Friday, October 10, 2014


This sort of thing makes me feel better about stupid mistakes in my own software.  I still hate it, but it's nice to know other apps have issues that our own testing catches.  Says we're doing something right.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Geocaching 2014 - Two Days in a Row

I'm very proud of getting out two days in a row.  Felt nice to be out in nature wandering around.  At least for the six days until it snows.

This one was over in Lebanon Hills Park.  I almost gave up on it because of the mosquitoes until I walked past this log on the way out.  It wasn't upright like that when I walked past it.  I had to turn it over.

You can see the hidey hole better in this picture.

I also found this one with a poo sculpture.  Classy!  I don't know that I've ever thought, "This would be better with a poo sculpture on it."  A lady walked past while I was signing the log and moving goodies back and forth.  I said "hi" but she glared at me and kept walking without a word.  I suspect she thought I was a friendly rapist.

I grabbed the travel bug out of the poo cache. He teaches love at the end of a gun and has a goal to travel the world with that message.  Carry on Sheriff Lifemessage.

Twin Cities Code Camp 17

On Saturday I went to the Twin Cities Code Camp 17 at the U of MN.  I came away empty handed - no raffle walk in Tardis for me - but I had a good time.

We changed venues this year, as in a different building, but still U of MN.  We were in Rapson Hall, the architecture building, named for Ralph Rapson who built the original Guthrie Theater.

Here it is.  It's also famous in our household for being the place where my wife and I met.  The guy between us skipped class all quarter and, unlike any other class I had, it had assigned seating.  So I gave my wife a ride home to Coon Rapids on my way to Monticello now and then and we eventually got married.  There are some sexed up rabbits and a break up over a picnic table in the middle there, but that's water next to the picnic table (and under the bridge - literally - it was right down the river).

I caught Next Generation Web Applications with React by Eric Brandes.  He said it wouldn't be his most polished presentation, but it was very good.  Acceptance Test Driven Development by Benoy John, which violated my rule I always violate about stick to tech and not softer business presentations.  I was disappointed for me, because it covered ground I already knew and I contributed more than I learned.  But the presentation was well done and I get hold of his Powerpoint I'll share it with my business with a note that security testing belongs in more than one quadrant.  Angular, TypeScript, and Project Katana by Justin Wendtlandt was the one that went over my head at times.  There's always one of those.  But there were plenty of little bits to pick out of it, including some things that clarified proof of concept work my team was engaged in at work.

I walked past Folwell Hall on my way to Rapson.  It hasn't changed.  It's where I took Finnish lessons as an undergraduate and one partial Latin reading class before I realized I was going to stay in the US with my wife rather than head off to Wales or England to study graduate Tudor/Stuart history.

I've always liked the horses with their shields on the roof.  They look sort of like backward, fat turtles holding onto their shells from afar, until you stare at them for a while and they resolve.

I skipped the 2-3:00 class period because I always skip one period.  It's sort of a pick me up.  I spent half of it looking for a geocache by this giant monument to Bender the Robot from Futurama.  But there were so many muggles checking out campus that I couldn't find more than 20 seconds to shove my hand up a drain or behind a display before someone walked by I was worried would assume I was up to nefarious purposes.  Boss said we could avoid the muggles by dressing in black and sneaking around at night.  There were two other folks caching as well.  I watched them try to poke around despite the muggles as well.  Figures at a tech conference you'd get a few.

It's somewhere here.  Do you see it?

If not, try this link that's 20 times larger. Perhaps you'll see what I missed.

I finished up with another business-y presentation on Doing Open Source the Right Way by Charles Oliver Nutter.  Again, not much that was new and the class went close enough to the final drawing and goodbyes that I didn't get to ask about how you manage to protect your open source code base when different countries have different rules about whether you can even give up your intellectual ownership of code.  E.g. in India, according to an IP Prof from St. Thomas, you can't sign over attribution.  It remains with you whether you like it or not.  I have no idea what that means for Open Source code, but I have a sneaky suspicion there's a legal loophole there that would allow someone from India to get their hands on a lot of code beyond the small bits they wrote unless the bits could be discretely isolated (whew...changesets).

