Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Seen on the streets of Mexico City

January 4, 2009

“este amor no es para cobardes”


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.


August 10, 2008

I just returned from climbing three classic Sierra peaks with Julian. It was great, and you can check-out my Flickr media here:

. . .plus a short detour to the Travertine Hot Springs.

Not dead

June 28, 2008

Hey, I returned from another great trek around Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. I covered over a hundred miles and I saw no one for more than a week. You can view my photojournal here.

a photograph of a wildflower called Indian Painbrush

Going off-the-grid. . .

June 16, 2008

I’ll be off-the-grid for the next two weeks.  Don’t worry, I’m not dead. . . I’m just not responding to email.   (I’ll be here).

Notes on Deception Butte, OR

April 26, 2008

Deception Butte, Oregon, Willamette National Forest
Mileage: maybe 7 miles round trip?
Elevation gain: 2500 feet
On 04/26/2008, the roundtrip hike took 4 hours.

Obscure notes for the future:

1. The trailhead can be hard to find. . .

The map says: the trail starts on the north side of Deception Creek.

I say: the trailhead is actually on the south side of the creek.  It looks like the trail was recently re-routed.  Here are updated directions: coming from Eugene on Highway 58, drive over the Deception Creek bridge, past the Deception Creek trailer park, and turn right onto Deception Creek road. Drive about 50 yards to the trailhead, which looks like this:

2. The first mile follows the river; its easy and groovy. After crossing a wooden bridge at the river fork, the trail starts seriously climbing. Parts were super slippery with snow and mud; I regret not bring trekking poles.

3. The summit is densely forested and the views are anticlimactic. For better views with less work, check-out Mount June.

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.

Post SC07

November 17, 2007

Supercomputing 2007 was held in Reno, Nevada.

  1. Day One: November 10, 2007
  2. Day Two
  3. Day Three
  4. Day Four
  5. Day Five
  6. Day Six

Here are some scattered thoughts on my SC07 experience. . .

  • The student volunteer (SV) program could be more organized. Compared to my SV experience at SIGCHI07, the SC07 job assignment process seemed arbitrary. At SIGCHI, SVs use a web interface to rank their preferences for the next day’s available volunteer positions. Every night, the preferences are compiled, and job assignments are made accordingly. I think SIGCHI’s laissez-faire assignment system yields high SV satisfaction. On the other hand, Supercomputing-07 SV jobs were assigned by the SV organizers. The organizers are great people, and I believe they made a fair attempt to judiciously assign jobs. That said, there was a lot of job-swapping among the volunteers. I realize that SIGCHI and SC are radically different conferences. However, both conferences share a similar scale of organization and I think the Supercomputing SV program could learn a lot from the SIGCHI SV program.
  • Although attending a conference with my cohort is nice, it also breeds xenophobia. At evening events, I found myself tempted to just hang-out with the U.O. crowd.
  • SC07 feels more like a trade show than an academic conference. The exhibit floor is HUGE, and most of the booths belong to companies hawking high-performance computing hardware. Although commercial activity is necessary for SC to be shiny and big, it thwarted my ability to meet other students, faculty, and researchers. Specifically, most of the evening parties were dominated by sales reps, not researchers.
  • I highly recommend lodging in a hotel across the street from the convention center. In the mornings, I had no trouble waking-up and attending keynote lectures, whereas my colleagues faced a thrity-minute shuttle ride across town.
  • Final thought: slot machines are like Hell for a light-induced epileptic.

SC07 Day 6

November 15, 2007

This morning, David Shaw gave a talk titled “Toward Millisecond-scale Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Proteins” Last year, David’s group released Desmond, a computational simulation of molecular dynamics. Desmond has many applications, including simulations of protein fold behavior. This year, David’s talk focused on the future of Desmond, which apparently involves Anton, a supercomputer specialized for running Desmond.

After a long lunch with Maryrose and afternoon chit-chat with the ASC folks, I found myself at the Grand Sierra Resort for the SC07 Technical Party. Blue Man Group (BMG) performed a short 30-minute show, which was more entertaining than I expected. In a nutshell, BMG is like the offspring of french performance art with American rock and roll.