Wednesday, February 8

Quarter Year

In the months following the Toronto, trip way back in October, I went to some church community x-mas parties and met Nathan. He's still in highschool but has a determined dashing drive to develop digital diversions (video games!). We're picking through socketstream and trying our hand(s) at making an HTML5 multiplayer tower defense.

I was home for Christmas in WV to see most of my friends (except another Nathan I know) and all of my family. I walked around and away from Charleston several times, once venturing past the boundaries of my back yard, only to be pestered by little back-woods kids as my exploring party was trying to follow a creek bed near less than mansion-like homes. I also saw Dragon Tattoo with some friends and I'd recommend the movie, but it definitely earned the R rating. Here is a video definitely without an R rating of my brother Harry and I cleaning our basement while I was on vacation.

Since coming back to St. Louis in January I had fun with a frozen pond near Chesterfield noticing plenty of phenomena that I hadn't before. Also recently I went to see Dr. Lonnie Smith at Jazz at the Bistro. His jazz organ was an unforgettable trip - I'm sure David would agree. Also David and I saw the penguin feeding at the zoo last Wednesday, plus the big boss camel. Sunday there is a penguin parade that I'll try to video sometime. Taking video is much easier with my new galaxy nexus. In an hour or so David and I are going to attend STL Sec, a cyber security focused meetup group near Forest Park.

Eating dinner now, cya later!

Saturday, October 29

Hackers and a Sunrise

SecTor was a conference by and for cyber security researchers. After David and I left Niagara we took the Queen's Highway up to Toronto. The Canadian boarder guards are much nicer than the US ones, but we were fine with no pat-downs at any point. Here are a couple posts (one two) I helped author about the conference, hosted on the site that sponsored our tickets. The first keynote speaker, Joe Grand, sat on stage and talked with us after his kick-off speech. He's a self professed hacker and defines the term well - one who curiously and uniquely does the impossible and shares how. I feel like anyone who plays with a system to find new unexpected/unintended results is a hacker, and these people are driving the swiftest growing portion of the tech industry: Cyber Security. Videos of the talks will be posted on the SecTor site later if you're curious about smart phone hacking or stories of hackers paying a penny for delivery pizza or taking over the security camera system of a mature tech company.

When we weren't at the convention center, David and I were touring Toronto. We hung out at the Loose Moose with Rapid7, a prominent security group, getting to know some of the top people in the industry. We also listened to live jazz every evening in our awesome Rex Hotel with rooms <$100 and a great restaurant taking up the whole ground level. The Toronto zoo is also famous for its grand size - more than 5k animals. Personally I loved the huge lemur building with plenty of space for those energetic guys to fly from branch to branch. While exploring we used a laptop plugged into the car's cigarette lighter for wifi and google maps, saving the rental cost of a gps.

On our way home we spent a few hours of the night at the Sleep Inn, which was full except for there most expensive rooms. Lucky for us they were happy to lend a free upgrade so we paid the minimum amount for a jacuzzi premium room. Having Denny's on the day we left was a satisfying conclusion, almost laughing ourselves to tears at our table from all the funny moments while exploring.

I just finished climbing a tree beside the Chesterfield Mall to catch the sunrise @7:34am. "Here Comes the Sun" was definitely playing in my head. I'm at Genevieve's house now, hanging out with her little brother while parents are away. I'll probably hack a little bit and play video games until my next post.

Have a super weekend!

Saturday, October 22

O Canada

With my plane returning last night I was able to make it to jazz at the bistro today where I heard a Grammy nominee band called Jeff Lorber Fusion. They had a very smooth and easy sound with piano, alto sax, bass, and drums. I'm glad the pianist, Jeff, didn't hurt himself awhile back when he swerved to the road side after hearing one of his songs, Rain Dance, being sampled in a rap by Lil' Kim. He calmed down though, and played us the original version.

"Would Jarode Akbar please present your passport again before boarding the plane; and zone 2 may now board." Last Saturday I flew into Buffalo, NY. I was surrounded by the Niagara hockey team on my way up and saw no end of hockey games, televised during the trip. David was waiting as I got off my delayed plane and we hustled straight to a cultural experience at a pizza shop outside Buffalo. Some day I'll learn the NY accent. We then went down town to the hippest street around but settled for a coffee shop rather than a club; we're just "not the type of guys who fist pound and chuck yeager bombs", we were told by one of the chill Occupy Buffalo protesters. Since the coffee shop closed at midnight we drove around, running into the occupiers out front of city hall. They were very hospitable and fun to talk with, even offering us free power and wifi, but instead we shoved off to find a place to sleep.

Here is one lesson learned: Never sleep in your car in a strip mall parking lot, in front of a vacated dollar general. Invariably an elderly man in a street sweeper will sweep circles around your car at 3:30am, then get out with a broom to sweep under your car. Lesson two: Do not hide and pretend to be asleep in such an awkward situation, then give in and start your car and take off when you see he is actually sweeping under it; while you will be out of his way, making his nightly rounds easier, you will probably surprise the crap out of him. Lesson three: Don't go back to the same spot to continue sleeping. No doubt a taxi and Buffalo news truck will drive into the alley behind the boarded up dollar general for a few minutes and then drive away again. This makes for a very restless night and you'll probably end up driving to Niagara falls just to avoid the kaos. At least the road is empty at that hour. Lesson four: Once in Niagara, do not sleep in the parking spot beside the dumpster in the Holiday Inn's lot. Move at least one spot away, because that spot is reserved for taxi drivers who regularly come there to sleep.

Niagara's falls were awesome. Yes there are multiple of them, each with their own name, and they do exist in the city of Niagara. However there is no waterfall specifically named Niagara; most people see Horseshoe Falls in the photos.
David and I sampled all the activities at Niagara. I wouldn't recommend paying for the official tour. It is expensive and uninformative; you can do everything on your own without a guide. Here are some more photos and I'll try to tell the rest of this epic tomorrow once I've rested more.
It can get really misty on the boat ride in front of the falls. You will get drenched!
I'm definitely now drenched.

And even more damper and wetter here when they let you walk down the board walk almost right under the American Falls.


Kaos anyone?



Simply Epic










Many have gone over the falls and some have even survived!


The turbulence after the falls combined with the bend in the river creates this neat whirlpool, but dude, I'm so cold right now. I need a scarf.


Saturday, October 1

Art, the Final Frontier

Even though I had no visitors this weekend (am I out of people who want to tour St. Louis?) I still went to the Shaw Art Fair and the STL Planetarium.

