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Unfriending someone on LJ always feels vaguely passive-aggressive to me, even when the person in question has already made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in being my friend.

Flipside packing list
Rule #1: If at all possible, know who you'll be camping with, and coordinate on big stuff. Your camp will not need two propane grills or two shade structures.

Rule #2: Pack heavy. Fill your car to the brim. You won't have to carry anything more than a few feet, or even take it out of your car, so bring anything you can think of that you might want to have.

Absolute Necessities
food—See specific recommendations below.
water, 2 gallons per day—The 2.5-gallon jugs they sell at grocery stores are the way to go.
trash bags—Because you will be leaving no trace.

air mattress—If you haven't tried camping directly on the ground since your were a kid, you don't know how much of a luxury this is.
mattress pump
cot—The inside of my tent always turns into a giant pile of crap halfway through day 1 because I don't want to spend time organizing. Having a cot provides extra space, keeps you off the cold ground, and generally makes things feel more homey.
blanket or sleeping bag—Yes, I know it's summer. But it can get cold at night.
tent fan—Handy for mid-day naps.

baby wipes—The next best thing to a shower.
ear plugs—Because the party never really stops.
bug spray
itch lotion
poison ivy wash
toilet paper
1st aid kit
whatever OTC or prescription meds you might really wish you had

condoms, etc.
alcohol in whatever form(s) you enjoy most
skill toys, glow toys, etc.
books—In case it rains or you just want to be alone for a while.
portable ash tray—A necessity if you will be smoking at all. An Altoids tin works well.
very special treats

Useful Stuff
headlamp—This is a big one. Get one with a red light so you don't have to worry so much about blinding people.
measuring tape
assorted tools

Kitchen Stuff
cup, travel mug, etc.—People will offer you various liquids. They will not offer you a container.
plates, real or disposable
paper towels
cooler(s)—There will be ice there. Take advantage of it!

non-salty, non-sugary snacks—A big bag of Doritos is the last thing you want when you're hot and thirsty.
foods with a high water content
food you can just grab and eat
beef jerky
fresh fruit
sandwich stuff
canned soup—Leave it in the sun all day to heat up!

Clothing 'n' Stuff
comfy sandals—Because going barefoot is not a good option, but you will want to remove your footwear often.
swimsuit—Perfect any time you feel like being almost but not quite naked.
jacket—Just in case.
rain gear—Unless you like being cold and wet.
socks—You'll want them if you hurt your feet.
PJs—2011 only. Purple Taco is throwing a PJ party.
towels—Because Ford Prefect said so.
Camelbak—You like staying hydrated, right?
costumes, silly hats, etc.

off the wagon
For about the first three months of this year, I was on a low-carb diet, mainly to see what would happen. Just to make it a little more interesting, I added a twist: I was specifically trying to eat as much fat as possible. It turns out it's a lot harder than you would think to meet your daily calorie requirements that way, and my diet ended up being very monotonous, but the fact that I was doing it as an experiment kept me motivated enough to be pretty damn strict. Unfortunately I didn't think to weigh myself at the start, but my weight got down to about 143, and I started wearing my belt a notch tighter than I had been.

I noticed several interesting things at the time. One is that I never got sleepy after eating. This was very noticeable to me since I'm so used to the after-lunch food coma feeling. I got a lot of headaches for a while, but they eventually went away. Apparently this has something to do with a low-carb diet making it harder to stay hydrated, but eventually you start naturally drinking enough to compensate. It probably didn't help that I was eating a ton more salt than before, just because a lot of the foods available to me were pretty salty. One thing I was on the lookout for that did not happen was constipation. I was eating a ton of meat and basically no fiber, so conventional wisdom says I should have been completely clogged, but I was fine.

Since I started my new job, I've gotten very sloppy about what I eat, mostly because I work too far from home now to run home for lunch, and because I've gotten in the habit of getting breakfast on the way to work instead of eating before I leave. I just checked, and my weight is up to 150! Also, food comas are back in a big way. They're not so bad now, but the first time I had a 6-inch sub for lunch it damn near put me to sleep.

Sadly, I didn't get my blood lipids checked until this week, so I'm sure the results will reflect my current diet much more than the experimental diet. I guess I'll have to repeat the experiment and do a better job collecting data. Aside from the pain-in-the-ass factor, I was very happy with my crazy diet.

fucking vandals
This morning I found a sticker from Signature Towing on my car. It's the kind of sticker that normally says they're going to tow your car, but this one was damaged and didn't list any reason for the sticker, or even a complete phone number. Their stickers are a serious pain in the ass to remove, too. I called them asking for an explanation, but they couldn't give me one except to say they have a contract with my apartment complex that allows it. The operator hung up on me when I mentioned filing a complaint, so I went ahead and filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Then I started looking into whether I could file a criminal complaint for vandalism with the local police. While I was poking around the police department's web site trying to find the best way to contact them, I came across their page about property recovery, where they discuss their impound lot, which is operated by....Signature Towing! I guess I won't be getting any help there. I'm contemplating suing them in small claims court just to make life difficult for them. And I will definitely be bitching to my apartment complex tomorrow.

