Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Shaving Gear: A first use

I bought a double edges razor recently, some nice shaving soap (for lather), and a boars hair brush.

I tested it all out today. Contrary to the betting pool, I did not get all cut up, nor require stitches or plastic surgery. The shave is not as close as I was expecting. I am going to blame inexperiance right now. I could feel when the blade would cut through a hair, it was like I was chopping through
the Amazon with a machete. (all razors can't handle my steel-like hairs)

The shave was fairly nice. Sometime next week I am going to test the reaction of a lady to the new method. (Sara, I volunteered you for that job... ) I'll get pics next week of the equipment.

Maybe I have to step it up a notch and get a blade that I have to sharpen and hone myself.

Adam and Todd weekend

This weekend was a lot of fun.

Todd and Adam came in on Thursday night. We went to a pizza place and got to bed because I still had work on Friday.

They went and toured the capital. I was stuck at work. I found out that we had a whole other set of interns that we didn't know anything about. One of the interns where I work invited us all to a bar for a happy-hour deal. We (Andrew, Charles, and I) met Todd and Adam at the bar around 6. It was a pretty fun night, the people were our age. I never thought I would see flip-cup in a bar, but that's how it turned out. We all had a good time and no one decided to do anything stupid (that means Adam wasn't extremely plastered....)

On Saturday we first stopped at the National Firearms Museum. It wasn't really that great and could have been done much better. It seemed like they just took a bunch of guns and stuck them in cases. No history, no "this is how the mechanism works", just "hmm, pretty looking gun" or "wow, that looks dumb", or "What a pain in the ass to have to carry that".

Next, we took the metro into DC. We went to the Holocaust museum but did not get a chance to go through it. We walked to the Capital Building and Adam got some good pics. We went to the International Spy Museum, but since you buy a ticket for a certain entrance time, we went into the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I definitely want to go back to that.

The Spy Museum was pretty interesting. It is amazing when you see all of the plans and things that they have used. The really interesting part to me was the way that things got so much smaller. They had pin-hole cameras that you could buy, I can't even imagine what the spy agencies are using if civilians can get what they used during the Cold War.

Afterwards we went to Gordon Biersch. We were supposed to wait about 30-35 minutes, but Charles is a GB passport member. Once we figured out that we could get bumped to the front of the line, we were seated in about 2 minutes. The deal is that you pay $20 to become a member, and they give you a $20 gift certificate. You get points, and it works out that you get about 10% of what you spend back. I didn't eat there because Todd and I were going to make "deer" dip.

We ended up with Deer Dip, Mission Impossible III, and a fun night. Adam and I got a chance to play two games of Chess. I had an interesting thought about how in chess an OODA loop type advantage doesn't really apply. I think that if we had played with those clocks I might have done better. Adam beat me easily in both games. Playing chess should be good for me, so I think that I am going to try and play some more so I can learn to stop messing around and being rash.

I am going to try and get the buildroot stuff setup for the waysmalls, I need to start doing development on that platform.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend update

This weekend, I didn't do as much, but I also didn't have an off Friday.

I went to TT Reynolds, a local bar with some of the people staying at the same place. Pretty good time, when Todd/Adam/Dana come, I'll probably take them there. We played dominoes (yes, really). Another group of people with us were playing card drinking games. They had a live band on around 9. Decent, but I was near the speakers so my ears were having fun.

On Satuday we went to The National Air and Space Museum: STEVEN F. UDVAR-HAZY CENTER. It was really cool, only cost parking. We saw the IMAX show about a fighter pilot at Red Flag. Ate a 8 dollar McDonalds meal (get food before you go!). Afterwards, we went to Damon's Grill, it was pretty good.

On Sunday, we went to the mall and Whole Foods. Whole Foods is pretty neat, I am going to go back if the hummus I bought was any good. At the mall, we went to the wrong parking lot, and thought that Andrew's car got stolen... Luckily, we also looked around to see if we were even in the right place.

I might be going to a BBQ, I'll update this if it was any good, it looks like it is going to rain.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

live blogging comcast (AGAIN!)

So, Comcast sent me a bill again... ! WHAT THE !@#$

6:24 calling ...

turns out they make you listen to silence if the operators are busy.

real person

name: crap, i forgot to get it.

Helpful guy. "Everything is taken care of"

Really nice guy. I started out mad, but he was very helpful. He moved the cut off date back, turns out I got sent a bill automatically or something. So I'll keep watching this, and get the modem turned in.

ended call 6:39

Not too bad. Much better than the retard last time that told me I couldn't read the bill when she couldn't read the screen.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


So in that art museum that we went to, there was this wall that had four framed pieces of paper. the paper was some decent colored paper, like a beefier solid color wrapping paper.

The "art" part of it was that they were creased twice, and the paper wasn't lying flat.

He must have known where to fold um, he obviously didn't hold um.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Wine Festival

Short one, I promise.

