Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Squirrel Tube

I had a cheapo USB webcam lying around, and I was waiting at home for the half-wit maintenance men to come by and screw around with my stuff, so I could tell them what I really think, but realized what a waste of time that is (they never show up when normal working people would be on a job).

To allow myself time to actually go to work, I decided it would be convenient to be able to see what was going on in the backyard, via webcam.  I was searching for solutions online (of the free, easy variety), and not getting much.  Additionally, I found recommendations, for an application like mine, along lines of a motion sensing image capture instead of video streaming.

The first one I tired wasn't very good, called Dorgem.  It was good in that it captured motion, but it would trigger on any little thing, like a leaf, or an actual squirrel.  There was no sensitivity setting ability, so I moved on.

The software I ended up using is called Tebocam, which provides sensitivity settings, region of interest definition, calibration, and built in alerts through e-mail messages.  Additionally, you can set regular, repeating image capture for time-lapse movie making.  Awesome!

I have the SquirrelTube setup to allow e-mail posts, so Tebocam can send the images once it's been triggered by a significant enough change in the image and they get posted up right away.  Additionally, I have SquirrelTube send me an e-mail when a new post arrives, so now I have *nearly* real-time updated images about anything interesting going on in the backyard.

It's also fun to make a time-lapse of what the yard looked like each day.  I've done that in MS Movie Maker, a POS software that installed windows spy-ware on my computer, which I've had to spend significant time getting rid of.  BALLS.  All for a little fun w/ movie making.

Anyway, if you see any squirrels in the webcam, let me know!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pocket Scarf - The Swiss Army Knife of Neckwear

It's getting colder, with winter approaching, and I was reflecting on my favorite beanie, an earflap number that's lined with fleece.  I like the hat because it's fashion forward and keeps my head warm.  I notice, though, as I bike to work, that the wind is beginning to feel bitingly cool on my neck.  I have a collection of scarves, woolly guys that do the trick, but nothing with the warmth and comfort of my fave beanie.

We have a box full of fabric, most of which Marny buys for her projects, but a few pieces I pick up out of the odds'n'ends bin whenever I've tagged along and ended up in the fabric store.  There's a bit of the blue felt I lined the beanie with left, and I was going to see about building a scarf from that, but alas, it was insufficient, requiring a store run.

I got a bargain on some light blue fleece and picked up a yard of gray fleece too, in case I want to make something respectable looking. 

As I pondered the thought of a scarf, and walking to the grocery co-op without gloves on, I stumbled upon the realization that a scarf with pockets would be sweet.  How to make pockets?  Two ways: 1) fold the end back up and sew the sides together, leaving the entry perpendicular to the scarf length, or 2) make a doubled up scarf and leave a section of seam open to access the inside.

I made one scarf a-la option 2, and it came out nice, only stylistically challenged due to some questionable decision making about where stripes would be appropriate.  My sister works in an office that's aggressively air conditioned, and she thought the scarf was pretty sweet, so she inherited it.  She did have some requests, should a round two of scarves be produced:  be able to put whole arms in; glove ends instead of pockets.

To that end, I "designed" by my usual hack-n-fix methodology, what I feel can legitimately be called a Swiss Army Scarf.  It has pockets.  It has arm holes.  It can be worn as a hat.  It is fashion challenged in the best of circumstances, but when all the other meeples are shivering in the snow, it'll keep me as warm as a convection toaster oven.

I'll be selling them for $30.  The Snuggie people may want to contact me for licensing rights.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crochet Beanie - Engineering Guidelines, for Awesome

Crochet: traditionally an art form practiced by women on long winter days in front of the fire-place (also knitting), is something that every person a) is capable of doing, and b) should learn to do, especially the man-folk.  Here's why:
  • You will make an awesome hat
  • If you're a single man-folk, women are irresistibly drawn toward men who crochet
  • It's awesome for killing time if you're at holidays with the family, stuck somewhere without electronics, or watching tv/movie that you're not that into.
I won't go into the basics of crocheting, because there are MANY internet sites dedicated to teaching you the technique.  Instead, I will offer up some of my awesome patterns and tell you how to make one of your own...

