Up Mount Doom (or Diablo)

 Daily Lief, The Struggle for Fitness  Comments Off on Up Mount Doom (or Diablo)
Jul 272010
 

The other day Derek and I decided we’d scale Mount Diablo (hereafter referred to as Mt. Doom) so that we might destroy this so called ‘Ring of Power.’ 6 miles up and 6 miles down. APPARENTLY my body was not prepared for any such nonsense. It took a much larger toll on me than the trip we took last year into the Desolation Wilderness.  Working on my ass 40 hours a week definitely doesn’t lend itself to physical fitness. But that is why we go on big hikes and what not!

Mount Diablo = Mount Doom

Quite the view.

It was goddamned bright up on top of Mt. Doom, that’s for sure. But it was nice to get a 360 view of Northern California. Nothing quite like it.

Blurgghh!

During the trip down the mountain (after we destroyed the ring obviously), we had some interesting occurrences. Derek and I brushed up against some nasty poison oak, and he promptly suggested we dump all our cold water on the contact points (we were near enough to a camping ground to get fresh water). He claims he read on the poison oak wiki that immediate cold water can prevent the oil from inflaming the skin. It’s been 5 days and there hasn’t been a single bit of rash so I’d say it was a complete success.  We also took a crazy steep path down the mountain. It was so steep, I shambled down a fair portion of the trail sideways and ended up with a big ole blister on my outer heal.

 Posted by at 5:33 pm

Samson 2010 (A Germany v Spain Worldcup Special)

 Daily Lief  Comments Off on Samson 2010 (A Germany v Spain Worldcup Special)
Jul 072010
 

In honor of the pending uber match between my favorite team Germany and the tournament favorites Spain, I would like to discuss a specific player…. Fernando Torres of course!

I may have talked about him before, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate… Fernando Torres is a 26 year old striker that is pretty much all hotness on the ball and off. He plays for Liverpool right now, and all of us Chelsea fans have been considering the prospect of Fernando Torres being purchased by our team. I think it would work. He’s damned good. But I’m straying. To the point, Torres has been unable to perform at this world cup thus far, having scored 0 goals in South Africa.  I know why. Did you ever hear the biblical story of Samson and Delilah when you were a kid? I did. Basically, Samson is an invincible bad ass, and god tells him that won’t change until he cuts his flowy locks. Delilah comes in, mindfucks the shit out of Samson, off goes the hair, and boom; No more super powers

Now take a look at Fernando Torres:

Pre World Cup 2010 Fernando Torres

World Cup 2010 Fernando Torres







DO YOU SEE IT?







Fernando Torres made the mistake of removing his beautiful locks, and in doing so broke the hearts of myself, ladies + gays everywhere, and god himself. Punishment has been swift as well. Zero goals for one of the most prolific strikers in the world. Let this be a lesson to you FERNANDO! Do not give yourself such a hideous hack job haircut right before the biggest competition of your life.  This is sound advice for anyone really. Look what has happened to Tiger since he ceased skanking it up and fibbing about it! Burn!

Anyways, here is hoping that Germany beats Spain in the World Cup. As long as Torres doesn’t put a blond wig on I think we should be safe from him at the very least. If he does get transfered back to Chelsea, here better grow his god damned hair back out. Just saying.

 Posted by at 9:28 am

Saving Sam

 Daily Lief, Hax, Media, Tech, Television  Comments Off on Saving Sam
Jul 032010
 

The other day the Samsung TV in the bedroom decided to bork. I guess Samsung decided that their 2005-2007 TV’s would have bad capacitors inside, causing them to fade away prematurely. Thank god for the internet, I had that shit diagnosed within 10 minutes. Apparently, rather than buy a new TV, I just had to tear the sucker open, remove the bad capacitors, and pop in new ones with a soldering iron. Easy enough right? I’d never soldered a damn thing in my life but I’m not one to shy away from tech stuff. Usually I figure it out or I kill myself (I’m still here weeeee).

So I unscrew the 18 screws that hold the back on the TV and I totally see it:There, in the group of a capacitors, were the 3 busted top capacitors leaking the black electrolytic fluid. Assholes!!!!! So it’s on. I’m going to go to radio shack, grab some bits and nubbins including a new soldering iron, and hopefully make this happen. The only potential cost really is screwing up the tv’s motherboard (do we call them motherboards in a tv?). Apparently these cost $120 new, so I guess no matter what I’m not going to be buying a new TV.

