things i wrote in 2006


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

 

Skiing!

I'm skiing! The recent storm dumped a lot of snow up here, the conditions should be really great for skiing.






posted by twisesq  # 8:15 PM
 

Ski week!

I'm off to go skiing ... Wednesday through Monday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I'll get 2-3 days of good skiing in. I'm only bringing my snowblades (short skis) this year, no skis. And I get to take my new car, since it's all-wheel drive!



In other news, I bought the "twisesq.net" domain name, through Google Apps. $10 a year for domain registration, can't beat that.


posted by twisesq  # 7:29 AM

Sunday, December 24, 2006

 

Pimping my Ride





A few mods:

1. Added Nav (Garamin Nuvi 360), radar detector, wired to power outlet fuse

2. Wired iPod

3. Added ski rack

4. Added trailer hitch ("bumper bumper")



Photos here.


posted by twisesq  # 5:38 PM

Saturday, December 23, 2006

 

New Ride

I picked up my new Subaru Outback 3.0 v6 LL Bean Edition from the dealership. It took them a few days to install the tow hitch, subwoofer/amp, and ski rack. So far so good ... everything works and looks as planned. The only surprise was that the radio control on the steering wheel changes the frequency, but doesn't cycle between the presets. I'm also still trying to figure out exactly where to put my iPod. The cables connecting the iPod to the center console auxiliary power jack and aux. audio input jack are a bit unorganized. So far I've found the seat warmers to be very nice, and the auto climate control a big improvement over my Honda's manual climate control. For those who are wondering, I didn't get the trailer hitch because I plan on towing anything. I got it because last year I rear ended someone (at a pretty slow speed), and hit their trailer hitch. All the damage was to my car. I learned the trailer hitch is a pretty inexpensive way to protect your back bumper.


posted by twisesq  # 7:20 AM

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

 

New Toy

I bought one of these today:







It's a Subaru Outback 3.0L (LL Bean Edition) Sport Utility Wagon, or as I prefer to call it, "short SUV." I didn't have to do much customizing: Bought an external GPS unit (Nuvi 360), some wiring for my iPod to interface with the car stereo, ski rack, trailer hitch, and a subwoofer/amp. Subaru has a 2.9% interest rate for 24 months, so I financed the entire thing, since I can get 5%+ through my bank in a savings account.


posted by twisesq  # 8:32 PM

Monday, December 18, 2006

 

Rescues

I certainly hope the remaining two hikers on Oregon's Mount Hood will soon be found alive and well in a snow cave. But 10 days after they went missing, things are not looking good. Oregon has seen two well-publicized search and rescue operations in the last 3 weeks: James Kim, who along with his wife and kids became stranded on a rural road in Oregon, and these three hikers. In Kim's case, the family hired helicopters to help search for the family. In the case of the hikers, it appears the government is footing the bill for the C-130 aircraft with heat sensors and the military helicopters conducting the search.



I'm glad we have the resources to run such a hearty search and rescue operation. But I have two questions:



1. Why wasn't there a proportionate response in the days following Hurricane Katrina? We currently have a military operation that would be "large" by the standards of some countries being conducted for three missing hikers. Where was the military to rescue the tens of thousands of stranded Americans following Hurricane Katrina? Again, I'm glad we have the resources to provide the response, but how to we determine which emergencies we respond to with such force?



2. Who pays for it? The Kim family and supporters appear to have picked up the tab for at least some of the search and rescue efforts for that family. Presumably the government is picking up the tab for the Mt. Hood rescue (my guess is that a C-130 aircraft is too pricey to rent by the hour). But clearly these rescues of people who have undertaken explicitly dangerous conduct on a completely voluntary basis are expensive.



I don't mind us taxpayers footing the bill, as long as I feel that the government would respond similarly if I was stranded. I've always viewed my biggest chance of needing rescue to be when we have another major earthquake. And based on the lack of response of the government to Hurricane Katrina, I no longer feel confident that the military will send an airdrop of food, clothing, and shelter to the Bay Area in the wake of an earthquake. Much larger scale, to be sure, but then again we do have hundreds of thousands of people in our military who could handle such a calamity, if only they weren't in Iraq.



I've stocked a significant emergency kit at home that I think can sustain me and a few other people for several weeks in case there is an earthquake. If I went on a road trip, I'd carry a GPS. If I went on a dangerous hike (i.e. scaling the face of a snowy mountain), I'd invest in some sort of distress transmitter so that I could be easily found. Why aren't these things standard, if not required, for people who engage in dangerous activities?


posted by twisesq  # 5:09 PM

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

 

Another one bites the dust

There's certain themes in the news. Certain givens in our society that you can count on occurring on a regular basis. Government officials who take bribes. Hollywood stars getting married, then divorced. Religious leaders getting caught doing the very things they judge others for doing.



Today's hypocritical evangelical comes from Denver, Colorado. Paul Barnes, founder and leader of the 2,100 member Grace Chapel in Denver, resigned this week after coming out as a gay man.



I watch this train wreck and just wonder how much longer the evangelical church can keep a straight face while espousing their traditional conservative "family values." I don't see how their positions have any credibility any longer.


posted by twisesq  # 11:02 PM

Sunday, December 10, 2006

 

Heavenly

I went up to Heavenly this weekend to ski. My first ski trip of the season. The snow was adequate for so early in the season: I did about 5 runs on 3 different lifts, all on the Nevada side of Heavenly. The weather was fantasic ... clear skies and no preciptitation. As we woke up this morning about 2 inches of new snow had fallen, and by the time we got down to Placerville a few more inches had landed in quite an abrupt snowstorm. That'll be good for when I go back later in December.


posted by twisesq  # 7:17 PM

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

 

Not the conclusion we were hoping for

Well, that was certainly not the conclusion to the missing Kim family that I was hoping for. :(


posted by twisesq  # 6:10 PM
 

How will conservatives react?

"Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne, is pregnant, according to a published report."



That's gotta get all those religious conservatives upset ... not only is she gay, but she's having a child out of wedlock. Two sins for the price of one. I assume there will be protests outside the VP mansion, right? After all, this seems like a perfect cause for Fred Phelps and his religious nutcase friends to show up for a photo op. Will the Sunday morning TV preachers (Ted Haggard and his ilk) be railing against this as immoral? Will Bush again push for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay people from marrying, or maybe even having children? Anything less would be hypocritical. Come on conservatives ... show your true colors. After all, this is the most important issue in the country right now for you, isn't it?


posted by twisesq  # 6:51 AM

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

 

Death

I found out today that the woman I bought my home from, Mary Jean P., died in July 2005 of lung cancer. She was 58. I remember when I bought the home she made a big deal about having it scrubbed so it didn't smell like cigarette smoke (it didn't), and that she smoked outdoors so the house wouldn't smell. She was a very nice lady during the home buying process.


posted by twisesq  # 10:00 PM
 

This will be a movie . . .

"Oregon State Lieutenant Gregg Hastings has confirmed that searchers found a pair of pants they believe James Kim left as a marker at the bottom of a ravine, where he is believed to have traveled on foot. Unconfirmed reports from local news stations say rescuers may also have found another of his personal items near the pants."



Pants left as a marker? Interesting ... but a bit troubling too. That's probably not the article of clothing I would shed as a marker.


posted by twisesq  # 2:34 PM
 

James Kim still missing

I'm a sucker for a thrilling news story. This is like when I was a kid and a little girl fell down a well. Or the coal miners stuck in the mine a few years ago. Every couple of hours I check cnn.com to see if there is any news about James Kim, the San Franciscan who works at CNET and is still missing up in Oregon.























This story is making the rounds on the internet:

They ran the heater in their station wagon until the car was out of gas, then burned all the tires in a desperate attempt to keep warm. When the food ran out, Kati Kim breastfed her two young daughters to keep them alive.
Hope was running low for the Kim family nine days after they became stranded in the snowy mountains of southwestern Oregon while making their way toward home in San Francisco. Then, at 1:45 p.m. Monday, Kim spotted a helicopter her family had hired to help in the search. She waved an umbrella on which she had taped reflective striping [to spell "SOS"], and soon she and the girls were saved.
Talk about a survival story. One only hopes that James will be found soon.


posted by twisesq  # 2:26 PM

Monday, December 4, 2006

 

Suggestion for Oregon: More road signs


The search for the Kim family demonstrates a need in Oregon for some road signage. It sounds like some well-placed "Road Closed" or "Danger: This Isn't The Route You Want To Take" signs would be money well spent. In fact, the Kim family isn't the first family to get lost on rural Oregon roads in the winter, requiring a very expensive search-and-rescue operation. Last March, another family was found in their RV after spending two weeks missing in a snow embankment. That family also took a shortcut and got stuck. Granted, the responsibility lies with the traveler to plan the trip properly and take the proper route. But when they get lost, we pay for the military-style rescue. Maybe more signs would help avoid the need.


posted by twisesq  # 11:13 PM
 

Celebrity Weddings

I've said before that I think Congress should pass a law banning celebrity weddings. I'm convinced they're done just for publicity. Clearly against the sanctity of marriage, yes? Today it was announced that Lance Bass and Reichen Lehmkuhl have split. At least there weren't any celebrity kids involved.



This weekend: First ski trip of the season. Only 5% of Heavenly terrain is open, so it'll be interesting to see how many people are on that turf of land. But I'll be there!



Three of the four members of the Kim family have been found alive in Oregon. James Kim is still missing, after he left the family in their car to go seek help. Interestingly, the three were found by a helicopter the family chartered. Note to family: If I'm ever lost, please charter a helicopter. I'll pay you back.


posted by twisesq  # 6:57 PM

Friday, December 1, 2006

 

Taking the Stairs

Today is Junior Achievement day for my company. That means a bus pulled up outside my building (blocking my ability to turn into our parking garage) and dropped off about a hundred high school students from Oak Grove High School. Once I made it into the lobby, I realized what a disaster getting up to the 15th floor was going to be. Long wait.



Then the teacher made this announcement: "Students, listen up, do NOT jump up and down in the elevator. There is a special earthquake sensor that will stop and lock the elevator in place if it senses that type of motion. We do NOT want to repeat the Comerica Bank incident."



I headed up the stairs.

posted by twisesq  # 9:02 AM

Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

Freezing

Whoa, it's cold. I woke up this morning and my thermometer said 37 degrees. I think my furnace ran constantly all last night trying to maintain 60 degrees in the house. Brrr. I think I'm going to have to wear a coat to work today .... usually I don't need to.


posted by twisesq  # 7:18 AM

Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Overheard

Overheard on the 4th floor:



"Fraud ... that's when you've got a problem."



"Is this Chinese food? It tastes like Szeshuan beef, but there's a salad and dinner rolls."


posted by twisesq  # 2:18 PM

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

 

Racist

Michael Richards (Kramer on Seinfeld) unleashes a rant against two black men at a comedy club, including prolific use of the "n-word". In his apology, Richards referred to the "anger and hate and rage" and "hostility" in his comments. He also said, "I'm not a racist." Well, I'm not too sure about that. Here's what Richards said:



Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f-cking fork up your ass." He then goes on to use the N-word repeatedly, appearing completely out of control, as he paces back and forth on the stage.
"You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now motherf-cker. Throw his ass out. He's a n-gger! He's a n-gger! He's a n-gger! A n-gger, look, there's a n-gger!" Richards rants.
And we're supposed to believe Richard's isn't a racist? That's about as far of a leap of faith as believing Mel Gibson isn't an anti-Semite.


posted by twisesq  # 9:46 AM

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 

Picture time!

