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rest of connectathon, weekend with Sara

For the rest of connectathon, as is often the case, we didn't accomplish what we set out to, but made some useful progress anyway; for example, we didn't manage to get our locking patches working on GFS, but we at least made some progress towards getting a GFS cluster set up. The intended ACL interoperability testing was a bit more of a loss. People found some good bugs in my integrity and privacy code. One nice thing is that there are now people from Redhat, SGI, and others who are use code that's just modified versions of mainline linux code, so their testing helps a lot.

I took off the Sunday in the middle and visited the art museum in San Jose, which has pretty interesting stuff. My favorite was a piece called "listening post", built out of software-controlled LEDs and speakers which presented a multi-movement "piece" based on words culled from conversations in some internet forum. They didn't say with. If they had I suppose people like me might have been tempted to seed it with our own stuff just to see what happened, so maybe it's best they didn't.

The Thursday at the end of connectathon I worked most of the day, and then Sara arrived that night. Friday we went to the art museum again, and the quilt museum (also interesting), and made a brief stop into a little comic book store which turned out to be just a little corner of a warehouse-like building full of boxes, with a office off to the side and people working and drawing--so apparently it was actually a complete publishing house. We probably should have asked for a tour or something.

We'd contacted some friends and family to set up visits with them while we were around, but we almost set up more than we could handle. Saturday we took the caltrain to San Francisco, walked to union square, looked at a few interesting stores (including a four-story fabric store next to union square), then met Sara's high school friend and wife for lunch in the basement of Macy's. Then at four my juggling friend Marc met us at the Berkeley Bart stop and took us on a whirlwind tour of Berkeley--the city, the campus, and his lab up on the hill. The city wasn't quite so interesting thanks to rain, but the lab was fascinating, and had great views of the bay.

Then we got in his car and drove down to Alameda to have dinner at "Pasta Pelican" with my high school friend Tim, his wife Ingrid, and their daughter Isabel. The dinner was good, and everybody seemed to have a good time. Isabel could understandably have been extremely bored by the whole thing, but she was very patient with us.

We went back to Marc's for the night, and stayed up late talking and playing with his toys. "Ricochet Robots", should you ever have a geek in need of a fun game, is a very nice little puzzle-like game.

Sunday night Marc fed us a quick breakfast and then we headed back to San Francisco to meet Sara's aunt, uncle, and cousin--who by coincidence we met on the Bart there. Together we walked around the arboretum in Golden Gate Park, as we had a few years ago with them, then had a lunch at a nearby Thai place, and returned afterwards to their place to watch some of Bruce's stuff. Sara's uncle has always had some health problems and seems to tire out around noon. We watched a short of his--he speculated that it would be his last movie, part of a documentary project that ran into rights-clearing problems (among other problems) before it could be finished--and watched one episode of Buck Rogers. Buck Rogers reminds me of a silent film--I think it's the overacting, and something I can't pin down about how they put the scenes together.

Then finally we took the train back to San Jose just in time to meet a college friend (Cary) and some of his friends for a production of "Camelot". The trip back didn't go quite as smoothly as it could have because we just missed the Bart-Caltrain connection at Bayshore. I think the only way to make that connection is to buy tickets ahead of time so you don't have to stop at the ticket machine. Given that, though, it would have been quite doable.

I enjoyed Camelot, but can't say I loved it. It's sort of odd and interesting to have a musical devoted to an abstract principal other than love. Instead of ending with a big kiss or something, it ends with Arthur proclaiming the importance of the rule of law. We intended to have some food together afterwards, since we were right next to San Jose's big restaurant and entertainment district. But that late on a Sunday night it was pretty deserted. We managed to find osmething anyway, and had a fun talk about Harry Potter, while sitting on a bench outside next to the light rail tracks.

connectathon day 2

I did a little more bug fixing today and worked on our cluster locking patches, sending out a new version to the relevant mailing lists. That part makes me nervous--I feel like despite the eons we've been tossing these patches around, they still aren't really done--so I'd rather we waited until we were able to get a few more things figured out. Oh well; perhaps we'll get some useful feedback.

Beer and big heavy food seems to be the preference of a lot of people at these meetings. We end up going to a lot of brewpubs and such. After a few days I find myself craving a salad. The restaurants we go to will have salads, of course, but usually with lots of meat, cheese, dressing.... And I like an occasional beer but it tends to wake me up at night for some reason, and when I'm out west and already inclined to wake up too early, that doesn't help.

connectathon day 1

Thanks to our procrastination on hotel reservations, we got rooms on the super-secret 18th floor. The main difference, as far as I can tell, is that you get the New York Times instead of the USA Today that the peons on floor 17th or below have to settle for. Oh, OK, and they have a breakfast buffet that's actually pretty nice.

I spent most of the day fixing my own stupid ACL bugs in preparation for ACL testing. It was reasonably productive.

We ate dinner with Redhat people at Gordon Biersch, an overly noisy and crowded brewpub chain which some of the others have a mysterious fondness for.

I have found it, flight

Monday and Tuesday night Sara and I watched another indian musical, "I Have Found It" ("Kandukondain Kandukondain"). Sara didn't seem to think much of it, but I thought it was actually really great. Some of the dance sequences were ridiculous, and the worship of the female star (Aishwarya Rai) is a bit much, but I liked the music--it seemed more classical than some, with an emphasis on these lovely, highly ornamented, vocals. The movie had a good sense of humor and kept me pleasantly disoriented.

