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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


A lot of a coders work is solitary. [S]he sits in front of a computer and grinds away at helping a computer to do something useful, and generally tries to avoid actually interacting with people through a technique we've developed called APIs. But some days the synergies are nice.

Today was a mad dash fire drill to get a bunch of front end capacity to make sure that we can handle the traffic that we're likely to get tomorrow. (Whoo-fucking-hoo by the way). And we've got a box that wasn't performing as well as we had hoped. It was actually our prototype with a new distro, so there were a whole slew of things that are different and could be causing the performance lag.

I spend a good chunk of the day tracking down dead ends, and trying to figure out what was going on, and eventually narrowed it down to a set of events that correlated with some really bad behavior. Bryn helped me to take those events and realize that our driver for our hard disk was running without DMA enabled. Which then led to the realization that we didn't have the right SATA drivers. Which led to the problem of getting SATA to work on a 2.4 system at all. And here is where Bob found a kernel patch which finally took care of the issue, and now we just need to cross our fingers and hope it's stable.

But it was a good feeling to have that rush of everyone in the room putting in the effort to make it work.

Linux Rant

So ignore this if you want, I'm about to get even geekier...

What the hell is Linus thinking? He's totalling driving linux into the ground right now. What are you supposed to do when there is no separation of development and stable kernels (which means that every new kernel is buggy and prone to some rather terrible failures), and the only thing to work with that's stable is hopelessly out of date with current drivers.

The 2.6 series is a joke for stability. We've had so many problems it's insane. And I don't want to hear about the 2.6.even vs. 2.6.odd. That's one of the stupidist conventions I've ever heard of. And when you're implementing new features that some routers don't support all that well, how about you make sure that it's off by default. This is becoming more and more of a problem with the linux-verse these days as coders start overly re-engineering on the 'it'll be better this way. trust me' philosophy. I laugh at it when I watch Monk, and I think I'm going to start laughing at it from engineers as well.

And as for the 2.4 series, well it is stable. But it's not moving anywhere. Drivers aren't being back-ported (why should they, it's not the development version. everyone should be on the cutting edge). I want some damn support for hardware that's been out for a couple of years and is well documented. Surely someone in the open source community isn't thinking about the version 0.8, cool, edgy kill-of-the-mountain code, and actually gives a damn about writing code that works.

I swear, it's almost enough to make me use a Microsoft operating system. Come to think of it, my XP box has given me fewer problems than the 2.6 kernel has.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Quality Dog Time

This last week has left me without a great deal of Ishy time. My usual quality Ishy time on wednesday was taken up with some work stuff, Thursday was St. Patricks Day, and the guys from work and I went drinking Friday as well. I made myself a promise to make it up to Ishy today, and I think I may have kept it even better than I had intended.

With a little bit of google time, I found a nice day hike that was dog friendly on the peninsula. As a matter of fact, here's a link to the review. I figured that I'ld take him out for a few hours of walking and wear him down (I must admit I was high on hubris from last weekend). But then it started to rain at about noon today.

I tossed around the idea of calling off the hike. I wasn't sure I'ld enjoy it much, and I can wear some fleece and a rain jacket, so I was really afraid Ishy would just be wet and miserable. I figured though that at the worst case, I could just turn around if he looks like he's not having fun.

But we get to the trail, and it's muddy and wet, and I let him off the leash (I know I shouldn't, but I figured no one else would be out), and he had a blast. He was running up and down the trail, jumping in the mud and puddles. We was even going up some pretty steep hills like they were nothing. I'm so glad he got the chance to have such fun. And it helped to remind me, that seeing as how his breed hails from the British Isles, I guess that's exactly the environment that his forebarers would have enjoyed.

Sorry there's no pictures, but it was too wet for me to bust out the digital camera.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Keith is Hardcore

At least for skiing. Mike and I went up to Sierra at Tahoe for a day trip to ski today. It was kind of a last-minute impulse thing where I noticed I had a free weekend, and he mentioned he wanted to get some skiing in before his spring break ski trip.

We had the best time. It snowed constantly, and while that made for fairly limited visibility on the slopes, it made for some awesome powder (at least by the standards set for the Sierras) and almost no one else at the resort. There were no lines to get on the lift, and I skied until my quads could take no more. And then we got to play in the snow to dig the car out of the parking lot.

Today was a good day.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The March 18th Hangover

Well, as is tradition, I've made my neuron sacrifice to the Great Green Whiskey god last night. And he treated me well. Lexi, Andrew and I went out drinking in San Carlos and hit up the bar that used to be J.B.'s (or something. It was the one that didn't believe Lexi's driver's license) which is now an Irish themed bar. And I assume that the theme is maintained on days other than March 17th.

But it was so good to hang out and get drunk with Lexi and Andrew. My high point for the night (that I remember) has to be the moment I got Lexi to laugh and snort whiskey up her nose. That was good.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Leadership Camp

This weekend Mike, Lance (an ICO river trip leader), and I took the younger river guide recruits out backpacking in order to give them some leadership training. This is one of those things that Mike excels at, and I get to come along on a trip into the outdoors. Of course I also get to pick up some leadership training myself as I'm actually part of the adult group, and Mike is there to force me to actually lead some of the circles.

We had some real fun with the kids on the hike up and around, and I definetly found it to be a good learning experience. At the very least, I learned that there's some nice backpacking in Livermore in the spring. But it was also a great deal of fun to be getting towards the end of the hike on Saturday (after about 6 horizontal miles and 2000 vertical feet), and I still had energy while the 16 and 17 year olds where dragging considerably. Whoo-Hoo!

