Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just Two Blocks from Suburbia

As the year is beginning to wind down, it seems my schedule is ramping up! I can't remember ever having a year like this, where I have absolutely no weekends free until the beginning of November! The only saving grace is that I have nothing boring going on between now and then, its just the sudden rush of activities that have gone up.

I started this month off with a craft beer based camping trip I went on this past weekend called Camp Stout Out. A giant group of people (around 25-30) drove down to Dixon Lake, which is a reservoir/fishing lake, in Escondido, CA to camp out for two nights with a massive growler share the first night and an insane bottle share the second night along with a couple of activities sprinkled throughout the weekend.

The games included a bottle cap guessing game, where a yard long margarita cup (aka Yardarita) was stuffed full of bottle caps and you had to guess how many; a craft beer related quiz that included two rounds of multiple choice questions and a taste test at the end; and a photography contest. There were only a handful of people who participated in the photo contest, so it was a lock for me. Here was my winning picture.

Not as impressive as my other photos, but it still got the job done.

The growler and bottle shares were fairly unique. I figured most people would either bring a stout or an india pale ale, so I went with a mildly sour Clockwiese Berlinnerviesse from Bottle Logic Brewing here in Orange County. If anybody happens to be in the area, I HIGHLY recommend that place.

I had an awesome time other than a few minor issues with ants and the park rangers that kept buzzing us every hour or so. I hope all of you can experience something like this in the future. I have some pictures to share below. Hope you like them.
As much of a shot of the lake as I could get on my iPhone. unfortunately I don't have the panorama app :-(

Found just outside my tent over on the last night. Those raccoons look like they have alien fingers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To code or not to code. That is the question...

Programming. A subject near and dear to me. It's been a touch and go for me ever since my first programming class back in my junior year of high school (1999-2000 for those keeping count). I've always had a love/hate relationship with the ones and zeros. Mostly because of my overactive personality, programming couldn't hold my attention longer than the two seconds it did when I saw my handy work in action. I've more recently been able to get over this, but sometimes it comes back. Kind of like a manic depressive person.

I've most recently gotten back into programming in the last year after I went to a job recruiter who told me that I needed to add some basic programming skills to my resume. The websites they recommended I had never heard of, but boy, I sure have never forgotten, Codecademy and Git. Well, to be honest, I had heard of Git before but I had never used it.

Codecademy is quite literally, the best programming training website I've ever come across. It does a really good job rivaling W3schools for teaching the languages most used for web development and web app development. The most popular programming languages are on there, like Python, Ruby, CSS, HTML, and javascript. Even PHP is on there, which really surprises me, because it wasn't there when I first signed up. A couple other training courses that they offer are what I'm looking at right now, which is Jquery and an advanced website building course.

The other program I was told to learn was Git. Git is a program available on Linux, Windows and Mac used for backing up programs you are working on and version control(ie. if you make a mistake, you can go back to a previous version of your program that was working the way you wanted it to.) There are a couple of websites associated with Git on the internet that are really useful if you are programming in multiple places, like at home, at work or at school. The ones that are wideley used in the industry is Github. My personal choice is Bitbucket. You can have your programs completely private at Bitbucket, but not at Github unless you buy a subscription. I would use Bitbucket for development, but move it to Github if you need to show it off.

The only piece of advice I can give from going through this situation is to get Vmware player and make an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine, and make a backup of it after you do your first update. Then use a new copy of it to test out the different programs for programming, there are different frameworks, which I will get into another day, and different types of webservers and programs to run your website. if you make a mistake, shutdown the virtual machine, and then copy your backup and you have a new clean version to start over from scratch.

Below are some links to the websites I talked about earlier. Hope I could inspire somebody else.



Friday, August 22, 2014

A Welcome Back Q and A

Don't you ever wonder what it was like if Gollum were to have an interview with Smeagol? Well, worry no longer good friend.

A: Hi! How's it going?

B: Not too bad

A: Been awhile hasn't it? What have you been up to?

B: Ummm... Not to much. Just work.

A: Work? Really? is that all?

B: Yeahhh.....Not really.

A: What else have you been up to?

B: Just a few things. studying on Codecademy. Started a Facebook craft beer group, got hooked on Minecraft, traveling locally. You know, Those type of things.

A: Wow! that's alot! So, uh, are you going to be back on blogger now?

B: Yeah. I think so. Hopefully. Well, to tell the truth, I don't have much that I'm doing in between all of those different things. So, I should be doing something a bit more productive with my life.You can't just screw around with your life. Even more so when you reach my age.

A:So what can we expect from your future posts?

B: Well, I would like to say a little of this and a little of that, but that is a bit boring, ya know? I think I want to start sharing some of what's actually going on in my life. Kind of like the times I go full retard.

A: Don't they say you wont win the big one if you go full retard?

B: Yeah. But I think I was absent that day at school. I do plenty of stupid things. I also like to say stupid things as well. Well, at least, I love to say things on my mind that I shouldn't. Like, when I'm at work. Maybe, I can share a bit more of my demented mind. I'll just try not to bore ya with my bitching. Oh, I lurve to bitch, by the way. Everybody has something they are good at, and bitching is my number one skill.

A: Well, I bid you good luck and good evening, sir.

B: Thanks for talking with me. You too.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys

I love Japanese style gardens. They are serene, tranquil, and incredibly beautiful. I started to visit all of the local gardens here in Southern California, which there are surprisingly very many of them. This most recent one I visited had to of been the best so far.

The best feature of this place is its size. The lady working at the gift shop mentioned it was at least 13 acres big!. Every other garden I've been up to now seem to be really tiny, like the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden in Long Beach. The one in Van Nuys is HUGE as you can see in the map below.

