Thursday, November 05, 2009

My first Halloween

OK, so I've lived long enough to see several halloweens. Oh alright, more than several. A lot more. Don't rub it in. Moving on.

After last weekend, I feel like I've just experienced my first halloween. Elaborate decorations and street parties, the variety of costumes and the sheer NUMBER of people. Wow.

Even the day before: I was up in the Marina for lunch, and the streets were PACKED with parents taking their kids around to all the shops, which were giving out sweets. Everyone was dressed up; kids - obviously - (which included babes in arms), parents and the staff at the shops. A big difference from Sydney, where you'll see maybe 10 kids all evening, and they're usually in their teens.

On Halloween itself, Bhautik and I did a photo walk from Downtown up to the Castro. We saw some fabulous costumes, not least some of the people accompanying us on our walk. At the end of it, because we weren't quite exhausted enough, we headed up to check out the street party on Belvedere st. Wow. Just when we thought we'd seen it all. I was so overwhelmed by the house decorations, costumes and crowds that I don't think I could describe it properly. But it was fun.

Can't wait for next year! I might even wear a costume myself. Maybe ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stand Up

So there's a new widget over on the side. I'm hosting a stand-up event this year, but this is for the people who can't make it - you can commit to Stand Up online.

Stand Up is basically the world's largest petition for the Millennium Development Goals (which you'll see mentioned all over the place as MDGs, which I think sounds a little silly, but oh well); especially the first, which is to end world poverty. Last year, over 100 million people took part - wouldn't it be great if we could make it 200 millions this year?

You can learn more by clicking on the "Learn More" link on the widget :).

Monday, October 05, 2009

Knitting mad

So I finished my mini toe-up sock. It was a fun little project, though it looks quite odd because I decided to experiment with lace knitting halfway through. I'll try to take a pic and post it some time. In the meantime, here's a pic of the top down pair I knitted for myself:


I'm quite proud of them really. I used Silver's sock class except instead of Kitchener stitching the ends I used this method, which is basically Kitchener, but done with dpns instead of a tapestry needle. Which means I didn't have to hunt down a tapestry needle for it, and made keeping the tension even a lot easier. Doing the ankles was fun. But knitting down the length of the foot was dull. Very dull. So that's why I like the idea of toe-up socks - get the dull part out of the way first. I don't think I'll knit too many pairs of socks though.

I like doing hair ties much better:

This one has a basketweave pattern. It doesn't show up too well, because the yarn is very knobbly. But I managed to knit it in a day, which makes in my fastest knitting project by far up to this point.

I've also done a few pot holders - I might post them next time. I'm working on some other projects, but I'll post about them after Christmas :)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stuff I found today: toe-up knitting, Stephen Conroy and a cool microfinancing project

This morning I learnt how to knit a sock from the toe up. I find this exciting, as it seems a great way to be able to knit a pair of nice long socks and know when you have to stop the first to still have enough yarn left for the second. I'm trying it out with a mini-sock. The cast on seems very loose, and I need to learn a nicer way to make stitches (the method I currently use leaves holes) but I guess that's all a matter of practice.

So I didn't just find Stephen Conroy. I've known about him for quite a while, more's the pity. Several years ago he came up with a silly scheme for internet censorship via ISPs. No, what I found out today was that apparently the results of the trials that were conducted will be released this week - at least according to GetUp, though I was unable to corroborate that elsewhere. I will be highly surprised (and skeptical) if the results don't show that the system will accidentally block legitimate sites quite a lot of the time, be circumventable, extremely expensive and slow down internet access. Which really makes it worse than silly - it makes it a backwards step for Australians who use the internet (i.e. most of them). Look into it, people. And then let Stephen know what you think.

And the last thing I came across was a really cool microfinancing project in Africa. The women themselves pool their resources for it. How cool is that? I'm all for empowerment. Seems intuitive to me that it would work better in the long run than hand-outs.

Now I'm off to see what other cool stuff I can find...

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Time to move on

So B2 had his big official graduation ceremony in April. Which means I'm really, totally, definitely not a PhD widow anymore. ILM widow, maybe. Photography widow, more likely (see his blog for evidence). But not a PhD widow.

Which means that it was really time to change the name of this blog. I think I'll start trying to post more regularly too. More regularly than once every 18 months, you ask?? You betcha! I'm sure I can manage that. Probably :P

And here is B2 in his silly hat. And me laughing. Hard. So worth all those years just to see him in his silly hat.


