Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well bugger

The power window on my car broke, and in a very inconvenient way. It seems that it ate the worm gear so now my window won't stay up.

Needless to say I'm not pleased by this turn of events, but I've located a Hyundai dealership near by and I'll be dropping it off to get fixed early tomorrow morning.

I'm glad it didn't break the day before I left or something, though. That would have been much more annoying.

At least there's a fairly good chance of finding a replacement part quickly, what with this being a reasonably large metro area and all.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The deepest shade of blue

Previously I've made unhappy noises about the sky in California not being quite exactly blue. It's not entirely hazy, but it's just been a smidgen of a shade away from the crystal clear skies of the prairies.

Today that all changed, as some exceptionally clear air blew in and made the sky a perfect blue.

It also made it unexpectedly hot, which cut short my usual biking up Page Mill. It's not so fun when the temperature is 30+. (It was only supposed to be 23c today)

I saw a pair of deer along the road as I was biking along, and flipped out my cameraphone to snap a picture of them... My cameraphone takes really, really shitty pictures.

Thankfully it takes slightly better pictures of the construction equipment that's in the process of setting up a bike/ped overpass right near where I'm staying.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I decided to give the MoinMoin wiki software a whirl on my server for managing the static content on my web site. It's closed off so only I can edit it, so it's not exactly collaborative or anything, but I can't imagine I'd want anyone else editing the content anyway.

I've stuck it on my server at So far it's just got the welcome page and a highly abridged version of my xmas list.

I'll still be using Gallery2 for my photos and I'll probably get phpicalendar up in a more official capacity for my calendar, etc, but I figured this would be a nifty way to deal with all the detritus that used to just be stuck in static html files that I loathed editing.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Courses for Horses

It will soon be time for me to register for my courses for the coming 08-09 academic year, and once again I'm having difficulty filling up my calendar with the appropriate number of credit hours.

For fall I've got: Math-3101 Advanced Calculus and Analysis, Math-3202 Group Theory, and Math 3402 Combinatorics. For winter I have: Math-3101 Advanced Calculus and Analysis, Math 4202 Rings and Fields, Math-2202 Applied Algebra and Math-2501 Number Theory.

So far I've managed to schedule things so I don't have any classes on Friday, and I don't have any that start before 10:00am, and I'd like to keep things this way.

I'm already running out of courses that are required for my degree, and I certainly have more than enough math courses for the year, so I'd like to fill in with some courses from other areas to help fill up my humanities requirement (need another 6c-hr) or the distribution requirement (need 3c-hr from at least 5 diff departments, currently I've got 4).

Basically what I'm looking for is suggestions as to what courses to use as filler. I want something that's vaguely interesting, not especially challenging, doesn't involve a mammoth quantity of reading and writing, etc. If you have any ideas, post a comment.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hell, thy name is Bob

No, not that Bob; this Bob.

I decided to change up my weekend cycling by going for a climb with a bit more challenge, and managed to pick one of the most challenging climbs in the entire bay area, the Bohlman-On Orbit-Bohlman route... which also happens to start 13 miles away, making for quite a lengthy warm-up ride.

Now the average grade for the section I rode is 11%. This can only be described as "horrible, terrible lies", seeing as some sections are upwards of 24%. That's a lot of percent. It translates to roughly 14 degrees, give or take. Hold the end of a ruler a little less than 3 inches off your desk, and that'll be roughly the slope we're talking about.

It should additionally be noted that the slope doesn't let up any until you've ridden 2.4 miles and climbed 1500 feet, unlike Page Mill which has a number of flat or short downhill sections. There's none of that here.

Anyway, I made it to the bottom of the hill at 3:15 and started climbing. By 4:00 I had gone a total of 1.75 miles (setting a blistering pace of 2.3 miles per hour) and two things happened:

  1. I hit a small rock with my front tire. Normally this wouldn't be any big deal, but due to the slope and the amount of force I had to pedal with, it lifted the wheel quite a ways off course, which caused me to struggle somewhat to stay upright, which then resulted in my left calf locking up in a spasm. This was rather uncomfortable, and took a few minutes to stretch back out.
  2. I ran out of water.