I've taken up parking pretty far from campus because I prefer free parking to $10.  On a positive note I walk past the coffee shop and lots of good places to eat.  I had breakfast at Tony's, although based on the crowd at the counter-only space at Al's in Dinkytown, that's where I should have gone, wait or no wait.  Annie's is still there.  My wife and I used to go there on dates.  I like the addition of the Kitty Cat Club downstairs.  Gives the building a lot of character.

On the way back to my car, I stopped at 1-2-3 Sushi to have a bowl of Pork Tonkatsu Ramen.  Ming and I had passed the place when were at the U for Miss Information with the Girls in Tech group and Glitch (excellent movie about the portrayal of women in the media, by the way).  It wasn't as good as the bowel of Ramen I had at Moto-i and it didn't come with a hand-drawn kitty on my receipt.  They used more store-type ramen and pork had a sauce that I didn't like with the ramen.  I strongly suggest if given the choice you go to Moto-i.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Geocaching 2014 - Trying to Reboot

It has been a long time since I've gone geocaching.  I've hit a cache or two over the last two years, but the accident pretty much put a stop to caching.  Not because I can't do it, but it was what I was doing the day of the accident and during the days leading up to it, and it's sort of like a big foot came down on the whole thing.  Doesn't seem to be PTSD, it's just that my geocaching sprint was interrupted and I never got back to it.  It didn't have the same effect on bicycling. In some respects, picking up trash for Litterati, over 5000 pieces this year, is similar enough that it scratched the geocaching itch.  At least until I realized my neighborhood is absolutely no cleaner at the end of summer than it was when I started, and I'm depressed.  Geocaching is a happier hobby than collecting garbage.  So today, after talking to Boss during the week, I got back out and found a few that were close to home.

This one was in the woods behind Target.  A nice easy find.  But I left my bike about 400 feet from the cache without locking it, so I was paranoid the whole time.

I took the blue dinosaur and left the little squishy girl in her bubble.  I did not take the creepy head.  It's a kids' cache.  I worry about the kid who wants that head.

This one was near the park and ride.  Not too far from where I found a porn DVD and underpants and drug paraphernalia (two different locations, same park and ride).  See...much more rewarding.  There's no porn in the cache.  Instead I swapped some little white crystals that will work with our Compounded board game for the rubber duck on the lid.

Off the Highline bicycling trail.  I searched for this one a year ago or so without any luck and it took quite a while to find it as it wasn't spot on the coordinates.  It's up there on that stick.  The only cache I couldn't find today was winter findable and I'm pretty sure it's on a stick too, but I couldn't find an obvious candidate.  I've searched for that one before as well with DNF (do not find), over behind the Regal Theater where I pick up so much Taco Bell trash.  I'll be trying again, although I might wait for winter so there are fewer leaves in the way.

Here's the stick cache up close.  That gingerbread dude I'm putting in there isn't edible.

Boss asked me if I thought fewer people were caching.  Based on the maintenance of some of the caches and how few names there were from this summer, I'd say anecdotal evidence points to yes.  But I'm also going after some pretty old caches, not newer ones.  But to flip it, when I was at Code Camp on Saturday at the U of MN looking for a cache where too many muggles lurked, there were two other cachers trying to appear innocuous while searching around a giant metal man in a courtyard.  Then again, they were coding geeks, so perhaps not a representative sample.  I don't think they had any better luck than I did.  There were just too many people touring campus to get quiet searching time, and I bailed for coffee after 20 minutes of waiting.

Here's a rather wet cache.  It had a little rubber stopper in the bottom to keep the logs out of the water, but it wasn't working so someone had jammed it upside down into a rotten log to make sure it drained.  And the log is almost full to boot.  I left a zombie.  One of three that I believe Eryn used for an "about me" collage she did when she was a kindergartner.

