Saturday, December 24, 2005


IMG_2329 I got back to New York yesterday to spend Christmas with the family. It's so good to see loved ones again, especially those I haven't seen for a while. (Though it's definetly good to see Cherie too, and I got to spend time with her only a month ago). But this is my first time coming back to New York since my parents moved out of Hampton Bays, and that means that while I'm as home as I will forever will be with my family around me, Home proper can no longer be in New York.

There's definetly been a lot of slippage of that term even from the very beginning of college. My parents had moved across town about a week before I started at Caltech, so that house was always a little foreign. And shortly after I graduated, they moved across town again. But the thing was, that I could always take my jet lagged ass out for a walk at 2a.m. and wax nostalgic for my high school days. (It's amazing how you can romanticise anything with enough time between when it happened and when you remember it).

Now I'm in a weird town. I vauguely know where I am on The Island, but to be honest, all I really know about Shirley is that their mathletes team sucked 10 years ago, and that there's a Dunken Donuts right off the freeway interchange (Sorry highway. I'm in New York) that was on one possible route to Brookhaven National Lab.

So I'm in a house with my parents furniture and stylings. It will always have a place in my heart that is connected to my childhood. But it's an oasis of love in a desert of suburbia I don't really care about any more.

And what really brings this to mind, and makes me ponder these thoughts, is that my little place in San Carlos has felt more like home through this past December than ever before. I'll get into it in another post (I think I hear Santa knocking on the chimney now, so I'll need to feign some sleep soon), but the short version is, I'm happy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Making Chirstmas. Making Christmas. Fah-la-laaaa...

DSC02194 Last week was a blur at work, We're doing a big push to get some changes out (hopefully) next week. Last week was put all the code into place, and this week is bugfixes and sitting back and going "Hmmmn. Is that right/best?" So we've got a little stored up energy and some time to do something with it.

What this means is that crazy ideas get floated around. We have a 4 foot inflatable snow globe that Tom brought in to spread Christmas cheer. As it turns out, it has some attachments at the top to make it suspendable. So Joy and Sawka asked me if I thought I could raise it up into the roof alcove over the newly aquired tree. And this is where you learn the lesson: "Never challenge a Techer to do something you don't want to see done."

After quickly running through a number of bad ideas (one involved re-tarring the roof), I decided on a not-entirely-bad idea of lasso-ing the fire sprinkler pipe that was up there. This did have the failure case of a very soggy Christmas tree (and hero for our story), but the pipe looked strong, the snow globe is pretty light, and I didn't expect to be able to lasso it anyway.

Well after standing on a table on a table, I was actually able to toss a phone cable over the pipe and hook it into place. We attached the glob and raised it up (with Christmas lights attached). It only took about a half hour from challenge to completion, and then we decorated the tree while we were at it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Farewell Fair Cat

IMG_0077 C.M. hasn't really been happy around Ishy. He never got the courage up to swipe Ishy across the nose with his claws, and so Ishy never learned that C.M. wasn't a plaything to be chase around. This meant that C.M. spent a lot of time outdoors after Ishy arrived.

While Lexi and Andrew lived upstairs, this worked out well for him. He would wander into their apartment and be loved in peace. They actually started to develop a large attachment to each other to the point where C.M. might have some keystrokes in the google code base, freakazoid style.

But the Basteels wandered north to San Francisco a month ago, and so C.M. had relegated himself to the laundry room in the back. He was getting by, and while I tried to make sure to give him some love every time I refilled his bowl, he wasn't getting the attention he deserved. And as it turns out, Lexi and Andrew missed him terribly as well.

So, yesterday when Andrew stopped off to pick up the junk mail that had been accumulating for them, he snagged C.M. as well. I know this is for the best and I know that all parties involved will be happier for this, but I'm going to miss him. He was my first pet and he has the same birthday I do. Godspeed, and enjoy the big city C.M.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Amazing Adventures of our Ishy

IMG_2003 Last week was pretty busy at work, so I've waited until today to post an Ishy story from over Thanksgiving. I've got a little bit to add to the story from this weekend, so maybe it's good that I waited.

The short version is that Ishy got some booty while I was in Ireland.

Here's the long version...When I landed in San Francisco I turned my phone on for the first time in five days. Mostly because I wanted to get a ride home from the airport, but I also liked reading the thread of reply-alls that went on a "this machine is down" message that went to my cell phone. In addition to the thread of mail that was useless to me on a 30x4 character screen was a voice mail. So I listed to it.

It went something like, "Hi this is your dog walker, and when I got here today to pick up Ishy he greeted my in the driveway. It looks like he got out through the front window in your house. I'm not sure what to do. I've already got a dog boarded up this weekend. Can you call me and let me know what to do? Um. Yeah."

Mind you, there was no information for me as to when that call was made (OK it's been pointed out that my voice mail service probably has that information, but like I have the time to figure out how to use voice mail). I went home to see what was up, and found it Ishy-less.

So I called up the dog walker and found out that she had boarded him for the last two days. So he was safe, sound and loved. And this is where I get to the short version because her dog was a fixed female. Apparently there was enough sex drive for the both of them in Ishy, because there was some consumation going on. He looked quite happy when I picked him up.

But the front window hasn't gotten fixed yet, so he's been wandering out of it the last few days. I'm gonna have to kick his butt a little (and get the window fixed I suppose) so that he stops wandering. Mostly cause I don't like getting pulled out of bed when the neighbor knocks on the door at 2a.m. saying he bused out again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving in Dublin

Teach the Irish how to go for thirds, that's it Since the beginning of college, every Thanksgiving I've spent has been with a different set of 'family'. I never left Pasadena while in college and so spent spent each year with a different set of members of Ricketts Hovse. Slowly the classes changes, and one year I even got to spend with Matt (a fellow member of the HBC). After college, I slowly I collected more and more people starting with just Jaime, then Jaime with Lexi and Andrew, and then actually getting the entire Basteel Clan to meet the Peters Clan.

This year was very different from the previous ones.

Cherie is getting her Masters degree at Trinity College in Dublin. This means that she's stuck in the Old World where they don't really know about Thanksgiving (or at least that's what I thought in August). So I figured I would use it as an excuse to go visit Ireland and see if I couldn't give her some family and American traditions to with which to enjoy the holiday.

Turns out there are a number of Americans studying there and they had plans to set up a large Thanksgiving dinner amongst the Trinity folk, so all I had to pack for the trip was Pumpkin Pie and Cranberry sauce in a can. Seems they don't have those in Ireland, so I got the bring a bit of the New World to the Old in the form of squash and preservatives.

But Cherie's got a great group of friends out there. They took the the American traditions well, and with just the right amount of resistance to anything from the States. There was tons of everything, including the wine. That's another part of the week. Apparently they drink a lot in Ireland. Who'ld have guessed. I got right pissed (drunk for those in the States) every night I was there. Good times.

The time in Dublin went by in a blur. The highlights were:

  • The Jameson Distillery
  • Getting my favorite Irish Whiskey Green Spot
  • Seeing a Medival Crypt
  • The Book of Kells(?)
  • Dublin Castle
  • Trying to find a battery for my camera
  • Fish and Chips
  • An impromptu snowball fight in an unlikely Dublin snowfall
  • And so many other things I can't even remember

Thanks Cherie. I think there will need to be a spring trip, so keep an eye on your calendar.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Monday, November 14, 2005

"He has better taste than I do"

Best compliment I've recieved in a while. Thanks.

And thanks Jaime for playing Carson.

Wet Butt

Nothing quite sucks like having a wet ass in the morning. Maybe I'll remember to put the cover on my bike tonight so tomorrow starts off a little better.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Camping and Climbing at Courtright Reservoir

Mike, P-Wood and I wandered out into the wilderness this weekend. It was originally going to be an ICO trip, with some extra fun. Slowly the number of participants dwindled and the extra fun that would void ICO insurance policies grew, until it was just the three of us, and turned into a great personal trip.

Courtright Reservoir is in the Sierras just south of Yosemite. Thankfully, they haven't yet gotten enough snow to close down the roads that run into the national forest there. Of course since that was iffy it turns out we were the only people there. This made it incredibly quiet. Like quiet in a deep all encompasing silence. I really can't do justice to the sense, but even the wildlife was silent.

But the area is an amazing collection of granite peaks all within a couple of miles of each other, and all next to an amazing lake. It was seriously possible to walk a mile or two from the parking lot to climbing that appeared to be every bit as good as yosemite, but with no one working out their relationships above you on the mountain. (I really hope those 2 broke up after being so disruptive).

The first night we spent scrambilng up some class 4 rocks and got to bust out my new toy (a 60m super-dry rope) to help P-Wood. And we spent the night camping at the top of the rock. The fog had been rolling in and was really thick, so sitting on the top it was like the world ended 20 feet in any direction. And it was cold. Like super butt-fucking cold. Like waking up with 1 liter nalgenes frozen nearly solid. But I learned that my +10° bag really is pretty comfortable in those temperatures. And when we woke up we had an amazing few of the lake and surrounding peaks.

