Thursday, April 30, 2009

More fun with lasers

I've been shining a green laser beam at just about everything to see what it does - I really like how the chandelier looks at night (I wish it photographed better outside, the beam is AMAZING). My mir:ror has been really interesting too - I've written some really neat functions; the yellow nano:ztag starts up Pandora radio when it's placed on the mir:ror - and exits when it's taken off. My remote control now starts up my blu-ray software and opens the drive tray when I wave it over the pad. These functions aren't really necessities, but I really like trying to figure out functionality for them. I think of it as a Tactile Computer Experience - where normally everything is done through a series of keyboard/mouse interactions, this device lets me actually interact with my computer in a way that would otherwise be impossible - and so I find it amusing :) Other than that, school is going fine, this week is flying by - and I had an interesting time learning a bit of mathematica this week.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meet the nano:ztags

My new little RFID packing bunnies accompany the mir:ror that I linked to last week. Basically these little rabbits and those three little ztamps (say it like "stamp") have microchips in them that are activated by the glowing pod sitting behind them. Programmed with a web interface, the nano:ztags and ztamps can be set to activate software, send automated messages, check the weather, open web pages, and do basically anything that can be programmed into a windows batch file (for more complicated interactions). I haven't had a lot of time to fool around with them yet - and I need to brush up on some coding for windows scripts, but so far its fun to play with and a nice looking gadget (and black and yellow are great colors!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This is my new laser in a dark room - YOU CAN SEE THE BEAM! It's so cool even though I know it's silly to make the Pew Pew Pew sounds as I shoot my laser beams around the room. Another cool use - to point at stars! Really I wish astronomy sessions were still going because this would be perfect (and is basically marketed) for pointing out stars and other objects. I was also productive enough to send my resume to Glu - maker of little video games for cell phones. I'm hoping one of these days I hear back from these places...but I still have time. I'm excited to go hear another Math colloquium lecture tomorrow afternoon (but I can't remember what the topic is).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Boogie to the Boogie the Beat

Remember I ordered and canceled my order for headphones? The reason was because the website was broken - adding Red headphones to an order resulted in Black headphones showing up in the cart. I called them a few days later to let them know, and was planning on re-ordering soon. After I called, Zagg decided to ship them to me anyway! My new Z.Buds are FANTASTIC! They look really nice, feel great, and I'm happy to have new headphones. I haven't been wearing any for a while, so they might take a little getting used to, but I'm actually wearing them now as I type out this blog (listening to Pandora radio - the best streaming service on the Internet as far as I'm concerned, listen to my favorite radio station here Thievery Corporation Radio) My order also included an invisible shield for my little sister - these screen protectors are amazing and I'll be putting them on every new gadget I get forever - totally worth it. I have a lot more to put these headphones through - they have a mic so I'll have to see how it holds up when making phone calls and such, but so far, I'm finding them to be much better than the ones I had before. /Commercial (/ means end - as in, no more commercial promotion now :p) Today was otherwise uneventful - I was kind of upset because I lost part of a document I was working on and will have to re-do it, and another project I was doing at work didn't work 100% so I have to work on it again too. Tonight I had the pleasure of working with Mathematica again for Probability & Statistics. While I don't think it's terrible, programming is not one of my favorite things, so it feels more like a hassle to get through the homework than a learning experience.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

So this one is a little late... :p

You'll forgive me right? It was a fairly quiet and normal Sunday - just working on homework and grading papers. And making buffalo chicken legs (Yum!). Other than that nothing particularly interesting. I liked the wine bottles in the huge bin at Lucky - lots of color. Hopefully this week is quick because I really don't feel like working too hard.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

That day we explored and did new things

What a fantastic day! Bunny and I went adventuring this afternoon. First we started walking down towards the beach - a long trek in its own right (~50 blocks). When we got to the Sutro Cliffs, we decided to walk along the Costal Trail, which goes from Sutro all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge if you follow it the entire length. Here we found a seculded, but clearly defined path off of the main trail (as you can see). We headed down, down, down, and ultimately couldn't go any further, but it was really beautiful to see the trees covering the path like this. Once we finished exploring off the trail, we hiked up and down the Coastal Trail for another mile or so - but by then we were a little tired. We started to head back towards the apartment, and ended up going to the sushi restaurant I really like with the little boats. Bunny tried sushi for the first time and liked it! We had a lot of fun picking out the little dishes off the boats (and got told not to touch them unless we actually wanted to plate - eep!). All in all about 7 miles - but it was so much fun :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The end is near!