So off I went to radioshack (I apologize for the changing perspective, I can’t seem to commit to a specific one tonight) and spent a good 30 minutes pouring over their soldering supplies. I end up selecting a 15-Watt soldering Iron, a 45-Watt Desoldering Iron w/Bulb, an iron holder with a sponge, some thin silver solder, a mini wire cutter, and 3 1000um 25 watt (I think) new capacitors. If you are reading this and you need to replicate the procedure, email me and I will give you the correct part numbers. Some total cost of parts: $54.00.

I take my bag of parts home and get set up. The situation is a little janky because I didn’t have any clamps or appropriate soldering station gear. I read on the web that you want to secure the board you are working on, and raise it, so I employed a box and several full bottles of pasta sauce and curry from the cupboard. They have a nice wait and I imagine they will be immune  to any hot solder bits that could potential fly their way.

I made sure to map out exactly where I was supposed to be soldering on the circuit board. The back of those things just appears like a complicated jigsaw of little metal bits if you aren’t used to the appearance. I also remembered to take note of the negative orientation, something that could have endangered the whole mission had I forgotten.

The de-soldering effort was a little confusing first. I couldn’t seem to tell if all the solder had been removed and it was time to pluck out the capacitor. Eventually I realized that once they start wiggling it time to pull them out. Getting all three bad capacitors wiggled out felt like a massive accomplishment.  I was then able to plug in the three new capacitors like you see on the left. I secured them with tape and prepared all the soldering apparatus for the moment which made me nervous.

The soldering itself, in theory, wasn’t such a big deal. The soldering iron has a > tip, and the key to use the side of the tip, not the point. I took the angled side of the soldering tip and applied it to the area of the circuit board where the capacitor lead meet the holes in the board for 20 – 30 seconds. Once fully heated, I took the soldering wire at lowered it onto the soldering iron (not the hole). The soldering iron melted the solder instantly, and basically formed a pool that surrounded and enveloped the whole in the circuit board. The first join I soldered made me pretty nervous, but right away the process began to make sense and I made pretty short work of the remaining joints. By the end of the effort, I had already begun to feel like a pro. 

At the end I checked all the joints and they felt solid. So I looked at the pictures I took of the circuit board before I removed it and was able to quickly reattach all the cords and wires to their proper areas on the circuit board. 10 zillion screws later and I had the TV looking as good as new, though the big step would be turning the beast on and surviving the explosion that would follow.  When I finally had the TV back in its proper place, I was pretty nervous about turning it on. Had I really just saved $500-$1000? Sure didn’t feel like it, that was simple! Too simple? Well, I did save myself the money. Booyah. The minute I plugged the TV back on it snapped to attention and powered up like a good little Samsung should. The taste of victory was sweet. Technical empowerment! I put the soldering iron away in a box and swore to myself that it would be a goal of mine to use it for good at least once more in this lifetime, but who knows…. I’ve always told myself that circuit boarding would be something I’d enjoy and lo and behold it really was. I’d love to do it again. Maybe I need a book on the subject.

So now I find myself in bed watching this newly fixed TV (From Russia With Love), and the sense of pride remains still. I can fix shit!

 Posted by at 12:49 am

Happy Pride!

 Daily Lief  Comments Off on Happy Pride!
Jun 302010
 

It was Gay Pride in San Francisco over the past weekend and my old manager Steve asked me to come in and work a shift at the door of Harvey’s. I’m glad I did. I enjoyed at least a half-million hugs as the evening progressed from old co-workers and past regulars alike. Its nice to return to a place and see how well liked you were in times past. I do miss working in a restaurant some. The fast pace and high energy nature of the job provide a workout that can be difficult and time consuming to replicate I’ve discovered. I miss the constant social interaction as well. After being forced to talk to random people 8 hours a day for 9 years, I’ve gotten pretty used to it.

I took a picture of Castro street on Sunday night, but my Blackberry is being a wanker and refusing to send the photo to my email. The damnable device is now sitting on my lap in a state of dysfunction. Removing the battery is the eternal cure all!

