Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This is what it looks like outside our cabin. It is snowing. Quite a
bit, actually.

There were plans to go hit the mountain, but the folks font want to so
that while snow is coming down. So we instead stay indoors. I don't
think I've left the house since my friends were here. Fun!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Tada! This is what I do at airports. At least the ones I show up to
hours early because I'm afraid the wearer will make the roads hard for
the bus to get me there on time only to have the flight constantly
delayed while I'm at the airport.

Actually, after taking this picture I discovered my new beer had a fly
in it. I didn't think that actually happened. But apparently it does.

Woohoo unwinding by myself!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day

Lots of snow today. It was supposed to come yesterday, but so much for

It's weird because this is not like the other places I've had to deal
with snow; and this is dealing with it in a different way entirely.

Normally, I go to the snow. Wait from afar to have it fall, wait for
them to clear the roads, and then go to the snow. It also means that
most times I'm around snow it's intended to be a vacation. So snow
means no work.

Also, in the event that it does snow in Tahoe, this never really
changes our plans. Sure, we can put chains on the tires, but we're not
inhibited from going out at all except that one time where we got
snowed in. But that was a really bad storm. Today was not bad by those
standards but Seattle came to a standstill.

Busses were reroute or cancelled. Lots of cars were spinning out along
the freeways. At least two restaurants on my street never opened. The
commute issue caused massive amounts of MSFT employees to work from
home: excessive load on the servers then made it horribly slow to get
anything done.

It annoys me that Seattle can't deal with snow. I think it might me
more of how the city handles it rated than how the residents do.

Anyways. I need to pack. Hopefully there won't be commute issues
getting to the airport so by the end of tomorrow I can be somewhere
that oat horrified of snowfall.

Friday, December 05, 2008

How Not to Party

I have lots of little voices in my head. Probably not literally, but there are a number of different perspectives I see on a given situation at once, each of them trying to influence what action I take. So it's easy enough to personify these perspectives, give them voices, and then view my thought process as a bunch of dwarves brawling, because that would be awesome.

One of the whinier dwarf voices is that of Doubt. Always asking "what if". Like you gave a chipmunk caffeine and and inherent fear of life and just let it talk endlessly. Everything I face there's a part of me that tries to think a few steps ahead, at how things could possibly go wrong, as proof that I shouldn't do anything, because the worst is inevitable, and I don't want the worst, do I?

This is especially true when I'm dealing with loads of other people. Like, for instance, at a party. Perhaps a winter party with a bunch of coworkers at a golf club at a fancy town in the hills just south of Bellevue. One where everyone comes dressed up nicer than usual because it's not just a party -- it's a dinner party.

Now, in this situation, I'm surrounded by people that I want to have a positive view of me in whatever context I consider them to be a part of. I want folks I consider friends to view me positively by the metric I view friends. I want coworkers to see me in a bit more presentable, professional light. And, for people I don't know, I want to be polite, cordial, and even witty, because I haven't quite decided which context I want them to view me in yet.

A party of this size has folks in all sorts of contexts. And it drives that caffeinated dwarf chipmunk of Doubt absolutely bonkers.

I want to relax and have fun. But I do that with friends, not with coworkers. Do I tell them stories of my day? No, that could go wrong, and why would you want to do that anyway they're coworkers. What if I say "fuck"? Oh heaven's no don't do that people will be offended. Jokes? Maybe but keep it tasteful -- no racial stuff, no sexy stuff, in fact, no jokes might be best after all.

The result of all this is an extra layer of thinking. Of debating if I should say what popped into my head or not. It's not a trivial amount of effort to do, so it's quite taxing. And worse yet, this is all in a setting that's under the guise of being a party, where you relax and have fun, and spend time with friends. And instead, I'm tense, very self-aware, and talking work talk with coworkers because I know that domain is easier to tread without negative consequence.

I have two ways out of this. The first is easy: bring friends. With enough folks around me that know me well enough, Doubt shuts the hell up because it's really got nothing to say. And then if some coworkers stray into the conversation, no worries, I'm already having a fun time, they can masquerade as friends in my head if it keeps the momentum of the evening going.

