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Monday, May 30, 2005

Wasabi Bistro

An aftermath of sushi lays on my plate. Brien and I sitting full of Wasabi Bistro, our abdomens swelled with the goodness of fish within. A to go order of spicy tuna roll sits in its convenient wrapper beckoning to us. We shall wait for it's bounty for another time. The evening has had some great conversation, some better food, and some fantastic drinks. Really - what more could I ask for?

Testing...

Seattle at night - a camera phone experimentI've been having a few minor problems with image compression when I do automatic posting. Hopefully that is all solved now. I think it was an obscure setting that I just found and changed. I went back and manually re-uploaded all the images from recent posts, and if I got this working then the image attached to this post will look good as well. Aside from that I'm home safely and enjoying a day of relaxing and working out. I'm looking forward to dinner tonight with Brien at my new favorite sushi joint - Wasabi Bistro!

***UPDATE***
YAY - it worked right this time. I've been looking at a lot of camera phone images and am starting to like the low quality feel for certain types of art. I'm certain I'll never give up my DSLR, but think that my new camera phone is going to get a lot more use than I originally thought.

Avant-garde at fantastic new heights (or: a summary so far)

Again I sit on a plane, my mind adrift. Unlike last time I have a heavy burden of sleep depravation this time and might actually try sleeping. I woke up at a little before 3:00 am PST this morning to catch my flight, and will be arriving in the Seattle/Tacoma airport at slightly before 9:00. The time zones are making for a short flight time on paper - My plane left at 7:15 am Minnesota time and will arrive at 8:45 am Seattle time. Somehow between my two flights, and keeping busy seeing Janet and attending her graduation I'm exhausted and feel (rightly so) like I've been getting too little sleep for a while now.

***

The trip has for the most part been very positive for me. I was surprised at how Modern Minneapolis was. Once you got outside of the city things got very "red state", but in the twin cities proper things seemed very nice. I doubt if I could settle down and live there like my sister is, but I can see her being very happy there.

The weather for the whole trip was surprisingly nice. It was cooler in Minnesota than it was in Seattle when I left. The humidity was higher, but I adapted to that fairly quickly. Aside from a brief sprinkling of rain on Saturday morning the skies were clear, blue, and gorgeous. Seattle summers still have that beat in terms of sheer niceness, but from what I've heard Minneapolis keeps the nice weather significantly longer. The climate was actually similar enough to Seattle at this time of year that I occasionally forgot I was in such a far off place. I think this could mainly be attributed to the similar lattitude. Minnesota is far more flat, but aside from that has very similar vegetation to the Seattle area. I would catch myself unaware of my location and assuming I was in some suburb - perhaps a part of Lynwood or Tacoma that I was not familiar with. Only the odd unfamiliar chain of stores or the slightly different ways of marking streets served to remind me of the more than 1500 miles between my sister and I on the average day.

The people that I met have all been nice. In the backwater parts some of the people I met failed completely to impress me, but were at least somewhat polite. I can tell that particularly out in the country my tattoos were rather unusual and a few people were slightly uncomfortable about them, but they still managed to smile and be very nice about it. It's true what my sisters goes on about midwestern (mideastern?) hospitality. Seattle can be a bit cold shouldered from time to time. I still would much rather live in a bigger city with more things to do.

One thing that struck me as odd while I was there is that most of the people who had been to Seattle referred to it as bohemian. Now I would agree that the area I live in (capitol hill) is somewhat bohemian, but the rest of Seattle is fairly mainstream as large cities on the west coast go. There is certainly a little bit of the free spirited and artistic offbeat ethos floating around in some of the older Seattle neighborhoods (Ballard, Capitol Hill, Fremont, the U District).I suppose your definition of bohemian depends on where you were raised and to what you attribute "normal".

***

The clock on my powerbook now reads 5:53 am. That must be why I'm nearly passing out here. I've been awake for hours yet my normal schedule would have me waking up and hour and twenty minutes from now. As much as I would love to take a nap today I think I'll end up being busy catching up on work email, and making sure to spoil Skype so he knows I still love him.

***

WingviewMy flight continues, passing over nameless mountains, and featureless plains occasionally dotted with some sign of human contamination. A field here, a road there, the occasional mottled spec of a small town. Theoretically we are landing in about 40 minutes. Right now I'm trying to figure out exactly where we are. I would guess we are over Idaho or Montana from the landscape and time, but it could just as easily be over Eastern Washington. It really is amazing how big America is. It takes 5+ hours to fly across it and provides an endless collage of landscape. From above it looks so small, but on the ground it would take years to hike across it - if you could at all.

Update: It looks like we were flying over Arizona. Not minutes after I mused about our location did the captain come on the loudspeaker and point out Phoenix. It kind of makes me wonder why our path from Minneapolis to Seattle took us so far south. It also makes me wish you could use GPS mapping applications on planes - it would be very interesting to be able to watch your progress on screen and see details such as airspeed and altitude in real time.

