Gnomes on line 1.

warning labelI’m sure there are still some blue tongues at the office today – although i haven’t interrogated anyone about it to confirm – and i have already seen some of the pictures circulating of us all from saturday, dressed to the nines in black, red and gold, sipping martinis dyed to company-logo-blue and clanking our glasses together in merriment. One of the best company christmas parties i’ve been to, themed after Casino Royale, replete with tuxedo-clad dealers, high-stakes betting into the multi-million-monopoly-dollar range (with a percentage of winnings destined for the high-roller’s charity of choice) and a c-note’s worth of engineers, developers, and sales and support personalities nearly unrecognizable in their previously-unseen glamour and panache. The only let-down was being sent home so early, likely at the bequest of corporate attorneys with visions of liability lawsuits dancing in their heads. Today, back to the grind, the weekend’s festive binge has passed the torch to the weekdays’chemical crutch and the return to denim, repetitive stress syndrome and radiation-emitting portable electronics is energetically complete.

My garage door remains immobilized today, deprived of its one remaining tensioner spring on saturday morning so the garage door gnomes can use it as a paradigm from which to fashion two fresh ones. Those gnomes called me today, or rather dispatched their human female receptionist to do so, in order to request the weight of my garage door. The weight of my garage door. As though i had recently held it in one hand, and a 10-lb sack of flour in the other, and estimated that “this hand weighs about twice as much as that hand.” She helpfully suggested i place a bathroom scale on the garage floor and lower the door onto it, so i suppose i shall have to stop at target tonight and purchase a bathroom scale in order to weigh my garage door. I’m sure i’ll find thousands of amusing uses for a bathroom scale once i’m in possession of one, the least of which will involve finding a place to store it in my already-overcrowded 4-square-foot bathroom. I supposed it also wouldn’t hurt to weigh myself at least once, as the weight on my driver’s license probably hasn’t been updated since it was issued in 1994.

John was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon and is home on Vashon now, likely alternating between sleeping and driving his mother crazy with sarcastic answers to valid medical questions. I stopped at the hospital yesterday morning on my way to the gym but he was sleeping soundly so i read the two pages of comics from his sunday times and departed as stealthily as i had come. I did not, in fact, make it to the gym afterward as all the other cheap bastards visiting downtown on a sunday morning had scarfed up the entire allotment of free street parking and the municipal tower garage was either closed, non-functioning or woefully understaffed, with no amount of punishment levied at the “print ticket” button able to remedy the infuriating situation. After several dozen maddening circles in a steadily larger radius around the building, i had my fill of the whole ordeal and bitterly headed home, begrudging the gym, the muni tower garage and the “consul-only” parking spaces with their deceptive emptiness that resulted only in cruel, exclusionary condescension. Still annoyed (and possibly tired and lazy, as well) i didn’t go to the gym this morning either. That’ll show them.

I think i’m overdosing on TV.

I think i’m overdosing on TV. I can feel my brain starting to turn into oatmeal. Or really, more like cream of wheat, some sugary artificial flavor, the kind that comes with a packet of frosting you’re supposed to tear the corner off and swirl over your instant gruel in some artistic manner. That’s right, my brain is turning into fake, rapid-cook sugary mush… and the giant free-will-and-creative-expression-sucking eyeball is to blame.

Some of it’s been good TV – wait, is there really such a thing? Ok, i don’t know if i can make that claim. But it at least felt more mind-expanding to watch anime for 3 solid evenings this past week than to, say, invite over a few friends for a Survivor marathon. A lot of InuYasha, Wolf’s Rain and – today – Naruto, enough that i’m starting to think in pictorial alphabets and hold a pen like it was chopsticks. To achieve some cultural balance, i’m also taking in several hours of Comedy Central’s sunday afternoon ‘big bust weekend’ fodder – Beverly Hills Cop and the intellectual highground that is Reno 911. All this wide-eyed chair-jockeying has given me a renewed energy and a new motivation to make each minute count… except for those minutes i spend draped limply into a chair with my eyes fixed straight ahead and my brain unplugged.

In between sessions of my aforementioned fitness routine, i spent several days trying to get a lot done while spending a little. This started with a visit to Travis at work, where he and his nifty mechanics stethescope told me that the Z does indeed have a couple of connecting rod bearings out of spec, and a few noisy hydraulic lifters. None of them, he said, are serious or urgent but… i’m sure dollar signs rolled past my eyes. He also pointed out that my tire had a nail in it, and was basically flat. Super! Since the last time i checked them was in Van, that means i potentially drove 125 miles home plus a couple loops around the city with 10psi and a roofing spike on the left rear corner. And he told me i need new brake pads – which i knew – and that the rotors are warped – again with the $ signs. The tire situation necessitated a stop at Discount Tire where, thanks to my previous purchase of rubber for the Maxima, they were willing to hook me up with a free repair. Problem: tire was not repairable. They did hook me up with a loaner in the closest size they had available, but thanks to it’s much-larger profile my car now looks like a monster truck from certain angles and rides with a distinctive lean towards the right. Oh, and the tire rubs inside the wheel well whenever i hit a bump. Thankfully, there are very few rough spots on Seattle’s meticulously-maintained roads and freeways (insert laugh here).