The alternative is a bit more difficult. It requires a different dwarf to step in and bitchslap Doubt across his puny face. Because he's sick of hearing Doubt's shit -- Doubt's all talk and no action. This new doubt is Boldness, and it does indeed help if Boldness has had a drink or two before he tries brawling with other dwarves and talking louder than he realizes.

The gist of Boldness is to just tell Doubt to shut the fuck up, your wining is only making this worse, and there's no fun to be had if you just sit on your ass and do nothing. A man of action, Boldness wants to do things which can't have all their possible negative consequences enumerated.

Unfortunately, this year Boldness didn't offer much more than talk. Last year, friends helped, and Boldness got me to come alive and have tons of fun with the folks I work with. This time round, he tried, but (a) I had less to drink and (b) there was no clear idea of what benign mischief I could cause that would liven the party up. Also, there were just fewer friends. That hardly helped.

The one saving grace of the evening was the afterparty. A short drive to a coworker's house, with a friend and a number of people I don't really work with. A bit of time sharing embarassing stories, sexy hip moves, and rocking out to "Man I Feel Like a Woman". That's fun. That's a party.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Quick update

This trip deserves a much longer Blog entry, but all I have time for is a short one.

Today was the result of poor planning, of poor common sense. The idea of extending my trip a few days was that it would give me a few extra days in the Bay Area to hang with friends, and also because it would save me about $100 on airfare. Win-win.

But then that leaves today. It's a Monday, and I'm in Berkeley. It's one of my days that I get to spend with friends, in theory. But everyone's got posters and projects, midterms and essays, or they have a job. Everyone is busy with things to do, because in the normal world people get things done on Monday, despite their laziness screaming at them that it's a lot of work and napping is a lot more rewarding.

So I once again find myself with time to waste. I sleep in. Hit up one of my favorite spots for lunch. And all my elaborate time wasting leaves me at about 12:30pm with 5 or so hours to go before friends can hang out, and they've figured out that I'm not a student anymore, so I can't get free wireless around campus. Bugger.

The result is a very long afternoon spent at a cafe. I got a bit of work done -- some design work that, though I hate working on vacations, I really should have done a while ago. Then I began to play a game, but it didn't feel right. That's about as well as I can describe it. Slacking off with mindless agmes didn't seem like the right thing to do.

I instead spent my time on other projects that I had neglected. A bit of graphics work. A bit of HTML & CSS on the next rev of my website -- mostly proof of concept stuff but it's working well enough to actually use. I'm impressed. And pleased with myself. ">

I don't know what it is about my surroundings, but there's something psychologically empowering about being in Berkeley. It's probably just a mental block or something I have about pursuing the things I want to do while i'm in the confines of my family's household. It's not a good thing -- but it's good to know it's a thing.

Anyway. Now it's friend-hang-out-time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

2 therefore n? as in November?

I'm on track so far. Which is easy considering it's been 2 days so far.
I managed to have vegetarian for dinner last night, so bonus there, but I only managed until about 7pm without eating, rather than going through the night hungry. Probably a good choice, as it was pretty rough towards the end.

Also: cardio workout yesterday and balance & quad endurance today. And I'm ahead on my word count.

Tomorrow will tax me, because as of yet, I was getting everything done precisely because I had no work to do. But tomorrow, I have work to do.

Here's to hopin'.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November Targets

A bit late, but here's what my plans are for this month:

  • Complete NaNoWriMo. Big goal.
  • Video games only if I'm ahead on my word count. This will absolutely suck.
  • Eat Vegetarian with 2 exceptions: Thanksgiving & potentially Saturdays. Bonus if I manage to be vegetarian on Saturday as well. Oh, also, I'm going to say fish qualifies as vegetarian cuisine.
  • Fast on Sunday. Sunrise to sunset, bonus if I manage to sleep sunday night without eating.
  • Daily workouts, 3 a week will be cardio. Bonus if I get more than 3 days with cardio workout.
  • Big TV off after 11pm. I'll either read or write after then.
  • Meditation 3 times a week? I think so. I need to get that skill back.
  • Be more social? I don't know how I can quantify this. But somehow.
Let's go november.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Like New Years Resolutions, but earlier.

