December 15, 2006

tis the season for hate

so what happens if you hate xmas shopping and decide to get it over with online in one night? well, the next morning when all the companies you bought crap from open up they all start charging your credit card around the same time, then your credit card company freaks out about all the transactions thinking that they may be fraudulent so they start denying them, this in turn causes all the vendors to suspend your orders. so then you have to call your credit card company, assure them that everything is ok, then figure out that they were lying to you when they told you they only denied one transaction (because you have email from multiple vendors saying you are having payment problems), and then you have to contact all the vendors and tell them to try transactions again. now i hate chase too. merry freakin xmas.

December 10, 2006

slimserver battle

so i spent most this weekend struggling to upgrade the slimserver software on my home server. i'm running solaris nevada and of course it doesn't have all the little perl extras and super recent versions of mysql that this software wants. also, to complicate the process, i don't want to install this software as root (the way it expect to be installed) so that it can go around and upgrade/overwrite random components of my system that will then break the next time i upgrade. so i spent quite a while figuring out how to install this bugger into it's own directory and user account.

so here's the gorry details about how i finally got this working:

- run the following commands as root:
zfs create export/home/slimserv_v6.5.0
cd /export/home
ln -s slimserv_v6.5.0 slimserv
groupadd slimserv
useradd -d /export/home/slimserv -g slimserv slimserv
chown slimserv:slimserv slimserv_v6.5.0
mkdir /export/home/slimserv/playlists
chown slimserv:slimserv /export/home/slimserv/playlists
su - slimserv
exec zsh
. /export/home/edp/.envrc
gtar -xzf $EDPHOME/install/archive/common/SlimServer_v6.5.0.tar.gz
mv SlimServer_v6.5.0/* .
rmdir SlimServer_v6.5.0
mkdir -p XML-Parser-2.34/Expat/hints
cat > XML-Parser-2.34/Expat/hints/ <<-EOF
\$self->{INC} = '-I/usr/sfw/include';
\$self->{LDDLFLAGS} = '-G -L/usr/sfw/lib -R/usr/sfw/lib';
cat > <<-EOF
export PATH
exec ./ "\$@"

- modify Bin/
+ 'XML-Parser-2.34' => {
+ 'Makefile.PL' => join(' ', qw(
+ EXPATLIBPATH=/usr/sfw/lib
+ EXPATINCPATH=/usr/sfw/include
+ )),
+ },
'DBD-mysql-3.0002' => {
! for my $cmd (qw(curl wget)) {
--- 142,144 ----
! for my $cmd (qw(wget)) {

- as the slimserv user run the following commands:
gtar -xzf $EDPHOME/install/archive/i386/$mysql
ln -s mysql-standard-5.0.27-solaris10-i386 mysql
mv ./MySQL/errmsg.sys ./MySQL/errmsg.sys.original
cp -p ./mysql/share/mysql/english/errmsg.sys ./MySQL/errmsg.sys

- as root create /var/svc/manifest/site/slimserver.xml and then import
it and enable the new slimserver service:
svccfg import /var/svc/manifest/site/slimserver.xml
svcadm enable svc:/network/slimserver:default

- configure the playlist directory in the slimserver by going to the
slimserver web page and then selecing:
Home -> Server Settings -> Basic Settings
and setting: PLAYLISTS FOLDER to /export/home/slimserv/playlists

December 3, 2006

home additions

so this past weekend we made some changes around the house. there's a new pony picture, a small xmas tree, and an old german cuckoo clock (which i spent most the day struggling to get working) . the pony picture was a bday gift for ronda and the clock was actually a really old one that i grew up with which (i think) my parents were finally happy to get rid of.

December 1, 2006

November 28, 2006

the cheesy goodness is gone...

during ronda's last trip to new york she managed to pick up a wheel of our favorite anual cheese, vacherin mont-d'or. unfortunatly we finished it today. last year ronda actually ordered some directly from france for my birthday.

November 26, 2006

turkey day in la

this weekend me and ronda did the seven hour driver from sf to la to spend thanksgiving with my parents and sister. it was a good time since i hadn't seen my sister since new years and i'd only seen my parents once since then. we had a good time eating too much. also, on saturday we went to the sawdust art festival in laguna beach where we happened to see a band i really like, the red elvises. (you gotta love a band that sings about drinking tequila with jesus.)

