Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Whoopie Pies

I've known about whoopie pies for a long time, but you don't see them too often.  Though I just saw an article in SF Gate that says they are making big inroads on the West coast.

These are two round cookies, but very cakelike, with cream in the middle:


I've never tried making them, but the recipes in the article don't sound too hard. 

May give it a try.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Got a new iPhone? Here's how to get rid of your old one

A home-made death ray:


Seems like a good way to handle it (if you don't care about the environmental consequences from all those toxic fumes).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sleeping pets

I've mentioned our dog, Daisy, and our cats, Milo and Snow, a few times before.  But I haven't focused in on their sleeping habits. 

They are quite expert at it, as you can see below.

Milo:


Daisy:

Snow:


Sometimes they sleep together (doesn't it look they are holding hands?):


And Daisy, a bit embarrassingly, likes to sleep under a blanket when its cold:



Nice life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another example of problems with Twitter

It gets used in really poor taste:


Utah Attorney General Tweets Firing Squad Execution


Execution Tweeted via Twitter
Very early this morning, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff authorized the execution by firing squad of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner. Then he fired up the TwitBird app on his iPhone and announced the solemn news to the world.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The good part of sports

The amazing Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut, which ended when Isner won the 5th set 70-68, showed the really, really good side of sports.  It was played during the work week, so all I got to see was the final game.

But when it was over, Isner didn't gloat or overrreact.  He smiled, he clapped for Mahut, he congratulated him.  And then Mahut was just as gracious.

Plus, the All-England Tennis Club celebrated them both (and the chair umpire, who sat through all 11 hours) with commemorative awards.

When asked if he thought the rules should be changed so this wouldn't happen again, Isner (with some understatement) said that he didn't see how it could happen again.

In case you didn't see it, here is the final game and the winning shot:




Isner and Mahut are terrific role models for all kids who play any sport.

Friday, June 25, 2010

From the truly odd department

I am not a big fan of these types of stories, but I am a big fan of macaroni and cheese, so this story got my attention:


Cops: Siblings brawl over butter in mac and cheese
(06-23) 18:22 PDT Waterville, Wash. (AP) --
An argument over butter in a macaroni and cheese recipe churned into violence between a brother and sister. A 21-year-old man called police June 6 to say his 17-year-old sister tried to cut his neck with the serrated edge of a spatula.
The police report said the sister was making macaroni and cheese when her brother asked if she was using butter. That led to an argument over the difference between butter and margarine. And, then butter battle escalated.
The Wenatchee World reported the girl was charged in Douglas County Superior Court with fourth-degree assault.
That seems to me to be a little bit of an overreaction.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A victory for the Internet


Yesterday a federal district judge granted summary judgment to YouTube in the copyright lawsuit filed by Viacom.  The suit was based on assertions by Viacom that YouTube was violating Viacom's copyrights by allowing Viacom shows to be uploaded to the YouTube site.

The judge ruled entirely in favor of YouTube, finding that there was no need for a trial and that YouTube had fully complied with all applicable copyright laws, including the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

I can't comment on the details of the lawsuit, but everyone interested in this issue would be well served by reading the judge's decision, found here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So long Nabby

The Sharks announced yesterday that they won't offer a new contract to their star goalie, Evgeni Nabokov.  He's been a major part of the Sharks' success over the past several years, but he is a free agent, and apparently too expensive.  The Sharks said that the market for goalies is very deep, so while they will miss him, it's just one of those business decisions that have to be made.

Ten years with San Jose - and always working so hard:


Good luck, Nabby.  We'll miss you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grade inflation

Honest to god, right on the home page of the N.Y. Times:

In Law Schools, Grades Rise, Just Like That
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
Many law schools have made their grading systems more lenient to give their students a better chance in the job market. Samuel Liu, right, goes to Loyola Law School Los Angeles, which is adding 0.333 to every grade.
At first, I couldn't even bear to read the story.  What is this world coming to?  But it turns out the headline is entirely accurate.  Some law schools are simply raising GPAs to make their students more competitive in the job market.

Yikes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Pampered Pup

Spotted recently in Alameda (just across the bay from San Francisco):


Sounds good.  Not quite The Varsity, but definitely a good name for a hot dog place.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The wrong place to hit a golf ball

At the course where I play (the Bridges, in San Ramon), the golf carts bear an important warning on the front windshield:


But recently I was assigned a cart in which somebody learned this lesson the hard way:


Glad I was not around when that happened.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The right music for a vuvuzela

Everyone is annoyed by those buzzing vuvuzelas at the World Cup.  There are now articles explaining how to block out the sound on your tv, and Wimbledon has banned them in advance

But if you were going to actually compose music for them, it would probably look like this:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pedro

I visited my mother-in-law in San Diego last week.  Which means I got to see her adorable dog Pedro:


He is a big, friendly dog.  Always a highlight of my visits down there.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Better late than never

From xkcd:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A really good attitude

This past Sunday, a journeyman golf pro came to the 72nd hole of a PGA Tour event with a three-shot lead.  He had never won much of anything in his career, and certainly not on the Tour, which can itself be a life-changing event for a golfer. But this golfer, Robert Garrigus, made a 3-over par 7 on the last hole, falling into a tie for first, and he promptly lost in a playoff.

