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Category: whoopteedoo

May 19, 2007

Maker Faire: my perfect event

I'll probably spend some more time at Maker Faire tomorrow, so I'll save the summary posts until later, but I wanted to point out how Maker Faire is a perfect convergence of my interests:

That's right: an event that can generate blog posts for my cycling blog, my MythBusters blog, and have plenty leftover for my normal blog is an event to behold (for people like me).

This t-shirt saved me $1600

Maker Faire225

I won a copy of Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium (it has the super bells and whistles) for my t-shirt design above (top 2-3 designs every 4 hours gets the prize). Adobe's Experience Design (XD) group had a fun booth at Maker Faire where you could create your own stencil design on a computer, have it cut by a laser cutter, and then airbrush it onto a t-shirt. It was all great fun, though we had to wait two hours in line (many thanks to d who convinced me to keep waiting when I was on the verge of giving up).

d and I both made the cut for the top six, so we're feeling really good about beating out all the little children and grandmas we were up against -- there was an adorable design (also top six) where a girl held her stuffed dog up to the camera. I didn't win for my design as much as I probably won for creative use of their software. The stencil software was fairly basic: you could add a text layer, a drawing layer, or a B&W photo layer. Apparently I was the first person to figure out that you could stack photo layers on top of each other to create concentric outlines. My use wasn't that masterful, though: I didn't properly visualize the stencil process and ended up having to throw away portions of my stencil that were disconnected.

NOTE: this now counts as my second big prize win ever, following my laptop. Seeing as these will both be big tools in my freelance photography adventures, it shows that there is more than one way to run a business ;).

April 11, 2007

Moo Biz Cards

moobizcards.500.jpg

I decided to go with Moo's minicards for my cycling photographer business cards. They won me over with the quality of their free ten-card sampler, so in my case I think their marketing was a good investment. The odd cropping makes them a little bit harder to design for, but they make it so easy to print off a variety of cards that you don't care if a couple don't turn out as well as you hoped. I'll be handing these puppies out at Sea Otter.

The cards come in a nice, recyclable plastic container that perfectly houses and protects your cards. I continue to be impressed with Moo.

February 23, 2007

Awesome day

Levi Leipheimer

Levi Leipheimer continues to put on a show for the fans and I've been having my best cycling+photography experience ever. Today I got to be a total fanboy + a "pro" photographer. Another photographer took time to give me advise on portfolio building, lenses, and submitting photos to magazines. People pay to have experiences like these and instead I'm being fed food and offered money for my photos. Armstrong, Ekimov, Julich, Cancellara, Hincapie, Danielson, Voigt, etc... I got near total access: Graham Watson and Casey Gibson stood behind me.

I even inquired about being a staff photographer. When I told the guy that I work as a software engineer, he told me to keep my job. Which only shows that not every dream should come true.

Now I'm tired. I woke up at 4:30am to drive down here and I need to go find somewhere to sleep. Good night all.

Media Passes are awesome

I new that the media pass would give me better access to take my photos, but who knew there would be other fringe benefits:

  • The Press Room has wireless internet to upload your photos and write your reports
  • It also has food and water
  • You get a welcome bag from the city (someone stole the fudge out of mine, but I got a wine glass, opener, and tourist info)

I'm in Santa Barbara now drinking coffee to stay awake. I still need to find a place to sleep tonight...

February 1, 2007

2006: A Fun Year (in photos)

One of the unintended results of uploading all my photos into Flickr is that I have had a blitz of 2006 photos flash before my eyes. I'm finally approaching 2005 with my uploads, but I've been overwhelmed with 2006. I thought I sat on my butt all year watching TiVo, but it looks like I actually got out and saw (and photographed) stuff. I know its more traditional to get all sentimental about the previous year around New Years, but I would like to say that 2006 was a fun year and thanks to all of you who shared in the many things below.

Trips:

Book talks:

College Football:

Cycling:

MythBusters:

Other:

January 3, 2007

Stormtroopers on Parade

Rose Parade - Stormtroopers

When you wake up at 4:30am to go to a parade, your mind is bound to go a bit crazy. When the mind struggles to put together a thought, it often grabs the first it can find and holds it in an iron vise. In d's case, this thought was the Star Wars opening theme song, which she blurted out repeatedly while sitting in the stands, waiting for the sun to rise. I joked with her that the first band to walk through would play that song, further cementing it in my mind.

We didn't know that George Lucas was the Grand Marshal...

501st Stormtrooper Legion. Ewok float. Grambling State Marching Band, aka "The Best Band in the Galaxy" in Imperial and Twilek garb. Naboo Palace float with multiple Amidalas. Anakin. Maul. And more -- I did my best to document it all.

rose.parade.starwars.amidala.jpg

There was much more to the parade than just Star Wars, but it was a fun touch, as was the weirdness of seeing George Lucas and Darth Vader stroll out to mid-field to do the coin toss for the Rose Bowl.

Rose Parade - Star Wars-04 Rose Parade - Star Wars-20 Rose Parade - Star Wars-28 Rose Parade - Star Wars-05 Rose Parade - Star Wars-07 Rose Parade - Star Wars-48

Rose Parade - Star Wars-17 Rose Parade - Star Wars-31 Rose Parade - Star Wars-26 Rose Parade - Star Wars-30 Rose Parade - Star Wars-01 Rose Parade - Star Wars-18 Rose Parade - Star Wars-37 Rose Parade - Star Wars-51 Rose Parade - Star Wars-52

More photos

December 30, 2006

Off to SoCal

Getty Villa, Rose Parade, Rose Bowl, and other festivities lie ahead.

Happy (Early) New Year!

December 20, 2006

Sharky

great white shark - monterey

Great White Shark Great White Shark Great White Shark

From m's post nearly three months ago, it should be a bit obvious that I'm a bit behind posting my processed photos of the Great White Shark at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Back when we saw it, it was just a little tyke. By now I'm sure it's proportions are worthy of a Jaws remake... probably not. Either way, you can see what he looked like several months ago. I didn't really have the right camera equipment, so I decided to get creative with the treatment.

Photoset: Monterey/Great White Shark, September '06

December 11, 2006

Now I'm sore from Wii

wii.gifIt's a good sore, but I'm definitely feeling the effects of my boxing bout against littlestar. It was almost as tiring as the real thing, but with less bruising.

I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said in hundreds of similar reviews. You can sit on the couch, flick your wrists, and do quite well in the games. But the Wii invites you to stand, to take the full swing instead of the little flick, because your little Mii on the screen is you. Psychologically, it's just too difficult to sit; you're engaged. It's the most socially intelligent game system I have ever played.

There are problems here and there. The motion sensing isn't as precise as you want it to be and it doesn't work for some games (e.g. Excite Truck), but who cares? It's a whole lot better than repeatedly mashing the A or X button. I can't wait for sword fighting games and DDR++ and the mythical Harry Potter spell-casting wand.

December 2, 2006

Some more love for East Palo Alto

A kind anonymous donor has come in as a matcher for the Matching Donations Project. This donor has selected East Palo Alto Charter School, a not-for-profit charter school started by parents in 1997.

November 29, 2006

Matching Donations Project

After Hurricane Katrina hit, my company offered to match any contributions to the Red Cross. I thought this was a fantastic way for my company to encourage donation. Not long after my dad and I matched donations with one another for the holiday season.

This season I'd like to do something similar, but bigger. I thought, why not match other people's donations? That can be fun in itself, but I'm not super rich; I still need enough money to buy a Nintendo Wii to help... myself. Then I thought, what if multiple people could team up to match donations? The more that can be matched, the more that people can give. It also makes it easier on me: if two people team up to match donations, then I only have to match $0.50 for every dollar donated; if three people, $0.33; and so on... Thus came the idea of the Matching Donations Project. Thankfully, m has already stepped up to help out.

There are two ways to participate:

1) Donate to any of the charities below and send me a receipt (please indicate whether or not you wish to be anonymous): contact

OR

2) Agree to match contributions and add your own charity to the list above. You must a) agree to match at least $250 and b) donate $50 up front.

  • Current totals: $250 ($500)
  • Matching funds left: $1000 out of $1250

Current Matchers:

  • kwc
  • m
  • 1 anonymous donor

Do I expect a huge number of people to participate in this? No. But I figured nothing bad could come of trying this, so why not?

FAQ in the extended.

Continue reading "Matching Donations Project" »

November 28, 2006

Space monkeys

My new Mac laptop is in and being setup as we speak. We're required to name our laptops after one of the explorers listed over at enchanted learning. I wasn't really digging the list of names -- mostly because I couldn't spell or pronounce most of them -- until I clicked on 'space' and found exactly the type of name I wanted for my new Mac: monkeynaut.

Maybe when I finally pay for a membership over at the Techshop I can get a space monkey laser engraved on it -- I'll have to check if company policy allows that.

