2012 Travel Infographics

2012 was a big year for me travel wise. It was my first time to Europe, first bike tour, and all around kick ass year in being a technology-enabled nomad. I’m back in Seattle now with lots of work still to do to get my photos from my travels published, but here’s some infographics to get things started, inspired by Andrew.

My summer in Hawaii

Sunset over Maui

After visiting Austin in March, I slowly made my way back with a week-long pit stop in Boulder, CO on my way to Seattle to spend a month with family and friends. On May 31st I flew to the big island of Hawaii with my hiking pack full of a clothing and camping gear, my laptop bag, and my road bike boxed up for re-assembly on arrival.

Arriving with no where to stay

The plan was to arrive and stay with my friend Alice on the farm she was staying at in Pa’auilo, less than an hour north of Hilo. Unfortunately things fell apart on the farm she was at just days before arriving which lead to hear leaving the farm. That mean’t I had with no place to live and no vehicle to use when I arrived. Wish I should have known The Biggest Problem With New Electric Vw Transporter T6.1, And How You Can Fix It in that situation. We quickly rented a minivan and began the process of collecting her things and figuring out our next steps. I was along for the ride at that point. We camped at local beaches north of Hilo tenting and camping in the van after we figured out how to literally fold both rows of seats into the floor. As much turmoil as there was, it was a lot of fun exploring the coast, meeting her friends, trying new foods, foraging for coconuts and taking in the beautiful landscapes.

We bought a van!

Vans at Laupahoehoe

Five days after arriving, we found and Alice purchased a 97 15-passenger Ford van. We spent the successive week around Hilo gutting the seats, sanding out rust, and cutting a base layer of 3/4″ plywood (most of which we did in the Home Depot parking lot ;) ) to serve as a base for camping in and any future conversions we made to the van. Before I chose the right van I wanted to get informed about the 10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Electric Ford Vans and actually make sure it was the perfect choice.

Now what? Work trade?

Hawi property

From there, we headed North to the top point of the island to check out a possible work trade opportunity I had learned about from my coworker David. We showed up on what we later learned was one of the rainiest days of the year and toured the property. The place was several acres on the hill pretty high up from the ocean sloped and looking out over the water straight at Maui. The owners are known for their meditation seminars they do with corporations around the world and their own dharma and mediation teachings. The property held a house used by the owner, an out of sight house built by and used by the caretaker, a fairly large yurt with extravagant attached decks and attached indoor kitchen, an area with a cooking facility and small building for use by work traders, and a bath house near the orchard where there is a tent platform and space to put up tents during yoga and meditation retreats. The property was spread out and littered with a beautiful arrangement of ornamental plants and flowers as well as a garden and multiple tree orchards where dozens of varieties of fruits were growing notably including varieties of avocado, orange, mango, papaya and banana. The owners were only there about half the time and wouldn’t arrive for another month with the only people on the property being the caretaker with his wife and son, one guy doing a work trade and a temporary guest paying to stay in the yurt.

It seemed like a perfect place to spend a few weeks or more, but with the 20 hour a week commitment required of us to use the property I wasn’t in a rush because I was still working part time doing web development remotely with my coworkers 3 hours ahead in Seattle. We spent the next week exploring the northern point then driving down the Western coast of the island to Kona and then further south to Captain Cook area. We stayed at a bunch of parks and scoped out the camping opportunities in the area. I got some work done during all this but we were both ready to stabilize for a while, especially after all the changes Alice was going through after her previous work trade situation.

Living in a tent in Hawi

Home in Hawi

We headed back up to Hawi and spent the next month working on the property and relaxing in one of the best spots on the island. We were on the water where the weather was beautiful and sunny almost every day but where the plants got tons of moisture to grow like crazy (the environment changes drastically as you circumnavigate the island). On the property, we set up a pretty large tent on a covered tent platform in the orchard nearby the bath house and yurt platform. From the tent we were able to run an extension cord and access pretty fast WiFi broadcasting from inside the yurt. Now that’s camping!

