June 29, 2005

Salsa – Street Fighter Style

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 9:37 pm

http://ncity.net/seokjooseongmi.wmv Who knew Chun-Li and Ryu could dance so well?

June 28, 2005


Filed under: Technology — mmrobins @ 7:59 pm

del.icio.us is a site that I’ve known about for a while, but haven’t tried it until now. It’s a social bookmarking site. My verdict is that it is cool, especially since I like organizing and categorizing things to death. It’s like Flickr for bookmarks. My del.icio.us site is http://del.icio.us. If anyone else sets one of these up let me know what your del.icio.us id is. We’ll see how much I actually make use of it.

June 26, 2005

Hiking Near Mount Rainier With Jake

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 9:43 pm

Kim, Jake and I drove down to Mount Rainier this Friday to go camping and hiking. We got in a little late and camped at the Ohanepecosh campground, which we found out later you can reserve spot for online. But who really wants to reserve a site before they see it? They don’t post which sites are reserved at the camp site, which is a royal pain. We picked two sites, and both times we went to register and found out they were reserved. Fortunately, the campground is huge, so we went to H loop and finally found a nice spot, isolated but still close to the comfort station (their euphemism, not mine).

Jake’s brother Judd and his girlfriend Sherri met us Saturday morning and got a site next to us. Jake and Judd look and awful lot alike. They brought their two dogs with them, which almost seemed a shame since they’re not allowed on most of the hiking trails. We hiked up the summer land trail, and it was beautiful out. We took our time, enjoyed the trees, flowers, and views of Rainier. On the way down we even saw a black bear a ways off.

Back at camp Sherri and Judd had burrito fixings that seemed gourmet for camping. They were nice enough to share them with us after we used a tent pole with a bungi cord hook to unlock Sherri’s truck, where she thought she had locked her keys (turned out after we broke in that they were in her fanny pack). Jake and I had some opportunities to talk a lot about politics, religion, society, and books, and it was good conversation. Jake is quite a bit more conservative than I am, and it’s rare that I get to talk to anyone politically conservative and still feel that I’m having an intelligent conversation.

Sherri and Judd left Sunday morning, but Jake, Kim and I went and hiked near Paradise. It was a little overcast, but it was still a nice short hike and we saw a marmot like animal and a pretty waterfall. We got back Sunday evening and there were chores to do that I had been putting off, but it was worth it to have a nice weekend outdoors.

June 23, 2005

Batman Begins Rules!

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 10:21 pm

Kim, Gabe and I just went to see the new Batman movie, and I’m more than pleasantly surprised. It’s directed by Christopher Nolan, the same guy who directed Memento, which is probably my favorite movie of all time, and his directing skill shows in Batman Begins. Plus he helped write the screenplay. Chrisian Bale makes a pretty good Batman too, and this time, Batman steals the show, not the bad guys. I was surprised to see Batman on the IMDB top 250, but after seeing it, I’m not.

Wild Divine

Filed under: General,Technology — mmrobins @ 10:21 pm

After coming home from Kripalu I was reading a magazine on the plane and there was a cool ‘video game’ in an add. It’s called The Journey to Wild Divine, and is played using biofeedback sensors that measure your heart rate variability and skin conductance. It can measure how relaxed or tense you are, so it especially appealed to me after being at Kripalu. I’ve been playing it for a while now and it’s definitely very cool. The plot of the game is a little weird sometimes, but it’s extremely cool to see a video game react to your breathing and stress level. For example, there’s an elevator and if you flex your muscles and shout it goes up, while if you breath deeply and relax it goes down. One of the weirdest parts is a section where two people are involved, each person with a finger in the sensors, and it tells you to hold hands. If you let go of each other’s hands the game recognizes it and tells you. The gameplay is like Myst, with static predrawn scenes that have one or two interactive pieces you can click on. The music is nice and relaxing, but nothing I would listen to on my own. There’s definitely some hard parts too. Some of the challenges require you to be very relaxed, and it definitely takes some practice unless you’re already really good at meditation. Of course, it’s a bit expensive, and they want to sell you all sorts of expansions, but it’s novel enough that I can understand the price. It’s about time video games did something different like this.

