Monday, March 09, 2009

Birthday thang

It's been awhile since I've used my birthday as an excuse to get the gang together. In fact, I think it's been a few years. It used to be one of many excuses I used. These days is a busy time. Work takes up more time, keeping a house organized is harder than I anticipated for two people.

Well, this year my excuses start up again! It will be a little late in the month; Allie and I are having a BBQ at the park outside our house. The invited group is an eclectic mix twenty, thirty and forty-somethings (and some of their kids). Damn, I'm actually having a gathering where it is a given that the kids are invited. Back in the day, this would've been a question not even touched. I must be getting older. And here I am with no kids of my own. Of course, OPC are a lot of fun, mostly cuz they left when their parents do.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the party!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cell phones and illegal telemarketer calls

It is illegal for telemarketer to call your cell phone. This is per the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. That law prohibits solicitation calls where the recipient is charged for the call. This act has no expiration, so the protection of cell phones from telemarketers will remain intact until the law is changed (which is not likely).

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is not the "Do Not Call" list. You do not need to submit your cell number to the "Do Not Call" list to have protection. "Do Not Call" list is legit, of course, that that is mostly for landlines, not cell phones.

The is an urban legend going right now right now online that is trying to scare people into submitting their cell numbers to a scam website. If you receive that email, do not go to the email's link. Do not forward that email on. It is an attempt to steal information.

The FCC wants anyone who has received a telemarketer call on their cell to report it to them here:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


V-Day weekend ended up being more of a staycation than a vacation. I did take President's Day off with Allie, but that was mostly a work day around the house. Friday and Saturday, we did do a little driving. We checked out Blackhawk area on Friday. On Saturday, we spent time in Salinas at the Steibeck Museum during the day, and then had dinner at the Fish Hopper in Monterey for a romantic evening. I would still like for us to get away for a weekend somewhere.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Geekfest, FL

My week at the Swan and Dolphin in Florida is finally over. There well hella stuff that I had to do at part of "the press" for SolidWorks World. This is a big geekfest where users of the 3D CAD software join this convention to eat, sleep and breathe SolidWorks. My "job" was to write about on my SolidWorks Legion blog. SolidWorks Corp is wisely involving actual users and modern online venues to support their subscribers. So, I wrote and wrote and wrote. I was at something like 5 press conferences and events. I have never been to a press conference before in my life, but it's not much different that what one might expect from seeing them on TV. However, it is an interesting feeling being in the mix, asking questions and what-not.

I'm glad to be back and now rested up just in time for V-day weekend. My wife and I missed each other. Perfect timing to reconnect.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jessica Alba proves she's smarter than Bill O'Riley and TMZ

Jessica Alba proves she's smarter than Bill O'Riley and TMZ in one masterful step. TMZ, of course, appears to me to be pretty lame to begin with, but Bill Riley (who often seems as though he just makes stuff up as he goes along...unlike TMZ which seems to simply report on what other people make up) yet again makes a fool of himself too and soundly puts himself in the same camp as TMZ! Of all people to call him out? Jessica Alba. Hell yeahs. This is a pretty funny read: Sometimes I think Bill is a product of the modern school system that he frequently bashes (of course, that school system didn't exist when he was a kid, but who's paying attention...certainly not him).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Basic info on Documentary Hypothesis (origin of Torah)

Documentary Hypothesis (also known as JEDP) proposes that the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, known collectively as the Torah or Pentateuch) represent a combination of documents from originally independent sources.

Development of the hypothesis arise from attempts to reconcile inconsistencies in the ancient texts of the Torah. According to the influential version of the hypothesis formulated by Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918), there were four main sources, and one final redaction. These sources and the approximate dates of their composition were:

  • J, or Jahwist, source; written c. 950 BC in the southern kingdom of Judah. (The name Yahweh begins with a J in Wellhausen's native German.) The writings where likely based on early oral and written sources, maybe even original from cultures outside of Israel.
  • E, or Elohist, source; written c. 850 BCE in the northern kingdom of Israel. J and E may have been combined at some point after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE.
  • D, or Deuteronomist, source; written c. 621 BCE in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform. P, or Priestly, source; written c. 450 BCE by Aaronid priests.
  • R, or Redactor, source; written c. 400 BCE by the last editor(s) who combed the what was available from the previous sources to combine them in to the final Pentateuch. This editor may have been Ezra.

According to Wellhausen, the four sources present a picture of Israel's religious history, which he saw as one of ever-increasing centralization and priestly power. In effect, this exposes a de facto conspiracy by the individuals in the various eras to shape the documents to suit their contemporaneous needs.

