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2016/12/01 Aly and Fila at Pure Lounge
π 2016-12-01 00:00 in Clubbing
I had never been to Pure Lounge in Sunnyvale before, a short-ish drive from home, and Aly and Fila (really only Aly, Fila doesn't seem to travel to the US), was a good excuse to go. Pure Lounge sadly has a pretty ridiculous search at the entrance, and seemed to say that you could not even take small point and shoot cameras inside? What on earth is that?

That being said, once inside, it was a good evening, good set from Aly:






See more images for Aly and Fila at Pure Lounge
2016/11/29 Live King Crab at Koi Palace with Jennifer's Parents
π 2016-11-29 00:00 in Dining
We all love king crab, so for Jennifer's parents' visit, we went to Koi Palace, and ordered a live king crab. It was big, fresh, and expensive :)
We had them cook it 3 ways, which gave some variety in what we got to try:



nice beast ;)
nice beast ;)

fried
fried

also served with vegetables
also served with vegetables

and the rest
and the rest



Yes, that was a lot of food, we had leftovers despite 4 motivated people :) but indeed the steamed crab meat was very nice, better than frozen for sure.

2016/11/25 Chinese Illuminations at Gilroy Gardens
π 2016-11-25 00:00 in Public
Since Jennifer's parents were visiting for thanksgiving, Jennifer had the good idea to take us to Gilroy Gardens which had some really nice Chinesee illuminations and included a decent performance too:
















It was very well done, quite worth the trek there, and the money.

2016/11/23 Give Thanks, San Jose
π 2016-11-23 00:00 in Clubbing
So, there was a big ass dreamstate event in Los Angeles, but getting there over thanksgiving just wasn't convenient, and became less necessary when I found out that we'd be getting a decent enough Trance event in our backyard, so I went to Give Thanks, and it was indeed a good lineup.
Oakey, Cosmic Gate, ATB, Andrew Rayel (incidently all of them were going to Dreamstate afterwards, so it's good that we got to have them first :):


poor oakey was looking old and tired though, his heart didn't seem into it
poor oakey was looking old and tired though, his heart didn't seem into it












Good night all in all, glad I was able to go.

See more images for Give Thanks, San Jose
2016/11/10 DroidnFriends6 TH 3mile
π 2016-11-10 00:00 in Cars
[izu:title:Droid and Friends, 5 miles of Thunderhill Record:

This was my 3rd day trying out my new 458C at thunderhill. I'm still not used to driving slick tires properly, so I needed some help from Robb to be more efficient with them but I still managed to destroy an expensive tire. On the plus side, I got down to a 1:51 for a single lap and got some improvement tips from Rob that hopefully I'll be able to apply next time for a 1:50 or lower even.


Robb from BRRacing but a nice sticker and wizard logo on the car :)



And I didn't have much time to spend with him since he was being coached all day, but this was Daniel's first day. Cool to run into him:



And Dito was there taking nice pictures as always. I ordered a set from him since I didn't have any of my new car:






Dito even managed to get me passing my own 650S :)
Dito even managed to get me passing my own 650S :)

:
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See more images for DroidnFriends6 TH 3mile
2016/11/10 Above and Beyond in Sacramento
π 2016-11-10 00:00 in Clubbing
Since I was at ThunderHill in Willows during the day and Above and Beyond were playing in Sacramento, almost on the way home, but to make the deal more sweet, it was by McClellan Airfield/KMCC, where I was able to fly in fewer than 30mn from Willows, walk to my hotel, drop my stuff, and go to the party, fewre than 10mn on foot from the hotel and the airport's FBO. Super convenient!


The one lowlight was that it opened at 21:00 while 2 of Above and Beyond (you pretty much only get 2 out of the 3, pseudo-randomly, it's like they draw straws :) showed up around 23:15. It was a long time to wait considering that the music before that was not trance :( Either way, once they finally showed up, it was sweet:









The next morning, I went back to the nearby airport and flew home:

argh, no, not my plane. would have been nice tough :)
argh, no, not my plane. would have been nice tough :)

See more images for Above and Beyond in Sacramento
2016/11/04 FSOE 500 at Verso With Trance Family
π 2016-11-04 00:00 in Clubbing
Thanks to my friend David, I've been more up to date with the Trance events going on, and as a result I've been missing a lot fewer of them, which is great news. I did go to FSOE 400 last year in San Jose, and it was actually a good event with a good DJ selection.
FSOE 500 was much more low key with fewer DJs in a much smaller venue, but I actually ended up enjoying that event so much more. It was pretty much non stop quality trance for 5 hours, something sadly too rare nowadays:


DJ Blurr
DJ Blurr







ran into a few friends that evening
ran into a few friends that evening

Great night at Verso.