And the next day we wandered around on a day hike, where I did some really stupidly ricky moves that got a look from Mike I had never seen before. I interpretted it (correctly mind you) as "He's not a participant, he's an adult. If he wants to do something that stupid it's between him and the river below". Anyway, I survived it fine, and Mike even let me run the traverse later. Though in fairness he had be recite a verbal will with P-Wood witnessing.

Anyway, despite some schadenfreude with me learning to throw a rope over a cliff, the rest of the walk went pretty uneventfully, and we set up some tents so that we could stave off the cold and get a good nights sleep.

Which was very useful, since at 6:00a.m. I started up my camp stove and made some coffee to get Mike out of bed, and by 9:00a.m. we where out on a mountain, and I was getting my first outdoor lead climb in. It was a little (read very) scary to be going up setting my own protection in. And the climb was easy enough to be gentle, but was still rough enough to give me some serious fear in a couple of parts. Well enough for me to be very tense and really do a number on one of my knuckles.

But the lead went well, and I got to do my first rappel down a mountain which was pretty sweet as well.

After that we got back, cooked breakfast, packed up, and headed home. I am going to sleep well tonight.

Keith is Lame

I haven't posted anything in a while. Well, I'm going to try to rectify that. While I can say that I have been busy at work getting blogs into the site, it's mostly been a wild couple of weeks, and I'm happy. Actually I'm not going to go into all the details, but what I will say is that about the seventh most interesting thing that happened during those two weeks was running into Marylin Manson at an art gallery.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And the Hangover Passes

Scotchtoberfest 2005 was a great success. While smaller than previous years I think that we did well, and that it was a good farewell to Montgomery St (Lexi and Andrew have their huge place in the city, and I don't expect I'll be here next year either). I made it through the entire night. And I remember very little of it. There was no actuall lamp shade on my head, but I did nock my electric keyboard over several times.

The scotches where superb, and since I hosted, this year I keep the booty. Sweet. Though that comes with the responsibility of hosting parties to consume it in the following year, so I've got quite the task in front of me. And I managed to maintain consciousness right through to the end of the evening. Though it helps that no one wanted to go for Karaoke, because I don't think I was making it out of the house.

And I'm proud to say, I'm still not old enough to have a two day hangover. I may have just jinxed myself, but after 12 hours of Firefly on Saturday, I was feeling much better.


My Camera



Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Re-Animator: Live

Friday night, Pat, Andrew, Jason and I went to see a theatrical production of Re-Animator. Prior to this weekend, my familiarity with the story was simply the line from American Beauty. It was quite a show.

The troop producing it is the Primitive Screwheads (who did a similar show for Evil Dead 2 that I missed), and one of their tennants seems to be to cover the audience in as much fake blood as is possible. Much like Sea World, except rather than just the first few rows, the whole audience will get wet.

Upon entering the theater, all the seats where covered with plastic sheets. This meant that I could stow the stuff I wanted to keep unstained under my seat safely. But it also meant that several audience members sat under the plastic to try and keep themselve neat. Which mean that I got to hear a large bear say something to the effect of "quit hogging all the plastic". That was priceless.

And after the show we went bar hopping. That was particularly fun with how we looked.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I wonder if I'm getting smarter...

From Slashdot...

"Here's a sample to consider: You're in a dark room with 50 quarters, 18 of which are heads up. You are allowed to move around the coins or flip some or all of them, if you wish. Problem is, it's too dark to tell what you're moving or flipping (no, you can't figure it out by touch either). Your job is to split the coins into two groups, each of which has the same number of heads up coins. How do you accomplish this?"

I thought about it and was able to run it through an analytic set of assumption challenges, reduced it to an algebra problem when I found the assumption that would most likely be the "puzzle" part, and then worked through a solution. I am so smart. S-M-R-T. I mean S-M-A-R...

And I have an new interview question. 'Cause anyone who wants to interview for me and doesn't hav passing familiarity with slashdot gets a little more scrutiny anyway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

San Carlos, CA has a Graffiti Officer

I ran into him today coming back from breakfast. Apparently the same person that tracks when and where graffiti occurs is also responsible for cleaning it up. Learn something new every day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Eye Trouble

All day long I've been having trouble with my right eye. Focus was a little off, and my contact fell out at least once. And I think there were some headaches that couldn't fully be explained by the carpet fumes at the new office.

I just found out why. As I took my contact out tonight, it turns out I had two in my right eye. Not really sure how that happened, but man was it weird to see.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Point Reyes National Seashore

I went backpacking with some squinks this weekend on the beach. And while it was only a short walk to camp we had some fun. Actually it was only 2 miles to camp so I think of it more as car camping. In fact when Mike forgot his Swiss Army Knife I almost ran back to the car to get it figuring the round trip might be shorter than opening the cans without it. On the other hand, I'm glad I didn't since I learned that a $0.99 beener from Home Depot works better than a Swiss Army Knife to open a bottle of mole.

In spite of the nearness to the car we had some good adventures. We played in the tide pools and wandered along the rocks at the coast where you had to run between the waves to stay on dry sand as you went around an outcropping. Or in the case of one of them waded out through some freakin' cold water at 'nad and nipple depth as the waves went past.

But I'm getting better at picking out spanish. Not enough to get by, but enough to sometimes follow the gist of conversation. (I was one of only 2 people on the trip who didn't understand spanish). I really need to go spend a couple of months in Vera Cruz. Y'know. For the children.


Friday, October 07, 2005


I've added the vanity thumbnail to my rss feed. Time to see if I can see myself in bloglines.

I've also updated it with something halloweeny for October. Not sure if I'll updated it monthly but maybe I'll update it as regularly as I update my calander at home.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I just spent the last 20 minutes reading 3 .h's to figure out how this works. I am so impressed and scared, but it's really damn cool. And a hell of an exercise to figure out how it works. And as opposed to my setjmp/lngjmp ideas, this appears to actually work.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I had one of those 'you have chosen ... wisely' moments. Well it's probably more luck, but that doesn't sound as good. I had to decide on Friday which of the two new movies that came out to go see and I picked Serenity over MirrorMask (mostly so no one spoiled it for me). As it turns out that was the right decision.

Pat invited me to come down to Santa Cruz for the Midnight Mystery Movie Marathon. 6 movies from midnight to noon, and you didn't know what they would be ahead of time. Since I hadn't been to a midnight movie in a while I figured I'ld go down and watch a couple. And the first movie was MirrorMask.

And it was gorgeous. It was one of those movies that just made me happy because it was so pretty. The reality portion of the story was offbeat enough to blend naturally into the fantasy, and the computer graphics were unobstrusive. And did I mention it was beautiful. The rest of the pieces of the movie where enjoyable. That is it has the Neil Gaiman feeling to the narrative that I enjoy.

Anyhoo. If you get a warm fuzzy from watching the sun rise over the horizon, find a theater where this is playing and go see it.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I need Serenity

Watching the Joss Whedon movie made me elated in ways I haven't felt since the heights of Buffy and Angel. But it also makes me sad that I'm not regularly exposed to that humor and style any more. The movie was incredible. I am very happy with the results

Though, there was one thing of note. I had a hard time viewing the assassin as evil. That comes from the fact that I heard a story from one of the people I went to comiccon with who had been at a picnic with the actor and his wife and had overheard him being told "well you need to go take care of your daughter." It was kinda hard to see him as the bad ass alpha male after hearing that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Silly LJ Quiz

You Are A: Monkey!

monkeyMonkeys are intelligent and agile, well-adapted for jungle life as they swing happily from tree to tree. As a monkey, you are a social animal who prefers a warm climate, eats a wide range of food and is quick to learn new things. A monkey's tiny primate features are irresistable, as is his gregarious personality!

You were almost a: Pony or a Bear Cub
You are least like a: Groundhog or a MouseDiscover What Cute Animal You Are!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Old la Honda

Bryn and I finally got around to climbing up Old la Honda today. It's a road that runs up to Skyline Blvd (which runs along the highpoint of the mountains on the peninsula) from Woodside. So we started at sea level (I know this since the new offices is pretty much right on the Bay) and climbed to 1461 feet. Bryn uses Old la Honda as a metric of bike fitness, and I don't feel too bad about my 29:40 time. I just made it up in under a half hour.

The worst part was that once on Skyline we then went over to Old King's Road (or something like that) to get back down, which means that on Skyline we re-climbed that last 400 feet 3 or 4 times.

I thought my legs were tired after that Page Mill run. But at least that was just short term fatigue. This is much more fully worn down on energy. That handicapped seat in the shower never looked so tempting before.

