No content have I for thou to click uponst.

It’s friday morning, Mom and Dad headed home today after spending a week in town wining and dining Danielle and i and just generally making us feel loved and a little spoiled. I came close to preventing them from buying me anything unnecessarily, but caved on a new corkscrew after my dull, junky one nearly cost us a bottle of Columbia syrah i’ve been aging in my wine pantry (trans: garage) since late 2001. It’s one of those fancy automatic jobs that whips the cork out in one smooth clamping motion in less time that it takes to think “this is the first bottle of wine i’ve opened in a long time that cost more than my morning coffee”, further deteriorating the time-space barriers between me and alcoholism.

As always, it was fantastic having them here, and i really truly didn’t mind sleeping on the couch, honestly. It’s pretty comfortable, as i’ve proven to myself several times previously when i was simply too tired to climb those 5 steps to the bedroom. For once i took a vacation from taking photos of everything the entire visit; with Mom and Danielle both packing around digicams now there was no shortage of freeze-framing and silly group poses. Danielle is processing through her shots on her flight this afternoon, and so will probably have some posted by early next week. Although Dad and i didn’t get the foglight rewiring done on Mom’s Audi we wanted to, i did get his garage computer finally working properly, and we made it to Harbor Freight where even Mom found things she shouldn’t live without (like a rock tumbler she can use to make jewerly).

I’m headed to Van on sunday for a Datsun/Nissan show, so i’ll probably have a few pictures from that to post up next week. The only picture of my own i have today is an amusing out-the-window shot of a Burger King sign i saw in Renton last weekend, finally revealing what is *really* in a whopper. I do have some other nice things for you to click on, though. Like this gallery of images from La Tomatina, an annual festival in Buol, Spain that involves a giant, one-hour tomato fight on the last day of august. Also, some great b/w photos of Germany circa 1929 that showcase the fairy tale beauty of Deutschland and include some places – Partenkirchen, the Zugspitze, Hohenschwangau – that i remember followed up by a drastic gear-change to some aerial photography of post-WWII-bombing Germany. Click around those a bit and feel all worldly and historical and stuff while i struggle through what will certainly be a never-ending day of dreariness (both inside the window and out).

Second Day in the Boiler Room

Hanging out with Lance in the NOC… my second day of work, my first “official” shift, altho i worked pretty hard to keep up yesterday, too. It was a busy day, issues popping up all over, so i got to handle quite a few interesting things. Learned a lot… forgot most of it. 😉 But i’m getting the hang of things today – the foosball breaks, the starbucks runs, which channel is SpikeTV on the plasma tv… 😀

I like the work already, and i’m enjoying the people and the company very much. Getting up at 5.20am on a saturday to catch the bus is never going to become “easy” but it’s a pretty easy commute, with time for a starbucks visit in between transfers.

A bit of a head cold making me groggy, but Danielle came over last nite to cheer me up with her homemade cookies and a bowl of soup, and she helped me clean up my room so i didn’t feel so disorganized at the end of a long day. She was a huge help with the cleaning and organizing, but really i just needed to hang out with her a bit – we haven’t gotten our usual quality time lately. If i’m up to it, tho (and if i can find some money for gas!) we’re headed down to puyallup sunday to help Ian and Jenn look at a couple houses, and then stick around to have dinner with Aunt Carol. Uncle Tim is out on a flight, unfortunately, but Carol probably needs our expertise painting her living room regardless, so we thought we’d stop by. 😉

On the things-i’ve-bought-lately front, there are two news items, both small. A nifty new alarm clock (trying not to be late for the new job – old one was NOT dependable) by Oregon Scientific – no, i did not pay that much for it, it was on sale at Target. 😉 Does lots of fancy things, but i especially like the “crescendo” alarm – i hate both alarms that are too quiet (never know how tired i’m going to be at 5am) and ones that are too loud (for those days when my biological clock does it’s job and wakes me up 3 minutes before the alarm is set). So that’s pretty cool.

