October 28, 2009


It was only a matter of time before Google did this - let the battle begin.

802.11x In The City

Another morning, another wireless hotspot courtesy of the thriving West Coast coffee-shop culture. This one is located within the confines of Cup Of Java, a fairly standard joint that just so happens to have a Casio CTK-471 sitting around - any instrument on the keyboard-piano spectrum, even a cheap MIDI-spewing plastic-encased Casio, earns bonus points. I order the Greek Omelet, which comes nestled between a bed of -

Actually, never mind that. I'm no food critic; that's what we have Yelp for. (Hooray for externalized memory!)

In San Francisco, every coffee shop comes with its very own resident Bluetooth headset-wearing intravenous-caffeine-drip work-from-home maven; the more popular ones boast entire armies of these laptop-toting soldiers, each one vying for a slice of the ether. (I'm taking more than my fair share with Transmission (more proof that the highly publicized takedown and subsequent sale of The Pirate Bay does jack-all to staunch the, er, torrential (yeah, I winced too, but it seemed like most appropriate adjective) flow of information), and am watching nervously over my shoulder for the legions of RIAA men-in-black that are no doubt waiting to haul my recidivist pirate ass into court.) I'm half tempted to whip out Wireshark to see what exactly these people are doing, but that would most likely cross the line between harmless curiosity and feline genocide.

...and I'm off to scour a couple of thrift stores before grabbing the bus into work.

October 27, 2009

The Gubernator Strikes Back

Need one more reason to be proud of your elected officials? Here you go. While we're at it, here's another epic fail courtesy of our beloved civil engineers.

What else? I went ATVing at the Pismo Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, an unnecessarily obtuse moniker for what amounts to a giant outdoor sandbox filled with off-road vehicles of every description. As a testament to its rugged nature, the area is rife with Second-Amendment freaks on oversized rollcages-with-wheels proudly festooned with Southern Confederate flags. If you've ever wanted to live out those Mad Max post-apocalyptic fantasies of petrol-fueled villainy, this is most definitely the place.

Found a super-chill haven of hippie-dom sandwiched between Mission and Valencia. The Oz Hookah Lounge delivers drunk revelry, multiflavoured smoke haze, cushions, and a panoply of psychedelic patterns at nearly every hour of the night. This particular visit was punctuated by a host of inebriated Iranian expats carrying beer-laden ice buckets and gin-and-tonics from a nearby bar, which they promptly distributed amongst the crowd.

Halloween's coming - get your costumes together! Photographic evidence is requested, lest the veracity of your respective accounts be called into question.

October 20, 2009

Eye of the Sloth

It's training time - my general fitness took a proverbial beating from the demons of stress, work, and take-out cuisine last term, and I'm just now starting to rectify that. (Of course, there's no snow here, so I'll have to settle for Cali sun and SF fog. Woe is me.) To that end, I'm making a commitment to hit the gym at least tri-weekly; encouragement (and light berating, if that's more your style) is, er, encouraged. I'm hoping to make it out to some of the SFPK meets as well. Naturally, I'll be concocting my own personal brand of inspiration - if this cryptic remark has you puzzled (as well it should) you'll just have to keep posted for more details!

October 19, 2009

Putting the Ignoble in Vignoble

Had the chance to wine and dine in the famed wine-producing region of Napa Valley this last Saturday. I decided to don my only suit jacket (and no socks - hey, it's laundry day) for the occasion so as to meet the requisite minimum standard of pomposity. (I should really source a monocle, kerchief, pocket watch, and top hat. As a general rule, you don't argue with anyone who is actively employing all these objects in the service of highbrowdom.)

The Stanford Canadian Club Thanksgiving dinner was a resounding success as measured by the excess of available foodstuffs; there was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie in abundance. Yum. Maybe this whole gastronomic shindig should be a weekly affair (or fortnightly, at the very least.) In true seasonal fashion, the leaves are Monty-Python-style suicide-diving off the trees in droves; the air is crisp with that familiar decay-scent, something I had not expected to find this far south.

Important news flash: I just saw a rainbow out the shuttle window. If I were inclined to believe in such nonsense, I'd say that was a good omen for the day.

October 16, 2009

My One Lunar Cycle No-Post-iversary

Yeah, it's been that long. 28 Days Later, stuffs and things at varying orbitals of excitement have been happening with acceptable regularity:
  • Not only am I the proud owner of a longboard, but this particular plank of my comprehensive transportation platform now bears the inimitable insignia of one Randall Munroe. (I can only wonder what joyous blasphemies #666 will bring.)
  • Finally made it out to the infamous DNA Lounge; this SF institution has the peculiar distinction of being owned by ex-Netscape programmer Jamie Zawinski.
  • Canadian Thanksgiving shindig, complete with full turkey and pumpkin pie. Need I say more? (No, but I should probably add this: there's another Canadian Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday hosted by the Stanford Canadian Club; despite what their (apparently infrequently updated) site says, it really is this weekend.)
  • Pretty Lights at The Independent last night. If you haven't seen them, you really should.
How's Facebook? (Come on - if you care enough about me to read my pithy musings, you're probably expecting an answer to this question.) Intense. It pains me to say it, but Facebook has so far provided much more in the way of personal development and work-related awesomeness than Google ever did. How can that be? It comes down to recruiting strategy: Google casts as wide a net as possible, hoping to grab what it considers to be the best of the best before someone else does. In my opinion, this strategy is bound to backfire. You end up with a zillion interns and, well, less than a zillion interesting and/or useful projects; it doesn't take a math major to see that you can't pair each intern up with something worthwhile to work on. (It does take a math major, however, to look at the whole situation and start rambling about bijections.) Here's the point: half of the interns coming out of Google are extremely wary of returning, and that can't be good. ("Half" here is an extremely unscientific guesstimate, but several co-interns (who will obviously remain nameless in such a public forum as The Internet) have expressed similar sentiments.)