But it was a ton of fun (and that worn out feeling is always a good one). And today was a perfect day for a ride like that because the sun was out and was just the right temperature not to overheat, and not to be too cool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Scotchtoberfest 2005

I just sent out the invite. Of course if I forgot someone, drop me a line so I can make sure to give you a link to the details.

I can't believe it's time to start thinking scotch again. And to put you in the mood, here are some pictures...



Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Let the rains come.

I'm sitting at home waiting for the water delivery guy to come and set me up with a water dispenser. It'll be so sweet to have on-demand steeping temperature water.

In the meanwhiles, it's actually thundering outside right now. It's so cool. I just hope that the tarp I threw over ThunderBolt gives it sufficient protection from the elements.

Actually, I just walked outside to check the tarp, and saw the brightest bolt of lightning I've ever seen (and it's still pretty light out right now). Whoa.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Get back into the swing...

Well the school year has started, and I'm now once again on hard gym time. Well relatively, as I've got some fatigue to shake off. But my climbing strength is restoring itself. And I hit up the exercise bike this evening. And while I believe my heartrate was higher for comparable work than when I last used it a few months ago, I am a lot more comfortable exercing at high 160 bpm. That's a good thing, right?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Page Mill: 11:15

I bested my previous record by ten seconds. Guess it pays not to use the lowest gear.

My legs hurt.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mate Vana

I wandered off to the Stanford Shopping Center yesterday in search of an iPod nano (which I was unable to find. God bless internet shopping. However since I was there, I figured I'ld drop in on the cute ladies who run the tea shop there.

Since I have taken to brewing tea some mornings as a coffee alternative I asked them for a recommendation for a strongly caffinated tea. The reply (from all three in unison) was Mate Vana. Not sure what it was, they opened the container for me, and I was met by a far fruitier aroma than I'ld previously assosiated with caffinated teas. I figured I'ld give it a shot, so I left with my standard 4oz container of loose leaf. (I just like ordering things in quarter-pounds).

This morning I brewed a pot to get me going, and I was very impressed. Granted I drank far more (by volume) tea than I normally would consume in coffee. But it was a great way to start the day, and I felt little need for more later.

I also discovered that those thermi ... thermoses? ... therma? (what is that the plural of thermos?) are useful for bringing along extra brew for after a morning bike ride.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Chassis Fans

Well, I finally got around to trying to "emerge -uD world" on my gentoo box in my living room. Except that it kept croaking in compiling. And every time it rebooted (of it's own accord), the CPU temp was about 66°C. Wow. 2/3 of the way to boiling water. So I went to frys and picked up a chassis fan to help cool the system down.

The good news is that it worked. The bad news is that I pulled a Home-Improvement on it (i.e. "More Power") and now have something that sounds like a wind tunnel going in my living room. The wind speed is actually causing the scroll poster I have hung above the computer to ripple continuously.

Luckily if I close my bedroom door at night I can get to sleep. I'm thinking a couple more days looking for the right apm setting to slow this fucker down, or else I'm going to have to move the computer to a close somewhere.

Or, y'know, get another fan and pay attention to the purchase this time.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Keith vs. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Partly inspired by having a three day weekend, and partly inspired by some snide comments at work, I've taken some time this weekend to move the front in the war with entropy at 1032 Montgomery St. And I must say that physics is losing ground here. Yeah, yeah, I've exported more entropy than I've disposed of, so the net universal effect is positive. (Especially at wherever they dropped off the trash they picked up this morning) But in my microcosm, I've gained some headway.

Actually it's a little disturbing. I've moved my little pentium linux router and cleaned up the 3 year dust that had been accumulating behind it. That means the only significant mess left is Ishy's room. I don't think my current KMart vacuum could handle that much dog hair though, so I might have to make a manual pass before breaking out machinery.

Oh, and there's a part of me that really hates a clean bathroom. I always feel guilty using it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Trainwreck Effect

In talking with Rich today, he pointed this out to me. It's the blog of a fictional anonymous partner in a law firm in L.A. The narcisistic, greed infested postings are having a bit of a train wreck effect on me, and I can't stop reading it. Seriously I've probably spent more time reading it today than any book in the last month (and I've actually been in a reading sort of place lately).

Between the Machiavellian philosophy and the familial derisions ("another dreadful movie pitched right at Anonymous Wife's minimal IQ ve. (Especially at wherever they dropped off the trash they picked up this morning) But in my microcosm, I've gained some headway.

Actually it's a little disturbing. I've moved my little pentium linux router and cleaned up the 3 year dust that had been accumulating behind it. That means the only significant mess left is Ishy's room. I don't think my current KMart vacuum could handle that much dog hair though, so I might have to make a manual pass before breaking out machinery.

Oh, and there's a part of me that really hates a clean bathroom. I always feel guilty using it.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Day in New York

Yesterday I got the chance to see my family in New York. Actually not just my current family, but my soon-to-be family as well. Jaime had her engagement party on Saturday.

I flew into JFK at 6a.m. and Jaime picked me up and took me to hang out at her Brooklyn apartment. We spent the morning going around Prospect Park (where the party was to be held), getting some New York bagels, and just generally catching up. It's been a long time since I've gotten to talk with her in person, so I was happy to have the chance.

Actually it was great to see all of my family. It reminded me of how great they all are and how much I enjoy being with them. It's also very weird to only see them every 6 months or so, and so I've only got stop-motion photography style memories of how they look and who they are. And they change so much in that time it's surprising.

Anyway, I also got to meet Cate's family, which was nice. She's such a great person, and I'm glad her family is the same. We all bonded over food and touch football, and had a pretty great time. (Actually all of the little kids from Cate's family, and I don't know all the relations, were firmly convinced that david is a ninja, so it was neat to watch him show off).

But alas, Keith can be stupid sometimes, and booked himself a flight back home the very same day that he arrived. So there was a mad dash back to the airport, and I barely made my flight back home. But I made it back, safe and sound. And have tried to make up for my absense with Ishy today.

Anyway, check out the pictures

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I've been thinking about that last post a lot today. Mostly because I'm an overly appologetic type of person who feels bad every time he drinks too much from his own emotions.

It occurs to me that I may have diverted some of the large pile of emotional bullshit I'm trying to deal with right now towards a ... well ... non-combatant if you will.

I need to get my emotions under control. Or at the very least work out exactly what it is I feel.

And I need to do so soon. I don't have much social civility left.

Fuck you GoogleTalk Installer

So while google talks about the whole 'Do no evil' philosophy, I must admit I'm pretty pissed at the new google talk installer. It violates a half dozen rules of ettiquette on installation. Namely:
  • I have no choice for where it gets installed. You don't want it in Program Files\Google\Google Talk? Tough Shit.
  • It installs the google toolbar without asking
  • It installs an icon on your desktop. Without asking (do we see a pattern here)
  • It starts up the application automatically
  • It sets the application to automatically start on boot
Hey guys. C'mon. I'm sure you were in a rush to release here. But this is simple shit to do. (I know. I helped write bits of the NSIS installer they use) It's actually to the point where I wonder if I should have had ethereal up to watch for any personal information being uploaded.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Uncle Frank's is open again

Went there for lunch today. Woot. Maybe tomorrow too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

'Bout damn time...

I head a while ago that Microsoft was madly scrambling to hire anyone who was ever even remotely connected to search (before Google could get them). I must admit that I had been a bit disappointed that my name hadn't come up in their searching (in spite of the fact that I couldn't come up with a way for it to have).

That is until yesterday, when I got the following e-mail. Of course, I'm still not really sure how they would have gotten my name, but it's nice to know I'm wanted. Even if they don't have a chance.

Hi Keith,
I am a member of the Microsoft Central Sourcing Team. Microsoft is seeking world class engineers to help create products that help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
Your name and contact info was brought to my attention as someone who could potentially be a contributor at Microsoft, particularly with our MSN Search Team in Mountain View, CA or Redmond, WA. I would love an opportunity to speak with you in detail about your interest in a career at Microsoft, along with your experience, background and qualifications. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have and can also provide you with any information I have available in regard to the positions and work life at Microsoft.
Please take a moment to visit My Calendar online to schedule a convenient time for me to contact you. You can learn more about our vision for the New World of Work at
Additionally, if you are aware of any current or previous colleagues who might also be interested in opportunities at Microsoft, I would be happy to speak with them as well. Referrals are always welcome, and are greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance and I look forward to an opportunity to speak to you in the near future
Best regards,
<microsoft rep>

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Blood Bucket Ballyhoo

Last night Pat, Jason, Kevin and I went to the hypnodrome in San Francisco to see a series of plays entitled 'Blood Bucket Ballyhoo'. It's put on my a troop called the thrillpeddlers, who contiue the Grand Guignol tradion. Mostly this means they have plays of violence and depravity.

Actually this is the troop that puts on Shocktoberfest which I've been to the last two years, and it's a very good halloween show. And this summer showing was also very amusing. The prosthetics where (as always) impressive. As was the fake blood. It's amusing that the stage hands have to come out with a mop to clean up the stage at intermission.