Here's a short list of other websites that will teach you to crochet:
Now, on to the good stuff

Crochet Beanie

Start at the top of the beanie and work down.  Start with an initial loop, then each row is numbered as follows:
  1. 8 single stitches (sc) into the initial loop
  2. double sc into each stitch of row 1 (16 sc total)
  3. {double sc, single sc} x8 (24 sc total)
  4. {double sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (32 sc total)
  5. {double sc, single sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (40 sc total)
  6. {double sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (48 sc total)
  7. {double sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (56 sc total)
  8. {double sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (64 sc total)
  9. {double sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (72 sc total)
  10. {double sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc, single sc} x8 (80 sc total)
  11. Now you've expanded all the way out, you'll do 20 rows of 1 sc per stitch in the previous row.    {single sc} x80
  12. {single sc} x80
  13. ....
   30.  {single sc} x80
And you're done!

That's it for the basic beanie.  If you find it is too large, give it to a friend with a huge melon, then decrease the number of expanding rows (stop after expanding 8-9 times, rather than 10).  If you find it too tight, give it to some pin-head you know, then increase your expanding rows to 11-12.

Some variations on the theme:

Two Color Hat -
Start the first row with one color, start the second row with the second color.  If you work in a spiral (rather than "complete" a row and then bump up, just keep stitching over the transition), go as far as you can with one yarn, then switch and repeat.

Earflaps -
You'll make decreasing triangles each 1/8th the circumference of the hat, with 1/2 the circumference open in the front and 1/4 of the circumference open in the back.  Example:  Say you made the basic beanie above which has 80 stitches at the end.  If you have an ugly seam, that should be centered in the back.  Start the left decreasing triangle 10 stitches from the seam and stop at stitch 20, turn, drop a stitch by your favorite method and go back, turn, drop, go, turn, drop, go.... until you have gotten to the bottom of your triangle.  Repeat on the right hand side.  I like to go once or twice around the whole hat after I've added earflaps with a sc row to tidy up the edges of the earflaps and visually tie them in with the basic beanie.

Poofball -
Take your ball of yarn and wrap 20 times around the thickest part of you hand, starting at your thumb and ending at your thumb.  Get someone to help you pull this wrap off your hand without letting it all go, my favorite way is to have a friend stick their fingers in at the palm side and back of the hand and grab ALL the loops, then they need to hold those loops while you A) tie a string very tightly around the middle of the loop (leave long ends on this string), and B) cut through the loops where your friends fingers are holding them VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT YOUR FRIENDS FINGERS.  Viola, use the long strings to tie the poof onto your beanie!  More loops around the hand makes a thicker poof.

Also of interest:  Smurf Hats

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Smurf Hat - DIY Awesome

I previously wrote about making Smurf Hats, but looking back at what I wrote, I realize that there are A) no pictures of the smurf hats, and B) no descriptions of how I made them, just a link to a website with tons of pop-ups.  Hmmm...  That should be rectified!

Since I don't have any photos of the hats, I'll add them later on, but they are darn good looking!

Here's the play-by-play for making the hats:

1) Find your favorite beanie (or measure the circumference of your melon, if you don't have a beanie)

 2) Cut open a paper shopping bag, squish your hat down flat on the bag and trace it with a pen or pencil.
3) Draw an extra knob on the top, aso:
4) Now draw another line outside previous line by about 1/2 inch.  This new outer line is your cutting pattern.  The inner line is your sewing pattern.
5) Cut out the cutting pattern
6) Pin your pattern onto a piece of felt and cut carefully along the pattern.  Repeat.  You'll need two of these pieces of felt for each hat.