Our stay in Hawi was a great change of pace for me. Most days consisted of waking up around 8, making breakfast in the outdoor kitchen then meeting up with the caretaker Brad and the other work trader Tad for a 3-4 hours of work on the property, stopping at lunch to cook and eat on the yurt deck, followed by a shower and relaxing on the property for the rest of the afternoon. My afternoons were pretty heavily occupied by work but I managed to get a lot of reading in too during our time there. At times it felt hectic, but all in all it was a really nice flow.

We spent our work hours weeding, trimming humongous spider lilies, maintaining other similar plants that grow like crazy in Hawaii, spreading compost, grading and planting a sweet potato patch and vegetable garden, trimming and cleaning up the existing gardens and random cleaning and tidying of the property. Other than at one point where I accidentally bust open a high pressure water line with back hoe, the work was pretty routine ;). Throughout the days and before meals we’d harvest fruits and vegetables from the property. I ate significant amounts of avocado, fresh kale and collards picked for stir frys, lots of lilikoi (passion fruit), fresh picked oranges that I harvested directly from the trees, some papaya and other random fruits and veggies as they were available.

We took several trips down to Kona while we were there, mostly for repairs to our computers (long story), but spent most of our time around Hawi. They had an amazing delicatessen with delicious whole wheat hot pretzels with a honey-horseradish-cheese sauce that I still think about. The town was very small with only about 3 blocks of businesses on one street, but the community was great. Brad, the caretaker, played music down at the local Kava bar a few times where we drank kava and socialized with locals. The town also had a great Sunday farmers market under this humongous Banyan tree in downtown where we got some fruits and veggies and I had some of the best mangoes on my trip.

Other than hanging around Hawi, we took several trips to local beaches for swimming, went and watched a yearly ceremony where they released turtles into the wild, visited a mushroom farm to pick up loads of mushroom compost, and visiting other local friends of Brads where we were able to harvest tons of lilikoi.

After the owners arrived almost a month into our stay, I was feeling more than a little bit of anxiety while juggling work trade and paid work and wanting to explore the island. Alice started to feel a desire to move on as well, so we decided to leave Hawi after about a month on the property.

Vandwelling in Hawaii

The Van

After Hawi, we weren’t sure what was next. I knew I needed to up my work hours and we had a number of specific places we wanted to visit, but weren’t sure exactly what the plan was. The grand idea of the trip from before I flew out was to explore the island slowly while working here and there. As it turned out in practice, it was difficult to work from the van logistically due to power and access to internet (even 3g was non-existant at most parks). We also soon came to discover after driving south to Oceanview that though there are a bunch of county parks on the map, most are pretty much exclusively used by locals and not very welcoming to white “tourists” like ourselves. It was a frustrating first week as we realized it wasn’t going to be like the idillic idea we had envisioned it to be.

We spent the next couple weeks stationed mostly out Starbucks where we both got a lot of work done, but the Hawaii life was losing its appeal as we found it increasingly difficult to find places to camp out and spending all day at Starbucks wasn’t really what either I or Alice had wanted to do indefinitely. We made some improvements to the van by installing curtains and mounting Alices solar panel on the roof with a crafty rack we designed, though, which made the rest of our trip a bit simpler logistically.

Seeing the sights

Kilauea Crater

We put together a plan to visit the rest of the island before concluding our trip, put in a few more days of work, then headed out South with tourism as our goal. We paddled to Captain Cook’s monument, did a bunch of snorkeling, swam with spinner dolphins spontaneously one morning while camping, explored the local beaches, visited the observatory at Mauna Kea then headed to Volcanoes National Park for a week.

Volcanoes was awesome and way better than I had imagined. With how much the terrain changes around the island, I thought it was going to be all desert, but it was surprisingly lush and during our time there the weather was phenomenal most of the time. We camped in the park at a little campground with very little traffic that was quiet and a nice home base while we explored the park. We hiked in craters, saw the steam vents, visited the many trails of cooled lava flow that scour the park, walked in lava tubes and watched the distant glow of lava from the active crater in the park while the sun set. It was a great time and I will definitely be going back eventually.

