Archives for March 2004

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Today one of the buttons on my phone stopped working. The phone was on silent, so I didn't hear it ring. It vibrated itself straight off a pile of papers and over the edge of the table. When I picked it up, the button didn't work. I pushed it hard, but nothing. I turned it off and on, but nothing. I removed the battery and gently put it back into place, but nothing. Then I threw the phone at the floor, and the screen went black. I pushed the power button. It took longer than usual to start back up. The hourglass glared at me. And then it was fine. Everything worked.

If it tries that again I'm throwing it harder. That'll show it.

birthday dinner

So in the last post I mentioned it was Kathy's birthday yesterday, but forgot to include what we did. I think the car stuff sort of threading through my tale confused me and got me off track. Anyway...

Mid-afternoon we headed out to Manhattan Beach and hung out there for a few hours. Surprisingly the water was really nice, and we went in for a swim. I think surfreport listed the water temp at 60, which isn't bad at all for the Pacific right now.

After coming back and getting all cleaned up we got in the car and pointed ourselves toward Hollywood (though really southwest Hollywood) where I had made dinner reservations at Citrine on Melrose. Now, looking at the menu on their website you see a "prix fixe" section, with a very moderate price. Uhhh... That's not actually on their menu. Instead they have a chef's tasting menu, which is quite a bit more than that. Kathy's only going to turn 21 once, though, so we went ahead and both got that with the wine selections (I try to be fancy every once in a while). The food was excellent.

Course one was a calamari salad, which really wasn't much of a salad. It was more just calamari with some accompaniments for flavour. I won't even attempt to remember what the wine choices were. Our waiter (who was great) would tell us what each one was, but for me it was really in one ear and out the other. Course two was a soup, a little potatoe cake, and a crawfish. I had to ask our waiter how you eat a crawfish -- I knew you ate the tail but I didn't know the approved way to go about that. Then there was a little sorbet to cleanse the palate. Course three was a fish... I think Halibut? In any case very tender and very good. The plate also had artichoke hearts, and I can't remember what else. Course four was lamb, with some peas and corn. All were very well presented. For dessert we substituted from what had been on the tasting menu. I went for a Baileys souffle and Kathy had the apple tres leches.

Oh... I almost forgot the best part. Before course one there was a cucumber soup, presented in a tall shot glass (maybe double shot sized). I thought that was cool.

It was a Monday night, so the restaurant was pretty empty. They let us choose where we wanted to sit, and Kathy chose a nice corner booth. Since the place wasn't busy it felt like every dish was a bit of a group project where the kitchen was concerned. You'd see a lot of one person preparing a dish while one or two more stood and watched.

My only problem with the evening? The valet guy. He came to my door instead of Kathy's, which I thought was just kind of weird. I thought the first thing they taught you in valet school was that you always open the door for the lady first. Odd.

All in all a very good evening, though my wallet probably won't give me a return trip any time soon.

roundup time

It feels like forever since I last managed to scribble a few words here, but really it was just Thursday. Let's see if I can put together what's happened since then...

Thursday and Friday we got to hang out with my sister Amy, which was cool. Being halfway across the country I don't get to see her very often, and I don't know when else I would have gotten to see her play softball. I saw her hit her first college homerun and have a game where she went 3 for 3 with 5 RBIs.

Friday night my dad and I went with Taylor to see U of A play the USA Olympic Team.

Saturday morning I flew back to LAX. Kathy picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at my apartment. I went upstairs, grabbed dirty clothes out of my bag, threw a couple new things in, grabbed a pair of waterski gloves and headed down to my car. Waiting to meet me in our basement parking area was the fact that sometime between Wednesday and Saturday my car got broken into, and my cd player got stolen. I had far more important stuff (wakeboards, etc) in my trunk, but those got left untouched. All that got taken was the cd player (6 years old with a tendency to skip), my garage door opener, and a pair of sunglasses (prescription no less, so they'll be fun to wear). More annoying was that they broke the front passenger side lock to get in, and getting a new handle and lock cylinder is about $300 with installation.

