object to this term illegal. I mean, you know, in the first debate I referred to who came over here totally illegally and it was European Americans who came over here. But they are here. So give them a driver's license, give them their rights. I'm not going to object to that. But these are the people of the indigenous people of this continent. Let's understand that if your economic situation was the same as theirs, you would do exactly the same thing. People all over the world are moving through borders to try to feed their families. Let's look at this as a human problem we face, not as criminality. These are part of our families. We need to help them and work with them and give them medical insurance and the cost that will come about, they are paying for it because right now they are contributing as taxpayers.

MCCLINTOCK: I think you are all losing sight of a very important fact, and that is we are talking about families that are in this country in violation of our nation's immigration laws. Now this nation has the most generous immigration policies of any nation in the world. Illegal immigration undermines that process of legal immigration that's the strength of our nation, and there are millions of people who are willing to abide by our immigration laws to come to this nation, become Americans and see their children grow up and prosper as Americans. Illegal immigration is the process of cutting in line in front of them, and I don't believe we should be rewarding such behavior. Illegal immigration is costing this country $4 billion in direct costs out of our treasury by the most conservative estimates available. We've got to make sure our immigration laws are enforced. I led the opposition to the measure on giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants because it undermines the enforcement of our immigration laws.Italics are mine, on the sound byte that I thought was the best, even though I hate McClintock.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.

Taking Away Our Wrench

My company has announced that they will provide staff with only soft copies of the code and regs. I'm in a tax consulting group, and use code and regs constantly. As my coworker said, not giving us hard copies is like taking the wrench away from a plumber. Hopefully it only applies to the non-consulting group.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.

Former Ernst & Young Partner Arrested

Ooops. Guess he shouldn't have shredded those papers.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.

"Sue their asses" is a term of art.

When I was a kid, I was subject to the same abuse that this kid has been subject to at school. In hindsight, I realize that a lawsuit was really the only way to get the school to protect me. Talking to the principal and teachers did not work. Bullying must not be tollerated at school or at work, and far too many school administrators and teachers think that bullying is "normal" or acceptable behavior. It's not, and it has lifelong implications. Mark Shaposhnikov should sue for far more than $100,000 - this kid will have a lifelong psychological impact from the abuse he continues to receive at school. Mark should also sue the parents of the bullies - they are responsible for their childrens behavior. And I'd throw in the always catchy Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and go for punitive damages.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.


My plan was to replace my Honda Civic with a BMW 325 or 330. Now I'm leaning towards a Honda Civic Hybrid. The main reason is how much I'm driving with working in Mountain View, and my 29 MPG fuel efficiency with my current Civic. It looks like the Hybrid would up that to around 48. And it's cheaper than a 325.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.

West Wing Wednesday

The change between last season's West Wing and this season is marked - more quiet scenes, weird camera angles, and bouncy cameras. Last night's show was good, but John Goodman is irritating. I thought the best part of last night's episode was the preview of next week's episode, which looks absolutely riveting.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2003.


I listened and watched to parts of the debate tonight. My mind isn't changed, which is good, because I voted two weeks ago. I thought Arnold came off better than I had expected - but then again, they had the questions in advance, and he is an actor.

Today was a quiet day at work - lots of people gone. I went up to our SF office for a quick hand-off meeting. I didn't realize Embarcadero 3 has parking underneith it - I always parked in Embarcadero 4, even though KPMG is in number 3. Now I know. I learn so much from Bonnie.

I ran a 50' tv cable from a cable junction in the attic, down a hole in the ceiling of one of my closets, snaked it around the wall, and plugged it into my VCR. Now all I need is a TV (coming Saturday).
posted by Travis on 9/24/2003.

News from Wooster, Ohio

Wooster is home to a Farmer Hoping to Grow 'Great Pumpkin'. I used to drive through Wooster on the way to my grandparents house in nearby Canton.
posted by Travis on 9/24/2003.

West Wing returns tonight!

West Wing returns tonight. 9pm, NBC. Can you feel the excitement?!
posted by Travis on 9/24/2003.

Oh No. The Calls Might Continue?

U.S. Court Blocks Anti-Telemarketing List
posted by Travis on 9/24/2003.

Spam law

I'm not optimistic that the new California spam law will do one bit of good. But, we have to try. When I went to the Chron website to view the article, three pop-up windows appeared. Maybe what we really need is an anti-pop-up-window law.
posted by Travis on 9/24/2003.

Bad Drivers

This little movie about bad drivers is really funny (Quicktime required), except for the racial overtone.
posted by Travis on 9/23/2003.

Geek Eye for the Luddite Guys

Fortune Magazine did a little experiment: 3 geeks + $15k + one average family = ?
posted by Travis on 9/23/2003.


Oh, I forgot to mention, the X-10 remote control and transceiver arrived in the mail yesterday, so I wired that up to control the attic fan from the new remote switch in the hallway. That seems to work well, although I had to set up a nightlight in the hallway on the same channel so we have some way to tell if the fan is on or not - it's very quiet.
posted by Travis on 9/23/2003.

Happy Fall

Today is the first day of Fall. Happy Fall. Campbell was fairly sunny when I left for work, but Mountain View is very overcast. Something weird must have been going on with the Hamilton Ave Highway 17 onramp this morning, because traffic was backed up really far on the side street I use to get onto the freeway (Capri?). I've never seen it backed up that far.

Last night after work I went over to Storables and picked up the modular shelving for my three closets. It wasn't as much material as I expected - it all fit nicely into my car. I'm planning on redoing all three closets all at once, in mid-October. We used this same shelving system for two closets in Kenny's room, so I'm pretty familiar with the best practices for ripping out the existing shelving, repairing the walls, and putting the new stuff in. My other goal for this week is to run cable TV coax into my bedroom, and possibly buy a TV this weekend. Costco had a nice 27" Panasonic for $219, which beats

Last night at the gym I overheard a guy making a very bigoted comment to a personal trainer. It didn't disturb me much, but I thought it was ironic, because ... well ... it was just an ironic comment to make in that particular gym. I swam for a little bit - I need to do that more.

West Wing premiers on Wednesday at 9pm, NBC. Last season's cliffhanger was that Zoe Bartlett was kidnapped, and the president resigned so that the kidnappers could not influence his decisionmaking. I can't wait to see how it turns out. TV Guide said that he will return to power within the first 3-4 episodes.
posted by Travis on 9/23/2003.

West Wing Wins!

My favorite TV show, West Wing, hit it big last night at the Emmy's. I can't wait for the new season to start.
posted by Travis on 9/22/2003.


Yesterday was Waterworld day. About 25 of my friends and I went over to Concord for the the event. It was a private party, so they closed the park to the public. It was a lot of fun. Of course, I'm afraid of the slides, so I stuck to the wave pool and the river that winds its way through the park. I expected it to be very hot, but it wasn't bad. I was doused in SPF 45, so no burns.

posted by Travis on 9/22/2003.

Movie Reviews

I saw Mambo Italiano on Friday night at the Embarcadero movie theatres. It was a gay and Italian version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The influence was impossible to miss, but it stood on its own. I wasn't too keen on the ending, but it was a very funny movie.

Last night I saw Underworld at the Metreon. $9.75 for a movie ticket! Geez. And the movie wasn't that good. I should have skipped it. Too much gratuitous blood and guts.

I'm spending much of today at Waterworld in Concord. I haven't been to a waterpark in over ten years. I'm far too scared of the tall slides to go on those - I'll just hang out in the wave pool. :)
posted by Travis on 9/21/2003.


This morning I had breakfast at Tangerine with Patrick and Frank. I had a Farmer's Omlet, which was very good, but they tried to stuff a little bit too much ingredients into the omlet. I'll get the potatoes on the side next time. But the omlet came with a side salad, which was delicious, and a ton of food for the money.

Another late afternoon lunch at Costco. I'll have to skip the frozen yogurt next time - it's not all that. The berry smoothie looks better.
posted by Travis on 9/20/2003.

Ninth Circuit

Looks like mostly conservative judges will hear the California recall case.
posted by Travis on 9/19/2003.

Cheap Chinese Food

I had dinner last night at a uber-cheap Chinese restaurant on the peninsula last night with a dozen people who work for a e-mail mass marketing company. They ordered a ton of food, for $7 per person. It was ridiculously cheap, and pretty good quality. More importantly, it was really nice to see how they all interacted with each other. I could tell their workplace must have a lot of positive energy and teamwork. The lady I sat next to has a similar background to mine, so we had a very good and hilarious discussion about the Midwest.
posted by Travis on 9/19/2003.

New ad slogan...

Overheard in the bathroom: "Lemonade helps prevent scurvy." Good to know.
posted by Travis on 9/19/2003.

Cruz Comes On Stong

Last night on the KRON evening news at 9pm I saw at least five commercials for Cruz Bustamante. No on 54. Yes on him. All within a 30 minute span. Only one commercial for Arnold. Will we have six months of this? We should know soon.
posted by Travis on 9/19/2003.

Bay Area Teen Wants to Start High School 'Caucasian Club'

Girl at Contra Costa County high school wants to create caucasian club. NAACP official says he's worried the club will create "racial divisions." As opposed to the black students' club, Asian students' club, Hispanic students' club, Muslim students' club, etc.?
posted by Travis on 9/18/2003.

Larry Sonsini

The NYSE has asked Larry Sonsini, of Wilson Sonisini fame, to take the head job of the NYSE.
posted by Travis on 9/18/2003.

The fewer people I deal with the better

I bought two smoke detectors at Home Depot today (one for the attic, one for my bedroom), and used the self-checkout. Then I bought some soy milk and yogurt at Albertsons and used the self-checkout. The machines at both stores were made by the same company. I wish Safeway, my preferred grocery store, had self-checkout machines. I was an early adopter on self-checkout, and I'm completely sold on the idea. The fewer idiots I have to interact with each day the better, although I will say Home Depot's checkers are usually very nice and knowledgable people. Safeway's checkers just seem inefficient, especially when a dumb-bunny customer tries to pay with an out of state check. I'll take the self-checkout lane anytime, if they had it.
posted by Travis on 9/17/2003.

Cell phones on flights

United sent me this e-mail:

Beginning today, you may use cell phones* shortly after landing on all domestic United flights after the aircraft has left the active runway and is taxiing toward the gate. Flight attendants will make an announcement advising you when it�s safe to use your phone. For safety reasons, you will not be allowed to leave your seat during taxi to retrieve your phone.

On departure, you may use cell phones on domestic and international flights only when the aircraft door is open.Makes sense to me. I can't imagine the phones interfere with ground-to-ground communication.
posted by Travis on 9/17/2003.

Wireless networking and fans

As with many of the Linksys 802.11b projects I've been involved in, getting the wireless print server up and running seemed to take much more work that should be required to get one company's projects to talk with one another. But it seems that the new wireless print server we installed at home is stable. It allows us to access the printer (soon to be replaced by a printer/scanner/copier) that is now located in the hallway, without any wires.

I've discovered that the key to getting the attic fan to operate efficiently is to totally block off the surrounding air vent, so that the hot air being expelled can't come directly back in. I even ventured over to the other vent (the one with the scary looking but apparently vacant hornets nest) to make sure cool air is being drawn in, and it is.
posted by Travis on 9/17/2003.


I cannot believe it. Stoddards in downtown Campbell has closed their doors, unannounced. Bankruptcy is rumored to be the reason, but the Sunnyvale store is still open.

This is interesting, because downtown Campbell and the local politicians pinned an economic revitalization of the sleepy downtown on Stoddards when it opened. It was the main reason given for the need for a huge parking garage built right across the street.

I ate at this Stoddards probably a dozen times since it opened a few years ago, and I always thought the quality of the food was substandard to the Sunnyvale Stoddards. I know several other people agreed. But the sports bar always seemed to do good business in the evenings, and they always seemed to have a lot of business, even in the down time.

The City of Campbell says that they will find another restaurant for the building. Doubtful. The space is huge, and includes brewing equipment ... in this economy, and in downtown Campbell, I doubt another restaurant will take over that large space. I suspect they'll have to subdivide it, and use some space for offices.

It's too bad to see that restaurant gone. I'm sure the city benefited from the tax dollars, and it brought a lot of people into the downtown area.
posted by Travis on 9/17/2003.

Ninth District

Here's a good legal summary of what is going to happen at the Ninth Circuit court when it rehears the recall case.

That reminds me, I need to get my admission certificate to the Federal District Court framed.
posted by Travis on 9/16/2003.

Attic Project Complete

I'm proud to say that the attic fan project is complete. Tonight I finished the wiring, so there are now two switched outlets in the attic, one with a flourescent light plugged into it, and the other with the attic vent fan plugged into it. The fan is controlled with an X-10 module, so I can turn it on or off from down here in the house. It's also got a thermostat switch to turn it on when the temp goes above 90, and off when the temp goes below 90. Hopefully that will help keep the upstairs of the house cooler on the hot summer days.

I spent the day up in Concord, a city I can now get to without a map. I think I've made about 10 trips in 3 weeks. I'll be back again tomorrow. I'm starting to call it KPMG North.
posted by Travis on 9/16/2003.

The Dreaded September 15

Today was September 15, which in the tax world is the biggest corporate income tax filing deadline. A year ago, when I was in the fed tax group at PwC, I was frantically busy with the tax return of a large energy company. After I finished, I didn't feel my work was appreciated enough by the manager, so when the call came from the KPMG recruiter shortly thereafter, it wasn't a hard decision. This year, now that I'm in international tax, my life wasn't impacted too much by the deadline, but I did have one large project due today that has kind of turned into a messy project. It looks like another visit to my favorite city, Concord, is coming soon.

Tonight I had Lawyer's In The Library in Mtn View. I only had 3 clients, so it was easy, and all the cases were interesting. One family I felt particularly bad for. Normally I don't. But this family was having a real tough time with a family law situation. I was able to help them quite a bit, I think. Tomorrow is their hearing - we'll see how it goes. Then I went to the gym and swam for a bit.

posted by Travis on 9/15/2003.


Oh, that's just great. This morning I dropped my absentee ballot in the mail, with the appropriate chads punched. Now the election has been put on hold. I wonder what will happen to people like me who have voted already? And what about the propositions - they aren't related to the recall, so will they be counted? What a mess! I have been disenfranchised by the courts. Raped politically!
posted by Travis on 9/15/2003.

How We Raed

Mitch Kapor has an interesting comment about how we raed txet.
posted by Travis on 9/15/2003.


Geoff corrects me - my new saw is called a Sawzall (brand name).

A Sawzall is a brand of reciprocating saws made by Milwaukee Tools. I believe they were the first one to come out to the market with this type of electric saw that would cut through nails, pipe, and wood like butter.

Hmmm... I wonder if I have any nails or pipe to cut through. :)
posted by Travis on 9/15/2003.

10k results

Wow, the 10k results have been posted already. My time was 54:54. I'm happy with that. My goal is to stay under an hour. My next 10k is on October 12, but before that is the Half Dome hike.
posted by Travis on 9/14/2003.

Busy Sunday

Today has been busy, and physically challenging. I ran the Run for the Community 10k this morning at Baylands (north of Shoreline). My time was 54 minutes and something seconds - I'll get the results off the web in a few days. I was happy with that time - it was a minute or two faster than my prior 10k's, and I wasn't putting much effort into it today.

On my way home I stopped at Home Depot and bought supplies for the attic. My neighbor has put plywood down in his attic so he can walk around up there, and installed a gables vent fan. So I bought 10 pieces of plywood for flooring and nailed those suckers down to the beams, and installed the gables vent fan. Our upstairs gets so terribly hot, and their house was amazingly cool. I also installed a remote thermostat up in the attic so I can monitor the temperature. It took about three or four hours to install all the flooring and the fan. I had to buy an electric saw .. I think the guy at Home Depot called it a "sawsaw" although maybe he just had a speaking problem ... to cut away some of the wood in the attic to get the fan in place. All that is left is for me to hardwire the fan into the electrical system, and hardwire the flourescent light that I bought. That will make storing stuff up there much easier.

The plywood flooring:

The vent fan:

posted by Travis on 9/14/2003.

Big Dogs and Dual Birthday Parties

My friend Larry told me that he likes how I frequently update the blog, so I thought I'd come home and update it for Saturday before he has a chance to read it.

This afternoon my department had a get together at our head partner's office up near Danville. He has a huge house

And an huge dog (that's my coworker's son Henry next to the dog). The dog made a massive noise when it barked.

It was amazingly hot up there - about 100 or so in the sun. I went directly to Bill and Kevin's dual birthday party. They have a birthday on the same day, so every year they have a joint birthday party.

Tomorrow I have a 10k run in the morning - the Run for the Community, up near Shoreline. In the afternoon I'm going to try really hard to install an attic vent fan, which will help relieve some of the heat out of the attic, and cool the rest of the house down.
posted by Travis on 9/13/2003.

Dog Mauling Update

It's been nearly a year since my last comments on Noel and Knoller - the mauling dog owners. They've been sitting in jail for a little over two years now. Robert will be released sometime next week. Marjorie will be released sometime next year, "because she has not earned as many good behavior and work credits as Noel." Isn't that a surprise. IMHO, these folks are getting out of jail a few years too soon. At least they have both been suspended from the Bar.
posted by Travis on 9/12/2003.

Rich Vending Machines

The vending machine on the 4th floor ate my .60 cents when I tried to buy Reeses Pieces. And the cafe on the first floor is closed, so I can't get a refund. Maybe it's just as well.
posted by Travis on 9/12/2003.

