News from January 2006

New Year's with a Pretty Lady

Occurred January 01, 2006 (Permalink)

Editor's note: Robin, my date to the ball, posted her version (offsite) of events.

What a way to end the year --I took Robin to a ball for New Year's. Actually, it was the same Friday Night Waltz ball that I went to last year, but this time I had a sharply dressed woman with whom to dance! We started the afternoon at Kepler's (offsite) in Menlo Park, had Chinese take-out at Su Hong's (offsite), and then I took Robin home to change into her outfit. What an outfit it was (a1010223)! She'd bought a sleek black dress with a white bow, black lace, and shoes that were a perfect match! She kept getting compliments from random women around the room all evening. I wore all of my best Portland gear--blue rain hat (which I later lost and replaced just this evening), trench coat, blazer, slacks and white shirt, maroon bow tie, and dark red scarf. With my newfound moustache and goatee, I must say that I look quite good (ac310219). Woodley's sister thought so too, about the hair.

Like last year, the program consisted of various waltzes, polkas, tangos, and swing dances. Woodley and Greg took Robin out on the floor for several of the dances that I don't know, and she and I went out for the ones that I do know. Sadly, I didn't remember the Congress of Vienna well enough to do it again this year (and indeed only faked it with an acquiescing woman last year). It was a bit awkward to dance with so many people around; indeed, I felt a bit like a bull in a china shop. However, it would seem that I've improved my traffic directing abilities; I think the weekly Scottish dancing has effected vast improvements in my ability to get around the floor. Towards the end, Robin and I got tired of trying to remember all the various steps in the dances, and decided to make something up. I don't know where she got her moves, but I combined the hands-over-knees step from the Charleston, figures from various Scottish country dances, and a literal one-step (arms crossed, hopping on one foot) to make a dance that was uniquely my own. I can't swing, but I sure can Charleston! :)

What a crowd of people were there, too! Robin found a guy whose posture and profile looked just like Andrew Jackson's (aa1010221 - 22) vs (this (offsite)), and she spent a full ten minutes following the poor guy around the parlor before cornering him for a picture. The gentleman, who spoke with a foreign accent, said that he'd been mistaken as a doppelganger for many others such as Placido Domingo, but never Andrew Jackson. Of course, now that Woodley and Greg both go dancing frequently in the Bay Area, it was no surprise that many of the people who Robin and I had seen at the previous night's party were also seen here.

At midnight, the crowd assembles to count down midnight. As they did last year, the Martinelli's is poured into plastic champagne glasses... just as Robin spots a man surreptitiously opening a bottle of legitimate hooch in the corner to celebrate. Ten... nine... eight... and they count down 23:58 on my watch. Sadly, I don't get a kiss this year either. But, this year, Woodley drove, so instead of ditching five minutes after the ball fall, we instead went to a small after-party at Au Coquelet, a cafe in downtown Berkeley, and played Look Out for Drunks on the Nimitz as we drove south. Robin and I got back at 3:05 in the morning, just fifteen minutes earlier than I had last year. What a fantastic way to bring in the New Year! What's more, I get to have a second New Year (Chinese) on the twenty-ninth! I hope Robin will come back for next year's party and ball.

Clay and Maddy's

Occurred January 02, 2006 (Permalink)

Wow, Clay and Maddy moved into a really sweet flat in San Francisco just in time for the new year. They're right off N-Judah on 9th Ave, with plenty of shops, small restaurants, and pubs nearby. Golden Gate Park is a five block jaunt away, parking's not that bad, and they have a great view of Twin Peaks. I visited them (the four photos that I took are in the New Year's album, sorry) on the last day before I had to go back to Portland, and I must say that locationwise they hit the jackpot! They also unveiled a totally dried orange (a1030234) among their belongings.

There's nothing like roaring down the WIDE Bay Area freeways at 65mph late at night, seeing four empty lanes of pavement whooshing by, and watching the fog pour over the mountains. Oh how I do miss the Bay Area some times.

FNSC @ Epicure

Occurred January 20, 2006 (Permalink)

This month's Friday Night Supper Club was at Epicure (offsite). Service was ... dorky, but the duck was very moist and the sauce quite tasty. The duck skin was almost right (I prefer fried skin, SF Peking Duck style) and the chocolate cake was extremely rich. I can't seem to remember what the appetizer was. The red wine was strong, which might have had something to do with that. Can't wait for frog legs and roasted boar at Fenouil next month!

Lasagna

Occurred January 21, 2006 (Permalink)

Latest lasagna: Now with spinach and mushrooms! Next time: Southwest flavor, with beans and corn kernels.

Dim Sum

Occurred January 22, 2006 (Permalink)

Had a dim sum brunch with Ann & Pete again at Legin. Good as always. I've bitten my tongue; it's time to stop with the food updates.

Fistful of Linux Updates

Occurred January 25, 2006 (Permalink)

So I've been working on an open-source driver for Adaptec HostRAID drivers since last December. Currently, there's a binary "a320raid" driver that you can get from Adaptec, but as Greg K-H continually points out, binary drivers are a pain. So much of a pain, in fact, that IBM _and_ Adaptec are supporting my efforts. The solution comes in the form of dmraid(8), a configuration program for the device-mapper module in the kernel. dmraid knows how to read various vendors' fakeraid metadata formats; for now, I'm adding support for the old Adaptec HostRAID format (not DDF, though that will come later). I'm also looking into any necessary grub modifications, and getting these changes into distros. It turns out that Fedora Core 5 (offsite) and Ubuntu 6.04 (offsite) will support dmraid right out of the box. Hopefully I can get patches into at least one of them in time. :)

Last year, I was also put in charge of maintaining my group's hardware test suite ("pounder2"). It's a collection of shell scripts and C programs that can be configured to run programs in arbitrary orders and sequences; we use it to run load tests on the machines to stress out the kernels. Following my introduction to Mark Shuttleworth and the Ubuntu people last November, I began to talk to their kernel developers, who've shown significant interest in learning how our testing infrastructure works. Now, they even want to package pounder in 6.04! The onus is on me to get the necessary approvals in place, and quickly.

I'm also proposing a paper for the Ottawa Linux Symposium (offsite) this July. More on this later.

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