The four of us sat in the front row (of three, it's a nice small theater). And I recognised a big difference between a live action performance and say a movie. I've never actually sat that close at a performance before, but the fact was, that the actors do interact with the audience, if by nothing else, than by subtle shifts in eye contact when they face out from the stage.

Anyhoo, rambling aside, it's a good show. And since it runs through to the start of Shoctoberfest, I may try to see it again if I can find someone with whom to share a "shock box".

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tequilaugust 2005

Well on Saturday I attended a party that MattPaul hosted which was inspired by scotchtoberfest. Along the same lines, he set up a Tequilaugust party wherein I got to try out a number of very good tequilas (and some bad ones bought for bottle shape. It's amazing how well that rule of thumb works).

Anyway, much fun was had and I got rip roaringly drunk. So much so that in spite of having planned to walk the mile to Bryn's house to pass out on his hammock (which he graciously offered. I was just asking that he not call the cops if I slept in my car in front of his yard), I didn't even make it out the front door until the next morning. Probably a good thing I didn't try, because who knows where I would have ended up.

Oh, and I've started using flickr for hosting my pictures. I'll have to see how long this lasts.

New Fashion

I've gone and done it. I've purchased a Joey's bag. For those not familiar with the phrase, it come's from the Friends episode where Joey gets very attached to his man-purse. However since neither Andrew nor I are going around carrying something called a man-purse we refer to them as a Joey's bag.

The thing is that my camelback that I've been using to carry stuff on my motorcycle doesn't have enough space for everything I want to bring around. It's not really designed for bike travel. And it's not very stylish on my leather jacket. With neither classical nor romantic Quality I've decided it's probably time to find something better.

And the REI catalog this month had a good recomendation. They've got a new messengers bag for bicycle travel that works remarkably well for motorcycle travel as well. It's well balanced and affixes nicely to my back so it's not shifting anywhere in a turn. I just hope I don't need to make use of the water-proofed zippers it's got.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A Gallon of Milk

A lot of people know about the urban legend that you can't drink a gallon of milk in an hour. There's lots of reasons put forth. Some are sensible (it's a lot to drink of anything). Some are interresting (it's a lot of cold liquid to warm up). Some are truely bizzare (you can't break down that much lactose in that time frame). Well in true Mythbusters style, Arin and I made the attempt today.

Arin got a good 75% through. Pretty impressive I must admit. I actually got to within a pint, and with 5 minutes left. At that point I made the decision not to finish. I was pretty sure I could have (though I would have drank that last pint outside on the balcony. Just in case). But I had that moment of realization where I knew what the next 6 hours at the office would be like, and didn't want that.

I must be getting old. I think I need to go find some scientologists and raise my stupidity level back some.

Oh, and the cold thing. That's valid. The digestive thing. That's not. I was damn cold at the end of that hour and wrapped myself in a blanket. Other than that, the only side effects were consistant with a large quantity of liquid in your system.

It's definetely possible. It's on the edge of hard. I will now look down on people who attempt this and reach critical failure.

Anyway, we did this with 1% milk. A pretty good choice. Enough flavor to not be boring, but not so thick to impair drinking. And I did some math. That milk containes 1920 calories. Of course you burn 60 calories just bringing 4 liters of liquid from 12 to 27 degress celcius so it's really only 1860. 7/8's I think puts be at about 1600. Four slices of pizza, and breakfast put me up at about 2600 for the day (I'm actually still very not hungry, so no dinner). And given I went bike riding for 3 hours today (~2100 calories) I think today might end up in the negative column. Woot!

Oh, and while I did the bike ride to work I ran some numbers. If 20mph burns you 700 calories/hour on a bike, and a gallon of milk is 1920 calories, you get between 50 and 55 miles to the gallon on human power. Given that gas and milk prices are about the same ... well I won't draw any conclusions here. Just something I've been thinking about.

Oh, and one bit of stupidity. I forgot to look up the LD50 of calcium and Vitamin D beforehand. Thankfully halfway through I remembered and we were nowhere near.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hiatus Update

It's entirely possible I spoke too soon. As I tried to get my comiccon pictures up (check out leia by the way, she's my new desktop at work) I realize that my photo album code did need a bit of tweaking to make it fully perl -T'able. Looks like it works now.


Sorry for the long hiatus... but here's the cause.

Someone on my hosted server got us 0wn3d. Well not too owned, but there was a hole in someone's scripts somewhere that allowed a cracker to gain access to our system. We used this as a seed crystal to clean out the server and help bring management of the box in line with what time people can put into it.

But we've been running in super safe mode, and hadn't even turned ExecCGI back on until now (and I had no intention of being the first to do it). But all my code is running in taint mode now -- and remarkably it only took me about 5 minutes of minor fixes in one library to get there. Woot. It's good to write good code.

Anyway, I've got a long omnibus post coming for the last two weeks worth of stuff (and a lot happened), and I'm going to work on it, but I'm not sure how long it will be before it gets posted.

So sit back, relax and comment away, 'cause ginyu's back.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wow, that's a helluva tool kit

Thunderbolt's license plate came today. I went to install it and brought along my screwdriver. The license plate holder is screwed in place, but connected to a bolt. Since I was lazy and didn't want to talk the 8 feet back inside my house to get a wrench, I opened up the tool kit that came with the bike.

. It's amazing the densisty of useful function to volume in that kit. There were a coulple of allen wrenches three sizes of screw driver, a bunch of normal wrenches, a universal joint, and a cylinder of metal I can only think to use to persuade stubborn metal limbs into alignment. And it all fits in this tiny little pouch under my seat. Sweet.

R.I.P. Luther Vandross

R&B singer, Luther Vandross, died this weekend. In honor and memory (though none of us really know any of his songs) the whole office had Luther burgers for lunch today.

O.K. now I need to deal with my oncoming sugar crash.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Note to Self

Give more time and a more thorough washing of your hands between spicy wings and removing your contact lenses.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Keith gets some sun

So apparently, even with a motorcycle helmet on, I still have enough exposed skin to cause quite a burn. Which I did quite nicely on Saturday. And of course, at this point the sensible thing to do (given that I like to drive Sally topless) would be to put on sunscreen Sunday and Monday. But when am I ever sensible. I think I need to go raid Andrew's aloe plant. Or just drink lots of water. I think the water would be easier. I'm not really sure what he does to that plant to make himself feel better.

Also. Bullfrog sun block kicks ass. I used it all through Idaho without a single burn. I used it so sparingly I had begun to think I no longer needed to (as Andrew puts it) curse my bog dwelling ancestors.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Advertising networks

Given my typical media consumption of comics and newsday, it's of little surprise that the print ads I receive tend to be for walmart and videogames. I always figured there had to be ways of getting exposed to higher class advertising. And I kinda figured there would be a back door (i.e. a way without dropping several grand at an art show). Well a few months ago, I donated to NPR and they set me up with a subscription to a high-brow San Francisco magazine which has a whole lot of ads I don't see anywhere else.

Anyway, an ad for this company caught my eye today. Model Quality Introductions. As far as I can tell, it's "find yourself a trophy wife" dot com. Nifty.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

MSF Skills Test - Take 2

I don't know if I mentioned this here. I was a bit ashamed. But I failed my first attempt at passing the motorcycle skills test for my class. In my defense, I'ld like to say that I failed it the manly way. That is, I overcut a turn and crossed a boundary the hard way that seems to be way overrated in the gonna-make-you-fail department. But none-the-less I had to take the test a second time.

And I did today. Now there's a funny story here. Like golf, points are bad on this test. 21 makes you fail (that's actually the exact number I got the first time around). And there are two automatic 21 points during the test.

One is to commit an unsafe act. There are lots of ways this can be meant, but the canonical example they give is to pop a wheelie in excitement. Running over people apparently also counts.

The other was originally described to me as "if the bike ever becomes less than vertical". Which I interpret as "if you drop the bike". However this time, the guy giving me the test specified it a little more exactly with "if anything other than the tires or sidestand touch the ground". Subtle difference.

Well, anyway, I pick a bike. Get familiar with it. Start up the test. I'm nervous as hell which often helps me out. I get through the figure eight and swerve and figure I'm doing O.K. Then during the quick-stop I think to myself that I could have done better and start beating myself up. Next comes the last part. The part I messed up on last time.

Well first, as I'm driving over there, a bunch of students for the next section take this opportunity to wwalk right in front of me, and visions of unsafe acts cloud my mind. Unnecessary, true, but still there to freak me out.

So I start up the last part, paranoid as hell. Go through the first turn, then go through the second turn, which is 135 degrees and timed. So I end up going through the turn quickly. And I scrape the foot peg on the ground. And the tester comments on it. The only thing going through my head now is "Fuck! Well that breaks the letter of the automatic failure as it was told to me today".