I had planned on parking it for the winter soon anyway, although i didn’t think it would be permanently parked, just locked inside a garage and started up every couple weeks if sunshine permitted or just on principle, to keep things lubricated. Now it looks like the sunshine is irrelevant, as it’s really not safe to drive, so it’ll just be a weekly session of idling inside a garage and killing my brain cells (if tv doesn’t get them first). Now you might be asking – which garage am i going to be parking it in? Well, i don’t know either. Thought i had another month to figure it out. 😉

In a sign people are actually getting smarter (or maybe that the ratio of better-educated european and asia-pacific web surfers is increasing, thus raising the overall average IQ of the internet… or maybe just that with florida all ravaged and whatnot less of them are on the internet lately, making the whole country seem more intelligent) the ratio of Mozilla users is increasing. So apparently more people have figured out that less viruses, pop-up ads and annoying floating fake error boxes will plague you as a web surfer if you shy away from internet explorer. It is, after all, the same internet no matter what the interface, and maybe a company like Mozilla that is agile, driven and determined to build the best web browser possible – spending all of their waking hours devoted to the task – is going to offer a better interface than a company like micro$oft whose browser is a secondary product that holds a comfortable market share. Mozilla has to earn your trust – micro$oft already has you in their clutches. Who do you think is going to try harder to give you what you want?

If all of this thinking about the subliminal motivations of personified corporate entities is too much for you, i suggest you go play hold the button. My workday is 12 hours… see if you can hold the button as long as i hold down this chair. 😉

Two projects completed

Oh, the humanity! It’s so freakin hot in our office today, a combination of the recently warm weather and the building’s refusal to acknowledge the hvac system’s inadequacies. Also, things aren’t working correctly, nothing big, just little, tweaky things that we can’t track down. And it really hot and stuffy, so it’s sort of hard to care…
Ian’s transmission is finally in, and working great. Amidst cheering, laughing and likely some tears of joy he drove it out of the garage last night, powered by the newly-installed 5-speed. We drove around the block a few times, tweaking and tuning, and giving Ian a really hard time about his rough starts and our resulting whiplash. Overall, though, pretty freakin’ cool that it works well, even down to the little stuff (reverse lights work, and that safety switch that disables the starter without the clutch in). We were pretty proud of ourselves, and i think Dave’s pretty happy to see us vacate his garage, although he was a great sport about it all. He even kept us around for a bbq afterward. I ate two huge hamburgers and had a great talk with Christy over dessert – going to attend a gallery opening with her on thursday. Oh, and the weather was incredible and perfect, totally postcard.

In case you haven’t tried it yet, i totally overhauled the photo gallery while i was formatting hard drives and re-re-re-copying files on saturday. It doesn’t look particularly different, but trust me that i totally rebuilt it – all the photo details are now stored in the database, which means the photos are … yes, that’s right… searchable. So go search for something, it’s neato. I’m still working on keywords and subject qualifiers, so you may not get full results, but it’s still pretty cool. And – original goal – it should be easier for me to get new galleries up in a timely manner. 😉

A long monday at work, intermixed with a funny email, a few random phone calls, and lox on a bagel… and now i’m really ready to go home! I need more than a one-day weekend. Only 4 more work days then it’s down to the cabin for the weekend, which i’m greatly looking forward to – i really need a vacation!

Cartoons and photo uploads

Spent all evening watching Futurama – man that show is funny! – and posting new pics for ya. So check out my family visiting for my birthday, Steph and i snooping around the Montlake neighborhood, and a lake cruise that Kim arranged for us. On the maxima site, there’s some pics from Ian’s tranny swap and my nifty BitCharg 1/64 scale RC Fairlady in various stages of modding. A lot of new stuff to look at… so go nuts!

Easter and UPS Tracking Numbers

I’m coming to you on this rainy tuesday from the breakfast table, racing against time to type something interesting and still eat my bowl of special K before it gets too soggy. According to ups tracking, my neato new phone is supposed to arrive today. I really just want to sit at home and play ssx tricky until it shows up, but i’ll probably go to work… ugh. I need to go visit the offices in burien (south seattle) this week, but i hate going down there almost as much as i hate driving to kent – it’s just a sucky drive, and when i get there nothing works like it’s supposed to. Plus i always seem to get in car accidents in that part of town. Well, ok, it only happened once, but i’m entirely creeped out down there now about it.

