Archive for July, 2008

Anti-theft device

I recently bought a motocross helmet for the purpose of hang gliding. But when I went to wear it the first time, I realized they’d left the anti-theft device attached to it! It’s annoying, and the shop is a half hour or more away, so I wouldn’t want to go back to get it removed. I bought the helmet fair and square, with the credit card statement to prove it, but I wanted to remove it myself without having to drive an hour.

Cut for long entry


Single again

I’ve received a few questions about my newly-single Facebook status, so I might as well answer here so I don’t need to keep doing it.

Yes, I’m single now. Megan and I decided, for reasons including the uncertainty of both our futures, that we shouldn’t try to maintain a long-distance relationship. It’s sad but practical. We’ll remain friends, but that’s all.

So, I’m single again. Ladies, look out–there’s a single geek who might talk to you and make you feel awkward!




I typed in “neuroscience.” Firefox didn’t approve, and suggested “pseudoscience” instead.

Coincidence? I think not.


New launch video: YouTube

I understand some people (perhaps those that don’t use VLC as their video player) were having issues viewing my launch video. Here it is, in YouTube format:

In general, it’s a good, strong launch. I run hard and keep the nose down. (Any time you’re near the ground, you want to keep your speed up. High stalls are fine, but low stalls are trouble.) I’m a little perturbed by the instant when my hand leaves the control frame during my launch run, but I’ll try to be alert for such things in the future.

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Ubuntu 8.04 slow boot on Thinkpad T61: fixed with help

I recently upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04, and its boot time was really slow–as slowly as ass. Slower, in fact; I experienced one 15-minute boot. But then I found this post on the Ubuntu forums, saying I just needed to remove the ‘irqpoll’ option from my kernel parameters, and everything worked like magic! I post this so that other people will find the fix.

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I flew in the mountains for the first time on Sunday! You can see my launch here:

You’ll also hear the instructors in the background saying how good my launch was! Unfortunately, they seem to have missed the instant where my hands were off the control frame, which wasn’t good. It’s good that Charita took this video–otherwise it’s hard to discern such errors.

The slope may look very steep, but actually a steep launch is a good launch. The tricky part was getting the glider over the guardrail, but that’s why you have people assisting you.

It was actually quite an easy flight. I flew in the morning, while the air was smooth, and everything was easy. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt air so smooth before; all I did was point the glider the way I wanted to go and it did. I did a few 360-degree turns, and I did a box landing at the easy, giant landing zone. A couple more morning flights like this, and I should be able to try flying when there’s a bit of lift present. Soon I’ll be soaring with the pros!

Charita also got this launch ( from behind, which is an interesting image of what it’s like to launch.


A damned sieve

I leak money like a sieve. No sooner had I gotten back from my second international trip of the summer (at least this one was partly paid for by my advisor), but I ordered a $400 Linux-based cellphone and got $1300 of repairs for my car. Plus, I spent half my “economic stimulus” check on my tax penalty for not paying estimated taxes last year. Ergh.

In other news, I will soon have interesting videos and pictures to show you. Plus, I made 3.5 quarts of plum jam on Saturday, and I’ve still got 10.5 lbs of plums in the freezer. I suppose that’s a good way to make a big plummy mess.

A Dinosaur Comic



So, I’m at ICML right now. I’ve already had my days of tourism: I spent 2 days in the Teijo national park, where I rented a rowboat, paddled and hiked around, slept on an island in a shelter, and met some Finns who gladly shared with me their fresh-caught, fire-grilled fish. Then, I spent a day in Tallinn, Estonia, where I got to try on some chain mail armor and hear about what it was like to live under communism, plus have my ATM card refused because apparently I forgot to mention to my bank that I was taking a day trip to Estonia, and they weren’t smart enough to figure it out.

Unfortunately, my home server is down, so some of you won’t see this message. It’s actually a simple enough problem–the battery ran out on the motherboard, so now every time it reboots you need to hit the F1 key to accept that the BIOS settings were reset. But I haven’t fixed it yet, and I can’t do anything about it from here, so for now my website is dead as a doornail.

Time to go eat and confer.

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