Day 73 and 74: Calculated Risk

I’ve got a couple of days of heads-down work now, to finish Secret Plan 161 (or at least get it over the first major hurdle). There’s also a lot of work to do on the telescope software for SP174.

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I’ve discovered a new desk downtown. It’s tall, so you stand while you work, which is a pleasant change. Starting at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, walk to the intersection of Market and Pine, and you’re standing right on top of the place.

About 40 feet below you (under the street), you’ll find it.

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It’s Peet’s, which means the coffee is good and the staff is playful and friendly. And they have cookies.

I received two surprises from thoughtful colleagues this week. The first was a stunt double, whom I’ve named Hugo.


He’s a little shorter than me, but from the back we look almost the same.

That’s just awesome, because usually I’m the stunt double. I’ve only had my own once before (an amazing man named Bobby, during a job where I was getting shot in the back). Even then, we were both wearing detonators.

Hugo is great. When I’m not certain I’ll survive something, I send him. (“Wow, that looks dangerous. Hugo first.”) Thanks Brett!

Nick sent the second surprise.  It’s an equation for calculating Sidereal Time for astronomy.

This will save me so much time on Secret Plan 174 that I’ve decided to go have several naps on the beach.

…and since this code is already in use in other systems, it also means that the telescope’s accuracy will enjoy benefits which only come with years of experience and extensive testing.

…and it lowers the chance that Dad and I will be called into the observatory at 2am to come fix a calculation error.

Thanks guys!

Random assertion: Toys are usually labeled with a minimum age, but not a maximum age. Adults sometimes forget this. Brett Douville

Steganographic data: 1828/9.3

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Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 10:20 am  Comments (1)  
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Day 20: Strong Friendships and a Mystery Woman

I tried to pay for my tasty lox bagel this morning, but was thwarted. “The young lady in line before you took care of it.” I looked around, but she was already gone.

(I can’t even describe the positive impact you had on the rest of my day. Thanks for that.)

First thing this morning is an audition for a stunt job. For this one, they’re looking for a businessman-type guy with trampoline skills. (Trampoline: cool. Businessman: ouch, is that what I look like?)


This is the outside of the very nice studio.
Inside, there are real photographers, so it’s not cool to shoot pictures.

When I get there, Jennings and Michael (two of my long-time friends with special skills) are there already. Watching them launch themselves through the air for the camera, I realize that this is a level of “quality time with friends” I really enjoy.

One note about stunt work: There are a hundred reasons you can miss getting the job. Wrong face, wrong height, wrong skills, you name it. “Didn’t try hard enough” isn’t one of them. Everyone who shows up is in it for real. That’s how it works, and that’s what makes these friendships great.

This attitude is also one of the qualities I’m most attracted to in my muse.

After that, I drop in unexpectedly to spend time with a bunch of my best friends during a very difficult day. Benjamin Franklin provides clarity: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

I’m proud of you guys.

In the evening, I’ve got the good fortune of attending a small book signing in the city. It’s crowded, and the author’s kept very busy talking to friends who showed up. Still, she finds time to chat and sign my copy.


It’s an excellent sunset tonight.

Here’s what the moon looks like tonight, through a small telescope with the wind shaking it:

Here’s the moon on another night, through the same small telescope, but with no wind:


The moon and the telescope are both gifts from my muse.

Random assertion: There is nothing more valuable than a genuine surprise.

Steganographic data: 1872/3.4

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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