October 24, 2006

"Switching" to Mac

I should soon have a brand-new 15" MacBook Pro at work. It's not really switching, as my primary machine will remain a beefy dual Xeon Windows machine, but it will be nice to finally be able to live in both environments. I was very nearly considering getting a MacBook for personal use, but a lucky scratch-and-win contest changed that. But perhaps it made my work upgrade choice easy: as I already have relatively new Windows desktop and laptop, a Mac laptop is just icing. I won't get to use it for personal stuff, but lets take things one step at a time.

Any software recommendations? For my last Mac experiment, I took a liking to Adium and Quicksilver.

August 30, 2006

All set for the housewarming

I've managed to put the finishing touches on my computer setup, which just about covers everything I needed to do to get everything in order for the housewarming -- d's got all the other stuff covered. We were running out of wall space, so I was a bit worried as to where I was going to hang my biggest Comic-Con acquisition, an Usagi drawing by Stan Sakai, when I saw this nice big blank space on the side of my computer. A couple minutes later I had the setup you see here:

I'll get a better scan of the drawing (as well as all the other Comic-Con goods) when I have a bit more time.

August 10, 2006

Rule #1 of Flying: Never travel when a terror plot has been foiled

Corollary: If you are in need of good California wine, simply hang out at the airport terminal on a day like today. With no liquids allowed, that means plenty of Napa and Sonoma visitors caught between ditching or chugging. I'm sure someone in TSA is partying tonight.

It wasn't actually as bad as I thought. The news crews filming us in line were annoying, but the lines moved fairly fast. TSA wasn't very good at informing people with carry-on luggage that that they best exit the line and go and check their bags: in the short time I spent checking my bag, two women frantically cut in front of me to try and check their bags after having sat through the entire security line. It was annoying that you pretty much couldn't even buy coffee inside the secure area to bring onto the flight, but the good news was that there was tons of room in the overhead bins.

The only real annoyance for me came as a result of the large amounts of misinformation coming via NPR radio as we drove to the airport. I decided it was best if I left my iPod and more expensive camera equipment behind as it was unclear as to what was being allowed in carry-on baggage, so I am now in beautiful Chicago without a good camera. It did rain today, though, so the pictures wouldn't have been good anyway (today, at least).

July 30, 2006

Back from Iowa

I was off in Iowa this weekend for a wedding. It was a bit of a blitz trip so it may not be fair to give my opinion of Iowa just yet -- according to my SFO parking garage receipt, I was out of the Bay Area for less than 1 day and 20 hours. I will say that I was pretty darn happy that the plane trip back took me on my favorite approach into the Bay: over the Yosemite Valley to San Jose and then up the Bay across the salt ponds. One-hundred-degree, hot-and-humid corn fields are pretty at sunset, but it looks like the weather here went somewhere nice while I was briefly gone and the Bay's looking beautiful as always..

July 20, 2006

Tired

I'm a bit too tired to do a full Tour de Comic-Con update today. I woke up at 4:30am today to watch the greatest ride I have ever seen. It was worth it, but it also drained me a bit for the huge crowds today. Every year is the most crowded year yet, but this is the first year where Thursday really lost the "laid-back" distinctness. Nevertheless, I summoned all the energy I could, walked the floors, and had fun. More later after I sleep, as two Tours await me tomorrow morning, one at 5:30am, the other at 10:00am.

July 17, 2006

Congrats bapp and jlpp

Bryan and Joy Wedding-04

'tis a bit belated, but I wanted to say it with a photo, because they were so much fun to shoot. Sometimes photography can be hard, sometimes easy. With them it was too easy: there wasn't a second they didn't look like this was the best moment in their life (trust me, my new camera shoots 5 frames/sec -- there wasn't a second, or even 0.2 seconds... okay, maybe during that one testimonial ;) ). So, congratulations, and thanks for sharing a wonderful moment in time.

July 12, 2006

I'm a winner!

(crossposted from spare cycles)

I've been picking up some of the Tour Mania scratch and win cards from my local bike shop and today I won a Livestrong laptop! I am excited as this being my first-ever big prize win. Of course, I'm the last person that needs another computer and I'm not-so-excited about the taxes for the sucker, but I'll figure that out later.

You can also be a winner -- you can even play online at trekbikes.com. If you win a Madone 5.2 I'll trade you ;).

livestrong laptop

July 3, 2006

First place

Al and I finished in first place in the mens' 2-man time trial we did over the weekend. We were in a class of our own...

April 24, 2006

Blogging about work

Back at Comic-Con I had the motto, A fool and his money should be parted swiftly, not slowly and painfully. I'm reminded of this motto because the soda machines here at work suck.

Ignoring the ever-present post-it notes requesting refunds because sodas tend to get stuck halfway down, they have the very annoying problem that they make it difficult for you to pay. On my floor, we have Soda Machine I and Snack Machine. Soda Machine I seems to not want to take my dollar bills. Crumpled or crisp, it doesn't even bother sucking the bill in. Luckily, Snack Machine will and it will even change it into four quarters, which allows me to get enough change to buy a soda... except when it doesn't have enough quarters to make change. That's when I get to visit Soda Machine II downstairs. Soda Machine II likes bills, but it requires exact change because Soda Machine Guy didn't putting any change in its slots. Exact change might be possible if the sodas were sensibly priced, but every item requires quarters plus a single nickel to purchase: $0.80, $1.30, $1.80. I don't have exact change, I have two f'in dollar bills and the machines only make change in quarters, so I have to go to downstairs to Soda Machine II, make change, and then walk back to Soda Machine I and get my drink.

You may wonder why I've started blogging about work all of a sudden. Well, this is a very roundabout way of welcoming Adam's new work blog, where he will be talking about Sharpcast -- hopefully not about their soda machines. Adam and I worked in the same group at PARC back in the day and I look forward to seeing what he has to say on his blog.

April 23, 2006

Maker Faire

Maker Faire was so much bigger and better than I thought it would be. I thought it would be great, but it was amazing. There were multiple pavilions crammed with eye-catching maker-foo and everywhere inbetween was interestingness as well. It was part Burning Man, part science fair, part RoboOlympics, part Web 2.0 conference, part RoboNexus, part DorkBot, part arts and crafts fair, part who knows. m, d, and I went on Saturday and I couldn't resist going back for Sunday as well. Some highlights:

Maker Faire-07 Maker Faire-10 Maker Faire-17 Maker Faire-13 Maker Faire-06 Maker Faire-15

  • Parallax had some great workshops, great in that you got to walk away with ~$70 worth of hardware for only $15. I made an RFID reader and a ultrasonic range finder. It's a good investment on their part -- I'm very tempted to get into BASIC Stamp programming now and also get one of their boe-bots: they showed off how you can mount the range finder on a swivel to turn it into a short-range (3.3m) radar.
  • I had a great time relearning how to solder while making my own Simon game.
  • The MythBusters were there playing Segway Polo and test driving a Xebra. The parking lot smelled like burning after their test drive.
  • The fine folks of The Crucible had a firetruck flame-shooting apparatus and there was also the flame-shooting SS Alpha Fox. The booms were loud enough that it was shaking the workshop building next door.
  • I absolutely loved the Meccano models of Difference Engine #1 and #2 (photo 1, photo 2).
  • Lego was showing off their next generation of Mindstorms: NXT. I snapped a video of their NXT scorpion 'stinging' my hand. The NXT set should be Mac and PC compatible and will support Bluetooth. I previously abandoned Mindstorms immediately after I discovered the kit I bought required Windows 98.
  • The folks at Amazing Magnets had a about a liter of ferrofluid to play with -- much more than the 30mL I bought.
  • There were plenty of modified bicycles on display, like a lawnmower bike and a chopper bike. My favorite was the Harry Potter broom bike. I failed to tame that unruly broom ride.
  • The cartwheeling robots (video) that I last saw at Robolympics were back.
  • There was a live demonstration of glass-flower making (video)

This entry doesn't begin to cover what was at Maker Faire. If you're interested in finding out more, you can check out the official Maker Faire site, the 3000+ photos on Flickr, or my mediocre photoset.

April 13, 2006

I can't hurt it

At last my new workstation has made it to my office. It's a dual Xeon but it's virtually 4 CPUs. I ran a compile of our ginormous application while doing some photoediting in Photoshop CS2 and it didn't blink. I was still getting instant previews of filter effects on a 6 megapixel photo.I've forgotten how to fully utilize this much power -- clearly I've lost my edge. It has earned it's moniker Kilkenny already.

4cpus.gif

April 6, 2006

Kilkenny (soon)

My new work machine is almost ready: 3.2Ghz dual Xeon with 4GB of RAM. Our desktops get beer names and I was asked to submit a list of names:

  • Kilkenny
  • Arrogant Bastard
  • Dead Guy
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Fat Tire

Kilkenny wins, not for taste, but for its many possible meanings. I also considered Maudite ("cursed"), but I'll save that one for an injury-prone Mac.