November 19, 2006

sea ranch getaway

so the day after i got back from prague me and ronda hopped in the car for a three hour drive up to sea ranch where we had rented a house right on the costal cliffs for the weekend. we just hung out there with a couple friends, sleeping in, doing jigsaw puzzles, cooking big brunches, bbq'ing tri-tips, drinking growlers of tasty beer all day long, soaking in the hottub, walking along the coastal cliffs, watching the idiot box, and exploring tide pools. i guess there are worse ways to spend a weekend.

November 16, 2006

back from prague

i recently got back from a quick prague visit. i was only there for three and a half days and two were spent working, but i still managed to do a lot of walking around town. aside from snapping a bunch of photos, i also managed to: drink about 12 liters of beer (trying about 21 different beers), eat about 2 servings of dumplings a day, and eat one serving of sausages a day. this was actually my second time in prague, i had been there once before in '97 for about 9 days, and walking around town everything kinda looked familiar. i actually even wrote down all the different beers that i had:

- Pilsner Urquell light (svetly)
- Pilsner Urquell dark (tmavy)
- Velkopopovicky Kozel svetly
- Velkopopovicky Kozel tmavy
- Bernard svetly
- Velvet
- Kelt
- Budvar svetly

- Branicky svetly
- Novomesky tmavy
- Budvar tmavy
- Staropramen svetly
- Stropramen Granat

- Pivovarsky Dum Koprivove (nettle)
- Pivovarsky Dum Kavove (coffee)
- Pivovarsky Dum Klasicky tmavy x2
- Pivovarsky Dum Klasicky svetly
- Velvet
- Guinness
- Kilkenny

- Budvar svetly
- Kozel svetly
- Kozel tmavy x2

November 4, 2006

milled wood

after many weekends, lots of new tool purchases, and lots of planing i finally finished milling about 5 board feet of cherry into usuable pieces for a small bench that i'm buildling. exciting eh?

October 9, 2006

a new public calendar

for the past year or so i've been using the WebCalendar software on my server to try and keep track of all the junk i'd like to do and all the stuff i'm supposed to do. well, recently i upgraded the calendar software and while at it, i created a new publicly visible section for this calendar that will host all the junk i'd like to do. so say, if you're really bored and wondering what shows i might be going to in the upcoming week, you could find out by looking at

October 4, 2006

heavy joke

this probably warrents a mention... two of my coworkers are engaged in a some practical joke sparring. the most recent round invokved one of them pouring a 900 lb brick of concrete in the others office. the concrete was encased in a cardboard box and glued to the floor blocking the door so they couldn't get into their office.

October 2, 2006

got dovetails?

i do. unfortunatly they are not particularly good, although the last ones are much better than the first. i've been practicing making them and i've gotten it down to just under five hours for one. i've also practiced making some mortise and tendon joints and those are a bit easier than dovetails. i'm planning on trying to make some half-blind dovetails next. once i'm comfortable with those joints i plan to actually try to build something. i'm basically making my way through a book about Woodworking Basics and i'm planing on doing the two projects listed in the book, a small bench and a bed sidetable. course it'll be a while before i finish practicing those dovetails so we'll just have to see how it goes.

September 22, 2006

overdue upgrade

so i _finally_ got around to upgrading the blog software on my website this past week. this new version has been available for over a year, but i'm lazy and the old stuff was working pretty well. the main advantages of the new software are that it supports feeds and has more options for dealing with spam. so... i've gone ahead and re-enabled comments for recent posts so you can reply to my blatherings if you feel so inclined.

September 12, 2006

work diversion

i normally don't post work related items on my blog, but since brandz (a project i've been working on for over a year and a half) finally integrated into opensolaris today, i can breath a big sigh of relief and relax a little.

September 10, 2006

brewing hiatus ends

after about 5 months of not brewing i finally cooked up a new batch of beer. this one is my attempt to make something like orval. it's the first time brewing at the new house, and since this house has a much smaller sink that my old place, it's also my first time using a immersion wort chiller. it's a good thing that the hiatus is finally over, i brewed a lot of beer in the beginning of the year, but somehow almost all of it has disapeared, and running out of beer would be bad...

September 4, 2006

hiking in desolation

me and ronda just got back from three days of hiking in desolation wilderness. this was the first time i've ever planned a multi night backpacking trip, and i may be been a little aggressive in our schedule. We hiked about 7 miles each day with just under 1000ft of elevation gain and loss per day. with 40 pound packs on or back (and not being vetran hikers) this pretty much kicked our asses. but there was plenty of gorgeous scenery all around and we even got a little bit of excitement on sat morning when we noticed a wild fire starting up just a few hundred feet from our camp. Eventually the fire fighters came in on helicopters to put it out, but by that time we had already given up our front row seats because we had to start moving to our next camp. the first day we started our hike at lower echo lake and walked to ropi lake where we camped for the night. the second day we headed out past lake of the woods, aloha lake, and heather Lake to camp at susie lake. The last day was spent walking out back to the echo lakes where we took a water taxi back across upper and lower echo lakes. in the end, an exhausting but great trip.

