back from austin

We got back last night from a very satisfying trip to Austin.

We got in on Friday night, dumped our stuff at Clare’s, and then I went over to Doug’s house for a bit to say hi to everyone. I headed back to bed pretty soon so I could wake up on Saturday morning to go to yoga with my old teacher, Annick. It was ass-kicking, but good. I spent the rest of the daylight hours around UT, eating at familiar places and walking the drag a bit. I also stopped into the co-op to buy some UT paraphenalia that I finally want after shunning it for the four years I was there. I got a burnt-orange hoody that says, quite clearly, “TEXAS” on the front, as well as an orange tie-dyed t-shirt that says the same. It seemed a pleasing blend of my past and future.

Saturday night we had a fancy dinner compliments of Clare’s parents at a tiny restaurant on Lamar called Wink. I personally had raw bison, skate wing, rabbit cake, chocolate soup, lemon tart pot and a nice glass of muscat.

Sunday I had lunch with Ellen, which was wonderful. We gave in to our greasy urges and got bacon cheesburgers at Players and talked politics and personalities. From there, I had dinner with my parents and viewed some excellent pictures from their recent excursions to Honduras and Portugal.

Sunday night was Patrick’s bachelor party. It was the first bachelor party I’ve been to, which was a bit unnerving. I can only guess at the parade of them I have to look forward to in the next few years. We spent the night downtown in bars, exploring the nations of the world via beer. We ended up at Opal Divine’s at 2am, sitting on the porch smoking cigars. Good times.

Monday we got a big group together and went to Schlitterbahn for the day. It was awesome–the kids were still in school, so it wasn’t too crowded, and the sun managed to come out in the afternoon. We rode rides, but also spent a good amount of time just floating lazily in their interminable rivers. We made several trips to their snack dispensaries for turkey legs, ice cream, and funnel cakes.

After we were home and showered, we went out to the drafthouse to see an appalling documentary called “Stupidity.” I won’t even go there.

Tuesday was a lazy day. We all slept in, then I struck out on foot for a nostalgic tour of campus. I dropped into ECAC to say hi to old folks, and then went 0 for 3 trying to find my old professors. I guess they got the hell out of dodge as soon as finals were over. After that, I rendezvous’d with George at half price books where I picked up Dune Messiah and Farenheit 451 for $.98 each. We rounded out the afternoon with a trip to REI where I managed not to buy anything, with a quick pitstop at Best Buy where I gave in and bought the PC version of KOTOR.

Then Doug shuttled us to the airport, we hopped on a plane and before dark we were standing back in our apartment. What an awesome, perfectly-timed trip. Now back to this grind for a while…

naked people in yellow hats.

So, this morning I ran the 92nd annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco with my brother. It was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had at a footrace. It was 12km, or about 7.5 miles. Not too long. The fun started on the bus with the costumes and the driver keeping us entertained. The downside was having to board at 6:00am. I left the apt at 5:15.

We got to SF about 7, and headed in to where all the runners were gathering. There were already at least several thousand waiting at the starting line. To keep everyone entertained while we waited, they distributed thousands and thousands of tortillas. And by distribute, I mean threw at us. By 8:00am pretty much all of the 70,000 runners had arrived.

start of race

We started the race at a leisurely jog. In a few minutes we started noticing some good costumes. Then we noticed a few dozen people without costumes, or any other clothing, except shoes and a yellow hat. They were all old and wrinkly, so I didn’t snap any pictures. Nor was I able to determine why they wore day-glo yellow hats.

Probably the best costume we saw the whole race were a group of people dressed as salmon who started at the end of the race and ran backwards:

racing upstream in salmon costumes

Not pictured is the guy dressed as a sushi chef who flanked them. We ended up finishing in about an hour and a half (we decided to take it easy so we could see the sights and because going really fast was kind of impossible with the crowd). If you’re interested in more pics and videos, check out the complete posting on gallery.

