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    Monday, August 8th, 2011
    7:28 am
    Heading into the mountains!
    Last night, we visited Nederland, Colorado - 8200 ft, the opposite of the real Netherlands! This was just a family dinner, and a chance to expose our bodies to the even-higher altitude. My old friend Dana came up from Denver to eat with us, it was great comparing where life had brought us, catching up, meeting her son Sullivan.

    Last night and this morning, we're packing up the gear. Every ounce counts, and we need to account for hot, cold, rain, dry, first aid, toilets (a trowel to bury waste... you pack out your own toilet paper)


    Also, the food all needs to go in bear-proof containers. My coworkers were concerned about me venturing into major wilderness territory, with bears & other wildlife.  It is actually something to be concerned about, but my brothers are expert guides. And they can rassle bears if need be. Here's the bear-cans that food will go into, to prevent that necessity:


    Today: Finish packing, have a good breakfast, drive to the trailhead. Hike up to Summerland campsite at 8535 ft (2600 m) elevation. Camp and eat dinner.

    On this map, we'll start on the left side (near Grand Lake). Over the next few days, we'll make our way to Lake Nanita and back. (takes a while to load... maybe click on "larger map" link)




    (Highest point will be 3300 m, Wednesday)
    Next report will be no sooner than 5 days away!



    Current Mood: excited
    Friday, August 5th, 2011
    10:26 pm
    Lake Nanita, North Inlet Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park
    ProTrails: Lake Nanita, North Inlet Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park

    Leaving at 5:00 am tomorrow for Rocky Mountains, 5 days hiking with family. Elevations 8,500-11000 feet, it's going to be really hard on me.
    The only thing I've got going for me is a good pair of boots. I don't think that will make up for altitude sickness and general lack of leg muscles.

    Still, it'll be gorgeous.

    Scattering Dad's ashes at Lake Nanita, which he named as the most beautiful place he had ever seen.

    Seems a habit of mine, did this for my Grandpa near Castle Neuschwanstein in Austria a few years ago. Maybe I could make a business out of it.
    Sunday, June 19th, 2011
    12:10 pm
    Riding home from Leipzig
    (Or is this the return trip?)

    Leipzig was fun, but I won't write about that at the moment. Instead, I show off the video from the awesome motorcycle-mounted camera I got from spidertangle . The ride too and from Leipzig were really nice. Low traffic, mostly-no-rain, blue skies, and fucking fantastic high speeds (the speed-cameras in Germany shoot you from the front, motorcycle license plates are on the back)

    This video is short and sweet. I'll upload more as I edit them down


    (By the way... Windows Movie Maker doesn't like working with the .MP4 files from my camera, nor the AVI files that I can convert them to. Ideas? Other than buying a macintosh?)
    Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
    9:44 am
    My Weekly Carpentry: Rear Window! (okay Windows)
    First off: the douchebag carpenter finally replaced my two big front windows, which gets me out of trouble with the merciless city government. That's good news and ends a year-and-half nightmare. I can't believe how long we had to chase him, how often he fucked up and missed deadlines. I should have taken him to court, but then this would have turned into a 3 year nightmare instead.

    Now to the fun stuff!

    Since we aren't allowed to replace any windows from our "historic" building (not really historic, but the city registered it that way), I took last week off work and put up scaffolding to fix the windows on the backside of the house.  Kind of like I wrote about last November, doing on the frontside of the house.

    This time is a lot more work, but WAY better.

    More work
    :
    -the windows and sills are in much worse condition than the front
    -tthere are 9 of them instead of 3.
    WAY better:
    +April is warmer and drier than November
    +This week has been PERFECT weather
    +I took the week off work instead of trying to squeeze it on nights and weekends
    +Sharon is here this time to help
    +My mom came for a visit, specifically to help.
    +I know what I'm doing this time, not learning as I go.

    Progress has been good, about on schedule for what I expected. I'm EXHAUSTED and my body is in PAIN, but it's no stress just satisfying hard work. I'm happy with that.

    Pictures will come in a later post. Here you can see my progress list (not sure if that will stay static of today's status, or update over time)
    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
    10:24 pm
    My Weekly Geekery: Hack de Overheid
    I've missed regular updates here, but I've been quite active on the Geekery front so I have a nice backlog for posting here.

    I went to "Hack de Overheid", (Hack the Government) day in Amsterdam. Like the US and UK, the Dutch government is really getting into the idea of publishing some of its data for the public to use. Then they encourage/promote/have small contests for people to do interesting things with the data.

    It's a smart idea and trend: instead of the government spending millions and years building applications that no one wants, they just put the data out there. Then they let creative and intelligent people figure out what THEY want to do with it. Saves money, drives innovation, gets information into the people's hands.