2016/10/11 Another TTS Day: Trying My Ferrari 458 Challenge GT3 again at Thunderhill, and trying the 2 mile track CCW
π 2016-10-11 00:00 in Cars
I had just flown back from Germany 2 days prior, so I was up bright and early, and landed in Willows by 07:00, just as the run was rising, and got this sunrise over Thunderhill:

early morning in the bay area
early morning in the bay area

I realized as I was arriving that it was good that the sun was rising on the unlit willows runway :)
I realized as I was arriving that it was good that the sun was rising on the unlit willows runway :)


For my 2nd track day with TTS this year, it was my 2nd time trying the 458C, this time most of a day:



But I also ran a couple of sessions with my 650S, doing the 2 mile track CCW, i.e. reverse from normal, and the jump (yes it's really a jump) and wondering if after you land you'll have enough braking power to slow down from 110mph+ to whatever is necessary to make the super sharp turn, is just terrifying. As expected, I ended up going out:

All in all, I'm not a huge fan of that 2 mile track, way too much time spent on the edge of tire traction, and if you have a fast car, you then have that jump of death on the straight where you hope to land in time to stop and turn. Fun to try, but too destructive on the car in my opinion ;)

in the morning, we did some parade laps
in the morning, we did some parade laps



The rest of the day, I used the 458C around the main track, and thanks to coaching from Robb, got my times down to 1:51 on the best lap of the day:



2016/10/09 Germany Trip Wrapup
π 2016-10-09 00:00 in Germany2016, Trips
After 23 days in Germany, including a 2 day detour in Austria, that was the end of our trip. Jennifer would happily have added a few more days to match the Rick Steve's book recommendations, but at the same time, after 20.5 days of touring (2.5 days were my conference), we were also tired :)
With hindsight being 20/20:
  • Another day in Dresden to see all the museums that were closed on the moday we arrived, would have
  • Munich had so many worthwhile museums that it was easily worth another day (mind you, the BMW museum and factory tour did burn 2/3rd of a day, but that was worth it)
  • I'm sure we missed other worthwhile cities, but you can't be everywhere, after a while you start OD'ing on churches and museum anyway :)
  • Rick Steves will invariably put 3 stars on anything Nazi and/or Jewish memorial related, but you only need to see so many before they become redundant (I think we saw 5 or 6 of them total, and it felt like more than necessary). For one, going to where Hitler's house was in the mountains in Obersalzbe (Eagle's Nest) was a total waste of half a day that would have been much better spent in Munich. Similarly, taking us to where Hitler's bunker used to be in Berlin where there is absolutely nothing left of it, and not mentioning anything about the beautiful German and French Churches that were just 7mn away by foot, did not make sense to me.

  • I'm not a huge fan of driving on boring public roads, but Germany was about as good as it could have been. Hightlights on driving:

  • Autobahns were great, except for all the sections that were closed for rebuilding: in too many other places, we got stopped by a red light to share a single lane with oncoming traffic, each side taking turns, and the Autobahn was often slowed down as everyone merged on a lane or two while the other side of the road was being rebuilt. Bad timing I guess.
  • Germans are pretty respectful of rules, but did not seem overly worried about speed limits on freeways, when they existed. I was totally ok with that :)
  • However, their lane discipline, getting back over to the right after passing, and proper signalling, were a delight. If only US drivers actually had a of proper training with a real instructor, and real rules starting with always signalling, and lane discipline (stay to the right, unless you're passing or there is no one behind you).
  • We got way too many umleitungs (road detours), to the point that we started hating that word :)
  • The last few days, we were able to get around with trains, and there were quite descent
  • 2400km, not as many as the 3700km we drove in France
    2400km, not as many as the 3700km we drove in France

    About food:

