Monday, September 20, 2004

Stupid Animaniacs...


Cherie got me thinking about the Animaniacs lately. We were just chatting and something spurred my brain to start thinking about Yakko, Wakko and Dot which I literally had not thought about in years (though Pinky and the Brain still come up occassionally). The thing was I got the little girl who says "why" all the time stuck in my brain. If you don't know how she talks, she just keeps asking you "why" until she becomes bored and ous ass on the routes Tuesday. There were a couple of routes that I made it through without falling that Mike didn't. Guess his fingers were strained from his booty call the night before.

Ishy's First Birthday


Ishy turns one year old today. At least in people years. I'll have to stop by Bow-Wow Meow and pick him up some cake after work today.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Coupling


I've been watching through the first three seasons of Coupling on DVD this weekend, and for a while was struck by how similar I was to Jeff. I have a lot of the same over-obsession and guilt that his character demonstrates, but I find that I get into less trouble simply because my default reaction when nervous is to shut up rather than over compensate with conversation. Don't know which is better really...

Climbing with Pat and Lexi


The three of us hit up the gym today. It was so sweet to do the three man rotation. It really gives your arms a chance to rest just about the right amount to really trash them by doing more routes. I got to nail a few routes I hadn't gotten a good run at before, and on the last route I did for the day, I made it through the overhang just fine, before I struggled with some small grips on the other side. It was so cool that my fingers and not my biceps where what were screaming in pain at the end of the day. Bouldering is definetely improving my technique and strength.

20/20 Hindsight


I hate it when I have to make a locally optimal, but globally suboptimal decision because of an error in judgement several moves back. Well that's at least how I word it when I play chess, though I suppose social settings deserve a slightly different vocabulary. Anyway I had two social engagements to attend on Saturday (I know, so busy for me), and I of course did what I could to try and attend both giving priority where I felt it was due...I hate couching my language so that I don't offend anyone...guess I'm a high self monitor...

I got to spend some time again with the Winamp gang, which is something I've sorely missed in the last few months. Not the work atmosphere of lay offs and despair of course (and it's only gotten worse since I left), but I haven't kept up with my friends there as much as I should. It was so good to wish Wen a happy birthday and to meet Songo outside of her and Denny's blogs, and just hang.

But I missed saying goodbye to Dr. Cyn. I'll have to drop her a line sometime this week to apologize properly, and wish her well at UNLV.

But I did get a chance to hear praise on my improving physique, and a pretty girl told me she liked the clean shaven look on me.


The First Fall Rain


So I was pleasantly awoken at 9:30a.m. this morning to the sounds of heavy rain (well for California anyway). And I know that it's not technically fall for another two days, but I grew up in a beach community so summer for me will always be Memorial Day through Labor Day, regardless of the astronomy. There's something about the fall rain in Northern California that makes me feel right at home. Every year when it starts I always think back on the start of elementary and high school and the preparations for halloween that would be there for the first few months. There's something about the way the rain falls here that just reminds me of home. Something I guess I never quite got in L.A. It's weird how you can feel so homesick and so at home at the same time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Changing Times...Creativity


You might have noticed that the picture of me has changed. Well as inspirational as the old picture was I finally gave into the peer pressure telling me to change. I didn't give in so far as to actually put in the morphing image to show the changes that have occured in the last 8 months, so I think you all should appreciate that.

Oh, and today I hit T-minus 40lbs. Next goal is T-minus 20kilos, both to keep my mind somewhat in the metric zone, and also because it maps closely to 45lbs. OK, so the first rationalization might be a load of crap, but I do wish I had a better instinct for metric.

Back to the photo...Another reason for it is that I had been getting some pressure to take some recent photos of myself. One of my greatest sources of artistic inspiration and guilt over creative inactivity pushed me to get some up to date photos of myself on line. I haven't made them all publicly available...(not for that reason you sicko, but you just lost your viewing privleges)... But it's amazing how much just a little bit of artistic expression can remind me of what I haven't been doing of late. Maybe I'll take some 26 things inspiration and run with it.