I've started scanning in old pictures from my box 'o pictures. There's got to be thousands in there. First up: Dorky childhood pictures. Enjoy!






posted by twisesq  # 10:42 AM

Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Presidential Material

"Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a moderate Republican best known for his stewardship of the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has taken the first step in a 2008 presidential bid, GOP officials said Monday. The former mayor filed papers to create the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc., creating a panel that would allow him to raise money for a White House run and travel the country. " -- AP



I read Rudy Giuliani's book about 9/11, and that book convinced me to vote for Rudy if he ever ran for president. Throughout his career, this guy has been a hands-on leader. He knows the importance of having a team of experts to support him, and he's very intellectual. Rudy is the opposite of George Bush: He knows how to manage a crisis, and knows how to lead a team to deal with an issue.



My real difficulty would be if both Rudy and Barak run ... who to vote for ...


posted by twisesq  # 2:46 PM

Sunday, November 12, 2006

 

Photos ready for scanning





I dusted off a huge box of photos today and organized them by subject. I also ordered a scanner from Amazon. Coming soon to Flickr: My scanned photos.


posted by twisesq  # 8:46 AM

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

 

Dressing up for WalMart

There are parts of the country where statements like this make complete sense.






posted by twisesq  # 2:59 PM
 

Election

Ok Democrats, you won. Now do something!


posted by twisesq  # 7:11 AM

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

 

Marriage

Why aren't Republicans trying to ban marriages between celebrities? No, seriously. Why aren't they? Shouldn't there be a constitutional amendment against celebrity marriages to protect the "sanctity of marriage" from garbage like this?



CNN reports that Britney Spears is divorcing her husband of two years and one month. Spears and Federline, one of the singer's former backup dancers, married October 6, 2004. Spears is asking for legal and physical custody of their two children, 1-year-old Sean Preston and 2-month-old Jayden James. Spears, 24, married Federline after a six-month courtship in 2004. In January 2004, she had married childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas, Nevada. That marriage was annulled after 55 hours. Federline, 28, previously had a relationship with actress Shar Jackson. The union produced two children, one of whom was born two months before he married Spears.



So let's recap. Spears, 24, has been married twice, once for 55 hours. Her two marriages produced two children, who will now be raised in a divorced family. Federline, 28, had a "relationship" that produced two children, one born just two months before he married Spears. His two children will also be raised in a divorced family.



Four relationships, three marriages, four children being raised in single-parent families, and the parties involved aren't even 30 yet. Is that the kind of garbage the Republicans are trying to defend with a constitutional amendment? I'd rather not sully such a sacred document just so Britney Spears doesn't feel threatened when she gets married for the third time.


posted by twisesq  # 2:51 PM
 

Making a fool of onesself

The latest quotes from Rev. Ted, from footage of him filmed for the movie "Jesus Camp": "We don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It's written in the Bible." Then Haggard looks into the camera and says kiddingly: "I think I know what you did last night," drawing laughs from the crowd. "If you send me a thousand dollars, I won't tell your wife."



How revealing.



Is that really reflective of Jesus' values? Why do people tolerate Christian religions and Christian pastors who don't reflect what the Bible teaches about Jesus? I'm not an expert on Jesus, but I'm guessing he would not have joked about blackmailing someone, let alone bought speed from a male prostitute. No, that doesn't sound like the Jesus I was taught about.



One more thing ... this whole business about buying meth and a massage. No one takes meth for a massage. As Joy pointed out on The View yesterday, the last thing you want to do when you're getting a massage is take speed.


posted by twisesq  # 9:26 AM

Sunday, November 5, 2006

 

Coming soon...

Your next digital camera will remember where you took the picture, and attach that photo to a map.


posted by twisesq  # 11:33 AM

Saturday, November 4, 2006

 

Hypocrite

"The Rev. Ted Haggard agreed to resign Saturday after the New Life Church's independent investigative board recommended removal, saying he was guilty 'of sexually immoral conduct.'" -- Associated Press



"After he voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test, the examiner announced on a Denver radio talk show that he showed "deception" when asked about the sexual allegations." -- Washington Post



I'm confused.



Last week, Rev. Ted publicly said he "only" bought meth and got a massage from the male prostitute. Rev. Ted said he was faithful to his wife, and had never strayed from her side. The polygraph that he foolishly volunteered to take (and apparently failed) indicates otherwise. Could it be that these evangelicals are hypocrites and liars? My gosh.



Earlier this year, Rev. Ted and his wife published a book together about marriage. "Our souls are intertwined," the book says. "Because we are connected in body, soul, and spirit, we have never really left our honeymoon."



That's one heck of a honeymoon.


posted by twisesq  # 2:52 PM

Friday, November 3, 2006

 

Pastor on Drugs

This just keeps getting better:



"Evangelist Ted Haggard admitted Friday that he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a gay prostitute who claims he was paid for drug-fueled trysts by the outspoken gay marriage opponent." - Associated Press


posted by twisesq  # 11:48 AM

Thursday, November 2, 2006

 

Church Prostitution

More evidence that these conservative groups are filled with closeted hypocrites:



"The leader of the influential National Association of Evangelicals, a vocal opponent of the drive for same-sex marriage, resigned Thursday after being accused of paying for sex with a man." -- Associated Press.


posted by twisesq  # 4:19 PM

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

 

New Diet

My company introduced a new program this year to provide all employees with a comprehensive physical exam. When I say comprehensive, I mean three hours of tests, and a thorough blood panel. I had never really had one of these exams before. It's a $1,600 exam, free. So of course I went.



I learned during the exam that I'm severely colorblind, and I'm 5'6" tall, and I have good peripheral vision (albeit in mostly black and white). So far no real surprises.



A few weeks later the blood results came back, and I found out that my bone marrow was supposedly not doing its job, because my blood cell count was low for all types of blood cells. My bad cholesterol was also high and my good cholesterol was low. I focused more on the blood cell problem, since that seemed to indicate a possibility of leukemia.



I followed-up with my regular doctor, and had the blood test repeated. In the repeat test, my blood cell counts were all normal. So that was likely a testing error in the original test, which my doctor said happens about 25% of the time.



But my Lipoprotein(A) was 58, when the normal value is less than 30. This is the inflammatory type of LDL cholesterol, which is bad. My doctor recommended dramatic changes to avoid plaque build-up. Based on her advice and the advice of my nutritionist (which my health insurance provides for me to consult with once a week), here's my plan:

Week One
  • Cut out all red meat and fast food.
  • Eat one serving of oatmeal and more fresh vegetables daily.
  • Increase red wine consumption to 1-2 glasses a week
  • Increase fish consumption to 2-3 fishies a week (I prefer grilled salmon)
  • Take 2-3 grams of the good fatty acids daily (i.e. 4x fish oil pills)
Week Two
  • My dietitian recommended significant reduction in "white food" (named for the color, not the people who eat it, although I suspect that would apply too), defined as white and whole wheat bread (whole grain being much better) and white rice, both of which contribute to higher triglycerides levels.
  • Reduce simple sugars (candy, but occasionally I have some as a treat).
  • Fiber supplement (Trader Joe's Psyllium Fiber)
Week Three
  • Follow-up visit with my doctor. She recommended going a step further and taking a small amount of Niacin daily
  • She also recommended that I cut out inflammatory additives like FD&C food coloring
    (made from petroleum) from as much food as possible. I took a trip to my local Trader Joe's and did some shopping for more natural petroleum-free foods.
Next steps: To Be Determined.


posted by twisesq  # 11:15 PM
 

Stupidity

Ten people shot last night in San Francisco at the Halloween festivities. I imagine some of my friends were probably in that area. I hope this is the last year they allow the festivities. It's out of control. San Francisco needs to just stop having the event, since it clearly can't be done safely.



John Kerry just doesn't know when to shut up. Please John, don't ruin it for the democrats just days before the election. I like Don Imus' comment ... just go wind surfing or hiking somewhere and keep your trap shut. Honestly, these democrats just keep ruining it for themselves.

posted by twisesq  # 10:52 AM

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

 

Costume

Happy Halloween! What did you dress up as?



posted by twisesq  # 8:50 AM

Sunday, October 22, 2006

 

Rehab Anyone?

What do Mark Foley and George Michael have in common, other than being gay? They're both totally out of control. The former, trying to draw a connection between being molested as an alter boy and molesting congressional pages, and the latter by flaunting his inability to control his various drug addictions. It's sad to see, not so much because of the self destruction, but because of the destruction they are doing to the image of their community.


posted by twisesq  # 6:15 AM

Thursday, October 12, 2006

 

Overheard

Overheard at a restaurant:



Waiter: "What are you missing?"

Busboy: "They can't find a mint ice cream birthday cake."



Ooops.



It's going to be tough to explain to the customer whose cake they lost that they accidentally served it to another party at the restaurant. Another party who also happened to be celebrating a birthday for someone with the same name and age ... which is why no one thought it was weird when the restaurant brought out a second cake with the same name and same age on the candles.



The mint cake was good.

posted by twisesq  # 1:45 PM


Friday, September 29, 2006

 

Orlando

I spent this week in Orlando for my annual PwC training. I learned terms like "picturize" and "advertorial" and "hyped credit". I think they should rewrite the PwC rap song (yes, there is one, and we paid a lot of money for that) using words like that. It wasn't as humid in Orlando as last year, and it only rained (is there a term for a flood from the sky?) once.



I was scheduled to take a flight from Orlando to Newark to San Jose, which is probably the most inefficient way to get from Orlando to San Jose within United States airspace. Thankfully I was saved from 10 hours on an airplane by tornados in New Jersey. I'm now waiting to board my flight to Houston, where I'll connect to San Jose on a much more normal flight.


posted by twisesq  # 11:19 AM

Saturday, September 23, 2006

 

Technology

Is Phoenix more WiFi-friendly than Silicon Valley? I'm sitting at the Phoenix airport waiting for my next flight. I booted up my laptop, connected to the airport's free WiFi, and used my SlingBox to watch a show I had recorded on my TiVo. I can't do that at the San Jose airport without paying $10.


posted by twisesq  # 4:04 PM

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

 

Office Slang

Funny Office Slang. My favorites:



* Seagull Manager - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits over everything and then leaves.



* Stress Puppy - A person who thrives on being stressed-out and whiny.



