Sunday, November 09, 2008

Uncle again!!! ...and... AGAIN!!!

Tuesday last week while everyone was out voting, Maria and Greg had their twins Harlow & Lyla. They sure are cute! Yet again I have the chance to build on the "crazy uncle" or "cool uncle" status. I'm sure it will eventually turn into "wacky uncle from freaks-ville". We shall see how things develop.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Uncle time(s) 2!!!

Check her out: "Anna Elizabeth Sharlow" is getting printed - not for committing her first felony, but for being tracked along her life long journey as a human.

I meant to post about this earlier, but I'm an uncle AGAIN.
My other sister Carrie had a baby in October.
Congrats Brad & Carrie!

Now I get to be the "cool" uncle twice over! (Soon to be four times! More on that as the situation develops!)

Friday, September 19, 2008


"Chip" could be short for:
Chocolate Chip

We're not sure, but Chip is the newest Harlow family member. He's pretty cute and a ball of crazy. Yesterday I found him IN the fireplace behind the screen. He was covered in soot so we bathed him with a warm wet washcloth. He laid there and purred. I think he felt like his Momma was cleaning him. He's 6 months old.

Michael Thomas is on good terms with him, but Maddi has yet to let him get close without growling. She's very territorial it seems.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Our next stop was Vancouver, Canada. The drive up was relatively uneventful, passed right through Seattle. Check out my pics here on Flickr.

Vancouver has an awesome backdrop of mountains to the north but the city itself is like Superman's crystal fortress. The city is a densely packed pile of glass skyscrapers. During the day it was kind of ugly, but when dusk came and people started turning on their lights, the city seemed to come alive and glow.

If you're ever in Vancouver, there's a section of Hastings street between Chinatown and Gastown you should avoid. AJ and I walked through that area once while exploring and it was overloaded with the homeless. From a distance it looked crowded and busy, like something was going on or many tourists were gathered. However, when we got closer we realized it was 100% bums. Not begging for change bums; Standing around trying to find another fix bums. Luckily they couldn't be concerned with passersby so we made it through the gauntlet without issue. I'd just stay away from there next time, though. Chris Degnan also recommended we stay away from that area... though after the fact. :)

Speaking of Chris Degnan, we hadn't seen him in about 5 years. It was really good to catch up and although we only were able to have lunch together, (Gorilla Foods - AWESOME) it was like old times, just chatting abotu everything under the sun. 'Deggy' also took us on a quick tour of the Relic office where he works. It's on the 15th floor of one of those glass skyscrapers. Pretty awesome view from there!

On our first day in Vancouver we walked all around downtown and then some totalling about 12 miles. Our feet were pretty beat! The next day we drove to other neighborhoods like West Van and Commercial St. Commercial street was Vancouver's Haight/Ashbury. Lots of hippie wanna-bes and many places for us to eat! We got all kinds of vegan desserts that we took with us for the drive home. The cool thing about Canada is all the hemp you could find in the food and everyday prodects. Hemp is great for protein and omega 3. It also is super strong and makes great bags and clothes.

Overall Vancouver was pretty cool, but we liked Portland better. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Downtown Portland

Next on our trip we stopped in Portland, Oregon. (pictures on Flickr HERE)

We were really pleased with the number of vegan/vegetarian restaurants we could choose from. It had, quite possibly, more than the bay area! We had a hard time choosing where to eat, but decided to try Veganopolis (a vegan buffet); Blossoming Lotus (a branch of the place we found in Kauai, Hawaii); and Voodoo Doughnuts (an alternative doughnut shop that makes vegan doughnuts)!

The downtown area is relatively small and we spent a whole day walking around, eating and snapping pictures. The architecture is quite interesting and there were tons of people walking around.

The evening we arrived in Portland we went looking for the vegan mall we had heard of. It wasn't really a mall per se, but a building where the 4 occupying shops are all vegan focused. (grocery store, clothing store, bakery and a tattoo shop) When we asked if there was a place nearby to eat vegan, the clerk at the grocery store recommended Red & Black, a vegan cafe around the corner. We went there and got perhaps the best tempeh reuben sandwich I've ever had. While we were waiting for the sandwich to be made, there was a short presentation/video shown of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). (<--Wikipedia link) I had never taken an interest in the ELF before, so it was interesting to learn more about them. They are kind of extreme in my mind and I would never take on their methods of getting their message out, but I can see where they are coming from. I think they feel helpless in our country/political landscape and are lashing out in a... less than legal manner. Anyways, it was interesting to learn about the organization by happenstance of waiting for a meal. I think I'll stay away from ELF.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crater Lake National Park - longest coast ever.

