A Perfect Spring Day

I spent most of the day out hiking in the wonderful weather we're having. It's days like these that remind me why I like living in the north. If I lived where it was always warm I don't think I'd have the same appreciation for these warm spring days.

Here's the last of the snow melting away.


New York City

I went to New York City this past weekend with Eric and his family. I didn't have a bad time there, but this trip reaffirmed my general feels towards big metropolitan areas. I'd much rather spend my time out doing something physical like hiking, the beach, or playing sports than walking around a city.

That said, I also like going to museums which seems to have some similarities to walking around a city, but I just don't have as much fun when it's a city. This got me wondering why this is the case, and I think I've got at least part of the answer. I think what happens when I'm walking around in a city is sensory overload and I loose focus. My visual perception is polluted by hundreds of advertisements per block, hearing is polluted by the honking taxis, and then there are the smells...

Downtown Boston has less sensory overload than downtown New York, and I think that is why I enjoy Boston more. I lived in downtown Milwaukee and while it's much less busy I did manage to become completely accustom to that atmosphere. I have no doubt I could adjust to living in New York, but I don't have a reason to put a bunch of effort into it.

Anyways here are some photos from my trip...

Grand Central Station

Time Square

World Trade Center


Awesome Snowboarding

Eric's parents were in town this week and his dad (Newy) loves to ski so Eric and I took him up to Killington. They got 18 inches two days before we came and about 5 inches the night before we came. Then while we were there I would guess that they got another 5 inches of powder. All this snow added up to some of the best snowboarding conditions of my life!

This is a shot of the three of us on our first ride up for the day. Look at all the snow!

Here's a shot of Eric posing for the camera. What are all those white specs in the photo?

Newy just took a digger. Luckily there was all that powder to soften his fall.

I thought that I'd designate this last shot to all the pretty snow incase you missed that fact that that there was a lot of it.


You Should Donate Blood Today!

Even with the big snow I mentioned in my previous post I still made it to the Worcester blood center by 9:00 am. I talked to a worker who has been working for the Red Cross for the past 15 years and said that they only canceled one blood drive in the past 15 years. Sometimes they are holding a drive at a school that closes and they move locations, but they almost never cancel a drive.

Because of this snowstorm and Saint Pat's Day, they just don't have enough blood. I was told that my blood would be in someone by tomorrow night. It would be used by tonight, but they need to do some quick tests on it first.

Save a life and sign up on the Red Cross web site today! Or even better just go and donate. They accept walk-ins.

Snow Storm

I went into Boston on Friday for a work related conference and was a taken by complete surprise by a blizzard. It wasn't a freak storm or anything; I just hadn't looked at the weather in a few days.

In the afternoon I took the commuter rail back to Westboro and drove home. It wasn't too bad yet, but during the evening it really started to come down.

I was out early in the morning taking pictures of people digging out. By my estimates we got about 10 inches of wet heavy snow.

This guy's car was stuck. I helped push him (and a bunch of other folks) out.

This lady hates the cold and was jealous of my parents spending the winter in Texas.


San Francisco

I was in SF attending the Game Developer Conference last week. I had planned on exploring a lot of the city, but work kept me pretty busy. None the less it was a great trip. I got to see Union Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, the seals, and ride a trolley. What else in SF is there? :-)

This is the fancy-shmancy hotel where I stayed.

This is the AMD booth where I served my booth duty. My job was to talk with developers about the graphics emulator I had created future cell phone graphics hardware.

The keynote from Nintendo's Miyamoto. This guy made some of my favorite video games!

Union Square in the wee hours of the morning.

I rode on this trolley.

My co-worker, Dan, who went exploring with me.

I could have swam to shore! Alcatraz.

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.


Camera, Water Heater, and San Fran

I've got my big DSLR and Film SLR cameras and I still use them a fair amount, but I wanted something smaller for times when I need a pocket cam.

