February 2011 Archives

Angels vs Raiders

These are my $100 pictures (plus shipping). As I mentioned before, a couple of weeks ago I rented a very nice camera lens to use at Colin's basketball games. I thought there was a game a week ago, but that was a holiday. Then, the next game was canceled due to snow. So I had to extend the rental for another week!

As a bonus, tonight we played against Micah's team, so he's in some of the pictures too.


The 70--200 f/2.8 lens is so much fun. Most of these are at 1/200 @ ISO 3200.

Where to get Cookies in Downtown Moscow

It is hard to deny that I have an addiction to cookies. I often bring some homemade cookies with my lunch, but when that doesn't happen I must venture out in search of a sweet, after lunch snack. There are a few choices within walking distance of my office downtown. Deciding where and when to go is a complicated process that only advanced computer algorithms can solve. Here are some inputs to the algorithm:

Wheatberries makes the best cookies in Moscow. Shown here is a Peanut Butter cookie. They also usually have "everything," chocolate chip, dark chocolate, and seasonal cookies. Their cookies are baked right in the store daily. Of all the cookies in town, these taste and feel the most like home-made. The only problem with Wheatberries is they are not open on Mondays and they often sell out before 3pm. Price $1.00 (50¢ after 2pm).


Moscow Bagel is a strong runner-up. There was a time when their cookies came in plastic cling wrap, leading me to question their freshness. But now they are much better and have quite a few flavors to choose from. In addition to Chocolate Chip shown here, I really like their White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Their cookies are a tad dense, with not-quite-cooked-all-the-way-through centers. Also, they really like to steam things there and unless you get your cookie to-go, they just might steam it for you. Price $1.59.


Bucer's is a too-hip-for-me coffee shop on Main St. They have three standard cookie flavors, but I always get the Monster cookie, shown here. I don't even remember what the other choices are. The cookie itself is pretty good, although a little bit too soft and crumbly. If you're not careful they might nuke it for you, which makes it even worse. Ordering at Bucer's is often a test of my patience. If there are a few people in line, and only one barista, I'll have to wait while their drinks are made. Also I get mildly annoyed at always being asked "nothing to drink?" Price $1.65.


Moscow Food Coop makes a number of cookie flavors with clever names, such as the Troll Haus shown here. I assume that their cookies are made on-site in the building. You can pick your own from the bins next to the cash registers. They seem to be popular, which is to say they occasionally sell out. I love the Coop for lunch, however, I rarely get my cookies here. I suppose it's because, for the price, they are on the small side and not particularly special. Price $1.43.


Sister's Brew is another very hip coffee shop near my office. They sell cookies made by the Alternative Baking Company (Sacramento, CA), which come wrapped in plastic. It is, apparently, a vegan cookie: no eggs! no trans fat! no dairy! It's probably due to the vegan-ness, and price, but I find it a poor excuse for a cookie. The only time I'd go here is when Weatberries is closed, Moscow Bagel is being remodeled, the queue at Bucer's is unbearable, and it's snowing too much to walk back toward the Coop. Price $2.39.


Meet Sparkle and Glory


We decided to take ol' Bluedog to the pet store for his annual-ish doggy shower. As I'm sure you can deduce, this was a pet store that also sold fish.

Colin turned up the begging and was asking for all sorts of fancy fish. I steered him to the cheap goldfish (60¢ each) and talked him down from 10 fish to just 2. Thinking that this might be a brief lesson in keeping a pet, I planned that the fish would live in an old fishbowl we have. We went home, confirmed the existence of the bowl, rinsed out some sand for it, filled it up with water, and returned to the store to buy the fish and food.

On the way home I asked him the completely obvious question: "what will you name your new fish?"

"Sparkle and Glory," he said, without hesitation. A tribute to the Fourth of July, I believe.

Colin has so far been very good about feeding them just a little each day. One flake per fish. Good thing we read Fish Out Of Water long ago.

After a couple of days, the fishbowl water became cloudy with no hope of magically improving. After asking the Internets, I was overcome with guilt for thinking that two goldfish could live in a small, filterless bowl.

Three trips to the pet store, and $55 later, we have a 5 gallon tank with a filter, hood, and light.

Science Fair Project 2011

We spent a few hours today driving around town buying helium-filled balloons for C's science fair project. The project was inspired by a long-lived balloon that came from the dollar store.