The Ten Commandments and American Law

Excellent article about how the Ten Commandments are most definitely not a basis for U.S. law.
posted by Travis on 9/12/2003.


I did something I've never done before. I bought a Heavenly season pass. I'm going to be in Tahoe for 5 days over New Years, so I'll use it then, and if I go up just one or two other weekends, that'll pay for the pass. Some of my friends have access to cabins up there, so I'm sure I'll have the opportunity. Last time I went skiing was with JY, Galen, and Steve in early Feburary before he moved to NY. JY got me up on an intermediate slope, and the wind was blowing so hard with snow ... it was scary.
posted by Travis on 9/12/2003.

Celebrity Deaths

Oh my goodness. John Ritter died. How unexpected. I grew up watching him on Three's Company in the afternoons. His character was really quite groundbreaking at the time.
posted by Travis on 9/12/2003.

Paying Brianna's RIAA bill P2P boss has come forward offering to pay off the $2,000 settlement 12 year old Brianna agreed to with the RIAA. Brianna got many offers to pay the settlement, thank goodness.
posted by Travis on 9/11/2003.

The Feds

I am now admitted to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. I should have taken care of that 3 years ago when I was admitted to the State Bar of California, but I didn't file the paperwork.
posted by Travis on 9/11/2003.

But would you pay for this?

Friendster may start charging. But would you pay? I wouldn't, and I'm a devoted Friendster user.
posted by Travis on 9/11/2003.

Eat more dogs, Cambodians urged

Well, that's one way to solve a stray dog problem.
posted by Travis on 9/11/2003.

Two year anniversary

I woke up when the phone rang. It must have been sometime between 6 and 6:30 am. I picked it up... it was my mom. "Turn on the television, quick." Clearly, something bad happened. Kenny and I turned on the television. There were the WTC buildings, one on fire. A minute later, an object went into the other building, and now both were on fire. No one on TV knew what was happening. As we prepared for work, I watched on the television as the two buildings disappeared into a thick plume of smoke and dust. No one knew what happened initially, but then the realization struck the broadcasters (and us) that something had happened structurally to the buildings. Maybe they had partially collapsed. I remember thinking that tens of thousands of people could be dead, and what difficulty it would be to repair that much structural damage so far up in the air. But there was nothing I could do, so I went to work.

At work, everyone was huddled around a few computers reading or watching the initial streaming video of the airplanes. Then, sometime around 10:30, the fire alarm went off. My building was directly in the flight path to San Jose airport, so we took it seriously; maybe someone saw a plane headed for our building? We raced down 17 flights of stairs, even though we realized it was unlikely an airplane would target the PricewaterhouseCoopers San Jose office. Out on the street, most of us decided to go home. Austin drove me. I sat at home for a few hours and watched television.

My car was stuck downtown, so around 1pm, I took a bus to the light rail station, and light rail downtown. On light rail, the woman next to me had a home-made necklace made out of a postcard of the twin towers on a string around her neck. There was complete silence on the train. I retrieved my car and computer, and came back home, and camped out in front of the TV to watch the news. Some people avoided it. I couldn't.

The next day, I learned that five people from my company died in the airplanes, including one man who was a partner at PwC who I knew, along with his domestic partner and their child. That was my closest connection to a 9/11 casualty.

In November, I will visit NYC, and one of the few places on my itinerary to visit is the WTC site.

It's hard to imagine how we got from that morning two years ago to the current situation we are in in Iraq. The president says they are linked. And I agree that Saddam is a bad guy who needed to be taken out. But the expense, loss of American lives, and lack of exit plan make me question how much our leadership has thought this through.
posted by Travis on 9/11/2003.

Blogger news

Blogger, the tool I use to create these posts, is doing the opposite of what most web companies are doing; offering something for free. They have stopped their premium "pro" service that wasn't available for new subscribers since they were acquired by Google, and have given almost all of the "pro" features to us "basic" users for free. The new features make posting much more convenient and flexible. Unfortunately, they have not yet made RSS feeds available; the one feature I am viewing as critical to blogging. I converted to RSS for reading the blogs I follow, at least as many as publish in RSS, a few weeks ago, and love it. I'm a convert.
posted by Travis on 9/10/2003.

Whoopie! Well, not really.

I watched the new Whoopie show last night, starring Whoopie and what I'm told is her real-life brother. I think the show fell flat on its face. The bulk of the humor was racial humor that frankly, fell flat. The only redeeming quality was the white girl who acted black, but that'll get tiring after a few episodes.

In other television news, West Wing will be back on in just a few weeks. Can you stand the excitement? I can't
posted by Travis on 9/10/2003.

Back from Concord

Today was my last day in Concord at the client site. Tomorrow it's back to the office in Mtn View. Concord was okay, but getting tiring being all the way up there and away from home. I did manage to find the Concord 24 hour fitness though. Brand new site, brand new equipment, it was nice. But empty.
posted by Travis on 9/10/2003.

Real Estate

My neighbor has put their townhouse up for sale. $485k. It's not quite identical to mine - theirs has a third (small) bedroom, and some upgrades mine doesn't have. But geez, $485k. That's a lot of money.

I got my recall absentee ballot in the mail today. I'll take a look at it tomorrow. I'm still undecided. Early on, I said I would vote yes on recall, and for Arnold. I'm just not sure right now. I'm leaning towards no on recall, and Bustamonte as back-up. The trouble with being an independent is the choices are wide open.
posted by Travis on 9/10/2003.

Voice of S.J. leaving air

Rigo Chacon leaving the airwaves.
posted by Travis on 9/10/2003.

Xenophobic Gray Davis

Davis criticized Arnold for not being able to pronounce "California" correctly. Actually, I think Arnold is prounouncing it correctly. It's California, not Calafornia. As Yin points out, it's ironic for Davis to make that comment while signing legislation to give illegal immigrants a driver's license.
posted by Travis on 9/10/2003.


Record Labels Settle First of 261 Swap Suits. 12 year old girl has more than 1,000 songs on her computer, available for the public to download. RIAA sues her mom. Mom coughs up $2,000 to settle case. RIAA goes back into its cave.
posted by Travis on 9/9/2003.


It's back to Concord today - the client took us out to Il Fornaio for a delicious lunch. Not sure if I'll be back here tomorrow. The commute wasn't bad this morning - the backup before the Caldecot (?) tunnel wasn't very long.
posted by Travis on 9/9/2003.

The Perfect Commute

I've found the perfect bay area commute. Hwy 24 from Oakland to Concord. No traffic, no slowdowns, except the tunnel. This morning's commute was a breeze, this afternoon's even faster. The reverse direction is hellish though - inbound to SF at morning, outbound at night.

This evening I was listening to KGO-810 and Gene Burns had Gerald Uelmen on, talking about medicinal marijuana. Uelmen is arguing the case before the 9th circuit, and then if he wins, arguing before the USSC. Jerry was my law school crim law professor.

Speaking of Jerry and law school, I learned today why O.J. moved to Florida. Florida has a nearly unlimited homestead exemption, so when OJ declared bankrupcy, his creditors (Nicole's family) couldn't take the house in Florida. Same with the MCI-Worldcom guys ... they all have palatial estates in Florida.

It's back to Concord tomorrow for me. Hopefully I'll be back in Mountain View on Wednesday, but there's a chance it'll be stretched to Thursday.
posted by Travis on 9/8/2003.


I made my pilgimage to the new East Palo Alto IKEA today. It's layed out just like the one in Emeryville. I walked very quickly through the showroom, down to the purchasing area. Didn't find what I wanted, so all I ended up getting was a hotdog, diet coke, and cinimon bun.
posted by Travis on 9/7/2003.

Bush drops his doggy

posted by Travis on 9/7/2003.

Star Wars Kid Update

At least some people are trying to make it a better situation for the kid.
posted by Travis on 9/7/2003.


I saw the Graduate today in SF at the Curran. Ryder Strong, from Boy Meets World, was the lead male. Good play. The lady next to me told me about her life in SF during intermission. She was very interesting - I should talk with strangers more often.
posted by Travis on 9/6/2003.

Why I don't wear roller coasters

I have a deathly fear of them.
posted by Travis on 9/6/2003.

Back to Concord

Oooph, I have to be in Concord much of next week for work. I'm getting to know the east bay really well.
posted by Travis on 9/5/2003.


Phil's had some good quotes up these last few days. I'll reprint them here, since I'm kind of like Kazaa for HTML, plus I'm bored.

"Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos are born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are 'We're number two!'" - David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

"The tooth fairy teaches children that they can sell body parts for money." - David Richerby

"If you have to use more than four words when ordering coffee (latte, mocha, half-caff, non-fat, etc.) just get some damn tea."
- Betting Fool
posted by Travis on 9/5/2003.

Church and State Reach New Level of Coziness

Mormon Church OKs Firing Squad Change. The state of Utah wants to do away with the firing squad as a means of execution (can you imagine a more inhumane way of executing someone, apart from chopping their head off?), but they thought it would be best to ask the Mormon church for approval, demonstrating just how intertwined the Mormon church is with the state of Utah. "The Mormon statement removes a significant obstacle in Utah's effort to do away with firing-squad executions." ... "The clarification was needed, according to one commission member, because of a purported church doctrine that held that justice was not done unless a murderer's blood was shed."
posted by Travis on 9/5/2003.

Maybe she should talk with her husband first...

First lady asks cash-strapped states not to cut teacher pay
posted by Travis on 9/5/2003.

From Tony's e-mail signature...

"Apparently Arnold was inspired by President Bush, who proved you can be a successful politician in this country even if English is your second language."- Conan O'Brien
posted by Travis on 9/5/2003.

From Tony's e-mail signature...

"Apparently Arnold was inspired by President Bush, who proved you can be a successful politician in this country even if English is your second language." - posted by Travis on Conan O'Brien
posted by Travis on 9/5/2003.

Music Biz to Give File Sharers Amnesty

I have to consider whether to ask for amnesty from the RIAA or not. I hardly doubt I'm a target of the RIAA - I've downloaded probably 10 songs total from Napster and Kazaa during my short lived experimenting with MP3's, and from what I hear the RIAA is targeting uploaders, not downloaders. Nonetheless, it's a decision. That and the recall election. So many choices.
posted by Travis on 9/4/2003.

Say what?

I thought I didn't hear it right, but no, I heard it right. The governor wants to give drivers licenses to people who commit felonies - on people who violate our federal immigration laws. People who flaunt our federal laws, intentionally break them (a felony), and then think they have a right to obtain a state issued identification card and license to drive a vehicle. I don't understand why we think these folks can follow our vehicle code or the laws requiring insurance if they have already demonstrated a willingness to violate our federal immigration law? No, that won't do. We can't go giving our privileges (remember, driving is a privilege, not a right) to people who as a class are defined by the felony they have committed. That doesn't make sense. Which is exactly why it's being proposed ... the only reason this is on the table is because it's a special election, and Davis wants the Latino vote.

Okay, so here's my proposal. It's not novel - it's been around for years. Scrap this silly drivers license thing. Create a visa called a "guest worker visa". They can come here legally for a few months, work here legally and under the protections of our labor laws (with an exemption to the minimum wage act), make their money, then go home during the off season. They have no right to permanent residency - they are legal guests. It's a win-win situation - they can make more money here than in their home country, legally, and we can get the cheap labor that California needs for agriculture. In other words, legalize the status quo. The guest workers can then qualify for drivers licenses.

That is the only way to keep our immigration policy in line with our other laws. And it's time we updated our immigration policy - we all know California would grind to a halt if it weren't for the currently illegal seasonal workers. We need them, they need us. Davis and the others who are supporting this driver's license law are trying to peacemeal together and end-run around the immigration policy to favor the Latino vote, and that's the wrong way to go about changing our immigration laws. And another reason why Davis isn't getting my vote.
posted by Travis on 9/4/2003.

Hardly a surprise

Judge Throws Out Obesity Suit Against McDonalds.

I'm usually not in favor of curbing litigation - but this was one suit that had no business ever being brought before a court. The plaintiff should be required to pay court costs and defendant's legal costs.

McDonalds has never claimed their food was healthy, and they have never hidden the fact that it is not healthy (like the gun manufacturer cases, but unlike the tobacco cases, where the tobacco companies did in fact advertise health benefits of smoking and purposefully lied about the addictive properties of nicotine).

The McDonalds hot coffee case is different - my torts professor explained the details of that case, and at the time, McDonalds was serving their coffee far too hot so that they could prepare it well in advance of delivery to the customer. A reasonable consumer would not have expected the coffee to have been over 200 degrees when served. The plaintiff in that case had severe injuries to her genital area that will scar her physically and emotionally for the rest of her life. She deserved compensation for that.
posted by Travis on 9/4/2003.

Second Season for Joe Millionaire

Now how are they going to pull that off? Track down women with no televisions who didn't know about the first season? Sheesh.
posted by Travis on 9/4/2003.

Guns and Amish don't mix

News from the homeland: Ohio Amish Community Shaken by Shooting
posted by Travis on 9/4/2003.


"The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company� a church� a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past� we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing that we can do is to play on the one string we have and that is our attitude� I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you� we are in charge of our attitudes." - Charles Swindoll
posted by Travis on 9/4/2003.


I got up at 5:30 this morning to get to Concord at 8am for a client meeting that ended up lasting all day. Back again tomorrow, but this time I'll bring my computer and plug into the network. I start getting jittery after about 5 hours of no e-mail haha!

The president of my condo's home owner's association announced tonight she's moving, and thus resigning. She runs everything about our little condo complex. I don't know if anyone can step into her shoes. I was tempted to volunteer as president, but I think it would take too much time.
posted by Travis on 9/3/2003.


Last year it was electricity ... this year it's the budget ... next year, just watch ... it'll be worker's compensation. That's the next issue to blow up.
posted by Travis on 9/2/2003.

Hello, Hotmail.

Okay, it's official. I've given up on Mailblocks. They've got a great idea, and a great product, but they need about one more month of serious technical testing and bug fixes before they release it. I had numerous problems over the past week, and tech support either wasn't responsive, or when they were responsive they weren't able to fix it. What took the cake was a problem deleting messages - when I deleted them in my e-mail client (Outlook Express), the messages were deleted on the Mailblocks server, but the space wasn't freed up. I give up.

I have now migrated over to Hotmail. Hotmail offers the same whitelist feature that attracted to me to Mailblocks, albeit without challenge/response. That's fine - I can manually scan my Junk Mail folder for false negatives. It also offers features Mailblocks wasn't able to implement yet - mail filters. I'm also able to access Hotmail through Outlook Express at work, since it uses HTTP which circumvents the firewall. On the downside, I can't use my e-mail domain alias on Hotmail, but at least it works, and with a whitelist.
posted by Travis on 9/2/2003.

It's all about oil

Ever wonder what happened to all of the oil companies? Here's a chart that shows. Unfortunately it ends in 1980, otherwise the chart would continue combining, but you get the idea.
posted by Travis on 9/2/2003.

Google Compute

I installed the Google Toolbar this weekend, and installed Google Distributed Computing. My spare computer power is being used to decypher proteins for research.
posted by Travis on 9/2/2003.

Time to register!

September 22, 2003 is the last day to register to vote in order to participate in the October 7, 2003 election.
posted by Travis on 9/2/2003.

Ohio: Day 4

I left for Columbus this morning during what seemed to be a typhoon. It wasn't raining in Dayton, but as soon as I got on I-70 east, it hit. Traffic slowed to a crawl. Despite the downpour, I made it to Columbus in just over 90 minutes, which was good time. My flight to Phoenix left on time and arrived 15 minutes early, and my flight to SJC left on time and arrived 10 minutes early. A successful trip! Now, back to work tomorrow.
posted by Travis on 9/1/2003.


Now that I've reclaimed my inbox from the spammers (still averaging 230 a day), I've opened my mind to XML. XML is a publishing format that allows blogs to be aggregated by a tool like bloglines, so a reader can go to one spot and check for updates to a large number of blogs. Many people publish in XML as well as HTML, and the list is growing. This is clearly the future of web publishing, although it's still in its infancy. I've decided to become an early adopter. Unfortunately, I cannot yet publish in XML. Therein lies the hypocrisy.
posted by Travis on 8/31/2003.

Field Trip

This afternoon we went over to the local crafts fair (that's big in Ohio). The most interesting part was the huge flag that was hoisted by a crane over the local road. I can't imagine all the permits they must have needed for that.

After that, we went to the Walmart SUPERSTORE. This isn't just any Walmart - this is a Superstore, so it's like the size of four Walmarts in one. It has a full grocery store, huge hardware section, etc. I couldn't even see the other end of the building from the entrance.

posted by Travis on 8/31/2003.

Ohio: Day 3

Yesterday in the Dayton Daily News I read about the local mall's new policy of not allowing minors under the age of 16 to be in the mall unaccompanied by an adult on Friday and Saturday evenings. The purpose of the policy was to curb the noise level, the discomfort being felt by adult customers, and various problems like fights in the food court. This morning's article on the policy talks about the racial background of the the policy - lo and behold the "discomfort" felt by customers is greater when the minors are black, versus white. It also turns out that the Dayton Mall is in a white part of town, and the black parts of town don't have a mall. So the black kids take the bus, sometimes 35 miles, to get to the Dayton Mall to hang out. They view the policy as anti-black, while the (mostly white) customers view it as targeting all minors, regardless of race.