I always forget how much I get to see while I'm caching.  This swamp looks ugly from the road.  But down in the reeds and cattails, it's pretty quiet for being so close to the interstate.  I also forgot how scratched up my legs get.  Later I rode my indoor bicycle trainer for 30 minutes and the sweat made my legs feel like they were covered in fiberglass insulation.

This is from the one I couldn't find.  I was sure I'd find it in this chunk of concrete, but no luck.  I reviewed the logs to see what I was missing, but they were no help other than to tell me to approach from the right direction.  As near as I can figure, none of the directions of the compass is the "right" direction.

Eryn went with me to find the fifth cache off the day over by Juniors in Eagan.  We were eating dinner at Ghengis Grill with my folks and my wife and mom waited for us while we walked a quarter mile to a pine tree between Walmart and Juniors.  It wasn't a bad pine tree hide as far as pine tree hides go.  A bit of camo, but it was generally open under the tree and the placement wasn't designed to drive us nuts.

This is not from today but from earlier in the week. I spend a lot of time in our in-house coffee shop and cafe because I can get a good cup of coffee over there at Caribou and because my team sits over a tenth of a mile (and two floors) from my office, so this is a good place 2/3 of the way toward them to work remote so I can get to meetings or have them come to me.  On Thursday and Friday this little container was sitting by the plant and it was so much like a cache it amused me.  I was tempted to open it up and put a list of names and dates in it in case the owner came back.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

St. Paul Bike Classic 2014

This will be the year of the sub-par gluten free brownie for me.  Ming said it was very good.  It was so-so.  He can deny it, but he's now got old man bitter-treat taste buds.

We finished up in about 2 hours.  That was a quick ride.  Doesn't seem that quick, but for some mountain bikes/sport bikes in the mix and some stop-go, it was darn quick.  Here were are: me, Larry, Erik, Ming, and Alan.  It was nice to have Erik back after a long hiatus.

I tried to shoot ahead to get some pictures at one point, running along at 20 mph on my bike with some guys on road bikes.  I didn't get very far ahead and it was tiring, having not biked a longer distance in a month and a half, but it was far enough for a few photos.

Ming and Erik at the top of what's sort of the last hill, right before Como Park.

Larry - same hill (see the tree?), giving the wave.

Larry biked with this guy.  They coordinated shirt colors before the ride so they'd look like a team.

Woo!  Woo!  CRUSHING IT!  Same hill, but with some posing.

Alan was too fast, so I couldn't get a picture of him on the hill.  But here is at our usual post-ride breakfast haunt, The St. Clair Broiler.  For as long as I can remember, he's worn the same orange Pub and Putt shirt on the ride.  This year he was out to confuse me.  He admitted to considering it.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

State Fair 2014

Last Friday we hit the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.  Not NEARLY as exciting for me this year because of the threat of rain.  I love the time I have to myself when I ride my bike up there early in the morning and find breakfast and do my own thing.  You can see some of the morning water below in the picture of Eryn in the racecar.  Unfortunately, I used an && in biking and hanging at the fair early and short circuited when I couldn't bike.  In retrospect, I could have just hauled my bike up there and rode from somewhere close, or even just parked up there really early and done my own thing for several hours without my bike.  It's nice to know I feel like my bike is a part of me, but I was less concerned about leaving my wife out of my early morning activities than my bike.  That might be pushing me close to the crazy I see in club members.

We debated going at all on Friday, but in the end I thought staying until the rain started at 5:00 on a workday I already had off was our best option for avoiding a horrible crowd.  Given they set the record the next day with almost a quarter million people, that was the right call.