This morning I picked up my cap & gown for graduation - May 22nd is the day - 9am (awesome) My dilemma is that students are given 6 tickets for commencement, and 6 only...and I need 12. According to an unknown source (or here) you can see that tickets are in quite high demand. I propose to my family: let's skip the ceremony, and I'll sell the tickets and make $600+! (I know you guys will never go for that...I'm just kidding I promise) I'll work hard to procure the necessary tickets. And that's about it - I'm looking forward to receiving the box that Zagg is sending me, I wasn't expecting anything, but it looks like I really am getting the headphones I wanted because I showed them the error on their website. Still no word on the Green Laser (!) that I ordered.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lion legs in the light

Labor day 2008 with dad - we stopped at this ghost town somewhere between Yosemite and Carson City, Nevada. It was getting late in the day so the shadows were really nice coming through the window of this old saloon. So I know I ranted about Zagg, but today they sent me tracking information for the order that they refunded me - I have a box coming on Monday from them - I can't wait to see what's in it. Other than that, really uneventful day - school, work, group work, and astronomy. With some Ice Age 2 thrown in for good measure. Bunny & I are thinking about seeing the new movie "The Soloist" this weekend - still debating based on mixed reviews; we think it looks interesting enough. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shake it up

No it's not a light show - it's a dual-halogen spotlight lamp in my room. I read about "camera tossing" a while back and still like the interesting shots it produces; Yes, I actually throw my picture-taking device into the air (over my bed, I'm not that crazy) - and usually catch it before it lands. The results aren't always great (lots of pictures of my hands), but when stuff like this shows up I'm satisfied (and obviously bored enough to try it when I'm cleaning up my room). I have a story; I had some extra cash from selling a collectible a few weeks ago, and thought I wanted a new set of headphones. Now, I'm really satisfied with the scratch protection offered by Zagg Invisible Shields, and saw that they're now selling two types of headphones, Z.Buds and Zaggphones. After deciding on the Z.Buds, I tried to order the RED ones (red is key here). I add them to my cart, and place my order. When I look at the receipt, it says I ordered the out of stock until May 5th BLACK ones! WHAT HAPPENED? Turns out the website is broken, you can't actually buy the Red Z.Buds. I emailed the company and asked them to ship me red ones since they were just letting my order sit (after charging me mind you), and their response was basically - we can't and we won't. So I cancelled that order (on Monday). Today, they still hadn't actually cancelled it, so I called them up this morning. The customer service guy was pretty helpful, and said he'd inform the website management that their ordering system was messed up and got my refnd proccessed- but that was it. I find a pretty HUGE problem on their website, and they don't even say thank you. I found the headphones MUCH cheaper in other onilne stores than on their website - so if I do order them, I won't actually order from Zagg at this point. Well, if you want a scratch protector for just about any electronic device, I reccomend Zagg Invisible Shields, otherwise, don't bother.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One of the best views on campus

The clouds came in tonight covering just about everything that's worth observing through a telescope from campus. But, as you can see, as dusk turned to night, the view was stunning. So the TA's spent a little time enjoying the cool breeze and slowly fading light up on the 9th story roof. Another hot day today, but tomorrow is apparently going to be nicer - I hope. I had a nice lunch with my friend Naod and we talked about what life after college would be like - we're all in the same boat right now, just trying to figure out what to do - he's waiting to hear from grad schools, I'm looking for jobs. I watched a silly sci-fi movie tonight from 1978 called "Capricorn One" about the government faking a Mars landing - really good cheesy stuff there, though not quite cheesy enough for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 rendition. I also was looking a couple of interesting gadgets - the Ooma Voice over IP (read: internet telephone) system, and the Violet Mir:ror - a little RFID gadget that lets you program little tags (Ztamps - like stamps, get it?) to activate different functions on your computer. A little unnecessary, but nice uses of solid technologies nonetheless.

