Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where I'm at

Well, it's bee a couple weeks since I posted on here. I was really in the groove for a while. Well, I've got a few new things going on now:

I got a new computer this week. I haven't had a working PC at home for a while, so this is a nice change. It's a small form factor system w/ an Intel Atom processor, 945G/GS graphics, and room in the case for just one HDD and CD-Rom. Although the Atom isn't very fast, everything on the system board is passively cooled; there is only a single small fan to pull air through the case. This is very nice as my old Dell P4 system was very loud and could be heard through my bedroom walls.

From the 6th to the 14th, I have some time scheduled off work. I've been thinking about what I want to do w/ the time. I'm craving adventure! I want to take off first thing after work on Friday the 5th and head for the coast. I'll take a few days and follow Hwy 1 and Hwy 101 up across the Oregon border. I won't really be on a strict schedule, so I'm going to stay flexible. I figure I'll cross into Oregon on Sunday the 7th and ride a few hours up before either heading inland or setting up camp for the night. From there I'm not sure. I need to do a bit of research on where the best roads are and what's good to see up that way. I plan to be in Redding around Wednesday, the 10th. A hiking trip somewhere around there is in order, as is some sailing and hanging out w/ friends and family.

Today's comic on XKCD, here, got my brain off on a tangent. I'm sure I've heard of Gödel before, but whatever I heard, his "incompleteness theorems" seem more significant to me now. There's a write up on Wikipedia here. I don't understand it well enough to explain it yet. Wikipedia paraphrases the first and second theorems as follows:
We can never find an all-encompassing axiomatic system which is able to prove all mathematical truths, but no falsehoods. If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent.
Ah... I just stumbled upon the book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. I have to read this now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Cycle of Want

I'm feeling irrational right now. In all of my irrational wisdom, I have decided that there is no reason why I shouldn't be riding a motorcycle that makes 100+ HP. Seriously. I could keep riding this 250 with it's measly 25 HP and pansy suspension or I could have a 1000cc monster with all it's rashed up fairings stripped from the frame, sticky radial tires, ultra bad-ass USD cartridge forks...

I'd have to get some leathers though. Leathers are expensive. I like getting 60mpg too. But... the love... please, think of the children. And the wheelies! Oh the humanity.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Diving at La Jolla Cove, again.

We went back out to the cove this morning. The tide was pretty high and still coming in, so the water wasn't as calm as it was yesterday. Jess and Jesse went out for 30 minutes first thing, but came in pretty quickly. It sounds like they got worn out swimming against all the movement of the water. They did see a couple guitar fish and some lobsters while they were out, though.

There was still 1800 psi in the tank Jess was using when they got back in, so I went back out for a few. There was only about a 4' visibility today, yesterday was closer to 20', and the currents seemed to be spinning me in circles. What an experience. I had to check the compass every few seconds to make sure I kept moving the same direction. I went out NW from the beach in the middle of the cove, toward open water, and tried to start moving W around the shoreline. There are a bunch of rock formations around the coastline to the W of the beach. Anywho, only being able to see a feet in front of me and with the water moving around so much, I couldn't really get to where I was going.

I didn't see a whole lot of fish this time out, but there was a seal out a ways that I must have swam around with for twenty minutes. This totally made the dive worth while. The whole experience was kind of a trip, trying to keep my bearings, being isolated by the lack of visibility, and having the seal bump into my legs over and over, coming in and out of the murkiness in the water around me. There were a few times I was peering at the compass and kicking away feeling something bumping my feet and looking back to see his dark shape there by my fins. He came up under me a few times and I felt daring enough to touch him with my hand a couple times.

I surfaced three or four times during the thirty or so minutes I was out to get my bearings straight. I was pretty far out when the tank pressure was getting down toward 500 psi. Since I was getting tired of trying to get anywhere by looking at the compass down in the murk I just came up and swam on the surface back toward the shore. I was actually a little worried, as it seemed like I was getting carried further out while I had been trying to move W toward the shore earlier. It's not possible to immediately see how far one's moving along the shoreline when not right up against it. Anywho, I didn't see any more of the seal once I came up to to the top and started swimming back.

No new pictures of this time out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Diving at La Jolla Cove

We drove a couple miles over to La Jolla Cove today for some diving. Jesse's dad bought an extra set of gear last week and we get to use it this weekend until he picks it up on Monday, so we had two BCs and regulators to use today.

There's a little beach in the middle of the cove w/ a lot of people swimming and snorkeling. The water's a little murky right up by the beach, but clears up a ways out. There are kelp forests and some really cool rock formations to explore.

I'm not sure what kind of fish the yellow one is. There are a bunch of them and they'll swim up and look at you. Jesse spotted a seal at some point so we chased him around a bit.

Jesse got one close picture of him, right up face to face, and then we went off to look at other stuff. I spotted Mr. Seal following us around a couple minutes later :-).

There were a few guitar fish. I brushed the sand once while I was swimming and startled one that swam away quickly. We found a couple others between some rocks. One was hiding with the lobsters! There were tons of lobsters hiding in the rocks.

We had a lot of fun. There is so much life out there in the water. With the waves coming in, everything is moving. The plants, kelp and seaweed, move in and out over holes between rocks on the ocean floor. There are patches of shells where the remains of different creatures have fallen for years. Even moldy looking patches on rocks turn out to be big slugs and stuff. I'm sure there are countless living creatures we swam right by because they are so adept at blending in.

The sunset was really nice. Jess took this picture at a different beach this evening when we were driving around looking for somewhere to get some food. Anywho, we're going back out tomorrow morning. It's getting late so we have to get some sleep. Peace.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wooo! I got a shiny new bike!

It's been way too long, over a year, since I sold my SV. I finally bought a new Kawasaki Ninja 250 from a friend last weekend.

Really, the only way I could justify getting another bike is if it would pay for itself in a couple years in saved gas costs. That's what I tell people. But really really, they're just a lot of fun. The 250 has plenty of pep for zipping around town and running up and down the freeway.

I haven't decided if I want to do a bunch of stuff to the suspension on this thing. It's really soft. I think it would be worth installing a zx600 shock on the back as well as respringing the front and installing cartridge emulators. Those shocks are pretty cheap, and the emulators are pretty much the only thing to do with the forks on these bikes.

These bikes run really well when they're in a good state of tune. The carbs are set pretty lean from the factory and the valve need to be adjusted pretty early on as all the parts in the top end settle in. So, I decided to adjust the valves and set the idle mixture screws (as per the forums) today. The valves were all on the tight end of the allowable range, some a litte too tight, so I set them all at the looser end. My seat of the pants dyno says I got a little extra power from these adjustments, but I need to do a better job sycing the carbs pretty soon.

Woo Hoo.