August 17, 2006

garden update

well, the seasons are a changing and ronda's working on the garden accordingly. she's ripped out a bunch of the old, so here's some pictures of the new.

August 7, 2006

tom waits

more travel. this past weekend we went to nashville tennessee to see tom waits playing at the ryman auditorium. It was a great space (pretty small and great acoustics) and a really great show. tom waits is just an awesome performer. we flew out friday night on a red-eye, so sat morning we had a little time to kill and since ronda is a huge fan of the man in black we decided to go out and see his grave, those we really the only pictures we took on the entire trip.

August 2, 2006

garden pics

well, ronda's done a bunch of work planting assorted veggies in our small garden, so here's some pictures of what we have.

July 31, 2006

portland beer fest

me and ronda went to portland for four day this past weekend to check out a beer festival. Our pictures from the trip are here. We had a good time. We tried about 67 different beers. Here's a list of everything we tried and our favorites. Our first day there (thur) we went and hiked through the beautiful Washington Park and saw the Japanese Gardens and the Rose Gardens. Then it was off to the beer festival and the trip got hazier after that. But we did manage to spend a good chunk of time (and buy a few books) at Powells. We also had a great dinner olea, amazing pastrami sandwhiches at Viande Cured Meats (really a grocery store), great pastries at Pix Patisserie, and a really good brunch at a place that i can't remember right now... Lastly, we managed to graze our way through a great farmers market. Another great part of the trip was that we managed to meet up and hang out with one of ronda's old friends for a couple days, John drove down from seattle with his girlfriend Lisa to hang out and drink beer with us on sat and sun.

July 23, 2006

bike repair

i spent today fixing up my bike. it's an old mountain bike that i bought from costco back in '93. the last time i fixed it up was about two years ago. then it went to burning man and after that it sat outside for a couple years. well, now a lot of rust has been scrubbed off, it's got air in the tires, a new chain, new pedals (with straps), a lot of lube, and a lot of time spent adjusting shifters. surprisingly enough it runs really nice now. the reason i fixed it up is because i want to start riding it to work. i'm planning to ride it from my house to the 22nd st caltrain station (instead of having ronda drive me) and then from the menlo park caltrain station to work (instead of taking a shuttle.) i guess i'll try it out tomorrow and see how it goes.

July 22, 2006

jonathan and frances wedding

me and ronda went to jonathan and frances wedding today. it was held in a church in menlo park. the reception was in a (thankfully air conditioned) country club near by. we had a good time chatting with friends at the reception. afterwords we went to dans house where he grilled us up some great food, we drank some beer, and continued to chat into the night.

July 17, 2006

unrestfull weekends

lately (since i moved) every monday when i go to work i'm super tired. the "restfull" weekends have been anything but. i don't really have much to show for the weekends, but somehow they leave me super tired. this weekend i made my first dovetail... starting down the road of a new hobby, woodworking. course it looks like something a two year old tried to make but whatever. i've got half a lifetime left to try and perfect it... unless of course i get bored.

July 9, 2006

jenn and andrew's wedding

today me and ronda went to jenn and andrews wedding. it was at a winery up in the mountains off of highway 35. the view was great, the services were beautiful, and the reception was a great time. (sans suzie falling down the stairs.)

July 3, 2006

installing lights

so today i decided to replace the recessed lighting in the rooms upstairs with some dome lights. (the recessed lights didn't actually provide very much light into the rooms they were in.) the problem was interesting because dome lights expect a standard circular light outlet where as the recessed lighting fixtures have their own special mounting bracket. since i'm renting this place i didn't want to make permanent changes like ripping out the existing brackets and replacing them with new ones. (also, i don't have access to the attic space above the lights and it is filled with insulation anyway, so i wouldn't want to dig through that. i ended up cutting some 22 gauge sheet metal to the same size as the recessed mounting fixtures, mounting a standard circular light outlet to the sheet metal, and installing that over the recessed lighting fixtures. then i was easily able to mount the dome lights. here are some pictures of what i did.

