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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in rangerpretzel's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, May 4th, 2014
5:41 pm
Firefly Open Studios 2014 Timelapse
Somerville Open Studios is over. Check out the timelapse that I made.

Firefly Open Studios 2014 from Ranger Pretzel on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 1st, 2014
5:42 pm
Monday, January 27th, 2014
11:35 am
Monday, November 11th, 2013
4:15 pm
I changed the battery in my watch today
I thought you all should know...  :)

So "Hi there. How are you all?"

Betcha didn't realize that your friend, Ranger P, still had an active LJ account, did ya?
Saturday, July 25th, 2009
9:38 am
Firefly 2008 Time Lapse video (in HD!)
It only took me a year to process the footage. Phew! It's finally done. I present to you "Firefly 2008 Time Lapse":


It's awesome!
Monday, March 17th, 2008
6:27 pm
A different time-lapse video of BMan 2007
Some of you have seen the 15-minute long multi-angle one. Well, this one is a shorter one (5 mins?) from a single camera angle: the long-view camera mounted on the Burning Truck.

( Another time-lapse of Burning Man 2007 )

Leave comments here or on my website (or both)

Current Mood: blank
Saturday, January 12th, 2008
5:31 pm
The time-lapse video of Burning Man 2007 is DONE!
TL;DR version:  Phew. The time lapse video is done. Youtube and iPod versions coming soon.

The Long version:

This has been a long time coming. I've finally had a chance to properly edit the footage for the time-lapse video, add intro/credits, and get the audio all sync'd up. This has taken way too long, but I'm glad it's done. I'll be uploading the video to Youtube in the next few days once I get my website up and running. I'm sure people will have questions about the video and I would like to have a FAQ about the video for people to read. There are lots of interesting bits of information about how it was done that I'd like to share with people.

Anyway, I should have an iPod version available for download via BitTorrent soon, as well.

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, November 2nd, 2007
10:26 pm
too much + not enough = bleh
I don't ever post on LJ. I lurk and write snarky remarks in other peoples' LJ posts. Well, I try to make them helpful and humorous, but I don't always succeed and I guess they sometimes come off as snarky...

So why am I posting on LJ? Because I'm feeling like I'm missing something. It's not a distinct feeling, but merely a vague one that's the result of a lot of little consecutive changes in my life.

None of these changes is particularly that significant, but cumulatively, they seem to be dragging me down and I'm just ready to throw my hands in the air and say, "I give up." But what would I be giving up? And what would I get in return? (Hmmm... rhetorical questions with no answers... bleh...)

So here's the short list:

  • Moved into a new apartment. Can't find half my stuff.
  • Of the half that I *can* find, most of it I don't need. Unfortunately, the junk is interspersed with a few gems, so I can't just toss the boxes out wholesale or else I lose some very important things. Sorting the wheat from the chaff takes time.
  • Lack of time. I'm traveling again (for work.) When I'm away, it means my personal life is on hold.
  • When I *am* home, I'm frequently too tired after work to get anything useful done.
  • Although I make good money, I'm still in the hole from BMan. (Partly because Autosub still owes me a couple hundred or so.)
  • Heck, I still haven't unpacked/washed everything from BMan.
  • As soon as I check off one thing from my To-Do list, two more things get added.
  • All this stuff is preventing me from getting to know my new roommates. (Waves to roommates who I'm sure probably read my LJ...)
Between the traveling, unboxing, sorting, stress, change of seasons, and trying to maintain my social life, I don't feel like my life is going anywhere.


PS:  If anyone is *not* going to NYC Decom, I'll be around, I'm sure. Sorting thru papers and boxes of "stuff".

Current Mood: blah
Saturday, June 2nd, 2007
12:11 pm
more randomness
  made a post about some random humor which involved a wearable "drama" detection watch for Gamers and Bloggers. Not real, of course, but something that could be terribly useful in real life.

What's funny is that this totally reminded me of the mythical Eat Watch from the Hacker's Diet. It would be soooo nice to have a watch that could monitor your caloric intake and tell you when and how much you could eat at any given point in time. Regulating one's weight would be so easy!

