rumblestrip


Grandma


Goodbye, Grandma. I love you.…

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The Greatest Show on Earth


I just finished reading Richard Dawkins' latest gem, "The Greatest Show on Earth". It's a necessary book, as Dawkins himself points out, since something like 40% of Americans believe that the earth was created by a very productive entity in a week about 10,000 years ago. Today. They believe this, today. I would encourage anyone who is even remotely curious about evolution to pick this up and read it. Dawkins is a wonderful writer, and in this particular book he distills his wealth of knowledge on the subject of evolution into a very readable volume. I've had a problem with Genesis ever since it was first read to me in Sunday School (needless to say, I only lasted a…

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Happy New Year


Yeah, uh, Happy New Year. 2010 is already underway, as far as I am concerned, because the International Date Line rolled on through, hours ago. Here in Boulder, It's less than an hour away until my Timex ticks over to 2010. I'm not doing a "year in review"-type post, but wanted to wish everyone (anyone) still reading this blog a happy new year. 2009 was a crazy year and very much a mixed bag. 2010 promises more of the same. I guess I'm getting old. The cynic in me grows ever stronger and is provided more ammunition every day; all the more reason to reflect on all the good that has happened to me and my friends this year,…

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I don't get it.


Once again, I have had a humbling experience working with Radiance. Just when you think you know even a little bit about this program, you are told otherwise, simply by attempting to learn more about it. Details here: initial results with rtrace's multiprocessing feature 9QM93TAVDT59…

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Complications


Today has not gone smoothly so far. Hooper woke us up at 5:15AM, whining. He'd had gas all night, so I took him out, just in case. He leads me around on a tour of the neighborhood as he strafes the area. We get back, I try for another hour of sleep but he keeps farting and belching (which smelled worse than the farts), then Ellie our cat pukes on the carpet, presumably because we weren't paying attention to her. So I give up on sleep for the day and head downstairs to start working at 6AM, already deciding to work from home rather than repeat the two hour commute from my house to my house like happened last…

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Adaptations (aka: Happy Birthday, Evolution!)


Today is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection", and I for one am feeling a little celebratory. The importance of Darwin's work cannot be understated. Last year, I took a couple of semesters worth of biology classes, and natural selection could be seen at work throughout those two very entertaining semesters, chapter after chapter, after chapter. Evolution's important shit, man! That Darwin concluded what he did before modern genetics science existed, is a testament to his genius. That evolution can be called into question as "just a theory" by noted scholars such as George W. Bush, and that this stance is perceived as acceptable to any rationally…

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Jeff Bosie - Photographer


To merely call my old college buddy a photographer is to understate things a bit. Jeff Bosie, the aforementioned buddy, is a real photographic artist. I had just been bragging about Jeff's ability to a co-worker just last week, and oddly enough yesterday Jeff sent out a mass email yesterday announcing some updates to his website. So I took the opportunity to click on over and check out the newest additions as well as some of my old faves -- three of which are hanging on the walls of my home. It's great stuff. I was glad to be able to attend a show of his in Perth Amboy, NJ back when Brenda & I still lived in Jersey. Brenda…

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Mad and Madder


Maureen Dowd's Op-ed piece in the Times yesterday was just great. As many Americans continue to struggle, Goldman, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, banks that took government bailout money after throwing the entire world into crisis, have said they will dish out $30 billion in bonuses -- up 60 percent from last year. The saying used to be, whatever happens, the lawyers win. Now, it's whatever happens, the bankers win. This kind of stuff just pisses me off, and it's the kind of stuff that needs to be constantly brought to the surface because, well, because it does. And I was invigorated with a fresh dose of skepticism and hatred for these people, thanks to Ms. Dowd. Dare I say,…

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More on the Yankees


So, my last post was a little congratulatory quip to the New York Yankees, for winning their 27th World Series Championship. (Their 27th; I know, it's a lot!) In the title of that post, I accidentally juxtaposed two characters in my haste to get the thing online, and I was quickly corrected by Yankee haters who likely enjoyed correcting me in the worldwide forum that is the Intertubes. Meow. That same evening -- you know, the one where the Yankees WON THE WORLD SERIES -- I guess I also posted a little congratulatory quip on my Facebook status, which became a lightning rod for a discussion on the Yankees, baseball payrolls, unfairness, weah, weah weah. Some great arguments from both…

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Twenty Seven


The title says it all. Congratulations to the New York Yankees!…

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Agile Hooper


We've been talking about doing this for months and months, and finally did it. We enrolled Hooper in a beginner's dog agility class at the Boulder Humane Society, starting up in a couple weeks. Hoop spent half the morning running and jumping in the ballfield today, and we've long thought that Hooper would be a natural at agility trials. And even if he sucks at it, we figure he'll have a good time trying to not suck at it. And so, on November 12th, Hooper will show up for class once again at the Boulder Humane Society and hopefully will ace his classes!…

