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Robotlegs Gotcha #2 – Using Interfaces for your services and models

One of the common practices suggested by the Robotlegs team (and one I have personally grown to love) is the user of Interfaces for your services and data models. What this allows you to do is type-cast all of your injections and other references to these classes using the name of the Interface, then, when mapping these classes, you map the Interace to the either the concrete class or a seperate “mock” class that can be used for testing. This gives you the ability to quickly swap between mock data and live data by simply changing the injection mappings in your context file (or startup command or wherever you handle your mappings).
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Flash Multi-Frame MovieClip

Over the past couple years the majority of my development focus has been centered around Flex, and having recently started going back to developing in Flash, I’ve come to realize how incredibly SPOILED Flex has made me!

Example: In Flex, when developing components that you want to have multiple views based on user input, or any other laundry list of conditions, you have STATES. In Flash, you have MovieClips with multiple frames, or the option to write all of your logic and views using Actionscript (a huge pain in the ass!). Continue Reading

Oysters on the half… can?

I was feeling a bit on the adventurous side today and decided to pick up some live oysters from Wholefoods. I purchased 3 Blue point and 3 Fanny bay oysters, a lemon, and some cocktail sauce, as well as a shucking knife, and headed home to try my hand at shucking. The first thing to do with oysters is scrub them with a stiff brush under cold water. This removes and debris and general gnarliness that may be hanging onto the outer shell. With my oysters now nice and clean, it was shucking time! I read that it helps to use a towel to hold onto the oyster (and help protect your hand when your knife inevitably slips), so I folded up a kitchen towel and then folded it again over my first oyster (flat side up).
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The Beginning…

Over the past few years I’ve felt the growing resurgence of a very familiar itch (and no, I’m not referring to the type of itch you get from a long weekend in TJ!). The itch I’m referring to is one that can only be scratched by exploring the vast and unfamiliar reaches of the globe. This “wanderlust” is what brought me to San Diego 7 years ago, an adventure that has truly changed my life, and it appears that the time has come for it to take me in yet another new direction!
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The Final Leg

After some weeks of recuperation and getting back into the swing of everyday life I’ve decided it was about time to write the final post of my trip. Many of you have been asking just what happened.. I was doing a pretty decent job at keeping the blog updated, and then, I was home. Trip over, no grand finale, no parting words, just an abrupt stop in updates. Well here’s the story, in all it’s rather bland glory:


My second day in Seattle I once again found myself playing tourist. The day started off rather early, meeting some fellow travelers that I had bumped into at the hostel the night before to embark on some more sight-seeing. We walked along the harbor to the Seattle Underground Tour, but arrived about 5 minutes too late and ended up having to wait an hour for the next tour to begin. We spent the hour wandering around the neighborhood not doing a whole lot of anything, and I stopped and got myself some Jimmy Johns, and tried to explain to my new Aussie, French, and German friends why I was so damn excited about a sandwhich (they apparently had never had Jimmy Johns and since none of them ventured to try it, didn’t really understand). After a bit more wandering and a delicious Vito sub, we went back to the tour office and got in line.  [simage=312,320,n,right,] The tour itself was actually quite great. I never knew what a rich and interesting history Seattle had, and learned more about their past plumbing and sewage problems than anyone would ever care to know (at one point the sewage pipes, which were essentially wooden troughs, flowed downhill from the upper residential areas and were then hoisted above the street level where pedestrians would have to walk underneath them as they went about their days, needless to say creating quite a mess of things).

After the tour I lost track of my new-found friends and made may way down to the aquarium to see me some otters! ..and various other marine life. It’s funny how things that were so very interesting and exciting in your youth can seem rather mundane in your adult years. While a bit boring, the aquarium was still a nice way to kill a few hours. It was late afternoon at this point and I had another hour to kill before the evening harbor cruise I had planned on taking, so I headed back to the zig-zag cafe for another round of amazing cocktails. While enjoying an amazing Monte Carlo I overheard the woman next to me discussing a book she had written called “Thank you for firing me.” As I was on a bit of a soul-searching mission and trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with myself career wise, I decided to very bluntly inject myself into her conversation. She was a very pleasant woman in her early 50’s, and as it turns out had previously been living in San Diego. I chatted with her and her husband for a while, and came to find out that she had written this book after being fired from her previous job and relocating to North-Eastern Washington. She said it was the best thing that had every happened to her and suggest I read her book (which I still plan on doing).

