Saturday, September 5, 2009

Summer 2009

Here we are at the hot end of summer, and it's time to write about the past few months.

School: I completed my first quarter at UC Santa Cruz this summer. The important class was computer science 101, which consisted of algorithm analysis, graph theory, a more in depth approach to searching and sorting algorithms, and mathematical proofs of problem solutions. The professor was Patrick Tantalo, an eloquent and funny guy. I scored an A+ in CS101. This allows me to take CS160 in the fall, which is a graphics programming class that I am very excited about.

My other class, which I took because it looked interesting, was "Personal Narratives in Film and Theatre," which involved watching and writing about two monologues a week for 5 weeks, as well as a personal narrative which was presented at the end. I got a B (for Bryan) in this class. The facilitator was Bob Giges.

The fall quarter starts Sep 21. I will be moving on campus in the Porter dorms. In addition to CS160, I'll be taking Computer Engineering 12, which is a chip/micro-controller programming class, and CS80J, which is a topical class on "Technology targeted at social issues." I've also got a T'ai Chi class for fun, and I will hopefully get some further piano or guitar instruction.

Biking adventures: During the summer I was riding my bike everywhere. Twice a week I rode my bike to campus, about a half hour of all uphill. I found routes that were about 50% offroad. After class I would often bike around the many miles of trails around campus. Jerry came down from SanFran twice and we had good rides around campus, the first time we came down through Wilder ranch, the second we made a turn that took us down a very steep downhill section and we rode back along highway 9.

After I took my final, there was a fire burning north of santa cruz, and I biked into the woods. The smoke wasn't affecting the air badly yet, but there was a lovely orange hue to everything as the sunlight passed through the clouds. The next two days I packed up and started driving back to socal. I took the 1 so I could camp in big sur. I stopped at the first campground, Andrew Molera State Park, which had trails for horses, and so I took my bike on these trails. The trails were nothing special, but biking right onto the beautiful beaches of big sur was nice. I was camped north of Santa Barbara at El Refugio Beach the next night, where I also biked a few beach trails.

About a week later I was in San Diego, camped out by Black Mountain in north county. I woke up early to bike the mountain before it was too hot. I had found a trail which I was looking for a couple years ago, Miner's Ridge, which was supposed to be an intermediate trail. At 8am it was already hot, and this trail was very steep. There were stairs that looked like I could clear them, but I was getting exhausted quickly. It was an intense trail, steep up and down with many drops/stairs, only about a mile, although there is a network of trails on black mountain that can extend that. I also rode merriam bear, a bit of tecolate canyon, florida canyon, and a trail west of the 163 in balboa park while in San Diego.

Games: Last weekend, Aug 28-30, was Ludum Dare 15. The theme was "Caverns" and in 48 hours I made and published my 7th game. I didn't give it a name, but it's a side scrolling platform game, a hybrid of super mario bros and alice in wonderland. The game is here: This was my second game made with Game Maker. The other one, Dr. Splodeyhead, I released during the week before LD15, and is on the page with my other games:

There were 155 entries to LD15, which all must be played by us 155 competitors during these 2 weeks following LD. At about 20 minutes per game, this is taking much of my time now.

Well, after a few weeks of visiting friends and family here in socal, next week I'll be heading North on the 395 for a few days of camping around mammoth, mono lake, and yosemite, before good times at Symbiosis Gathering and then rushing to campus to get settled in before class. The summer session is open enrollment, so this is my first quarter of really being enrolled and the campus fully populated. Living in university dorms is something I've dreamed of for years. Very excited! Ciao!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 18 - Pogonip, UCSC, Wilder Ranch

Yesterday I took a break from this personal narrative I've been working on and biked from home, across santa cruz to pogonip park, navigated uphill through horses into UCSC, hopped the jumps a bit, rode across north preserve and down through kresge and porter, around porter meadow and family housing, across some field laden with cowpies, over a fence and into what I later figured out was Wilder Ranch. I felt almost lost and almost turned back but then I landed on the Long Meadow trail, which I rode through a few weeks ago. I rode up to Wild Boar trail, a new one for me, and then into Old Cabin trail, which was a really magical area. Eucalyptus Loop took me up to a high bluff overlooking the ocean and all of monterey bay. Rode a little farhter north on the Wilder Ridge loop, started dropping into Zane trail and eventually made it back to the farm at Wilder Ranch. Biked back through some train tracks and cabbage fields to the pacific bike path home.

This was a 4 hour ride, covering 26 miles and 3,000 ft of elevation gain. My muscles were drained on arriving home so I made a big soy protein smoothie, did a bit of yoga and felt great. Followed that with the same thing I had for lunch: a tofurky beer brat with fried onions and bell pepper, magical saurkraut, and spicy mustard, with a fat tire and a salad.