The other thing is, of course, for my car. 🙂 Since my power antenna broke like a month ago, and i didn’t want to go thru that again, i found a stock Honda S2000 one that’s cool and less likely to break off. Since it’s OEM i figure the reception should still be OK, compared with all the knock-offs i found on ebay. It was only 10 bucks, compared to a couple hundred for a new Nissan power one (eek) so now i just need to figure out how to mount it. Might try and stop by Eric’s monday evening and give that a try, while we change the brakes on his Pathfinder.

Okay, now i’ve got a red button on the Seattle data center to go check out… back to work. 🙂

Building Solidity in 2k4

Another sunny weekend over, here it is sunday nite already and i’ve done… not much productive. 😉 Okay, i did spend a few hours writing some code for a small contract job. And i got that drain pan full of used oil out of Steph’s garage, finally. Huh, that reminds me… it’s still in the trunk of the Sentra. Heh heh. Anyway…

I’ve been a bit under the weather all weekend, with what i think is turning into a sinus infection, so i guess i can use that as an excuse for why i missed several opportunities for fun and sun the last few days. Staying inside with a box of kleenex, a few packets of instant oatmeal, a case of sprite and several bags of cough drops (i like flavor variety) gave me lots of time to surf the net and watch tv. Huh, i seem to find time to do those things when i’m not sick, too. So maybe i was just lazy this weekend… but i really am sick. Honest! Believe me, i would not have missed Anna’s going-away party had i been even the least bit up to leaving the house saturday nite. As it is, i shall have to wish her safe travels over the phone and visit her someday soon in Fresno, i suppose.

The point i was meandering towards is that in all my extra (or not-so-extra) surfing time i found this funny/interesting/provoking article by Robert Cringley, an opinionated and oft-maligned technology columnist. There’s a reason why this column is called “the pulpit” but i actually found this one less offensive than usual, a little more grounded in research. Or maybe i just agreed with him, so i rationalized that he makes sense. Regardless, you should read it, so maybe you can say “i knew that’s what would happen” with me ten years from now.

In other travel-related news, Christian will be here in 5 days! Kim and i still haven’t cleaned his room or his office… doh! But that doesn’t mean we aren’t really really excited for him to get here!

Also happening this week, Danielle starts her first day of work! Yup yup, she has a job already – she’s such a go-getter! I’m very proud of her hard work and determination in moving out here, everything from driving her own u-haul truck all over the city to tackling her job hunt right off the bat to figuring out the bus schedule so she doesn’t have to commute downtown. She’s going to fit in great in Seattle, and i’m so so so glad she’s close by again, because i really missed her!

My boss said something a couple months ago about this being a year of building solidity for our department. I dunno if that will ever materialize, but i do see 2004 being such a year for me. My career is clicking along, my good friends are getting better and nearer, i’m feeling better about my life than i ever have… and my dream car runs like a champ! Here’s to 2k4! 😀

Weddings, Moving and Engine Break-ins

948 miles logged on the Z so far – almost there! Not really sure what “extra” i’m going to do when it hits 1000 miles, other than change the oil again. Maybe start worrying a little less, i guess, altho i’m still wondering about a few squeaks and rattles, a strange clicky noise, and parking it outside in the street.

I’ve been MIA all week for many reasons. Last few days in phoenix were too busy for computer time. Wedding was very nice – pleasant, elegant and simple, obviously Jenn’s doing. Ian succeeded in smiling thru the entire evening from inside his vest and cummerbund. The sun shone warmly but not so much that anyone was prone to fainting, and the champagne flowed freely. The happy couple departed, and as the night was still young, we piled a couple cars full of merry attendees and sought out weekend entertainment in downtown phoenix. After wandering haphazardly from block to block, somehow we found ourselves around a large table at Hooters in an outdoor mall, scarfing hot wings served by seemingly-underage waitresses. Heated political discussions notwithstanding, a good time was had by all. And big congrats to our Hero and Heroine – can i say “i can’t believe you’re married!” and at the same time offer “i’m not at all surprised.”

