Friday, January 27, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

If you weren't going to listen...

... then why did you bother to commision the report?

Two recent reports on the state of the U.S. military have both stated that the stress of high levels of activity have strained the military to the breaking point. The troops need more time between tours of duty, and the only way to get that is either to hire more troops (difficult, the army is already having significant difficult meeting its recruitment targets) or reduce the number of troops deployed.

According to Rumsfeld, this is hogwash:

But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the findings of both reports, telling Pentagon reporters, "those comments do not reflect the current situation. They are either out of date or just misdirected."

Clearly this is all part of a propaganda campaign being promoted by the commie left-wing liberal media. In fact, one of these reports came out of that group of tree-huggers, the Pentagon.

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.


I went to Keith's retirement party last weekend, and at the party, Bill (and a couple others) mentioned -- in response to my general dissatisfaction with online dating services -- that I should check out eHarmony. I was skeptical, but I do try to keep an open mind about these things.

I created an account during some slack time, and began filling out their monstrous questionnaire -- many pages, somewhere on the order of 300 questions. Most were of the "rate this trait on a scale of 1-5" variety.

After an hour and a half of clicking on little dots, my profile was sufficiently complete that I was now allowed to conduct a search. The site spent a full minute doing an extensive search of all available single women that (it calculates) are a good match for my personality. And it came up with... five women.


In the whole bay area.

Since I was not a subscriber, I was not allowed to see photos of any of my potential mates. According to Adam, even if you do subscribe, you're not allowed to see photos until fairly late in the "guided matching process" (eHarmony starts you on a structured question/answer session, and after four phases you graduate to open communication). So I started perusing the information it did give me.

Of my five matches, three were older than me -- not exactly ideal. Of the remaining two, one lived in Half Moon Bay, and the other in San Francisco. Several hours after joining, the one in Half Moon Bay "closed" me (ended communication) with a "too far away" message.

And then there was one.

So, apparently, I'm in the same group as Mark, in that eHarmony thinks we're both a lost cause. Since Mark has subsequently gotten engaged (congratulations, Mark!), I'm thinking that's a failure on their part.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

America's Funniest Home Videos

So, back when I was racing, but before the Wall, I bought a helmet camera so I could make videos of my races. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I never used it before I stopped racing, so it sat in the garage since then.

Took it out today dirt riding, which, as Keith pointed out, made it a virtual certainty that I was going to crash. We were supposed to meet Ash at Metcalf at 9AM, but my bike had a bit of "deferred maintenence" so we didn't show up until 9:30. We caught Ash on the way down; apparently he had done one lap, decided it was too slippery, and packed up his bike.

Adam and I started up the bikes (and the camera), did a few laps around the TT track, then headed over to the GP track. The road up to the GP track was a bit slippery, but nothing too bad. Most of the track itself was OK, but there was one spot with a deep mud puddle, and two or three tire-width tracks through it. I got through the mud fine the first time, but the second time round my tire went off slightly, and the front wheel washed out and dumped me off the bike. It happens pretty quick on the video, one second I'm riding along, happy as a clam, then there's a quick shot of the sky and the camera is staring at my boots. Whee.

I'm going to try and upload our clips to Google Video (with soundtrack, no sound on the video) after I manage to find the correct connectors and cables to pull it off the camera.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Signs of Progress

I was reading this article on coverage the Arab media has been giving to recent statements by al-Quaeda's top leadership. The part of the article that caught my eye was a quote from an Iraqi journalist:

But the credit for that goes to the sacrifice of the Iraqi people... It will never go to al-Qaeda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who appeared in his televised message to be thirsty, like a leech, for the blood of Iraqis, as well as haughty, stupid and lacking any connection to reality, just like George Bush junior.

So, in the minds of the Iraqis, our leader is, at least, no worse than one of the world's most renowned terrorists. Sigh.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Server Crash

Shana pointed out earlier today that my website wasn't up and running, so I dropped by my house to check it out over lunch. Rebooting the server failed to clear the problem, so I hooked up a monitor to the machine to see the console messages, and saw the dreaded message:


This almost certainly means a disk crash and loss of unknown amounts of data; disk crashes on modern drives are depressingly fatal. The server had two disks in it, so it's not clear what was on the failed disk; recovery efforts will start some time this weekend.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

TV Rots your Brain

In case there was any doubt as to the effect TV has on people, recently a mummified corpse was found watching TV in Ohio.