Yesterday's Ride

This summer, while living in santa cruz, I started this post:

Yesterday I biked from home, across santa cruz to pogonip park, navigated uphill through horses into UCSC, hopped the jumps a bit, rode across north preserve and down through kresge and porter, around porter meadow and family housing, across some field laden with cowpies, over a fence

Today I rode the part starting at the fence again. It goes into wilder ranch via some lovely forests and a very difficult uphill rock garden that was too slick to ride this time. A bit of fireroad to old cabin trail, fast and ferny then a climb out. Down through wilder, and into santa cruz, to natural bridges and the monarch walk, but it was too cold for monarchs. the day started cloudy with some sprinkles, but the ride was lovely.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Stopping on a trail at ucsc to study..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So it begins

I started classes on Tuesday. I've got computer science (cs) 101, which looks to be a mathematical approach to algorithm analysis, and personal narratives in film and theater, which is about how people present and come to terms with their identity. Interesting stuff.

My bike is now fix0rd! Yay I rode up to a yoga class from the base of ucsc, which is quite a climb. It was iyengar yoga, which is supposed to be a more rigorous approach to alignment in poses, but it was mellow, some slightly painful stretches, but my back feels great now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Santa Cruzin

Heyo! I'm living in and around Santa Cruz now! I've been camping around forests and friends, and will soon settle into classes. My bike will finally be fix0rd for riding on tuesday. More to write later!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spring Semester

Hello, I finished my last semester of community college 2 weeks ago. I just got my grades back..


Woot! This gives me a 3.6 gpa for my lower division work, let's see if I can keep it up for the next two years ;]

I am going to be visiting friends and family over the next couple weeks, and then I'll be heading up to santa cruz for classes starting June 22. More to write later! Ciao!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ludum Dare 14

Ludum Dare 14 was 2.5 weeks ago, on the weekend of 4/18. Ludum Dare is the triannual 48 hour game development competition I've done several times before. The theme was 'Advancing Wall of Doom' and I made a space shooting game which had enemy ships with equations written on them which you would shoot with the correct answers by pressing the numbers on your keyboard. It turned out a fun and challenging game which I was happy with.

The game is available at the website where I publish my games:

After the 48 hours of programming, everyone who makes a game has 2 weeks (2.5 weeks this time) to play and judge everyone else's games. The games are rated in many categories on a 1-5 scale (5 best). The results just came out and I did okay. My game was up against 123 other games.

Overall: 20th (3.61)
Fun: 15th (3.71)
Innovation: 16th (3.76)
Humor: 25th (3.47)
Sound: 26th (3.44)

Not great placement, but the scores came out good. It was a fun experience, and inspirational as always. The games by the winners are all nice little games that I would recommend playing.

If you want to find me in the results, I'm 'greencow'.

[Ludum Dare 14 full results]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tecolate adventures

Hiya friends, I haven't updated in a while, but things have been pretty routine lately. I've been biking about 10 miles through tecolate canyon, 3-4 days a week. Sometimes I take roads if I'm in a rush. I found a way through the golf course that was previously impeding my path, removing a hill and some roads from my commute. It's a nice and challenging ride, there are many streams to cross surrounded with patches of baby heads (tons of smooth round rocks of varying sizes from golf balls to footballs that often slip and create traction hell) and steep slopes, some features I have only been able to bike through after weeks of attempts.

I've put a new back tire on, my previous was a 1.95" kenda nevagal which had a hole in the side and worn down treads. My 2.3" nevagal up front is still sittin pretty, joined by a maxxis high roller 2.1" in a reversed tread pattern for extra traction. Seems fine so far! I've also put on the SRAM pc-991 chain that I bought for grenadine like 2 years ago, but I didn't change the rear casette, which has created some gear skipping, but only in the highest rear gears. So now I ride with the rear in the center gear and mostly go up and down using the front 3 gears, dropping the back when the front is low for granny gear and raising the back when the front is high for top speed. This seems a better way to run the gears overall, so I'm glad I ran into the gear skipping issue.

All this biking up hills (along with 2 hours of soccer every friday) has been creating new visible muscle groups in my legs. I had heard about pro cyclists having enormous legs, and now I'm starting to see it. Mostly, I'm enjoying the ease and speed with which I climb hills now. I spend much more time in high gear lately so I'm going faster overall. I've been tracking my routes and stats with my google phone gps.

Four weeks of class left in this semester eeee! I am going nuts. I have already registered for cmps 101 at UCSC, class begins June 22.