Turns out, he was commenting on good style. Not bad. And he was impressed. Actually, as it turns out I got a perfect score. Guess I didn't need to quick stop any faster.

Say hello to the newest menace to society.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Google maps API

Well google realeased some javascript api calls for their mapping program. Here's my first pass usage with it. It's all the in-n-outs marked with whether or not I've visited them.

Google: Please add a call to do address to lat/long calculations. Even if it's not javascript, I don't want to have to do the ghetto wget hack that I've got going on right now.

Bad Keith. No biscuit for you.

I haven't updated in over two weeks. Granted one of those was in Idaho and at least 50 miles from any internet acces (woot). I completely understand now why people live there. It's beautiful. I seriously contemplated what it would take to buy a place out there. I'll have full details for that trip once I get photos from everyone (my camera's batteries where dead so no personal pics).

In the meanwhiles, I've been busy at work. But Stephen was kind enough to leave me a birthday present today. I had mentioned how riding my motorcycle would cause, well some iritation and itching. So to help he got me some anti monkey butt powder. I'll let you know how it works.

And I'm gonna have to figure out what to do about my Oregon speeding ticket. There was no way that road should have been 55. And I really don't think I was doing 85. I wonder how much consideration judges give written out of state depositions.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Have fun in Zurich

Lexi and Andrew's flight to europe departed a few hours ago. They left a birthday present on my doorstep (thanks guys). I can't help but think about how empty the house will be this summer. At least last year I was all bitter and introvertive when they left (in case you forgot, here's why).

Well I don't have to worry about it for a week, as I will be in Idaho for 7 days rafting on the third best river in the U.S. (I'm not really sure what comes between the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and the south fork of the Salmon River). I'm not necessarily looking forward to a 13 hour drive with 5 high school students, but these are the well behaved, can-stand-a-week-of-them breed, so it shouldn't be too bad.

In the meanwhile, I've got about 10-20 pounds of pig that need to be consumed, so I'm going to be making some chile for the office. At the very least someone will take out the trash there before I get back from Idaho.

Lessons Learned While Biking

1. I accurately input the circumference of my wheel into my bike's computer and consequently the speedometer part works as it should.

2. It is in fact possible to set of those stationary radar speed detectors on roads while on a bike.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pig Roast

On saturday we bid our farewell to Lexi and Andrew. Well we celebrated their approaching time in Zurich. And we did it with a whole pig. We had so many people over that I definetly consider the party a success. The yard was quite full and there was significant bleed into the house (though that was precipitated by Pruett's visit and complete lack of interrest in watching a pig be sliced up for food).

The imu worked well, and I have some ideas on how to improve it as when we pulled Wilber out, he wasn't done cooking. Some quick work with my camping knife (I'm so happy with my purchase from Colorado) and he was ready to be finished on the grill. Of course even with the crowd we gathered, I still have about 20 pounds of pig in my fridge. I have to be very careful any time I open the door as Ishy gets a little excited to see it.

And what would be a party without some alcohol? I had a little to drink and was easily persuaded to juggle and breath fire for a bit. I wasn't thinking at the time that it was all that luau-y (more Ricketts-y) but in retrospect I suppose it added to the atmosphere.


Friday, June 10, 2005

That's a lot of chemical energy

There is currently a couple of micro-Hiroshima's of chemical energy sitting in the imu in my back yard. I've got my fingers crossed that the paper in the center doesn't spontaneously combust while I'm at work today. (I've got it covered and there's no way it's getting to Farenheit 451, but still).

I managed to find everything I needed at Osh and Nob Hill this morning. As soon as I pick up the pig tonight, I'm ready for a luau. Did you know that they make something called a Pig Bag expicitly for carrying pigs. Apparently it's a hunting thing. I'm so glad Tolles mentioned it to me.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Banana Leaves

As the time before I take posession of my pig approaches, I'm starting to realize I need to work out some of the details for it's preperations. (I don't know whether to call it Wilber or Charlene yet). Yesterday I went to Chavez Meat market upon Mike's recommendation looking for banana leaves and was a little disappointed with their selection. So today, I wandered of the Ranch 99 in Foster City. I hadn't realized there was one so close until I started doing some investigation.

I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for (as this is my first luau attempt) so I wandered through fresh produce for a while finding nothing. Then on a hunch I went through the freezer section and stubled through dumb luck upon them. I went in thinking I needed about 30 pounds (given a 50 pound pig that seems reasonable, along with some whiskey coated burlap sacks to steam the pig) and to my surprise they had exactly 29 one pound bags. Sweet.

So, now that I have the pig to pick up tomorrow, a hole dug, and 30lbs of banana leaves, all that's left is a big ass pile of hardwood, some porous rocks, a 'pig sack' (apparently I can get one at a gun store -- I'll go see if I can find it tonight) and a bottle of Jack Daniels. I've got a plan for everything other than the rocks. Not really sure where I'm going to get those, but hopefully inspiration will strike before too late tomorrow.

Oh, and if I've forgotten to invite anyone to the BBQ, stop on by Saturday at about 5 or 6. We'll need some help with all this meat.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Friday, June 03, 2005

Damn gas prices...

I put some gas in ThunderBolt for the first time today. It cost me almost $5 to fill up half the tank. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Everyone say hello to ThunderBolt

I had several errands to run in San Francisco on Saturday. Well I had one errand to run, and several opportunities while I was there. I had to put a deposit on a pig for the roast (It'll be on June 11th, and if Andrew doesn't send out an evite tomorrow I'll kick his ass and send one out myself). But since I was going to be in San Francisco, I thought I would check out Diesel's line of clothing as an on-line poll recommended that it's style matched mine and I'm looking for an alternative to clear cutting loggers.

And since I was going to be in the city, and it was Memorial Day weekend, and Golden Gate Cycles was having a sale, I thought I would drop in and ogle some bikes for a while. Now, armed with a nice list of things to do and a solid says worth of work, I thought some company for some of it would be nice, so I invited TeaGirl to lunch. She thought shopping would be fun, so I was pleasantly surprised with a whole day of company. Which turned out well. It's important to get some feminine opinion on clothing before you buy it.

But I found myself talking with a sales guy at the motorcycle dealership for a while, and he showed me a number of bikes that were to my liking and about what I wanted. Then he showed my what shall now be called 'ThunderBolt' (thanks TeaGirl for the name). It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for, and was on sale for a significant reduction in price that put it only slightly more expensive than a lot of the used bikes I had been looking at on Craig's list.

Remembering my fathers advice about buying used bikes from random people (and a little bit of hubris about whether or not I will ever drop my first bike) helped sway me torward the purchase. I did hesitate for quite a while on the purchase, and even gave the sales guy a little bit of a scare, because as I was hemming and hawing, another guy was trying to purchase the bike. Thankfully his credit report took a while to get, and since I was paying cash, I got to take the bike out from under him (metaphorically).

Of course I had neither insurance, nor my gear with me, so I had them hold onto the bike until today when I caltrained up with my helmet and gloves and drove off to work with it. It's so much fun. I didn't realize how much I missed riding a bike, even in 2 hours of stop lights (which was good start/stop practice for me) I had a blast.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The joys of being on the ACLU's mailing list...

Sometimes you just misread a headline...

Alzheimer victim sold 11 organs

I think I'm reading too much horror these days ...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Helpful neighbors

The guys cleaning up the yard are going to finish up today, but they needed full access to the driveway to cart away the crap and debris that was back there. This means that I had to move my Jeep. The only problem with that is that it's been sitting there for a few months without actually being run so the battery was completely dead. And the hood realease appears to be jammed so no jumping it (I'm glad I've now got this weekend free to look into these issues)

So I had to put the Jeep into neutral and push. Not so bad on the level surface of my driveway (though steering was interresting), but once I got to the dip in the curb and had to push the jeep up the small hill into the street, well I was stuck with a Jeep half blocking Montgomery St.

Thankfully the car that was bearing down on me was driven by my neighbor coming back from the grocery store, and she wondered what I was doing. Thankfully she offered to help in spite of not knowing exactly what she could do. That's a good lesson to learn. You can always offer help, even if you don't think it will do any good.

So I had her steer and was able to aply more brute force on the hood than I was from the open door, and made quick work of parking it on the street. That was an interresting way to start a day I thought would be quite lazy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Crank it up...

If it's not work friendly, you should consider working somewhere else...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Mike and his friend Keith are some Dumb Motherfuckers

Mike and I went scouting out the Arroyo Seco backpacking trip in preparation for taking the squinks on it next weekend. We mostly thought we'ld check it out and look for good spots to camp, and refamiliarize ourselves with the pathways. Of course this year has had some exceptional rainfall, and so the river was running a bit hard and we made preparations to check into that as well.

The short of it is that we're not taking the kids out next weekend.

