Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Freakishly Large Birds

So this morning I wake up and take a look outside, and there I see my car, sitting there as normal... with a giant white spot on the hood.

I look again and there's no doubt about it. There's a round white spot about the size of a pancake, just on the near side of the hood. I start wondering what kind of giant, mutant bird could drop such a load on my car as I venture out to find...

Well, turns out that it's just a slightly warmer patch on the hood where the dew didn't collect overnight, and so when I looked at it from my window, it reflected the white clouds in the sky, while the rest of the car was matted by the dew and just looked green.

Curse you, physics!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Back in the saddle again

The weather was quite nice this evening so I managed to get some more unicycling in. Turning seems to be coming along well, though it's still a little rough.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think this unicycle's days are definitely numbered.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wheelin' It

I'm considering buying a new unicycle. The one I've got now, while basically functional, is leaving a bit to be desired.

First off is the seat. It's basically a piece of stamped steel, covered with a thin (and I do mean thin) layer of padding. This is the cause of some rather uncomfortable bruising on my thighs. Seat technology has come a long way in the past 15-20 years.

Second is the tire. it's not a horrible tire, but it's only rated for 45psi and I prefer running at much higher pressures, like 80-120psi. It's already showing signs of not liking being that overinflated.

Third is the pedals, which aside from being kind of cheap are also somewhat bent, no doubt a result of me falling off all the time.

Fourth is the frame, which is a flawed design that tends to develop stress fractures near the fork ends.

There's not many parts left on a unicycle aside from those, but I should say that the cranks, rim, hub and spokes are doing just peachy!

So, as you can see, it wouldn't be worth while to try to fix all these issues, so I might as well just get a new one.

At the same time, I'll probably also move to a 24 inch wheel rather than the 20 I have right now. A larger wheel is a bit easier rolling, goes further for each pedal rotation, and only sacrifices a bit of weight and maneuverability.

Of course, all this depends on actually having some money to spend at some point.

Yeah, that's vancouver

Been raining all week, haven't had much chance to practice my unicycling or do much else interesting. Just been working, trying to keep dry, etc.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sweaty

So I rode my unicycle to the train this morning. Worked out fairly well, though I ended up pretty sweaty by the time I got to work.

It didn't end up going much faster, since I had to get off and walk half the time to keep myself from sweating buckets. I think I'll stick to walking until I get my unicycling skill built up a bit more to the point where it's not such an effort to ride it.

I sure wish I could take my bike on the train, it'd be so much easier.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fun with Youtube

So out of curiosity, I decided to poke around Youtube to see what other people are doing with their unicycles. I quickly discovered they're doing quite amazing things.

I followed a few links around, and eventually came upon some people doing crazy things on bmx bikes as well.

Then I found a video that was a bit of a change of pace.

Yeah, times have changed. What ever happened to those 5-spoke plastic wheels?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The one-wheeled wonder

So I'm progressing well with my unicycling. This evening I practiced for about an hour, and finally mastered the technique of getting on the unicycle without having to hold onto anything (including the unicycle).

My skill at basic riding is also progressing well, but I'm not very good at directional control yet. I still have to figure out how that works, and then practice it up.

Once that's figured out, I should be ready to ride all the way to the train station every morning, and all the way back every night!

And me without my marshmallows

I passed a rather large fire on the way home from work today. A condo complex was ablaze on the corner of Brunette and Casey, just a few blocks from where I'm staying.

The police had the whole street closed off, there were a couple of busses parked to give the residents somewhere to sit, and there was a whole fleet of fire trucks who were fighting the blaze since mid afternoon well into this evening.

They had also shut off the power to that block, but luckily we're on a different circuit here.

Other than that, the walk home was quite nice and uneventful today. A bank of clouds rolled in just in time to scrub off the heat of the day, so it was quite pleasant out by the time I left work. This is a welcome change from the sweat-a-thons earlier this week.

Oh the sweet airyness

So today at work the fellow who works across from me, Boris, finally got sick of his Aeron chair being a bit too floppy in the reclining function. So, he scrounged around the office and found a broken Humanscale chair and, with a bit of blunt persuasion, managed to coax it back into working order.

Not being one to let a perfectly good chair go to waste, I was quick to trade out my faux-leather board room style chair for the Aeron. After a little tweaing, I managed to get it nice and comfy, and just locked the reclining function as I usually do with my chairs.

So now I have a fancy Aeron chair to keep my butt from getting sweaty as I slave away in the data mines, digging for code.

I feel so dot-com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Congratulations, Tyler and Angela

Just got an email this morning from Tyler:
We're so incredibly happy to announce the birth of our beautiful Baby Girl, Erica Christine Gunn at 12:44pm on Sunday. She weighed in at 6lb, 5 1/2 oz.
Congratulations!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Elucidations

Bob asked me to expand on a few recent blog postings, so here goes.

I'd like to buy a new mac to replace my aging G3 as my primary desktop system. Originally, when I was going to California, I had planned to get a 24" iMac, which would also supply me with a new monitor at the same time.