7) Pin the two pieces of felt together and sew about 1/2 inch in from the edge on the top curve only (LEAVE THE BOTTOM OPEN SO IT STILL FITS ON YOUR HEAD)
8) Fold the bottom edge up 1/2 inch and pin in place, then sew around to fix that "hem" in place.
9) Turn the hat inside out!  Viola, Smuf Hat in 10 easy steps.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Higher Dimensional Thinking

So,...  I waste approximately too much time with this stupid plug-in called Stumble-Upon.  You give it some categorical preferences for information, it supplies Stumble! button which takes you to some random webpage which has been categorized by users as belonging in said category.  I, for example, have indicated I like information about math/science, DIY projects, anthropological information, etc.  My Stumble! button takes me to websites like physorg, this old house, make, phdcomics, etc.

Recently, when I whacked the ol' Stumble! button, it took me to a page about the possible dimensions of reality.  I generally find some of these types of discussions interesting, and reading through I found that I was up to date on most of his background material.  Then he starts spouting crap, which to my feeble mind seems like the tried-and-true, but it occurs to me that his #1 bullet point, the 3D nature of our universe is fundamentally lacking.

Lets say, for arguments sake, that you're an engineer and have studied dynamic systems extensively.  How many co-ordinates are required to describe the location of an object in space?  Ah.  3.  Excellent.  Good work.  What about if you want to know everything about the physical space of the object?  Now you need 6.  Huh?  3 for locating the object, and another 3 for determining the orientation. 

Why does the orientation matter?  Let's say you are located in a long dark train tunnel, and a train, also located in the long dark train tunnel, is tooting along towards you.  You start to run, but your orientation has been left undefined.  Where are you running?  Are you running toward the train, the wall, flailing to run straight up in the air (and not making it, b/c we included gravity in our scenario)?   Let's fix two degrees of your orientation so you are looking at the tunnel exit.  Now, are you right-side-up, upside-down, or lying on your side?  So, now, without your orientation being fixed in three degrees, you won't be able to scoot out of the tunnel in order to live another day and think about high level geometry ideas.

"Ah!" you say, "this is just a short-coming of thinking about the object in terms of dynamic systems, no?"  Well, what's your argument?  "If you were to think of the object as a bunch of small objects, i.e. atoms, then locate all the atoms in space in 3 coordinates, the orientation takes care of itself, Q.E.D!" 

Almost, but what about the orientation of the atoms?  "Why, atoms are the fundamental unit of matter, the orientation of them must not matter."  But clearly there is orientation in all elementary particles: Spin! So we can't even talk about the most fundamentally small parts of the universe without talking orientation. 

Let's argue that the smallest elementary particle is the basis for a geometrical point.  In order to locate this point in our universe, we now need to know where it is (3 dimensional space) and how it is (3 dimensional orientation).  Build up the universe from that assumption.  HOLY CRAP!  Now we live in 6D!

Let's not even talk about time...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Great Handcar Regatta

I've recovered somewhat from the sprint (in every sense of the word) that culminated in The Great Handcar Regatta.  A sprint because I spent the last four days working up to 10 hours a day getting the YOXMOBL ready with the crack team of builders.  A sprint, also, because racing the YOXMOBL is an all-out sprint, but the kind of sprint where you're pushing a huge weight up a hill.

The regatta was an awesome event, it was fun to see all the other vehicles, the costumes and characters, and the support of 13,000 spectators.  The races were super exciting, with head-to-head matchups going down two, roughly parallel, sets of curved tracks.  We very nearly won our races, but after losing parts, belts, and rollers on the way down the track, every race ended with us slightly behind.  No matter, we finished every time we started which greatly passed expectations.

Next year, we'll be back with an improved YOXMOBL, a better idea of what we're doing, and a hunger to win!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The YOXMOBL has taken many different forms over the years, but the most recent form is by far the most awesome!

This is a picture of the YOXMOBL after 4 days of fabrication.  It is a human powered machine and is being raced in the Great Handcar Regatta at Railroad Square in Santa Rosa on Sunday, September 26th. 

Our drive mechanism is based on a rotating turntable, force is transmitted by the racers walking in place with the turntable rotating beneath.  Power is transmitted to the wheels by pulleys and belts below the platform.  Pretty sweet, huh?