I drove to Sidney (my hometown) today and took some pictures.






posted by twisesq  # 7:13 PM

Sunday, September 17, 2006

 

Fake Apology

Another fake apology:



Headline: "Pope sorry for reaction to remarks"

(which means that the Pope is sorry that people reacted to his remarks)



Real Apology: "Pope sorry for remarks"


posted by twisesq  # 4:56 AM

Saturday, September 16, 2006

 

Sears Tower


Sears Tower

When I was a kid, probably about 12, I went to the top of the Sears Tower. I went back up yesterday. Visibility was only 5 - 15 miles (not the 50 possible miles), but it was still a great view of Chicago. I didn't get to watch the movie before the tour though because a kid threw up in the theatre.


posted by twisesq  # 8:50 AM

Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

George Takei


George Takei

George Takei, Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, was the key note speaker at the first plenary session of a conference that I am attending in Chicago with about 100 of my coworkers. His talk got off to a bit of a rocky start, meandering through his acting career, some stories about recent travel, and stories about his partner. Just when I was starting to wonder about his skills as a public speaker, he found his niche when he shifted gears and talked about his childhood, four years of which he spent in an internment camp in an Arkansas swamp. He recalled reciting the pledge every day in school, and repeating the words, "Liberty and Justice for All" while looking out the window at a barbed wire fence and U.S. military with machine guns to keep he and his fellow U.S. citizens locked up. He transitioned from that story to the narrative of the invisible barbed wire fence that many people in America still feel today. The point wasn't lost on anyone. George also talked about Gene Rodenberry's vision for Star Trek, and how the diverse Enterprise was such a contrast to the 1960's cold war and racial strife that Star Trek's TV audience was seeing in real life. He ended with some political comments about California's governor's race, and took a few questions from the audience. He worked in one slam against William Schatner. It was a really good speech. I'm told he will sign autographs sometime today, but I don't really want to pester him for an autograph. It's nice that he didn't just disappear after Star Trek - he's kept himself active with movies, a book, and speaking engagements. It's a pitty to see some has-been famous people behind a table selling autographs for $5 a piece.


posted by twisesq  # 3:40 PM

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

Flight to Chicago


I'm amazed that I got on my flight to Chicago. Due to bad traffic on 17 and

construction on Coleman Ave, I arrived at the airport 15 minutes before my

scheduled flight time. I figured for sure that I missed the flight. But

they ticketted me and sent me through security. The gate agent told me they

hadn't started boarding yet. Turns out the plane hadn't arrived so I was

able to still make the flight. I didn't notice any increased security

measures other than statements that I couldn't bring liquids on board.
One of the flight attendants is a contestant on next years Dancing With The

Stars. I should have gotten her autograph.


posted by twisesq  # 5:52 PM
 

All packed


All packed

I'm going to Chicago for a week for work, followed by a trip to Ohio to visit family. I was barely able to get all my stuff into my bag ... I had to mail a box with additional clothes to Ohio.


posted by twisesq  # 8:49 AM

Thursday, September 7, 2006

 

Dumb Blondes

Paris Hilton arrested for DUI. Now there's a shocker. Maybe now people will see her for what she is?


posted by twisesq  # 7:20 AM

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

 

The View

My pal Rosie made her TV comeback on The View this week. I've been watching her first few shows, she's doing a good job, but her personality on TV is very different from her personality in real life. She's very polished and controlled on TV. In real life she's a bit more "real".



My 3 weeks of travel are coming up, and my coworker Tony brought to my attention that my 2 day return to San Jose is actually only 1 day. Next week is Chicago, followed by a week in Ohio, and then a week in Orlando. I haven't been to Chicago in over 15 years. My last trip to Ohio and Orlando was last year.


posted by twisesq  # 11:28 PM

Monday, September 4, 2006

 

Opinions are like ...

Today (Labor Day) there were demonstrations in San Francisco in support of changing immigration laws to be more favorable to those who have entered the U.S. illegally. Today on KGO radio one of the demonstration organizers said, "We demand that the U.S. treat everyone here as citizens. Political borders should not exist."



Yes ... and that will solve all our problems. Yikes.

posted by twisesq  # 10:08 PM


Monday, August 28, 2006

 

Nuts

CNN: "Karr will not be charged in JonBenet's murder."



Not exactly a surprise. But how embarassing for this nut and the Denver prosecutors.


posted by twisesq  # 1:59 PM

Saturday, August 26, 2006

 

Neologism ... uhh... funny stuff

I about fell off the treadmill when I was reading this:



Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common

words.



This year's winners are:



1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.



2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.



3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.



4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.



5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.



6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in

your nightgown.



7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.



8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.



9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.



10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.



11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.



12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.



13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.



14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.



15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your

Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.



16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.





The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the

dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.



Here are this year's winners:



1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.



2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.



3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.



4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.



5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.



6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.



7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.



8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)



9. Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.



10 Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.



11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.



12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.



13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.



14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.



15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.



And the pick of the literature:



16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an a$$hole.


posted by twisesq  # 2:26 PM

Sunday, August 20, 2006

 

Haircut!


Haircut!




posted by twisesq  # 1:51 PM

Friday, August 18, 2006

 
At my physical exam:



(10 minutes after blood draw)

Travis: "I think I'm still bleeding."

Doctor: "Oh my gosh, you're bleeding out."

(frantic movement to stop the bleeding)

Doctor: "Wow, that happens like once a year."

Travis: "You probably don't want me to go out into the lobby all bloody like this."

Doctor: "No, we have a back door."



(later on, during the vision screening)

Doctor: "Tell me what numbers you see in the color circles."

Travis: "None."

Doctor: "Really?"

Travis: "Yep."

Doctor: "Have you ever been told you're colorblind?"

Travis: "Pretty severe isn't it."

Doctor: "Yea, no one has ever said 'None' before."


posted by twisesq  # 10:11 AM

Thursday, August 17, 2006

 
John Mark Karr. Notice how bad guys always have three names? Lee Harvey Oswald. John Wilkes Booth. Anyhow, John Mark Karr is the latest. All I can say at this point is that something fishy is going on. While on one of his many trips to Thailand, he admits to killing JonBenet Ramsey (I think that's two names), admits he was with her when she died, and said her brutal beating and strangling was an "accident." But his ex-wife said that he was with her in Alabama at the time JonBenet died. This is so juicy. I can't wait for the movie! How will they ever find an unbiased jury for this guy?


posted by twisesq  # 12:36 PM

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 
Senator George Allen. He's a senator from Virginia who is eyeing running for president. Keep an eye on him, because he seems to have some issues with racism.



Last week he referred to a member of the audience at one of his campaign rallies as "Macaca". In his apology, the Senator said "I'm sorry if he was offended." This, of course, is not an apology (an apology would be, "I'm sorry if I offended him."). Macaca is a genus of monkeys.



Allen's full statement was: "This fellow over here with the yellow shirt -— Macaca or whatever his name is -— he's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."



The gentleman Allen was referring to was born in Virginia. Apparently Senator Allen has trouble with the concept that people who aren't white can be born in America, just like him.



Allen has been accused of racial insensitivity before. He wore a Confederate flag pin in his high school yearbook photo, used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room, a noose in his law office and a picture of Confederate troops in his governor's office.



A noose? Yes, a noose. And he wants to run for president?


posted by twisesq  # 5:18 PM

Monday, August 14, 2006

 
From overheardintheoffice.com:



Boss: Do you know what the difference between you and me is?

Employee: About 20 IQ points and a sense of style?



What does your inbox say about you? Mine is empty except for action items. People who know me are probably saying, "well, that figures."


posted by twisesq  # 8:51 AM

Sunday, August 13, 2006

 
Friday night I had dinner at a Russian restaurant in the Richmond district of San Francisco. The food was really interesting... many of the dishes involved potatoes. The potato dumplings were the best, and I could have eaten that just for an entree. My beef-onion-rice dish was good. By the time desserts rolled around I was bursting at the seams. It was definitely good cuisine, and didn't at all resemble the cold war bread lines.


posted by twisesq  # 11:29 PM

Saturday, August 12, 2006

 
Definitions:



"Ghost ride the whip" - The act of putting one's ride in neutral, opening all doors, placing the volume dial on 10, and simply rollin. One can also take the process up a notch and actually exit his/her ride. Once outside of the ride, one can dance and flow to the beat. (source)



"Ghost ride the WIP" - The act of charging one's time to someone's client code for work that one has not done. (Term courtesy of the PwC '06 Summer Interns).


posted by twisesq  # 9:29 AM

Friday, August 11, 2006

 

The view from my office


The view from my office



Working in San Francisco today. It's much more relaxed up here. People aren't as anxious, the environment isn't as frantic, and the views are better. Oh, and more restaurant choices. But the commute is really bad.











posted by twisesq  # 11:23 AM

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

 
Quotes from today:



"If you'd like to take a break from the copying..."



"He's only an intern so it's ok..."


posted by twisesq  # 4:05 PM
 
Good article in today's New York Times Technology section about AOL's intentional release of 3 months of users' search data. The article quotes AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein as saying, “There is not a whole lot we can do" and "We acknowledged that there was information that could potentially lead to people being identified, which is why we were so angry.”



Good to hear AOL is angry, Andy. I'm not sure I agree that there's not a whole lot you can do though. How about firing some people, for a start? And revising your privacy policy to promise your userbase (aka "customers") that this won't happen again?



If I was an AOL customer, I'd be switching service providers pretty quickly. And waiting patiently for the class action lawsuit. It's on it's way.


posted by twisesq  # 7:28 AM

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

 

Anyone who has to issue two formal apologies for anti-Semitic comments they made while being arrested drunk has got at least two serious problems: One, alcoholism. Two, amti-Semitism. Alcohol doesn't make you say anti-Semitic statements. Being an anti-Semite does. Take some responsibility, Mel.


posted by twisesq  # 6:33 AM

Monday, July 31, 2006

 
This weekend I test drove a BMW 330i. Actually, I mostly went along for the ride. I drove first, and the salesperson did not like my driving style. He kept telling me to stop using my breaks as I rounded corners, and to accelerate with the petal fully depressed as I drove on off-ramps. That's not what I learned when I first learned to drive, and I didn't trust the car enough to do that. So after the test drive, he drove while I rode. I thought I was going to die. We veered all over Hwy 237. I thought we were going to run into a concrete pillar. We nearly spun out on the El Camino Real offramp at 65 MPH. But he did all that to show me that BMW's nearly drive themselves. The car knows what it can do and what it can't do, let's you push it to the edge, but no further. The car brakes itself around corners, and helps the driver steer during evasive maneuvers. It was impressive. If you've never driven a BMW, go test drive one.


posted by twisesq  # 2:03 PM

Sunday, July 30, 2006

 
I watched the San Jose Grand Prix from my office. With air conditioning. It was loud, but not nearly as crowded as I expected it to be. I don't see how San Jose is making money on that deal. I saw a few bumps, but no accidents.


posted by twisesq  # 9:23 AM

Friday, July 28, 2006

 
Two quotes from today:



"I put the IT in ITS"

(something only PwC people will understand)



"I try to be aggressively ignorant about accounting issues."

-- really smart tax attorney


posted by twisesq  # 3:16 PM

Monday, July 24, 2006

 
It's been very hot in San Jose. That's an understatement. My friend who lives in South San Jose has had his power turn off every afternoon until the wee hours of the morning, due to overloaded circuits. What is this, India? Can't PG&E run more wires? This weekend, I ran the A/C 24 hours a day both days. It kept the house at 80. Today I got home from work and it's 91 degrees in side. Whoops, should have left the A/C running.



Finally, some good news from work.


posted by twisesq  # 4:49 PM
 
From the "Top Ten Reasons to Come to Work on a Weekend" list in Cisco's Building 12:



"9. Work pipe phatter than home DSL."


posted by twisesq  # 11:30 AM

Thursday, July 20, 2006

 
My September is shaping up to be taking place mostly outside of California, in hot, humid climates:



9/12 - 9/16: Chicago (work)

9/16 - 9/23: Ohio (family)

9/26 - 9/29: Orlando (work)


posted by twisesq  # 9:49 AM

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

 
I watched a really interesting Nova show about cows tonight. I learned a few things:

1. The legal term chattle comes from cattle ... both originally meant "property."

2. Antibiotics are necessary because cows are fed corn, which cows' somachs can't really handle very well, and causes infections.

