Marc's Public Blog


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Museums | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips




More pages: January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980



2010/07/28 Karting at GoKart Racer with Coworkers
π 2010-07-28 00:00 in Cars
My coworker Marcin setup a Karting outing, and I was unable to refuse the nice offer :)




Some of the people who showed up were almost professional karters, a couple in our groups were over a second faster than us and lapped us all in the race.
I did reasonably well and while I was being my usual inconsistent, I placed 3rd in the qualifying session. During the race, the 4th behind me was doing a better job than me after a few laps and eventually passed me, which was cool, but unfortunately the guy behind me pushed and spun me in a turn, pointing me in the wrong direction and making me lose an entire lap.
On the upside, I worked really hard to catch up from the back, and posted some good lap times (0:32:22 was the best I think).

The place is unfortunately far (1h30 return drive from home), but it's was good fun to dash it out with coworkers who were actually pretty good too :)



This is just the hot laps session to get used to the track:

Then the qualifying session:

And the Race:

2010/07/28 Taking over a Multiplex Cularis
π 2010-07-28 00:00 in Rc
One of my coworkers was moving to NYC unbeknownst to me, and I had noticed a glider in his cube. When I asked him about it, he said he wasn't sure what to do with it because he was moving out of California that evening.

Needless to say it was not a hard sell, I offered to take it over and fix it up. The tricky parts were getting a new prop without knowing what motor was inside except for the fact that it was a competition motor with enough power to blow a speed controller or a lipo if either were undersized. He told me a story of one of his gliders where the lipo caught on fire while flying and they saw the glider gliding away while on fire :)

First, the glider is huge. Its wingspan is more than 3 times the one from my old trusty minimag, and about as much as 2 of my bigger planes combined:



The other tricky bit was setting up a radio. This was actually the hardest bit because while I had had the foresight to by a more expensive Spektrum DX7 back in the day and therefore had 7 channels, the DX7 was just a pita to configure for crow/butterfly flaps assigned to the power stick like in this picture (ailerons up and flaps down):


It turns out that the mixers in the DX7 barely allow you to use the power stick to either control the motor, or the crow flaps at the flip on one switch, but it's super non obvious. I owe a big big thank you to the guy who figured it out and wrote this post:
http://www.parkflyers.org.nz/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?post_id=4193
Not only he gives the setup, but he explains what the DX7 manual doesn't do: how the hell this all works. This in turn allowed me to improve on his programming and have just a single switch that goes from normal airplane mode to crow flaps and back.

The last piece was figuring out if the ESC's BEC was able the power the 6 servos (in theory, 2A is only good for 4). An amp meter on the battery while moving all the servos seemed to show that things were ok on that front. The only part I just didn't know about was how many amps the motor would try to get from the battery and how far I was from the 15-20C (about 40A for a 2100mAh lipo) I would be.

After a long time programming the radio, I finally convinced myself that the plane would fly, I just wasn't sure about the motor situation... It turned out that if I went past half throttle, the ESC shut down to protect itself and the battery, so launching with power was quite an interesting task, I had to put just enough power but not too much and throw just right or I would crash.
I did crash a few times after some not good enough throws, but eventually got the sucker to fly. I got the hang of it very quickly and I saw right away how it must be nearly impossible to land without the crow flap setup: even with it, I stayed over the ground in ground effect without actually landing for quite a while.
I tweaked my programming after a few flights and was able to get a little bit of uplift and glide at Rancho San Antonio.

I've ordered some bigger batteries that should give me more power and hopefully let me run the motor without it shutting down when I actually need it :) and I'm looking at ways I could put my gopro camera on the glider once I feel that I have enough power to take off without risks (unfortunately, I can't put the camera under the glider since the glider lands on its belly, which would damage the camera on landing).

It was a fair amount of time to setup (and I didn't have to build the whole glider), but it's been fun so far. Now I have to get the hang of how high I am and whether I could safely land back without power if I had to.

Fellow glider pilot at Rancho San Antonio:


See more images for Taking over a Multiplex Cularis
2010/07/27 MMA Surgery 4 weeks later
π 2010-07-27 00:00 in Osa
I guess I'm due for a quick update.

I'm doing a lot better, I can now chew soft foods (quiche, soft bread (not baguette)), so I've been mostly eating unblended food for the last week. It's not super varied, mostly sandwich bread with paté, soft cheese, or fish eggs, but eh, I love that stuff anyway :)

I tried eating some pizza today and it was borderline but worked (the rule is that if I have any jaw pain or soreness afterwards, I shouldn't have done it). But that doesn't beat having been pilot in command of a small plane to fly to Mohave after just 3 weeks after surgery. I was a bit sore from talking on the radio, but it worked out.

Sleep is not perfect, but much better than it was before surgery for sure. It's supposed to improve more, so we'll see.

2010/07/27 We're sorry we missed you, or overachievement at USPS
π 2010-07-27 00:00 in Public
I was home today, and get to to the mailbox after seeing the USPS truck. In there, I find a "we're sorry we missed you" notice from that day. I ran after the USPS truck and eventually caught it.

The guy eventually admits that he never rang the bell or went to my door to check whether I was there to sign for his registered package. He just figured no one would be there on a weekday, put the notice in my mailbox, and drove off.

Good job USPS, way to go!

2010/07/23 500H Of Flight
π 2010-07-23 00:00 in Flying
I haven't been flying nearly as many hours recently, but the last flight put me exactly at 500H of flight.

There was a while ago where I was pretty confident that I actually had more flying hours than driving hours over the last years. I wasn't sure if it was still true anymore. My commute puts me at 66H of driving per year give or take, and I do drive a little bit on top of that, but not for long distances. Given that I might actually still have driven less than 500H in the last 5 years where I flew 500H. That would be cool if it's still true :)

2010/07/22 FOG Trip to Mohave and Tour of Edwards Air Force Base
π 2010-07-22 00:00 in Flying
Dan Dyer organized another fly out group trip for us to visit Edwards Air Force Base. We flew to Mohave spaceport.

Wind Mill Farm by Mohave
Wind Mill Farm by Mohave

Airliner Graveyard at Mohave Spaceport
Airliner Graveyard at Mohave Spaceport




The next morning, we drove in style to Edwards AFB (we couldn't get bus, so Dan got us some limos :) ).

We first got a tour of the NASA facility, and we then got to see the flightline (which we were not allowed to photograph) and ended with the base's museum, where we got a lecture on how to fly safely in the surrounding restricted and military training areas.









Nice picture of the dry lake by Edwards
Nice picture of the dry lake by Edwards






this is the lift used to hoist the space shuttle on top of the 747 that would fly it back to Florida
this is the lift used to hoist the space shuttle on top of the 747 that would fly it back to Florida

It was a definitely an interesting trip, I was quite thankful that they allow us visit what is otherwise an active military base. We didn't quite get to see an F35, except a distant peak through a hangar (I guess we couldn't quite expect to show up while they were doing VTOL hover testing :) ), but what we did get to see closer was pretty cool.

The flight home was pretty uneventful, which I guess is a good thing :)



Thanks Dan for organizing this for us.

2010/07/13 MMA Surgery, 10 days later
π 2010-07-13 00:00 in Osa
I got a few Xrays, so I thought I'd post them. The last one is the most interesting since it's post procedure. The interesting part is how far Dr Li was able to move my bottom jaw (15 to 20mm) and the fact that left and right were not moved the same amount because my jaw and bite have always been sideways, and he had to move one side more than the other to correct that.

The X-Rays also shows that the back teeth were moved a bit forward compared to the front, but the entire jaw was moved a lot more than just the offset change between top and bottom, as the front jaw was moved forward too (just less than the bottom since moving it too much would not be aesthetically pleasing).

does show that my upper teeth were way in front of the bottom ones (not because of the teeth as much as the jaw).
does show that my upper teeth were way in front of the bottom ones (not because of the teeth as much as the jaw).

before
before

after (check the arrows showing where and by how much the bottom jaw was cut and moved)
after (check the arrows showing where and by how much the bottom jaw was cut and moved)

It's been about 10 days, I've been feeling about as good as normal for the last 3 days:

  • I sleep pretty much normally now.
  • no more pain meds.
  • no more day naps and I can hack/work all day.
  • Dr Li has been changing my rubber bands for weaker ones, so I can open my mouth a bit now.
  • I don't need the mouthpiece I had that was stopping me from talking, even with my teeth closed. As a result, I can now mostly talk (a big plus obviously), even if I'm not supposed to talk much.
  • Things that are still missing though:

  • No feeling in my bottom lip/chin still: it takes a couple of months for the jaw nerves to recover from the stretching and pass feeling impulses again
  • I can open my mouth a bit, but still not chew food, so it's blenderized food or things like a square of chocolate I can melt on my tongue.
  • Sure, I'll be happy when I can eat normal food again, but I'll have to be patient. In the meantime, I'm at least enjoying being able to work/hack again (working on home projects).

