Back in November, I took a two-week vacation down to Argentina and Patagonia. I’ve finally uploaded the photos online. Please go view the full album here! Some selected ones below: Butterflies in Iguazu: Iguazu Falls Panorama: Perito Moreno Glacier: Torres del Paine: Bariloche: Recoleta Cemetary:
Continued from Part I. (For the complete set of photos, see the SmugMug gallery.) On one of the days, we headed over to Mono Lake for the sunset. We were hoping to catch sight of some of the brine flies that we saw on Life (or was it Planet Earth?), but the main visitor center and local interpretive centers were closed, so we ended up going to the southern tufas, where none of us have been. Driving down the road to the lake, it looked like this: You can see the tufas near the edge of the lake off in the distance. Tufas are these vertical mineral structure that are built up over thousands of years of underground mineral springs [more . . .]
(The complete set of photos can be found in my SmugMug gallery.) After the disastrous 2nd annual Mammoth Lakes ski trip, we embarked on our third one this year over MLK weekend. The problem was that there wasn’t any snow in Mammoth Lakes. Well, no problem, some of us said; we’ll just go hiking. And so we hiked through terrain for five days that’s usually completely impassable this time of year save on cross-country skis or snowshoes or crampons. Tioga Pass was open this time of year for the first time since the 1930s, which cut an hour or two from our drive from the Bay Area to Mammoth. Tioga Lake was frozen over though, so we had a bit [more . . .]
Recently, when I was in Atlanta, I was told I had to try these magical things called “Totchos.” They are tater tots, with nacho cheese on top. Being someone who has never really liked either tater tots, nor nachos–and trust me, I’ve been labeled a heretic many a time for these opinions–I was far from certain that I would enjoy the Totchos. So after checking into the hotel, here’s us about to head out from our Midtown hotel to hit up the Nook. The Nook turned out to be a dark, dingy restaurant that specialized in burgers, totchos, and other American items, all with a southern twist. Later in my second trip there, I would have their stuffed burger, [more . . .]
I’ve recently started to travel more for work, and with it, comes lots of miles from multiple airlines, as well as a plethora of rewards points from travel credit cards, hotels, and car rental agencies. Keeping track of it is a hassle, so I’ve recently discovered UsingMiles. I’t s like a mint.com for rewards points and frequent flyer miles, collating it all in one place, letting you know your status in each, the number of points or miles until the next level, and when they expire. You can even search for rewards flights directly from the site, which will bypass the really annoying search interfaces some airlines have.
We live on a former Superfund site, so when I started planting in the garden a few months back, I was worried that there would still be some residual contamination from heavy metals and other deadly chemicals. I sent in a soil sample to the UMass Extension Service for testing, and just got back the results. The good news is that the dangerous stuff are all pretty low. Trace of lead (30ppm), very low cadmium (0.1ppm), etc. The interesting parts were actually the nutrients and soil composition. The pH turned out to be 7.5, with nitrates at just 3ppm, and extremely high calcium levels (20187ppm). The soil is buffered at a pH of 7.4, probably because of the high concentration [more . . .]
I’ve randomly run into this song half a dozen times in the past few days–playing in Walgreen’s (!), at a BBQ at Stanford, from one of the AI counselor’s computers, and a few other places. That combined with the fact that I don’t have a single Arcade Fire song featured here led me to feature this song. The lyrics here really got to me this morning as I was making the 8-mile, 30-minute drive to campus in typical Bay Area traffic. I do have dreams of impulsively, unreservedly packing a pack and just disappearing off in Big Sur for a few weeks. Or months. Fortunately, I like what I’m doing now even more–teaching AI to really, really cool, smart, and [more . . .]
It was about two months ago that a mysterious package addressed to me showed up on the front patio. As I wasn’t expecting any packages, imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a thin, sleek laptop with absolutely no identifying markings. If I were completely rational, I would have looked through the rest of the box, where there was a thick piece of paper clearly identifying that it was the cr-48. Or I would have noticed that that box it came in matched what I saw online, here. But instead, my first instinct upon receiving a mysterious laptop with no markings was to turn it on. Kaboom. The Chromium logo appeared, and everything made sense and nothing made sense [more . . .]
This was today’s dinner menu at work: Roasted Whole Beef Tenderloin w/ Béarnaise Sauce & Mission Fig Demi Reduction Steamed Maine Lobster w/ Drawn Butter (V) Grilled Vegetable Napoleon w/ Pesto Risotto & Blue Cheese Béchamel Sauce White Truffle & Caramelized Onion Potato Gratin Marinated Grilled Asparagus w/ Shaved Parmesan Reggiano Steamed Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots Cosmo House Salad Rum Brown Sugar Sautéed Bananas w/ Greenlees Cinnamon Loaf and Vanilla Ice Cream It’s times like these when I realize that my life is atypical. Or, at the very least, I work at a pretty atypical company.
If you tried accessing this site yesterday or today, you probably noticed that it was defaced by hackers. The site is back now, with everything still intact. Thank goodness for backups and the power of grep, as well as my hosting service, A Small Orange, who was very helpful in getting this site back on track.