Archive for February, 2008

Ready to spend some time in NJ again.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

After 8 weeks I’m starting to miss things about being home More not being able to go out with friends or visit family. Thought I’d have more issues not having access to my “stuff”. That’s actually been a non-issue. I noticed I started getting many random acknowledgements of things I’m buying from buy.com, or amazon, which is a good sign there’s times I’m bored. Talking to random people in restaurants, or bars is ok for a while, but not the same as home.

The tournament backgammon set came today. Looks pretty good and I’ll break it in tomorrow night.
Crisloid Backgammon set

Some other purchases this week

KVM switch

Carry on luggage

Computer Thought Dad might want this, but doesn’t need it. So I’ll upgrade the living room machine, or primary desktop in the den.

I head back to NJ Friday and stay there for a while. Looking forward to it.

New Hosting site

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Spent some of the weekend to move my blog and web site to Dreamhost. Price is good, with shell access and 500G of space. They throw in a domain registration as part of the service, so I have them hosting http://www.kostakis.com and http://beachhaven-rental.com. This should eliminate people getting blocked trying to get to my home server on port 8080 and is overall a better setup. Migration was easy and the add ons like photo galleries, and genealogy programs are easy to fire up. Didn’t hit many snags, but it ended up eating more time than I planned. I’ll need to find a reasonable publishing program. Tried Microsoft Publish 2003, but as with most Microsoft products, it’s got too many bells and whistles.   Trying to get some simple html code out there, isn’t easy. There has to be something in between using vi to hand code html and publisher.

Made another batch of cold brewed coffee. Since it doesn’t involve using any kitchen appliances, it worked out ok for me 🙂

CoffeeProcess Coffee

Started planning for at least a week on the East Coast next week. Hit a minor snag that I somehow ended up with all my luggage in NJ. May be traveling with clothes in a big trash bag….

Made it to the semifinals in backgammon on Thursday. I do enjoy playing and will miss not being able to play when I go back home. One gripe with the format is that it’s double elimination until you get to the semis. I’ve made it 3 times to 3rd place for 1/2 a point in the tournament (2 points for 1st). Someone who lost in an earlier bracket has a chance to get 2nd place. This week I got some lucky roles and beat Dave (the tournament director), who is a much better player than I am. I then lost to Ralph. Dave went on to get 1 point for 2nd place after the loss to me. I understand the logic to make the tournament finish in a reasonable time frame, but to get 0.5 point in 3 tournaments, with a single loss each time, is not fun. Especially when that position is on the bubble and doesn’t get paid. My new set should also be delivered this week. Think I do have a problem in this area. If I total it up, I’ve bought 3 sets this year, for over $700, and already had 3 boards.

Attempt at cooking

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Not sure why, but thought I’d try to cook something tonight. Got some pasta with shrimp that looked easy. The package said under 10 minutes. I followed the instructions line by line and cooked them on the stove until the sauce boiled. Poured it into a bowl, left the pan on the counter, and started eating. About 30 seconds later there was a very loud bang, where the pan shattered into a million pieces. Why in the world do they make pans out of glass if you can use them to cook?

Accidentally caught it on video, but me being startled and jumping is a little too embarrassing to post.

Here’s how the pan ended up.

pan

Luckily the food was out of the pan before the explosion.

plate.jpg

Learned my lesson again, no more cooking for me…

Anthony’s robot

Monday, February 11th, 2008

My nephew sent me a picture of his robot project.

Anthony's school project

General Observations

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Not allot went on this week. Work was quietier with many people going to NJ for an internal technology show. Had our first live video webcast for the primaries on Tuesday. Worked out pretty well, but took some bubble gum and string to pull it off.

There are differences between the east coast and Minneapolis. Here’s a couple examples that come to mind. If a business in Minneapolis wants to keep people out of an area, even when they are close, they will put up a velvet rope and people just don’t go there. In NJ/NY, I’d expected a locked door and a locked gate in front of the door to accomplish the same goal. Another similar example is around weapons. On the east coast I went to Van Halen concert recently and was scanned by a metal detector and patted down. In Minneapolis there would be a sign by the entrance saying the owner bans guns from this premise. The stereotype of people being friendlier seems true, if you see someone walking down the street, they won’t go out of their way to avoid eye contact, and if there is any contact people say “hello”. that shouldn’t seem strange, but it is different.

Weather was generally warm this week. Just in time for a cold weekend. It’s going to be -11 today with a wind chill of -40.

Superbowl weekend

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Was a good trip home. Besides my battery dying again and messing up my plans for Saturday, the weekend was good. Superbowl party seeing some old friends was great. Didn’t do well in box pools, or the poker pool, but did do a little better than breaking even with a single bet on the Giants to win.  An interesting bet that was talked about on Superbowl Sunday, was on two people having the same birthday out of a group of 30 people. turns out to be very likely and in a group of 23 it’s greater than 50% likely. math was described in email the next day, and here’s a related link. Actual bet was 4 pairs of people out of the ~50 at the superbowl. That didn’t happen. Becoming normal for the flights to be canceled on the way back, but I made it.

Apartment complex wanted to replace the TV on Tuesday. Not sure why the guy installing the tv had to go into the bedroom, but I could tell someone was in there. Also had some change taken from the kitchen. didn’t notice anything else gone, but annoying to know someone was going through my things.
Can’t skip a post an not have some backgammon update. I receive the “starting out in poker” book. It’s well worth the read. about 100 pages and enough detail to help some basic concepts. It’s written very clearly, with emphasis on the important points. I’ve picked up all the right opening moves and started to learn doubling strategy. more to learn. I’m sure it will help my game.