And my calves today have finally stopped screaming at me enough to make it back to the gym. Going with a couple of people who had previous knee injuries made me hyper aware of possible dangers to my knees when walking up or down the hill, so I spent a lot of time with my weight on my calves to reduce shock to my legs. Apparently that was a great deal of effort for those muscles, but it's all good now, and climbing last night went really well so I'm happy.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Keith so needs an appointment with them. Thanks Bryn for the link. Oh, and definetly check out the life cycle of bacon while you're there.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Unlikely Inspiration

Well, on Tuesday I found myself at Borders. I often get ahead of traffic and need to kill some time before meeting up with the squinks at the gym, as they often run on Kuliga time. And regardless of how I'm feeling or what I'm up to I can always fill my time in a book store.

So I was browsing through the math section and a book on Combinatorial Optimization caught my eye. I glanced through the table of contents and saw that it covered linear programming in depth, and then looked like it went on to 'real' programming ideas. I've never had too in depth a schooling on linear programming. The only experience I've had came from Mr. Doty (that feels wrong, but Vince isn't right either -- I need to explore the Mike/Mr.K Andrew/Mr.Casteel duality a little more) and I definetly liked it, but I've got some more tools in my aresenal to attack it a little more fully.

Anyway I actually break a promise to myself a pick up the book (I don't often find math texts for under $20). My to-read queue is long enough without adding to it. But I finished a couple of borrowed books this weekend, and so started to read the preface. This is where some warning bells went off.

The preface talks about how it will cover linear programming and then cover the new concept of NP-Completeness. At this point I freak a bit and check the publication date. It's 1981. Whoops. But I decide to read anyway.

And it's a good thing I did. Putting myself in the mindset the book generates actually may have allowed me to get past a rather challenging problem that has presented itself at work. Hopefully my inspiration will pay off and I'll have some kick ass code to show for it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

So it turns out I abstained after all

San Carlans voted on S.C.O.O.T. today. Well they voted on a $54 parcel tax (which I've come to learn means a property tax) for extra funcing for San Carlos' free bus service thing. I wasn't really sure how I felt on it. On the one hand I loved the Pasadena Arts Bus and was really happy to have a free way to get to Old Pas. If S.C.O.O.T. where providing similar goodness I think I would want it to be around. But I don't know that. And since parcel taxes tend to be a big income for schools, I'm hesitant to vote for things that might interrupt that revenue stream. I almost always come down on making sure teachers get paid, and rooves are solid.

So I'm pretty un-informed on a lot of the sides of this issue (and while the voter's information pamphlet was nice, it didn't help me much). I had actually thought that maybe the right thing would be to abstain from the vote as a consious decision. Well I forgot about it until after I got to work this morning, and then after moving servers around, I was in a mad dash to make it to the gym on time tonight (nailed some nice 5.10s. And it's so nice to like the way I look in the mirror while lifting) so I didn't get a chance to.

Ah well, I'll have to see how the vote turns out on topix tomorrow.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Well, I guess it doesn't make a difference...

when you're stood up. Fuck it. That's just one step closer to Mike's Mexico trip.

I'm in a 'Mulva' situation

My intention is to go for the honesty route, but if anyone has better ideas, I wouldn't mind hearing them.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Whiskey Expo

Last night was the Whiskeys of the World Expo. It's the largest whiskey expo in North America and everyone comes out to peddle their best stuff. Of course there's a fine scotch collection, but there's also a wonderful selection of burbons and Irish whiskeys as well (though no Green Spot. Guess they're serious about 'not for export').

Andrew and Lexi where kind enough to get me a ticket this year as a Christmas present, so we met up at the San Francisco Hilton last night with Stephen and Autumn to do some serious ... uh ... whiskey connoisseur'ing. The whiskeys were great (as expected), but I haven't hung out with Lexi and Andrew much of late, and it's been months since I've seen Stephen and Autumn, so it was a very fine evening of catching up with friends.

As for the highlights. There was Al Capone's bootlegging rye recipe (which was a very good good and apparently one of the first american whiskey brands). There was a mix of three different levels of peet by glenbroddoch called 3-D which was very interresting. The three levels actually gave a good down stepping of flavor after you sipped it. And, I can't forget the knockout redheadded booth babe. There was quite a line to get turned down asking for her number.

And Andrew had arranged accomodations at the Hilton, so after last pour, the five of us headed up to our room for some drunken Settlers of Catan (which I totally should not have won given the initial board positioning), and some Filipino card game whose name I can't recall. And we all passed out shortly after we demolished the drunken munchies room service.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

And I was going to read tonight...

Well I was all set to finish up my current book this evening before falling asleep, but now I'm not sure I have enough time to make it before I need to make sure that I get my 8 hours. (I'm getting so old). The thing is, I was all set until I sat down at my computer and started tweaking with my newest time-suck. That would be

I've actually got it all set up so that I can keep track of all the time I spend at the gym. And (here's the coolest part), I can SMS exercise statistics from the gym straight to the web site. This means that I don't have to lug around some dorky log. (I suppose instead I lug around a geeky phone). And it means that the stats are electronic from the get go and there's no transcription needed so that I can do electronic searches.

It's still got a long way to go, and a lot of functionality still needs to be added, but I figure since I just added the ability for people to create accounts, I'ld at least mention it here.