Colleen told me about another local racial problem. West Carrollton is building a YMCA not far from where she and dad live. The city councilperson whose district the Y is in (and who favored the project) had his car shot at. Why? Because the YMCA will have a basketball court, and some local residents are concerned the basketball court will attract black youths to the area. As dad said, "this is the 'little Kentucky' part of West Carrollton". Indeed.
posted by Travis on 8/31/2003.

Hmmmm, meatloaf.

The Golden Corral was everything one could wish for. No long lines, just lots of food, and clean plates delivered to the table. My first serving of meatloaf was a bit stale, but when I went back for seconds, fresh meatloaf had been put out, and it was yummy. Just the right amount of katsup on top. I had a sliver of a thin peanut butter fudge thing for dessert (ok, one of a few desserts - I'll be doing stairmaster next week) that was delicious.

We watched Catch Me If You Can tonight. The true story of a bank fraud guy from the '60's who turned around to help the government. Good movie, directed by Spielberg, with Leonardo in it. I like the true stories-turned-movies.
posted by Travis on 8/30/2003.

The Spamhaus Project

The Spamhaus Project - tracks spammers, and works to remove the most persistent ones from the internet.
posted by Travis on 8/30/2003.

E-Mail Dying?

With E-mail Dying, RSS Offers Alternative - good article by Steve Outing on the death of e-mail as a publishing medium.
posted by Travis on 8/30/2003.

Ohio: Day 2

This morning I slept in until 9 due to the time difference. Dad, Colleen and I headed over to Sam's Club where we bought $173 of candy for the juvenile wards of Montgomery County. We also bought a cake. Hmmm, yum. I had never been to a Sam's Club before. It's just like Costco, only in the midwest, and owned by WalMart. Same merchandise, but much shorter lines (okay, NO line) than CostCo. I did notice they had a lot of beer though ... right up front near the checkstands. I've always noticed that about Ohio - it's a beer state. And a smoking state. Yesterday I saw a woman smoking in the car with her teenage sons. The kid in the passenger seat was waving the smoke away with his hands. That's the kind of wholesome family values you see a lot of here.

Once again, I forgot to dress for winter weather when I visit Ohio. Outside, it's 85 degrees and humid, but my dad keeps the house very well air conditioned for medical reasons, so it's more like winter inside. I have a pair of jeans, but I'm resisting putting them on. I'm from California, after all.

Tonight is our traditional buffet dinner at Golden Corral restaurant. Everything you could ever want to eat, and in unlimited supplies. I'm saving room for the meatloaf.
posted by Travis on 8/30/2003.

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters

Slashdot added to my Frequent roll list.
posted by Travis on 8/29/2003.

What's that noise?

I forgot to mention that when my plane landed in Columbus, it rained more during our taxi to the gate than it has in California all this year. It was an amazing downpour. But no thunder or lightening. Now, in Dayton, we have thunder. I'm not going to need my sunglasses this weekend.
posted by Travis on 8/29/2003.

A member of congress who is a murderer?

Things don't look good for Rep. Janklow. He's been charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing a motorcycle rider. The facts certainly don't sound good for Bill.
posted by Travis on 8/29/2003.

Survivor 7

CBS announces the line-up for Survivor 7!
posted by Travis on 8/29/2003.

Ohio: Day 1

I'm typing this from somewhere above the mid-west, on my flight from Las Vegas to Columbus. My trip has been uneventful thus far... getting through security at SJC was a breeze with no line whatsoever, even on the Friday before a three-day weekend. The only interesting thing so far has been that the Southwest flight attendants are now wearing white rubber gloves to protect themselves from germs when they handle the food and drinks. Makes sense to me. On the flight to Ohio I picked up The Runaway Jury by Grisham and went through 3/4 of it. It's been over a year since I've picked up legal fiction, and I miss it. I used to go through one novel a day. I need to make more of a conscious effort to read. Runaway Jury lives up to my expectations of Grisham thus far.

I have all but given up on Mailblocks. I touted them as the cure-all for SPAM, and I believe they are, but their engineers are doing a horrible job maintaining the system. On Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 my account shut down - no access, just error messages, e-mails getting bounced. Repeated e-mails to support got me responses telling me to "clear my browser's cache", etc. But I knew the problem was on their end - I had tried to get access from several different computers, and after all, their servers were bouncing e-mails. This was on their end. Finally on Friday I got them to acknowledge that this was a problem on their end. They said they were working on it and would get back to me. So far, they haven't. Well, sorry guys, but that type of service is too unreliable for me. So I went about searching for a better way to use my old e-mail system (Outlook) with a Whitelist. Whitelist functionality isn't built into Outlook, so it required a plugin: Qurb. Qurb is an Outlook plug-in that maintains a whitelist, checks all incoming e-mail against the white list, allows matches to pass to the inbox, and sends the failed e-mails to a pending folder. It populates the whitelist by scanning the address book and read and sent message folders. I paired my whitelist from an initial 800 addresses down to 250. The software lets me easily add addresses to the list and manage the quarantined e-mails. The only down side is that it conflicts with the Outlook mail rules (filters), and I use the filters heavily, so this is a bummer. Hopefully future releases will fix that conflict. Bottom line for me is that I need a whitelist system more than I need filters, so I'll take the whitelist and sacrafice the filters. I also miss the web interface that Mailblocks gave me. But their reliability was unacceptable. [Update from the ground: Mailblocks claims to have fixed the problems with my account, so I will give them one last chance. If the account goes down again, I'm going to have to have a heart to heart talk with them.]

Last week I had lunch at Joe's Cable Car Restaurant in San Francisco. It's a greasy spoon burger joint near Silver and Mission. From the outside, it looks like a hole in the wall, but on the inside, it's pure San Francisco history. Joe opened up the place in the 1960's. It was a one-room take-out place then, built in the shape of a cable car. Over the decades, he built on to it, and now it can accommodate 60-70 diners (according to Joe). I ordered a #1 burger with cheese, small fries, and a diet cola. $14.50, with tip. More than I would pay anywhere else for a burger. But worth every dollar at Joe's. Not because of the quality of the food - I've had that elsewhere, for less. But because of Joe. There was a man at the table next to me working on his laptop. I thought he was a customer. He was in his 60's, white hair, white long mustache, very well dressed. But I looked at him, and looked at the paintings in the building of a man working in a restaurant, and realized that the guy next to me is the guy in the paintings - Joe. We talked for about 30 minutes about how he's trying to get his shop upon quickbooks, to speed up payroll of his employees. The food costs a lot, because he pays his employees a lot (and in fact, they were high quality employees, very polite and very attentive), and because he grinds his own beef every morning on-site, for all to see. Joe's is a high class operation, and from the crowd I saw there last week, the customers don't mind paying for that kind of quality.
posted by Travis on 8/29/2003.

Mitch Kapor

I'm adding Mitch Kapor's weblog to my daily read. He has interesting things to say about technology, as well he should, as the founder of Lotus.

I think I found the solution to my IE toolbar problem: HijackThis.
posted by Travis on 8/28/2003.


"It's in the way you're always hiding from the light

See for yourself you have been sitting on a time bomb

No revolution maybe someone somewhere else

Could show you something new about you and your inner song"

Tears For Fears, "Break It Down Again", lifted from my buddy Phil
posted by Travis on 8/28/2003.

Pop ups

I think my computer is infested with internet explorer browser add-ons. I don't know where they come from, but I seem to be getting a lot of unwanted toolbar additions and popups. I've installed some "Spyware" removers, but they're not doing the trick. The latest one is a search bar that I can't get rid of. I've figured out how to banish spam ... now they're attacking me with browser add-ons.

Speaking of banishing spam, I've finally convinced Mailblocks that the problem is on THEIR end, not MY end, and they say their engineers are working on it. Sheesh.
posted by Travis on 8/28/2003.

Say it's not so, Jack!

Oh no, Jack got booted off Big Brother! He was my fav.
posted by Travis on 8/27/2003.

Hump day

Well, maybe I spoke too soon. My Mailblocks account went down around 4:30pm, and is still down. I was able to reroute my e-mail through my work account, but it's a bummer that Mailblocks isn't reponding ... probably no answer to my e-mail to customer service until tomorrow.

Despite this setback, I am convinced I have seen the future of e-mailing: Whitelists. Right now, all the big e-mail clients support blacklists ... filters that let you specify people you do NOT want to get e-mail from. That's fine, but spammers figured out how to defeat that long ago. It's time for the big e-mail clients to now support whitelists. You create a list (your address book, for example) of e-mail addresses that you will accept e-mail from. Those e-mails hit your inbox. All other e-mails go to a "pending" folder for you to review every few days. Most of that will be spam. When you find a good e-mail, you drag it to your inbox, and the sender's e-mail is automatically added to your whitelist. This feature is not hard for the e-mail clients to implement as an option, but they need to do it in their next major release.

It's getting cold out. I spent a good thirty minutes tonight in the garden hacking away at overgrown plants, and watering very dried out plants. Next spring I need to do a major renovation - lots of plants need replacing and pruning.
posted by Travis on 8/27/2003.

From "Best of Craigslist"

I'm looking for a body double - you really don't even have to look like me. Black hair would help. I'll pay you by the hour, rates are negotiable. Your responsibilites will include sitting in my cube all day, surfing the net, looking busy, keeping quiet, laying low, and ignoring anyone that approaches. Will provide access badge and transportation to and from work. Office is located on Arques Ave in Sunnyvale. Position needs to be filled ASAP. Thanks.
posted by Travis on 8/27/2003.

Spam Stats

My initial 4-day stats are in from Mailblocks. Rolling average of 221 spam messages per day. Even I didn't realize it was that high.
posted by Travis on 8/27/2003.


My knee continues to hurt a bit. Nothing serious, but when I ran at lunch, it was a bit painful. I'm spending the rest of the day sitting at a client's site, so it can rest for a while. Just a few more days until my four-day weekend.
posted by Travis on 8/27/2003.

The virtues of public transit

I took BART from SF over to Oakland today for my client meeting. That saved a lot of commute time. I looked to see if my friend Emery was driving the trains I saw, but I didn't see him.

Public transit (impractical for me most of the time) has another virtue - no accidents. Tonight the car I was riding in was hit by a lady who (1) failed to yield the right of way, and (2) attempted to make a left turn on a no-left-turn arrow. Mainly a property damage accident, but my knee hit the glovebox, and it's hurting a bit. Irony is this is the second car accident I've been in in this car in two months. But neither were my friend's fault ... couldn't do anything to prevent it.
posted by Travis on 8/26/2003.

Just which commandments are the 10 Commandments?

Great article in today's Chron about the Ten Commandments. If courthouses were allowed to post the 10 commandments, which 10 would they post?
posted by Travis on 8/26/2003.

Movie Physics

Movie physics rating system.
posted by Travis on 8/26/2003.


I saw my first Arnold For Governor ad on KTVU news this morning. Yesterday in the KPMG gym I was watching MSNBC and they were talking about Cruz Bustamonte... I'm tempted to switch my planned vote for Arnold to Cruz. I'm not constrained by party lines, so I vote for whomever I think will represent me best, and Cruz has the "everyman" appeal. I'm hopeful the leading contenders will do a televised debate.

I'm working in San Francisco and Oakland today. I'll take BART between the two cities, so I don't have to drive on the bridge. I feel so much like a Spare the Air commuter.

One more day until IKEA Palo Alto opens. It's so close to work, I'll be able to go over at lunchtime. In a month.
posted by Travis on 8/26/2003.


Oooh man, it's hot outside. I went on my daily lunch run around Shoreline park, and woowhee, it was hot. Maybe I'll have to go back to running at the gym at lunch if this heat keeps up.
posted by Travis on 8/25/2003.

The End of E-Mail?

Dan Gilmore ponders if the end of e-mail is coming, because of SPAM. A subject near and dear to my heart. I think I've reclaimed about 20-30 minutes of my life back each day by not having to sift through the 150-200 SPAM e-mails I was getting a day.

Another attractive option to Mailblocks that Lawrence Lessig's forum mentioned is setting up your e-mail client with a white list. In other words, all e-mail by default goes to a "Pending" folder, except for e-mails that get filtered into your Inbox because they are addressed from a person on your "white list". I'm happy with Mailblocks, but if I wasn't, I'd use this white list method.
posted by Travis on 8/25/2003.

Some people shouldn't go out in public

Last night's Sex In The City was very good. Held up to its standard. I've been noticing how life around me is a lot like the show. On Friday night, my friend got shoe shanked (from last week's episode). He had to take his shoes off at Ed and Marcus' house, and when he was ready to leave, his shoes were gone. We looked around, and found them on the feet of some tall guy. Sally came to the rescue and retrieved the shoes from the offender's feet. What was that all about? Who does something like that?

Friday I make my annual trip to Ohio (Dayton) to visit dad and Colleen. I'm flying Southwest this time, from San Jose to Columbus, and then driving a rental car about 2 hours from Columbus to Dayton. Normally I fly United through Chicago to Dayton, but I couldn't get the flight booked with my frequent flier points, so I went with my Southwest rapid rewards credits. That makes the week a four day work week, same as next week with the holiday.
posted by Travis on 8/25/2003.

The excitement continues...

I configured Outlook Express to work with Mailblocks. Mailbocks uses IMAP, which I haven't used in the past, but it's great. But I doubt I'll be able to use OE from work - we have a pretty tight firewall that blocks most ports. Still, this will let me use OE at home and while offline, rather than the web interface. I'm going to stop now, otherwise you will think I'm getting paid to say this stuff. Off to watch Sex In The City.
posted by Travis on 8/24/2003.


I went to Costco today, and all I bought was two hot dogs. They were delicious. $1.50 for a hot dog and a 20 oz coke. Can't beat that. I wish Costco stocked 30x30 size jeans, but they don't.

Good article on Chip and Reichen's Amazing Race win. Speaking of TV shows, Sex in the City is on tonight, which mean's BBQ at Bryan's. He's so generous.

48 hours on Mailblocks, and it has proved to be totally worth the cost. Only true e-mails are making it to my inbox, all the spam is getting captured, and no false positives or false negatives. I'm thrilled.
posted by Travis on 8/24/2003.


Nearly 24 hours after signing up for Mailblocks, and I am a total convert. I get around 250 e-mails a day, 230 of which are spam. Why so many? My e-mail address is all over the internet. Mailblocks' challenge and response system will eliminate all of them, and still let my "real" e-mail through. Once I've added you to my address book (which I've done for most of my friends/contacts), your e-mail gets through to me without a problem. If you're not in my address book, all you have to do is one additional step to send me an initial e-mail, and then you're added. All that for only $9.95 for three years. Do I sound like an advertisement? Well, it's that good.

Last night I went to Ed and Marcus' party up in SF. That was a lot of fun. Three Harvard MBA's living in one condo ... that's a lot of business management power concentrated in one place. Afterwords a group of us ate at Osha in the Tenderloin. Pad Thai was delicious.

Picture from the beach:

posted by Travis on 8/23/2003.


Ok, I've done it. I've gotten serious about SPAM. I've joined Mailblocks, a challenge-response e-mail system. All of my non-work e-mail will go through that system. Unfortunately, that means that the first time (and only the first time) someone sends me an e-mail, they've got to go through a web-based ritual to authenticate that they're human. But I think that minor annoyance will be trivial once people catch on that this may be the only way we can eliminate spam from our lives.
posted by Travis on 8/22/2003.


I am seriously considering using Mailblocks to do away with Spam.
posted by Travis on 8/22/2003.

Queer Eye

In addition to the Amazing Race finale, I also watched Queer Eye last night on NBC. I think last night's episode was the best so far. Aside from the shower curtain, the Fab 5 didn't disparage the perp too much, and they involved the girlfriend much more than previous episodes have (and wow, what a girlfriend). There was some on-line chatter about the propriety of the Fab 5 wearing the perp's police uniform, but the guy's boss said it was ok, so no harm done.
posted by Travis on 8/22/2003.

What an Amazing Race

Yippie! Chip and Reichen won Amazing Race! They weren't the "best" team in terms of ettiquite and manners, but they played the game well, and I'm glad they won. Props to CBS for acknowledging them as a married couple.
posted by Travis on 8/21/2003.

Star Wars

Update on the Star Wars Kid.
posted by Travis on 8/21/2003.


There is a project underway in San Francisco to cover the city in a wireless LAN, allowing people with 802.11 WiFi cards access to the internet. This is clearly the wave of the future.
posted by Travis on 8/21/2003.


"I'm burning out like a Supernova here." - Coworker

"Loyalty is fleeting if you don't pay attention to them (employees)." - Steve Pogorzelski, President,
posted by Travis on 8/20/2003.

Virus e-mails

Some folks are reporting that they have received e-mails from me with attachments. Don't open them - that is a virus. Unfortunately, the e-mails are generated not by my system but by a computer I have no association with whatsoever that has the virus and somehow got my e-mail address, so I can't control it. Sorry! All I can say is to delete the e-mails.
posted by Travis on 8/20/2003.

High Court Rejects 10 Commandments Appeal

Judge Moore is now defying the United States Supreme Court, which rejected his appeal to keep the ten commandments in his courtroom. He has said he will not remove the commandments, despite the Court's action.

My opinion: Send in the marshals, arrest him for contempt, and send in a bulldozer to rip out the 5,300 pound stone monument.
posted by Travis on 8/20/2003.

Op-ed criticizing Chief Justice Moore

Tung Yin has a good op-ed piece criticizing Chief Justice Moore in Alabama. Today is the court-imposed deadline for him to remove the ten commandments from his courthouse.
posted by Travis on 8/20/2003.

