Married on the third day of December in our backyard, Canberra, Australia.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pride Weekend

On Saturday we went to the market in San Francisco, and discovered that the annual pride march was happening the following day. We drove over to Castro street (SF) to see how the preparations were going. We saw cowboys in pink tutus and the latest leather fashions.

Funny Signs

I thought something really bad must have happened for a city to be named Monster Park, but in reality the stadium is sponsored by Monster Cable.

I don't think people from Brisbane have a particularly bad temper, I certainly wouldn't call it a cow palace.

How do you improve on a cream filled sponge cake with a huge shelf life? Deep fry it! I saw this at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, right next to the Garlic Fries stand.

It seems that the kids train at Santa Cruz Boardwalk has a sponsor. "The Joy of Cola", that buzz that makes you run around all afternoon, then cry your eyes out before your afternoon nap. I know it well.

Karaoke? The parking fees are not funny though.


This years Operations offsite was a choice of learning about, drinking and blending your own Merlot, or spending the day playing paintball. It was a tough choice, with many people wanting to do both activities at the same time.

I chose paintball.

The rules were a bit more relaxed than I am used to, caps and coveralls were not provided. Friendly fire does not count. There was no mention of a ban on "blind firing", and there was no "surrender rule". Unlike Australia the guns were referred to as guns, not "markers". Automatic guns were provided to those who wanted to pay a little extra for rental. Basic rental and the paint balls were already paid for.

The fields we played included two capture the flag (one brushy, one fairly clear), two speedball arenas with different forms of cover and a capture the base. The teams were mixed during the day when it became clear that the team consisting of those hired late in the year (July-Dec) were superior to those hired earlier in the year.

The referees are also professional paintball players. During one capture the flag, a ref walked into the opposition base with a borrowed gun and shot all of the defenders. Needless to say after the final whistle we emptied our hoppers at him (I don't think we hit him though).

Afterwards, we all met at and had dinner at a local restaurant. The wine blenders were suprisingly sober, the paintballers were tired and bruised. The wine blenders had been introduced to four varieties of wine and been taught how to blend them. They each came home with a bottle of merlot that they blended.

Whatever beer I drunk at the restaurant seemed to trigger an amazing attack of hayfever, I was sneezing all the way home.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Work took the Mountain View engineers to an off-site (team building) at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, about an hours drive south. The boardwalk arcade was booked out for free games from 11 until 1pm, including arcade machines, pinball machines and air hockey table. We were all given wristbands which provided access to the roller coasters and other amusement rides. There was a section of private beach and a barbeque as well. The older roller coaster (pictured), which started construction in 1937, has a wooden frame. We rode most of the rides through the day.

Last years engineering offsite was at the same place, but the engineers were each given a plastic bucket and spade. I'm told that there were some really impressive sand castles that year.

Some people rode their bikes down from MTV or San Francisco. I considered joining them, but it has been a while since I've ridden that kind of distance (about 80km). The riders took about 5 hours and were ready for a rest by the time they arrived.

Louise, Andrew, Sarah, Dan, Tanya and I ended the day with a trip to Frankie, Johnnie and Luigi Too for a quality Italian feed.

3D Logic

3D Logic is an addictive little logic game that I found on Digg. The Digg poster reckons that it makes you smarter!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ihre Papiere Gefallen

I noticed a sprinkling of antenna on road signs on freeways in the Bay Area. I did some research and discovered that they read Fastrak RFID toll tags from cars to measure traffic flow. The aggregate information is available on, by calling 511 or by reading the electronic travel time signs.

Fastrak tags are a convenient way to prepay for tolls. The tags are optional but convenient.

All of the information collected is anonymised before storage.

It makes you wonder if this technology has any other uses?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Aslan and Ebony

Ebony has a new friend called Aslan. He is a very friendly cat. I can't believe Ebony tolerates him, as she used to have frequent battles with Sami from next door when we lived in Canberra.

Apparently, Aslan is the "new cat on the block" and as he lives on the second floor, he doesn't have any land to call his own. So, he's decided that Ebony's "land" looks pretty good. Plus, he isn't fazed by Ebony at all! You should see him roll around on the patio as if he owns the place, all within a few feet of Ebb!

Monterey Bay

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is in the old Monterey Cannery building. The canning company had a few bumper years of Sardine fishing and canning, but eventually they couldn't find any more sardine to put in the tins. When asked where the sardines went, the owner replied "In the tins."


While we were at Monterey Bay, we discovered some squirrels that have acquired a taste for tourists. We didn't feed them, but judging by their pudginess many people do. They look tame enough to climb up your leg and bite you on the ass, if you have food.

San Francisco Zoo

On Friday, I went to the San Francisco Zoo with Sarah, Catherine and her boys, Andrew and Matthew. We had a lovely time and saw some great animals. The boys particularly liked the Children's Zoo where they got to feed some very hungry goats and sheep. They also went about and raked up the poo as required! LOL!

My favourite exhibit was of the Birds of Prey. They brought out some awesome looking birds like the Turkey Vulture, a beautiful Owl, a Falcon and an Eagle. We also saw some Polar bears and a Grizzly bear plus the usual array of animals.

There were no pandas or elephants though.

New Scrapbooking Pages

I have been very busy scrapbooking with Sarah at Scrapbook Dreams. Here are some of the pages that I have completed so far.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We spent a day down at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (see their web cams). We saw some Sea Otters, huge Yellow and Blue-Finned Tuna, South African Penguins, Jellyfish and the Kelp Forest. Somehow we missed out on the Australian exhibit where the sharks are? We were able to see most of the feeding times. Later in the day it became crowded with families, so it is smart to go early in the day if you don't like crowds. Overall, it was an enjoyable day.

Our Apartment

Here are some pics of our apartment. The lounge, the outside patio, the front door (just in case you would like to come and visit us some day. :) Also included are the surrounding area, which takes you to the pool, and the view I look at when I'm talking on the phone to you.