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2007/09/30 Biking from San Francisco's Pier 39, through the Golden Gate Bridge, to Saulsalito
π 2007-09-30 23:26 by Merlin in Exercising

Since we were already in San Francisco Saturday, we slept over in a hotel there, picked up my burning man bikes and our stuff that had been trucked back from burning man, and used the bikes to ride from Pier 39 to the Golden Gate Bridge. Once on the other side, we did a nice climb to see the bridge from up high (> 1000ft), before going back down towards Saulsalito.























Saulsalito was a nice old city to see for a couple of hours while we were waiting for the ferry from Saulsalito back to Pier 39, to finish with a nice dinner on Fisherman's Warf with view on the water during the sunset.

Here's a link to the GPS track of our biking and a link to all the pictures of our little trip
2007/09/29 3rd annual lovefest
π 2007-09-29 16:16 by Merlin in Clubbing

The lovefest parade itself was fun. It was the usual floats going through market street, although this year the parade was broken up in pieces to let a few cars go through between the floats. In my opinion, the city police would have done a better job by preventing cars from arriving on those one way streets where the only way out was through market st. Oh well...

















The floats were good this year again though, and the party around civic center plaza was good. Now, I should have noticed at the time a problem with the skills/spundae guys: they didn't actually care to tell you who was spinning at their booth.
Seriously, I'm starting to get ticked off at that: why do some of those people deem that we don't need or want to know who's spinning? Compare and contrast with the 1015 guys:



1015: good


spundae/skills: bad (fancy ipod, but couldn't get anything really useful on it)


Unfortunately, for the after party, the did the exact same thing, which was pretty sad: they had good DJs: Gabriel & Dresden, John 00 Flemming, Ferry Corsten, Sasha, and others, but they couldn't be bothered to less us know who was playing when.
This really pissed me off, as people around me where asking "who's playing now?". And it did actually matter, because unfortunately, many of the DJs played played "base/boring" techno instead of trance. Quite frankly, Jennifer and I got bored, and as luck would have it, we ended up leaving 10 minutes before Ferry Corsten took the decks, apparently around 02:30 (at least from what I read after the fact). In a nutshell, I think the combination of some DJs playing pretty boring stuff, and not knowing who was playing were, just made the event very disappointing.
Spundae/Skills: bad mark for you! After the fact, after more searching on the internet (it hadn't shown up in search indexes in time for the event it seems), the linup was:
09:00 - 10:00 - deep voices feat dyloot
10:00 - 11:00 - robert nickson
11:00 - 12:00 - joof
12:00 - 01:00 - g&d
01:00 - 02:30 - sasha
02:30 - 04:00 - ferry
















Here are the pictures of the 3rd Annual Lovefest , and pictures of the Spundae Lovefest Afterparty
2007/09/25 A new 3m/5k/3.2m record
π 2007-09-25 19:15 by Merlin in Exercising

After getting back into boot camp a bit, I took some diet rockstar energy drink, and went running for a couple of laps around the building (3.2 miles).
I don't know if it was the caffeine or just my shape, but I was able to beat 4 of my personal records today: sub 7mn mile for two miles in a row (6:55mn and 6:59mn)
3.0miles: 21:13
5k (3.1m): 21:57
3.2miles: 22:45
avg speed: 7:05mn/mile

I did run out of steam around the 3rd mile though, and I wanted to stop and walk the end more times than I ever wanted before, but still managed to shame myself into finishing. I guess it was worth it :)
2007/09/23 Trip in memory lane
π 2007-09-23 11:51 by Merlin in Public

