Yeninko of the Umlaut

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Back Yard Upgrade

Well it looks like this weekend’s beta test of backyard 0.9 went well. Despites some issues with the BBQ in the alpha version last fall it is now working at full capacity. The propane heater upgrade went as expected and was putting out 50,000BTU by evening with the UPS ready in case of any loss of power.

As you can see below, despite some initial early morning issues the Hammock was fully operational by the end of the test. Ideally we’d like to give it more of a work up but it seems fully operational for now.

Future upgrades will include a more advance lighting and audio system and possibly the addition of some biologicals (primarily plants).

At this point I’d like to take a moment to thank all our beta testers, Jackie, Andrea, Alyssa, Stephanie, and Nicole for all their help.

And I invite you all to come try the free demo!

Friday, May 19, 2006

And With This Payment I Thee Slay

Now and again I get the spending bug, where I just want to spend money. Sometimes clothes, or trips or whatnot. I know if I can wait it out it'll pass but it an urge hard to resist.

Today I spent a cool $467.27. But what I purchased was a little financial independence.

I called up one of my student loan companies, ACS (you may know them as AFSA), and paid them off. At less than $500 you can imagine it isn't the largest loan but it's just one less thing I need to pay for every month.

In keeping with the advice of some anonymous accountant Andrea sat next to on an airplane, I'm taking all the money I would have been paying to that loan and applying it to my other loans. So I net nothing now but a payoff date slightly nearer in the future.


Also I bought a used 2000 Aprilia Scarabeo 50cc Scooter last week and I felt like I need to do something responsible.

The scooter looks exactly like the one below except A) mine is blue & B) mine looks less shiney and more like it has been T-boned by a car, which it has. Also while I rode it home, I'm not sure it fits the 'drivable' category.

I don't need pretty things, I have pretty friends :)

A more realistic picture will come soon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Uh Oh

I don't know what this game is called because the text uses Asian characters but I think it means addictive.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Hurt Report

I found this great article on Motorcyclist Online about the various helmet rating (DOT, Snell, BSI & ECE, the later two being European standards). It was very informative but what I though was interesting was a bit on some findings of the aptly named Hurt Report.

The Hurt Report, issued in '81, was the first, last and only serious study on real motorcycle accidents in the U.S. The study was done by some very smart, very reputable scientists and researchers at the University of Southern California. The Hurt researchers came to some surprising and illuminating conclusions—conclusions that have not been seriously challenged since.

First, about half of all serious motorcycle accidents happen when a car pulls in front of a bike in traffic. These accidents typically happen at very low speeds, with a typical impact velocity, after all the braking and skidding, below 25 mph. This was first revealed in the Hurt Report but has been recently backed up by two other studies, a similar one in Thailand and especially the COST 327 study done in the European Union, where people have fast bikes and like to ride very quickly on some roads with no speed limits at all.


In fact, the vast majority of crashed helmets examined in the Hurt Report showed that they had absorbed about the same impact you'd receive if you simply tipped over while standing, like a bowling pin, and hit your head on the pavement. Ninety-plus percent of the head impacts surveyed, in fact, were equal to or less than the force involved in a 7-foot drop. And 99 percent of the impacts were at or below the energy of a 10-foot drop.


Actual crash speeds are slow, but the damage isn't. These are serious, often fatal crashes. Most of these crashes happen very close to home .Because no matter where you go, you always leave your own neighborhood and come back to it. And making it through traffic-filled intersections—the ones near your home—is the most dangerous thing you do on a street motorcycle.*

I read somewhere that the human body thrown at 30 miles an hour will penetrate a 2 foot think brick wall. I don’t know if that is true but it always amazes both how much trauma the human body can survive and conversely how sometimes the slightest trauma can kill someone.

*Incidentally this is the exact kind of riding that I do most frequently living in SF

Monday, May 08, 2006

I Don't Think San Francisco Loves Me

I just never know what to expect from her anymore. She’s like that bad girlfriend. First months of constant rain. I tried begging, pleading. “What is wrong San Francisco? Can we talk about it? Is it something I did?” And then BAM! Sunny days and beautiful clear skies and I still don’t understand what was wrong in the first place. But god knows I just have to be grateful for the change in disposition and not ask any questions, lest I piss her off and BAM! Just as fast I’m socked in with fog for months.

