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2006/01/29 AvB at Ruby Skye
π 2006-01-29 23:17 by Merlin in Clubbing

First, I was not very happy that Air New Zealand didn't have a direct flight from Auckland to SFO on Monday, but since I had no intention on making a non direct flight (that would be non stop for you people at United) to SFO, I opted for coming back a day early, on Sunday.
I wasn't overjoyed by that, but in the end it turned out to be a good thing as Armin ended up being scheduled to play at Ruby Skye on sunday night. While I onlyhad had about 4.5H of sleep on the plane, and was a bit jetlagged, I was able to go Ruby Skye and enjoy the party, with much thanks to the kind soul who got me there and back :)

Armin did a fair set, just not too many of my favourite tunes, but I met the usual suspects there, and was in good company, so it was a quite nice night indeed :)
You can also look at the other pictures of Armin at Ruby Skye











2006/01/29 First Helicopter Ride (in Dunedin, NZ)
π 2006-01-29 10:43 by Merlin in Flying

After speaking at linux.conf.au, the organizers were nice enough to treat us to a helicopter ride around the city. Incidently, it was my first helicopter ride ever, and I was lucky enough to get shotgun.
I was actually impressed by the payload the helicopter could lift (5 people with fuel compared to 3 people with fuel for a cessna 172). Fuel consumption is a bit higher though, 22gph instead of around 10gph for a 172.
While it was a fun flight, I'm still not too sure how I feel about helicopter safety, those things just don't feel that safe to me, even with autorotation, but maybe I'm wrong.
A few pictures are below, and you can also look at the rest of the pictures of the helicopter ride over Dunedin















2006/01/28 linux.conf.au 2006 wrapup
π 2006-01-28 02:11 by Merlin in Linux

Current Mood: Good week
Current Music: Paulway - Telekinesis 1 (from my good Oz friend Paul who just gave his latest mixes to me)


The LCA conference went well. It was nice to see my see once or twice a year buddies from around the world.
The organizers did a fantastic job considering that they weren't many and that their were hosting us in a rather small New Zealand city as opposed to the Capital or Autralia, or some place like Sydney.
Like every year, it was geek heaven, with the usual suspects :)



I got to try my buddy's ever improving augmented reality project (running on linux on a custom built system that fits around the waist)



My talk went all right. I was too busy to really rehearse it, so I just delivered it on the fly, and that wasn't a problem (although I spent a little too long looking at the slides on my laptop since I hadn't memorized it)



Pretty much each evening, we had an organized dinner. Here I am with some buddies from Australia, the US, and Japan



The last evening, there was a big auction for a book (money going to charity), and to up the ante, various programmers offered to do several things if the bid reached a certain level.
In the end, the auction went for NZ$10,000, two programmers lost their facial hair, and one lost his hair since people exceeded the bids by which they promised to get those cut or shaved off.





This ended up being the attraction for that year (last year, they got dunked into a small pool)
Tomorrow morning, the organizers are very nicely offering us (the speakers) a helicopter ride above the city, and I'm flying back to San Francisco after that.

Anyway, good fun was had, and I had a great two weeks away from work :) and you can view the rest of the linux.conf.au 2006 pictures if you wish
2006/01/27 Flight in Dunedin, New Zealand
π 2006-01-27 21:57 by Merlin in Flying

One of the linux.conf.au organizers (conference I'm attending and where I'm speaking) happened to know the local flight club, and set ourselves up for a flight with a CFI there.
Unfortunately, someone had just wrecked their Cessna 172, so we took an ancient Cherokee 140E, which was all in all scary for me :)
  • I had never formally taken off in or landed a low wing airplane (different ground effect)
  • I didn't really know the fuel management procedures in detail (when to run with the fuel pump on and when not to, in addition to switching tanks every so often)
  • The stall indicator is a small light on the dashboard. That's useless and dangerous in my opinion (it should be a loud horn)
  • The elevator trim was a car window pull down lever, on the roof
  • There were no foot brakes, it was a hand lever (hard to get used to)
  • The flaps were different too: it was a hand brake lever (that was weird too)
  • The plane felt underpowered for 3 people and I didn't feel like we were clearing the trees by a whole lot
  • and the runway wasn't that long, and was grass (meaning more drag and more room required to takeoff, requiring a weird mix of short field and soft field takeoff and landing)