May 29, 2006

more photo madness

well, this long weekend i was busy with a bunch of crap. me and ronda rented a moving van to haul what little large furniture we have to our new house. basically a bed, a large table, a futon, and my kegerator. (we also moved some plants, bike, etc.) right now we're still sleeping at the old place on an inflatable mattres with just enough clothes to get by. it'll be nice to actually move into the new place this week.

aside from that we packed more random stuff, cleaned up monstrously large dust bunnies from newely emptied rooms, i read some magazines, upgraded the photo software on my server, and uploaded a the old digital photos i had lying around, mostly from 2004. (right after i got my digital camera but before i setup a web site to host photos.) if you're bored you can now see all my pictures from china and burningman. now if i could just get around to upgading my blog software to something a bit more recent...

May 7, 2006

mass photo posting

i finally uploaded a bunch of photos. There's pics from when ronda and me went up to sea ranch in march. There's also some pictures of the new house me and ronda will be moving to next month. Finally, today i went to see the power tool drag races. i got a bad sunburn and saw some crazy machines, some of which went REALLY fast. (the monorail and slingshot contraptions both had an average speed over 40 mph so they were really hauling ass when they crossed the finish line.)

April 30, 2006

shaken upgrade

well, i finally upgraded my home server (shaken). it used to be an old Sun Fire V120 with a 650 Mhz UltraSparc IIe processor. now it's a tyan S2865 dual core 2.6 Ghz opteron system. man, does this baby scream. it was a PITA to move all my existing services over to a new server, but it's nice to finally have a fast and responsive system. it's also nice because i designed the new system to be extra quiet. the old v120 used to put out about 60 dBA, which means that you didn't ever want to be in the same room as the system. i designed the new server to be as quiet as possible and i think it worked out pretty well since when i started it up i couldn't hear it over the noise from the fridge.

April 23, 2006

makers fair

so today i went to the makers fair. it was pretty cool and there were lots and lots of cool creations to stare at, admire, and talk to their creators about. i also picked up a subscription to make magazine. (because, you know that i don't have enough existing magazine subscriptions or pending books to read.)

April 1, 2006

same, same, but different

welding class was canceled today so instead of wasting time melting random pieces of metal together i decided to do someting totally different. i brewed some beer. this time it was a wee heavy scotch ale. this is gonna be another beer that has to age for at least three months, so the beer pipeline is really filling up. this morning i also transfered my snowflake smoked porter into a secondary fermenter and i had a chance to taste it in the process. it's really good and the smoke flavor is really noticible. (this is good since i tried the wort pre-fermentation and the smoke flavor was undetectable under the overwelming sweetness of the malt.)

March 30, 2006

skiing... finally

well, i ditched work today and put in my first day of skiing for the season. a friend arranged a day trip up to kirkwood, so five of us piled into a car at 5:30 am and headed up to the mountains.

it was great spring skiing. actually the best spring skiing i've ever had in the sierras. it was snowing earlier in the week and had never warmed up after the snow fell so the conditions were excellent. even driving up to the mountain there was 6 foot walls of snow on the sides of the road. on the mountain there were a few groomed runs, but on the steeps, in the canyons, and off trail there was a lot of soft crud. near the end of the day it started to get a bit heavy, but it was still a really amazing conditions. the main drag of the day was that i'm not in any good shape so it constantly stopping to catch my breath. it's really hard work cutting all those turns and busting through the crud. (i also had to try to keep up with some of the excellent skier that i came up with.) regardelss i enjoyed every out of breath second.

March 26, 2006


today i brewed a batch of Ray's Snowflake Smoked Porter", my first foray into brewing rauchbier. aka smoked beer. basically it's a normaly porter with a rauch malt added in for smoky flavor. rauch malt is simply normal malt that during kilning was dried with smoke. normally these beers have a pretty strong and distinct flavor. the two varieties of smoked beer that i've tried are schlenkerla and alaskan smoked porter, both or which are really good beers. i also picked up a book about smoked beer which funny enough is co-written by one of the founders of the alasken brewing company.

March 25, 2006

gypsy punks

tonight i went to slims to check out the gypsy punk revolution with gogol bordello. ronda was too tired from a day of hiking and horseback riding to enjoy the show, but i had a really good time and i have to give the man credit, he's an excellent performer.