I also went and did one of those cutesy on-line personality tests atg quality for quanitity, but I don't thing there was that much quality here to begin with :)


Brand Spankin' New Backend


So I was going to update my blog more often...I say that so much, but maybe it will be true now. And here's why I hope it is: I've completely re-done the backend of my site. It should look pretty much the same (maybe a broken link here or there, I'm still working on everything), but the whole backend is a little easier to manage. Of course by this I mean that it's got another couple layers of abstraction, and is correspondingly a little slower. But that shouldn't be a problem since it's not like all that many people hit the site as it is.

So as for the backend, well I've got it all running on the perl template toolkit, which kicks so much ass. There's been a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I should learn php for a while now. Now there's no need to do that. I've got everything I could ask for from php, in addition to all the power I've come to rely on from perl. And if I ever do need to start worrying about performance issues I can just run everything through mod_perl. For now I'm not ready to do that much server hacking for my personal website, but some of the fun but useful domains I have might get that treatment at some point.

And how does this translate to (hopefully) more updates? Well I'm glad you asked. Now that I have a kick-ass architecture to work with, I've made it a lot easier to edit my blog. No more hand editing crufty html code for me. It's all done automagically. Now I think I may almost be motivated to put a couple of my other ideas into motion.


Friday, September 10, 2004

Flirting


And this one goes at the bottom, because I don't expect anyone to wade through this much unadulterated self-indulgence (and it's about to get worse) ...

There have been a couple of times in the last week where someone has flirted with me and I completely dropped the ball. It's weird how I can completely over-think, and over-analyze to the point of paralysis. Well O.K. that's not too weird - even in the general population. But it does make me wish sometimes that I could take life a little less serious.

Like, a long time ago (well at Caltech) I was having a conversation with one of the frosted flakes (I'm not really sure which, it was so long ago), and was talking about my inability to flirt. She mentioned that, of course I could, and she gave a specific example of someone with whom I was quite good at it. Problem was, that this other person was someone with whom I interacted with on a purely childish level. One might almost say a teddy bear level if a guy was capable of such a relationship :).

But seeing as how I was aware of the problem at the time, I should have probaby taken advantage of the frosted flakes, and gotten some advice on how to improve my skills. Now I sit waaaaaaay behind the curve, at a place where I'm in a catch-22. I need to aquire some serious experience, and yet I can't since it wouldn't be fair to waste anyone's time. I think I need a circle of friend-girls again.

On the other hand it's nice to not have heard "oh, you're not a guy. And I mean that in a nice way" in quite some time. :)


Boy Scouts and Jars of Food


And apparently I learned some useful skills in Boy Scouts after all. For example, when you're camping out (y'know with limited food) and are in a group, it's not okay to eat half the supply of peppers that are left out.

The more time I spend hanging out with Mike the more I appreciate my time in scouts, and the more I realize that I actually did learn some things from them.

It's weird how once you have certain pieces of knowledge (mostly things that in retrospect are pretty obvious), how you can forget that others don't have the same experience.


Climbing with Mike


Finally was able to drag Mike to the gym yesterday, and my whole upper body is yelling at me for doing so. After a re-introduction to 'Kuliga' time, we started climbing. I tried too hard on the first couple of routes, and so my poor fingers we barely hanging on the rest of the time climbing.

And then Mike had the brilliant idea of hitting the weights. It has been too long since I hit the weights too hard, and we did a nice tour of all the muscles above my solar plexus, so I'm pretty much dependant on the table to hold up my arms so that I can type this.

Actually with the cycling earlier in the day, I spend 3 hours at the gym yesterday. I don't think I've ever spend over 12% of a day in a gym before.


Hole Digging


And also this weekend, I made the mistake of getting really drunk Sunday night with Bryan and we decided we would go dig a hole on Monday morning for a luau (at an undetermined though early October date). Well monday morning came along and we were both too hungover to think better, so we started digging.

About 30 minutes (and Bryan yuke'ing twice) in we decided that we should probably put it on hold for a while, so I went and spend the hottest parts of the day in an air conditioned move theater watching Hero (very good. Pretty colors. Cool Kung-Fu). Then after the movie, Andrew, Bryan and I finished the hole and the worst of the physical labor of a luau is done.

Guess this means I need to find a pig somewhere.