E-Mail Virus

My inbox continues to be plagued by the new computer e-mail virus. It's not really a problem, other than the time it takes to delete the 72 messages I had waiting for me this morning.
posted by Travis on 8/20/2003.

Fast-Spreading Sobig Worm Adds to 'Worm Week'

My e-mail address was bombarded this morning by the Sobig worm. The activity seems to have calmed down now.
posted by Travis on 8/19/2003.

Eric Goldman Moves

Eric Goldman, a former adjunct professor at SCU who I took an IP class from one summer, and formerly General Counsel at Epinions, Inc., is now an assistant professor at Marquette in Wisconsin.
posted by Travis on 8/19/2003.

Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine hits the stores tomorrow in DVD format. If you haven't seen this movie, go rent it. It's one of the best I've seen in a very long time. The DVD includes a lot of "extras" that sound really interesting. You can order it on Amazon.
posted by Travis on 8/19/2003.

Financial Privacy Bill Takes Big Step Towards Becoming Law

The state legislature has finally come to their senses and passed the financial privacy bill that was desperately needed. Unfortunately they did so only under threat of a ballot initiative that would have been even more restrictive.
posted by Travis on 8/19/2003.

Ben Franklin

I was reading a Time magazine that my mom has at her house, about Ben Franklin. The article talked about his seven virtues, the first of which was an abhorrance of tyrrany. I wonder if he would have applied that to tyrrany at work as well? Like managers who ... well ... I can't give away all the secrets that I'm going to write about when I retire.
posted by Travis on 8/18/2003.

Spreadsheets and SF

I'm working on a 45,000 row spreadsheet that takes 20 minutes to recalculate everytime I change some functions. What a waste of time. I've turned off the "automatic calculate" function in Excel, but it insists on recalculating when I change functions. Ugh.

This last weekend was the first weekend I spent learning SF streets in earnst. I found a very nice map of SF online from the tourism department (link below), and armed with the map and a friend of mine who was willing to teach me, we spent a fair amount of time driving here and there, letting me learn the main streets, the on-ramps and off-ramps to the freeways, and which roads are best to take and which are best to avoid. It was a very productive experience, to be continued. I have such a hard time learning things like that - I think my brain wasn't wired very well for spatial learning.
posted by Travis on 8/18/2003.

Citibank Warns Customers of E-Mail Scam

More info on the Citibank scam that I admit I nearly fell for.
posted by Travis on 8/18/2003.


Dan Gilmore has a great explanation of RSS and where it's future may be.
posted by Travis on 8/18/2003.


Our work computer systems are so slow today - internet is sporatic, e-mail is down. Our IT group sent out a voice mail saying it's a virus attack.
posted by Travis on 8/18/2003.

Prop 13 Coming Home To Roost

The budget deficit has largely been caused by Prop 13 artificially lowering property taxes for a large part of the population. As a result, the vehicle license fee was increased back to it's old levels. But the political backlash was so great that we are now recalling our governor. So the governor has now said he will not increase the vehicle license fee, but instead increase taxes on the rich and on cigarettes. Rediculous. Gary Richards discusses the problem with Prop 13, the VLF, and the governor. My suggestion: Replace Prop 13 with something more fiscally sound; keep the VLF at some reasonable level ($200 a year seems about right for an average car; Hummers should be taxed around $1,000); and increase the cigarette and alcohol taxes.
posted by Travis on 8/18/2003.

Sunday Sex

It's Sex In The City/Fab 5 evening at Bryan's. I'm remote blogging from his computer. He's expecting a big crowd tonight, so he's marinating a ton of meat and firing up the BBQ. Bryan is so generous to do that every week.

I've had the pleasure of driving around a friend's rental car today - a Mazda 6. It's a great car, with wonderful features, including a well-placed power plug in the center console, an optional manual shifter transmission, and a radio volume that goes up and down commensurate with the speed of the vehicle (to compensate for road noise). I've been using the manual shifting a lot - passing cars, on-ramps, etc.

Time for dinner.
posted by Travis on 8/17/2003.


I spent much of the day in Berkeley and at IKEA. Had breakfast at Durant Square (chocolate chip pancakes - oooh my god), did some shopping, then went to IKEA where I bought some nick-nacks. Tonight was Lance's birthday dinner at Brother's, a Korean BBQ in Richmond District. It was expensive, but very filling - we ordered way too much food!
posted by Travis on 8/16/2003.

Prop 13

Arnold's financial advisor, Warren Buffet, has advised Arnold to come out against Prop 13. That's good news for those of us who believe Prop 13 is the reason California's economy and schools are in the crapper.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2003.

Citibank Fraud

If you're a Citibank customer like me, read this alert.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2003.


Yesterday afternoon was such a lazy Friday at work. By 3pm, the place was shutting down. One of the partners called a 4pm 'meeting' at Faz, so we all went over there for a bit.

Last night I saw Lara Croft Tomb Raider. I don't usually go for movies like that, but Tomb Raider was great. I give it two thumbs up.

Today I was supposed to do Tri-For-Fun #3 over in Pleasanton, but due to some schedule conflicts and a lack of serious training, I decided to opt out. Eric and Curt also backed out, so the decision was easier.

Today I'm going to head over to Berkeley and Emoryville IKEA to do some shopping, and then to a birthday dinner for Lance tonight. Happy birthday, Lance.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2003.

Map of SF

After living in the Bay Area for 14 years, I'm finally making it a priority to learn my way around San Francisco. This map is helping me a lot.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

Restaurant Review

Last night I had a late dinner at The Cardinal Lounge on Meridian Ave at Hillsdale Ave. Most people would drive past the Cardinal Lounge and think that it looks like a cross between a truck driver's stop and a miniature Las Vegas casino, and keep on driving. My past two dining experiences at the Cardinal Lounge pretty much confirmed that for me. But last night was the exception. I was forced to eat there since Marie Calendar's was closed. I ordered a spinach salad, with chicken breast. It was huge, and delicious. Chopped egg, bacon, almond dressing, a quartered tomato, cucumber, and plenty of chicken, all on a large plate. It was delicious, and exactly what I wanted. And the test I always use for good restaurant service was met: My water glass never went empty. Good job, guys! (p.s., in the past I've had sandwiches at the Cardinal Lounge, and I recommend staying away from them).
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.


My grandparents in Canton Ohio were without power for a little bit yesterday during the blackout, but power came back on for them late last night. My uncle and aunt in Ann Arbor are still without power, as is my cousin in NYC. He had to walk 9 miles to get home from work last night.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

At least Arnold paid a lot of income tax

Thinking of voting for Arianna Huffington? As a tax lawyer, I wouldn't, based solely on this tax scheme.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

Southern Ignorance

Judge Roy Moore seems to have forgotten what he learned in law school about the federal court system. Roy thought it would be cool to hang the Ten Commandments in his courtroom (he's the Alabama Chief Justice). A US District judge ruled the placing of the monument unconstitutional. Roy held a news conference yesterday, proclaiming that he has no intention of removing the monument.

The federal appellate court said:
The clear implication of Chief Justice Moore's argument is that no government official who heads one of the three branches of any state or of the federal government, and takes an oath of office to defend the Constitution, as all of them do, is subject to the order of any court, at least not of any federal court below the Supreme Court. In the regime he champions, each high government official can decide whether the Constitution requires or permits a federal court order and can act accordingly. That, of course, is the same position taken by those southern governors who attempted to defy federal court orders during an earlier era.

Right on.

In the mean time, fines and penalties are being assessed against the state court, and of course the Alabama taxpayers have to pay these costs.

But wait ... why is there a monument for the Ten Commandments in a state courthouse? There's no excuse for that.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

Travis "Fair and Balanced" Wise

Fox News is suing Al Frankin for the use of Fox's trademark term, "Fair and Balanced". Fox, of course, is hardly "fair and balanced", so the trademark really does ot apply. A movement is afoot to take the phrase back into the public domain. I'm doing my part to be fair and balanced.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.


�Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom?� � Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

The Baghdad Blog

The Baghdad Blog, by Salam Pax, is being published as a book.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

Employment for Lawyers reports that the big firms are starting to hire, in anticipation of the economic upturn.
posted by Travis on 8/15/2003.

Yahoo! Maps

Yahoo! Maps now has a "turn by turn maps" feature that shows you a small map of each turn you have to make. Totally cool.
posted by Travis on 8/14/2003.

Funniest scam spam

Got this today in my e-mail:

We have just charged your credit card for money laundry service in amount of $234.65 (because you are either child pornography webmaster or deal with dirty money, which require us to layndry them and then send to your checking account). If you feel this transaction was made by our mistake, please press "No". If you confirm this transaction, please press "Yes" and fill in the form below.

There is then a form for me to input my credit card number and expiration date. I wonder if anyone falls for that?
posted by Travis on 8/14/2003.


Gas prices are going up. I drive so much more now that I work at KPMG than I did at PwC. I used to fill my tank up four times a month. Now I fill up 6 or 7 times a month. It's shocking. But my commute to work trippled in distance, and now I have to also drive to the gym (PwC had a gym in the building). I also find myself driving more in general. The miles are really adding up. I replaced my tires a few weeks (2000 miles) ago, and now it's time for my 45k service. It'll have to wait until next month, when I have a little bit more time.
posted by Travis on 8/14/2003.

Congratulations, Nik!

More congratulations. This time to my law school friend Nik, who just finished the bar exam, and has a new job waiting for him with the S.F. Election's Department. Now *that* will be an interesting place to work!
posted by Travis on 8/13/2003.

Congratulations, Calvin!

After demonstrating much more patience with a bad job market than I would have had, my friend Calvin (with the Canadian accent) has a job offer! Way to go Calvin! Welcome to the wonderful world of the Big-4 accounting firms.
posted by Travis on 8/13/2003.

WiFi Update

The Linksys wireless problem with the desktop computer has been solved! We just had to manually enter the DNS information in the network settings ... something we didn't have to do with the two laptops.
posted by Travis on 8/13/2003.

Quote for the Day

"We cherish those who hurt us and neglect those who love us."
posted by Travis on 8/12/2003.

Way to go Tim!

My friend Tim completed his Swim for the Kids challenge. Way to go Tim!
posted by Travis on 8/12/2003.

Unabomber Update

Ted wants his papers back. Oh, and his bomb too. LOL.
posted by Travis on 8/11/2003.


Last night was Sex in the City night at Bryan's. In between Tivo trouble, the group watched Queer Eye for a Straight Guy, Boy Meets Boy, and SITC. I could do without Boy Meets Boy, but Queer Eye is very good, especially the episode we watched last night (the 24 year old guy who proposes to his 30 year old live-in girlfriend). They did a spectacular job remodeling his place. I think the Fab 5 should write a book with all their tips. SITC was great, although the "trapese" theme was a bit overdone.
posted by Travis on 8/11/2003.

Privilege no longer privileged?

Lawyers Pressed to Give Up Ground on Client Secrets. One of the most powerful things a lawyer has is the privilege. The corporate accounting scandals are bad, and lawyers did their share of contributing to that mess, but to erode the privilege is a bad mistake.
posted by Travis on 8/11/2003.

Gregory Hines Dies

How sad.
posted by Travis on 8/11/2003.

Chicago, in SF

I went to see Chicago tonight. The musical, not the city. It was a good show - even theatre expert Kenny (who has now seen it five times) agreed. But tonight must have been the Beverly Hillbilly special at the Golden Gate. The family behind us had very little clue about how to act properly at a theatre. At times, I had to bite my tongue to stop from laughing (for example, when they said that tonight's production "copied the movie"). No, dear ... the movie copied the musical. And the balcony is not referred to as "the second floor."
posted by Travis on 8/10/2003.


I'm inching closer to voting for Arnold. I haven't found much that I don't like about the guy ... social liberal, fiscal conservative, and rich enough to avoid special interests. Hey, it can't be any worse than the current situation.

I took 10 bags of old clothes and junk over to Goodwill this morning. That freed up a lot of space in what used to be the "storage" closet but has now become my primary closet since I moved bedrooms. Kenny will be moving his desktop computer into a room that doesn't have easy access to the DSL ethernet cables, so I bought him a USB wireless ethernet unit, so he can have internet access on the desktop from his room without running cables. I've been on wireless on my laptop for over a year now and love it. Now all three of our computers will be on the wireless network. This is the way to go.

Tonight we're seeing Chicago up in SF. Review later.
posted by Travis on 8/9/2003.

Who is running...

Politics1 - Online Guide to California Politics has the list of everyone running for governor. Includes Gallagher, and DL Hughley, and someone named Michael Jackson. Oh, and Bob Dole.
posted by Travis on 8/8/2003.

Six Degrees of Separation

Study upholds six degrees of separation. Anyone on Friendster knows that!
posted by Travis on 8/8/2003.

ACLU Sues Salt Lake City Over Plaza

Those crazy Mormons. Go ALCU.
posted by Travis on 8/8/2003.

Bad Law

One certain result of the current governor mess in California is a change to the recall law. Lawrence Lessig has a great commentary on the mistake that was the recall law.
posted by Travis on 8/8/2003.

Friendster success stories

I grew up in a tiny town in Ohio, out in the country. I went to an elementary school that only had one class for each grade. In my first grade class was a girl named Emily. She lived not too far from where I lived, so our parents had us play together. Last night she Friendstered me. Turns out she works with a very good friend of mine, and lives in Campbell, near where I live. That was so funny.

This morning on the stairmaster I heard on MSNBC about a domestic violence hit and run. The man drove his car over a woman, then circled the block and hit her AGAIN! This time he also killed a 3 year old girl standing over the woman yelling for help. Both the girl and the woman died. I haven't seen it reported yet on Yahoo News, but if this is true, the guy who did it gets placed on my eviction list. We don't need him in our society any more. Fire up the gas chamber.
posted by Travis on 8/8/2003.


I'm really tempted to vote for Arnold. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and no prior government experience. I'm really tempted.
posted by Travis on 8/7/2003.

Almost Friday

I'm back from a mini-vacation to Lake Tahoe with the Chung family. We had a really nice time. The cabin Joe found was just wonderful - great jacuzzi out back, and fully furnished inside. We spent a day at the beach swimming in the crystal clear water, and part of a day taking the Heavenly Ski Resort Ski Gondola up the side of the mountain overlooking the Lake. The views were amazing. And the round-trip drive only took six hours.

Budwiser at the Lake:

On the drive back I was listening to the radio commentators talk about the governor's race. I have so many decisions to make ... to recall, or not to recall, and if I choose to vote for the recall, whether to vote for Arnold or Gary Coleman. This is truly a hard decision.

I see that Ruben was accepting money under the table from the 205 Flava shirt manufacturer for wearing the 205 shirts on American Idol. Good for you Ruben.
posted by Travis on 8/7/2003.


I'll be in Tahoe for a few days - few if any posts.
posted by Travis on 8/4/2003.

First Friendster, now ...

posted by Travis on 8/4/2003.


Today started out really overcast, which was going to be a bummer for the RR/SBQA picnic. But the sun came out around 11 and all the clouds were gone shortly after that. The picnic was over in Willow Glen Park, with about 60-70 people. It was a great mix between two different social organizations. After the picnic, a lot of us went over to Timmie, Tommy, Toby and Matt's place to use the great pool they have there.

Tomorrow it's back to work, but only for one day. I'll be in South Lake Tahoe for a couple of days this week visiting the Chungs - Cecilia, James, Joey and LeeAnn are driving in from Utah. Austin and Cindy are driving up from Palo Alto. And me, from San Jo'. I haven't seen James and Cecilia since ... gosh, I think it's been a year since I saw them when they came out to visit Aussy. And I haven't seen Joe since Christmas of 2001.
posted by Travis on 8/3/2003.

Sunday update

I've been delinquent in posting for a day or two. I'll try to get caught up.

I have over 300,000 people in my Frienster network. It started out at like 1,000.

I saw Seabiscuit the other day. That was a really good movie. I highly recommend it. I heard the author of the book interviewed on NPR last week, and she had some really interesting things to say about jockeys and the troubles they went through in the 1920's and 1930's. If I had time, I'd read the book.

I went bowling this weekend. I'm not a bowler. I should stick to dorking around on the internet.


posted by Travis on 8/3/2003.

Microsoft Millionaires Grapple With Wealth

Ahhh, the problems they must have.
posted by Travis on 8/3/2003.

Top Ten Urinals

I've peed at numbers 2, 4, 6 (truly breathtaking), and 9.
posted by Travis on 8/1/2003.

Schwarzenegger is a dumbass

Why does he have to do this? California is already the laughing stock of the nation, and Schwarzenegger, who we all suspect isn't going to run for governor after fueling all this hubub about a recall, is going help Jay Leno drive up his TV ratings by announcing his decision on the Tonight Show. Can we just evict this guy from the state? We really don't need celebrities using our political system as a publicity stunt.
posted by Travis on 8/1/2003.

Palo Alto police beating

Two rookie Asian-American police officers beat up an African-American guy in Palo Alto this week. Criminal charges have been filed.
posted by Travis on 8/1/2003.

How quickly fame changes us...

Ruben Studdard Sues Clothing Maker
posted by Travis on 8/1/2003.

It's like your credit report

The government is proposing creating a database of air travelers. Name, phone number, address. And, we assume, some indication of your "risk". It's like your credit report. And no doubt, it will be just as troublesome.
posted by Travis on 7/31/2003.


Bad day today. Six years is a long time. It's painful.
posted by Travis on 7/31/2003.

