kdf on January 3rd, 2012

This was the third year in row that my friends and I made our way to the Santa Monica Mountains to enjoy some spirited driving on the twisty roads there. We started out at “The Commons” in Woodland Hills where we crashed the meeting place of vintagemotoring.net. They are a group of old car nuts that also meet up for drives in the mountains on New Years Day. Though we’ve never driven along with them, we’re pretty sure they don’t have as much fun as we do on the roads. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more) We do enjoy checking out there cars with a fresh coffee before we head out.

Members of the other vintage motoring group check out each others cars.

Discussing the route.  I think this is the first picture where I actually look old.

This years run had two new attendees. Dave brought his Lotus Elise and Marcelo drove Robert’s BMW 2002. They both throughly enjoyed the day.

Dave, Robert, John, Marcelo and Ken is talking to some people he knew.

The canyons were a blast and enjoyed by all. We were slowed on Stunt Road by a pick up truck, But we made up for it on Yerba Buena Road. Yerba Buena is great because it’s constantly twisting. The road surface is very rough, and it often carries a fair amount of debris, but it’s a blast to drive.

Unfortunate for me I didn’t plan the drive well enough to make it to the Reel Inn for lunch with everybody. That’s normally my favorite part of the trip. Being the lead car for the day I could have made this happen. But, that’s a notion that didn’t occur to me until it was too late. Still, it was a great day judging by all the positive comments in the email thread that followed the event.

Here’s our route, and a few pictures from the day

Dave follows me in his Lotus, then it's Marcelo, John, Robert and Ken.

Dave was thoroughly satisfied after our run up Yerba Buena Road.

My car in the shade at top of 'The Snake', on Mulholland


Doug on October 30th, 2011


kdf on May 15th, 2011

Bianca signed us up for this event several weeks ago. Since that time I’ve been actively training for this day. My worst fear was that I might embarrass myself by not being able to finish or not going the distance.

Doug After the race

Cold and wet, but on top of the world.

To that end I started riding my bike after upgrading my handlebars and stem and replacing a worn tire. I started with short rides, then gently added more distance and increased the frequency of my rides until I’d reached about 52 miles in the week prior to this event. I realize that doesn’t sound like much, but, coming from nothing, it’s something. I plan on continuing to ride, I’m sure that someday I’ll look back and laugh at the short rides I started with.

It certainly paid off. Today’s event was great. I had a great time “racing” against the other bicyclists. I managed to go the entire distance and didn’t want it to end. I was even hollered at (angrily) to slow down by a course worker as i approached the finish line. I thought you’re supposed to pour it on at the end? Maybe that’s only for runners. In fact, now that I think of it, I wonder if the course worker’s attitude might come from some deep seated runner vs biker animosity. Who knows?

Bianca did great as well, considering she hasn’t been on a bike for several months. She took a more slow and steady pace, but never stopped once and came in about 20 minutes behind me, hardly breaking a sweat. Gotta love her.

Drizzling at first, and pouring for most the event, the weather didn’t ruin it for me. My feet were wet by about half way through the race and soaked by the end. If I do this again I’ll shop for rain booties. My new water resistant windbreaker from Peral Izumi was a tremendous success.

Sorry there’s no pictures. I had great intentions, but the rain was too much.


kdf on February 4th, 2011

I like this for a lot of reasons. It was shot with a DSLR, so it has a technically pleasing immediacy to it achieved without spending a fortune. The contraption appears to be very well made, with quality connectors and a high level of technical proficiency. I realize it could be argued that what he does with it might be considered by some, outside acceptable boundaries, but then I smiled.

robo-rainbow from mudlevel on Vimeo.

kdf on January 2nd, 2011

New Years day 2011. Met up with friends in Malibu at 9:00 am on one of the coldest days of the year for a drive in the Santa Monica Mountains. It warmed up quickly due to the proximity of the ocean and it turned into a perfectly nice day. Below was our route. Click where it says “view full route” and you’ll see some photos and more information.

We had a bit of a scare when Ken’s oil filler cap went missing from his recently purchased 1964 Lotus Elan. After trying some McGiver magic we headed back down the road in hopes of spotting the missing cap. This was successful and soon Ken was back in business. Though I don’t envy him the task of making his engine compartment all nice again.

Lots of fellow car enthusiasts were in the canyons enjoying the day and no doubt avoiding football on TV. We had a great lunch at the Reel Inn in Malibu, then it was my chance to take another run across the mountains while my friends headed south. Once I made it back to the Valley and traveled east towards lower elevations I found some of the coldest air I’d felt all day. The San Fernando Valley was apparently a big pool of cold air.

