Thursday, December 28, 2006

Snow Dogs

Since both Shelley and I were off work today, we decided to take a trip up the hill with the dogs. Unfortunately, the wind and snow was pretty fierce above the snow line (around Pollock Pines) so we stopped short of Lake Tahoe. We made it to Kyburz, where the snow was blowing but Zeke was super happy.

Zeker in the Snow, originally uploaded by /k.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Laptop Woes

My laptop (Averatec 3270), which has been flaking out on me for while, finally turned the bend this week. After narrowly surviving my last two months of travel, it developed the annoying tick of turning off the screen backlighting just before christmas. This gradually got worse over the past few days so now it only goes for about 15 minutes before the screen turns black. I thought it was just a operating system setting or bug, but it's been happening whether I boot into Windows or Ubuntu so its got to be hardware. I attempted some open-heart surgery on the little bastard yesterday, but nothing seemed loose or burned. And when I put it back together, the same problem kept coming back.

And since I can't really be without a laptop due to my line of work, I ordered a Black MacBook (as you do). I'm just breaking it in, but it seems pretty good so far. I'm not sure I love MacOS X, but the built-in video camera is pretty cool.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Melbourne Downtown

Melbourne Downtown
I took advantage of my last full day in Melbourne (at least for this year) and hiked to the end of St Kilda's Pier. There's a nice little cafe with views of downtown Melbourne through the marina. Check out Flickr's cool geotag view for more photos from this same spot.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bad Dog

Homework Evidence - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
I saw this t-shirt design over on Threadless and thought of Louiedog. Unfortunately, sold out for men.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pub Crawl

While I was waiting to catch up with my friend Niall on Saturday, I had to scout out a pub for our meeting place. Luckily, Sydney actually publishes brochures on their pubs:We eventually ended up at the 3 Wise Monkeys, my favorite Irish ex-pat establishment.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sydney Weekend

I made it up to Sydney for the weekend so that I could catch up with Niall and a few friends before my meetings on Monday and Tuesday. I won't bore you with yet another picture of the Sydney Opera House, but I did like the bridge today.If you look closely, you can see climbers up on the top of the span.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Melbourne via Hollywood

My first leg flying to Melbourne is almost always a short hop from Sacramento to Los Angeles. Since I usually fly on Saturday night, its a pretty quiet flight but usually weird. Sacramento is the closest big airport to Lake Tahoe and Napa so you get some strange people on the flights. So when I rocked up to the gate on Saturday seeing a 6'10" women standing at the counter didn't seem out of the ordinary. I'm sure she was a Sacramento Monarch or LA Spark. What was surreal was the motorcycle jacketed scruffy guy sitting next me. While I was sitting there, some guy comes up to him and says "I really like the show." He thanks him and kinda zones back out again. He sat a row or two in front of me on the flight. I pretty sure it was Patrick Dempsey from Grey's Anatomy. That's about as interesting as my travel gets.

P.S. For those wondering why he was sitting in Economy class -- this was a SkyWest flight on the CanAir small jet. There is no first class.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Xmas Card Photo Day

Today was Christmas card photo day for the dogs. Unfortunately, neither one of them were particularly in the mood for it (and since it was only 45F, I wasn't either). However, I did manage to grab a good shot of Zeke.
Zeke Sky Snout
It almost rivals the Louie Sky picture that I posted in August.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Equine Convention

I arrived home last week for Thanksgiving to find that Brownie and Whitey had company over.Apparently, my homesteading neighbor with the new barn brought along three horse (the wise men) and a few chicken with him. It isn't a llama or anything, but they'll do.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lazy Sunday, St Kilda, VIC

So after I spent the week in New Zealand, I had to rush back to Melbourne for a Friday meeting. Which was canceled. Of course. Since I had planned to spend my weekend mountain biking in Wellington, I found myself without plans for the weekend.

So I went touring the local cafes and bars in St. Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne. Mostly bars. As you do. I settled in at one of the swanker, yet inside/outside compatible taverns called Metropol. I had planned to highlight a beautiful picture that I took with my panorama mode camera (using their cool stitch functionality), unfortunately it was late in the afternoon and my hand was shaking. Instead, I've given you yet another macro closeup of my beer bottle.

By the time you read this, I will be boarding my flight back to the U.S. as this trip has come to a close.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Air NZ

Air New Zealand is the finest airline in the world. Or at least they have the best tastiest drunkest airport lounges in the world.Yes, that is 24 different kinds of free beer. And those are mostly the Kiwi beers. And another section for wine. And free wireless.