The setup for this trip requires parking one car at the Arroyo Seco camp grounds, and another at Escandito Park. When we went to the camp grounds to park, my car, we discovered neither of us had $10 in cash to put in the drop for parking. We left a note and promised to finish paying our tab when we got done with the trip. And as we left we noticed a police officer who must have followed us driving at very high speed through the hills leading up to the camp grounds and was probably very disappointed that there was no one to ticket.

Then we wandered off to Escandito park. This drive requires spending some time on Fort Ligget Army Base. They're pretty cool about it (at least for army men), and skipped the anal probe for just license, registration, and proof of insurance. Of course knowing they would ask for my license when I drive through on Sunday, and not wanting to carry a wallet down river, I had left my ID in my car. I explained that to the guy and he nicely let us pass without too much of a scoul.

We finally pull into the starting camp grounds and about midnight friday, and discover the road leading up to Escandito park is closed, so we have an extra 3 miles to hike to start off Saturday morning. We pass out, wake up the next day and start walking in spite of these set backs.

At about 9a.m. we hit the river and start having some real fun. Well for certain values of fun. Mike has the brilliant idea of throwing on our wet suits and just cruising down the rapids (which with the high flow are significant enough to do this) holding onto our packs. This means we're floating downriver banging into rocks left right and center. Oh boy did I take some nice shots to my thighs and hips. Thankfully the PFD save me from the worst of the chest shots, and by some miracle I never needed a cup.

But the water was still about 60 degrees and cold. We made great progress and made it well past where we had spent the night last time, but being in a canyon, we lost direct sunlight at about 6p.m. and had to stop for the night. This meant a 12 hour intensive recovery sleep that both Mike and I appreciated.

The next day we get up and start heading for the waterfall that we know is close, and is the crux of our scouting. We continue to run the rapids in our crazy manner, but more gingerly, and with some planning to avoid the worst of the hits.

When we get to ehte waterdfall it's game over, man, game over. There is a whirlpool that is pretty bad and then the 6 foot drop with a whole lot of water running. This is running in a rock sluice about 4 feet wide. So we go up the rocks on the side and look if we can jump it. It would be a 30-40 foot drop into water that probably was deep enough not to break our ankles.

Well no kids are being brought on this trip, and we're not continuing down river. Mike says it's time to go back up river. And this is the point where I have the idea that gets me initiated into the dumbass club. I suggest we climb the ridge to get up to the service road. This is 1000 vertical feet of bushwaking through vegetation that should be hacked with a machete (which we didn't bring with us). Somehow I did manage to convince Mike that this was a good idea long enough to get us up to the point where it would be too much work to go back down.

So for 2 hours we're climbing, and clawing and hacking, and trying not to fall. Trying not to give into the urge to sit for a break (as we'ld never get back up). Trying not to fall down with the loose rocks and sand. And trying to avoid as much of the ever present poison oak as was possible. I really don't know how we made it, but we both knew that there was nothing to do but continue upward.

It's actually kinda weird because while I was hurt, tired, and fighting the urge to give up (though not really sure what that would mean), I was at no point resentful, or in any real danger of actually whining or giving up. I'm not sure where that came from, but I'm glad that in the last year I've developed some mental fortitude, because the last time we where there, the hiking alone got me to my asocial and bitchy point. (It's an interresting combination, because I don't talk to people so I only bitch in my head).

But anyway for 2 hours we stared up the hill at the road which mocked us from above. Always it was getting closer but at a rate that would drive you insane. Finally we crest and we find a shady spot, and I finall break open my Nalgene and take some water (it only held a liter, and we still had 6 miles of sun beaten hiking to go once we crested). That was one of the sweetest breaks I've ever had.

After enough time to get to the point to try walking again, we trudge along for 3 miles until we get to the point where we would have pulled out had we gone along the river to its end. With minimal communication Mike and I walk down to the river bank to refill our water bottles, and spend some time in the cool water.

Turns out that we really needed it. It was refreshing and energizing, and we got back to joking and joshing for the remaining 3 miles before finding my car, and heading out to King City for some Chile Rellenos.

Last Week Omnibus

Well I haven't posted in a while, here are the highlights from the last week.

Cherie Graduates

I spent the previous weekend in Syracuse with the family to celebrate Cherie's graduation. It's definetly an experience to watch 15,000 people graduate simultaneously. And it was cool that Cherie got named to a couple of prizes in the History department. Pictures

Sally is all Dudded Up

I got Sally back on Tuesday and she's so pretty now. No more gashes. No more yellow scrapings. Just clean. And black. And awesome. Of course she needs a bath after a week of driving, but it's so nice to driver her around.


And on Tuesday I went out to dinner with a couple of friends on a set-up. I had a lot of fun, and learned how to sign (as in American Sign Language) a whole bunch of dirty words.

Stupid Americans...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Lazy weekends lead to lazy weeks

I had my last completely free weekend for about two months a few days ago. I've actually got plans for every weekend through the end of June, and July appears to be filling fast. Looks like I'm not going to be getting any Fortress of Solitude days for quite some time. I think that'll be OK. Especially if Tuesady goes well.

But it weird how a lazy weekend (all my precious plans to go on a nice long Saturday or Sunday bike ride in the hills turned to dust through hangover and rain) has seemed to set up a lazy week. Monday mornings ride was called on account of rain, Tuesday's make-up ride I did alone, and yesterdays climbing was canceled on account of illness.


Of course all that was written before I just went to the gym now. And while there I realized that I'm actually the strongest now that I have ever been. While I suppose that isn't saying all that much, and I definetly know that I'm in better shape than I've ever been, I was able to solidly quantify it at the bench tonight. Pretty sweet.

Oh, and while I was at the gym I thought of mom. Mostly because I had an idea about how to optimize for efficiency for one of the exercises Mike suggested the Peters-bar-theory. At which point I wondered what a Peters over 2*pi would work out to.

Geek points awarded to all who got that...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I now own Kangaroo Skin

Yet another species of animal has contributed, through its death, to my happiness now. I went to Golden Gate Cycles in the city upon recommendation from Tolles to aquire a helment and gloves. I have no intention of wearing loaner versions of those at my motorcycle class (did I mention I got my permit last week?) when I'm going to need to by my own anyway.

And talking with the guy at the store, I ended up with the really high end gloves which are made from kangaroo skin because their leather is tougher even the deer. So it's all about protecting my hands. And the knuckles are actually carbon fiber, so while they are protecting me from rocks debris, and heaven forbid a good fall, they also give the gloves this Mad Maz vibe.

For my helmet, well, I now have a new most expensive wearable. But since it's to protect my brain, I figure that's wear to spend the money. Even after reading the helmet review Stephen pointed to me that said Snell is just a marketing gimick, and not really going to protect me in realistic falls, I still went with them. First because it's hard not too. Second, I really didn't want to have that conversation with my dad. And third, the review was written by a 40-50 year old guy who is a lot more likly to take serious damage in a lower impact crash. I think my body is a lot more likely to do well there, and I damn well want the protection should I be in a very high energy crash.

But anyway, I'm all decked out. All I need now is a bike.

Lampshade Drunk

Oh boy was that some hangover yesterday. Andrew and Lexi had their penultimate BBQ on Friday night (the ultimate will be when we get a pig just before the head off to Zurich -- speaking of which I need to make some phone calls). It was a wild success and a crazy Basteel bash. I made the mistake of finisihing off 4 mostly empty bottles left from Scotchtoberfest. After a few glasses of burbon, I guess I misjudged how much was left in each because I was flying.

I have at times bemoaned the fact that I thought I couldn't get to the point that I referred to as Lampshade Drunk. Stupid beyond recognition, but in an outgoing and extrovertive way. Well, while there was no lampshade on my head, I hit that point with flying colors, and other than a slight emotional immaturity on my part, I'm glad I got there.

I'm also glad that there weren't pictures of some of the stupid things I did that were told to me as news the next day (I think it's one of the more complete black outs I've had). Things like, grabbing Lexi's ass, eating raw pork, and being harrassed as I tried to pass out in bed by Mike and Gen. I believe all my friendships are still in tact, but I have no idea if I made any progress forward or backward with Allysa (Andrew and Mike's oh so hot co-worker).

However, I wasn't the only one that rip roaring drunk. Ishy actually recieved an hour long lecture on Nitze by Samm. I'm still waiting for Ishy to start quoting it back to me.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sally is getting an acid wash

Well actually her skin is going to be removed by sand blasting, but the technique is similar. My mustang convertible is now in the shop to get a completly new paint job to help clean up all the dings, scratches and two large dents that have accumulated from my stupidity over the last five years. In the meanwhile I will be driving a Pontiac Grand Am remtal, which is nice and sporty. It's not Sally, and I fear I will miss her this week, but I'm really looking forward to having her spiffy and new.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Backpacking with Boy Scouts

Last weekend I wandered off with Mike and Mel to go backpacking with squinks. We headed off to Henry Coe park which is right outside of Morgan Hill (which is in turn about 10 miles south of San Jose). Mel works with a troop of Boy Scouts in the East Bay, so we had P-Wood and Sean from Sequoia and a half dozen scouts. It's definetly been a while since I've hung out with scouts, and these were some well behaved boys.

