My trip

May 30th, 2007, 11:27 pm PDT by Greg

As most of you know, I just spent 5 days in North Carolina.

The only course I’m teaching this semester is a three-hour block on Thursday nights. I took a red-eye out on Thursday, and came back today. This was part of the reason I wanted an evening course for the summer, and it worked out pretty well.

Kat and I spent the weekend in Wilmington, NC with Lisa and Brian. For those who don’t know (that includes me a week ago), Wilmington is on the Atlantic, near the South Carolina border. We spent Saturday on nearby Topsail beach. Major thing I learned: I don’t get beaches. “So, I’m just supposed to sit here, slowly getting skin cancer? No really… what are we going to do?” Maybe I’m a little more Type A than I thought.

I did learn an excellent group-vacation strategy: I refused to make any decisions. “Where should we go for dinner? I don’t care: you decide.” “When should we leave for home? Whenever.”

It was awesome. My input would have lengthened the discussion and contributed very little. I just blissfully followed along and enjoyed myself. I chose my own meals from the menu, but that’s about it.

Other than that, the trip was pretty uneventful. Air Canada successfully got me there and back. That might qualify as a notable event by this point. Canada Customs didn’t believe my $0.00 declaration, but they relented when I explained I go regularly and didn’t have anything else to bring back.

Oh, and I really like frozen custard and am annoyed I can’t get it in Vancouver. And being able to update your Facebook status by text message is a nice, lightweight, realtime travel blog.

No Pants Day

May 23rd, 2007, 9:53 pm PDT by Kat

Today was the lab’s first annual “No Pants Day”. (Paul, I definitely thought of you!) So a couple of weeks ago we got new lab coats with the lab name embroidered on them. Quite spiffy. We each have our own coat and can tell them apart by the color of the embroidery. Buddy put his on right away and mentioned that it was long enough that he wouldn’t have to wear pants to the lab anymore. This prompted Keith to make a “Pants are NOT optional” lab rule which we are all glad for.

However, as a result, the lab’s “No Pants Day” was born. Danielle, our lab’s technician, came up with the idea. Everyone had to wear either shorts or a skirt AND a lab coat, so that it would look as though we weren’t wearing any pants. Not surprisingly, Buddy looked the most pantless out of all of us. He should be proud. As part of the festivities we took weird pictures using the camera that is embedded in one of the lab’s Mac’s and then had pizza for dinner.

Bites and birds

May 20th, 2007, 10:49 pm PDT by Kat

It’s that time of year again – the mosquitos are out, and so I must start my annual bite count. I went to a farewell party tonight at Lisa and Brian’s for Ted and Angie who are headed off to the University of Northern Arizona. We had tasty burgers that Lisa made and REALLY yummy baklava that Buddy made. I love that everyone here seems to like food as much as everyone at home! But, there was some sacrifice to be made:

Bite count 2007: 8

But, strangely enough they aren’t that itchy. Heh, now that I’ve typed that, they’re starting to itch.

Anyways, I also caught 5 birds this weekend. 3 adult males, an adult female, and my first juvie of the year. YAY! I also almost caught a woodpecker, but it was too big to fit into the trap. It did, however, stick it’s head into the trap to eat some of the seeds. Not sure what kind of woodpecker it was though – quick Oli, what is this?

Only 4.5 more days until Greg gets here! YAY!

A new stereotype

May 20th, 2007, 11:43 am PDT by Greg

Facebook: not just for stalking anymore. It’s amazing the things you can learn while bumping around Facebook.

One of the things I recently learned was that the feather duster is the preferred implement for Chinese child whoopin’. (Apparently you hold the feathery-end and whop them with the stick part. The more you know.)

So having come across that new stereotype, I had to go hunting for others. Sure enough, I started to notice a trend among the many photos I had seen.

Here’s my new stereotype: Asian people take a lot of pictures of women standing beside flowers. [Most of the links below are to Facebook pictures, so your enjoyment of this post may be impaired by not being in the SFU network, or not having a Facebook account at all if you’re a complete loser, Eugene.]

Let’s start with some clear examples of the genre. We have Nicola in Hawaii and Jessica, a former 120 student, went to a tulip festival. That last one might be too easy to count.

I’m not sure that this one of Eunice can be included, she’s not much of a good-Asian-girl, but there are flowers in the background. Check.

Daniela, while not Asian herself, was in Thailand for her flowers-and-tree picture, so I’m counting it.

Suyoko inherited her obsession with the garden from her father (the Japanese half). There are also thousands of pictures of him with various plants hidden away somewhere.

On the family side, I have a picture of Pam in the back yard and one of their Ama. I’m sure I have seen a Kat-with-flowers picture, but can’t locate it at the moment. Kat’s experience is “we don’t want to waste the film on just the flowers… go stand beside the flowers so we can get a picture of them.”

Finally, just to show that it’s not an exclusively-Asian phenomenon, here’s Sara and some kind of flowering tree.

Site Moved

May 9th, 2007, 11:34 pm PDT by Greg

So, I took the plunge and moved my hosting from my computer behind a cable modem to a Dreamhost account. At US$8/mo (if you pay for 2 years) it’s pretty damned cheap for a full-featured hosting account.

If any of you notice any problems with this blog or the gallery, let me know. Everything should be faster (unless you’re in my house, then it will be slower) too.

By the way, if you want a Dreamhost account and follow this link to Dreamhost (or enter the promo code GREGBAKER01), you’ll use my promo code and get $40 off any hosting package. (I get stuff too, so I’m not being totally altruistic here.)

New Computer

May 6th, 2007, 6:00 pm PDT by Greg

My new computer is up and running! Huzzah!

Hardware geekyness

Core 2 Duo E6600 (dual core 2.4GHz, 4MB L2), 2 × 400GB SATA2 drives, 2GB memory (Kingston low-latency DDR2). I went with an Intel D975XBX motherboard, after returning a faulty ASUS P5W DH Deluxe (and hearing that Jen returned two before the third one worked).

It’s really quiet, which was one of the goals. I’m a big fan of the Antec Sonata 2 case I got (already having owned an original Sonata). For example, the hard disks are mounted on little rubber spacers to damp vibration. The Antec case fans (one included, one I added) are huge and can be turned down so they run slow (and quiet).

The video card I got, the Asus EN7600GT met my three hard requirements: dual-DVI-out (if I get a second display), no fans (less noise), and an Nvidia chip (better Linux drivers). It’s not blazingly fast, but I don’t need a lot of 3D.

Software geekyness

Having been a long-time Debian user, I decided to try Ubuntu Linux this time around. I’ve got to say: it’s sliky-smooth and delicious. It’s got all the good parts of Debian, with a bunch more goodness rolled in. (Okay, the installation took a while, but that’s because I was trying to be clever and trick the installer into doing something it didn’t want to do. That was silly.)

I installed Beryl for some shiny desktop eye-candy. I’m sure I’ll get bored and turn off some parts eventually, but it’s pretty cool. If you’re interested, there are plenty of Beryl screencasts on Youtube (but none compelling enough that I wanted to link to that one).


I’m using the new computer as my desktop now. The server stuff (this blog, my gallery, etc.) is still on the old computer. So, if the site is down for a bit over the next few days, it’s because I’m doing the switch over (inelegantly).

Hmmm… maybe this is the time to put the server stuff on a Dreamhost account. I have been meaning to do that. US$8 per month is pretty cheap, and the upstream on my cable modem isn’t all-that.