3. Cows are fed corn and grain, not protein. But they need protein to generate milk and meat. The protein comes from the billions of bacteria and microbs in the cows' stomachs that die and get digested.

4. Jack And The Beanstalk's momma was upset that Jack traded the family cow for beans because the family cow was a goldmine.

5. Indian tribespeople gave their cows to New York City after hearing about 9/11. No word on what New York City did with the cows.


posted by twisesq  # 9:52 PM

Sunday, July 16, 2006

 
It turns out that there is a 4-second video clip of me at a rally that took place in Newark about five years ago on a TV show airing on PBS, Not In Our Town. I'm trying to capture the video clip and put it on the web.


posted by twisesq  # 10:38 PM

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

 
My vacation cruise went just swell. I ate a lot, saw a lot of nature, and didn't get seasick. Photos on flickr. It was tough to go back to work today. Additionally so because it was time to replace my laptop with a new one. My Dell got replaced by a spiffy IBM T43. It seems faster, and I like the keyboard a bit better than the Dell. Took all day to migrate and configure though.


posted by twisesq  # 10:32 PM

Saturday, July 1, 2006

 
I'm off to Alaska for a week.


posted by twisesq  # 11:22 PM



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 
Celebrity Sightings at the Courthouse



Tonight's pro bono legal services at the Santa Clara County Family Courthouse went something like this:



Other pro bono lawyer: "Hi, I'm [name]."



Travis: "Hi, I'm Travis Wise."



Other pro bono lawyer: "As in twise? twise.com? The bar website?"



Travis: "Yes, that's me."



Other pro bono lawyer (in a very excited voice): "Oh my god! I passed the bar because of you! Your checklists are better than BarBri!"



Travis: (pause ... waiting for it)



Other pro bono lawyer (in an even more excited voice): "This is like being in the presence of a celebrity!"



Travis: (pause)



Other pro bono lawyer: "Wow."



Travis: "So, who is our first client?"



Client: "Hi, I'm John, I'm a former pro footballer player."



Yes indeedy. Celebrity sightings at the courthouse.


posted by twisesq  # 6:49 PM
 
In other news...



It's time for my annual cell phone upgrade. This year, I came to my senses and realized that since my employer pays my cell phone bill, it is not necessary for me to cling to my old AT&T Wireless (Cingular Blue) rate plan, just because it was a spectacular plan that no one else would match. This newfound freedom allowed me to consolidate two devices into one. My choice: The Blackberry 7230c. It's 4.5" tall, 2.5" wide, and .7" thick, so it's shaped similar to the 7100. It was easy to migrate from my old Blackberry to the new one, and after a few phone calls to Cingular, they turned off my old Blackberry service, and migrated my cell phone number over to the new Blackberry. Syncing my address book took some time due to a corrupted entry, and its still not perfect, but it'll get there eventually. The 7230c operates on Cingular's EDGE service, which is substantially faster than GPRS. It's about like moving data through a really fast dial-up, vs. 2400 bps (for those who remember back in those days). I'm still getting used to the screen lighting up ever time I push a button (it cannot be viewed without the backlight, unlike the older Blackberries). The new convenience keys are very useful. And my new voice plan has rollover minutes, which will make up for my lost early night-and-weekends. The leather holster is very convenient and secure. And now I don't have to carry around separate Blackberry and cell phone chargers.


posted by twisesq  # 9:23 AM

Sunday, June 25, 2006

 

Ooops


Ooops

We didn't really get the full story on how this car ended up this way. But the car's owner was certainly embarassed by her accident... and then 16 photographers shows up and took hundreds of pictures of her car, just to rub it in. She asked for our e-mail address so she could get a picture of the accident. No problem!


posted by twisesq  # 8:27 AM
 

Swimming?


Swimming?

Treasure Island was once a U.S. Naval Station, complete with swimming pool. The pool has long since been drained, and the urban artists have taken it over. It's pretty cool.


posted by twisesq  # 8:24 AM

Saturday, June 24, 2006

 

WTF?


WTF?

This guy has a generator on the back of his truck, along with a rubber vallance, and a satellite dish. The "3 MPG" on his license plate is probably very appropriate.


posted by twisesq  # 10:40 PM

Thursday, June 22, 2006

 
The Mayor of San Jose got arrested today, charged with six felony counts related to the NorCal garbage contract scandal. What a chump.


posted by twisesq  # 10:53 PM

Friday, June 16, 2006

 

Community Service Day


Community Service Day

Today was PwC's community service day. I spent the morning pulling weeds at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, and the afternoon pretty much just sitting on the grass killing time, and hoe-ing a few weeds with a hula-hoe. We cleaned that park up until it was spick-and-span.


posted by twisesq  # 11:49 PM

Friday, June 9, 2006

 
Coming soon to a newspaper near you ... the next corporate scandal: Stock option pricing. Watch for it this summer.


posted by twisesq  # 10:35 PM

Thursday, June 8, 2006

 
I did my How To Pass The Bar Exam talk in Sacramento today, at McGeorge. This might be the last time I give the talk. We had a security detail escort us from Starbucks to the lecture hall, and provide security for us while we gave the talk. They left when we left. One of the guards was packing heat ... as in a sidearm ... a gun. Fortunately, all was quiet, and the gun was not unholstered.


posted by twisesq  # 11:03 PM

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

 
(2:19:07 PM) twise006: Here's a webcam with live images of downtown San Jose. Put this up on your screen, and it's kind of like having an office with a view. http://www.met.sjsu.edu/cam_directory/latest.jpg


posted by twisesq  # 2:22 PM

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

 

Distractions from Real Issues


Distractions from Real Issues

The Republicans aren't doing too well these days. The war, the economy, the environment, high gas prices ... what's gone right lately? Not to worry, Bush has cooked up a distraction. A hot issue that will solve all our ills, from welfare to the escalating Scandinavian birthrate. Yes, that's right, gay marriage. Some quotes from a good write-up from Salon.com:



"If you listen closely, the leaders who oppose single-sex unions refuse to talk about gay people. They talk about activist judges, welfare rolls, the rights of voters and the birthrate of single mothers in Scandinavia.



"Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, a 2008 presidential contender, led the charge for a constitutional amendment on the Senate floor Monday, dominating the debate with a handful of blue-and-white charts that he said showed the need for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He had line graphs, bar graphs and circle graphs. He spoke about French law and Dutch sociology. He went on about the benefits of two-parent families. "It's important that a child be raised between a loving couple," Brownback declared, a phrase that seemed, at first, to be an argument in favor of gay marriage. [...]



"The press corps who had gathered for the event appeared universally baffled by the argument being made from behind the microphones. "How would outlawing gay marriage encourage heterosexual fathers to stick around?" asked the first wire service reporter to be called on for questions. "Why not outlaw divorce?" [...]



"The American people are not given to amending the Constitution to punish one group of people (committed gay and lesbian couples) for the sins of another group (uncommitted straight couples). The last time it happened was the 18th Amendment in 1919, when the United States decided that the danger of alcohol abuse for some outweighed the pleasures of an evening drink for many. Fifteen years later, the American people realized the error of their ways and ended Prohibition."


posted by twisesq  # 2:51 PM

Sunday, June 4, 2006

 
The City of San Jose requires that a house have a tree in front of it before it can be sold. If it's a corner house, make that three trees.



Three trees. Someone decided to make that a law. Not four, not two, but three.



I might go back to voting Libertarian this year, just because of stupid laws like this.


posted by twisesq  # 7:07 AM

Saturday, June 3, 2006

 

Kites


Kites

I had a few spare minutes this morning before lunch with a friend, so I headed over to Shoreline park, and the kite flying area. There were a few families out there flying kites. None of the fancy two-lead kites. After lunch I got to play for a bit with the newer Blackberry 7100g. It's the newer version of my 7290. I like the formfactor, and the display. One of these days I'll upgrade.


posted by twisesq  # 10:52 PM

Friday, June 2, 2006

 
I went to see An Inconvenient Truth tonight. Al Gore's movie about the environment. It's a little dry, just like Gore, but if even if you ignore the statistics (after all, statistics can be warped to represent any position), the video and maps of the glaciers melting are amazing. We're missing the boat on this, and fifty years from now we'll see the results. The title is very appropriate, both for this movie and other things.



In other news, I discovered that the organic, unfiltered apple juice is now in the juice section at Safeway and not in the organic section. I paid $5.99 for a gallon of the stuff that my grandparents used to make and sell for 50 cents. Theirs was better, too.


posted by twisesq  # 10:54 PM

Thursday, June 1, 2006

 
The person sitting near my office today is crunching on chips so loudly I think they can be heard on the entire floor. Why do people have to subject others to incredibly loud noises when they eat? It's disgusting.

posted by twisesq  # 3:36 PM


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

 

End of a long weekend


End of a long weekend

Can we have more three-day weekends? Maybe it's because the last holiday was way back in January, but that three-day weekend was wonderful. We need more. I'm already looking forward to July 4th. I spent much of Memorial Day doing some home improvement stuff. It started with a morning run to IKEA (the .99 cent breakfast isn't very good - I'll skip it next time), and then the assembly of a work table for me to put my laptop on at home, and sliding curtain panels for the sliding glass door. Yesterday evening was the SVFlickr meet. There were a ton of people there, it was really quite amazing. Back to work today... although I'm happy that I'll be at a client's location most of this week.


posted by twisesq  # 7:30 AM

Monday, May 29, 2006

 

San Jose


San Jose



I spent a few hours yesterday wandering around downtown San Jose. I ran into an anime festival at the convention center (the costumes were elaborate, but very disturbing), some picnics at Discovery Meadows, and a surprising amount of wildlife at Guadalupe Park. I also ordered a telephoto lens. I didn't intend to get one this soon, but I think I'll like having it.


posted by twisesq  # 5:39 PM

Sunday, May 28, 2006

 

De Young


De Young



I went to the de Young museum in San Francisco yesterday. My friend Frank had a pass, so we were able to get without paying additional admission costs. We mostly stuck to the sculpture garden, which had some great areas for photography. We also walked around that section of Golden Gate Park... they're doing a lot of remodeling to that entire area, and it'll be interesting to see a few years from now how well it's been revitalized.


posted by twisesq  # 3:46 PM

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 
Every swimming pool has its own etiquitte. At some pools, multiple people share lanes by swimming in a circle. At other pools, including mine, two people share a lane by splitting it in two. Whatever the culture, it works as long as everyone follows the rules. Usually this isn't a problem. But in the last few weeks, I've noticed an increasing population of people at my gym's pool who seem oblivious to these rules. They jump in the pool blocking a lane with no warning. They try to pack four people to a lane. When they swim, they don't stay in their side of the lane. It's total crazyness. Mass chaos. I'll be swimming along, and BAM!, some nut is standing right in front of me as if I didn't even exist. They are oblivious to the fact that that they are inconveniencing people who are properly using the pool, or the possibility that someone could get hurt. I really hope these folks either learn the pool etiquitte fast, or better yet, decide to move on to the treadmill or stationary bikes, where the potential to do damage is limited. I hope I don't end up driving near these folks on the road. Lane markings appear to have no importance at all.


posted by twisesq  # 9:34 PM

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

 
My friend Andy wrote something in his blog today that I think is very true. He was quoting a mutual friend of ours, Bryan: "And I ask myself, as my friend Bryan has taught me to, what would you do if you had no fear?" Good luck, Andy.


posted by twisesq  # 10:44 PM

Monday, May 22, 2006

 

How do you get the lawn mower on top?