The build team consists of yours truly, Stefon, Garrick, Kim, Marion, Chezo, Azlan, Logan, and guest appearances from Bruce, Pat, and Malanyon.

The race team is looking likely to be myself, Stefon, Kim, and Garrick, though there is always the possibility for last-minute change-ups.  

The race itself is bound to be amazing, and if you're reading this post, you probably should be there.  There are 22 teams currently registered who all have sweet human powered contraptions of various and sundry wacked-out drive mechanisms.  The event is throw-back themed to the early 1900's, with an interesting sort of super-advanced-railroad-tech look called steampunk.  If you don't know what that is, do a google image search and it'll open your eyes to a whole new sub-culture.

Fabrication has been a lot of fun, it's amazing what you can put together with a welding machine, chop saw, and many hours of grinding metal.  

Recently we hit set-backs in the drive mechanism due to a lack of proper engineering.  Our drive-shaft which couples the platform rotation to the pulleys is very under-engineered and we've broken it several times.  The first time, we had our large pulley attached with set-screws to maintain alignment, but that didn't work, the screws were unable to hold things in place.  To remedy that, we drilled a hole through the large pulley and drive shaft and bolted them together.  That bolt lasted about 10 seconds before it sheared off completely.  We put an actual steel pin in place, one that should be appropriate for such use.  The pin worked properly, but was too strong for the drive shaft, which sheared off.  The last ditch effort, which looks like it MAY work, was to weld a plate directly to the shaft and then bolt the pulley to the plate.  It looks like it's holding for now, but we may win the "Spectacular Failure" award at the race if it doesn't.

In any event, there are more pictures up on facebook.  If you are someone who watches what goes on here, you probably should consider coming out to the race, we definitely could use some fan-base so there are familiar faces amongst the 10,000 people expected to show up.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Fauna

I was picking some chards and found this little guy.  My best guess is that it's a Johnson Jumper or a California Jumper (thanks to Spiders on the Web)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nu kittiz

M's been trying to get some kittens for work, so the second graders have another fuzzy farm animal to play with.  For a while, it seemed all the farmers in Yolo cty had gotten rid of their feral cat colonies simultaneously, because there was not a kitten to be found.  At last, though, someone dropped a pair off at the local feed store who called up M. They are white with just a touch of gray fur on top of each of their heads, but they're too darn fast to catch on camera.  Ah well, here's my best shots.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Political More-ass: Prop 16

Firstly, let me just say I think The Daily Show or the Colbert Report could do something fantastic with a segment called Political More-ass, describing the ass-iest political move of late.  You can tell them I said so.

Secondly, California Proposition 16.  I just started reading about it, and it strikes me as a bad idea.  I've put some links together which support my position, as well as making fun of the proponents.

  • Good for PG&E;
  • PG&E will spend $35 million to promote this, someone must be making money off this.

  • Bad for renewable energy projects; 
  • Bad for non-profit energy producers; 
  • Provides for direct democracy:  i.e. the general populace (the unerudite jackassery*) gets to vote directly on, and determine the outcome of, every governmental decision.  BTW, this is what led, directly, to the fall of the Rome empire.
  • I still remember when the big energy companies did their "rolling blackouts" scam, declared an emergency, got a bunch of money from the CA government, and made windfall profits.  Turns out, the blackouts were all avoidable.  Remember Enron.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

LA Times Article:  http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/18/local/la-me-cap19-2010apr19
This puppy basically points out that PG&E is the primary proponent of Prop16 and theorizes that this is a case of a corporation attempting to legislate monopoly for themselves through the constitutional initiative system. 

SF Gate Article:  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/17/INA41CUA8O.DTL
This article makes the point that Prop16 makes it very difficult for non-profit community-based (read local government) energy utilities to form by requiring 66% voter approval. 

