MonthJune 2004

wordpress in the pipe

I’m working on putting together a reasonable stylesheet for WordPress. Once I do, I’m going to try to get all my content migrated over from postnuke, which has proven to be unwieldy in the end. Hopefully I’ll gain some flexibility and simplicity with the move.

why is fake news better?

Another gentleman is having the heads cut off in Iraq where the terrors are in such an uproar. Osama Ben Laden captured a South Korean robot fixer and then put him to the tests on the wrong side of a knife. There is defenselessness and the video is released onto the Internets and the sad story is seen by all. This sort of rudos behavior is making the blood boil not just in my hearts but in the hearts of many who see the bold spirit of Korea being attacked by terrors. South Korea declared attacks “not good” and the United Nations of America sent a letter to the terrors base in Saddy Arabia that “this is not the way to do business ladies”. Terrors say that they are making to cut off heads to get America to quit the big Iraq job but then American President Bush says “think again buster”.

For the sake of your sanity, please read today’s SomethingAwful update. It helps put everything in perspective.

a race of bionically-enhanced superhumans.

That’s us. Leslie just got her eyes lasered yesterday and she’s already posting at 20/20. I tried to get her to go in for the 3X optical zoom and memory upgrade, but she was too cheap.

My week thus far has involved a trip up to Pleasonton on Sunday with Phil to eat with some of his friends at a place called “Stacey’s Cafe” that’s co-owned by Scott Adams (who Phil told me is picky about his food). I got something called “Scott’s favorite pasta.” It was pretty good–walnuts and capellini and tomatos in a pesto sauce. It had clearly suffered under a heatlamp for a good 15 minutes, which didn’t help.

Monday I lazed away playing UT2004 and reading Dune. You might call it “getting in touch with my inner geek,” except my geek is not hiding on the inside. I had a great day at the climbing gym on Tuesday, first climbing a couple of hundred feet on the computerized “treadwall” that makes for a great warm-up, then spending a couple of hours bouldering with a nice guy I met there named Al. We even swapped phone numbers so that we can meet up at Castle Rock in the future.

Yesterday George joined me for dinner and I cooked up the classic spinach-mascarpone stuffed salmon. We didn’t have any breadcrumbs so I improvised by throwing a couple slices of ciabatta into the oven to crisp and then flogging them with the cuisinart. The result was some supremely tasty bread/butter/parmesan coating for the fish, and only a few more dishes to clean.

Today’s not over, but I think it’s big event will be the ticket I got on the way to work this morning. There’s a very long light that you have to wait at to make a left turn. As an alternative, you can go straight through the light, pull a U, then turn right. You can only do this if you studiously ignore the giant “no U turn” sign. Anyway, I got nailed. Just like my one previous ticketing experience, I didn’t even bother trying to argue about it. Him: “Did you see the no U turn sign, Sir?” Me: “Yeah.” The upside of the encounter was that he pointed out that I still had a blob of toothpaste on my face.

I’m going to see if I can take care of the ticket without ever interacting with a human. The courthouse has a call-in line where you can pay the fine and sign up for defensive driving (or “traffic school” as the hippies here call it), and I assume that DefensiveDriving.com can help me out like they did last time.

doings

This morning I went out climbing with Phil and George. Phil had never been before, but he made a valiant showing. He needs to get some climbing shoes. We intended to go with Jeff and his friend Doantam, but I think that wires got crossed some how, since this week he’s in Texas.

Work has been good since I settled the score on Berkeley. Everything feels much more comfortably finite now, and I’m trying to tie up loose ends and put some sort of reasonable cap on the projects I’m working on. I think my big problem with working in general is that if I work harder, and get more done, that just means that I’ll be given more work to do. In school, if I worked hard, I could actually “finish” early, and relax. I’m sure that after some incomprehensibly long time like a year or so, working hard could pay off and I could move up to better pay or a better position or something. But that’s all abstract to me. Plus, it seems to stretch out interminably 40 years into the future. I just don’t work on those timescales yet.

I picked up “Unreal Tournament 2004″ at the store a couple of days ago and I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it. Most fun I’ve had with a shooter since Half Life. All of you out there with the inclination should blow the $30 and come play with me online.

Leslie’s about to head out for her week-long trip to Texas. I’m excited for her–she’s getting her eyes lasered! I don’t think either of us has taken a trip that long alone since we moved into this place. Kind of odd, what having a job will do to you.

I’ve been thinking about changing the format of the website to something different, something simpler. I’m planning on using WordPress. What does my readership think? I want to improve the static content (like my resume, things I’ve written, etc), maybe integrate gallery into this site, put up a few new pages. I haven’t worked up the gumption yet to figure out all the CSS to make it pretty, but I’ve a feeling I’ll have a lot of spare time this week to do so should I feel the urge.

[bag]=> cat

cal logo

This week, I told my manager at Apple that I’m going to Berkeley in the fall. It was sort of the last step in the process that started on a monday morning last August when I told the nice people at UW I wasn’t going to be going to school there and I drove to SF bay. I looked for a job, I applied to schools. I got both.

Classes don’t start until September, but my last day at Apple will be 23 July–our lease is up on the 31st and we’re moving out to Fremont for the next year or so. Fremont has it’s ups and downs. We’ll be close to George, who’s here for the summer, but further from Jeff in Palo Alto. Also, it’s likely that Fremont is even more of a suburban wasteland than Santa Clara. But it is relatively close to San Jose and has a BART station. Just 50 short minutes to Berkeley.