Recall Election

Early next week the California Supreme Court should decide if the recall law permits California voters to elect a new governor, or if the lieutenant governor fills the post if Davis is recalled. The recall law says that the voters get to choose a new governor; the Constitution says the lieutenant governor takes over. I'll put my money on the Constitution.
posted by Travis on 7/30/2003.

What's that?

I woke up this morning and the weather was sprinkling. Water! Hello .... this is California, and it's July. What's up with that?
posted by Travis on 7/30/2003.

Dumbass government program of the day

Wait ... the government was planning a future's market based on predictions about terrorism, assassinations, and "other events" in the Middle East? What kind of dumb ass project is that?
posted by Travis on 7/29/2003.

Shout out

Props to Andy, Whit and Derrick, who I saw at lunch today. It was great to see my former PwC coworkers, and even the partners who I didn't intend to see! I should have hidden behind a the tree.

I've been at a client's office for much of the day today going through documents. It's interesting to be in a different office, because I get to overhear whole new sets of conversations in the cubes. This is the company that has Diet Sprite in the kitchen, and that stuff is growing on me.
posted by Travis on 7/29/2003.

Pet Peeves

Web pages that automatically play music when they load. My corporate version of IE doesn't allow me to disable the music. It's so annoying. It's really not a good web page design feature.
posted by Travis on 7/29/2003.

Wharf to Wharf Race

This is the news article about the guy who died during the race. I ran directly by him as the medical teams were doing CPR. I'm shocked that he was only 23, because he looked quite a bit older than that.

Here's a great photo of the start of the Wharf to Wharf race that I ran on Sunday:

posted by Travis on 7/29/2003.

Recall Arnold

Way to go Arnold. You beat the recall drum for months, hinting that you would run for governor, and now that the recall has been put on the ballot, you are 'leaning against' running. You know what, why don't you stop wasting our time, and just stay out of politics.
posted by Travis on 7/29/2003.

This is what I'm talking about...

I've become addicted to Kazaa. Even though a lot of the songs I've downloaded have been unusable due to poor quality, I've gotten a lot of good ones. I'd be happy to pay $.99 or even $2.00 per song, if the quality was guaranteed, and it was delivered as a MP3 that I could burn or store. It sounds like Napster 2.0 will deliver that. I can't wait.
posted by Travis on 7/28/2003.

Bubble, part II?

Dan Gilmore wonders in his Sunday column if we're seeing a second bubble develop. I think he's right to be worried.
posted by Travis on 7/28/2003.


The Vatican is getting worried about losing its grip on the world. This reminds me of an article I read a few weeks ago about how Europe has emerged into a post-Christianity period, but America is still (stuck, IMHO) in a Christianity period, where politics and religion are very much still intertwined. The article talked about how in Europe, the abortion debate is almost purely a debate about a medical proceedure, while in America it is a debate about religion and morals. Same with gay marriage.
posted by Travis on 7/28/2003.

10K, garlic style

I woke up at 6am and drove down to Santa Cruz for the Wharf to Wharf 10k race. What an experience. I've only done one other 10k race before, and this was totally different - there were thousands of people. I believe the official count was somewhere around 15k. The race started at 8:30, but it took a few minutes before we could actually run, due to the mass of people. Once we were off, it went smoothly, until somewhere around the 4 mile marker where I passed the medical team doing CPR on a runner. That was disturbing. 54 minutes and 30 seconds after passing the start line, I passed the finish line in Capitola.

After a brief RR/Frontrunner's BBQ on the beach, I took 152 over to the Gilroy Garlic Festival for a few hours. I haven't been there since I was in the 8th grade, and from the looks of things, it hadn't changed much. It was incredibly hot, but a good thing to experience every 10 years or so. ;)

Portapoties at the Gilroy Garlic Festival:

posted by Travis on 7/27/2003.

Presumptions of innocence

Yin reprints a good commentary on the presumption of innocence vis-a-vis Kobe Bryant. I've never been of the opinion that the legal presumption of innocence does or should apply to public perception.
posted by Travis on 7/27/2003.

See Biscuit?

I went over to Century 22 tonight to see Seabiscuit. It's been getting good reviews. I give it a B. Good filming, good acting, and a good moral.
posted by Travis on 7/26/2003.


I went with SBQA this morning on a 9 mile bike ride around Shoreline. That was great - we had around 15 people blading, biking, and running. I ran about 4 miles on the way back to prepare for tomorrow's 10k. The weather was great, too.
posted by Travis on 7/26/2003.

Would that be the father?

KRON 4 news reported tonight that the two bodies of Uday and Qusay are still in the make-shift morgue in Iraq. The reporter said, with a straight face, that "no family members have yet come forward to claim the bodies." No, really?
posted by Travis on 7/25/2003.

Back in School

I attended an interesting MCLE course this afternoon on consumer protection, put on my the Pro Bono Project. It refreshed a lot of what I learned in Eric Wright's Consumer Protection course at Santa Clara Law. Good stuff.
posted by Travis on 7/25/2003.


I found out today that I passed the notary exam. So now in addition to writing wills and trusts, I can also notarize them. LOL.
posted by Travis on 7/25/2003.


I had dinner last night at a great Indian restaurant on Folsom street. The fish dish wasn't that good, but the lamb was delicious. The more I eat lamb at Indian restaurants, the more I like it.

I used Kazaa last night for the first time. I downloaded 50 Cents "In 'Da Club." I was inspired after hearing Ronn Owens on KGO yesterday morning talking about copyright and file sharing. Of course the artists should be remunerated for their works - that is the purpose of the copyright law. But I downloaded the song to protest the RIAA's actions against the little guys - they are essentially using the law as a terrorist tactic to scare people into submission, and I think that is going to backfire on them. They should spend their resources creating a service like iTunes, where people can download songs for 99 cents and do what they want with them. Let's face it, the days of buying a CD at the record store are over. The RIAA needs to wake up and get with the times. If they want to eliminate on-line file sharing, fine, I'm all for complying with the copyright law - but let's get on-board with a system that lets us easily download music that we can do whatever we want with (just like a CD).

This weekend is going to be busy - I have a CLE course I have to take this afternoon at Fenwick & West in Mtn View - they serve good cookies. Tomorrow is a bike ride, and Sunday is a 10k run in Santa Cruz (the Wharf to Wharf) and Gilory Garlic Festival. Whew.
posted by Travis on 7/25/2003.

Almost Friday

California did it again. The nuts that we are, we�ve approved a recall election of the governor we just elected. I have yet to see anyone clearly articulate what exactly Davis has done since the election that rises to the level of warranting a recall. The legislative intent of the recall law was not to cure "buyer's remorse", which is exactly what we have now. Is the expense of having an election really necessary? The energy crisis was before the last election - old news. As for the debt, who didn't see that coming? We were spending like fools during the boom, and all the experts said we were going to be in trouble afterwords. And more importantly, will San Francisco be able to pull this off? They can barely handle running a regular election, let alone a recall election within a month of the regular November election.

Last night�s Big Brother proved once again the danger in being nominated as a pawn: More often than not, the pawn gets evicted, no matter how much the houseguests initially support the pawn. Don�t ever be a pawn.

My friend who has had jury duty for the last five days was released yesterday after the jury could not agree on a verdict (hung jury). The case involved a man who was caught masturbating in public at Ocean Beach. There were two elements to the offense: Intent, and willfulness. There�s a good bar exam question (for those of you taking the exam next week!). Based on my friend�s comments about how poorly the jury system works, I�m now starting to think the jury system we have in place (where some of the lowest common denominators in our society get to vote on the accused�s guilt or innocence) is just democracy run amok. Professional juries, maybe? I don�t know.

So the U.S. government released the photos of dead Uday and Qusay. They look pretty dark and blurry to me � I wonder if the Iraqi�s will believe it�s them, and even if they do, what effect that will have. I think it was good that we didn�t capture them alive � it would have been a mess trying to figure out what to do with them. Salam Pax provides some very interesting commentary.

I get so much spam, it's unbelievable. At least 200 messages a day, no joke. I've tried setting up filters, but they only do so much. This is the problem with having my e-mail address all over the internet.
posted by Travis on 7/24/2003.


The corporate client that I'm meeting with this afternoon has diet Sprite in their soda fountain. It's not bad, but I don't think I'd drink a Super Big Gulp of it.
posted by Travis on 7/23/2003.


Lunch at Dishdash was great - we started with a hummus appetizer, and I had a chicken kabob, with very flavorful rice. Even though the restaurant was packed, the service was superb, and we were not rushed to finish.
posted by Travis on 7/23/2003.


I'm getting much better at watching volleyball lately.

I'm having lunch at Dishdash in Sunnyvale today. I haven't eaten there in over a year - probably more like eighteen months. As I recall, they had very good food. I'm looking forward to visiting again. Despite eating out a lot, I think I follow the 80/20 rule - I eat 80% of my meals at 20% of the restaurants I frequent in the south bay.
posted by Travis on 7/23/2003.


"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington, as quoted on Salam Pax's blog.
posted by Travis on 7/22/2003.

Howard Dean Update

Howard is kicking butt in California: Dean Surges to Top in California Poll. Go Howard.
posted by Travis on 7/22/2003.

Time for a cleaning

My twice-a-year dentist appointment is today. I'm anticipating a routine cleaning, without any problems.

My new neighbors must be deaf. They play Howard Stern very loudly in the morning. It's irritating, not because of the content, just the volume.

It's been hot as heck these last few days. 90, 95 degrees. At least it cools down somewhat in the evening. I think I need to get some sort of air conditioner for the upstairs, where the heat is pooling.

Last night I went to IVL volleyball to support my friends. I got pressed into scorekeeper duty a couple of times, which was funny since I have no idea how volleyball is scored. But Eric gave me hand signals for which team scored the point, and it worked out pretty well.
posted by Travis on 7/22/2003.

TiVo Sunday

Last night at Bryan's TV/BBQ night we watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Second episode. It was really quite good. The premise is that 5 gay guys go in and do a make-over on a straight guy. The perp in this case was a raggidy slob from New York. The five guys went in and redecorated his house, did his hair, wardrobe, hair, etc. It was quite funny. Then we watched Sex In The City, which was a rather good episode.
posted by Travis on 7/21/2003.

Death by Standardized Testing

My friend Phil has started blogging Death by Standardized Testing, a blog about his process of studying for the GRE.
posted by Travis on 7/21/2003.

Still Getting Dirt Out Of My Pores

I'm back from a weekend camping trip to Big Sur. Sorry to everone who got worried about not getting their Checklists in my normal 12 hour turnaround time ... sometimes I go on vacation. I am working with a great software engineer to implement a better automated distribution system for the Checklists. Anyhow, 10 of us went camping this weekend, and we had the best campsite high up on a hill, overlooking the rest of the Ventana campground. On Friday we set up camp, Saturday we did two hikes and went to the beach and BBQ'ed at night, and on Sunday we returned home. I think the most valuable lesson I learned was how to make smores using chocolate chips. Sure, it's easier to use a chocolate bar, but it's more fun to melt down the chips in a little aluminum foil cup over the fire. :)

Read about why John Gilmore got booted off of an airplane for a button he was wearing.
posted by Travis on 7/21/2003.

Jury Duty, Part II

I mentioned yesterday that I have two friends who have been jurors this month. I'm so proud of them both - they have taken it so seriously. Both have really wanted to make sure they determine the defendant's guilt or innocence based on the facts in court, not on their prejudices, and to follow the (somewhat confusing) proceedings carefully to make a good decision. Way to go guys. :)

I have three pounds of marshmallows in my trunk. I hope they don't melt.
posted by Travis on 7/18/2003.


Friday is finally here. Nine friends and I will leave San Jose this afternoon at 4pm for Big Sur, for two days of camping (so no updates over the weekend). Last night Galen and I bought $183 worth of groceries for the trip, and that's only for three meals. I'm hoping for a vacation-Friday commute this morning.
posted by Travis on 7/18/2003.

Jury Duty

Two people I know have had jury duty in the past month. One is on a panel now. Makes it hard to have a conversation, because I can't talk with them about their experience until it's over.
posted by Travis on 7/17/2003.

George follow-up

Elizabeth, clearly a very studious law student or bar exam applicant, writes in:

In due time, George should be charged with involuntary manslaughter or even voluntary manslaughter but not murder in the first degree or second degree because of lack of intent to kill, intent to inflict serious bodily injury or depraved heart murder. Even if he did not intent to kill anybody, he was grossly negligent (if found), of driving a motor vehicle.

Second, why is it that George was not able to stop the vehicle for almost 3 blocks? The issue of hindering the brake somewhere should be looked into.

Third, George was able to leave and go back to his home. I hope that after careful investigation and evaluation of the facts and circumstances, appropriate justice be given to the 40+ victims.I agree Elizabeth - I think involuntary manslaughter may be warranted. It's hard to imagine that you can cause that kind of carnage without there being some gross negligence or recklessness. We now know that George killed ten people, and he had at least two prior instances of difficulty driving.

Tim, Esq. writes in:The DA will HAVE to charge him with at least an involuntary manslaughter charge. He will ultimately do no jail time. Any prison sentance will be suspended. He is 86 years old. He has to live with what happened during the final few years of his life. That alone will probably kill him. Punishment enough. On the civil side, his insurance company will kick over the policy maximum right away, and run. Thereafter, any assets this man has will be wiped out. Thereafter, the PI goons representing the poor victims will go after the City of Santa Monica (who didn't put up some massive road block around the Farmer's Market), the State of California (DMV), and any person or entity remotely culpable.
posted by Travis on 7/17/2003.

One More Day

One more day until my weekend camping excursion to Big Sur. I haven't been camping in ten years (not counting the HoJo I stayed in for the bar exam). I now own a tent, an air mattress, sleeping bag, various camping gear, a hiking stick, and a CostCo size can of bug spray. It is hot outside. Like a hundred degrees. Hopefully it won't be quite so bad this weekend, on the aforementioned camping trip.

Chris from the Internet was nice enough to treat me to lunch today. We had a very nice chat about everything from songs about Ohio to to PDA phones to, yes, my favorite topic, the bar exam. Thanks, Chris!
posted by Travis on 7/17/2003.

Lawyer Humor

Hyperphrase v. Microsoft.
posted by Travis on 7/17/2003.

Was the Crash a Crime?

By all accounts, George Weller seems like a nice guy. He's the one who killed 8 and critically injured dozens yesterday in Santa Monica. He's been painted as a model citizen, someone who everyone wanted to be like. He volunteers for the community, he's intelligent, no criminal/civil record... nice guy. Oh, and he's white too, which helps his public image. After all, he looks like most of our grandfathers. So what should we do with him? For now, he's home resting. I'm sure he will be retaining a good civil attorney, because every personal injury lawyer in a 50 mile radius is salivating. But what about a criminal lawyer? Vehicular manslaughter is the most likely charge, if the DA can prove that George was "grossly negligent" while operating his vehicle. Did George intentionally disregard a duty to use reasonable care? That will depend on his medical record, driving record, advice of his doctor, family, etc. I know alot of the folks reading this are studying for the bar exam (less than two weeks away!) - you're thisclose away from being a lawyer, send me your comments on what you think we should do with George.
posted by Travis on 7/17/2003.

Dangerous Commute

Mr. Roadshow discusses the Central Expressway on-ramps. I commute on Central from Wolfe Road to Middlefield, and he's right - these on ramps are dangerous. Cars don't merge. I see accidents there all the time - usually rear-enders when the first merging car yields to oncoming traffic, and cars behind pile in. It's not a good situation. And oncoming traffic doesn't help by going 70-80 MPH. Okay okay, I'm one of them. But I stay in the number 1 (left) lane, particularly around the merges. [oh, and p.s., thanks to Dale for correcting my spelling mistakes in an earlier post - I am a horrible speller, and Blogger doesn't have a spell check feature]
posted by Travis on 7/17/2003.

Getting Serious About Elderly Drivers

8 people killed. Dozens critically injured. 86 year old driver plows 2.5 blocks through a farmer's market, because he mistook the gas for the brake. The obvious question is, should we be curtailing elderly drivers? California currently requires elderly drivers with vision impairments to take the written test every few years. That isn't enough. Once the legislature finishes passing the budget, they should pass a law requiring all drivers over 75 and under 20 to take the written exam and road test every two years.
posted by Travis on 7/16/2003.

Life in the Big-5, er, 4

When I retire and write my book, I need to include a chapter about managers. I've had some who are amazingly good. They are both technically smart and good at managing people. I've had others who are only good at managing people, and not technically bright. Many are technically bright, and bad at managing people. Some are not technically bright and bad at managing people. The last category are the ones who I want to write about, because they're so funny.
posted by Travis on 7/16/2003.

Ikea Grand Opening

August 27. Mark the date on your calendar, to stay away from 101 in Palo Alto. That's when the new Ikea store opens. I can't wait - I hate driving to Emeryville.
posted by Travis on 7/16/2003.

Big Brother Report

From my source (thanks, dad) with the live feed access:
This morning I turned on the video feed and there was Amanda and David having sex in the HOH bed. Nate had moved out to the couch to let them use it. Amanda is scheduled to be evicted tonight, unless this changes it. I don�t think they will be showing this video on the show tonight � it will probably show up on web sites.
posted by Travis on 7/16/2003.


Today's Boondock's comic strip reminds me of a training I attended when I worked for PwC. One of the partners kept using the word "irregardless." That confirmed all sorts of suspicions that I had.
posted by Travis on 7/16/2003.

Prayer Offensive or Offensive Prayer?

