Friday, January 28, 2005

Why does jogging make my right nipple sensitive...


Here's a question I'm not really sure I want the answer to. But the thing is that I remember this from before the shin splints, and given this morning's run, it's come up again.

My current suspicion is that since the treadmill has a built in fan aimed at the upper half of my body, there's an evaporation induced temperature drop. That combined with my jostling shirt could cause problems. But why only the right?

Well hopefully I'll just get the point where I can take my shirt of jogging and not need to worry about it (or at least test the theory).

Oh, and I've fixed comments now.


How to reboot an iPod


iPods have a very 'user friendly' interface. Usually that's a good thing. However, they are a little close to the ultimate in easy user interfaces which is the single button DWIM. So while I was jogging today, my iPod decided to freeze up on my (I think it was all the jostling, though we'll see as time progresses). And without an off switch, I was at a loss for what to do. There isn't even a recognizeable place to pull out the battery (which is probably good in retrospect).

After some consulting with apples support page I learned the magic keystroke. Hold down Menu and Select (at least on my clickwheel) for a couple of seconds and it will force a reboot (without data loss - whee).


I'm so glad I don't even have to walk to my car for lunch today


Well that's because my hamstrings are in some extreme pain (in that good way). I had been thinking for a while about trying to do a bit of cross training with my aerobic exercise in the mornings, and thought I might return to some jogging. I was help back by lack of an appropriate means of attaching my iPod to my person. While the treadmills do have spots to put the water bottles that can holster an mp3 player or radio, but when I ran with a portable radio I found myself often hitting the headphone cable while pupmping my arms and throwing the radio across the gym. It's not too bad for a $10 radio, but I really don't want to do that to my iPod.

So while killing time before climbing at the Good Guys yesterday, I saw and aquired a belt attachment thing, so that I could put my iPod at my waist and forget about it. Very nice, and so I went jogging this morning.

The thing is that I haven't jogged for a while, and 7 miles is a long way to run, so my legs are kinda hurting. On the plus side, the first 10k (including the warm up walk, and a small walking break at the 3.5 mile mark) was completed in under an hour, so I feel pretty good about my capabilities.

And now, since it's friday, pizza's on it's way, and I'll get to have a nice lunch without having to do more than fall one room over to my left.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I'm all jittery thanks to those ribs


Which is an odd and convoluted path of reasoning. But basically it comes from the fact that the nearest Armadillo Willys (which has all-you-can-eat ribs on Monday nights) is located next to a Bed, Bath and Beyond. (I'm going to have to watch out how often I go for ribs, if I'm going to be as helpless a consumer as I was this week).

But while I was there, I finally broke down and bought a Mr. Coffee. I'ld been thinking about it ever since coming back from home over Christmas (wherin coffee was good for bonding with Jaime and Dad), but I'ld been having that great-sage-and-eminent-junkie feeling of, 'Well at least I'm not making it at home'. Well like any addict, I eventually crossed that line.

And it was so nice to head off to the gym this morning with the timer set, and come home to a nice hot pot of coffee. The problem is that the coffee machine makes 12 cups, and I'm an American. This means that I can't settle for less than the absolute maximum unless I've already had a bad experience. So before work I drank 10 cups of a strong Kenyan roast, and am now starting to crash at 4 in the afternoon. (Those missing two cups would be what ended up on my porch when I tried to take Ishy for a walk with an open mug)

This is going to be interresting for where I end up in a month or so.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Maximizing My Pipe in Both Directions


Well this was originally going to be titled 'How else would you spend a Saturday?', but in a conversation with Bryn today I was convinced on the new one.

This saturday I decided to finally upgrade the kernel on my router. Yeah. I know. Whippty-freeking-doo. But it was actually a bunch of fun, and a good diversion from the eye-strain of hours upon hours of reading the Dark Tower series (I'm working on a big post for that one when I finish the last book) which is how I spent the rest of my Saturday.

