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September 30, 2009

Taskbar Shuffle

I control about a dozen computers in 3 different time zones on a daily basis. So, as a result of this, I keep a lot of windows open. I have RDP tunnels daisy chained together across the county and it gets somewhat confusing. Finally, tonight I decided that there had to be a tool out there to help me arrange my items in my taskbar in a logical order, instead of the default order which is when each application was opened, closed, and reopened throughout the day. Taskbar Shuffle is the solution. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 30, 2009 at 10:29 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 29, 2009

San Elijo River Estuary in Cardiff (Encinitas,CA)

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 29, 2009 at 10:31 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

OKC bombing tapes appear edited


Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday.

"The real story is what's missing," said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting into the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

The tapes turned over by the FBI came from security cameras various companies had mounted outside office buildings near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They are blank at points before 9:02 a.m., when a truck bomb carrying a 4,000 pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the building, Trentadue said.

"Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995."

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 29, 2009 at 12:05 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 28, 2009

Return to Sender

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2009 at 11:30 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 27, 2009

You mean communists aren't entrepreneurs? Really?

"Angrisani said he believes that Obama's economic team, led by Larry Summers, has a blind spot for small business because no senior member of the team -- dominated by academics and veterans of big business -- has ever started and grown a business."

Well knock me over with a feather. So then, that means that the socialist responsible for the largest deficits the world has ever seen, that wants to socialize medicine, and mandate national service contracts for all the kids in America has no experience starting and running a business. Hmmm. Let me digest that. So you're saying that maybe when he looked at the strongest economic engine in the history of the world...the capitalist economy of the United States of America...maybe when he promised "Change", maybe what he meant was socialism, economic decline, double digit unemployment, and the decline of the U.S. Dollar? Hmmm. Maybe the libtards should think a little more before they vote for "Change" next time.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 27, 2009 at 9:44 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Swisher 44" Trailmower

I ordered a mower back in June of 2007. It's been a lot of fun. This thing is a real bruiser. I've beat it to death this summer. I wouldn't really call what I do with it "mowing". That wouldn't be accurate. More like "bush-hogging" or even "clearing land". I just hook it up behind the ATV, fire it up, raise the blades as high as they'll go, and start rolling. You really can't hurt this thing. Or so I thought. Finally, I managed to pull it into a tree and I ripped some steel brackets off of it. Also, I think a bolt or two had vibrated loose and got inside between the belt and pulleys and cut the belt up pretty bad. So now, I'm going to have to find me a welder to repair my torn steel brackets. I'm also going to order a new belt or two for it, as the one I have is pretty cut up. Of course, I can't find the manual, and I'm not really sure what I own, even. So I dug around and determined that it's a 44" Swisher Trailmower with the 11.5 HP B&S engine (Swisher Model# T11544 Serial # L107-136120) that I ordered from Northern Tool & Equipment in June of 2007. (It was shipped it on June 18, 2007).

Hmm. Looks like the T11544 parts I want to order are:
Part No: 4525TK "Hitch Weldment" ($71.50)
Part No: 4220 "Belt 74" ($26.40)

So, now that I know that it costs $71.50, I'm going to take it up to Hank's Welding in Conifer (303)697-9444 and see if he can fix it.

Update: I ran up to Hank's place to see if he could fix my bracket. He fixed it while I waited for a very reasonable fee. While he was welding and grinding, I took a few shots of his place.

"It's a shame you couldn't find a decent piece of land or anything," I scoffed.

"Yeah. We looked for this place for a long time."


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 27, 2009 at 3:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 26, 2009

The Slaughter Rule

Here's some shots from Jen's soccer game today. After the 2 mile "Fun Run" yesterday, somehow she went out there and played an hour of soccer this morning. Jennifer's team won their third game in a row. I think like was like 8-0 or something insane like that.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2009 at 11:31 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

2009 Fun Run

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2009 at 11:02 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Healthcare Plan Unravels

Obama's healthcare bill is unraveling and the dems have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2009 at 7:44 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Ah, Never Mind About That Guantanamo Thing


This is just classic. Breathless.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2009 at 3:43 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink


The GAO put the smackdown on NASA for, well, being NASA. I think something all the Omama supporters forgot was that communist countries have never put a man on the moon. It was the capitalist country that did it. The free market economy, if you will.

Of course, most people are so stupid that they doubtless don't know that many more moon missions were planned under the original Apollo program, but they were canned because, even back then - people were like "...the moon is a dead rock and we have bigger problems than dropping billions upon billions into a hole to fly rocks to earth on a glorified jet."

So, yeah, now that Omama has ruined the country financially...spent us into a hole we'll never get out of... flying women around the solar system in soup cans is starting to look a lot less likely. Next.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2009 at 3:12 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 25, 2009

The Nadir of Western Civilization

According to The Onion, the nadir of Western civilization was reached today at 3:32 P.M. I'm not sure if that was Greenwich Mean Time, Eastern Daylight Time, or local time. But figuring that things could only get better, I decided to go bar hopping after work -- something I haven't done in a couple of weeks.

