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Endgame

February 23rd, 2011 No comments
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When setting forth on my current journey, I purposefully chose to leave everything other than the flight and the first few days completely open to anything. From a game theory standpoint, the branching factor is very high — I can do nearly anything as long as it completes prior to my flight out. As my time here flies forward, the available options and activities decline sharply and the branching factor begins to vanish.

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Human Communication

February 11th, 2011 No comments
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In the last couple of years I began becoming interested in non-verbal communication and specifically non-explicit communication such as sounds, movements, and expressions where the communicating parties have no prearranged denotative form for the sound, movement, or expression. Prior to my interest, I eschewed imprecise communication.
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Wat I Saw

February 7th, 2011 No comments
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I start the day with a visit to Wat Pho near the Grand Palace. Wat Pho is known for the reclining Buddha which occupies an entire building. Leaving Wat Pho, a man approaches and tells me that the Grand Palace is closed. I know he is lying. He also tells me that there is a Turtle exhibit which is special and today only at a Wat across the river. He then tells me to be sure I only ride on Tuk Tuks with a yellow license plate. And lo and behold, a Tuk Tuk driver pops his head up.

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Getting Situated

February 7th, 2011 No comments
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I wake in the morning to still sore feet and a few blisters. In response to this stimulus, I decide to spend the next phase of my trip to Thailand scuba diving.

Let’s rewind a bit. Last year I visited New Zealand on a trip where I booked nothing beyond the airplane trip into and out of Aukland and the only goal was to hike and see some New Zealand sights. This worked extremely well. I hiked, went to museums, kayaked, met people, traveled via bus, boat and plane, and generally had an awesome time. Since this is my first visit to an Asian destination, I have reserved a hotel room in Bangkok for three nights to give me time to get my bearings and learn enough about how things generally work before diving into the unknown. Four days and three nights seems like plenty of time to get at least a tenuous handle and proceed with some assurance that I will not be starve or sleep in the street without previous arrangements.

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Thailand adventure begins

February 7th, 2011 No comments

The plane departs at 12:05 Wednesday morning from SFO toward Hong Kong to land at 6:45 Thursday morning. I have a 10 hour layover so I head into town on the train to explore the city. I walk, and walk, and walk and walk. Up and down the hill and occasionally stopping for coffee at any place that was open on the first day of the Chinese new year. After about 6 hours of walking around and absorbing the city, I tire of the 4 dollar coffee and it’s apparent strict separation of the natives and the occupying caucasians. We depart from HKG to Bangkok at 16:00 and arrive 3 hours later around 18:00 and take a cab to my hotel. All in all, approximately 30 hours of travel time with perhaps a total of 4 hours of sleep.

By the time I am situated, it is 20:00 local time so I ask the hotel concierge what there is to do nearby. She directs me to take the sky-train a couple of stops over to a night mall. The Bangkok night malls are a garish spectacle of lights, music, go-go bars, with couches in the streets and vendors packed in shoulder to shoulder selling sundries from sunglasses to pornography. It all reminds me of Burningman if everyone attending Burningman was trying to buy or sell something.

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Functional OpenSSL encrypt and decrypt in Ruby

August 4th, 2010 No comments

As part of a project I am working on, I wanted to have a method for unsubscribing users from a mailing list without having to log in — just click and unsubscribe. I wanted to keep the URLs opaque and unguessable while not requiring a database hit to guarantee authenticity or a full table scan before going about the main work of unsubscribing the user. Encrypting a unique key, in my case the email address, for the user will accomplish these goals.

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Whiskey brined bacon

July 5th, 2010 1 comment

I recently took up making bacon as a hobby since bacon is awesome, and homemade bacon is super duper awesome. The two recipes described below are the second iteration in making a whiskey themed bacon.

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For both recipes, I start with 3 pounds of pork belly obtained from a local meat market. Pork belly is usually available at a large butcher though you may want to call ahead and make sure they have it or will get it for you on a particular date. Upon arrival at home, I salted the pork with a light sprinkling of kosher salt. I do not use nitrates on the pork because after the brining and smoking, I freeze the pork slicing it prior to use. If you will be storing without refrigeration, consider nitrates. If you do not like to eat pig skin, you might want to remove that now since the whiskey will penetrate more thoroughly without it.

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Connecting ircd-hybrid to hybserv

June 4th, 2010 6 comments

Today at work I decided to set up an irc server on our tiny little ubuntu 9.10 intranet server. Having played with a few different ircd implementations before, I decided to go with one which was available as an ubuntu package (so not unrealircd or ircd-seven) and looked supported — I chose ircd-hybrid along with the apparently related hybserv.

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Karaoke in Caspar

April 9th, 2010 No comments
Locals singing their hearts out

Locals singing their hearts out

A little after midnight, Jason and I decide to see what nightlife exists around Mendocino. We check out the hotel in Mendocino which looks closed. Next door is a bar called “Dick’s Place” which has half a dozen older men sitting around watching baseball — this is not the nightlife we are looking for.

We head North to Caspar where there is a roadhouse. I spot a few heads in the place and we go in. Inside is a fine bar has about a dozen younger men and women. The crowd is all locals and they are all at various points of inebriation from mildly tipsy to falling over drunk.
The owner and barkeep – Bobby – is a youthful 53 years old he claims and is a refugee from San Francisco. He is entertaining and likes Blanton’s bourbon. On this fine Wednesday night, his wife is running a karaoke show. I fill in a card to sing “Just a Gigolo” in the style of David Lee Roth and within minutes am singing on the stage. After my performance, Bobby accuses me of being a ringer from SF to steal the whole show. Before leaving, he tells us to come back any time and informs us that this Friday the roadhouse will be filled with hot cougars looking to swing dance. Looks like we have something for Friday.

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Russian Gulch Falls

April 9th, 2010 No comments
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Jason and I meet a little after 9:00, grab a huge breakfast at the Pork Store Haight. Our waitress there is insanely cute and maintains a bright disposition at all times during our breakfast. We finish our breakfast and head out toward Mendocino. Yesterday I agreed to join Jason to Mendocino for a few days of hiking and even though I have some phone calls scheduled for this week and my window of opportunity to do my OSDV volunteer work is closing fast given the job offers currently lying on the table.
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