All this to say that I was very happy the CFI was there to help :)













and the rest of the pictures of that flight in Dunedin
2006/01/26 Passenger Flight from Cairns to Cooktown over the Great Barrier Reef
π 2006-01-26 01:01 by Merlin in Flying
I was a passenger in that interesting turboprop plane. while going to a boat for a week long dive trip, we got a scenic flight to Cooktown. Unfortunately, the weather was very overcast with tops of 1500 feet or less in some places, but the pilots did a good job of trying to give us as much of a scenic flight as possible despite the iffy conditions (they flew some portions of the flight in IFR conditions). It was doubly interesting for me as I was in the first row of seats, right behind the pilots, and got to see the avionics up close, and chat with them, about how it's like to fly cool planes like theirs (a twin turboprop).














You can see other pictures I took from that plane of the great barrier reef
2006/01/24 Visiting Dunedin
π 2006-01-24 23:32 by Merlin in Trips

So the whole point about my being in Dunedin was to attend linux.conf.au, which happens to be in Dunedin this year, and since I was there a day early, I used it to rollerblade around the city, and took some pictures. It was a nice small city.
The funny thing is that I ran into several geek friends while roaming the city, people I hadn't seen in a year or so, and from different places in the world. It's always kind of funny when you do that, and get recognized by a foreign people in a yet other foreign city :)
All in all, since I've been attending linux conferences since 1996, which was one of the first ocnferences (UseLinux track at Usenix), and I've been to most major conferences since then, as well as have been speaking at them since 2001, I am now quite well known among regular attendees and major linux hackers (that's the original good sense of the term, not the journalist misuse of the term to mean cracker). I am actually quite thankful and humbled to be friends and peer with the smartest linux guys on the planet, and it's always a pleasure to catch up with my international linux friends around the world at those conferences.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from Dunedin













Dunedin has the steepest street in the world, almost a 45% grade




You can view the rest of the Dunedin Pictures , as well as the now posted pictures of Cairns, Australia (including the Rainforest tour)
2006/01/24 First flight in Australia (although short)
π 2006-01-24 18:07 by Merlin in Flying

Since I had a few hours to burn on Monday morning after boating back into Cairns, and before taking one of my 3 flights to reach Dunedin New Zealand. So, I thought I would drop by the general aviation area and do a quick flight with an instructor in a Cessna.
Turns out that it was indeed possible, and I found an instructor who was able to take me. After a few questions from me on how flying in Australia was different from flying in the US procedure-wise, we headed out for the great barrier reef as my plan was both to do a quick fun flight, and sightseeing.
Unfortunately, a few minutes after takeoff, it became quite clear that the weather was quickly turning for a worse, and a huge front of rain with overcast down to a few hundred feet was heading right for us







turning on a far away base, you can see the bad weather we were getting away from


and on a (very long) final, which was more a straight in, very low tops were also coming from the left (I was at just 1000ft)




mmmh, this runway looks short, I'm not sure I'm going to make it :)


The sectional looked a bit different to what I'm used to, interestingly enough, Australia has no Bravo classes, but that Charlie extends to 36 nautical miles



Ok, it was a very short flight, but it was still fun to have done it, including my first landing at an international airport with a runway that was 3.2km long :)
(although that doesn't beat my landings at Castle: Castle/Atwater was 11802ft (KMER) whereas Cairns International (YBCS/CNS) is 10488ft (3.2km))

