Archive for October, 2007

Flying well

I flew well this weekend! On Saturday, the wind was terrible, so each of us only got one flight in the entire day. It was almost a total waste. On Sunday, the wind was pretty good, and I got to fly from the top of the 50-foot hill. I have yet to get a really good feel for landing–you have to bleed off speed, and if you let out too slowly or too fast you go down or up more than you meant to). But, I launch fine, and I fly well enough. I kept my speed up, and I was controlled. I had an exhilarating first good flight, and then on my last flight, I a wind came up and pushed me pretty high, so I was probably 40 feet off the ground. But I didn’t lose my head and kept the nose pulled in (flying faster is safer). I felt like the damn king of the world.

I think one more good weekend like this one could get me a Hang 1 rating, and then I can fly from the 150-foot hill. After that, I need to learn to make turns. Fortunately, when they were describing the technique for making turns, it was exactly what I’d expected. (Pull in for speed, pull the wing in to change your roll, then push out to pitch into the direction you want to turn.) I guess once-upon-a-time flight sims were useful at least a bit.


Worst search ever!

I was having difficulty finding some instructions on handling tex documents when submitting a paper to the Journal of Neural Computation. I searched their FAQ and got this amazingly useless search page. I think this is the worst search results page in the history of the damn universe.

  1. Where are the 2 results?
  2. I didn’t search for “j.”, so why would you have considered including it in my search?

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I just ordered this camera, and I’m not suffering from too much buyer’s remorse yet. (I tend to agonize forever about decisions, even well after I’ve made them.) It’s a big almost-SLR (a.k.a. “prosumer”) camera with all the features I need.

Anyway, I was reading the Amazon reviews of it. One person wrote, “I’m thinking to buy the external flash because the built-in is not very good.” Really? The built in 32MB that holds maybe 10 pictures isn’t enough? Gosh, who would’ve figured? I’m astonished that anyone would have thought otherwise. I mean, I’ve never bought a digital camera that came with a useful amount of flash memory.

Of course, now that I own a pound-and-a-half giant camera, it remains to be seen whether I’ll use it often enough to make it worthwhile. I mostly hope to take pictures of hang gliding.

[Edit 2009-07-14. I’m an idiot. “The flash” meant the *flash*, not the flash drive. Durr.]


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I saw two mice in downtown Berkeley! They were clearly mice, not rats, based on their size. I only managed to get 2 blurry pictures because it took me a bit to realize I should turn on “macro mode”, and by then they’d escaped into holes.

I was pretty excited about it (rodents! in the wild!), but I don’t think anyone else was impressed.

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Smell the stress

I was stressed because someone else has learned to hang glide much faster than I, and indeed he is already rated, where it will take me at least another full day of training, and most likely I won’t be ready by then. Whether or not it is a race is debatable, but the frustration is real.

Because it seemed right, and it might calm me, I held the guinea pigs. When I thought about stressful things, they would stop squeaking, and Louis would even make chattering sounds like he does when he hears something scary. I must be emitting some sort of stress pheromone that they can detect. It’s like dogs smelling fear on me, only they’re the ones who end up afraid.

It’s not really remarkable that such a thing is possible. I’m just surprised that they’re so sensitive to it.



More funny spam

Looking to meet up with the local bar slut? Well she is looking for you as well.

I don’t have much to say about that, except that it’s funny stuff.

In other news, I really need to stop reading my spam.


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More funny spam

Do you want to know how to compel any perfect chick fulfil all your dirty desires in less than a minute?

Frankly, if you can fulfill all your dirty desires in less than a minute, then this may not be the spam-advertised product for you.



My peak

I am as smart as I will be, as strong as I will be, as fit as I will be, as idealistic as I will be. My wisdom and knowledge may grow, so in some senses my real peak my be in the future (and the road down may be gentle indeed), but in many ways, I am probably as perfect as I shall ever be.

In other news, my prime is being wasted. Where are the women? Where is the fame? Why hasn’t the world changed to fit my ideals yet?

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Flight week

Hello new visitors! Yes, I have a “blog,” and it’s a useful substitute for sending mass emails. Sam also had good success with that this summer. I’m not dedicated enough to write my own software, but fortunately I can get away without doing so.

Part of why I’m putting this on the internet instead of emailing it is the volume of pictures. For instance, here’s me at Albatross, a bar that’s centered around games. They let you check out games, but we brought our own.
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This morning I went for a jog. I passed by a bunch of school kids walking toward school. Two teenage girls looked at me and giggled. Were they laughing at me? I think I look perfectly acceptable, so I doubt they were giggling at how stupid I look, but I’m not so vain that I think they were giggling because I was cute (but I admit this is my hope). So I remain puzzled.