But I didn't really worry about any of that on Saturday. Saturday I wanted to waterski. So I cleaned things up a bit, stopped by campus to pick someone up, and headed out to Mecca, CA -- the absolute middle of nowhere. Private ski lakes are always out in the boonies, and this was no exception. This was a pre-season warmup/fundraiser for the USD Waterski Team. We skiied Saturday, stayed up late, and then the sun woke everyone up for a bit more skiing on Sunday.

Got back to LA mid-afternoon Sunday, laid down for a bit to recover from four straight days of sun, and then headed to Chili's and then to church. There were two new Simpsons on Sunday night, but I only watched one. I'll download the other and add it to my collection, which currently stands at around 275 episodes (there have been 320 or so total, I think).

Monday -- yesterday -- was Kathy's birthday. Before I could do anything about that, though, I had to take care of actually filing a police report and such for my break-in. So a nice little chunk of my morning was spent sitting at Southwest Division. Generally you'd just do something like that over the phone, but I got a couple busy signals and figured I'd just head down and take care of things in person. It wasn't an unpleasant process at all. Next I took my car to Toyota Central, conveniently located under the 10 on Fig. As I knew they would, they found a bunch of other things that really needed to be done to my car. Leaving the lake on Sunday the USD coach asked me, "You got a supercharger in that Camry?" Turns out, no, it's just a head pipe falling apart. That the kind of thing that's fun to hear on a Tuesday morning.

So now I'm working on catching up on all the things that got left a little behind -- like school, for instance. I think life will be a little more normal for the next while, though, which is good.

wifi: Ike's Coffee & Tea, Tucson, AZ

Sitting in Tucson, AZ, catching up on some email at Ike's Coffee & Tea. I'm here in Tucson for a few days watching my sister play softball, but this afternoon my dad and I both needed to catch up on some work, so we headed here. This is definitely what a wifi coffee house should be like. I counted seven laptops when we walked in, most plugged into four-outlet boxes scatterred along the walls. Connectivity is plenty responsive, though I'm not thorough enough to actually run a speed check like Alan would.

Two more games tomorrow and then Saturday I fly back to LA, hop in a car, and head out to Mecca, CA, to go waterskiing.

time flies, change moves slowly

Fixing a bug in my this date function I ran across a post from four years ago talking about porting stuff to CSS. It's crazy to think that it's been that long, but at the same time I can't imagine what life was like beforehand. Sure, this is a horse that's been beaten to death, but CSS is amazing. I ran across the CSS Zen Garden yesterday. The idea's very cool: take one HTML file and show how different it can look using just different stylesheets. Most of the looks are a little graphics heavy for doing list heads, etc, but still it's a cool demo.

wifi: Scouting Tucson

I mentioned the other day that I'm headed to Tucson tomorrow for a few days. While there I still need to keep up on some work and such, so I took a minute to google for free wifi there today (not Google's local search). It seems there are a good number of wifi-enabled coffee shops around, so getting Internet access shouldn't be that big of a deal. Also of interest is that downtown Tucson will be getting a wifi network. I can't find a timeline for this, though, so I don't think that it's something that's functioning yet.

rollin' along

May 20 is Metro's 10th annual Bike to Work Day. I've been bikeless since my front wheel got stolen a couple months ago, but I'm finally getting it replaced and will definitely be rolling again by then. One thing I noticed today that I hadn't seen before is You enter in route information and it helps you plan the best bike commute. Usually you think of commutes in terms of distance, but as I found out this summer, elevation is perhaps even more important. Their site gives me a Gold Line -> JPL route I hadn't biked before, so it'll be interesting to give it a go once I start heading back to the bike and see if it actually is an easier ride. I'm also taking the opportunity to switch to street tires, so the reduced friction should help my ride as well.

oh no they didn't

D4 and I are currently listening to tracks from HVSC. All I can say is: wow. wow. wow. I grew up on the Commodore 64. I love SID music. I still play C64 games on the XBOX. Now all I need is some sort of a DJ'ing talent to mix these together.

carnival music for the soul

Blonde Redhead (whose site I haven't checked out because it requires Flash and I don't have Flash installed at the moment) was on Morning Becomes Eclectic this morning. I often forget just how good they are. I bought Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons in 2000 and loved it. When you first hear it, you think it's going to be possibly the most annoying thing you've ever heard. But then you listen for a few more minutes. All of a sudden it's not annoying. All of a sudden you're hooked. But inevitably you set it aside for a little bit, and you forget. You remember that there's a grindingly high vocal, but not that it leaves you in a trance.