There was some guy riding a motor scooter with two hot chicks in the sidecar, and towing a large sign advertising Oktoberfest. Since they were stopped at a red light, I walked over to them to ask for details. One of the women said something to me in an over-the-top German accent (or maybe it was Austrian or Swiss?), and handed me a postcard.


As I'm standing in the middle of the street, looking at these people right in front of me, I was berating myself for not bringing a camera. It was a perfect photo opportunity.

So after stopping at a few of my regular watering holes, I decided to go back to my truck and grab my Canon EOS 400D, a.k.a. the Digital Rebel XTi, and my 28-135mm lens, which is the only image stabilizing (I.S.) lens I have. It's a good "walking around" lens, since I didn't want to carry my camera bag, with its other lenses, around.

Of course, as I'm walking out of a bar and back to my truck, the Oktoberfest scooter drives by again, and stops right in front of the bar I had just left.

Continue reading "The Nadir of Western Civilization"

Posted by Robert Racansky on September 25, 2009 at 9:19 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Careful with that elk, Eugene

You've really got to be careful around the bull elk this time of year. They're in rut and basically just swimming in testosterone. So, when the tree huggers stop their cars in Evergreen and get out to take photos, apparently some of them have been charged by the elk. Haha. Suck it tree huggers.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 25, 2009 at 9:01 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Return of the Crackberry Tour

I returned my Crackberry Tour to Verizon today. I returned it on time, and received a $550 credit. Woohooo! Out of all the phones I've bought this year, and I've bought a lot, I liked this one the least. A horrible phone. A technological miscarriage. A phone so dumb that, even though it is reportedly equipped with GPS...even though the cell towers broadcast the local time...the Crackberry can't be made to change to the correct local time when you fly. I verified this with Verizon. It can't do it.

The battery cover on it was falling off within the first week. This thing is a piece of garbage.

Also, I pointed out to the idiots at Verizon today that, with the Blackberry, when you try to scroll down the list of applications, it continually jumps up to the "Volume" application at the top. It's maddening. They told me today that it was redesigned, but it is too little too late. Anyone that offers a phone this bad for sale doesn't deserve a second change. Bye bye.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 25, 2009 at 8:50 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 23, 2009

Fellow German-Americans, Unite!

I love how Obama came out today in front of the UN and said he was an "African-American". Like, Jesus Christ. Can we possibly try to split the country any more? From now on, I'd like to be known as a "German-American". Obama will subdivide and weaken this country in a way Jimmy Carter couldn't have dreamed of. Carter ended up being remembered mainly for the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Stag-flation, the Energy Crisis, and defending himself from a rabbit swimming through a Georgian swamp. I can't wait to see what this idiot will be remembered for. I have a feeling we haven't seen anything yet.

The curious thing, to me, is that the Republicans are so inept that they've not been able to capitalize on the enormous amount of discontent toward this jug-eared dope. As my neighbor once told me, "the Republicans have a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," which I've since realized was a shrewd observation.

The solution is simple. Rule Number 1 - Pass a balanced budget amendment. Until we do that, nothing is safe. Nothing is sacred. Until we balance the budget, we will be forever at the whims of some idiot to come in and spend us a few trillion more into debt. Nothing would so readily prevent someone saddling the country with the financial burden of trying to keep the illegals and the indigents alive for free in perpetuity.

This solution is as obvious, as it is simple. Balance the budget. Pay off the debt. No new taxes. This should be the rallying cry of the Republicans. Instead, what we're hearing is "no public option for health care". I honestly don't even know what the public option is, though I can assure you I don't want the government involved in my health care. Christ - they can't even run the DMV.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2009 at 10:13 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Full Circle

I went tonight and got another RAZR, so I've gone back full circle. When my RAZR died, I bought a Palm Pre on Sprint, an iPhone 3Gs on AT&T, and then a Blackberry on Verizon. I despised the Blackberry. Easily the worst of the 3 new phones. I'd say that the Palm Pre was the best of the 3, with the iPhone a close second. But I'm going back to the RAZR because I really don't want to send emails with my cell phone, and I really don't want to surf the internet on my cell phone. It would be nice if I could use the phones as a tethered modem, but none of them are currently set up to do that. Possibly, if I cracked the iPhone, it might work, but the iPhone has a lot of issues.

So, I bought a Verizon RAZR 3m from a guy in a parking lot, I kid you not. He met me at the Verizon store because he wasn't sure if the phone's ESN was good or not. I wasn't clear what he meant by this, but the ESN is the Electronic Serial Number, or something like this. So, if you try to activate the phone, and if it's been reported stolen, they won't activate it. And, sure enough, he had 3 phones, and the first one was on the super-secret lost-or-stolen ESN list and they wouldn't activate it. So, the 2nd one, which was pink, worked fine. So, I now have a pink Verizon RAZR 3m. Hold the applause.