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WordPress Changes


Wow, start actually blogging again, and you discover all these new things about your blogging software. WordPress, the software that has "powered" this blog for the last several years, is up to version 2.8.5 and a lot has changed for the better. Software updates are automated and work seamlessly, even for users running WP on other hosting sites (like me). Themes and plugins have similar auto install/update functionality. Apparently there's also a change to the database from latin1 to utf8 character sets, which is wreaking havoc on a few of my posts that have "smart quote" characters in them. Lots of solutions exist, but the "right" one seems to be a slightly involved conversion of my MySQL…

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Blast from the Past


(light transport simulation geekery alert) Freshly inspired from the recent Radiance Workshop, and cooped up under 22 inches of snow in Boulder, yesterday I took an old web page I created and integrated it into my website. It's a summary of my first foray into the use of illums on a project. This page dates back to 2003; I've been told it's helpful, so I thought I'd get it back online with all my other crap. Here's the link: http://www.rumblestrip.org/interests/light/using-the-illum-material-for-smoother-renderings-in-radiance/ Happy rendering.…

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Your (sic) so Gay! (or, Baseball Fan Intelligence as Expressed in Facebook Status Messages)


I knew this would be a fun World Series, with two teams I like in there, and a good matchup to boot. With a large percentage of my Facebook friends hailing from the Philadelphia area, I detected a certain bias toward the Lesser League's team in the growing wave of "go team!" status messages over the last few days, and that's to be expected. After all, trash talking is how we as fans can participate in the game. Unfortunately, many of the sentiments expressed in the many Facebok status messages I saw last night ranged from infantile to eerily homophobic. Apparently, a favorite pastime is to call an opposing player a homosexual. For example, this zinger floated across my laptop…

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Thanks, Chase


Thank you Chase, for making my blood boil with rage enough to finally achieve enough inertia to log in to my long lost blog and post some bile. I should also give a shout-out to the asshole driving the cab to my hotel last week in Boston because that idiot is to blame for starting this little mess in the first place. Hi everyone! Yeah, so, I get in a cab at Logan and this guy takes me to my stately suite at the Holiday Inn; $23.30, the total. I swipe my card, feeling a pang of guilt over being so lazy (I probably had the cash, but didn't feel like digging through my wallet). Should have known. I…

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Life Imitatin' Art


A few years ago I wrote a little post on this here website about my idea for the Best Band Name Ever. Imagine my surprise when there was a comment on that post, this here mornin': did a google search of my band name... found this... So it appears that some one else passed all those highway exit signs in Jersey for "The Amboys" and figgered it was a cinch for a great name for the band! Folk rock, not my thing. But at least someone has the stones to put together a band and make some music under the banner of "The Amboys"! Check 'em out on this here myspace page, they might just float yer boat. It was…

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Change


I finished my last job on Friday, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to start the new one the following Monday. Guess that means I start my new job tomorrow, and to say I'm excited would be an understatement. Today was a study in change, an awakening of a dormant mind. I realized I had been on autopilot for months, if not years, and was unhappy about it. Sure, I chose to do something about it a couple months ago, but today I realized just how unhappy I was, how frustrated I was with my old bosses, how disillusioned I had become with my current work. Part of that stems from the way my…

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Lettin' the Cat Outta the Bag


I know, it's been a while. Here's the thing: I got a new job! After almost four years at the firm I work for, I am moving on to a new job, in a new town. It's still a lighting/daylighting/sustainable design job, but it's in an entirely different setting for me: a national laboratory. To say I'm excited understates things a smidge. In a few weeks, I (and my co-worker) will be the new resident daylighting "experts" at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, down the road in Golden, CO. I'll be applying my skills as a lighting designer and simulator, hopefully assisting research aimed at helping us bring light into buildings in more sustainable and useful ways. I'm…

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Blizzard


Been a while, I know. Will have more to say later. For now, we are having us a nice little blizzard here in Colorado. The best part is that my favorite bar is on top of things. Here's an email I received today: From: mtnsun@mountainsunpub.com Subject: Cold Rain and Snow won't close us Down!! Date: March 26, 2009 5:47:49 PM MDT To: rpg@rumblestrip.org Happy Spring Blizzard Phamily and Phriends We ARE open today at the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery. (11:30 AM till 1 AM) The Southern Sun Pub will be open regulars from 4 PM till 1 AM. The Vine Street Pub in Denver is open from 4 PM till 1 AM.…

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A Weekend of Dog


Man, I'm wiped out. So's my dog. This weekend I racked up a whole bunch of great experiences with Hooper, and we (and Brenda) are all tired out! Hooper ran with Jasper and Jackson for about an hour straight Saturday morning, which warmed my heart as I watched him interact with other dogs instead of just playing fetch. Last night, pissed that I didn't have my camera to document the aforementioned morning trot with the cattle dogs, I brought my camera and got some nice pics of Hoop and the local pack having their usual fun. And today, Brenda, Hooper & I hiked up to Lost Lake near Eldora and enjoyed being outside, the three of us. I love this…