Thanks to Kent for sending this in - Religious Nut and Broadcaster Pat Robertson has called for the retirement of the "liberal" Supreme Court justices so that they could be replaced by conservatives, and overturn Lawrence v. Texas. He has launched a 21-day "prayer offensive" directed at the Supreme Court.
posted by Travis on 7/15/2003.

Police Confrontation Ends in Death of SJ Woman

Most of the time, when the police shoot someone who is posing a threat to the officers, I side with the police, regardless of how mentally unstable or otherwise incapacitated the weapon-weilding person was. We have to empower our police force to use self defense, otherwise, police officers will be unwilling to do take risks to protect us. But the case of Cau Tran in San Jose is not so clear cut.

Police responded Sunday night to a report of an unsupervised child in front of the home. The police were invited inside the home, where they found Cau holding a knife (the family claims it was a fruit peeler, police claim they have a 12" butcher knife in their custody). She failed to put down the knife in response to police demands. When she raised it above her head, the police shot her. This occurred over a 55 second time period. No doubt, Cau should put down the knife. It is not smart to be holding any sort of weapon, be it a fruit peeler or a knife, in the presence of a police officer. That is just not bright. But based on the TV interviews with the family, Cau spoke very limited English, and I'm guessing in the confusion, she did not understand the police requests for her to drop the knife. Dumb of her to raise it over her head, and I don't fault the police for shooting her - it sounds like reasonable self defense given what the police were presented with. And the police officers cannot be responsible for knowing how to say "drop your weapon" in the hundreds of languages and dialects spoken by residents of San Jose. But this seems like a fairly clear case of cultural/language barriers clashing with established and generally accepted police proceedures and policies. I don't think the D.A. should press charges against the officers - they have to be free to use self-defense.

Hopefully word of this incident will spread, and people will understand that when they are in the presence of a police officer, you should not have anything in your hands that could be used as a weapon. It sounds like common sense to me, but I guess not everyone knows that.
posted by Travis on 7/15/2003.

Scott ... the one with Herpes

Big Brother Ousts Housemate
posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.


Here's a picture of one of the Hearst Reindeer that I saw yesterday on the Mt. Madonna hike. These reindeer are descendents of the reindeer William Hearst bred.

posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.

Take Back The Government

Elected Officials Are Not On Our Side.
posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.


Bush says his intelligence briefings are "darn good" and that the uproar is a "bunch of bull." It's times like this that make me miss Bill Clinton.
posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.

Springer Files for Senate

Proving that truly anyone can be a politician in America, Jerry Springer is running for the Senate.
posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.

New Tire Joy

It's so much fun driving on new tires. The road is quieter, the drive is better. And if it rains (okay, that's unlikely for a few months), I won't slide down 280.
posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.

Bubble, Part II?

Dan Gilmor thinks the bubble is back.
posted by Travis on 7/14/2003.


I hiked a trail at Mt. Madonna today - it was a good trail, not much elevation gain, and not too hot.
posted by Travis on 7/13/2003.


So now it seems that the CIA tried to stop Bush from making reference to nuclear weapons in Iraq in his State of the Union speech. I guess that's a bit more than what we knew before.
posted by Travis on 7/13/2003.

Dean Update

Lawrence Lessig is taking a vacation, and Howard Dean has agreed to be a guest blogger.
posted by Travis on 7/13/2003.

Weird Stuff in Sandwiches

Saturday lunch was at Pasta Pomodoro on The Alameda. My Pollo Penni sandwich was good, but my friend's portabello mushroom sandwich had a piece of black plastic bag in it. They comped the meal.

Kenny, Austin and I went to the GAPA Runway pagent Saturday night. It was a great show, for those of you who are familiar with what it is.
posted by Travis on 7/13/2003.

New tires

After 42755 miles of faithful service, my Honda's OEM tires got retired today, and replaced by 4 new Dunlap SP40's. Just in time to drive up to San Francisco with Austin and Kenny tonight for GAPA's Runway show tonight.
posted by Travis on 7/12/2003.

Safety reminder

Mr. Roadshow reminds us not to leave children (or pets for that matter) unattended in a vehicle in the summer. What he doesn't say is that anyone who does needs to take remedial parenting classes before reproducing again.
posted by Travis on 7/12/2003.

Dumbass Award

Two Dogs Attack Boy Inside His Grandmother's SF Home. Wait - Grandma owns a Pit Bull and a Rottweiler? And allowed the dogs to get close enough to her 7 year old grandson to attack the boy, giving him "deep puncture wounds to both thighs"? Mom had to distract the dogs in order to rescue her son. I'm sorry ... but wait, Grandma owns a Pit Bull and a Rottweiler? With a 7 year old in the house? I don't even remotely understand that. Please explain why grandma and mom shouldn't go to jail for child endangerment, and for being dumbasses. These people are allowed to reproduce?
posted by Travis on 7/11/2003.

Consumer Rights

California takes a step in the right direction to protect homeowners from having their homeowner's insurance cancelled.
posted by Travis on 7/11/2003.

Tim's Swim-A-Thon

My friend Tim is doing a 2.5k Swim for the Kids challenge.
posted by Travis on 7/11/2003.

Overrated Management Concepts

Multitasking. Choose your preference: (1) Do one project really well in a short amount of time; (2) do multiple projects poorly in a short amount of time; or (3 do multiple projects really well in a long amount of time. Note that doing multiple projects really well in short amount of time is not an option.
posted by Travis on 7/11/2003.

Saw This Coming

The media is finally catching on to what most smart people have known for months - there are no WMD's in Iraq, and whatever evidence there was of them was either fraudulent, made up, or just incorrect. The media reports this as if it is a surprise. Who is surprised? Raise your hands. I don't see any hands. That's because we all knew there were no WMD's in the first place, and that Bush was just using the supposed threat of WMD's as a reason to go to war. That's old news - I first said that the day we started dropping bombs. This isn't like Vietnam, where the government lied to us and we were surprised about it. We knew we were lied to, but we knew the Iraqi war was inevitable, so we let it happen. The only real question is how much this military operation is going to cost us.
posted by Travis on 7/10/2003.

Boy Scouts Redux

I don't have a problem with the Boy Scouts excluding certain groups of people like blacks, gays, women, whatever. They're a private group, they can do what they want. But I'm glad a court agreed with me that the State doesn't have to provide access to its employees for the Boy Scouts to do fund raising.
posted by Travis on 7/10/2003.

More News from Progressive Canada

Canada is so much more on the ball than we are. First they legalize gay marriage, now they legalize medicinal marijuana. I'm tempted to move. I want to live in a progressive country, and we seem to be constantly dragged behind by the religious nuts.
posted by Travis on 7/10/2003.

Dumbass Award

21 year old Travares Moore set off an explosion (initially reported as a Cherry Bomb, now suspected to be larger) at the Oakland A's game this week, burning an 8 year old boy. Travares' dad told the Chron that it was an "accident." Really? Please explain how that happens. Did he accidentally bring an explosive device to the ballgame, and then accidentally chuck the thing into the stands, while it was accidentally lit? Oh no, dad, that wasn't an accident. Your son is just a dumbass, and his stupidity resulted in someone getting hurt.

Equality: The State Board of Equalization has changed the law and will now treat registered domesic parters the same as married couples for purposes of real property transfers. This change was very much needed. Now, when one partner dies, the property will pass to a joint tenant domestic partner owner without recognizing a taxable gain.

Dumbass Award #2: Two in one day! A Santa Rosa Junior College instructor assigned her class to write an e-mail to an elected official with the words, "Kill the president. kill the president." The Secret Service quickly got wind of the assignment. Hilarity ensued. Why are people this stupid allowed to teach other people?
posted by Travis on 7/10/2003.


BB4 was decent enough last night ... they focused a lot on Jee and Jun, and it's never good to be the focus of an episode. Amazing Race on tonight.

I forgot to mention that after the gym last night, Eric, John, Greg, Darren and I had dinner at a Vietnamese place on Castro in Mtn View. I think I had eaten there before. The curry was delicious - uniquely so.

Hard Choices: The California governor recall vote seems more and more likely. We have to decide (1) whether to recall Davis; and (2) if so, who to replace him with. The leading contendor, Darrell Issa, has a criminal record. The second closest contendor is a Hollywood actor with no prior public office experience. Why do we have such an incredibily hard time finding good quality political candidates in California?
posted by Travis on 7/10/2003.

CalLaw Follow-Up

Another reader writes in that she just accepted a job today from a posting, and encourages people using to apply for jobs they don't think they are necessarily qualified for, because you never know - you might just get it! Congratulations!
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

CalLaw Classifieds

One of my faithful readers, who I'll call "Rich", wrote in asking for advice on using the CalLaw Classifieds (also called "LawJobs"). I personally haven't used the CalLaw Classifieds since I left PwC back in November. ;)
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

False Alarm - Cisco Retracts Quote

Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Jenkins-Blum said Chambers actually said companies would start spending on information technology two to four months after their own businesses turn around, and that a Dutch newspaper had misquoted him as saying the turn-around was imminent.
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.


The most informative website I've found so far on benign essential blepharospasm (BEB). I've finally decided I need to get the botox injections to get my eye to stop twitching.
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

Man Wakes After 19 Years in Coma

It's stories like this that make you question your advance directive (the "turn off the machine" instructions).
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

Possible Recovery

The IT market will recover within the next few months. This according to Cisco CEO John Chambers, who may be a bit too starry eyed for his own good these days. Said Chambers: "In the next two to four months, companies' spending on IT products will recover. In two to six quarters, that will translate into a recovery in investments by Internet and telecom providers." (from John Paczkowski, Good Morning Silicon Valley).
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

Senate made wrong call on cell phones

The California Senate Transportation Committee killed a bill requiring hands-free cell phone use in cars. It's a shame to see our government cave in to big business money. That's not why we elect these people to public office.
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

Why are we so far behind?

Canada makes more progress.
posted by Travis on 7/9/2003.

Reality TV

Big Brother Season 4 got off to a good start. The only houseguest who impressed me out of the first batch of 8 was the retired FBI agent, partially because he didn't get much screen time. Most of the others seem like immature dolts.
posted by Travis on 7/8/2003.


Embarassing Skadden Arps e-mail.
posted by Travis on 7/8/2003.

Shootings - Plant gunman talked of 'wanting to kill people'. So ... waitaminute... this guy who everyone has described as a known racist was walking around his workplace (Lockheed) talking about killing people, and no one saw a problem with that? What ... did everyone think he was just joking, until he showed up at work this morning with a gun? Excuse me, but if one of my coworkers started talking about shooting people, action would be taken. I have a hard time believing Lockheed would be any different. Didn't we learn our lesson with Columbine? When people make threats, we have to take them seriously and get those people removed.
posted by Travis on 7/8/2003.

Stapler problems

What is it about Big-4 accounting firms and their cheap-ass staplers? At PwC, it was impossible to get a good stapler. You know, the big metal ones that always produce a crisp, perfect staple. We had these short little 5" plastic jobbers that spit out deformed, unbound staples. Stapling more than 4 sheets? Forget it. On my first day at KPMG, I was dismayed to learn that our staplers aren't any better. Same ones. The firms must get a heck of a deal on them. Today I threw out my fourth stapler in six months - jammed beyond repair. I should line them up on my wall as tropheys.
posted by Travis on 7/8/2003.

Pot case ruling expected

Gerald Uelmen, my crim law professor, is arguing a pot case in Fed court, as a preliminary injunction against the Fed's taking action against the Santa Cruz medicinal marijuana user's group.
posted by Travis on 7/8/2003.

Iranian Twins Die

Oooh man, that sucks. How horrible. They were both lawyers, too. This raises the ethical issue of life-threatening surgury that is essentially elective in nature.
posted by Travis on 7/8/2003.

The Chicken Gun

Kent sent me this link about the NASA chicken gun - funny story, thanks Kent!
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.


"Next time you're goofing off on the internet, in other words, the next time you're at work, visit" - Tom Bodett
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

Smoking Gun Found. Why Was It Lost?

NASA did a test today and shot a piece of foam at a wing of a Space Shuttle. The foam blew a 12" diameter hole in the shuttle. NASA scientists supposedly gasped at the result. Wait... are you telling me that in the 25+ years that the Space Shuttle has been in development and flying, that no one thought to shoot an object at the surface of the Shuttle to see what happened? A bird, a piece of debris, foam ... this is the first time they've figured out that if the Shuttle had hit something, it would have resulted in a hole? Don't they lob birds into airplane engines to see what happens as a test? Maybe I'm just stating the obvious, but it seems like they ought to run tests like that before the Shuttle flies, not after.
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

Dumbass Award

I agree with some of Michael Savages views - a tighter national border and ending bilingual education, but I'm glad to hear he got fired from MSNBC after his latest asinine comment.
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

Reality TV

Last night I got around to watching Amazing Race from last week. The NFL wives got the boot. That laundry washing in India was just amazing. I would hate to have my laundry washed there, ick. Tomorrow is the premier of Season 4 of Big Brother. Hosted by, oh yes, you guessed it, Julie Chen. The twist this season is that they are pairing up contestants with their exes, which will supposedly make the show more interesting. Then again, introducing a short dog into the show made it more interesting ... so it doesn't take much. I'm not quite sure how this show has made it to five episodes, but yes, I'll watch it. I guess there's enough people like to justify the show's life.
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

But They Have The Best Burgers

Wendy's sales aren't doing too well. Their stock has been rated "overweight." LOL.
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

Amazing Science

Surgery in progress in Singapore to separate joined twins.
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

Dead Links

There's a lot of dead links out on the internet pointing to my law school outlines. That has been creating a lot of problems. So I've brought back the "404 error" page, in hopes of directing people to the right place. Yes, I know, it's not a real smooth system, having my outlines on the Yahoo! group, but they were hogging tremendous amounts of bandwidth, and frankly, since they're over three years old, I'm not sure they're of much practical use any more.
posted by Travis on 7/7/2003.

Back home

We left Vallejo this morning, stopped in at the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Factory in Fairfield for a quick tour, and then went to Napa for a few hours before returning home.

Hope everyone had a nice July 4th weekend!
posted by Travis on 7/6/2003.

On Vacation, Day 2

Visited the Charles Schultz Museum this morning, and then the Luther Burbank Gardens this afternoon, both in Santa Rosa. Then we drove down to Vallejo. Neither Santa Rosa or Vallejo are very exciting little towns, but that's keeping with our tradition of going to small towns for July 4th. Tomorrow it's up to Napa, then back home.

Visiting the Snoopy Museum:

posted by Travis on 7/5/2003.

On Vacation

I drove up to Sonoma and Santa Rosa today for my annual tradition of going to a small town in California for July 4th. Toured downtown Sonoma, saw Len Tillem's building (KGO listeners will know who he is), and watched the fireworks from the Santa Rosa County Fairgrounds.

People really shouldn't bare their midriff unless they have the body for it (i.e. 32 inch waist max) ... it's not right showing that much flab in public. It just looks trashy.

Sonoma's truck owners take the Fourth of July parade seriously:

Tomorrow I'll pay a visit to the Charles Schultz (Snoopy) Museum here in Santa Rosa, and visit the Luther Burbank gardens.
posted by Travis on 7/4/2003.

Financial Privacy

Californians for Privacy Now is circulating a petition to get an initiative on the ballot to do what our state legislators have lacked the backbone to do: protect our financial privacy. This initiative would stop our banks and other financial institutions from selling, sharing, or profiling our personal financial records with other companies. This is already the standard law in the E.U., and it needs to be the law here. But our legislators haven't been willing to stand up to the banks and financial institutions. So we need to do it ourselves. Normally I think the California initiative system (which lets anyone with enough signatures put anything on the ballot- even things which are later deemed clearly unconstitutional) is democracy run amok, but this is one instance where our elected representatives are not representing our interests, and we need to take matters into our own hands.
posted by Travis on 7/4/2003.

Reminder of why we don't have to work today

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.
posted by Travis on 7/4/2003.


Even Bush isn't keen on amending the constitution. Not that you could get 3/4 of the states to agree on anything anyhow.
posted by Travis on 7/4/2003.


I'll be on vacation for the next few days. Happy Fourth of July!
posted by Travis on 7/3/2003.

Stupid Google Tricks

Try this soon, before Google fixes its site: 1) Go to; 2) type in (but don't hit return): "weapons of mass destruction"; 3) Hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button, instead of the normal "Google search" button; 4) READ what appears to be a normal error message carefully.
posted by Travis on 7/3/2003.

Where are they now

Diane Savage, one of my SCU adjunct law professors, left Cooley back in the boom for Stanford University, and is now back at Cooley.
posted by Travis on 7/3/2003.


"Seriously though, I can't go to the movie 'cause I'm hopefully selling stuff on craigslist tonight."
posted by Travis on 7/3/2003.

Okay, the new Blogger format seems stable now. I know most blogs have archives, but I've decided to turn that feature off. I'll continue to keep 7 days postings on here, so you'll just have to check in at least every seven days.
posted by Travis on 7/3/2003.

Okay, new format. BAM!
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

Article from last Friday's Chron on Friendster.
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

Webloggers held not responsible for content of blogs.
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

Friendster has been showing the "Friendster is Temporarily Unavailable" page for a long time now. Heavy traffic. They must have gotten a lot of publicity lately and their servers can't keep up. I wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It seems like the novelty is wearing off for most of the people I know.
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

"Trusting Microsoft to protect computer users from spam is like putting telemarketers in charge of the do-not-call list."