Mom, Dad and Danielle will be here thursday afternoon for a long weekend. It’ll be cool to have them here, hopefully the weather will be as nice as it was last weekend and we’ll be able to hit a bunch of the fun stuff. I already have tickets for a Mariners game saturday nite – my birthday present to myself. I still have two more nites to finish cleaning the house…

Haven’t been getting much done on the cleaning front so far cause i haven’t been home an evening since, like, march. Went to Dave’s last nite to help Matt finish up Ian’s transmission. At least, that was the plan, until we figured out a banjo bolt that connects the clutch master cylinder was missing. It’s a special order part, won’t be in for a few days, and none of the local places had anything similar enough. So it’s mostly put back together, other than the master cylinder (obviously) and a few under-hood parts (battery, supercharger piping) that would be in the way. But the pedals are all there, the tranny is in, and it shifts – although third is a little sketchy. I think it’s just stuck, nothing a running engine and moving car won’t fix. Fourth works just fine, and it’s on the same actuator. I keep telling Ian that, but he’s worried that it’s not going to work once we get it all together. In that case, i think Matt’s and my advice would be ‘take it to a transmission shop!’

Sunday was a lovely Easter lunch/dinner feast with Adam, Lindsey, Mike and Donna. My contribution was two bottles of wine, both with a story: a bottle of Rosemount shiraz that Tim and Carol introduced me to, and a Due Uve – an italian white – that my wine expert Michelle McL recommended. Both were great, i drank quite a bit of both of them…. 😉 I was up early that morning for Easter mass at a very beautiful cathedral that is only two blocks from my house – ‘so those are the church bells that keep waking me up!’ – and had breakfast with Josh downtown at the Cyclops. It was a beautiful, sunny, excellent Easter sunday!

Wednesday nite Josh, Kim and myself are headed to an animated film festival in the U district that’s supposed to be killer-funny. So that pretty much leaves tonite for me to finish my laundry and clean the house… but why do i suspect i’m going to spend all nite playing with the new phone…?

Lucy Liu, I’m still waiting for you to return my calls

New photos up from the aforementioned Oregon coast daytrip. Go check ’em out! I know it’s been over a month… i hope you think they’re worth the wait! It was a fun trip, i had fun putting together the gallery – even really late! 😉

Got a few more steps done on Ian’s transmission today. Old automatic tranny is out, new manual tranny is working and assembled. Big old hole under the hood, couple pans full of tranny fluid laying around in Dave’s garage. Looks pretty cool. 😉

Doing laundry and staying up late watching movies with Josh. Well, i’m not doing laundry with Josh, just the staying up late part. A little Charlie’s Angels is a great way to finish the night…

Wide Open Throttle Sunday

Sunday morning and i’m lying in bed, surfing the web forums and thinking about what i want for breakfast. If i could reach them, there’s a box of lemon zingers on the dresser, but that’d mean getting out of bed, and i’m just not ready for that yet. 😉

Steph and i went on a lovely morning stroll through the Montlake neighborhood yesterday. Actually, we stopped for a breakfast first – hot chai and smoked salmon schmear on a toasted bagel (smoked salmon schmear – say that five times fast!). Then it took us a bit to find the Montlake neighborhood – apparently there’s this whole part of the city between Capitol Hill and the 520 that i never noticed before…

Raced home and changed into grease monkey clothes, as we started on Ian’s tranmission swap right after lunch. He had some rewiring to do, as his alarm wires passed through the exact place in the firewall where the clutch pedal needs to go (doh!). We got the brake pedal in and some holes drilled (well, Matt did most of that work). There just wasn’t room for more than one of us under the dash. I didn’t really earn my steak (we bbq’d at Dave’s place) but i will next weekend when we really tear into the job. Thanks again to Dave for being such a great host, especially since he only closed on the new house that morning – we messed up his garage before he even had a chance to move in! You rock, Dave! And great place! Somewhere in there i re-grounded my horns, as one of them was working intermittently (of course, the low-pitched one would cut out, making my car sound like a moped. typical). Also installed my Injen cold air intake – my first noticable performance mod! I’m soooo jacked about it, even though it’s not that big of a thing. My car has this super-awesome growl to it at WOT now (sorry… Wide Open Throttle) – like i needed another excuse to reach high revs… it’s so sweet tho! Very cool.

