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New Year's Resolutions [09 Jan 2008|12:46pm]
1. Shut up and DO something. I have a bad habit of having good ideas, tinkering with it for a while, getting 80% there and then giving up. I want to have an idea, commit to it and at the end have something to show for it. My first project is an iPhone Remote Control for iTunes. I'm 80% done, but I've committed to giving a presentation on it during a brown bag here at work.

2. Don't consume anything with high-fructose corn syrup in the first four ingredients. This means I'm off soda. I haven't had any this year so far, but it's harder than I thought.
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weekend wrap up [07 Jan 2008|10:51am]
* power was out Friday from 10:30am-9:00pm. I went to the dollar store and stocked up on candles. I found a video online on how to make a lantern out of cooking oil, cotton cloth and a glass bottle.
* traded music with lady-friend. Now I know Interpol and Al Green. And she can enjoy Radiohead In Rainbows.
* recovered from cold (juicer is magic giving my body vitamin goodness)
* Chad bought a Tenori-On
* Chad and I are going to burning man. tickets go on sale Jan. 16th.
* We started building a huge LED light display for BM. I ordered an Arduino to control it all.
* started watching Home Movies (the cartoon). Hilarious.
* wrote a simulator in Java to start programming light sequences in huge LED light display. Realized I had forgotten everything I knew about Java. nowIProgramLikeThis $instead_of_like_this.
* making it look cool is way more difficult than I thought. I'm inspired by Marissa Meyers light wall seen at 4:15 in this video.
* wrote a perl script to write scrolling text to said LED light display.
* watched both the democratic and republic New Hampshire debates. Ron Paul was the only one that made any sense. I thought we elected republicans to end wars, not start them.
* went to a Barack Obama "what you can do to get involved" meeting. Learned how to be a precinct captain, which basically means making phone calls. Yuck. Decided I'd just print out some voter registration forms with stamped envelopes and give them to people that would vote for Obama but aren't registered to vote (i.e. most of my friends)
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Some videos on politics [18 Dec 2007|01:28am]
"The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis" is Bill Moyer's editorial mostly discussing the Iran-Contra affair. It was made in 1987, when I was six years old. It seems to me that the same argument could be made about today's executive branch. Transparency and openness in government is incredibly important.

"Larry Lessig on Corruption" Larry Lessig, best known for creating the Creative Commons license has switched his focus to corruption in government. As a Stanford post-doc and a lawyer that has argued before the Supreme court Lessig is a smart guy with great ideas.

"Ron Paul's Iowa TV Special. While I don't consider myself a Ron Paul supporter (I haven't given him any money), I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He has strong principles and always supports his views with excellent historical perspective.
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listmania! [18 Dec 2007|12:46am]
* new userpic! I look like a normal person in this one.
* I'm addicted to podcasts now. NPR has some great stuff.
* getting into Make. I love their "Weekend Projects with Bre Pettis". I'm working on building LED cube.
* Instructables also rocks your socks. I'm learning so much about hardware hacking.
* writing a firefox extension to take a screenshot of the current page in the browser and upload it to flickr
* selling my armoire since it's not 1995 anymore and my room is too small.
* becoming a mac fan boy. I love Gelaskins. Tea Party for my iPhone and Kobe for the MacBook Pro
* flew the "bay tour" in a Piper Warrior PA-28 plane with a friend from work. Took off from San Marcos, flew around Angel Island, up to Stinson Beach and then touch and goes at Half Moon Bay.
* spending too much time watching political videos on stumble upon.
* "Dinner Parties" seem to be in vogue. They're great fun. I'm going to Sam's tomorrow.
* switched email client from mutt to Thunderbird. This is a one month trial period.
* firefox still hates me. Opening 15 tabs and watching lots of videos means it malloc()s 1gb of RAM and never free()s it.
* new found music: I bought The Disassociates over a year ago, but I'm just now learning to love it. "We're much preferred customers" is an awesome track.
* I paid $12.00 USD for Radiohead's In Rainbows. Well worth it.
* job is going well. Yahoo! knows how to deploy software. I don't think I can ever work without igor and yinst now. Still amazed at how many smart people I work with.
* Christmas shopping is completed. I'll be in Missouri from Dec. 22nd-27th to see friends and family.
* xkcd is awesome if you're a nerd. The author, Randall Munroe, gave a talk at Google. Fun guy.
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Juicing Power [03 Dec 2007|10:35am]

Check out this bad boy I bought last week.

With all stainless steel construction it has been called "The DeLoren of Juicers".

All my juicing fantasies have come true. Who wants carrot-pommogranit-apple-pineapple juice!?
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Photo Dump [28 Nov 2007|10:47am]
photo's from around my worldCollapse )
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Baracking the house [15 Nov 2007|10:13am]

Last night my friends waited in line for two hours to see Barack Obama. I, on the other hand, showed up late, and said "thanks for holding my spot in line!" and got in after ten minutes.

I've been paying a lot of attention to this presidential race. While I don't agree with all of Obama's positions, he is, by far, the first politician in any race that I have ever liked and believed in.

Another hero of mine, Larry Lessig, summed up his thoughts on Barack quite well.

The differences between Barack and Hilary are exactly the differences that make me a support of Obama.

Pictures stolen from SFist
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25 hour birthday! [06 Nov 2007|04:04pm]
This past Sunday, for the first time since I was sixteen, my age is a cube of an integer.

A group of about 12 people met up at Cha Cha Cha in the Mission. After much Sangria, we went to Doc's Clock for shuffleboard and connect 4. It was great.

Interestingly, for the first time ever, my birthday was 25 hours long. Assuming daylight saving time doesn't get changed again I will have seven more of these 25 hour birthdays in the next 50 years (according to a quick n dirty perl script). That means the odds of my birthday being on a 25 hour day are about 14%

The general form of this question is "What are the odds that a date falls on a given day of the week." It's interesting because I think it's different for dates before and after Feb. 28th

Huh. *scratches head*

Update: After talking to some smart people, it's not the probability that's an interesting problem, that's 1 in 7. It's predicting the series that's interesting. For instance, how many days long (between the years 2001 and 2399) is the period?
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New bike (again) [06 Nov 2007|03:19pm]

It's a 2003 Cannondale R600. My original bike (the one I bought two months ago) had the handlebars, shifters, seat, fork, rear wheel and gears stolen when I parked it in the mission to go to a restaurant. *sigh*. I don't plan to leave this bike unattended outside.
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Halloween Debauchery [01 Nov 2007|12:35pm]
I went out to the Haight with Kieran et al for Halloween last night. Fun was had by all. We had dinner and drinks at Magnolia, then we were off to MILK for an 80's themed Halloween party.

More Pictures after the cutCollapse )
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I'm an uncle! [31 Oct 2007|03:22pm]
I was having a dream about buying scarfs (yes, my life is really that boring) and was woken by a text message from my parents telling me my sister had just made me an uncle for the first time:

Welcome to the world, Reece Kathleen Pahl!
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Sailing [14 Oct 2007|07:50pm]
Today I successfully completed ASA 101 (Basic Keel Boat or BKB) through Modern Sailing Academy.

I did some sailing with friends when I lived in Austin and San Diego. When I moved to San Francisco I wanted to charter on my own. Everyone I talked to recommended Modern Sailing Academy. To charter (rent) a boat up to 32' in length you need to complete BKB and Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 102). If you plan to charter often, you can become a member and get cheaper rates.

Basic Keel Boat was taught mostly on the water. There were three students (including me) and one instructor out on the water on a Pearson 32. We met from 9am-3:30pm on Saturday and Sunday for two weekends. Here's a run down of some of the things we covered:

The sailing was great. We went through the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz and through Raccoon Straight. During our first weekend of sailing Fleet Week was going on. There were hundreds of boats in the bay and a great view of the Blue Angels flying overhead!

Sailing season in SF is traditionally April-October. I'll wait until the beginning of April to take Basic Coastal Cruising. This will serve as a good refresher course and I'll be well prepared to take friends out for the 2008 season!
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Midnight Rollers Friday Night Skate [12 Sep 2007|01:46pm]
There's a group here in SF called the Midnight Rollers. At 9pm every Friday night they meet up at the Embarcadero wearing roller blades. For the next three hours (thus the name) they skate 12.5 miles through the city.

I joined them for the first time last Friday and what an experience. I heard lots of conflicting reports about the who/when/where. There were about 35 people that met at the Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building, east of the end of Market St. There were a few people there at 8:30pm, but most showed up around 9.

The leader of the group is David Miles. David has a tricycle cart that carries a set of speakers with connections for a microphone and an ipod. At a little after 9, he gave what could only be described as a pep talk, and away we went. He played a full collection of music, from Steppenwolf to Justin Timberlake.

I played roller hockey back in college, but it's been a while. I was a little nervous that I was going to hurt myself, but it was a piece of cake. The pace wasn't that fast and there were 10 regrouping spots along the way.

The course follows the Embarcadaero along the shoreline to North Beach. From there we skated to the Presido, through Cow Hollow, down the Stockton tunnel taking a break at Union Square, West on Market and then all the way back to the Ferry Building via Townsend St. A map is available. If the course is too long, you can easily meet up with the group at any of the stops labels as dots on the map.

The hills weren't bad. Just be sure you know how to control your speed. We passed quite a few cops and they didn't give us any trouble.

There's something really cool about skating through the streets and seeing people's reactions when a gaggle of skaters go flying by. People cheer and give high fives. It was like I was running a race, but without the finish line and the running parts.

Legend has it that not long ago the size of this group each week was between 300 and 500 people. Now it seems to be a core group of people that won't let the dream die. This core group, of course, is full of mentally unstable people. However, they're very friendly and welcoming to any and all new comers. I was a little nervous about showing up not knowing anyone, but I soon found there was no reason to be shy.

If you're bored this Friday night, meet up at the Ferry Building between 8:30 and 9:00pm with roller blades, pads, helmet and lights. Don't worry if you're not that experienced of a skater, there are plenty of people that are willing to help you through the course.

Update: Yahoo released its MapMixer tool, which is super sweet and allows me to do this: Friday Night Skate Mixed
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New Bike [10 Sep 2007|11:37am]

After much searching I finally found a bike I am happy with. Ooooo, awwww, so nice.

It is a 2007 Scott Speedster S40. I'm buying it from REI. I'll be using it to replace my daily walk from my house to the shuttle pick up, which is about 15 blocks. The shuttle has a bike rack on front.

Mike, a coworker, lives near me and rides his bike all the way to Caltrain every morning (3.5 miles; here's the route) It takes about the same amount of time, but you get a good ~7 mile ride in. There are showers at work that I don't mind using. The only catch is the shuttle is free and has wifi. Caltrain does not, but it doesn't have to fight traffic, and is therefore more consistently on time.

This bike didn't come with pedals. I plan on getting some Shimano clipless SPD. I'd like the hybrid pedals that I can flip over and use without the shoes. That will be nice for my daily commute.

Update: The pedals I bought are Shimano SPD Compatible PD-M324.

Update 2: I also bought an "On Guard 5012" lock, which has a "anti-theft guarantee" that I have to pay $15 stupid dollars for three years of coverage.

Update 3: The serial number is H7J43128. The registration number is A0556811.
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Alaska Trip Next Week [07 Sep 2007|10:19am]
On Sept. 15th I'm cashing in those airline tickets and heading to Anchorage, AK. I'll be there for about eight days. I'm going with three friends, one from San Diego, one from New York City and one from Los Angeles. We're all meeting at ANC Saturday night.

Alaska – Sept 15-23 2007


* Depart Sat morning for Anchorage (ANC). Sean will pick me up at the Anchorage airport that evening.
* Spend Sat night in Anchorage.
* Sunday morning 7:45 flight to King Salmon in Katmai, then a short float plane trip to Brooks Camp
* Spend the day watching the bears at Brooks Falls, stay the night at the campground
* Tour of Valley of 10,000 Smokes, spend the rest of the day bear-watching and hanging out at the lodge in Brooks Camp. Flight back to Anchorage gets us back at 9:00pm.
* Spend the night in Anchorage.
* Drive to Sterling where we have 2 canoes reserved at Weigner's. They shuttle us to the West Entrance of the Swan Lake System where we start a 4-5 day canoing/portaging/camping trip. We will also rent one or two ultralight fishing rods (there are rainbow trout and Arctic char in the lakes).
* We will be back in Sterling on either Saturday or Sunday. With the time remaining, here are some options that we can consider based on the weather and our interest:

- From Seward, hike along the Coastal Trail to Caines Head State Park with overnight camping.
- Drive to Homer, rent kayaks and explore Katchemak Bay State Park, possibly camping overnight on an island.
- From Homer, take a day fishing trip to catch salmon/halibut
- Overnight backpacking hike along the southern part of the Resurrection Pass Trail, staying overnight in the USFS cabins.
- Overnight backpacking hike along the Russian Lakes Trail, either camping or staying in the USFS cabins.
- Overnight backpacking hike on the Johnson Pass Trail, camping.
- Spend a day river fishing for Rainbow Trout or Silver salmon in the Kenai River.
- Heading back north through Anchorage, drive up to Talkeetna and take a chartered flight around Denali with a scheduled landing on the glacier.

* Sunday return to Anchorage for return flights at 10pm.