Here you can see the rain has kicked in while people sing to Adele.  Eryn's in that picture.  To the right, zebra-ish umbrella.  I'm sitting under a fairly dry tree that accumulated 50 or so people as soon as it started to rain.  That was fine, until the guy came sauntering up with his lit cigarette and turned our tree shelter into a smoke-filled tree shelter.

It's appropriate to hold hands at the sing a long, but shoe choice is more important.  You can't sit and sing, so those shoes are entirely inappropriate.

Enjoy The Gambler at the Singalong.  I can't tell who's worse, the guy with the trachea voice or the kid screaming what seems to be nonsense.  But nonsense in tune.

And another song.  Full track.






Not much rolling - but you probably didn't realize you were going to listen to Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up!

I'm not a fan of the midway, but Eryn loves it and the rain stayed away long enough to enjoy the rides.

Bonus photo.  This one didn't make it to Facebook and it's my favorite from the fair, near the Giant Slide, shortly before we went to find Pinball on a Stick and play some Star Trek the Movie, Haunted House, and Siege pinball.  Maybe I should have taken my hat off.

On our way out we tried to swing past the crafts area to a.) avoid the downpour and b.) find grandma's scarfs.  We found the scarfs.  I also found this.  She didn't make this - it's from the 4H building.  I'm not sure what inspired it, but the only thing that comes to mind looking at it is Cartman having t-parties with his toys on South Park.

We managed to find free parking.  That was a pleasant bonus.  Given the ticket prices are huge and the midway ticket prices are huge, it's cool to save some money here and there, like on parking and on the half-used coupon book someone left for the taking at work (sometimes if you want something to go away, there are specific spots to put it to encourage taking - I've done it with computer games and books).  You didn't need a coupon for this tree - it was the cheapest thing at the Fair!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Rocky Mountain Mist

Well, that was easier than I thought it would be.  I showed it to Eryn, she doesn't remember it being quite like this.

Vacation: Part Last, the Video Journey

Ah, nonsensical videos from vacation, mostly devoid of people, so you can feel like you're sharing the grandeur of Colorado with me first person shooter style.  If you feel like looping, you can hang out in the windy mountains at 12,000 feet virtually forever, embedded in a New Age Scooter video.

Or spend 22 seconds watch a river in blackbox.  Watch for Jen's watch!

This is The Mist, coming to get you.  It just needs spooky music.  I should put spooky music behind all my vacation videos.  They'd be more interesting.

Moving camera and more river.  If you're easily nauseated, prepare for fast movement.

A river near Vail that's not as noisy as a river in the Rocky Mountains.

See, Rocky Mountain National Park rivers are noisier.  Do you have to pee now?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Vacation: Rocky Mountain National Park (aka more mountains and rivers and rocks)

There are almost 80 pictures in the set from Rocky Mountain National Park, so if you need to see some, including semi-duplicates which I usually delete but kept a few of for my wife in case there were different perspectives of her and Eryn near the river she preferred, head over to Flickr.  If you follow my wife, wait for her to finally find her power cord, pull her photos from her camera, and upload those.  I think she has thousands, including several hundred of what probably deer, though we had a spirited discussion debating it because they certainly weren't your white-tailed, Minnesota variety.  But I've learned never to worry about someone else's digital photos.  Therein lies insanity.

I read an article once by a wife who thought it was the height of romance that her husband organized all her digital photos for her: labeling, foldering, getting them online, organizing them into some sort of romantic I-hope-I-get-laid-for-all-this-work montage.  To him I say, you are a chump.  You'll be doing that forever.  Because now when you don't do it, you obviously love her less.  Obviously.  Even when she doesn't state it.  It's like being the guy to take care of the family and friend computers - once you fix one, you're doomed.  The best you can hope for is to figure out how to have fun doing something else while you reformat, delouse, and reinstall everyone's machine.  Perhaps that's when said husband organized his wife's pile of digital crap.

Here's a picture of some cairns, search for "out of control".  It's amusing.  They look nice here.  Add some verticality to my photo.