    Oh, for those still wondering why one would do something as seemingly stupid as getting their jaw sawed and re-fused, this paragraph from this informative knol (article) says it all:

    Untreated OSA has been estimated to cost the United States an excess of several billions of dollars per year to treat the medical complications of the disorder. Persons with OSA are considered to have an increased mortality risk associated with compromise of the cardiovascular (heart and major arteries) and cerebrovascular (major vessels of the brain) systems. The risk for suddenly dying of heart problems has been shown to be increased in OSA patients when they sleep. Further, the brain arousal which is typical of each obstructive episode causes brief sleep fragmentation which is usually unrecognized by the person suffering, but in fact can lead to a loss of restorative sleep, even though the person is in bed and "sleeping" for many hours. The combination of repeated sleep disruption and decreased oxygen to the brain during sleep likely contributes to the characteristic and sometimes severe daytime sleepiness of OSA. Associated mood changes including feeling depressed, as well as lack of energy, and failure of memory and concentration, all may occur. The poorly controllable sleepiness of untreated OSA is considered to cause the United States thousands of lives annually in motor vehicle accidents.
    While all of these medical problems are most likely to be found in association with severe OSA, even mild OSA (for example, less than 10 obstructive episodes per hour of sleep) has been associated with an increased risk of having or developing some form of heart disease compared with the risk of persons without OSA.

    (for reference, I was getting close to 20 obstructive episodes per hour).

    2010/07/07 Body Fat Results
    π 2010-07-07 00:00 in Exercising
    Since I've lost some weight after my surgery, I figured I'd take a few readings.

    Weight: 152lbs, body fat: 14% on my scale, 13.2% on the handheld (pinch testing said 16% but I'm confident the guy did it wrong).

    2010/07/06 Drive Across Skyline to Hwy 1, Davenport and Back through Big Basin Redwoods
    π 2010-07-06 00:00 in Cars
    I was needing some time outside after having spent too long indoors, and David wanted to give Mounira a ride in my car for her BD, so when other coworkers expressed the idea of going out for a drive this afternoon, it was an easy decision :)

    We went for a nice little drive. I went easy not to upset my passenger and stay within safe limits for public roads, and outside of a pickup driver who got upset after I passed him to get rid of someone behaving heretically just in front of me, it was a nice drive (it was kind of hard to explain anything to him both because he wasn't in a listening mood, and I was unable to speak anyway).

    Around Big Basin Redwoods, I slowed down due to reduced speed limits and people left and right of the road and likely to cross at any time, but I apparently made a bit too much noise with the car (well, it makes noise pretty easily, which is ok most times, but not great in the middle of a hiking forest) and got reported for "looking fast". Honestly, I was actually driving quite slowly there for obvious safety reasons, but I had my eyes peeled on the road more than at my speedo. Maybe I was a few miles over 25, who knows?

    A friendly park ranger flagged me down after the report and told me to be mindful of other people, which was sound advise and pretty much what I was doing. I was not able to talk to him to explain, but he was satisfied with seeing that I got the message either way.




















    Mounira enjoyed the scenic drive and didn't get car sick, so all went well :)

    2010/07/01 Jaw Surgery Day: Maxillomandibular Advancement Surgery
    π 2010-07-01 00:00 in Osa
    For those who didn't know, I've been suffering with sleep apnea for about 10 years now, and increasingly so. First, I had my tonsils removed, and a few sleep studies in between, including my last one to see why my sleep appliance wasn't really working too well anymore.

    Anyway, after having tried a bunch of other things for the last 4 years, noticing that things are getting slowly worse over time, and getting mixed results with CPAP which I just didn't want to rely on for the rest of my life anyway, MMA surgery was pretty much the only logical choice left.

    Now, it is involved and one does have to look at it as an investment: 6 or so weeks with your mouth wired shut and not being able to eat any and then quite little solid foods. Oh, and there is the no talking for a while part too.

    Anyway, I did look at the other options carefully, and tried most of them and after my sleep appliance, the best working one for a while started not being enough, and I started getting sick again 3 times in a row in a 6 week period of time, not counting the many days when I didn't feel rested and sharp, MMA surgery it was.

    Luckily, I live 20mn from one of the best surgeons for this procedure in the US, Dr Kasey Li has actually done and written a lot of research in this domain and performed hundreds of such operations already, so I knew I'd get the best outcome possible with him. This is also when getting a PPO ended up being the correct choice over an HMO: I got to pick my surgeon and Cigna is going to pay everything (close to $100k I hear) outside of my $3k out of pocket deductible for the year. Quite frankly, for this kind of surgery, it's cheap.