The next day of our trip we cut across California and Oregon and stopped at Crater Lake National Park. It's amazing.

A huge mountain just blew it's top about 7,500 years ago and when it settled, formed this gigantic crater. It's nearly impossible to get down to the lake, so it is pristine and unspoiled by humans. The water is the clearest in the world and it's just about the largest and deepest lake in the world. It has no incoming or outgoing water, but the level remains about the same year round from rain and snow melt. Check out my photos on my Flickr site.

On the way there and back the forests had astounding numbers of orange butterflies swarming the road. I tried to capture a movie of it, but they are so small and move so fast that the video doesn't really show how many there were. However, this picture of our car can attest to the amount... and the Prius is one of the most aerodynamic cars made to date. Other cars and semi trucks literally had orange colored grills and hoods. One little guy flew away when we stopped at this rest area - he had been trapped in the grill.

One more interesting thing about Crater Lake - from highway 5, it is pretty much a gradual uphill climb to the lake. Our mileage getting there was a sad, sad 41 mpg. We took the south entrance in and the north entrance out. Our mileage got back up to 53 on the way out, though! It was pretty much full on coasting all the way down - about 85 miles to get back to highway 5. Not the longest pure coast time, but definitely the longest assisted coast.

(I LOVE to see how far we can coast - it's like a little driving game. It started in NY when we were always going hiking in the Adirondacks. The longest was only 3 miles. Then I found a 5 mile coast in Shenandoah National Park. The longest pure coast time is 7 miles down in Arizona near my sister Maria. But Crater Lake takes the cake as the longest assisted coast ever. At about 85 miles, I don't think that can be beat.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Redwood national park

We got back from our week long drive up north on Monday 08/18/08. The first place we went to was Redwood national park. It was pretty amazing. We've been to Big Basin park near home, but the trees in Redwood were insane!

I posted a bunch of pictures from the two hikes we went on. Check them out on my Flickr site. I really liked the sun cutting through the trees in the morning of our second hike. Really inspiring.

Friday, August 08, 2008


It comes once in, what, like a century? Awesome. I thought of Kerri Sox. Her favorite number is 8. It must have been a very lucky/happy day for her.

Happy triple 08!!!

Oh and the Olympics started today! Awesome!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Amelia Chu

Amelia Chu is now 1 month old and the Chus had a gathering in her honor. She's super cute and quite pleasant. We thought they were going to name her "Savannah" which we thought would be so pretty, but it's a fairly common Porn Star name... (#38 in popularity) which turned them off.

The Chus also showed off their new iPhones (Black & White) which Shun picked up that morning. Bryan was a riot - showing off his moves and being crazy in general. We had a good time talking to Fiona & Chi Hoi and also Chu's cousin. It's always fun to get together with that crowd.

Little Red Ferrari

Sometimes Mike drives "The Red Car" in to work and we go get bubble tea - usually when he's planning a weekend trip and wants to warm the engine up. It's a really nice looking car. (I don't think I've seen a car that has nicer flow to it's lines. But I'm not all that in to cars.) It sounds awesome and rides great. You know how when you take a corner too fast and the car leans and you lean and stuff? Doesn't happen in this car. When Mike whips through the gears fast and you feel your face pulling off to the sides from the speed, it's really hard not to smile uncontrollably and start to laugh.There's no back seat because the engine needs a bit of room... They were nice enough to make the back end glass so everyone can ogle the engine. Even though it's body is ostentatious it still needs the occasional "ooh" & "ahh" over the engine to keep up it's self-esteem.

July 4th

We went down to the park near the amphitheater in Mountain View for the 4th. They had a full orchestra playing Disney music and then set off fireworks at the end. They wouldn't let us on top of the hill overlooking the amphitheater because it's all dried out and is a fire hazard so we had to stay in the park near Google and loo over the hill.

You can see how not having a tripod makes for wobbly prolonged exposures. :)

This one looks like a Muppet to me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chihuly exhibit @ DeYoung

A couple weeks ago we went with Kaan to the DeYoung museum to see the opening of the Chihuly exhibit. It was free that weekend and Kaan had the foresight to go early and get tickets. I have never seen glass worked in the way Chihuly does. It was amazing. I especially liked the way the exhibit was mostly black walls with lighting that cast excellent shadows and color patterns from the glass.