***

The flight is nearing an end and I must say I'm pretty happy about that fact. We have had a little turbulence but my biggest complaint is again the cramped quarters I am forced to endure. Hopefully this will all be over soon and I'll be on the ground. Brien should be there to pick me up at the airport and whisk me back to the condo so that I can shower and get on with my life.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

And then she graduated

So here I sit, waiting paitently for Janet's graduation ceremony to start. I'm sitting on a flimsy plastic folding chair, one of thousands laid out on the the field in the St. Olaf's outdoor stadium. The freshly cut grass smells of springtime, and the murmur of the many attendees mingles with the sound of the student orchestra warming up.

It's amazing how quickly the place filled up. We got here nearly two hours early to get good seats (very near the podium so I can get some pictures for the family) and it's been interesting to watch the influx of humanity fill the stadium in waves like so much water pouring into a puget sound at high tide. There are over 600 (each with their various family members in attendance) graduates this year so I'm expecting a long ceremony. The weather is far nicer than I had been dreading - a nice cool 60 degrees, and patchy clouds. So long as this holds out the whole event will be rather nice.

***

UPDATE: Janet graduating - now with 100% fewer compression errors.The ceremony ended up being rather quite nice. It lasted a little over two hours, and moved along quite quickly as these things go. The dean had a great voice and pronounced most of the names correctly. I got some great shots of Janet receiving her diploma.  I don't think I've seen her that genuinely happy and excited in a long time. Everyone is very happy for her and I think she's very glad that her college days are finally over!

After the graduation we got stuff dropped off at her finance Dave's house and then went over to her roommate of three years home for a big BBQ. There are three grads from St. Olafs here and it's a fun little party. I think we are all going to head home relatively early though as we are all very tired and have to get to the airport very early in the morning.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Redneck hell anyone?

So I arrived safe and sound in Minnesota and I have to admit I'm more than a little scared. Seeing my family (particularly my sister) is great, but this place is pretty backwards. I got picked up at the airport by Janet's fiance Dave, who is a great guy. We had some really great conversation on the 45 minute drive to the college, then all got to have a big reunion.

Scary chicken with green sauceTonight was the "Presidents Dinner", a fancy dress affair with families and students. It was overpriced scary food. The salad we started with was not bad, but seriously - what the hell is up with that chicken. I had a couple of bites and just couldn't stomach any more.

After dinner we all headed out to a coffee shop to talk. The more I get to know Dave the happier I am that he's marrying my sister. It was nice to just sit and talk - this is the first time in over a year that the four of us have been together in the same place at the same time.

So aside from their being absolutely nothing to do here, the people being backwards hicks, and the water tasting funny I'm having a decent time. Thank god for wireless internet access via EDGE - it's ending up being a complete lifesaver!

Flying on a jet plane (or: who say's your mind can't wander)

So here I sit and 37,000 feet, my powerbook on the tray table (no longer in the upright and secured position), my headphones plugged into it's sleek side, and mount Rainier slipping it obscurity behind the plane. The soft rumble of the plane fades into strains of random techno beats, creating a deep rooted noise - not merely unwanted, but inescapable. Thankfully my allergies are no where as bad as they were yesterday, but I still have a snuffly nose, and raw nostrils. I'm not entirely sure if the cold cone of air blowing at me from the vent above makes me feel better or worse.

The seat next to me is vacant. The flight was sold out, but not oversold enough so the plane has two empty seats. I suppose I should consider myself lucky to have gotten it. Then again I suppose I would have been luckier to have gotten one of the few free 1st class upgrades. The seat in my little 747 here is not terribly cramped, but the extra leg room is always nice.

***

I fly over Montana. Looking down I see grasslands. I see farms. I see very little. I find it humorous that the midwest gets offended when people from either coast call them the "fly over states". When you fly over a coast you see things. Sprawling cities, glistening highways - progress. When you fly over the middle of the country you see expansive nothing - mile after mile after hundreds of miles of green-brown land. Nothing of note save for the occasional mountain or river twinkling below.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to say that being a fly-over state is necessarily a bad thing. I personally could not live in a place without the hum of a city - the vibrancy of humanity washing over me. I know a good number of people however who prefer a vibrancy of a different sort. The vibrancy of nature, it's beauty and splendor has a call for many. Even I who don't particularly like spending extended times out in the wilderness appreciate it's need. The environment is an important asset, and the only one we really can't replace!

Even aside from the splendor of nature the midwest states provide a significant portion of the food that I eat every day. The leather I use to wrap my laptop in when not in use (Ahhh natural shock protection) probably came from a cow grown in one of the states I now fly over.

***

A short while later and several chapters of my book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" (Cory Doctorow) the flight still is only halfway through to completion. I had forgotten how boring flying can be - no network access, no cell phones, no contact with the outside world. Just me, my laptop, a good book, and some surprisingly uncomfortable seats. As I look out my window I still see the barren flat land that is the midwest (mideast at this point?). The grey-brown wasteland stretches out as far as the eye can see, occasionally punctuated by the square patterns of a field, but for the most part raw grazing land for cattle and wildlife. It's amazing to think of the microcosms that exist below - blurred together into a formless mass by the thousands of feet thick steel walls of my pressured cabin separating us.

