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Friday is my last day as a postdoc at IBM Research.

Monday is my first day as a contractor at IBM Research.

Yup, they weren't able to find funding for an actual full time position, but they found funds for a contractor, so... whee?

Ah well, it'll mean I get to keep working with Grady and the other folks I've got momentum with, and it's a paycheck for the interim. :)

In related news... the patent was approved, after five and a half freaking years. ;)


Aug. 3rd, 2009 03:09 pm
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Domain is now in middle of transference to new registrar.

Cablevision is now my dumb pipe, as they should be. And they are now expendable. I can't wait.

This time around I went for usability/easy over cheap, and still came out ahead. After years of hosting my own mail and web servers in my house, I now have:

dyndns: registrar, dns, dyndns mail
MobileMe: web, file sharing, etc

Total cost: $142/yr.

Cablevision's 'Boost' package that did squat but open up ports 80 and 25 on my modem? $180/yr.

Yeah, this is much better. Somewhere along the way, 'roll my own' became troublesome *and* expensive. WTH?


Jul. 31st, 2009 11:00 pm
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iPhone app for the ENTIRE ARCHIVES of the Weekly World News, for *a buck*.

Is there a better example of the pinnacle of civilization?!?
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Had Averna Amaro liqueur in a drink the other night, and we just had to pick up a bottle. It's a sweet bitters, if that makes any sense. Kind of like an Unicum Zwack, but with a nice sweet touch.

So tonight we have...

1 part Averna
1 part Belle de Brillet pear cognac
2 parts Warwick Distillery Apple Bourbon (very dry)
2 parts OJ
3 frozen pitted Bing cherries
1 part ginger ale
2 dashes of bitters
on the rocks

Without the OJ it's kind of *cough* strong, but that little bit of juice really moderates it. With a bit more ginger ale, it finishes sharp and spicy, but without it, it is a bit cloying in texture - soda water or sparkling water might be better, to be honest, and would let it be lightened up a bit by adding more.

But really, this is... um... holy cow. We just need to come up with a name for it. Any ideas?

Edit: You know, on second thought, and second quaff, I think I'd replace the OJ and ginger ale with soda water. The juice is swamping the apple and pear liqueurs, and they really deserve to shine through.
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A: Unknown at this time, check back later.

I've been nervous for a while about having all of our ISP/domain registration/hosting being handled by Cablevision. I mean, it's not really the company of note when it comes to technical or customer service, y'know? So slowly over the past few months I've been moving our web hosting, mail hosting, DNS hosting, etc, off of them and on to other, non-physical-residence-tied companies. (ie, if we move, we don't lose everything.)

So I call them up Tue night and request that they unlock the domain so we can transfer it, which is the last step left. After this, I can be done with them except as a raw pipe provider. "Hmm, I'm having a problem doing that, which is really unusual. I'll open a trouble ticket, should be handled by tomorrow morning, if not, call back."

Well, I called back tonight, and... "Huh. Your domain expired in Nov 2007." "Uh, WHAT? I'm looking at it on whois right now, and it doesn't expire until Nov 2009." "Well, our system says it's expired, and... huh, that's weird. It should have been outright purged in Dec 2007."

Okay, at this point I'm wonder what. the. flippity. hell is going on. They finally figured it out... Their 'back-end system' which I'm assuming is their actual database, syncs with the registrar info. It had the correct info. Their 'front-end system', which the techs work with, was screwed up.

Problem is... they don't know how to get them in sync. And because they can't do anything with the front-end until it's resolved... oy.

Meanwhile, they are assuring me that my domain that I've had for umpteen years isn't going anywhere, it's still mine, no one's going to take it or delete it, blah blah blah... and gee, they wonder why I'm moving my precious precious domain off of their systems?

Guess I call back later... :P


Jul. 30th, 2009 12:02 am
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Fresh cherries + The Macallan Cask Strength = nomnomnom.


Jul. 29th, 2009 01:24 pm
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One step closer to iPhone integration with mah branes... Apple released the MobileMe iDisk app.
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Okay, not really. In fact, I'm pretty sure no one even hinted at a request, but what the hell.

