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!

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

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

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!

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

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 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!

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.

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

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

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?

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:

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

Kanye West iPhone Cover

It’s been two years, but it’s time to retire the Kanye West Exclusive Art iPhone Case.

Exclusive art by Kanye West for my iPhone

I snagged this guy for $0.54 at the Office Depot that closed in downtown Minneapolis. It was grey, tacky, and suitably prevented scratches on the back of my iPhone.

Should you have doubted the AUTHENTICITY of this iPhone case…

You know it’s good when it’s signed by the artist himself. Lesser art certainly doesn’t have a CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY.

I normally go sans-case, as I don’t mind scratches and hate adding precious millimeters to my designed-to-be-thin devices. But I broke my screen last February and decided I was no longer worthy of a sexy case-less phone. Luckily, this bad boy was amazingly tacky and my favorite color. Plus, it claims I donated to charity by purchasing this for less than a dollar. Win-win!

Interestingly enough, the case started causing my phone to crash starting in November. I don’t know if it was holding a button down, or simply not dissipating heat. As the phone is now over two years old, I’m just going to risk it and go sans-case again. Bare-back is better, anyway.

Backyard Fire Pit

Close up of some winter flames

One of my new year resolutions is to spend more time outside, even in the winter. As a result, this sexy propane fire pit (a Christmas gift two years ago from my folks) is getting a lot more use. It’s peaceful outside, it’s great getting fresh air, and it makes the winter suck less.

Copeland backyard in the dead of Winter

Updated Theme

The really observant of you will notice I’ve switched themes (from Cols to Manifeset). I really liked Cols’ simplicity and dynamic two columns for posts. But after looking at it for a month, it really isn’t straight forward to read. Thus, for 2016, I’m trying a new look.

Holidays Update

Christmas has come, let’s get you debriefed on the Brian scenario for the holidays.

Brian and Alicia in front of a cold Lake Superior

Alicia and I agreed to forgo gifts to each other and instead travel. Up north we went to Duluth for some nostalgia, drinking, and relaxation. We got all of those things! Cookies from Positively 3rd Street Bakery, burritos from Burrito Union, a fish bowl pitcher from Grandma’s Sports Garden, and even cheese fondue at the New Scenic Cafe. The hotel room was the the highlight of the trip – it had a fireplace and a direct view of the lake. Yay!

Lake Superior waves crashing on a cold December day

After requesting fancy food and treats as gifts for Christmas, my parents outdid themselves with Copeland’s best

The Copelands Best gift pack from my parents. Classy with a capital C.

Other miscellany:

I hope 2015 treated you well and that 2016 is filled with actualized pipedreams!

~Brian

Update 2015.12.08

You want more Brian? You got it.

  • Alicia and I had a blast at the Sarah Berns Christmas party. We drank wine (which was new-ish for me, I’m starting to enjoy it more) and went with festive hats. I think we’re going to make that a tradition – silly hats for the holidays.
  • I’ve squeaked into sixth place in the Lil’ Lebowski Suburban Achievers Fantasy Football league, which gets me the last spot in the playoffs! Yay! Last year I managed to finish dead last in a league of 12, a pain I’ve felt every day of the year. I’d like to thank Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski for their tremendous season.
  • I pulled my muscle last week running, so I’ve been out of commission running for a week. It’s been lame. I think I’m back to 100% and will be hitting the gym tonight!
  • I’m super happy with Dropbox, which now houses all of our music, photos and documents. For you non-tech-people, it’s cloud-based storage, which means I can just load files to the internet and they hold ’em for me. It’s $99 for 1Tb for 1 year and there is no house fire or theft that will make us lose our data. Seriously, we’ve got over a decade of photos at this point, plus all our music. Not only that, but we can access all of our files from our phone, too. I’m not usually a sentimental person, but the peace of mind of never losing all that data is really nice.

Update 2015.11.30

The holiday weekend has come and gone, here’s what’s up.

  • I’ve successfully “hung” the outdoor Christmas lights. One of the big Black Friday scores was these laser lights for the house. They look a tiny bit cheap, but they’re different (which is fun) and just involved putting stakes in the ground, so no actual hanging. It looks okay from the outside, but we can see the lights through the window at night, which is really cool.
  • Thanksgiving food was fantastic. Alicia cooked the turkey at her parent’s house for the first round, I helped carve the turkey at my parents house later that night. As always, it’s a gastrointestinally intensive day – but it’s so good to see family.
  • Besides the laser Xmas lights, Black Friday yielded a few good deals: Alicia got herself a new winter coat half priced from Macy’s, the cats are loving the new blankets we picked up at Target, I got some new scarves at Forever 21, Alicia got some blank canvases for painting at Michael’s (yes, she’s been painting!),  and we stocked up on tea from the World Market

  • We joined a gym together and have been hitting the running track pretty regularly! I’m determined to get a 5k time down below 21 minutes (which is about 9 mph). I’m not very close, the fastest I’ve run thus far is 23:00 5k, and those last two minutes are gonna hurt bad. But then again, I’ve got all winter!

hah! First update done, now just forever to go.