What of that farm over there? Yes - that one, with what I would guess to be wheat. Who is the farmer that owns it? Where is he right now? What is he doing? Is he toiling away in his field, making food for the writhing mass of American excess? Is he comfortable in a ranch-house, having workers or machines tend to his crops?

What of the farm itself? The 1000's of animals, millions of insects that live there, blissfully unaware of me hurtling along through the sky above them. What of the billions (trillions?) of bacteria that take residence in each insect - aiding it's systems, helping it digest nutrients and living off the richness of it's host. The delicate ecosystem living in balance (or forced into balance depending on the farmers views on such thing), unaware that it exists to be cut down, processed, and then served to people who don't even know where it came from.

It's funny the thought train that 37,000 feet can bring about. When your mind has nowhere to go but outside the plane; none of my usual networked distractions; somehow I start to think about the mundane - notice and appreciate the details.

***

And now I'm torn. I was just drifting off into thought and I asked myself the question: is it better to drive home to visit my parents in Walla Walla, or fly to visit them in Minneapolis - all from a transportation perspective. Driving home takes somewhere between four and five hours. I'm at the helm of my car, and can't do much other than listen to music or watch the scenery. I am however in control. I own my own route, my own destiny, and I can stop wherever I please and stretch my legs or explore the countryside. Driving for those four hours takes somewhere on the order of $30 in gasoline.

On the other hand flying is the ultimate out of control experience. Its faster, but you don't have any options. You get to the airport, stand in lines. Get poked, prodded, and treated like cattle. You sit in a narrow uncomfortable seat and whisk through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour. There are no rest stops, there is no checking out the town you just flew over. You pay through the nose (nearly $300 for this flight) and all you get out of it is the travel.

I guess the preferred method of transport is highly dependent on the locale you are going to. If it's nearby of course you would drive (Seattle to Portland for instance) - but if it's far away (Seattle to Minneapolis) then it makes more sense to put up with the indignities and discomfort of flying to save oneself a four day drive.

Now the question really comes to point when you have a midrange distance to travel. What if I'm going to Walla Walla? Then a plane ticket only costs $125 round trip, and the gas costs around $60. For paying twice the price I get there in about 1/8th the time, and barring bad weather have a decently smooth and comfortable flight. Perhaps I'm old fashioned - I drive more often than I fly. I'm really not sure why. Perhaps I like driving down the freeway, window rolled down and wind rustling through my hair. Perhaps I like stopping here and there, snapping a photo or two along the way. Perhaps I like having my car with me in Walla Walla.

Perhaps I'm just a transport luddite?

Waiting for a jet plane

Delayed flights make me angry. Then again so does getting 4 hours of sleep before a long flight, and having my allergies kicking up over every little thing. Luckily with my new phone's EDGE capability I'm sitting here (on the floor so I can be next to power outlets) updating my blog, chatting with friends, and basicaly wasting as much time as I can until I get to get on a plane and be cramped into a tiny seat for four hours. Somehow I'm not looking forward to this.

What I am looking forward to is seeing my sister and family. I don't see them all together near often enough! I'm just hoping the weather out there is not quite so miserable and hot as it has been here in Seattle over the last few days.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Happily confused

Last night was festive and confusing. After work I met up with Iridius and he took me to a play some of his friends were involved with. It was called The Ritz, and it followed a man hiding from the mafia in a gay bathhouse. It was funny, offensive, and wonderful all at the same time. After we got done with that I headed home and started getting ready for bed. I was all hot and sticky from the heat of the day and decided to take a shower.

After the shower I felt surprisingly better and sat down to relax with Skype and work on moving my mail servers over to the new server (Dreamhost rocks!). Brien and I were chatting and he convinced me to go out with him. It was strip dance night at R Place and Jeffery was stripping and doing a plug for FTRS. Jeffery really put on a show, and helped raise awareness so it was all a bunch of fun. After a few drinks is when it really started to get interesting.

After I got home he and I started to talk and it came out that he's interested in getting back together. I'm both happy and confused about this. I wish we had never broken up in the first place, and I'm kinda scared about getting hurt again, but I love him so much that the thought of being together with him just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. We talked about a lot of things, and I'm sure will have a lot more to talk about in the coming months. Neither of us knows exactly the right away to move forward but I'm sure we will figure it out. I guess I could say my current status with life is "Happily Confused"

Tonight is the suspension at Aristocrats. I'm going to be shooting photos for it, and then coming home to get a little sleep before I have to get on a plane tomorrow to head to my sisters graduation. I'm not really all that excited about going to Minnesota, but seeing the family will be nice, and I'm very proud of my sister for graduating!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Almost there

Today was pretty blah as Wednesdays go. I was pretty busy at work, and managed to get my new phone mostly set up. I still need to have Brien bitch at Cingular a bit for me to get the data plan set up quite right, but I have the theme mostly set up. The entire UI is expressed as XML and driven by JScript and uses JPG and Animated GIF files for the visual elements. I'm pretty happy with how hackable it seems and am getting to work already creating my custom themes.