Andrew and I went to the wine festival today. It was a pretty good time. I am not yet skilled in being a wino, I had to turn away wine. At one point the person handing it out was like "Hey decepticon, No winez for you?", and I was like "nah, waiting till you get to the reds... " .. then we left the booth before he got to them. I didn't have much to eat before hand, and it was a fairly hot day. We got lunch when I couldn't take the red wine described as "firm". It tasted as pure tannin.

In the line, to get in I started choking. It was really weird, like an allergic reaction or something. I am not sure what caused it, I really needed some water (or wine!) but I still hadn't bought a ticket so I was screwed.

Lunch was good but expensive. I got introduced to something called crab dip (I didn't have any, but next time I will). I need to get my crabful while I am in a place that actually has crabs. (not of the STD kind.... I know what you are thinking Nic...)

I preferred the sweet fruity wines, and actually ended up buying three bottles from a winery called Horton. I didn't get drunk, or really buzzed. I definitely got dehydrated though, next time I am going to drink alot before I go, and have water on me. I was neat to be able to try all of the wines that each place produced. There were many young people, I was expecting all old ladies that would be giggly and loud (there were a few of those, but not too many).

All in all a good time. It would have been cooler with more people that I knew and a "home base". We really needed a blanket to sit on in the field where we could enjoy a bottle of wine instead of waiting for a little bit of each type of wine. More food in my belly is also recommended, I could not take some of the wines as they were a bit strong (not in the alcoholic sense) for my palate.

Off-Friday #1

Yesterday was my first "off-friday". We work 9 hour days mon-thurs, then 8 hours on one friday, and zero on the next friday. Repeat every two weeks.

Charles went back to Atlanta, so Andrew and I went into DC to do some tourist-ing. We went to a bunch of Smithsonian museums. The first one was a art one, it was a circular building. Most of the art was pretty crappy, so we didn't stay too long. Next, we went to lunch in a small bakery type place. I think it was called au de pain. or something, I remember the frenchness and the word "pain", turns out that means bread. Probably bread store or something. Update: It was "Au Bon Pain" (I found a receipt.) It means "with the good bread" as translated by google. We went to the National Archives but the line was very long. From there we walked across the street to the Natural History Museum. Standard natural history stuff (Hope diamond, I wasn't as impressed as a certain female that I know... ), it was cool that you didn't have to pay to get in. I didn't feel like I had to see everything, I could leave stuff for later.

We got some ice cream and headed to the air and space museum. VERY COOL. I am glad that they left the nozzle crumpled on the spaceshipone. Neat to see Soviet vs American MRBM systems. The soviet one was HUGE (comparatively. but i also think it carried three warheads vs our one.. so it might not have been fair...) .. turns out that the SS-20 did carry three warheads later in its life (started with one). They also had the Apollo-Soyuz mock up. It seems that the museum was important in showing how the governments began to work together in the cold war. Most of the information about how advanced our planes are is severely dated. Its not that bad though, the F-14 hasn't been out of service that long. It was closing, so we missed out on many exhibits, which works out, as I am going back a few times this summer with different people.

Next we went to the National Archives. Pretty cool. Congrefs! (yeah, thats how they spelled it!)
That was neat to learn. They had a bunch of stuff about the Presidents up to Clinton (can't make fun of a current Prez). We saw a Manga Carta, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and BIll of rights. The originals are very damaged, and hard to read. I thought that it was really smart of them to make a copper plate and make prints from it. It is neat that the signatures were captured as they were. I am glad that they reprinted a copy from the original copper plate in the bi-centennial, as you could read it.

We walked to the Washington Memorial. Pretty cool, though I didn't know that they did that much restoration to it. The WWII memorial was very well done. I enjoyed it. It should serve as an example to what memorials should look like. Next, we saw the Lincoln memorial. Also done very well. Next was the Vietnam memorial. That one I did not like. I didn't think it was appropriate and seemed to be more about poking Americans in the side about the mistake that they made. Mistakes could have been made, we just shouldn't take them out on the wrong people.

We decided to swing by the White House. Stood at that fence you see in the movies, looking over the fountain into the front. I fleshed out one of my summer goals while I was there.

Next we went to Chinatown, and decided that the restaurant that looked like you descended into a basement was a good idea. It had tanks of the fish you could eat on the way in. Pretty good food though, I was very hungry. The table next to us had a dude that we affectionately called "jackass". He talked extremely loudly about topics that he didn't know much about such as why people have sex and some form of Chinese taoism. He started off by saying, "I haven't been out much and haven't had too many people to hang out with". We soon found out why. He wasn't that bad, but it did provide ample dinner entertainment. We finally got on the metro and headed home.