The beauty of the RAZR is that it's nearly indestructible and it's cheap. So I can't surf the internet with it or send emails with it. Big deal. As I see it, that means I can't send emails from meetings and from the bathroom. I'm ok with that. The win is that I can take it with me when I'm using the chainsaw out back without being worried about scratching it. So when the tree falls on me, I can dial 911.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2009 at 9:40 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Hovering over Time in Windows Taskbar

In theory, if you put your mouse pointer over the Time in the Windows Taskbar, it should display the date. It doesn't always do this though. Why? I'm not clear and today it bothered me enough that I did something about it. The most common suggestion is to make your windows taskbar twice as tall as it is normally, which is so stupid I won't even comment on it.

The real solution is to install TClockEx.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2009 at 6:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Trouble at the border

They had a "gun battle" at the border yesterday, and shut down the crossing for some time. But, I'm not clear that it was a true battle. 3 vans carrying 70 immigrants tried to smash through the border. Some Border Patrol/ICE guys fired on them, and they were all rounded up and captured. I'm not clear that anyone returned fire, and last time I checked, the difference between a battle and a shooting was that someone had to return fire for a battle to occur. But what do I know?

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2009 at 4:59 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 22, 2009

Encinitas/Cardiff/Solana/Del Mar

I went to Encenitas today after work and found San Elijo State Beach. It's north of Cardiff State Beach, by a small margin. I dunno why I keep going to the beach. I just feel like my time here is winding down and I want to get in as many shots as practicable before things change.

So, I went into this little state beach and she offered to give me a "twenty minute free pass" and I was like...uh...ok. Like, I'm not clear what you can do in 20 minutes, but OK. So, I went down to the beach and shot until it got dark. This is where that guy died from a shark attack last year, but probably you never heard about it.

There were little things jumping all over my feet. I'm not clear what they were. I'd call them sand fleas? But they didn't bite. And there were trillions of them. It was sort of surreal because, I wasn't sure that I wasn't imagining the whole thing. That I wasn't kicking sand on my own feet at dusk. A very odd sensation, and nothing I've ever experience on any beach before.

I will mention now, at work, that I noticed the sweetgum trees are turning a deep red. And I'm thinking...seriously? Like...this is it? And, OK. I will give you...it is, in fact, September. So there is that. It is Fall, or could be reasonably misconstrued as such...in the Northern Hemisphere. But the weather has changed so little. Such a barely perceptible change since April...I can't really describe. But consider this...the flowers here bloom all year. The Birds of Paradise are blooming now, and have bloomed all year since April, so help me. I would say that the ice plants are not in bloom now, but they are ice plants, are they not? They are.

What is blooming now is natal plum, bouganvilla, angels trumpet, birds of paradise, bottle brush, purple and yellow jakarana, tulip trees, coral trees, too many to list. But what can I say? This is fall in San Diego, I suppose.

I ended up driving through downtown Del Mar tonight and I like this little town. It's not as pretentious as La Jolla. Not as trailer-parkish as Ocean Side. Not as hippied out as Ocean Beach. Del Mar is a cozy little ocean side town and I found this little restaurant named the Americana, which has outdoor seating beneath dimly lit umbrellas, beneath an arbor or canopy of some sort of trumpet flowers at 1454 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, California.

There is a conspiracy afoot that I might leave this place. There's a rumor at work that maybe they'll let me go one day and I beg them. Beg them to let me to Cabo San Lucas. To drive down the baja peninsula on my XR. Like...let's not be confused. The last thing you want to appear is desperate. Oh, please keep me on. How will I live? No one wants that. That is death.

I'm like...you just say the word and I'm going to kick start that XR and I promise you won't see anything but a rooster tail when I leave. That is all.

But there is a thought. And idea that I might end up back at my home in Colorado where the neighbors say it snowed yesterday. And I could say that I love it, and I could say that I hate it, and I'd be saying the same thing.

And now these people come and they want to sit outside and they ask if it's heated and she says it is, and only now. Only now do I notice the propane lanterns are on and I think...are you serious? Like it's freaking snowing at my house and it's 67 degrees here and you want propane lanterns to sit outside beneath the trumpet flowers? Are you for real? But this is California, is it not? They are not joking. They're dead serious. To them, it's cold outside. And only now do I notice that, not only are there gas lanterns outside, but they're lit. And I'm thinking...greenhouse gases! Haha. Freaking tree-hugging hypocrites.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 22, 2009 at 8:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 20, 2009

Gringo Loco

How I hate those people that pump all their fear into me. Everyone I asked warned me that I'd be tortured and killed if I set foot into Mexico. But these are the same people that tell horror stories about motorcycles. They live in fear.

Yesterday, I put my tail between my legs and stayed home all day. Well, I drove up to LA and went down to Ocean Beach, but I didn't go to Mexico, and that was what I wanted to do.

I wanted to go to a foreign country and get some different shots. Some shots I couldn't get in the United States. Something radically different that what's here.