Most people would fall apart after such a collapse.  Not Garrigus.  Listen to this (fairly long) description, from a very well-written piece by Geoff Calkins in the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
How do you handle failure? How do you react when you have a bad day? Do you snap at your spouse? Are you short with your children?  If so, you could take a lesson in grace from Robert Garrigus. He had a bad day Sunday. Or, a very good day that suddenly turned out bad.
The man led the St. Jude Classic after 71 holes. He fought off the heat, Westwood and a bad case of food poisoning to give himself a three-shot lead with one hole to play. Not bad for the 377th-ranked player in the world, eh? "I was playing great," he said. And then, well, you know that goalie who let in the soft goal for England? He probably feels sorry for Garrigus today.
"I didn't know how to handle it at 18," he said. "I couldn't calm myself down."  Worse, he didn't know the score at the time. Garrigus didn't realize Westwood had bogeyed 17, so he didn't know he was up by three shots. He wouldn't have tried to bend his second shot at 18 around a tree if he had.  "I would have taken a wedge and hit it out onto the fairway," he said. "It was just stupidity."
In the playoff, Garrigus blasted his tee shot on 18 to a spot -- arrrrrgghhh! -- right behind a tree. His head slumped when he saw where the ball had landed.  "I'm going to come back tonight and blow this hole up with dynamite," Garrigus said.  His ensuing par putt to keep him alive in the playoff lipped out. The crowd applauded in quiet sympathy.
That is when a remarkable thing happened. No, Garrigus didn't throw his clubs. He didn't snap a volunteer in half. He was utterly gracious. He thanked fans for coming out on such a hot day. He signed autographs. He gave at least five different interviews.
"I've seen a lot worse than this," he said, and maybe this is the moment to explain what that means.  Eight years ago, Garrigus sat in a motel room, watching television, when a commercial for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center came on.  "I knew I had to go," he said. "I was too good a golfer to be throwing it all away. Garrigus was smoking marijuana as much as 10 times a day back then. He figures he spent at least $70,000 on drugs. His mother was an alcoholic. He was headed down that path.  After 45 days of rehab, he got his mother and checked her into the same place.
Now, Garrigus is sober, married and expecting his first child in September.  "I like my life," he said. "I like it a lot better than it was before."  So, no, Garrigus wasn't happy that he botched a golf tournament. But act like a jerk? What exactly would be the point of that?
Garrigus explained to everyone who asked how he blew it on 18. Then he signed every autograph for every fan. When officials finally drove him to the clubhouse, one of the fans yelled out, "Be strong, Robert!"  "I play golf for a living," Garrigus said. "I'll be OK."
Not a bad role model, I'd say.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Seals at La Jolla Cove

While down in La Jolla the other day, we stopped at the Cove to watch the seals.  We found a group of about 8, playing by jumping on and off the rocks as the waves crashed in:


They were so funny, we could have watched for hours.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A bit of an odd offering on the I-5

This was a bit odd.  Driving home from San Diego on Saturday, Sarah and I stopped off for a quick lunch and some gas in lovely Lebec, CA.  At the gas station, there was the obligatory little convenience store.  But it seemed to offer a convenience not usually seen:


Not sure if you were supposed to take this home for the barbecue, or if they were cooking it for you inside.  I decided to pass, despite that appealing price.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bridges in Oregon

Oregon seems to be filled with nice-looking bridges.  Here are a couple we saw near Yachats:




And here is a covered bridge Karen spotted while headed up to get Sam from college:


Nothing like a nice bridge to improve the landscape.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nice - it comes with a car

I spotted this article on CNN, about a superyacht that comes with its own supercar:
"Buy a superyacht get one supercar free!"
This could well be the sales pitch for the design of the "Strand Craft 122" -- an extravagant new superyacht that features a floating garage and matching handcrafted supercar. If built, it is likely to sell for $25 million.
Designer, Sweden-based 33-year-old Eduard Gray, told CNN that he took inspiration from the lines and curves of sports car, the Ferrari Testa Rossa.
"We have really tried to achieve a strong harmony in our design -- so that the car looks like it was literally born inside the hull of the yacht," he said.
But ultimately, he said, he wanted to design "something you want to be seen in -- the sexiest damn boat in the harbor!"
But you really have to see it to believe it:



Friday, June 11, 2010

Tickets, anyone?

This is a new slant on restaurants.  A new, called Next, is scheduled to open in Chicago later this year.  It's from the owners of Allnea, also in Chicago, and will feature quarterly menus based on different regions of the world.