On the way home to interesting things happened. I found someone's cellphone. When we got to the last station, I called a number on the phone, no response. So I called another one, and left a message telling them to tell their friend that owns the phone where they could pick it up. Last I saw, it was in the lost and found. Hopefully they get it, I would hate to lose my phone. The other thing was that we had some in-transit entertainment. We sat in the back, and ended up behind a tinted window. A girl was traveling, but did not know where she was going. This dude offered to help, and turns out they were born in the same town, knew people from the same place, etc, coincidences all abound. We never got a chance to see him ask for her number, I personally though he would have gotten it before we got off, he probably got it while helping her with finding her ride.

Side-note: my calculations may be incorrect, but I believe that my last day of work is an off Friday :-).

Squeaky Shoes #1 (i hope!)

Ugh. I may have squeaky shoes. I think that most of the squeak was worked out by walking around DC on Friday. We will see.

The plan is that if they still squeak, I am going to get some shoe goo, cut the rubber to get in between the parts that I think are squeaking, and then fill the space with glue...

Updates to follow if they still squeak.

First week and Memorial Day

So the first week was not that bad. We had a long commute and took a ferry across the Potomac. The second day we let ourselves get up later, and added about an hour to the commute, so we went back to really early wake ups.

Andrew's parents were awesome. They treated us like sons and acted as if we were returning from college like Andrew. Definitely spoiled, great meals, good conversation. I learned how much fun watching your neighbor can be though a dinner window. It ended up being fairly dramatic, the guy would bring beers home every day, his "cube". Then one day his car broke down, and his wife had to get him... no cube. Another time it seemed like he was in trouble... again, no cube.

On the Friday, we went into DC for some beers and met some of Charles' friends. Before that we had had some appetizers and beer at TGIF.

On Memorial Day weekend, we went to see the new Pirates movie and dinner at Longhorn. It was a fun time, but I slept a ton afterwards due to all of the early morning wake ups. Went to bed at like 8 on a Saturday.

On Sunday we saw the battlefield at Antietam. It was very interesting, and you could see how the land shaped the battle. 23,000 killed, wounded, or missing in one day. I looked up the real numbers and 3,650 died. Can you imagine that? Here we are, with a vastly larger population, acting as if 3,000 over three years is the end of the world. I am not saying that 3,000 is a small number, so that we should not care, but we need to remember the magnitude of real war. Look back on how many casualties other wars took.

It is interesting how the battle played out. It was not only a contest of technology or numbers, as we often model battles. I would not have liked to be one fo the 400 or so Georgians that were stuck in a ditch and held back a much larger force. It was sort of like a natural WWII trench and was a major force multiplier. At another place, the Union had to cross a 10-12 ft wide bridge (maybe a bit more.. it was small, ok?). The other side was a hill that they had dug into and had natural high ground advantage. The Union funneled their forces across the bridge and had a very tough time. I can see how the South must have been pretty happy, as they had the Union at a choke point, and held high ground that had been improved.

Side note: The Dafur government was like "no gum arabic for you!" after we imposed sanctions. Alot of our food contains the gum, like coke. He is even pictured showing a coke bottle. Its interesting that he believes that we will choose coke over the death of hundreds of thousands. What does that say about the perception of the United States in some areas? (yeah, I read the article, we probably wouldn't have to make the choice, but think about the choice.)

I found it interesting that Robert E. Lee was given the choice to fight for the Union. He decided that he could not bare to bare arms against VA.

"I shall never bear arms against the Union, but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in the defense of my native state, Virginia, in which case I shall not prove recreant to my duty."
I don't think that people today have that kind of love for their state over the union.

On Monday we moved in. Very inefficient line, but they seem to take care of everything if slowly. Cards to scan yourself into everything but the bathroom were handed out. We got parking tickets when we shouldn't have, and they are already voided. Contrast this with tech, where I just got a notice about a ticket on Mar 11th. Interesting fact: I DO NOT OWN A CAR.

Work was pretty good, I got a lot of random new employee training, and we finished that on the first day. I had a computer and a desk on the first day (surprise!). Nothing else really of note, still doing the stuff I have been doing. Sucks a bit because it was mostly just a change of location with higher pay.

Drive to MD

Some comments about the drive from Atlanta to Poolsville, MD.

Gas prices ranged from 2.89 to 3.19

If you are from New Jersey and your license plate is KVW 6OV (zero or O, not sure), you are a douche.

My most favoritest driver on the road was a black sorority girl from Charlotte, NC. DP132 I salute you. I do believe that following your crazy driving lead to hours of saved time.

I started at 9:40 am and ended at 7:13 including breaks and meals. I traveled 658 ish miles. Thats what, about 9.55 hours? Decent time if I do say so myself.

Pretty uneventful, who would have thought that VA was so big? People in SC/NC don't follow the speed limits at all. People in VA go about 10 over, max. Its interesting how it is almost like a light switch. I don't believe VA about speed being tracked by aircraft, the best theory that I have heard is that they use cessnas that time how long it takes you to pass two known markers, and radio the cops. In VA, the highways are built with many small hills that have cops hidden in caves on the side. (or just the other side of the hill), so watch out. VA definitely DOES NOT have GMTI.