The few other pictures from that flight are here
2006/01/24 7kg carry-on limit on Australian/New Zealand planes
π 2006-01-24 13:25 by Merlin in Australia, Trips

Ok, it's so easy to complain about airlines that it's not fun, but eh, I had nothing better to do in the plane (at least all 3 took off, and on time even)

This is my 3rd and last flight from Cairns, Australia to Dunedin, New Zealand after a 4H night in Auckland.
It will have taken more time and effort and time to get from Australia to New Zealand, than it did to get from San Francisco to Australia :)
The highlight however was how Quantas and Air New Zealand actually seem to enforce their 7kg carry on rule when I had two carry ons (due to the laptop) around twice that weight. They didn't seem too willing to negotiate, so I had to use my emergency backpack, make it a second checked in luggage, offload my carry ons a bit, and put the rest of my carry ons on the floor out of the view of the attendant so that she could weight the almost empty carry ons (now 8kg or so), and I put them back in the bag as soon as she cleared them :)
This little ploy didn't work on my second flight though, they checked my carry-on weight and size, again, but right before the security checkpoint, where I couldn't be creative with the weight. I had to go back to the attendants, with whom I had already built rapport :) and made my plea, explaining that I was between two flights, my checked in luggage was not available to move things to, and that I needed help. Since I was only a few kilos above the weight by then, they gave me a waiver, and I was able to board the plane.
I was lucky though, they refused 8kg carry-on luggage from peers I met at the conference...

But seriously, 7kg carry-ons? My laptop bag has never been at 7kg or less in its entire life...
The reason they gave was in case the carry-on fell on someone's head from the overhead compartment. Grumble, another stupid rule that shouldn't apply to me but I get penalized on due to the stupidity of others (if I packed it, I can carry it, and I won't drop it because of the weight).
On the other side of the scale, so to speak, I understand that they want to limit the total weight per passenger and they don't like bozos like me who stuff 2 32kg suitcases, and then stuff all the extra weight in their carry-ons, but in this case I only had one piece of checked in luggage and was well under total weight.
Besides, to really be fair, they should just give a total weight allowance per passenger, including the passenger's weight, and make you pay extra after that. If you are skinny, you get more luggage allowance, if you're not, you get less. Of course, I know that would never work since 300lbs people would scream murder, but eh, a plane does care about that, a cessna 152 will not even take off if you weight that much, and bigger planes require more fuel for those people.

Besides, if your carry-on wasn't overweight when you started, it will be after you do the mandatory passage through duty free (I'm not kidding, you have to walk through the store to get to your gate). And well, tomblerone is heavy, and some might not be able to resist, you know who you are :)



Oh well, logic and the real world don't mix, I'll stop here :)
(yes, I got to Dunedin eventually after a 5h night layover in Auckland, as you can't easily get from Cairns to Dunedin on a monday)
2006/01/22 Diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
π 2006-01-22 13:58 by Merlin in Diving

Day 0 (Tuesday):
After going to the Nimrod office in Cairns to fill out some paperwork and be picked up to go to the boat, we got a scenic flight to Cooktown.

We boarded the boat at 18:00 after visiting Cooktown (where capitain Cook first arrived in Australia, incidently after getting his boat stuck on the great barrier reef :) ).
Our boat has a nice little crew of 6: the skipper, the engineer (who makes sure the engines, electricity, air compressors, and water makers (reverse osmosis from sea water) all work), our cook, our hostess, and two divemasters.
Also, because it's off season right now, as the summer is the rainy and cyclone season, we only had 7 people in the boat and I was able to upgrade to a single room with double bed since it was free and they were happy to make a little extra money. That was a good deal since I was slightly worried about how well I would sleep.
The divemaster gave us a quick breefing on how things were going to happen, and since I signed up for the nitrox course, instead of going to bed early, I got to watch the PADI nitrox DVD before finally crashing a bit after 23:00, for a wakeup at 06:00 (first dive at 07:00).