English 205 has been interesting, our curriculum for this 8 week class includes dawn of the dead (2004), fear and loathing in las vegas (the book and the movie), and fight club. The theme is: the american dream. I'll post some essays out of that sometime. I had fun with the dawn of the dead essay.

Linear algebra and discrete math have both been very theoretical and difficult to use. There are no formula sheets or calculators, just lots of proofs and operations that don't connect with anything real. It helps to think of them as puzzles. Otherwise the lack of application makes it hard to keep motivated, but I know linear algebra has many great applications to come, and discrete math is forming a strong theoretical basis for applications of logic. They have had about the same test schedule throughout the semester, which is nice after the tests to be able to relax, but it kinda doubles the stress before the tests. Last week was a test week, and I believe that I did very well, which is a big relief because I was a bit worried about passing Linear Algebra for a couple weeks.

Today I ate 9 homemade vegan tacos! And that was my adventure of the day

Oh, last weekend was Ludum Dare 14, the theme was 'advancing wall of doom' and I completed another game. The game is called 'advancing wall of math' (math on the brain much?). I've been posting my games to my new site:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Biked to school

Monday, 2009 Feb 23, Biked from Gila to Mesa College via Tecolate Canyon.
Trailhead at balboa & clairemont dr, biked south into canyon, a bit rutted in parts, could use bridges (esp close to mesa college). Encountered a rattlesnake on the trail, it rattled loudly as i cast sticks upon it, nearly missing. The snake slithered off continuing to rattle as I rattled on by. Harrowing.

At the Mt Arcadia road crossing, I entered the golf course, inquiring within I was unable to access a trail. Golf has failed me, building a golf course in my canyon without so much as building a small bridge to the trail that runs on the side of the golf course.

So, I bike up the road, up a long slow hill, instead of riding in my canyon, I get to the top, make a few rights and then I'm back in the canyon, only at the high part, so I have this steep descent in, it's very steep and swooshy, not the kind of danger I prefer on my commute to school. SOon I'm in the bottom of the canyon and there's about 4 spots that I had to disembike to ford.

Overall it wasn't great and took an hour, but it will be faster as I cut out dead ends, and there's lots of side trails and options to explore when I have extra time.

I biked home by roads. The hills around here are a good workout.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Multigrain goodness

Hiya =]

Well, I know last week I said I was living in my van, which was true, but then I found a nice room for rent near my school, and decided to move into a more traditional living situation. I have moved in with an older Indian gentleman who goes by Kris (ala Krishna) and it's been nice. The room came furnished and there's like 15 fruit trees around the house. There's also two other people renting rooms attached to the house. Having a kitchen, fridge, and a private bathroom are certainly niceties I have missed. Not worrying about getting a ticket for camping in my van is nice too. I found out about tickets for street camping when I was awoken one morning by police officers =P.

This will be my pad for the next 3 months, then I will return to van life when I move up to UC Santa Cruz.

School has been getting busier, Linear Algebra is quite difficult and English has taken much time.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

goings ons going on

> So the spring has sprung and it's still winter. Living
> in my van again has
> been a new experience during this wet time of year. Rain is
> lovely, although
> the musky smell in the van requires a dose of air to keep
> under control. So
> far so good.
> I am going to san diego mesa college this semester m-th. It
> is a really nice
> campus, much bigger and more populated. I'm glad to be
> attending a new
> campus, new architecture and style to appreciate.
> There's a beautiful
> building there I will post pics of soon. The only trouble
> so far has been
> parking and the many stairs between the parking and class.
> Parking should
> get easier as I arrive earlier and people drop their
> classes.
> It has been many weeks since a bike ride. My legs are sad
> pandas. I was
> almost ready to go when it started to rain again. Well I
> should use this
> downtime to get my bike tuned up. Mesa college is right in
> tecolate canyon,
> so I will be traversing that when the trails dry up.
> Last weekend I went to los angeles for the first global
> game jam. It's a 48
> hour game development competition, but in locations all
> over the world, and
> with teams. I arrived late, traffic, so I missed my chance
> to pitch a game,
> I got on a team making a flash game, flash isn't
> something I have developed
> with in many years, so I was only on game design duty,
> which is fun, but
> design doesn't take much of 48 hours, so I got bored
> and left early. The
> team still finished the game, and apparently ranked 2nd at
> our location.
> Good times.
> I will try to write weekly or so, this is coming from my
> phone, which I can
> type fairly quickly on now.
> Love,
> -Bryan=)

Adventures in Canyonland

It has been a while. There have been changes, but I am still right on my journey to UCSC in june. Today I am sipping delicious sage breezes from rose canyon.