After finishing my drink, I made my way down to the docks to board the ship for the evenings harbor cruise. The views from the boat were spectacular, and I met a very nice older couple who were visiting Seattle on vacation. After the cruise I decided to take a break from the heat and retreated to the movie theater down the street. I purchased a ticket for “Inception” and found a seat in the rather crowded theater. I should probably mention that at this point, after the stop at the zig-zag cafe, and the bar on the boat, I was 3 or 4 cocktails deep and was rather drunk, which is the LAST thing you want to be while watching this movie. After finishing the movie, I made my way back to the hostel and called it a night.

The next morning I awoke rather restless. I had been on the road for almost 2 weeks at this point, and had spent the last week of it playing tourist, which for some reason had seemed to really drain me. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy taking in the sites, but the constant buzz of the city, sleeping in strange and rather uncomfortable places, and spending many hours by myself had taken its tole. After giving it some thought, I packed up my bags and decided to depart Seattle a day early and head to the Olympic Peninsula. I had a nice breakfast with my hostel buddies, packed up the car, and headed to the HUGE REI flagship store down the street, where I picked up some last minute supplies and spoke with a forest ranger about the best spots to camp. With a bit more confidence in the next leg of my trip I jumped back on the freeway and started heading toward the docks where I would catch a ferry over to the peninsule.

To this day I can’t say exactly what it was, but I couldn’t seem to shake this nagging feeling that it was time to go home. Maybe it was homesickness, perhaps loneliness, or maybe a combination of a slew of other things, but I made the last minute decisions to cut my trip short and come home. I was already on the 5-South, the highway that would take me straight South all the way from Seattle to San Diego. I drove 10 hours straight that day and made it all the way to the very Northern tip of California. I pulled into a Motel 6 at around 12AM, and after a hasty checkin, I grabbed a few things out of the car and headed up to my room. Sleep did not come easily that night. I awoke very suddenly around 3AM and just could not seem to get back to sleep. After fighting with it for an hour or so I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom, the thought being that a nice hot shower might help wake me up and prepare me for the extremely long day I had ahead. I turned the shower on and went to pack up the few belongings I brought with me to the room just a few hours before. Upon returning to the bathroom I was rather surprised to find that instead of hot water coming from the shower, there was still icey cold streams pouring from its’ spout. After giving it a few more minutes I came to the unhappy realization that there was no hot water and I was just going to have to suck it up and jump into the freezing cold water. Let me just say, this was not the best way to start the day.

After managing to regain the feeling in my fingers and toes, I grabbed my stuff and made my way out into the darkness of the early morning. Immediately after closing my hotel door, I saw two men in the parking lot below smoking cigarettes. To describe them as two of the fattest, greasiest, red-neck looking guys I have ever seen just wouldn’t do them justice. They looked like something straight out of the move “Deliverance,” only they would have been the guys that weren’t picked for the movie because they were just too damn creepy. Anyways, I walked downstairs and past the men, trying to shake off the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I crossed the parking lot, threw my bags in the back of my car, and got into the drivers seat, locking the doors after me. I saw the men return to their room and close the door behind them, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I put my head down for just a moment to fiddle with my IPod and try to find some music to keep me awake on the road. When I lifted my head, I was startled to see the two hillbillies standing directly beside my passenger door, one of them with his hand on the door handle trying to open it. I had already started the car, and immediately threw it into reverse, punching the gas and causing the tires to spin out in a loud squeal. It was at this point that I notice one of the men (who I had just seen smoking a cigarette not 5 minutes earlier) was holding an oxygen tank in his left hand. Both the men stared at me menacingly, and without a further seconds hesitation I put the car into drive and tore out of the parking lot.