    At Hack de Overheid day, I teamed up with 2 other coders. With no real designers/idea people, we focused on something SIMPLE that we could successfully engineer in 1 day. 3 of us working 5 hours were able to build a Website and Android app using....  The Public Toilet Data for Amsterdam Center!!!

    Ladies and gentlemen, I now unveil:
    WCFinder!
    It's silly, but it was a fun project and good learning experience for all of us.
    Web application to be found at www.wcvinder.nl
    Monday, March 7th, 2011
    6:35 pm
    My weekly Geekery, A training RANT
    Granted, I'm 4 days through a severe 6 day head-cold. So maybe this is coming out harsher than it should. But whether I'm climbing out of my sickbed or taking time out of my work schedule, DON'T WASTE MY TIME when you claim to offer advanced trainings.

    In computer trainings, there are some real benefits to investing in real-life training classes with human beings, rather than book/video/internet tutorials. I have had some great experiences with good teachers who bring the material to life and give you the benefit of their experiences, talk you through the tricky details, students who bring in valuable questions and perspectives, and good hands-on learning.


    I signed up to a 2-day smartphone conference, with 4 fascinating looking tracks. How to choose? I decided to attend the Android programming track, which claimed to be a "top gun" course - intermediate to advanced stuff.  Pre-requisites is already having installed and done a few tutorial apps.  "Yes", i thought, "This should clear out the cobwebs and tough roadblocks I ran into the first time! I'll come out of this able to quickly throw together prototype apps"

    I'd be better off dedicating 2 days at home, re-reading one of my Android books.

    The trainer has a set of powerpoint slides that are like the chapter headers of a training book, plus some code that could be copied off the Android tutorial websites. Clearly no teaching experience, he talks monotonously AND chaotically through his slides, providing neither clarity, nor details.  It's 80% presentation and 20% hands-on coding. There is no cohesive demonstration code or app, just small code demonstrations.

    Those of us with a little android experience already know what he means and aren't learning anything new.  Those with no experience can copy his code examples, but don't really learn the concepts. Pointless on both sides!

    On top of that, the conference turns out to be poorly organized. So instead of 16 hours of concentrated learning, there are huge gaps, and tomorrow we lose two hours to a Microsoft Windows 7 presentation that has (at the last minute) overwritten our schedule. Wait, didn't I pay for an Android training?






    AAAARRGGHHH!  I may jump to another track tomorrow. But none of them are looking good to me anymore now that I'm so ticked off.

    Current Mood: aggravated
    Saturday, February 12th, 2011
    11:15 pm
    Spammers
    Annoying. I've been getting more spam "comments" on my old LJ entries.

    I don't really want to limit commenting, I enjoy real comments from anonymous (non-LJ) visitors.

    I changed the default comment settings to require CAPTCHA from anonymous users, hopefully this will be good enough. If not, then I'll lock down comments to registered users only, then escalate to friends only.
    (Hope these changes also affect old entries)
    Thursday, January 27th, 2011
    2:03 pm
    Thailand days ... ?
    Did I link day 6 already?
    http://spidertangle.livejournal.com/84036.html

    Day 7
    http://spidertangle.livejournal.com/84348.html

    Last night, went to dinner with a Thai friend-of-family, old student and semi-colleague. Excellent seafood restaurant, made me realize we haven't become top-Thai-chefs just yet! It was lovely talking with him, sharing travel stories plus getting advice on what to do next.

    Later, watched Muai Thai at a fun / seedy arena. Not serious fights (you get the feel they all know each other and aren't out for real blood, similar to fencing competitions but more painful). Seating around the ring was hosted by various bars, with associated lady-boys, beer-girls, kids hawking souvenirs... classic.
    Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
    8:53 pm
    4:17 pm
    Thailand day 3
    Courtesy of S:
    http://spidertangle.livejournal.com/83323.html

    I'm sick with runny nose. Sleeping a lot. Now off to last masterclass cooking night!
    Monday, January 24th, 2011
    11:36 pm
    Thailand, Chiang Mai days 1 and 2
    Because typing long posts on a smartphone sucks (hence the rise of Twitter), you can read about my birthday trip on spidertangle's blog.

    Day 1: http://spidertangle.livejournal.com/82786.html

    Day 2: http://spidertangle.livejournal.com/83167.html

    Warm here. Relaxing. Easy travel and cheap if you want it to be. You really must come here (and Americans: come.for more than two weeks)
    Monday, January 17th, 2011
    10:54 pm
    Travel time!
    Watch this space!
    Sharon is taking me to Thailand for my birthday.
    I am very looking forward to this, most Europeans that I know seem to have been already and say it's wonderful and tremendously relaxing.