As I worked and contemplated, I did come to remember why I was totally done with restaurant work. I hate the invisible lines of power that everyone pulls on. Being treated like a person of inferior station by a ragingly annoying queen gets old fast. Making sure that you have 20 different little sauce containers so that you triple your calorie intake during dinner rather than double it? Yeah, that’s pretty dumb too. Listening to you make an obvious joke about the check is mega lame. You are the 10^9 +1th person to think of that joke, and it wasn’t funny the first time. In my new job I’m often viewed as a skilled and competent programming expert, which I find both thrilling and shocking at the same time. Respect was always much harder to earn in the food service world, and often dearly paid for. I don’t miss that…Pride 2010

 Posted by at 11:40 pm
Jun 262010
 

It’s been a pretty fantastic week for the world cup, if you’ve been watching like I have. Hardly missed a game this week. Highlights were seeing Slovakia put the hammer down on Italy. The Italians just lacked the hunger this time around, and Cannavarro was probably one of the worst defenders to show up in South Africa. Experience < 36 Years of Age. The two free kick goals from Japan were incredible, and they proved that the Jabulani is still a somewhat decent ball. It just needs the right touch. Finally, thank god for Germany making it through the group, they began to scare me. It’s a shame Schweinsteiger got himself hurt. That’s going to show against England most likely. But we’ll see….

I’ve begun going to the gym at UCSF. It’s a little on the expensive side, but there is a lot of room to grow there. They have a nice pool if I feel like swimming again, there is indoor soccer, racquetball for Cassidy and I to play, and the machines are nice. My routine thus far has been to use the elliptical machine for 20+ minutes (increasing that number by a minute every trip until I get up to speed), and then circuit through all the machines. I feel like my upper body is the most out of shape, so that is where I’m targeting most of my efforts. We’ll see, I’d like to return to the acrobatic days where I had the strength to walk on my hands and do a bazillion pull ups. I’m trying to match the physical effort with some strong dietary efforts: max protein all the time! That has translated into egg white omelets, salmon breast dinners, and powdery supplements in my Jamba Juice. It’s a little much, but my research indicates that without the protein a lot of the effort in the gym goes to waste. I’ve done the workout thing before without the best results, so I really want to maximize every possible avenue of enhancement.

On a completely separate note, I’ve been playing some decent MTGO (Magic: The Gathering Online) lately. Draft wise, I’ve done quite a few lately, and though I lost about 10 drafts in a row at first, I’ve had better success with Rise of the Eldrazi drafts. I’m actually in one as we speak. I’m playing Green/Red and splashing white. I wish my curve was a little better, because it turns out I’m pretty vulnerable to faster decks, but once I get going I do alright. I haven’t had a nice picture of a draft format like I do since Ravnica, and that was ages ago! Update, I conceded my final match even though I had it won, I feel like my foil Gideon Jura ($$$) was prize enough, and the fellow seemed pleasant enough. I need more practice yet. I made a lot of game play mistakes, even though my deck was solid.

Tomorrow the USA plays Ghana and I’m amped. For the first time in a long time I’m actually somewhat behind the USA team. Hooray USA team!  I’d better get some sleep, the soccer starts early!

 Posted by at 12:14 am

Reconstruction.

 Daily Lief  Comments Off on Reconstruction.
Jun 192010
 

I’m starting to reconstruct my blog history. After the tragic database problems I had a year ago, it has really taken me forever to start this project. Basically, I have all the cache files for every single blog post I made from 2007-2010. I’m now working to copy and paste every single post into this blog. I don’t think it will take soooo long. I’ve already done 2007, just 2008 and 2009 to go.