I posted a bunch of pictures here on my Flickr page.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chris & Nancey get married! (FINALLY!)

Two friends of ours from SCAD finally got married last weekend. (June 7th) We were so excited when we heard the news. I worked a several projects in school with Chris & Nancey and wondered when they were going to get together - they moved SO slowly though and didn't really tell people what was going on... or not going on... or whatever. :) After we left SCAD, Chris & Nancey used to come up to our place in NY every year for New Year's Eve. We would drink wine and talk all night long.

We made a weekend out of the wedding and drove down to L.A.. We met Jim & Terra Kuroda for breakfast and then drove up Sunset Drive until Hollywood. We found an AWESOME vegan restaurant across from "Zombie Tattoos", saw Hollywood and Melrose and a couple other things.

The wedding was really nice. Chris wanted a bit of Jewish tradition in the ceremony and it was a first for us so we found it very interesting. We met a bunch of people from SONY and DD and a lot of their family as well. Everyone was really nice and friendly.

I've got a few pictures here on my Flickr page.

Schwartz Visit (May 30)

At the end of May, the Schwartz's came to visit us for a couple days. These are my host parents from when I was an exchange student to Germany... TWENTY YEARS AGO. We don't keep in touch too much; you know, holidays and stuff, but when we go to Europe we stop in for a few days.

They happened to be over here touring the west coast a couple weeks ago. AJ and I showed them our neck of the woods and drove them around SF and took them out to lunch on Saturday and Sunday. (Well, Karl always insists on paying.) They only stayed two nights and then took off to drive down highway 1 to see the coast of California all the way down to San Diego.

Did I mention that they are 72!?!?! I can only HOPE that I am as active as them when I'm twice my age now. It was fun to be able to "host" them for once. :)

More pictures here on Flickr.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jack MUNNY & Drinks for Kaan

I made this Jack Skellington MUNNY for Kaan - I gave it to him last night for his birthday. You can see more pics of it on my Flickr page.

We went to Greens Restaurant for dinner and Pearl's Jazz Club for drinks and music. A bit on the expensive side for the evening, but well worth it. Fun all around!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm a Pikachu

Nintendo has some questions that lead to you being a Pokemon. I have unfortunately never played a Pokemon game... ever. But it looks like Nintendo thinks I have the personality type of it's most popular Pokemon.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

GTA4 Special Edition

I went to Best Buy after my dentist appointment on Tuesday last week to see if they had any copies of GTA4. They happened to have 4 copies of the Special Edition, so I bought that - I figured, I have a gift card (Thanks Dad!) so why not get that one? Here are a couple pics of the unboxing:

Inside the box was a lockbox. All gun metal.
Inside the lockbox was the game (of course) , an art book, a music CD, a Rockstar branded dufflebag, a Rockstar branded keychain, and keys for the lockbox.Worth the extra $20? I don't know, but it's kinda cool! I liked seeing the geometry they used for Times Square in the art book - It's quite similar to the way we created Times Square for Multiverse.

Oh and it's a phenomenal looking game. I have never played a GTA before so I can't compare the gameplay or graphics, but I think this game sets a new bar on visuals for the 360 & PS3. AWESOME.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Uncle JASE

Eden Grace Nagle - born 04/24/08
I'm an Uncle!
Congrats Tim & Michelle!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Home grown Fennel

One thing I thought would be interesting to try and grow is fennel. I was surprised at how well it grew in this lousy soil. Here's a picture of me with one of the larger bulbs. The best part is - I leave the stump in the ground after cutting the bulb off and 6 or 8 more fennel bulbs spring up around it. Crazy! I don't have to replant it! Hopefully it will live through the summer - it's quite sensitive to the heat. It grew like mad through the cool winter.

Maddi's checking out the birds from "shotgun position".

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dragon SUV

Some people choose their car as their means of personal expression.
Do you know someone with a Beemer?
Know anyone over 40 with a corvette?
I drive a VW bus by choice.

Some people choose to express themselves on their car as if it were a canvas.
I have seen many painted vehicles out here in the Bay Area. I haven't painted the bus though. The lime green paint job was done too well and it hasn't started rusting.

I spotted this SUV near the ATM and snapped a couple pics. The color combo and hood ornament are... classy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Car Dreams

The other day I had this really weird vivid dream.

