Congrats to all the winners! Love the pics!
This last Sunday we made the one hour and 45 min trek to Big Bear Lake. In all my years of living in LA I had never quite made it there to see what all the fuss is about. The ski season was about to start and only a little snow had already fallin so there was no need for chains and the roads were very passable.
The drive there is certainly fun going from next to nothing to 7000+ feet in elevation up winding mountain roads. Once there we drove around the lake to see the houses then cut over to the Rim of the World Drive from North Shore Drive. This is where the real adventure begins. I do not recommend going there after the seasons snow fall start since most roads get washed out or damaged even for super high clearance vehicles to pass.
Note: Be sure to take with you provisions and an emergency kit in case you get stuck and have to spend the night. An emergency beacon is even better to have! Also be sure to get an Adventure Pass if you plan on making stops. As always advise family or friends on your travels and when to expect to hear back from you!
The Subaru XV Crosstrek did an excellent job of tackling the off-road driving. We did get stuck twice but that was due to the road being washed away to the point of needing much more clearance. Glad the Crosstrek has skid plates since I am sure they have some scars to prove the adventure. Luckily on the first instance of getting stuck some dirt bikers came by and helped us out. I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with how well it handles off road and the CVT does a great job of laying down the power on rough terrain. We will be sure to head back to Big Bear once more snow is in the forecast. Plus there are many more secluded hiking trials to be seen once the weather warms again in Spring.
I have had the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek for 17 days (1200+ miles on odometer!) now and thought I would write a review since the ones I read prior to buying were all over the place. Yes, the Crosstrek is a variation on the proven Impreza platform. Which is part of the reason I bought it. You usually want to avoid a new car model the first year it is out so they can work out the bugs. Being that it is technically not a new model I overlooked this.
The main concern I had prior to test driving the Crosstrek was the numerous reviews complaining about the lack of power and complaints on the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). I find the power to be suitable for the type of vehicle it is. You are not going to win any races in it but that is not the purpose of it. The CVT takes some getting use to since the usual act of punching the accelerator to the floor is not as effective as a 20% throttle then ease to the floor approach. With this method I can pass anyone on the highway and overtake with ease. For the record I drive 35 miles each way to work from north of downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica every day. So I know about traffic and the need to pass people on occasion. The joy of the Crosstrek to me is that it fills all my needs with equal doses of each. I wanted a car to fit this tall order:
- Drive daily to work with good MPGs
- Take on weekend road trips around SoCal and enjoy the twisty roads in route
- Be able to drive off-road to get to points of interest
- Seat 4 normal sized adults and carry gear/groceries/etc.
- Look cool doing it
I use many devices in many places and find simple set-it-and-forget-it services like Dropbox make my life much easier. I always need access to many different files on a daily basis. Yet I like many others are not comfortable with some of the privacy policies or terms of service most 3rd party services force you to agree to. Plus there is the expense of many of these services. With broadband and DSL speeds offering such great speeds it seems a waste to have a computer at home with much of your music and videos along with important files much too big to be stored even on Dropbox.
Using ownCloud to be your Own Cloud
Most home routers and WFi routers have built in support for dynamic DNS. This allows you to have a subdomain (or top level domain) pointed at your home connection that used DHCP to give you an IP. This means your IP can change and the dynamic DNS service repoints your domain to the new IP. Thus, allowing you to access your home network from anywhere. What I will be describing is installing all needed packages and ownCloud on Debian based system, namely in this example Ubuntu Server Edition 12.04 LTS.
You can also use this example to setup ownCloud using the AWS Free Tier to create your own true cloud based Dropbox replacement for you and your entire family. Simple setup an AWS account and enable EC2, and S3 (optionally). Then fire up a micro instance of Ubuntu Server. Connect an additional EBS volume for added storage. You can also use this same instance to run your own VPN/SSH tunneler, but that is for another post.
Watched an interesting segment on 60 Minutes tonight on Sugar.
This is the presentation that spawned the above segment. Some convincing arguments to cut out as much sugar as you can.
I was thinking if I win the Mega Millions lottery tonight at $640mil what I would do to piss people off (just for fun). My first thought is to give my enemies $100k each in pennies. So I did the math:
A penny weighs 2.5 grams
100 pennies in a dollar
So in $100k of pennies there is 25,000,000 grams = 55,115.5655 pounds
Which is 27.5577827 short tons!
The average armored truck can carry 1.25 tons. So it would take 22 armored trucks to deliver $100k in pennies!
Recently I came across a newer gadget called the FitBit. It is a small clip on device to track your steps, calories burned, miles walked, and flights of stair climbed. The devices uses an accelerometer and a altimeter to determine the steps taken and logs the data to be synced when you are near the base station. This uploads the data to the FitBit site which has a nice SaaS site to monitor and chart progress. You can manually enter food, water, exercise, weight, and other data points. FitBit also offers a robust API to tie in with 3rd party services like Endomondo, which tracks workouts via phone GPS tracking. Another interesting thing the FitBit does is measure one’s sleep by coming with a strap you put on your non-dominate arm which monitors restlessness to get a picture of how much restful sleep one gets.
Along with the FitBit I have also decided to give a targeted regiment of supplements and diet a try to see if it helps with my sleep and any other health complaints. So I am breaking it down into key parts:
These are the four high-level things I will be covering and looking at in this experiment. I have been using the “Paleo Diet” as the basic underlying for my food intake. Along with various supplements I will outline shortly.
Further reflection revealed that it’s quite impractical—nearly impossible—to make a cheeseburger from scratch. Tomatoes are in season in the late summer. Lettuce is in season in spring and fall. Large mammals are slaughtered in early winter. The process of making such a burger would take nearly a year, and would inherently involve omitting some core cheeseburger ingredients. It would be wildly expensive—requiring a trio of cows—and demand many acres of land. There’s just no sense in it.
A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed, post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a handful of vendors—in all likelihood, a couple of dozen—and the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a century ago as, indeed, it did not.