Speaking of which, I think I need to go out for a run. :-)
Thursday, May 10th, 2007
1:21 am
Paulaner Hefe-weizen "clone" in the works!
Phew! Just got done brewing up another batch of Ranger Pretzel brew. Because it is Springtime, I figured I might as well brew an ale to accompany Spring. (You all know her. Such a sweet girl, that Spring!)

Anyway, so about this beer. I like this particular yeast because it is supposed to give the beer a nice clove and citrus flavor w/ notes of apricot and minimal banana flavor. The 1oz of Hallertau hops give just enough bitterness to offset the sweetness of the beer without making it feel heavy. Overall, it should be a nice crisp, easy-drinking beer.

Once the "wee-beasties" are done fermenting my beer, I figure the end result will be about 4% ABV.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
1:33 am
Support is very important for being healthy (losing weight)
Perhaps some of you will remember a post I made that said Weight Loss is Simple! Well, I forgot a very important component:


I was talking recently to a friend about the charting system on http://www.physicsdiet.com and espousing the greatness of tracking your weight consistently and precisely. But I also mentioned a very important part of fitness that a lot of people forget about (including myself). So I figured I might have a follow-up post about having good moral support.

It's easy to knock diet groups like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, but I would say that generally both groups are pretty sound in principle. And the most essential part of each program is the group support. Even the most strong-willed can occasionally get knocked off the bandwagon.

If you're going to undertake a fitness/weight loss challenge, then I recommend getting a support group. PhysicsDiet.com has an online forum and you can get "virtual" support from other people trying to get in shape. Talking about it with your friends is another good option. Just be sure that the people you talk with it about:
A) Want to hear about your fitness challenge.
B) Don't try to (intentionally or unintentionally) sabotage your efforts.

That last one is very important. Unfortunately, not everyone has your best interests in mind.

In summary, mental/moral support is pretty critical to keeping on the path to good fitness and health.
Monday, April 16th, 2007
10:08 pm
Silk-related dream
I'm posting. Yeah, no kidding. Nuts, huh? Anyway, I had a very vivid dream last night and I thought some of you silk worms might appreciate this...

So there I was in some urban neighborhood. Somewhat like Somerville/Cambridge, yet possibly like any other urban neighborhood in the US. I wasn't in the ghetto of wherever I was, but it wasn't exactly a nice place either. In fact, I was on the wrong side of the tracks. Literally.

In this scenario, I had run up an embankment that was actually quite steep. Towards the top, I realized it was quite sandy (but not ampersandy) and I was starting to slide downward. At the top of the embankment was a railroad track and I had to get to the top, cross the tracks without getting hit, and get down the other side. So as I am sliding backwards, I realize there is a rope attached to the rails above me. So I grab the rope and climb to the top.

Unfortunately, each time that I try to make it across the tracks, a train passes in front of me. Hanging on to the rope is tiring and my brain remembers that I can wrap my foot into a fancy knot on the rope to hold me up. (Thank you silks!) Took me a few tries in my dream, but I got it. And of course, as I'm about to cross the tracks when all the trains have cleared, I find that I can't get the knot undone. I struggle for a few seconds in my dream and then the dream suddenly ends.

When I awoke, I found my right foot completely wrapped up in my blankets. Not entirely surprising, right?
Sunday, November 19th, 2006
3:19 am
Cleaned out the gutters...
What did I do this weekend? That's right. I cleaned out the #$^%*& gutters. Stupid landlord was supposed to have these fixed ages ago. So instead of asking him politely (for the 4th time), I decided to climb up on the roof and clean them out myself.

The view of the city was spectacular, but there was a lot of rotting leaves and stuff stuck in the gutter. There was also very poor sealing job done on the one corner of the roof which was actually allowing the rainwater from the roof to miss the gutter and go over the side of the house.

The other gutter was also jammed full of leaves. After getting the leaves out, I realized that the gutter was bowing towards the middle. Unfortunately, the downspout was on the one end and not the middle. WTF?!? Who's the genius who rigged this hack-job of a gutter up?

I ended up lowering the one side a little bit and now the gutter dutifully drains all the water to the downspout. Hoo-ray!

So why did I do this all in the first place? Well, because the water was overflowing the gutter and splashing right against the windows of different rooms of the house and coming inside during heavy rains.