The art was superb with countless booths although I'll admit I avoided the countless jewelry ones. There was also music: Bluegrass, Jazz, and Blues. I have to relate this as well; I was walking along, quietly looking at paintings and sculptures...

... when I heard someone yell behind me, "PEANUTBUTTER!" I jumped out of my shoes almost, but tried to turn around cooly and came to face a scene with a quirky looking old man singing and telling stories to young children sitting on stacks of hay. They were all smiling and giggling as this man mimed eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and singing about it as his mouth got more and more sticky and full with peanutbutter. He then told some sort of Scottish fable about a tailor and a giant and another fable from Indonesia about Small-Deer, and Tiger, and Elephant, and Warthog (all proper nouns). It was all very cute and fun to clap along.

On my several mile bike ride home I decided to cut through the scenic Forest Park (like I do for any trip). I try to take new paths each time, and this time I rode right up to the Planetarium. Since I'd never been inside immense curiosity guided me into the star show, highlighting the history of Mr. Hubble and the Hubble Telescope. Who knew Mr. Hubble showed Earth's people something far more mindblowing than Galileo's "Sun at the center of our solar system"? He proved our homely Milky Way isn't alone, and in fact some of the largest estimates put the galaxy count in our universe closer to a trillion besides us. Not only that, but galaxies are rapidly moving away from us, so Hubble showed the world that our universe is expanding.

The Pillars of Creation are by far my favorite photo of the beauty in our universe. Can you tell just by looking at this that they are lightyears tall? Woah!

Have a good week and catch me if you want to see St. Louis first hand.

Thursday, September 29

~50 layoffs and ~25% federal grant budget cut

Only one guy was laid off in Analysis Pipeline (my group of ~20 programmers). I'm sad he's gone - a smart guy with many similar interests. My group however is in pretty stable condition and intends to keep producing and improving genome sequencing software for the world. Soon maybe genome sequencing will be standard procedure for every new-born. Currently I'm focused on the error reporting part of the software so it isn't quite as difficult to debug problems.

Our grant was still on the order of 10s of millions for 4 full years so after the chaos today no one is really worried. My training/probationary period ends on Christmas Eve at which point I'm allowed to take vacation and have more job stability. The one guy who was laid off was still in that probationary period. I hope the system seems much less confusing to me by Christmas.

Saturday, September 24

Air Ships and Hundreds of Pro-Chefs

Last weekend was the St. Louis Hot Air Balloon Race. A bunch of these behemoth cloth bubbles took to the air, embroidered with the finest designs I've seen on enormous expanses of cloth. Actually, while biking down Pershing, one drifted directly above me - like seeing a whale suspended over my head by just a few meters. It was incredible; next year I'll definitely sign up for a ride and wait in line with the interesting tourists.

This weekend is Taste of St. Louis! If you have some time tomorrow afternoon, there are still hundreds of chefs waiting to serve YOU with their finest gourmet dishes. I went down with Georgie to grab, including but not limited to, gyros, ribs, dumplings/pot stickers, Vietnamese spring rolls, more gyros, chocolate truffles, and cake ice cream. We watched one of the chefs (some famous guy from the Food Network) in his competition and got some of his food for free, and later walked around the neat shops. Feel free to also taste St. Louis with your eyes and ears because there were multiple stages with live music and local artists selling wondrous paintings. I particularly liked the paintings of ancient run down buildings that were definitely awe-inspiring in their time but now everything is elegantly aging. There was also a Microsoft Kinect booth which is an awesome device, despite coming from Microsoft, and a Disney section for kids. One of the main happenings at the Taste of St. Louis was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Peabody Opera House. Georgie and I toured the newly refurbished building which will soon hold a famous Chinese choreographed dance group (and tickets are fairly cheap). In its better days, the Rolling Stones rocked the building, selling all tickets within 75 minutes after the first radio ad played.

Presently I'm hacking on CoffeeScript code using node.js and SSL socket.io. I hope to write nifty multiplayer browser games with this new knowledge - maybe games similar to the one Georgie is playing right now - a dungeon crawling game where you have to disarm a bomb while avoiding spiders and pits, all without any visuals. 

Saturday, September 17

Vintage Vinyl and La Maar

I met a nice guy on the Delmar Loop after dropping my bike off to be repaired an hour ago. It needed repairs from my spill a few weeks back - just wheel alignment, and'l be done in a week. Well La Maar sells magazines in front of Vintage Vinyl near the bike shop and was looking for something to eat. His sister wasn't home and he was having a rougher time this evening I think. I learned about the homeless shelters around St. Louis and about giving a hand up rather than a hand out to pan-handlers. La Maar is a registered worker for Whats Up Magazine - showed me his badge and a profile inside the zine. He makes 75 cents per sale and uses it for food and car-fare which is $38 a month. His daughter is working in real estate and his son is in the national guard. We didn't spend too long eating at Lee's Chicken because his mom just had an operation at 80 years old, and he wanted to be back tonight to see her.

A couple years ago at a WV college, I watched a documentary on america's homeless. I met the producers and they gave me permission to distribute the documentary to my friends. So here it is! It's a really active, touching, and motivating film. The producers tour the US in a modified bus that runs on restaurant throw-away grease. They help people out and have a nifty ending scene.

Saturday, September 10

Funky Butt

I'm tired from sitting around all day at work (except for the regular small hike to lunch). I think I'll just lie down on my couch to recover ... wait why would sitting around more be good? Maybe I'll run around forest park. *check email* It's getting kinda late (7:10), what is there to do now? Perhaps something is on google calendar? Hmm, jazz at the bistro? $10 for those with a college or university ID? Within biking distance, a block from the Moolah Theatre? Sweet!

"Would you like to sit front?"
"Huh?"
"Front center - that spot is always open"
"Oh, sure, it doesn't bother me, sounds fine"
*Woah, I'm gonna be hit in the face if that guy plays trombone much more energetically!*
*...and I'd melt out of my chair if this music was any better - 3 chills and only been here a few minutes*

The whole band was on fire throughout the night: Electric guitar, trombone, trumpet, sax, tuba, and drums. The trumpeter was probably the best I've ever seen live, stringing rifts together beyond what I ever dreamed I could do on my trumpet. The sax guy did give me a lead for taking jazz piano lessons around St. Louis, with someone in Wash U's music department.