On another note, I imported all my old Livejournal posts, so now this blog basically contains every journalistic writing I’ve ever created. Sadly, after perusing lots of what I wrote long time ago days, that may not really be a good thing 🙂

 Posted by at 4:16 pm

The Dead Space

 Daily Lief, Football, Life in the Kitchen, Travel  Comments Off on The Dead Space
May 272010
 

I woke up this morning next to my lovely lady and I was forced to wait on her awakening for what felt like hours. For reference, I just came back from a two week business trip to Pennsylvania and 10pm = 1pm (so I go to bed early) and 8am = 11am (so I wake up early). It was in this quiet time that my mind began to ponder the upcoming transfer window. For those of you who aren’t obsessed with the soccer world like I am, the transfer window is the period of time between June 1st and August I do get to freak out of every little rumor concerning my team (Chelsea Football Club), or a big transfer coup (the movement of a big player from one team to another).  For 3 months I get to wonder what the makeup of my team will be at the start of the next season. We they spend hundreds of millions of pounds to gain the services of several players in the hopes of winning the Champion’s League? Will they try and succeed with the players they currently have and save some money? Only the passage of time can tell.

One player to watch this summer is a certain Fernando Torres. He currently belongs to Liverpool Football Club. He also plays for the Spanish national team, and if he avoids injuries (he actually has one currently, so he must avoid injury and heal),  you will get to see him leading the attack in the World Cup. Great displays in the world cup often set players up for juicy transfers. The summer games allow coaches, club owners, and managers to see potential players in action while their wallets are “out” essentially. Imagine going to the grocery store hungry. When I do, I always spend way too much money. The same phenomenon seems to occur every 4 years during the world cup summer. Players avoid signing contracts until after the games because they wish to “focus” on their country teams. This often means ‘if I do well in the world cup, you are going to have to pay more to keep me.’ But I begin to digress. Torres is such a player. His team, Liverpool, have failed to qualify for the competition that Torres excels in, the Uefa Champions League. This is a double edged sword: Liverpool loses the revenue from these major games, compounding their financial troubles and making it more likely that they will need to sell players over the summer in order to stay afloat. Also, without Champion’s League soccer for Torres to take part in, he may begin to look whistfully at some of the other major teams which can actually compete in this competition. Fernando came forward a few days ago with the statement everyone was expecting to here: “he will not discuss his future until after the world cup.” Boom. He might be on the move.

There are lots of potential suitors for a beautiful player such as Torres. It just so happens that my girlfriend is numbered among them. Can you blame her? Torres is very very skilled as a forward. He has amazing ball control, speed, and an excellent footballing brain. He can read the game very well, and use that to outfox the defenders and score on a very regular basis. Potential teams that might come calling over the summer include Barcelona, Manchester City, and Chelsea. My team? Yes Chelsea. It is highly possible that Torres could move to Chelsea. I begin to wonder how I feel about this. I think I like the idea. My girlfriend loves Torres, and if he moved to my team, she would be buying a jersey with his name the very next day. I would love it if we could rock matching jerseys as well. How hot would that be?

No matter what happens, you can be assured to read about it here. I love the drama and the intrigue of the summer transfer market, and I cannot wait to see who ends up where. Maybe you might be interested as well?

 Posted by at 11:55 pm
Mar 112010
 

One of my favorite Magic: The Gathering cards of all time is called Balance. It has an incredible effect on the board, it is aggessively costed, and the art is iconic: a knight holding a tipping scale. The cards intent is to “Balance” the game state by equalizing lands, creatures, and cards in hand. But as the designers of the game soon discovered, Balance is a very difficult state to achieve. The card was eventually banned from most formats in the game for being incredibly overpowered, and just like the iconic card, even today, Magic designers have a difficult time balancing out the power level of cards.

Shift perspective to my life, and I find myself suddenly sympathetic. I work from home now, and I live from home, and I do basically everything else from home. I’m at a very homey stage in my life. I also share my home with Jenny. We live together. For the first time in my life, my work is now mixed with my normal life. When I was a waiter, I’d clock out every night and walk away, leaving all the troubles of work in some other mystical land to be forgotten until the next time I had to go clock in. Now the lines are very very very blurred. When does work begin? Basically, when I wakeup at sit at my computer. When does work end? That previous time plus about eight hours. BUT, sometimes we add nine hours. Sometimes seven. My work day is a sort of amorphous power struggle between deadlines and hours in the day.  This blurring of barriers has me very confused. Sometimes, at night, I watch TV with Jenny and mere feet away is work. Problem solving, deadlines, clients, coworkers, and programming, stress and satisfaction… all mere feet away. Two meters even.