Although rejected by most Judaism and Christian faiths (for fairly obvious reasons), modern forms of Wellhausen's original hypothesis have become the dominant scholarly view on the origin of the Pentateuch. Most contemporary Bible experts accept some form of the Documentary Hypothesis, and scholars continue to draw on Wellhausen's terminology and insights. In the area of New Testament scholarship, proposed solutions to the synoptic problem often bear a strong resemblance to the Documentary Hypothesis.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Hawaii Episode of No Reservations

I was watching the Hawaii episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. There it was, Ono Restaurant. I was actually at a restaurant featured on the Travel Channel. I don't know if that is a good thing or bad. Nowadays, from what I'm reading in recent reviews, you can't just walk up and take a seat anymore, unless you show up at odd hours.

When I visited Hawaii in 2001 (a little over a month after 9/11), it literally took me three days to find an authentic Hawaii restaurant on Oahu. The one that I found was Ono. When I was there, I talked to the owner or manager (someone of authority) and told him that I was seeking out real Hawaii food and had so far done so without luck until I heard about his place.

He sat me down and paraded dish after dish in front of me. The experience was very similar to Bourdain's experience on his TV show. My favorite dish was laulau, of course. I think I gained 5 pounds that day, which I have yet to lose years later. OK, slight exaggeration, but I think I did over indulge.

I mentioned Ono in my Hawaiian vacation journal. I added that entry to my blog in 2005 here. I have a less than flattering photo of the front of the restaurant which I will keep private. From what I've reading, it no longer matches what someone would find when they arrive there. Ono is still very small, but the term "hole-in-the-wall" doesn't seem to apply anymore.

Much like Bourdain, I recommend making at stop of Ono Restaurant.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meeting of G8 and GTO owners last weekend

Yesterday's meet and tour was a lot of fun, and a great experience. We had 4 G8's and 4 GTO's show up in the morning at Downtown Campbell. Our cars did get noticed (thus having the desired affect). The group was very friendly, with the topic of Pontiacs dominating the conversation.

GTO's in Downtown Campbell, from G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th

We took off just before 11am to head up to Alice's Restaurant up in Woodside (not an actual city on the map, it is usually addressed as "Redwood City"). The goal was to take the scenic route through the hills on Highways 9 and 35. I lead the caravan of G8's and GTO's. Unfortunately, right away (before even getting out of Downtown Campbell) we lost a couple cars in our caravan. We stopped for quite awhile to try to find them, but could not. After guessing they would find their own way, we started up again.

Then, my great leadership lead us astray. Unfortunately, I missed a turn in Los Altos area and we ended up heading back to Campbell. After letting everyone know my bonehead move, we took the alternative route along 280, which is still very scenic. Even on this route, we got some fun hilly roads later on highway 84.

When we got to the rest'rant, we found that the others did indeed find their way. We also meet up with a couple other G8 owners. In all, our group was over 15 people, with 7 G8's and 3 GTO's (one GTO met us in Campbell, but did not come on our drive).

Fortunately, I called Alice's the day before to reserve space for our crew. We got a private room in the back, and had a great time. We had a great diversity of people, including (but not limited to) a couple of engineers, a manager of a valet company, and one person who is from Japan. There were individuals from the immediate area, and others who came from as far away as Napa. Everyone got along great...and the food was pretty good too!

Afterward, we lined up our cars and took pictures. Again, our cars were getting noticed by others.

Almost everyone in Woodside, from G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th

It seemed like everyone had something unique to show off, or was interested in seeing what someone else had done so far. One car had cool looking black rims. Another had the clear protective bra. I had the truck liner and splash guards. Some had the 2008 with the "Atari Gages" and others has the 2009 without. One had dimmed the brightness of those gages with an overlay. One thing that struck me (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that it seemed like none of the G8 owners have tuned our cars (yet).

Checking the cars out, from G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th

When it was time for me to take off, I drove back home via the scenic route that I missed on the drive up. The G8 is so much fun on the windy roads, as it is on the freeway too!

Lessons learned for next time:
  1. Bring walky-talkies
  2. check out the route prior to the tour
  3. pick a spot closer to freeway to meet before a tour
Things that did go right:
  1. Fun drive√
  2. Cool people√
  3. great final destination√
  4. calling a day ahead for a reservation at the rest'rant√
  5. set up the date far enough ahead to get a good showing√
  6. and finally, have great weather!√

Here's the link to the online photo albums available so far:
  1. Matt's photos
  2. Don's photos
  3. Junya's photos of Matt's car and others
Here's a quick video of almost everyone that came:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back in my day

The longest day of my life is when I was like 18 or so. It was the day I had my wisdom teeth removed. It did all of them at once. This is the one day of my life I was forced to do nothing but lay back and watch TV in dull by powerful pain. This was still in the early days of the Information Age, before serious portable games, smartphones and the Internet. I've had no days longer since that day. I've had many days that have left me wondering where the day has gone.