Throughout the show the trombone and trumpet were cracking jokes to each other whenever they weren't playing, and part way through one jumps on the mic to explain, "We're just having fun, saying stuff like, Are you thinking about that guy's fries as much as I am? You know he's not going to eat that many.", pointing to me. I protectively cover my fries, and for the rest of the show, they're teasing me by ending their comments with stuff like, "...while that guy didn't even share his fries with us.". I talked with all of them afterwards and got signatures - what a great personality their band has. The Funky Butt band was awesome and hopefully I can get Rich to join me at Jazz at the Bistro tomorrow.

A couple weeks ago I went to Lola's, an absinthe bar, to listen to a jazz band. They started playing much later than what I saw online, and had few strong solo's so I left early. However the artwork in Lola's was amazing. Particularly, the painting beside my table looked like bellsprout in a darth vader outfit. I also finished all the concepts I need to continue programming Set in HTML5, but I haven't had a good stretch of time to implement them yet in javascript code.

Quote other news:

  • I got a desktop from FreeGeek to run a server out of my apartment. If you need an SSH account or just some tiny basic webhosting talk with me, hehe, although I'd recommend heliohost.org for good free webhosting
  • I got a bike and ordered a new laptop (my current one shuts itself off periodically, kinda old from when I started college)
  • I made more grape leaves, also fried rice, stirfry, and tomorrow probably stuffed peppers
  • Rich and I played nerdy card and board games at my coworker's house. We beta tested a new super hero card game that another co-worker is developing. Its kinda like a serious version of munchkins but playing to beat a particularly strong boss rather than each other.
  • I looked after Genevieve's brother Kent last weekend and played probably too much Heroes of Newerth
  • My land lord wants to sell my apartment. If I don't buy it, the new owner could boot Rich and I, so I have through the end of this year to think about buying it. The location is awesome, but because of that the price is steep, and so are the multiple flights of stairs to the top floor where we live.
  • Completely psyched for Skyrim!

Monday, August 22

NYSC


My 2007 National Youth Science Camp experience is forever at the top of my most cherished life activities. Not only did I befriend peers with similar interests from around the globe and feel inspired by scientists leading their fields, but also every single day of camp was an adventure, from caving, to fractal art design, to ensuring stream bed quality, to coding artificial intelligence, to learning about bird watching with a new Vietnamese friend. Did I mention, deep in one of those caves I met a guy jamming on a guitar, trying to change the world? I think Peter Mulvey's succeeded.

Within various scientific fields I learned about ecosystems and the water table, and about the mathematics of a mobius strip, and of alternative energy solutions and even of chaos theory. More important than this raw scientific knowledge though was the confidence I gained to learn more, and a great interest to do so independently. I've always excelled in science courses, but this experience stoked a strong passion that is still burning. With infinite appreciation I gained the courage and determination to become a world class engineer. Having just received my BS in Computer Science I'm now working with the Human Genome Project. A couple of this endeavor's aims are to build a public data source of gene sequences for thousands of species as well as freely provide the software for others to do so, and to explore targeted cures for cancer. This could be a stepping stone to even larger challenges that I now know not to back down from.

As a globally minded player I'm now fully aware of the great talent found in all our world's nations. I was impressed and grateful to grow familiar with my peers from Panama, India, Trinidad, Germany, Argentina, Canada, Bolivia, and other countries. Cooperatively and competitively we solved puzzles, played games, climbed mountains, and learned lessons from renowned NYSC alumni. I practiced my German and Spanish, learned to juggle, found my favorite games of Set and Go, talked about exploring space and lighting ice cubes on fire, and generally connected with my international friends. This experience has assured me the world is abundant with brilliant benevolent minds; I feel good contributing to such a world.

I'm sure the NYSC played its part to fuel my current personal goal, to brighten others' lives using my love of science. In college I helped found a club to recycle old computers back into the hands of international students who need them. I was also always up for freely tutoring and encouraging anyone ready to learn, spending many late hours in my college's science center. Out of any camp or character building activity I've attended, the NYSC is my prized memory. My tears will attest to the value of those few weeks of camp between high school and college; they are worth a life time to me.

Saturday, August 20

Independence

So many decisions and so much to learn when living on your own after college... maybe my blog will be useful to others if I remember to upkeep it.

Suddenly getting a new roadbike is a bad idea. I traded it for a hybrid because the riding style is so different and it only really works on roads. I wish I had just stuck with Randy's Recycled Cycles for slightly reduced quality and greatly reduced price, making it fairly low risk.

I'm a much stronger performer at work now. I have a good enough grasp on the system to understand how I would make major changes, even if I need more specific practice doing so. I believe my superiors are impressed with my ability to learn quickly, and as ever I'm still impressed with the great work environment.

I still need to devote time to cooking. I made spaghetti but not anything else significant recently, and I think cooking as a habit would be very useful.

A couple night ago I went to another programming javascript meetup, focused on smart phone and tablet coding for websites. We learned about jQuery Mobile and I went through some of the site's tutorial. I'm impressed and will attempt more when I get an android phone.

Now for a quick sad story about transportation. (Warning: Never attempt to be this noobish!)
I wanted to visit Georgie yesterday who lives west of St. Louis a good number of miles, but I left work late and felt rushed. First and biggest mistake: Never feel rushed when dealing with trains and buses. I flew down to the train station on my bike, after scribbling down some directions, and hopped on a train going east. Second mistake: Never hop on a random train just because it is the only one at the station when yours is supposed to be there. I stayed on this train through one stop because I wanted to confirm that it was the wrong one, even though we were clearly racing away from a setting sun. Third mistake: Just trust the sun, it is rarely wrong. I got off on the third stop away (the second stop was under construction and we weren't allowed to get off). The correct train stopped across from us at the same instant and I moved too slowly to board it before the doors closed. They only give you like 8 seconds! I boarded the right one 25 minutes later and road it to the penultimate stop (which I had mistaken for my final destination). This stop had the correct bus line running through it, but less frequently and not as late, so all the bus line 57's were done for the evening by the time I got there. I never realized it was the wrong station, and I should have ridden the train for 3 more minutes to the following stop in Maplewood. At this point I was about ready to go home, but I decided to try biking with Georgie directing me by cell phone. Big embarrassing mistake: Never bike while taking directions by cell phone. Within a few minutes I fell off my bike and decided to go home after cleaning myself up in the Walmart restrooms. Since then I've had a good nights rest at my apartment. I'm a little sore and scratched but much wiser, and the wisdom will stick with me after the soreness goes away.

Thursday, August 4

...

So busy, lets see what have I done lately?