But there’s more. Work isn’t as boring as it used to be when I was a waiter. Work involves problem solving, work involves math, work involves computers. We all know how much I like my computers, and how much I like problem solving, and how much I like my math. So sometimes I let the gaze of work distract me more often then I should. Sometimes I answer an email, I read up on a javascript technique, or I attempt to debug an error long after work hours have officially past. NEVER in my latter days would I have taken a mans order in the middle of my time off. It wouldn’t happen. But tonight I was caught out. I sat there, watching a funny, engaging show with my funny, engaging girlfriend, and without really thinking about it I lifted my Blackberry and responded to an Email. Shame on me! I need to get a handle on myself before I lose control. I’d hate to awaken from a daze years from now and realize I was one of those guys who ignored the real world to get a little more work done. That isn’t me! I need to come to grips with the constant invasion of technology surrounding me before my home life suffers. I aim to do it too. Just you wait and watch. I will not be one of those guys….

Balance!

 Posted by at 12:04 am

Two Tales Of Dark Intrigue

 Daily Lief  Comments Off on Two Tales Of Dark Intrigue
Mar 092010
 

I bought my first suit. It took effort. Cryptic rituals just before dawn were required to remove the eldritch wards that stood guard over the monolithic barriers in my mind that prevented such an unspeakable act. But the act was performed, and though not yet spoken of,  now printed of. It all happened so suddenly. First, a coupon from Express,  called to my soul with significant savings. Then,  a sale at Express.com on man suits. Last, and worst  of all yet best of all, while compiling my tax information I discovered a Men’s Warehouse receipt from Ben’s wedding, detailing my exact suit measurements in a language so old and cryptic the very symbols themselves suggested unspeakable horrors to my racial memory.  A slim, pinstripe black number was located and the bargain was struck fora sum of $300.  Time will tell if the deal proved beneficial…

So I will relate another tale while we wait…

The plumber came today to fix our sinks which refused to drain. This led to the following moment which will forever hold a special place in my heart: Despite the use of hammer, wrench, and butane torch, the maniacally resistant junction cap defending the innards of our bedeviled pipes would not come free. Mr. Plumber immediately decided to get medieval and use an old jagged power saw. At first the pipe just whined… but slowly as it’s armor began to yield  a thick black ichor began to drip down its sides, thoroughly contrasting with its own pure white exterior. Slowly, as the laments of the pipe began to resemble  shrieks, so to did the drips of acrid substance begrudgingly become sprays of noxious fluid. The assaulted pipe drained out its very essence right there before me onto the drive way…. And without so much as a moment of reverence for the viciously abused cylinder, the plumber did then immediately rend the pipes insides with an implement so dark and hideous that Jack the Ripper himself would have cringed. At the behest of this wicked toy, metric tons of corrupt sludge came oozing out of that dark ravaged orifice. When the terror finally ended and the pipe cried out no longer, our sink burbled with a renewed sense of purpose. We could wash our dishes once again! But alas, hear I sit, late at night, in bed, still aghast at the horrors I saw committed far beneath our kitchen sink. My mind fills with terror at the mere suggestion of blockages, and the revenge surely sought by the pipe perform continue to haunt my mind…

And thus, the tales end for now. For now….

 Posted by at 12:08 am

Late Night Musings On The Desolate One.

 Daily Lief, Romance  Comments Off on Late Night Musings On The Desolate One.
Feb 132010
 

As Jenny and I were navigating the inner workings of a parking garage earlier today, I got to thinking. If my name was Lucifer, and I was in the business of collecting souls, here’s what I’d do. I’d buy up all the parking places in well placed busy downtown areas of big cities, and offer them up to the needy in exchange for a signature on the dotted line. I’m sure there are days when people get so desperate for parking that they would easily turn over their eternal salvation. Cha ching! Bargain!

Valentine’s Day approaches, and thanks to some early premeditation, I made reservations for Jenny and I at Le Petit Laurent, a fancy french restuarant. How exciting! We also went to the best cupcake in the world (I’d link it if I wasn’t feeling so lazy) and picked up an 18 pack of mini cupcakes in a heartshaped container. 2 of them are shaped like little bunnies!!! Tommorow, in a bid to clean up a little for Valentine’s day, I am going to get a bit of a haircut. I wonder what it is going to feel like to lose a bit of the weight.

 Posted by at 12:52 am