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Sunday, September 13th, 2009
11:43 pm - On the importance of diversification...
One of the Fool.com newsletters recently made a sell recommendation on a stock that's been a huge loss. I was reading the board for that stock tonight because I'm actually ignoring the sell recommendation and was wondering what others in the community are doing.

Apparently, this recommendation has raised a bit of a stink. :)

Someone had posted about how well stocks had done *after* this newsletter had recommended a sell; basically all of them were up, some fairly substantially. After reading the comments on that thread, I realized how important it is for my sanity to be heavily diversified, and posted a comment of my own.

Read more...Collapse )

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009
12:09 pm - Pool party!
Sunday, 2PM-???. Grill will be going and I'll have burgers and chicken, but feel free to bring something else by if you want.

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Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
2:32 pm - Lets memorialize memorial day!
Party at cowhaus, Monday, Memorial Day (the 25th).

Start at 2PM. I'm going to smoke a brisket and probably do something else as well. We have some soda, but I believe the beer supply is low, so please bring some if you plan on drinking. If you're feeling motivated to bring food of some sort please just comment so we can cowordinate.

Don't forget that we have a pool. :)

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Friday, April 3rd, 2009
12:40 am - I wouldn't normally post a video...
... but this struck me as quite funny:

Keith And Cody Halloween

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Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
4:02 pm - No email for a while
Just to let folks know, we're switching DSL providers at cowhaus, which thanks to some unknown stupidity will actually take more than a day. Until that's done I most likely won't be able to receive email (it's all queuing on my secondary MX).

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Monday, December 15th, 2008
9:10 pm - It's that time of year again!
Namely... a week before Christmas!

This year, I'm thinking Fogo de Chao. So, what day works best for people?

Poll #1315898 Fogo de Chao

Which day works best?

Friday
0(0.0%)
Saturday
3(30.0%)
I'm allergic to meat
1(10.0%)
CmdrTaco
5(50.0%)

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Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
10:21 am - The *real* reason for this economic crisis
Or, put another way, why all of you should keep building up debt while I'm paying mine off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8&NR=1

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
7:34 am - Goin' vertical
My old man has decided that it's time to go vertical and climb North America's 2nd tallest building (and hell, probably the tallest set of stairs). If you've got some pocket change to spare, you might consider donating; it's for cancer research.

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Thursday, September 25th, 2008
9:04 am - POP! Where'd all the money go??
If you're even remotely curious or concerned about the current financial market problems, you NEED to listen to http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=355. It does an excellent job of explaining exactly how we got into this mess. Also some sobering information... the credit crunch is so bad right now that the country of Iceland had to raise the rates on it's bonds to 15% to get people to buy! They'd be better off using credit cards! (Hmm... I wonder where I can find some of those bonds...)

Makes me wonder... if we just allow a bunch of these companies to fail, maybe no one will be able to figure out who owns what mortgage. No more foreclosures, housing market starts to recover.

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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
9:42 am - What's the point?
After passing the 528,294th yard sign promoting McCain or Obama yesterday, a thought occurred to me. "Why?"

I can only think of 3 reasons to have a yard sign for a political candidate:

1. To raise awareness of that candidate's existence.
2. To encourage others to vote for that candidate.
3. To keep your grass from floating away.

Now, if you haven't heard of both McCain and Obama at this point, I don't think I want you voting in the first place. And last I looked, grass generally didn't just float away. So I guess it must be #2.

But does that really make sense? I can maybe see yard signs making a difference when it comes to city comptroller, but in this age of "You're either with us or against us, you dirty scum!" politics, is anyone going to swayed to vote for "the dark side" based on a yard sign?

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Saturday, August 9th, 2008
7:52 pm - Pool party!
Tomorrow, cowhaus. I should be there by about 3. I'm providing burgers and whatever else looks good at Sam's. Beer would be appreciated.

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Monday, July 28th, 2008
10:54 pm - Turn on the light
Erica's oldest (Sahara) is 12. Of course if anything defines being a pre-teen, it's drama. Any time she sees us kissing, a giant "EEWWWWWWWWWWWW!" is guaranteed to ensue. It's a miracle her eyes haven't fallen out with all the eye rolling and other "looks" she's constantly dishing out... Of course it's mostly all show and drama for attention, but sometimes you have to wonder... :)

We're on vacation right now; the 4 of us in one room with two double beds. The other night we'd turned off the lights and were going to sleep. Sahara turns on the light to look for something and that's when she discovers I've got my arm around Erica. Of course that elicits more drama of some form. Light goes out again.