My 20th high school reunion just got over... )
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That quick paper from a month ago? Accepted.
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Got back on the climbing wall again tonight for the first time in... er... months.

5.5: Check.
5.6: Check.
5.7: One fall, check.
5.7+: Check.
5.8: Fail.
5.8: Two falls, check.
5.8: Fail.

I think I found my new level. :) Not too bad, considering I was last working on 5.10s before I quit going month ago.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to bend my claws back into hand-shapes. Typing with my nose is slow.
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[personal profile] ginkgo and I got a wild hair today and went down to NYC - took a walk around the Jackie O reservoir in Central Park this afternoon on what may have been the *best* July 3rd weather up here you could imagine... high 70s, maybe 80, mostly sunny, with a wonderful breeze. Grabbed a deli lunch, had a short picnic, and then went to see _Moon_.

Which. Was. Amazing. Written and directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son), starring Sam Rockwell, it's a fantastic little psychological piece set in an isolated moonbase. Currently playing in NY and LA, opening more widely soon, it's just beautiful. Check here for more info:

Blisters on [personal profile] ginkgo's feet from the walk around the lake prompted a stop by a store for some flip-flops - yay for happier feet!

Afterwards, we walked around the West Village and Washington Square people-watching for an hour or so before having an *incredible* dinner at Mario Batali's Otto Pizzeria. Three appetizers started us off: roasted beets with saba, figs agrodolce, and mussels with peperonata and mint. The last one was spicier than I expected, but the first two were nicely balanced, and the Campari and grapefruit cocktail I had finished things off. We split a mushroom and taleggio pizza, with a crust that was ungodly thin and crispy, covered with absolutely perfectly cooked mushrooms, and then topped it all off with gelato. Unbelievable gelato. One dish, three scoops: creme fraiche, olive oil and salted caramel. Yeah, I know, not exactly your normal gelato flavors, but holy crap. The creme fraiche was sweet and fatty, the olive oil was fatty and salty (it had small curls of salt in it), and the salted caramel was salty and sweet. Between the three, it was the sweet/salty/fatty trifecta of DOOM. Best part: all of that, drinks, dessert, tax and tip... under $60.

We walked back up to Grand Central, by way of the Empire State Building - and balked at the *ninety minute wait* to head up. Too bad - a crystal clear, warm but not hot night... it would have been nice, but we were getting tired, and just headed home. And now, to bed.
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I grew up surrounded by fruit in the summers. Our house was in the middle of a few thousand acres of orchards of various types (apple, pear, and cherry, mostly), and my grandfather had a little 2.5ac. hand-tended cherry orchard of the kind you just don't see any more. Great huge trees, with 20' crowns, and you needed to stand up top of 12' picking ladders and stretch to get the fruit at the apex. Most of his crop was Bing cherries, huge ones with a solid sweetness that would leave us with purple stained lips and fingers for a few weeks each summer. He also had a few Rainier trees, and a couple of Queen Annes, (and one pie cherry tree that was reserved for grandma's use) as well as nectarines, peaches, and apricots. Plums and raspberries rounded out the bounty each year.

This is why I rarely ever buy fruit in grocery stores - it *sucks*. I can't bring myself to pay $6/lb for anemic little hard cherries that have little to no flavor. Thanks, but I'll pass, and go to the farmer's market and get some local fare. I can't get it year-round, but dammit, I'll enjoy it when it's in season.

One of the pleasures of doing so is finding new varieties that I didn't know about. I had never heard of a Macoun apple before moving up here, but it's now one of my favorites. Today I bought two new types of cherries: Emperor Francis, and Ulsters. The Emperors are a lot like Queen Annes - same red/golden variation, same semi-tartness, but a bit juicier and less fleshy. Very nice. A few of them have been downright *sour*, but I like those too. They give a nice counterpoint when eating a number of them in sequence.

The Ulsters, however... holy crap, these are the fruit version of sugar bombs. I thought Bings were sweet, but I swear to god, these taste just like Welch's Grape Soda. No, I'm not kidding, it's essence of grape soda, from a tree. The downside is that they don't really taste like what I think of as *cherries*, but damn if they're not kind of good in their own bizarre way.