It continues to amaze me how well behaved and mature the kids I meet are. I know that my whitebread, suburban friends where neither so consientious nor mature when I was in scouts. I still have yet to set up the right control to know whether this is because of a hardening process that comes from living in the ghetto (and for some of these boys that's not hyperbole), or whether Mel and Mike aren't going to be taking out troublemakers. I suspect it's a linear combination of the two.

Regardless, I had a great time. My leadership skills are improving (I actually took the initiative and set a limit for the kids at one point), though since the other adults were talking about enrolling me in a leadership training class so I can take the kids out on my own there's a voice in the back of my head suggesting that I should be concerned. But that's the same voice that tells me not to talk to strangers, so I've been working on killing it for the last year now.

And my favorite part of the trip was this one hill. A few of us had decided to try and avoid digging a hole if we could, and as we approached civilization on Sunday, we got to a point where there was a massive climb for a mile. At the top of this climb was an outhouse. A couple of the kids negotiated the ability to move quickly up the hill (as they could go significantly faster than the slowest among us) to make use of the facilities.

This gave me a chance to open up with some speed and see what I could do. It felt really good to leave Jonathan and Marcus in the dust, and I worked hard to keep up with Byron and arrived at the top only a minute after him. Of course his pack was 15 or so pounds lighter, as is he, so while I do need to work on my pain tolerance, I can take pride in what I was able to do.

Anyway, I had a great time, and I got to really have some fun with my new camera. It does make a huge differnece when you don't have to remove a lens cap and wait for the thing to boot, so I've taken a lot more shots than I would have with my G2.


Friday, April 29, 2005

Luther Burger

Today I tried a new construction of fast food called the Luther Burger. The idea is to take an In-n-Out double double (protein style) and use two Krisky Kreme donuts as buns. All I can say is 'Oh my God is that good'. And working out the math it comes to under 1000 calories, so it's not as bad as I first suspected.



Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Timed my ride...

When Lexi called today to let me know that she was going to Caltrain home tonight, she asked me to time my ride so she could know how long it took me. Well this was something I was meaning to do anyway, but with someone epecting a number I was a little more digilent and looked at my cell phone for the time as I left topix and arrived home. It was 60 minutes on the nose.

Modding Comfort

It's amazing how comfortable I'm getting at ripping apart comercial hardware to make some tweaks to improve it. I've always had this fear in the back of my head that I would never be able to put things back together. This partly comes from the story I heard about that bridge in England that was built by ancient peoples and stood without the rocks needed affixing to one another. A mathematician in his curiousity and hubris, took it apart to see how it worked. Long story short it's now held together with glue. And partly my fear comes from practical experience where, for example, my power drill doesn't work any more.

But I wanted a hard drive for my PS2. They have software that will let me jukebox between one game and another on an installed hard drive, and since that's such a great feature for my xbox, and no soldering is required for my ps2, I figured I'ld give it a go. This requires Sony's netowrk adapter (found retail), but I didn't feel like shilling out $1.50/Gig for disk space for sony's IDE hard drive, so I went online found a forum with people who got other hard drives to work, and checked to see if Fry's sale this weekend would be ok. It was listed as working, though next time I'll read the comments before I purchase.

Turns out the network adapter's ide power and communication plugs don't quite have enough play to allow the hard drive to attach properly. Well I ripped the thing apart (gently with a screwdriver), found I needed a #6 Torx screwdriver, got one at OSH, used my tin snips to allow for some more play on the power adapter, and then plugged everything in.

Now I'm just waiting for the jukebox software to arrive.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


My plan is to bike into work with Lexi tomorrow. The camelback I bought is a few sizes too small (apparently I have a large chest. I should have remembered that from when I bought my backpack). So when I wear it biking, while I don't have to balance one handed to drink water, I do have to work a little harder to breath with a constriction device on.

Given that I will probably not want to wear spandex all day at the office, I do want a change of clothes. This meant either exercising my diaphragm more than I had planned, or dropping off clothes at the office tonight. Well, I might be over-exargerating the camelback problems because I had decided to go with the backpack solution.

That was until I remembered that I had left my bike at the office today. I had every intention of taking it home with me, but it slipped my mind as I left today. Well looks like I'll have to work obn my one handed balancing tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2005

R.I.P. Winston

On friday Rich had Winston put to sleep. I've only seen him in his later years so I never knew him as a vibrant energetic puppy, but even at 15 he still had a love for life, even if it was so severly hampered by the afflictions of age. And while I know that he's better off this way, I still am saddened.

In the great tradition of death, it has made me think about mortality. Not inherently my own, but more that of the creature that I love more than I really would have given myself credit for a year and a half ago. And while Ishy is still but a puppy, I know that unless something stupid happens on some mountain climbing expedition, or some drunk driver swerves into my lane, I'm likely going to end up in a similar position in a dozen years.

Nope. I can't write anymore. I couldn't earlier this weekend, and I tried now, but I just can't get anything else out. I'm gonna go find his rope, and have a tug of war, and not think about this anymore.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Go Cerberus

No, not TKG. Actually this post is about my new graphics card. I've been meaning to get a new video card for my home computer for a while now. The on-board vieo chip on my motherboard uses the AGP bus, so I couldn't run dual monitor before and I was looking for a PCI card I could use to get a second monitor. I found one at BestBuy (which will also let me play Doom 3 now...I may have to go back later today), and when I did I learned it has two independant VGA outputs. Yay. I now am using three monitors on my 'Taco Desk', and have a dedicated Firfox and Winamp monitors to keep the clutter under control.

Ishy made some friends

Since I spent 5 days in Colorado last week, and am going to spend next weekend packbacking with the ICO kids, I called off ICO rafting this weekend so that I could spend some quality time with Ishy. I've been hitting the gym pretty hard of late, which means that he doesn't get to spend nearly as much time with me (or anyone else) as I would like. It seems that there is a Doggie Day Care place that will open up near my house soon, and I think that I will enroll him when it does.

But back to this weekend...My favorite place to take Ishy these days is definetly Fort Funston. It's huge and off leash. And while the hike we took in Palo Alto let him stretch his legs and run around a little more, I was constantly paranoid I would get a ticket for not having him on his leash. And there were no other dogs to socialize with.

Well we got up early today. I suppose 7:00 a.m. isn't really early when you get up at exactly that time every day, and the weekend just continues the trend. A with this early start we made it to the beach just before 10. Which as it happens is when a very friendly group of San Franciscans always come to walk their dogs. Ishy was quickly assimilated into the pack (it's hard not to when your the meat in a three dog humping sandwich), and I got a chance to meet some friendly owners.

Based on how tired he was when we got back, I'ld have to say that he had a good time.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

The world has gone Hi-Res

I finally broke down and went to an optometrist who has given me a prescription to deal with my nearsightedness. Starting yesterday I've been wearing contact lenses. It's apsolutely amazing the differences that exist with the world when you can see it in a higher resolution. It feels like I've just gone a generation forward in video game console technology.

Although it does come with some down sides. I was watching T.V. last night and put on an Aqua Teen re-run. I can now all too clearly see Meatwad's eyes when he blinks. Thanks Tea Girl.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Pictures from Colorado

Don't know when I'll write up about the last few days, but here are some pictures.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Big Balls

A long time ago, back when the internet boom was still a gleam in its geek's father's eyes, Shay and Rob went to help get off of the ground. In the course of their work, their favorite test search string was 'Big Balls'. Partly because it's a fun thing to type into a search widget, but also because the main result was this really cool Knex set which was called 'The Big Balls Factory'.

As a thank you for their work, etoys got them one of these that we put together one night in the Caltech dorms. It was a tun of fun to build this huge (5 foot) structure and eat cheesy poofs and just get geeky with construction toys.

Anyway, they've apparently made a new version of the Big Balls Factory with some different cool things for the balls to do on the way down. And since Toys R' Us seems to have it on sale right now, I picked one up and spent last night putting it together.

Here are the pictures from the construction.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

iPod One

Guess downloading music is completely legit now that the president does it. Apparently, his 'Charley' is in charge of downloading the right music too.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bike Ride

This morning, Bryn, Bob and I went for an inagural Topix engineering bike ride. My new bike was a lot of fun to take out on the hills. Even if it did take me a little while to figure out the clips on the pedals. I've got the kind where the shoe actually attaches itself to the pedal so that you can get some extra force from the upswing of your legs. Not that I know how to do that, or noticed it's usefullness. I was too busy gasping for air on the hills.

