Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fantasy Champs!

My team pulled out a huge win to take the eNFL championship. Steven Jackson, Rian Lindell and the Chargers D overcame mediocre performances from Matt Hasselbeck, Marion Barber and Torry Holt.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Iran Loses Lawsuit

In more ridiculous legal news, Iran has been ordered to pay damages for the Khobar Towers bombing. Does anyone really expect them to pay?

Exxon Valdez

Why is this still going on? No wonder the courts are backlogged if they keep doing the same cases for 17 years.

Fantasy Football Semi-finals

By a minor miracle, one of my teams squeaked out a win. The game was tied after Sunday's afternoon games and I was going to lose the tie-breaker. However, due to a recount, I was awarded an extra point and the victory. I believe that crucial point was the fumble recovery by the Chargers on that blocked punt. I was in the championship game last year in this league, so I hope second time's the charm.
My other team got smoked.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Three Books

Bruce Catton - American Heritage New History of The Civil War
This book is one of the seminal volumes in Civil War history. Not because of its depth or groundbreaking analysis but because of the large number of historians that list it as one of their first exposures to the Civil War. This book provides a great overall history of the war but it is the maps that get all the attention. The maps are drawn 3D maps with tiny soldiers, cannons and cavalry running around, fighting and otherwise depicting the actual troop actions. They give a nice feel for the events over traditional military maps, especially for younger readers.

James McPherson - Battle Cry of Freedom
This book won the Pulizter Prize so it must be good. It is a much more comprehensive
narrative than Catton. Frankly, I skipped most of the first 6 chapters since they covered the political events of the prior decades leading up to the war. I was mainly interested in the military side of things. MacPherson covers everything in just enough detail to get a good feel for the war.

Tom Clancy - Debt of Honor
I hadn't read a Tom Clancy book for ages before picking this one up at the library. I don't think I will be picking up another for a while. This book is predictable and boring. The premise is that the Japanese, after getting in a trade dispute with the US, decide they need to be more "indepenent." So they attack US naval forces and invade Saipan and Guam. The industrialists that are controlling the government also have plans to ally with China and India to grab more land. But there is no suspense, no surprises. Jack Ryan is the hero who can do no wrong (and his wife is even more annoyingly perfect). In the end, the US uses its superior technology to knock out key Japanese capabilities and forces them to retreat. Maybe it is because I read "The Hunt for Red October" and "Red Storm Rising" at the height of the Cold War and they seemed real and plausible and that made those books fun and exciting. But Debt of
Honor just seems silly.

Niihau Incident

As somewhat of a military history buff, I am constantly learning new things as I read books and websites. I recently came across this account of the Niihau Incident. I had no prior knowledge of this story but found it to be one of the most interesting I have ever read. If you live in California, you know all about the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, but think that it might not have happened if it wasn't for a single wayward pilot. Some might argue that Japanese-Americans would have been imprisoned anyway, and that could be true. But keep in mind that German Italian Americans were never put in camps. Perhaps racism is to blame but like in any war, irrational decisions are made.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Grand Canyon Sky Walk

I have to go see this. Having been to both rims of the Grand Canyon, this would be another incredible experience.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fantasy Football Playoffs

The season started very grim, but two of my four teams pulled out playoff spots. Both had to win their final regular season game (week 13 of the NFL season) to sneak in and both pulled it out.
One of my teams is not very strong but it has some talent that could win a game or two.
My other playoff team is much more powerful. That team is lead by Drew Brees, the #1 fantasy QB this year. I have two solid WRs in TJ Houshmandzadeh and Steve Smith. The injury to Shaun Alexander had me shuffling Jamal Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew and Dominic Rhodes at RB all year; now that the MVP is back, I should make some noise. One guy predicted me wining in all, I hope this is not a jinx.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Lost Family

I have recently caught up on this heart rendering story of the missing family of four in Oregon. It is hard to believe that someone can still get lost in the snow these days. They had a modern car, cell phones and who knows what else (given that the father was a well-known gadget journalist you think he might have a GPS), yet still got lost along major roads.
One interesting tidbit about the resuce of the mother and children is that the helicopter that spotted them was charted by the family of the missing people. The authorities, who are presumably experts in finding lost people, had all kinds of men and machines out searching, but can't find them.
Hopefully they can find the remaining person soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thanksgiving Week