Diving Day 1 (Wednesday):
It's going to be a tough week, 5 dives a day (including a night dive), but the worst part is that we get fed after every single dive, and pretty good food even :)
A pre-breakfast, 1st dive, a real breakfast, 2nd dive, lunch, 3rd dive, pastry or cake, 4th dive, dinner, 5th/night dive. So much for my plan to get back in shape during my vacation :) (they say that we'll burn it off, but I call BS on that :) )
Anyway, the first 5 dives went fine. The day was busy as I was spending all my free time reading the PADI nitrox course, and taking the lesson review tests.
Incidently, the night dive was the most interesting (usually you don't see as much), as we saw our first turtles and a decent sized shark that came quite close to me.

You can find pictures from those dives here , and below a few daily highlights from the best of directory :



Yes, it's a giant clam






Those baby shrimp could not help but follow the light from our flashlights



Diving Day 2 (Thursday):
The morning dive site was incredible, multicolored fishes swimming all around you, and nice schools of yellow fishes, as well as a few barracudas (not as nice as the huge schools I saw at Barracuda Point in Malaysia, but that's probably the best spot in the world for that)
By my 3rd dive, I had also finished all the tests and I'm now Nitrox certified (Nitrox means diving with an air mix that contains more oxygen than the regular 21%, in order to decrease the amount of nitrogen that ends up in your blood, and that forces you to shorten your dives if you go too deep for too long). Nitrox is an interesting beast as it helps staying longer under water, but oxygen at higher pressures can also be toxic (not fatally so, but convulsions under water aren't a good thing since you'll most likely drawn in the process). Anyway, I now know the tables that explain when it's safe and beneficial to use higher oxygen content, and I'm certified to dive with Nitrox

You can find pictures from those dives here , and below a few daily highlights from the best of directory , as well as a video of a Giant Morray :



Small crabs with a clown fish






Nemo, meet baby nemos :)


Cuttlefish are so much fun, curious, playful, and of course colourful





Diving Day 3 (Friday):
Even though I'm not in my own bed, and the temperature on the boat tends to fluctuate between warm and cold, I still had a good 8H of sleep; for some reason diving makes one fairly tired even though it's not strainous exercise
I was happy to have my tools and bare necessities with me again. This time I got saved by the superglue: the bandaid on my left big toe just wasn't sticking, but I did need it to be there since the fins had ripped a piece of skin off. This is where my trusty superglue came to the rescue: glue the bandaid to my skin (always works wonders) :)
Today we did 3 dives, and left early by 15:00 for a 16h 120 nautical mile (138 statute miles / 222 km) trip to the Coral sea, for a way out there reef (Holmes Reef). Man, I can't say I've ever felt sick on a boat, but I'll have to admit that I'm not feeling too fresh right now: I barely touched my dinner as I'm slightly nauseous. 12H of boating and rough see to go... this is going to be an interesting trip and night...
In the meantime, I haven't had great luck writing my talk for LCA in New Zealand, it's hard to focus right now... I'm more thinking about the mythbusters episode where they tested sea sickness remedies, and the evil turning and spinning chair they had to simulate sea movements, as well as how sick it made poor Adam....
And come to think that I can fly 120 nautical miles in 1H instead of 16H by boat :)
Well, in the end the sea and the boat won after about 6 hours: one paperbag overboard, one... I guess, now, I feel a little bit better as a result.