Selling the van and concluding our trip

Intense waves at south point park

While in Kona the second time, we had decided the end was in sight so we put all our efforts toward selling the van and making progress on work and projects while we waited out the selling process. We hung around Kona patiently for a few weeks until we sold the van, working at cafes, visiting beaches and taking a trips to Hawi and Honokaa again to visit a few more of the sights. We attempted to watch the Perseids meteor shower from Mauna Kea, but unfortunately it was too cloudy to see more than a few random trails. Eventually we found a buyer, a middle-aged woman looking for a safe and reliable van set up for camping and living out of then flew out the next day!

It was a fantastic trip.

View the full Flickr set!

My van adventure

It’s been a year and a half since my last blog post here and wow a lot sure has happened!

I was living in Wallingford in Seattle until early last year when I decided I would purchase a VW Vanagon Westfalia and subsequently move into it. I purchased the van in February and after lots of maintenance to get the van into a good state of affairs, I decided to move into it for sure. I officially moved out on the 30th of April after putting everything in a storage unit and have been living out of it since.

Me and my van

Van on the water

Me and Melvin

The decision came from a realization that I didn’t spend a lot of time at home and I didn’t have much reason to pay rent. Combine that with a growing desire to travel and it all just made sense. When I moved out, I was renting an office in Fremont which I continued to rent to give me stability during my transition. Initially I spent my time around the Seattle area, mostly in the Fremont and Ballard area moving daily and having a great time bumming around. On May 31st, after cleaning out my office, I headed south to start my journey by attending Open Source Bridge in Portland, OR. I spent the subsequent 2 months hanging out and driving as far south as Monterey before heading back to Seattle in late July. Come November I headed South once again and I’ve been on the road since. I spent most of the time in Berkeley, CA then made a last minute decision to volunteer and drive to Austin, TX for SXSW which just completed. I’m in Austin deciding what’s next, now.

It's finally up!

It’s been a great adventure and a lot of fun. I recently installed a 64 watt solar panel on the roof that charges my 55AH house battery so I able to be completely off grid as far as electricity goes to work normally if I want which makes my options much less uncertain in terms of power availability. I’ve been sticking with urban areas where I can spend time with good people and attend interesting events which has been great so far. My second summer in the van is nearing and I plan to head North to Boulder, CO soon. My dates are flexible and my in-person commitments non-existant which is a bizarre feeling that I’m still, even after almost a year, learning to embrace. I’ll probably spend at least a couple weeks here now after an amazing SXSW experience where I hope to hit up some coworking spots, get some good bike rides in and meet up with some more of the locals. It’s summer weather (for me, mid-80s) and I’m wearing sandals almost every day. Life is good.

Poorleno Mixtape #9

I was a bit anxious about this one having slowly lost touch with my musical side, but now I’m revived. The new mixtape is ready and it’s about time. In fact, it’s just in time for my birthday (today)! And halloween! Enjoy.

  Name Artist Album
1 Half Asleep School of Seven Bells Alpinisms
2 Summer Party Breakbot  
3 Ecstasy jj jj n° 2
4 Lovers’ Carvings Bibio Ambivalence Avenue
5 One Thing (Siik Remix) Amerie  
6 Bumper Car Masters Michna Magic Monday
7 Bomb The Bass / Bug Powder Dust Kruder & Dorfmeister The K&D Sessions
8 Cool My Fire (I’m Burning) Ada Blondie
9 No Turning Back Gui Boratto Take My Breath Away

Run Time: 41 minutes, 41 seconds

DOWNLOAD: (320kbps MP3, 95.41MB)

What I’ve been up to

Hey all. Realizing I’ve all but abandoned this blog, I figured I’d make a note about what I’m up to these days.

