8/29/2007

08-29-07 - 2

My lungs are still killing me two days later. I searched the web a bit and there a few possibilities that seem most likely. One is that I strained the intercostal muscles; these are the muscles around the lungs under the ribs which help you breathe; if you work out too hard when you're out of shape you can strain them, which jives with my story. Another is a severe side effect of allergic asthma (which I have). I definitely felt the asthma when I was riding monday, though that's nothing abnormal, but maybe by breathing deeper than usual I brought allergens deep into alveoli that aren't normally bothered, or that it's a general deep inflammation from irritation. The final possibility that's reasonably likely is that it's just pain from stretching the lungs more than I'm used to, which tears alveoli. Apparently this is reasonably common with smokers who never exercise and then suddenly decide to get in shape and go work out hard; the lower parts of the lungs fuse together and then when they go push it they tear the lungs and can get bleeding in the chest which can lead to bad side effects. So far I'm not coughing up blood so I don't think it's anything critical and will probably just pass in time.

I hate over-exerting like that. A lot of people think it's a good way to get in shape - that you can do nothing all week, and then just way overdo it on the weekend, but I know damn well that doesn't work. It's far far better to "grease the groove", doing lots of shorter workouts where you never quite go to failure. Think about how animals in the wild play or hunt. A cheetah will chase its prey, but when it becomes clear that it's using too much energy, he just stops, in case he has to try another chase, or has to flee danger - they never go all the way to failure. Anyway, the hardest thing is when you're trying a new ride and you don't know quite what it's like. Sure you can read about the route, look at the elevation map, but you never know exactly what it's like until you actually ride it. What's harder is with a loop route you can't bail out once you pass the halfway point, the shortest path is just to finish the loop.

I know there's nothing else more boring that other people's health problems (except for maybe other people's dreams). I just wish I could feel a workout in my legs, instead of getting in my lungs, or just my general aerobic system, or my back and my spine and my neck and my bad shoulder and all that garbage. I really miss being young, in every way, mentally and physically. Those who say they're happier as they get older are suffering from two problems. First is the killing of their brain due to alcohol, TV, and just general lack of stimulation, as they become more retarded they become happier. Second and primary is self delusion; it's the same mental power that let people think the horribly stupid expensive purchase they made was wise, or that there is a god, or that immigrants are to blame for their woes - it's a powerful semi-concsiously created delusion which allows them to believe some ridiculous fiction which lets them get through life. As you get older the delusion that you're happy with yourself can be gradually built up over time until you forget it's a delusion and you're just pretending all the time.

08-29-07 - 1

We're leaving for Burning Man early tomorrow. It's interesting to me that in San Francisco these days it's definitely not hip to go to Burning Man, and in fact it's quite hip to hate on it. I mean, I guess I can understand it in that when something becomes too popular it's not cool to be a part of it any more, and instead you show your "individuality" by saying how lame it is. It's weird that one of the standard complaints from the haters is that it's no longer true to its origins. WTF do you care, you never went and you never will go, but you're hating on it because it's commercialized? It's also just so inoffensive, it's not like it's right in the city, and in fact it does the city a great favor by emptying the place out. Lots of bars have "celebrate the lamers are gone" nights the weekend of Burning Man, which I think is good for them, they can have their own little party. It's really weird that so many of the haters actively seek out expression of their hate. On the various internet message boards I frequent, whenever someone starts a thread on Burning Man, half of the posts are from haters who never went posting about how lame it is. That's so bizarre to me. I mean, I think Jimmy Buffet concerts are totally retarded, but I don't go to Parrot Head message boards and post about it.

I guess it's sort of similar to the hate for "Hippies" which has become sort of a trendy group to hate. I'm not talking about the old WW2 vets hating on hippies, it's a relatively new thing, people in the 15-30 age group often profess their hate of "stupid dirty hippies"; sometimes they're being ironic, but it's pretty hard to tell and the irony is definitely tinged with truth. You can see it in South Park and Family Guy, which these kids generally love, hippies are one of the most reviled stereotypes on those shows, and they're generally lumped together with new agers and political-correctos. It's sort of like a slice of the Andrew Dice Clay canon has been mainstreamed. The mockery generally centers on the idea that they're "wasting their life" , that they're broke, that they're dirty/smelly/hairy, that hippie guys are wimps, that their dream of peace & love from the 60's failed, that the communes failed, that many of the modern hippies are trust-fund kiddies, things like that. Ok, I sort of get all that, but I still just don't really understand the hating. I mean, hippies are so inoffensive and marginalized, they don't get in people's faces and prosletize at all, in fact if it weren't for the making fun of them they would be completely invisible in pop culture.

8/27/2007

08-27-07 - 2

"The exquisite natural wonder which is the human body can never be equaled by a work of man"

OR

"Why would I want to look at some stupid art when I can look at hot chicks?"

08-27-07 - 1

Went for a long bike ride out of Pescadero and bit off more than I could chew. It was like 55 miles with some good hard climbs and it destroyed me. I hit the wall about 40 miles in where I just couldn't go any more, and then you have that depressing realization that you have to make the final 15 miles and you just want to fall off your bike and cry. It's now like 4 hours later and my chest still hurts really bad, I'm guessing I tore some capilaries in my lungs or something.

