Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Three recommendable S.F. establishments

August 31, 2008

1. Thinkers Cafe
. . . a small coffeeshop on the top of Potrero Hill. The menu is not-expensive (large coffee $1.50, bagel sandwich $2.79), and the WiFi is free. The short-order cook blasted Blonde Redhead on the house stereo; an Obama organizer posted fliers; the Barista shared an encyclopedic knowledge of analog synthesizers. This is a good place to get work done, or just shoot the breeze with neighbors. 1631 20th, St San Francisco, CA 94107

2. The Lone Palm
. . . a hole-in-the-wall bar in the Mission District. After watching sunset in Dolores Park, some neighborhood partygoers recommended this bar to us. The Lone Palm’s exterior screams, “come here if you like getting mugged!” Fortunately, the inside tells a different story. The crowd is classy; the music is loud and funky; the drinks are strong and not-expensive. 3394 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 648-0109

3. Cafe Video
. . . a 24-hour coffeeshop/diner/video-rental store. At midnight on Saturday, we were hungry in the Richmond District and our options were limited. Fortunately, K.D. took us to Cafe Video, where “Happy Hour is all day”, breakfast is served 24/7, and videos can be rented anytime. Although Cafe Video’s late-night business model is slightly schizophrenic, the menu is comprehensive and the cafe’s interior is a welcome relief for late-night souls. Inside the cafe, several huge LCD screens project random DVDs (Pirates of the Caribbean, in our case), but the volume is turned-down so it’s not obnoxious. Small groups of washed-up party kids clustered in booths, eating waffles and drinking coffee. My comrades ordered eggs and toast (about $6); I ordered chocolate cake a la mode (about $5). The world needs more places like this. 5700 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121, (415) 387-3999


Reason #479 why I love Eugene. . .

August 10, 2008

The 2008 Whiteaker Block Party. It’s like a miniature Oregon Country Fair, with a dash of Burning Man energy.

Check-out the Eugene Weekly article, and my Flickr media.

Compressing Time

December 27, 2007

 In 2007, I used my digital camera (a Canon PowerShot) to create a large pile of new media. According to iPhoto, I recorded 1,537 photographs, which averages to about 4+ new images every day. In order to objectively visualize my 2007 photographic habits, I created a video which compresses all my 2007 media into just three minutes and five seconds.

In the high-resolution (original) version, each photograph is shown for three frames at thirty frames per second. That’s 1/10 of a second per image. If each photograph was taken with a 1/100 average shutter speed, then this video is about ten times slower than reality. Despite this “slow” speed, the video is almost impossible to visually digest.

Summer 2007 R.I.P.

September 9, 2007

The Boothe family was trekking through Kings Canyon National Park, while I was climbing with friends in LeConte Canyon. I rendezvoused with the Boothes in Big Pete Meadow, and we spent two days returning to civilization via Bishop Pass. Click here for photographs. Highlights include:

Swimming at 11,388 feet:

A gnarly climb above LeConte Canyon:

A birthday celebration for Boothe Senior:


Blog Day 2007

August 31, 2007

Apparently today is Blog Day, a day in which we write about five new/favorite blogs.

In no particular order:

(1) “The Tree of Life” by Jonathan Eisen. Jonathan is on faculty at UC Davis, researching evolutionary biology. He recently co-authored this textbook, which I’m currently reading (and very much enjoying).

(2) PLoS Computational Biology. This isn’t really a blog, per se. Actually, it’s just the RSS feed for the journal of the ISCB. So why did I pick this “blog”? Answer: The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a great example of open-access research. Because PLoS is open-access, I can read scientific publications FOR FREE in Google Reader, instead of paying monthly/annual subscriptions.

(3) “Imbibable: the world’s most comprehensive beverage review source”, by Abi Jones. Abi’s latest consumer blog is basically hilarious. Abi has a talent for combining practical consumer information with witty humor. Other Abi Jones projects include: Heat Eat Review, The Impulse Buy, and Stupid Wedding Crap.

(4) “A Softer World”. Sometimes humorous, sometimes painful, always inventive.

(5) “TracyFood”, by Tracy van Cort. Tracy cooks delicious food, and writes about it.

Enjoy. Happy Blog Day 2007.

Dreams End

July 1, 2007

Eleven days of climbing, swimming, writing, dancing, and laughing: one of the best vacations of my life.

TRAGEDY AVERTED: In Kings Canyon National Park, a recent rockslide transformed my easy class-2 route into a treacherous class-4 climb. Potluck Pass was particularly unsafe. On several occasions, I lowered my pack with rope and free-descended exposed granite faces.  I was most terrified when I tumbled off a ledge and broke my trekking pole. In hindsight, this trip was reckless! The route from Dusy Basin to Palisade Lakes is not advisable to people without helmets and training. (Pictured below: the price of bad decision-making).

WONDERFUL PEOPLE: After my dance with danger, I vacated to San Diego. Annie and Erik are generous hosts, and leaving was difficult. I wish I could remain in the fantasyland of beach trips, graduate student parties, and perfect weather. . . but dreams end.

  • Annie never fails to make me smile. She has a talent for building empires.
  • Erik and his friends are beyond superlatives, but here are a few: gregarious, provocative, and perspicacious.
  • I’m not sure which is more awesome: Grant’s endless supply of positive energy, or his coiffed hair.

(Pictured below: Erik rocks the summit of Mount San Jacinto.)

(Pictured below: My MacBook sports a label for Grant and Erik’s homebrew: Government Standoff Ginger IPA. Photo credit to Erik Pukinskis).

Cake-Off 2007

June 15, 2007

Last week, Peter and I challenged each other to a “cake-off.” This competition pits Peter’s best cake recipe against mine. We invited other friends, and two cakes transformed into seven cakes.

The winner? I vote for Tracy’s lemon bunt cake. (To her credit, she is basically a professional chef).

Little Green Men

May 20, 2007

Today was the UFO festival, in McMinnville Oregon. The festival is a good opportunity to wrap yourself in aluminum foil and dye your hair green. Although the focus is UFOs, I saw plenty of Klingons, storm troopers, and golden retrievers dressed as aliens. Basically, today was an anachronistic blend of Mardi Gras beads, garish hippie hats, and left-over supplies from my sixth grade science fair.

Jon joined me, and we rendezvous-ed with Kynthia and Tiffanie. The four of us made a well-balanced group. There was much hilarity with cameras, water gun hijinx, and a little existential ennui. Earl joined us for lunch, and I much appreciated his laid-back Southern attitude.

After the festival, I have more questions than answers:

Click here for more photos.

SIGCHI 2007, San Jose, CA

May 6, 2007

SIGCHI 2007 was wonderful. (SIGCHI = special interest group on computer-human interaction). Basically, I’m exhausted. . . physically, intellectually, and spiritually.

In the last month, I was feeling overwhelmed and burned-out. (At one point, I even considered not attending SIGCHI so I could make progress on my thesis.) Fortunately, SIGCHI reminded me how much I love academic research. Long story short, the conference recharged my optimism and I am inspired to do high-quality work again.
The opening plenary at the San Jose civic auditorium