l33tminion: (Default)
I was doing well on posting, then suddenly I was once again super-behind.

I don't even need to know where to begin with political news. The Comey stuff wasn't very unexpected: Trump leaned on Comey to shut down the Flynn investigation, then when Comey demurred, Trump fired him. But of course Trump's core supporters are going to come out thinking this is totally fine, it's Trump being Trump.

Rumors that Trump didn't know there was a US military base in Quatar before being persuaded by the Saudis to side with them in a diplomatic crisis based on a fake news report are pretty alarming, though. Ditto for him leaving out a line about article 5 (the mutual defense pact bit) during his speech at NATO. But perhaps that's another thing that would please his supporters.

Then the UK elections happened this weekend, in a total back-fire for the Conservatives where liberal gains in parliament might ironically result in an even more right-wing UK government, as the Conservatives now are beholden to a far-right coalition partner for a majority. Or just a completely destabilized government, who knows?

In other news, the greatest climber in the world climbed El Capitan in Yosemite without ropes. Insanity, but it's amazing that a human can even accomplish such a feat.

Work's been busy, I've been shifting my focus a bit in terms of which goals I'll aim to accomplish before the end of the quarter. That's going well.

I've been watching a bit of Steven Universe with Xave over lunch break (it's a fun show, though the longer plot arcs seem to be slow to build; I love the style of visual humor, the animation is brilliant).

It's Pride week, and the parade yesterday was big and colorful as always. The weather has been hot. It's not even summer yet.

Today I was mostly out and about with the kid doing errands.

There's nothing like a cool shower in the dark after a hot day.

My parents are off on a European holiday. Enjoying the photos. Happy anniversary!

Eristic improvements: Fetching objects by name, better memory of numbers and letters, recognition of specific letters (maybe), matching shapes to outlines (including letters), some new words (including "apple" and "[ba]nana").
l33tminion: (Climbing)
Cooking successes from the past weeks:
  • Kale with beet, pinto beans, and water chestnut seasoned with coriander, anise, and garam masala
  • Basil-lemon pickles (which made for amazing tuna salad)
  • Salad with red lettuce, mozzarella, heirloom tomato, and maxixe (a spiny cucumber)
  • Chicken, carrot, and onion glazed with Carr's Cider Syrup
Work was very full of busy-work last week, but reasonably productive.

Last Friday, I went to the release party for Amazon's new phone. Very interesting to see another company's effort at creating a full-fledged mobile ecosystem based on Android. The key features they add to Android: Firefly (image/audio-recognition camera app with an API, kind of like Google Goggles but recognizes more things and other developers can create plugins to recognize and react to more stuff), Dynamic Perspective (head-tracking simulated parallax 3D), and Mayday (live video customer-service). On the other hand, the disconnect from Google Play surely has some drawbacks, the maps app looks nice but I don't know if the navigation is good enough, and it's pretty expensive at $650 unlocked. They've definitely got my attention, though. There's some real UI and features innovation going on, which is cool to see.

Seems all the tech companies are expanding in Kendall Square.

Today, I climbed a bit at Brooklyn Bolders a rock-climbing gym that's only a few blocks from my house. I really should have gone sooner, they've been open for almost a year now. The location is really convenient for me, and I want to get back to climbing, I hadn't been for ages. Their setup seems pretty cool. Tons of bouldering courses, plenty of top-rope, and a fully equipped gym with weights and cardio equipment.

The week was tiring and this weekend is over far too soon.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
I will be married in two weeks, and I'm exhausted. Most of the wedding logistics are now handled, save for a few minor things: Haircut next weekend, coordinating day-of logistics with my minions, getting a bit more detailed plan information to photographer.

Work is very busy, there's some complicated stuff I really want to wrap up before I head off on honeymoon. Julie is in a similar situation.

I've been making good use of my Hubway membership, and have a lot of good things to say about that service. Being able to do one-way trips by bike on impulse is really convenient. Especially when the weather is as variable as it's been lately. At least it's cooled off from last week's heat wave.