But then you hear them again, and you remember it all.

Listen to the set and I think you'll see.

whirlwind tour

Kathy and I just dropped her parents off at the airport this morning, but it's been a bit of a go-go-go last couple days. I worked all day Friday, headed back to USC for a 4:30 meeting, and then at 7 picked up Kathy and co and took a little drive up Fig to the Bonaventure Hotel. We had dinner reservations at LA Prime, and got there a little early to sit and take a swing aorund the revolving cocktail lounge. Actually, we only made it about halfway around in the 45 minutes we were there, going from north to south by way of the east. Upstairs at the steakhouse we had a cool south view, which gave me nice visuals for talking about 1100 Wilshire (this google cache contains the contents of a fascinating LA Times story about the property) and the Transamerica Building (which recently got bought by Magic Johnson and will likely become housing). The steaks were great, and the desserts were very odd, but good. I got a cheesecake, and it actually was sort of three pieces of different kinds of cheesecakes, and an assortment of fruit.

Friday night / Saturday morning Kathy and her dad decided they really wanted to go see tennis, so Saturday morning we got up and made the two-hour drive out to Palm Desert to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. We saw 3/4 of the Saturday matches at the Pacfic Life Open, watching Federer defeat Agassi, Henmen beat Labadze, and a womens doubles match with names I won't even attempt to copy and paste here. said the temperature was going to be 96 in the desert and I believe it was every bit of that. It was dry heat, though, and we lucked out in getting tickets on the side of the court that got the early shade, so we only really had to endure the heat until 1:15 or so. The people around us were great. The lady sitting next to me offers Kathy a straw hat that she made use of for the next few hours, and the lady sitting next to Kathy knew everything you wanted to nkow about who was ranked what, and who was coaching who. Finally we drove back and then caught dinner at CPK.

Now Spring "Break" is officially over, but my schedule's anything but back to normal. Wednesday I fly out to Arizona to watch my sister play softball in Tucson. I didn't know until I went to look that link up that Taylor was also the Trojans. I'll have to find whatever Trojan stuff I have from here to wear while I'm out there. I fly back from that Saturday and then hop in the car and drive right back to Palm Desert for a weekend of waterskiing.


My web server is a piece of crap. It's a PIII 500 with 256MB of RAM, but the kicker is that these days it's running off a 3.3gig IDE hard drive. I stuck that drive in it in October of 2001, since I was a broke college student and I had it sitting in my desktop. Really the lack of space isn't that big of a deal. While I could probably find good uses for 100gig or so, most of what I do isn't data intensive.

Sometimes, though, you get a random process that sits in the background somewhere, happily writing and writing, gradually filling your disk up with a file you don't even know exists. Today, after running completely out of space, I went on a hunting mission. I found that I had left db_logging enabled in eThreads and that log file was now a good 600MB. That's quite a chunk of a 3gig drive.

My breathing room is a lot more spacious now.

mornin' drive

It's really foggy out today here in La Canada. I could barely see the tops of 5 story buildings walking in from my car. Today was a short walk, since I actually got here early for once. 7:10 and I was at my desk. Kathy's parents needed to be in Hollywood for a medical conference that started at 7:30, so I picked them up at 6:35 at the USC Radisson, made the short drive up to 7th/Figueroa, and dropped them off with subway tokens. Hopefully they figured everything out ok. The LA subway's a funny thing... I think it's the nicest subway I've ever been on -- if it goes where you're going. For me, it's really only useful between Hollywood and downtown.

Listening to Roger Lodge on 1540 this morning, all they could talk about was how the Dodgers raised parking prices to $10. This summer I tried to get a job with the Dodgers, but they didn't have anything available. I talked to the VP of HR, and he looked around, but didn't come up with anything. Now he's resigning, part of an exodus/firing of most of the executive staff. This kind of thing makes me glad for a job with stability, even if the commute is longer.