I would normally take this opportunity to make a crack at the quality of TV programming, but, frankly, TV these days seems to be much better written and directed than most of the movies that hit the theaters. In particular, SciFi's Battlestar Galactica has been taking a hard look at the choices people make when you're playing for all the marbles.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Felt pretty bleh all sunday long (for those not aware, "Bleh" is a technical term representing a point somewhere between healthy and sick), and as a result, basically hung around the house all day and read. I begged off on dirt bike riding, and was planning on skipping my hockey game until the last minute.

I think playing the game was the right move -- my headache cleared up immediately after I started playing. Ended up being a decent game -- we won 6-4 -- but I felt like I was running on about 50% power. There was one goal I should have gone back for, but didn't, because I was tired, and because I thought it was going to be icing.

After that, got home and had some carrot cake, which was the most substantial meal I'd eaten all day.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

Apparently Chicago is covered in ice, and that makes it somewhat difficult for planes to land. At least, that's what Shana told me when she called me from the airport and said that her flight would not be leaving today.

So, I drove back to the airport and picked her up, and she got to watch me lose our hockey game last night (3-2, we at least managed to put on a good showing).

I'm supposed to put her on another plane tonight at 11PM in SFO; hopefully that one will actually reach its destination.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Airport Design

I was at San Jose International today dropping off Shana for her flight, and as I was wading (almost literally) through the airport mess, I noticed a new sign: "Cell Phone Waiting Area"

I was stunned by the implications of this. The first was the concept that a civil engineer had actually come up with something both intelligent and innovative, the second that the port commission had actually allowed said engineer to implement it without charging money for it.

So waiting for people at the airport may not be any less painful after this -- after all, I have been parking on the fringes of the airport and waiting for a phone call for years -- but it does take the additional risk of getting a parking ticket out of the equation.

A White New Year’s

Went up to Jeff’s cabin for New Year’s, along with Shana, Kitt, and Ryan. We were worried that there wouldn’t be any snow, because it was too warm – we drove up Friday night through four hours of rain, and it was raining all the way at the summit, which did not bode well for snow conditions.

We woke up late on Saturday and decided to go get some breakfast, since we wouldn’t be snowboarding. Apparently we had the same bright idea as about half the population of Tahoe, because every breakfast place we tried was completely packed. We spent about an hour trying to find a breakfast place, by which point it was noon, so we had pizza instead.

After lunch we went back to the cabin. Or at least, Jeff, Somala and I went back to the cabin; I unwisely left Kitt, Ryan, and Shana to navigate themselves back, and we didn’t see them for another three hours. In the meantime we broke out the Monopoly set and had ourselves a “quick” game. Jeff eventually managed to bankrupt Somala when she was unlucky enough to land on Boardwalk, and with Jeff having three-quarters of the property after that, the outcome was predictable.

Saturday night we went to the casinos for New Year’s Eve, did a little gambling, and got on main street for the unorganized countdown. The roads were very icy as a result of the recent rainfall and drop in temperature, and I fell victim to a patch of black ice. Apparently Jeff warned me about it prior, but with a street full of shouting people, I didn’t hear him. Fortunately nothing wounded except my pride. We zipped back to the house immediately after midnight and went to bed.

Jeff had to leave the cabin early on Sunday, so we all got up at around 7am, packed our stuff, and headed to Sierra-at-Tahoe. The rain from Friday night and Saturday morning started turning into snow around noon on Saturday, so by Sunday we had a decent covering of snow.

Both Ryan and Shana were learning to ‘board, so Kitt and I spent the morning giving lessons. In the afternoon we left them together on the bunny slope and put in a few quick runs. The wind started picking up around noon, and it was very windy by 3pm when we left the resort. On our last run, Kitt and I were headed down the slope, and the wind started blowing so hard it knocked Kitt over and brought me to a complete halt. Nonetheless, we got some good riding in, and we’re currently crammed into the car, fighting our way back down highway 50 to get back to the bay area.