You can find pictures from those dives here , and below a few daily highlights from the best of directory , as well as a video of a The Mario Land looking sea bottom :



Tiny cleaning shrimp




Mario Land :)



Diving Day 4 (Saturday):
Damn were we happy around 07:00 when we finally heard the engine stop. Finally, after 16:00, we had arrived to Holmes Reef. Between you and me, I would have been perfectly happy diving other closer locations of the barrier reef, especially Cod Hole, but that wasn't what this trip was about, so I went along with the boat :)
I started feeling gradually better after the boat stop rocking on 3 axis all the time, and had a light breakfast, but once in the water, it was of course much easier since it didn't rock at all :)
Also, for better or for worse, I've been getting plenty of sleep. I just came back from a 1H nap after an 8H night :)
The dives were nice, especially the school of big eye trevally. It was intereresting the weird swimming patterns they did, like a swirm of bees. One even had a piece of its flank that had been eaten out.
I also got my lip bit by a vicious clown fish that was protecting its anemone instead of hiding in it :)
That said, the highlight of the day had to be diving among sharks, which had been lured with a box of fish lowered in the water. Honestly, I still don't know how much of a bad idea it was. While it was quite interesting and exhilarating to see, it just felt like the danger level was a bit too high for my blood. What made me especially nervous was the much bigger shark that was making long and wide circles around the boat and us, wondering what it should be doing with us. After 20mn under water, I had seen enough and decided to come back up, I saw no reason to tempt fate any longer, and had had my heart beat enough by having 1.5m sharks swim less than 1m away from me.
Well, just after writing this, I went to Dive #4 for the day, which was supposed to be a nice cave dive, looking for holes and connections between them. While we did some of that, we were also escorted by about 10 sharks that kept swimming around us. Even though they were not really of the size that are known for attacking humans (a bit less than 2m), their circling around us, and the "we can take all 4 of you look" just made me quite nervous.
My dive buddy (divers always go by 2 as a backup and for safety), finally got spooked when a shark came out of a cave right behind my head as I was blocking the small hole out. I should have been scared shitless, but I didn't know it was there, so that was just as well. However, at that time, we elected to end the dive and head back for the boat.
Later, I was told that they were just following us as they were hoping for food as they sometimes get fed by humans, but as far as I'm concerned, had any of us happened to have any cut yielding any blood, it would have been really bad news for us.
At that point, I just wasn't really up for the night dive. As I wrote on the board "it's not because you can't see them that they aren't there".
It's true that according to statistics, our odds of being attacked were quite low, but eh, why play negative odds to start with? I'd rather be run over by a bus if no one minds :)

You can find pictures from those dives here , and below a few daily highlights from the best of directory , as well as a few videos








That was the bastard clown fish that actually attacked me :)




If you look carefully, one of the upper fish has a piece that was bit off


If you ask me, this looks like a bad idea all around :)







What you may not see too well are the two divers in the upper left of the pcicture, being followed by all those sharks




Eh, I tried to warn them that they were going to be shark bait :)




Diving Day 5 (Sunday):
Today was our last 3 dives. The funny thing is because I elected not to go to yesterday's night dive, I'm now one dive short of 75 dives in my logbook, but no biggie :)
The dive were mostly uneventful, but we still saw a few nice things. Thanks to Nitrox, I was able to do the last dive and not worry about depth or nitrogen absorbed: my dive computer said I'd be good to fly 4H before my flights to New Zealand on Monday. This is just as well since I have plans to go fly a small cessna over the great barrier reef before I leave anyway.

You can find pictures from those dives here , and below a few daily highlights from the best of directory , as well as a video showing how quick a Fire Dartfish really is:





The Fire Dartfish: it's there, you blink, and it's gone



All in all, this was quite a good trip, and an interesting experience of leaving 1 week on a small boat, something I had never done (cruise ships don't count as boats as far as I'm concerned :) )
2006/01/15 Visiting Cairns, Australia
π 2006-01-15 01:01 in Australia, Trips
w Now that I was certified for diving, I figured I would go to Cairns to go diving (follow the link for diving pictures).

The flight to Sydney was about 13h, and thankfully I got upgraded to business with miles, so it was as pleasant as it could have been.

Before landing to sydney, I told my new watch to swap the display of the SFO and SYD timezones, and show Sydney on the main hands. They showed that I landed at 06:50, and my next flight was 09:15, so I thought "great, no rush".

