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December 21, 2000

Last night I went to a party at Joe's house. I was talked into making blender drinks again. This is a practice which I first picked up at a party at Jay's house in D.C., at which the drinks were a big hit. Subsequently at Joe's house I make drinks every time, usually with good results. The first batch last night included 2 Baby Ruth bars, maple syrup, cookie dough, Bailey's Irish Cream, and vodka. It was popular. The second batch included several cannisters of frozen fruit juice concentrate, lemon infused vokda, Blue Curacao, vodka, raspberry preserves, strawberry preserves, and a small baked potato. It looked like algae or snot, and was not popular. It tasted great but nobody wanted it. Oh well, next time I make one batch and call it quits. I was particularly glad to see Kermit again, I haven't seen him for a while.

I've been interviewing for jobs quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. Several folks have asked how the job market is what with the layoffs and all. From my experience it is still very favorable, but I'm a techie with experience; I've heard that for folks in business development or marketing it's not so pretty. I am disappointed that the majority of interesting software companies are 1.5 - 2 hours south in the valley, but there are still a few interesting companies up here in SF. I'm talking to a number of them; I'll keep you posted.

BugSeeker looks cool. It's a standalone debugger for Java 2 applications, no need for a bloated IDE just to get a cool debugger.

I had a dream that I was Pitfall Harry in Pitfall II. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out which game I was dreaming about... I remembered the game but not the name until I stumbled across a retro Atari 2600 site.

Perhaps (if you ever had an older PowerBook) you remember the SCSI disk mode feature, with which you could make the PowerBook pretend to be an external hard disk to another computer for super-fast file copying. Well, it's possible again with a cool FireWire feature Apple added. Thanks to Jason for telling me about it.

EV Rental will rent you an environmentally friendlier car (electric or hybrid) if you're in one of the few cities where they are located. It's pretty cool but the prices aren't.

DynamicDrive has lots of cool DHTML snippets.

I got a new Canon PowerShot S20 digital camera recently. It's very nice. I took a few pictures including one of a street scene in the Castro neighborhood of SF (135K image).

I got a new suitcase. This isn't particularly noteworthy, except for the fact that it's a pretty nifty suitcase. It's a carry-on size suitcase, meant to replace the one we currently have which is kinda lame in two ways. Way 1: the extending handle doesn't lock, so in long lines at the airport you can't lean on it. Way 2: one of the wheels is worn kinda flat, so it makes a lot of noise when rolling. It's pretty annoying to be the only one making a really loud CLACK CLACK CLACK noise in an airport... the new one has better wheels, a locking telescoping handle (17K image), and a strap to carry the old suitcase piggybacked on it. Cool.

We have arranged to share a house (70K image) in Truckee (which is very near Lake Tahoe and all the ski resorts) for the winter. (That's Dave "K.A." on the right and Fiid on the lower left of the picture.) We have already been up a couple of times and hope to ski a lot more this winter.

I took an intermediate skiing lesson and learned a lot. I'm eager to get off the bunny slopes so I can concentrate on skiing well rather than worrying about the hordes of snowboarders (86K image) threatening to fall down directly in front of me.

I rented Don from DesiFilrms and it rocked. It was not subtitled so I had to guess what the dialogue was, but I was definitely able to follow it. It's an action movie for cryin' out loud. The wife of the guy Don rubbed out, then the undercover double for Don, I was able to figure it out just by watching. The exploding suitcase thing is so cool. I love the Mustang convertible he has later in the movie. Sweeet.

Kim and I will be in D.C. and Richmond for the next week visiting friends and family for Christmas.

December 4, 2000

As you can see from the picture, the cats can't wait for me to set up the new printer so they can print out their favorite Cat Scan photos. It's a Lexmark Optra M410N.

This past weekend, a bunch of us went to Lake Tahoe to ski. We had a great weekend. As a beginning skier, I have learned a few things that might be useful For Those About To Ski (we salute you!):

  • Prepare for some leg exercise, and probably soreness. Skiing works your leg muscles in ways you're probably not used to, unless you work out regularly. Solution: get some leg exercise (maybe by skiing a lot).
  • When you get boots (rental ones, presumably), be very careful to make them as tight as you can without causing yourself pain. The idea (from what I can tell) is to basically lock your foot and ankle in place, transferring the effort from those muscles up to your upper legs, hips, and lower torso. If the boots are too loose, your feet, shins, and calves will be very sore, or worse.
  • Wear sunscreen. Snow is very reflective, so on a bright day you can get a severe sunburn. I learned this lesson the hard way last year.
  • Learn to zig-zag to slow yourself down, and to stop by turning hard. "Snowplowing" (a technique used to stop when going straight ahead) is OK at first, but it's actually much more difficult and strenuous than going fast. As long as you can stop or turn to avoid snowboarders who wipe out in front of you, it's OK to go fast.
  • Speaking of which: watch out for beginner snowboarders. They like to fall down in front of you. Any time you see a snowboarder on the beginner courses, expect them to fall over at any time.
  • Bindings are the things that attach your skis to your boots. As long as your bindings are set loosely enough (which is one of the reasons why they ask if you are a Type I skier), your skis will pop off under strain, such as when you wipe out. This saves you from injury. Don't be afraid that if you fell over you will break your leg. Imagine what it would be like if your skis suddenly vanished while you were in motion and you were falling down on your face, tumbling around a bit, and that's the kind of consequence you should be afraid of. It's not gonna tickle, but
  • Hit the slopes early in the day, especially before the winter solstice when the days are really short. This past weekend the sun went down (not visible over the mountains to the west) at about 3:20pm, and by 5 it was dark. The slopes weren't crowded in the morning but at about 12:30 a ton of people showed up... next time I go up I will probably either leave at 5:00am, or drive up the evening before I plan to ski, so I can get a full day in.

Deevar was great. Low budget, subtitled (not overdubbed), with an actual plot behind the action. The shovel fight scene rules - Vijay (one of the protagonists) takes on about 7 or 8 guys and wins, and a shovel is involved as a weapon in the brawl. Big B (Amitabh Bachchan, the actor who plays Vijay in this movie) rules. I will definitely be renting some more DVDs from DesiFilrms to see some more Big B movies.

Here are a couple of Big B photo links:
From Deewar
Kickin' jacket