Thursday, September 25, 2008

Words Overheard in a Business Meeting

Circle Back. Verb. Intransitive.

  • "Let's circle back to that point."
  • "We should circle back again..."
  • "So perhaps we should circle back before we go on."
  • "Let's circle back before we circle back to..."
  • Person 1: "I was going to circle back to..." [interrupted by person 2] "no let's circle back to..."
It was fitting. We were just circling around in the meeting, moving nowhere at a crawl.

Hint to people who are chronic circling backers: STOP IT! NOW!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I'm looking at apartments in the Bay Area for various reasons (mainly because, well, I might live here for a while) and the rent here is fairly ridiculous. Since I have a "real job" these days I figure I'd move to my own 1 bedroom place. So I started looking at 1bed/1bath places around the Santa Clara/San Jose/San Jose North areas and pretty soon the Asian miser in me started to ache and scream.

It's not like I'm not being paid a good wage and it's not like I can't afford it. But $1600+ for a one bedroom? Brandon said when he lived here (granted, 10 years ago), he paid something like $1200 for a 2 bedroom apartment. The same complex now, 1 bedroom, easily close to $1800 and 2 bedrooms go for around $2300. There's been inflation but I don't think it comes to 100% over 10 years. The first time I was in the Silicon Valley I got a 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom place with Albert, furnished, for about ~$1600 per month. We thought that was outrageously expensive. Same complex today? About the same price for a 1 bedroom, unfurnished.

Granted, I'm looking at pretty decent places since I could alternatively get a dinky 1 bedroom for like $1300 20 miles away from work. But then again, it's not like any of the places I'm looking at are especially nice. Pretty much all variations on the same basic floor plan, same appliances, same drab (and ugly) interior design, same exaggerated ads ("live in LUXURY on a spacious 3rd floor PENTHOUSE SUITE with MODERN appliances and ALL THE AMENITIES!"), and same inflated prices. $1700 for an apartment means something like at least 2.5K deposit + first month rent (almost 3K sometimes!). Add in some basic furniture and supplies and such and I'm looking at at least a $5k hit on moving in. Ouch. I know people whose mortgage payment on a house is less than that. OK, well, not in California...

The only saving grace is that I think I've found one of the few apartments around here with hardwood floors in the living room (it looks like), a gas range (it says), and less than 2 miles away from work. Going to try to yank it quick but since I can't move out until about October 20th in my current place, I might have to pay double rent for at least half a month. Guess it's not so bad if I get a place I like.

Ok, I'm done whining now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jetlag Sucks

Can't sleep. Time to make a list of toys I covet:
  • Canon Rebel XSi - The 450D, which would be an upgrade over my current 350D. Do I need it? Not at all, but given its great performance and my lens choices so far (see below), it'd be a nice upgrade. Not really taking many pictures these days though. Should fix that.
  • Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM - Fixed aperture (2.8!). Image Stabilisation. Useful range. It would replace the 17-40 f/4 L I mostly shoot with these days. I still have a 70-200 f/4 L in the stable and the standard 50 f/1.8 for low light.
  • [Ultra]portable laptop - Since I mostly work with a manlier-than-thou Mac Pro these days in the office, I find the big honkin' work T60p more and more annoying. It's certainly not a travel machine. And the IT software on it kills it. I can get into a small Mac portable but the only thing available is the Air which is meh. Though to be honest it probably fits my needs.
  • 37-42" Flat-Panel TV - I'm in the dark ages still. Standard definition CRT baby! With prices coming down, maybe it's time I joined the rest of the world. Also, need it for my...
  • PlayStation 3 - Little Big Planet has me and everyone else hooked. I can also tell myself that since Blu-Ray won the porn wars, I can use the PS3 as my new DVD player.
  • Toaster Oven - So that I don't fire up the whole damn oven for things like making a little toast or melting some cheese. I'll pretend it's my own little mini-salamander.
  • Good Chef's Knife - I'm so used to the thin cleaver as my knife of choice for just about everything that I never learned to get comfortable with a standard Chef's Knife. Time to change that.
  • John Fluevog Marcellos in White - What? I don't have white shoes!
  • Bionic Legs - My current ones disappoint me. They should be unbreakable and indefatigable.
  • A reasonable car of some sort - None of those are really viable candidates except the first boring one, after which it's too impractical, too inefficient, too beautiful, too expensive, and not available in the US, in that order. As for my current car? It's not boring at all but it is a bit impractical, inefficient, pretty, and expensive. GREAT.
  • A house - This one will have to wait a bit.
How can I survive?? I know.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Baby Koala