I was driving around in a rusted out old white Camaro. All the rims were different with some from other cars altogether. I parked the car in front of someone's driveway accidentally and they came out to tell me to move. It had a couple flat tires and I couldn't move it. A bus load of migrant workers unloaded nearby came over; kind of admiring the car. I took out an air propellant can to fill up the tires, but it was empty. So I walked over to a gas station and filled the can with air. Then I walked back and filled the tires. I quickly left the area to go to the gas station to make sure the tires were fixed but had to go the long way around the block (of apartment complexes) because of one-way streets. Finally I got there and the tires were indeed flat again. At the gas station there was a couple who thought the car was in bad enough shape that they could buy it off me cheap. They started getting in and out of the car and actually tried making out in the back seat to see if it was "roomy enough". I just went across the street to the tire store and bought two new tires. (I got them extra big to put on the back and jack it up a bit.)

Then the next night I had a shorter dream.

We drove to a hilly town in the Prius and parked up on a hill and then walked down to ...somewhere. I don't remember. Later I went back to get the car and there was a ticket on it because we had left it for a couple nights and one of the nights was a street cleaning night. There was also some mail left on the car near the ticket for one of the nearby houses. I dropped the mail off to them and then went back to the car. The hood was now open - something that I noticed being closed before - and the entire engine was missing.

Bizarre - AJ says Freud would say I'm having "manhood" issues.


Monday, March 24, 2008

SONY CyberShot Operation

In 2004 we bought a Sony CyberShot Prosumer type camera. It was pretty awesome. Not an SLR, but as close as you can get without the size. In November of 2005 I took a trip back to NY and dropped it in the airport. (And by dropped I mean flung it a few meters across the baggage claim area.) The LCD shattered, but we were still able to use it... we just couldn't see the pictures we had taken. It went from a "prosumer" camera to a "point-and-shoot" camera. SONY wanted $300 to fix it.
Here's a close up of the cracked LCD and the good one in back:

We got another lame little camera to tide us over until we felt like we wanted a new "good" camera. (Nikon Coolpix - don't go there.) Recently we decided we ought to buy a new camera but still didn't want to spend the $$ for an SLR or have to deal with the size and weight increase. AJ had this great idea that we ought to try and fix the Sony camera. I bought an "as-is" camera on eBay and took it apart. I figured out what piece I needed to replace and removed it from the camera and replaced them in mine. KAZAM! We had our old camera back! It cost me $30 for the as-is camera and $15 for the special tweezers to use on tiny electrical equipment.

Take it SONY!
JASE + tweezers for the win!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Doctor Frank and Fruit Bouquets

A couple weeks ago on a Friday after work I went to a book store opening event. I don't usually do that kind of junk, except that this bookstore was having a special guest for signing. The book is "King Dork" and the author is the singer of one of my favorite bands (The Mr. T Experience) Mister Frank Portman, or Dr. Frank.

Dr. Frank sang a couple songs and read a couple excerpts (which was nice since I haven't actually read my book yet...) and signed things for people. I brought in my "Love is Dead" CD and he graciously signed it for me. It was nice to meet and talk to Frank and see that he's just another regular guy. I hate the "stars" who've let it go to their heads. Frank was easy to talk to, seemed a bit nervous and in general a nice guy. Like maybe someday I could be in his shoes having people want to meet and talk to me. Or at least be recognized for decent work. Yeah, right; If not by now then probably never, huh?

The other thing that happened a couple weeks ago was I complained to the neighbor about all the construction noise. He's been having his house rebuilt from the inside out for the last few months. Mostly on evenings and weekends. Times when one would think they could relax in peace and quiet in their own home. Well, table-saws and sanders and tile-cutters make a lot of noise that carries pretty well. He's a pretty nice guy though and promised to try and keep it down and within reasonable hours. (This, after I told him about Menlo Park noise ordinances concerning construction.)

