Archives for May 2004

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getting out of the city

On Saturday Kathy and I went hiking in the Angeles National Forest, beginning our journey just next to JPL's east lot. I took pictures with my phone, but Linux and bluetooth don't seem to want to help me out with transferring pictures to the computer, so those'll be coming along with a bit of lag. :

Unable to handle kernel NULL pointer dereference at virtual address 00000068
 printing eip:
*pde = 00000000
Oops: 0002 [#1]

Doh. Now to build a 2.6.7pre and see if there are any fixes in there. But back to hiking...

It was remarkable to me to be hiking through all kinds of mountain terrain and to be able to say "Hey, I work right here." The trail itself is a fun one that goes through quite a lot of change. It starts as a paved road, turns to a dirt road, turns to a dirt trail, and then turns to a, well, sort of trail. This site covers the route we took pretty well.

Oakwilde Campground was where we finally turned around. Another site lists the round trip at 10 miles. Sitting at the campground for a minute recuperating before heading back we had a bit of a funny experience. We were sitting on a picnic table, and there were several tents set up nearby. All of a sudden I noticed that the tent directly in front of us was the exact same one I had sitting in my trunk at the base of the trail. Kathy had never seen my tent set up, so I was able to show her this one, albeit without rain cover on. The pair who owned the tent were on a one-way hike down from the Angeles Crest Highway to JPL where they would be picked up. Oakwilde was their resting spot for the night, though it was pretty early to be set up there (3pm or so). It would be a nice place to sit and read a book next to the stream, though.

We saw one snake, but it was small and harmless. It made its way off the side of the trail when we got too near.

The trail follows roughly the course of a road that provided access to a resort and some cabins in the teens and twenties. Most of it is gone now, but occasional remains of bridges and slabs of concrete are still to be found, as are the foundations of various buildings.

All in all a great time, and not that crowded back on the trail despite the parking area being completely packed.

Music: Julian Coryell and Gus Black

I started this post at work the other day, forgot to finish it, and then left it sitting on my screen there. So I've been slow to actually redo it here since I feel dumb for having to redo what I already wrote.

Oh well.

But anyway, Thursday night Kathy and I hopped in the car and took a ride over to Sunset. After sitting in traffic for a while on the 110, we did make it to the Hotel Cafe right around 8pm. It was a bit of a throw-back night: I found street parking, the crowd was small... It felt like the Hotel of the old days.

Julian Coryell was up first, and it was the first time I'd seen him in close on two years. It was fun to see how his music has evolved in that time. When I was seeing him back then he was just beginning to play with a delay petal (ala Howie Day playing solo or Joseph Arthur). Back then he was pretty much only using it for "Living in L.A.", but now it's become an integral part of the whole show and he uses it very well. I've always thought the delay was a great way for solo artists to add depth to their show.

And oh yeah, he has a ukulele with a pickup. And he sang into it.

I'd never seen a ukulele with a pickup before I saw Julian's, but I'm sure they exist. It really is funny seeing his up there playing that tiny instrument with a 1/4" cable looking massive plugged into the back. But wait...

He sang into it.

The song was a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Going to California." Talking to Julian afterward he pointed out that at the end of the original the vocals sound like they're way off in the distance -- "coming out of a well" was how he put it. So Julian's standing on stage at a show, playing this song, and he's thinking "How do I make it sound like I'm in a well?" Now, on "Going to California" he starts with the guitar, lays some loop, switches to the ukulele, and then plays most of the song with that. So he's got this ukulele sitting in his hands. All of a sudden it clicks, "Hey, there's a litle microphone in there." With that the ukulele pickup as vocal in well was born. Now that's pretty clever. Julian's about to go on tour opening for Aimee Mann so that should be good for his exposure.

Gus Black was up next, again playing solo. I hadn't heard or even really thought of his stuff since last summer and it was cool to get brought back to some songs I enjoy. Unfortunately I don't have any ukulele stories about Gus, so his review gets to be a bit shorter. That's what you get when you stick to the traditional guitar.

Actually, funny instrument story... For one song Gus decided he was going to switch over to the electric, so he switches and starts the song. Pretty early into it he stops and says "Ok, that's not as cool as I thought it was." He switched back to the acoustic and started over. I enjoyed that.

random boring stuff

It's chilly and overcast today. I was lazy this morning and took the bus in from the parking lot. I didn't feel like trudging 10 minutes up the hill to get to my desk.

pre-haircut Kathy wants me to get my hair cut today, so I guess I'll be going and doing that. It's not that I don't agree that it could use a trim, I'm just ot much for the actual getting around to doing it. Sort of like how my car is still filthy, and has been so since March or so.

Speaking of cars... $34 and change yesterday to put in 14 gallons. Ouch. I think I'll be taking a stop by the JPL Store this afternoon to see how much they sell Metro tokens for these days. I pick the bike up this evening, so hopefully I'll be able to leave the car parked a little more soon.

Music: It's all about the Hotel Cafe

I know, I'm way behind on putting up any kind of a report about last Friday. That happens sometimes. I get distracted.

We got there about 2/3 of the way through Amilia Spicer's set. To be honest, I don't remember much about it. It takes me a little while to sit down and get focused.

Eric Hutchinson was the 9pm, and Kathy and I both enjoyed his show. She bought a cd afterward, and today compared his voice to Michael Jackson. I can't say that was what struck my mind, but I did think at times he sounded a bit like Justin Rosolino vocally.

Erik Penny rounded out the acts we saw. He played a more sparse set, accompanied only by an electric guitar. It was a lot of the same songs, but often the tempo was changed up to make them more suitable for the smaller show. I missed hearing Ernesto's background vocals and thought their lack made the sound a little empty, but seeing as this was his first "mostly" solo show, I think I can cut Erik a little slack. He's got plans, and I'm sure they'll be good.