-- Sen. Debra Bowen blasts a Microsoft-supported anti-spam bill
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

Yea! Man Turns Tables on Telemarketer
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

Some (not all) conservatives are getting all excited about passing laws or even a Constitutional amendment to "defend marriage." Never mind that a federal law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Regardless, these conservatives are running scared because of the decision last week in Lawrence v. Texas. My question is this: If marriage needs defending, does it need defending from gays, or from heterosexuals? It seems like divorce is the biggest threat to the institution of marriage right now, and that threat comes from heterosexuals. California has a 50% divorce rate. That seems like a pretty big threat to the institution of marriage. Television shows seem to encourage this (Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, etc.). Why are the conservatives not clamoring for laws defending marriage against these threats? Make divorce illegal. Or at least harder to get. Rail against television shows that threaten marriage. Come on, guys! These are real threats to the institution of marriage... why aren't you defending marriage? Is it because many of the conservatives have been married multiple times, had numerous affairs, and fathered children out of wedlock? My gosh, it seems like some of these people are pretty big threats to marriage themselves! Maybe they should be locked up. Or at least identified as the hypocrites that they are.
posted by Travis on 7/2/2003.

Texas police have been told by an informant that Patrick Dennehy was shot in the head by his former roommate, during an argument. No body found. No arrests made yet. Dennehy went to high school here in the South Bay. The mystery deepens...
posted by Travis on 7/1/2003.

Howard Dean's campaign for President is off to a good start - he has raised more money than any of the other democrats so far.
posted by Travis on 7/1/2003.

Score one for free speech - Ex-Intel Worker Can Send E-Mail to Former Colleagues
posted by Travis on 7/1/2003.

Do-Not-Call List Grows to More Than 10M. If this thing works, it'll be the end of telemarketing. Yea.
posted by Travis on 7/1/2003.

The newspaper hanging in the bathroom at Stoddard's said that some guy has been taken into custody in the hit-and-run accident that occurred on Camden Ave last month. The guy is accused of intentionally hitting a motorcyclist in a road rage incident, and leaving the scene. The motorcyclist has permanent injuries. I'm quite familiar with this area since that's where my gym is, and there are a lot of motorcyclists who seem to ride around that area. It's also a tricky intersection of Camden, Leigh, and Hillsdale, so people do sometimes make driving mistakes in that area. But there is no excuse for intentional hit and run. That should be charged as attempted first or second degree murder.
posted by Travis on 6/30/2003.

I went to the eye dr. last week. My company's eye care insurance is not all that great, so I had to go to a Pearle Vision place in a mall. The doctor seemed good ("oh, you're colorblind!" yea, no kidding), but she really pushed Acuview II lenses. I took home a trial pair. I threw them away after having them in for about 8 hours. They dried up my eyes like crazy. For years, eye doctors didn't have to release contact lens prescriptions, but now they do. So now consumers can shop around for the best price. I have a long history of feeling like I got ripped off on contact lenses by eye doctors. No more!
posted by Travis on 6/30/2003.

Ooooh, man, talk about logistical problems. The Dykes on Bikes contingent suffered a broken arm early on in the parade, and that required a 30 minute halt while they tended to the injured. Then during the quarter-mile flag contingent, there was some sort of firetruck action ahead on the parade route, and that required another 15 minute halt. The rest of the parade seemed to go just fine, although I heard on the radio that Gavin Newsom was attacked by six people.

Dyke on Bike:

Happy Birthday to my friend up in Canada, Tim!
posted by Travis on 6/29/2003.

Happy Pride, everone. Be proud.
posted by Travis on 6/29/2003.

I spent much of the day shopping for Yosemite Half Dome Hike equipment. Walking pole, camelbak, all sorts of good stuff. I'll test out the camelbak tomorrow at the parade in SF. Went to dinner at a pizza place in Santana Row. It was okay. I still don't know where all those expensive cars come from that are always parked in Santana Row streets. I also noticed once again that far too many people wear "hip hugger" jeans who have far too much hip to hug.
posted by Travis on 6/28/2003.

Is anyone NOT signing up for the Do Not Call list? I mean, who would choose not to be on that list? Are there people out there who actually want telemarketing calls?
posted by Travis on 6/28/2003.

Went to see Capturing the Friedman's tonight. It's an independent movie about the Friedman family in New York. Father was charged with various counts of pedophilia and molestation, along with his youngest son. The movie is told through the eyes of the family video camera, that seemed to be running constantly. I came away from the movie thinking that the father got what he deserved, even though I doubt anything nefarious took place in the computer classes; and I think Jessie (the youngest son) was falsely accused. And the police and the judge! My gosh, could they have been any more jaded and biased? The judge even said that she knew from the beginning that Arnold (the father) was guilty. My goodness.
posted by Travis on 6/27/2003.

Well Chante, you've been sentenced to 50 years in prison for your callous behavior. Even with time off for good behavior, that's a good 30-40 years behind bars to think about why we don't put up with people like you in our society. Next time you have the opportunity to help someone who is in need, maybe you will, instead of letting them die a slow painful death in your garage. Goodbye Chante.
posted by Travis on 6/27/2003.

After 12 Hours, Do-Not-Call Registry Has 370,000 numbers. Am I being too optimistic to hope that this could be the end of telemarketing calls? I hope so.
posted by Travis on 6/27/2003.

Good article on page 1 of today's Chron business section about Friendster.
posted by Travis on 6/27/2003.

TGIF. Maybe not as hot today?
posted by Travis on 6/27/2003.

What a historic day. Bowers was reversed, and Strom Thurmond died. Two bigots down in one day.
posted by Travis on 6/26/2003.

Did I mention that it was hot today? I went to an after-work pool party in Willow Glen, and as I came south on 280, traffic was swamped around Meridian Ave. The power was out ... during rush hour. So I took the back roads to avoid Meridian, spent 20 minutes on Willow Street, and finally got there. It was great to see everyone there.
posted by Travis on 6/26/2003.

I went running at lunch today around Shoreline park. Whewee, it is HOT out there.

Chante is going to jail. Goodbye, Chante. Your presence is no longer required in our society.
posted by Travis on 6/26/2003.

On the last day of its term, in 6-3 and 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court reversed Bowers v. Hardwick, and invalidated sodomy laws in the United States.
posted by Travis on 6/26/2003.

Happy Birthday to my friend Ansel. Blogger was down most of yesterday so I wasn't able to post this at the appropriate time. :)
posted by Travis on 6/26/2003.

No wonder I wake up at the exact same time every day.
posted by Travis on 6/26/2003.

Fed cutting interest rates, again. Wow, we're getting close to 0 now!
posted by Travis on 6/25/2003.

There's a new indi movie out called Capturing the Friendmans. It's a movie about a family that went through a crisis when the father and his youngest son were arrested and charged with a shocking crime. The family underwent a media onslaught. This documentary looks at the family, the community, the legal system, and the era. I hope to be able to see it this weekend.
posted by Travis on 6/24/2003.

I don't think they had to worry much.
posted by Travis on 6/24/2003.

I want to say a few more words about Chante Mallard. She's the woman who hit Gregory Biggs with her car, drove home with him sticking out her windshield, and left him stuck there in her garage while he slowly died. At the time Mallard struck Biggs, she was under the influence of ecstacy, marijuana, and alcohol. Rather than seeking help, she let Biggs die, slowly, sticking out of the windshield of her car in her garage. If convicted, she could face life in prison. If she is convicted of doing the things she is accused of doing, I have no problem with her spending the rest of her life in jail. I think there are some people who are so insensitive to the norms and morals of our collective society that when they violate those norms, we as a society have a right to take those people out. Sometimes the violation is so bad that the death penalty is warranted (i.e. Richard Davis); other times, life in jail is more suitable. We'll see what the outcome of the trial is.
posted by Travis on 6/24/2003.

Interesting article a few days ago in the Merc about the racial tensions in Cupertino.
posted by Travis on 6/24/2003.

Cool link: My New York Daily News Internship : It Worked Out!
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

"I am so happy. But I am a bit sad, also. When I applied, I was a young man of 33 and had dreams about owning my own telephone. Now all those dreams are gone. My children will use the phone now." - Mohammad Ismail, 60, who finally had a telephone installed after Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone mishandled his application for 27 years.
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

Yosemite update: The Half Dome hike is now confirmed for Saturday, October 4. Ten of us go to Yosemite on Friday, and hopefully all ten will return Sunday. Staying in Upper Pines, two adjacent campsites.
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

The Supreme Court declared today that race can continue to be a factor in university admissions, but not by using a point system.
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

Howard Dean has formally announced that he is running for President.
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

Edmond and I tried to go to Banana Leaf last night, but they are closed on Sunday, so we went to the Thai restaurant next door. I splurged and got fried banana ice cream dessert. Ooof. It was great to see him though - it's been years. He's a dispatcher for Cathay Pacific Airlines in Hong Kong.
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

Woman enters plea in 'windshield' death. Hopefully she'll never see the outside of a jail cell again. We really don't need people like this roaming our streets.
posted by Travis on 6/23/2003.

Went to the R. Rec. anniversary party this afternoon in Rengstorff Park in Mtn View. Saw everyone there. One of my friends who was there stayed up until 4am last night reading the new Harry Potter book. I gotta get a copy and read it. Plans are starting to form for a Half Dome hike in early October. That's been on my to-do list for the summer, so I'm glad to see that starting to progress towards reality.

Tonight I'm taking Edmond, my buddy from Hong Kong, out to dinner at Banana Leaf. Edmond was so kind to me during my two-month stay in Hong Kong back in 1998. He and his friends took me everywhere - karaoke, the big amusement park, shopping ... all sorts of things. It made the trip so much more enjoyable. He's here visiting friends for a little bit, so I'm glad to be able to see him after so many years. And Banana Leaf ... well, you just can't beat Banana Leaf and their coconut rice.
posted by Travis on 6/22/2003.

I'm a little bit sore this morning, but not too bad. We have decided to skip the July triathlon and do August.
posted by Travis on 6/22/2003.

According to the California Energy Commission, 40 MPH is the speed above which its more fuel efficient to close the windows and turn on the A/C, because of wind resistance.
posted by Travis on 6/22/2003.

The triathlon is done. Curt and I had dinner at Pasta Pomodoro up last night, drove up to Pleasanton, got up at 5:30 this morning, drove to the site, and we were off into the lake at around 7:15 or so. Then onto our bikes, then running. My time was 1:22:10. Now I'm sore. Ouch.
posted by Travis on 6/21/2003.

This is wild. You can buy a home made out of a 727-200 Airplane on eBay. Click on the "Interior" link for a view of the furnishings.
posted by Travis on 6/20/2003.

United States Patent 4,558,302 expired today, 20 years after it was filed. That's the patent on the Lempel-Ziv-Welch compression algorithem, more commonly known as the GIF file format.
posted by Travis on 6/20/2003.

24 hours until triathlon. Curt (the one who talked me into this) and I will go over to Pleasanton tonight after work, since the event registration is at 6:30 tomorrow morning, and the start time is 7:30am. Should be over by 10:30.
posted by Travis on 6/20/2003.

I had coffee tonight with Gary, a friend of mine from Ohio. His ham radio callsign was one letter off from mine - KB8FOT (mine is KB8FOU). We always thought that was cool. Now he lives here in California with his wife and kids. It was great to see him and see how well he's doing.
posted by Travis on 6/19/2003.

48 hours until the triathlon. Last night I did 11 miles on the bike and 3.1 miles running. Should have added in 400 meter swim, but I'll wait until Saturday for that.
posted by Travis on 6/19/2003.

Dan Gillmor makes a good argument for why we need to grant ourselves financial privacy. Our legislature has failed in their duty to protect us.
posted by Travis on 6/19/2003.

Finished work early, so I was able to switch my flight to an earlier one. The Southwest ticketless kiosks are really handy. Just insert my Rapid Rewards card, and out comes the boarding pass.
posted by Travis on 6/18/2003.

Ahhh, almost time to leave Century Park Plaza for a brief visit to KPMG Century City, then for LAX. Yippie. :)
posted by Travis on 6/18/2003.

Day two of working in LA. No sunshine, just smog, and a windowless office with lots of documents and an Excel spreadsheet. I keep saying that someday I'll write a book about my experiences as a tax lawyer. I should start taking notes. It'll be a comedy.

I had a nice hotel breakfast this morning - overpriced oatmeal ($7) and two scrambled eggs ($8), and a great room service hamburger dinner tonight ($don'task), and swam a few laps in the "edgeless pool". What a bad idea. The edge isn't marked, so if you're swimming laps, you bonk your head on the "edge".
posted by Travis on 6/17/2003.

Day two in LA. Working today, not sure what I'm doing after work. My hotel room overlooks the ABC Entertainment Center, and I'm working on one of those two buildings in the Center, for those of you who are familiar with LA. The building has the largest underground parking area I've ever seen. They even have shuttles in the parking area to take workers from their car to the elevator. I would totally lose my car there.
posted by Travis on 6/17/2003.

You'd like to think that a Catholic Bishop, a good one at least, would have stopped. You'd like to think that a Catholic Bishop would know what is morally right and morally wrong. You'd like to think that a Catholic Bishop, a priest no less, would at least stop after he contributed to the death of a person. But this Catholic Bishop left the dying man on the side of the road. Hardly following the teachings of Jesus. Of course, this is the same Bishop who had to enter into a plea agreement to avoid indictment on obstruction of justice charges, and who lied to the police about the damage to his car. What kind of a religious leader is this?
posted by Travis on 6/17/2003.

Tonight I had dinner at this Brazilian restaurant in WeHo with Young and Adam. Very good food - reminded me of the Cuban restaurant on Race Street in San Jose. Same fried banana side dish for my very yummy chicken breast. Anyhow, Young spotted Ben Savage there at the restaurant, and sure enough, he sat down at the table behind us. He looks different ... older. Not like on TV. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have recognized him.
posted by Travis on 6/17/2003.

Made it to LA just fine, way too early in the morning to be traveling, and spent the day in what appeared to be the most secure building on the west coast. The body cavety search was less painful than I had anticipated.
posted by Travis on 6/16/2003.

Ooph. I should have used more sunscreen at the beach yesterday.
posted by Travis on 6/16/2003.

San Jose Teacher Of The Year gets pink slip.
posted by Travis on 6/15/2003.

Happy Father's Day!
posted by Travis on 6/15/2003.

Went to see When Pigs Fly tonight in SF with Kenny. It was a funny show at the New Conservatory Theatre. Apple pie ala mode afterwords at Bakers Square. Yummmm.
posted by Travis on 6/14/2003.

Network Associates V.P. Terry Davis pleads guilty to fraud charges related to an accounting error. He admitted making false statements to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Network Associates was one of the clients I worked on when I was with PwC.
posted by Travis on 6/14/2003.

Six more days until the triathlon. Three of which I'll be in LA, and not doing much in the way of training. :( Curt and I will go over to Pleasanton on Friday night, and get up bright and early Saturday morning for the event.
posted by Travis on 6/14/2003.

I've been asked about why I support recalling Davis, while I have a link for Dean on my website. That seems to be contradictory, since if Davis is recalled, a republican would likely be governor. For those who don't know, I'm a libertarian, but registered independent. I don't vote party lines, so I allow myself to pick and choose candidates. I do vote for major party candidates - not libertarian candidates. I support Dean (former governor of Vermont) for President because he is the most progressive on social issues of all the candidates. I support recalling Davis not because I think his actions/inactions have met the legal criteria for a recall, but because as a libertarian I tend to be in favor of doing crazy things like recalling a governor who I don't think has done very much for our state (see my post below for more comments on that). Am I concerned about who replaces Davis? Not terribly. Yes, Davis has made some progress on the social issues, and I don't want those rolled back or the progress stopped, but I'm just tired of constantly hearing on the news how screwed up we are in California - education, energy, taxes, money ... at this point, I'm willing to shake things up a little bit if it might mean a chance of fixing some things. Maybe Sacramento will take us seriously if we actually take a stand and recall someone. I'm willing to try it.
posted by Travis on 6/14/2003.

Oooh, I had more fun at Home Depot this evening.
posted by Travis on 6/13/2003.

Today was the last day at KPMG for the senior manager who hired me. He's gone off to greener pastures to be a partner at a large law firm. We had a big goodbye lunch for him, and then I had a second lunch with a friend. So no dinner for Travis. Another coworker who I helped recruit from my former employer left today for a smaller firm, and another coworker was riffed. Doh. Three down in one day.

I was reflecting today about some of the best things I've done in my house. The first is the dual-pane windows I put in a year ago - some of the best money I've ever spent. Second would have to be the DVD recorder - that thing is just magical. Even though I rarely use the DVD burning feature, the ability to tape-delay a show and skip the commercials is just magic. If you are a serious TV watcher, you have got to get a DVD recorder of some sort (I'm including TIVO in that category). Third would be the wireless LAN I put in a year ago, that lets me type this entry from the back patio, without any cables.

This trip to LA on Monday will give me my 16th Southwest Airlines credit, so I earned a free flight. I need to pick a place to go.

High numbers scare me. I'm connected to 87,961 people on Friendster. I think that's within 5 or 6 degrees of separation. And the Yahoo! Group I created for the California Bar Exam Primer now has over 540 members in just two months of being live. I really underestimated the demand for a discussion forum. I should have listened to the Primer readers and created that years ago.
posted by Travis on 6/13/2003.

You have to give this guy credit for creativity - he created a fake airline. In other news, the Mormons are invading.
posted by Travis on 6/13/2003.