It's gonna take me a little while to get used to going uphill. My gym experience hasn't really been preparing me for that. I suppose that this will help kick my complacent ass into losing the last 10 or 15 pounds that I keep meaning to get around to. Because I suddenly understand why people make such a big deal about a couple of pounds here or there.

On the other hand, I did alright on the flat lands easy keeping up with (and occasionally passing) my companions. Hopefully I'll get a chance to get in hill shape about as quickly as Bryn and Bob get reaccustomed to riding.

And I got a couple of firsts out of the way. My first flat tire. Apparently whoever had installed the inner tube didn't think that keeping an even density of tubing around the tire was necessary and bunched a lot of it right near the valve. Good thing I had purchased a spare, and that Bryn was with me to show me how to replace it.

And my first fall. It seems that it's standard operating procedure that as you get used to the lock-in shoes, you fall over a couple of times as you forget how to get your foot out when you stop. And while the shoe did cause my spill, I had actually already come to a stop and had one foot on the ground. I had thought, "Hey I should get my other foot on the ground while I stand here" at which point I lifted up and pulled the bike off balance, tumbling myself into the brush.

At least I got my first fall out of the way and managed to hurt nothing but my pride.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

New Bike

Bryn has been partnerless in his morning bike rides for some time now. Well since about when google went public and Jeremy moved to England. Because of this, he hasn't gotten a chance to go biking much. It's always hard to motivate yourself when no one else is counting on you to show up. And since I've been doing a lot of stationary bike at the gym, the idea came to me that I should start riding out of doors.

Of course this idea occurred to me several months ago, and I'm a lazy, lazy man. But today I put aside some of that laziness and talked Bryn into coming bike shopping with me. I really didn't know what I was looking for, or how to shop for a road bike. And perhaps Bryn talked me into a slightly higher end model than I had originally intended for my first real road bike. But it's really cool, and I'm looking forward to taking it on some monster hills in the area in the coming months. Especially as summer starts to hit the valley.

The Bike

In the Context of My Living Room

Friday, April 08, 2005

Muscle soreness

And one more thing. I started a massive push on upper body strength at the gym this week. Four nights a week of arm work (push muscles mon/wed, pulls on tue/thurs after climbing), and while I only got three nights in this week, I'm in some monster sorts of pain in the morning. I'm really looking forward the the next 24 hours of laziness.

But, with any luck I'll get to be 'ripped' at the beach this summer.

Since I've opened the floodgates...

I haven't posted in almost a week so here's the quickie highlights...


I had been worse than usual lately and went through 3 pairs of sunglasses in almost as many days. I have a tendency to lose them, so I only buy cheep sunglasses (I think that might be part of my fear of getting real glasses). But I went out this weekend shopping, and actually opened up the passenger door to drop stuff off in the front seat and what should I find but the two lost pairs of sunglasses sitting together between the seat and the door. Now I need to figure out what to do with 3.


And what I had been shopping for was a pair of scissors. I got it in my head to try to give Ishy a trim. Bad idea. Only professionals are going to cut his hair from now on, and as soon as it's long enough to fix, he's going to one. But I was staring at two pairs, one nice, normal, and silver. The other was titanium. And in spite of not being able to come up with a single reason why titanium was better for scissors (like I care about 1oz of weight) I still had to give into my geekdom and buy the cool metal.

New Toy

And speaking of geeky toys, I just got a Canon SD500. It's so cool. It's tiny and takes 7 megapixel shots. I'm not sure what I'll need that resolution for, but I'll come up with something. And it turns on in almost no time. That was my biggest complaint with the G2. That it would take forever to boot (like 5-10sec.), but this goes from pressing on, to taking a picture in under 2 seconds. Very snazzy.

And here are my first day pictures

Damn you SBC...

Yet another reason for me to hate the phone company. They make me feel lonely. Well not lonely, exactly. Their new ad campaign features the Eric Clapton version of Leila. This song will perpetually remind me of Jaime as she was the one to correct my malapropism (I thought it was "Lay Low"), and she then set it as her ringtone for when I called. The radio ad just makes me miss the time we had together.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Speaking of fellow social unease feelers...

It's amazing the differences I've experienced in the last year. Case in point.

Symmantec's new aquisition SafeWeb has had a mass exodus of developers of late, so Smashcock had a party to celebrate Yuri's passing to better things. I of course call him that becuase his name is Babcock which was the ending of many 7 syllable lines of juvenile college limericks. While there I had an interresting set of experiences.

I'm can actually nbe a lot more self-confident and assured than I give myself credit for. There were a couple of new faces, a couple of old faces, and a couple of pretty faces at the party tonight. I actually made the rounds and talked to everyone. It was really weird talking with the 'techers. There was a naivite vibe from them that I wonder if I ever had. Mostly stemming from simplistic ideals of engineering ruling all. But the subtler points of the value of your social network were completely lost on them, and the ideas of alpha-male-ism (which is my internal phrase for just sticking up for yourself) were eye opening. It was certainly very odd to be back to talking on brute technical details as though they were the end-all-be-all.

And then there was the pretty face. She was cute, and while I missed my first opportunity to go and talk to her, I jumped at the second. Conversation was easy (relatively), and I didn't rely too much on either adrenaline or alcohol to get me through. She laughed at my jokes and I thought it went well. Later (while watching an episode of the Family Guy -- a competitor for her attention was working against me, and rightly so after I pulled an incredibly immasculating move on him) she kept making eye contact to make sure we were laughing at the same points. Granted that's my interpretation, but she was looking my way at all the right times.

I just wish I had had the balls to ask her phone number. Now I have to exploit the social web and hope I don't get cockblocked (which is actually likely given the look of the web). Not quite the path of least regret, but I'm still working on it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lead Class

So with Mike off skiing his spring break away, I decided that this week would be the perfect opportunity to take the Lead Climbing class that Planet Granite offers. Unlike top-roping where the rope is pre-attached to an achor at the top of the route, and the climber and belayer each have an end to tie into at the bottom, lead climbing is where you bring the rope up with you as you go. This is what you do outdoors, though it's easier in the gym where there are a bunch of ready made draws (double caribeners, one hooked on the wall, and the other free to have to rope hooked into it).

So Monday was mostly theory, and today we climbed a whole bunch. It's interresting because this opens up a new wall to me that I had previously not been allowed to climb. And it's the incredibly overhangy (read 135 degrees from horizontal) so it's the fun bicep straining one. And one of the practice routes we did today was on that wall. Actually the instructor choose that route specifically so that I would fall (which I did, but I made it farther than he thought I would) since part of the class was getting comfortable falling (and for the belayer, catching).

It was so much fun. But I don't know if I should have lifted weights afterwards. I think my arms are going to be extraordinarily mad at me tomorrow.


It's nice how a few well places comments can brighten your day.

I walked Ishy to get some coffee this morning, and we ran into Matisse at Plantation. I hadn't seen him (or his owners) for the last few months as their park has been finished remodelling for a while. But one of his mommies gave me the whole, "wow, you're looking good. Have you been working out?" while staring at my upper body.

And then as I left home for work my neighbor (whose name I don't think I've ever learned so I just refer to her as the very accurate term MILF), said that she really liked my new haircut.

Of course 5 hours and one nasty bug later, and most of the good vibes are gone, but it did feel good.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Topix Celebration

Last night topix went out to dinner in the city in order to celebrate our good fortune. We got rooms at the Clift hotel, so that no one would need to designated drive, and had a nice steak dinner at Morton's. (All of this is in Union Square).

It was a really interresting experience to check in at the Clift hotel. It partially reminded me of a really good place to sit, relax, and smoke a cigar with 'the boys', but at the same time had a really cool, young vibe too. As I checked in, I actually got a this-place-is-too-cool-for-you vibe (not from the staff, more from my own insecurity). But by the time I made it up to my room to drop off my stuff, I was feeling the vibe, and actually started to realize that this was a good place for me to be.

Dinner was amazing. I always love the large party, nice restaurant feeling. And Mike (Markson) told me that Morton's had a double porterhouse (usually for two) that I should try. Turns out that it's a 48oz piece of meat (that's 3lbs or 1.4 kilos of beef), but it looked so good that I had to order it. And I've never actually eaten $90 worth of steak in a single sitting before. Mike ended up beating me a dollar that I couldn't finish it (I need to find a good way to frame that dollar).

The steak was huge, but I actually was in good form, and ate it and my two sides. Everyone wash mucho impressed (including the waiting staff who apparently very rarely get to see it). But what I thought was my proudest moment was that I actually finished my steak before most of the other people at the table finished their more modest (though only in a relative context) portions.

After dinner we hung out at the Redwood Room (which is the bar in the Clift). Turns out it's quite the happening spot, and I got the speach on several fronts reaffirming that I should move up to San Francisco. I just wish I could have diverted some blood away from digesting and onto more alcohol consumption, but I suppose since I had to be in Oakland this morning, it was good not to have too bad of a hangover.