Today was the first day I worked out alone. Tres was unable to join me at the last minute so I went to the gym, plunged in my MP3 player and rocked out alone. It was not as difficult as I had hoped, but it certainly was more difficult than to work out with someone to nudge me on.

After working out I got to eat dinner with Christopher. It was good to catch up with him. We ate dinner at this great little resturant called Takohachi down in the International District. I got to hear a bit about how his mom was doing after her surgery, and I told him more about my Grandmothers health. We haven't seen each other in nearly a month until tonight - something that we can't let happen again.

Phone, again

So yesterday after all the goodness and stress something happened that really managed to piss me off. I dropped my phone. I guess to be fair it was more than a normal drop, more like an aggressive drop onto concrete but nonetheless dropping was involved. Unfortunately this sent my phone into a fit of test modes and I was forced to go get another one. I decided to make the Cingular plunge and have Brien sign me up for a new phone using his Microsoft discount.

I ended up getting the Sony Ericsson S710 camera-phone. Not that I'm particularly thrilled with the idea of having a Symbian OS phone, but it was the only EDGE compatible phone with bluetooth. Since I only need to make voice calls and get my laptop online it seemed like a good compromise. It also syncs with Outlook, but I doubt if I'll use that feature for much more than keeping my phone book up to date.

I kind of like the form factor if for no other reason than it's unique. It also has MP3 ringtones so I'm going to get to be extra annoying around the office and come up with creative and unique ringtones to drive everyone nuts!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Busy busy

So today has been an interesting one certainly. Aside from the usual work I got to go to a great meeting with a potential new client of ours. I've been so far from the business development process of late it was a breath of fresh air to be sitting in a meeting being asked technical recruitment questions and being able to sell our business to an HR department. Don't get me wrong - I'm really happy that I'm doing less business development and more recruiting/actual technical work these days, but it was still nice to at least revisit my old business development days.

Aside from that today I had a mini-review with my lead. We sat down and for the first time set some concrete goals for me. He pushed me to set them slightly higher than I was really comfortable with. I think I can make them, but I always like to set my goals small, and see how much I can beat them by. It's going to make the next year an interesting a busy one. If I make those goals both my company and me are going to make a shitload of money so it's a great thing!

Tonight is going to be pretty low key. I've got a bit more work to do and then I'm going to take it easy. Brien and I are doing dinner and a movie and then I'm going to make for an early night - tomorrow is going to be really busy!

eMusic - an online music store that doesn't suck!

MP3 music downloads at eMusic: What a cool site! I just found it through a social network of mine and I'm somewhat impressed. It's a site where you pay a monthly subscription service and get a set number of music downloads. The best part: the downloads are simple plain MP3's - no DRM, no restrictions on what you can do with it. It's a breath of fresh air to find an online music store that trusts their customers and has a good faith policy against piracy. The songs are also much cheaper - if you get their biggest subscription plan you get the songs for less than a quarter each!

The only downside that I can see is that their catalog is not nearly as large as Napster, iTunes, or any of the other online music stores out there. I've never really used them much tho because I don't like the idea of paying for crippled music. As eMusic grows I'll be happier and happier, but for now they can take my $9.99 a month and I'll take a few albums and be happy with it! Go them!

Monday, May 23, 2005

It's going to be an 8 cup day

It's 9:30 in the morning, I'm on cup three of coffee for the day, and I'm still not awake yet. I'm really not sure what is prompting this, as I got a pretty good nights sleep last night. I guess that I really just need to finish waking up and get the lead out. It's mornings like this that make me wish I worked out in the morning rather than after work - it would be easier in some ways, and you would at least be awake, pumped, and ready for my day at work!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Wasabi Bistro

So aside from some drinking with Brien and Scot at the cuff last night the weekend has been pretty low key. I've been doing a lot of design work on a few new web projects (not to mention a redesign of Sparktoblog) and working with photoshop quite a bit. I'm going to end up buying another copy for my mac at some point, but for now I had to re-install Windows on blinky so that I could use it.

BlueThis afternoon I went down to the federal building in downtown for the a photo-shoot for the new FTRS T-Shirts. I really like the design that Jake made, and his friend Jeffery was a fantastic model for them. The pictures came out great! Once the online store goes live hopefully the revenue from the T-shirt sales will help FTRS grow. If you haven't already checked out the website please do - help us fuck the red states and defeat the imperialistic republican regime.