Since finishing school last April, I’ve spent most of my time focusing working on Mavenry‘s product which we’ve now finally deployed our first version on a production server and are beginning to send out logins to people we’ve been in talks with during development. It’s an exciting time for the product and for us to get people using what we’ve put our blood, sweat and tears into for so long.

Otherwise I’ve been doing freelance and contract web development off and on. At this point I’m pretty much exclusively working with Ruby and Rails both of which I’m dearly enamored with. I’ve done some smaller projects, worked for a few months with a past employer Practice Partner, done some fun work building an interface between an ecommerce app and vending machines (Ruby and Rails), and am currently working with a local startup HelpHive where I’ll be developing for their Rails applications.

Life otherwise is great. I was sharing a house with 3 others near Green Lake for the past year until June when I moved back to the U District subletting with a friend from high school through next month. I’m not sure where I’ll end up in September, but it’ll sure be an adventure!

Day-to-day I’ve been hopping around between coffee shops most days working on my trusty laptop and trying to spend as much time as I can enjoying summer and friends. I’ve faded uncomfortably far from my music interests, but hopefully after my next move I’ll be able to craft a work environment where I can spend more time listening to new music from my collection instead of just for ambiance via cafe music or pandora like I’ve been doing lately.

A few months back I took a last minute trip to Las Vegas for RailsConf due to winning a raffle from Gary’s List for a free ticket to the conference. I had a great trip which in turn inspired me to hone my craft even more with Ruby and Rails and to do more traveling. So I found the perfect way to combine the two (thanks to the extremely generous Tobias Crawley whom I met at RailsConf) and will be taking a 11 day trip to Asheville, North Carolina late August where I’ll be joining a team of Ashevillians for a Rails Rumble project and then carpooling down to Nashville, Tennessee the following weekend to attend the Ruby Hoedown. My next trip will probably be down to the bay area to bum a place to sleep from a few people I know down there and to do some coffee shop laptoping during the week.

And now, randomly, some recent favorites:

  • Tea (loose leaf)
  • Peaches (the fruit)
  • Rice “milk” (trying to reduce my cow milk consumption)
  • Poached Eggs (my primary breakfast item these days)
  • Bibio (the music artist)
  • Sandals (for your feet)
  • Using conditioner and shampoo separately (as opposed to the magical combination called Pert that I used to use)
  • foursquare (the web service/iPhone app)
  • Doodle Jump (the iPhone app)
  • Porters (beer), though I’m still more a fan of IPAs
  • Cafe Allegro (coffee shop in the U Dist, where I’m typing this from)

Should I choose RSS or Atom?

Who cares? I don’t. I bet if I asked everyone I had contact info for, only a few would prefer one or the other (though hopefully one in particular).

Why do sites like Flickr still offer both as an option? I consider myself more knowledgeable than most on the matter simply because I know what the two represent, let alone what the technical differences are. And that being so, it makes no sense to put both standards (if not different versions of each) in the auto-discovery tags, especially for big sites like Flickr and consumer blogging software like WordPress. Only a rare developer building an application might care, and even in that relatively rare case I could reasonably assume they would be willing to read some developer docs. For the rest of us, our feed readers could care less. So please stop confusing us.

This seems like a dying issue. And then I see it on sites like Flickr! Tisk tisk.

Breakfast is not satisfying

What do most people eat for breakfast? Correction: people is too broad to be conclusive of my situation so lets make that americans. And, while I can’t reasonably guess, I’d be curious how averages differ from healthy and/or successful people.

I am to believe purely based on observations and penetration on grocery store aisles that most americans usually eat cereal or oatmeal when at home, probably with a glass of milk or juice on the side.

That being said, time and time again I have been told that our breakfast meal should be high in protein — an ingredient, as far as I can tell, that is not not highlighted in what I assume most people eat here. Maybe I’m just out of touch with what people eat at home. A better sample should be what I see at public places, right?