I'm keeping up with exercise, and have managed to take a little time to relax and celebrate, so that's good. Xave ran a short Nobilis game, which was fun. Haven't been dancing or climbing lately, but there's a new rock gym very close to my house, which I'll have to check out when I'm back in town.
l33tminion: (Doubt)
Went to Albany this past weekend for a memorial service, the ceremony was beautiful, eloquent, joyful, deeply sad. It was good to have been there.

The news this week is already full of awesome achievement, senseless brutality, and major disaster.

In an odd mood, to say the least.

Sore from bouldering yesterday, but scrambled up to v2s and a v1+. Slow progress, but progress.
l33tminion: (Climbing)
Bouldering today: Passed a v1+, failed a v2 repeatedly, failed a v1 repeatedly, passed a funky v0, failed a v1+ until I was exhusted.

Good day, but now my hands are pretty sore.
l33tminion: (Climbing)
For DFW fans, The Decemberists Play Eschaton.

The real message of the Susan G. Komen / Planned Parenthood controversy.

An essay urging Americans to Raise the Crime Rate.

A 60-minutes interview with free-climber Alex Honnold.
l33tminion: (Climbing)
Climbing this week: Passed a 5.8-, failed a 5.9, climbed a weird 5.7, failed some bouldering courses. Overall, not as bad as I'd expected after missing it for a while.

Last weekend was the first quiet weekend I've had in a while. Next weekend I'll be on the train back to Cleveland for Thanksgiving break. Julie will be visiting before Thanksgiving on one leg of a zig-zag cross-country tour.

I finished reading A Game of Thrones, which was good, or at the very least one of the fastest 800-page books I've ever read. The TV show is in some ways better, the pacing is tighter (by necessity), some of the foreshadowing has clearly been edited with the benefit of hindsight, the most awesome scenes are preserved (or, in some cases, improved), and the few tweaks to characterization are mostly improvements. I recommend both.
l33tminion: (Music Metroid)
Things I've been up to this week:

Seeing the new Captain America movie (worth seeing if you like comic book movies), finally watching Silence of the Lambs (which I've had out of Netflix for months now), getting bruises on my forearms from new kettlebell exercises, bouldering because I get to the climbing gym late, playing Bastion (pretty good, and addictive; it's way too easy to buy and download XBLA games).

Last Sunday, Ames invited me to a music festival at the Cambridge Y, an event called "We Are Guest Talk, Free: $10". Unbeknownst to me, that event was the third annual installment of the "Weird-Stalk" concert series, so it was significantly stranger than I'd expected, including:
  • Genres of music that begin with a hyphenated "noise-"
  • The sort of jazz that raises the questions "how do you get that sort of sound out of a saxophone?" and "why would you get that sort of sound out of a saxophone?"
  • "Preggy Peggy and the Lazy Baby Makers"
  • Rock that sounds like it was created for and by extra-terrestrials (or at least some far-future sub-culture (actually a present sub-culture, thanks to insanity and the magic of the internet)) with radically different aesthetic sensibilities from ordinary human beings, played on an instrument that looked like the Reaver version of a theramin after it had dismembered and adorned itself with the internals of an innocent family of electric guitars
  • A husband-and-wife team performing advertising jingles
  • A multimedia theater/film piece about a mannequin communicating with its creator / data entry specialist through a series of VHS tapes entitled "How to Become a Better Person Through Clothing Choice"
  • The sort of absurdist theater that is to theater as "noise-[whatever]" is to music
  • Packing tape and a microphone as percussion instrument
l33tminion: (Default)
Last weekend was fun: The American Craft Beer Festival on Saturday evening was awesome. My plans to join DJ's family for their party in Albany on Sunday, however, were thwarted by my inability to read a bus schedule correctly.

My new suit is almost done and looking great. The new shirts I ordered also came out great. Getting enough exercise, but probably not quite enough sleep.

Climbed (not quite passing but closer than I'd expected) a 5.9+ at the gym on Monday.

Trying to get all my travel plans organized. Getting ready for Sandy Island.