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kdf on June 28th, 2010

WiFi access point security password etiquette.

Now that more and more people are carrying devices capable of browsing the Internet via wifi, your chances of being called upon to share your wifi access point have gone way up. Alright, maybe the only thing that’s gone up is the number of people in your home who wish they had access to the Internet via your wifi router, but are afraid to ask for your password.  They’re afraid to ask because they don’t want to put you on the spot, fearing that our Wifi password may not be the simple low tech unique password it ought to be. Read the rest of this entry »


kdf on June 23rd, 2010

The best ringtone imaginable should make you not want to answer your phone. It should bring a smile to your face and fill you with joy or a fond memory.  Of course it should also be loud enough so that you know your phone is ringing in the first place. I believe I have found the perfect general purpose ringtone. It’s not anything like the song I hear when my wife calls, or the tune I’ve associated with my son, or the alarm that warns me my ex is on the phone.  (She’s not that bad, the alarm sound makes me laugh when she does call. sorry Cami.) This ring reminds me a great trip to Montreal and of the awesome power of an F1 car.

My new ringtone if a recording of several F1 cars speeding past, about 20′ away. The cars have just exited a sharp left turn in 3rd gear at about 85 MPH and continuing on through the gears to 180+ MPH. They’re shifting into 5th at about 135 mph on their way to 7th gear right in front of me. What a sound!

I’m not a huge fan of alternative ringtones but I do believe they have there place. I’d never pay for a ringtone. Instead I prefer to edit an audio file, save it and transfer it to my iPhone with a program called iToner. I know next to nothing about transferring ring tones to other phones.

Now the best part, like sharing this story I’m sharing the file I created. Here is the file for you to use on your phone. It’ll open in a new window. Right click it and save it to your machine.

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kdf on June 23rd, 2010

because somewhere, someone, sucks more than you.

This one took me a while to learn. If I knew this in my 20s or 30s I might have made it where I wanted to be, much faster. Or perhaps I’d have gotten there, got bored and been looking for something else.

Here’s the idea. Do you know what they call the guy who graduates last from medical school? They call him “Doctor.”

What ever you think you’d like to do in life, get yourself as close to it as you can. Do what ever it takes to be a person making money doing that thing. Never worry that you may not be good enough, talented enough or lack in any way, what it takes to do that thing (unless its specific education, no way around that one). Because once you arrive in that job you will find people there that are worse at it then you than you ever feared you could be.

Many people just fall into a field of employment based on family, friends or circumstance. By pursuing your dreams, by being involved with what interests you, your chances of success are already higher than someone who doesn’t take the time get what they want.

I wanted to work in entertainment, (television/movies) since high school. I’m here now, but my journey here was long. I see young people around me working in entertainment, many of whom I’m sure have very bright futures ahead of them. There are also people in entertainment who just “fell into it” based on circumstance or situation. Some of those people are hard workers and do great, but others who lack the drive and initiative to make something of it risk losing their jobs to someone willing to work harder. The entertainment field is special in that a college degree isn’t mandatory. Depending on the job, creative talent or most importantly initiative matters most. Success is nearly guaranteed to those that can see what needs doing and gets it done.

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kdf on June 21st, 2010

New in Lightroom 3 is the ability to make lens corrections similar to those possible with an articulated view camera. I’m absolutely loving this feature. Below is an example of a snapshot processed through Lightroom without any compensation for the distortion of the buildings caused by misalignment of the film plane to the buildings. Mouse over the image to see the corrected image. The lens corrections feature allows you to straighten vertical lines and correct for pincushioning or barrel distortion.

Roll over to compare before and after.

The lens on the Lumix LX3 un-corrected, adds a wicked amount of distortion all by itself. Lightroom corrects for this when it converts the RAW file. Jpegs from the camera have this distortion corrected in the camera as the Jpeg is prepared. The only time you would even notice it is when using a RAW convertor that doesn’t automatically correct it. The distortion I’ve corrected for in this photo was caused by how I held the camera as I took this picture. I like seeing the buildings straightened out instead of leaning into the street. Using this feature does chew up some of the image. Shooting wider or looser is one defense or I could have held the camera parallel with the vertical lines in the scene.