At this point she informs us that "oh, yeah, and I heard you guys last night, too". Erica asks "heard us what? Talking?"

"Yeah, coming up with ways to torture me."

"Oh, we don't have to talk about that; we just know what to do."

At this point we hear the "GASP!" that we knew was coming... but what followed wasn't exactly expected... in an overly exasperated voice we hear "Hang on, I have to turn turn on the light to give you a look!"

The look was lost in the other 3 of us laughing...

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Monday, May 26th, 2008
12:58 am - Pool party!
Cowhaus, starting at 2PM. I'll have burgers, brisket, chicken, probably jalapeno poppers, quesidillas, etc. Oh yeah, and a pool.

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Saturday, April 26th, 2008
11:05 am - First meeting of the Austin Postgres Users Group, May 6th, 6PM
Part of Austin's Geek culture? Work for a company using an open source database? Interested in Keeping Postgres Weird?

Then join us at the first meeting of the Austin Postgres User's Group on Tuesday, May 6th at 6PM!

The rough agenda will be:
6:00 - 6:30 Meet 'n greet
6:30 - 7:15 Discuss goals for the AustinPUG
7:15 - 7:45 Presentation: What's new it 8.3?
7:45 - 8:00 Wrap-up

The meeting will be held at Sun's offices in Riata:

Sun Microsystems
Building 8 - Longhorn Conference Room
5300 Riata Park Ct
Austin, TX 78727
Map

We will have to register everyone who is attending as a visitor; to make this as efficient as possible, please RSVP to austinpug@decibel.org. Oh, and there's one more reason to register...

FREE PIZZA!

I'll be ordering from Mangia's; please let me know if you'd rather chow down on spinach, pepperoni, or Chicago style (or if you really can't eat any of the above...)

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
4:49 pm - Why I love my girlfriend...
Nasby Jim: T-50
Nasby Jim: :P
Aestas08: does that mean you miss me? :P
Nasby Jim: either that or I just like countdowns
Aestas08: you're an engineer...probably the countdown
Nasby Jim: I have... The Knack
Aestas08: for countdowns?
Nasby Jim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmYDgncMhXw
Aestas08: utter social ineptitude
Aestas08: explains the inability to sweet-talk a girl :P
Nasby Jim: or to know it's required :P
Aestas08: kinda defeats the purpose of "sweet talk" if you have to be told "start...NOW!"
Nasby Jim: it would certainly make it easier
Nasby Jim: eventually my brain would grow synapses that tie recognition of that phrase to the the sweet-talk generation routine
Aestas08: uh huh...takes the romance out of it when you have to ask lol
Nasby Jim: so you're saying it would be better if random() called into sweet_talk() ?
Aestas08: um...maybe...?
Aestas08: you're so cute when you start talking geek to me :)

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Monday, March 31st, 2008
9:30 am - TDE at ECR, day 2 / wrap-up
I've come to the conclusion that pushing a car to it's limits on a track requires a certain amount of faith. Not faith in God (though that might not hurt), but faith in the car, and faith that the car will actually take care of tracking the correct line without you actively watching it. The more you're looking ahead, the less you can directly see what the car is actually doing. But at ECR, looking ahead becomes pretty critical, through corners like 3 and 6, and moreso 9 and 11 where the outside of the turn has some very intimidating barriers. (track map)

But before you can have faith that the car will follow the line that you've put it on, you have to have faith that it's actually capable of what you're asking it to do. I had that on the second day of TWS; I was actually doing really well until brain-fade and fatigue started setting in in the last session. I also had it somewhat early on at this event, but then I lost it. I think things started downhill with my first spin on Saturday... the lesson I'd finally learned at TWS was that if the back of the NSX starts stepping out, you give it throttle. Of course, that's very counter-intuitive, especially if you're already a bit too hot going into a corner. And it's something I failed to do very well at this weekend (though I did save 2 spins by keeping my foot in it).

Another challenge was dealing with braking. At TWS I could get away with modulating the brakes. This makes it much easier to setup the car for the correct corner entry speed, but heats the brakes more. You do not want more heat in your brakes at ECR! So I was really forced to learn threshold braking. To top it off, ECR isn't very forgiving if you end up off-line.