How do you get the lawn mower on top?
I've been noticing more and more strange cars on the road lately. Like this one, a truck with a lawn mower on top of it. How do they get it up there? Is that really the best place for it? Ever since a truck in front of me lost a metal pipe that almost went through my windshield, I change lanes real fast. I remember about a year ago a truck lost 2 sofas on Hwy 17 southbound. Brand hew, white sofas. Tsk.


posted by twisesq  # 11:21 PM

Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

Bike to Work Day


Bike to Work Day
Today is bike-to-work day. Not being crazy enough to actually bike to work, I took light rail to work. 30 minutes door to door.


posted by twisesq  # 9:15 AM

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 
What kind of back-asswards town is Black Jack, Missouri? "The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction." "The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by 'blood, marriage or adoption.'"



What kind of dumb-ass law is that? Why does our government feel they can regulate who can live together in a house? Two unrelated people are okay, but three aren't? I'm sure glad I live in a city (and state) that allows anyone to live together who wants to live together. I thought I lived in a country that allowed that as well. Turns out I was wrong.


posted by twisesq  # 4:07 PM

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

 
My Asian coworker told me some stories today about discrimination he and his friends have experienced from the police while driving. It's not just Driving While Black. It's also Driving While Vietnamese.

News report: "Mexico said Tuesday that it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops on the border become directly involved in detaining migrants."

Really? On what basis? As a soverign country, we have the right to secure our borders through whatever means we choose. Other countries have that right, and exercise it often. Did we lose that at some point?

"'Even with a lot of guards and soldiers in place, we have to jump that puddle,' said Canche, referring to the drought-stricken Rio Grande dividing Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas. 'My family is hungry and there is no work in my land. I have to risk it.'"

Maybe instead of filing lawsuits, Vincente Fox should focus on his country's economy. Maybe that would generate more work in Mexico, and keep his country's population from fleeing northward. Mexico's limited infrastructure is crumbling. Maybe a New Deal-type program to fix up the infrastructure, and a domestic Peace Corps-type program to increase literacy and health care would solve a few problems. I'm just thinking outloud though.

"'Soldiers on the border? That won't stop me,' he said. 'I'll swim the river and jump the wall. I'm going to arrive in the United States.'"

This summer I am traveling to Canada. I tire of lines easily, so I think I'll bypass the normal immigration process. If the Canadians try to stop me from coming into their country without following their procedures, I'll file a lawsuit. Apparently that's how it works.


posted by twisesq  # 5:18 PM

Sunday, May 14, 2006

 
The West Wing ended tonight. I've watched it faithfully since the first episode. I've got the first four seasons on DVD, and I watched them all twice. It was a classic show that taught us a lot about the White House, politics, and our society. I had hoped Commander in Chief would be a suitable replacement, but it wasn't. My most memorable part of the show was the death of Mrs. Landingham. It was the only time I remember actually gathering around the water cooler at work to discuss anything with my coworkers.


posted by twisesq  # 11:15 PM
 

Human Race


Human Race
With the winner of the 2006 Silicon Valley Human Race 10k.


posted by twisesq  # 1:56 AM

Friday, May 12, 2006

 
I was on a conference call for work this morning, and one of the topics discussed was how Coit Tower shouldn't be used as an image on a publication because it's too phallic.


posted by twisesq  # 9:26 AM
 
There's been a lot of debate about high school exit exams. These aren't something new. I had to take a high school exit exam (three, actually) when I was a sophomore, and that was back in 1992.



If the courts do rule against the high school exit exams on the basis that certain high school students are disadvantaged by the exam, I wonder what will be next?



No more driver's license exams to get a driver's license? No more boards exams to become a doctor? No more bar exam to become a lawyer? Why have any sort of threshhold exams at all for certifications, if certain people are disadvantaged by the exam (i.e., can't pass)?



Then again, part of me says, why waste the energy? An American high school diploma is worthless anyhow. Today's college degree is what the high school diploma was 50 years ago.


posted by twisesq  # 8:41 AM

Thursday, May 11, 2006

 
Headline: "Bush denies spying infringes on privacy"



Right, because if the information wasn't private, it wouldn't be spying, right?



Sheesh.


posted by twisesq  # 10:01 PM

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

 
United 93 was an interesting movie to watch. I had two problems with the movie going into it: (1) They're making a profit off of it (vs. donating all profits to charity), and (2) it just seems too soon to be making a theatre-release movie about 9/11. After seeing the movie, only the first problem remains. It's odd watching a movie that you want to have a happy ending, but you know it won't. I like that the movie was timed to the real events surrounding Flight 93 (i.e. one movie minute equals one real minute). I also liked that the movie followed the Congressional Report on 9/11 quite closely, in terms of the inept military response and lack of communication between the FAA and military. The movie certainly makes the military look like a group of buffoons, and makes the FAA look like they were doing everything humanly possible to deal with the situation, with the exception of the guy who stood next to the head FAA guy the entire movie and just stared at him with an open mouth (I’m not sure what that was about). The latter part of the movie takes place almost entirely in the plane, and it is a very emotional scene. The movie obviously has to take some liberties in interpreting what must have gone on in the plane, but the phone calls and actions of the people in the plane follow what has become common knowledge about the flight. I left the movie theatre wondering what would have happened if only the passengers had acted sooner. I no longer think that it is "too soon" for this movie. The movie tells an important story. It goes beyond the stories we all heard following 9/11 about "Let’s Roll". The movie shows and teaches us how these people most likely acted in the face of unparalleled and unimaginable danger and fear. I give it one thumb up.


posted by twisesq  # 4:15 PM
 

Retro Sink



Retro Sink
My company used to have fancy sensor sinks in the bathroom. But then a few weeks ago, the sensors stopped working properly, and it became hard to get water out of the faucet. Yesterday the maintenance guy replaced the sensor sinks with these doohickeys, that we have to manually operate (I'm not a fan of these in public restrooms). Unfortunately, one broke already, prompting the placement of this sign: "Out of Order. We apologized for your inconvenience." Isn't that nice.


posted by twisesq  # 11:32 AM
 
Today the FDA announced they are not allowing manufacturers of green tea to put claims of health benefits on the packaging, saying that after reviewing 100+ studies of the benefits of green tea, no clear health benefits were identified. That's disappointing. I gave up hot chocolate 4 years ago in favor of slightly less tasty green tea, only to find out the health benfits I thought was getting aren't there. On the bright side, if I just wait a few years, the FDA will announce that they determined green tea has identifiable health benefits, then I can resume drinking green tea again. I love how the scientific community and the FDA flip-flop every few years on the health detriments and benfits of all sorts of stuff (fatty foods, carbs, green tea, vitamins, etc.). That really shows that they have absolutely no clue what the real answer is.



Bathroom update: Plumber dislodged a plastic dohicky from the downstairs toilet. The cleaning service must have dropped it in there and flushed. Unfortuntately the 20 year old toilet wasn't worth reinstalling, so it's time to get a new one. Since all of my home remodeling projects end up being more expensive than one would initially think, I think the toilet replacement project will come in at between $500 and $750.



All of our partners are out of the office at training this week. As are the senior associates, and staff. It's very quiet with only directors and managers roaming the halls. It should be like this all the time.


posted by twisesq  # 10:50 AM

Monday, May 8, 2006

 

Landfill



Big Pile of Rubbish
I didn't do much this weekend. But I did go to Baylands Park in Mountain View, where there is a pretty good view of the landfill. Look at that big heap of garbage!


posted by twisesq  # 7:00 AM

Thursday, May 4, 2006

 
From the internet:Dear President Bush,



I'm about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements. I know you can help with this.



I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.



So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that I'm on my way over? Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:



1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. All government forms need to be printed in English.

4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.

5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

7. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

8. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I won't make any effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from Pres. Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and don't enforce any labor laws or tax laws.

13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for

all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that Pres. Fox won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely

However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P. Thank you so much for your kind help




posted by twisesq  # 7:26 PM

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

 
I'm sitting at the Starbucks in the Mercado shopping center in Santa Clara. I'm on my laptop, doing some work. Three guys sit down at the table next to me, and start having a meeting. Two of them are firing the third. It's a very awkward Starbucks moment.


posted by twisesq  # 11:16 AM

Monday, May 1, 2006

 
From www.dooce.com:

"We tried to spend Friday visiting our favorite places in the city but instead we battled public transportation half the day - an hour and a half waiting inside a MUNI station and then another 45 minutes for a bus that never came. There seemed to be a serious lack of pride in the system, and for a city known for its progressive politics it felt really hypocritical that we were basically forced to take a cab to get anywhere."San Jose has one major problem: Lack of public transportation. Despite the new Light Rail line extending into Campbell, Light Rail doesn't really address most commuter's issues.



But San Francisco has two major problems: Lack of reliable public transportation, and homeless people. My friend Frank takes public transportation every day to work. And it seems like weekly he has a fairly major problem with MUNI. Usually it involves the bus not coming on time, or the bus being so dirty / graffitied that it's hard to sit. As for the homeless, San Francisco lacks a backbone to deal with the problem, so all the homeless people in the Bay Area congregate in one city and drain city resources.



I spent May Day at a client site in South San Jose. This morning during my commute I noticed about half the normal number of day laborers outside my neighborhood Home Depot. I guess they sacrificed a day's earnings to protest America's "unjust" immigration system. My coworker, a legal immigrant herself, commented to me during lunch that she just doesn't understand what the protests are about. She echoed my thoughts, that America's problem is we are just too nice. Any other country in the world would tell people who broke the law and were asking for special rights to go back home. The complexity for us, though, is that we actually want these people here to do work that the rest of us don't want to do.


posted by twisesq  # 6:13 PM


Friday, April 28, 2006

 

Another day of phone calls



Another day of phone calls



posted by twisesq  # 8:58 AM

Thursday, April 27, 2006

 


Ponder this on May 1: This map shows net immigration, graphically. See how bloated the U.S. is?


posted by twisesq  # 9:10 PM
 
I like this part the best: "We want full amnesty, full legalization for anybody who is here illegally." I'd like full amnesty for the parking ticket I got last week, but seeing how I did let the meter expire, I don't that's going to happen.



"Pro-immigration activists say a national boycott and marches planned for May 1 will flood U.S. streets with millions of Latinos to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants.



Such a massive turnout could make for the largest protests since the civil rights era of the 1960s, though not all Latinos -- nor their leaders -- were comfortable with such militancy, fearing a backlash in Middle America.



"We want full amnesty, full legalization for anybody who is here (illegally)," Rodriguez said.



They vow that America's major cities will grind to a halt and its economy will stagger as Latinos walk off their jobs and skip school.



"It's intimidation when a million people march down main streets in our major cities under the Mexican flag," said Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman volunteer border patrol group. "This will backfire," he said.



Some Latinos have also expressed concerns that the boycott and marches could stir up anti-immigrant sentiment.



Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles archdiocese, an outspoken champion of immigrant rights, has lobbied against a walkout. "Go to work, go to school, and then join thousands of us at a major rally afterword," Mahony said.



And Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has long fought for immigrant rights, has said he expects protesters to be "lawful and respectful" and children to stay in school.



In Washington on Thursday, immigrant-rights activists brushed off talk of a backlash.



"This is going to be really big. We're going to have millions of people," said Juan Jose Gutierrez, director of the Latino Movement USA. "We are not concerned at all. We believe it's possible for Congress to get the message that the time to act is now."


posted by twisesq  # 3:36 PM

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

 
Now seriously ... what reasonable person would think that this is a good idea? It's like a scene out of The Office. $1.2 million seems light ...