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kdf on June 19th, 2010

It was a great trip despite our difficulties getting there. We flew from Los Angeles at about 10:30 pm expecting a 2 hour wait between planes in Washington DC. While deplaning I received an email informing us that our next flight had been cancelled. We found a surly gate agent that offered the choice of flying about 5 hours later to Toronto and then on to Montreal, or we could wait 8 or 9 hours and fly direct to Montreal. We chose the former and set about entertaining ourselves at the airport. We would have left the airport and checked out some sites but according to my phone we couldn’t get anywhere of interest and back before our next flight.

In Toronto we had 2 hours between flights. At least on paper we did. Read the rest of this entry »

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kdf on June 13th, 2010

Dinner on Saturday night at Boris Bistro in Old Montreal was great. We made reservations at a place recommend in both Robert’s and my guide books. Boris Bistro on Mcgill in old Montreal.

It was my first time tasting Foie Gras.  All things considered, it was pretty damn tasty. Also on the appetizer selection this might were french fries cooked in duck fat, and Escargot. That’s the Foie Gras in the pastry at the bottom.

I enjoyed duck magret, in an espresso cardamom sauce, John had the braised beef, in red wine and bacon sauce. Robert had the lamb shank confit, tomato sauce and creamy polenta. With wine and the most delicious chocolate mouse, caramel thing it was a fantastic meal. Read the rest of this entry »

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kdf on June 13th, 2010

It’s late Sunday afternoon in Montreal after the Grand Prix Du Montreal. We’ve just returned to our room before heading out to try what reported as some of the best smoked meat sandwiches anywhere. A place called Schwartz’s Delicatessen. looking forward to that.

The race was great success and certainly worth doing, at least once in your life. Montreal is a beautiful city full of friendly people.

Nearly all the 50,000 plus attendees of the race take the subway under the St. Lawrence river to get there. Each train has six cars and half a car holds approximately 60 people. So that’s roughly 1080 people per train. It all flowed amazing well. Montreal handles crowd control amazingly well. As we left the race site on Saturday we saw someone being detained by the police. He was surrounded loosely by 5 or 6 officers as one officer was using his radio. It was clear the individual detained was going nowhere, but at the same time he wasn’t being touched. We joked that to Canadians that may be the equivalent of the Rodney King stop.

John and I, on the track after the race.

Don’t forget to listen to my AudioBoos. Then check out the audio I posted to Posterous. Those both proved to be easier to to a quick post of an audio file or photo from where ever I was. Later I might re-post some of the audio files, (especially the one of the F1 cars speeding past) to this site. Also look for the video of the three of us waiting in Toronto for our bags to reappear after being taken off the flight to Montreal that we missed.

Both Rob and John have passed out as I’m writing this. Seems like this happened yesterday too. Fighting the urge to record them snoring.

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kdf on June 11th, 2010

We were awoken at 5:00 am (2:00 am Los Angeles) sharp by the sun rising, and shining directly into our hotel room window. We got cleaned up and made our way to the track to pick up our tickets before the the will call trailer even opened. Walking like Zombies we were in our seats by 8:30 am. (5:30 back home).

When I purchased the tickets I didn’t know exactly where our seats would be in the grandstand, only which grandstand. Turns out they’re not the most perfect seats, but they could certainly be much worse.

We watched some Ferrari 430s practicing for a “gentleman’s race” to come. Then it was an F1 practice session, followed by a group of F1 cars that spanned several years of F1 racing. We ate lunch at the track and walked around until the next practice session. We caught glimpses of the track from time to time. Mostly we could enjoyed the sounds of 18,000 rpm motors pumping out 700+ H.P.
Were back in the room now tacking a break before possibly heading back out. Rob just rolled over into what looks like a nap, so who knows for sure.

So far Montreal is really nice place. The people are great. it’s clean and green and seems like it would be fine place to call home. Expect perhaps for the winters.
Not much was accomplished in the picture department today. Okay Rob’s asleep, looks like John’s going to follow him.

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kdf on June 10th, 2010

We’ve chased the sun at 350 mph and caught her. Crap! There it is coming in through a few open windows. We’re descending into Washington DC after a dreadful 5 hours trying to sleep.

kdf on June 9th, 2010

Here we go. John, Rob and I take off in about an hour for our all night flight to Montreal Canada. We’ll enjoy 4 nights and 5 days checking the race events and the local sights.
Stay tuned to my Twitter feed for Audio Boo updates, Posterous posts and maybe a few pictures. I’ll try and record and photograph my way through the day. The posts may all come at once when I reach a wifi access point. So you’ll have to bear with the untimley nature of the updates.
Alright, so long for now. Stay tuned for updates.