Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Readership Spike

Literally.

So in a day I get a few readers.  After a new post, I get 30 or more.  But on Monday, I got 616 hits.  That quickly put me over 50,000 pageviews of all time, but I just have to wonder, why?

I mean it weird.  Its like someone, in one day, read my archives or something.

Because it's not like a single page garnered any coordinate spike of interest.  And I've kind of lost my international following.  The only country that really is lit up this week is the USA.

I guess while I may have some sort of draw, I don't have the international draw that John does.  He's talked about previous big readerships from Russia and other places.

The Tools and the Talent

So this morning when I bumped onto the sidewalk at the BART station and I was walking to the gate, my bike started acting like it didn't want to roll.

As I walked, I checked the brakes and the shifters, and everything seemed all right on that end.  Finally I just carried it until I got to my chosen door location, and looked it over.

Somehow, my rear tire spear (axle) had come out of it's mounting on one side, so the tire was rubbing against the frame.

And that's why you always carry tools when you bike.  The train was due in a couple minutes so I shucked off my helmet, vest, and gloves, and reached into my pack for my allen wrench.  I almost immediately grabbed it and laid it in my helmet.

The trains are pretty empty at 6:15, so I got my spot with a seat, and quickly loosened the spear, re-positioned it, and tightened it up.

Everything's back to normal.

I'm not a Boy Scout, but I do my best to be prepared.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's Just Not Done

So, today I found myself struggling a bit with using what I feel is the correct word.  I discovered that popular culture has limited me on the words that I feel comfortable using.

I do not like to use the word "assume".  Essentially this goes back to an old episode of "The Odd Couple" when Felix is on the offensive in court.  The man he's up against states that he assumed that something had happened.  Felix latches on to it and writes the word "ASSUME" on a chalkboard.  He then circles three parts of it saying, "When you assume, you make and ASS out of U and ME."  This was one of the funniest things I had heard at that time, and it really stuck with me.

Then of curse there is Yoda.  A geek never "tries" to do anything.  For as the master says, "No!  Try not.  Do or do not.  There is no try."

Sean Connery fans would never do their best.  "Losers always complain about doing their best.  Winners go home and fuck the prom queen."

When a person asks how you think they did, you don't tell them " That'll do," because likely in the back of their mind they'll hear, "...pig." at the end of it.

And what is the best way to acknowledge a request made by someone you love?

"As you wish."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Long Way

Television is fluid.  The things we watch come and go.  Sometimes they linger and leave a mark.  Sometimes it's not the show, but the producer's vanity card.

Nobody who watched TV in the 80s can hear "Sit, Ubu, sit... Good dog." and not bark (at least in their head).  And of course the MTM kitty meowing.

The favorite of ours now is Chuck Lorre Productions.  They are great little bits of personal philosophy and/or humor after some of our favorite shows.

A couple weeks ago, #482 came up and I took a picture of it.  I imported the picture into Word, printed it as a PDF and had Acrobat run an OCR on it.  I copy, pasted, and edited it up, and now have a nice word document of it.

Then when I thought to write this blog, I thought I'd link to any sort of page Chuck Lorre might have.

As you can see by clicking the above link, he has all of his vanity cards available to read.

But nothing acquired easy is as appreciated, right?  So anyway, here's #482:

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #482
The things I have spent my life depending on are undependable.   Because they are things.   And things  re, by their very nature, subject  to change.  This applies to people as well.  People change.  People leave. Inevitably we all leave.  The world, therefore , is essentially an unstable, uncertain environment.  That's why I choose to believe in, and depend on, an unchanging, eternal, omnipresent non-thing.  I prefer not to call it God, because the very word tends to thing things up.  So I try not to call it.  I try to experience it.  Easy to do looking out at the ocean.  Hard to do looking up at the ocean.  Easy to do when you look at a baby.  Hard to do if the baby is next to you on a long plane flight.  Easy to do when you look at a pretty girl.  Hard to do if you were once married to her.  Clearly what blocks me from transcendence is judgment.  If I were able to suspend having an opinion on drowning, other peoples' baby’s vomit, and alimony, if I could simply see these things as they area - actions devoid of meaning until I give them meaning - I could experience some semblance of union with the infinite sublime.  I'd instantaneously transition from neurotic sitcom writer to one seriously badass guru dude.  People would travel great distances to ask me for guidance with their personal problems.  I'd wisely tell them "It is what it is."  They’d judge this as being ridiculously inadequate advice and punch me.  But I'd be okay with it because I'm, you know, exalted.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Many Miles

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I like long weekends for the extra free time it gives me to take long rides.  This weekend I racked up over 70 miles.