Back from a vacation to Melbourne (Australia, not Florida). Working on editing pictures. Here's a Cute Overload-esque preview:


Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Melbourne

Initial impressions of Melbourne, Australia:
  • Things are expensive here. $8AU for a 6" Subway sandwich? Brutal.
  • Things are big here. Hungry Jack's (Burger King) offers a "Quad" that's basically a In-N-Out 4x4, but of course not as good. Metal.
  • Internet infra sucks. Apparently it takes 2-4 WEEKS to get ADSL hooked up, plans are expensive, and there are data caps on how much you can download. Homicidal.
  • Everything opens late and closes early. Breakfast places don't open until like noon on Sundays and stores close at 4-6PM.
  • Weather changes frequently from sunny to cold to windy to warm to showers in the space of a couple hours.
  • People say "yeah", on average, about 93 times per minute. It sounds like one long "yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah".
It's not all bad, obviously. I like the look of the city: clean, not too small and not too big, not too diverse but diverse enough, and there's enough influence from Asians that there are good, spicy, Asian foods around here. Also, some downright scary (yet hilarious) mascots for candy. Pictures when I get reliable internet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On Toys

I've just been told, via email,
"Please don't lube the cubes too much!"

Kinky. OK!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Workin' On It

Been working and running too hard lately.

On the running front, I'm still making the same mistakes I always make (too fast, too far) but I'm slowly unmaking them. People say various things about increasing your total mileage from week to week but I've never paid much attention and I think it's taken a bit out of my already non-existent ass. The general rule seems to be no more than 10% increase in weekly mileage from week to week. I had always thought of it as 10% increase in the long-distance runs from week to week. And then I always break that rule. This time, my weekly mileage has been something like 9, 11, 17, 14, 20, 25. Surely enough, just about 2 weeks ago my knees starting getting a little sore again. Scared me enough for me to take it real easy these 2 weeks and just do light jogging and some leg exercises. Getting back in to it this week but going to try to stay at the low 20s range for a couple weeks. That and run more times but fewer miles each time.

Busy as hell at work and still working too much but it's still fun. Need a reward. Need to be something materialistic. I'm going out of the country for a bit of a vacation near the end of this month so...

Happy...something (Disposable Income Day?) to me! A Glaser 19" duffle. Purty. It's supposed to last 15+ years and 500k+ miles easily, say people who've used these things for that long.

Now all I need is another Glaser A4-sized shoulder bag in calf for daily use and a whole bunch of fake documents, folders, dossiers, and papers so that I can transport them around in a Rocket Bag. Yes. Need.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Running Summary - 7/20

Monday - REST.
Tuesday - SOAP. (Get it? But seriously, more REST.)
Wednesday - 5 x Yasso 800s @ 2% incline. 5 Miles total.
Thursday - 5 1/4 miles.
Friday - REST
Saturday - 3.5 miles and then threw in a 3:30 800 at the end for 4 miles total.
Sunday - 10 mile slow run.

Total: 24 miles.

Don't know what my pace is on the 10 miles though it felt like I had more energy than last weekend's 10. Could be I'm just taking it a little easier. Send Brandon my GPS watch so that he could track every mile of his crazy 50 mile run in Leadville so no geeky data. This is probably a good thing since whenever I have the watch, I monitor it like crazy and try to beat my current average pace. Yes, that's a problem because it means I'm forever trying to speed up on my long runs which is bad. I don't think average pace was slower than 10/mile though so I'm happy.

And tired.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jargon - 1

Co-opetition. Seen as a title to a book that is referenced in a footnote of the introduction to Competitive Strategy by Porter.

Similar words: Stag-flation. Sup-ferior. Rej-doption.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


10 miles.

95 minutes.

Feel like a man.

A man who runs slowly.

And whose calves are completely exhausted now.

And well ok it was actually about 9.85 miles so a man who rounds up to the next integer.

But a man who is now up to 20 miles for this week.