Yes, I stuffed about 10 beers in my luggage.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hello Wellington

And 45 minutes later, I am down in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. And the weather blows. I really like Wellington, even better than Auckland, but it does have a little bit of the "San Francisco in summertime" problem. Even so, I got my cup of coffee from Mojo (possibly the best tasting coffee in the world, they even put the Silver Fern in the foam like Guinness and the clover) and actually got some work done in the office today.

Goodbye Auckland

Up early this morning to get down to Wellington. Before I left, I caught breakfast near our office at the Viaduct. They had the racing boats out for the tourists.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stopover In Auckland

Arrived in Auckland late last night (2 AM) and then literally ran from meeting to meeting all day. Well not all day. Basically, we got to about 3 PM and decided to leave for beers (as you do). Our office is down with the other tech companies at the viaduct, nearby to quite a few pubs. While they've replaced most of the America's Cup syndicate warehouses with fancy apartments, it is mostly as I left it a few years ago. This picture is out my hotel window towards some huge tower in downtown. Off to Wellington this afternoon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Coffee Melbourne-style

The Internet connection in my hotel is bad, to the point of being unusable. So, I've been searching this week for suitable coffee establishments where I might be able to catch up on things after work hours. While there are plenty of coffee shops here in Melbourne (they fancy themselves the most european of Australian cities), most of them do not adhere to /k's rules of coffeehouse greatness:
  • The internet shall be free and it shall be fast.
  • The chairs will be comfortable and oversized.
  • The music will be playing, but quietly in case one wants to listen to their iPods. And if you do play music, it must not be elevator music or techno.
  • They should bring your coffee to you, if the wait will be more than three minutes. And it should be better than I can make at home.
  • Power plugs. Everywhere.
After much searching, I have found a place that actually fits all of these requirements (except the music): Mag Nation (as in Magazine Nation). Not a coffee shop, per se, but a shop that sells about 600 different magazines (mostly from the UK). The photo above shows the magazine selection on 1/4 of one wall on the second floor. And it happens to have free Internet, comfy couches, power plugs and a decent flat white. Unfortunately, its in Melbourne CBD which is a short tram ride from my hotel. Still, worth it. Now if they would just turn down the crappy techno music . . .

Friday, November 10, 2006


I see this sign everyday on my walk to work. And I have no idea what it means.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Melbourne Cup

Got a chance to go to the Melbourne Cup yesterday. The Cup is the largest horse race in the Southern Hemisphere, roughly comparable to our Kentucky Derby, with fewer rednecks and more champagne drinking. I got a corporate box to the festivities (through a client) so we were out of the unseasonably cold, wet weather. The picture below is the finish of the Cup, where Japanese horse Delta Blues edged fellow Japanese horse Pop Rocks (who I think ran in the US this year).
While I had a great time, we lost all of our bets. 9 straight races, 9 losses. In the main race, the 7th, we picked 2/3 of the trifecta, but the not the winner. However, I did manage to win a bottle of Chardonnay in one of the raffles in the corporate box.

Monday, November 06, 2006


After twenty-three hours and three flights, I made it safe and sound to Melbourne. A pretty tame flight all in all. In fact, if the entire international terminal in LAX hadn't been made to "freeze" (yes, freeze as in freeze tag), I probably wouldn't have remembered anything about the flight at all. Melbourne is as lovely as always and as a special bonus, it appears that my hotel has been renovated since I was hear last.

My hotel is across the street from the Albert Cricket Grounds, so I celebrated my good travel fortune by catching a quick run.

I'm tired now, so I am going to sleep. Finally.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Off To Melbourne

As part of my new job (which it a lot like my old job), I will be working in Melbourne, Australia for a few weeks. Along the way, I might make it over to New Zealand for a couple of days also. While I'm not that excited to be away from home, it turns out that I will be arriving in Melbourne just in time for the Melbourne Cup, the Aussie's answer to the Kentucky Derby (except with less white trash). My office has scored us some tickets, so expect some sweet photos around Tuesday morning PST.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Louie On The Mend

Sick Louie
Originally uploaded by /k.
Louie dog has had a rough few weeks. Two weeks ago, he fell ill late on a Friday night. Although he had been fine all day, around 11 pm, he got up off the couch, tried to walk out the dog door, puked his guts out and then fell into shock. I rushed him to the emergency veterinary clinic, but they couldn't really figure out what was wrong with him. After stabilizing him around 2 AM, we decided to operate and he had a emergency laprodectomy (I didn't spell this right) around 8 AM Saturday. Basically, they opened Louie up to check out his lower vital organs. They didn't find the perforated large intestine like they thought, but his kidneys were enlarged and inflamed. After two days of touch or go, Louie popped right out of his funk (probably due to the anti-biotic he was on) and was more or less fine.