Had an awesome Thanksgiving week. Took some time off work to burn off some accumulated vacation days. My brother and his family flew in from St. Louis and we all had a great time. Of course we did some Black Friday shopping but didn't find nearly the deals as in the past. It seems that retailers are spreading it out over the year.
Spent one night camping at San Onofre State Beach, San Mateo campground. This is nice campground, but has become a bit pricey.
On Monday, we spent the day at Disneyland. It was a bit wet in the morning, but that just served to keep the crowds to a minimum. There was hardly any lines and even though the park closed at 8:00pm, we got on everything we wanted to. My daughter loved Star Tours but I can only ride it once before getting motion sickness. My son, on the other hand, wanted to ride the Storybookland Canal Boats and Its a Small World. I like the movie additions to Pirates but hated the Christmas version of Haunted Mansion.
Can't wait to visit St. Louis in December.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rawhide Ranch

Jaya and I spent an awesome weekend at Rawhide Ranch this past weekend. The girls got to learn horse riding, pony showmanship and vaulting. I highly recommend it if your kids like horses.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Funniest ESPN Article Ever

This gem was released from the clutches of "ESPN Insider". Read it while it is still available.
First-annual Atrocious GM Summit

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Holy Grail

I have been looking for continous integration (CI) tool for a long time. They all had something wrong with them. CruiseControl, for instance, was too complicated and I couldn't get it work with my build environment. Well I have finally found something that works: Hudson. I am test it on a project at work but everything looks good so far. It is easy to configure and the UI is nice.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Iran Tourist Bounty

Iran is offered a cash bounty to get American tourists to come and visit. I am sure that they have some nice archeological sites to see, but I bet most American's are afraid of ending up list the last tour group.

Open Source Project

I started a new open source project on SourceForge. Check it out at

Halloween stinks

Does anyone hate Halloween as much as I do? Here are some reasons for my dislike:
* Standing out in the cold
* Standing out in the dark
* Kids who change their minds about their costumes on an hourly basis
* Having to go to work/school the next day
* Sugered up children

I must be getting old, since those are the reasons I like Halloween as a kid.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Busy Sunday

* Bike ride
* Recaulk bathtub
* Haircuts
* Family day at Lux Art Institute
* Birthday party
* Devine guitar school concert at Cardiff Seaside Market

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Most Watched Cable TV Show

According to reports, Monday's NFL game between Chicago and Arizona was the third most watched cable tv show ever. The second most was another football game. Number 1 was a 1993 episode of "Larry King Live." Do you know what the topic of that show was? The only good guess I could come up with was Bill Clinton. The correct answer is the Ross Perot-Al Gore NAFTA debate. I doubt this had to do with the county's concern over NAFTA but had more to do with the clown-like Perot and the moronic Gore fight.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Indian Guides

One week after the first Indian Princess event (my first as tribal chief), I had my first campout with Bengt in the Indian Guides. This event was at Mission Trails, one of my favorite spots. We got there Friday evening and were quickly swarmed by mosquitos. I have been to Mission Trails several times and hadn't any problem with bugs, but we were practically eaten alive. Then the rain soaked our tent and we had to make a midnight move into the car to stay dry. A light rain accompanied us on our morning hike but then stopped for good after lunch. Overall, I was very pleased with Bengt and he had a great time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I capture this weevil in the front yard. I thought it might be one of the weevils wanted for mass destruction. But after close examination, I don't think this one of them. The amazing thing about this bug is that is lived in my speciman container for over 2 weeks without any food or water and is still alive at the time of this entry. Could this be some sort of "superbug"?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fantasy Football Update

I won 3 out of 4 games last week. Obviously posting here is good luck so will continue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

TS Furby

As a clearance holder, I have heard the Furby spiel but thought it has half-joke, half-true. But apparantly there is a story behind it.


Spent two days at ArtSplash in Carlsbad this past weekend. The kids' school had a huge tile mosiac they were building. It will be mounted on one of the school walls. They also did some chalk art on one of the squares the school had. Saturday featured the Stomp-like Jr. Crew dance ensemble. We have seen them before and really enjoy their work. Sunday had a performance by the Fern Street Circus. That was very good as well.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tomcat put down

But someone is still flying them.