So first off, you need to know how much I needed to upgrade my router. The poor little box (A Pentium with MMX) was running a 2.2.17 kernel. They're currently on 2.6.10, which puts it about 3 or 4 years worth of security patches out of date (that goodness no one besides the MPAA really cares about that IP address). But the thing is that for security purposes, my gateway was running on a 200M (yes M) hard drive with absolutely no dev tools on it. And since the CPU is so out of date I was pretty much cross-compiling for it. Oh, and the box had no video card. So, if I messed anything up I had to play video-card musical chairs.

So very carefully, I got my shining new gentoo system to compile a new kernel with exactly the support I needed. My two ethernet cards, iptables, ext2 and pretty much nothing else. I copied it over, re-ran lilo (my goodness, everything on that box is so old), crossed my fingers and rebooted.

Up it came with exactly one good interface. Thankfully it was the one inside my firewall so I could still talk to it. Two or three more attepts at compiling the kernel laters, and I find I do in fact have to turn on module support for my NE2000 card because i need to pass an io= options to it since PnP wasn't exactly humming along when they made the motherboard.

And here's where trouble starts. This would be the point at which I learn that somewhere beteen 2.2.17 and 2.6.10 they made the kernel module loading interface incompatible. This means that I finally have to find a video card, and start working on the box from a terminal. (Of course in retrospect, I can now see a way that this wouldn't have been necessary, but it's probably a good idea to be able to rip the network cables out of that box and log on in an emergency anyway).

So now I also get to learn how to cross-comile modutils, and muck with the Makefile to install in a separate tar-able directory. But this is good practice for the user space iptables programs I'll need later.

And so I eventually get full support for my hardwarre, and I get to spend the rest of the day playing with iptables to set up all sorts of fun little network tweaks (like closing all inbound ports, and then opening up an http port forward from work through my gateway to a home dev box).

And this finally brings me to the title, because one of the hacks that I did was to look for small ACKs in the TCP stream and prioritice them with Minimize-Delay. What this means is that when my upstream bandwidth is maxed out, I can still download stuff because the little 'yeah I got that' packets get to the server I'm downloading from faster, so I can maximize downstream at the same time.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Jill Tracy


I went to DNA Lounge tonight because there was a free concert. Well actually what happened was that Nina Hagen was supposed to perform, but fell ill. So her opening act filled in for a full evening. Turns out that the opening act was a performer I had just been introduced to (and fell in love with) named Jill Tracy. So to be able so see her for free (alright the mark-up on a Jack Daniels) was pretty cool.

But it's been a while since I've been out to a gothic club, and I had forgotten a few things. Namely how lame the guys are, and just how fucking hot the women are. There's just something about black leather and vinyl against extremely pale skin.

And I learned one more thing. While this is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition, I noticed that my nose starts to itch when I want to hit someone. There was an asshole 'dancing' in the line of sight between me and the performerm who in addition to constantly weaving in and out of blocking my view, almost ran into me on several occassions. I just couldn't stop scratching my nose.

Then again, maybe it's just a nervouse habit. If so I'll have to watch for it at poker.

As I re-read this post, it seams my emotions are just running high today. If I'm going to go to the gym tomorrow morning I'll have to put off analyzing it until after I get up, but I'll have something to think about while on the bike.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Keith Appears to Have a Blind Date


Why the hell am I so afraid of using the phone? I really wish I knew exactly what it was that I fear so that I could at least work out whether or not the fear was warrented. But the only thing that I've come up with that's resolution-y this year is to live without fear (it's actually what I thought when I went skiing for the first time a while ago, and it did well for me then). So tonight I managed to overcome that biting, paralyzing sensation that drops my circulation and freezes my hands (both literally and figurtively).

So I called 'mom' and it looks like she's going to set something up this weekend where I drop by the store and meet her daughter and we go out to an Egyptian restaurant. I figure at the very least I end up learning where some good egyptian food in the area is (as I don't currently know). I know that that last sentence is the fear talking. And I that one I know what the fear is about. Must not let it overtake me...