Here's another picture of the cairns.  See it there to the right, but before the big rock?  To the right of Jen.  She lost her sunglasses right there.  Lost them good.  I set everything loose I owned aside and dug around in the cold water until I worried I'd tumble in head first.

Eryn and Jen posing in the mountains.

Scooter! Scooter!  This is not what people want when they ask you to take their picture!  She said the water was very very cold.

We found a lake to walk around.  When we got to exactly the other side, it started to rain.  But at least it was far away from the two foreign tourists who smelled like they'd tried to sample every strain in Colorado.  Beautiful area.  Lots of snakes.

NOT a cairn.  Just some random rock giving a big f-you to the mountainscape because there's always one crab in the crowd.

The path to the Roger Wolcott Toll memorial rock. That one that looks like a mushroom is not it.  It's sort of to the left.  While Jen and Eryn were taking lots of photos of deer/not deer, I was hoofing it up to the memorial way back down a trail.  It was much further than I originally thought, so I jogged back at 11,000 feet or so for 1/2 a mile to make sure I didn't keep them waiting too long.  People you jog past at 11,000 feet think you're a nutjob.  I took a picture of this side path because I thought the area looked like the place Conan (the Arnold Conan, not the Momoa Conan) and his posse circled up to defend themselves against the Serpent Emperor and his nasty heart-piercing live snake arrows.  No snake arrows here.  Not even a snake.  Bit cold for them I think.  But I jumped around for a while pretending I had a big sword and making Arnold faces and yelling so someone would have a chance at the world's highest meme.

The memorial rock.  There's a compass-type plaque on the top.  I took a young couple's picture up there because they were going to go home with separate photos of themselves with a scenic rocky mountain backdrop.  "Hey, remember when we went to The Rocky Mountains and you took this picture?  And then I took this picture? I organized them for you so you know I love you."  That's right, he has ONE LESS PICTURE TO ORGANIZE! My micro-contributions to the sanity of the world will go unlauded unless I document them myself.

I think this is my favorite picture from vacation, and the reason I follow random trails even if it's a lot of exercise.

ARGH, WHY DIDN'T I RENT A BIKE?!  One interpretation would be that not renting or bringing a bike made it possible not to type here, "I failed so miserably at climbing 12,000 feet on my bike.  I had to bail somewhere around 3,000 feet."  It's cool he biked to the top, although he should have lugged that thing a few hundred feet up the trail behind the store to the very top of the mountain so he could say he made it all the way.  Stairs be damned.  Props, man.  I think this looks like a hell of a lot of fun, dropping dead from acute mountain sickness be damned.

From next to the gift shop.  Not as much snow as Glacier National Park, but still pretty cool to see it up there when it was so warm 7,000 feet below.  Lot of marmots running around nearby.  The goth group hanging out on the overlook realized they acted like the dramatic chipmunk and mimicked them for twenty minutes.  Marmots acting like dramatic chipmunks, funny.  Goth guys imitating marmots acting like dramatic chipmunks, not.

The hills are alive, with the sound of muuuu-sic, with songs Scooter has sung, for a thous-and yeaaars!  The hills fill Scooter's heart, with the sound of muuuuu-sic, his heart wants to sing every song it hears.... Next, I do I am 16, going on 17...

The tip top, up all the stairs that were vanquishing little children who would collapse to the stones in tears and complaints and groans.  Carry me!  Carry me!  Oh, Daddy, carry me!

A picture of the valley.  It was nice to just lean against the stone rail for a while and listen to the wind and feel the cool breeze, all Nausicaa like.  Think about it for a while, and then imagine that silence shattered by dramatic chipmunk goths.  See?  Uber annoying.  F-you peaceful, idyllic nature.  Somewhere down there is a rock flipping you off and somewhere up here are oxygen-deprived giddy goths about to laugh themselves unconscious from a seven year old meme.

Ending with a nice panorama (2048 here for scrolling) of the lake.