It was some hours of driving down the dark and completely desolate highway before dawn came and I was able to shake off the very unsettling feeling that the mornings events had left me with. It was now nearing 8AM and I decided it was high time for a cup of coffee. I pulled off at the next town and found a Dutch Bros. Coffee, which I had grown to enjoy during my time in Oregon and Seattle. I pulled into the drive-through and was greeted by a very chipper young blonde who took my order and instructed me to pick a ticket from a bucket she was holding. After having her explain this process to me a second-time (the lack of sleep had left me in a bit of a blur and I didn’t quite grasp the concept of a raffle), I slid my hand into the bucket and drew a ticket. Upon examination, the ticket said “1 Free Medium Coffee,” which is precisely what I had ordered! The girl took the ticket and very excitedly handed my, now free, cup of coffee. I thanked her, and made my way back to the highway with a now hopeful outlook for the rest of the day.

I decided that the only way I was going to make it to San Diego by nightfall was to drive 150-200 mile stretches without stopping, then allow myself a 10 minute break to get gas, pickup some refreshments, and stretch my legs, and over the next 16 hours I did just that. I meandered my way through the rather uninteresting scenery that accompanies the stretch of Interstate 5 from the Northern tip of California to the South. As mentioned, I left the motel around 4AM and made it back to San Diego around 8PM. Needless to say, I was exhausted, but I was glad to be home. I do plan on going back to Washington and spending some time in the Olympic Peninsula as well as making way across and into Vancouver as previously planned, but I think that I will do a bit more planning beforehand. All in all the trip was amazing, and I officially caught the roadtrip bug again, and am already figuring out when I can plan my next trip!

Seattle – Day 1

Perhaps it was just beard withdrawl (finally decided to shave today), but I was feeling a bit down this morning. As much as I am enjoying the lone adventuring, it can be a bit lonely at times (I know surprise surprise). I think this feeling is more evident when I’m in larger cities. While it’s fun seeing all the sites and exploring the new surroundings, I’m finding that these things are just a lot more enjoyable when you’re in the company of friends.

I arrived in Seattle around noon today, parked my car in the parking garage (which costs almost as much as the hostel) and checked in at the Green Tortoise Hostel. The location of this place is perfect! It’s literally across the street from Pikes Place Market and is situated in the heart of downtown Seattle, and quite close to most major attractions. I didn’t feel like wasting any time, so I dropped off my bags, and headed over to do a bit of wandering around at the Market. It was extremely crowded, but I managed to grab some lunch (A Dungeoness Crab Sandwhich) and check out a few of the sites (the flying fish, and the original Starbucks to name a few). I then decided that I was going to play tourist. If I can say one thing for Seattle, it is very tourist friendly. There are signs and maps everywhere, multiple forms of transportation, and if you really get confused I even saw a few guides wandering about. I grabbed myself a map and started figuring out what I wanted to see. After perusing my options, I landed on the Space needle, the Music Experience Project and the Science Fiction Museum. There was a monorail just a few blocks from the hostel that would take me directly to all of these places (as they all sit in a large park at the same location), so after a quick walk I was on my way.


I spent to rest of the afternoon wandering through the museums and checking out the space needle. The Music Experience Project was pretty cool. They had lots of memorabilia and interesting information about the history of music in America. I found the exhibit of the history of guitars to be the most interesting. After finishing up at MEP I was in serious need of caffeine so I grabbed a cup of coffee at Seattle Grind, which I can’t say I was terribly impressed with. Next I tackled the Science Fiction Museum, which only ended up taking me about 20 minutes. I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but it was fun to see the replicas of E.T. and yoda. Then I took the 520 trip to the top of the space needle. The views were, not surprisingly, amazing! Mt. Rainier has to be one of the most majestic mountain views I have seen to date. Its’ snow-covered peaks make for quite a backdrop to the city skyline. It was till early when I got down from the space needle so I headed over to the Science Museum (I bought a City Pass that included all of the museums on it so I figured what the heck). I walked the entire museum in about 20 minutes, the exhibits just weren’t as exciting as they were when I was a kid (probably because they are geared toward 8 year olds). The museum ticket included a pass to the Omni-max where they were showing a film on Mt. St. Helens, so I took advantage of the A.C. and stopped by for that on my way out.

Now I’m back at the hostel and am going to clean up before heading out for a few hours. My hostel dorm is extremely hot, so I am going to try to spend as little time there as possible. My plan for tonight is to check out a few local bars known for their craft cocktails and grab some dinner.