It's weird now to discuss a time before the Internet. Sure, it kinda existed before 1994, but not in any way that is meaningful to us today. What makes this kinda ironic is that my generation is one of those generations that is going to be able to talk about how things used to be. Not in some silly way like "candy used to cost 5 cents", but in a real paradigm shift sort, like those old-timers that used to talk about the horse and buggy in times before cars. From those old-timers we get the stereotypical story of having to "walk 10 miles in the snow to school up hill both ways." What will my tale be for my grandkids? I imagine it would be something like like "Back in my day, we didn't have the Internet. I used to have to drive in a car in bumper to bumper traffic to get to a building called a library in order to use my library card just read a book." I'm sure the question from my posterity will be, "What's a car, grampa?"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Death penalty reconsidered in Mexico

Coahuila lawmakers last week sent a bill to Mexico's Congress to change the constitution to allow the death penalty for kidnappers who kill their captives. -MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters)

The moral high ground that Mexico once prided for themself is not being reconsidered. Mexico has chided the U.S. for our policy regarding the death penalty. Now that they are actually dealing with the problems they've fostered for so long. Now, they realize the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, and the lack thereof is an open invitation for criminal activity of heinous acts.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Report

As long as the holiday feels, it never lasts long enough. Allie and I split Turkey Day between my aunt's and her parents'.

Friday, we did a little late morning shopping. Got some great deals. Then we headed up to the auto show in SF. We looked at practically every car being made today. I walked away with a better impression of Saab, and a worse impression of Audi. I'm also left wondering why someone would pay $60K for either a Lexus or a Cadillac, so I understand why someone would spend that much for a Mercedes.

In the evening we saw Australia. It was a throwback to classic romantic movies with an Australian twist. Pretty clear. The story backdrop is the Japanese attack on Darwin, though this is almost minor to the story, as it is really about ugliness of racism.

On Sat, we spend time with my friends Ronie, Fern and Miriam. It was nice being able to get together. It's been too long. Everyone has just been too busy.

Sunday was spent cleaning up a bit around the house.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lunch Hour Rush

Today was one of those days where I spend the lunch hour running errands. First, I headed to the post office to mail off a package for my sister, then to the bank, then to Kragens to return a part. Fortunately, the location of each made for an easy loop around central Sunnyvale. I got lunch at In and Out Burger on the way back to the office.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What car did I end up getting?

I was at a Buick dealership on fine, early summer day checking out what Buick had to offer. My opinion is that this is a brand whose audience is quickly disappearing. I tried both major 2008/2009 offerings. I cannot image anyone under the age of 70 (currently) buying one of these cars. There is no attempt to even pretend to be modern. I cannot imagine myself being interested in these cars even when I reach 70. I imagine this brand will either need to be reinvented or will go the way of Plymouth.

Anyway, while I was at that dealership, I noticed this new car in the show room. I didn't even know what it was or what brand. It turned out to be the Pontiac G8 GT. I liked the car a lot. It had a lot of amenities while sporting one of the biggest engines on the road. Quick, tons of power, and very maneuverable. All that for a price tag in the high 20's to low 30's. By far, this car is the most bang for your buck! It is both fun and practical at the same time.

My wife and I didn't buy it that day, but it was definitely added to our list of options. We continued looking around for cars, as we've been doing for about 18 months so far. Near the end of summer, we were literally within a day or two from by the Chevy Malibu LTZ. This is another great car that is tremendous value for your money. It is more equipped than many luxury cars that cost 2 times as much, even sporting a reasonably powerful V6. But then I found out that the 2009 Pontiac G8 had been added to the GM Employee Pricing program, and the deal was sealed. We got a brand new 2009 Pontiac G8 GT that week.

It is a decision where we did not have to take as a comprise. This is something we really wanted, and for a great price. We tried several brands of the Japanese and American varieties. (Neither of us will touch European or Korean, though we prolly wouldn't mind getting a new BMW for free.) The only two makes that seem to make cars that interest us for the right prices are Infiniti and Chevrolet/Pontiac.

As part of my purchase, I traded in my old Acura TL-S. I liked that car, but I love my new Pontiac G8 GT. Given the huge problems I had with my not so old Acura car, I'm not too worried about the American vs. Japanese quality argument. Especially since the G8 is made in Australia anyway.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No on 8

I don't mean to turn my blog into a serious of videos and images, but this issue is important and needs to be considered. Please join me (and Dianne Feinstein) in voting no on prop 8!