A man who's careful about ITBS.

A running man with a goal.

Less than 4 hours.

26 miles.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Two Bags

I don't travel all that much but I fantasize that I will do a lot of it at some point during my life. Preferably soon. I'm also a fan of being prepared and thinking things through, which means that I need some durable luggage options for traveling. Finally, I'm sucker for luxurious detail for its own sake. It's really fortunate then that I'm thinking about these things because I just have too much money sitting around and I really must spend it. So, for shortish travel, I think a nice Glaser duffel bag will do.

But what about work documents, laptop, pens, and the like? Surely I won't put them into a duffel bag? OK, maybe I will since Glaser does offer modular organization inserts for their hand crafted and customized bags but I wouldn't want to put in my 1 hour of work per week as the head of Making Lots of Money, Inc. carrying around a duffel. How crass! This is where the Rocket Bag comes in. Yes, it sounds a bit like the briefcase of a certain improbable jet-pack aided Disney hero from the days of yore (yore mama!) but it's actually quite a bit less cheese and quite a bit more Le Grand Fromage des Kings et les Hommes avec Way Too Beaucoup de Money, Edition Limité. Regardless of your gender and sexual orientation though, you are a metrosexual if you get one of these:
See what I mean? You do. The bag of French yuppie kings.

Both of these options are supposed to survive a million miles of air travel, various kinds of weather and adversity, nuclear blasts, and come through it all looking as good as, if not better than, the day you got them. Also, you'll travel much lighter with these bags because they'll take care of that annoying extra wad of cash you've got in your back pocket.

Now I wonder if the 7x7x7 fits into the Rocket Bag...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Plan

I read about Yasso 800s so I knew what they were. Idea is you take your goal marathon pace and substitute "minutes" for hours. You then take those minutes and run 800m intervals (with 400m jog in between). So for a 4 hour marathon, do 4 minute 800s. 3:30 marathon, 3:30 800s, and so on. You work up to 10 of those during your marathon training along with distance runs and such, and you're ready to do the marathon at your goal pace. Simple, really.

Sounds sort of easy but it's pretty brutal when you're on your last set of 800s, whether it's 3, 4, 5, or 10. If I do them right, my diaphragm hates me and it takes a little while to recover. Afterwards, I don't really want to puke but I can tell my abs are a bit overworked. That's what they feel like.

I'm toying with the idea of running the Santa Barbara Pier to Peak half-marathon (all up hill, about 4k feet elevation, end of August) so Brandon clued me in on hill workouts: run up a steep gradient hill hard for 2 minutes, jog back down for 3. I haven't scoped out the good hills around where I live so I go to the gym and set the treadmill for a 10% uphill gradient for the uphill bits and 0% gradient for the "downhill" bits.

For both the Yassos and the hills, I'm getting about four repetitions before I'm beat. I'm still getting used to it too so it takes a lot out of me and my long runs on the weekend suffer unless I rest for two days. All part of re-learning the process I guess. Big overall plan is to push up the hill repeats and alternate between Yassos and tempo runs. Once I get comfortably back in to the double digits (still at 8 miles for the long runs), I might do more hills and long weekend hills. I'll be pretty happy if I can finish the Pier to Peak without breaking my legs again. And then, I don't know, the Shanghai Marathon?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Reading through primers for Objective-C, I'm struck by the use of new names for existing concepts. For example:
A protocol declares methods that can be implemented by any class. Protocols are not classes themselves. They simply define an interface that other objects are responsible for implementing. When you implement the methods of a protocol in one of your classes, your class is said to
conform to that protocol.
Interesting, so a protocol is just an interface that other objects implement. In other parts of the world, we call such an interface an interface.
A class in Objective-C can declare two types of methods: instance methods and class methods. An instance method is a method whose execution is scoped to a particular instance of the class. In other words, before you call an instance method, you must first create an instance of the class. Class methods, by comparison, do not require you to create an instance, but more on that later.
So instead of declaring methods static, we now have somewhat less expressive notations of "-" for instance methods and "+" for class methods. Class methods are different than static methods, Apple tells me, but why do we have to resort to "+"?
When you want to call a method, you do so by "messaging” the corresponding object. The message in this case is the method signature, along with the parameter information the method needs. All messages you send to an object are dispatched dynamically, thus facilitating the polymorphism behavior of Objective-C classes. In other words, if a subclass defines a method with the same signature as one of its parent classes, the subclass receives the message first and can opt to forward the message (or not) to its parent.
So the "message" you send (with quotes) is equivalent to calling a method (without quotes). Also, what part of polymorphic inheritance isn't already part of other OOPLs, like Java?