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

No Wonder Cows Survive in Wisconsin


My new jacket is actually warm enough for me to drive into work today with the top down. Woo-Hoo!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Skiing (for real this time)


At climbing on Thursday Mike invited me to come skiing on Sunday. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to spend some time on the slopes as I hadn't yet been skiing in Tahoe, or anywhere on the West Coast. Or actually anywhere other than Camelbak in Pennsylvania. And in true Kuliga style we decide to day-trip it.

This means that at 4:30a.m. on Sunday, I got up and drove over to Berkeley to meet up with Mike, Naomi, and Rob in order to leave Berkeley by 6:00 and to get to wherever we were going by 9:00. (Of course where we were going wasn't even decided until after we started to leave Berkeley, and at that point we hadn't even decided between Tahoe and Yosemite). But we got out onto the road and managed to decide to head to Boreal

Everyone informs me that this is a small-ish resort, so that helps me put things into perspective. It's about as big as Camelbak and has about as many runs. The really interresting thing is that the difficulty level was right about the same too. This meant that after a couple of warm up greens, I spent the day doing blue squares with eveyone else. Pretty sweet for the my third day of skiing.

I had a blast too. There was some good powder (it actually did a bit of snowing as well pulled into the parking lot) but as the sun went down the top did start to ice over a bit. This wasn't until after we were pretty much wiped. I didn't fall over too much (which I suppose is a sign I wasn't pushing myself hard enough). And I almost tried a black diamond run. They certainly look a lot more reasonable in the daylight.

Mike gave me a couple of good pointers, so I probably improved my technique a little. We'll have to see if I can build up the skills I need to go skiing with a pack, on crud, by the end of March. And I learned a very important lesson. You can bring your own lunch with you. Seems a silly thing in retrospect, and you end up not eating a hot lunch, but you also don't end up paying $7 for a crappy cheeseburger either.

And speaking of eating, we stopped at Lou La Bontes for dinner. Don't do that. They have a bait and switch policy where they say they have a prime rib special that they have mysteriously just run out of. They take foreaver to see you. And they really don't care if they serve you a cold cheeseburger (I was glad I got a salad. At least that's supposed to be cold). I don't know if I've every really thought before that a waitress should have a 8% tip, but this one earned it, as it was 1.75 hours that we spent there.

But overall it was a good day. And I've got my fingers crossed that there will be some snow storms this week, and maybe we'll get a chance to go up again next weekend.


Metaphorical Air Pressure


It's funny how sometimes, the meer act of closing a door will cause a pressure differential that causes another to open...

So Thursday morning, I found myself walking down Laurel St. in order to visit Plantation Coffee and the ATM before heading off to work. Between these two points is a litte store. Well actually there are many little stores, but there was one in particular that caught my eye since it was having a sale on leather jackets. I'ld been thinking that I needed a new jacked for a while now as my old one is a little loose. Actually it's all the way to baggy. But since I'm heading off to work, I check the hours and decide to come back another time.

I finally get around to going early Saturday afternoon (seeing as how they closed before their advertised time Friday night). And I wandered in a started to look through their selection. There was a nice collection, and as I settled on a style, and starting working through what size to get, the stores owner/salesperson comes by to help me with my selection.

She helps me to find the right size (medium. yay.), and proceed to tell me how good I look in it. I score this as trying to butter me up for the sale, but she continues speaking well to me, even after I've commited to the purchase. Of course this is when she mentions that she has a 27 year old daughter she wants to see married.

Ever the saleswoman she shows me some pictures of her daughter (very pretty, and with a pretty nice destination in 30 years as well) and tells me how shes a psychologist (or psychiatrist. I stored the data as smart and working with the mind and didn't try to keep track of whether or not she had a prescription pad), and tells me that I should come by her house for dinner, dancing and an introduction.

So I swapped numbers with mom, and I'll have to see where it goes from here. But, I just can't get the cliche "mom, I don't need you to meddle" scene out of my head. Of course I can't see it acurately as whenever I picture it I hear the conversation with a Jewish accent.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Skiing


Went skiing in Tahoe today for the first time. I'll write about it tomorrow because it's been a long day (I got up at 4:30). And now I have to go to bed to get up in 6 hours for a meeting tomorrow. Yay.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ah, google


So I made a quick and dirty utility to wrap up all the blogs I read and show them to me merged in time (it's not ready for public consumption yet). But the thing is, that right now the googleblog isn't valid atom code (or even valid XML apparently).

