Category Archives: Interesting

Cold weather biking gear

This is my second attempt at trying to bike when the temperature is in the 40s. I bought a cover that I could slip (with some effort) over my shoes. That helped. My feet weren’t nearly as cold as they were the last time. I also wore another cotton shirt. Which bring the total up to four.

While I am still not 100% warm, I am making an improvement. However, the Achilles heel to this getup is the yellow windbreaker. It is an excellent barrier against the relentless wind. However, it also acts as a moisture barrier. And, while it is quite cold out, I still sweat like crazy. What I need is something that acts as both a wind barrier but also vents moisture. Maybe I need to buy a Castelli Espresso Due Jacket for the next winter…


Well, this year I participated in Movember and did not shave for the month of November (and a couple of weeks into December… I’m a slackard). I was tempted to dye it purple before I shaved it off, but did not get around to it. I definitely do not like the feel of mustaches or beards but am not motivated enough to shave every morning.

Oxygen choices

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been playing a trailer in movies that I watch for a while now. I’m not a fan of Ben Stiller, so it is annoying to watch it all the time. However, there is one quote which got me thinking today. It is:

"I’m gonna keep this short. I have to make oxygen choices."

So swimming with a slight chest cold brings up that thought process. I have a rhythm. It is stroke, breath, stroke, breath. I keep my head straight and down until I need to inhale. Where I will get my mouth above the waterline enough to quickly breath in. Exhaling is easily done underwater. If I need to cough water out of my mouth, I can skip a breath, but I’ll be redlining until the next gasp. I’ve even tried changing the stroke/breath ratios, but 1:1 works best.

So, this morning, I’ve got to pay attention to the phlegm in my lungs. Keeping my breath steady to not dislodge anything. And if something does happen, and I need to cough it clear, I need to wait until a time where I am face down in the water and I can strongly cough it out. That way, I can quickly inhale and go back to my rhythm.

Working on this skill has taught me to not panic in the water if I happen to breath in water.


Sometimes I think it is better to have been by myself and find a game to play with strangers than to be sitting with friends and have them start a game that has fewer players in it than are at the table. Rather than stand around and watching, I went back up to my room. Being alone when you are with friends is the worst feeling. It’s an order magnitude worse than being alone in a crowd of strangers.

And then not even a week later was one one of the worst nights I’ve had in recent memory. The room acoustics were bad enough such that I could not hear half of what was said, but I got the distinct feeling that I was a butt of a joke. I really had to force myself to not take it personally. Shouldn’t there be some feedback in a face-to-face relationship? If the person you are dealing with looks distinctly uncomfortable, shouldn’t you stop? It seems pretty one-sided to me…

And then it seems that I am no longer invited to games hosted by someone who I thought was a friend. Another friend told me he was still invited to games. And then I see four of them at a local game store during the usual game night. Sigh. At least there are still public game events out there…

Garbage disposal failure

Oh, the joys of home ownership. Somehow a hole was punched through the wall of the garbage disposal. There are now three holes in the side instead of two. Fortunately, it was relatively simple to replace it with a new one. The only problem was cleaning up the mess left by the containment breach.


A friend, Erin, won free tickets to Austin City Limit’s NIN taping. I lucked out in that no one else wanted to go by the time I saw it. So we get down to ACL and run into some problems. First, the close by parking garages were full. Then, we get to the building and they don’t have tickets. They tell us to wait for them to be printing. As 8:00pm comes around, they give us a wristbands and we walk in just before the show starts. Thankfully, there we still seats available and the tall dude in font of me (who stood during the entire tapping) noticed he was blocking me and moved over one seat (which was empty).

The theater is pretty small and most of the seats have great views as long as the camera crew is not in front of you. It definitely gives a very personal viewing. Highly recommended. The only disappointing thing was that they did not play Head Like A Hole.

Afterwards, I found this site with the setlist. And ACL reported that Nine Inch Nails concert exceeded expectations.

SuicideGirls Blackheart Burlesque

I arrived early and waiting in line for a bit. Once the doors opened, I was able to get to the front of the stage. However, there was a large table set up in the middle of the stage up against the front. Mel Suicide was standing behind it and playing music. As I waited for the show to start, I was wondering if they were really going to leave that table there. It was blocking most of the view and people were already standing on both sides where the view was unobstructed. Jon got there later and texted me that he had arrived. I motioned for him to come to the front, but he wouldn’t. Since I didn’t want to risk having a bad view, I went back to join him. And, once the show started, they moved the table off the stage. Sigh. I wish I had known there were going to do that. 🙁

Katherine Suicide then gave an introduction and told everyone that they specifically encouraged people to take pictures during the show and post them online. While I thought that was a cool policy in theory, in practice, it completely ruined the show for me. I was standing about halfway in the crowd. I am pretty tall, so I had a clear view over everyone’s heads. However that view was now obstructed by people holding their camera phones constantly over their heads and taking pictures and recording video. In a dark environment, these bright displays made it really hard to watch the performers. And, for all of that recording going on, I bet that 99% of the pictures and video turned out really crappy. Ugh.

I guess the only thing that could save this night would be to find some professionally recorded video sold by the Suicide Girls of their traveling show. Here is an interesting review of the show. Although he did not mention anything about people taking pictures.

New Synology DS1513+

DS411j Storage Manager
DS411+ Storage Manager

I have two Network Attached Storage units. In case of a disaster at my home, I keep one of them at work. The first one is a Synology 411j. The second one is a Synology 411+. And I have finally almost run out of space on my first drive.

So I bought a new NAS built from the following parts:

And now I have:

DS1513+ Storage Manager

So I will now relegate the first NAS (the 411j) to be a media server.

Big Fat Phony

A friend home brewed a Scotch Ale for another friend who likes peaty scotch. Well, when the beer was submitted to a home brew competition, a judge commented as much. So I turned that comment into a badge of honor and into a beer label.

Eeyore’s birthday party

Eeyore birthday #1

I went to the 48th annual Eeyore’s birthday. It was crazy crowded and trying to find parking was a definite problem.

Eeyore birthday #2
Eeyore birthday #3

There were a couple of drum pits with people dancing and playing different drums. But it was very odd. They were closely surrounded by people watching and taking pictures. I think at least half of the crowd had cameras of one type. Maybe about 10% had professional DSLRs. I definitely felt out of place. Did people want to just dance and play music without being watched or photographed? Did they mind photographers taking their pictures from a long distance? Or from a close distance? Or at an extreme close up position? I saw Kirk Tuck there taking pictures. He posted his view about this here. I wonder if he was talking about me? I was using my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens with the lens hood on. So it might look like a “big ass zoom lens”, but it is pretty equivalent to a 50mm lens. 70mm does not get you that much farther away from a person. Some more viewpoints about street photography are here.

Eeyore birthday #4
Eeyore birthday #5

There was a game of unicycle tag football going on. I don’t know what it had in common with Eeyore. But it was interesting to take pictures of.

More after the cut, including some possible NSFW pictures of painted costumes…

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