    I need the relaxing. I will revel in it.
    And I will blog here.
    10:53 pm
    My Weekly Geekery! "A safe and healthy hacking event"
    Holy Crap,
    I just looked back at my LJ, and realized that most of the last 10 posts were about my window repairs.  Obsessive I guess.

    Well, it's winter time and I finally got my geekery in. Sadly I missed 27c3 over new years, so instead I went to a dutch hacking weekend called eth0 .  120 hackers together from Friday to Sunday, in the middle of dutch farmland, a big camp-building with bunk-bed rooms and 3 central rooms for projects and chilling out.

    Highlights:
    -Met a lot of nice people, and smart ones. Young starting programmers & electronics geeks. Older freelancers & engineers and creative weirdos. Played retro video games on big screens and socialized a lot.
    -Didn't do much in the hardware side, but I liked what I saw (mobile FabLab, mini C&C machines on the cheap, almost used the lasercutter to engrave my laptop cover)
    -My project: I brought a Kinect camera, and managed to get it hooked up to my PC through a chain of Alpha software from various smart people. Got person-tracking, skeleton tracking, and control of XBMC (media server) working.
    Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
    It's all still really primitive, but what potential! (Oh yeah, I had the help of a damn smart C++ guy in getting everything converted to work on my Windows PC)
    -HTML5 workshop, a Getting Things Done workshop, some discussion on data processing and the Iraq War Logs,
    -Got my Android development environment up, and reinspired to do something with it.
    Saturday, January 8th, 2011
    2:47 pm
    Human connection, vulnerability...
    Found this on sarendipatree 's LJ. 20 interesting and insightful minutes. Something for me to ponder going into 2011

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
    10:34 pm
    Oh yeah, My Weekly Carpentry!
    One week later, I dug out the last splinter. Now I can type again.  Where did I leave off the story of the windows? Oh yeah. Painting the sills and fixed windows.

    After painting, I took one step that I'm really proud of. I grouted in the corner between the wood and brick. I was scared of this for some reason, but with the right tools and knowledge it was easy and fast, I'm extremely proud and it's also kind of the last step.

    For perspective, here is Before (rotten sills)
    rotten kozijn (before)

    After (patched, painted, with grout)
    grouted (after)

    After that, I did a patrol of the front face and fixed some small things, cleaned things up, then I was confident to have the scaffolding removed!

    What's left?
    -The 4 removable windows are in various stages of completeness, but it is now too damn cold to pull them inside for a day that the paint will need to cure. I'll continue that work in the spring.
    The asshole contract still has to replace his two windows, but he's signed a contract so I just need to let that run it's course.
    -The 9 windows on the back need the same treatment, but that will wait until spring.

    Now, time to relax for a while :)
    Friday, November 19th, 2010
    6:56 pm
    Red Letter Day at work
    Today, a well needed good day:

    Delivered my Google Apps test report and closed the project. This was 10 month labor of love, my team and I rolled out Google Apps to a small subsection (700) of our users, helped them adopt it, monitored the impacts and removed as much MS Office as we could. Report was accepted, handed over support and next steps to the project owner, and closed project. I move on to other projects which is sad, but closing a project like this successfully was a well-needed boost to my confidence. Got kudos for myself and team from several directions, including from a head honcho in [unnamed home country]

    Took some small but hopeful steps to repair some work relationship damage I'd done through my own stress-outs.

    Boss surprised me by proposing an excellent, rather radical, idea that should help save my sanity and also increase my effectiveness and focus on the areas where I can provide most value. I'd actually had nearly the same idea myself, but couldn't figure out how to sell it to him. He didn't just ask me, in fact he demanded it, and we worked out some important details, structure and constraints to make it work. That's a good feeling and it gives me hope.

    Spent some time working with two colleagues on an important architecture strategy/principle document. It feels very good what I'm doing as part of this team, and that we can give it the focus it needs. Again, increasing my feeling of competence and confidence.

    Now, the weekend: a combination of excellent partying (Amsterdam Burlesque Festival) and hard work on my windows and house.
    Monday, November 15th, 2010
    3:27 pm
    My Daily Carpentry: Update!
    Both Dick and Carl showed up for bits of help yesterday, and more importantly for moral support / conversation. The work is going great!

    Sunday:
    -Permanently caulked the two removable windows back into place
    -Stripped the damaged bedroom window, reglued, reprimed
    -Replaced the both glass panes in the bedroom window
    -A last round of woodfiller and equalizing in some spots.

    Painting!