Tonight Kathy and I are headed back out to the Hotel Cafe to see Julian Coryell and Gus Black. It should be a good time.

selling some assets

Cingular is selling its share of the CA/NV networks it co-developed without T-Mobile when that latter was working to break into the CA market. As the linked article says, this is probably to reduce duplication and clear some regulatory hurdles in the process of acquiring AT&T Wireless. AT&T has been running their ads about the newly improved coverage on their GSM network, but it'll be interesting to see what the real-world implications will be for Cingular subscribers when they suddenly hop over to a different infrastructure. I did notice that when Cingular started the acquisition process AT&T became a roaming partner and my phone's hopped over to it a few times where Cingular coverage has for whatever reason been unavailable, but none of those instances were around here (that I can remember). I have no clue what AT&T's GSM network feels like in LA these days.

learn something new every day

I just took my bike in to the Manhattan Beach REI Store to get a chain skip looked at. Under load, especially in a low gear, the chain'll sort of pop out and then back in. Really annoying when you're pushing it. I thought the chain was old and needed replacing, but they thought it still had some life in it and think a derailler adjustment will clear it up.

They studied my bike pretty hard, though, obviously a bit confused by it. It's a Novara Ponderosa. Turns out it doesn't really have any of the stock gear on it, though, so the shop guys think someone just got a Ponderosa frame and stuck on random pieces they had around. That degrades a bit the deal I thought I had gotten, but really the bike does exactly what I want it to do, so that's what matters. I asked the guy whether the stuff was nice, crappy, whatever, and he said the front wheel was nice. Heh. I bought that myself. I don't know if that means the shifters, etc, are crap or just the front wheel really is that nice.

Anyway, they kept the bike and I'll pick it up Friday.

WIFI: Lickity Split

Wow. Forget the wifi, this root beer frozen custard I'm eating right now at Lickity Split in El Segundo is good.

Really good.

And a cup was a touch over $2. And the wifi works great. Simple to connect, really responsive.

If only it wasn't so far away...

Oh, wait, they're actually opening two more locations, one of which is in Hollywood, easily accessible via the Red Line.

I love that wifi is no longer the exclusive domain of the coffee shop. I'm not in a coffee mood right now, but a little frozen custard hits the spot just about perfectly.

Downtown El Segundo is a lot nicer than I had expected, too. Parking is everywhere, and it's got a nice small city downtown feel.

the magic of cinema

So my block is New York today. I didn't take pictures, 'cause I was driving after all, put sitting next to the building on the northeast corner of Spring and 7th was a line of NYC taxis. The building it'll have gotten a bit of a coat of paint (although only up to the 12 or 15 foot level... are they going to leave that or just do something different later?) and signage for "NYC Central Bank".

Yesterday I got distracted by film equipment and drove straight past my building, forcing me to circle the block. I really need to get over that. This is LA. They average like two things filming per day downtown.

WIFI: Southbay Galleria

I have to say that it feels kind of weird going online in the mall food court, but at the same time it's not that bad of a place to sit. Southbay Galleria offers free wifi, and they've got a Chick-fil-a, so there's not a whole lot more you could ask of them. Well, some power outlets would be nice, but there may be one or two lurking on a post somewhere that I haven't seen.

paid cd monkey

There are times when I absolutely hate computers.

Today at work I had to upgrade my computer to Fedora Core 2. Simple enough. Then I decided to use the system-config-packages utility to install some GNOME software I hadn't installed with RH9 (and it hadn't given me any opportunity to include in the upgrade process). :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 1 needed to install packages

Fair enough... :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 2 needed to install packages
"Fedora Core 2" disk 3 needed to install packages

Still ok... :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 1 needed to install packages

Wha? :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 2 needed to install packages

Ummm.... :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 1 needed to install packages

Wait just a minute... Let's pay a little more attention here. It installs gphoto2... :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 2 needed to install packages

Installs some more packages :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 3 needed to install packages

Install one or two things... :

"Fedora Core 2" disk 2 needed to install packages

Three more packages. :

And now it says it's done. Whoever designed this app, I strongly dislike you at the moment.

another sequel

I could have gone a whole lifetime without knowing that they planned to make a Miss Congeniality 2. Unfortunately, I didn't, and they are. In fact today and tomorrow they're shooting it on my block and have two lanes closed to traffic on Spring. I know downtown filming is a fact of life, but I wish we could agree for the inconvenience to at least be caused by good movies.

a movie and late night gas stations

Late Night Gas Saturday night Kathy and I went up to Pasadena and saw Strayed (or Les Égarés, if you prefer) at the Laemmle Playhouse. Kathy's taken a lot of French, I haven't; so while she gets to listen to the movie, I read it. It was good.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. On the way back it was a touch after midnight and Kathy wanted somewhere to buy a soda. The gas stations on Arroyo Pwky. in Pasadena were either closed or sketchy, so we made our way down the 110 and ended up exiting on Hill to head into downtown. On Hill, in Chinatown, there's a gas station that just recently reopened as like USA Gas or something like that after the major chain that was their closed up shop a while back. Not only were they open, the front doors were wide open and the only employee present was a friendly lady who was out sweeping by the pumps when we pulled in.

Now, this wouldn't be that surprising in Michigan, or Nebraska, but this is LA. In LA you get used to talking to gas station attendants through glass once the night becomes late enough. But here she was, in the middle of Chinatown, happily tending her wideopen store in the wee hours of the night. I thought that was cool.