Over the past four years keeping a pocket sized camera has been an expensive task for me. About four years ago I was snowboarding with a small Sony camera that had had been using for awhile and it somehow fell out of my pocket. I wasn't too sad because it was old and there were smaller better cameras on the market so I got a Canon Powershot. I loved this camera but after only a year the lens focus motor stopped functioning. I figured this was just a fluke and I got newer version of the Canon PowerShot. I had this one for about half a year and I forgot it was in my pocket while swimming through a swap to get a geocache (it died). Since this was my fault I got another Canon Powershot. This one the LCD screen died while under warranty and I got another one free. Then this one just stopped turning on after the warranty ran out. I decided to give Canon Powershot one more try and got the Canon Powershot SD400. After about six months the auto focus motor died. This was about six months ago and I've been without a pocket sized camera since.

I don't baby my cameras, but I don't think I'm overly hard on them. My SLR cameras seem to handle my use. I decided this time I would try a different brand and found that a lot of people thought the Fuji F30 was a great camera. So I ordered it and got it a few days ago. It seems like a great point and shoot camera. It is much better in low light situation than any of my Canon Powershot cameras. What will make it a truly great camera is if it lasts for more than two years. Only time will tell.

Here's a picture of me and my new camera.

In other news my water heater died. It stopped making hot water and started to slowly leak a few gallons a day. I caught the leak almost immediately and my basement isn't finished so there was no water damage. I went to Home Depot Friday morning and they subcontracted a plumber to install a new water heater in my home. I was amazed that it would be installed that same day between noon and 4pm. Then the dude didn't show. I can't believe how often I've had problems with these sorts of people not showing. If I wasn't always in such a hurry I'd cancel the job and look for someone who can make an appointment. Anyways I didn't cancel and after a few more phone calls the guy arrived and installed the water heater at 9am on Saturday (only 17 hours late). And of course there were additional fees. In this case $160 for a replacement pressure release value that the plumber said the law requires and to cut a few copper pipes because the new water heater was a few inches higher. After talking with the guy he admitted it was impossible to not incur these additional charges and that the quote provided by Home Depot was never accurate. I don't blame the subcontracted plumber (for the extra cost, but I do blame him for being late), I blame Home Depot. The plumber did mention that Sears’s estimates for installs are more accurate. Anyways it's installed and working so I shouldn't need to worry about that again for at least 10 more years.

In more upbeat news I'm heading out to San Francisco next week for GDC. GDC is a huge week long video game developer conference. Most of my time there will be spent attending classes, but I will have to spend eight hours manning the AMD booth. I've done booth duty before at other conferences and found it pretty fun. All I do is stand around the company’s booth and answer questions. I'll tell you all how it went after the conference, but it should be lots of fun. I'm sure I'll find a few hours to explore San Fran. I'm excited!


Sunday River Trip

Last weekend I headed out to Sunday River for a weekend ski trip with Robert and Eric (two dudes I work with). We drove up on Friday night and stayed in a slope side condo.

Saturday morning was a cold -5 F with 50 mph winds. In a word the conditions where sucky. Because of the winds all the snow was blown off the mountain and only a sheet of ice remained. Snowboarding on ice is quite a challenge, and this was probably the iciest ice I've ever boarded.

That night we hit a crowded pool. It was a heated outdoor pool and all the steam that formed above the water was pretty cool. I had to keep dunking my head under the water or my ears got cold.

Sunday wasn't quite as cold, but the biggest difference what that the wind was gone. They must have also had the groomers out all night because they ground all that ice into something that resembled snow. Because of this the conditions on Sunday were actually pretty good. As the day progressed I started doing more jumping on my board than I've ever done before. It was pretty fun, and I'll definitely keep working on my jumps more next time I go.

For those of you wondering where the pictures are. Well I took some with my camera phone that I was going to post, but um, err, I forgot to take off the lens cap. So all I had when I got home were black pictures. Sorry about that :(

All in all it was a great weekend. Later!