Monday, May 14, 2007

Hike for Discovery - Sweetwater Creek State Park

Steph & Lucy

On Saturday we hiked at Sweetwater Creek State Park just west of Atlanta. Steph and I had hiked here once before, so I knew it wasn't a challenging hike with relatively flat terrain. But it is pretty technical with lots of scrambling over rocks and roots. Since I'm a masochist I added an extra 5 pounds of weight (two 1 liter Nalgene bottles) to my pack in an effort to slow my pace and still get a good workout.

This was the first hike of the season that Steph joined me on. When we arrived at Sweetwater at 7:30 AM it was already extremely muggy due to the previous night's rain. Yuck!

As a team, we decided to hike the red trail to the white trail for 6 miles with an optional 3 mile extension on the yellow trail. Off we go!

The first part of the trail is pretty flat with a lot of rock outcroppings and roots littering the trail. Its a nice hike that follows along the river past the New Manchester Manufacturing Company textile factory ruins. The factory itself was destroyed during the civil war by Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign. Al that remains is part of the shell of the original building.
New Manchester Manufacturing
Company Ruins

The rain on Friday night made it a bit more difficult on this part of the trail, especially on the rocks that you hike over. Being the incredible klutz that I am I slipped on some of the rocks and fell. The trail is ~15' above the river at this point. When I fell and slid down the rocks I managed to grab hold of the rocks to prevent myself from sliding all the way into the river. Unfortunately, my right leg was hung up on a tree, so I had no leverage to life myself out of the predicament I was in! Steph and another hiker grabbed my hands and pack to lift me slightly, free my leg and get me back on the trail.

The rest of the hike was nice and uneventful, thankfully. Steph and Lucy enjoyed themselves greatly and tired themselves out. After the hike we came home and the ladies, Lucy and Steph, passed out. I don't think I have ever seen Lucy pass out so hard! Clearly she enjoyed herself, but I believe I wore her out. I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time I want Lucy to relax!
Sweetwater Creek Rapids

Next week we're headed to Vogel State Park for the Coosa Backcountry Trail. This is the toughest hike of the HFD season and one I did not complete last year. I'm looking forward to tackling this trail again and completing the entire trail without bailing out at the road crossing. I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures to post from Coosa this time around!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fuck the TSA

I'm not sure what kind of a police state we currently live in, but the TSA appears to believe that they can confiscate anything they want. Per the poorly enforced rules about carry-on liquids and gels, I had three bottles, each 2 oz., which I put my shampoo, conditioner and other styling products in. These are not the original containers, but nowhere do the rules state that as a requirement.

Flying from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Newark last week I checked my bag. It was overstuffed and I didn't feel like dragging it through the airport. Upon arriving in NYC I see that my bag was searched and the bastards stole my bottles of hair products from my bag. When I called the TSA they offered to help me file a report, but claimed that there was really nothing more they can do.

All I have to say to that is "WHAT THE FUCK!?!"

I bought 3 more bottles... we'll see how long until these get confiscated under some other unpublished rules.

Happy Birthday Java!

Ice Cream, Yum!
Happy birthday old man!

We celebrated Java's 11th birthday in the traditional manner by getting the dogs ice cream at Bruster's. Java loved it. Lucy, as usual, was a total pussy and was scared of her ice cream cup. *sigh*

Still no official word on Java's foot, but it does not appear to be cancerous. However, we still don't know what it is and how it will affect him moving forward...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Friday night I flew to Newark where I met Steph to celebrate out fourth anniversary. Of course, I was a day late to the celebration, due to Cf.Objective() and work. I figured a trip to NYC would be a good way to say "I'm sorry" for having to be away.
Times Square

We got in to midtown Manhattan around 9:30 and searched around for someplace to eat dinner. You know how when you're so hungry that you can't seem to make a decision on where to eat? Combine that with being in a city that neither of us are really familiar with and you have a serious issue! We decided on an Indian place on West 52nd, but when we walked up to check out the menu, we saw the Indian place was empty... but the Greek Restaurant next door was quite busy! So Greek it is!
Katz's Deli

We sat down at Anthos and proceeded to wait for a menu. And wait. And wait. Finally we got some menus. And we waited some more. Finally I grabbed a waitress and explained to her that we were feeling ignored and would really like to order. Turns out I just ratted out our crappy waitress to our waitress! Oops! After this she got much better.

We had a few cocktails along with appetizers. Grilled octopus, a contemporary Greek salad with beets, radishes, endive, ramps, feta and fresh garbanzo beans and a raw meze platter with five different kinds of fish were brought out. The food was well prepared, nicely presented and rocked our world. Kyma, eat your heart out.
Katz's Deli

After dinner our waitress, who had previously enquired as to why we were in NYC, brought us out two different desserts on the house to help us celebrate. The first was some kind of round donut. filled with an orange blossom cream and served with burnt honey ice cream. I thought I would have a food orgasm! The second was a trio of three kinds of baklava. While they were all good, the donuts were the winner of the evening. We'll definitely be heading back to Anthos next time we're in NYC. After a quick drink at P.J. Clarke's it was time for bed.
Lips and Assholes

Saturday morning we woke up early and headed for the only scheduled task of the day: shopping for clothes! Of course we were too early to actually shop, so instead we wandered around midtown and into Times Square where we ran into a run/walk for breast cancer research. Having participated in a number of the Susan B. Komen Walk for the Cure events (a.k.a. "Walk for Boobs!"), it was pretty cool to see the absolutely huge crowd as they walked and ran north from Times Square. We continued to wander around Midtown until around 10 AM when we finally got in a bit of shopping.
Pommes Frites