  • Baked my own bread for the first time and don't intend to ever buy bread
  • Make greek stuffed grape leaves (with Zoey's help), for our dinner
  • Went out to eat with Zoey's relatives at a great Vietnamese place, much better then where I went with my parents so many weeks ago
  • Played Dungeons and Dragons with friends from work
    • I was a chaotic evil, demon worshiping, 400lb 7'2" half orc cleric
    • My character got the story rolling when I dragged the plot-line NPC into the sewers for "questioning"
    • My main attack was using the limbs of my fallen enemies to stitch together zombies
    • Hopefully this gaming group will continue with other things as well like Dominion, Magic the Gathering, and Super Smash Bros.
  • I read most of No Impact Man
    • I'll read the rest when I buy my own copy
    • It is an inspiring read with compelling statistics about the state of our plastic-waste processing system
    • It also has practical measures to cut back on waste that permanently damages the environment
    • The writing is done from the first person perspective of No Impact Man himself, as he wades through the challenges of going against the grain (Why is there so much hassle to reuse one of Starbuck's own reusable cups?)
  • I've been eyeing these laptop retail sites for possibilities during the coming months
    • PowerNotesBooks.com
    • Malibal.com
    • My current laptop frequently overheats and shuts itself off
  • Finally making good independent advances on projects at work
    • The system is so complex, I can't wait until my UML diagrams are complete, if only for my personal use
    • I initiated and completed my own contribution to the well-being of the software system
      • The cron(tab) daemon runs files in /etc/cron.d/  which weren't backed-up really so I created a git repository to keep those files safe
      • Its easier said than done - took me a few hours - especially with file permissions being controlled by a separate department (systems) while I'm in the group apipe, stands for analysis pipeline
  • Tomorrow I'm going to the Muny to watch Little Shop of Horrors I think, then to a midnight showing of Trigun with Genevieve.
  • I'm also buying a road bike since the mountain bike sucks for commuting. With it, Genevieve and I can bike to the Moolah theater to see Trigun.
    • Randy's Recycled Cycles doesn't have any road bikes that fit me so I'll have to look elsewhere
    • I hear aluminum frames are nice and light, which would be perfect for carrying the bike up and down stairs every day before and after work
  • Working on a javascript HTML5 canvas version of the card game Set. If it gets far enough, I could write a node.js server to allow people to play around the world against each other
  • Now going to play Baulder's Gate for a little bit. Hopefully my computer doesn't burn out.

Tuesday, July 26

Poetry

Some poetry from the past few years. More as I'm inspired.

Slick, the descent
Glistening, the fall
Below a grand hall of frozen wet walls
Stalagmites, stalactites
Silent perils well behind
The journey continues;
Deep in a trench, fissured through glass
Long as an ocean current
Thin as a whisker
Though today, wide as a man
Deep as the cold
And deep as you dare
Ice Fissure

Lizard on the tusk of an angry desert rock
Sand grains beneath his scales
Hiss on the breeze
Dune says dim the lights please
All have been submerged
Sandstorm

The sweat, glimmered like jewels on
The wiry mane, on the pirate's chest was like
The sun, today resembled a
Broiled tomato, was the last of the fruit

His gnarled fingers curled on
The sword, shimmering, hinting at reality
Hacks, in the treasure chest finally spilled
Gold, the color of his single front tooth

The crew, romped as if none had
Scurvy, staved off by oranges growing on
"Land HO!", called to extol finding islands
Green, groves of fruit, with booty! at last...
Me hearty
Pirates

Time tics
Rock chips
Talons reflexively curl
Rested wings spread
Showers in lead
City nightlife below
Shaking head
Steps off ledge
Stone no longer binds him in place
Swoops of glee
Civilians flee
From this creature's wicked smile
Gargoyle

Waiting, waiting
Brain dead and
waiting
My office locked
til 9 strikes the clock
to let in the sleepy me

Sleepy, sleepy
Pillow eyed
sleepy
Near, keys clacking
radio chatting
Break room stowaway me

Waiting, waiting
ecstatic
elated
Flying in 4
towards the misipi & more
For people waiting for me
8am & Prin-minded

Silence
Impact - billow of dust
Tidal wave cloud
Crystalline slow motion
Silence
Ice crystals fracture
Suspended, spinning
Feign a tinkling
Silence
Sphere to globe
Crater walls explode
In the breeze-less,
starlight
Silence
Biography of a Moon Crater

I live away with the setting sun
Making plans for sunrise when I will return
Home to mountains and fathomless caves

I live in a bed of roses, thorns well placed and paid for
Readying me, teaching me to tackle
The whirl of our real world

I live in someone else's dream
Searching for the moments to make my own
To prove that dreams are powerless

I live in monotony
Those gulps of fresh air
But how I still stare
-- The trance is broken
There is life here
Awareness

Walking down the road
Chain link fence on my side
Which side of the fence am I on?
Is it keeping me out, or protecting me from what is within?
Sunlight fading
Dusk has begun
Never know what would have been
Can't go back to how things were
Must move on somehow

A disheveled sky
Scraps of colored paper
Arranged into a Sunset nearby
Fence pierced by wincing moonlight
Who put it up and why?
It can be climbed

The side walk,
Meanders with me past, a dumpster
Slouches in rust by, the fence
Still ambiguous, faceless, reaching from, history
Can seem like a foe
Let it go
Memory
(A duet with David Odell authoring the first stanza,
and me for the second two)

Tectonic plates thrust from the deep, aspiring to
Mountains, crumbling skywards, similar to their
Crags, formed of
Boulders, made of
Stone chips, like fractured tectonic plates
Fractal
Human mind
Developed from time,
The evolution of earth,
The mind, a globe,
Innumerable untapped depths
Infinite sides, spinning the speed of light
Energy courses throughout, changes
Continents flavored after the twisting hot core, personality
Coping with situations - variations on reality
Cultivate, preserve, put to death your pollution
Fractal

Flowing bed of feathers beneath the cured wood
    rock the boat, gently, in the fresh night
The sea flashes glinting smiles at the stars
What a pity it would be to sail over such happiness
Nestled in the safety of infinity
    the one-man raft envisions nowhere else
knowing it is already at home
Bliss

Where is the kaos, where is the storm
More than anything I'd ever witnessed form
These trances, I’m awake in awe
At the sheer magnitude of the maw
Of thoughts vortexing
Concentric on me
Bottled Emotion

I'm sitting on a Mario asteroid, watching stars fly by
Each one holds a different burst of thinking
Some are more fun, some hold more points
How do you rate a thought?
Stargazing