Bay Area Council (BAC):  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/17/INA41CUC5P.DTL
SF Gate Editorial by Jim Wunderman, CEO: BAC
This is the only "article" in the news promoting Prop16, and it's an editorial.  The BAC is a pro-corporation group (who PG&E is a member of) that is promoting the proposition.  Ironically, two years ago, they were hot-and-bothered about forming a constitutional convention because "Special interests have hijacked the initiative system, passing misleading initiatives through expensive campaigns".  I think these guys are idiots. 

North Bay Journal:  http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/20329/pg-not-all-agree/
This article discusses the viewpoints of some debate participants. 

Fresno Bee:  http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/04/12/1894460/pge-deceives-voters-about-prop.html
Compares PG&E with junk-mail credit-scammers.

* - Special Note:  I firmly believe that the general populace is "the unerudite jackassery".  I also believe our elected officials are largely stupid and ignorant, but at least they have the benefit of being lobbied from both sides of a position.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tahoe Weekend (from 3/20-21/2010)

On March 20-21, we went skiing in Tahoe with some friends (Nilla, Dania, Chezo, Stefon, Elia, Matt) and Marion's family to celebrate my 30th birthday.  It was a great time, the snow was good, we ate some fantastic lasagne (Marion's own secret recipe), had cake, and had some great hanging out. 

Here're a few photos I took on my phone:

Dania had some photos too:

Gophers 2010!

From Drop Box
This guy lives in our shed.

Now, to business!

Inevitably, the soil softened by winter rain allows deep roots to grow, resulting in weeds and annual grasses of massive proportion.  The soft soil also permits the migration of garden nuisance, the gopher.  The gopher comes, he eats some of this, some of that, but without exception, the gopher finds something tasty which I also find tasty.  In these instances, I tend to get hopping mad and renew my vow to bring these thieves to their ultimate justice.

Two weeks ago, as we were casually picking arugula in the garden, we noticed some gopher activity in the raspberry bed, of all places.  Since we hadn't really gotten around to preparing the garden yet, it took me some time to find my trusty cache of macabee traps, but I did.  I poked around until I found the gopher hole, dug it out, and set my traps...

and forgot about them...

for a week...

and a half...


so, I checked them, and sure enough, I'd caught a gopher.  I probably caught it within the first couple hours that the traps were in the ground.  It wasn't so much a gopher, as a pile of fly larvae.  In any event, I didn't take a picture, dear reader, because I figured you probably don't need to see that.  It was gross.


Gopher count 2010!
Brian - 1 / Gophers - 0

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


My hair had gotten quite overgrown, so instead of my usually weed-whacker haircut performed by yours truly, I decided to trust my locks to the talents of someone, well, talented.

After drawing out the decision for weeks, I had settled on going to the guy in the basement of the MU on campus.  To my extreme dissappointment, I found out that he'd retired at the end of last year, and there was nobody else to take over.  Fortunately, a search of the local wiki shows that Davis has the unusual distinction of keeping two barbershops per tax-paying citizen, so all I needed to do was pick one.

After reading the reviews, I settled on an old-school set of brothers downtown, mainly because of comments like "the conversation was horrible" and "if Fox News had a barbershop, this would be it".

On a sunny Tuesday lunch hour, I stopped in and let one of these pompodor maestros have at.  In slightly more than 10 minutes, he had reduced my hippy mane into the tightly cropped cut of an eight year old from the 50's.


I had hoped for something spectacular, but as I learn over and over again, most things in life can be done better, faster, and cheaper at home.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Finger Painting -=- Droid Use #429

The program for Android called Draw, while not the most full featured graphic art platform available, does let you do finger painting, which is fun and brings me back to elementary school.  Here are a couple pieces I've done, some thematic based on the day, to use as background images on my phone.




Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring is here!

The flowers are out on all the trees on campus, which is the first sign of spring (the second, of course, being that "the titties are blooming", which hasn't happened yet.)
Relate signs are the Sierra range rivers starting to show the daily cycle of flow increase/decrease corresponding to snow melting.  This weekend, we're heading up to Tahoe to get in what could be the last ski/board trip of the year (and celebrate my 30th birthday).  Hopefully, the weather will be perfect, the snow corny, and the company beautiful!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010


We spent the weekend hanging out with Malanyon and Sarah, and helping Buff and Claudine move back to the farm.  It was a great time, Marion and Malanyon spent a bunch of Saturday going through the garden and talking about plants and plans. 