Now I just have to wait for a rainstorm to see if my gutter cleaning job was good enough. :)

Current Mood: satisfied
Sunday, October 15th, 2006
11:02 pm
How to read Nancy

Ever have trouble getting a "read" on someone. Well, I've always wanted to know how to read Nancy. Frankly, I don't understand that girl. I wish someone would have given me this guide to her before I had met her. It would have saved me a lot of trouble and confusion.

How to read Nancy*

Check it out. It's pretty insightful read.

*no relation to my ex-girlfriend of the same name...
8:22 pm
Built myself a Windows Media Center (Vista)
In case some of you aren't aware, Microsoft has a version of Windows XP called Media Center Edition. It's basically a version that's somewhere between XP Pro and XP Home that has this extra functionality called "Media Center". This program allows your computer to record and play TV shows, pause live TV, play DVDs, CDs, and MP3s, show slideshows of pictures, play other videos you have on your PC and more. It's kind of like a Tivo except on steroids because it can do so much.

Well, this weekend, I decided to build myself a machine with one of the Windows Vista Beta Release Candidates (RC2 to be precise). Despite still being "beta", I must say I'm very impressed. I took some old hardware (an AthlonXP 2500+, a 300GB hard drive, and two TV tuner cards) and installed Vista RC2 (Home Premium) which has the newest version of Media Center on it.


I have to admit, I was amazed at how easy it was. Granted, it took me 6 or so hours to put it all together and work out some bugs and set it up, but it really works well. It's easily just as good as a Tivo. Possibly better. I haven't explored all the options. But I'm pleased to say that there is no monthly fee like there is for the Tivo. (MS provides the program guide for free, apparently...) The next step is to hook my Media Center up to my projector so that I can have big-screen high-res playback. That'll make for some nice DVD viewing, I'm sure.

My only concern about having something like this is that I'll end up watching more TV (or that my roommates will want to start using it all the time...)
Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
1:00 am
Firefly: Was I even there?
I think this is the first time I experienced Firefly without actually participating. I was always doing something, but I never felt like I was participating. Okay, okay. Even though I probably was participating, it didn't feel that way.

Aside from the rain and the mud, my memories of Firefly this year consist of seeing a few friends, but not actually seeing any theme camps and not actually seeing/hearing any bands play. I think I ended up spending most of my time working and fixing problems. The only notable memory was seeing the Silk Worms perform and that rocked. I also got to see the Bug Burn, but it was quite disappointing (and somewhat dangerous due to the way the fire was lit, etc.) I also wanted to learn how to program sensesurfer's Spinny wheel, but ran out (was rained out?) of opportunities to do that as well.

So was I even at Firefly this year? I guess I was, but it certainly didn't feel like it. I guess it was an enjoyable Firefly nevertheless, but one that was rather arduous and less rewarding than any Firefly of years past.

Lessons learned?
1) Make sure everything is water-proof
2) Bring only things that are light-weight and compact
3) Always have alternative plans

Maybe I'll get it right next year.
Friday, June 9th, 2006
3:18 pm
FDA approves Merck HPV vaccine
Just thought all of you women would be happy to know that the FDA recently approved the HPV vaccine manufactured by Merck. In case you don't know, two variants of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) cause around 70% of cervical cancer cases worldwide. This vaccine has been shown to be nearly 100% effective in preventing those 2 variants (HPV-16 and 18) plus 2 other variants of HPV (6 and 11).

Get the short story here: http://arstechnica.com/journals/science.ars/2006/6/8/4262

Or a more detailed version here: http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/123/115099.htm?pagenumber=1
Monday, May 29th, 2006
2:30 pm
Losing weight is Simple!
No seriously. Losing weight isn't that hard. Since December of 2005 I've lost a little over 20 pounds and the weight continues to come off at around 1 lbs/week. By the time Burning Man roles around, I should be another 10 to 15 pounds lighter.

People have asked me:
- How do you do it?
- How is it so easy?
- Why haven't you gained it back?
- How can I do it?

1) The first and foremost was deciding that being fit/healthy was more important than pretty much anything else. Naturally, food is one of those things that you need to survive, but can also become a crutch or a way to comfort yourself. So Step 1 was making it such that food was still enjoyable, but limiting its role to only sustinence, rather than a way to make myself feel good.