I have two waves crashing in my head
For easy visualization one is blue and one is red
One energizes me to do work and make life my own
One subtly encourages me to go to bed

One is obviously good and the other bad
The problem is, sides change depending on perspective

Where do I find the strength to topple the foundation of a wave?
Line Count per Stanza = Decrementing Powers of 2

One of three leaves, fell in the post-summer breeze
Down but not out, because someone had the keys
By the ravine, we tu in darkness serene
Comrades we've found, now tell others the scene
Genevieve

What's in a gift?
The intention behind, inside
Love, leaning, leaving
A landmark
Memory!
Gift: creative representation
From me to you
Of this
What to do, what to give?
*Bites lip*
Is it a gift to give you me,
daily happy me?
Gift: Planned surprise
Extraordinary!
To show I ...
To show, you are, to me ...
Precious

Saturday, July 23

Gibs and Night Bikes

*Downstairs door creaks open* Yo dawg, can we come in? - No, scram! - ...pause...door closes and creaks open again... - Dat man ova der said thers wata in here. - Well he's wrong; now get out of here, git! git out! - Ahh mang! - SHOOO! - *door slams shut* - Sorry about that, where were we? Right, discussing javascript programming.

Silicon Ghetto: Tech startup companies claiming new territory on a block in the inner city of St. Louis. A place with plenty of character, excitement, and car thefts.

Node JS and Ruby on Rails are awesome. After seeing node js in action and hearing about rails at the javascript meetup, I'm pretty excited to drop Python tutorials. The node js presenter had a command line chat room running, after just a few minutes of installing from scratch and programming in the lush event driven javscript. If you don't know what any of this means, just look at any popular interactive site like twitter, and imagine harnessing the power to create sweet web applications, just like those or better. Some day soon google chrome os (the computer that is only a web browser) will be more useful than running installed applications on windows pc's.

My second encounter with the silicon ghetto was last night/this morning. More than 10 people gathered to program and share ideas all night long. It was a blast, meeting new people who share my interests, listening to world-changing tech ideas, and playing with our guard dog built like a pony - all within the sweet context of a mocha frappe. I completed level editing for my little game I'm making to learn javascript. I'll post it on heliohost at some point, which is a great free service if you want your own custom and professional website/server. Too bad I'm probably not at liberty to tell you about other's ideas, but you may see them launch soon enough.

So I got out of bed around 6pm today and went night biking in Forest Park. Surprisingly there were plenty of people running and biking along with me on the paths. Since the sun had gone down it was a chilly 95F, and I looped around the entire park, getting back to my freezer of an apartment, 85F, after 8. This is such great weather I bet Harry, my little brother, is just itching to take a road trip and visit me, maybe renting an old car and saving by not installing AC. On a more serious note, I didn't notice anything sketchy about the park, even at such a later hour, but to allay my friends' and familys's fears I certainly won't make a habit of night biking.

In a few hours I'll visit the historic Tivoli theater to see a movie that I think was filmed in the 80s. Its an old zombie action flick called Army of Darkness so I'm expecting plenty of satisfying shotgun/chainsaw gibs. I wonder if Bruce Campbell will be more satisfying than Potter?

My immediate future brings a free day off work Monday because I'm learning about employment at Wash U and sitting through (people tell me boring) seminars. Thursday is a Drupal meetup which I'd have to chose over Wash U's free jazz if I went. The next week I'll see the Trigun movie at the amazing Shriner Temple Moolah theater at midnight with Genevieve. And everything else I do will be completely sporadic and motivated by the moment, potentially bringing even more exciting things in the next couple weeks, like visiting Byte Works.

Adios amigos y buenas noches, de San Louis!

Thursday, July 21

Ludicrous Speed

Too much going on! Must post ... must use bullet points:

  • Tonight: Javascript conference focusing on Node.js
  • Now have a friend at work, Oliver, who can drive me to sweet techy events
  • Tomorrow: Going with Oliver to a Code Til Dawn event
  • Saturday: Willie Akins Quartet playing at Jazz At The Bistro, will try to get in cheap with my college ID, otherwise can't afford the entrance fee
  • Nathan leaving tomorrow around noon to help repair a family owned house in Maine, then to search for work in Maine or Boston
  • Last weekend: Urban-hiked several miles to the Prayer talk with Nathan, then we went with Genevieve to her free community pool and stayed the night at her house to do more things in the morning
    • Climbed on modern urban art piece called The Awakening which is a gigantic metal man, lying down and submerged in the ground. We made it onto his knee cap from the steep side by standing on each other's shoulders
    • Bookstore! Found that programming books, thicker than they are wide, make great casual reading material. Also Langston Hughes is awesome!
    • Tuesday we went to Singing in the Rain at the Muny. Wish Harry was there - he would have loved the chilly night air (if 105 and 99% humidity is chilly....)
  • Oliver just called, leaving to meet one of his friends for dinner then to the Javascript programming talks
  • Hopefully soon I'll be playing Magic the Gathering and Super Smash Bros with other friendly people from work (one of whom lives just a block away from me, and also mains pikmin in SSB)
  • Also, now I'm lunching off leftovers, tuna-fish salad, and bread until my first paycheck, which comes only once a month 8(   At least Zoey's cooking makes amazing left overs.

Wednesday, July 20

Swimming: to Work, in a Pool, While Watching a Play

The sweat, glimmered like jewels on
The wiry mane, on the pirate's chest was like
The sun, today resembled a
Broiled tomato, was the last of the fruit

His gnarled fingers curled on
The sword, shimmering, hinting at reality
Hacks, in the treasure chest finally spilled
Gold, the color of his single front tooth

The crew, romped as if none had
Scurvy, staved off by oranges growing on
"Land HO!", called to extol finding islands
Green, groves of fruit, with booty! at last...
Me hearty

Pirates

Right, so that's a poem I wrote in college for those who like pirates, and it applies now because just about everyone is dripping in the humidity. Dripping were we at the theater watching a sweltering version of Singing in the Rain. Dripping was I in the pool on Sat+Sun, and on my 20 min bike ride to work.