March 21, 2006

Brain scanned

I had an fMRI brain scan tonight. The computer scanned me doing several rounds of simple addition and subtraction and was about to move onto a more complex series of problems, at which point it crashed. First, it refused to show me the actual problems -- they were appearing almost fully offscreen. Then it start to flash alternating black and white screens at me while the MRI machine buzzed away. The experimenters were forced to shut it down and only showed me Spongebob thereafter. I think it was afraid.

January 11, 2006

Ninja is hereditary

My 11-month-old nephew, can't even really speak yet, but he's already practicing his ninja stance :

dg

(click for movie - 1.6MB)

Ninjas learn silence at a later age.

December 25, 2005

Favorite Christmas Moment

Featuring my 11-month-old nephew and an 18-month-old girl.

Girl is playing with a toy. Girl offers it to my nephew, who takes it, shakes it, and is very happy. Girl is smiling ear to ear. Nephew offers toy back to girl. Girl reaches out to grab toy -- nephew pulls it back just as she lays her hands on it. Girl walks away dejected.

Apparently babies learn sharing somewhere between 11 and 18 months.

I'm happy because I have this all on video.

First place would have gone to a friend's 3-year-old toppling an entire Christmas tree by pulling on a single ornament (no injuries), had I actually witnessed the event or aftermath. My nephew can't walk yet, but I'm sure my sister and brother-in-law will use that story as a lesson for baby-proofing their house.

December 12, 2005

Do not let me near your gingerbread

gingerbread gingerbread gingerbread gingerbread

y helped me design a gingerbread house, but this is a case where she probably wishes that I minimize any credit. She designed what was the pretty side, made of hearts and sweetness. With some left over gumdrops and the remaining piece of Gretel's body I turned it into a grotesque caterpillar. She knows better now than to work with me.

November 6, 2005

Great weekend so far

  • Trader Joe's sells Niman Ranch organic bacon. d and I finished off the whole pack. Actually, we finished off all but about five pieces. The remaining pieces must have been finished off by bacon gnomes chomp munch chomp
  • Got tix to the Live 105 Not So Silent Night concert on Dec 9 with The White Stripes headlining
  • USC clobbered Stanford 51-21
  • Two of my pants were rescued from buttonlessness
  • Bought an R/C car (still need to pickup a radio and battery)

The only bad news is that I bought the R/C car because it was on sale at San Antonio Hobby Shop's going-out-of-business sale. Their banner says that the owners are retiring after 40 years. I may have to make several trips there before they close, though the shelves are already starting to look pretty picked through. I should have gotten started on my kite camera project earlier as I don't know if there are any local shops that will be able to sell me all the parts I need anymore.

September 6, 2005

Post-rally

ota, ln m and I were at the Save Keplers rally today were, according to the Palo Alto Weekly, there were 450 people. Judging from the statements made by the speakers at the rally, it appears that there is a strong chance that Keplers will be saved. The main component of the rescue plan appears to be a consortium of 'qualified investors,' where 'investor' is something more akin to 'donor.' With the large number of dot-com millionaires in the area one would think that there should be plenty of people who fit that bill.

Other components of the rescue plan appear to be a membership program as well as focusing on the Keplers online presence (one speaker mentioned buying books on the Web site multiple times). At the very least they will need to revise their business model to better deal with Amazon. Part of their concern and planning seems to be that they want to make sure that the efforts of this rescue attempt allow Keplers to be viable for many, many more years.

As parakkum taught me today, 'Hope is not a plan,' but today's rally did provide hope and soon we should find out if these shadowy investors will step in and save a Peninsula cultural institution. The speakers recommended that we monitor www.savekeplers.com for updates.

August 22, 2005

Busy weekend

On Saturday I went on my third Shangri-La hike, an annual hike that Jed organizes that starts at the Squaw Valley parking lot and up the mountain to High Camp. There are many hikes that you can take that give you scenic views of mountains, trees, rocks, and lakes; this is the only hike that I've taken that combines those elements with a hot tub and bar at the top, as well as a cable car back down to your car.

On Sunday I drove back to the Bay Area to go to a wedding (congrats Steve and Heidi!). Weddings can tend to blur, but this one will always stand out for the musical roast the father of the bride delivered during dinner. Sadly I don't have the lyrics.

sidenote: it only took two and half hours to get from North Lake Tahoe (King's Beach) to Berkeley. I'm used to Tahoe trips taking 4-5 hours as I usually leave from the Peninsula. I think future trips to Tahoe (leaving from Berkeley) are in order.

As always, many pictures were taken, and as always, it will take me awhile to go through and select ones that I like. With the Shangri-La photos I can even compare the photos of trees and rocks to previous years' photos to see if the rocks and trees have weathered any. Maybe there is a geologist out there, somewhere, that might be thrilled. Or not.

June 13, 2005

13 days

I've been a bit busy the past two weeks. It would be nice to write about all of it, but then I wouldn't get the rest I very much need right now. There's a lot of photos I've got to go through and ship out to people, so that will probably be one of my main tasks this week.

Here's most of what happened the last 13 days (in approximate order of occurrence):

  • Went to a wedding in Asilomar/Monterey
  • Spent a weekend backpacking in Big Sur
  • Entertained my parents in NoCal for three days (mom's first visit to Peninsula)
  • Spent the night in Monterey
  • Went hiking in Pinnacles National Monument
  • Drove the Route 1/Big Sur-Carmel Highlands coastland (twice)
  • Introduced my parents to In-n-Out burgers
  • Went wine tasting in Sonoma
  • Ate at the Girl and the Fig (thanks paul)
  • Met my friend's baby daughter
  • Went to a wedding in NJ
  • Ate at Popeye's in NJ, but failed in my attempt to eat at Popeye's in Texas
  • Read half of Baudolino. It's more focused and coherent than Foucault's Pendulum, but it lacks some of the brilliant dialogue.
  • Took over 1,000 photos

May 25, 2005

Katamari Damacy (Evil Cute III)

honeyfields, ln m, and I teamed up to beat Katamari Damacy (actually, it was honeyfields who did most of the work, we just came in near the end). Unlike Grand Theft Auto, Katamari is family friendly because it makes horrific death and destruction of animals, people, and towns cute.

April 25, 2005

Afikommen master

I found the afikommen for the second time in two tries. Two times in a row makes it a streak, and two-for-two means that I am undefeated, so by all rights I title myself an undefeated afikommen champion. I hope to defend my title in the future, but in the meantime my chocolate prize will help bring back good memories of a delicious meal.

April 1, 2005

I am a plagiarist

With all this talk of accountability, it's time for me to come clean -- this entry is the only entry I've ever penned myself. The rest were outsourced to India, where one can purchase high quality posts for $0.01 per word. I can't afford those rates, but much like hair school haircuts, one can volunteer to have your blog posted to by a blog trainee.

Wait, I must confess some more -- I'm not writing this post either. It's the thought that counts, and a lot of thought went into the $1.00 I paid for this. Pity, a dollar doesn't buy very

March 8, 2005

Life lesson

If you get into a fender bender, even a very minor one, and the other person is an elderly old man, don't assume (out of respect for your elders) that the person is a kindly gentleman that will stop and exchange insurance information with you. In fact, be prepared to sprint after his fleeing vehicle and shout out his license plate number to your fellow passenger -- it might save you an expensive deductible. Of course, if you're like me and don't follow this example, you can take solace in the fact that the damage on his car looked much, much worse.

Update: let me emphasize, this was a minor fender bender, and the elderly person in question fled at an comically slow speed, giving me plenty of time to stand in disbelief, and giving me plenty to kick myself over for not getting the license plate number.

February 21, 2005

Courtney

courtney

Our family dog, Courtney, passed away last week. I drew this in 1992 when she was still a puppy -- playing with stuffed animals, chewing buttons of my mom's clothes, running so fast we couldn't catch her -- and as kids are prone to do in middle school art class I drew what was most important to me. She could be a super-strong mutt street dog, a thirty-pound dog that still took eight Marines to hold her down in order to give her shots at the vet, and she could also be a calm, relaxed dog, one that could sit for hours with you on the cliffs looking down at the ocean below.

She absorbed a lot of sadness, anger, happiness, and love, and I hope that it's the latter two that expressed themselves most in her life, and it was the last of these, love, that wanted to keep her alive as long as possible. Although she was no longer the puppy, playing with her toys and wrecking laundry, I wanted to believe that she was still my super-strong dog that could fight off a squad of Marines if she had to in order to keep going.