After the photo-shoot and a few hours of retouching I went to dinner with Brien at Wasabi Bistro. I had never been there and was quite blown away by the food. The sushi rolls, although completely non-traditional, were amazing, rich, flavorful, and creative. The presentation was amazing, and the ambiance was perfect. I think I've found my new favorite sushi restaurant! Expense reports here I come!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Web development musings

I've had the developer itch for a while now and have decided to get back into web development. I've got a few concepts kicking around in my head and I think I'm going to flesh out a few of them. I'm checking out OSX development tools and finding myself liking what I've seen so far. Tres introduced to TextWrangler, and it's a great little text editor. It reminds me a lot of Textpad for Windows - another of my all time favorite applications. They both offer minimal interfaces, tons of options, code highlighting, and great macro/sort/text munching capabilities. Tonight I'm going to be getting a copy of Photoshop and then working with it for the UI work.

As much as I've loved using TypePad (and will continue to use them for Sparktoblog) I think I'm also going to download movable type and play with it a little bit for some of these projects. I have a couple of ideas that really will need some form of publishing platform, and having one that's as tweak-able as possible will make things easy. I can still use an RPC compliant posting tool (like Ecto) to post which makes keeping up with projects like this easier.

I'm also considering getting a copy of Flash for this. I've never done motion graphics, but it sounds like something that might be fun to play with. Then again I remember last time I tried to do any motion or 3d work and ended up all but throwing my workstation of the time across the room.

Star Wars III: The spoiler free review

So I just got back from seeing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and boy am I pissed. It started off pointless - the first 30 minutes were all action - mind you pretty action - but action nonetheless. Not a single plot point, not the barest thread of a story line emerges. Finally after a good 30 minutes the most meager of concepts, the faintest hint of a tie-in to the grand trilogy that stated it all creeps in.

The last 70 minutes were meandering. There were patches of passable dialog, sparks of acting or character development here or there. For the most part the entire film was centered on George Lucas and his over inflated reliance on special effects. Gone was the storytelling that made the original Star Wars such a success. Gone was the punchy but adequate dialog - to be replaced with childish links the movies yet to come and R2D2 as comic relief.

The movie managed to do very little in the two hours of screen time that it received other than set up the basic Star Wars world as set by Episode IV, Episode V, and Episode IV. Much of the movie seemed to be contortions the writer (I've heard George Lucas had this one ghost written) had to go through to avoid gaping plot holes (he failed) between the mess of the first two movies and the well established Star Wars Universe created by the original trilogy. The actual new creative content and theatrical concepts introduced could have easily been fit into a 15 minute short film.

It's sad - the original Star Wars is easily one of my top 10 favorite moves of all time. As much as I really lacked passion of the rest of the series I could tolerate them. Episode III on the other hand is one of the few movies I have seen in my life and actively hated.

So yeah - I'm a little tipsy, a little pissed off, and quite fully wanting my two hours back. Now I'm going to cuddle up on the couch, and watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to try and regain my faith in the science fiction genre of cinematography.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Damnit

So today has certainly been a mixed bag. I was somehow feeling rushed this morning (there turned out to be a good cause for the rush) and left the house in a big hurry. In this flustered big hurry I managed to forget my gym bag, so here I sit at the gym waiting for Tres, all but ready to work out in Jeans. How crap can you get ehh?

Aside from that the day has been busy and productive. I got an urgent project dropped on my desk this morning and spent most of the day working on getting it staffed up and ready to go. It's always nice to have something take up your day like that and make things fly by. I know after a day like today I'll get a sound nights sleep, feeling productive and wise.

So now I'm going to go buy an overpriced pair of gym branded shorts, and work out in the T-shirt I went to work in. How exciting. How drab. At least afterwards I guess I get to look forward to going out to a movie with Brien and some other friends. Not that I'm all that excited about Star Wars III, but at least it will get me out of the house for fun times!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Commuter Cars

Commuter Cars: Damn - I think I just found my perfect "plaything" car. It's an electric commuter car capable of 150-mph that can do 0-60 MPH in less than 4 seconds. Talk about a tree-huggers wet dream!

Team America: Wonderfully stupid

Yesterday I had the mixed fortune of seeing Team America - World Police for the first time - and with my dad no less. He stayed the night at my place on his way back up to Vancouver to be with my Grandma some more. Her health and mental state is deteriorating fast and I'm really worried about her. If she gets any worse I think I'm going to have to take some time off to go up there and visit her a last time.

He was pretty tired when he got here so we just chilled on the couch and watched the movie. I hadn't seen it yet and we were both impressed and bored at the same time. The movie had some funny moments, and the un-censored puppet sex was over the top, but still - it was kinda stupid through and through.

Aside from that life is good. I'm keeping busy, have two days left in the week, and a fun weekend ahead!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Slight redesign

So I've gotten sick of my old (boring) grey/white format for Sparktoblog. I just tweaked the colors a bit a like it more, but think a complete redesign is in order at some point in the near future. Email me if you have comments or ideas. Expect to see a more drastic change in the near future!

**Update**

So I've tweaked the layout a little bit, and ripped the color scheme a new one. Anyone like it? Anyone hate it? I HOPE YOU ALL ARE CRYING RIGHT NOW!