More poetry and updates l8r because I am le-tired. 8)

Friday, July 15

Photos!, and the Fabulous Cleaning Staff

The Shriner Temple, with its pharaoh head gleaming down from the ornamental front facade, made a simple movie outing just a bit more fantastic. I didn't know what to expect when I saw theater workers dressed as wizards and only couches in front of the projector screen. Luckily Nathan and I grabbed the very front and center couch for the most comfortable and enjoyable movie outing I've experienced in awhile. Now the concluding Harry Potter movie itself was less intricate than I expected. It lacked the little scenes of showing the simple human sides of characters, like older movies used to do. Instead, rushed were the scenes, crystal clear and direct, like an action flick. When a 'deleted scenes' dvd arrives I'll probably perk up.

On life at the Genomez, I keep forgetting to mention the fabulous cleaning staff. A lady named Janice introduced herself to me, and since then I've met several of her coworkers. Their warmness is impressive, and it's always a joy to chat with them. Not to mention my own coworkers too, who seem very kind and trusting. I believe I've commented on the stunning social environment in clover field (the room where I work with clover-shaped tables), but other tech jobs I hear, are less than energetically hospitable. I feel blessed with my current circumstance.

On to photos!

Moolah Theater

Apartment!
Cranes like the fountains too, on such a hot day
Front of my apartment
Genome Institute, within walking distance. Also, bunnies live in those bushes - I've seen them!
My wonderful Aunt Laurie
Front Porch, (got a back one too)
Laurie's dog Vegas wishes he was as free to play in the fountain as that bird
Warhammer, a patchy fedora with an embroidered linux shebang (and of course a green and black color scheme), and you can't see it, but there's a red wood carved Chinese dragon - gift from Stevan

Thursday, July 14

Rich Chords and a Bit of Magic

Crisp the night air as Nathan and I traversed to the west end of Forest Park. Maybe the sun was still up and humidity still through the roof, but we went anyways. Free jazz said the poster, and I've been in the mood (no pun intended) for live jazz since my sneakers hit the STL sidewalks. Maurice Carnes with the STL Jazz Ensemble addressed the very diverse crowd, including myself, with one sweet melody and funky beat after another. I even heard a tune that I played in college. It ended after 10 with a song I feel harmonized with many people's hearts, written by Maurice for his mom - and no vocals, just very rich, compelling, piano chords. If you're in St. Louis, there's a good chance you'll catch me at one of the upcoming jazz performances.


More tech start-up company ideas were flung around as Nathan and I walked. I'm probably not at liberty to mention them yet in case one gets off the ground. To the dismay of Harry Potter haters and traditional fans, I'll likely see the latest film tomorrow. There's also a talk on Prayer at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, to support in anyway I can, the families in Japan at least. Sunday looks like a time to meet back up with Genevieve, and experience 100% humidity in the form of her free community pool.

Hope your weekend is exciting!

Wednesday, July 13

Community, Urban Hiking, and Ganja

A marijuana dealer offered me some 'good stuff' a few hours ago. I told the dread'd dude, "Nah man, I'm good", and kept walking home with Nathan. We were up around the Delmar Loop for dinner and exploration. There was an amazing middle eastern restaurant with baba ganoush, grape leaves, and the whole works. I should take my dad there some time. So in fact Nathan and I have hiked a ton in the last 3 days, to adventure around our couple thousand acres of roaming territory (around Forest Park), and for food, cold beverages, and exercise. I've learned that cold beverages are valuable sources of cool water for my face and neck. They freeze the 99.9% humidity right out of the air, gushing condensation down the sides of the glass and onto my sunburnt skin. (Not too sunburnt though; more like a golden tan).

So I talked with one of the game jam dudes about the end of the world - robotically automated armageddon. Soonish, software programs will be able to write other software, and eventually extend themselves. Soonish robotics will come far enough along to have autonomous bodies that are stronger and more dexterous in anything man was capable of doing. Semi-intelligent robots will mine resources, create more of themselves (physically and in software), and perform most of the activities that people are paid pretty well to do. This puts plenty of people out of work, devalues 'wealth' entirely, and .... alright so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit with such a condensed hasty summary, but one topic led to another and we ended up on FreeGeek and awesome community programs that transcended the capabilities of robots.

[In professor's voice] "FreeGeek: vocab term; a student club created by Theodore, James, and Daniel, and ultimately presided over by James, which takes aging computers to recycle back into the student body, preferring to give computers to Freshmen international students. Also provides free technical leaning experiences for all members; no registration required"

What I'd like to do is not just create a FreeGeek (I've already done that), but create a community based system for generating ideas and results. I think it'd be awesome to encourage people world wide to get to know strangers in their local community - get to know each others interests because maybe you'd never known constructing model aircraft was so much fun (or dog sledding), but your next door neighbor knew this pretty well. Maybe you never knew that so many people within walking distance of you would love to help you put on a community play, or form a band to record louis armstrong music, or even create a sustainable FreeGeek to help those without computers. Personally I don't even see the guy living on the other side of the wall separating our apartments. Who knows, maybe we and some other people living nearby could do something fun and enormously helpful for the neighborhood, creating supportive community bonds and blessed memories. It'd be more likely to happen if we had some polished framework that isn't Facebook (or even google plus) but directed at creating real world, local friendships, bridging social cliques, and knitting together diversity, to benefit communities, anywhere they will grow.


Please leave comments and have a good night!

Sunday, July 10

Mecha Red Riding Hood and a Xenopus

I did end up going to the game jam, and that link is my group's game. Our code has a README file if you scroll down, explaining the game concept. The last three photos in this album show different stages of development of the game, over the course of three days - and yes the levels can be generated randomly.

The game jam (I'm still here) is pretty awesome. It's held outside st. louis at Simutronics, an MMORPG game company. I'm in a creatively decorated large room with a high ceiling, perfect for hanging awesome stuff. There are sculptures of game characters and replica items from famous games. For instance I saw a Diablo 2 assassin's katar. The color scheme is really invigorating scapes of blues and oranges for the building and furnishings. It reminds me of the facebook developers room from Social Network.

I'm sure there are about 50 people here, split into many groups each making a game. Some groups plan to earn fair money from their game, especially if it hits the mobile market. I hitched a ride the first day with a guy working for League of Legends, and got some good swag which I'll bring back for people. Last night I rode back with my teammate Dave who works at a company using Humane Genome Project data. This morning I rode up with Nick, and talked about physics and 3D graphics engines - we're pretty excited for quantum computing, except for the ease with which passwords will be cracked using quantum computers.

The theme of this game jam is 'twice upon a time', so most of the games revolve around time control (bullet-time, reverse time, etc), and/or fairy tales. My group's game incorporates both. I feel more comfortable working in programming teams with foreign code now that I've been to this and worked at the Genome Project for 2 weeks. I should pick a high profile open source project and start contributing back to the community regularly. Google Chrome anyone?