I did two rides to Craneway Pavilion in Richmond.  The weather was nearly perfect: warm, and almost completely still air.  Sunday was nicer with a little cooler temperatures.

Monday, I decided to do the Oakland Bay Bridge again.  It's a nice challenge, but I needed more time out, so I took the split at the gate afterwards and headed into Oakland.  This branch took me into the Port of Oakland, and I ended back up at the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

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Now, I now it's not a race, but sometimes it's just the fact that there's someone in front of me that I have to ride that much harder to get in front of them.

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A corollary to the above is that some songs are dangerous on an iPod while your'e riding.  The soundtrack to the new Tron is a good pace music but just makes me want to go fast.  Speed Racer is very dangerous.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Tales of Reading

So recently I've read a few books that were about the making of entertainment.

John Cleese's autobiography was tons of fun with both the tales of him growing up, and also his lessons on just what humor is.  At least his interpretation on what he thinks humor is.

Then I read the first two books in the These are the Voyages series which are an episode by episode account of the writing, casting, and filming of "Star Trek" the original series.  The stories in this one are really fascinating whether about Shatner and Nimoy, the back and forth with the network and Roddenberry, or even the growth of D.C. Fontana from secretary to science fiction writer.

But the jewel of books was As You Wish by Cary Elwes.  Written from the man cast as the Man in Black's perspective of his journey to becoming Westley, it also has accounts from interviews from the rest of the surviving cast, Rob Reiner, William Goldman, and Andrew Scheinman, as well as an afterward by Norman Lear.  I'm jsut going to have to watch the movie again.  The stories of how everything happened and what happened behind the scenes just rekindles my interest in the movie.  And Elwes' style of writing is as easy to hear in his voice as John Cleese was.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Restraint

So, today was the first time I'd driven since the second of the month.  And the first drive longer than 15 minutes since... November?  Maybe?

So today, I drove to Lodi for the post-remediation sampling work.  We're signalling soil gas wells, and so I'm on the road at 6:00 Am heading for Lodi.  And the thing that bothered me most about the drive was my seat-belt.

There are no seat-belts on BART.

The closest I come to a seat-belt on my bike is my Chrome bag which goes from left shoulder to right belly, and has a seal-belt style buckle.

Not that I would ever not wear my seat-belt.  It's too ingrained to wear one.

But man, do they pull on your neck when you're to used to wearing one.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Anniversary

So, seventeen years ago, Jennifer and I had our first date.  This weekend we celebrated.

On our first date, I had taken her all around San Francisco giving her various views of the city.  We had a picnic in Golden Gate park, ate clam chowder on Fisherman's Wharf, and just had a great time.

This weekend, we celebrated us.

Friday night, I made me new personal specialty, chicken pad see ew.

Saturday, we went for a long ride.  Possibly our longest ride together.

We started off with breakfast at Starbucks, but then rode south.  We raced an Amtrak train from Emeryville to Jack London, and ended up beating it.

We continued on and crossed onto Alameda.  We followed the road around the south end of the island, and came back up to Shore Line Drive.  And there we discovered that they are in the process of installing a two-way bike lane along the water side of the road.  It was great having our own lane that allowed us to mostly ignore car traffic and not have to dodge foot traffic.  There are little concrete islands that have been installed, and they had barricades with an electrician's name stamped on them.  I'm guessing that the islands will have some sort of light.  Based on the plans on the web, these may just be street lights.  Still, we were very excited.