It really doesn't look like too much...

I have one month left of college. Just one. 4 weeks + finals. When it comes to the end, it was only 10 classes that I had to take for a math degree - Calculus I, II, III, Linear Algebra, Formal Methods, Differential Equations, History of Math, Combinatorics, Probability and Statistics, and Non-Linear Dynamics and Chaos. Easy peasy right :p It's been really hot out these last few days, and tomorrow is going to be really warm too - I'm actually pretty ready for cool weather to come back - I miss my jackets. We had a power outage for 3 hours this afternoon - which, in San Francisco, is pretty awful considering the lack of air conditioning. ITS was hit with the outage on campus, and so my job, which relies 100% on sitting in front of a computer, came to a screeching halt. Still, I had a nice afternoon and am so proud of Bunny for getting in the student art show at USF (even though I knew she would all along). The heat makes me want to have a weekend right away again.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Summer got confused and showed up a few months early

I had a really nice weekend with my parents and little sister visiting, we had a lot of fun. I'm pleased to say that I've started to get down to business with this whole, I'm graduating and will need a job thing... I sent my resume to the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco for an opening in their tech support group. Hopefully it'll come to some fruition, I think I'd enjoy working for an institution that would allow me to take some art classes for free - I'd probably take some digital design or photography :) In other news; it was so hot today! The weather this weekend has been really beautiful and sunny, but it's on these days that the lack of air-conditioning really starts to get to me, sometimes I just want to hide in a dark room (except that my computer increases the ambient temperature, so that's another hurdle). I'd also like to take a moment to wish my Uncle Robert a happy birthday! This picture is of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from the West side looking East that I shot back in 2006 and just came across recently.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I learned things I never knew today

Did you know the Koret swimming pool is the largest in North America? or that it can be converted into drinking water during a disaster? ME NEITHER! Teenie had her USF campus tour today, which was made private by me knowing one of the tour guides, and I tagged along, since I'd never been on one before. It was fun :) Tonight we had dinner at a nice thai place that made pumpkin fries - they were really good. I took this picture from outside of my parents' hotel - it has a nice view of the Transamerica building.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Can I get a weekend?

My very first blog post came over Labor Day weekend 2008 - I took this photo outside of a casino in Reno, NV - there were a bunch of really nice looking old cars parked out front. Today was pretty miserable for the most part - I don't think I did well on my test and my mind felt pretty hazy until after 3pm. But then things got better after I had lunch with Bunny and we relaxed and I got my mind off of the exam. My parents and little sister are visiting this weekend, so I should have a good time and not have to be too stressed out about school - especially since I have very few assignments to do between now and finals. I just really need to do well on those tests when they come up.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Mo left to return to New York today - so we had a nice breakfast at the Velo Rouge Cafe on Arguello - they forgot to put the order in for my burrito unfortunately...but they made up for it by giving me a free Superfood Naked Juice - which was actually really tasty despite having spinach, broccoli, and wheat grass in it. I have a Probability & Statistics test at 11:35 tomorrow morning - so I spent the majority of the afternoon studying for it, taking a break to go work the telescopes for Astronomy. People get SO EXCITED when they see Saturn in all of its ring-y glory - it's awesome and hilarious. Every night someone asks "is that real?" - take a guess what they say when we point out Sirius. I can't wait for the weekend though. I've been too busy these last two weeks. The picture today is the view of the ceiling in ITS from where I sit - I think it looks pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I wish I could spend my days in the trees

Monkeys are awesome (Photo from 8/2006). A ton of people showed up for Astronomy tonight - it was great that people are interested enough in the sky to brave the cold weather. I was so excited today at work - I figured out how to use VMWare Thinapp to virtualize Microsoft Office 2007 - meaning that it can run without being installed on a computer like it would normally have to. Which means it can be put on a DVD or thumb drive or network folder and used on any computer, very cool.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I know why the polar bear is sad