She had made a remarkable recovery when I saw her a month and a half ago. She went from death's bed to wagging her tail, hustling for food, prancing about, and still watching life bustle about her from her perch by the window, but looking at her body one could see what she was fighting through, and as strong as she still was, we would soon have to say goodbye.

courtney

January 31, 2005

Sore

My friend Al called me Sunday morning at 9am to do a bike ride. This was a big deal for me as:

  • I was actually excited to be woken up at 9am
  • It would be my first real bike ride in over a year

The weather was perfect -- blue skies, but a bit of coldness to the air that kept us cool. We went through Los Altos Hills area along Elena/Altamont/Moody/etc, which somehow managed to survived, be it through a combination of poor adjustments on Al's new bike or very generous summit restbreaks. Today and tomorrow I'm sure I'll be working out more of the soreness.

I'm hoping to get a nice Tamrac backpack for my camera and take it back through some of the trails -- there are plenty of scenic views, interesting homes, and horsies to take photos of. Many of the homes feel so anachronistic being so close to the Bay Area sprawl: shabby barns, tiny homes on huge lots, quaint homes next to palatial estates. Back in Virginia I would probably pass them by without a second thought, but here they feel so exceptional.

January 12, 2005

Uncle kwc

photo

There are many ways this past weekend can be summarized. First, let me start at the end of my story and say that I am now a proud uncle. He's a big guy -- 10 pounds, 2 ounces, 23" -- and he's already got a head full of black hair and brown eyes, so it hardly seems like he was just born.

Everything turned out great this weekend, though it's not to say everything went to plan. On a states-travelled basis, my planned itinerary was:

California
Pennsylvania
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
California

As a result of unforeseen events, my actual travel ended up being:

California
Pennsylvania
Virginia
Pennsylvania
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
California

When I was boarding the redeye plane out to Pittsburgh, I thought I was in a bit of luck as my sister had already been checked into the hospital and they had started inducing labor. When I arrived in Pittsburg, I got a voicemail message from my dad saying that they were sending my sister home (to be readmitted on Monday), that the inducing had not worked. The general reaction was, "they can do that?" We had assumed that inducing labor, even if "induce" is a weak term, was generally a one-way process, one that resulted in the mother holding the baby. The notion that they could un-induce (reduce?) was a new concept. My personal reaction had an additional element of "b-b-but, I'm only out here until Monday! They can't send her home! I want to see my nephew now!" My sister, of course, had the worst of it, as it meant yet another day that she would have to spend in the hospital going through contractions.

Instead of heading to the rental car counter to get a car to drive to West Virginia with, I turned around and went back into the airport to buy tickets to fly to DC, as no baby meant no mom/dad/dog travelling to West Virginia, and, so, a couple hours later I found myself stepping off a plane in Virginia, several hours east of my original planned destination.

Visiting with the parents went well, though there was a touch of disappointment that I was not going to be able to see my nephew, as I would have to extend my trip by two or even three more days. I had a return ticket to Pittsburgh on Saturday, though, so at least I would be able to see my sister with her big belly.

As my dad drove me to the airport early Saturday morning, disappointment disappeared -- my sister called to say that the baby was on the way, and with a fortunate choice of return ticket it turns out that I would be arriving for the birth after all. I had to pickup my mom at the Pittsburgh airport later that day, so I missed the first couple hours of my nephew's life, but I got to spend plenty of time with him, my sister, and my brother-in-law the rest of that day and the next, taking tons of photos (300+), and watching my nephew change: sneezing, hiccuping, crying, and farting -- all the things that made him more and more human in my eyes.

December 14, 2004

It's going to be a good day...

Home DSL on...

New digital camera is over in shipping and receiving...

May go to the TiVo talk tonight...

December 12, 2004

Free beer

I got a drink bought for me, by a woman. It would have been nice if she had bought it to hit on me, instead of buying it as part of a round because she was hitting on a friend, but I'll ignore my pride and drink that beer happily, knowing that I did absolutely nothing to deserve it -- that only makes that nice, cold, free glass of Anchor Steam taste even better.

December 5, 2004

Moved

Not much time to post, but, with the generous help of friends, my stuff has now been moved to Hope. Thanks to all who helped. Apologies to pholist members who were not enlisted for help; it wasn't a slight against your skills -- I figured ten pairs of hands were already a bit much for what there was.

BTW: I continue to recommend Hengehold to anyone renting trucks in the peninsula for moving. They haven't screwed up a reservation yet, and they have good quality trucks.

December 3, 2004

ugh

They should give you nose plugs when a doctor uses a hot knife.

Getting there

The tortoise-style move is progressing well. After three consecutive days of two-three carloads, I've managed to move almost all of my non-large-furniture items. The Incredibles bag I got at Comic-Con has been perfect for transporting everything from DVDs to books between the places. The computer is coming up in the moving queue so kwc.org will be moving to its temporary home soon.

Thanks to all those who have helped thus far and will be helping on Saturday.

November 28, 2004

Thanksgiving

I had a great Thanksgiving. As I am prone to do, I will be backposting entries describing some of the things I did in more detail, but, in summary, I got to do nearly everything I consider worthwhile: spending time with family, eat lots of mashed potatoes, looking at Impressionist and Modern paintings, watching USC beat up Notre Dame 41-10, reading, and taking lots of photos.

As it often occurs with my reading, there were many coincidences surrounding my reading choices. I have been reading Umberto Eco's Travels in Hyperreality, which is a series of essays that indirectly reveals some of the genesis of Foucault's Pendulum. My aunt, out of the blue, handed me The Da Vinci Code, which is, in many ways, a light/pop version of Foucault's Pendulum. As we discussed The Da Vinci Code, she brought up the Glendale/Forest Lawn Cemetary, which has a stained-glass rendition of The Last Supper. This rendition, as well as the cemetary in general, are directly discussed in Travels in Hyperreality. In a bunch of clippings she was keeping with The Da Vinci Code, she also had a clipping with a photo of the glass Last Supper, which made the Eco essay easier to understand. All-in-all, it was a convergence that made the material easier to appreciate, though my paranoia wonders why these convergences so frequently center around the Templars.

I didn't have time to visit the cemetary on this trip, but there will be future opportunities.

November 23, 2004

Hope-ful Thanksgiving

Apologies for the bad title pun, but parakkum and I just signed the lease for a townhouse on Hope Street (so long No Hope! The Curse is over!), about a block away from Dana Street Coffee. This location does present some problems, as the close proximity to my favorite caffeine dispensary may result in permanent tremors, and the close proximity to both new and used bookstores will leave me in literate poverty. Thankfully, the new Scientology center down the street can provide me with daily e-meter readings so as to correct any imbalances.

If you're hanging out on Castro Street in MV, give us a buzz.

I'm leaving tomorrow to visit my Aunt and Uncle. I shall return on Monday with photos from the Renoir to Matisse exhibit at LACMA and the USC/Notre Dame homecoming game -- my first USC home game, I'm looking forward to it.

November 14, 2004

Saturday

Thanks and congrats to rcp -- congrats for finishing the GREs, and thanks for throwing a party to celebrate. Stephen's got quite the falsetto when it comes to karaoke...

November 2, 2004

Remember your envelope

I voted today... twice. Well, not really, but it was complicated.

I took in my absentee ballot to the polling place so I could vote on the paper-trail-less touchscreens. I must be the only person in history to do this because they looked at the absentee ballot in my hand as I handed it to them with utter perplexation.

"You're registered to vote absentee," the kind old lady says.

"I know, here is my absentee ballot. I want to vote on the machines instead," I replied.

"You need an envelope for that," she points out to me.

"No, I want to vote on the machines," I remind her.

She processes this in her head a little more and decides its beyond her training. "Todd, can you come here. This man here wants to turn in his absentee ballot and vote on the machines," she calls out.

"You need an envelope for that," Todd tells me.

"No, I want to turn this in and vote on the machines," I repeat to Todd.

Todd takes my absentee ballot into his hands, still perplexed that there it's not sealed inside a blue envelope. "Where is the envelope for this?" he asks.

"I don't know. I'm turning in the ballot anyway so I can vote on the machines instead," I remind him.

"You can give him a new envelope," another poll worker calls out.

"I'm not voting absentee, I'm voting on the machines," I say, yet again.

Luckily, a young teenage volunteer comes to my aide and explains to Todd to complex process of writing "Surrendered" on my ballot, and at long last I receive my smartcard to go vote, and I did... twice.

October 31, 2004

Halloween

Reprising an old last-minute costume, though my jacket was more appropriate this time. I blame bp for not having more costumes at the ready when I arrived unprepared :).

Ken as Pepe Le Pew
Well, it *was* better than nothing...

view profile

October 22, 2004

Thanks for a fun marathon

Night three of three was completed for the Star Wars marathon. Thanks to all those who came -- you all made the movies far more fun and entertaining than George Lucas is capable. Thanks to bp and joy, whose sangria still has me a bit tipsy, and thank you all for witty, insightful commentary, and for stocking my fridge.