The rest of the trip was about three things: sunshine, pool time, and food. Anna, Kim, Dave, Sophia and I repeatedly sampled what the Valley of the Sun had to offer, and all-too-quickly i was on my way home.

Waiting in Seattle when i returned, Mom and Danielle had found Danielle a great studio apartment in Ravenna (near Green Lake) and we spent the rest of the week packing, moving, shopping, assembling, decorating, and ordering in. Steph was a huge saint and chipped in on the moving part cause she’s so nice. Some small logistical snafus, but nothing compared to the horror-move i put Danielle thru two summers ago – i’m convinced i still owe her some moving payback.

Mom is flying home tmrw, Danielle’s getting settled quickly in her new place, Dad’s not going to believe how much money Mom spent while she was here (sorry Dad, we tried!) including picking up a pair of red Diesel shoes since she liked mine so much. Hers are much more cute and girly than mine, tho…

It’s another beautiful sunny day in Seattle, spring is here and i’m very happy about that. Many days to drive with the tops off, making up for all those winter days without sun, t-tops, or driving. And that, my friends, is what i’m going to go do right now… 😀

Danielle arriving as I depart

Mom and Danielle arrived safely today, and Danielle is getting settled in her room upstairs, that will be hers until Christian comes to claim it in a few weeks. I barely managed to get the house clean after work, before they arrived; I was wiping down the kitchen when they knocked on the door. We laughed ourselves hysterical all evening and headed to bed early… doesn’t mean i’m asleep, tho – instead, here i am. 😉

I’ve logged 430 miles on the new motor. Lifters are still noisy, i think i need to find some way to coax oil into them at a faster rate. I sort of thought that ‘self-lubricating’ parts would be, uh, self-lubricating, but apparently that isn’t always the case. When i return next week, it will be due for an oil change, and a much-needed belt tightening – those squeaky belts are so embarassing! Really spoils the illusion…

Tomorrow i’m on a plane to phoenix, to spend a long weekend helping Ian & Jenn get married! I originally planned a nice long trip to get out of town for a bit, since my car would be done, and take a break from everything. Then Mom and Danielle scheduled this to be Danielle’s return-to-Seattle weekend, and Mom decided to stay and visit, and here i am leaving for all but two days of that. Oh, well, i suppose they need their quality time. Hopefully Danielle will have found some good job prospects by the time i get back.

If i can find an internet connection in the desert i’ll give you a wedding update, and pop onto IM. No guarantees, tho – it’s still kinda the wild west down there (no handgun laws!) and i’m staying at a cheap hotel. 😉

Pre-Europe loose ends

I’m sorry, i’ve been totally leaving you hanging! Augh! It’s been a busy week, so many things going on! Danielle stayed with me for a week or so, and Miguel came down to visit her for a few days. She headed off to MT monday and is home helping Mom and Dad move into their new house, enjoying the snow and a house full of boxes. I’ve been busy this week getting some maintenance work done on the Z – oil, belts (thanx Travis!), cleaning and stuff. It wouldn’t really feel like mine unless i’d torn it apart a bit. 😉 And then, big busy-factor is getting ready for my vacation next week! Lots of packing to do, and i probably should crack that German phrases dictionary sometime before tuesday. 😉 I’ll try to keep you updated between now and then, but i’ll probably be offline for a few weeks. But send me a text message, and i’ll tell you what i’m up to! 😀 And be sure to check out my live wireless blog while i’m gone – i’m gonna post for you one way or another! 😉

Triumphs and tribulations

Busy week already, so many things to do! I’m working on getting some odds and ends fixed on the Z, some stuff that needs to be done for me to drive it every day. Also, some preventative repairs – spark plugs, fluids, etc – and some testing and checking to see where it’s at so i know what i need to be ready to fix, and when. Already Ian and i think the compression might be off, and that i may have a turbo that’s burning a little oil. Possibly a leaky PCV as well. Thankfully, Travis has agreed to check it out tonight, hopefully he’ll be able to isolate any weirdnesses. Big thanx to Ian for his help this weekend with the compression testing, and to Jenn for being so patient when we delayed dinner! 😉 Also thanx to Danielle for assuming my taxicab duties tonight when Steph’s flight arrives, as i’ll be with Travis putting the Z on the lift.