Final gripe that may just be a n00b question: If the "messaging" syntax is represented by [object :parameter], how do you do method chaining?
[[[object method1:parameter1] method2:parameter2] method3:parameter3]?
That looks ugly.

Still wondering why we need another language to program on a different platform but maybe I'll change my mind once I delve deeper. For now, Apple seems to be continuing to do its thang of making a big deal out of existing concepts. XCode does "Data Tips". Great. What other decent IDE doesn't?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


So earlier today somebody made a reference to a post on this blog and it was terrifying. I got over it with some meds I got from that happy Asian dude down at the corner of Main and Abel. Anyway, since I risk boring all of three of you with this stuff, I figure it's just your bad luck that you're reading this post.

I'm once again a total pansy as far as running is concerned since I haven't run for about 3 years now. I've been bed ridden with a debilitating illness and my muscles have atrophied to the point of needing crazy people from Zion to stick needles in me while Laurence Fishburne gets all philosophical on mine ass. But progress is being made, even if in the passive voice! Last week I did a "run" of 3 miles at 10:00/mile and I felt like an asthmatic smoker with one lung and half a leg. This Sunday I managed 5 miles at 9:40 feeling like a normal person with normal lungs and completely average legs. Today I felt like King Kong on crack because I ran until my diaphragm wanted to punch my guts in. Awesome!

Mile 1: 3/4 - 2% - @10:00 | 1/4 - 6% - @11:30
Mile 2: 3/4 - 2% - @10:00 | 1/4 - 7% - @ 12:00
Mile 3: 1/4 - 0% - @10:00 | 1/4 - 1% - @ 10:00 | 1/4 - 2% - @10 | 1/4 - 8% - @12:30
Mile 4: 1/4 - 0% - @10:00 | 1/4 - 1% - @ 10:00 | 1/4 - 2% - @10 | 1/4 - 9% - @13:00
Mile 5: 0%, accelerated steadily from 10:00 down to 7:20.

So, not exactly an impressive workout but also pretty good given that I'm paralyzed from the waist down. At least I'm not some crazy ultra-marathon runner gunning for the Leadville.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Per Se..., among many things, a highly rated restaurant by Thomas Keller in New York.

It is also Latin for "of itself" or "by itself" or "with reference to itself".

There is no such thing as "per say", except as a homophonic yet mistaken spelling of "per se".

Friday, February 29, 2008

Defining you

So, the Providence Place Mall thinks I'm defined by toilets and urinals. Bastards.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

7 instead of 20

What's going on? Was supposed to run 20 but could barely jog/walk/limp/crawl 7 miles today, out of breath the entire time keeping up an average pace that was probably slowe than 12:00/mile. And my knees still hurt. And I was out of breath again doing a little cleaning in the bathroom. Not a good follow up to the 1:50 half and it looks like I might have to cancel the napa. Suck! I must be hosting an alien parasite...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Oh hair!

Snowing at ORD and my flight's supposed to be on time. I'm skeptical yet hopeful.

Word of the day: whorenament. Discuss.

Friday, February 08, 2008

You Don't Get It

Due to some corrupting influences from certain rogues at my place of work, I've been running a lot more recently. Scratch that. I've been on an honest-to-Zoroaster training program for the Napa Valley Marathon in March, once again courting black toe, ITBS, and plantar fasciitis. Yet I really do enjoy running immensely, those biomechanically ominous terms notwithstanding. My last Marathon had me at about 10:45 minutes per mile and I just recently ran a half marathon at 8:20 minutes per mile. That's definitely progress in the right direction.

Given that I continue to run though, it would seem obvious that I enjoy running. It's not like somebody is blackmailing me into running. My son isn't in danger of being pooped on by wild boars in the Siberian woods if I don't run and even if he were, I would more likely question that I had a son at all because last time I checked no offspring had sprung from my loins. So I must like running. That seems to be a simple, reasonable, logically sound deduction.