June 22, 2005

Setting Up A PVR

Filed under: General,Technology — mmrobins @ 6:16 pm

Gabe has a computer that we’ve designated as the media server at our house to hold music, movies and other media files. I’ve always wanted to try to setup a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) to record TV, basically like a Tivo. I got a good deal on a Hauppauge Win-TV-250 TV tuner card and went about setting up the software. This proved more difficult than I thought. I always heard MythTV was cool so I downloaded Knoppmyth to try to get it running but didn’t have much luck. The TV signal didn’t come in and I don’t think there’s any way that it was gonna easily support the wireless internet card.

The server already had Windows XP on it, so I figured rather than trying to download a linux distro with good wireless support and then configuring MythTV I’d try finding some windows PVR software.

The first thing I tried was BeyondTV, which isn’t free but had a trial period. It worked great right out of the install, but it didn’t have a way to play music or other movies off the hard drive. You could configure the remote to control other programs like Winamp or Windows Media Player, but it wasn’t very slick.

So far I’ve settled on an open source piece of software for windows called Media Portal. So far it looks like it does almost everything I want well. It took a little while to get setup, but it looks like it’s under pretty heavy devolopment so I imagine it’s going to improve quickly. I think the hardest thing was getting the tv schedule using XMLTV, which you have to download and configure to use a Zap2it account. It seems a little buggy watching TV sometimes, but the music and movies interfaces are awesome.

I may still try to configure MythTV sometime on Fedora Core 4, but only if I find the time.

June 21, 2005

Golden Gardens With Jake

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 5:22 pm

Jake invited us down to Golden Gardens last night to hang out with him and his navy buddies. Brian came with. The weather has been beautiful and the beach was packed. We never jumped in the water as Jake planned, but we had a good time barBQing and talking. They made us put the fires out around 10:30. Seems kinda lame to me. Jacob and Waleska showed up later in the evening. Jacob’s been getting to fly in the Boeing 777 for testing which sounds cool. He also just bought a boat. I can’t wait to see this.

June 18, 2005

Eco Encore Moving Day

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 4:42 pm

Kim’s new desk

A bunch of people helped Eco Encore move from their Ballard location to South Seattle. Brian came to help and we got it done just after noon. The new office is bigger and kinda weird. It’s divided up into cubicles and next the the Asian empowerment offices.

I dropped Brian and Kim off at the Freemont Fair, but didn’t feel like going myself since I felt really tired and a bit sick.

Back From The East Part 3 – Wedding Sites And Family

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 4:34 pm

After leaving Kripalu, Roslyn was nice enough to drive us around and look at wedding locations. We had looked at one site on the way to Kripalu with Abbey and Marc, but it wasn’t very promising. This day though, each site just seemed to get better and better. We’re looking into renting a big house for a week and having the wedding and reception there. Wedding sites are a rip off in my opinion since you can pay a $2500 site fee and get the place for only a few hours. We can rent a house for that price and have it for a week. We saw some houses, and also a few nice inns and bed and breakfasts that could work too. It was fun, but a little overwhelming.

My favorite site was a big house overlooking two ponds. The house was in good shape and the property was awesome. The guy who owns it has a cool little cabin up the hill from the house with an even better view and another pond with fish. There will be hay bales in the fall when we plan to have it and the trees will all be changing. There’s just so many damned details to plan though. Good thing we’re taking out time or else I think it would drive me crazy. Roslyn seems to be excited to help though and has a lot of good ideas, so it’s nice to be reminded that Kim and I won’t be doing this whole wedding thing by ourselves.

