Friday, April 30, 2010

A Few High School Memories

Sailing after the prom boat and launching water balloons at it | Running the mile | Prom with no dancing | Class favorite: "desert island dream" | Circus Club | Biking to school every day | Physics homework at Will's house | Going from no uniforms to polos | Juggling in the talent show | Stop motion video projects | Europe trip with my Spanish class | APs | Juggling in the fashion show | Slip-n-slide | Chapel | Lunchtime conversation | Failed Sr. class prank and the fundraiser party after | Proposals and marriages | Campus lock down from gunman across the street | Night games | Homecoming floats | Only going to one football and one basket ball game | Spirit Day | Flour babies

Some videos from my high school days:
Cassette recording of Dr. Teague performing "Iguana Man" and talking about Hydrogen bonding

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scouting Europe Trip 2007

In the summer of 2007, I returned to Europe as a junior leader of Mission Hills, Troop 104. We toured England, Ireland, and Spain.  Below are my daily recordings, a slideshow and a few memories from the trip.

At the start of our trip, my brother and I were nicknamed Ackmed and Muhammed because of our beards (or because of our terrorist plot depending on who you asked).  Despite our new names and look we had no trouble getting through security on any of our flights around Europe.  In England we visited Westminster, walked across tower bridge, and toured the tower of London, all with lots of juggling interspersed.  We got around on the tube, and visited St. Pauls, Portabello road, and the Imperial war museum where I saw Lawrence of Arabia's (This dude,T.E. Lawrence, is pretty awesome so that's why I was so excited) gun and personal belongings.  We stayed at the Baden Powell hostel while in London and later took a riverboat down the Thames to Greenwich to see the naval museum, and Prime Meridian.  Our next stop was Little Abington's where we stayed the night at a British boy scout camp (smaller and closer to the city than ours, but similar in most other ways).  Then it was on to the Duxford Aerodrome, and then to Cambridge where I cajoled my way into King's College to visit a friend studying abroad there.  We then flew to Dublin, Ireland, and after staying there a night, continued north to Athlone.  There we saw locks on the Shannon River, and the ruins of Clonmacnoise.  Spain was next on our journey.  We stayed in Madrid (in a hostel right above the hotel I stayed in on my first trip there) and I revisited Plaza Mayor and the Crystal palace, getting horchata at the little restaurant where I first had it (I'll admit it wasn't as good as the first time I tried it).  Toledo and Segovia were next on our journey.  In Toledo we saw a rich mixture of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian architecture and enjoyed browsing the many sword shops in town.  We took a train to Segovia where we saw a Roman aqueduct and learned about the history of the area.  From there it was back to England were we continued to the World Jamboree.  Though not as large (in numbers or area) as the National Scout Jamboree, there were scouts from all around the world joining in a rich mixture of language, culture, and tradition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of scouting.  We stayed a little longer in England and visited the British museum, seeing the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, and many artifacts collected from Britain's Imperial past.  Just before the close of my journey I hid a memory card in a subway ventilation shaft near Hyde Park for a friend visiting London later that summer.  What a trip!

My daily recordings (The Captain's Log) for the Troop 104 Europe trip in 2007

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

College Pranks Declassified

At the risk of making enemies out of current friends and spreading devious ideas, I have declassified a few college pranks. Proceed with caution!
Below you'll see some...
Pranks I've pulled: Pranks pulled on me:
TPing a house Fish placed in all our cups/toilet/tub
Taking all the furniture from an apartment All our doors removed
Sealing a doorway with wood Sword taken from our apartment
Stringing a room with yarn Streamers hung from the dorm ceiling

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

From Dams to Drains: Adventures along Putah

I originally planned to recount a trip to Lake Berryessa with some friends, however, I decided to expand this post to include some of my other adventures along the 20 mile stretch of Putah Creek from Lake Berryessa to Davis.  The map below shows the locations of these adventures so you can go on a few of your own!

View From Dams to Drains: Adventures along Putah in a larger map

I'll begin with the point furthest west, Lake Berryessa.  Many of my trips here actually occurred a few thousand feet above the lake!  It's a great place to go flying and affords a unique perspective of the area.  Get in touch with some pilots at Cal Aggie Flyers and they may take you on a flight!

Another great way to experienced the lake is by foot.  There are a number of hiking trails to explore and geocaches to find in the Putah Creek State Wildlife Area.  An evening hike to watch the sunset over the lake is an especially good trip.  The lake can also be enjoyed at night.  A campfire by the lake and an midnight swim can be quite the adventure with friends.  I will add a disclaimer here though: the water isnt' the cleanest and I don't know the legalities of campfires in the area, so you might check on this before you go!

Monticello Dam and it's spillway can be seen well from both land and air.  This prominent structure (what creates the man made lake) makes a good halfway point for a round trip bike ride from Davis.  Be sure to watch for cars along the road and take plenty of water and sunscreen because it can get hot during the summer and there are long stretches without shade. Along the way, you can stop in Winters to enjoy the small main street or have lunch in the shade along Putah as you get closer to the dam.

About half way to Winters from Davis, where Road 95A branches off from Russell, is Stevenson's bridge.  This curious bridge is covered in graffiti and can be a fun place to take pictures.  You can climb down below the bridge to see even more graffiti and get a closer look at Putah.  It's a narrow bridge though, so keep an eye out for cars and if you venture below watch for broken glass.

One of the prettier places along Putah is in the UC Davis arboretum.  This redirected branch of the creek flows south of the main campus under bridges and through gardens.  The lawns by Lake Spafford make for a great picnic location.  You'll see students jogging or biking along the paths and plenty of ducks milling about.  The paths are lighted in many areas and safe for an evening walk (or even paddling around in a tub!)

My final adventure along Putah goes underground both physically and figuratively.  After flowing through the arboretum, the creek continues till it empties into a storm drain at Mace Boulevard.  With some effort, the grates can be removed and you can continue underground, but keep in mind this is likely trespassing so continue at your own risk!  The storm drain has one main channel that leads north under Mace with smaller tunnels that you can crawl through branching off the main.  You'll see graffiti on the walls and as the water gets deeper you may spot crayfish or other water creatures.  I've yet to explore the tunnel fully, so the rest remains a mystery!

Monday, April 26, 2010


–noun, plural-ja, -jas. (often initial capital letter)
a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenary agents, highly trained in martial arts and stealth (ninjutsu), who were hired for covert purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and assassination.


  • the art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants.
  • the action, work, or profession of an engineer.
  • skillful or artful contrivance; maneuvering.
  • the art or science of making stealth practical application of the knowledge of pure ninja sciences, as ninja physics or ninja chemistry, as in the construction of ninja engines, ninja bridges, ninja buildings, ninja mines, ninja ships, and ninja chemical plants for covert purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and assassination.
  • the action, work, or profession of an ninjaneer.
  • skillful or artful contrivance; maneuvering.
Ninjaneering forms a union of innovative design and super secret arts to create deadly useful tools that can, on occasion, be useful for everyday tasks. Take the scenario below for example.  At first glance you might observe one individual standing on another; the purpose of which is not very clear.  However, because I have taught your mouse pointer special ninjaneer skills, it can reveal how a ninjaneer interprets this scene.

Here, the stealthy eradication of Musca Domestica is taking place while simultaneously evading the imminent danger of poison gas inhalation.  All this is done while precisely calculating the centroid of each ninjaneer to allow for a perfect balancing of forces on the nimble ninja bodies. The beauty of this so perfectly executed task can only come with a well trained nimble ninja mind and nimble ninja body.