So, on Sunday, I woke up and I laid in bed until about noon and then I said fvck this. I'm not sitting around here wishing I was in mexico, but too afraid to go. I'm not going to live my life that way. Like, if they kidnap and torture me, then it wouldn't be any worse than this. It wouldn't be any worse than what I'm doing to myself by lying here stewing in my own misery. II'm going to Mexico. And I'm going alone. And I'm going without a GPS. But, it probably would be a good idea to stop and get some insurance before I cross the border. And a map would be nice.

Before I left the country, I had to do a little bit of planning. I was carrying an envelope with 25 one hundred dollar bills. Why? Because I like to carry cash. So, left my envelope of cash in my desk at my home in San Diego. I took out all but one credit card and about $150 in cash. I took my passport, $150 cash, 1 credit card, two camera, my laptop, cell phone, and all my chargers and USB cables. That was it.

No GPS. No passengers. Forget it. I'm going to Mexico.

So, with about that much planning, I grabbed a Gatorade out of the fridge in San Diego, threw my cameras and my backpack in the car. I had a bathing suit and my dop kit, so I could spend the night down there if I had to.

I climbed into my car and got onto I-5 and headed South. The last exit says "LAST US EXIT" and "TUNE RADIO TO AM 1700" and "FIREARMS/AMMO ILLEGAL IN MEXICO", etc. So, at the last exit, I exited and got an insurance policy for my car in Mexico. For a grand total of $25, I had an insurance policy in Mexico good for 24 hours. A map would have been nice, but I was off.

Then, I got back on the interstate and headed south. Basically, I rolled across the border without stopping and headed to the coast as soon as I crossed the border.

I was surprised to see that many of the road signs were in English. "Rosarito Ensenada Scenic Road Mexico 1D".

I drove around Tijuana for a bit and got sort of turned around. For the record, Tijuana is a dump. It stinks. The air is nearly impossible to breathe. It makes your throat constrict in a bad way. More polluted than you can imagine. Makes LA's pollution seem like Key West, in comparison.

It is odd, to see the Policia standing around with AR-15's, hand cuffs, and full face ski masks taking down scads of people. They seem to be everywhere, pulling over everyone at once, searching them, and piling them into trucks to be carted away. It's hard to know what's going on, but I suspect that the police are trying to get things under control.

Once, I got turned around in a bad area. There was a truck broken down in front of me with some guys blocking the road. It happened that this occurred in a blind spot under a burnt-out overpass. On a one lane one way road. Safety in Mexico is not a one time, one place, one issue. It's a new reality that's unfolding all around you all the time. So, you do what makes sense. You have to keep your wits about you. Have to keep your head up, so to speak. So I turned around and went back the way I came, the wrong way down a one-way street.

Eventually, I'm pretty well lost and I roll into this park in Tijuana and there's about 20 cops taking down everyone around me. They're searching, arresting, carting around a bunch of recent arrestees in the bed of a truck, like a rolling open-bed paddy wagon.

I just pull up to one of the cops and roll down my passenger window.

"Perdon. Donde Rosarita. Donde camino uno?"

I say in broken Spanish. He replies in perfect English. Go down here 2 or 3 blocks. Turn right. Turn right again.

He smiles and leans in the window. He speaks English. He's as nice as he could be. It was exactly nothing like what everyone had warned me about. I was so pissed to have not come down sooner. So happy to be here now, in Mexico.

So, in any event, I get back onto the Scenic Route - Mexican Highway 1 or 1D and head south. I'm rolling South and it's nothing like I'd thought it would be. I was imagining a desert. I was envisioning the Sechura/Atacama desert and instead, just outside of Tijuana, it's a well irrigated verdant hillside. Resplendent bouganvilla. Horses. Donkeys. Small hillside farms. Beautiful, brightly painted farms. Poverty, scrolling by.my windowsill. More than I'd hoped for. Dream like. Mexico.

And now, I come to a toll road. A freaking toll road. Like, everyone I talked to convinced me that they would burn my car, steal my cameras, and hold me for ransom in a dump by the sea. Instead, I pull up to a toll booth and I say "Quanto Es?" meaning, how much is it. Because, the sign says $27.00 and I'm thinking...that's a lot of jack for a toll road. Instead, this was in pesos. They tell me the exchange rate is 13 to 1. Or 15 to 1. It's hard to know. It's not like I bothered to convert any currency. And I didn't bring my ATM card because everyone I knew had convinced me that I'd already be dead by now.

So, the toll road is only like $2.00 I think. I'm not clear. It doesn't really matter. But pretty soon, I'm driving down the coast by the pacific ocean thinking how much I hate the fear. How much I hate the fear mongers and the people that live in fear. I'd rather die in Mexico on my feet than live in San Diego in fear.

The first real town that I come to is Rosarita. I drive for a bit down the street, shooting through the window of my rental car. The roads are not great. There's a large dip in the concrete, and the car in front of me brakes hard, and I nearly ram them from behind shooting photos out my window.

I pass a little third world bazaar and decide to stop and get some shots. I park, and ask if where I parked is OK.