Sadly California didn't happen, and I'm ending up with a bit less spending cash. The current likely scenario is that I'll not buy anything, but there's at least a possibility that I might get a Mac Mini to tide me over.

Getting a new mac would also allow me to shuffle my G3 over to replace the role of my very nice but very loud and very hot SGI Octane. If I were to get a Mini this year, then next year I could get a shiny new iMac and the Mini could replace my G3 as the replacement for my Octane, so then all of my desktop systems would be reasonably modern, quiet, cool, etc.

As for never flying in the US, it comes down to two things:

1) SFO is a miserable maze of twisty passages, all different.
2) TSA stole my toothpaste.

These two things, along with various other minor annoyances, made the hours I spent waiting around in the airport an utterly miserable and insulting experience. I don't have time to waste away my life doing miserable things, and so from this day forward I'll be doing everything in my power to avoid taking a commercial flight into or out of the US.

Last but not least, the broadband. I thought I had covered this in my previous post, but yes we did get shaw installed here in the house. We set it up with wireless because it wasn't possible to run the cables through the wall to get from where the cable was to where the computer is. Plus it makes it much easier for me to type my blog while sitting in bed. :)

If there's anything else you all would like me to expand on, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Freshly ground

So today I went out with Jean-Louis and his wife Susan (or maybe Suzanne, it was hard to tell) to climb Grouse Mountain on the Grouse Grind trail.

I made it to the top in 1:30, which isn't too bad considering it's my first time up. My cycling got me mostly in shape for the climb, but my calves and shins ended up suffering a bit, as they're not used as much on a bike as they are when climbing the side of a mountain.

I really enjoyed the climb, and I think I'd do it again sometime. I took lots of pictures, which you can currently find toward the end of my vacation dump album.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

pixplzkthx

I finally got around to taking some pictures this week. I've put them in a catch-all album for the moment, which you can view here.

More fun with friends

So today I met a friend of mine from Vancouver, Jean-louis, and we had some tasty sushi and bubble tea together, along with his SO.

We might go out hiking tomorrow as well, depending on how things go. I suppose eventually I have to get out and see the sights here.

Work, Work, Work

Work is going well. I'm settling into a bit of a groove and making some fairly meaningful contributions to my project.

I'm still considering if I should bring home a Mac Mini with my discount. It's really tempting, but I've got a lot of other stuff I need to pay for first.

My god, it's full of tubes!

So I'm finally hooked up with a real broadband connection here. Got Shaw high-speed wired up to a WRT54GL loaded with DD-WRT, all locked down nice and secure.

It did give me a bit of grief during the setup until, of all things, I set the clock on the base station. Seems my wifi card doesn't like connecting with WPA if the clocks don't match, which is utterly gay.

Also, I just noticed one of the neighbours is staring at me through the window, from her balcony across the street. Sadly she's not hot. Oh well.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Friends with Benefits

But not that kind of 'benefits'. No, in this case the benefits of friends is free sushi!

On Friday evening, Candy and Ryan (crazy cat lady and programmer, respectively) came up from Gilroy to pick me up in Cupertino, then head over to Valley Fair to pick up Sue.

Ryan circled in the car while Candy and I waited around outside Tarjet for Sue to show up. Then, right in the middle of me doing my tanuki impersonation (don't ask), some smelly mall vagrant approached Candy, and turned out to be a smelly mall vagrant that she actually knew (and wished she didn't. I found myself feeling the same way very shortly thereafter).

He proceded to make an ass out of himself until we noticed Sue trying to sneak past without being seen by the smelly mall vagrant. Sadly (for Sue at least) we managed to flag her down and eventually escaped from the presence of the smelly mall vagrant and in the process managed to rescue another friend of ours, who I think is named Hovard.

Hovard is from Norway, and we had no idea we would be running into him at a random mall somewhere in the bowels of Cupertino, but I'm quite glad we did because he's a really cool person.

The five of us, minus the smelly mall vagrant, all piled back into the car and headed down to Gilroy for some sushi at Ichiban. I was promised naked sushi boat girls, but it turns out that all I got was the Eat Train. I suppose I shouldn't be too disappointed, it was still very good sushi, and Candy and Ryan paid for it.

I ordered the Lava Roll which was very spicy and very tasty, and I also plucked a few dishes from the Eat Train when it steamed past. We all shared our sushi, and I enjoyed a few other varieties, including some very tasty avocado-tainted abominations.

Finally we went over to Ryand and Candy's crazy cat lady house and I enjoyed huffing the allergens for a while. There was much chatting and laughing to be had between us all, and additionally Thomas, though he was fairly quiet for the most part.

That was pretty much it for Friday evening. On Saturday I was hoping to meet up with at least some subset of Candy, Sue and Ryan as well as some other people I hadn't got to see yet, but in the end I had trouble getting anything organized so I just ended up having lunch with Aaron and met a few of the folk he rooms with.

I think I'm really going to enjoy meeting with all my bay area friends next year, and I really hope the Visa doesn't get messed up again or I'll be right pissed.

Also, unrelatedly, I vow from this day forward to never, ever set foot in an American airport again.