After a quick stop back at the hotel to drop off our newly acquired schwag we headed to the Lower East Side for lunch at Katz's Deli. Somehow our cabbie didn't understand East Houston at Ludlow and wound up taking us to Chelsea before we ditched cab #1 and hailed a second cab with a driver that understood my broken English. *smirk* After a corned beef on rye, potato knish, pickles (old, new and sour tomatoes) and a Dr. Brown's cream soda, we were fat and happy. We waddled out of Katz's and wandered around the Lower East Side and East Village for quite a while. Walking through the village we decided it was time for a drink and someplace to rest our feet. I thought I knew where we were, so I suggested we hit up McSorley's Old Ale House, the oldest continuously operating bar in NYC.

Unfortunately, we were a block too far north when we hit 2nd at St. Marks Place. But what a fortuitous mistake! As I tried Googling an address I spied Pommes Frites, a Belgian style pommes frites (French fries) shop. Being big fans of pommes frites ever since our first trip to Europe in 2001, we had to stop in for a bite. Yummmmmm. This also put us a half block from McSorley's where we stopped in for a few beers. (Definitely get the dark. The light was, well, too light.)
Drinking at McSorley's

With a nice beer buzz going we hopped back into a cab and headed up to the TKTS booth in Times Square. We picked up a pair of seats to Spring Awakening for that evening. I headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit — I was still exhausted from my previous 6 days on the road — while Steph did a bit more shopping.

Before the show we headed out for dinner at Dervish, a Turkish restaurant in the theater district recommended by our New Yorker friends, Annette & Jed. After another great dinner we sauntered over to the theater for the show. I'm not a huge fan of the theater, but the show was quite enjoyable. If you're in NYC, I highly recommend getting tickets.

After the show we headed back to the hotel and made it a pretty early night. The next morning we woke up early (again!) and headed to Park Slope to visit some friends. After brunch at n Austrian restaurant and a great walking tour of the neighborhood, it was time to head to the airport.

While it was a short trip, we had a great time in NYC celebrating our anniversary. Where will we go next year? Perhaps if Steph is lucky I'll take here to Bumblefuck, WI! Nah, probably not.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Whew, what a week. After a few days in Bumblefuck, WI I drove to Minneapolis yesterday for Cf.Objective() where I gave my talk this morning. Had a pretty packed room, I'd guess 40+ folks were there. I'm glad its over and I am on my way to NYC for a fun weekend and a chance to play with my new toy, a Canon Powershot SD800 IS camera. w00t!

Want the presentation? Email me and I can send you a PDF. When I get back from NYC that is. 80+ hour weeks suck... I'm going to be drinking many Manhattans in Manhattan this weekend.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cf.Objective() Preview Talk

My preview talk for Cf.Objective(), Security and the SDLC: Threat Modeling, i online at Charlie Areharts User Group TV. Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


A few weeks ago, Steph and I went away to North Carolina for the weekend. As usual, the dogs went to Wag-A-Lot for the weekend where they spent time in doggy daycare and cursed us for leaving them for the weekend. Upon our return, Steph though Java was limping, but I dismissed her concern since I didn't observe it myself.
Java at the Braves game

A few hours later I was standing at the butcher block in our kitchen. I turned quickly and my foot hit Java's right front paw. He flinched, pulled his paw back and made a noise. At this point I knew something was up, so I bent down for a closer look. What I saw worried me: Java's "pinkie toe" was swollen and had a sore on it. The toe itself was really tender and he wouldn't allow me the opportunity to look at it.

The next day I left on a work trip and Steph took Java to the vet. They couldn't find any obvious issues and gave us some antibiotics and instructions to watch his toe to see if anything changed over the next few days. Unfortunately, the swelling didn't go down, so late in the week Java had another vet appointment where they took some x-rays and a biopsy of his toe. That was April 13. When I called the vet that afternoon she indicated that the x-rays didn't show anything abnormal — we had hoped that he had a piece of glass or some other foreign object stuck in his toe. The x-ray also showed that its not cancer of the bone, apparently a common affliction of dogs. The biopsy was sent off to the University of GA for review...

Its now 2.5 weeks later and the biopsy is still not back from the University of Georgia. The swelling in Java's toe hasn't gone down, though the tenderness has improved. Is it an infection of some sort? Cancer? Something else? We have no idea and neither does the vet! I am anxious as can be about the results and what this means for Java. Of course, my thoughts are turning negative and I am thinking about amputation of his foot or leg due to cancer. I have no reason to think this is the case, but I don't have any hope that it's not, either. I'm scared to death and want an answer. Now!

Java is celebrating his 11th birthday this Saturday. Unfortunately, I won't be around to celebrate with him. Thankfully, he can't tell time, so he won't know that he gets his annual ice cream from Bruster's — I'm a cheap mofo and get him their doggie bowl of vanilla ice cream with a dog bone — but I'm sure he'll enjoy it just as much when I get home next week. My only hope is that his birthday gift is good news from the vet.

Whatever happens, we're going to do whatever is necessary to ensure he is happy, healthy and comfortable. I know the day will come some day in the future when we need to make tough decisions about Java's care. It won't be easy when that day comes. Let's hope we don't have to make those decisions anytime soon.

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