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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

ex-PhD widow

We got a late-night phone call from Australia last night. My usual reaction to phone calls at midnight is Oh-God-what's-wrong? - but, nothing is wrong. He's done! B2's thesis has FINALLY been accepted and he is now a doctor.
So now I really need to change the name of this blog. And try to convince him to work out a way to take leave later in the year so we can go back for his graduation ceremony. Hardly seems worth all that effort if I don't get to laugh behind my hand at the silly outfit they'll make him wear.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Guitar Hero Goodness

I asked for Guitar Hero for my birthday (well, actually I asked for Rock Band, but I was realistic about what I had any chance of actually getting). In fact, at the time, I got Frets On Fire, which was a lot of fun and had a few advantages over Guitar Hero:
  1. It's much more comical. I personally think that the tutorial is one of the funniest things I have seen all year. Most other people find it amusing also (if not quite as much as me), which leads to the next point.
  2. It's amusing for other people watching you play. If you think that watching your friends holding a plastic toy guitar and pretending to be Eddie Van Halen is funny, imagine the same thing, but holding a computer keyboard upside down. Classic.
  3. It lets you access all the songs, at all levels, right from the start. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage... you can play any song you want, which is a fun idea right up until you accidentally pick a song that is REALLY HARD just 'cause you like it. And did I mention the songs are listed in alphabetical, not difficulty, order? You've got no idea whether a song will be easy or hard to play till you find yourself struggling to hit one note in five.
But yesterday, we actually got actual guitar hero. And an xbox360, the first console I have owned since my sega game gear (which I think is still around here somewhere...). And I am happy. Guitar hero has many, many advantages over Frets on fire, but the greatest advantage has to be the ability to rock out. Rocking out is FUN.

And I'm one step closer to getting rock band, and annoying all the neighbours with my drum solos...

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

GDC, launches and snow

It's been a busy few weeks. Our company launched it's product at GDC. I saw snow for the first time in over 20 years. And I turned 29 - last year of my twenties...

Firstly, the Game Developer's Conference was awesome. We had heaps of people try out our neuroheadset, and they had good experiences with it. Keep an eye out for Emotiv in the news over the next few months and, if you're in the US, on the shelves closer to Christmas!

For a bit of R&R after GDC, we headed up to Heavenly at Lake Tahoe with a few friends. It was the first time I'd seen snow since I was 6 years old, so I was very excited - and very nervous. I normally don't cope well with cold weather, since I have poor circulation. I was also a little nervous about skiing for the first time - I have TERRIBLE coordination.

As it turns out, the cold wasn't too much of an issue - I just wish that wearing so many layers of clothing were practical for every day use. But skiing just didn't work for me.

We started with the beginners lesson. First they had us run around in our ski boots. Fine. Then we put one ski on and practice some basic skating. No problem. Both skis, skating on the flat, great. Then we tried taking the tow up to the top of the bunny slopes. I fell off, slid backwards down the slope and landed in a snowdrift under a tree, which dropped more snow on top of me.

That was the worst, although probably the softest, fall I had on the skis, but the only natural aptitude I showed with skis was a natural ability to fall over. I'd panic when I couldn't slow down enough when I wanted to, and fall over. I'd panic every time I got halfway through a turn, and fall over. I spent the whole afternoon falling down one of the easiest green circle trails available. My friends helped me out with improving - by the end of the afternoon I could just about take a turn without panicking, or at least without falling over in a panic. They assured me that they were most amused by the experience of watching me fall down a mountain in stages.

So the next day, having decided that skiing really didn't seem to be for me, I decided to try snowboarding. It was awesome! Despite the fact that it was snowing heavily and we had to go inside several times to defrost and get the feeling back in our fingers and toes, I enjoyed it far, far more. I could actually control a snowboard. I could turn reasonably well before we were even halfway through the lesson. It was great, and I'll definitely be back to try that experience again.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

wikihow

I've become addicted to wikihow. Some time ago, I added the wikihow of the day to my igoogle page, and I read pretty much whatever comes up there, no matter how strange and irrelevant. And I'll follow the links.

Which is how I came across this one. It has to be the funniest wikihow page I've ever come across, with some of the tackiest ways possible to communicate. If and when the time comes, I don't think I'll use any of these methods to share the news with friends and family. Especially not the movie night one.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm back!

So I've never been the best at keeping my posts regular and frequent, but I have a few great excuses this time:
  1. Moving halfway across the world. Working out what to pack, what to sell off, and what to put into storage. Inevitably realising that you've left behind something important. Finding a new place to live (trying to make sure it's reasonably cheap, has a low crime rate, is less likely to fall down during an earthquake and is reasonably accessible for all the places we want to get to, especially while we still don't have a car). Oh, did I mention selling off the car? Yes, SaVvY BII is gone :(. Settling in to aforementioned place to live. Buying all the appliances we need that we couldn't bring with us because they won't operate at 110V/60Hz. And furniture, because lugging all of your furniture halfway across the world is EXPENSIVE. Putting all said furniture together (of course we went the IKEA option). Oh, and somehow manage to establish somewhat of a normal social life in a new city at the same time. This would probably be a good enough excuse in itself, but I do have another:
  2. Facebook. It's just too easy to jump onto facebook and update your status message to let your friends know what you're up to. With the added advantage that you can also quickly check out what your friends are up to as well.
  3. We've had some problems posting on the server :(. This'll go up as soon as that's fixed though.
So enough with the excuses. Our new place is awesome - a brand new apartment in Potrero Hill, the sunniest part of San Francisco city.

And best of all, Bhautik has received his thesis review, and once he completes the revisions, he'll be done! Any suggestions for a new name on this blog?

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