Off to dinner with Kim and Josh now (it took me all day to finish this entry – what can i say, it was a lazy day!). We’re headed down to the waterfront in search of overly large and salty ‘freedom fries’… [insert laugh here] and maybe some shopping… plus i have to let them ride in my car now! 😉

I bit the head off a live bat the other night…

So it’s friday, but i’m not sure if that’s It’s finally friday! or It’s already friday!. Didn’t get a lot of those chores and household tasks done that i meant to (no surprise there) but am definitely looking forward to the weekend. Kim made a pot of coffee this morning and then i left and forgot to take a cup with me. Should have done it, cause it’s 11.30 and i’m ready for a nap. 😉 I guess staying up late watching Will & Grace reruns and Elimidate while surfing the internet probably wasn’t the best move… but it is friday, no one expects me to be on the ball today anyway…

Going out to lunch with DJ today, next friday is his last day working here. Then he’s off to Hyde Park, NY for culinary school. Guess i’ll have to find someone else at work who will appreciate my engine dress-up and who is interested in tuning mini RC cars… On the plus side, maybe i can go visit NYC and stay with him, and we can roll up to Jersey, take my car to Level10 for a valve body upgrade!

I noticed that the WA dept of licensing charged $25 to my paypal card, which must mean they’ve processed our application for a business license. So Patrick and i are now legit, just waiting on our irs tax id number. That means i’ve gotta build us a website and a bunch of other stuff, so i’ve got weekend work to do. That, and we’re doing the first part of Ian’s transmission swap saturday, installing the clutch and brake pedals and the clutch master cylinder. Then a couple saturdays from now we’ll drop his auto tranny out and replace it with the 5 spd. Should be an interesting project, definitely messy. Added some more stuff to my Maxima wishlist today (brake upgrade) after a bus cut me off on the freeway. Stupid bus. This is really a random post. Kind of stream-of-consciousness writing. Maybe that’s because i’m kind of half-awake. So far i haven’t started talking like Ozzy… but the day is still young.

I can use the brakes again

Busy, busy week last week, but can’t believe i was so busy i didn’t have time for you’all. Seriously, what kind of a friend am i? 😉 It’s monday morning and am back at work after a great yet disturbingly short weekend. I brought my BitCharG RC car to work today (i’ll get a pic for ya and put it here tonite) and my plan for the morning is pretty much to drive that around the office and avoid doing any work. But i guess i can take a break from terriorizing the hallways to fill you in.

Worked like crazy last week, a few hours late most nights, a good chunk of overtime. We’ve been installing new computers in our offices all over the state, which makes for a lot of heavy-travel days. It’s been good, tho, as everything’s gone very smoothly and Ron, Caleb and i have been traveling together, which is funner (yes, ‘funner’) than traveling alone. Long days, tho.

So i rewarded myself with a completely fun weekend where i did nothing productive. 😉 Took a great roadtrip to the Oregon coast, stopping in Tillamook for fresh cheese and pepperoni, and then on to Cannon Beach and Seaside. It was a bit rainy and more than a bit cold, but still nice enough that Libby was able to do her yoga on the beach. The drive back was a bit rainy and dark – sure glad i have those new tires, thanx Mom & Dad! A great trip tho, and i have a couple cool souveniers i’ll get pics of for ya, plus i’ll get the roadtrip pics up in the gallery this week (promise!). And Patrick, i have your block of sharp cheddar, as requested. 😉

Sunday was spent in my home-away-from-home, Ian’s garage. Matt installed his custom ground wire kit on my car – it came out great, he’s a real pro – and i finally fixed that stupid taillight wiring. I’ve been embarassed to use the brakes cause i was missing a brakelight and i think that’s so tacky, so i’ve been gearing down a lot and finding other creative ways to slow down (holding my hands out the window? jake brake?). It’s much easier to just use the brakes, so i’m glad they’re working 100% again… Also changed my oil (third time i’ve done it myself, i’m starting to get the hang of avoiding the mess) and collected a sample to send to Blackstone Labs for engine condition analysis.

The other big project for the weekend was actually a co-project with Patrick, deciding on a name to put on our business license application. We’ve narrowed it down to two, i’ll keep you posted on the progress…

I’m purposely not saying anything about any current events items as the whole thing pretty much creeps me out. I will say that i’m really annoyed by hypocritical protesters – i don’t know how someone can carry a sign proclaiming that capitalism is evil when they’re wearing an eddie bauer jacket and nike’s and their picket sign is made from office supplies. Also, for all those anti-petroleum protesters who keep scowling at me in my car from their rainy street corners – we use petroleum for more than just making gasoline, ya know. Like making your shoes, and your picket signs, and your ‘environmentally friendly’ bicycle… and keeping hospitals sterile, and food fresh. And i’m sorry, Cameron Diaz, but we’d have to turn off a lot of lights to save the energy consumed by your 10,000sf home and your 8000lb Escalade. So if you’re gonna protest, get your facts right and walk your talk.

So, that’s my dish for the weekend. Have a great monday, peeps!