Most interestingly, the restaurant will sell tickets, instead of reservations.  You pay in advance, and just like the theatre or a sporting event, if you don't go, there's no refund.  This is how they describe it:
Your tickets will be fully inclusive of all charges, including service. Ticket price will depend on which seating you buy -- Saturday at 8 PM will be more expensive than Wednesday at 9:30 PM. This will allow us to offer an amazing experience at a very reasonable price. We will also offer an annual subscription to all four menus at a discount with preferred seating.
A new concept.  Wonder how it will work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our new deck

Well, the main part of the deck is finished, and we are pretty happy with it.  Here's a partial view of the new steps:

And a couple of shots of the main deck:



We still have a lot of detail work to do, plus furniture to add, but it is coming along.

Satisfying.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Marty Turcios

This is so inspiring - and only slightly because it relates to golf.

I highly recommend you watch it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flames

CNN reported a new factory paint option for Ford Mustangs (and several other models) under the excellent headline "Ford's pimp-my-ride plan:"
Mustang buyers will soon be able to get flames on their fenders right from the dealer, no fancy artistic skills needed.  Ford Motor Co. is bringing out a line of custom vinyl graphics car buyers can order to give their car or truck the appearance of a custom paint job without the paint.  The carmaker originally launched the Web site, fordcustomgraphics.com, back in November, but it only offered graphics for the Fiesta subcompact car which goes on sale in a few weeks.  The site will soon begin offering graphics for the Ford Mustang and the F-150 truck, both popular vehicles which are commonly customized by owners, Ford announced Wednesday.
Here's a look:

The website shows a lot more options.  Nice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Stretch" McCovey

We went to a Giants game last week, the first one we had been to this year.  Before I went into the ballpark, I stopped out at McCovey Plaza, named for the great Hall-of-Famer Willie McCovey.  It's across the water from right field, a water space aptly named "McCovey Cove."

There is a great statue of Willie there:


McCovey Cove, by the way, is noted for being the site of Splash Hits at AT&T Park.  These are home runs hit by a Giants player into the water on the fly.  To date, there have been 51 Splash Hits, 35 of them by Barry Bonds.  At our game, Andres Torres hit a home run into the Cove, but it bounced on its way there, so it was not a Splash Hit.

Willie McCovey never got to play at AT&T Park, or he would have hit a lot.  I've been really lucky to see him there in person a few times.

It's really nice that the second "Willie" is an honored member of the Giants' history.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The thrill of victory

I saw the end of the womens' final at the French Open yesterday.  Francesca Schiavone, a long-time player on the womens' tour, won to become the first Italian player ever to win a Grand Slam event.  Besides that milestone, she really got my attention with a level of enthusiasm and excitement that you don't see all the time in the big-money world of professional sports.

When Schiavone won, she fell to the court on the clay at Roland Garros, then rolled over and kissed the ground:


She came up covered with red clay, but it was probably something she did not want to wash off.

Complimenti!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

John Wooden

There are not many role models that come close to John Wooden.  He was not just a great basketball coach - he was a great leader and a great man.

I always admired his astonishing commitment to integrity.  It is missing so much in sports (though both Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, my two great sports heroes, have it in abundance).

It is fascinating to see all the writing about Wooden upon his death.  The superlatives and the stories about his life are wonderful to read.  The most important thing I read, though, is something I knew about but had forgotten.  He always carried a piece of paper with him, with a creed, given to him by his father when he graduated from grammar school:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Help others.
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  • Make friendship a fine art.
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  • Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Words to live by, if you can.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't send it to the wrong address


I got an email from Barnes & Noble, offering a deal on their Nook electronic book reader.  Given that I use the free Amazon Kindle software on my iPod Touch, I can't really see buying a separate e-reader.  But I wondered about the opportunity to try out the Nook (the screen on the Touch is pretty small).

So I checked out the return policy from Barnes & Noble, and found this rule:
Returning nook
You can return nook within 14 days of receipt. Either call 1-800-THE-BOOK (843-2665) for a return authorization, or return it to a Barnes & Noble store.

Please note: if you do not call for a return authorization number and send the nook to the wrong return center, no refund will be provided and your nook will not be returned to you.
 
Wow.  Look at that language in red -- pretty harsh.  I would double-check that address before sending one back.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Make it so

This seems very well-deserved - Patrick Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth yesterday.

I like his response:

"It was an unlooked-for honor but as I grew up as a child, falling in love with the theatre and Shakespeare, my heroes were Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Alec Guinness.

"The knights of the theatre represented to me not only the pinnacle of the profession but the esteem in which the profession was held. And now to find myself, to my astonishment, in that company is the grandest thing that has professionally happened to me."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

iPhone TV

I really like this - a paper iPhone retro TV!


The work, by artist Ricky Trittart, took some serious thought.  He even made a little video, showing off the TV show M*A*S*H:


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Really loud planes!

I thought we were under attack yesterday, but it was only a pair of F-16 jets zooming past our town on a Memorial Day flyover.  I've never heard anything quite that loud here, except maybe in San Francisco when I've seen the Blue Angels perform.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a ice looking plane, though: