April 2006 Archives

Commute (pt.6)


The commute hasn't been as nice to me this week. In general the bike cars have been full when they arrive at 22nd St. I also realized this week that the new style (which I thought were great) bike cars HALVE the space for bikes. When the weather was crappy they were running two bike cars on the baby bullets I was taking. Now that it's gotten nice and everybody & their brother is riding their bike (and the gas prices continue to to climb above $3/gal.) there is only one. I know this is a coincidence, but it's rather aggavating.

The culmination of this state of affairs was yesterday when I missed TWO back-to-back baby bullets! (8:04 & 8:16). The next train didn't stop at 22nd St., and the train following (which I got on) that didn't stop at either Mountain View or Sunnyvale! (I briefly contemplated riding in from Santa Clara, but I was already over an HOUR behind where I started)

After that fiasco, I have very begrudgingly decided to give up my ~3 minute, barrel-down-the-hill morning commute, and ride to 4th & King. (I'll still get off @ 22nd St. in the evening). That commute was one of the reasons I looked at living on Potrero Hill. But our house is still awesome, and the view is still crazy. I'm glad we didn't compromise. It's just annoying to get up earlier to ride longer for a train that leaves earlier. But it's much more likely to guarantee me a spot.

This morning I left at 7:30 to give me plenty of time to test ride my newly configured touring bike (another post coming later) and make the 7:59 departure early enough that wouldn't be blocked. I arrived at 7:40, and the doors weren't open yet for the 7:59. No other bikes around. Perfect. As they were closing the doors on the 7:43 (a limited local), I noticed it arrived at Mountain View a just few minutes earlier than the 7:59. I snuck on, and am now arriving California Avenue. I've debated getting off at San Antonio, to ride on the Baylands trails. (My old commute to work!)



I just came home from the train, and we've started dinner. I should be changing, but I was walking around the apartment and that overplayed Coldplay song that I can't help liking is wafting through the house, and it made the whole experience feel like some hipster TV show.

I'm not nearly that cool, but I'm completely overwhelmed with coming home to my sweetie, and cooking with her, and (later) going to bed with her.

Also the little smile she'll get when she reads this.

Commute (pt.5)


A few days ago I noticed that my rear tire was flat as I left to catch the train home. As it turned out, it wasn't the kind of thing that a new tube or a patch would fix. I've had these tires for many years, I've repaired more minor issues, and I've probably put at least few hundred miles on them. It's time to retire them. I don't have spare tires, and for some reason I've put off ordering more since this happened.

So for the past few days I've been riding my mountain bike to work. There are definite advantages to doing that: my trip down to the train in the morning is even more of a joy, since I don't have to dodge the various cracks & small holes in the pavement, and can just bomb down the hill. AND I finally rode home to my door the day before yesterday. Lower gearing ratio was key there. Yes, I have a triple on my road (touring) bike. It's not low enough. I'm lame. This should not be news.

But on the far end, the ride to work is much more annoying. I'm constantly upshifting, or trying to. "What, that can't be it?!?" My cruising speed feels anemic and pushing to my top speed feels like a joke!

On the plus side, in the last day or so I think I finally broke through the next fitness plateau. It might be the mountain bike vs. the road bike, but I think the first day of riding the mountain bike was just as much of a struggle as the previous days on the road bike. Today and yesterday, it was much, MUCH easier.

Another bonus: with my new schedule, I just got home. But that's a post for another time.

Die For Oil, Sucker


On the way back from work yesterday my iPod presented me with something I hadn't heard in a long time: Jello Biafra's "Die For Oil, Sucker". It was depressing the first time I heard it - during the first Gulf War. Now, finding it just as relevant, in some cases moreso, it just makes me want to cry.

Also reminds me of a statistic I heard around that time: an average of 4mpg increase in fuel economy across the board would completely eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Yes, that was on every vehicle, but 4mpg. How many stealth bombers would it take to fund research into ways we could do that?

Of course, that was before this country stuck it's head up it's ass and went SUV crazy. It's probably up to 5 or 6mpg.

I think I'm going to go cry now.

"Run with the Bulls!"


Ok, this has to be another sign of the impending apocalypse. It's just wrong on SO MANY LEVELS.

But, as usual, Mike's perspective cracks my shit up.


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I have come to the conclusion that there are few problems that cannot be made much better by a sufficient application of Junípero martinis (well, Gibsons really. Pearl onions are yummy!).

Also, I have the bestest sweetie in the entire world. She's smart, and sexy, and she seems to think I'm cool.

And my big, fat, hairy pussy is the cutest thing on four legs. Even if he's a little prick.

Nine Years Later


In a fit of "fuck it" this weekend, I pushed the redesign of my personal website live. It replaces a design that is just shy of 9 years old.

I was very pleased with this design when I mocked it up. The whole thing came together in just over 24 hours of hyper-creativity some time in early December (I think). It's only the second time a design of mine has suffered the translation out of my head more or less in tact. (my mom's site (while it still remains) being the other.)

The trouble is that it's taken quite a while to implement it, the vast majority of that time spent beating my blog into shape, and trying to cram all the blog navigation onto the page. I'm not done (the archives box on the left should not be fixed, but I need to figure out how to correctly unfix a descendant of a fixed container in a fluid design, it ends up relative to the parent, which is on the right. (I may break down and break it out into it's own container, but that breaks the logical flow of the (unrendered) page).

Adding to that, somewhere around the middle of my working on this, Salim pointed me at this post about "slugs". Unfortunately, I think our version of MT predates the "keywords" field, but it got me thinking about my whole blog archive structure, and I spent a fair bit of time redesigning that, which meant I needed to figure out the best way to expose the new structure in breadcrumbs.

Right before I pushed it live, I wrote a quick perl script to go through the database, pull out the entries and categories, and write out Apache .htaccess (permenant) Redirect commands, so that in the vanishingly small chance that someone actually reads my blog (or, more accurately, finds it in a search engine) the old links will continue to work. I'm actually a bit proud of that, even though it was easy.

After staring at it for so long, I've come to the conclusion that I hate the new design, I hate it's whole aesthetic raison d'être. But I also realize that it's light-years better than the 9 year old design. So rather than start this process all over again (for the third time, at least), I'm just going to make it live, and in theory, the new XHTML nature of the pages will make changing the design a snap. (Yay! separation of content from formatting! We've reached 1997!) Once I've built up enough energy to take a stab at it, that is.

Commute (pt.4)


Not so good this morning. I missed not one, but two trains looking for my %$#@%$ing shoes. This is why I hate cleaning up. The next train didn't stop at 22nd St, so I booked it to 4th & King. I made it with plenty of time, so at least that was good.

A bunch of bikes got on with me, carried by too-cool-for-it-all hipsters (Including one who could very well be Jen Besemer's doppelgänger except that she's, you know, outside). I asked them all where they were going. Need I say? Palo Alto. So it also goes without saying that they took up 4 different racks (half of the total), in spite of going less than half the distance this train is travelling. And the doppelgänger gave me the "oh, puhleeze" look when I suggested she double up with one of the other two.

Sure enough, the crowd that arrives just before the train leaves just got here, and they're forced to move bikes around in the back because the 4 up front are for Palo Alto. GRN. Situational awareness, people! It's NOT THAT HARD! (yes, yes, kettle, meet pot. So if I'm complaining about it, it has to be bad.)

And yes, for those who were about to ask, I HAVE had breakfast already.

Update: Doppelgänger is now having a very loud cellphone conversation. The voice is wrong. But maybe it'd get closer if I shoved that phone up her ASS!

Commute (pt.3)


I'm really enjoying my commute. Having a monthly pass makes things that much easier. But it's not without peril. A (two or more zone) monthly Caltrain pass is good for free VTA rides. This caused a moment of hesitation this morning when I looked out the train window and it was POURING! In the end, I made the right decision. I had my rain-gear on already, and it's faster for me to ride than take the light rail (!!)

I had a great ride in. Some of it was the pushing through the "inclement" weather, some of it was the exercise. I felt great when I got to work. Too bad I left my wallet & badge at home. :-/

A few weeks ago I broke down and downloaded an RSS reader. After poking around a bit, I settled on BlogBridge. It's OSS, cross-platform, and it seems to have most of the features I care about. One of the other readers I saw had the ability to use XSLT to transform it's look & feel, but I don't think it was OSS.

I played with it a bit. The UI is a bit odd. The keyboard controls aren't what I expected. But still, it was a novelty. I don't think it would have progressed beyond that if I hadn't had a flash of inspiration: since it caches the RSS feeds, It basically makes a a great offline news/blog/website reader!

I'm really enjoying using the time on the train to peruse the blogs (etc.) on which I used to waste my time at work. I've even found a few new blogs along the way. The one I've most enjoyed: The Traveler's Lunchbox. I'm really loving the way she writes, and the food porn & recipes are just icing. Go, check it out, see if she doesn't suck you in!

Update: Next step: hacking something so that I can get my $#%#@ing LJ Friends Page as an RSS feed!



Yesterday hit me harder than it has in recent years. I ended up stepping out of the office and just bawling for while. This lead to a catharsis stronger than I have felt in a VERY long time.

It also posed a bit of a dilemma. I realized that sitting home in the dark, sipping Oban might be a perfect way to remember him, but it probably wasn't the best thing for my mental state at the moment. But at 4:50, I was going to have a hard time finding some way to avoid doing that. Especially without a vehicle in the South Bay.

Fortunately, Salim, Jim, & Dawn were going out to dinner to celebrate Jim's new job and they invited me along. Synchronicity was with me as I somehow managed to make every connection from VTA (I think the driver waited for me) to Caltrain to Muni to Muni. I wasn't sure if I'd mention my own reason for seeking social interaction, and as it turned out, it never really came up.

We went to Magnolia (Haight & Masonic) I'd been there for beer before, and always liked it. I don't know how I never looked at the menu! Everything looked fantastic!

In the end, I had a very nice evening out with good friends. I can think of few better way to remember the dearly departed.

Oh, and I got DRENCHED on my way back home.

Here's to my little brother. He's never far from my thoughts.

Update: I just got mail (sent yesterday) from Yojo () that said (among other things):

You forgot a really fucking bad date. Not a really fucking awesome person.

please remember that.

She always has had an uncanny ability to put things in perspective. Thanks, dear!

State of the Horus


It's been a grueling few weeks for the little guy. First, I took all of his stuff away. Then I moved him in the middle of the night to a new place. A place with very different (and in a few cases, disturbing) smells and sights. He was just getting comfortable in this new place when I pulled the biggest whoppers of them all. Nothing could have prepared him for the last 48 hours.

First, after several days of getting used to weird smells, he had a "viewing." He saw one of the reasons for the change in the strange smells. One of the closed doors to one of the rooms opened a crack and there was ANOTHER CAT! There was growling and a bit of hissing, and some puffing, but then it was over. Except now he new the terrible secret about that room.

AND THEN, yesterday, he went back into the box, back into the car, and onto a cold table at the Vee-Eee-Tee. She poked and prodded him in all his no-no places (BADTOUCH!BADTOUCH!NOMEANSNO!) and then he got Ess-Aych-Oh-Tee-Ess! He was a very brave boy, but was very happy to be back in the weird, new place after that. Even if one of the rooms might be infested with weird animals.

Power Corrupts . . .


. . . But hopefully not in this case.

It would appear that I've managed to replace my dead iPod battery (it wouldn't hold a charge, but worked fine when plugged in, and I mostly used it in the car) without a major incident.

I managed to get the case apart on my second try, without denting, bending or scratching the back. I replaced the battery, reattached the HD snap/surface connector (I can never remember what those are actually called) and started to charge it.

After a bit I turned off the lock (thus confirming I hadn't screwed up that mechanical linkage) and it turned on, spun up the HD and all of my data was there. It even synched tracks that had been played. So far everything looks good, but I haven't tried to use it on battery power, since you're supposed to charge it for at least 3 hours before using it, and that ends in . . . Oh, 10 minutes ago. Well, I'm tempted to charge it completely before trying to use it.

Oh, and for those who are interested (3G owners, your batteries will be dying eventually) WeLoveMacs.com has replacement batteries for $25. Yes, they're in Santa Clara, but trust me it's worth your time to spend the few bucks on shipping to avoid dealing with their "retail" store. *shudder*

UPDATE: After it was fully charged, I tried playing a few songs on the new battery. As HAL once said, "I'm completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly." Yay! iPod back!

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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