"Lawyers for a woman who was spanked in front of her co-workers as part of what her employer said was a camaraderie-building exercise asked a jury Wednesday for at least $1.2 million for the humiliation she claimed to have suffered."



"Employees were paddled with rival companies' yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks."



"No reasonable middle-aged woman would want to be put up there before a group of young men, turned around to show her buttocks, get spanked and called abusive names, and told it was to increase sales and motivate employees," her lawyer, Nicholas "Butch" Wagner, said in his closing argument."



"Alarm One officials ceased the practice in 2004, the year Orlando sued, after another employee complained of being injured, according to court records."


posted by twisesq  # 6:01 PM

Monday, April 24, 2006

 

SV Flickr Meetup


SV Flickr Meetup:
I went to the Silicon Valley Flickr meetup this evening. It's the geekiest thing I've done in years. Well, ok, at least a few weeks anyhow. Interesting group of people -- I'll be back next month, and I hope they arrange another photo tour around the area soon.


posted by twisesq  # 11:33 PM
 

Proper Bathroom Setup



Proper Bathroom Setup
All bathrooms should have a trashcan next to the door. It's a pet peeve of mine. Do you know how many germs are on the doorhandle of a bathroom?


posted by twisesq  # 10:26 PM

Sunday, April 23, 2006

 

Mouserug



Mouserug
My mouse now has a rug to sit on, thanks to Susan from San Francisco Law School. Thanks, Susan!


posted by twisesq  # 5:21 PM

Saturday, April 22, 2006

 

False Advertising



False Advertising
I don't think a Dodge Neon qualifies as a "Van" :)


posted by twisesq  # 9:56 PM

Friday, April 21, 2006

 

Presidential Escort



Presidential Escort
Helicopters (4) escorting President Bush from Cisco to Moffett Field.


posted by twisesq  # 4:50 PM
 

Final Exam



Final Exam
Took today off work to study and take a final exam for my MST class. It was easier than I expected, but I won't let that fool me.


posted by twisesq  # 4:50 PM

Thursday, April 20, 2006

 
Today's news reports that companies are starting to patent technologies to force us to watch commercials. One patent by Phillips would prevent us from turning off our TV's or changing channels during a commercial. Other technology would prevent DVR's such as TiVo from fast forwarding through commercials. We knew this was coming ... the premise of television and radio was that the broadcasts were free to the viewers and listeners, but paid for by advertisers. Modern TV and radio stations don't broadcast for the fun of it ... they are businesses, and they chose their content based on what will sell the most advertisements. At the end of the day, TV and radio stations are advertising companies. If technology lets us bypass the advertisements, the business model doesn't work any more. We either have to pay for the broadcasts, be forced to watch the commercials, or integrate the commercials into the shows. Some stations are experimenting with paying for broadcasts through iTunes. Personally, I can't imagine paying $2 to download and watch a sitcom. I think the consumer backlash against forcing people to watch commercials will stop that technology from being implemented (I know I would significantly decrease my TiVo watching if I couldn't skip through commercials). Shows already integrate advertisements into the show itself through product placement. Sometimes, like with Survivor and Apprentice, the placement is blatant. With other shows, it would be very hard to do product placement. None of these options is perfect, but the model is clearly changing, because advertisers are skeptical about spending millions on a commercial when increasing percentages of the audience are able to skip right through them.


posted by twisesq  # 9:35 AM

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

Camera with Lens



New Camera
Ever since I started taking digital pictures in 1998, I've wanted to get a SLR digital camera. With valuable advice from my dad and my friend Timmie, I picked out a Cacnon Rebel XT, with a 17-85mm (27-135 effective) lens. It was very pricy, but my old Canon Powershot 230S was starting to fail, and I wanted a camera that would give me more flexibility with photography. It's too soon for me to write a full review, but I'm fairly impressed so far.


posted by twisesq  # 9:37 PM

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

St. Joseph's



Trinity
I had to go on a walk in downtown San Jose today and passed St. Joseph's Cathedral. I realized the Knight Ridder building was right behind it. Knight Ridder (currently on the block to the highest bidder), Calpine Corp. (bankrupt utility, headquartered in the Knight Ridder building), and the scandal-plagued Catholic Church... all in one photo.



posted by twisesq  # 11:18 PM
 
"I mean, think about it. Other than the war in Iraq, the Katrina disaster, the deficit, the CIA leak, torture, stopping stem cell research, homeland security, global warming and undercutting science, we've yet to really feel the negative effects of the Bush administration." - Bill Moyers


posted by twisesq  # 12:59 PM

Monday, April 17, 2006

 

04-17-06_1327



The question on everyone's mind: Will the day go by without rain?



posted by twisesq  # 1:59 PM

Saturday, April 15, 2006

 
It's coming up on open enrollment at my company. They have announced that they are doing away with my current health plan (a PPO), and replacing it with another PPO. However, they are also adding a high-deductible health plan coupled with a healthcare spending account (HSA). I'm inclined to take that option. Basically, the insurance itself is free to me. The $25/pay period premium I pay is deposited into an interest bearing, non-expiring HSA which I can use to offset medical expenses. All medical expenses are out-of-pocket, unless I hit $2,700 a year deductible, after which the insurance covers everything. I think this type of health care plan is the future of health insurance. It better represents what health insurance is supposed to be: coverage for catastrophic problems. It's cheaper for me (my current premium is around $50 a pay period, and I rarely use the benefits), cheaper for my company, and hopefully better for our health care system. The plan also provides one free physical exam (including blood work) per year, which is just about the only time I go to the doctor's office anyhow. If I had any medical problems, I'd be more inclined to stick with my PPO plan, but since I rarely need to go to the doctor's office, this seems to make much more sense. Also, the HSA replaces my current FSA (flex-spending account), which expires at the end of each year. The HSA rolls over, and gives me interest.


posted by twisesq  # 10:59 AM
 

Good Sam



I took yesterday off work to take mom to the hospital for a routine procedure. It went well. Nothing too exciting going on at Good Samaritan Hospital at 6:30 a.m.



posted by twisesq  # 9:54 AM

Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

No Clouds!



No Clouds!

Originally uploaded by twisesq.

Finally, a sunny day. No rain. Pruneyard towers in the distance.


posted by twisesq  # 2:28 PM
 

Attack of the Bear



Attack of the Bear

Originally uploaded by twisesq.

Testing photoblog.


posted by twisesq  # 1:44 PM
 
There's some really cool tools on the internet that I'm using now. Most of these in some way use a new web language called AJAX to expand web functionality. It's really expanding the things we can do on the web.

  • Today I converted to a Flickr user. Flickr lets me store unlimited amounts of photos on the web, and lets me share them with other people.
  • Firefox, of course.
  • Bloglines, for reading weblogs.
  • GAIM, an IM program that combines Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Google, SameTime, and just about any other IM protocol into one program.
  • TIVO. Ok, it's not really an internet application, but it's revolutionized my TV watching.
  • SlingBox. Let's me watch my TIVO remotely. Very nifty.


posted by twisesq  # 10:54 AM

Monday, April 10, 2006

 
Newsfactor.com has a news article about how more and more companies are monitoring employees' personal use of the internet at work. What the article overlooks is that more and more employees are having to take care of personal things (online shopping, banking, etc.) at work because they are working longer hours, including evenings and weekends, which were traditionally reserved for employees to take care of such personal chores. Employers may start restricting employee use of the internet at work, but I rather suspect productivity will go down, not up.


posted by twisesq  # 2:24 PM
 
I saw this reported on the news over the weekend. I'm glad a lawyer jumped all over this:



"A lawyer said he plans a lawsuit over the death of a woman whose young son called 911 to report she had collapsed, only to be told he shouldn't be playing on the phone."



The poor kid had to call 911 multiple times before he could get an operator who believed he was telling the truth when he said his mom passed out. The audio tapes are chilling ... a kid doing what he was taught to do when he needed help, only to be told by multiple 911 dispatchers that he shouldn't be playing on the phone. By the time authorities arrived, his mom was dead.



"After Turner collapsed, Robert placed two calls to 911. In the first call about 6 p.m., Robert told an operator his mother had passed out, but an operator asked to speak with an adult. When he called back about three hours later, an operator told him: 'You shouldn't be playing on the phone.'"



"[The attorney] said he plans to file the wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Detroit on Monday."



You bet. Detroit, be prepared to open your wallets. There's a little boy out there without his mother because some of your 911 dispatchers are morons.


posted by twisesq  # 11:43 AM

Sunday, April 9, 2006

 
Tonight's West Wing episode will go down in West Wing history as one of the best. They killed of Leo, and Santos won the election. I thought they did a very good job dealing with John Spencer's untimely real life heart attack. It was dignified, and showed a lot of depth to Josh, C.J., the President, and even the candidates. It's really too bad the series is coming to a close soon. It would be nice if Commander in Chief was able to pick up the West Wing viewers, but its ratings have been less than spectacular. We'll see how they do when the show comes out of hiatus this week.


posted by twisesq  # 9:54 PM

Thursday, April 6, 2006

 
Darwin Awards



Two people were killed by Caltrain trains today. One was a suicide, and one was an accident. How do people accidentally get killed by trains? On the news tonight, some people blaimed the lack of a fence, or warning signs. How about if we blaim the stupid idiot (now dead) who decided to play chicken with the train? His family should apologize to the Caltrain engineer who had to sit in the engine and watch helplessly as this fool got hit by the train. He'll be traumatized for life.



How did Americans survive life in the 1800's before fences and warning signs on abosolutely everything? How did we manage to all own rifles and operate dangerous farm equipment without letting our stupidity kill us all? It's hard to imagine. Somehow, I have a feeling we were smart enough to stay away from the train tracks when a train was approaching.


posted by twisesq  # 10:50 PM
 
Remember the boy who cried wolf? Rep. Cynthia McKinney is the boy. Racism is the wolf.



Last week, McKinney, an African-American, entered a House office building without passing through the metal detector that screens visitors. Members of Congress are permitted to bypass the machines, but she was not wearing the pin that identified her as a House member at the time.



A white police officer has said he asked McKinney three times to stop. She did not. The officer placed a hand on her and she responded by hitting him.



The grand jury investigation into whether to seek assault or other charges against McKinney is ongoing.



McKinney called the incident "racial profiling" and "inappropriate touching". For nearly a week, she and her lawyers had insisted that she had been assaulted and had done nothing wrong. Today, she reversed course and said, "I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all and I regret its escalation, and I apologize, there should not have been any physical contact in this incident."



McKinney has a history of confrontations with police officers. Leaders of her party openly rejected her explanation that she was acting in self defense when she hit the officer.



The incident has embarrassed Democrats, including fellow members of the

Congressional Black Caucus, none of whom has publicly defended her behavior.



Sigh.


posted by twisesq  # 2:09 PM

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

 
The SEC is soliciting comments from small business on how SoX 404 has impacted them. From my observations of small public companies, the impact has been very negative. The documentation requirements have been onerous and expensive, and I question how useful the internal control testing is to catching corporate fraud. It is certainly a deterrent to small companies going public.


posted by twisesq  # 2:36 PM

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

 
Bill Gates wrote a really interesting article for CNN about how he works:



If you look at this office, there isn't much paper in it. On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.