Day 9 – Portland

Today was another beautiful and fun-filled day in Portland. Sarah and Avery have proved to be some damn good tour guides (not to mention extremely accomodating and kind hosts). I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am that they have allowed me to not only crash at their place, but have also taken the time to show me some of the great things that Portland has to offer. Thanks ladies!

We all stayed up semi-late last night, kicking back and relaxing after a long day of drinking at the Brewers festival, so we got a bit of a late start this morning. After we were all up and showered, Sarah, Avery and I all headed over to their favorite breakfast food cart “The Big Egg” for one of the most amazing breakfast sandwhiches I have ever eaten in my life! I had their daily special which consisted of toasted Brioche, White cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, black forest ham, home-made peach jam, arugula, and jalapenos. Words just can’t describe how perfect this sandwich was, even just describing it here is making my mouth water! I washed it all down with a glass of freshly made kombucha from one of the other carts and called it the best breakfast ever! Once again, I’d like to outline the love affair that I have formed with the Portland food carts. Not only is the food amazing, but the portions are not overly large, the price is low, and I really like the idea that a talented chef can open a small restaurant without having to have a huge overhead to purchase a furnish a brick and mortar shop. I think this is an idea that is well past its’ time and I hope that San Diego and other cities will soon follow suit.

With breakfast taken care of, we spent the rest of the afternoon tooling around a few of Sarah and Avery’s favorite neighborhoods, including the Hawthorne District and NW Portland. We checked out some cool shops, had some amazing tea (I had a glass of a pear black tea with a splash of mango lemonade that was to die for), sampled some ice cream at a small locally made ice cream shop (I tried the dark chocolate salt water carmel and the lavendar honey, again, amazing), and even stopped by the barber shop to get my mangy beard cleaned up a bit. I really enjoyed small and local feel of the various communities. There were a lot of very eclectic and artsy shops selling local wares, and everyone we came across was extremely friendly. At one point we stopped into a local bike shop so Avery could checkout a new frame, and I got a chance to see the (locally) infamous PBR bike! That reminds me, if you dig through my pictures, you’ll see a number of shots of billboards featuring artistic renderings of PBR cans in various locations. This seems to be a local obsession. I’m not sure who is paying for the ad space, but I have seen at least a half dozen of these billboard artworks throughout Portland, and from what I’ve been told there are a great many more.

Overall, I have had an absolute blast in Portland, and could definitely spend more time here (and hope to in the future). Tomorrow I plan to have brunch with my friend Victoria, who I haven’t seen in almost 10 years and as it turns out is currently living in Portland. After that its’ somewhat up in the air. My rough gameplan is to head to Olympia (about halfway to Seattle) and stay the night at the Motel 6, then push on to Seattle on Sunday and stay a few nights at a hostel up there. But like I said, it’s all sort of up in the air at this point…


I arrived in Portland yesterday and thus far it has been a really good time! When I first got to town I spent a few hours wandering around the Pearl District, killing some time until Sarah got off of work. I got a chance to check out the famed Powell’s book store, as well as an actual Patagonia store (I’m a big fan of their gear). After the Pearl District I headed to NW Portland to meetup with Sarah. After dropping off a few things and cleaning up a bit, Sarah and I headed over to a local cafe near her house for a beer and a bite. I haven’t seen Sarah in over 10 years, and it was really good to catch up and here about what she’s been up to since last we spoke. After the cafe we headed back to her apartment, and hung out in the garage (which was much cooler than the apartment) with some of her friends and neighbors. Later in the evening we rode her bikes downtown to meet her girlfriend Avery for a drink. When we got downtown, I had my first introduction to the Portland food carts. In various places throughout the city there are a number of vendors who setup these food carts, thai food, korean food, taco stands, etc. etc.. They’re more trailers than carts, and the food is cheap and really tasty. We had a couple of tacos, then headed over to “The Tube” bar for a beer. After our beers we stopped at Voodoo Doughnuts on our way back to the apartment. Voodoo is one of the must see places in Portland and are known for their strange and unique doughnuts. I orderered a “Maple and Bacon” doughnut which had a maple glaze and strips of bacon (EPIC), and a Voodoo Doll, which was shaped like (go figure) a Voodoo Doll, glazed and painted with a lil face, and jelly filled in the chest area with a pretzel “pin” sticking out.. The doughnuts were amazing, and definitely worth the wait (especially the maple bacon). Post doughnuts we headed back to the apartment and hung out for a while longer, talking bikes and watching silly internet vids, before calling it a night..