Anyway, the town of Pescadero is just amazing, so cute and picturesque, and it's got all these shops that are semi-touristy, but unlike every other small town store in the whole of America, these shops actually have really good stuff! Artisan breads, locally made goat cheese, real fresh chicken eggs, and some great restaurants. I'm not telling what's in the gas the station either, it's a secret that some other damn fools have spilled. There's also this super nice ranch out on Stage Road with this amazing iron skeleton armed with a machine gun.

8/25/2007

08-25-07 - 3

Ahahahaha, I discovered my itchy throat problems. Apparently these are related to the same histamine that's in Ragweed pollen (my nemasis) : Melons (watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew) Bananas Tomatoes

08-25-07 - 2

I love milk and cookies food blog is pretty great. I really hate those pretentious close up small-depth-of-field photographs, but the recipes look really sharp. For example, these pistachio chocolate cakes look delicious.

08-25-07 - 1

Keyboards are actually way better for left handed people. I know that the lefties wish they had the arrow keys and whatnot near their left hand, but it's far more important that they can move their main hand to the mouse with only a very short reach; I have to reach nearly a foot to get the mouse on the right side of my MS Natural.

Anyway, I'm trying to left mouse now because my right arm is completely shot. Aside from the old carpal tunnel and nerve impingement and all that good stuff, the big problem is my shoulder, which mousing continues to aggravate. I've been trying to left mouse for months now and it's still just horribly awkward, but aside from giving my right a rest it is that nice short reach, the mouse is just directly off the ctrl.

8/24/2007

08-24-07 - 1

Today I cleaned all day long. I found mold in the apartment, and for someone with my allergies, that's a death sentence. So I mixed up a home made concoction of bleach and detergent, sprayed it, scrubbed it, moved everything out of the room, vaccuumed, dusted, washed it all down, dried it, then aired it out. While airing it out I couldn't be in the room, what with the mold spores and the bleach fumes, so I cleaned the hall and the outside of the building, which the bastard apartment company never does. I finished it up by patching some holes in the bathroom and finding some more mold under the sink.

When 5 PM rolled around and my work was done, I felt a very ordinary sensation which I rarely feel - the desire to drink and go out. I was tired, I was bored, I hadn't had any stimulation all day, and I actually wanted to see people and do things. After one of my normal work days of programming or poker, my brain is fried, I'm overstimulated, mentally exhausted, and I just want to eat and zone out and watch TV or something not too energetic.

8/21/2007

08-21-07 - 1

It's funny in poker when people play very straightforward and basic and they raise and you fold, it's called giving them "respect" - when you believe their bet and make a fold it's because you "respect" them. Of course in reality it's the exact opposite - you don't believe they're creative enough to be making a play, you don't believe they're good enough to make a fold if you try to bluff them, and you don't think they're good enough that you need to do anything out of line to beat them.

8/20/2007

08-20-07 - 4

So much exciting TV is on the way; the WSOP Main Event (sort of meh), High Stakes Poker Season 4 (woo hoo) starts August 27, the NFL season (Sept 6), the Rugby World Cup (Sept 8), Sarah Silverman (Oct 3), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (fall). Woot!

08-20-07 - 3

I just found "the" Adam Savage on Ask MetaFilter (link to his posts) ; some pretty good stuff in there.

BTW Mythbusters is such a retarded non-scientific travesty and the "build team" is so worthless and so many of the Myths they do are just nonsense and not interesting, and they almost never actually investigate a Myth that there's any question about - BUT I still watch it, and I think it's just because I'm so dang jealous of those guys. Jaime in particular is my idol. Adam reminds me so much of checker it's scary some times. The show would be 1000X better if they actually got an expert on each of the topics to consult and the guys just did the build and test. 99.99% of the topics they investigate have guys who are masters of the topic and could do really cool things, stuff like catapults, the ultralight planes, etc. etc. it would be so much cooler to actually see what could be done.

08-20-07 - 2

Got a ticket for running a stop sign on my bike in Woodside. It was a T intersection, and I was going down the side of the T where there's no cross traffic; there was no car going the other way either. The cop was down the trunk of the T, hiding, staking out the intersection for bikes - it's a spot where tons of bikers train. The cop was very apologetic, he told me that the people who lived there had complained about the bikes and he had to give some tickets.

I guess it doesn't bother me that much. Another fucking waste of money sucked out of me by the system and bad luck. Getting pulled over doesn't even give me an adrenaline rush any more, it doesn't get me angry, it just makes me sad and tired. Biking is one of the few things left that give me pleasure, and today the fucking world found a way to shit on my sanctuary.

08-20-07 - 1

God damn, "American Beauty" and "The Usual Suspects" are both such fucking retarded bad movies it makes me so sick that they're considered good. I mean a fucking bag blowing in the wind? WTF, that's imagery from the movie making FUN of shitty trite adolescent poetry shit like that.