You can check it out on feedvalidator.

Of course when google fixes it, I have a mirror of it that can be validated.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Don't Mess with the Army


I saw this today, and am not quite sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I really hate online cheaters. I hate cheaters in general, but incompetent kiddies who exploit security holes found by clever people without respect for what they do really irk me. On the other hand, I'm not sure how far I want the Army taking this.

Granted that it's the Army's game and the Army's servers, and they need to maintain control, but is it really what we want to have the army dealing with online hacks? I think this comes around to the idea that I'm not really sure the Army should be running a video game in the first place.

We'll just have to see how this pans out.


Hardcovers


I like to own books. To have my own copy of the printed page that I can always go back to and re-read. To always be able to referrence some part of something I've read in case I forget. And, of course, because each book is very much like a trophy.

It's not just a "look what I've read" sort of philosphy though. A good part of the effect is to show to whoever might be looking at my bookshelf, "this is what I've deemed worth the time to put into my head," and thus my shelves also convey a large part of who I am (well depending on what shelf you look at. The encyclopedias are there for pragmatic referrence).

But anyway, I enjoy having hardcover books to put on the shelves. They look better and the dust jackets help keep the wrinkles in the spines covered. But I also enjoy having hardcover books for the reading in the first place. And what I really like about hardcovers is that, with the dust jacket, you don't need to have a bookmark. You can just use wrap the jacket over the right pages and always find your place.

And this brings me to why I write this in the first place. Using the dust jacket like this means that you know when you're half way through a book (since you switch from using the front cover, to using the back cover), and that's always a fun moment. And that's what happened two days ago with the first hard cover I'ld read in a while.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Phew. That was close.


So yesterday it rained. It rained a lot, and especially on the way to work. It's the start of the rainy season and with all the microclimates on the peninsula, there's often somwhere that's sunny inside of viewing distance of the rain. This makes for lots of rainbows, which are just pretty to look at. (Don't look to close while driving however).

But anyway, it was raining pretty hard on the way to work, so I was driving with some impaired visibility. Usually when it rains really hard, the California streets get very reflective, and it's sometimes hard to see exactly where the white dotted lines are. This is especially bad when there are two lanes of traffic on either side of you.

So I usually go to the left lane, where there is a solid yellow line that's easier to see, and there's cars only on one side of me. The problem is, that in the left lane you need to be going at a reasonable clip so that you travel at the same speed as everyone else (which in the case was 5mph over the dry speed limit, so it wasn't too terrible outrageous).

The thing is, though, that after about 5 minutes in the left lane I get a chance to look into the rear view mirror, and who has driven up behind me and maintaining distance. The California Highway Patrol. Well, he was doing an amazing job pacing me, and maintained his distance perfectly as I took my foot off the gas and coasted down to 65. Then I pulled over a lane, and he started to pass me.

Good, I thought. He wasn't actually interrested in me. Of course as that thought goes through my head, I hear something that sounds like english, and turn my parser on early enough to make out "...5 miles per hour". Whoops. Guess, he was looking at me to pull over, and just didn't pace me long enough.

But it annoys me that he was going to pull me over in spite of the fact that I was just part of the pack of people driving at a slightly unsafe speed. I thought they were required to pull over the lead car. Or maybe he was just looking to talk people into driving safer. Actually if that was the case (and people listen), I feel like my tax dollars are being well spent.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

How the hell was a 'Normal' user supposed to do that?


So I have found yet another reason to hate Microsoft. It's actually been a while since I've been really mad at them. Sure there's spyware, but they shouldn't get the lion's share of the blame for that. I mean it's been a long time since XP crashed on me when it wasn't blatently my fault, and the live and let live deal I've had with Microsoft seamed to have been working.

That is until I tried to re-install my iPod after migrating to a new CPU/motherboard force me to reinstall XP. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why the iTunes installer wasn't finding my ipod. I tried again and again, and XP kept finding a removable storage device, but for some reason the installer couldn't talk to it. And the drive wasn't being mounted either.

Well, after abot 10 reboots, 4 re-installs of iTunes, and an actual reseating of the firewire card (I tried USB to a similiarly stunning lack of success) I finally wandered my way into the disk manager from 'My Computer' > 'Right Click' > 'Manage' (which I only knew about recently since fdisk is no longer the preferred means of getting a new hard drive to work, but there's no real help on that anywhere).

As it turns out, I had a share drive mounted on 'G:' and when windows saw the iPod it thought, 'Hey G: sounds like a good place to put this' and so silently hid the fact that it had mounted it underneath my network drive. A simple letter change and I was good to go (I don't know how many hours later - got some good TV in during the reboots though).

If you're going to be smart about something (i.e. keep the drives in the same place, and not bother the user about what to do), you really need to go whole-ass. Half-ass smart just makes things worse.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Uncle Frank's Has Moved


The best place for BarBQ on the peninsula (and in my opinion the whole bay area) is no longer located in East Palo Alto. They've moved to a place just down the street from where I work, so everyone decided to go there for lunch today.

Now, I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the experience of driving into the total ghetto to go for good BBQ, where everyone has bars on their windows, but the new place has a lot of ambiance and will probably now make it into our regular rotation. It's actually situated at the back of a bar on Old Middlefield. I think this means they can avoid getting a liquor license, and yet people can still get some beer with their meat.

And we've discovered that their rib slab platters work like pizza in terms of quantity per unit person. For my coworkers that works out to 1 slab or pie for every two people (rounded up), but your mileage may vary.

Mmmmmmm.....Ribs.

Update

Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you wipe your eyes after consuming their spicy sause.


R.I.P. Zachary


They say that those stars the shine the brightest, burn the fastest, and that was true with Zach. That little ferret showed us all the good qualities of his kind (a kind spirit, a beautiful sable coat, and hopping for fun simply because he could). We will miss you.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Keith's First Lesson For the New Year


is to always try every button on the front of an inherited computer, regardless of how little it looks like a power button, before you replace the power supply. It's not often I say this, but ... thats 20 minutes in front of a computer I wish I had back

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Sunshine Cafe


Since I drive past it every day as I go to and from my gym, I've been meaning to visit The Sunshine Cafe for breakfast for a while now. It's located at a spot which makes for a nice Saturday morning walk for Ishy and myself, and they keep advertising something that they call the 'good morning burger' (all I can think of is the Simpsons version).

Well this morning I finally decided to get off my duff and head out there. This was partly because I had broken my fast yesertday at the Depot Cafe, and I wanted someone else to cook me eggs this morning. And I think it may well be added to my regular set of breakfast locations.

It's set up with the classic diner feel (which I must admit I wasn't really expecting to see in California, and certainly not in Belmont). The kind where everyone sits at the counter on swivel chairs bolted to the floor, and you can get your coffee refilled until the cows come home. And the food was true to the environment.

The food was good, and the coffee was piping hot and caffinated. And breakfast came in under $7. That was the most surprising part, as it's $2 more expensive at the Depot Cafe.

Oh, and here's the address if you want to try it yourself:

  1397 El Camino Real Belmont, CA 94002-3907  


So That's Why I Don't Drink Wine


Well I was in no condition yesterday to write until late enough for the New Yorker post, and it was all wine's fault. Mike came over Thursday since his new roommates wouldn't let him have a house warming BBQ, and he, Lexi, Andrew and I cooked up some steaks at home and cracked open several bottles of wine.

Ordinarilly I abstain from wine. I've never been a huge fan of reds alone. But when there's good steak around I do find I enjoy how they compliment each other. The thing is though that I haven't gotten drunk on wine in quite a while (and while later that night we went out bar hopping, I'm pretty sure the sugar was what caused the pain) so I wasn't really prepared for the next day.

Well I had planned on spending a fun day with Ishy anyway. I guess it just had to be a calmer, less motion intensive, sort of fun.