Thus, at the lower intersection of Bohlman and On Orbit, I was forced to give up and turn around. I did quite enjoy the ride, though, and perhaps next year when I have a lighter bike I might try it again.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bills, bills, bills

Yesterday I got the bill from my hospital stay. They want $2200 from me. At least, that's what they claim they want. In reality, there's a 75% cash discount if I contact them within 25 days or so.

I'll be calling them with my insurance info on Monday to get things settled up.

I have no creativity

Went up Page Mill again, had a fun time. 1:15 up and 0:20 down.

I'm gonna miss this when I go back home.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Didn't quite make it

So today I took another stab at Page Mill, but I didn't quite make it to the top before I had to give up and turn around.

Not because I was tired, mind you. Quite the opposite; I had plenty of energy left, but the hot weather and resulting profuse sweating had me running out of water about 2 miles from the end and the last thing I wanted to do was drive myself into dehydration on a hot day half way up the side of a mountain.

In all reality I probably could have made it to the top and got some more water at the park there, but I didn't want to push my luck, especially considering last week's brush with vertigo. I was going quite well, though, keeping up a good pace without having to stop anywhere, not even at the top of Moody Rd.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

SSL can be so... cryptic

Setting things back up on my server today, and having a puzzling time of it when it comes to my SSL certificates.

I started out by getting my jabber server back up and running and puzzling over why it wouldn't talk to the Google Talk servers. Scrounging around the net a little, I discovered that I needed to have SSL set up on my server to satisfy the peculiar tastes of The Goog.

Except that didn't work, and it took quite a bit more puzzling to determine that it didn't like my self-signed certificate, but substituting it with a certificate that I signed with a self-generated CA key would work. Go fig.

Then, while I was on an SSL kick, I decided to enable https on Apache, so I dutifully cooked up a key and crt, signed it with the CA key I just generated and... Firefox refused to trust it. Not only did it refuse to trust it, but it went so far as to even refuse to let me set an exception, and the errors it gave were utterly vague and generic.

It took me a few more hours of generating keys, searching the net, and screaming at the utterly useless documentation to figure out that I needed to use a self-signed cert instead of one signed by my fake CA.

What a pain in the ass.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm not dead yet!

On Saturday evening I was just sitting at home surfing some porn wholesome family-oriented websites and suddenly with no warning whatsoever the room started spinning.

I wobbled my way over to bed to lay down for a bit, but that didn't help things any, so I unsteadily made my way to the bathroom to respond to the urge to empty the contents of my stomach. That didn't help much either.

I had my landlord take me to the hospital ER, and after waiting around for an hour they finally got me in a room and gave me an IV bag and some anti-dizzyness and anti-nausea medication.

The doctor explained that episodes of vertigo can sometimes follow an infection such as a cold, and I did have a cold the previous weekend, so after I was done absorbing the IV he sent me home with a prescription for some more happypills.

By this time it was 3am, and when we got to the 24 hr pharmacy we found that the pharmacist had gone off to eat lunch, leaving us to wait around for another half hour before I could get my medication.

The good news is that the vertigo is slowly clearing itself up, and is now barely noticeable. I expect by the end of the week it will be completely gone and I'll be back to normal.

All in all the service in this hospital was pretty much identical to what I've experienced in Canada, so god only knows what Americans are paying so much more money for. Speaking of which, I haven't yet got the bill for my quick stay...

Page Mill again

So on Saturday afternoon I took my bike out on Page Mill for a climb and managed to do quite well. Not only did I shave 5 minutes off my time, but I also managed to make it up the entire climb only stopping once (at the top of the 17% grade at Moody Road and Page Mill).

I also made it down the hill in 15 minutes, which I'll blame on doing better on the uphill bits rather than going twice as fast on the downhill bits.

Down, down, down in a burning ring of fire

My server went down with a hardware failure yesterday afternoon, probably from overheating. I won't be anywhere near it to fix it until the end of August.

If you need to email me, I have a email address that I can send to you. Just reply to this post if you need it.