I was watching Stephen Hawking's Universe - 1997 - Episode 5, and around offset 00:37:00, astrophysicist Alex Filippenko started talking after a little tune that sounded familiar. And then, I was able to quote a couple of his sentences before he finished them.
You'd think it would be weird for a 10 year old documentary I had never seen, but I knew why: I had heard that segment of voice in a mod ages ago (well, it was .xm).
It was actually one of my top ten mods, so it didn't take me long to find it: It was nx-darkstars (get your free copy here if you can play mods (mikmod/xmms with mikmod plugin on linux)).
This was a great trip back in memory lane and I was amazed I was able to remember and find an old mod from 10 years ago (back in the days, I downloaded several thousand mods from an ftp size (1GB's worth, which took a week to download over my ricochet modem), and listened to and sorted them over the next 3 months while working at Network Appliance. I ended up with a sorted personal collection of the best ones at the time (those were the days when mp3s weren't that common yet), and I here's a link to the 7 best in my opinion, access.xm (access denied) being the best one, and still quite good 10+ years later (for those of you who don't know mods, they were music composed on amigas and ataris, using trackers which would take a few samples (i.e. digitized instruments or voices) at a certain pitch, and be able to replay them as any note you needed, giving you a virtual piano with any instrument you wanted. The big win you got by doing this was that you could play 10mn of music with only 20 or 30seconds of digital sample recordings, and would save a lot of disk (or floppy) space. In the late days of the mod scene, some of those compositions were quite elaborate, and are still good enough to be listened to, today, in the age of fully digitized music: mp3s)
I did some web searches to see if I could find jrb-onyx to send him some greetz, but unfortunately, his 10y old contact info is way dead now. It's even too old for archive.org.
Here is the info inside the xm file:
onyx:trance:97 presents
dark stars by Jrb (waiting mix) released 11.11.97 duration 17m25s approx
::voice16 version (speaking samples included, and 16bit included where possible)
::sample credits
 :speaking and spooky synth (inst44) from a cosmology program by BBC
 :Chill's sample library for the drum loop
 :various synths by me
 :spiritseeker, and various other sources. Check samp names for source.
::song info
 not alot to say about this really.  It seems all my new songs are very
 experimental for me now. So it's hard to tell whether people will like
 them or not. I hope you do.  I've been wanting to do an ambient track
 for ages, but for me they're really hard, this track seemed to flow
 into that style kind of well so half the track is slow, or ambient, or
 psymbiant or what ever! :) I think its pretty cool anyway.
::greetings
  -all members of onyx coz they're music is so goddam cool! ;]
  -all members of chill
  -all members of twist
  -all members of UB
  -especially madhatter, matrix3 uranium, orion, vild stereoman,
   substance kjwise, aum, shang- rila, azayaka, and anyone who
   downloaded this track
::contact
::web presence http://orbit.simplenet.com/onyx
::email jrb-onyx(at)netcomuk.co.uk
 email is ALWAYS answered quickly

The Stephen Hawking's Universe documentary series, albeit 10 years old, is pretty good BTW.
2007/09/15 2007 Reno Air Races
π 2007-09-15 19:23 by Merlin in Flying

It was time for another Reno Air Races. This time I brought Jennifer with me, and we flew in the previous evening. It was an interesting flight for me, because it was my first night flight on a moon-less night, and over the Sierras. I took that flight seriously since I had to be very aware of where I was, and how high I was over the pointy bits. The garmin GPSes with terrain warning I had came in quite handy as a triple confirmation that I was well clear of the terrain (which was mostly an issue when I had crossed and had to get down in a hurry to make the runway, it would suck the clip a pointy bit on the way down).
We made it safe and sound in Reno in about 90mn from start to shutdown, and my friend Brian, came to pick us up for dinner.






The next morning, Brian took us to Reno Stead for the air show. In the morning, we first went to see the planes on display, and spent the rest of the day watching the planes racing, and a very impressive 9 plane formation from the Canadian Snowbirds. It was pretty cool when they flew in a maple leaf formation.
We were also relieved that there were no crashes that day (as opposed to the several mid air collisions and 3 fatalities earlier in that week)





























Here's a link to the rest of the pictures or the reno air races, air show, and static displays , and another link to the upcoming Thunder Over Reno Movie
2007/09/06 Burning Man 2007 report
π 2007-09-06 10:00 by Merlin in Bm

I've just finished and posted my burning man report, which you can find here for more details






















2007/09/01 DJ Dan / Paul Oakenfold / Gabriel / Christopher Lawrence at Burning Man
π 2007-09-01 20:41 by Merlin in Clubbing

;

As a complement to my Burning Man 2007 report , I should write a few notes about the great DJs that Opulent Temple setup for us.


While it was impossible to see all the DJs there, I managed to see a few top DJs who spun there.
On Thursday, we had DJ Dan, Friday had Paul Oakenfold and Gabriel and Dresden did a great sunrise set
for those who were still awake, or had just woken up, and after the man burn, Christopher Lawrence spun right after the man burn.
Needless to say that it was quite a nice lineup, especially when you remember that it's in the middle of the desert, with dust everywhere, and run from generators.



















You can see all the pictures here , as taken from the Opulent Temple report from burning man 2007

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