  • German and Austrian food, I'm not sure (sorry). It wasn't bad and I like sauerkraut, but I've sadly had better choucroute in France than the 4 places I tried in Germany and Austria (but maybe I got unlucky each time?). Also, some restaurants took up to 15 minutes to even take our order (they were busy) and often 45mn or even 1h to give us one dish. We quickly learned never to order an appetizer or a dessert if we wanted to get back to our room some decent time, which is sad. But speaking about desserts, the ones we ate were good.
  • The food options at a beer garden in Salzburg were much more limited if you did not consider a pretzel "dinner" :)
  • The breakfasts we got were mostly the same in all the hotels we went to, but overall we enjoyed them, a good selection of meat, cheese and breads for sandwiches. Hot chocolate just about everywhere and espresso for Jennifer in most locations. Honestly, those were often the best meals of the day.
  • The food was a bit disappointing overall. Germany is supposed to be known for sausages, so I tried them in different places. At time they gave me most basic and boring hot dog like sausages, a few times, I got somewhat better sausages, but nothing really earth shattering. Along with the rest of the food we ate, nothing really brought me any fond memories outside of a flamenkuche I was able to find somewhere, but those are actually from Alsace, which is now part of France :)
  • Germany does have fancy restaurant where the food was better, but they were a bit hard to find, and we often didn't have the 2H+ necessary to eat there, not counting reservations, so all in all food was not what ended up being one of our best memories of Germany.
  • My other thoughts on Germany:

  • First, German people, outside of some museum goons, were all very nice and helpful. They also spoke English quite well overall, much better than what you'd expect and get in France or Italy for sure.
  • A sure lowlight was the stupidity of security rules in Munich preventing me from taking my fanny pack with all my money, phones and other stuff I care about, in a museum for "security reasons". What a bunch of crap, are they trying to compete with US TSA in totally pointless "security" measures? (more details in the blog post on Munich)
  • Similarly, telling Jennifer that she could not carry her light jacket/layer around her waist and had to check it in, and go back to check it out if she needed it later in a different colder room, was just a complete joke. This happened in 3 different museums in different cities, and they were hassling Germans too, so it was not targeted at her specifically.
  • On the sightseeing standpoint, it was really nice. The amount of diverse and pretty castles they had beats France in my opinion, and France has some nice castles too. On the catholic church standpoint, some were the prettiest ones I've seen the world, bar none. The amount of varied and beautiful art in them was unbeatable, and that includes what I've seen in Italy.
  • Germany is also full of very nice palaces that were built when they were jealous of Versailles, and let's be honest in saying that many were pretty incredible, not in size, but in the quality of art in them. Sadly at least half of them also did not allow any pictures which is not quite acceptable in my opinion, Versailles allows pictures, they should too, at least in places where the visits are not in mandated tours.
  • On religion, Germany has been torn between Catholics and Protestants, but the part I didn't know is that unless you specifically declare you are atheist and/or renounce your current religion in writing, you are required to pay 8% (!) of your taxable income to the church. Ouch, talk about lack of separation of church and state... But the bonus for us was a multitude of beautiful churches (well, at least for the catholics).
  • I do however have to get Germany absolute credit for how they have been handling their troubled history. Every place I saw was to the point, didn't hide anything, and while it did point out that many Germans obviously did not agree with what Hilter was doing, it was also almost impossible to oppose him after a short while. I was very disappointed at Japan and how they flat out lie about their history so that they don't look bad and don't have to admit fault, and they have plenty of it. Germany was an exact opposite of that.
  • Another thing we saw in multiple places was how Germany leads the world in solar production per capita despite the limited sun they get compared to some better located countries. Good for them!
  • we saw many solar farms on the side of the road
    we saw many solar farms on the side of the road

    So, despite some of the speed bumps due to over strict rules, it was a very nice trip through a country with varied history and culture, resulting in lots of different things to see. Well worth it.

    See more images for Germany Trip Wrapup
    2016/10/05 Linuxcon Europe 2016, Berlin
    π 2016-10-05 00:00 in Linux
    For my 3rd and last Linuxcon of the year, I presented my Open Source at Google talk in Berlin, and my talk was well received despite my non ideal delivery due to bad sleeping in the hotel room
    That was my first Linuxcon in Europe, and it was nice to see a different crowd. While the weather in Berlin was pretty crappy, the conference was not :)










    See more images for Linuxcon Europe 2016, Berlin

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