    Monday:
    -Weather is great (well, cold, but not raining).
    -Started painting sills at 9:00, finished at 14:00!
    -Now chilling out (someone suggested StarGate Universe, that's working well for relaxing) and then I'll decide what to do next: move on to the removable windows, clean up messes I've been ignoring, or just keep relaxing :)
    Saturday, November 13th, 2010
    9:03 pm
    My Daily Carpentry: progress continues
    I started off the day in a pretty low mood. Realizing the long chain of things i have to get done (many requiring drying time between steps) if I'm going to get the job finished in reasonable time. I was bicycling between various hardware stores and glass stores, several closed or not carrying what i needed. The enormity of this task hit me, it's eating my life, and I realized I needed some help - another pair of hands is really needed, to knock off some of the extra tasks in parallel.  (Also with Sharon gone it's lonely work, so company is good too)

    Apparently there is a gigantic rainstorm EVERYWHERE south of Amsterdam, but amazingly it didn't hit here. The weather map is outrageous looking, but nothing in Amsterdam! That cheered me up.

    Then I got my glass and good advice from the glass shop, that was also good.

    Then bishopjoey showed up, thankfully! He'd been sick, needed some extra sleep, but showed up to help at 13:00. Great worker, great company. It helped so much just to have someone else taking care of tasks beside me, since a lot of things can be done in parallel. Talked about music and life and friends. 

    By the time he left, we'd:
    -Knocked off all the loose concrete mortar around the windows
    -Heatgunned off some interior paint that still needed it
    -Sanded down the woodfiller patches
    -Removed a broken pane, scraped it out, and got the glass replaced (still need to putty it, after glass-cauk dries)
    -Reprimed the sanded spots

    Thanks Joe!

    Now I'm watching videos, chilling out, sleeping, may do a little light work tonight if the urge hits. Several friends have responded to my call tomorrow, so I'll have company and hands tomorrow to. If the weather holds, I might do the real painting!

    Thursday, November 11th, 2010
    10:02 am
    My Daily Carpentry: Not just weekly anymore!!!
    Good progress continues! I took a vacation day yesterday to focus on construction while weather is good.

    One of my windows has two broken panes. Brought it to the glass store to get glass replaced. Decided with the salesperson that I need to strip off all the paint first. Thought about using the special "Insulating single glass" which is allowed in monuments. 300 Euros more!!!

    Continued prepping the removable windows. Score now stands at 2 of 6 windows completely scraped, sanded, reprimed (exterior), plus window putty/glazing replaced along the damaged bottom. Have I mentioned the HEATGUN is awesome?!?!?

    IMAG0189

    Oops! While doing that, I cracked another small pane with the heatgun. Guess this is my opportunity to learn to replace glass myself, skip the glaszetter. (I'm already 80% there with the putty replacements I did, see above)

    Woodfiller (good, two-component exterior stuff) applied to all the damaged areas of kozijnen (sills?). THIS is a great feeling, nearly last step before painting sills.

    Mister Fuckwad Contractor came, according to his usual pattern one hour late. We signed the new agreement which has him replacing the two big windows to meet demands of the city. He also delivered two of the tiny windows (for bathroom and closet) that I will install next summer.

    Mister Nice Carpenter came, I paid him for doing such a fantastic job on replacing my bottom sills, and he gave me guidance on materials and my next steps.

    Carpenters in the neighbors house plastered over the damage they did to my wall, and put in a new ceiling where they'd ripped out my neighbors floor over my closet.

    Finished work at midnight last night. I'm so exhausted, but happy. Weather is great today, almost took another vacation day to continue... but some of my work (woodfiller, primer, putty) needs time to cure before I go on.

    IMAG0192
    Monday, November 8th, 2010
    11:52 pm
    Progress today
    While I was at work, Mister Good Carpenter took out the bottom windowsills, made new ones at his workshop, and reinstalled and primed them. Have I mentioned how awesome it is knowing a reliable workman?

    The neighbor's workmen replaced the beams and put back MOST of the floorboards that they tore off the ceiling of my closet (her kitchen leaked over the years, ruining her floor/my closet ceiling), but not quite all. Still a few open, and they left her window open, so it's COLD in my stairway!

    I came home from work, primed the last of the side and top of sills. Now all 3 windowframes (kozijnen) completely primed!

    I then sanded and stripped one of the 6 removable window pieces - lower priority work, but stuff i can do in the house at night.

    Next steps:
    -Woodfiller in the frames where I removed rotted wood.
    -Figure out how to re-putty the window glazing (stopverf? weird word) or take the windows to the glazensetter.

    It's going okay... but way faster when I have a helper. I'll need to recruit some for the weekend. (thanks nikkyb for helping last weekend, if you still read this thing!)
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