Damnit, I'm an Engineer not an Internet Celebrity

In mid-November, my PM at work came down with H1N1 the week before Supercomputing 2009. This led to me acting as substitute presenter in a Channel9 instructional video about my new feature: iSCSI Deployment in Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Beta1 (or "How to efficiently run a large Windows cluster when your individual systems have no hard-disks", as I might describe it):

I had nothing written down and first received the slides about 20 minutes before the presentation, so I had an especially bad case of the "uh"s while I was formulating my thoughts. I think it will be a big improvement if I can train myself to be silent during thought. I am fairly satisfied with the overall clarity and content of my speech, now that I'm past the initial horror of hearing my own voice.

One thing not mentioned in the video: the solution powered #74 on the latest TOP500 list. Pushing scale to 1000 nodes certainly made for an interesting October of geek adrenaline.

Peru Trip Photos

My trip to Peru was all kinds of fun! Many thanks to crazycrazy for initiating the trip with her 6 month tour of South America, and for generally being great company and knowing Spanish and such.

Rather than write a 8000 word blob about all the things we did, I will link to my four public Facebook albums that I have judiciously commented:
Cusco and the Sacred Valley
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Rest and Relaxation
Walking Tour of Lima

2008 Running Results / Vacation

Today was supposed to be my 5th and final running race of the year, but as I already posted, today's race was cancelled due to icy conditions. I did, however, pick up my race shirt and make it down to the gym for a less satisfying 12K simulation run.

Being a geek, I've been tracking my results in a cute little Excel spreadsheet which I will reproduce by hand in HTML:
Avg speed
Footzone 5K8/3/200824:187:497.67
UW Dawg Dash 10K10/11/200849:217:577.55
Microsoft STB-Give 5K10/17/200821:136:508.79
Seattle Marathon 5K11/29/200822:257:13*8.32
Lame Treadmill 12K12/14/200856:117:327.96

* I ran the 1st mile of the Seattle Marathon 5K in 6:02 -- that was not very smart.

I started doing regular cardio for health, but unexpectedly I have grown into a running geek along the way... now I obsess over my lactate threshold and follow a weekly training plan. Over my Christmas holidays, I'll be researching some events to run next year. Suggestions are quite welcome.

Speaking of holidays. I'm off work from 12/13 through 1/4! I fly back to Ontario tomorrow, where the plan is to rent a car and drive around visiting people. My fingers are crossed for a rental car that isn't totally hideous.

+1 for Excellent use of Authority

I'm generally all for letting people do stupid/risky things, as long as the participants are willingly taking on all the risk. This morning, I was supposed to run the 12 Ks of Christmas in Kirkland. Unfortunately, it rained/snowed last night and was -2 Celsius this morning.

This wouldn't be a problem in Ontario, but the pacific coast lacks equipment and expertise to quickly de-ice anything, let alone a 12K paved running course. The event organizers who had already collected and spent the entry fees on preparations were trying to de-ice what they could, and anxious runners (such as myself) were arriving in droves ready to get going.

The Kirkland Police Department wisely intervened and cancelled the event, and kudos to them. All the other parties (organizers and runners) had too much time invested in preparations to make a rational decision. I'm a pretty libertarian guy, but I do appreciate the occasional wise show of authority.

Why I'm a Michael Schur Fan

Last week, one of my absolute favourite blogs went on indefinite hiatus. I don't know if any of my Livejournal friends and readers would really get FIREJOEMORGAN.COM. I think prerequisites for enjoyment are: (1) You enjoy following professional sports; (2) You especially enjoy following professional baseball in an objective and nerdy way; (3) You enjoy mean-spirited humour.

The blog is dedicated to brutally skewering bad sports journalism and commentary (usually ridiculous baseball opinion pieces) for the purpose of comedy. I've been left in hysterics by FJM on many occasions since I started reading in September 2005.

Yesterday I discovered (though it has been public knowledge since February apparently!) that FJM's Ken Tremendous is actually Michael Schur, who happens to be a writer and coproducer on NBC's The Office--which I DVR religiously every Thursday. Not only this, but he actually PLAYS one of my favourite minor characters: Mose Schrute. In less amusing news, his father-in-law happens to be Regis Philbin.

So I've been a big fan of this guy's work in two totally seperate contexts without knowing it was the same person. For this reason, I now consider myself a fan of Michael Schur, independant of his creative vehicles.

Lamb Throwdown

Last week crazycrazy posted a tale of lamb woe and salvation. The post made me hungry and gave me a serious case of lamb-envy... so this weekend I did my own rack of lamb. Unfortunately I'm not so artistic at plating:

The rack-o-lamb was marinated overnight in olive-oil, freshly-chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme. I roasted it alongside unpeeled pearl onions. Served with (store-bought) hummus, and a mixed-green salad (with red bell-pepper, dried chiles, balsamic vinegar, and goat cheese).

Solo lamb behind the cutCollapse )

The lamb actually came out phenomenally. I lucked into a really *cough* nice rack, and managed to avoid overcooking it. I would have liked a more garlicky hummus for with the lamb though (something like the St. Jacobs hummus). The combination of balsamic vinegar and goat cheese has yet to let me down.

So who's next?

Dawg Dash 10K

After enjoying the FootZone 5K back in August, I decided to run in the Dawg Dash 10K (which was today). The Dawg Dash is an annual homecoming event at the University of Washington. West-coast UW's team mascot is the husky, hence the dog theme of the race. The event is totally dog-friendly, so there were lots of dogs running around and generally having a great time (Including some black and yellow labs!).

It was a gorgeous day for running: sunny and cool (about 10 celsius at race-time). The course had a lot of hills, but they seemed to be layed out in a generous manner. The longer uphill portions were typically followed by equivalent downhill sections.

I ran pretty much according to plan, with a final time of 49:21 (my goal was to break 50 minutes). It felt like I was passed by a lot of people during the first half of the race, but I, in-turn, did most of the passing in the second half. I seemed to have an advantage on the uphill portions for some reason.

My Results
Time: 49:21
Place: 259th of 889
Place amongst males (age 20-29): 80th of 136