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2005/05/27 Armin Van Buuren, at Ruby Skye, finally :)
π 2005-05-27 00:24 by Merlin in Clubbing
Man, I had been waiting for this for so long. It might be silly to say, but I really can say that my life is complete now, I have seen all my favourite DJs (also top techno DJs in the world), spin live.
Needless to say that I'm a big fan of Armin, and while I've been disappointed by some of the top DJs some nights, Armin sure didn't disappoint: his first hour and a half, he just spun great tunes, some of the recent favourites on his weekly The State of Trance radio show.
But I think the best part was just how nice and cheerful he was. While he's been spinning for a long time, and has done many many hours and sets worldwide, he still had a huge grin on his face and was having a great time (I would not say the same thing of someone like Paul Van Dyk, or especially Sasha for instance)
Armin's set was more than 3H, but I had to bail a bit past 3 so that I could get home without ending up in a ditch or climbing the center divider after having fallen asleep. I thought the set had gone a bit downhill after the 1.5H mark anyway (which is just as well for people who only stayed at the beginning)
The cool part though was that I was able to shake his hand and give him a note thanking him for all the great music he's been spinning for so long. It's a lot easier at Ruby Skye than at Amnesia where the DJs are totally out of reach.

The pictures and videos are here









2005/05/26 The power of state: 11 flawless landings
π 2005-05-26 11:17 by Merlin in Flying

Current Music: AvB - ASOT 198 - Live from di.fm
Current Mood: Good

So when I first woke up at 05:30 for no good reason whatsoever, I knew things weren't starting the right way (especially since I was starting with a slight sleep deficit).
I showed up bright and early at Palo Alto airport, and things didn't look so good either: ceiling was 1000 feet, the bare minimum for VFR flight (if the cloud base is below 1000 feet, you can only fly IFR, i.e. with instruments). We checked around and confirmed that we wouldn't be able to fly anywhere else (couldn't pick up enough altitude without being in the clouds) so we stayed in pattern to practise landings, 11 landings in about 1H to be exact.
We tried with and without flaps, with too much altitude, doing extrene slips to fall sideways and get rid of the extra altitude, and other fun stuff like that. The good news is that I forced myself to be awake and alert, and with (maybe) the help of an energy drink, did so. The landings were actually all good, and pretty much all nicely centered (no crosswind though).
I'll probably be crashing big time later today (as in dead tired), but this morning was cool
Comments:
Boy did I crash later in the day... Around 15:30, I couldn't take it anymore and had a 1H nap, and around 21:00 all I could think about was going to sleep, except that I couldn't sleep :)
posted by MM : 26 May, 2005 21:54

2005/05/23 Bay Area Ms Drive
π 2005-05-23 00:00 by Merlin in Cars
This was my first club drive with BMW M enthousiasts, from a very rare M1, older M3s, M5s, and a Z8.
The drive was fun, although it was somewhat mellow since it was copper day (one of the first nice and sunny saturdays this year). After heading for Hyw 1, we drove up to the Presidio. All in all a very nice drive and a great day.

The picts are here
I've also created a list for BMW M enthousiasts, you can go can ask to join the BAMS mailing list

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M1 (only about 60 of those in the US)
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Z8
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2005/05/14 Piece of junk with wings vs cadillac with leather :)
π 2005-05-14 21:24 by Merlin in Flying

The piece of crap Cesna 150 I was supposed to fly today was again not working (it's the smallest crappiest cesna you can fly, I was just curious enough to try it once, but I haven't managed to get it in working condition yet :)
Anyway, as a result I ended up flying a cessna 172SP which was only a few years old (as opposed to about 30 :)
Man, that was light and day: it had leather seats, all kinds of nice instruments, was very stable in flight and was fast. It was also nice not to have to add my weight, the instructors, our backpacks and decide how much fule we could add to the plane while it still being able to take off :)
In return, the plane definitely felt a lot less nimble but that made it more stable even if it also felt heavier to pilot.
But for my first flight in a real plane, that was quite fun.
2005/05/13 Company rafting trip
π 2005-05-13 22:09 by Merlin in Google

The ops group I work in had our yearly rafting trip on the Yuba river. It had a few class 4s and one class 5 which was optional for participants. One of the 4 rafts did get sucked by a backwash and ended up upside down with everyone swiming for their lives (more or less) especially as the rapids were followed by another class 4 soon afterwards. Some swam to shore and 3 others made it on top of the flipped over raft and rode the class 4 that way :)
Anyway, a lot of people saw water but my raft was fine and we all had a great time :)



All the pictures are here
2005/05/11 My miata almost made it into a movie
π 2005-05-11 21:00 by Merlin in Cars

No, no, not fast and furious 3 :)
A guy from skysound (Lucas' Skywalker Ranch Sound Studio) invited me to the old alameda runway, the one that was turned into a piece of freeway for Matrix 2

They wanted to do some sound recordings of my miata's turbo, engine and exhaust for one of their upcoming movies (I'm guessing Pixar's Cars ). Unfortunately my miata is in the shop, getting its turbo install cleaned up and redone (actually, it's been about 3 weeks now, and I'm really starting to miss it...).
Oh well, it would have been fun...
2005/05/10 Playing chicken with a field
π 2005-05-10 13:23 by Merlin in Flying

Current Music: Markus Schulz - Global DJ Broadcast - 2004-11-15
Current Mood: Good

Just when I was finally getting used to doing intentional stalls without raising my heart beat too much, the next thing my instructors have found to toy with me is to cut power during flight and say "well, you have no more engine, I guess you gotta land somewhere now". This is in itself an interesting excercise which shows that from a reasonable altitude you actually have a fair amount of gliding time before you reach the ground (my instructor actually lost the engine and flew a plane more than 5 miles from stanford/woodside all the way down to palo alto airport, and barely made it to the runway purely on gliding from 3000 feet, impressive...)
Anyway, the second time around, we glided to less than 50 feet altitude from a field before he put the power back on. That was an interesting game of chicken...
No, I was alert, but I didn't freak out :)
2005/05/03 Landing, landing, landing...
π 2005-05-03 22:37 by Merlin in Flying

Current Music: Belushi - Put Your Hands in the Air
Current Mood: Practise makes perfect

I had a couple of flight lessons this weekend and since it was with my now to be former teacher (he's moving to Texas), we just practised pattern flying and landing (take off turn in a rectangle and land). Saturday, I was just so not awake (don't ask :) and I just had a hard time getting it right at all (the crosswind didn't help).
Sunday wasn't stellar but it was starting to sink in slowly even though I was still having a hard time doing all the stuff at the same time, and I was overshooting my last 90 degree turn one mile off the runway, making landing both a sideways and up/down approach.
Let's just say that I admire my instructor for not having been too scared.

Today I flew with my new instructor, a much more seasonned guy, and after the excercises I pretty much did a perfect approach and landing. I was impressed and I'm wondering if it was luck or if I'll do just as well next time :)

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