I feel a sort of immense relief at heading back to school. Partly because school is so familiar to me, and partly because it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. I know I’ve been making money for this past year, but it’s also felt like my life is on pause. Not that I have some ultimate goal for my life. Maybe it’s just soothing to be earning merit badges again.

Anyway… the self-imposed prohibition on Berkeley posts is hereby lifted. Expect to hear plenty about it in the coming months.

it’s morning in america… again

zombie reagan logo

an unexpected party

Fun was had this weekend. George arrived in Cali with Clare (surprise!). We spent Friday night on trivial pursuit, taboo, and ultimately Shrek. Jeff and Phil joined us. Saturday was spent shopping for books, seeing the third harry potter movie (fun but unfocused. I don’t think i would have enjoyed it w/out having read the book), and going to the end-of-year TFA “party” at Pixar. The venue was swank, and so was the food (free sushi!). There were several speeches given by both ’03 (Leslie’s year) and ’02 (they’re finished now) corps members. It was a long drive to/from Emeryville (near Berkeley) for the event.

Yesterday morning, I carted Clare and George back to the airport. Clare is headed back to Texas, and george is at West Point being a bad-ass as usual. After they left, I came back home and cleaned the bathroom and did a few other chores (such as churning out another 6 DVDs from netflix). Then I hit the climbing gym for stress relief and exercise. I also spent some time on the little eliptical strider thingy–a feature of the gym that might be enough to entice Leslie to join me there once school is out. I went home and promptly dozed until dinner. Dinner itself was beautiful: Leslie got some “sashimi-grade” ahi, which we seared on the stove and glazed in a ginger-garlic-honey sauce. Mmm… half-raw fish.

After dinner I was inspired to rebuild our apartment network by turning our linux server into a router, and relegating our commodity netgear wireless router to the status of simple access point. I did this mostly to give me more control over the firewall after learning that some netgear routers have a back-door administrative account that can’t be disabled, and also so I could easily run an internal DNS server. Yes, I spent hours working on it just so that I could refer to the music server as “music” instead of “192.168.2.74.” Think of it as geek redecoration.

climbing, ashtanga, KUT, KoToR

Nothing special going on this week. Just slogging through the second-to-last week of school for Leslie. I’ve never anticipated the end of someone else’s year so much. We all know why it will be nice for her to finish. In addition, I’m selfishly looking forward to getting up at 8 again (die, alarm, die).

I bought a membership at a nearby climbing gym, and I’ve been trying to go a few times a week. I’m getting my old strength back quickly, which is encouraging. When I started, it was clear I didn’t have the mettle I did when I left UT. I’ve also been trying to go yoga every week, which is fine, except that there is really only one place in the south bay I can go to. The teacher there, while good, is a little too hardcore. He told me last week that he doesn’t think I should come to the led classes anymore, that “it’s time to take the training wheels off.” What this means is that I’m supposed to come several times a week (6, ideally) in the morning from 6:30-8:00 to do ashtanga so I can “move my practice forward.” Now, I would love to be able to do ashtanga 6 times a week. I’m sure I’d be in great shape if I did. But I’m just not going to rise at 5:15 every morning to drive to Mountain View and pay $11 a class for the pleasure.

Some people see yoga as a part of a religion, or a way to find personal spirituality. To them, it’s less about exercise and more about some abstract concept like wholeness or meditation. Some even pay exorbitant amounts of money to go to india and be abused. They say that if you’re only thinking about the physical aspect, you’re not doing yoga. You’re just stretching. I’d agree to an extent. Except ashtanga is the most ass-kicking type of streching that I’ve even done in my life. It makes me feel looser, gives me more energy, and makes almost all of my aches and pains disappear. The trouble is, the people who often embrace the religious aspects of yoga the most are the teachers. So, as I get better and want to learn more stuff, I have to put up with more spiritual mumbo-jumbo. Can’t I just do second series without bowing to the lotus-feet of Patanjali?

mayurasana pose

I had a great instructor in Austin who wasn’t at all hung up about the spiritual stuff, but now I’m stymied by the new age hippies here in the Bay.

Leslie suggested that when we’re looking for a new apartment, we could try to find a place that has a hardwood floor so that I could do yoga at home (carpet is too squishy, bad for the wrists). Brilliant. And George will be here soon, to the east, so hopefully that might motivate me to find another place to do ashtanga.

Another great thing that happened recently: I discovered that KUT is now offering an MP3 stream of their station. So now I can listen to Eklektikos with John Aielli every morning at work. It’s helped me to miss Austin a little less.

One other thing. I have sworn off the Xbox for various rational and irrational reasons, but I’ve still been taunted by a couple of games that have come out for it: Knights of the Old Republic and Halo. So, I pieced together a Windows (shudder) computer from spare parts I had, and bought a copy of the game for PC. It is indeed great. It offers more lattitude in the way you solve problems than I’ve seen in an RPG in a long time. Example: yesterday I had to work logarithms to solve a puzzle. If I’d wanted to, I could have solved the same problem by interrogating a prisoner or simply blasting my way through a bunch of guards. Also, you have the macroscopic option of choosing the light side or the dark side of the force. I’ve gone the light side, mostly because I made the decision early before I realized that being dark wasn’t a disadvantage. But the two paths are rich enough that I could see myself playing through again as dark just to see how evil I could get. Also, the game is broad enough that I’ve never felt hung up or frustrated, and it’s full of optional quests and side games. I haven’t once felt the need to hit up gamefaqs.

T-minus 7 days of teaching left for Leslie.

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