My solution to the budget crunch: Rewrite the laws. Let the nonviolent criminals go free (prostitutes, people in jail for possession), stop fighting the war on drugs. Use that money to pay for teachers like Will Chavarin.
posted by Travis on 6/13/2003.

The effort to recall Gray Davis is certainly gaining steam, with 51% of California voters approving of the recall in a recent credible poll. I haven't signed the petition, but I'm beginning to lean towards doing so. While I don't think Davis is to blame for most of the problems we're currently in (energy, budget, education, etc.), the man is not doing much to help us out here. He has the charisma of a brick, and is all but invisible during a time that we could really use some leadership. Now, normally I would oppose a recall - after all, we just had an election, and recalls weren't designed for 'buyer's remorse'. But I see how much momentum this effort has built, and how much support it has, and I'm almost ready to get on the bandwagon and support shaking things up a little bit. Let's get some other idiot in there, and see if he or she can do a better job.
posted by Travis on 6/12/2003.

What part of 'no knives on the plane' is difficult to understand?
posted by Travis on 6/12/2003.

This woman is a dumbass. She should spend at least a few days in jail for wasting police time.
posted by Travis on 6/12/2003.

Reality TV fans: Don't forget, Amazing Race is on tonight! The spoilers promise an exciting asthma attack.
posted by Travis on 6/12/2003.

My trip to San Diego has turned into a trip to Los Angeles (Century City). I'll be staying at the very nice looking Century Plaza Hotel.
posted by Travis on 6/12/2003.

Business travel has been severely curtailed with the economy going down. So I don't get to travel a whole lot. But I'll be in San Diego Monday through Wednesday of next week, working with a client there. Hopefully that won't curtail my training for the mini-triathlon too much. My friend Curt talked me into doing this a few months ago, and it's now just over a week away. More details about that later.
posted by Travis on 6/12/2003.

Andy Bruno, Mercury News Action Line author, dies
posted by Travis on 6/11/2003.

Sale of prairie dogs and African rodents banned to combat Monkeypox. You mean people actually buy prairie dogs and African rodents?
posted by Travis on 6/11/2003.

"I don't usually wear my glasses into a shower. Since I couldn't see what buttons I was pushing, the crotch-level nozzle blasting 102-degree water came as a shock - and my attempts to shut it off only caused other nozzles to splash me as if I were in a penitentiary riot. "

-- PC World reporter Michael S. Lasky describes his experiences in the Hilton Garden Inn's "Room of the Future"
posted by Travis on 6/11/2003.

Who's paying for dinner?
posted by Travis on 6/11/2003.

Last night I finished the X-10 wiring for the family room and back patio. That worked pretty well, although I do need to replace one flourescent lamp that flickers for some reason. That lamp has always had issues.
posted by Travis on 6/11/2003.

My coworkers are going nuts with the voice synthethizers. Every time a cell phone rings, one of them has their computer say "PERSONAL CALL!" Then everyone laughs.
posted by Travis on 6/10/2003.

Toronto Starts Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses
posted by Travis on 6/10/2003.

Wow, Sam Waksal sentenced to 7 years in prison. In related news, UAL shares to be worthless.
posted by Travis on 6/10/2003.

"Show those numbers to the damn auditors and I'll throw you out the f-----g window."

-- WorldCom's former director of general accounting, Buddy Yates, offers some friendly advice to an employee asking for an explanation of a large discrepancy in the company's accounting.
posted by Travis on 6/10/2003.

I've gotten a lot of positive response since putting the "updates" back up, so I'll keep it going. I did decide, however, not to make an archive available. So you'll have to check back at least once a week.

One question I get asked a lot is about my job ... do I like what I do, being a tax lawyer. Yes, I do enjoy what I do ... I never wanted to do litigation, so this job is perfect. I spend my days doing research, writing memos and opinion letters, and meeting with clients to solve their international tax problems. On first blush tax law isn't very interesting, but with everything that has happened in the last few years - Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Andersen, etc., it's more of a conversation topic at dinner parties than it used to be, and not nearly as cut and dry as just opening up the tax code and regs. I've never had any second thoughts about working for a Big-4 accounting firm versus a law firm. The hours are wonderful (40-50 a week), the expected chargable hours are much lower than law firms, and because it's a large company, the benefits are the same as the large law firms.

More of the X-10 house automation stuff that I bought on eBay arrived today, so I'll finish automating some of the house lighting tonight.
posted by Travis on 6/10/2003.

Working in SF today was good ... traffic was super light - I breezed right up 280, all the way to King Street before having to stop. It was overcast until around 1pm when the skies cleared and it became sunny. I didn't get to see much of the sun - inside Embarcadero 3 most of the day. I did get to have dinner with my friend Joe at Firecracker - delicious Chinese food, on Valencia Street @ 21st.
posted by Travis on 6/9/2003.

My friends Rich, Michael, and Robert made the newspaper. And for those of you with a hard copy, those are my buddies Robert and Lee on the front page of the Local section.
posted by Travis on 6/9/2003.

'Potential Suspect' in Abduction Arrested. Great... I can't wait for this trial to happen, and some jury to open up a can of whoop-ass on whomever took Jennette and beat up her momma and her brother. The news reports say that Jennette was sexually molested by the kidnapper. I'll be patient, and wait for the legal system to run its course. But in the end, I suspect my vote will be the same as it is today. I'm sorry, but we don't need you on our island any more. You've been voted off. Goodbye!
posted by Travis on 6/9/2003.

Patio & Fountain Pics
posted by Travis on 6/9/2003.

Last night Hairspray won 8 Tony's. I saw it in Seattle with Joe, Gardner and Kenny. It was a great musical.
posted by Travis on 6/9/2003.

Dinner at Thai Orchid twice in one weekend. Whew. The food is good though, so it was worth it. Tomorrow I have to work up in SF. Hopefully the weather will be nice, and the commute not too bad.
posted by Travis on 6/8/2003.

Last night I saw Finding Nemo - good movie. Typical Disney morals, but it was great animation, and a fun story. Ellen DeGeneres did a great job as the voice over as one of the lead fishes. Her personality was perfect for the roll. Today Kenny, Jonathan and I went to the pride festivities downtown. The parade lasted a whopping 45 minutes, which is a record by San Jose standards. The festival in the park afterwords was great - I saw a lot of friends. The fountain is working really well. Pictures will be posted soon, I promise.
posted by Travis on 6/8/2003.

Went to a pool party this afternoon... something like 30 of my friends were there. That was great. Had a lot of fun. I'm going out to see Finding Nemo tonight, and go to the parade tomorrow in downtown SJ. Gas is down to $1.62 a gallon at the Rotten Robbie down the street - woo hoo! That reminds me, I need to get new tires for my car. 41,000 miles on the OEM tires.
posted by Travis on 6/7/2003.

I spent most of the day today building a fountain in my back yard. It's about 3' by 3'. I'll try to post a picture later on. I also wired up decorative lights (christmas tree lights) along the top of the fence. I'm going to put those two things, the porch lamps, and another existing fountain on X-10 remote controls. The fountain works pretty well, given that I pieced it together from parts at Home Depot instead of buying a ready-made kit.
posted by Travis on 6/7/2003.

My department's unofficial weekly "Burger King Friday" lunch was at In & Out Burger on El Camino. I haven't eaten there in nearly a year. I had two cheeseburgers. Yum.
posted by Travis on 6/6/2003.

Lacie, my pet parrot, got an e-mail ( today from the folks at LaCie tech support. They have adopted Lacie as their mascot!
posted by Travis on 6/6/2003.

Humerous 911 calls.
posted by Travis on 6/6/2003.

Muslim Woman Must Drop Veil for License. That makes sense to me.
posted by Travis on 6/6/2003.

Chris and Amanda (who?) were eliminated on last night's Amazing Race. Even though Steve and Dave are in first place, I think they will be eliminated soon. Thank you, CBS, for listing Reichen and Chip as "married".
posted by Travis on 6/6/2003.

Cellular number portability takes another step forward.
posted by Travis on 6/6/2003.

Bush shows off cool technology on Air Force One
posted by Travis on 6/5/2003.

New York Times in in turmoil over the plagiarism scandal. It would be bad enough, but this has a lot of racial overtones. The Boondock's comic strip has done a good job with the racial aspects of current events ... SARS, the war, New York Times, etc.
posted by Travis on 6/5/2003.

Judge Breyer, thank you for bringing common sense back to the judiciary. Ed Rosenthal was sentenced yesterday to one day in jail for violating federal marijuana laws (while following California's conflicting marijuana laws). Ed was facing five years of federal prison time. But Judge Breyer (the brother of the Supreme Court Justice) realized that while the federal law is controlling, the federal government needs a reality check. Yes, Ed violated the federal law. But come on ... he was helping dying people get access to marijuana. Do you really want your tax dollars going to keep people like Ed in prison? Is that really where our priorities need to be right now?

I had a good breakfast yesterday morning at Hobee's on Mathilda in Sunnyvale. Their omlets are delicious. I haven't traditionally liked blueberries, but their blueberry coffeecake cannot be passed up. I have heard that Marc Andreesan (founder of Netscape) still occasionally eats at that Hobee's. This morning it was just a table full of lawyers and accountants. Austin and I had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. I forget the name of it, but it was good. Austin moved out of his studio and into a nice cottage... yea, Austin!

The attempt to pass an increased property tax in Campbell to fund schools failed. I voted no. It's just not a good time to be raising property taxes. Sorry, schools.

Amazing Race is on tonight. Don't miss it!

State Senate passed measure allowing illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses. I don't understand that at all. They have already demonstrated an inability to follow our laws ... and we want to give them a driver's license?
posted by Travis on 6/5/2003.

Palm to Buy Handspring in Stock Swap
posted by Travis on 6/4/2003.

City cop found asleep on duty
posted by Travis on 6/4/2003.

I had dinner last night with two recent SCU graduates - Nik and James, at a nice vegetarian place on El Camino @ Shoreline. Nik and James are very busy studying for the bar exam, but they are very calm and not stressed. Then again, it's only week one. ;)
posted by Travis on 6/4/2003.

Sammy Sosa caught cheating. Doh!
posted by Travis on 6/4/2003.

MSNBC is reporting that Martha Stewart will be arrested tomorrow. That poor woman. The image of her being fingerprinted is just funny. And all over such a small transaction.

I had lunch today at Banana Leaf in Milpitas. Those of you who remember my Restaurant Reviews page (taken off line because I couldn't figure out a way to convert the reviews in my PDA into HTML) may remember that Banana Leaf is one of my favorites. I had an grilled eggplant dish that was delicious. But our waiter was anything but subtle about getting us to leave as soon as we were finished. Plates were cleared even with forks were still in our mouths. But they were busy, so they needed fast turnover.
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

Where I work: Silicon Valley's Bermuda Triangle
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

Mind reader.
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

Airport PA Humor
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

Man spends three months in jail because government sells him a car with pot hidden in it. Lawsuits follow.
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

I was driving on northbound Lawrence this morning, and there was a woman to my right driving some crappy 1980's import car with a broken brake light. She merged from the carpool lane into my lane right, in front of me. She seemed to be having great difficulty controlling her car. She started out on the right side of our lane, and kept moving to the right, across the lane line, and a quarter of the way into the carpool lane. I honked. The car in the carpool lane swerved to avoid being sideswiped. This repeated itself at least five times between Pruneridge all the way up to Central Expressway. Finally, when she came within inches of sideswiping a fifth car, I layed on the horn and just held it for a good 15 seconds. The cars around us realized the problem, and gave her space. I guess that got her attention, because then she kept her car on the left side of our lane. That's when I exited Lawrence onto Central and left her on her merry way. What is it with these idiots who can't drive? Are they unaware that they are morons? I was almost hoping she would hit someone, so I could be a witness and explain to the police and her insurance company what an idiot this person is. Speaking of cars, the best modification I ever made to my car was to replace the wimpy OEM horn with a "real" horn.
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

Poor Martha.
posted by Travis on 6/3/2003.

Own a TiVo? You just gave up some of your privacy. This wouldn't be legal in Europe. Yea, Europe. I got a DVR (DVD recorder) a few months ago, and I love it. It allows recording and play back at the same time, so I can skip through commercials without having to tape the whole show before playback. Oh, and I don't have to give up my privacy.
posted by Travis on 6/2/2003.

�The crash was partially � people smoking some controlled substance and thinking was worth $2 billion.� - Warren Hellman, Chairman, Hellman & Friedman
posted by Travis on 6/2/2003.

The FCC is approving a change to the law to allow one company (i.e. ClearChannel) to own even more television stations, radio stations, and newspapers. What a dumb idea. As if what we really need is even less diversity in our news.
posted by Travis on 6/2/2003.

Last night I went to see Teatro ZinZanni in SF. It's a mix between Cirque du Soleil and a vaudville show. It was a good show, but a bit expensive at $145 plus drinks.
posted by Travis on 6/1/2003.

Yesterday I saw a truck parked on Hamilton Avenue that said "Body Fat - Get Tanked". It's a mobile underwater body fat testing company. What a clever idea.
posted by Travis on 5/31/2003.

I watched the season premier of Amazing Race last night (originally aired Thursday). No front runner favorites, but no teams I'd like to see booted yet. The out-of-shape married couple was an easy pick for the first to be booted - it's darn near impossible to excel on this show without being able to physically race to the finish. I'm sorry to say that I think the air traffic controller team (Steve and Dave) will probably not be around long - I like them, but I don't think whatever knowledge of air travel they may have will overcome their fitness level.
posted by Travis on 5/31/2003.

Happy belated birthday to my friend from a while ago, James Coberly.
posted by Travis on 5/30/2003.

Here's a good way to annoy your coworkers - go to the Merriam-Webster OnLine dictionary and use the synthesizer to have your computer say words. Today's words at my workplace are "applesauce" and "resignation".
posted by Travis on 5/30/2003.

There is just no excuse for excluding a band of low-income taxpayers from the increased child tax credit. To me, this proves that the Republicans are not interested in stimulating the economy by giving working-class Americans more money to spend. They are more interested in giving upper class taxpayers more money to save. And that won't stimulate the economy.
posted by Travis on 5/30/2003.

I'm working up in the KPMG San Francisco office today. I was expecting hot weather, but it's foggy up here. The closure of one lane on King Street made my commute a 1.5 hour ordeal. But it's nice to work up here once a month or so ... reminds me what working in a big city is like. I had lunch with Chris today. He just got promoted to case clerk at the law firm he works for - congratulations, Chris!
posted by Travis on 5/29/2003.

PETA has always struck me as being one of the most hypocritical organizations around. They protest the treatment of cute furry animals, but have no complaints when Survivor contestants eat bugs. Now PETA is upset over the treatment of a fiberglass elephant. Give me a break. These folks have no credibility.
posted by Travis on 5/28/2003.

Google (owner of Blogger) to introduce blog searching feature.
posted by Travis on 5/28/2003.

Scott, I know you're confident you will find the "real killer." You and O.J. should team up and start a private investigator firm. But could you please ask your attorney to clarify at his next press conference what exactly you were doing with $10,000 cash, a passport application, a fraudulent ID, and sporting a new look, at the San Diego/Mexico border when you were arrested? I would have a much easier time supporting your quest for the "real killer" if I understood what exactly you were doing with that stuff. Because I think I'm a fairly reasonable person, not unlike a potential juror in your upcoming trial, and the only conclusion that I can seem to come up with was that you were getting ready to hop across the border to Mexico. The only possible explanation I can think of is that you thought the "real killer" was in Mexico, and you were chasing after him. I look forward to hearing the "real truth" soon.
posted by Travis on 5/28/2003.

Congratulations Martin and Nik ... two of my friends from Santa Clara University School of Law who graduated this weekend.
posted by Travis on 5/27/2003.

Do you have a hidden bias?
posted by Travis on 5/27/2003.

When I washed my car I decided to use a squeegie on all the flat surfaces. Man, was that a bright idea if I do say so. I'll never go back to using towels again. It was so much faster and easier.
posted by Travis on 5/27/2003.

I made it back from LA just fine, but made the mistake of taking public transit from the airport to my car (I left it parked at Cisco). That took 1.5 hours. I'll never do that again. Our public transit system sucks. No wonder the busses are usually empty. The weather here is much nicer than it was in LA though, so I need to wash my car and water the plants.
posted by Travis on 5/26/2003.

Spent the day on Hollywood Blvd - Kodak Theatre tour, then the Hollywood Blvd 24 Hr. Fitness. I can't believe how run down Hollywood Blvd is. For all the money that you'd think is on that street, I'm amazed how dumpy it looks during the day. Maybe it's better looking at night, when the greyness blends into the night.
posted by Travis on 5/25/2003.

I spent today at Disney's California Adventures in L.A. That was a bit of a let down ... it's not a big park, and there aren't many attractions. In other news, the state bar website suffered a three-hour tech problem last night that kept people from getting their bar results on time. What a mess! Sounds like it all got straightened out though.
posted by Travis on 5/24/2003.

Tonight is the night that the bar results from the February exam are released. What a nerve wracking day for people who are awaiting results. Good luck! On that topic, some of my bar prep materials (from the Primer website) are now being licensed to a nationwide bar preparation program. That's pretty cool. I was surprised when that offer showed up in my in box this week.
posted by Travis on 5/23/2003.

Okay, kinks seem to be worked out. The on-again, off-again blog is back on. Cool website for the week: Friendster.
posted by Travis on 5/22/2003.

Testing. This is still under development.
posted by Travis on 5/22/2003.

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