Sarah introduced me to Perplexus, an awesome 3D puzzle game combining hand control with a sharp mind.  We also found a brand new copy of Carcass-onne left behind by some departed staff people, so we rocked a couple games.  Sarah crushed us all (Malanyon, Marion, my mom, and myself) by claiming roads and small cities, but ignoring the farms race!

This photo is of Malanyon playing in his manure pile. He's experimenting with different combinations of rotting wood, cow and chicken poo, soil, and straw.  Additionally, he is working on some Poo-Tea (c) which he'll use as fertilizer for the garden (unless he's made it too strong, in which case it'll only be good for nefariosity).

Malanyon and Sarah are awesome!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

CC Skiing

We went to Echo lake for some cross country skiing today.  It was a fantastic day, the weather was perfect and the snow was nice.  This was the first time for Marion and I, and it took a little getting used to (read: falling over a lot).  Definitely will be doing this again.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super bowl XLIV

Best superbowl party ever, this year.  Started with typical issues with the TV failing minutes before kickoff, despite working flawlessly an hour earlier.  Props to the fellas for the troubleshooting and getting 'er running in time to watch the kickoff.  The apartment was packed to the gills, the usual davis suspects (D&B, will&melody, scott and libby, myra and chris, matt and jen, stefon and elia, melanie made a cameo appearance), claremontians (nick, laura b, michael and becky), and a special guest appearance from malanyon and sarah.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Conspiracy Theory #2398b: Toyota in Ruins

Just remember, you heard it here first.

Toyota is in a lot of hot water for their apparent lack of spine regarding a string of failures in their automotive product (brakes, accelerators, software).  The general consensus amongst the media, executive branch appointments, and US congressional P.O.S.es (persons of substance?) is that Toyota is deliberately confounding the issues of their product safety at the cost of millions of US taxpayer lives, merely to maintain profit and standing as the largest auto producer in the world.

Here's the conspiracy:
Toyota is doing what any self-promoting business would do, the hysterics are designed and choreographed by the US government as a way of reducing consumer faith in a rock-solid, dependable brand name in order to increase sales and profits of domestic auto producers.  This will save the economy of the US, free markets be damned.

This a great idea for the US gov't because a) the Japanese gov't is in bed with them, so they can get Toyota sales eroded internationally, b) when Toyota stops selling cars or goes out of business, they will be able to claim the US auto bailouts of last year were successful because US auto sales will go up, and c) it distracts the media outlets from reporting on politics for a while (which actually is nice).

What you can do to profit personally from this Bull-caca:  buy a Toyota when they go on clearance after Toyota collapses (just remember to buy an older car, without all the problems), and invest in US automakers so when their stocks go up, you are riding the wave!

Personally, I wouldn't take any of my advice, but you might be more gullible.

Grumpiness = Highly Civilized


Grayboy is the grumpiest, and by that I mean the most highly civilized, cat in the whole world.  He also happens to live in the most highly civilized house in the world.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garden works

We spent the day in the garden, making a new bed for the artichoke plants (bareroot) that we got at Sparetime supply in Willits on Saturday, and mulching the paths with rice hulls.  The picture here is of our compost windrow.  Our compost is a mix of last years plant matter, weeds, and kitchen scraps.

We saw our friends Mike and Sandrine enjoying the nice weather to get a little gardening in.  We also saw Doug who was pruning his grapes and showed us his tulip plants starting to poke out of the ground.

There is still a ton of work to do on the garden before the growing season starts, but it's still January (for a few more hours), so hopefully we can get out when the weather cooperrates again!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cat Warhol

A new toy (droid) with new toys inside it (fancy camera effects) is pretty sweet!  Now if only I could rotate it...