Today was the opening day of the Oregon Brewers Festival. I got up around 10, went for a run, then cleaned up and headed downtown. Sarah and I stopped off at another set of food carts for some grub before embarking on our afternoon of drinking. I had a meatball sub with spicy peanut sauce, and it was absolutely delicious! After lunch we headed down to the Brewers Festival. The festival was huge! There were more taps than you could possibly imagine, and people everywhere! We grabbed our beer tokens, and dove right in! Throughout the afternoon I sampled over 12 beers, met some really cool people, and had an overall good time! With my drunken stooper properly in place, we heade back to the apartment and hung out for the rest of the night.. Time to rest up and get ready for another day! =]

Beers I tried today (at least the ones I remembered to write down haha):

  1. Eel River – Bakau Strong Ale
  2. Oakshire – Pinot Barrel Strong Ale
  3. Flying Fish – Exit 4 Belgian Trippel
  4. Kona – Coco Loco
  5. Deschutes – Streaking the Quad
  6. Riverport – 5/5 Pepper (Jabenero pepper beer)
  7. Bridgeport – Stumptown Tart
  8. Vertigo – Razz Wheat
  9. The Bruery – 7 Grain Saison
  10. Boulevard – 7 Farmhouse Ale
  11. Caldera – Hibiscus Gineger Beer
  12. 13 year old Russian Imperial Stout (aged since 97)
  13. Maui – Coconut Porter
  14. Maui – Heaven and Hell
  15. ..and a few others ;-)

Day 7 – Waiting… and the Racist Old Man

I dropped my car off at the Hyundai dealership this morning to see if they can resolve the “door ajar” issue. They said they would squeeze me in as soon as they can, but with no sort of timeline I am stuck in Eugene for the moment. When I was dropping off the car I met a seemingly nice old man named Harrold who works at the dealership prepping cars for repair (installing the paper floormats, taking down the vin number, etc.). As I was gathering a few items from my car and preparing to stroll around the industrial wasteland of a neighborhood surrounding the dealership, Harrold came out to prep my car and struck up a conversation. He had heard me say that I was from San Diego, and mentioned that he used to live in L.A. I said I was sorry to hear that (I don’t think he really got the joke), he then added that it was back in the 30’s that he lived there and that it was much different back then. He told me how he played baseball, and was supposed to play for the Padres, but got drafted and sent to fight in the war. He was injured and and discharged from the military as permanently disabled. He went on to share (and this is where things got kind of interesting) how when he lived in L.A., he lived in the “whites only” area, and made a point of mentioning that it was an all white area for 7 miles around and that the colored neighborhood was quite far away and that “there really weren’t that many of them anyways..” He continued with his story telling me how his high school had 7,000 students and that it was also all white (I started seeing a trend in his line of thinking). “Things sure have changed a lot, it’s really difficult for me and my wife to deal with” he added. At this point I was a bit flustered. I understand that he grew up in a much different era than I did, and that he had seen and been through things that I (thankfully) could not even begin to imagine; however, I had to stop and ask myself how to best handle this sort of situation. I opted to just smile and nod, then bid him a good day and be on my way, but as I walked to find some breakfast it kept nagging at me. I understand that his understanding of the world differs quite greatly from mine, but I feel as though, by not stating my disagreement with his blatant racism, that I am somehow agreeing with him and allowing the cycle to continue. I’m not going to say anything to him when I go back to get my car, but I have a feeling that that conversation will stick with me for some time. It really goes to show you just how much things have changed over the years. I should ask him what he thinks of Obama! haha..

Oh yeah, I completely forgot the crown jewel of this story, Harrold totally rocks a little Hitler moustache.. Ahhh man, people never cease to amaze me…