**Update 2**

Yeah - so my previous design sucked a bit too much. I redid it yet again and came up with this. It's a bit more "tan and happy" than previous designs. I must admit that I cheated a bit and based it off of a TypePad template. Enjoy and keep up the good crying!

That guy

Yup... it's confirmed - I've become that guy! Several of my friends have pointed it out, and now I have to concede the point. I've become a Volkswagen driving, dog owning, sushi eating, workout addicted, spiky haired, management driven workaholic yuppie. The funny thing is that I think I'm pretty happy with that.

That's all I've got.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Getting their ass handed to them on a platter

So here I sit watching time delayed E3 footage of the Sony PS3 launch up at Brien's. I feel sorry for him and every other Microsoft employee watching this. As much as I really liked the original XBOX I really think that the Playstation3 is going to mop the floor with the XBOX 360. It has nearly 8 times the processing power, significantly better graphics, and a physics engine that blows anything I've seen in the past out of the water.

The most impressive part of the demo was the real time physics engine combined with realtime shaders, ray-tracing, and artificial intelligence combined into a single fluid package. The graphics look more real to life than anything I could have possibly imagined in the next few years hardware wise. It's nearly equivalent to pre-rendered content made for movies of a year or two ago.

So yeah - Microsoft's XBOX 360 launch was underwhelming, and when combined with such a stunning showing by Sony I really think that Microsoft is going to lose this one. It's sad to see given that the original XOBX had so much promise and capability as a platform and the next generation platforms are so disappointing.

A true technologist

So last night I did something that several years ago I swore I would never do. I went and bought a Mac! I got a 15" Powerbook and I have to admit that I'm impressed. Now I'm not going to go all gung-ho and say this is the best hardware/operating system/user experience/etc that I've ever had, but I will say that I'm impressed and I don't see it leaving my life at any point in the near future.

My experience with the Apple store was surprisingly quick and easy. The people knew a thing or two about what they were talking about (compared with say Comp-Useless). There was a slight snafu with the operating system (I got a Powerbook without the Tiger upgrade CD in the box) but they fixed it immediately and without question. Once I got it home and installed Tiger I just started to play with it and tweak my UI.

For a laptop I'm surprised at how responsive it is. I had always heard people talking about how PowerPC to Intel architectures don't really compare and they were right. The 1.67gz Powerbook is about as responsive as my 3.4gz desktop at home when it was running Windows. The industrial design on the entire laptop is fantastic - Apple really does understand design (if not the two button mouse). Before buying my Powerbook I did a lot of research, reading reviews and pondering the writings of other users. I came across the phrase "OSX is like a breath of fresh air" more than once in my readings and now see why. I'm not sure if I'm going to go that far, but I have to admit that the UI does make Windows look a bit stodgy. That also might be a weakness of OSX however as Windows is far more consistent (windows and applications having the same look, feel, and behavior), something that the enterprise and novice markets both appreciate.

Aside from that I think I've now become a true technologist. I've used the three major operating systems (if barely) and found them all to be capable and have different strengths. I don't think I'm as anti-Microsoft as I was when I first installed Linux a few weeks ago, nor do I think I'm any more of a fanboy of Linux either. I think all three operating systems have their pluses and minuses. I suspect that moving forward I'm going to run some mix of all three. I know Blinky is going to end up being a dual boot with Linux and Windows XP, and of course my Powerbook is going to get dual boot with Yellow Dog Linux and OSX. That way I can continue to learn about all three, and take advantage of their various strengths.

Aside from my exciting new computing experience life is good. Last night I discovered a mild injury from Friday as I could barely lift weights, but cardio went well and it was good to get pumped up again. Tonight is going to be a pretty low key evening - Skype is going to need some love (he was still pretty wiped out yesterday from playing with Sasha) and I'm going to need to give my new toy some love as well!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Oh Henry

So after a quick journey to Jake/Tres house we all ended up heading to Sno-homo in our individual cars. Jake took a rental (the jeep got soaked overnight) and went back to the capitol hill to pick up Janie. Tres came with Skype and I and we headed northward, Infected Mushroom straining through an otherwise uncomfortable silence cutting it like a knife through so much useless fat.

Upon arriving Skype got to meet Sasha, a little Jack Russel Terrier that Carol and Don had rescued. She has a few personality problems about food and attention due to the fact that she had been abused as a puppy. Her and Skype got along for the most part - a few small incidents with food involved a little bit of a scrabble, but other than that the two of them were happy little puppies running and frolicking for a good seven hours. By the time we were ready to leave Skype was exhausted.

The human element was pretty standard for the Henry household - drinking, yelling, abusive yet loving relationships, and the odd comment so sharp that even leather armor +4 quivered in fear. They taught me how to play "Screw Your Neighbor" which appears to be a variant of Uno but played with standard playing cards, and MALICE.