Add it all up and I ended up getting slower on my second day. I'd lost confidence in the car and to some degree in my ability. Chris even took me out in the car to show me what it could actually do. Unlike at TWS, I was actually nervous at several corners for at least the first 2 laps... all I could focus on were looming hay bales. (BTW, these weren't the nice, fluffy square bales... they're the huge roles you now see in fields. My understanding is that these typically weigh over 1000 lbs) So, it was hard for me to appreciate what the car was actually capable of.

Lest anyone thing the weekend was really a bust though, I had a hell of a lot of fun and did manage to learn a lot. I think I now have a pretty good handle on threshold braking. I'm starting to work on heel-toe, but even without it I was able to pull off some OK shifting. ECR was an amazing introduction to the nuances you get from elevation changes and off-camber tracks.

In the end, I think TDE was very wise to limit this event to non-novices only, and to drop a lot of folks down a run group. I think they should probably keep that practice up. It might also be good to make sure students understand that they really need to have a good, solid feel for what their car can do before running here... that's probably the biggest thing that hurt me. (Of course, if you'd asked me if I felt I had a handle on the car after TWS, I likely would have said yes ;)

The flip-side is that it would be bad to intimidate people away from running at ECR. I suspect it probably requires more base-line skill than any of the other tracks TDE runs at, but it's also a tremendous learning environment. They've had numerous professional drivers out there, and they've all said that it's a very challenging course to learn. But that means that you get that much more fun out of it once you have learned it. I definitely plan on being back there...

BTW, I'm already registered for MSR on May 3 & 4.

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Saturday, March 29th, 2008
7:41 pm - You spin me right round, baby right round...
(no, I'm not talking about Erica, thought it's still fitting ;) )

Last month I followed Nugget and equiraptor's example and did a Driver's Edge event at Texas World Speedway. Had a blast, and made serious improvements to my driving. Good enough that my instructor didn't even join me for the last 3 sessions on Sunday, and I was recommended to move to blue for my next event.

So... I signed up for the next event that was available, which is happening right now at Eagle's Canyon. Holy cow, what a different track. This is setup to be a FIA/Formula 1 type track. Lots of straights, but more importantly, lots of *very* interesting corners, and lots of elevation change.

Most important, this course is *very* demanding! You have to be on top of your game here. Almost all the turns are off-camber (meaning that the track surface falls away) and/or have an elevation change. And the course is *very* hard on brakes. At TWS, I could get away with modulating my braking somewhat, which meant that I didn't have to be very accurate on when I started braking for a turn. Absolutely not the case here, and it's been causing me trouble all day. I spun three times today, from screwing up my braking and going into a corner too hot. That's something that an NSX won't forgive you on, especially on this track. To make things more interesting, there's several places where if you go off-track, you're almost guaranteed to hurt the car. I did manage to do just that, though luckily it's just a small paint scratch (I must have gotten a rock between the apex cone and the car...).

Also, the brakes on the NSX are just not cutting it. Apparently, this is a known problem on the "1st gen" NSXes; the front brakes are very prone to overheating. Not only am I boiling some fluid (and this is even DOT4 stuff), but I'm actually cooking some pad material onto the rotors. I'm told there's not really much that can be done for the stock setup, though perhaps I can get it on the lift and find a place for some ducting. Long-term, I'm probably going to have to upgrade, and that means new rims. And in reality, it probably means 2 sets of rims, because I don't want to take nice rims to the track. What sucks about that is if I do that, I want race tires mounted on the second set... but those aren't good for the street, and I have no good way to get them to the track, unless I start trailering the car. Ugh...

On the bright side, I definitely feel like I'm improving. My lines are decent, at least when I'm not dealing with traffic that's unpredictable (this track has a lot of people off-balance...). But I think they're better than when I was at TWS. I've definitely gotten threshold braking down; now I just need to allow myself a buffer-zone so that I won't be going into corners too hot. I also need to get better at adding throttle when the car starts to let loose. I probably could have saved at least one if not all three of the spins today had I done that.

Now I just need to convince Erica to do an autocross... :>

Oh, and Paradox and Leto need to get out here; no excuses about cars not meant for the track! There's plenty of Audi's here (including an S4), and several Lexi (including an SC400 driven on hand controls).

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
11:10 pm - Some interesting factoids about the Easter and the Calendar
As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).

This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Found out a couple of things you might be interested in!

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

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Friday, February 22nd, 2008
2:36 am - SXSW 2008 Torrent now available
Thanks to ghewgill, there's now a torrent for all the SXSW 2008 bands. The torrent is available at http://hewgill.com/sxsw/

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Thursday, February 14th, 2008
9:51 pm - Just remember... I love you!

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