October 21, 2004

Zombie party

nt treated us to a zombie-fest for his 30th birthday party, and really, what better way to celebrate getting old than to watch images of the walking, decaying, dead? Unfortunately, the party turned ugly when tooch became infected and started attacking nt. I didn't get a good photo of it, but I also think that's Bernadette in the yellow ripping that poor girl's heart out.

photo photo

October 11, 2004

Embarassment is

I went to the first of two acupressure classes I signed up for in order to deal with my back troubles. I got this weird, mini-cane with this knobs all over it that I can now us to hit all my pressure points, which will be nice.

With all the benefits of the class, though, showing up to a class where everyone else is a 50+ year-old white female is a tad bit embarrassing, not to mention the fact that you have to see your medical problems juxtaposed with that of 50+ year-old white women.

October 6, 2004

Almost

Finished third in the fantasy baseball standings. For the first time I actually managed to stay in first place for a whole week, but I lost both Soriano and Guillen for the last month, which tanked my ranking in the runs category. At least I beat Kenji :)
 1	Oddvarks            88
 2	Club Me             84.5
 3	Blah the Ninjas     83.5
 4	Club Ninja          83
 5	Silly Name Changes  74
 6	The Downward Sprial 71
 7	cuddly munkees      64.5
 8	Ninjas Are Not Good 63.5
 9	Air Force Eagles    59.5
 10	The Oskersox        43.5

September 25, 2004

Don't F#$! with honeyfields

movie stillJoey arranged a little shooting trip for us, which was a whole lot of fun. I haven't shot since I took the Pistol PE class in college, and I've never been able to shoot that many different firearms. There were a couple shotguns, a .44 magnum, a Desert Eagle, a Glock .40, various .22 revolvers, a Sig P226, and some other guns that I'm not gun-savvy enough to remember. The P226 was the best balance of accuracy/power of the guns I shot, though I thought the Glock .40 felt better because the grip on the P226 was a bit small for my hands. The Desert Eagle and .44 Magnum were pure entertainment.

One of the more entertaining aspects of the evening was watching honeyfields holds guns that grossly outsize her. If you're in need of entertainment, be sure to check out the video of her shooting the shotgun (click on photo above, ~5MB). You can see the range instructor come in and out of frame as he tries to position himself to catch her in case she flies backwards. There's a another clip I have of her after her first shot with the shotgun when the range instructor asks her if she wants to shoot some more and she's holding back this grin. You can e-mail me if you want the URL of that one as well as some other photos.

You can checkout photos of my target in the extended entry. It's not very interesting -- we only got one target so I had to shoot to use the whole target. I aimed at the center, left 7, right 8, top 8, and bottom 8 for the most part. We were rotating guns so we didn't get to adjust the sights, but beyond 20 feet my groupings sucked anyways and I couldn't see where I was hitting on the blue target.

Continue reading "Don't F#$! with honeyfields" »

August 30, 2004

Saturday

I saw zealot for the first time in quite awhile on Saturday. She was a proper CD/DVD-shopping companion: while being responsible for instigating our trip to Rasputin Music, she also made sure that I didn't waste all my disposable income there by going through my selections with me and tossing anything I showed the slightest hesitation purchasing. None of this, though, stopped her from impulse-buying Knight Rider Season One at the cash register.

Quick tangent: sarah, Season One and Three of the TNG. Rasputin Music. $50 each. You know you want it.

Also got to see Jeff and Dave, yet again on Castro Street in MV. We hung out a bit before I rushed Jay over the airport, and then dropped in on Al's b-day bash. I will note that Al's team won the mini-golf tourney with Al wearing the yellow bracelet, a fact which will become important in a future post I am preparing.

Bull riding (not me)

As meta noted, we went to the Saddlerack in Fremont Friday night. It was a rather interesting place, as I would have never expected a country-western Bar of that magnitude to exist in the Bay Area. If you had taken a photo of the parking lot, one would think you were in Texas, as nearly every American pickup truck in the South Bay must have been parked there. This is not to say that the entire crowd was authentic; rather, the bar had to cater to both the authentic and ironic crowds, the latter mostly made up of Stanford students and what-not. The music would switch between live country and Outkast and the like, though each would run for about half-an-hour to give each group its appropriate amount of time on the dance floor.

meta rode the mechanical bull, as did several others. Sadly, jay wussed out, or perhaps he didn't want to deprive watching female riders. I, of course, can blame my invertebrate spine for my weakness.

August 25, 2004

A pleasant DMV experience

Two announcements:

1) I have officially forsaken my Virginia identity and have applied for a California driver's license.

I've given up on my previous plan to fly to Virginia, re-register my license there, and also register as an absentee voter, mainly because there may be tax implications of pretending to still be a Virginia resident.

2) My California DMV experience went really well. This is shocking. I've avoided (1) for three years because the bad stories about the DMV were endless. Cohen went there three times before he was successful; others went online to make appointments for dates 30 days in the future. I, on the other hand, went online, and was given an appointment for the next day. When I showed up for my appointment, I took a number, which was called promptly. I then discovered I did not have $24 in cash, as required, but the woman helping directed me to an ATM and let me cut back in line.

My only disappointment in the whole experience is that I got 100% of the questions right. Clearly, if there was any time wasted, it was studying for that test.


August 22, 2004

Koyaanisqatsi

Not the movie, but the phrase, which means "Life out of balance." Granted, there's no Philip Glass soundtrack or fear of industrial development, but the phrase remains descriptive enough for how I've felt for the past several months, perhaps starting when I first injured my back, and then worsened by the complacency that followed. The environment we live in has such a strong hold on how we feel and how we develop, and in my most recent move I didn't feel that the pieces came together just right.

Using the methods I learned growing up as a military brat, I'm attempting to right things in the way I best know how, which is a long way of saying that I will be moving, again, in the near future (60 days), as will the rest of the house of 99.

This perhaps is a good time to advertise a wonderful house for you or anybody you know to move into. Those of you who have visited know that it is quite a spectacular house, with three bedrooms, a gigantic living room and kitchen, small basement, 2-car garage, very large backyard, and cottage, all totaling 3/4 of an acre I believe. I was jealous of the previous tenants when they lived there, and I'll be jealous of whoever moves in next.

August 19, 2004

$500

crownMy trusty stainless steel crown that I've had since I was eight or so finally gave out on me. I have a fancy new porcelain crown that was made using a $12K camera that captures a 3-D image of the tooth, and then some 3-D modelling software that generates an appropriate crown for the tooth, and finally a $100K dual-diamond bit cutter that mills the crown out of a block of porcelain (of the correct yellow hue for my teeth). I was rather impressed, in a dorky way, how computer technology is taking over the dentists office.

August 16, 2004

Last weekend

Went to the Small Brewer's Fest last weekend. It seemed smaller than in previous years; it appeared to me that although the tent was the same size, they spread the booths further apart, and there were a lot less small brewers, i.e. there were either not-so-small-brewers (Sierra Nevada, New Belgium), or restaurant breweries (Faultline, Tied House). If memory serves me right, even Anchor didn't show up this year.

A marching band performed, which was amusing, because it I got to see that band geeks do have a life after college.

Also went to a house-warming (jp) and a house-leaving (itinerant) party on Sunday. During the first we discussed orthodox religions and embroidered holes in sheets, and during the latter another person and I vociferously debated the existence of an army position that hasn't been held since WWII, which is of great importance, naturally.

I'll end with a small poll for gamers out of curiousity: which fighting game franchise is better, Tekken Tag or Dead or Alive?

August 13, 2004

Happy Friday the 13th

I'm having a great Friday the 13th:

  • 8:30am: Dropped of my car to have the windows on the left side fixed (broken regulators)
  • 11:30am: Rode my bike to the dentist to have him look at my broken crown
  • 12:30pm: As I left the dentist I discovered that there was a staple through my back tire, so I had to have meta come pick me up
  • 1:30pm: Blew my only spare tube trying to fix the flat tire because I'm incompetent
  • 2:30pm: Picked up more spare tubes from bike shop, finally got back tire fixed on bike
  • 4:30pm: Picked up car from BMW, spent $700 on extending my warranty that expires in two weeks
  • 5:00pm: Discovered that my sunroof regulator may need to be replaced as well

Hmm, I'm hungry

July 6, 2004

99!

We completed the move over the 4th of July Weekend from 1010 to 99, and most systems are go except for the all important DSL. Big thanks to all who helped (too many to list, as we had an army of volunteers). We have cable, which means I have been able to view the Tour de France uninterrupted, but without DSL I am unable to turn this blog into a complete TdFest like I normally do. I shall persevere to endure.

Despite all the busy-ness moving and unpacking, I did manage to see the excellent Spidey 2 twice. I can't think of any comic book movie that's better, though I've been told to re-watch Superman. My memories of that series are vague, though I'm inclined to give the edge to a nerdy, conflicted superhero over an alien that only experiences negative emotions when exposed to red rocks.