Because it is freaking COLD outside! Up on the roof tonight it was less than 40F with the 40mph winds blowing around...Terrible. I also had a ton of reading to get done tonight - I'm still working on that. On the other hand though, I did great on the math test I was dreading last week! I'm really happy that I did well, it takes a TON of stress off for the remainder of the semester, at least in Non-Linear Dynamics & Chaos - especially since we're starting to work with Chaos a lot now. Also - please see yesterday's post for a comment by another John Roscigno - Dr. John Roscigno is a Professor of Music and the Director of Orchestral Studies at California State University, Northridge. Find more information about him here. While I've never had the pleasure of hearing him conduct or play, I've known his reputation for many years (and fielded a few wrong numbers intended for him while I was still in high school as a So. Cal native).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do Doo Dooo Doo Doooooooo

Well, Easter is over, but it was a lot of fun coloring the eggs on Saturday - and my dad mentioned that I used to love seeing the colors run together when we washed out the cups afterwards :) I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind in its entirety tonight for the first time - and loved it so much I'm going to get the special edition on Blu-Ray - which will make it exactly my SECOND Blu-Ray movie after Wall-E! It comes with 3 versions of the film - we watched the special edition, so I can't wait to see how the original and director's versions stack up.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Be vewy vewy's egg hunting season!

Oh how the tables turn when the parents have to hunt for eggs hidden by the children! For the last few years, my sisters and I (and recently Nick) have been re-hiding the easter eggs for my mom and dad to find after they hide them for us. Unfortunately for them, we tend to be much more devious in our hiding places than our parents. This year, I won the initial hunt finding 10 of the 36 eggs - and my mom found 19 first when going head-to-head with dad. Dinner was served with lamb, ricotta stuffed shells, and meatballs, Yummy. The ride back the San Francisco was a little painful for me, because I'm still a little sore from the batting cages yesterday. And after finishing my paper, we have the pleasure of hosting our friend Mo formerly of USF and currently of NYC for a few days! I still have a busy week ahead, but at least he paper is finished now, which was the biggest hurdle to jump.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eggs, bats, wheels, and chips!

LOOK AT THE PRETTY COLORS! We had a blast making our eggs of many colors this afternoon. Actually today was filled with stuff - batting cages, picking out my NEW RIMS for my car, coloring eggs and then dinner at Don Cuco's with a live, albeit far too loud, band :) Of course, the day wouldn't have been complete without Twinkie looking ridiculous sitting in Marie's arms - enjoy :) Hoppy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just another day in LA

I was going to post a picture taken of Eman and me - but then I saw this thing and HAD TO post it - I've never seen an ad for math classes (touting Algebra II as the tough class is pushing it I think, but still). I spent the day with Eman playing the wii and getting caught up. I tried out a Wii Fit for the first time - YOGA HURTS! I can't believe how much it hurt to hold the "half-moon" position for 30 seconds, and it's supposed to be like the easiest one! I figured out how to game the soccer heading mini-game - just shifting my weight was sufficient to rack up over 200 points. The same didn't hold true for the slalom skiing game - I was terrible at that one. We also went down to the Grove to see Duplicity - it was an alright movie - but not as good as the Ocean's trilogy in my mind. It's been really nice at home, I worked on my paper for a bit, it's coming along. Oh why not...2 pictures tonight

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No more tests this week!

He always wants a treat :p My test went pretty well - I think. Either it was deceptively hard and my mistakes made things work nicely, or I actually did well and expected it to be harder - waking up early enough to take both practice tests before the test probably did me well too... Back in SCV and spending time with Twinkie - no more pictures of him tomorrow I promise - but it's nice to be home and spend some time with my parents and Teenie gets home tomorrow too :) I should have a good time with friends tomorrow afternoon too. Until then, sweet dreams and happy days.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Test in the morning...