Speaking of Danielle, i just want her to know how proud i am of her for how brave she’s been about her career path and all the tough decisions she’s been making lately. It’s never easy to figure out what we want to do with our lives – most people never do – and sometimes even small steps in the right direction turn into big steps before we realize what’s happening. I just hope i can be here for her to help in any and every way i can, that i can always be supportive and understanding, and that she tries to learn from my mistakes and build a better future for herself than i have. She’s at a big crossroads in her life, and i want her to know that we’re all here to love and support her, and to follow her down whichever path she chooses – even if she backtracks or changes her mind or blazes her own path through the forest. We can’t all be big dreamers, Danielle, but i’m glad you are, and i’m glad i have this chance to trail along on your coattails and live vicariously through your adventure, taking risks and trying new things in a way i’d never be courageous enough to do. Don’t let life get you down – you’ve got too much potential!

I could ski for a living

This week has taken forever! Augh! I’m all excited to head south this weekend and look at a really promising Z, and it’s been like 40 days since monday when i decided to go! Thankfully, some other good stuff this week to keep me busy. Danielle and i have been spending a lot of time just hanging out, as she’s moving north to Victoria the end of the month, so we’re trying to squeeze in some last quality time. I wish we had more!

Tonight i met Kim, Dawn and Julia for sushi and cocktails, and then we caught up with Gabe at the ski swap expo thingy downtown. Another big room full of equipment i can’t afford to buy, but still a good time – came home with a big handful of stickers and a couple sweet posters – one of Big Mountain in Whitefish, MT, a gorgeous sunset shot of the mountain, very cool. Coolest part was chatting with Eric Pollard, a killer pro skier with his own model of Line skiis and a starring role in several of my favorite ski movies. A very down-to-earth guy, we talked about some equipment and some of the great places he’s skied this year. He mentioned how lucky he felt to be traveling and skiing like he does – what he modestly omitted are his immense talent and extreme determination to raise the bar on himself. Either way, i’m sure impressed by Eric’s accomplishments, and i’d hope if i was ever in that position i’d be as unpretentious and laid back as he is about it. If i had it to do over, i think i’d skip college and just ski for a living. 🙂

Boating and a dyno day

Guess who was in town?!? Sara Torbet and Kelly Weak came thru Seattle last nite, crashed on our couches! We had a lot of good laughs over dinner, breakfast, coffee, gelato… it was like the fourth of july! 😀 So glad they stopped in, it was great chilling with them!

Mom and Dad are in town for a couple days, too, after towing out a u-haul filled with Danielle’s stuff and delivering her little orange ball of kitty terror, Ferris. Nice to see them again so soon! We’re gonna try and squeeze in some fun stuff while they’re here.

Saturday nite on the lake was great, enjoying the sunset, the city sights, and the clouds of gnats on union bay. Big thanx to Kimmy for that one (she rocks, btw!) Hope to be doin that a lot!

Met Ian, EB and Sarin down at Intec Racing saturday to put Ian’s car on the dyno. Not the huge performance gains he was hoping for out of the 5spd swap, but still well over 300 hp at the wheels, and it should be pretty darn quick at the track this summer. The guys down there have a great shop, too, and really seem to know their stuff, plus offer pretty reasonable dyno rates. Everything down there, Ian’s included, made my family sedan seem really slow… 😉

A big happy birthday shout-out to roomie Josh Huisenga – hope he had a great bday yesterday, hope i left him some hot water in the shower yesterday morning! 😀 You’re not that old, man, and even if you are, we still like you!