crschmidt: (Default)
I had a long week this week. When I finally got to the end of it:

1. Catching up on my friends list required me to go back a page. This hasn't happened in months or longer; Google Reader and my Friends page pretty much always the first two things I open when I open my browser. This means that I hadn't really had time to do the things I do most often for 3 days.

2. My Google reader was equally old, holding approximately 10 times the number of things it usually does when I get around to reading it.

On the other hand, the results of this week were that:

* I installed, and started using, every pirate's favorite statistical package (R).
* I put together a highly informative, 45 minute Powerpoint presentation (integrating content from our entire team at work)
* I was able to successfully answer questions from Boss's Boss's Boss during the presentation.

Overall, everything worked out well, but I have worked my ass off for the past 3 days, and I am Damn Tired.

Of course, now I have to spend the weekend on other things that will tire me out more. But at least I should be able to stop to use the computer for enjoyment at some point in the 18 hour days.
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"I need mom to stop at the store and bring me a snack."
"What do you want?"
"I don't care, I'll eat anything."
"Okay, how about you just grab some of the cookies from the shelf?"
"Anything but those, those are gross."
"Okay, you've got to tell us *what* you want, I can't randomly guess if you're just going to say it's gross."
"I don't know what I want!"
"How about pop tarts?"
"As a snack?"
"Sure."
"On second thought, I'll just have nothing."

Child, I'm not asking you anything difficult here, I'm just telling you I *can't read your mind*.

(Then again, this is a lesson that the two adult women in my life haven't learned either; why I thought the 12 year old would have learned it is beyond me.)

Life

Oct. 29th, 2008 09:21 am
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So not ready for Japan. And I thought I was underprepared for the Cape Town trip!

Still taking photos. Now participating in [livejournal.com profile] photowump: a 'photo class' like thing that a friend is doing as a favor to a few of us who have cameras but don't use them enough. :) Looking today, I've taken 3500 photos in the last month -- 4000 in the last 5 weeks. I think that means I've taken more pictures in the last 5 weeks than I have in the previous 3 years...

FallPicked my first 'pic of the day' that I don't really like technically yesterday -- I got a portion of the cart in the bottom right corner of the pic that kinda ruins it for me. Still, overall, I like the colors and the lines in it, so I'm sticking to it.

I leave for Tokyo Friday morning. I'm going to miss Halloween, which I'm sad about. :( Hopefully all goes well for the family in the week I'm gone: I'm sure that Jess would love for people to hang out and spend time with her here to help out with stuff, if you're free sometime next week.

Wow. Japan. Still kinda going 'wow' over that. :)

Everything else in life is just a rush to get things in line at work so I can leave at the moment, so I apologize if I'm somewhat boring.
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Playing with CamerasBorrowing some gear from a coworker for the rest of the week -- including a 100mm macro lens, which I'm having fun playing with. (Most of my pictures from yesterday were taken with that one.)

I've also got a Speedlite 550ex which I'm going to try and do some playing with -- I don't think I'm at the point yet where flash is what I want most, but it's something.

With that in mind, yesterday's photo ended up being a macro shot of the back of the flash that I took while I was playing around with stuff... This could become a dangerous hobby if I end up keeping it up...

9 days until I leave for Japan.

Wheels (Also, since I missed it: Monday's image, which I wasn't as happy with, but is not that bad.)

Ali is sick. She brought it home from school, and definitely gave it to Jess, and possibly gave it to Lynne as well (since she was over on Monday). Other than that, life on the home front is much the same... Though I do need to let my parents know I'm going to Japan... oops... (You'd think I'd have learned after my last mistake.)

Got started on a new/interesting Python/JS project with a friend in my copious spare time. It's nice to have a project which isn't 90% done: the limitations that places on you are so annoying. Doing the last 20% always sucks. I'm much better (and way more efficient) at the first 80%. Wish that I could actually find a job that was about the first 80% -- OCTO was supposed to be that way, but it never really did work out like that.

What should I be writing about here? You all think I'm dull as rocks, I think. Anyone got an interest in helping me improve that?
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Time to go back to work today. Luckily, I think that 3 days is about the right amount of recovery time for this kind of trip: I actually feel relatively rested (thank goodness for small favors). So, back to the office I go.

Luckily, it seems like not much fell apart during my absence. Also, that word looks totally wrong.

Photos

Sep. 24th, 2008 08:12 am
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After having a couple conversations with David and Dan, I think I've come to the conclusion that a part of my lack of technical chops for my photography is actually because of the camera and lens, rather than entirely tied to my lack of skill, as I had previously assumed. I'm thinking of buying a new lens on David's recommendation to solve this problem. Specifically, there is a 50mm 1.8 lens which he recommended, and I'm liking the idea of it.