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RIP, Brent Graber


Brent Graber was a guy I casually knew, a co-owner of a fun little dog named Delaney. Brent and his brother were regulars at the ballfield near my house where Hooper & I spend many an evening. Last month, while Hooper was recuperating from his knee injury, Brent got hit by a car and had been in a coma ever since. I found out about Brent's unfortunate predicament a couple weeks after the fact, when Hooper & I returned to the ballfield. Ever since learning of Brent's unfortunate turn of events, I had been keeping tabs on him through a website his family had set up, and silently held out hope for a recovery of any kind. But tonight, at…

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Happy Birthday, Hooper!


Today is Hooper's second birthday--sort-of. I mean, today is the day Brenda & I selected to represent that milestone for him; since he was a stray, we really don't know the day, but we know the general vicinity of the day based on his development when we adopted him a year and a half ago. And what a year and a half that's been. Hooper is my buddy, my dog, and I love him. It hurts to leave him behind when I go to work in the morning, every single time. He has me studying biology for chrissake. He has, quite literally, changed my life. Happy birthday buddy!…

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Everybody Knows


I'm listening to The Evens here while studying bacteria, and the song "Everybody Knows" just wrapped up. It occurred to me that I should have rigged up some loudspeakers to the roof of my car and rolled around town blasting this song at maximum volume on Inauguration Day. I doubt I'm the only one who still thinks about January 20th and smiles. The last lyric is great to listen to, now that the door has indeed hit Bush on his tired, phony ass. "Everybody Knows" - The Evens You arrive with empty duffel bags, hungry eyed You looked around taking measurements to move inside The capital it is your proving ground, your centering You and yours can keep your scores,…

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Pimp Windstar


Someone please tell me what the fuck this is. I mean, I know it's a Ford Windstar with "Ford Windstar" in cursive script, the comedy and tragedy masks, and a pair of mudflap girls adorning the rear window. This, this is known. But, WHAT THE FUCK.…

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Good News


I don't know that I did much more than allude to it, but Hooper hurt his knee a few weeks back, and we've been walking on eggshells ever since. He wiped out chasing a ball in the ballfield, and when he came up he was holding his right hind leg up for several seconds. I started running over to him and he immediately began to "walk it off", in a manner that would have impressed Mr. Tezak, my ninth grade gym teacher. Thinking I'd dodged a bullet, we kept playing but I could see that when he would run around he would "bunny hop" with his hind legs, favoring the injury. Brenda & I backed off of his usual 2…

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Riled about Resumes


I read a recent post on Lifehacker this morning about resume writing (no, I'm not looking for a job, I just read Lifehacker religiously), and readers were encouraged to post their own tips and peeves in the comments. I thought I'd share my thoughts here. (Can you smell the rant coming from there?) First of all, when did listing your undergraduate GPA on the resume become fashionable? I have discovered, much to my chagrin, that there is a huge emphasis on grade point average in the veterinary school application process, but these people are reviewing applicants for the job of student, essentially. Further, it costs the grad school money to wash people out, so I can see how past performance…

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History


The cynic in me has taken a day off. Watching Obama's rig rolling to the Capitol has me in tears, for real. This is awesome.…

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Wildfire in Boulder County


A wildfire is raging in the foothills just north of Boulder; it started this afternoon, and really high winds and lots of open (and dry) land have provided the perfect ingredients for disaster. Already, several homes have been destroyed, and people are evacuating all over the place. This was the view from my front door when Hooper & I got home from our walk: This is a view looking northwest; you can see the main line of the fire, and the trail of little fires left in its wake. At that time, the fire line is probably six miles from my house as the crow flies, but it's a LOT closer to the edge of town than that! People I…

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Maneki Neko


The Maneki Neko, or "beckoning cat", is a traditional Japanese good luck charm, commonly seen in storefronts, placed there to attract business. During the migration process of taking my files from my old computer to my new one, I just took my trusty little Maneki Neko and placed it down in the corner of my desktop and it made me smile. A guy named Jeremy Hedley had a blog called Antipixel many moons ago, and I stumbled on a post of his which had a nice picture of a Maneki Neko statue that he photographed with his daughter on New Year's Day, six years ago, and turned into a Mac OS X icon, and attached to a .txt file with…

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Migration and Lance


awright, I got my iPhone talking to my new user account. All I did was tell the "Applications" tab to sync with my iPhone, and it copied the apps to my new iTunes install. Then I did the "wipe", letting iTunes blow out my iPhone's music library. At this point, my contacts and iPhone apps are synchronous with the iTunes install on my new laptop's new user account. I spent an hour or so copying the music from my old user account to my new one, and after all that things aren't perfect, but they are good. My old files from my old user account are on my new laptop, and after a little terminal action I changed the permissions…