"No hay problema?" I query.

"It's no problem. You can park where the curb is green."

Everyone down here speaks perfect English, god as my witness. Or, let's say more than half of them do. When I pass them, I'll say "Hola", and they'll say "Hi" or "How's it going?". Just not really what I was expecting, but there it is.

I wandered through the maze taking photos. What I wouldn't give to have Jennifer down here with me. How cool that would be. But no, I'm alone. But I'm OK with this. This is allright.

Eventually, I wander out of the 3rd world bazaar and down to the beach. I'm walking down the beach wearing my khakis, dress shoes, and long sleeved shirt. Shooting like mad, of course. Shooting like crazy.

The beach, is nothing like any beach in the United States. On the beach, you can rent horses. Four wheelers. People are selling things on the beach. Coconuts. Tamales. Mangos. Nuts. Gummi bears. Hats. Everything. You name it.

"What you want, senor?"

And, you have the feeling that he could get you anything. A cerveza. A child. A kilo of heroin. If this isn't freedom, it's not far from it. And I know that I'll have to make my way back to the U.S. at some point, but I'm going to do it on my own terms. And I'm not going to let people pump their fears into me any more. I'm past that. Stay at home in your armchair with the remote if you want. As for me, I'm going to go out and look around a bit before I settle in.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 20, 2009 at 10:52 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

Arts Supply Store

I saw this arts supply store off the I-5 this morning in Old Town. So, I stopped and took some shots. They told me about this wall in Venice that's an "open wall", so that people can spray paint on it without threat of prosecution. I was actually going to try to go check it out today, but the traffic on I-5 was so bad it was just a parking lot. LA sucks.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 20, 2009 at 12:16 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 19, 2009


I had planned on going down into Mexico for the weekend, but I just can't find anyone to say that it's a good idea. Without exception, everyone I talk to tries to talk me out of it with tales of robbery, kidnapping, murder, you name it. The only reason that I have held back so far is that I don't have a few things I need like a decent GPS, a money belt, and of course, it would be a huge plus to have another person to go with me. So, I chickened out and decided to drive to LA instead.

The photo above is a shot of a wall on the side of I-5. Note the inlaid Birds of Paradise flowers set in concrete. Is it any wonder that this state's budget is 24 billion in the hole this year?

The drive to LA was an unmitigated disaster and I can promise you I'll never try to go near that city again. LA is on my list of cities that I swear I'll never visit again, like Detroit. The only way I'd ever try to go through LA again would be to hit it like the last time I did - drive through it balls out at three o'clock in the morning. The traffic is just indescribable. A true urban nightmare.

The photo above, and the 3 photos below are shots from Ocean Side, a little trailer-park-by-the-sea north of San Diego.

The photos below are from Ocean Beach where I retreated to lick my wounds and choke down another Hodad's bacon cheese burger.

The menu at Hodad's defines the term "Hodad" as "A person who does not surf, but who spends time at surfing beaches pretending to be a surfer." But this doesn't sound right to me, as I've never seen anyone pretending to be a surfer. You either are, or you aren't. I think this defintion of hodad makes more sense:

"50's term for a greaser, someone who hung out at the beach, but definitely not a surfer. Hodads were into cars, music and were a type of counterculture style. These were NOT posers, as some of the other definitions had stated...Surfer's and Hodad's would be completely separate groups, that often clashed with each other.
in the beach communities in the 50's one was either a hodad or a surfer. Hodad's wore a very specific style of clothing.....black shoes, jeans, and a t-shirt (preferably white). They were NOT posers, and wouldn't be caught dead hangin' with a surfer."

This defintion seems to make more sense to me. A "hodad" would have been a different click. A non-surfer, perhaps, but I doubt that you would ever have seen a lot of people pretending to be surfers. Plus, the waves at San Diego aren't all that, anyway. It's not like it's the Pipeline, for Christ's sake.

I asked the homeless people that hang out by the pier at Ocean Beach who this (above) is supposed to be. The one guy said it was the president of China panhandling the United States. I'm not real clear that this is correct, but it's all I have to go on at this point. Update: Now that I look at him, I'm thinking that this is probably supposed to be North Korean president Kim Jong-il.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 19, 2009 at 10:34 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 18, 2009

Why You Can't Get a Good Phone With Verizon

This is something that i've recently wondered. AT&T has the iPhone. Sprint has the Palm Pre. Even the idiots at T-mobile has the MyTouch. And what does Verizon have? The crackberry. A phone that's as intuitive as a slide rule and as user friendly as a Rubik's cube. It's so useless that it can't even change time zones on it's own. Finally, someone explains why the phones at Verizon truly suck, even though their network is clearly the best.


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2009 at 11:59 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Ocean Beach

I first discovered Ocean Beach back in May (photos here).