After stopping for lunch at Sushi House. we rode on north, and made it to St. George Spirits.  Unfortunately the new vodka isn't ready yet so we didn't taste.  We did go next door to Faction Brewing for some beer.  It was okay beer.  They poured either full pints, or 5-ounce glasses for tasting.  We chose 8 and sipped our way through them.  As you can guess from the logo, they're into hops.  We're really not, so we doubt if we'll be going back.

On our way off the old navy base, we came across some pyracantha bushes that were thickly covered in berries, and the berries on the individual bushes were different shades of red and orange.  We stopped, and Jennifer took some pictures.

After that, we were pretty much ready to head home.  Until we came across a Foster's Freeze.

Then we rode home.

At the end of the day, we had gone about 32.5 miles.

Sunday, I took Jennifer to Cooperage in Lafayette.  We had a wonderful brunch, and then walked a bit through downtown Lafayette.

We had talked about watching movies later that day, but we weren't sure which ones we wanted to see.  When we got home, "Inherit the Wind" was on TMC, and that was immediately followed by "Forbidden Planet".  With a little pause for homemade chicken nachos as dinner, that completed the night and the weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kill Mo' Mockingbird

Have you seen Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

Have you read the original book by Harper Lee since high school?

If not, then go, and watch and read.

They are excellent.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Teasers

So I'm reading These Are the Voyages, and I'm learning some things about making television shows.

One of the things that I've learned is that the bit of a show before the title sequence is called the teaser.  Apparently, the point of them is to grab the watcher's attention, and prevent them from switching channels.

So I'm streaming "Young Justice" on Netflix, and I'm seeing the same thing being done.  And I have to say how annoying it is.  They're little cliffhanger endings for the beginning of the show.

I don't know if that sort of thing has ever caught me and kept me from changing channels, especially now that we use DVR.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Stuff

One of the things that fascinates me most about volcanoes and lava flows is that the exposed material is the newest/youngest material on the surface of the earth.  Yes, the elements are ancient, but the solids that form, the mineral crystals and associated rocks are brand new.

That's why this video is that much cooler.

Moist

Riding in to work today was an experience.

West side of the Oakland Hills: chilly, but not exceptional.

East side of the Hills: thick fog.

And this isn't like the fog a couple weeks ago that was thick and surreal.  One that made trtaffic lights look like multicolored spotlights.  Today's fog was thick and wet.  I coudl feel the tiny drops hitting my face as I rode in.

Then when I took my over gloves off I noticed they had caught a little moisture.


It's blurry because I was still in the hallway, but I wanted to get a picture before the water evaporated or soaked into the glove.

Then after I parked my bike, I saw how much water had accumulated on it.




I fully expected my beard to be soaked, but it wasn't.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

With but One Comment

This is from Mauricio Abril.



If you watch through to the disclaimers at the end, I have to wonder... Where does Obama come into this?

And then because this other one is just as good, and I like "Knights of Cydonia":

Friday, January 09, 2015

Work Slow Down

So, things had apparently been progressing too well this week at work.  I came in this morning and could not connect to our network drives.

Now this is probably only the second time in three years that this has happened at my current company.  Things are much better than they used to be at Kleinfelder.

Kleinfelder had the absolute worst network I've ever experienced.

The way I was told things were set up was that even though the server was in the closet in Pleasanton, the file requests had to travel all the way to HQ down in southern California and then back up to the server.  And then the file traveled back that path to my computer.  It wasn't too bad when opening a file, but when it autosaved (and you wanted this to happen regularly) the computer would freeze for a few seconds.  And then when the network inevitably went down (at least once every couple of weeks), work would essentially stop because you were not to keep any documents on your computer.

Work is progressing to fix our problem today, but I've got flashbacks.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Temperature Revisited

So this morning I have set up my mini-desk-fan, and then I thought about the two vents that are in the ceiling.

So here's the temperature stats:

Window behind bookcase: 58 F

Floor:  67 F

Ceiling: 77 F

Register in ceiling: 102 F

Duct opening in ceiling:  84 F

No we'll just see how the circulation works and feels.