Fantasy Football

I now know how the Bucaneers, Panthers, Dolphins, Browns, Titans, Texans, Chiefs, Raiders, Redskins, Packers and Lions feel. I have four fantasy teams and every one is 0 and 2 so far.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Roy Martin Birthday

On Saturday we attended the 60th birthday party of a very good family friend, Roy Martin. Mr. Martin has had a long and distinguished career in aviation from flying F-4's in Vietnam to becoming a top test pilot. Many more, Colonel.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wikipedia edit

I made my first Wikipedia edit. For some reason I was perusing entries on the oil business and came across the entry for PIG's. The entry had a unusual blurb about them being featured in two James Bond films. However, pigs were also featured in an earlier film, "Diamonds Are Forever". Who could forget when Mssrs. Kidd and Wint stuff Bond into a (presumably water or sewer) pipeline to die a horrible death. However, after befriending a rat, James encounters a pig, which he disables and is rescued by the crew that comes to fix it.
I am going to watch to see if anyone edits my edit.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuesday Morning Quaterback

TMQ is back on! I guess whomever he upset a few years ago has gotten over it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sophie is back!

The dog saga continues...
As you know, we had to give Sophie back to her original family. The dog and kids were very sad. But it seems that she wasn't doing back in her new (old) home. Her owner said she was barking alot and the neighbors were complained. So my wife, being a big softy, agreed to take Sophie back. We surprised the kids when we picked her up at Mission Bay on Saturday. She's a good dog and it is nice to have her back with us.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Firefox Extensions

My current roster:
DOM Inspector
Session Manager
Tabbrowser Preferences
Tamper Data

Know any other good ones I should install?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Added another plate on the bench press to get to 192 lbs for my reps. I read that the bench press record at the NFL combine is 51 reps at 225 lbs. I did 17 my last try so I have some work to go.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

UCLA blog ring

I joined the nascent UCLA blog ring. I was at UCLA from 1989 through 1994 (yes, that is five full years and I needed every day of it) graduating with a degree in Computer Science. At UCLA, CS was in the engineering school, which meant plenty of math, chemistry and other fairly difficult subjects. I was always amazed by the difference between the north campus and south campus classes. In the few north campus classes I took (art history, etc.), I got good grades because it was so subjective; you could almost make stuff up and still come out ok. Try that in physics and you will end up at the wrong end of the curve. Don't get me wrong, I liked those classes, I just didn't find them very challenging.
I will have some more UCLA stuff in the future. If you were a former Bruin, especially during my tenure, please write or comment.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Shaken and Stirred

An interesting take on the current Middle East situation (thanks to Smash):
Shaken and Stirred.
I agree with everything except the last part. The author, Josh Manchester, says that Israel has an opportunity for a "decisive defeat" of Hizbollah. Although they may very well be defeated decisively, seeing that they don't stand a chance going toe-to-toe with the IDF. I am afraid any such victory would be only temporary. As long as there are countries and organizations (and people) that feel that terrorism is an option to them, then there will be terrorists. Given time and money and weapons, there will soon be a Hizbollah II, Electric Bugaloo.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday Schedule

  • Jog on the beach at Swami's and San Elijo

  • Kayaking at Agua Hedionda Lagoon

  • Pick up kids from the airport!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Atlanta vacation

The week of July 4th, we were in Atlanta to visit my wife's parents and other family. So much went on it would be hard to recap here but I will list some highlights.

Whale Sharks at Georgia Aquarium
  • Callaway Gardens - This resort southwest of Atlanta had all kinds of activities, from biking to hiking and plenty of aquatics. One of my favorites were the tandem bikes made for an adult and child so the kids could ride along with us.

Tandem bike at Callaway Gardens

Petting a Gnu

Kennesaw Mountain Cannon
St. James, Marietta
  • All the wonderful family members that I don't get to see nearly as much as I would like.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Traffic School

As a result of a recent speeding ticket, I had the pleasure of attending traffic school. I opted for the weeknight version that consists of two 4 hour sessions. Better that than kill an entire day. Apparently the online versions aren't much of a time saver. The instructor was a former cop and provided some interesting insights. Not so much how to get out of a ticket but how to avoid them in the first place (mainly by obeying the law). The best part is going around the room to find out everyone's ticket. Half of the class had speeding infractions while other had mainly red light violations. The red light tickets where mainly from the cameras and very expensive, $300 and up! There was one older fellow who got fairly belligerent when discussing (more like yelling) about his ticket. The instructor almost had to throw him out. All in all, it wasn't the best time I had, but it could have been much worse.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Big Weekend