Roslyn dropped us off late at Kim’s Grandma’s house. We tried sleeping upstairs but it was way too hot and muggy so we slept on the floor downstairs. The next day we chatted with Marc and his parents for a while, spent some time talking to Aunt Mary Anne and Grandma Josephine, and then it was off to the airport for another long night of traveling to get home.

June 17, 2005

Back From The East Part 2 – Kripalu

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 10:11 pm

This part of our vacation was the longest in duration since it lasted a week, but time at Kripalu is weird and I’m not sure how long it felt like it lasted, a few days or a month. Kripalu is a yoga retreat center where you can go to relax, get in touch with yourself, or whatever it is you want to do. Kim and I signed up for the seva volunteer program, because otherwise it’s expensive. The deal is that we work 35 hours during the week and in exchange get room and board and access to whatever programs are going on during our off hours.

I know as a generalization most guys probably don’t have any desire to go to a yoga retreat center, but they also probably don’t know that the ratio of girls to guys is probably close to 6:1. It’s just that most of the women are middle aged and as a few women there described themselves to me “crazy”. Seriously though, everyone I met there was incredibly nice and supportive. It’s an amazing atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re removed from the ‘real world’. You come out wondering why people in the outside world can’t be as accepting and peaceful. Perhaps one day the rest of the world can, but that’s a whole different topic.

Sunday evening when we arrived we found our rooms and attended a seva orientation. I got a top bunk in a room with two other guys named Noah and Jim. Kim was in a sleeping porch style bunk area with about 30 other women. At the orientation we met the other sevas and got our work assignments. I got maintenance crew and Kim got kitchen. Both my room mates were on maintenance so we got to spend a lot of time together and I liked them both a lot. Noah and I got along really well and hung out outside of work and seva stuff. Jim was a bit older than us and did his own thing on his off hours, but was a great guy to work with.

The days at Kripalu can be as full as you want them to be, and usually a little fuller. The first yoga session was at 5:45 AM and I’m proud to say that I went more than a couple times. After yoga came breakfast, which was eaten in complete silence. It’s a surreal experience, but I highly recommend it after a week of doing so. Kim says she likes it because nobody talks to her in the morning so she doesn’t have to pretend that she’s not grumpy and tired. After breakfast is work from 8 until lunch at noon then back to work at 1 and out by 4 if not earlier. You could do workshops at lunch hour, but it was hard to fit in with eating. The work schedule was pretty lax which was awesome. Then there was afternoon yoga at 4:15. Then every evening there was something different to do: dances, bands, lectures, meditations, drumming circles, etc. Lights out was at 9:30, but my room mates didn’t care so we didn’t enforce that.

I mostly worked helping Carl remodel the women’s sauna area. I had some tool experience so I got to use the power tools and help frame quite a bit. We also moved a lot of furniture. Kim mostly washed dishes and cleaned the floors. I think she may have thought she was signing up for food prep, but I think she had a good experience anyway since she got to be good friends with a few of the people she worked with.

The best part of it all was just meeting and hanging out with the really cool people that came from all over. We did extreme yoga in the hall one night. We went down to the lake to go swimming all the time, and Noah and I accidentally ‘stole’ some kayaks we thought belonged to kripalu but were actually someone else’s. They were really nice and said it was okay that we took them out on the lake though. We almost always ate the food outside with groups of people at picnic tables with a gorgeous view of the lake. We played soccer, listened to lots of music, danced, sang at a kirtan, went into town for ice cream one night, and talked a lot.

I didn’t check my cell phone or email until the end of the time I was there and it was wonderful. Our mail server went down at work so poor Dennis had a terrible week while I was gone getting it back up. It was a great relaxing vacation and the work I had to do didn’t even feel like work. I was more than happy to do some physical labor for a week since it’s a wonderful change of pace from working a computer desk job.

Sunday came and we said our goodbyes and Roslyn picked us up to look at wedding sites in the Berkshires.