This brings me to my observance of the most easily attainable on-the-go breakfast items I see at coffee shops/stands and markets — the overwhelmingly likely choice for the between home and office breakfast-goers. So, what do I see? Bagels, muffins, scones, and pastries. WHAT?! Why so bread heavy? I must not be telling the whole truth. No. That is pretty much all I see. On a rare occasion maybe a place has some fruit or a parfait, but like I said, that is rare. Is it purely the difficulty of storing and creating more meaningful/healthy foods? I’m not satisfied or convinced as to why we, as on-the-go breakfast eaters, don’t have better options.

As I’ve tried new and different options, I’ve come to what I consider my ideal breakfast: a sandwich composed of a wheat english muffin with pan grilled ham, and a fried egg; and on the side, a cup of orange juice and a multivitamin. I’m feelin’ good and ready for the day just thinking about it.

But my ideal breakfast rarely happens. If I’m really on top of things, I’ll have this maybe a week a month coinciding with a trip to Trader Joes to buy their delicious english muffins. Once the muffins are obtained, my one man food store must contain enough non-expired eggs (rare) and lunch meat to fill 6 breakfasts.

And so I just eat cereal or oatmeal (I can buy them in bulk, less frequently) or at a coffee shop. Put another way, I eat grain, oats, and bread for breakfast and it is never satisfying or energizing.

It’s a shame. It seems like an obvious, untapped market, doesn’t it?

Poorleno Mixtape #8

Wow, it has been long time since I posted a Poorleno Mixtape (or any blog posts for that matter). With a refreshed design and a combining of my blog, mixtapes, and radio archives, lets not let that time waste any longer. Here you go!

  Name Artist Album
1 Fly Hawaii Luke Vibert & BJ Cole Stop The Panic
2 June Evenings Air France No Way Down
3 I Lust You Neon Neon Stainless Style
4 Politiska Dikten Atervander Kim Hiorthøy  
5 Ethnic Majority Nightmares On Wax Carboot Soul
6 The City Milosh Meme
7 Way Out Ellen Allien & Apparat Orchestra Of Bubbles
8 Valletta Fanfares Vitalic OK Cowboy
9 Run Into Flowers M83 Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts
10 Cops at my door DRONE Hifi Power Break Pop
11 Sit & Chuckle Jahcoozi Blitz ‘n’ Ass
12 Deserter (Four Tet Remix) Matthew Dear Deserter 10”

Run Time: 42 minutes, 25 seconds

DOWNLOAD: (V0 MP3, 73.2MB)

History meme

As per Dive Into Mark.

As zachhale

tarsi:~ zachhale$ uname -a
Darwin tarsi.lan 9.2.2 Darwin Kernel Version 9.2.2: Tue Mar  4 21:17:34 PST 2008; root:xnu-1228.4.31~1/RELEASE_I386 i386

tarsi:~ zachhale$ history | awk '{a[$2]++}END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}' | sort -rn | head
81 git
65 cd
46 nano
44 cap
34 ssh
31 ss
23 ls
20 scp
15 sudo
11 mate

As root

sh-3.2# history | awk '{a[$2]++}END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}' | sort -rn | head
77 svn
44 ls
30 cd
18 pwd
11 sudo
10 nano
10 mate
10 cp
10 apachectl
7 mysql

Don't be afraid, join the meme!

Faking shrimp cocktail

  • I forget how nice Seattle gets in the summer. Winter sure is a downer, but once it starts to get nice it gets nice.
  • Diet drinks (or rather, the fake sugar replacements) are starting to scare me. I have almost completely cut diet sodas and drinks out of my diet.
  • When out of shrimp, I can attest for imitation crab being a suitable replacement for the shrimp portion of shrimp cocktail.
  • Does anybody actually buy pre-made cocktail sauce? Ketchup + Horseradish is not hard.
  • I’m being patient until I get around to trying green tea + ginger ale. When I do get around to it, though, I’m not sure whether I should try it cold or warm. Heat up the soda or cool the tea?
  • Lists are beautiful.
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