Today, Louie finally got to trade in his cape and have his surgical staples removed. In another week or two, he should be back out chasing his tennis ball. The only lasting effects will be a large ugly scar down his abdomen, which should be covered once his tummy fur grows back.

Still don't have any idea what caused the kidney problems. His tests all came back negative (cancer, poison, infection, etc.), so they think he might have eaten something.

Louie Recovery

The picture above is Louie dog today after his staple removal.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I love when things are made simple. Especially when simple == delicious indian food.

Why can't all things be this way (and no I don't just mean indian food). Captured in San Francisco near O'Farrell last week.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Louie Year 3

Louie Sky
Originally uploaded by /k.
Happy 3rd (or 4th or 5th) Birthday, Louie dog.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Originally uploaded by /k.
So just when I thought that my exurbia paradise was rapidly become suburbia hell, my neighbors down in the gulch stepped up their city denial a notch. This the latest example: they've built a full-on barn in their back pasture. Never mind that it is pre-fab and completely steel, it is still a barn.

Keep fighting the man, crazy neighbor.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Originally uploaded by /k.
So while Kelly may see some interesting stuff on his drives through Orangevale, he can't hold a candle to my commute into the Bay Area. As evidence, I present this photo of someone taking his personal submarine out for a cruise.

Of course, it helps that I drive through Berkeley on my commute.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

You're Doing A Heck Of A Job . . .

Originally uploaded by /k.
So Whitey, the horse in the field on my back fence line, has left along with the Noah's Ark of Llamas next door. However, they have been replaced with Brownie, a new horse. Of course, my dogs Louie has taken an instance dislike to Brownie and has decided the best time to take this up with him is 4:30 AM in the morning. In Brownie's favor, he appears to be giving Louie it all back through fairly loud whinnies.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

High bridge

High bridge
Originally uploaded by /k.
Killing some time yesterday in Auburn, CA, I decided to take Brian to the Foresthill Bridge. As you can tell from the picture, the bridge is the highest in California and was created to bridge the Auburn Confluence Lake. The only problem there being is that the Auburn Confluence was never created, out of fear of seismic problems with the dam and incredible cost overruns. This is a good thing, since the confluence area has some incredible hiking and biking trails. In any event, the bridge sits here, high over the Auburn valley. Some views from the bridge here and here.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lost Coast

Lost Coast
Originally uploaded by /k.
In my whirlwind tour of the Humboldt nightlife, I've hit upon the Lost Coast Brewery as my dinner spot. I've had their beer before and their food isn't half bad. However, due to the Humboldt State Uni influence, I appear to be the only man here without a full beard and pipe.

Arcata Bucks

Arcata Bucks
Originally uploaded by /k.
Arcata has a starbucks that rivals Brian's Cup O Joe. Apparently Humboldt has their priority squarely in line.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Originally uploaded by /k.
I took off North this afternoon to race my bike in the Whiskeytown Shasta forest (there's a big Cal State contest there). Since I've never really been north of Chico, it's been a really nice trip. Most of the way (say until you get to Redding or Shasta) is pretty much like the rest of the central valley. However, once you start west to the coast from Redding, you are in old growth forest for about 100 miles. This picture was taken about 15 miles from the Pacific (near the race site) looking south towards Eureka, CA.

While it looks warm and sunny in the picture, I am staying in Eureka tonight and it seems much more like my home in Pacifica. Low 50s and foggy. Quite a change from the 100+ degree temperatures in Sacto.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Take Your Dog To Work Day

So last Friday was "Take Your Dog To Work Day". Unfortunately, I don't go to work. So I invited Zeke to spend the day in my den with me. Zeke declined, preferring the cool tile in the kitchen.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

How (Not) To Open Mike

Open Mike
Originally uploaded by /k.
Okay, while I know that open mike night at the coffee house is supposed to be an artsy, free wheeling affair, I have to make one suggestions: If you are going to perform, either sing or play an instrument. Don't come and rant about bizarre observations in your life and then call it "spoken word."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Moving Offices