8/19/2007

08-19-07 - 1

Since my laptop RAM fried I upgraded to 2 GB, and I'm now running with no paging file, and my performance is SO SO much better. Before, I would almost never use my 1 GB of RAM, but Windows has such a retarded paging policy, where they force idle applications out to disk to make room for "system cache" which is a giant waste of RAM that doesn't generally help performance much at all. So, your performance is fine, and then you try to alt-tab to some app that's been paged and suddenly you grind while it has to load back in. Two of the biggest dogs are two of the the things I use regularly : DevStudio and Photoshop, both of which want to take all your available memory, so if you're alternating working in them your disk will be going nuts with lots of stalling. Well, with no paging file all that grinding is gone. I can switch apps at any time and it's instant, just like the good old days before stupid virtual memory ever came along.

ps. LOL Photoshop complains when you start up with no virtual mem, saying it's "dangerous". I'll tell you what's dangerous : writing retardedly slow image editing software which pre-allocates its memory for no god damn reason in hell.

8/17/2007

08-17-07 - 1

I made a bike map on bikely of a ride I made up in the back country around Half Moon Bay. It's a shitty little tourist town, but the back country there is just gorgeous. There's so much contrast, you go from oak-dotted grassy hills (like SLO), turn a corner and get into a valley and you're in lush bay laurels and such, and climb a tiny bit up the valley and you're in redwoods.

There are lots of cool weird sites on the ride. One of the best is the Little Creek Ranch on the Lobitos Cut-Off. It used to be a tourist site with a pettting zoo and pony rides, but it's fallen into disrepair and is now this bizarre southern gothic Dickensian old west relic. It's a gorgeous old farm house, definitely the old madame of all the charming little old ranch and farm houses in the area.

This guy Kirby has the best biking page ever, tons of pictures, detailed maps, and great write ups; his section on Tuscany is amazing but he also has an old favorite of mine - Santa Rosa Creek Road near SLO. Which is perhaps the coolest country road of all near SLO, though there are lots of good candidates.

8/14/2007

08-14-07 - 1

There are so many racists in this country. When Dan's bike was stolen a million voices cried out "it was probably one of those Mexicans you guys are surrounded by". I came to their defense, and it made me realize just how much respect and admiration I have for the working poor. They are the greatest embodiment of the professed (but not lived) Republican values - supporting family, respecting your elders, deep Religious belief, hard work, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, clawing for an education, starting businesses. I would trust the average immigrant day laborer more than your average corporate/yuppie type. Maybe when it comes to minor petty theft the day laborer is more likely to do it, but that's only because it's significant to him and not the corporate guy. When it comes to really screwing someone else over horribly, something like denying insurance benefits to someone who's broke and lost their home, the corporate guy is far more likely to fuck someone for a profit than the day laborer; but that just shows my own prejudice about each class.

Anyway, the thing that got me thinking was recycling. It has long been a practice of the homeless in San Francisco to make the rounds of all the streets as they put out their garbage cans. They come the night before the garbage trucks and pick out all the bottles and cans to turn them in for the CRV. Back in January California raised the CRV (though it just now changed at the register, it was paying higher in January), and since then I've noticed a change. More and more of the guys I see picking out cans and bottles are from the "working poor" class rather than the homeless. Today I saw two different guys who were picking bottles, obviously not homeless. One was a Chinese guy, he had rubber gloves on and a push cart, and was working down Guerrero methodically. Just now I saw a Hispanic guy driving a truck with plywood stuck in the sides to make a big deep bed, and he was stopping at each recycling bin and pulling the bottles and cans and tossing them in his truck.

It reminds me of a New York Times article I read a while ago about how all these people in China were dieing in the dumps there, because they were going to the dump to scavenge for copper and stuff to sell and make a living, and they were getting crushed in the compactors or methane explosions or landslides or all the other dangers in a chaotic working dump. At the time I thought it was a reminder of how poor China still is; we think of China as this exploding threat, but the reality is 99% of the people there are still just ridiculously poor. Now I'm seeing these signs that America isn't really that different, we just have tighter security on our dumps so that our poor aren't even allowed to profit from the refuse of the rich.

8/10/2007

08-10-07 - 1

A message of warning : My RAM went bad. In the past RAM errors were relatively rare, but they've become more and more common. In the drive for low cost and high speed, pretty much all DRAM these days is non-parity and non-ECC. The RAM error rate is also roughly proportional to size, so the bigger chips are more likely to have errors. They're also cramming more chips on each stick and everything is running blazing hot these days which increases the chance of error.

The scary thing is that I was getting random crashes and didn't know WTF going on, so my first thought was a hard drive corruption, so I ran chkdsk. Well of course if you run chkdsk when your RAM is bad, you can actually *create* horrible hard disk corruption. I got lucky in that my RAM had bad sectors way up in the high memory addresses and a chkdsk that runs from a DOS boot doesn't ever use that memory. I finally figured it out and got this nice free program Memtest86+ which found the error and isolated to one stick, so I'm currently running safe with half the RAM. In the future running a RAM check will be one of the first things I do when I get super bizarro random crashes, definitely before I do a chkdsk.

old rants