Lots going on this weekend.
First, we went to Rancho Guajome Park in Oceanside. I had read about the Rancho and the restored adobe hacienda, but seeing it person is quite an experience. Unlike the Mission San Diego de Alcala, Rancho Guajome is still very much in rural land; so much so it seems impossible in this day and age. The Rancho is very interesting historically due to the vast amounts of letters, journal and other documents that were kept by the various residents over the years. Built in 1852, it was inhabited until 1972 when it was donated to the County (apparently the State passed). The staff and docents were very helpful and knowledgeable. My daughter enjoyed the fashion show of 1800's dresses that a volunteer put together.
Almost next door to Guajome is the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum. If you like engines, tractors or anything big and stinky and made of metal, this is the place for you. There are two rows of gas and steam engines. Not little toys but big old-timey engines. The gas engines kind of chug along but the steam engines are usually connected up to something. For instance the water pumps had pools of water to move around while a smaller engine turned a whetstone for a guy sharpening knives. Bengt could watch the engines forever. We got there a bit late so we missed the tractor parade and thresher demonstration. We did take a hayride for the grand tour of the grounds. Lots of old rusting tractors and machines; pretty interesting. There is another festival in October that we plan on attending. If your kids get tired of the sterility of LegoLand, consider the AGSE Museum.
Lastly, on a sad note, we parted ways with our dog, Sophie. My wife is allergic to dogs, but she thought she could handle it. It eventually become too much. We contacted the same family we got her from and they were missing her and were glad to have her back. Jaya was crying when they came to pick here up but we know she will have a good home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Father's Day Pie

My mom is an extraordinary pie maker. She makes the best crust; not too crispy but not too soft. She usually makes apple-boysenberry but my favorite is peach. For father's day, she make me my own personal peach pie. I was a good day.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My results of the OK Cupid Politics Test. Since I typically vote Libertarian, these results aren't suprising.

You are a

Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(80% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bengt's 6th Birthday

Last weekend, Bengt turned 6 and in celebration we took him to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. AOP is much bigger than Scripps here in San Diego. They even have some non-aquatic exhibits such as lorikeet feeding aviary. My favorite was the impressive Barents Sea exhibit which had waves crashing on rocks thowing up cloud of mist.
This picture is Bengt at the shark touch tank.

Friday, May 12, 2006


It has been over 2 years since we decided to get rid of our TV. Not completely; we still watch DVD's but don't get cable, broadcast or satellite. The only thing I really miss is the sports. I tried to get some rabbit ears to pick the USC-Texas Rose Bowl but never got it working. It has been long enough that there are now shows that I have never seen but hear being talked about ("Lost", for example). No that I think about it, it is probably best to live in blissful ignorance.

Monday, May 08, 2006


This past weekend was the annual family campout for the Adventure Princesses. We went up to Lake Perris and had a great time. The main event was a cardboard boat race. Each tribe had to construct a boat (on site, not beforehand) out of cardboard, plastic and duct tape. We ended up third after a rocky start; I had the anchor leg. It was Sophie's first trip with us and she had a great time. It took her a bit of time to get used to all the people. She is still recovering from all the attention.

4 Things

inspired by

4 jobs I've had - telemarketer, pizza delivery man, computer guy at a major university medical center, restauranteur

4 movies I can watch over and over - Any James Bond movie, LA Story, any 80's Chevy Chase movie, any Harry Potter movie

4 places I've lived - Santa Ana, CA; Santa Monica, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Los Angeles, CA

4 shows I watch - none, I don't have TV

4 places I've vacationed - Hawaii, Bonaire, Arizona, Santa Barbara

4 foods I love - California burritos, pasta with Bolognese sauce, burgers, mashed potatoes

4 sites I visit daily - Yahoo,,,

4 2 places I'd rather be - Hawaii, the beach

4 items in my bag - cellphone, wallet, PDA, pens

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bathroom etiquette

I constantly amazed at the number of people at work that don't wash their hands after using the restroom. I could maybe understand if you were just going to work on a car or dig a ditch, but these are highly skilled, presumably well-educated employees.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New dog

The long dog saga if finally over! We have successfully procured a one and a half year old Maltese/Poodle mix named Sophie.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Chicken pox

First my son got it, now my daughter has it. About a fourth of their school has it now. By the end of the week, Bengt will be the only there.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

More car work

Just a couple of weeks ago, I spent the better part of a weekend changing the timing belt on my Honda Passport. Right afterwards, the water pump starts to leak! My brother warned me to change it while I had everything apart but did I listen? Noooo. Off came the fan, belts, timing covers, timing belt and finally the water pump. I am getting quite proficient in this procedure now. The only real difficulty was in removing the gasket from the old pump as it was stock on the block pretty good.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Agua Caliente

