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2010/12/27 More Paris Pictures
π 2010-12-27 00:00 in Trips
On our first day out, we went in the cold to climb the Eiffel Tower and hopefully have a slightly better view than we had last time. It wasn't great, but better than last time that was plain foggy :)


Pont Alexandre III and Obélisque
Pont Alexandre III and Obélisque

Snowy Paris
Snowy Paris

Overflowing Seine, almost at bridge level in some places
Overflowing Seine, almost at bridge level in some places

Trocadéro
Trocadéro



Ice skating on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower
Ice skating on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower






Oh yes, lots of snow meant that the Seine was a bit high :)
Oh yes, lots of snow meant that the Seine was a bit high :)


Then, we went back to Sacré Coeur since the air was better than last time, and I figured we'd have a better view than last time:

a few steps to go up :)
a few steps to go up :)






Place du Tertre:




Back for night shots:



On a different day, we went to Notre Dame to try and get to the top. Unfortunately at least one unachieving lazy frog could not be bothered to show up for work, and no one was there to substitute for him/her a whole 5 days, so we got up but not to the panoramic view at the top :( Still, it was nice to go up and see what we could.










La crypte de notre dame gives you an interesting view of ruins from very old Paris under ground level:



Speaking about lazy frogs brings us to the topic of La Sainte Chapelle. It's a very nice church that is unfortunately imprisonned in the middle of la Cour de Justice, which means that you have to go through a slow airport-like X-ray where they will make you get rid of your swiss army knife and so on. This creates a 1H long line which will then stop at 13:00 as they go out for lunch all at once for one hour.
The trick is to go to La Conciergery next door and buy a combo ticket that lets you skip most of the Sainte Chapelle line.






the ludicrous line that doesn't move much
the ludicrous line that doesn't move much

We went to Boulevard Haussmann, and the top of Printemps for a nice view:











Piggies, kill the piggies!
Piggies, kill the piggies!

Android dogs? :)
Android dogs? :)


On a different day, I went to visit Opéra:









And some random Paris pictures:

water level was a bit high
water level was a bit high






St Marc
St Marc

Os à moëlle.
Os à moëlle.


See more images for More Paris Pictures
2010/12/25 Xmas at my Mom's with Patrick and Diane
π 2010-12-25 00:00 in Family
The next day, we were invited for an Xmas dinner by my mom:



We also had a few improved breakfasts:


and I got an Orangina Sample at Auchan:


2010/12/24 Xmas and New Years Eve at my Dad's
π 2010-12-24 00:00 in Family
Thanks to fantastic snowy weather, our plane left SFO 6 hours late and we landed around 6 hours late too, but in time for Xmas eve thankfully.

Xmas eve was a nice little gathering and dinner:








A few more meals and dinner :)







and then a very nice New Year's Eve party:










2010/12/20 Post Surgery Sleep Study
π 2010-12-20 01:01 in Osa
It had been almost 6 months since I got my MMA surgery, and I was curious to get my new sleep apnea scores. Obviously I knew that I was sleeping better now since I was doing pretty well with no sleep appliance, but knowing the score was still good.

End result: my new AHI/RDI is now 12. The score itself is not very impressive to be honest (i.e. not so good), but I do feel better with that 12 than the 12 I had when I started 5 years ago.
Part of it is that Stanford is very picky on what they consider apnea now, raising scores compared to 5 years ago, and I'm guessing the other part is that my brain probably deals a little bit better with occasional reduced flow than it did before (i.e. less waking up and not feeling rested).

Anyway, it could be better, but it's pretty good as is. I guess that's what matters.

2010/12/18 Seeking kirkwood powder during 3 day weekend
π 2010-12-18 01:01 in Snow
The forecast called for a big storm, so we made plans to go to kirkwood and stay there for a couple of days.

car was packed to the rim :)
car was packed to the rim :)

Unfortunately, we got to Carson Spurr 1h after they closed it, which would end up being for over 3 days (although we didn't know that at the time). Some cars stayed and hoped that they would re-open, but that never happened. Unfortunately Caltrans sucks at broadcasting their plans: it would be really nice if they would just say "we're unlikely to re-open the Spurr for a few days", or "we're working on Carson Pass, we'll reopen ASAP" (vs "conditions are just too unsafe, go to bed and come back tomorrow morning when we'll try agian").
Anyway, we did a 3H+ drive around to Carson Pass just to find that it was closed too with no ETA for re-opening. In the end, it did open about 30 to 45mn after we were there, but since Caltrans can't be bothered to give any useful forward looking information, and it was pushing midnight and a 8.5H drive, we went back to South Lake and slept there, foregoing the first night in our condo.

the caltrans guy just made a snow roadblock
the caltrans guy just made a snow roadblock

The next morning, we drove from South Lake and the conditions were pretty good although the snow was wet (temps were too high):


Hi Johannes and Kirsten
Hi Johannes and Kirsten

It snowed a bit that night:

digging the car out and getting back to a road, was 'fun'
digging the car out and getting back to a road, was 'fun'

Kirkwood opened 20mn and closed due to high winds, heavy snow and high avalanche danger. Snow sucked anyway.
Kirkwood opened 20mn and closed due to high winds, heavy snow and high avalanche danger. Snow sucked anyway.

We waited the day out in the lodge, it was just sleeting outside :(
We waited the day out in the lodge, it was just sleeting outside :(

Snow was bad and it was impossible to get out of parking spots, this poor guy had his bumper ripped by the snow while being towed.
Snow was bad and it was impossible to get out of parking spots, this poor guy had his bumper ripped by the snow while being towed.

We stayed in a nice 2BR in the tower that afternoon/night
We stayed in a nice 2BR in the tower that afternoon/night

Sunday ended up being a throwawy day, but thankfully we had made some plans to extend our stay to monday for the dryer colder storm: On Monday morning, there were almost 2ft of dry snow on top of the previous day's crud. That was a welcome change. Kirkood took forever to open its 4 lifts on the front side of the mountain though, they really are having issues doing timely snow patrol and getting their lifts to run reliably and timely.

lift line for solitude, the first lift to open at 10:00.
lift line for solitude, the first lift to open at 10:00.

Pow
Pow

Here was my first run off Cornice, when they finally got the lift running at 14:00-ish (yes, that's late...)

Monday had really nice conditions though, when lifts finally opened, it was quite nice.
3 days later, Carson Spurr is still closed though...

2010/12/18 Gingerbread and Nexus S are out
π 2010-12-18 01:01 in Google
Just in time for Xmas (barely) the Samsung Nexus S came out as our Gingerbread development phone.

Gingerbread man got added to our collection:


The phone looks pretty sleek, except for the total lack of status LEDs and trackball/trackpad (which I miss). End result is that it's hard to tell which way is up. I fixed that up though :)


See more images for Gingerbread and Nexus S are out
2010/12/14 Thank you Dinner from Mats from Travieso Winery
π 2010-12-14 01:01 in Dining
Jennifer has been volunteering at Travieso Winery for over a year now, and along with other regular volunteers, they apparently helped sell a lot of wine and club subscriptions at open house events (apparently Jennifer is a good salesperson when she's selling good stuff ;).

Mats, one of the two Travieso co-founders, made a fantastic dinner for us (especially considering that all he had in the winery was a microwave and a portable propane burner).

Although, while the dinner was actually really good, it was only second to the fantastic wine selection, including a 1861 Madeira (!), a very nice 1970 Port and 1981 chateau d'Yquem Sauternes and a couple of Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon from his personal collection (not counting a nice flight of Travieso wines). It's not every day that you get to drink some of those.

A Big thank you Mats for sharing all this with us.

Mats moved some crates away and set a very nice table
Mats moved some crates away and set a very nice table

Menu, and can't believe it wines
Menu, and can't believe it wines

1861 Madeira, whoa!
1861 Madeira, whoa!

Madeira
Madeira

Mushroom Broth with foie gras
Mushroom Broth with foie gras


many yummy cheeses and fruits
many yummy cheeses and fruits

1970 Port and 1981 chateau d'Yquem Sauterne
1970 Port and 1981 chateau d'Yquem Sauterne








Mats' speech, click for video
Mats' speech, click for video

2010/12/10 Sand Mandala
π 2010-12-10 01:01 in Google
One of our coworkers invited Monks from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery, and they made a sand mandala for us in one of our buildings.

It was a very impressive piece of art




This is a timelapse taken by a coworker:

See more images for Sand Mandala
2010/12/09 Angry Birds
π 2010-12-09 01:01 in Public
Those birds are angry, and yet strangely cute :)
Jennifer likes hers :)





See more images for Angry Birds
2010/12/05 Real time Caltrans road updates for Tahoe and graphical reporting points for hwy 88, 89, 50 and i80
π 2010-12-05 01:01 in Public, Snow
Anyone going to Tahoe and checking road status from Caltrans knows how 1980's their system is (manually entered ALL CAPS 6 BIT ASCII UPDATES, including spelling mistakes on reporting points).
I've also found it frustrating at times that there is no history of road status updates.

So, I wrote a script that keeps tracks of all status updates and sends Emails when they happen, as well maps out the reporting points that Caltrans uses for it reports.

This is all on my Tahoe Road info page.

2010/12/04 Season Opening at Kirkwood
π 2010-12-04 01:01 in Snow
Ok, so we missed the really really nice thanksgiving weekend with more than 6ft of freshies and more that fell during that weekend. I suppose you can't be in the Grand Canyon and at kirkwood at the same time...

Anyway, we went the next saturday with Arturo, Johannes, Jim, and Bob. There was a bit of fresh snow, but the temps were a bit too high so by the time you hit the bottom, the powder was too wet and thick. Oh well...

Still, coverage was impressive for december, and it made for a good day of riding if you don't count my one fall in the drain where I slipped on ice and got side whiplash...

got a quick hot wax before heading out ($15 has gotten a bit steep though).
got a quick hot wax before heading out ($15 has gotten a bit steep though).

maybe we should ride that snowcat one day
maybe we should ride that snowcat one day


Johannes in action
Johannes in action

not a bad season start
not a bad season start

chutes were already good
chutes were already good

go Arturo!
go Arturo!

you can do it!
you can do it!

Here are the snow days stats for Our Day At Kirkwood.

See more images for Season Opening at Kirkwood

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