Today, I returned to Ocean Beach for dinner at Hodad's. The bacon cheese burger was awesome. Truly an exerience. I've seen the line outside the restaurant go around the block before, so I wasn't going to go, but then I saw them on tv the other day as the best hamburgers. At first, I thought it was a local channel, then I realized it was a national network and I figured - I'd better go check it out.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2009 at 9:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Mission Valley

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2009 at 9:31 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 17, 2009

Plumbago auriculata

These photos are not very good, I know. I shot them driving down the road out the car window so that Diane could help me to identify them. Many thanks to Diane for her patience and diligent research in the Western Garden - Sunset book. Without her, i'd know so little about the flora of San Diego.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 17, 2009 at 8:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 16, 2009

Jennifer at Soccer

Jennifer played a soccer game on Saturday. They actually won 2 - 1, but the referee made a bad call. Their first goal came when the opposing team's goalie bobbled a kicked ball, dropped it, and watched it get kicked into the goal right past her. Only the ref blew the whistle prematurely, pretty much as soon as she touched the ball, so he took the goal away and that meant the game was a tie 1-1. The good thing is I'm not bitter.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 16, 2009 at 10:40 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 15, 2009

A Little Snow

Looks like we got a little snow up around 13,000 feet or so.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 15, 2009 at 9:43 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 13, 2009

The Trouble with Toys

The problem with toys is that it's impossible to keep them all working right. Or, if it's not impossible, then in certainly eats a lot of time/money. Jennifer's Red Honda Rancher 4x4 ES won't shift into reverse. I found this diagnosis online. So, I tore a lot of plastic off the ATV and finally found the parts they were referring to (online and in my printed manual). But I tried doing Honda's diagnosis and they said basically "the first thing you should try is to manually shift it into reverse...if that doesn't work, you're hosed". So, I tried manually shifting it into reverse and it wouldn't go. The deal is you put a 12 mm box wrench on the manual gear shift and pull up (I assume, as pushing down puts it in 1st). So, I can't get it to go into reverse, which sucks. I'm thinking the honda shop is going to have a field day with this one. I hate to think how much it will cost. My guess is a grand. Sucks.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 13, 2009 at 7:40 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 12, 2009

Coming soon to a time zone near you...

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 12, 2009 at 12:06 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 11, 2009

Denver International Airport (DEN) Phone Numbers

DIA Operations 342-4200
DFD/Fuel Spill 342-4200
DIA Police Department 342-4211
Paramedics 342-4211
Airport Security 342-4300
CAISS/Alarms 342-4210
DIA Maintenance 342-2800
B Tower Ramp 342-4237
FSS 800-428-7652
FSDO 342-1100
Signature 342-5605
Integrated Air 342-9681
Wheelchair 342-7000
ITS A Concourse 348-4700
B Concourse 348-4882
Gate Gourmet 348-7161
SkyChef 341-5447
Chelsea 348-6600
First Watch 342-4309

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 11, 2009 at 11:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Torrey Pines State Beach

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 11, 2009 at 12:46 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 8, 2009

San Diego Zoo

Jennifer wanted to go to the zoo today, so we ran down there to let her check it out. They were selling some pass that I'd never heard of before. The deal was it cost $3.00 more for her, and $4.00 more for me. And for that, we each got a $10.00 gift card we could use on food or merchandise in the zoo. Plus, we got reserved seats on the bus tours. Plus, we got to ride the gondola across the park for free. So, it was a heck of a deal and we jumped on it.

The trick to the San Diego Zoo, I think, is to buy the bus pass, but not get on the bus. The guided tour bus is precious little more than a rolling prison, IMHO. It won't stop and let you off now matter how much you whine and pout, and I should know.

But, if you walk downhill as you check out the zoo, and then either take the escalators or the buses back up to the top, then you come out a lot better, IMHO.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 8, 2009 at 12:16 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 7, 2009

United States Marine Corps Memorial

I had to drive down to Lakewood this morning. On the way back, I decided to stop by the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Golden (Colorado), at the intersection of 6th Avenue (U.S. Highway 6) and Colfax (U.S. Highway 40), and snap a few pictures with my Canon SD770 IS.

As it was about 9:30 in the morning, I was shooting into the sun a lot more than I would have liked to.

You can see a satellite view of the area here.


Continue reading "United States Marine Corps Memorial"

Posted by Robert Racansky on September 7, 2009 at 8:15 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Clear Creek and Argentine Pass

Not having any concrete plans for this holiday weekend, I decided to see if Rob and Martin wanted to go shooting. Rob replied that he was going to be staying in San Diego, but Martin was game. He also suggested that we bring the mountain bikes along, because he knew a trail in the area.


Martin with the HK45. One of the designers described the HK45 as "the 1911 of the 21st century."