The inability to communicate and the volatility of moods only masks other issues. San Francisco has expensive tastes, tastes I just can’t afford. I’ll never be able to afford a house for her. San Francisco is ready to spend every cent I make as fast as I save it. It’s like that saying, savers and spenders don’t mix. And really I can’t keep up with her party lifestyle anymore either, and god knows I’ve tried but it’s just not who I am, I’m a pot luck and BBQ kind of guy. Besides I think my hearing loss may be permanent and all the damage to my liver just trying to keep up...I just can’t maintain anymore.

The thing that kills me is that San Francisco is so much more popular than me. It a joke, not even a competition. I know if we ever break up she’ll get most our friends. But damnit, I love her so much that even though I know it isn’t meant to be I just can’t let her go. Not yet. Maybe we should have a talk, maybe I should start seeing other cities, heaven knows she hasn’t be faithful to me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You Don't Know These Boots, But They Know Me.

In the winter of 1996 I bought a pair of Redwing boots up in Arcata, CA for about $120. At the time I was a student just about to graduate and I didn’t have much money so the $120 investment in those boots was something I took seriously. I made sure they were a high quality brand, and that they could be resoled. The reason for the purchase was my move to Boston. I wanted some warm and comfortable weatherproof shoes. And I have to say they served me well. I have had them resoled about once every two years and every time I’ve had them resoled it has been by Piedmont Cobblers Shoe Repair.

Recently I’ve found myself living in SF and no longer working in Oakland so I did the convenient thing and took my boots over to a local shop in the Richmond called Heel & I Shoe Repair. The price to resole was about the same so I thought nothing of it. Six months later what I got was what you see below.

Bad workmanship for sure. The glue that bonded the sole to the boot obviously came undone but not only that, during the removal of the old sole the cobbler must have cut the leather on the boot which opened up a inch long slice at the base of the shoe, right about were water in puddles like to go. But even worse than that, they managed to damage the material that the sole binds to (a sort of inner sole if you will) so that It will cost about $160 to repair the boot and while I am wildly nostalgic I’m even more of a spendthrift.

Me and these boots have moved cross country twice and watched me shed most of my worldly possessions. I’ve climbed mountains, walked beaches and cruised on my motorcycle all over this and other continents in these boots for a decade. I’m not sure I can quite give them up yet so I’m going to shoe-goo the hell out of them. It’s a stupid little thing to care about I know, but it makes me sad.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Holy Benadryl

On Saturday morning I woke up with a bolus of snot lodged in my right nasal passage. All the blowing and laying on one side did nothing to assuage it. Sunday was no better though the increase in sneezing was fun. Am I the only person that enjoys sneezing? Coming to work on Monday seemed only to anger the bolus and my eyes began to water intermittently.

My boss opined that perhaps I had allergies, having never had them before I explained that I didn’t think that was the cause and it was probably just a head cold. She informed me that someone can develop allergies at any time in their life and offered me some anti-allergy medication that only later would I could to discover was generic Benadryl. I read the bottle and it indicated that taking this drug helped dry out nasal passages and reduced eye irritation which seemed exactly like what I was looking for, I skipped the rest to the dosages and popped two in my mouth (Adults “Take up to two every 4-6 hours”)

I went back to my office and tried to start working. Within fifteen minutes I was woozy, in twenty I was laying on the floor of my office trying to find a comfy spot. Some time later I came to and realized something was up. I walked back into my bosses office and told her I was feeling REALLY tired.

“Oh yeah, it makes you drowsy, it says so right on the bottle”.
Being to cross-eyed to read I took her word for it.
“But I only took two and I feel like passing out”, I slurred.
“You took two!? You should go home”.

Which is what I did. I proceeded to sleep about another four hours there before getting out of my work cloths and spending the rest of the day in my PJ's tooling around eating totally non-spicy “Spicy Doritos’s” with totally non-spicy “Safeway Hot Salsa” in an effort to burn the Bolus out of my skull.

In anycase I’ve learned a few things. Food with “Spicy” and “Hot” advertised on them need a rating system, 50 MG of Benadryl with kick a grown mans butt, and the bolus always wins.