For one thing, a non zoom lens (fixed focal length) would force me to frame my shots a lot more carefully. Also, a major factor in most of my photography is low light: something which would help account for that would be nice to have as well. Lastly, it's less than $100, which is in the range where i'm not utterly distraught if it doesn't help that much, and also not going to suffer too much if it fails to work out well.

Maybe I can even have Schuyler pick one up for me at B&H before my trip to South Africa. ETA: Yay, he's going to stop there this afternoon.

For those of you who don't actively follow my flickr account (probably most of you), I've been uploading some of the stuff I have, both in the current set and also from years back, moving over my old self hosted galleries to flickr. Also, if you have access to Jess's photo pool, I uploaded a few more pictures to that as well.

Anyway. That's today's drive: time to get back to work.
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Driving time.

Sleepy. Been getting sleepy around 11 lately, suppose that's not exactly suprising given 6.30 am wakeups with the girls back in school.

Was kind of hoping for a fun storm this weekend, but didn't get what i was hoping for; the 495/95 loops looked like weather barriers on the radar, with a clear bubble effect around boston.

Have recently been amazed by julie's continued ability to read anything she wants, from the text on sides of the comcast usual, to the menus on computer screen drop downs. She is now able to read long books by herself, quickly, and has almost no cases where she ever gets stuck. Compare this to last year at this time, where she could barely read the alphabet.

Not having a shoulder to cry on when I need it at the moment sucks. With Jess exhausted from school and falling asleep around 8.30, i've been having a couple hours a night where i'm alone with myself and my thoughts, which is somewhat ... Unfortunate with my current state of mind.

Such is life in the fast lane.
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Kristan left the state on the last Thursday in August, heading for her mom's place in Texas.

For the next couple days, it didn't really affect me. [livejournal.com profile] volantwish staying with us for the weekend kept me busy with entertaining -- trip to Six Flags, taking the kids to the park, doing food, watching TV, etc. The social activities that I'd always done with Kristan weren't something I felt like I was missing, because I was busy doing other things.

On Wednesday, when I took Julie to school, I drove by Kristan's office (as I typically do)... and realized that there was no one there for me to wave to. (Of course, it's only as I type this that I realize it was Wednesday, and not Tuesday as I had thought, so she wouldn't have been there anyway, but I digress.)

It's not the big things that I miss, when someone who has been an integral part of my life leaves it. It's the little things. It's waving hi as I drive by in the morning -- even though I know no one is waving back. It's watching an episode of House without Kristan being there for me to bug her about who *that* guy is, and why he's acting like *that*, and what Season is this anyway? and why is House on a cane, I thought that happened later?

It's the things like chatting about the episode of Doctor Who she caught. It's things like watching an episode of Criminal Intent, and seeing Jessica Walter and trying to explain how, exactly, she's playing the same kind of role without being able to show it.

Not all these things would really be different with Kristan here: we lived 45 minutes apart, so there were times when we wouldn't see each other in person for a week or more at a time. But there is always the possibility of spending time together; of having a spontaneous trip one direction or the other to hang out.

It's not the actual things I miss out on, but the sense of disconnectedness from someone who I've always had the opportunity to spend time with.

I spent the first couple days after Jana split pretty much unable to concentrate on anything. It sucked. I've gotten to the point where I'm adjusting now -- life is largely back to urn of the mill -- but I do feel very set adrift at the moment, and not really sure what to do about it.

Kristan plans to come back to New England in about 9 months. I hope that she does, but I also hope that to some extent, I can gain a social network which isn't so deeply tied to one person in the interim. I don't want to replace Kristan: she's been a huge part of my adult social life, probably one of the biggest influences outside of Jess. At the same time, branching out is important -- for both of us, I expect, though I think Kristan has a harder time of it than I do. A lot of what I said before about Jana leaving applies here too, but so much more so because of the deeper connection. When Jana left originally, it was giving up the possibility of developing a friendship; with Kristan, it's something that's just always been there for years, and giving it up is hard.

Regardless of how [livejournal.com profile] acerbic she is, I hope that she does well in Texas, and then gets her ass back to New England, cause as it stands now, I have no one to watch the next season of Top Chef or Doctor Who with. :)
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I seem to be coming out of my brain funk, which is nice. I'm actually somewhat cheerful for the first time in a while.

I printed my PGP key signature on the back of some of my business cards last night. The likelihood that anyone will ever care to sign my key are nil, but hey, a guy's gotta try, right? And I think I'm less likely to lose a business card than some thin strip of paper.

