Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let's work on your timing

Our cable internet is down as I right write this, so I'm on hold with Comcast. Perhaps they should put a little thought into what they advertise on the phone. After I had selected the choices for "problem with internet" -> "no connection," they still wanted to advertise their phone service and online troubleshooting feature. Really? They think I'm going to be receptive to getting phone service when my internet service is completely unavailable? And an online troubleshooter, as interactive as it is, is not going to be of use if I CAN'T GET ONLINE.

In other news, comcastmustdie.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OK, let's try this again

Here's an update:

Tour d'Organics: A bike ride with the AIDS/Lifecycle crew. We were one of the few groups to do the century option, so when we finished the food was almost gone. This would have been disappointing, except all the food was vegan in addition to organic. Where's the beef?

Washington Monument

S and I went to Washington DC to visit her brother. I was surprised how collegiate the city felt, students scurrying to class were much more prevalent than the suits I imagined. Seeing how slowly people drove during off-hours, I can see why traffic becomes such a nightmare with more people on the road.

S, D, R and I went to the Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival. We "conservatively" got 45 tastings between the 4 of us and by the end of the day swore off chocolate for a week. My favorite was mousse brownies. On the way back we stopped by an art gallery. I asked one of the docents, "I saw a painting of a campfire on a beach when I was here a few months ago. Do you have the name of the artist?"

Within minutes S and I found ourselves in the "viewing room" with the docent, who had fetched the painting from an upstairs office, and the manager. Dimming the lights to show the layers of the painting, the manager explained Larry Horowitz's techniques for painting, his history, and how this gallery had found him. Soon after hearing the $3500 price tag, though, we had to say goodbye.

Later that week, I saw the Oakland A's lose for the second time this season. Getting a hotdog in that stadium is tortuous: an extremely inefficient serving process combined with unmotivated workers means that you have to spend an inning waiting for precooked food.

Closing out September was a trip to Yosemite. As we summited a trail that had passed Vernal falls and topped out at Nevada falls, it began to hail. Back at Curry Village that night, we celebrated with beer and pizza. Before leaving, we did a hike to Tafte Point, stopping for a pleasant sit on one of the crevasses.

Scenic seating

In November I saw friends from out of town, as well as went out of town to visit family.

Last week I celebrated my birthday at one of my favorite bars, Zeitgeist. It was a lively night; interesting conversations over a medium tasty beers and punctuated with rounds of "Happy Birthday." In recovery mode over that weekend, S revealed her surprise: a getaway to Santa Cruz. Secluded bed and breakfast, watching surfing competitions, spa and sauna, beer and wine tasting, a hike through a monarch habitat to the beach.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

As Promised

This was my office for a week in Niwot, Colorado. We played, we brainstormed, we drank, we recovered from a datacenter power outage; it was a blast.

This week I got my bike tuned up and I'm preparing for my first big ride since AIDS/Lifecycle. Today I took this route up to work. If you don't mind a few surprise hills, Alameda provides an interesting route north. Varied neighborhoods, car free stretches, and a number of chances to get out of the saddle, today's ride was doubly rewarding. Sunday's ride is the Tour d'Organics.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Looks like it's been a while. I've mostly been traveling.

S was finishing her rotational program at J&J, so I went out to visit. The hotel was nicely situated between Fenway, MIT, and the Boston Public Gardens, all of which I got to visit while walking around.

We had to wait 45 minutes to go on the Sam Adams brewery tour, but the beer at the end made it worth it. The tour itself was pretty short, but the host was funny and knowledgeable. The real standouts of the trip were our two meals at Neptune Oyster where we had raw oysters from all over the country and some of the best fish I've ever had.

Forest Hill
A friend I've known since 3rd grade got married over the weekend, and I was a bridesmaid :) I don't have any pictures of the wedding up yet, but here's a preview (a different wedding):

She has such a great group of friends and I had fun from the rehearsal through the after parties.

I'm writing this from Niwot, CO where PBwiki is having a strategery retreat. Pictures will also be coming from much better photographers than I.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Orwell, PBWiki, and more biking

OK, this will be a scatter shot post since I have a few things to talk about, but not enough time to write full entries.


This is the best essay
I've read in a while, though after reading and agreeing with it, one is constantly in fear of violating it's advice. What I like most about the essay is Orwell's ability to demonstrate the alternative to dreary writing: he tells of an author using "an accumulation of stale phrases [that] chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink" and a sentence in which "A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details."

I would love for artists to apply this advice to their lyrics and songs. I don't need to hear another identical song asking me to "hold on to me, and never let me go." Does that make you envision anything unique or memorable? To contrast, "a kiss on your molten eyes" is a wonderful line from the Shins that engages many senses to make the song more intimate. "Love is watching someone die" is a direct lyric from Death Cab for Cutie that begs for discussion and thought. Postal Service gives even cliched metaphors more realism with "Will someone please call a surgeon \Who can crack my ribs and repair this broken heart."


I changed jobs! This is my second week at a start up that hosts websites that anyone can edit. Running a book club, coordinating travel plans, or taking notes for your CS class? Make a wiki and let me know how it goes.

Rescomp and my various small projects are like living alone: you get to have almost complete control over your situation, but it's somewhat lonely. A9 was like living with your family: you have a lot of resources, but always have someone looking over your shoulder, telling you how they want it done. I don't know what PBWiki's metaphor will be, which is exactly the experience I wanted; "Fight the temptation to choose the clear, safe course. That path leads ever down into stagnation."

In the saddle

One thing that has not changed is my enthusiasm for biking. J and I completed the Page Mill-Skyline-La Honda loop, with the obligatory stop at Alice's. I've started a more varied, aerobic workout that I hope will increase my sprinting abilities. I'll let you know how the Old La Honda test goes.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bay Trail

I wanted to take it easy my first time back on the bike after the ride, so I set out to explore some of the San Fransisco Bay Trail. The Southbay has a lot of surprises: Sunday I discovered a little park that overlooked the bay, complete with picnickers, a small lake with kayakers, and many families on bike. Unfortunately, the path behind Mofit Field is incomplete, so I had to take the long way around to get to the Sunnyvale sections.

Riding this loop was quite a difference. For starters, the trail is gravel, which I foolishly believed would just be temporary. I road on, simultaneously hoping for smooth asphalt and trying to convince myself that this could be justification for buying a mountain bike. The loop takes you by the lovely water treatment plant, with it's accompanying lovely smells of sewage. Asphalt is most useful spread on the ground for your riding comfort, not piled up on the side of the road, which is where I finally came across it.

Yes, that's correct: the road had actually been de-paved. My carbon renforced tires prevailed, though, and despite some fierce crosswinds I completed the loop without an accident. Without being pooped on either: I managed to disturb a huge flock of seagulls who proceeded to circle over me. Continuing the bird theme, I surprised a hawk while biking by its hiding place. What do hawks hide from? Well, as soon as it was out in the open, a group of crows started cawing and diving at it, chasing it 3 blocks along my route. "Common, you're a hawk," I wanted to yell, "end those jerks." Oh well, sorry about that, Mr. Hawk.

Even with some misadventures, being back on the bike was a great feeling. I look forward to navigating the rest of the Bay Trail soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I've Returned!

The AIDS/Lifecycle was an amazing experience again. I met another great set of people, stayed free of injuries, and felt much more confident on the bike this year. Here are a few interesting things I discovered on this year's ride:
  • I didn't miss TV at all. Talking with new people let me hear all the interesting stories I could want.
  • It's weird not seeing yourself for a long time. I only shaved twice on the trip, which were also the only two times I saw myself in a mirror. It was a strange feeling realizing you're not sure what you look like after all the sun and riding.
  • People can snore really loudly. At one point two people seemed to be having a snore war; I don't know how they are even breathing hard enough to produce noise at that volume.
  • I always looked forward to riding. I'm taking this week off to let my butt recover, but I'm looking forward to the next time I'm in the saddle.
Thanks again to everyone who donated and supported me. I look forward to riding with many of you in the future!