I started being nervous when it took an extra 10-15mn for my laptop bag to show up at the carrousel (after my big luggage). This is one thing I really don't want to lose... but I got it in the end, just quite late. Note to self: deal with the morons in security who like to empty the bag each time instead of taking the risk of checking it in.

I then got nabbed by customs because of how I answered the pre-screening questions (I'm going on vacation in Cairns, diving, I have no idea what I said wrong). At the gate they say "we have a code 18" or somesuch, and I get my luggage opened up and questioned. Too bad for them, I had pretty much nothing I wasn't supposed to have.

Once out, I went to the vodaphone counter to get a refill for my Australian GSM SIM.
Then, I went to the United counter to get a paper for the damage they did to my luggage, again. And because they're skilled, out of 4 wheels, they always take out one of the two needed to roll the luggage while pulling it from the handle. Grr... That took a good 20mn.

Eventually, I made it to the Quantas counter, as it turned out that I was actually taking the first leg of an international flight to Japan to get to Cairns (took me a little while to figure that out, I was heading for the domestic terminal). I apologized for being a little late (usually, it's a 2H checkin for international flights), and the attendents looked a bit worried and made a special exception to get me on the plane. Mmmh, ok, it was like 07:40 for a 09:15 flight, but whatever.

I then went to duty free to find and buy a very overpriced battery for my underwater camera (yeah! I won't have to overly worry about running out of juice under water), and someone takes off with my boarding pass that was on the counter and leaves me his. Great...
Back to the checkin gate to get another boarding pass, through security, and direction the gate, where I was hoping to finally plug in my laptop and chill a little bit. Instead, I'm told "last boarding, hurry". Uh, it's barely 8?

Once in the plane, I hear some announcement that they're sorry the plane is late for departure. It's 08:15 for a 09:15 departure, I don't see the big deal...
I play with my phones to send an SMS :) and notice the time on my nokia which says Sydney: 09:20. Then, it finally downs on my that my watch had the Sydney timezone wrong and was one hour late (due to summer daylight savings time). Argh, argh, argh!

At that point, I replayed the last hour and a half and realized how incredibly late I was the entire time, and how I should have been running through the airport instead of getting my luggage inspected, buying SIM cards, camera batteries, and a huge tomblerone bar (homer voice)mmmh, tomblerone :)
I guess I got lucky on that one, and I now have a big tomblerone bar in my laptop bag. Yum :)


There is a fair bit to see around Cairns, both Kuranda and the rainforest tour. I started with Kuranda, a village in the rainforest that you reach by cable car, and can leave by train:








The next day, I did a draintree rainforest and coastal tour:










The evening, I went to see an aborigine show:



See more images for Visiting Cairns, Australia
2006/01/12 Do I still know how to fly?
π 2006-01-12 23:48 by Merlin in Flying

Since I had a half decent night, and only woke up at 06:45, I thought I would go for a quick refresher flight today.
The reasons were twofold:
1) I needed to do a few night landings for training, and more generally make sure I was still up to par
2) A coworker had been asking to go fly with me for a while, as she was interested in learning herself. We tried to go in december just before I left, but the flight club office left early, and we never go the keys to the plane I had scheduled

I was slighly worried to see how much I had retained after not flying for a month or so, but while I was happy to have the checklist to help jog my memory, in the end I wasn't too rusty. The only stupid thing I did was to ask for a left crosswind departure at Palo Alto, which you can't do for noise abbatement reasons (I knew that), and is called a "left dumbarton departure" instead.
Emily got a variety of take offs and landings (short and soft), as well as a couple of power off landings, one at night. I also checked if I could still do half decent steep turns, and did a stall. This all worked out all right. She was just a bit scared when I gave her the stick, since afterall she'd have to take it sooner or later if she was going to learn :)
I was actually surprised by how smooth my landings were, they actually felt better than usual :)
2006/01/12 Hundreds of officers parading on Hwy 101 S this morning
π 2006-01-12 23:16 by Merlin in Public

When driving to work this morning, I noticed a bunch of police cars blocking off 101S on Fair Oaks, and considered turning around to take central instead, but since it looked like something potentially interesting was happening, and 101N seemed to be moving, although somewhat slowly, I took it.