In a couple of weeks, cherry season will be over again, and it'll be time to look forward to next year's crop, but now I have two more varieties to anticipate finding.
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Gorilla Grodd. Who the heck calls themselves MySpecies MyName? I mean, a one-off hyper-intelligent member of said species maaaaaaaaybe, but Grodd comes from a whole race of intelligent gorillas. It'd be like running around in our society calling yourself Human Harold.

Yes, it's silly, but it just struck me as odd. (Yes, I know, I know... geeeeeeeeeeek...)
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Normally when CfPs* come down the pipe, even when I have plenty of lead time, I have a hard time putting voltage to phosphor to get the words, data, and ideas into a form suitable to send in.

On Tuesday a colleague forwarded me a CfP with a deadline of *tomorrow*. Kinda one aimed right at a side project I've had cooking, and am pretty happy with, but didn't have written up in any form.

I just submitted a 12 page paper, in pretty much final draft, to the conference. I actually had about 90% of it done by Thu night, tweaked it some yesterday with some new diagrams, and got back a round of comments from colleagues this afternoon, then gave it another pass. I'll let it simmer tonight, give it another read through in the morning and see if there's anything left I'd like to fine tune, but... unless I come up with something, I'm done a day early.

I won't say it was *easy*, but it certainly wasn't panic inducing or the source of great anxiety like it normally is. I kinda like this. And oddly enough, I'm not even concerned if it gets accepted or not. If so, huzzah! If not, no biggie, I have the core of a good paper here that I can send elsewhere.


*Call for Papers - ie, Conference coming up, get yer crap together and send us some scribblings so we can rip your intellectual children to shreds and waltz away from the carnage anonymously...
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The Air France crash is, no matter how you look at it, tragic and sad. Reading the reports of the debris being found, however, it struck me...

Why is it always oil cans?!? It seems like every time I hear about a flight going down over water, and rescuers going out looking for wreckage, they find: orange life vests, floating fuel, and oil cans. The first two make sense, but WHY OIL CANS?!? What *possible* reason can an airliner have for carrying oil cans, mid-flight, in such a way that they're likely to be torn off and scattered? What the hell, does the copilot get tasked with topping off Engine #3 midflight because it looks a bit low? God knows they're screwed if the Check Engine light comes on, but really now...

I mean, is this like the Universal Rule of Vomiting, that no matter what you eat, it comes up as carrots? Are these oil cans some mystical trade to the netherworld, where we send them luggage, and they send back empty oil cans? WTF?

Oil cans? *REALLY*?
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To see some asshat parking across a driveway get their ass towed.

And it's not even my driveway.

*happy dance*
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[Error: unknown template qotd]

City (unique locations) [moves]

East Wenatchee, WA (1) [1]
Wenatchee, WA (2) [2]
Sunnyslope, WA (1) [3]
Cashmere, WA (2) [2]
Seattle, WA (7) [13]
Millwood, WA (1) [2]
Mercer Island, WA (1) [3]
Chapel Hill, NC (4) [4]
Salt Lake City, UT (2) [2]
Raleigh, NC (1) [1]
Ossining, NY (1) [1]

11 (23) [33]

I know I'm missing some in there as well...

Best? Worst? Oy. I think I liked and disliked each of them for very different reasons.
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Went to play poker with some friends. $10 buy in. Left with $27.80, and I was up over $31 at one point. I knew the hot streak was over when I hit the high, but enough comments were being made about my just fscking sick luck that I stayed in and didn't fold, even when I knew I should, to keep the masses happy.

It was just unreal. Someone would get four 4s, Js high... I would get four 4s, K high. (Wild cards, gotta love 'em.) I won two huge pots in a row with four Queens. Once w/ a wild, once natural. A hand not long after, I took with two pair after bluffing out everyone but one other guy who paid just to see what the hell I had. This went on for three hours.

I earned enough for two tickets to Star Trek tomorrow. :D