    So, the details on how the surgery went:

    First, this I had to get braces to get my from and bottom teeth angled in a way that maximized the amount of moving the bottom jaw while moving the top one as little as possible (moving the top one too much does not look nice on your face whereas my bottom one was too far back, so moving it forward was actually a good thing).

    Anyway, once the teeth had been angled enough, I went to Stanford on July 1st and was under 2.5H later, likely being hacked up somehow :)

    Apparently, I'm a cheap date for anesthetics, so while I'm not quite sure what happened, after the procedure was over, I was moved directly to the ICU and by the time I came back, my intubation tube had already been removed and I had a hard time keeping my face straight and my eyes focussed (actually one of my eyes is still less open than the other, likely due to how puffed up my face is).
    I could count fingers shown at me, but obviously I didn't look quite right until a bit later when I woke up a bit more an apparently regained more face/muscle control.

    I was a bit surprised by how my throat was hurting almost as much as when I had had my tonsils removed 4 years prior. Apparently, the intubation got my throat very irritated and it took a bit over 24H before I could swallow liquids without taking pain meds first (not as bad as the tonsils operation though).

    The first night at the ICU wasn't so great, which is understandable. I was obviously still a bit traumatized from the procedure and ICU recovery rooms are the loudest places ever: they are filled with machines that have very annoying and loud alarms of all kinds that kept going off literally all night: I've never seen anything so trigger happy and even with earplugs, it was hard to get much sleep.

    The next morning, I was moved to regular care as soon as they had some room for me there. I was able to have breakfast so to speak which was really just flavoured soup, apple juice, tea, and some sherbet I had to melt before I could use the syringe push it between my teeth that were wired shut.


    I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by how much my face had swollen up due to the procedure. On one side I lost about 5 pounds from little food intake and my face looks like I just gained 60lbs :)
    48H later, I was home after having stopped at Dr Kasey Li's office where he examined me, cleaned my nose (he also operated on my nose to help improve the airway, why not while you're at it), and removed the couple of stitches on my cheeks after the small holes had had to make for the operation itself (they are already not visible).
    I was pretty impressed how Dr Kasey Li is pretty much his own oncall over July 4th weekend and basically stays reachable himself (not some 3rd rate doctor while he's at the beach) should I require somewhat emergency help during the weekend. Mind you, I would do no less myself in his shoes, but I've found that I can't expect that level of service and dependability as much as I should be able to expect it. Therefore Kudos to him!

    A few pictures of my face puffing down slowly over time:




    At this point, my main issue is actually keeping my nose clear because I can't breathe through my mouth, and trying to shove food between the teeth with a syringe (Jennifer tried to make some soup, but it was too thick and its particles clogged up the few holes between my teeth and required a power water jet to clean/remove). So for now it's going to be odwala juice, slim fast shakes and protein powder shakes.

    Food isn't super exciting for now
    Food isn't super exciting for now

    My only surprise so far is how I lost all feeling in my chin and lower lip, as if I had had a very long lasting dentist shot. Dr Li says it's normal and it takes a while to come back (while could be over a month though), but that's likely only half-surprise so far.

    5 days later, I only had a single nap. My face is slowly getting back to more reasonable proportions, I can now mostly drink from a glass without having to use a syringe to squirt behind my back teeth (big plus), and the hardest part is likely for Jennifer not to be able to communicate much with me since I otherwise can't talk (I'm otherwise naturally a man of a few words and use Email and IM all day long, so I hardly noticed a difference :) ).

    As days go by, Dr Li will replace the rubber bands that keep my teeth closed and allow them to open up just a bit more every time, eventually allowing for some very soft foods to go through as opposed to a 100% liquid diet for now (which strangely I don't mind too much even if it's only been 4 days so far).

    Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be able to speak a little bit since for now, I can't at all due to the plastic piece between my shut teeth.

    It's hard to see how much better I breathe right now since I can't breathe through my mouth, and my nose is still very clogged up due to the small operation I had in it too to improve the airway, but the few times I got a chance, I could definitely tell that the extra 1.5cm of forward room in my throat make a huge difference for the amount of air that can go through when I lie on my back. As far as I can tell, I should be just fine when everything is back to normal. Yeah!

    (update1) got a followup appointment 6 days later and all the wounds are very clean. I saw an after X-Ray and it was pretty impressive to see how much moved forward. I guess that explains why my face and jaw feel so sore from being stretched forward like this (which is not like how a "normal person" would be, but I just wasn't born that way).


    More pages: January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980