Oh. And I beat Ocarina of Time. I rule Ganon. Now explain to me Cameron how WW is not a copy?

all that is required is for good men to do nothing… the lobbyists will take care of the rest

A bill is in a House subcommittee that should really, really pass. It basically tries to roll back some of the provisions of the DMCA (evil, evil law signed in 1998) that make copying of movies and songs you own potentially illegal (for example, it’s illegal because of the DMCA to copy practically any DVD you own). It also makes it illegal to reverse-engineer many products. This law should die a horrible, horrible death. This bill is a start.

Most of you know I’ve been bitching about the DMCA since 2000 and I’ve been cease-and-desisted by the MPAA and subpoena’d by Mattel over my various protestations (thank you, UT student legal services…). Now there’s a clear way to do at least something about it. I mailed my congressdude (and also Lloyd Doggett, for old-times’ sake). You should too!
You can learn more about the DMCA and the new bill here . Click the link “write to congress” and do your duty! EFF has another letter here.


Yes, it’s true. We went and bought tickets to go to Austin for UT graduation. We’re getting there on Friday night (21st) and leaving Tuesday afternoon (25th). Let me know if there are any parties we need to go to or if you might want to host us on your floor :)

i’ve got your ocarina right here

On the advice of someone who should know, I’ve traveled back in time to 1998 to play Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Since I already played Zelda: Windwaker on the Gamecube, everything seemed very familiar. Too familiar, almost. It’s as though the Zelda: WW game is just a copy of Ocarina with revamped, toon-shaded graphics and new dungeons. Same controls, same items, same sound effects. But I haven’t finished Ocarina yet, so maybe the comparison won’t hold true. Of course, I wouldn’t want that to leave the impression that the game isn’t any good; it’s great. Just fewer polygons.

In other gaming news, I polished off Metroid Prime. I think I rushed through the last half of the game. Played about 40% in one weekend, which in honesty is too much Metroid. In any case, the game kicks ass and you must play it.

You might be thinking to yourself: “Bryan never talks about anything except video games anymore.” Well, you could say that. And you’d be right. This is because I have a job, and although it would be fun to turn this into a blog about the new stuff coming out of Apple, talking about that stuff would probably get me fired fairly rapidly. There is probably a server somewhere on the Infinite Loop campus silently trawling all known employee blogs for any sensitive information, hooked to a machine that prints out pink slips.

And, besides work, my life is a vast and unchanging sea of waking up, coming home, eating, and sleeping. Sure, I try to exercise and go out sometimes. But even the aberrations from my schedule seem so mundane that I have trouble posting them up here. Maybe that’s my problem: I have too high an editorial filter on myself.

So, in an effort to reverse this self-imposed chilling effect, I’ll revisit the highlights of my week so far. Monday is one of the two days every week that Leslie goes to her credentially classes for six hours. Because, after all, it’s not enough to just teach all day and spend every other waking hour planning for teaching and grading. So, I usually have the evenings to myself. I recently leveraged my member’s 20% discount at REI to buy a nice new pair of climbing shoes (Anasazi Velcros, if you must know). I hadn’t broken them in yet, and my old Moccasyms were badly in need of a resole. So, I decided to spend my evening at the local over-priced climbing gym. I dropped off my old shoes for resoling (they should be done in a couple of weeks) and headed over to the bouldering area to see what was left of my climbing skillz after all these months of disuse.

It turned out that I did pretty well, and I also managed to meet and hit it off with a couple of other climbers. I’d sort of forgotten the automatic friendship and community that goes along with climbing. Maybe if I return next week, and I see the same people again, I might establish something like a routine.

Tuesday evening was spent with Les catching up with the daily show using our new PVR bliss. Wednesday was soaked up with ripping netflix DVDs and ocarina. And that brings us to today, which I’m clearly spending working in my cube.

Tomorrow is Friday and payday. Bliss. I might be coming to Austin in a couple of weeks for these alleged graduation shenanigans. We’ll see.