I was just looking at some of my old photography, and remembering how much I love taking pictures. I need to do more of that. (I say this like every 4 months, I think.)

Wheee, positive mental energy!

(And! I got salmoned from this post. Hooray for random people conversation things!)
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Have *no* ability to concentrate over this last weekend. I've been bouncing like a rubber ball between things that I have going on, pinging from one place to another constantly, with no ability to stay on any one thing for more than a couple minutes at a time.

I did successfully watch an episode of Nova (on the DARPA Grand Challenge), which was cool. I also followed the advice of a commenter on Hulu and tried to find more Nova on the PBS site, and even found a great one to watch (The Car Talk guys doing an episode about the future of automobiles), but was disappointed at the fact that it was in quicktime. I've gotten spoiled by the current generation of flash-based video players.

I went with Kristan to the place where she's catsitting for an hour last night, and borrowed an Asimov book while I was there. (The person she's cat sitting for has 4 full book shelves of mostly sci-fi. I suffer so much book envy any time I'm there.)

The girls and I cleaned the house yesterday -- to the point of actually moving all the furniture, sweeping under it, etc. The kitchen is still a bit of a tip (is that phrase used right? I think I've heard it before...) but the living room and dining room were swept clean, all stuff picked up, etc. I like having clean floors.

I don't know what I want to do with my day. Ali is going to Canobie Lake with her dad as a birthday thing, so I'll just have Jess and Julie in the house. Maybe I'll just find a spot in the sun and read my book.

I'm thinking I might go with Kristan to Six Flags on Wednesday. (This is the last chance I'll get to go on a Wednesday before she leaves for Texas, and Wednesdays are usually the least crowded day to go.)

Babble babble. I don't think anyone even reads these anymore other than Jess. I wonder if there's something I could write about that would change that. I suppose I could invent sexual escapades. Or just put things behind a cut that says "TMI, don't click."
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My evening, in haiku form.

Went to Boston's local weekly LJ meetup at the Common Ground in Allston. Was a good time.

Girls are in NH through the weekend, and Jess isn't feeling up to much; I might be up for going out again tomorrow if she falls asleep early again. Anyone local interested in hanging out?
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I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon to go camping and hiking in the White Mountains for 5 days. I've got a trip planned out that I'm hoping will have me hitting 9 4000 footers:
  • North + South Kinsman
  • North + South Twin
  • Little Haystack
  • Mount Lincoln
  • Mount Lafayette
  • Galehead Mountain
  • Cannon Mountain


We'll see how well it goes.

I'm staying at Lafayette Campground, in Franconia Notch. I've got a bunch of gear all packed up and ready to go. Need to finish packing up today, and get onto buying food and other things that I haven't got yet.

I haven't been camping in about 7 years. I'm looking forward to it a lot.

I'm going on my own. I'm hoping that the time gives me a break from technology (I'm bringing my computer, but only so that I can get photos off of it, hopefully) and a time to clear my head and come back relaxed/refreshed.

I'm also going to stop by the Globe Corner Bookstore and look for maps; you can never have too many maps.

And, since I've already promised to several people: I don't plan to get eaten by a bear. :)

Grilling

Jun. 21st, 2008 08:47 pm
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I used the grill my parents got Jess and I for our anniversary for the first time tonight. I made burgers (ground beef).

Couple observations:
* Trader Joe's charcoal isn't briquettes. This is weird to me. I've never seen charcoal that wasn't briquettes. But it did smell pretty damn good.
* Charcoal Chimney? AMAZING. Seriously, if you've ever cooked with charcoal and dealt with the "how can we help it stay lit?" problem, the charcoal chimney is seriously incredible. No work at all.
* The grill we have is too big to have the charcoal we need to cook 'look right' for only two people -- we only need like 2 pounds of charcoal, and it ends up looking lonely in our giant grill :) However, if we were cooking for four or six, I think we would have needed to put a lot more charcoal in the chimney, and it would have looked closer. (Also, burgers don't really require a lot of heat compared to something like steaks, I don't think. So this is good.)

Kristan fried squash, and I cooked burgers, and they came out really well.

I'm very happy with the gift, and looking forward to using it more.

Pictures of the grill on flickr, and ones of the charcoal chimney are under 'fire'.
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I think I just killed my computer.

So, I have a computer that I've been using for the past 7 years. It was originally a pretty powerful desktop machine, and has slowly migrated from Windows to Gentoo to Debian to Ubuntu. It's gone through roles as my primary webserver -- on Windows and Linux -- to mail server to file server.