One night it was 11:30pm and we were still hearing the saw. AJ gets up at 6:30 and we were already in bed so I just grabbed my cell-phone and text-messaged him. "It's after 11. Please make the noise stop. Thanks." The noise stopped and the next day there was a fruit bouquet on our doorstep. It was awesome. Dark chocolate (no milk) on fruit is TASTY! That Friday I went over to thank him for the basket and 3 hours later (boy, was AJ peeved) I stumbled home with a newly acquired knowledge of many local wines and new wine types. "Icewine" I had never heard of - but boy can it rock an empty stomach. Is it customary to get complainers drunk to ease their pain? Seems like a good strategy to me. Maybe that's why prohibition never worked out too well.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Can o' Worms

A couple weeks ago I went to Common Ground and picked up a worm composting thing. Can o' Worms. I also ordered one pound of worms to be delivered to my door. Can you guess how many worms are in one pound? Let me tell you. - 1000! It's awesome. I put the coir in the bottom of the 3 layers and put the worms on top. They immediately dove down into the dirt and I couldn't see them at all after about 10 minutes. Then I put some food scraps on the next layer up. They have been climbing up and eating it regularly. In a few months they will have filled layer two and I will put food on layer three. After a while they will all have migrated away from layer one and I can use it in the garden as fertilizer. Then that empty layer will become layer three and the cycle will continue. In a few years, I will have about 15,000 worms eating my scraps. Awesome!

Here are some pics:This is the box and bag the worms came in. There was a little bit of dirt in there too. I held it in my hand and although I couldn't feel any distinct movement, I could feel the bag pulsing as they squirmed around - it was like I could feel their energy. Very weird.

This is the worms just after putting them in the can. They dove out of sight immediately.

I was wondering to myself - is having a worm composting bin going against the morals and ethics of being a vegan? I'm not abusing them, but I am using them to my own ends. I'm not eating or selling their byproduct, but I am using it in my garden. I assume they're pretty happy to have food to eat all the time, but they are trapped in my can. I'm thinking it's not going against my personal beliefs or way of life, but I could see how people might argue against it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

WonderCon 2008

This weekend was WonderCon. I went to a couple sessions and had lunch at Ananda Fuara. Then I walked the floor with Kaan. We met up with Craig and Dan Tanguay - who was in town for the GDC. This year there were many more people than last year. The expo floor was crowded to the point of annoyance for me. On the bright side many more people were dressed up for the masquerade. I haven't been to the masquerade, but it must be quite the show to see with all the crazy costumes. Here are a couple pics:

Me and Gumby have been friends for a long time. This is the first time he has been taller than me.A friend of mine Chris James made this R2-D2 from scratch and hosted a session talking about how to build one for yourself. There's a big community of droid builders out there. It's pretty awesome to see a couple R2 units cruising around the show floor beeping and chirping at people.

More pics from the show on my flickr site.

Friday, February 22, 2008

GDC 2008

I went to GDC this year as a Multiverse employee. I didn't go to any sessions, but I walked around the expo and career floors and told people about Multiverse at the Multiverse booth. (Alan & Raf in the picture up there.) It was pretty fun overall. I met a few friends and made a couple new ones. Here are some pics of the crazy stuff they had there...
Starcraft 2 soldier at the Blizzard booth. Or should I say the Activard booth - nah - ATVI had their own booth too. I saw my old boss Steve there!

AW YEAH!!! A Big Daddy life size replica at the GDC! OK it wasn't really life size; how would they ship it around!?!?!?! It was taller than me, but not the 8 feet tall it's supposed to be. Well, it SEEMS that big in the game.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Multiverse Times Square

I've been working on a virtual world demo at work.
It's a virtual Times Square!

Here's a video a company made for us on YouTube.

It's more interesting if you actually GO to the virtual Times Square, so go to this webpage of ours and follow the directions. Download the Multiverse client, register and log in! (Log in to "Times Square" It's not a huge place, but there's a lot going on.

There are other worlds available to see that people are making on their own. Want to start a world of your own? Go for it! It's FREE!

Props to Dustin, Mike and Chris for kicking out this cool demo of our tech with me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kauai, Hawaii

We recently got back from a trip to Kauai.

It was like a late anniversary trip since my company branch closed just before our real anniversary. It was an awesome trip and I think we'll go back to Hawaii sometime - but a different island for sure. Maybe the big island to see the volcano!

We hiked 8 or 9 miles on the first day and got stuck on the rocky cliffside trail after sunset - luckily we had our flashlights with us and we made it back alive. AJ hurt her knee from slipping all over the muddy trail and the rest of the week was forced relaxation. Although we did go snorkeling twice and kayaking on the Hanalei river. Not TOO relaxed! heh heh

I uploaded the photos to Flickr so you can check them out via the link on the right. ->>
Hawaii is expensive - but a great way to experience a tropical island without leaving the comfort of the "American lifestyle" you've come to enjoy. (Note slight cynicism...)