March 22, 2006

whisky and beer explosion

so today after work i took the caltrain one stop south to palo alto to meet up with some friends for a compass box whiksy tasting. comapss box don't produce their own whiskies, but instead they take classic scottish whiskies (both grain and malt whiskies) and blend them. we tried six different whiskies and had a great time doing it. the session was hosted/narrated by john glasser, the founder of compass box, and he did a pretty good job of keeping us drinking, informed, and entertained. the whiskies were quite tasty, i learned quite a bit about whisky in general, and i had a really good time. i ended up taking the train back home at around 9pm.

once i got home i discovered that my latest batch of beer, the belgian dubble T2 had exploded. this is my first beer explosion. apparently the fermentation was quite vigorous and the krausen plugged up the bubbler on my fermenter. (my fermenter being a 6+ gallon heavy plastic bucket.) with no way to relieve preasure the krausen blew off the top of the bucket and splattered itself lightly over the wall and adjoining bookcase. next time i'll remember to use a blowoff tube. that said, the good news that that the beer may not be a lost cause. since the yeast was probably producing co2 very vigorously it's unlikely that the beer was oxidized or that any bacterial contaminants managed to fall into the beer. i'll cross my fingers and continue with the batch to see how it turns out.

March 19, 2006

belgian dubble, take 2

the last batch of belgian dubble i made was sooo good i had to try it again. and since i need to let it age at least four months, better to get a new batch started sooner rather than later. so that's what i brewed this weekend.

March 12, 2006

sea ranch

me and ronda took a day off of work to spend a long weekend up at sea ranch (about a three hour north of san francisco). we rented a house right on the coast. friday night we had a tasty dinner at the pangaea cafe (just up the road in gualala). past that we were barbecuing, cooking, hot tubbing, lounging around, drinking beer, and walking around. it was a great relaxing weekend.

i'll try to get some pictures from the weekend uploaded soon.

February 26, 2006


well, i'm back from a week in singapore. it was an interesting place. the cleanest and most efficiently run place that i've seen in asia. i could drink the water and the food was excellent. my only complaint (aside from spending 17+ hours in a plane each way) was that i was too busy with work and when my one day of weekend arrived i was too wiped out to do any really good exploring of the city. regardless here are some photos. the giagantic overhead color changing mushrooms were pretty interesting.

February 14, 2006

valentines day gift

well, i got a really cool valentines day gift from ronda. what more could one ask for than an arrogant bastard tap handle.

January 22, 2006

not quite right

ever sit around reading the economist and drinking a glass of water and then realize that something just isn't quite right....

January 16, 2006

done with another beer book

i just finished reading Brewing (2nd Edition). it was a pretty dry book that covered both the scientific and technical aspects of brewing. it's mainly targeted at very large scale brewers. so aside from some tweaks to my minimashing process i don't think there will be much take away for my home brewing from this one. (although it was interesting to see what the big brewers are doing and they did explain how those widgets in the cans of guinness work.)

aside from that i did laundry today at the usual place (the brain wash) and while folding up my sixth helio sequence shirt i realizing that i forgot about the helio sequence show yesterday. damn it! they are probably the second greatest band on the face of the earth. ( the supersuckers still claim to be the first and i respect their opinion because they do kick a whole lot of ass.)

January 15, 2006

a morose weekend

and it's not just the weather, since it was actually nice outside today. ronda's grandfather passed away yesterday evening so the mood has been a little morose. she's been talking to family a lot and making plans to travel out for the funeral this week.

aside from death, the weekend has been pretty uneventful. yesterday i read the first issue of my new economist subscription. i also searched online for more places to take welding classes. (this past week i also signed up for spanish classes so i'm gonna be really busy for the next few months.) today i transfered my brain IPA into a secondary fermenter and it tastes pretty good so far. i'm still planning to dry hop with 2 oz of mt hood hops when i keg it so we'll see how it turns out. this evening we went to meet chuck and marco at the zeitgeist where we had a burgers, bloody marys, and beer.

January 8, 2006

brain IPA is born

i didn't do much this weekend. yesterday i watched a couple movies, Crimson Gold and The Decameron. i also came up with a new IPA recipie that i brewed today, it's been christened Brain IPA. (since my previous IPA experiment was called Pinky IPA.)

here's a couple pictures of my prepared beer brewing workspace.

January 7, 2006

beer tapping bonanza

so i finally tapped the two kegs of home brewed beer i had aging. they were the speckled speckled hen and the belgian style dubble.

unfortunatly the speckled speckled hen didn't taste as good as when i last tried it (on 12/18). i probably should have tapped it earlier. (it's drinkable, but not quite the taste that i wanted... course i should have probably expected that since it's only the second time i've made up a recipie.) so last night i tweaked with it a bit by adding some more lactose and vanillia to the keg.

i think the belgian style dubble turned out really well and at almost 9% it's going to make for some deadly drinking.

well, with almost 10 gallons on tap i think it's time to start drinking.