Apr 152017

Tomorrow is one of the most important votes in Turkish history — a vote on the referendum on the Constitution of Turkey to transform it from a parliamentary system to a presidential one. I was woefully ignorant about it until today. Here are some of my thoughts about it. I’d be lying if I said that this huge vote was on my mind as I flew here for my long weekend holiday. In actuality, I’d completely forgotten about it until an excitable merchant at a kebap stand started engaging with me about it over my order at lunch. So now, it’s the eve of the vote, and I’m now sitting here in Istanbul at a rooftop terrace bar overlooking the Hagia Sophia, [more . . .]

Jan 172017

On 2-6 of January, I was up in Finnmark, Norway with Christian Monaghan and Alex Prokop for a few days of dogsledding. Specifically, our home base was Engholm Lodge near Karasjok, Finnmark, which, perhaps not coincidentally, holds the record coldest temperature in Norway at -51.4ºC. The serenity, the feeling of oneness you experience gliding through the soft, white, crunchy desolation with the dogs is nothing like I’ve ever experienced. The deafening quiet, the unwavering untouched snowfields, the full inch of hoarfrost forming on the dwarf birches and reindeer fences, the single ptarmigan pecking at berries, and of course, the team of powerful, friendly, empathic huskies that become at once your family, your engine, and your link and protection with and from [more . . .]

Dec 032014

For Thanksgiving, we embarked on a hiking trip through Cottonwood and Marble Canyons in Death Valley National Park. It was an orienteering hike, in that there was no signage the entire way, and we would have to depend on old fashioned maps and compass most of the way. In addition, there was no guarantee that would be water through the 4-day hike, so I ended up carrying 11 liters in. Here’s the National Park Service info page on the hike, and below is a topo of the two canyons. View Larger Map If you’re going to do the hike, I’d recommend these maps: Cottonwood Canyon 7.5′ USGS Topo 2012, Harris Hill 7.5′ USGS Topo 2012, East of Sand Flat 7.5′ [more . . .]

Sep 212012

It’s pretty annoying supporting both Windows and Linux systems. One of the things that comes up over and over is line endings. You’re about to run a script, and immediate get an error about the bash command not found or something bizarre like that. Fortunately, there are easy ways to fix this. (note, in the following, to type the ^M character, you’ll actually be typing ^V^M) Solution 1: use sed sed s/^M// Solution 2: use the same replacement string in vim :%s/^M//g Solution 3 (the really easy way): Use the dos2unix command that comes with most *nix distros: dos2unix

Jul 232012

Awesome. Virgin America just announced its loyalty program. That used to be the main reason I still tried to fly Delta. But now, there’s really not too many reasons to not fly Virgin, unless I have a spate of trips planned for somewhere like Minneapolis or another city Virgin doesn’t serve.

Feb 252012

(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 . . .]

Dec 312011

At the mentioning of Icelandic music, most music lovers will probably think either Björk or Sigur Rós. If their American album release in the spring goes well, Of Monsters and Men may potentially be added to this list. I first heard this on Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current, which is perhaps the best music radio station in the US. Their album is available in Iceland right now, but nowhere in the US. They recently signed with UMG, so expect a wide release and more albums in 2012.

May 152011

When Death Cab said in a Stereogum interview that their upcoming album “represents a departure of sorts for the band,” I was worried. I perhaps liked their most recent album, Narrow Stairs, the least, and to hear them speak of diverging from their earlier sound even more was disturbing news. However, with their first single out, I couldn’t be more excited for the release of their full album. It is a new sound, but still distinctively Death Cab, and very catchy. Listen: Get: CD Album Pre-order/mp3 single