Politics continues to be interesting, as everyone and their uncle announces their run for the Republican ticket (including Rick Santorum (very probably NSFW, also the guy doesn't have the best reputation on Google for some reason)) and Rep. Anthony Weiner proves he is stupid, impulsive, and incompetent (seriously, what an idiot).
l33tminion: (Nom)
The better my life gets, the less time I find to write a coherent blog post about how well things are going.

Last weekend, I was at this, which I discussed more at length in my other blog (and seriously, even if you don't read that, read the speech here). There was also this, which I only saw a bit of, but it was fun, and the resulting photos were good:

Steampunk Duo

That's myself and DJ. The immediate reaction of Michelle (and Tara) was that we looked like certain muppets. I'll accept that.

Other stuff: Went on a lot of good dates, watched 5 Centimeters Per Second (good, and pretty, but a little sad) and saw Incendies with Film Club (sadder than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be sad; still a well-crafted film), worked on v1s and v2s bouldering, attended an annual Olin alumni event and caught up with some old friends, continued to be overwhelmed by Google-ness, and stumbled home after dawn.

Enjoying the weather and very much looking forward to summer.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Happy 2011, everybody!

New Year's was a blast. Went to New Year's party at The Buttery (this communal home founded by some SCA people), spent the weekend hanging out with DJ, Michelle, and Ames.

Got in a little bouldering Monday and spent it all failing v1s.

Up late a lot this week, but still getting a lot done.

Saturday will be a road trip to NH to pick up Michelle's new kitten. Sunday there are brunch plans in the works.

Weekend after that is Mystery Hunt!

Following the start of the new congressional session has been... entertaining.

Various clothes-related things continue: Still working on shirts (slowly), acquiring a few sweaters and more chino pants. Suits (new and old) need to go to tailor.* Black dress shoes are still on my list (think I know what I'm getting there, though).

Fitness stuff also continues: Weight is hovering around 160, but some gain in muscle (I think). Trying the hundred pushups program and have managed to push my max rested up a few in a few weeks.

* I probably should have brought my old suit to the tailor instead of buying a new suit this summer. I currently have two very similar gray suits, neither of which fits that well, and the new one may well be worse quality than the old. I'm not sure whether the right solution is "tailor both", or "identify the better one, tailor that, donate the other". But honestly this should barely be in my mind at all, since I hardly ever wear a suit.
l33tminion: (Caffeine)
Things I did the past week: Danced, climbed (some tricky v0s and an easy-ish v1, I need to get back to top-roping at some point), went drinking with DJ, Michelle (a different Michelle, a prospective girlfriend of DJ's), and Jess in various combinations, went hat-shopping, fought off a cold, saw The Social Network with Jess and Film Club (worth seeing, well-acted), conversed with Julia.

Near future: Date with Cidney, figuring out various travel plans.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Last weekend: Nikki was in town, so spent some time hanging with her and DJ. Went to the Zoo with Nurit Saturday afternoon, dressed up and went to Drink (near South Station) with Nikki Saturday evening.

Lots of dancing this fall. Medieval Folk on Wednesday, Tech Squares on Tuesday. Also doing Zumba at the gym (sort of silly dance/aerobics thing).

Went climbing last week, was able to easily do some v0+ bouldering courses that I had a hard time with the previous week, helped out some beginners. Going again today.

This past weekend: Went to a Dar Williams concert with Xave and Patti (awesome), attended part of the garden party that DJ was hosting at our house (campfire and awesome music and miracle berries). Sunday morning had breakfast with Ames. Sunday evening went to see The Town with film club (good, recommended if you like Boston and/or heist movies).

Other things: My favored candidates prevailed in the primary, so that's good. Got in a bit of gaming, mostly Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (stoked for the full game) and Plants vs. Zombies (which, like all PopCap games, is silly but addictive).

Should I go to the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington DC? The answer is "yes, I should", but I'm not sure about the logistics.
l33tminion: (Slacker Revolt)
Thursday: Went to a Jim Malcolm concert with Julia.

Saturday: Hanging out with Ames, Owen, and Dante.

Sunday: A date with someone I met online. Was feeling kind of pessimistic going into that, but it was a very pleasant conversation, at the very least. Later in the evening, was up stupidly late playing Shank.

