Friday, September 28, 2007


Prompted by a post by Luis Villa, I finally got Roomba. I'm quite happy with it so far, although it should be made very clear, that thing is loud. It is, of course, to be expected: it is a vacuum cleaner, only robotic. Luis writes:

The biggest improvement is the noise- I used to not like to run the roomba while I was in the room, because it was too loud. I’m typing this with the new roomba running around the same room I’m in, with no substantial irritation. I know it is there- it isn’t that quiet- but I have no desire to run away to another room.

Well, the thing is, that is only the case on a carpet, but I have laminate floors. To give a more objective estimate, if I imprison my Roomba in my room (which is carpeted) with a closed door, then if I am in the kitchen, the fridge will drown it. Getting anywhere near it though, and you run a risk of missing a phone call (which was probably a telemarketer anyway). It is possible to talk over Roomba running on a laminate floor, but you have to raise voice.

Anyway, I am just writing all this so that nobody gets wrong ideas about noiseless vacuum cleaners. As a convenience, Roomba is outstanding. The most important advantage of it is that you can do something else while it minds its own business elsewhere. That's the baseline. The rest is just details.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

A garden waste week is coming.

Airshow in Salinas next weekend

I'm going to visit an airshow in Salinas next Saturday, although I have to consider if Sunday might be more suitable because of my Ninjutsu class. I was in Salinas in 1999 when Wayne Handley crashed in Oracle Turbo Raven, which was miserable (fortunately, he survived and recovered). At that time, I took my only helicopter ride thus far, in a Bell 47 Turbo flown by some sort of skyseeing outfit from San Francisco (displaced out of city since by 9/11). It should be a fun show.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gun Show in Antioch this weekend

Almost forgot, there's a gun show at Antioch this weekend. Gotta check it out, maybe they have a SU-16. Actually, it's about the same money to order it through our friendly local gun store Tracy Shooting Supplies, so it's more of a window shopping excercise for me. I'll try to take pictures.


It rains again! Don't forget to switch off your sprinklers. I forgot :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New school tries to poach students

As I mentioned before, I train at Traditional Martial Arts Academy in Tracy. Today, we were given a handout which informed us that Mr. Albracht is aware that one of former instructors opened a competing school in Tracy. Apparently, the miscreant not only neglected to mention his plans, but also attempted to poach students. I suppose in the business world such things happen all the time, but in martial arts it's a shocker. Well, obviously we aren't in Japan, so there's nothing to be done about it. You cannot shame the other guy into committing seppuku for his sins. After dealing with the ethical angle, Mr. Albracht's handout reiterated that our school is going to have a new property with an outdoor training area soon. The unspoken message was that we're better anyway.

Speaking of the new facility, I am actually amazed at the scale of the project. The dojo half is going to use 6,000 square feet, or about twice as much as the current strip mall lease. This is about the size of my old school in Modesto. It's on the bigger side of what's usual, but not out of the possible. The outdoor area sounds very intriguing though. It's going to be used for long weapons and throwable weapons, so it's going to be quite big. Maintenance of it is going to cost pretty penny too, with the students stomping the grass all day. I can't wait to see what Mr. Albracht has in mind.

Monday, September 17, 2007

TRASH @West: Recycling

This is a recycling week.

Recycling of computers

I just learned that free collection of computer components is carried out every SECOND Saturday at Delta College [link]. This is a bit further away for the citizens of Tracy than the county recycling facility at the Stockton airport, but if you're in the college area on business it makes sense.

Monday, September 10, 2007

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden Waste week and I'm with an empty bin again. Too much homework to clip the greenery.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Wednesday Farmers Market

Yes you've read this right: Tracy has two farmer's markets: on Saturday and on Wednesday. The traditional one occurs on Saturday in the downtown, where it always was. The alternative one is near Kaiser, between the freeway and Corral Hollow (I think it's off Orchard). I read about the Wednesday market, but I did not believe that it existed until someone I know saw it last week. The main market is smaller than it used to be, so I don't understand how Tracy manages to support two of them now. Strange.

Momiji in Pleasanton

I managed to get into Momiji, a Japanese restaurant in downtown Pleasanton. For some reason they are always closed when I want to check them out. Result was somewhat disappointing. Tonkatsu was good (if not stellar), nigiri was good, but California Roll sucked badly. They sell better rolls in Safeway. So, Tomo all the way.


I gave money to a door-to-door canvasser today. He came on the cause of U.S. Mission, Modesto chapter. Usually I avoid doing this, but getting homeless back into society was a peet pieve of mine. The problem is, it's like telemarketers. I never give anything to telemarketers, no matter how noble the cause is: kids, drugs, vets, whatever. Tememarketers are criminals to be hunted with dogs, then their rotting innards hung from a cross in front of a civic center; their severed heads will cap crosses, naturally. In case of canvassers, I suppose I cannot say "never". But usually I send them away too.

Monday, September 03, 2007

TRASH @West: Recycling

The collection may be delayed by a day, due to the Labor Day. Unfortunately, it's unpredictable.