In other words, How badly do you want to be in shape? If you want it badly enough, then the resolve, determination, and will-power will push you through any tough spots.

2) The next part is knowing how much you need to eat on a daily basis to maintain your current weight. Most people don't know this. Nor how to obtain this. Fortunately, this has already been figured out:

Visit the What You Burn table. (First table is for Men. Second table is for Women.) Take your height and body size and you get a caloric range of what you should eat to in order to maintain your current weight. btw, the rest of that site is actually really good and I recommend reading it...

For example, Jane is a Woman who is 5'4" with a Medium frame. Jane would need to consume between 1574–1967 calories. Let's round up to 1600 to 2000 and split the difference. This puts Jane at a daily caloric requirement of ~1800 calories/day, just to maintain her current weight.

Fact: 1 pound of fat = ~3500 calories.

With this fact in mind, to lose 1 pound in 1 week, we need to divide 3500 calories over 7 days. This (conveniently) comes out to 500 calories.

In order for Jane to lose 1 pound/week, she needs to subtract 500 from her daily caloric requirement of 1800. This means that Jane needs to eat approx. 1300 calories per day. Essentially she creates a deficit in her caloric intake which requires that her body burn her stored body fat to make up the difference.

So what about exercise? Don't worry. I'm getting to that...

3) The third step is to know your weight, ie:
- Where your weight is
- Which direction it is going
- How fast in that direction it is going
- Where you've come from

There are many ways to do this, but the best way to do it is by using this highly-advanced secret weapon. It's actually a 2-part weapon.

- A good, accurate digital scale. ($30 - $40 ???)
- Weight chart that smooths out the highs and lows to get an accurate picture, like this one:

Click here to go to PhysicsDiet.com to get your own free account (no catches or funny business...)

In order to create this graph, I weighed myself every morning for 30 days straight. As you can see, the individual data points are all over the place and vary as much as 2 pounds from day to day! Naturally, I didn't lose 2 pounds over night, most of that is water weight. But the up and down roller coaster can be maddening.

Notice also the smooth trend line? Not so terrible, huh?
Notice also that it tells me the "true" amount that I lost each week.
The chart also shows me when I've fallen off the bandwagon by marking the area in red. (It helps keep ya honest...)

Now the truth is that you must weigh yourself and plug in your weight every day. Especially when your weight rises above the trendline into the "red zone". If you just give up when you start to gain weight or when you reach your target weight, then you've lost because you'll just gain it all back.

But if you keep plugging in your weight every day, then you can see where you are, where you are going, how fast, and how far you've come. Very motivating!

4) The last step is exercise. Our bodies are made for motion and when you exercise, you bring health and vitality back to your body. It also helps accelerate the weight loss, too.

When you exercise, you should permit yourself to go over your daily caloric limit a bit, but no more than say 200 or 300 calories. Just enough to replenish your body with carbs and protein after your hard workout.

Other tips for making it work:
- Drink lots of water. 8 cups a day, minimum.
- Cut back on the alcohol. It slows down your metabolism and has extra calories.
- Don't "eat out" or "order in" so much. It's nearly impossible to guess how many calories a dish has. Chances are you'll underestimate how many calories a dish truly has.
- Carry a small notebook around with you for the first month and record every calorie daily. Keep a running total as you eat across the course of the day. This way you can budget properly for the day and leave enough calories as the day progresses. After a while, you get a really good feeling for how many calories you're eating.

That's it! Helpful?

Current Mood: busy
Sunday, May 7th, 2006
7:27 pm
Just bottled a full-bodied Stout. Yum!
Brewing is finished and the full-bodied Stout was just begging to be bottled today. So I obliged it and rounded up 48 bottles for said bottling.

Even though the beer is young, warm, and uncarbonated, I can say that what I tasted while bottling was awfully good. I almost can't wait to taste the final product. It should be ready for drinking in 1 week; optimal maturity in 2 or 3.

I might just have to have a little get-together for this. Anyone game?
Monday, April 24th, 2006
3:00 pm
NERAX - New England Real Ale eXhibition is back!
NERAX (New England Real Ale eXhibition) is coming to Davis Square from May 3 - 6.

Details here: http://www.nerax.org/

Tickets are $6 (day pass?)

Should be a good time. Anyone wanna go with me?
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