The screen on the left has my list of e-mails. On the center screen is usually the specific e-mail I'm reading and responding to. And my browser is on the right-hand screen. This setup gives me the ability to glance and see what new has come in while I'm working on something, and to bring up a link that's related to an e-mail and look at it while the e-mail is still in front of me.



When I'm at my desk, I use two screens, and I've found it greatly enhances my productivity. I wish I had the ability to run three screens. I've also managed to eliminate most of the paper from my desk, except for projects I'm currently working on. Everything else goes on my hard drive, which is backed up daily to our company's servers.


posted by twisesq  # 2:04 PM

Friday, March 31, 2006

 
Today's two "completely unrelated" headlines from our favorite rogue middle-eastern nation:



"Iran Test-Fires Missile Able to Duck Radar"



and



"Three Earthquakes Level Iranian Villages"



Yes... earthquakes. Not, say, an errant radar-ducking missile.


posted by twisesq  # 2:04 PM

Thursday, March 30, 2006

 
The San Jose Redevelopment Agency has done a great job of revitalizing downtown San Jo'. New restaurants open every day, and the place is downright bustling. But there's a bit of a problem. Last week, I was nearly broadsided twice by two people who didn't bother to stop for a red light near my office. And earlier this week, a person who works for my company was nearly flattened by an SUV near the office. She survived, with injuries. People aren't watching where they're going. Some insurance company is going to have to pony up a hefty amount. Broken bones, time off work ... big bucks. And most people's insurance isn't sufficient to cover those kinds of damages.


posted by twisesq  # 1:09 PM

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 
Yes, 280 was clogged again today between 17 and 85. After 85 it frees up. Surely a sign about the economy. I would absolutely hate to have to drive that commute every day.



Tomorrow's commute adventure: 880 north to Milpitas, and then back down south to downtown.


posted by twisesq  # 3:16 PM

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 
My usual Lawyer's In The Library got replaced tonight with Lawyer's In The Courthouse. The Pro Bono Project, which I volunteer for, is trying a new thing... small claim's court advice for people who are thinking about filing a lawsuit in small claim's court. I saw two clients, both were interesting, and frankly good cases. I felt a lot more useful tonight than I usually do at Lawyer's In The Library.



New season of Deadliest Catch premiered tonight on Discovery Channel. Reality show about the three-week crab fishing season in the Alaska area. I didn't really care for it last season, but I'm TIVOing it this year.



I have to make another trip up 280 tomorrow morning for a meeting in Redwood Shores. This will be the test to see if 280 is blocked up that bad every day, or if Monday was abnormal.


posted by twisesq  # 9:27 PM

Monday, March 27, 2006

 
Update on Saturday's 10k run: A 57 year old man died running the race. I didn't see or hear about any commotion, so I think he must have been behind me. A few years ago when I ran the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz, a guy in front of me had a heart attack. I saw the paramedics trying to revive him, but I read the next day in the newspaper that he died.


posted by twisesq  # 2:23 PM
 
I'm working in PwC's SF office today, which I've never been to before. It's in Embarcadero 3, and the office is really nice inside. Similar floorplan as the San Jose office, but it's not as cavernous. And they have better pens here than in San Jose.



On my drive up this morning, I realized that the economy must be booming. Three years ago when I worked for KPMG, I would take 17 to 280 to 85 to Middlefield Road (about 20 miles), and it took me 35 minutes in the morning. This morning, just taking 17 to 280 to 85 (about 13 miles) took 45 minutes. I would hate to do that commute every day. An accident on 17 created some of the delay, but once I got on 280, it was just stop and go. It wasn't like that before. Thankfully my normal commute is only about 7 minutes door to door.


posted by twisesq  # 9:36 AM

Sunday, March 26, 2006

 
Tivo has introduced a new Series 2 model, with 180 hour capacity, dual-tuners, and built-in Ethernet jack. That's very cool. But I'll wait to upgrade to Series 3 (HD) in a few years, when I'm ready to migrate all my AV equipment to HD.


posted by twisesq  # 7:13 PM
 
Today I ran the San Jose Mercury News 10k Run. It's a run I've been wanting to do for 3 years now. There were thousands of people there, it was quite amazing.


posted by twisesq  # 10:19 AM

Saturday, March 25, 2006

 
Today half-a-million people marched in Los Angeles to protest any changes to the current U.S. immigration laws, and specifically changes that would make illegal immigration a felony (wait, it's not currently?!), and create a guest-worker visa program. Many of those marchers carried the national flag of Mexico.



Explain that to me. Why would someone carry the national flag of another country while demonstrating one's desire to live in this country?



There are estimated to be 11 million people in the U.S. who are not legally permitted to be here. Presumably they are carrying the national flag of some other country while reaping the benefits of this one.


posted by twisesq  # 10:11 PM

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 
Here's what happens when a lawyer's elevator doesn't go all the way up to the top floor. I'm hoping for prompt disbarment. (from an AP news release, 3/14)



"A lawyer in the federal Transportation Security Administration, Carla Martin, had urged seven witnesses from the Federal Aviation Administration to read trial transcripts and had prepared them for certain questions on cross-examination."



As a result, the case against terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui was dealt a severe blow this week.



"Federal rules of evidence prohibit witnesses from exposure to trial testimony because of the possibility they will alter their testimony based on what they learn. [The judge] detailed the rules in a pretrial order."



"I don't think in the annals of criminal law there has ever been a case with this many significant problems," [the Judge] said after a daylong hearing revealed additional difficulties caused by Martin.



"Tuesday's hearing also indicated Martin had falsely advised defense lawyers that two witnesses would be unwilling to meet with them even though the witnesses had said no such thing."



Does this woman still have a job? How can one lawyer be so incompetent?


posted by twisesq  # 8:59 PM

Saturday, March 11, 2006

 
Skiing on my new ski blades for the first time today. I went to the Nevada side of Heavenly (also for the first time). It was really great. Now I see what I've been missing.



This trip gave me an opportunity to use my Slingbox. It's working well from the cabin. A few notes on the set-up and operation:



It was very easy to install (I have it controlling my Tivo) and get on the network - truly plug and play from a hardware standpoint. Configuration and firmware update occurred when I installed the software on my laptop. Software was very intuitive, automatically updated, and it was easy to tell it to specify an IP address rather than get one from the router automatically (I prefer to specify the IP address for equipment like this, so that I can more easily access it remotely). It was also easy to change the port from the default of 5001 to something else.



The service has a feature that eliminates the need for me to know my Comcast IP address to connect remotely. The box talks to headquarters and reports the local IP address, and when I launch the software remotely, it talks to headquarters and fetches the IP address based on the serial number. I have to enter a password (once) to connect, so it seems secure from hacking.



Once connected, I'm presented with a full TiVO remote control with all of the important buttons enabled. The buttons also have keyboard shortcuts, which eliminate the need to point and click to do some simple tasks. I can also set up favorite TV channels on an icon bar to just click to change the channel.



The in-house streaming throughput on wireless and CAT-5 is 30 frames per second / 1,600 kbps. Remote drops down to about 25 fps / 500 kbps. Video quality is not what I would call superb ... it's typical streaming quality. I haven't had any instances of the video or sound stopping to rebuffer. From watching it side by side with live TV, the slingplayer is about 2-3 seconds behind the live signal.



If I traveled a lot, this would be an amazing device - to be able to watch and clear out my TiVO from a hotel room (I find Tivo-to-Go to be unbearable). I don't travel that much, so I'll probably use it mainly to control my tivo from work, and to watch tv remotely on occasion. I'll probably also use it to watch my TiVO from other parts of the house.


posted by twisesq  # 5:30 PM

Friday, March 10, 2006

 
Today the mailroom delivered two Slingbox's to my desk. What to do, what to do.


posted by twisesq  # 11:45 AM

Thursday, March 9, 2006

 
Slingbox #1 ordered from Amazon.com 3/1

Shipped via USPS 3/7

Received "Lost in shipment" e-mail from Amazon.com: 3/8



Slingbox #2 (replacement) ordered by Amazon.com 3/8

Shipped via FedEx 3/9, for expedited delivery 3/10



Slingbox #1 arrived today



Waiting to see if Slingbox #2 arrives tomorrow...


posted by twisesq  # 3:40 PM

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

 
Tonight a show called Black.White premiers on FX. It is a reality show where a black family is transformed to be white, and a white family is transformed to be black. I have seen the before and after pictures of the transformation, and it is amazing how good of a job they are able to do. The families are then sent out into the community to see how they are treated differently as the other race. It sounds really interesting, and I'm looking forward to watching it on my Tivo.



Speaking of TV, Amazon.com notified me today that they misplaced the SlingBox I ordered last week, so they are shipping me a new one. I should have it by Friday. (For those who don't know, a SlingBox allows a person to watch their Tivo, DVD player, or any other device over the internet from any location).


posted by twisesq  # 9:52 AM

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

 
The next craze to take over the U.S.: Sodoku Puzzle. Watch for it. It's already in Europe and Asia.



Update: My dad reports the craze has already hit West Carrolton, Ohio, and he is ahead of the curve by knowing how to play! I know what I'll be doing when I go back to visit this fall.


posted by twisesq  # 7:02 AM

Thursday, March 2, 2006

 

It wouldn't be a trip to SoCal without a car chase on TV. Who would have

thought the car being chased would be the police SUV? I wish we had more

televised car chases in San Jose. It would liven things up a bit.

posted by twisesq  # 4:19 PM

Monday, February 27, 2006

 
Are you a two-monitor user? "Having two monitors has been shown by several studies to make people up to 15% more productive." (Scobleizer) I'm a big believer in the two monitor approach.


posted by twisesq  # 5:10 PM

Friday, February 24, 2006

 
Someone's looking for a new job: "MCAFEE: AUDITOR FAILED TO ENCRYPT EMPLOYEE-RECORDS CD, LEFT IT ON PLANE"



"The auditor, an employee of Deloitte & Touche, left an unencrypted CD containing the employee information in an airline seat pocket on Dec. 15. The disc included the names, social security numbers and McAfee stock holdings for more than 9,000 employees, according to McAfee spokeswoman Siobhan MacDermott."



"The auditor did not report the Dec. 15 incident to Deloitte until Jan. 8. Deloitte informed McAfee of the lapse on Jan. 11, but it took Deloitte until Jan. 30 to determine what was on the disc."


posted by twisesq  # 10:18 PM

Thursday, February 23, 2006

 
Headline: "Americans work more, seem to accomplish less."



"Most U.S. workers say they feel rushed on the job, but they are getting less accomplished than a decade ago, according to newly released research." "We never concentrate on one task anymore. You take a little chip out of it, and then you're on to the next thing," Challenger said on Wednesday. "It's harder to feel like you're accomplishing something." Expectations that technology would save time and money largely haven't been borne out in the workplace, said Ronald Downey, professor of psychology who specializes in industrial organization at Kansas State University. "It just increases the expectations that people have for your production," Downey said. Even if productivity increases, it's constantly outpaced by those expectations, said Don Grimme of GHR Training Solutions, a workplace training company based in Coral Springs, Florida. "The irony is the very expectation of getting more done is getting in the way of getting more done," he said. "People are stressed out." Companies that are flexible with workers' time and give workers the most control over their tasks tend to fare better against the sea of rising expectations, experts said. Finally, there's a trend among companies to measure job performance like never before, said Challenger. "There's a sense that no matter how much I do, it's never enough," he said.


posted by twisesq  # 1:22 PM

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

 
"Wearing vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls around the country from one soldier's funeral to another, cheering respectfully to overshadow jeers from church protesters."