June 20, 2004

Lots of drinking

Drank at meta's roommate's surprise b-day party, Zeitgeist with rcp, ginfiend, and others, and at the Tonga room at the Fairmont tonight. With the exception of late brunch, everything I ate today was accompanied by alcohol. Perhaps that's why I'm tired even though I've only been up 13 hours.

All was good, though it seems that rcp had more fun at Cafe du Nord that we did at the Tonga room (cheesy pirate decor that's amusing once, but probably not twice, and with live music that doesn't aid the enjoyment).

Update: added two photos of the Tonga Room ambiance

Continue reading "Lots of drinking" »

June 13, 2004

Calves

Spent most of Sunday at Mike/Kitchen's party. It was a nice, relaxed party, filled with interludes of drunken skanking and an aborted viewing of Bubba Ho-Tep, and in honor of our host, I want to write:

Mike's calves are feking huge
really, really, feking huge
Grapefruits, cantaloupes even
I hope he doesn't kick me

April 7, 2004

Woohoo!

I found the afikommen!

April 3, 2004

Taxes done!

Another woohoo - for the second time in my life, I did my own taxes. Much easier the second time around with the tax program importing last year's data. I used TurboTax this year instead of TaxCut. I know that destroys geek cred, but I used TaxCut last year and it was a piece of crud.

Granted, TurboTax had the benefit of importing all of last year's TaxCut data to make my life easier, but it also seems that TurboTax does a real good job of marking stuff that you can skip over. TurboTax often marked pages with "these are not common," which was code-speak for "press next." This made things a lot faster and me a lot less paranoid when I had finished. Also, as far as I could tell, this years version had zero copy protection - no registration numbers, no nothing. My only complaint was that it took about an hour for it to download all of its updates, which was longer than it took to fill out my taxes.

April 2, 2004

Woohoo

million billI got my first raise today. It wasn't very large, and everyone else in the company got one as well. In fact, someone else more accurately summed it up the raises as a cost-of-living-adjustment, but the main point is, after two and a half years and two jobs after graduating from college, I got my first raise!

March 7, 2004

Kona Shores

honeyfields, meta, and I stumbled upon Kona Shores, which sells Lappert's Ice Cream in the Haight. The store is only three months old, but honeyfields knows the owner from a store he used to own in North Berkeley. I haven't had Lappert's since I was in Maui for meta's marathon, and the Kona Shores owner mixed me up a nice combination of Maui Mango ice cream, strawberries, and mandarin oranges on a cold slab that was pretty yummy. I liked it better than the ice cream I got at Cold Stone Creamery, which was a little too heavy for my tastes. So if you've had a hankering for Hawaiian ice cream and haven't found any in San Francisco, or you want free wireless Internet access, you can check it out (at the corner of Masonic and Haight).

February 25, 2004

Escape from San Francisco

My commute to work this morning felt like a videogame.

Level 1: Acquire transportation
- Objective: Successfully navigate across 22nd Street, which has temporarily been renamed the 22nd Street River.
- Obstacles: Ankle-to-knee-deep water on 22nd Street.
- Mission status: Lost 10 health for water-soaked shoes.

Level 2: Maze
- Objective: Ignore parking tickets on car and navigate towards freeway.
- Obstacles: Flooded streets, in particular Cesar Chavez, which has been renamed Cesar Chavez River (22nd Street River has been renamed to 22nd Street Stream). Closed on-ramp at Van Ness (police cars). Closed on-ramp on Bryant (cleanup crew).
- Mission status: Successfully navigated to 280 on-ramp near 6th, or thereabouts.

Level 3: Low-vis driving
- Objective: Drive down 280 to 101 to Menlo Park
- Obstacles: Visibility intermitently shrinking to ~15 feet at points. Sudden stops on freeway at locations where the freeway is completely flooded.
- Mission status: Successfully navigated around several large puddles, made it to Menlo Park.

Bonus level: Deleting e-mail.
- Objective: Open up e-mail account and delete the 30 (and growing) e-mails because someone decided to open up a debate on gay marriage and social security.
- Obstacles: Potential for RSI from repeated deletion of e-mail.
- Mission status: ongoing

February 17, 2004

Insomnia

I think the cortisone is giving me insomnia. Haven't slept right in at least a week, and I'm tired in a way that's resistent to caffeine: the caffeine just heightens my disorientation. It's bad enough being tired but not being able to keep the proper caffeine/blood composition is too much, too much I say!

February 13, 2004

get an iLife

I got meta a copy of iLife/Garageband for Valentine's Day. Before you criticize my romantic nature, she did say that "the most romantic thing [she] could think of was a scanner and some midi composition software," and she already has a scanner.

Now I just have to figure out how to sneak my guitar over to her apartment, co-opt her computer, compose and record my demo, and launch my music career. I'm sure she won't mind, and I'll even let her perform on a track or two.

February 10, 2004

quick MRI peeve

I got another MRI today. Supposedly they take 45 minutes because they figure that's how long they can keep you there before you become really annoyed. They get as many pictures as they can in that fixed time period.

Anyway, my real peeve is that if you're supposed to stay absolutely still the whole time, why in the world do they make the thing sound like an alarm klaxon? And not just any alarm klaxon. This one sounds like the "RED ALERT! NUCLEAR MELTDOWN IN FIVE MINUTES" type of klaxon. Hard as you try, there's this natural Pavlovian response to go into flight-or-fight mode the minute you hear it.

If they did something as simple as made it loud constantly, rather than the repeating alarm-style buzzer, it would go a long way to removing this rote response.

Apology to readers: I am hoping your visceral response to to the blinking red text will help you empathize with my meaningless rant. However, I do apologize: this is the first, and hopefully the last, time I will use the blink tag on this site. I will note, though, I can think of no entry for which it's use is more appropriate.

February 5, 2004

woohoo

I can feel my left foot. Needles in my spine rock!

February 4, 2004

Personal update

As some of asked, here's a health update: I'm back at work now, and have been all week. I got a shot in my spine yesterday that's supposed to remove the inflammation, and I'll keep getting that shot about every five weeks. It's meant to treat the symptoms, but not much else. My doctor says that 90% of herniations heal on their own, but that the healing can take 9-12 months. Also, 'heal' doesn't mean that I'll regain feeling in the areas that are numb now.

Overall, things are pretty good, and I'm happy. I think I that my left foot today might even be a little less numb, though gauging level of numbness is a lot more difficult than gauging level of pain, i.e. IMHO, it's harder to tell how much something isn't there.

I have been expecting a reinjury like this for many years now, and now that it's happened, it's not as bad as it could have been. I think I'll escape this one without surgery, though I'm still uncertain as to which of my hobbies I'll have to give up. The snowboarding equipment is going to stay on the shelves for awhile, but I'm hoping to get on the bike soon as it shouldn't matter too much how numb my left foot is. Ultimate and racquetball might be a bit harder, as I haven't figured out yet how to train my muscles to react quick enough yet to the delayed sensations.

January 30, 2004

walkin'

Last night I started walking for extended periods of time again for the first time in nearly a week. It feels nice to be released from the confines of my bed, though I'm still not used to walking around on a numb foot.

Thanks to all of you who have helped over the past week, and those of you who took the time to come and visit. My days have been rather boring and confined, so to have someone stop by a say hey was a big lift. Also, special thanks to pqbon and meta who have kept me from starving and rotting.

January 27, 2004

*sigh*

You'd think that now that I have all the time in the world I would be posting 100 entries per hour, but it seems that the number of interesting pages on the Internet is inversely proportional to the amount of time I have to surf the Internet.

TNH posted this entry comparing Lieberman to Palpatine. I still go for the Lieberman/Gollum similarity myself, though I guess evil emperor trumps gimp with severe case of multiple personality disorder.

As for my health, I'm no longer in any pain, but I can't seem to feel the left half of my left leg. It's rather disconcerting when all the spatial components of your brain know that your pinky toe is there, and your other foot can feel that your pinky toe is there, but there's only a slight tingle from the pinky toe itself. I did find out that the steroid that they're giving me is the same stuff Jerry Lewis was addicted to. Apparently it made him gain a lot of weight, so maybe I'll be really fat when you next see me.

January 23, 2004

Lame update

I'm officially (in a technical sense) lame now. To follow the path of my gimpiness, here were the steps:

(1) develop sore throat
(2) sore throat turns into cough
(3) throw out back coughing
(4) pinched nerve in leg b/c of unhappy lower back muscles

So I'm currently laid up right now taking a bunch of pills...

January 22, 2004

Lyin' on my back

I managed to throw out my back coughing. Spent the day listening to my iPod, catching up on my TiVo, watching Run Lola Run and part of Bend it Like Beckham, and reading/finishing Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which I will eventually do a short blog entry on (read it, you can even download it for free). Luckily pqbon came home mid-noonish, found me incapacitated and starving, and fed me some grub. Alyssa also stopped by to drop off my laptop so that I can extend my presence beyond the walls of my room.