We got balloons from Scott's House of Flowers, Rosauer's, Safeway, Dollar Tree, and Pony Espresso. The very nice lady at Scott's House of Flowers asked what the balloons were for and we said "a science project." She is a former teacher and gave us the balloons at no charge! At the other end of the spectrum, when I asked about a rubber balloon at the Dollar Tree, the employee said "we have rubber balloons but we don't fill them with latex." Seriously. Thinking that helium might be a more appropriate filler for a balloon, I asked, "so what do you fill them with?" She said, "nothing" and went on to explain on which aisle I could find the pack of 25.

Each balloon that we bought has a log sheet where he records the date and its "weight." He uses our kitchen scale which, conveniently, zeros itself on power-up. A clip is placed on the scale and it's turned on. It reads 0g. He attaches a balloon to the clip and the scale reports a negative weight, or lift. Later on we'll make a graph or two.

I've tried to impart the importance of coming up with a theory that he can test (measure). His first theory was that the purple balloon will last the longest because it holds the most helium. Well, ol' purple didn't last much more than a day. He changed his theory (to the dollar store balloon), which I've told him is not allowed in real science.

Full Moon at 200mm


1/160, f/8.0, 195mm, ISO 100

A shot of the full moon, taken with the rented f/2.8 70--200. Compare to Solsticlipse, which was taken with the 55--250. The big, fancy lens sure does a better job of autofocusing at night.

Vandal Women vs Nevada

A week or so ago I decided to rent a fancy f/2.8 70--200 lens to use at C's basketball game. Since he won't be playing for a few days, spI was excited to try it out at the Vandal game:

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It was an exciting game, but unfortunately our Vandals lost.

Be My Cookie


Have you ever seen such artistry?

Six-year-olds Playing Basketball

Colin seems to be really enjoying basketball. Despite not getting the ball very often and being small for his team. We've yet to see him sink any shots, but he's had some great passes!

The games go for 40 minutes, with each group playing half of each quarter. He gets a little tired and loses some focus toward the end. But unlike soccer, there is relatively little frustration and no lying down on the ground so far.

He's on the black team, with a blue vertical stripe on his shorts, and the one who often "hops" around more than running.

Angry Reader of the Day

Back in October I managed to take a picture that I really liked. I knew right away that I wanted to submit it to our local newspaper, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, "Reader Photo of the Day." But first I decided to clean it up a little bit.

The first complication was that only subscribers, with a login, can submit photos. Our subscription is in Anne's name, and she didn't recall the password. After a bit of snooping through old emails, I found it.

The next problem was that the dnews.com web server upload page returned nothing but errors. Not a good sign, I thought, but they also gave an email address. So I emailed it to them. I didn't hear back.

I mentioned the upload problem to Anne and she offered to give it a try. She's had four of five submissions published. A week or two later she heard back. They told her it was scheduled for printing in February. I guess they have a 3 month backlog!?

On Thursday it was printed ... and credited to Anne!


Even though I'm really not surprised, I confess it still makes me angry. Stupid newspaper. Anne thinks its pretty funny, of course.

Dragon Time

Colin drew this awesome dragon at school the other day. I tried to extract additional details about it from him, but he didn't have much to say, so we'll just have to let it stand on its own as a piece of art.


Trip Report: Miami

I spent a few days in Miami for a NANOG conference. It was, I believe, the third time I've been to Miami for NANOG. Below is the view from my hotel room. Through some fluke, I received a nicer room (or view at least) than most attendees. No balcony here, so shooting through the window results in some goofy colors. Click to embiggen.


A few interesting things happened during this trip. If you're any kind of geek at all, then you know that the Internet sort of ran out of IPv4 addresses, as predicted, on February 1st, 2011. What really happened is that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority gave the last batch of addresses to the five Regional Internet Registries. This means that organizations will be able to get addresses from the registries for the next few months (or more, depending on the region). Once they run out there will be no more never-before-used IPv4 addresses, and organizations must either receive only IPv6 addresses, or find some other way (grey market) to get the old kind.

This was also the week of massive public protests in Egypt. It was a topic of discussion at the meeting because Egypt was entirely disconnected from the Internet for approximately five days. That is an unprecedented occurrence.

The noteworthy topic was the weather. While Miami was nice and balmy, much of the country was receiving snow. Many conference attendees were worried about their return trips. I wasn't significantly affected because I had to spend a couple of days in Virginia right after NANOG, and then flew direct to Seattle.


You can't really tell from the above picture, but the hotel has a triangular shape. We wondered what was in the center and (jokingly) theorized that adding the words "Ballistic Missle" to the signage might be appropriate.