Tonight is the start of week four or my workout regime. It's going really well and I'm very excited about my progress. It's not that noticeable yet from the outside (although it's slowly getting there) but from the inside I feel 100% better. Quitting smoking helped a little bit too, but in general I just feel healthy, more energetic, everything about me seems to have gotten better from my libido (yet sadly I'm still single), to my desire to get off the couch and go do stuff with friends. Yay4Me!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bears and ink and metal, OH MY!

So last night was certainly a memorable one. After a lazy day Brien and I went out for some dinner and he mentioned that a friend of his was trying to drag him to "Ink and Metal" night at the Eagle. I was quite curious, and as trashy as the Eagle is I made an executive decision to go and dragged Brien along. Once we got there we discovered that it was not really "Ink and Metal" night, but instead "Ink and Metal Underwear" night. At the door we were offered a choice between stripping down to our skivvies or paying a cover charge. Of course we both paid our $5 and headed in to see the sights. My friend Scot beat us there by a few moments and we hooked up with him right away.

After a couple of drinks however my inhibitions started to wane, like so much salty blue water receding from the Oregonian shores of my youth. After my 2nd drink I went downstairs and traded in my clothes for a claim ticket and really started to get into the event. About 90% of the people that frequent the cuff are scary motherfuckers, but in this case the other 10% was interesting, intelligent, and pierced/inked so things were actually pretty interesting. I got into an interesting conversation with some (hot) deaf guys. It drove home to me just how out of practice I am with sign. They had to spell most things out for me, and at a speed that must have been painfully slow.

After Brien had a few more drinks I managed to convince him to strip down and join the fun. By this point about 50% of the bar was in their underwear, and the other 50% was goggling from the sidelines. I found this to be quite amusing and settled into a "watching the watchers" mode for a while. They had a little ink contest and Brien entered. He did not come in first (despite getting loud cheers from the crowd) but it was fun to see him prancing about on the balcony with a flashlight highlighting his work.

Well now that I'm home and rested I must head out. I'm going out to the Henry estate for the afternoon to hang out and let Skype romp in the wild. Salute!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Xbox 3nothing

So last nights MTV event was a big fat failure in my book. Admittedly it was not aimed at me, but I was surprised at how lowbrow the entire thing was. They has bling bling attractive 20somethings all gathered around it acting happy and sexy. They had trash music, and the "pimp my ride" crew interviewing Microsoft VPs. The part that I think bugged me the most is for a launch event the told the public NOTHING about the Xbox 360. There was less than 30 seconds of actual footage from games (and that was grainy and compressed to standard definition) and aside from showing us the (butt ugly) case nothing new was revealed.

*sigh* At least I suppose more tech details and information about the Xbox's future as a digital hub should be coming out at E3 next week.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A silver blob launched against the autumn sky

The signing went well and my mom made is safely back to Walla Walla last night. Tres and I had a great little workout and talked about more plans for Phoenix Fest and other such things. I'm quite pleased with the fact that I'm starting to see some (minimal) definite change in my body. I'm on day 12 of not smoking, and feeling great for it - I still cough up little bits of nastiness in the mornings some times, but I'm feeling more energetic and no longer get winded as easily.

This morning I woke up early (I've been needing significantly less sleep in the last couple of weeks thanks to working out) and took Skype for a long walk. We probably made it a good 3 miles before I came home to shower and get ready for work. I'm debating trying to make that a regular thing - I value my precious sleep, but I think that exercise with Skype makes us both feel better and helps get our days going.

On a geeky note tonight is the Xbox 360 launch event on MTV. I'm not sure how I feel about it being on MTV, but I sure know I'm excited to see more of it's capabilities. I don't like what I've seen of the design (silver is so ugly for home entertainment systems) but if the graphics and game play can live up to the hints that game studios have been dropping I'll suffer through a bloated and deformed silver blob sitting next to my media center.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mother, revisited

Aside from being pumped up and ready for my legs workout tonight I'm pumped up and excited for having seen my mother again last night. This is around the one year anniversary of our family friend Ann's tragic death. As a result my mother and many other cyclists have been working on passing a new bicycle safety law to change the way people can pass on highways when bikers or pedestrians are on the road. This new bill is called HB1108 and passed the Washington State senate and house earlier this year. Today in Olympia the Governor is signing the bill into law and my mom came up last night so she (along with Ann's widower and daughter) could be present.

She flew in last night and rented a car to come up to my place for the evening. We ate dinner and watched a movie before heading to bed. Today she's going down to Olympia for the signing then heading back up to SeaTac for her flight out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Store Wars

The best star wars parody yet. See also: it's an advertisement for organic vegetables. This has to be the weirdest cross promotion idea yet.

For once my pants falling off is not part of some esoteric nightmare

Yesterday was long and fulfilling. After a bit of a late and lazy start I headed in to the office and got things squared away and back on track for the projects I'm working on. I had a Java project come in which makes me a bit uncomfortable as I don't know jack about Java.

After work I went to Sound Body for my workout with Tres. I had indulged a bit in Walla Walla so I did a little extra effort and time on cardio to help burn off the excess calories. After the workout I was feeling energetic and feisty and bounced around for a bit while Dom and Brien watched Final Fantasy with me.