January 4, 2004

Mushroom hunting

While we were back in DC, meta showed me her Autobon mushroom guide that she had used to go mushroom hunting when she was 12 (yes, she was a dork even in those early years). She brought it back with her so we went with Tom and Steve to try and find some chanterelles (morels are apparently not in season). No luck with the chanterelles, but it was interesting to see how many different types of mushrooms you can see in a small area without seeing the same one twice.

Now that we're back meta is busy identifying the mushrooms and I'm watching Iron Chef: Battle Matsutake, which my TiVo has recommended I watch. Now THAT is technology. Hopefully none of the mushrooms she's identifying are poisonous...

Update: turns out that the mushroom I found is deadly poisonous. Go me.

December 29, 2003

Visual summary of the past week

Rather than write out everything that happened over the past week, I've summarized most of the holiday festivities/vacation in poorly chosen photos in order to drain your (and my) bandwidth.

December 21, 2003

Interesting day

Today was far too interesting of a day to pass up the opportunity to write about it. I knew it was going to be at least busy, given that I had three social engagements to go to, but I didn't know that it would provide so many interesting experiences as well.

The day started off on a weird note. In fact, it started off with a dream, and it wasn't even my dream. As metamanda tells it, she was dreaming about standing at a BART station, next to the train tracks, an appropriate dream considering her recent introduction to SF mass transit. The train was coming, but she realized that she was on the wrong side of the tracks, and, in a panic, she decided her best course of action would be to leap across the tracks before the train arrived. Unfortunately, she didn't make it.

Why am I transcribing someone else's rather mundane dream? Well, I recall it as well. You see, I woke up to metamanda standing on top of the bed, eyes open, body pressed against the wall, muttering "It's coming." Before I could converse with her to find out what "it" was, she turned and leaped head first off the bed, into the nightstand, knocked over a glass of water, and landed with a tremendous thud on the floor.

When she woke up in the morning she mentioned to me that she had fallen out of bed the night before. I corrected her use of the verb "fell" and suggested that "leaped" would a much better choice. She didn't believe me at first, but I then asked her about what her dream was. She recalled the train tracks, and then noted that they were lowered, in fact, they were lowered about the same height as the bed, and they were dimly lit just like the room. Also, in the dream, when she jumped, she landed on the tracks... right about where the floor would be. How odd.

There's more "interesting" stuff, to me at least, but this entry is getting long so you'll have to read the extended entry or watch the news if you care to find out what.

Continue reading "Interesting day" »

November 4, 2003

Snikt-inoma

I don't have a tumor - but I did many years back. Why mention this now? I found this summary on NORD - National Organization for Rare Disorders Web site and I found this cool synonym for what I had: Adamantinoma. That's even cooler than having something listed on the rare diseases site.
(via BHN)

September 11, 2003

The Exponential Falloff of Musca domestica Populations Due to Joblessness

My house has had a lot of flies. I mean, A LOT of flies. I think a bag of potatoes I bought at the market must have been a larvae bed for them. During my vacation time I've been spending ten to twenty minutes a day walking around with a spray bottle of 409 and a roll of towels and disposing of them. I would prefer to have an electric fly swatter, but they don't seem to carry those at Albertson's.

I don't know the exact data, but I have been roughly keeping track of the fly population in the house since I've become my vacation, and I've noticed the following statistics:
Day 1: 50+ flies disposed of
Day 2: 20+ flies disposed of
Day 3: 5 flies disposed of

This trend would tend to indicate that the flies are losing the battle, or they've begun to burrow into the walls where I cannot see them. I have also noticed that the flies I am disposing of are younger and more sprightly. Hmmm... I guess I'll have to wait out another pupal cycle to see whether or not I've truly won the battle.

September 10, 2003

Zelda Complete!

The first sign that my vacation is productive: I finished Zelda: Wind-Waker today. I got far really fast in the game, then I stopped playing. I think I was really, really bored of sailing from island to island. Note to developers: at least let Link get an outboard motor or something. Even with the warp tune you still spend WAY to much time sailing around. For example, to get a Triforce shard you have to 1) sail to the island with the map, 2) sail to Tingle's island to get Tingle to read the map for you, 3) sail to the location on the map to pick up your piece. Given that there are 8 triforce shards, this just seems like an artificial way to make the game longer.

My verdict: while the game is beautiful, and the game play is fun, there simply is not enough content to justify how long it takes to finish the game. Although I think the other Zelda games had plenty of travel time, its a lot more interesting to be walking on land where there's scenery than it is to be sailing around with nothing but blue around you.

September 5, 2003

Last day

Hey y'all - today's my last day at PARC. Next up: three weeks of vacation (inc. Maui), followed by my new job at SRI.

August 30, 2003

My new job

Next month I'll be starting my new job at SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center, where I'll be working on the CALO project. I'm really looking forward to starting there. From their Web site:

SRI International's Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) is one of the world's major centers of research in artificial intelligence. Founded in 1966, the AIC has been a pioneer and a major contributor to the development of computer capabilities for intelligent behavior in complex situations. Its objectives are to understand the computational principles underlying intelligence in man and machines and to develop methods for building computer-based systems to solve problems, to communicate with people, and to perceive and interact with the physical world.

I had two fun years at PARC - the culture and the people there are really awesome. It may seem disingenuous to say, but I really wouldn't take back my decision to work there. In many ways I was spoiled with the fun I was able to have there, and I know that much of what I learned at PARC will help me in my new job. In the end, though, things change, you change, and you have to figure out where and how you most want to contribute, and for me that will be at SRI.

August 19, 2003

Internet blackout

Aside from being out and about all weekend (you can read honeyfield's watching horses and Napa bike riding blog entries for more info), I had no Internet connectivity at work yesterday. The msblast worm apparently said "all your base are belong to us" and our network agreed. Perhaps this was all a result of my jealousy at the NY blackout. I mean, if the East Coast can get a day off due to power outages, why shouldn't California? Didn't we start that whole concept?

April 13, 2003

So this is what it's like

Today, for the first time ever in my life, I did my own taxes. I used TaxCut instead of TurboTax, and while I appreciate the lack of DRM, I wasn't impressed with it's import capabilities or usability (especially for state). And after all my hard work, I end up owning less than I paid for the software, so I can't complain, though I would have appreciated simulated fireworks or something of the sort to congratulate me (as I am so proud of myself).

April 8, 2003

Weekday Ultimate

Much to the despair of my soft feet, the clocks have shifted and we can play weekday ultimate once more.

April 6, 2003

Fantasy Hockey Final: 2nd place

Fantasy Hockey league finished up today. Managed to scrape into second place. First place was never any question (know one even knows the guy).

Final Standings

April 3, 2003

New office

Woohoo! I've moved offices - now I get to look across the courtyard to my old office. It's a whole new perspective.

March 9, 2003

BRE: The End

I'm finally finished with BRE. I got annihilated by Datastream, Gameland, and Gargoyle's. This board that we picked turned out to be completely lame, with the three best boards ganging up on the mid-tier boards. The matchup wasn't even close, and the conduct was hardly respectable.

March 2, 2003

League RoX0r draft

Transcript below...

Continue reading "League RoX0r draft" »

February 26, 2003

Jay in town

Jay was in town for a conference so we met up at Brothers with Maggie, Cohen, and Jay's grad friends. We finished with a drink and poor service at the top of the Hilton.

February 16, 2003

BRE: First day of freedom

A friend of mine got me into playing BRE, which is this old BBS game that they've updated to allow inter-BBS play (you telnet into the BBS server). The game brings back a lot of memories of old BBS days. Today is my regions first day of freedom, so we'll see how things go.

February 7, 2003

Adobe's HQ is really nice

I went to an art reception at Adobe tonight entitled "Love Show." Although I really wasn't a fan of any of the art, I must say that the Adobe folks have a good thing going for them, and what seems to be a pretty cool culture.

January 27, 2003

Zealot is popular II

Maggie's real birthday is the 27th, so we all had dinner at Brother's in the city. Mmm, Korean BBQ....

January 25, 2003

Zealot is popular

Went to Maggie's b-day party in the city. Everyone was waiting in the lobby of the Clift Hotel Redwood Room for Maggie, turns out that she was already inside having some delectabe desserts. Ended having a Tawny 20-year-old port and a Cuban something dessert that was very chocolatey and very good.

January 14, 2003

Odometer

010101

January 13, 2003

Curry

I'm learning disabled when it comes to cooking, but one thing that I have did manage to pickup (from my Japanese aunt) is that coffee grounds are an excellent spice when it comes to curry. And really, what isn't better caffeinated? Take caffeinated soap for example. Squeeky clean and shockingy refreshed at the same time.

If you really want to up the mix, throw it over some tonkatsu like I did tonight and you'll be in heaven.

November 2, 2002

Supeona'd

My friends have turned on me - Bryan served me a subpeona to testify about a purse snatching we witnessed.

August 31, 2002

Identity Theft

So, apparently someone was able to steal enough of my personal info to sign me up for a cell phone with AT&T Wireless. Even managed to call the bastard up, but we weren't able to get anything useful out of him. One of my favorite parts of the whole ideal was, after having a very long conversation with the AT&T fraud department, and everything was set back in order, I was told 'Thank you for choosing AT&T Wireless.'

August 21, 2002

Wine tasting

Tasted some wines with Reichbach. He has a book with a step-by-step guide to tasting that teaches you all the important stuff about evaluating taste, color, smell, etc... For example, tipping the glass and looking at the shadow on a white piece of paper shows the maturity of the wine, and holding the wine in your mouth while breathing in across it lets you notice a lot more of the flavor.

Here are the types of wines we tasted:
- French Syrah
- Australian Shiraz
- Chile Cab (French Style)
- French Bordeaux

August 11, 2002

Halo x5

While I was helping El Jefe move I got to witness one of the best setups for a team first-person shooter (in this case, Halo). On one wall was a TV showing the first team (split screen), and a projector was setup to show the other team on the opposite wall. That way the players got to yell at each other, but not actually see what the other team was doing. There's also something cool about playing video games on a projection screen.

July 28, 2002

8th grade scrapbook

Last night was Amanda's housewarming at her Emerson apartment. She broke out her scrapbook from the 8th grade which was simply hilarious (including the Worf photo). The funniest part was these sheets of paper that she passed around her class for people to doodle and make comments on. I hope she scans these in b/c they are hilarious.

July 20, 2002

DSL is up and running

After living out here for a year, I finally caved in to the Internet. My assimilation was inevitable. I got my DSL account setup with sonic.net. It's the same price as Pac Bell, but I get 4 static IPs.

March 12, 2002

9-11 + 6 months

It doesn't seem like it took very long for the good will and spirit to disappate. Instead, we have families complaining about becoming millionaires, and people complaining about families becoming millionaires, and people complaining that their tragedy deserves a payout as well. We also have companies blaming every bad woe on a post 9-11 world.

I don't mean to be too cynical. I think America has better icons for heroes (FDNY). I think we've overcome our fears. But I think I know now what our country felt during the Cuban Missle Crisis: any day the chain of world events into a terrible war could be started, whether it be in Israel, China, Korea, or elsewhere. Americans as a whole have re-entered the world stage.

CoHo music

Saw The Swords Project at the Stanford Coffee House. Part Radiohead (Kid A), part Smashing Pumpkins, part something else. A lot of potential, but I didn't feel that they have learned balance yet. There approach is too much constant sound instead of progressions and movements, but what do I know? I'm not a musician.

March 2, 2002

Housewarming at Jeff's

Notable for (a) hitting Jeff in the right between the eyes with a bottlecap (his eyes were covered) and (b) Adam's Pope Joke (see adjacent entry)

May 21, 2001

End of four years

Stories I hope to remember/tell some day (yes, Russ is in a lot of them):

Melrose Pointe
Harvard bridge 10
House trip to the park (getting pulled over)
House trip to Drew's
Mehul and the culture show
Russ' play (Robots)
Chet's plays (Ibiza, Tartuffe?)
Apocalypse Now at James' swan song
Hogie and the bay hat
Jay, Alex's door, fire extinguisher, mannequin, bottles
Curse of Ebulboj
Russ and the deep freeze/closet
Russ and Rocky
Russ and the book
Retro/Rocko/Messiah
Russ' camera
Randy's wedding
Trailer park betas
Jim, Jamaica, monkeys, Vietnam

February 2, 2001

Foxwoods

Chet had the great idea of heading down to Foxwoods (my first gambling experience). Left with $469 off of $70 seed money, all of it earned at the craps table (some lost in other games like roulette).

"I learned my odds today!"

"It is possible to lose money at this game?"

July 9, 2000

Homeless

This is what happens when you try to move out to the Bay Area during the housing crush of 2000. The initial plan was for me to come out a couple weeks early and search for housing while crashing at Dave's. Jay and the rest (5 of us in total) would arrive at the beginning of June, with everything setup for us to have a kickass apartment. Similar plans had worked for Jay and I in '98, so we thought we'd stick with what we knew.

We were foolish, of course. Instead of me finding an apartment immediately, I spent the end of May and most of June on the phone, futile-y trying to find a free apartment. As this continued to produce failure, we rented an RV to get some steadiness, and when we finally broke down, we paid over $4K/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment in Menlo Park.

This is a log of our summer.

5/20-5-31: Dave's
5/31-6/1: Matt's
6/2: Comfort Inn, Sunnyvale
6/3: Sunnyvale Inn & Suites (Jay arrives)
6/4-6/5: Matt's
6/6: San Antonio Inn with "Coyote" (did laundry at Stanford)
6/7: Sj/Sarah's (spent the night driving around to try and find another air mattress)
6/8: Pacific Inn ("jacuzzi")
6/9: Sj/Sarah's (after being screwed over by Silicon Valley Inn)
6/10: RV at New Brighton State Beach
6/11-6/14: RV back in Sunnyvale in the Trimble parking lot
6/15: Fly down to Burbank, end up staying there after Hawaii flight cancelled
6/16-6/20: Make it to Hawaii and stay at the Aston Waikiki Sunset
6/21: Dave's (using a shirt as my only sheet)
6/22: Finally move into Menlo Park apartment, but there's no furniture
7/6-8: In Atlanta for Randy's wedding. Stayed at Randy's the first night, then at the Wingate, which is a story in its own right.

There are some cryptic notes and inside jokes in the paper version of these notes, but even I no longer recognize the meaning of some of them.

June 17, 2000

Remembrance

1 Rainbow, 2 Rainbows, 1 Rainbow
2 leis in water
Psalm 23
1968 Valentine's Photo
Diamond Head silhouette
rays breaking through clouds to east
Jo Ann's poem
No paddleboats
eulogies between family are short, because the feeling is clear
Running on breakwater
5:30-6:30pm
Halekalane: grandpa's favorite. drinks at sunset to live music, filet mignon dinner
More flowers in water from mai tais

May 18, 2000

Another Bad Idea

For the amusement of my SFM brethren, I've chosen to blog this ancient entry first. My memory fails the finer details, but I came across these quotes that I had written down. The quotes are spread between a meeting we had at Yank-the-check to help broker a deal with 'Another Bad Idea' and a dinner that we had afterwards at Uno's with ABI.

Most of these quotes fall along complete dork humor, but there came a point where J and I just started having fun with them by throwing out terms an seeing what they would respond. As far as we could tell, the only roll of person E in the meeting was to try and translate all acronyms inaccurately.

"K: ...and we worked on triaging the bacdwidth to minimize the download time..."
"E: What?"
"K: Triage the bandwidth"
"E: Oh, so you don't lose ergonomics"

"Them: What about object-oriented..."
"K: (lecture on OOP vs. Procedural)"
"J: Regardless you would have to change the same amount of code"
"Them: Yeah, object models are overrated."

"J: It's a matter of combinatorics."
"Them: What?"
"J: Combinatorics"
"Them: Oh yeah, combinatorials."

"Us: Storage is cheap, processing isn't."
"Them: Yeah, pre-processing."

"East coast office - is that your bedroom?"

"So does Maya run on the Web server?"

"TCL... Tool Control, no ... Command Language" (inside his bag is Ousterhout TCL book with bookmark on first chapter)

"Yeah, like AMD is interested in sizing software"

"MEMs, micro... microelectronics... that's above nano, right?"

"In the future Jay may be the next Einstein"

"E: but Linux is more secure..."
"Us: Actually, BSD is."
"E: But that' security through obscurity."
"Us: No, BSD is open source."
"E: Right, but the Linux community has more eyeballs so it still security through obscurity."

"E: And D---, a guy without any credentials"

"E: So are we ordering dinner?"
"D: For you, nothing above $2."

"D: So what would you be looking for in a consulting deal?"
"K: I usually get an hourly wage."
"D: So what are we talking about?"
"K: For stuff I barely know, I get about $30 an hour, for stuff I'm an expert in, $70. You judge accordingly."
"D: But you're just consulting on your guy's vision."
"K: I think I'm an expert on that."

"No ice cubes in Sweden"

"So what do you think about Corel? I'm taking a beating on their stock."

"Like Bill Gates says, 'Everyone should have one.'"

"Us: MEMs"
"Them: Memes?"
"Us: No, MEMs"

"I met Linux Torvalds at Internet World. Shorts and sandals."

"J: You could put the test results in Matlab and do analysis on the data."
"K: Yeah, that's actually a good idea. You could run linear regressions, or maybe even quadratic regressins on it."
"D: What?"
"E: Oh yeah, totally, statistics."

"K: I want something that's immediately liquidable... stock options don't buy food."
"D:So, do you want food stamps instead?"

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