It's gotten upgrades from a single 80GB hard drive with a CD player to 500GB of space with a DVD reader and DVD burner.

Earlier tonight, the 'big' hard drive -- a 300GB Seagate -- bit the dust. I wasn't sure if it was the expansion SATA card or if it was the drive, so I was doing some futzing about...

and in the process, I broke a fan blade on my CPU fan. Shit.

In general, this wouldn't be such a bad thing, but this broken fan blade is causing the fan to vibrate like crazy -- enough to vibrate the whole case loudly enough that I can't really leave it on. So not only did I lose a 300gb hard drive which was mostly movies, I've also now got a computer that I can't really turn on.

Sigh.

I think that it may be time to replace zeus with something slightly more suitable for being a fileserver. It had really become a frankenstein over the years, and it may be time to move on. But even so, it is a bit sad to look at moving on from something that I've had just under 7 years of history with.

So, I think I'm going to spend tomorrow figuring out what I want to do for a new computer. I think I want something that's quiet enough to keep in the living room, and has enough space that I can stick in cards for video out and (eventually) some kind of TV input for MythTV-like stuff or something. The *idea* of an AppleTV appeals, but the practicality of dealing with not having a 'real computer' for this feels like it would bug me. This might be silly, I'm not sure. Also, the AppleTV isn't really a DVR, which would be nice to get eventually.

Ah well. So life goes.
crschmidt: (Default)
Driving through Harvard Square during Harvard graduation? Not so fun.

Finally got a new charger for my cell phone. (end result for my adoring fans? More useless crap to read!) Nobody in town carries name brand nokia chargers, apparently, and the generics literally did not work at all. So i overpaid for a real noe direct from nokia.

This also means that i get drive time music again, which i'd missed. Kristan will tell you I don't give a shit about music -- but that's not really true. I don't care about what music I'm listening to, this is true, but i love music. I love listening to it. I love just laying back with some music on and enjoying it while i read a book, while i'm writing, while i'm coding, etc. It's important to have a soundtrack to my life: it's just not particularly important to me what it is.

Speaking of music, i'm going to the dave matthews band concert in Hartford in 8 days. I've never been to the venue in question - I actually don't think i've ever stopped anywhere in CT for anything I can think of.

Jc leaves tomorrow night: we'll be doing a going away gathering tonight. As far as I know, anyone who wants to come is welcome. Drop us a line if you plan to come.

I did some exploring a couple nights ago of the various ways that LiveJournal has of finding people, and found out that they all suck. Sure, if you only care about online interactions, they're something resembling usable, but as soon as you want to do a search on something combined with a location, you're screwed. I could not, for the life of me, find a way to find people in cambridge interested in some particular interest, for example. The directory search looked like it might work... But then adding multiple filters seemed to just cause it to take the first one. Kinda unfortunate.

Ah well. I'll just have to suffer, i guess.

I'm tired. I want a vacation.

Goodbyes

Jun. 3rd, 2008 09:00 am
crschmidt: (Default)
Said Goodbye to [livejournal.com profile] volantwish last night: She's graduating on Thursday from Harvard, but since she'll be spending the next couple days with Family and Boyfriend, this is the last time we'll get to see her before she runs away to NYC.

It's been a somewhat sad friendship the past couple weeks: Although Jana has come over before now, in general, we'd never spent a lot of time together. In the past month or so, we've ended up spending a lot more time together... and realizing that it's the kind of friendship we really should have expanded on earlier.

Watching goofy movies (think Baz Luhrmann), curling up in a ball on the couch, playing around with the kids, working on CS problems (she's getting a CS Degree at Harvard), watching silly television (Gossip Girl, anyone?), etc. etc. These are things that I don't do much with Jess -- we have very different tastes in popular culture, and it limits the number of things we can do together in that regard, and our physical closeness has always been different than the one that I experienced with [livejournal.com profile] pie_is_good and other friends of that era -- something that Jana and I fall into somewhat more naturally.

This is all well and good... except that she's running away to NYC for the summer. Although she'll state otherwise, I don't expect to see her again this summer, and after that, she's off to Sea Semester in the fall, so looking at it, it seems somewhat unlikely she'll be heading back to Cambridge after that.

Finding good friends -- people whose personalities mesh well, who aren't freaked out by my tendancy to be physically close, people who enjoy the same kinds of things I do -- is somewhat difficult for me (doubly so, because my time for such things is so limited with the kids and wife to take care of). Finding someone like that, who has been living just down the street for the entire time I've lived in Cambridge, but not finding out until about 2 months before I'm never going to see her again... well, 'sucks' would be one way of putting it.

Goodbyes in that kind of situation are hard, but I prefer them immensely to never having realized what I was saying goodbye to in the first place. There are many people in the area who I should probably be spending more time with -- and even if it was just for a couple weeks, I'm glad that I got to spend time with Jana that I wouldn't have otherwise.
crschmidt: (Default)
Currently chilling outside zaftigs waiting for "Chris, party of 4". It's quite nice out. Met a nice teacher who teaches gis as part of an environmental studies for high school age kids too.

Anyway, breakfast time. Just mentioning that today is a pretty great day.
crschmidt: (Default)
I almost never have the urge to post, and when I do, it always comes in bunches. It's weird.

[livejournal.com profile] jc is in town. He got in last Saturday, and although I'll admit we have probably not been the most exciting hosts in the world, it seems like he's enjoying his trip to Boston.

The weather has been simply gorgeous. The perfect high 60s/low 70s for most of the week (ever since a scary lookin' storm front came through Tuesday afternoon). I spent most of yesterday morning working from the front porch of the house simply because it was too nice outside not to.

I lost my cell phone charger in CA: I haven't yet been able to find one locally that actually charges my phone (including at the T-Mobile store). I bought one last night (very overpriced) from the Nokia store, but I'm just tired of dicking around and trying things out that don't work. This is the first time generic products have failed me so utterly. (Well, Generic potato chips have similar problems.) This is one reason why my recent regular posting went away: no more drive-time entries. Maybe they'll come back once I have a cell phone again.

Now time to take girls to school.
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Flew out of Boston yesterday for San Francisco. JetBlue plane had an oil leak coming in that they couldn't fix, so we left two hours late due to needing a new plane; landed about one hour late. Made my way through a Very Hot San Francisco -- 95+ degree heat is somewhat unusual for this city. Overall, travel was easy, if slow.

Made it to Neil's, chilled out, caught up on email, prepped a bike for travel to UPXIII, where dinner was. I did question whether biking to UPXIII was the best plan for a flatlander like me. After making it to the house, I decided that it definitely was an ... interesting idea. The house is essentially on Bernal Hill; this means that I was biking up a pretty damn brutal hill to get to the house. In the end, I made it without stopping, but it was definitely a hard push, and it took me about an hour to really recover completely.

Dinner was fantastic. A four course meal for 15 people cooked by the people themselves (though I mostly stuck to doing dishes). Soup, fruits, sea scallops, lovely dessert. All in all, the entire thing was probably some of the best food I've had outside of a restaurant; and some of itw as actually better than I've had in most restaurants. (The experience actually reminded me of Craigie Street Bistrot, which I've been to once-and-only-once.)

Got back around 1am -- 4am body clock time -- and slept for about 4-5 hours.

Currently sitting around, catching up on various things. Looking like my plan for the day is to hack in the same meatspace as Rich and Schuyler (possibly at [livejournal.com profile] crucially's, I guess?) and then hit up The Dubliner, over in Noe Valley, starting around 7/7:30, for hacking with other geo-minded folks.

Conference starts tomorrow in Mountain View; need to arrange a way for me to get there before then :)
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Got release out yesterday and left work at 6, as per plan. Somewhat stressful when customer called during downtime to ask why she couldn't demo to $Boss, but live demo was abandoned; "oops", but nothing to be done. Also found that I like writing tools for doing data entry more than i like data entry - shocking, I'm sure.

Kristan came over, and we watched The Doctor's Daughter (so Mary Sue; great ep anyway) and then the Jeruselem episode of Cities of the Underworld.

Jana (not in t9: how sad) pinged me on aim, saying she was having problems with her final paper for one of her classes. I went over and grabbed her, and dragged her to our place. She researched for a bit, but generally got herself worked up over the fact that her paper wasn't writing itself.

After watching the latest
top chef, it still wasn't flowing, so I took matters into my own hands, and had her dictate the rough sketch of her paper to me. (a blank page is the scariest part of writing, after all.) in the end, she had about 1000 words in incomplete sentences. If she can't pad that into the 3000 word paper she offer, she doesn't deserve a liberal arts college degree. ;)

Watched Gossip Girl with her as a reward -- it was how i got her to work on her paper -- and then took her home. Stayed up for another hour or so hacking on OSM, went to sleep around 4.30. Was up 2.5 hours later, and here we are.

I have a feeling gossip girl will be added to the list of TV I steal from Kristan every week from here forward. Yes, I am a gay man inside, despite loving women and all their feminine wiles.

Off to another day.

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