This morning was the first morning where I had empirical evidence that my workouts are achieving something - I put on my favorite pair of pants and was delighted to notice that they are all but falling off. Half way to my office from the parking garage I was wishing I had brought a belt. If I keep this up I'll have to go buy new clothes soon - something that as loathe as I would normally be to do I think I'll be fairly excited about given the circumstances!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Long haul home

This weekend made for fun times - I went home on Friday to see my mom for mothers day. My dad was coming back through Seattle on Friday and I ended up following him home caravan style and we got home mid afternoon. It was really good to see Mom and hang out in the slow paced world of Walla Walla.

Dad brought down news of my grandmother. She was doing better for a while, but it sounds like she's taken a turn for the worse. Yesterday when I got home I got the call that her subdural hematoma has gotten worse and she's back in surgery to see if they can relive some of the pressure on her brain. I'm hoping this all gets resolved soon - Grandma does not deal well with being in the hospital and I'm sure Grandpa is more than slightly freaking out with not having her around.

Skype certainly enjoyed being home for a bit. As much as he hates being in the car for 5 hours he really does like Walla Walla what with its wide open spaces and his grandparents there to spoil him rotten. I think he was a little stressed out from the car ride yesterday - he was acting quite mopey and sick last night, and seems a bit out of it this morning. I'm hoping that he feels better after a day to rest and recuperate.

Now I'm down at Red Line eating some breakfast and checking my work email. I technically have today off but I think I'll end up at work in a few hours anyway. I have a lot to get done and should really get some things taken care of in case I end up having to run back up to Vancouver later this week if my grandma takes a turn for the worse.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Things are looking up

So quitting smoking and working out is really making an impact. Tuesday and Wednesday were kind of miserable from a quitting smoking perspective, but I’m over the hump and now it’s getting easier every day. On the working out front it’s getting easier to do and I’m starting to see results. Starting yesterday I could see a slight difference. I’m not quite as flubby, slightly more shaped. It’s not a significant change yet – but if I keep this up I think it will be.

As for this weekend it looks like my grandmothers health crisis is wrapping up so I’ll be headed home to Walla Walla for Mothers Day. I’m looking forward to seeing the family, and I’m sure Skype will love running around in the wilderness again. It’s something he almost never gets to do being a city dog!

Tomorrow my dad is coming through Seattle on his way back from being with my grandma. I’m going to meet up with him and we are going to caravan down to Walla Walla. He’s a bit of a slow driver which might get a tad annoying, but it will be nice to take it easy with him and stop at scenic places to take photos and let Skype romp.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ups and downs

The weekend was certainly another fun on. Friday night Scott, Mark, Erin, and myself went to go see Hitchhikers Guide with a work friend of mine. The four of us grabbed some dinner at Gordon Birsch which is always fun, then we went to the Pacific Place theaters. My co-worker and her friend missed us in a bit of a phone snafu but we all got to see the movie.

I was fairly impressed yet somehow let down. The movie was fantastic and did a great job of keeping bits of Douglas Adam’s narrative intact, however as a big fanboy of the original books I was disappointed. I liked the movie a lot more after my friends pointed out that to include everything from the book and not take any artistic license would have made the movie 5 hours long and rather boring for a cinematic presentation.

Come Saturday morning Scott, Brien, and myself got ready for the big Lord of the Rings marathon at the Cinerama. We got down there a little after 10 in the morning and ended up staying almost all the way through to the end. 13 hours is a bit to long to spend in a theater seat, and we watched the last hour of the Return of the King back at my place while lounging on the couch.

Sunday was a quiet day around the house. I worked on installing Ubuntu Linux on blinky and learning more and more about how to get around in both the Linux shell and within Gnome. As much as I’ve been whining about Microsoft failing their customers of late and how much of a threat Linux is to them I figured I had better try it out and make my own opinions.

Now three days into my little Linux experience I’m quite impressed. It’s not quite as user friendly or well documented as Windows is yet, however it’s close and catching up. I seriously believe that by the time Longhorn eventually comes out Linux will be stiff competition – particularly based on its free price tag and customization. The transition has been fairly easy given that I was already using Thunderbird and Firefox – for me it has mostly just been learning the details behind the scenes and how to move around within the Gnome desktop.

On a positive note my whole health oriented mentality is paying off. Last night I did my 4th workout, and it really is starting to get easier. I’m pushing myself more and getting more out of it. It’s not significant, but just from increasing my metabolism I’m starting to lose weight and trim up a little bit. I’m also quitting smoking altogether to make my cardio exercises go a bit easier. I’m on day three right now and feeling fairly sick for it. I’m going the patch route again – last time I tried it was the closest I’ve come to a successful quitting yet. I’m just hoping that the sick/coughing/painful phase passes quickly and I’m back on my feet again by next weekend. If previous experience counts for anything I should feel great by the middle of next week.