Had a great Indian Princess campout at Agua Caliente in Anza-Borrego this past weekend. There was hiking up the stream beds, off-roading to exercise my seldom-used 4WD, swimming in the hot springs and explosions (only one dad had to go to the hospital and he is going to fine).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Snow in San Diego

In San Diego county at least. We took a drive up to Mount Palomar to check out the recent snow fall. The kids griped most of the way but were very excited once they saw the snow on the roads going up the mountain.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Car work

I did some major surgery on my Honda Passport this weekend. It was due for a new timing belt and had a leaky valve cover gasket.
The gasket was fairly straight forward, but time consuming since some of the bolts are hard to reach.
The timing belt was another matter. The job was going good until I got to the crankshaft pulley. The bolt holding it on is quite tight as you can imagine but the hard part is keeping the pulley from turning while you try to get it loose. The Haynes guide says to simply hold the pulley with a big set of channellocks. This is nearly impossible. I first tried putting on a strap wrench with the handle up against the frame to keep it in place. I broke two strap wrenches this way. Plan B. The Passport board had a good suggestion: stick your breaker bar down through the bottom of the car, slip on a long pipe and hit the starter (make sure you pull the ignition so it doesn't start). I had to get a pipe from Home Depot, but it worked like a charm. The second major difficulty was getting the new belt on. I had inadvertenly left the camshaft pulleys inbetween strokes so when I removed the belt, they snapped into a new position, throwing off my timing markings. I had to turn the sprockets with one hand and weave the belt with another; it took about an hour to get it right. Then I realized I couldn't get the hydraulic tensioner back in so off came the belt and I had to repeat the exercise. The last diffuculty involved reattaching the crankshaft pulley bolt. I had to find a way to stop the pully from turning while I torqued the nut. Since I was out of strap wrenches, I jury-rigged a solution. The pulley has a flange on it with two threaded holes. I imagine this is for a tool that the dealers use to keep the pulley from turning. Since I don't possess one of these tools, I screwed in a small machine bolt. I then borrowed a large pipe wrench from my neighbor and gripped the screw with it; the handle of wrench was up against the frame to keep from moving. I then was able to torque the nut a good deal. My breaker bar is 28" long and I was able put full strength into it, so I imagine I want over the specified 123 foot-lbs.
I haven't decided if all this was worth the $600 bucks or so my mechanic would charge.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bin Laden tape

Is everyone tired of these ridiculous UBL tapes already? He has been turning out these hollow threats for 4 years now and nothing has happened. If this guy has so much money stashed away in Swiss banks or gold bouillon, how about checking out Best Buy or Circuit City for some decent recording equipment. Any middle school a/v club could produce better material than this joker.
You can argue about Iraq, Bush and whether the US really is trying to find Bin Laden, and if Pakistan is covertly hiding them from us, and whatnot all day, but one thing you can't argue with is the ineffectiveness of terrorists in striking US targets. You would think by now that one attack, even a "failed" one (ala the first Trade Center bombing) would have gone down by now. I am not crazy about the Patriot Act, the TSA and HLD, but it is hard to argue with results.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Great War

My wife recently picked "A Very Long Engagement" to watch. It is a good movie; half love story, half mystery. The subtitles didn't bother me at all. The setting of the movie is early 1920's Paris where a young woman searches for her fiance whom was supposedly killed during World War I.
I had great interest in military history when I was younger (primarily World War II) and this film piqued my desire to re-read some of my old books. I review two of them on my reading page.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

California Burritos

I love California Burritos. Ever since I discovered them at Rico's in Encinitas, I won't eat Mexican food at an establishment that does not proffer the delictable bundles of goodness. For the uniformed, a California Burrito is a burrito filled with carne asada, cheese, sour cream and the pièce de résistance: french fries.
They are also easy to make at home:

  • Beef, use the cheapest cut you can find. I usually use chuck steak since it has little fat. Buy alot and freeze it in portion sized baggies.
  • Cheese, cheddar is perfect
  • Sour cream
  • Frozen french fries, any brand will do.
  • Tortilla
  1. Start the fries per the manufacturer's instructions. They usually take 20 minutes in the oven to cook nice and crispy.
  2. Fry up the beef until cooked through. This isn't filet mignon so don't keep it rare.
  3. Grate the cheese.
  4. Warm the tortillas a bit.
  5. When the the beef and fries are done, pile everything on the tortilla and enjoy!