Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

It never ceases to amaze me what wonders are hidden out in remote corners of the internet.  Or perhaps less remote, and merely unknown to me. 🙂

A Facebook Friend — I think that’s the modern term for an old acquaintance half-forgotten whom one randomly stalks stumbles across in the wee hours of the morning, yes? Anyway, let us say a Facebook Friend — has a very old profile photo of a Cubee dressed up as himself.  This led me to wonder, what on Earth is a Cubee? Ten minutes of browsing later, my night was committed.  Committed to a tiny mouse and his grand ambitions…

To prove their mousy worth,
they’ll overthrow the earth,
They’re dinky,
they’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain,
Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain,


Sea Kayaking in the San Juan Islands

On June 5 and 6, 2010, I took an overnight sea kayaking camping trip in the San Juan Islands with Jason Kahn and a group of folks from Microsoft.  We kayaked 24 miles roundtrip in about 9.5 hours of paddling.  The weather was perfect on the first day, and after reaching our campsite we had a spetacular view of the sunset from Turn Point, Stuart Island.  The trip back was very soggy due to constant downpour, but we arrived back near our launch site just in time to see a pod of orcas playing out in Haro Strait, completing our San Juan experience.

It's 3:30 am

This is now officially the latest I have ever driven home from work. I went back in at 12:15am this morning after spending 3 hours on remote desktop re-reading and then redesigning a colleague’s code. Seeing the bug in the lab cleared up the last remaining questions, and now tomorrow I just have to write the correct fix and send it out for review.

In other news, I saw Kick-Ass tonight. I personally found it quite funny and a great movie, but I suspect many will disagree with that assessment. Fair warning: if the notion of an 11-year-old girl running around killing people is at all unsettling or distasteful to you, do NOT watch the movie. (Seriously). But it’s good.

And I’m tired. Sleep.

The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronics Junk

Box Code: Gray-J

It is with a substantial degree of embarassment that I admit I have far underperformed the expectations of this great communal endeavor.  I’ve had the Gray-J box from The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronics Junk since August of last year, and have just today finally sent it onward :-/

Since I’m clearly not active enough with my electronics puttering to make great use of the contents, I’ve decided to acquire just two items:

  • A set of small screwdrivers
  • A USB-Serial adapter

In return, I’ve added to the box:

  • A fully functional (and extremely hackable) JP1 remote complete with parallel port programming adapter
  • Two Analog Devices microcontroller kits with programmers and software
  • A USB-to-Parallel adapter (might come in handy for the JP1 programmer 🙂 )
  • A Microsoft Fingerprint Reader with open source linux drivers.  Doesn’t work with 64-bit windows nor Windows 7, but might have some fun internal parts to hack at, or could be fun just to toss on an existing linux-based project.

Enjoy, Ben!

Office Birthday Card

Our fearless leader Ian has taken it upon himself to create custom birthday cards to celebrate each birthday on the team at work.  In each unique creation, Ian tries to commemorate the distinguished heritage of the recipient.  For my birthday, Ian highlighted the following facts about myself and my Wisconsin heritage:

  • I have red hair and a “Mc” name, therefore I am Irish, and therefore a leprechaun.
  • Wisconsinites subsist on a diet of cheese
  • The favorite pasttime of all Wisconsinites is cow tipping
  • Wisconsin is, in fact, not in the United States at all, but rather a part of Canada
  • Wisconsin’s greatest cultural landmark is the Concrete Park in Phillips, WI, represented here by an iconic shot of Paul Bunyan.

Target Shooting

For any of my pro gun-control or anti-gun friends reading this, please understand that I grew up around firearms and the notion that they can be used safely when treated with appropriate caution and respect.  If this is politically or emotionally disturbing to you, kindly don’t read it.  I’m not trying to offend anyone.

I’ve gone pistol shooting with Jon Ward a couple times recently, which has been pretty awesome since I’ve not shot very much since Boy Scouts in high school.  We’re shooting at Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop in Bellevue, which is a pretty nice indoor range.  It took me a trip or two to get the knack of things again, but I’m happy to report that my shooting has been improving steadily.  I’ve been renting various different guns, .22’s and 9mm, and Jon also let me shoot Evette’s Beretta, which I believe was a Beretta 92FS. Nice gun, though when it got dirty it started sticking a bit.

I liked the Ruger MK III .22LR that I shot this past weekend; got a couple decent groupings out of that:

Also really liked Jon’s Glock with .22 conversion kit, which felt a lot more solid to me than the Ruger, and after getting a feel for the harder trigger pull, I think it gave me more consistent shots.  I already had 20 rounds in the target below when I started shooting the Glock, but I put three shots in pretty short succession (maybe even in a row, not sure on that) through nearly the same hole.  To see how the grouping came out, I was aiming for the top of the circle (at the red X), and put three rounds connected inside the blue circle:

Good times.  I’ve got a membership at the gun range now, so the next step is deciding if I’ll shoot enough to warrant buying a gun, and if so, which?

Pistol Shooting