Monday: Bouldering! Climbed a bunch of v0+s and failed at some harder things and ended up very sore indeed.

Today: Ames was over again (taking a week of vacation from Job Corps), the weather is wicked-hot, I am sore and coming down with a cold.

Other things: Working on some hard bugs at work. We get our Letters of Intent from Google tomorrow and the next day, so that's exciting. The Grotto has a new housemate, a graduate student named Saam.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Climbing for today:
(Unnamed Green) (5.7, passed on first try)
What's My Name? (5.8, climbed)
Temper Tantrum (5.8+, climbed)
l33tminion: (Default)
Friday: Storytelling and sandwiches with Michelle
Saturday: Trainer, house showing, Mario Galaxy 2 all afternoon
Sunday: Brunch with Xave, saw Micmacs (funny!), went to play DDR at Nurit's party (was good to reconnect, last time we met was a while ago)
Monday: Climbing ("Why is + Afraid of 5" (5.8-) climbed (almost passed), "White Ghost" (5.7) passed on first try, "Our House" (5.9-) failed (almost climbed))
Tuesday: Meet with DJ to get paperwork settled
Wednesday: Trainer again (moving to Wednesday because lots of booked weekends coming up), dancing
Thursday: Dinner with Michelle at Picante
Friday: Home to Cleveland for weekend

Plus hitting the gym and some very difficult bugs at work. At least it's not boring!
l33tminion: (Exercise)
I've finally bit the bullet and decided to sell my soul to Verizon shell out some cash to replace my current, non-sweet phone with a new, very sweet one. With any luck, my number will be ported without incident and I will encounter only a minor disruption of service. But if I'm not contactable by cell for a few days in the near future, that's why.

In other news, I got back to climbing Monday, this time with the climbing Meetup group, since my previous climbing group has dissolved. Was very challenging, since I hadn't top-roped in forever. I did the following:
Salsa (5.7, passed on first try)
GONE... I'm Back! (5.7, climbed)
Chips (5.8, failed)
Only Juice and Milk Come in 2L Bottles (5.7, climbed (almost passed))
Sun Dried (5.8, climbed)
l33tminion: (Default)
Last Thursday, got back to bouldering, failed two v1- courses ("All Over the Place" and "We Do Things in Reverse"), but passed a short v2 ("Lizzie-Life").

Yesterday was good, struck up an interesting (if brief) conversation at the cafe, had a good workout, bought new shoes, spent some time with Patti.

Today I was full of restless energy, unable to concentrate on anything.

On a mostly unrelated note, I have a new website to tinker with.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Last Thursday, went climbing and passed the hardest bouldering course I've yet passed:
Jazzy Jeff (v1+, passed)
I Hate Roaming Climbs (v0, failed)

The course I passed (on the first try that day) was the same course I couldn't do at all the Sunday before and could do every piece of the Thursday before that.

Friday had dinner with Sho and Patti. Saturday went to anime club with Ames and rewatched Serial Experiments Lain. Saturday saw The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with film club (well worth watching).
l33tminion: (Default)
The weather has been unusually warm the last few days, and my mood has been good. I've been pushing myself back towards a more reasonable sleep schedule. I finished Persona 4 and started on Mass Effect.

Wednesday, I went to medieval dance, which was particularly fun. Thursday, I went climbing and did every part of a v1- (though couldn't quite put it all together). Friday, I did my usual fitness session early. Saturday was CrisisCamp, which was fairly productive and surprisingly well attended for something organized on such short notice.

Saturday evening saw all of Kaiba at anime club. Was an awesome, unusual show. It takes a colorful, old-school visual style, sometimes in sharp contrast with the dark (even dystopian or apocalyptic) elements of the setting. The story features an amnesiac protagonist in a world where memories, or even entire people, can be transferred between bodies at will. The show isn't successful at everything it tries to do, in particular, the pacing on the ending seems a bit rushed. But overall, it's a very good take on a theme I find very compelling, that of people trying to stay human (or coming to terms with their humanity) in a post-human world.

Sunday, I went climbing again and couldn't do some of the things I could do on Thursday. :-/
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