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Oh, and...


now my Time Capsule is not recognized by my new user account on my new machine. Soooooo glad I tried using the "easy" migration fucking "wizard" to make all this fucking bullshit easy. GOD DAMMIT. Will hit this in the morning after a night's rest. I'm sure I can solve this in the way I want, which is to continue to build a new user account on the new machine, from scratch. God dammit.…

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Feel the Rage


I fucking hate this shit. New computer, started setting up, got my iTunes all dialed in, then realized my goddamned motherfucking iPhone is really not interested in syncing with my new setup. Apparently, I was supposed to use the Apple Migration Assistant. That utility is fairly impressive, but now my Mail.app is busted, and I have a crapload of duplicated bytes in the form of redundant applications and all kinds of extra shit. The whole point of the new computer was to start fresh, and now I have one halfway setup user account on the new computer (that does not want to speak to my iPhone), and all the binary turdlets from my old computer copied over, with a…

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Speedy


3421 seconds. That's how long it took my new laptop to render the de facto radiance benchmark scene. That's good enough for 13th place on the list, not bad for a laptop marketed to college kiddies and soccer moms. My old laptop is 36% slower in this test, and cost me $700 more than my new one. Amazing. Full stats: rpict user time: 3421 proc: Intel Core 2 Duo cores: 1/2 clock speed: 2.4 GHz cache: 3 MB OS: OS X 10.5.6 Radiance ver: 4.0a compiler: gcc 4.0.1 compile options: -O2 -ffast-math -funroll-loops results: 691120680 rays date: 2008-12-29 submitter: robg…

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Stuff


I got new stuff. Lots of new stuff. Plenty of fodder for posting in the future. For now you should know that in the last couple of months I got a new TiVo, an iPhone, climbing shit, rollers, and today, the big purchase of 2008, a new MacBook. The box was cute and small. They emailed me my receipt (which caused my iPhone to buzz with delight as I was walking out the front door of the Apple Store). Moments after firing it up, my new mac was already performing a full system backup, wirelessly, to my Apple Time Machine. Brenda's getting my MacBook Pro as soon as I get everything off of it and do a fresh install, and…

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Buff


The nice thing about learning to climb at the Boulder Rock Club is that the place is so packed with awesome climbers that you never, ever get it in your head that you are even in the same league as these people. Today Brenda & I were at the gym and I was totally mesmerized by these two women and one guy in particular. Muscle and tendon rippled underneath a thin veil of skin, with not a gram of body fat to be seen. These people owned the walls and I was totally amazed by their talents. At one point I must have said something like "holy fucking shit, look at her go!", because some dude standing near Brenda &…

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Photo


This is a door in my office; my office full of engineers. Is anyone still wondering why bridges fall down every once in a while? Oh, and if you're wondering, yes the door is locked. Jesus.…

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Rollers!


With my winter goal of keeping in shape taking... uh, shape, I have gone to the climbing gym a couple of times, and now own a harness, shoes and belay device of my very own. But while climbing is no doubt very strenuous, it's a lot of short bursts of energy and not a lot of sustained aerobic activity. One of the reasons I want to exercise through the winter is so that I can emerge from the Colorado snow in the spring already in shape to ride in the mountains, instead of spending April and May getting in shape. And so, while I have every intention of spending a couple nights a week at the climbing gym, I need…

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w00t!


Course Number-Section: EBIO 1210 - 302 Course Title: General Biology 1 Credit Hours: 3.0 Projected Grade: A-…

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Housed!


Tonight, I headed back to the rock climbing gym to get checked out on the belay gear, and once that was out of the way, I was cleared to climb all over the joint. I had one day left on my complimentary week-long pass to the gym, so Brenda came with and we figured we could climb together. The belay test was a joke, and three minutes later I was good to go. So Brenda & I headed upstairs to the little walls and first made sure that she could arrest my fall. Sure enough, the mechanical advantage of the belay device made it easy for her to stop my 200 lbs from falling once I popped off the wall.…

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Glider Flying Over Boulder


So about a year ago Brenda bought me an "introductory lesson package" gift certificate from the soaring school at Boulder Municipal Airport. I finally got a chance to get on the schedule. I have flown gliders exactly one other time before, back on the east coast. A friend of a friend offered me a chance to fly a Schewitzer 2-33 from Van Sant airport in Pennsylvania, and I had a ball despite the overcast day which meant no thermals, which meant we went up, and basically came right back down. Since moving to Boulder, I have pretty much stopped flying airplanes save for a few checkout flights, due to cost and time constraints. But apparently Boulder Colorado, in addition to…

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