I can has phone?
I reserved myself a Samsung Epic today, because as much as I love the features on my G1, it's dog slow and T-Mobile's coverage is very spotty--I can't get a signal at either of my parents' houses.

I was a little wary of a Samsung phones after reading about how they went out of their way to make Android suck and then went back on their promise to offer an upgrade to Android 2.0. Based on what I turned up today, it looks like Samsung learned their lesson in a big way. They've even released a WIP version of their Android 2.2 ROM for people who are willing to put up with the bugs in it.

Froyo + G1 = EPIC FAIL
Installing a release candidate of a point-oh version of a 3rd-party mod of a pre-release version of an OS that was designed for much more capable hardware is not a good idea.

the gory detailsCollapse )

He's got a point.
John McCarthy

unexpected excitement
fear and loathing
As I was driving home tonight about to get on the freeway, some guy drove off the freeway right in front of me right over the grass going at least 80. He kept going straight across the service road and took out a lamppost on the other side.

I pulled over to have a look, and a bunch of people who looked like they must have been friends of the guy who crashed were rushing over to check on him. One of them asked me for $5 and got pissed when I didn't give it to him. He started cursing at me like a drunk fratboy and said something about how I should give him some money for his friend because he had just wrecked his car. I just denied having any money and left at that point, but I kind of wish I had said "FUCK NO I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY FOR THE GUY WHO JUST ALMOST KILLED ME," because I was totally thinking it.

(Mr. Speed Racer himself did not appear to be hurt, BTW.)

brain droppings
I saw MC Frontalot last night. It was fun, but I wish I had done my homework (i.e. listened to a bunch of his music), because I think I would have gotten a lot more out of it if I had been able to follow the lyrics better. I also couldn't follow the lyrics of Boss Level, the opening band, but they were rockin' so hard I just didn't care. I had a pretty good view of their bassist so of course that's what I paid attention to. He was using a Fender five-string, which of course reminded me of how much I've been tempted to get one of these (in black, of course). I was doing a little window shopping today and I happened to notice an Epiphone Viola Bass because it's so small and adorable. It has a 30.5" scale, so theoretically it would be easier for me to play than a full-size (34" scale) bass. It had a really nice sound, too. I can't really see myself getting one, though; I refuse to stockpile musical instruments unless I can play them well, and that's still a long way off.

I finished reading Anathem a couple of weeks ago, and I was really impressed. IMHO it's easily Stephenson's best work so far. As usual, it was jam-packed with cool ideas, and the plot hung together a lot better than usual. It followed a single main characters (highly unusual for Stephenson), and IT HAD AN ENDING! My main complaint with most of Stephenson's books is that they mostly seem to run out of steam and just stop instead of getting to any kind of satisfying conclusion.

I'v started reading Use of Weapons. For far it seems pretty much like any of Bank's other books: not mind-blowing, but still a very good read. I had forgotten how much Banks likes to use unreliable narrators to keep you guessing. I swear this one is told half in flashbacks to episodes where the main character is semi-conscious and/or hallucinating. It's not a good bed-time book, because it's just too difficult to follow what's supposed to be happening when I'm half asleep myself.

My poi spinning is coming along very nicely. On Saturday I started doing backwards 3-beat weaves, and with some encouragement from Monkey, I learned how to turn so I can switch between forwards and backwards weaves seamlessly. I still end up hitting myself a lot, but I have the technique, so now I just need practice.

I made myself some 200-gram poi heads. Out of sugar, so I can use a pound of sugar to make myself healthier! They only weigh twice as much as my glow poi, and they feel much heavier. It's amazing how different it feels to spin them, and how fast they wear out my arms. I think they'll be a big help when I start trying to learn more new moves, or if I start trying to teach moves, because I can spin them much slower than the lighter poi. I think they'll be especially helpful for learning turns, because turns are mostly about turning your body without interrupting what the poi are doing, and heavy poi are a lot harder to interrupt.

Did you know you can get Sanyo Eneloop AA batteries at REI the REI on 635? I didn't. They cost more, but they're worth it. I especially want some for my camera, because I tend to leave it sitting around for long periods, and it sucks to pick it up and find the batteries have self-discharged so much I can only take a few pictures. (Yes, my camera takes AA batteries, because I hate expensive proprietary batteries that only work in one device.)