That's nice of them to do. Wait, church protesters at a military funeral? What?



"They call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, and they are more than 5,000 strong, forming to counter anti-gay protests held by the Rev. Fred Phelps at military funerals."



Anti-gay protests at military funerals? What's the connection there?



"Phelps believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. His protesters carry signs thanking God for so-called IEDs -- explosives that are a major killer of soldiers in Iraq."



Oh, now I get it. Of course. And Hurricane Katrina was retribution for us using crop rotation in the South (Leviticus 19:19). I got a cold last week... maybe it was because I wore a mixed-fabric shirt (Id). Life is so much easier when we don't have to think for ourselves.



posted by twisesq  # 1:00 PM

Sunday, February 19, 2006

 
It's been in the news this weekend that the logistical operations, including security, at six major American ports has been outsourced to a British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., that was acquired last week by Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates.



People are questioning the wisdom of outsourcing security at six of our major ports to an Arab company, particularly in light of 9-11. Indeed.



But, pray tell, why was security at six of our major ports outsourced to a foreign (British) company in the first place? Isn't that the type of thing that, in light of 9-11, should really be handled by a U.S. company, if not the U.S. military?



It turns out that the port operations of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia have been outsourced to a non-U.S. company for years. This wisdom of this is being raised by people of both parties: "It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said on "Fox News Sunday." "Most Americans are scratching their heads, wondering why this company from this region now," Graham said.



Here's the quote that really got me: "Dubai Ports World should not be excluded automatically from such a deal because it is based in the UAE," Chertoff (Secretary of Homeland Security) said.



Really? Why the heck not? In fact, why can't all foreign companies be excluded automatically from handling security at our major ports? Is that xenophobic of me to suggest? Yes. So there.



Mind you, this Chertoff guy is the same dumbass who sat at his desk scratching his head about what to do while Katrina was busy killing people in New Orleans. Clearly we're not dealing with a lot of brainpower here. But with this administration, that goes without saying.


posted by twisesq  # 8:30 PM

Friday, February 17, 2006

 
One year of home sale data for Santa Clara County, from zillow.com:





















Notice the trend?


posted by twisesq  # 7:20 AM

Saturday, February 11, 2006

 
I ran the Campbell Rec. Fun Run this morning. 53:10, 8:33 minute mile. Not bad for my first 10k in 1.5 years.


posted by twisesq  # 10:20 AM

Thursday, February 9, 2006

 
I spent the last 24 hours in San Luis Obispo doing recruiting interviews. 11 interviews. That was exhausting!


posted by twisesq  # 9:58 PM

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

 
Wow, I just found out that I was quoted in a government report by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Civil Justice Reform Interim Report:



Here's my quote:



"Attorneys fees are very high, very little pro bono." -- Travis A Wise, of Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP in California, describing the Hong Kong legal system.



This is odd, since I don't really remember making that quote, but it must be in one of my outlines from my Hong Kong study abroad time back in 1998. Kind of scary that the Hong Kong government would cite that as meaningful for anything.


posted by twisesq  # 9:43 AM
 
Want a sign that the rest of the world is crazier than America (I know, hard to believe)? People are killing each other over an editorial cartoon. That just doesn't happen in America. Do Americans even make it to the editorial page of the newspaper? I think we start with the sports section and end with the comics.


posted by twisesq  # 9:05 AM

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

 
I've been volunteering last week, this week, and next week to score the high school mock trial competitions. They're held at the downtown courthouse, and presided over by real judges. The kids are doing really well. They're really into it. They are so polite, it's like watching the opposite of Judge Judy.


posted by twisesq  # 11:31 PM
 
Golden Gate Univ. notified me that they are granting my resquest for 2 graduate clases I took several years ago to apply towards my MST degree. Those two, plus the one I'm in now, mean that I'm 1/3 of the way done with my degree.


posted by twisesq  # 7:26 AM

Sunday, February 5, 2006

 
Skiing at Heavenly was good this weekend. Saturday started out with a snowstorm that closed Sky Express (so Commet Express was backed up), but the weather cleared by mid afternoon. Saturday evening I went to see Glory Road, an amazing movie about the Texas Western Basketball Team.


posted by twisesq  # 5:19 PM

Thursday, February 2, 2006

 
Usually at work when I write memos, the dollar amounts I write about are in the millions. Sometimes hundreds of millions. Yesterday was the first day I was writing about amounts in the billions. It made me stop and double check the commas.



Dumbass Award Nomination: "A lawsuit is asking iPod maker Apple Computer to turn down the music. The case, filed Monday in San Jose federal court, claims Apple markets its popular digital music player knowing that it can lead to permanent hearing loss if it is played too loudly." Yea, and Ford makes cars knowing they can lead to car accidents if they are driven improperly.


posted by twisesq  # 6:59 AM
 
"My tax return in the United States has to be kept on a special computer because their normal computers can't deal with the numbers. So I am constantly getting these notices telling me I haven't paid something when really it is just on the wrong computer. Then they will send me another notice telling me how bad they feel they that they sent me a notice that was a mistake."



-- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates

posted by twisesq  # 12:16 AM

Sunday, January 29, 2006

 
Watched the Road to Perdition today on Tivo. Great movie!


posted by twisesq  # 9:17 PM

Saturday, January 28, 2006

 
Yesterday cleared off my TIVO by watching the Vernon Johns Story (a movie about the life of Vernon Johns, a black activist in the 1950's who preceeded Martin Luther King Jr. at the Dexter Church in Mississippi), and Fiddler On The Roof. Two different stories about the same thing.


posted by twisesq  # 9:39 AM

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

 
Sign on bathroom door of Milpitas Chinese restaurant: "Please do not stand on the toilet seats. Use the paper protectors instead."


posted by twisesq  # 11:55 AM

Saturday, January 21, 2006

 
Chili's Bar and Grill at Santana Row caught fire AGAIN yesterday. You may remember that is the site of the worst fire in San Jose history, about 3 years ago. They might want to do some fire inspections there more often. I know I'd be worried if I lived above that restaurant (as some people do).


posted by twisesq  # 4:19 PM

Friday, January 20, 2006

 
I am now officially a student at Golden Gate University's Masters of Science in Taxation program!


posted by twisesq  # 1:55 PM

Thursday, January 19, 2006

 
Nine years in prison for Anna Ayala and her husband Jaime Placencia, for theft and fraud charges for placing a piece of human finger in a bowl of chili at a San Jose Wendy's. Good riddance. Their little scam cost Wendy's $20 million. They've got plenty of time to chew on that in prison. Too bad they'll miss thier children growing up. Better think about that next time.


posted by twisesq  # 7:22 AM

Sunday, January 15, 2006

 
West Wing is finally recapturing some of its long-lost excitement. Next week's episode sounds like it will be great.



I went to Heavenly on Saturday for skiing. Around 1pm, the worst snowstorm I have ever experienced outdoors hit, and many of the lifts closed. It was quite exciting. I got cold and left, but still managed to get some good skiing in. Next time I hope to have more time to focus on skills. Or, as Derrick would say, skillz.


posted by twisesq  # 9:23 PM

Thursday, January 12, 2006

 
What's your definition of a hero?



This morning I looked out my office window and saw the four mile long funeral procession for 39-year-old Officer Richard May. Streets and highways along the 15 mile route were closed. Helicopters were hovering overhead. Elementry school children were lined up on freeway overpasses to remember the officer who came to their classrooms. I decided to walk the half-mile from my office to the HP Pavilion for the memorial service. I'm glad I did. Attorney General Bill Lockyer gave a very moving and heartfelt talk. Friends and officers shared stories about Officer May. The place was packed, for someone who I learned was far from the average cop. The irony, as one speaker said, was that Officer May, a former Marine who fought in Desert Storm, was safer in Iraq than in East Palo Alto.


posted by twisesq  # 10:56 AM
 
In South Lake Tahoe, residents and companies do not have to sort their recyclables. Recyclables are thrown into the trash with everything else. The city has some method of opening up everyone's garbage and extracting the recyclables. I wonder what else they find? Anyhow ... sounds like a good way to recycle the most amount of stuff. I hope they have a machine to help with the process, otherwise, it would be very labor intensive. It is strange to throw away recyclables though, after all these years of training to sort paper, glass, and plastic.


posted by twisesq  # 7:34 AM

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

 
Audelia, please ... keep your pie-hole shut. Your son killed a good cop. Your son shot the cop, then returned to the scene to shoot the cop again to make sure he was dead. Your son, the gang member. Did I mention? He shot a cop. That's a no-no, Audelia.



Outside of court yesterday, you said that part of the blame for the slaying went to the probation conditions that you said made it impossible for your son to go live with you in Modesto. "The justice system needs to assist these kids to move away, to transplant them so they don't fall between the cracks," you said.



No, Audelia... the justice system isn't to blame. Your son is. Get it straight. And don't think for a second that Modesto wants your son there.



"Nobody is to blame but the man who pulled that trigger," countered prosecutor Steve Wagstaffe. You said it, Steve. Now Steve, about those special circumstances ... seems like killing a cop (a killing captured on not just one but two video cameras) ought to qualify one for the death penalty, yes?


posted by twisesq  # 5:43 PM
 
Sorry, but how dumb do you have to be to fall for this?



According to police, the pair approached a 44-year-old man in the parking lot of the Costco at 150 Lawrence Station Road around 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 10. They told the man they had a winning lottery ticket but needed to put forward a deposit in order to claim their winnings, Lt. Marty Dale said.



The suspects told the man they couldn't pay the deposit because they were not legal residents of the United States and asked the man to lend them the cash, Dale said. They allegedly promised the man he would get his money back -- plus a significant cut of the jackpot.



They then drove the man to two different Sunnyvale banks, where he withdrew a total of $9,000, Dale said. Once the man withdrew the money, one of the suspects allegedly snatched the bills from his hand. One suspect then feigned a stomach ache and asked the man to buy him some medicine at a store, Dale said. When the man came back out of the store, the suspects were gone.

posted by twisesq  # 5:40 PM

Sunday, January 8, 2006

 
Recent addition to the California Bar Exam Primer: Ten Rules for Passing the California Bar Exam.


posted by twisesq  # 10:24 PM
 
Warm up the gas chamber. Or whatever we do in California. The guy who killed Officer Richard May is a prime candidate.


posted by twisesq  # 10:04 PM

Thursday, January 5, 2006

 
Such a sad way to announce one's sexuality to the world: The Rev. Lonnie Latham, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality and a national figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, was arrested Tuesday in Oklahoma City and charged with propositioning a male undercover police officer. The police report said Latham asked an undercover officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex. Yet another hypocrite bites the dust.


posted by twisesq  # 11:42 PM

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

 
"There's no way he should have had that job ... this guy wouldn't have been a store manager for Wal-Mart in east Wichita." -- Tom Brokaw, talking about ex-FEMA director Michael Brown, on Meet the Press.



Speaking of complete idiots, how about these parents in the north bay who left their 5 year old and 9 year old home alone for 4 days with cereal and frozen dinners while they went to Vegas? They're sitting in jail tonight. Some people shouldn't breed.


posted by twisesq  # 6:21 PM

Sunday, January 1, 2006

 
Tahoe Pics:










posted by twisesq  # 4:01 PM

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