Turns out, I caught the beginning of a parade of hundreds of police officers from all over the area.
It was a bit surreal, hundreds of officers in a single lane (carpool lane) in an otherwise blocked off Hwy 101, with all kinds of police vehicles, vans, limos, etc, going on for 20mn+ while I was driving the other way, taking pictures, and trying not to rear end the car in front of me :)
Turns out it was to honor officer May, who was brutally shot and killed a few days ago in East Palo Alto.
Read more from sfgate

After I posted the pictures at work, soon after people started asking WTF happened on 101S (since it did mess with commute traffic in a pretty major way), it started a long thread as to whether inconveniencing thousands of commuters, and causing accidents on 101N.

It's hard to say. At least, they did reach their goal of drawing attention to the problem.
I personally give to the CHP 11-99 foundation , a worthy way to help.













The other pictures, and a few videos are here

No, you may not make comments about how taking pictures and movies while driving was probably not a good idea. Some people did crash on 101 due to watching the officers, but I didn't, I'm better than that :)
2006/01/08 Holland
π 2006-01-08 21:32 by Merlin in Family

As each year, it was time for the yearly family reunion where I got to see all my nephews, nieces, uncles, and aunts. It was nice to see them all as always, even if the time felt too short like each year.
The other picts are here





2006/01/06 Visiting Paris
π 2006-01-06 23:27 by Merlin in Paris, Trips

My last few days in Paris were spent with Jen, being the tour-guide, and having a good time doing so. It was quite enjoyable for multiple reasons, like enjoying the view and other things at the top of the Sacré Coeur and the Eiffel Tower, as well as being a portable heat source :)
i'll admit that there were a couple of places I hadn't gone to before, and that were nice to see too, in addition to the places I had already seen, but not in a long time. I also figure out for the first time that the Eiffel tower only flashes its strobes at night between 0 and 10 minutes past each hour, and plays lighthouse after that.
We also did a picture contest, and I think I might have come slightly ahead, either by being more steady, or less greedy with my zoom :)
All in all, many pictures to show, but here's an excerpt below, and the other ones are here































2006/01/03 Hahaha, I beat Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson and his NSX around Laguna Seca by 1 second :)
π 2006-01-03 23:00 by Merlin in Cars

I was watching Top Gear's last episode of this season, and Jeremy flew to Laguna Seca to compare how the real driving experience was with driving the same car on the same track on a playstation.
Turns out that I had done the exact same thing than him, and with the exact same track a year and a half ago :)
Ok, that's not actually a huge feat, besides my time of 1:56 around LS is ok, but nothing to be really proud of compared to what real miata drivers can do, but it was more funny to see Jeremy go through the same excercise than me :)

To be entirely fair, Jeremy probably did fewer laps than me anyway (although his car was probably as, if not more capable than mine), but in both cases we did much better times on the playstation than in real life, and we both concluded that in real life with the fear of death and severe mauling by fire, you don't drive the same than in the game :) (that, and the fact that the game is over optimistic on the car and track capabilities).

All in all, it was quite entertaining to watch
2006/01/01 Annual Jan 1st family gathering
π 2006-01-01 23:42 by Merlin in Family

Current Music: AvB - Asot 229 (year mix 2005, very good one)
Current Mood: Good

Nice gathering and great meal as always.
I kind of showed up naked though, as due to a fatal packing mistake, I left my camera on the belt of the pants I was wearing the previous day.
Luckily, I wasn't entirely naked, I had my portable photo album (aka laptop :) ) and copied the pictures off everyone else who was here :)







The rest of the pictures is here

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