Info on the Kenai Peninsula: http://www.kenaipeninsula.org/planner.pdf
Gear ListCollapse )
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Labor Day weekend roundup [04 Sep 2007|06:18am]
Busy weekend:

Fun, Fun. Good times.
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Military-industrial complex [27 Aug 2007|09:04am]
Military-industrial complex

Somebody really should have warned us this could become a problem.
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Living in San Francisco [19 Aug 2007|06:33pm]
I've been in San Francisco for about two and half weeks now. I naively thought I'd find a place to live in less than a week. Turns out the rental market is really tough right now for various reasons. There is a shuttle that I'll be taking to the south bay every morning. It has wifi and everything, so that beats the heck out of driving and it's free! The shuttle stops are down Van Ness and Mission, so I'd like to live within walking distance of that.

I've been looking at studios and talking to people with empty rooms. Both are ultra competitive. It's a lot like interviewing for a job. I show up with my proof-of-income, credit report and a head shot. Generally there are like 5-10 other people that want the same thing I do. It's tough.

My living situation is a bit precarious. I was sleeping on a friends couch, but his parent's are in town now, so I got the boot. I didn't have anything lined up, so I've really been bouncing around.

Night life here is incredible. Some of the place's I've been or plan to check out:
Brothers Korean BBQ - went with Chad and Brian
Quiz Night at Edinburgh Castle
Encore Karaoke - Went there with random people I met at Hemlock. I sang CCR's Fortunate Son
Hemlock Bar - went there with a potential roommate. hardcore. Met Joanna and her fiance.
12 Galaxies - saw Chad's exgirlfriend play accordian. Also saw Rube Wadell play and bought their CD. The 12 Galaxies guy was there, but he's up to 75,000 now.
Zeitgeist - saw the Tamale Lady. Tamale's are $3 a piece now
Sushi Time
Joanna suggested I check out Dimples and go hat shopping at Villans
Checked out the Redwood room at the Clift Hotel. It was awesome. Make sure you're their after 8pm. The "art" is a video of people pretending to be paintings. Excellent.
Chad suggests I go see Dark Matters but I keep forgetting.
Chelsea suggests Fresca if I'm looking for a nice dinner. It's Peruvian.

I've been busy.
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Life at Yahoo! so far [09 Aug 2007|11:08am]
I just started my new job at Yahoo! this past Monday. I'm really excited about it and I'm anxious to make a difference.

The Good:
- great cafeteria (good, subsidized food)
- high morale
- work with some very smart people
- lots of events. yesterday they launched a new product and gave everyone that showed up at the part free beer and ice cream.
- great culture
- two awesome computers: desktop (24" monitor!) and laptop (mac book pro!)
- good training, including engineering bootcamp with classes like "Migrating to Unicode"
- shuttle from San Francisco to Yahoo! with free WiFi
- shipping center (free packing material), great gym (with towel service!), cheap dry cleaning and haircuts on site

The Bad:
- I can't enroll in any benefits yet because I'm "not in the systems" that means that I have to wait like two weeks from now (once I recieve my first paycheck) to sign up. By then I'll have already forgotten all the training I received on what my default passwords are, how to choose a health care provider, who to call to roll over my 401k, etc. Very annoying. This is what you get when you outsource.
- stupid email address: jaybuff@yahoo-inc.com - this is my own fault; my manager asked for a "username" and I didn't realize it would be used for my email address.
- lots of legacy stuff
- evolution email client is supported through OWA, but I have no way to change my password since I don't have a windows machine
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Private Pilot Check Ride [01 Aug 2007|02:46pm]
Good news: I passed my private pilot check ride last week! I'm now officially a pilot. I got my certificate through part 61, not part 141, which means I flew with independent instructors on my own schedule rather than going through a flight school. Here are some tips I used.

3:1 Rule

For every hour you spend in the plane, spend at least three hours preparing and reflecting on what you're learning for specific flight. I paid about $65 an hour for plane, so I wanted to get the best bang for my buck.

Always research what the focus of the next lesson will be. That means reading the text book, quizzing yourself, and knowing the fundamentals of what you'll be learning before you get in the plane. Show up at least an hour before your instructor, get a weather briefing, preflight the plane, and dry fly the lesson while sitting in the cockpit on the ground. During the flight take notes of topics you didn't fully understand. After the flight go over it all in your head and look up anything you still have questions about.

If your log book has 15 hours in it you should spend more than 45 hours learning about aviation. Those 45 hours should be directly related to the 15 hours you spent in the plane during specific flights. You should spend much more time learning the generalities of flight and subjects you may not directly learn during a flight. For example, if you don't fly near a class B airspace you should still spend time learning about it.

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