Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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A chilly spring Sunday

Filed under: — stan @ 5:33 pm

Due to the earthquake this week, I didn’t have much time or inspiration to find some weird sight to go see on the Sunday bike ride. So we just rode out to San Dimas and back. It was chilly and overcast, and not much remarkable happened. Still, it was a pleasant ride.

43 miles.


Another milestone for my Pet Project

Filed under: — stan @ 6:56 am

Last summer, I was very pleased to see when the Earthquake Notification Service passed 150,000 subscribers. On average about 30-50 people sign up for it every day, and more after each large earthquake. And this week’s M7.2 Baja California earthquake pushed it over the top to more than 200,000 subscribers.

The earthquake also set a new record for the amount of mail sent in one day. The previous record of 2,326,000 messages was set after the M8.8 Chile earthquake in February. But this earthquake blew right past that record with 4,508,522 messages sent. And it would have been more if the database problems hadn’t slowed the system to a crawl. At the end of the first day, there were over 600,000 messages waiting to be sent, and over 500 earthquakes waiting to be processed.

Fortunately, I’ve found a workaround to keep the system from getting slow while processing large numbers of earthquakes, and I’m working on a re-architecture of the database to be able to handle heavier loads in the future.


Another practice run

Filed under: — stan @ 9:02 pm

Wednesday was the second practice session at the Aon Tower for the stair climb on the 24th. Work has been crazy this week because of the earthquake last Sunday, but I made a point to get downtown at lunchtime to try my legs on the stairs again.

Since Erik couldn’t make it this time, I rode the train there so as not to have to use my car. When I got there, Carla from the bike club was there. She works in one of the other big buildings downtown, and I’d told her about the climb on the ride last Sunday. She doesn’t want to do it, but she came by to see us practice. This worked out well, since I had my backpack and bike helmet with me, and she was able to take them on the elevator up to the 60th floor while I was climbing.

Last time, Erik and I had noticed that turning on the stair landings took a noticeable amount of time compared to the actual climbs up each flight. I took a wild guess and assumed that each stair landing eats up about 1 second. All together that would eat almost 2 minutes total for the climb. So if I want to make the top in 12 minutes, I need to do the actual 1377 steps in about 10 minutes, which would mean 137 steps per minute. Dividing by 2 to account for taking double steps, I get 69 per minute.

I got a small electronic metronome that clips on my belt. I set it for 69 beats per minute. I concentrated on just having one foot going up two steps for each beep.. And I made the climb to the 60th floor in 10:58. This was 15 seconds faster than last time, and works out to making the full climb in about 12:10. So I think it worked. Next time I’m going to try for 71 or 72.

On the train ride back, I had a touch of ‘Climber’s Cough’, which means I went pretty hard on the climb. But I still think I can go faster next time. It was a good practice session, and a good little mid-day adventure.


My 15 minutes of geek fame

Filed under: — stan @ 4:58 am

My Pet Project got mentioned in xkcd today. As always, you have to read the mouse-over text on the cartoon to get the full effect:

xkcd cartoon

Ordinarily, I’d be extremely excited by this. But right now I’m up at 4:54AM fixing the my Pet Project’s database. The M7.2 earthquake yesterday caused so much activity on the system that the database got swollen and filled up the disk on some of the servers. So I’m up rolfing it back into shape.


Mt Washington on a spring morning

Filed under: — stan @ 11:46 am

This Sunday’s bike ride was an old favorite. The loop through northeast Los Angeles and over Mt Washington. It was chilly, but a nice day for riding.

We started out going up to La Cañada and then down into Glendale. That was where we saw the topiary dolphins. Sadly, they’re in the wrong direction to add to the Topiary Tour. So I need to find some more topiary out that way to make a second Tour.

Heading across the L.A. River, we went down Riverside Dr. We took a short detour down Oros St to see the tiniest house in Los Angeles. We also took a peek over the fence to see the new part of the L.A. River bike path that they have been building recently. Then we crossed back over the L.A. River and headed up to Mt. Washington. There is a dog partway up the hill who always stands on the roof of the garage and barks at us as we go by. At the top we stopped briefly at the Self-Realization Fellowship gates before heading down the other side.

Our stop was at Kaldi’s in South Pasadena, which is nice and shady for hot summer days, but not so pleasant on chilly ones. After that, we took a direct route home, since I needed to get back a little early to get ready to go to Easter.

It was a nice ride.

38 miles.

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