Continue reading "Clear Creek and Argentine Pass"

Posted by Robert Racansky on September 7, 2009 at 7:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 6, 2009

Day 3 in San Diego

Here's a shot of Jennifer at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. After the aquarium, we went and swam with the Sea Lions at the La Jolla Caves in the marine life sanctuary. Afterwards, we went down into Sunny Jim's Sea Cave. Then, we drove down to Coronado Island for ice cream, and down to the Mexican Border so Jennifer could see the fence. She was like.."Pew...what's that smell?" And I was like, "That's Mexico, baby!" Like, I love it down there, but apparently I can see deeper in the stone than she can chisel.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 6, 2009 at 8:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Jennfer at Sea World

Jennifer been to the other two Sea Worlds in Orlando and San Antonio, but somehow, she'd never been to the one in San Diego. So we remedied that yesterday. We were there when the gates opened at 8:59 in the morning and didn't leave until 5:30. We opted for the "I-don't-care-how-much-it-costs-i-want-to-dine-poolside-and-hold-fins-with-shamu". I won't say how much we paid, but it includes reserved seats at the shows, back stage tours with the trainers, and when all the other people paid for the "Dine with Shamu" plan, they were disappointed to find out that our deal got us the pool-side seats for the dinner. Jennifer was happy, which is all that matters, of course. I was hot. Exhausted. And left to sort through 1,500 of photos from one day because Jen kept grabbing the camera and shooting it like it was a video cam.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 6, 2009 at 9:42 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 4, 2009

Jennifer in San Diego

Jennifer finally made it out to San DIego. I've been coming out here on and off since April, but this is her first time here. She's been to California before, but it's been a long time. Now, she's finally old enough to fly on her own...not as an unaccompanied minor, but as an adult, believe it or not. So, she flew out here and we stopped in the airport long enough to pick up a box of See's Chocolates. Then, across the Coronado Bridge so she could see San Diego proper.

On the way to my office, Jennifer was going on about how awesome it is here. I had to confess to her.

"You remember that blizzard we had in April?" I asked.

"When we were without power for three days?" She clarified.

"Yeah. Well, the power came back on on Sunday, and on Monday, I flew out and this is where I landed. It's pretty nice out here in the winter, as it turns out."

Jennifer scowled.

We went in to work for a couple of hours so that I could clean up a mess in production in a different time zone, while Jennifer went around and fed fish and petted pooches. Then, to my new crib at Qualcom Park where they happened to be playing a football game. We changed into swimsuits and went straight to La Jolla Cove. This gave Jennifer an opportunity to swim in the ocean with the sea lions, making her probably one of the few in her class to have swum in the Atlantic, the Gulf, and the Pacific this summer. The good thing is she's not spoiled.

We stopped in some old-skool candy store in La Jolla Cove where they have all the candy I grew up with as a kid. We bought a couple of everything she'd never heard of before.

There was a store that appeared to be an ice cream store called "Berries and Beans" and we went in there thinking...how could you fvck up ice cream, right? Well we found out...you make it out of beans instead of milk. You could get samples out of these big machines that look like the walls of daquiri machines in New Orleans. These two girls in front of us were sampling them and making faces and gagging. Jennifer and I were laughing. Every machine said "Non-Fat" and I asked them..."don't y'all have any real ice cream?" and they were like "everything here is non-fat and organically..." and that was all I needed to hear and we beat it out of there. "Berries and Beans?" Seriously. WTF?

Above: This freaky contraption is called a "Glide Cycle". I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. I thought it was the gayest thing I'd ever seen. But Jennifer said she really liked it. Then, when I saw the guy riding it, I thought maybe it looked interesting.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 4, 2009 at 11:44 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 3, 2009

Female Eclectus Parrot

A woman came into work today with this bird. I believe she said it was a female Eclectus Parrot.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 3, 2009 at 1:27 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

La Jolla Cove

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 3, 2009 at 1:23 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 2, 2009

Secret Menu Items


"In-N-Out Burger's "secret menu" isn't so secret these days - in fact, they've posted it on their website.... you can get just about any combo of meat and cheese that you want if you order it like you're ordering lumber: 3×3 gets you three beef patties and three slices of cheese, 4×4 gets you four of each, and so on."

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 2, 2009 at 11:56 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Wildfires Burning in LA

You know those wildfires burning out of control in LA? Guess who's fault it is? If you guessed "the tree-huggers", please take one step forward.


Federal authorities failed to follow through on plans earlier this year to burn away highly flammable brush in a forest on the edge of Los Angeles to avoid the very kind of wildfire now raging there, The Associated Press has learned.

Months before the huge blaze erupted, the U.S. Forest Service obtained permits to burn away the undergrowth and brush on more than 1,700 acres of the Angeles National Forest. But just 193 acres had been cleared by the time the fire broke out, Forest Service resource officer Steve Bear said.

The agency defended its efforts, saying weather, wind and environmental rules tightly limit how often these "prescribed burns" can be conducted.

Some critics suggested that protests from environmentalists over prescribed burns contributed to the disaster, which came after the brush was allowed to build up for as much as 40 years.

"This brush was ready to explode," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district overlaps the forest. "The environmentalists have gone to the extreme to prevent controlled burns, and as a result we have this catastrophe today."

Prescribed burns are intended to protect homes and lives by eliminating fuel that can cause explosive wildfires. The wildfire that has blackened 140,000 acres -- or nearly 219 square miles -- in the forest over the past week has been fed by the kind of tinder-dry vegetation that prescribed burns are designed to safely devour.