I think the funniest moment of this game jam was when people started flocking to taco bell down the street. It was like 100 degrees out and I wish I had a video of some of the nerdiest people dressed in the geekiest cloths storming taco bell for lunch/dinner, on what otherwise might have been a boring day at the restaurant. I got a picture of a taco bell sign where the perspective on the bell looks like the eye of a velociraptor.

In an hour or two I'll be back at 5345 Pershing, maybe planing a bike ride around Forest Park or something. That will be after all the game demo's that start in about 3 minutes!

Also, here are some of the more interesting species that the Human Genome Project has sequenced, in case you're curious.

Do'svidanya ! Russian for until we meet again.

Friday, July 8

Bike Kaos, New Roommate, and Surprise Meal x2

In general I love mystery, spontaneity, and a touch of kaos, so it was to my pleasure that biking home the other day I biked right in front of a large vehicle that began honking insistently at me. It turned out to be Matt, Georgie, and Nathan, prior Prin roommates and college chums. I stashed my bike in the trunk for an expenses paid trip to Cici's Pizza, which was alright with me for the handle bars on my bike are now loosely flopping up and down. It is a pain to ride, but it is encouraging me to learn to control the bike without the use of handle bars, which I've been meaning to practice for awhile. (And no worries parental units for I'll have it fixed tomorrow; they still rotate the front wheel left and right steadily - I just can't lean all my weight on them when I stand on the peddles.)

So I'd definitely recommend Cici's Pizza if you don't like weird food like Asian, African, Mediterranean, etc. For me, I love the complex flavors of items that aren't pizza, pizza with vanilla frosting, or common Amer'can dishes. As well, Cici's caters to the taste buds of ten year olds (hence their free food for youngsters) of whom I'm no longer a member, and I'd feel a little more satisfied having lamb meat with tzatziki sauce and feta, and a baklava for dessert.

After wonderful socializing @ Cici's and going to Lafayette Wednesday evening, one of my dinner partners is now my roommate. Nathan will be living and working at Prin in about a week if everything goes according to plan, but for now he needs a place to stay since he just flew into STL for interviews. My other potential roommate this summer is Brian Kamusinga (which is at least a spelling better than Singapore *glare at spell check*). He may soon be in the same boat as Nathan, waiting for Prin interviews so he can assume the position of Chemistry Overlord, errrr Time Lord if you've met him.

My second surprise meal this week happened right after I got a call from one of my many Coloradoan aunts. As she and my uncle Bill pass through on their way home from Michigan, I joined them for a very beautiful picnic in Forest Park, of which I'll have photos soon to prove its beauticity. The STL art museum with a gigantic horseman sculpture is framed atop an expansive grassy hillside, in front of which we ate around the famous fountains (which you'll just have to imagine since wikipedia has no photos of them). I'll try to remember a few questions they had about my job which might be lingering in your mind as well:

  • I don't record my hours worked, just hours missed due to sick days or vacation
    • It is a very trusting work environment, and I don't expect people cheat on their hours
  • I've been coding fixes for bugs in management and organizational software
    • Mathematical analysis and sciency software is also within the scope of my position, but not as much so far as software that tracks the multitude of analyzing going on.
    • DNA is read as potentially hundreds of millions of fragments - it is impossible with today's technology to read it end to end perfectly, so we only ready fragments of 100 bases out of billions. Of course this data goes through heavy processing that can take days. It might go through hundreds of pieces of software that different people have written. Something has to track the data and catalog it as it goes through each step of the processing. Greasing the system and automating everything is where I fit in. I keep the "pipeline" running so the scientists can continue experimenting smoothly without getting lost in computer management. This also allows the software and data to quickly and automatically go out to the public, which is required since we're federally funded.
    • My team is called Analysis Pipeline, and now you know why

Real quick, the hole in my north room wall is all sewed up thanks to Tristan, my land lord, who was fixing the now-fixed shower. ATM Rich has made hummus and naan bread, so I'm definitely leaving to eat some of that.

PS: It looks like I won't be attending the STL game jam, because I don't have a ride. I would have been programming games with a team of people right now at a free community building software developer meet-up. Its alright though, I'm sure STL has plenty to offer me this weekend.

Wednesday, July 6

Blackthorne and What if's

So apparently there is a huge floating island of waste in the Pacific, that we can see from space (although what can't you see from space now? except for Waldo). What if we melted that plastic down into a gigantic surf board?! So ... we can send nano-bots into space using a space elevator of buckyballs, and have them coordinate themselves into a mirror that focuses sunbeams at the trash island. Or maybe just use the nanobots to decompose and fuse the heap, but then they might do the same to all biomatter on the planet which could get hairy. To make it easier to get the nanobots into space we could make tiny balloons of super light rigid bubbles containing vacuums that cause them to float to the top of the atmosphere, then use subtle properties of electromagnets to make it into orbit. Alternatively we could use all the magnetic waste on the hudge to create a super electromagnet, then dump a powder into the Pacific that turns it into a ferofluid, and create huge ferofluid spikes that ride into space. We can charge for inner-tubing up the center of the ferofluid spike into space and use the proceeds to create a giant surf board for riding back down.

This was lunch conversation with my two managers at a great hot dog place that serves every hotdog. I had a greek and WV hotdog which are both making me hungry now just thinking about the coleslaw and bacon or black olives and feta cheese (even though I don't like cheese). I love all the great places to eat nearby the Genome Institute.

Another good place to eat is the Blackthorne where I had dinner aka "Happy Hour" with many of my coworkers and managers. Amazingly for me there were free refills on non-alcoholic drinks, and plenty of famous pizza to go around. It was a blast with time flying from 5 all the way until 9. I enjoyed swapping crazy stories about highschool and college which you would definitely need to ask me about in a non-public chat system (or in person if people still do that now-a-days). There were also darts, air-hockey, arcade systems, and a the-rock-slides-across-a-sandy-surface game. I would definitely go back there, or anywhere around St. Louis, for the semi-frequent 'Happy Hour's where I'm free to drink Mt. Dew and talk about Starcraft with "the occasional" nerdy coworker.

Good evening to you all who think the night is still young, but for me -
To bed!

Sunday, July 3

4th

So St. Louis has 3 days of fireworks for the 4th. There is lots of activity by the Arch, and I'll go down there tomorrow, but there is also celebration in other parts of the city/suburbs. I guess these three days will have to make up for not being in a position to mess with bottle rockets and the like. My apartment is surrounded by enough densely packed neighborhood that I wouldn't want to bother anyone, especially the people living beneath me.

Also in St. Louis, it is storming. The temperature went from the low 100s to the 60s I think in less than 24 hours. Yesterday it was 100, and I biked 20 minutes to a shop where they fixed a stuck link in my chain, then to the zoo where I watched an elephant blow water onto its back, over and over, for as long as I cared to watch him. I also saw a tiger nearly submerged in his watering hole, and plenty of fairly happy birds - at least they were fairly happy to continually beat there wings while standing to cool down. I myself was a bit nauseous from the heat when I pulled into the front gate of the zoo, and was very glad to see 10 foot polls spraying huge amounts of mist for people on the sidewalks.  I probably went from completely drenched to completely dry a good number of times while walking around. At least today it is storming and promising to be cloudy for most of the week.

Tomorrow I can look forward to a day off work, then look forward to working again. So far programming for the Humane Genome Project has been pretty awesome. I'm diving even deeper into linux commands like awk and sed and several I'd never heard of. I can learn so much from my cooworkers, that this is looking like a perfect job.

I also actually made it to church today. I turned off my alarm at 7 (again) to sleep more, then woke up naturally with just enough time. Last sunday I biked to the wrong address and wednesday I was entertaining company. Hopefully in the coming weeks I'll be able to visit several churches nearby to meet lots of interesting people and discover more nice atmospheres.

On videogaming, I've been playing terraria lots with Rich because I really like exploration and terraria supplies that element nicely. As always I've been playing Heroes of Newerth fairly regularly because I also love really steep learning curves and frequent new content plus the intricate and precise team combat. I'm also fiddling with programming poke'mon in HTML5 and javascript.

Have a good night!

Thursday, June 30

Muffins and Music

Four days of work, four code commits, and each more confuzzling than the last. The system at the Genome Institute is ginormous (which is actually in my spell-check dictionary unlike confuzzling). Enough data and code goes through the pipes each day that I imagine one day's worth could be used for a phd thesis. Coworkers with a year or two under their belt are still learning vigorously.

The gist is that DNA is read in very minuscule chunks by chemistry machinery. Those chunks are then aligned in order making as good a guess at a strand of DNA as possible. That reading is compared to past readings to look for mutations. That's where music comes in, MUtational Significance In Cancer. Hopefully by knowing these mutations, different types of cancer can be treated in precise and effective ways.

The DNA data with lots of analysis data is saved in the datacenter at a rate of ~4 terabytes a day on special SAS harddrives that are ~$1k per terabyte I think. My job (so far in training exercises) is to make sure this continues to happen smoothly. There are always little programming bugs that cause the data processing to stop, which takes hours on its own. I've added bits to the code managing the analysis process mainly trying to conceptualize the system as a whole because there are so many interconnected components.

Our work area is called cloverfield because each large desk is shaped like a 4 leaf clover, which sits 4 people. This makes it easy to talk with others who specialize in different key components of the system. This constant communication is necessary during development because no one knows everything.

I like everything so far. The social environment is light and happy, and there is enough complexity in the work to sink my teeth into and be kept interested for a long while. Right now I think Zoe and Rich my roommates made muffins though. Zoe is a fabulous cook in training!

Monday, June 27

Wiknic STL and Genomez

Last week I moved to St. Louis. Last last week I was camping in the Allegheny mountains/forests and this week I'm working for the Human Genome Project, but more on that later. Last week I moved to St. Louis.

I drove with my parents from WV with a few pounds of items, besides the 3 mountains of clothing I've accumulated throughout high school and college. Maybe I'll make my own mountain in these flat areas. I miss the forests and mountains, or at least used to, until I walked across the street from my apartment into Forest Park. Including the historic district, DeBaliviere, near my 3rd floor shower-needs-replaced-apartment, and Forest Park, I have several thousands of acres of exploring space. Forest Park has forests too! So having just come from the forested Allegheny region, it's no wonder I'm spend all my free time biking, walking, and napping around the forests of Forest Park.

Lets not focus too much on forests though since the people who are bothered by woods would never come to visit me. Forest Park also has a free zoo, free art museum, free history museum, free interactive science museum, not to mention the many way-beautiful islands, architectural feats, and ... ok forests, all free. Don't think this is all though! I'm just a new resident and have no idea what most of the attractions are I'm sure, but last week I moved to St. Louis.

So this week, actually today, this Monday, I started my first real job with the Human Genome Project. It was raining ballz of water in the morning so I slept for an extra hour and a half to avoid the thunder at 7am. At least I hadn't been asked to arrive until 10, but it was still raining ballz then too. I got super drenched on my way to work, along with my supposedly water proof second hand Spyder jacket. My bike helmet was dripping so I just left it hanging on my bike in the downpour. On the bright side, because of the rain, I biked really quickly and arrived with half an hour to dry off. Plus no one seemed bothered that I was wet since they were too.

At work I met tons of people, many more than those I remember off-hand: Jim, Scott, Tom, Chris, Ian, Tiffany, Stevan, and Donna. There are actually 300+ employees with a nice stalkerweb page showing names and faces - just like my college's stalkerweb but without personal details. I spent plenty of time configuring computer stuff but I'm very impressed that I didn't have to create any accounts. There is a single sign-on for everything. One user name and pass lets me edit the wiki, sign into email, IM, SSH, etc... all in linux. The entire system is built on Ubuntu and during interviews they apologized for a legacy windows box hooked up to a proprietary chemistry machine.

I've been working on this post for awhile now with many interruptions so *INVOKE TURBO*

  • arrive/lunch/leave whenever is convenient for me as long as I hit 40 hours a week
  • discouraged to stay beyond 9pm
  • free metro (bus?) pass for being an employee of washington university
  • stevan next to me is familiar with magic the gathering card game (I've held tournaments at my college)
  • talked about metasploit at subway with other recent-hires and interns
  • attended a large meeting on cancer research (lots of cancer meetings on mondays)
  • going to begin ramping up into real work soon, now that I've read many wikipages of documentation
And farther in the past:
  • Met Elonka at a Wikipedia picnic, who worked with Dan Brown in writing the Da Vinci Code
  • Invited by Elonka to participate in the STL Game Jam (overnight game programming competition)
  • Oogled at medieval weapons and armor at art museum
  • Adventured through many a small crevice in the City Museum with Harry
  • Survived off campfire food for three days at Plum Orchard Lake in WV last last week