Sartory Coffee
Originally uploaded by /k.
Over the past year, I have used the local It's A Grind as my office away from home. While it has served with distinction, I had chosen it mostly because there wasn't anything else available. However, in the last three months everything has changed; Three new coffeeshops have opened in the greater EDH/Folsom area. There is now a Starbucks that I can almost see from my house, a Peet's (Bay Area favorite) and an independent coffee shop in EDH. The independent shop, Sartory Coffee, has emerged as the early frontrunner for a share of my mobile office coffee drinking. Sporting slightly higher quality coffee than Starbucks or It's A Grind (but probably not Peet's), Sartory breaks new ground by serving beer and wine. This is obviously a huge plus. They are open outrageous hours (nights until 11:30 PM). Of course, they have free internet (I'm posting from it now). And finally, they show movies on Monday night. Shelley and I caught part of Chocolat last night.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Lab Side Car

Lab Side Car
Originally uploaded by /k.
These may be the happiest Labrador Retrievers in the entire world.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bridge Out

Bridge Out
Originally uploaded by /k.
So my very brief and slightly illegal trip to Venezuela is coming to a close. Jorge and I got up at the crack of dawn (really quite before the crack) to catch out 9:30 AM flight. Why did we get up at 4:30 AM to catch our 9:30 AM flight ? Well, it seems that the Venezuelians had a small engineering issue about their main bridge on the highway that goes to Caracas Intl airport. Appartently, it fell into the water. This photo shows were the bridge used to be. While they are working double time on building a new one, travelers are enduring 2+ hour drives to the airport. Of course, this is better than when the bridge first collapsed. I guess the old detour was 6 hours.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Caracas Skyline

Caracas Skyline
Originally uploaded by /k.
Finally made it to my hotel in Caracas around midnight last night. The normal shenningans happened on my flight out: AA cancelled my morning flight and threatened to strand me in Dallas again, then Delta wanted to kick me off their flight in Atlanta when I was rebooked. Oh, and possibly having a visa violation in Venezuela. Oh well, I'm here for the week and it seems like a good time. Climate and geography seems a lot like Colombia (they were once the same country) and I haven't gotten any "Yankee go home" comments from Hugo's supporters, so I think I might like it here. Of course, all of this could just be the Brahma talking.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Q'Bole Cinco de Mayo

Q'Bole Cinco de Mayo
Originally uploaded by /k.
Just to illustrate Kelly's earlier report on the Cinco de Mayo shennanigans (or would that be trucos ?), I submit this photographic evidence. Look closely at the young lady in the right of the frame. No, they weren't giving out Jose Cuervo mini-skirts. Yes, she was wearing the Jose Cuervo sombrero around her waist. At 6 PM. I assume that she ended up being taken home in this. And she wasn't even one of the drunk ones.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Rattlesnakes and Bobcats

Originally uploaded by /k.
Hmmm . . . this is some sage advice about the dangers of the great outdoors: bare naked in orangevale: Rattlesnake Training. I think that the only things that I could add to it would be (a) certainly don't stop and get a closeup of the rattlesnakes while they are sunning themselves and (b) the same holds true for bobcats. They may be cute when they are holed up in a tree but don't not under any circumstances stop and make them pose for a picture.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Upgraded Laptop

So I took the plunge and updated my laptop to Ubuntu 06.06 beta 2 tonight. Overall, not too bad of an experience. Just two major problems and both of them I have had before. The first, and most annoying, was the loss of my trackpad configuration. It lost it's tap click setting and was clicking on everything in sight due to my thumb-dragging. After figuring out that I needed the evdev module loaded to get the Xorg to attach the synaptics driver, I was fine. The sound problem has proved more elusive. I had the same issue when I initially installed Ubuntu 05.10 so I just need to remember what I did. Something about my module loading order...

BTW, my background is a promo shot from the upcoming freerider epic ROAM and is available here.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back To The Northern Hemisphere

Spent my last afternoon in BA visiting clients in the Financial district. This wasn't too bad since we only had two clients and got to walk between them. This picture (left) was taken on Florida Street, the most famous shopping street in Buenos Aires. It's packed at lunchtime on Fridays -- especially because Monday is Labor Day in Argentina.

We also got to peek inside one of the upscale malls downtown. Nothing to earthshaking here (they've got the normal complement of stores, just slightly different from our Gaps) but they did have some pretty cool architecture and paintings on the ceiling.

While Argentina has been great, I was more than ready to get back home. After spending two days getting to South America, then spending a whirlwind 12 hours in Brazil and meeting 7 clients in Argentina, I am pooped. I was certainly not looking forward to the 11 hour flight back to DFW (in economy since all my frequent flyer priviledges have expired), it's still nice to be home.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Buenos Aires Cow
Originally uploaded by /k.
Best. Painted. Cow. Ever.

In stylish traditional Argentinan blacket motif and blood red color, this is my favorite painted cow on display in Buenos Aires Parade de Vaca. A close second was the cow painted half sky-clouds and half wheat plains.

My old friend Brahma

My old friend Brahma
Originally uploaded by /k.
Mi viejo amigo Brahma. Bebemos otra vez. En Aeropuerta del Sao Paulo.

Street Tango

Street Tango
Originally uploaded by /k.
Apparently the tango is not only the national dance of Argentina, but also popular Friday afternoon street entertainment.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Buenos Aires (Day 1)

So I survived my 12 hours in Brazil, caught my flight to Argentina and made
it to my hotel. Argentina is totally different from what I thought. Where I thought Brazil was supposed to be a lovely, trendy city and Argentina a kinda drab out of the way stop, it is completely the opposite. Argentina looks like the part of Europe has been dropped into South America. My hotel is in the Puerto Madera district in Buenos Aires, which is the former docklands. The Google Earth satellite photo doesn't do it very good justice, but the architecture is classical, the restaurants are open late and the bars are packed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

12 Hours Of Brazil

Sao Paulo
After my unintended stopover in Dallas yesterday, I spent the night (10 hours) flying over the Gulf of Mexico and then the Amazon before I arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil this morning. Sao Paulo is Brazil's largest city with over 15M residents but morning rush hour traffic wasn't bad at all. I got to see a bit of the city (airport is north and my office is south), but since I now only have 12 hours or so in Brazil (I leave tonight for Buenos Aires), it was a little disappointing. Maybe I'll see more at lunch or the drive back to the airport tonight.

Brazilian Coffee Machine
I did see a lot of my office this morning. Since I couldn't sleep at all on my flight, my first order of business was finding some strong coffee. Which I did; An automatic expresso machine is installed on every floor of our office. Unfortunately, my portugese is incredibly poor and it took me five attempts to get a latte without two inches of sugar in the bottom (for future reference, "sem amacor" appears to mean "without sugar"). It will be nice to get to Argentina tonight where I can at least stumble through some Spanglish.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Latin America (interrupted)

Latin America (interrupted)
Originally uploaded by /k.
My Latin America trip is off to a rough start. My flight out of SFO was delayed 2 hours which caused me to miss my connection in Dallas - which was the last flight of the day to SaƵ Paulo, Brazil. Fortunately, my dad lives here in Dallas, so I am spending the day here at his house with Sunny, his 12 year old Lab.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Getting Ready

So I am in a conundrum today. The beta version of Ubuntu 06.06 (Dapper Drake) was released this morning (which has several upgrades that I need), but I am really trying to finish the last two chapters of the second edition of my book (which are now really late) and I leave for South America next week. When I used to work in Asia, I wouldn't even contemplate doing an upgrade to my laptop when I was a getting towards a trip -- it's just to easy to hose something up and then be left in Olangapo City without a working system or a way to repair it. But I am feeling pretty confident about this upgrade (I've been using the live CD on every release) and I am only going to talk to a few people . . . . Maybe I will upgrade if I get writing done. By the way, they have already started planning the next version of Ubuntu: Edgy Eft (Planning Dapper+1)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by /k.
Wow, March has really sucked here. Just when I thought the cold stuff was over, it hailed for 30 minutes yesterday.

I guess I should be glad it wasn't snow.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Governator in Beijing

Governator in Beijing
Originally uploaded by /k.
I was paging through my iPhotos today (to find a picture of the Zeker dog) and came across this sweet pic from 2001. Long before Arnold had political aspiration and when I was still working in Asia, you'd see stuff like this all the time. I think I took this photo near Beijing's airport, just because you never saw Hollywood actors pitching products in China. Japan, sure all the time; China no.

Little did I know that five years later, Arnold would be running the 5th largest economy in the world, I wouldn't be working in Asia and we would live about 25 miles from each other.

P.S. For those of you whose Mandarin in a little rusty, I believe he is promoting a local DVD player.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Car on fire
Originally uploaded by /k.
Fun times at the coffee shop yesterday. It appears that some car overheated and then burst into flames across the street. The whole store went out to watch, and I got there just in time to hear some of the tires explode.

You don't get excitement like that at the office.