SO HAPPY THAT THE WEEK IS ALMOST OVER! Studying takes everything out of me - so I didn't get a photo worth posting today - but this is one of my favorite pictures of Twinkie ever - from about this time 3 years ago. I'm really happy that I don't have to write a paper for my psychology class - instead the final will be weighted more, but for me that's a plus because I'm really good at psychology tests. I'm not looking forward to writing my philosophy paper this weekend, but at least I now have all of the material in order so I can just start writing it. Marie, Nick & I will go down to SCV tomorrow afternoon for the Easter holidays - I should have an enjoyable time, I just wish I didn't have so much work to do and so much coming up next week (paper, homework, quiz, test...). I'm busy busy busy...and there's not even 30 days of class left! 6 weeks until graduation - it's coming to fast.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Study hard - play less

Another Lassen photo - that's Mt. Lassen on the right - Highest elevation is 10,462 feet (2 miles!) and my dad and I climbed it :) I spent hours studying for my Non-linear dynamics test coming up on Thursday - then tried to learn some SSH software, but couldn't get it to work for my needs. Oh well, not that important right now. Happy that the week is nearly over at least. I'll probably post a bunch of photos over the weekend (new photos at least) so bear with me during the next 2 weeks (very busy)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Monday

Chipmunks were amok in Lassen National Park when my dad and I climbed Mt. Lassen in 2007. Today was ridiculous - I almost got hit by a car crossing the street in front of campus! A guy was making a left turn in front of Harney and nearly sped up INTO ME as he was turning...while I was in the crosswalk halfway into the street - I was not amused - he looked every way except into the intersection - if I was a car going straight through he would have been in an accident. At work I printed out about 30 of the documents I have written over the past 9 months - all in all it was about 150 pages - I've written a book! Literally actually - these documents are mostly instructions for how to do various jobs within ITS. Bunny & I watched Madagascar; Back 2 Africa tonight - IT WAS FUNNY! The shark chasing was really great - afterwards a late night stroll was in order resulting in cupcakes from Walgreens :) And dad - these are what I was referring to Bubble Gum Easter Eggs

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Such a nice day!

Today was the warmest day of the year so far in San Francisco! And I spent most of it indoors working on mathematics. AWESOME! Actually overall the day was pretty relaxing despite having a ton of studying/grading to finish (I got everything I needed to do today done though). I really love this picture - I took it back in October 2006 on my first trip to the San Francisco Zoo with Marie.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I actually never owned a Super Nintendo (SNES) when I was a kid - but my friends had one and I played it often - with the Wii I can play any and all SNES or NES (or Sega Genesis...) game I want - which is great. I decided to play a little Super Mario Bros tonight - so what if I'm about 15 years late to the party - I never finished the game when I was little :p I had a great debacle with my printer this afternoon - while sending a job to the printer from my room - I went out to check on the 20pgs I had printing; The first page decided, for NO REASON, to print an 8x10" square of solid black, rendering the tank empty and forcing me to buy a new ink cartridge before I could finish anything up. WONDERFUL :( Oh and I graded some papers and stuff...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Following the leader...

Ford GTs on their way to a rally in Long Beach last year. I'm taking a class called Philosophy of the Human Person: Race Issues this semester. For my midterm/final paper I have to watch the movie Crash and analyze how racism is used - I couldn't even watch the film all the way through before having to shut it off. I'm not looking forward to putting it back on again tomorrow. At least that means my paper should be pretty easy to write, since the effectiveness is shocking. On the other hand, my day was pretty great overall. Nothing in particular stood out, but I was calm and content and happy throughout. I'm not looking forward to my math test next week, or writing this paper, or the quizzes and tests in 2 weeks, but I'm doing well in my own way.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

NASA Grants are fun

The physics department got a grant from NASA this year - so they purchased 3(!) 12" Meade telescopes with all the bells and whistles - They're amazing machines and so much fun to use. One caveat - the rooftop that we have night sessions on is completely open to as much wind as San Francisco cares to supply us with (which is TONS) It's ridiculously cold up there and the wind makes for really touchy viewing. But looking at the Orion Nebula is fantastic - we haven't stayed up there late enough to get some of the dimmer deep sky objects, but I'm thinking we'll head up late one night just for fun sometime soon. I unfortunately don't get to use the 20" research scope they also bought, because its DOME hasn't been built yet - but I've been granted admission to use it whenever I come to visit the physics department :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009