Today I went in to work for a couple hours, then rode to the airport with Fred and Andy for our flight to San Jose. It was boring, boring, boring, but it got me here. Tommorow Connectathon starts, and there's tons of work to do.

debugging, git docs, cold fingers

I'm a great fan of the git version control system. It needs more documentation, so I've been trying to help. Actually their real problem isn't so much lack of documentation--almost everything is documented somewhere. But existing documentation isn't really organized to give a clear path from newbie to proficient user. So my latest project has been to put together a comprehensive user manual. It's an interesting challenge to figure out how to organize stuff into logical sections in a way that's readable from start to finish without requiring forward references, while also being usable for the more likely case of someone skipping ahead to find what they need for the job at hand.

The current attempt is really rough, with some parts not proofread and other parts just cut-and-pasted from existing documentation with minimal editing. But it's starting to get there, and hopefully I'll be able to get more people to pitch in soon.

Anyway, so when I wasn't being social that's what I spent a lot of my time on over the weekend. I also tried to debug a subtle problem that causes NFSv4 to fail when run with encryption turned on. With some help from git I found a change to the crypto code that appears to have triggered the problem, but it's not code I understand very well yet. I also managed to find a simple test that reliably triggers the problem. These problems are always tricky, though, because one of my main debugging tools (wireshark) is hobbled by the encryption.

I rode into work this morning with temperatures in the teens. It wasn't too bad--my one problem as usual is that I can't find mittens that reliably keep my fingers protected in this cold. At every red light I drop the handlebars and make my hands into fists inside the mittens.

My toes and forehead were suffering a little too. Maybe I should stop by Bivouac on my way home for some mitten and balaklava shopping.

Daruma Otoshi

While visiting my family in Japan, one of their friends gave me a Daruma Otoshi toy, which is made of up of stacked wooden cylindrical blocks with a hole through the middle of each and a head on top. When lined up correctly, the handle of a hammer passes through the whole stack, for convenient storage. To play, you take the handle out and attempt to knock the bottom cylinder out while leaving the rest of the stack standing. Supposedly you should be able to repeat this, removing all of the blocks and leaving only the head standing. I've yet to see anyone do this succesfully.

Several of us made an attempt again last night, though, when we had some friends over after juggling. The plan was to watch a movie ("the Beat my Heart Skipped"), but we never quite got around to it.

orchestra matrix

The UM school of music has four orchestras with similar sounding names; it takes some digging to find the secret decoder ring:

more selective less selective
for majors USO UPO
for non-majors CSO CPO

U is for "University", C for "Campus", P for "philharmonia", and S for "symphony". You can figure out "O" for yourself. Presumably quality increases as you go northwest.

They're actually all open to everyone, so the major/non-major stuff appears to be just a suggestion, and of course they would never describe anything as "less selective", so they say "highly" and "most". Good grief.

Then of course there's the bands, and random other orchestras outside the school of music (like the "Life Sciences Orchestra").

So anyway, we saw a UPO concert last night. I could occasionally hear something a little out of tune or whatever, but not so much that it bothered me; they were really pretty good. They played a fun premiere (by someone I assume is a grad student), then a couple piano concertos, finishing with prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije", which it turns out is one of those pieces you've heard most of before, even if you think you haven't. (And you've heard it before for good reason--it's got lots of interesting and fun stuff in it!)

The piano concertos were Prokofiev's first, and the first movement of Rachmaninoff's first. Both of them are packed with crazy loud fast technical stuff, so you can enjoy watching them played just as a sort of athletic event. I can't say I really love either of them, though.

Today I worked at home while I did laundry and some other odd chores, and then got into the office in the afternoon and stayed a little late. I rode home, and very much missed the balaklava I lost on the bus a couple weeks ago--my face and ears were in such pain that I had to just stop and walk a while at the end. Maybe tomorrow I could do some shopping for a replacement.

dancing spies

It took us a few days, but we finally made it through a particularly cheesy Bollywood movie called "The Hero: Love Story of a Spy". If we'd skipped the simple-minded politics and the silly violence and just watched the song-and-dance bits, it would have been pretty good, I think.

For some reason (budget, I suppose) the Canadian actors (or maybe they were American--anyway, the "white" folks with North American-ish accents) were sometimes really bad--lines would be delivered totally without expression, for example. Their dancing didn't seem that great either, not that I'm any judge.

I finally got my bike back from the shop this morning, but rode it just as far as work and then left it there. Maybe tomorrow I'll actually ride home.

Hm, and one of these days I need to finally get around to replacing my decrepit panniers.

hardy cyclists

Today Get Downtown held a "worst day of the year" ride as part of a program to promote year-round cycling. The weather worked out pretty well--I don't think you could say it was really *the* worst day of the year, but it was respectable by local standards--a high in the mid twenties, snow on the ground, and more snow coming down throughout the day.

I didn't ride--I'm a firm believer in riding to get from point A to point B rather than riding around in circles just for the heck of it. But it seemed like something worth supporting, so I showed up at the end to help park (and keep an eye on) people's bicycles outside the local brewpub where they were holding the post-ride celebration.

So, I stood out in the cold for a while, went in for a pint and some of the free snacks, stood out in the cold some more, then went back in for another pint. (I'm more of a one-pint-at-a-time person, but someone offered to buy me a second one, so what could I do).

I walked back home by way of the coop, bringing home a few groceries. It was quite a day for walking--I'd also walked in by way of the (not at all on the way) bike store, intending to pick up my repaired bike, but found them closed.

The new shoes I got in Arizona are holding up well.


The trees finally seem to have shedded most of their ice, only to be covered in snow now. The snowfall hasn't been that heavy yet, though.

Instead of going to the LUG meeting last night, I watched "Masculin Féminin" and made another attempt to get Debian running on my NSLU2. No luck with the latter, but I finished the movie and every last little extra interview.


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