The blaze has destroyed more than five dozen homes, killed two firefighters and forced thousands of people to flee. Firefighters reported modest progress Wednesday as investigators said the blaze was human-caused, though it was not clear exactly how the fire started or whether it was accidental or arson.

Los Angeles fire Capt. Steve Ruda said that pre-emptive fires were used more frequently in the region in the 1980s. But [....] increasingly complicated environmental rules have made them less frequent.

Steve Brink, a vice president with the California Forestry Association, an industry group, said as many as 8 million acres of national forest in California are overgrown and at risk of wildfire.

"Special interest groups that don't want them to do it have appeals and litigation through the courts to stall or stop any project they wish. Consequently, the Forest Service is not able to put a dent in the problem," Brink said.

Good job, tree-huggers. Well played.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 2, 2009 at 11:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

BlackBerry Something-or-Other®

So, I got up this morning and left work work a little before 8. I thought it was odd that the sun was at such a low angle on the flowers. The time in the car said 7:00 a.m., not 8:00 a.m. So, I called my brother and he confirmed my suspicions. The BlackBerry was still trapped in Mountain Time. I'd set it from GMT to Mountain Time when I got it, but I assumed that it was on track at that point.

BlackBerry Something-or-Other®

I have more phones than I know what to do with. These are (from your left to to your right) a V3C RAZR (Verizon), a Palm Pre (Sprint), an iPhone 3GS 32Gig (AT&T), and a Blackberry Something-or-Other® that's not sure what time it is that cost about five hundred clams.

But my old-skool RAZR always knew what time it was. When I landed on the plane and turned it on, it adjusted to the local time zone and I was off to the races. So, I went online to confirm my fears and sure enough - the stupid BlackBerry does not automagically adjust to the local time zone, and worse still, they think it makes sense.

Their theory is that "we couldn't possibly change the local time in the phone without changing all of the appointments in your Outlook account." Well, yes, actually, you could, if you programmed the phone properly. Remember, it is a hand-held computer as much as it is a phone, and as such, is programmable. The fact that you can't figure out how to automatically update the time on the phone by using the local time stamp from the local cell towers without screwing up the appointments is a lack of vision on the part of RIM, not some quantum physics issue due "spooky action at a distance" and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

The iPhone figured it out. Nuff said.

Plus, it's impossible to surf the internet on this BlackBerry Something-or-Other®. Although, in theory, you can surf the net, it's so small you'll go blind and then when you zoom in, instead of re-wrapping the text to fit the new window size, you now have to scroll left to right, up and down to read a page. Brilliant!

The navigation with the little roller ball takes some getting used to. The interface is about as intuitive as a Rubik's Cube. I keep wanting to touch the screen, which does precious little, of course.

I thought I'd like the little keyboard and I'd be punching out emails with my thumbnails that said "Sent from my BlackBerry Something-or-Other®" and all my friends would see that I had a BlackBerry and they'd be impressed that I could send emails from a bus stop while standing in the rain.

But now, I wonder where the people are that are sending me emails that say "Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry". Like...can you not get to a PC? Are you in a garage in Tijuana? Are you in the Mojave Desert? Are you OK?

Now, I wonder if they're not sending me emails from meetings or even from the bathroom. As Robert pointed out - "If I'm at work, I'm at my computer" which is pretty much my situation. I'm not some big thinker, organizing meetings and trying to generate a consensus. That's not my game. I'm more of a "hold the line..i can fix it...just stay out of my way" type of guy. So, if I'm breathing, I'm usually not more than two steps away from a computer. Hence, I really don't have a need for reading email on my phone.

The back is already coming off the phone and I've had it less than a week.

Granted, the Verizon network does work for me very well. That is, it works at my house, and at the client's sites. Works better for me than Sprint or AT&T and I know because I've tried them all this year. But I can use a Verizon RAZR and talk on the phone. So, I'm not convinced that I have a need for a phone that isn't touch screen that can surf the web in theory, but not in practice, and can't change time zones automagically.

So I give the Something-or-Other® a big fat "F" on this one. Fail.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 2, 2009 at 8:39 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Happy Birthday, Internet!


Happy Birthday, Internet!
Published: 2009-09-02,
Last Updated: 2009-09-02 10:21:59 UTC
by Marcus Sachs (Version: 1)

It all started 40 years ago today, when a couple of computers were connected by a long gray cable in order to pass some data. The experiment was funded by the Advanced Projects Research Agency (ARPA) and the project was called the ARPANET. By the end of the year, four sites were connected. Today it's hundreds of millions of computers and we call it the Internet. National Geographic has a story and some video here. Wikipedia has a nice timeline for the ARPANET here.

Marcus H. Sachs
Director, SANS Internet Storm Center

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 2, 2009 at 8:35 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 1, 2009

Hacker Cracks Mac in 10 Seconds


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 1, 2009 at 10:42 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink