Chinese Flag Raising at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies — 15:47

Was I the only one who thought this was totally badass? Why can’t I find a video online?


bbPress 0.72 “Bix” — 12:00

bbPress’ twenty-two month gestation period is finally over, and a new bbaby is born!



Filed under: automattic,neat!,news @ 17:55

As of September 1st, I have taken a leave of absence from Caltech. Actually, they technically call it a sabbatical; I’m totally on sabbatical.

As of September 4th, I am an Automattic “Engineer” (though I sometimes call myself “Consul General of Los Angeles” when I think no one can hear me).

I know what you’re all thinking (“Wait, he’s working at home now? Where will MDA go when he’s slacking off…?”). Allow me to respond to your aggregate thoughts by means of a friendly question and answer section.

What’s Automattic and why can’t it spell?
It’s a company devoted to making things simple on the web. Everyone communicates in some form or another; we want to give people the tools to make that communication easy. We can’t spell because we all grew up with spellcheck making our communication easy.
Hang on, didn’t you start life out as an Engineer?
Yes: Chemical Engineer -> Chemist -> Physicist -> Complexity Theorist -> Engineer (if I may play fast and loose with the labels). I find the whole cyclic nature of that chain a bit disturbing.
What about Caltech? Grad school not your thing?
Grad school is awesome. Yes, things have been a little slow lately, but I still think it’s all very interesting. Maybe this is even better, though. Besides, now I can say I was part of the web when it was still 2.0. (Plus, I wasn’t slated to graduate until 2017, anyway.)
So if you’re not working on amplifying QMA(k) anymore, what will you be doing?
A list parties. Casual disregard for social mores. First class flights from LAX to ONT. You know, typical engineering stuff.
A list parties?
OK, so I’ll be working on bbPress and other Automattic projects. But I will be cultivating a casual disregard for the term “Web 2.0”, if that helps.
Sounds like you’re excited. You do realize this all sounds very 1990’s.
You bet I’m excited. Good People. Good Products. It’s going to be a great year. And, hey, no 90’s bashing. Those were the formative days of my youth!


Pacific Coast Highway

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,photos @ 23:22

Michelle and I drove down a portion of the after our WordCamp inspired trip to the bay area. (I should note that the section of Highway 1 we were on is not officially called the Pacific Coast Highway according to the hard to parse wikipedia entry.)
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Filed under: blogging,neat!,wordpress @ 11:05

I’m in San Francisco at the moment here at the WordCamp convention. So far I’ve learned how to “write a compelling blog” (please, have you been to blogwaffe before?).

More to the point, I finally got to meet Podz and Matt.

For all the readers at home, you can check out the .

Update 08.07.2006:

After lunch I went to talks about WordPress MU, server optimization and a really good one on microformats. I also met Ryan, Mark, Andy, and Donncha.

The day was made all the sweeter by the bumping afterparty. By the way, Ryan, your penalty for not attending the postWordCamp bash is to recommend to me a favorite beer of yours.


Last Comic Standing

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,useless @ 18:35

Jeff and Ariele inviteg Greg and me to a Last Comic Standing taping this afternoon at the Pasadena Civic Center.

It airs tonight at 9 (8 central).

Apparently you can see me several times during the show, so watch it and admire my too hot visage.


Cancelling Amazon Prime is absurdly easy

Filed under: neat!,tech,useless @ 15:02

Through some random promotion, I was given a trial membership of Amazon‘s Amazon Prime, a service offering free two-day shipping on most items and overnight shipping for only $4 per item. It’s a really ncie service, but I just don’t think I shop enough to warrant the $80 per year fee for the permenant membership.

So I cancelled it, and it was ridiculously easy; no AOL is Amazon [2].

Check out these delightful screen grabs.

Amazon Prime Cancellation Before Amazon Prime Cancellation After

Not even a browser refresh between them; just click the button and, a little javascript fade later, it’s all done.

Nice job, Amazon.


The Ballad of Lincoln and Chana

Filed under: neat!,slice @ 17:04

Standing at the docks Anacortes
Trying to get to Orcas by sea
The port it is packed
with friends it’s a fact;
Why can’t we get a minute of peace?

Christ, you know it ain’t easy:
too many people to greet.
We should have secretly eloped
Like you in Code Davinci.

Shabbat we had on Friday at dusk
having just settled into our yurt.
We stand in the cold
with friends young and old
The wine made everybody go “yurt!”

Oy, this wouldn’t be easy,
for him who parted the sea.
And Moses he never saw such
long lasting high revelry.

On Saturday we finally had time
to frolic in the sun and relax
We slipped and we slid,
and saw dudes wet and naked.
This Doe Bay policy is sure lax.

Heck, now this is real easy
right here just resting our feet.
Nobody making us think now
(’till Nava wanted to meet).

Mingling at the party on this sunny day
Love Cannon and the Bro having fun
Last night to be free
Ever then to be
a troth built up from chocolate and yum (Think!).

Sunday afternoon we were wed
chuppah over us and the fam.
We stomped on the glass and
made off through the grass and
we finally ran and hid on the lam!

Oh, our life it ain’t easy,
but at least it’s a blast.
This weekend is good fun,
now let’s go see that it lasts.

We dined with our family and friends.
They laughed a good laugh at our expense.
But the beer how it flowed!
The musicians they crowed!
(in their outfits bought that day for two pence)!

They say marriage ain’t easy,
but we’re as pleased as can be.
The way things are going
we’ll ever after happy be.
The way things are going
we’ll ever after happy be.


Whale Watching on Orcas Island

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,photos @ 17:40

My mom and dad, Allen, Michelle and I went up to Orcas Island this past weekend to celebrate Lincoln and Chana’s marriage.

It’s a really nice place.

Besides the wedding activities, the whale watching trip we all took was the highlight of the weekend.

Saturday morning, we headed to Rosario Resort‘s docks and climbed aboard Deer Harbor Charters‘ whale watching vessel Pelagic. Once aboard, our guide, James, talked about the orca whales’ history and behavior and pointed out other local wildlife (bald eagles, porpoises, seals, etc.) as we cruised out to sea. About an hour and a half after leaving the docks, we spotted our first orcas a hundred meters or so off the boat. Soon we were surrounded by whales, though none was particularly close. When feeding, an orca pod apparently tends to spread out unless one of the whales finds a large group of fish.

We motored around a bit to try and get a better view when a group of about six whales to starbord and aft started swimming (quickly) right toward us. Every ten seconds or so, a few whales would surface: each time a little closer. Finally, one whale surfaced about eight meters from the boat. Everyone scrambled to take pictures, but a feeding orca is not above water for very long. Just after it resubmerged, two more whales surfaced literally within one meter of the boat and dove underneath us. We saw them up close and, man, are orcas big.

After that, those several whales hung around us for five or ten minutes; we were apparently right above their chosen fish. I got a couple pictures but nothing as spectacular as being there in person. Hopefully someone else was a better shot.

The tour lasted about three and a half hours (Allen said he had the Gilligan’s Island theme stuck in his head the whole time) and was a lot of fun.

That afternoon, we drove up to the top of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park. My great grandfather was in charge of the CCC‘s construction of the stone tower at the peak of the mountain, so it was something of a familial pilgrimage. The view from the top is spectacular, and we could see tiny little whale watching boats down on the water. Indeed, with binoculars, we could see the whales the boats were watching!

Seeng whales from two feet was more exciting than seeing whales from two thousand feet, but both were a lot of fun.

Tour Guide Famliy 1 Family 2 Miss Whale Watching 2006 Whale 1 Whale 2


Lefthand Black

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,slice @ 17:57

It being the birthday yesterday of a friend who will remain nameless, but whose gothic tendencies are at a solid “black is the new black, jackoff” level, Michelle, Bryan, Bonnie and I joined the birthday goth, spouse and sibling at Bar Sinister in Hollywood.

On the abstract level, dressing up to go out to a club in LA sounds really lame. But in practice, Bar Sinister was a wholly unlame experience in part because the dress is themed and not just ‘typical LA trendy’ but mostly because the venue is just plain awesome.
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