Saturday, January 23, 2010


We went to ski-landia this weekend (1/23-24) because it dumped snow with the storms last week.  The crew was Marion (shown) and I, Stefon and Elia, Chezo, and Heather.  Saturday we went to Squaw and got there early enough to find some of the 14" of powder dropped the evening before (while we were in our 6 hour hell-drive up the hill).  We ran all over the mountain and the skiing was amazing.  The afternoon ended pretty early for all of us, since we had only slept four hours the night before, and since none of us are in ski/boarding shape yet for the season.

Sunday we hit Sugar Bowl, the snow was super nice again and we got to find untouched patches of day-old powder in the trees.  There were lots of nice groomies which allowed us to rip until well into the afternoon, as it was pretty much all the muscles could handle after lunch.  We drove home Sunday evening and crashed hard!  Marion won the weekend for the worst injuries after getting trucked by some jackass teenager who was going 100mph and had 0 control.  She's on a strict vitamin I regimen until her neck muscles recover from the whiplash.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogg it to Blog it

I haven't been posting recently, so I'm going to do a quick summary of my favorite topical updates for the last few months.

Lei-out 2010 - Los Angeles
We spent this last weekend (1/15-1/18) down in sunny SoCal playing beach ultimate, catching some sun, seeing old friends, and pretty much having an awesome time.  Our team, straddle, from Davis goaltimate roots, was incredibly fun to play with but we were too short to win the tournament, alas.  Super props to Melody's parents for putting us up in the PV.

Superbowl 2010 - Davis
This party is upcoming, Feb 7th at 3pm.  If you read this blog, you should probably be invited, so if you don't know about the party, send me an e-mail and then come on over!  It will be the most awesome superbowl party of 2010, and you don't want to miss it.

The last kayaking was done in early december, with Stefon and Chazo on the SFA Gorge section.  We put on at 11:30, ahead of the water thinking it would catch up with us before we hit the Gorge proper.  The crew, being particularly prone to restlessness, was unable to wait, so we ran the entire river only 10-20 minutes ahead of the water.  We know this because the people who got off the river 15 minutes after us claimed they were in high water the whole time...  That said, I think SFA Gorge is almost better at low water than high.

The thanksgiving stout turned out great!  The "beauty and beast" cider is still a story in development.  The beauty finished fermenting, but was bottled with lots of yeast still in suspension, also with too much priming sugar.  The result is a fairly yeasty cider with explosive tendencies.  It may need to be re-bottled and/or donated to the new "fortifying" project.

The beast is still in the carboy, it's long since quit fermenting and is just settling now, but looks nearly clear enough to bottle.  One of these days...

We started another beer, since it's pretty cold outside (daily lows ~40 F) we did a pilsner which wants to be lagered below 50F.  It's fermenting away happily in the shed, but may require a better setup for lagering post-ferment, especially if it warms up after these storms.

New computer - This is old news, but I never did write anything about it.  We were running out of room on the living room desktop, plus it was slow, plus it was loud, plus it was vertical tower.  The obvious choice was a quad-core AMD machine with 4GB memory and 4TB hard drive in a horizontal form-factor.  It worked OK with WinXP, but is now running very nicely with Win7.  All told, the box, processor, memory, and mobo were ~$300, the HDs were another ~300.

Pending updates - we've decided to catch-up with smartphone technology and are joining the Droid bandwagon.  They seem pretty nice in the "in-store preview", and we'll see how they rate once we have them in hand.

It's coming down.  I read a neat prediction by some NASA guy about getting 10ft of snow during the next three days of storms, then having a nice warm rain which will melt it all, flood the lowlands, cause the retards in Natomas to get New Orleans-ed, and generally wreck havoc.   Either way, there will be good skiing or great kayaking in the next few days.

Not much going on, we've taken out all the plants from last year, but it's too wet to be doing anything now, so we'll just be waiting.  The solar system is still working beautifully, I couldn't have designed it better if I knew what I was doing.