it's a blog, yo

by brian copeland

Month: January, 2016

San Diego Recap

Work has been treating me pretty well, lately – I was sent west to California to a Big Graphs Conference (housing data in a graph instead of a table has some nice advantages). Here’s a photographic recap!

Arriving at San Jose International Airport on Sunday evening, visitors are proudly greeted with an upcoming event:

Fur Con was proudly advertising it's upcoming conference in San Jose - interesting!

Fur Con was proudly advertising it’s upcoming conference in San Jose – interesting!

Furries are an interesting new trend growing in the world. Mark my words, it’ll be as popular as the 50 Shades of Grey stuff in ten years.

Having no where to go on a Sunday night but my hotel, I didn’t mind the 30 minute delay on baggage return. It’s actually one of my favorite things – being around a bunch of frustrated people when you’re perfectly chill. There’s just a tension in the air that washes right past you. Here’s an action shot:

Angry passengers waiting for their bags at San Jose International Airport

Angry passengers waiting for their bags at San Jose International Airport

I spent Sunday – Wednesday in Sunnyvale, CA at the Target office. Just work stuff there, nothing super special to report.

Wednesday, three coworkers and I headed to San Diego to the University of California – San Diego campus for a Workshop on Big Graphs. I haven’t done much graph theory since my Ph. D. studies back in New York, so it was fun to get a taste of academia again.

I was reminded how important sampling is (and how nuanced it is to sample a graph and maintain the same structure), important questions to ask about graphs, and generally get a sense of where current development is in large graphs. I’ll post more of that stuff in later posts, let’s talk the UCSD campus:

Just an epic view of one of the libraries on the University of California - San Diego (UCSD) campus

Just an epic view of one of the libraries on the University of California – San Diego (UCSD) campus

That’s the Geisel Library off in the distance (recognize the name?). It overlooks a decent size ravine that we had to cross walking from the parking lot to the auditorium. I fear the picture doesn’t do it justice, but it really sits god-like over you.

There was a ton of varied and interesting architecture on the UCSD campus! What do you think of the Engineering building?

Notice the house? Gotta notice the house!

Notice the house? Gotta notice the house!

The conference itself was in the IT Building and had this performance space going:

Photo Jan 06, 2 59 42 PM

That’s 24 flat screen TVs connected to one PC. This wasn’t even where the talks were given, it was just where attendees were fed. UCSD goes big and goes home. I have a hunch why – here’s an ad I found in the CS building:

 

I certainly didn't see ads like this at my alma mater - this was spotted in the CS Building

I certainly didn’t see ads like this at my alma mater – this was spotted in the CS Building

I guess the competition is strong down here – Snapchat is looking for programmers, btw.

So talks were all day Wednesday through Friday, with nights being taken up by movies (surprisingly). My coworkers had kids and usually don’t have a chance to get away and see a film. Ended up seeing Star Wars and The Revenant. Other highlights? Lox:

I tried Lox!

I tried Lox!

It was fabulous. I don’t think I’d had lox like this before – I didn’t know how well capers, tomato and onions mellow out the smoked salmon. Yum.

Pillow for sale in San Diego.

Pillow for sale in San Diego.

I found this pillow that I forgot to pick up for Alicia. It’s poop!

Had some fabulous mexican here!

Had some fabulous mexican here!

As advertised, the mexican cuisine was legit.

Headed home on Saturday, by way of Seattle (so many cursed Seahawks fans were on this flight). On the plus side, it sure looks like the future arrived. This was only a 3 hour flight, but had inflight entertainment in every seat.

Delta's Seattle -> Minneapolis flight really looks like the future

Delta’s Seattle -> Minneapolis flight really looks like the future

So, fabulous trip. I should totally go back sometime this year. Heck, April maybe?

Ice Candle

Got one of those things you really like, but never remember to use? For me, it’s this Mathmos Ice Candle.

What's that tantalizing glow?

What’s that tantalizing glow?

You’re seeing a cylinder of ice surrounding a tea light. The ice is sitting on a grate with a rubber bucket below to collect the water as it melts.

It’s all frosty in the beginning, and then physics kicks in:

Mathmos2

As the fire melts the ice, it gets more scandalous… in that it remains a candle

It’s pretty cool that the tea light doesn’t burn completely: the surrounding ice prevents all the wax from melting. It lasts about 1.5 hours, which is a lot longer than you’d think ice could withstand sitting next to a candle. I usually go through at least two tea lights in one sitting.

I’ve been trying to get rid of the useless junk I own and this almost certainly qualifies. Not only do I have to store it for the sole purpose of being pretty, it takes up space in the freezer, which is much more valuable space than your usual knick-knack. Fuck it, it’s cool.

/pun