A-Man and LR


I forgot to write about "A-man"s birthday party last weekend. He turned one year old, and so I went over to help be part of the mob that sang happy birthday and got to watch him hit an important milestone. His firtst birthday cake.

And I got to meet the infamous lrdole. Very eduactional experience. And a lot of fun to talk with a professional chemistry geek in person over some whiskey. College chemistry geeks are cool too, but the ones that have been working for years at a national lab just have a slightly different feel.


NPR Pledge Drive


Got on the exercise bike this week after a really long weekend and found that it was pledge time for the local NPR station (I don't actually know if they do all of them simultaneously). But in the continuing tradition of putting money where my mouth (or in this case ear) is, I went and made a donation to help them out.

Now if they could just stop bugging me in the mornings looking for money from others.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Peta, Vegans, and Atkins


Ok, so I've really got to thank vegans. They won't like it, but I've gotten some good advice from them recently.

First off, I had purchased a rabbit from the grocery store and was going to have to cut it up in order to prepare it. I have in the past been uneasy with fowl because you can still see the general shape of the animal when you have to carve it up for preparations. Though foul doesn't affect me at all since de-boning three birds for a turducken.

So anyway I was a little worried about cutting up a cute little bunny (who as it turned out still had a few organs left attached ready for eatings as well). But P.E.T.A.'s website helped me get over it. Now I'm not talking about one of the faux-peta (like People for Eating Tasty Animals), but rather the geurilla nut-jobs that give vegans a bad name. And they had put up a billboard with a fish hook through a dogs lip (computer generated) to try and discourage fishing.

As I was thinking about it, I realized I have no problems with catching and gutting a fish, so why worry about carving an already dead rabbit. And it's not like I don't have mammal blood on my hands already.

Anyway the other thing I wanted to thank vegans for is that they can find the best foods out there. They use them as reasons to be vegetarians, whereas I look at them as reasons to be a meat eater. I think this is part of the idea that if you go far enough to one extreme you end up at the other. Kinda like how the major scale with 5 flats is the same as the major scale with 7 sharps.

But anyway, here are a couple of good links for carnivourous food ideas:

And then, finally, I've ended up reading a lot of anti-atkins stuff while wander around vegan forums. Now I certainly can't fault the vegans for not liking the Atkins diet. It's very hard to do it without eating meat, and I think impossible without eating animal products. So my complaint here isn't about how vegans view the diet.

It comes from so-called researchers who don't bother to familiarize themselves with Atkins work before they go and puplish studies saying why it doesn't work. And I'm not just talking about how everyone seems to think fruit is 'bad' under Atkins. It's the first carbs that you put back in once you get past the point in the diet made so that even type-II diabetics would lose weight. So many people view induction as atkins, and that annoys me, but most people that talk about diets would freak if they came within 20 feet of real science.

But the researchers that do actual studies about the atkins approach and have obviously not read the published material really bother me, and make me worried about the sources of what I had previously thought to be well researched dietary data.

I saw a paper published that says that the reason people lose weight while doing atkins is that a high protein/fat diet is more filling and make people eat fewer calories. Duh. That's in the book. That's two of the three big reasons given for the low carb diet.

  • 1. Fat calories aren't absorbed as efficently as carb ones
  • 2. Stopping the sugar/insulin roller-coaster results in fewer food cravings
  • 3. Fat and protein are more filling.

I suppose I should be glad for scientific verification, but still, the original research is at least 20-30 years old now.


Caffiene Effects


And jumping back a few subjects...while in Chinatown I ended up spending far too much on tea. I got a nice tea pot not too long ago from Peet's, and have been trying out teas to see if I can get a good breadth of knowledge, and find out what I like and what I don't.

I must admit that it's a little depressing that I have such a high tolerance/addiction to caffiene that when I drink a pot of tea an hour before bed, it actually doesn't affect my sleep. I miss the days where that much caffiene could keep me up all night.


Off Leash Ticket


One night last week, I start taking Ishy for a walk, and the neighborhood dog grape vine lets me know that I shouldn't take him to the park right then. This is cool because I now know my neighbors well enough for conversation to occur, and for them to want to warn me.

Apparently there were a couple of dogs at the park down the street (one off leash, and a not so well trained pit bull on a leash) that got into a bit of a scuffle. The owner of the leashed dog got mad and called the police, who dutifully came down and wrote the owner of the off-leash dog a ticket.

Now I am fully of the opinion that if you break the law you do so at your own risk and need to deal with the consequences. When I let Ishy off the leash at that park, I realize that I could get a ticket for doing so. But I also can get a ticket for going 5 mph over the speed limit and I do that too.

What I don't like about this situation is that it was a dog owner that called the police. I could certainly understand a concerned parent, or even just someone who didn't trust or was afraid of dogs. But a dog owner doing it just feels like a dirty turncoat thing to do.


Boy, let it go a week and I have to jump all over the place



No One Better/Most Humbling Moment (Part 2)


A while ago I had mentioned not being able to pin-point my most humbling moment, and tried to newspeak my way out of coming up with what it was. Actually, as I watched the Olympics I was able to recall what it was.

It wasn't watching some physical feat. I've always been bad at that and so never really worried to much about it. And it wasn't that I'm now older than almost all of the olmpiads, though that was a disturbing thought. No, my mot humbling momement came at school when I overheard a conversation Glen George was having with another student. The quote was something like "For every idea you come up with, 10 other people will come up with the same idea". This thought has come up since in several forms. The whole "there is no original idea" thing. Or just as a stopgap on starting a business. That is if there are others out there with the same idea, then you what means you can implement it better.

This actually was brought to mind watching the olmpics because it was the moment when I realized, not only wasn't I going to be the best at something, but that there is no best (so I never could be). And watching the olympics where a single trip up in the hurdles, just a slightly different start in track or even forgetting to make sure the judges have the right starting score are often the things that make the difference between Gold and nothing.

So to satisfy our need for marking the 'best' at something, we come up with a metric (sometimes more arbitrary than others) and just run with it. But the olympics have restored at least some hope that even if a gold doesn't necessarily mean you're the best, it's achievable and it's the 'best' metric we have.


New Windshield. One less horsey


Also for personal improvement I am working on being better at taking care of the standard day-to-day shit that comes up. Like replacing my windsheild because of the hugh crack in it. It took all summer, and the crack finally growing enough to make contact with the border in two points, but I got around to taking care of it.

I miss the little horsey that was on my windshield (not enough to get a replacement put on), but I definetely like that I can see more of the road now.


129/78 59


On a more personal and happier note, I sat at one of those do-it-yourself blood pressure monitors at the supermarket a week or two ago. I had been a little worried because when I did the same thing in June it came out a little high, so I was hoping for some good news.

And I got it. 129/78 (which the machine puts as normal/optimal) and a resting pulse of under 60. Guess the exercise and weight loss are having good effecst. I just need to get my cholestorol checked at some point to make sure that metric is moving in the right direction as well.


David


Looks like I may be back to the once a week updates... At least I have an excuse this week. David came by to visit on his way to Japan. That boy knows how to get the most out of his college education.

It was so cool to get the chance to hang out with him. I haven't seen my brother since Christmas, so we got to do the whole catch-up thing. He ended up finding a good friend at home over the summer that was an expert in some Chinese martial arts. This gave Dave a chance to get back into practicing. And it helped him widen his knowledge (since his initial training is mostly Japanese).

Of course we went to visit Chinatown while he was here. And we used Cha-Shou-Bau (yeah, I know. That's probably a totally ignorant white misspelling) as an excuse and brought Andrew along. Didn't find any great new spots, but got to take Dave to a few favorites.

I did lose him for a couple of nights during the week so he could hang out with Jaime. It's probably good that he got someone to hang out with seeing as how I would be at work all day (and there's only so much Ninja Gaiden he can play). And I'm glad to hear that Jaime is doing well. Though I'm disturbed to hear that she's either still unemployed or ashamed of what she does.

Of course that's not what she told him. I don't like the fact that I have a hard time believing her, but it fits all the classic requirements of a Jaime lie. She said that a girl near her office had attacked her, and she got panic attacks sometimes as she neared where she worked. However the office needed her so bad that it was OK for her to take a week off with no notice. Convenient how that explains how she was able to stay with Dave without having to bring up work.

But I'm glad that David can still believe her when she says such stuff.