It is also the one basic truth that is continuously questioned. Kind of stupidly. No, that's too strong of a word but let me explain with a dialogue:

Somebody: Why do you run?
Me: Because I think it's fun!
Somebody: But it doesn't seem like it's fun to me.
Me: Perhaps not, but it's fun to me.
Somebody: Yeah, but why do you do it, it's not fun!
Me: IS fun to me...
Somebody: I don't believe running is fun! Explain to me why you would do something that is not fun, ignoring your own views. Also, I'm right, you're wrong. Now justify why you're right.
Me: *runs*

It's not that I look down upon people who don't run. Being a couch potato or playing the saxophone are perfectly wonderful alternatives to running. It's not my place to judge. But you can't adopt the premise that running is painful and not fun and then ask me to justify myself. It would be like asking me why I enjoy being Asian because doesn't it suck to be Chinese? Or why do I enjoy playing the piano when it is so boring compared to OMGHALO3ROXORZ!!1!!eleventyone!?! on the XBoxDegreesInACircle?

Next time somebody asks me that question I should just give in. I am a masochist. I enjoy pain. My favorite activity on Saturdays is to be sodomized by butch dominatrices in leather while listening to the Mozart Requiem being played in D Major. While running.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Recursive blogging

Now that I can post from my mobile phone, expect a greater number of craptacularly pithy turd-piles! Hooray!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Delicious Covered Awesome

Sometimes I am burdened with my status as an innovative culinary genius and the picture of hirsute virility admired by macho men the world over. It's not easy being somebody who bench presses wet yaks one afternoon only to make a delightful foie des yaks humides au torchon out of that same piece of exercise equipment the very next night. Every once in a dry caribou, however, an inspiration hits me that is just a pure and absolute epiphany.

Chocolate Covered Bacon.

You might think that sounds terrible. You might think it sounds disgusting. That's why you're the hoi polloi and I'm The Innovator. The formula is really quite simple. It is a given that:
  • Chocolate is delicious.
  • The only thing more delicious than chocolate is awesome. I mean bacon.
  • Delicious + Awesome = Yummy^2
So it follows by simple substitution that chocolate plus bacon is yummy squared, something exponentially yummier than the normal, run of the mill yummy. If you still don't get this, go workout with some damp elk first and then come back to this post.

So how does one make chocolate covered bacon? Also quite simple. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler. Add some butter until the chocolate flows better and you can add some milk to taste if you would like. Real men do. At the same time, fry up some bacon until it's as crispy as a crispy bacon (is there anything more delightfully crispy? NO.). Drain the bacon and cut it into manageable squares or slices and dip into the chocolate. Let dry on a Silpat or some similar anti-sticking device. Chill until hardened, and bring joy to your friends by forcing them at muscle-point to try it. If they like it, you should probably try some yourself.

A better variation is to chop up the bacon finely and mix it into the chocolate. Then drop the chocolate in little rounds on to the Silpat, chill, and serve. I like the texture and taste of this better but it's likely that you haven't done enough reps to truly appreciate it.

If you're man enough to try this, I think you'll like it. My moose did.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Order of Things

I'm not the only one who has this problem. You see, when you're in a long race like a half marathon or a marathon, part of your registration fee goes toward setting up little niceties such as porta-potties along the route or having volunteers handing you liquids and Gu at regular intervals. So, besides being continually hydrated and fueled, you can also empty out your insides when you just really have to pinch one out. But on a training run, you don't have this luxury. Sure, you could engineer a solution by running loops and having some sort of rest stop on that loop but it's a pain.

But it's worse than that. For me anyway, I get mildly anxious before a long training run because, let's face it, I'm not the world-level athlete I was once, and I'm using too many commas in this sentence. Also, when you're running long distances, you want to relax and not waste any energy, something that gets more difficult in direct proportion to the amount of sphincter contraction you must endure. The solution? Poo before you run.

That's not as easy as it sounds though, because unless you defecate with metronomic regularity, you just may run in to (pun intended) a run before poo situation. The absolute worst is when you get something out before you run, then start your run, and then 10 miles in, most literally, shit. Just one more challenge in life to deal with, I suppose. At least I made it through this entire post without one Foucauldian reference. Oops. Merde encore.