First up was the administration building above. Not only is it very futuristic looking, I recognized it immediately as a building used in the movie Bio-Dome. It's also one of the most interesting buildings I've ever seen.

Once you start the garden, It is a big loop that goes around a decent sized lake. There is a decent amount of wildlife that have taken up residence in the lake such as geese and ducks in addition to other birds and little tiny fish in the water.

For those that enjoy the annual festivities in Japan, there are even several cherry trees surrounding the lake that are just starting to bloom. I would imagine when they are full of flowers, that it would look down right amazing.

The plantlife at the garden looked like it could easily rival many arboretums. On the map they were handing out, there were several legends naming the different plants and trees and then showing their location on the map.

What is a Japanese Garden without its tea house? I would love to participate in at least one tea ceremony, but I might save that for when I hit the islands next year. It looks like an excellent location to hold a wedding.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, The Japanese Garden is actually part of a waste water treatment plant, which is next door. Most of the time if you are walking through the park, you wouldn't notice anything, including the smell, until you get to that side. There was even a cool little walk way that took you to an outlook so you could see what goes on over there.

This garden is definitely the best Japanese garden I've visited up to now. I believe, much more than the garden in Golden Gate Park even. If you love seeing these places, I couldn't recommend this place more. Thanks for stopping by!

One last little note, I'd like to throw a shout out to Susie. Thanks for the post card from the good side of the great white north and I hope you enjoy the beers!.

Monday, February 3, 2014

On the Road Again

Dang, since my mandate to start taking vacations started fourteen months ago, I've been on four separate trips. I thought New York was going to be the only place on the books, once in January and again in September, but now I get to go on a road trip up Highway 101 to visit San Francisco in just two short weeks! If this keeps up, this year will turn out way better than last.

The hard part now is to find inexpensive hotels to stay at. that wont break the bank and hope that I won't get killed in the process. Any recommendations on the sights? I will be hitting up Japantown for sure. and hopefully a decent amount of breweries as well.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What I've been working on

This last trip to New York, I wanted to make an exclusive picture trip since last time I decided to live it up instead of taking many pictures. I've been on a kick recently where I've been wanting to sell my photos and this trip was a way to get more for that cause.

Ever since I've been back, I've been having a hard time. I'm working my way towards moving to the east coast with my goal being that I will tough it out for one year. I unintentionally timed my trip in between two polar vortexes and somehow seemed to miss the shit weather I was meaning to find.

Instead, I got what you see in the picture above. The meaning of my trip turned out to be a dud! Thankfully it didn't ultimately end up being a dud, but I was looking forward to seeing snow. It's the northeast for christ sake! It should be colder than 35 degrees Fahrenheit, am i right?

While I am sitting here and bitching, my trip didn't come one bit close to being a dud in reality. I was able to see some of the best city-scapes in the world. I had some incredible food, and I was able to talk to some incredible people. What more could you as for from any vacation?

The food in New York is probably the most diverse of any place I've visited. Even in Los Angeles! Check out some of the food I ate.

Handi Restaurant, 113 Lexington Ave, NY

Rare Burger topped with brie on an onion bun
The Counter (Build it yourself Burger Joint), Times Square

Minca Ramen, The best meal (and the first) I had the whole trip.
536 E 5th St, East Village, Manhattan

The biggest God Damn Pizza Ever!!
Koronet Pizza, 2848 Broadway, Upper West Side
All in all, I can honestly say that I had the time of my life. The only bummer is that I was only there for four days. Thankfully, I will be going back in September for a full week at least. More or less a 9 day stay, and that sounds OK.

If any of you want to go on a trip to somewhere diverse, that has as many activities that are free as there is paid, New York is where it's at. You can experience the best and worst parts of America here. I can't wait to come back myself. Let me know if you would like some reccomendations. I have many for food and even more for beer.

For the full set of pictures from my trip to the greatest city on earth, Click Here!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is Your Bag Too Full?

I thought I would send along this little tip I picked up earlier last year. With the whole gas price on flux, airlines are starting to gauge big time when it comes to carrying bags on the plane. It seems wholey reasonable to only come with a carry on when the temperature warms up. Well, how do you save bucks with your luggage in the wintertime or other times when you need a full suitcase? Flying JetBlue, or other carriers that allow up to one bag free is only part of the solution. The real deal is to use the extra space inside your shoes. I'm taking some snow boots in my bag tomorrow, and they are both completely filled to the brim with some chonies and my socks.

Now that I think about it, it keeps prying eyes away from your underwear as well.

Hope that I helped you out

Now i'm off to the airport :-)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold Weather Navigator? I Wish!

On Wednesday evening, I will be jumping on a plane to make my return to my false home town, New York City. In anticipation of my return, I've been diligently keeping track of what the weather is like. I unintentional booked a non-refundable room, and any delay could screw me out of a hundred bucks on the low end. As I keep looking at the weather, I'm noticing a trend that I'm not too sure I am thrilled about, the temperature rising.

Out here in sunny California, bad weather is almost a mute subject. I think we only got about 10-20 days last year that had rain, on the high end. It's very depressing for somebody like me who is always looking for change. I think I might riot if I don't see a single flake of snow while I'm walking the streets of Manhattan. I bought film for my camera just to capture the wondrous climate. and I better see some bad weather Dammit!!

On the other hand, if I don't have to use either my snow pants or my boots, I'll return em and be more well off by about $60.

In other news, I'm planning to go to my first hockey game while on my trip. I'm going to travel to the majestic city of Newark, NJ to watch the Jersey Devils take on the Philadelphia Fliers. Beer and Sports, It's what's for dinner.