I need to change a lot of things about my life. The more I think about it, the more distinct the image of who I want to be becomes. And the more I realize how that is not like me.

The biggest difficulty with my goal is I want it to be sustainable. I've had smaller goals that I've reached, only to go back on them in the long run. Things like a target weight, an exercise regimen, cooking a real meal once a week, forcing myself to try new things, and being more social than I perceive myself to be. In my first year in Seattle, I did all of these things, and I felt good about having done them, but did not keep them up. And now I find myself doing none of these things, and I'm rather unhappy with myself about each of these things, but not so strongly as to bring about a change of habits.

I'm in a rut.

A look back on situations I'm doing differently now:

  • Work. Then: In around 10, leave by 5:30. My working hours revolved around my life and whatever activities I did outside of work. Now: I'm in earlier, I go home later. I'm focused more on what work I've finished than how much work I've done. 
  • Ultimate. Then: I played 2 or 3 times a week, mostly pickup, but always regular. Now: I have a team, but we don't practice. I don't make it out to lunch games anymore. I play once a week, at best.
  • Weeknights. Then: Freakin busy. Dancing Mondays, Thai Tuesdays, Puzzle Wednesdays, Cooking Thursdays, and Drinking Fridays. Now: Just the Fridays. The rest of my weeknights are TV shows or video games.
  • Weather. Then: The weather didn't phase me. It was even a bit exciting when the rain began, because it's really not something I'm used to. Now: I'm distrustful of sunny days, as they seem to tease me of what it could be like all the time, but isn't.
I don't think these are all unrelated changes, but they all stem from a common cause. I wanted the real world to be a better version of college. My first reaction when the real world met my idea of what the real world should be was to change the real world. A rare few of these changes have held (Friday drinking and a general atmosphere of socialness amongst my coworkers being the only one that comes to mind). 

And then, after a while, it's hard to keep the momentum going. Especially when there's such little positive reinforcement for my efforts. I stop trying as hard. And as a result, I see what was likely to be the outcome anyway, for much less effort. And the cycle repeats. I'm not getting any better at Ultimate, why keep playing. I'm not accruing a posse of friends that I feel comfortable with asking to hang out with at the drop of a hat, nevermind finding a handful of people I could genuinely trust. I'm not getting used to crap for weather.

And so I sit. Locally trying to optimize my reward per effort has gone from an active social life to me & an Xbox. And I'm genuinely unhappy about it.

That is who I am right now. The uphill climb to who I want to be has had a bit of a landslide and brought me back down here. And while there's a chance that route would work if I simply dug deep and gave it another go, I'm thinking I'll try a different route this time.

If I don't like reality as I perceive it, and changing reality has failed, all that's left is to change my perception of that reality. Then the only thing that can stop me from creating that change is myself. I'm hoping I'll be easier to change than the rest of the world has proven to be. 

I haven't quite figured out what I want to change, but I've gotten a timeline. By the end of next week I'll have a list of things to do different, of better ways to spend my time than I'm spending them now. And then November will be when it kicks in. All the changes, all at once, for one month. 

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trust My Decisions

So I think I am holding out on writing on all my other topics until it's NaNoWriMo . But Political stuff is neither fiction, nor will it be as relevant for the majority of November. So here it is.

All the issues in the current presidential election can be narrowed down to one question: Who do you trust to make a decision on the right thing to do in a given situation? While quite vague, these concepts of trust and decision making are a deep part of our government and show themselves across the entire spectrum of experiences in our society.

Let's take an obvious example. You find a lost puppy. It happens to be found beneath a sign telling you who to call if you find this puppy. The Right Thing to do here is relatively obvious. Call the number, give the puppy back, everybody is happy. No laws exist to tell you what to do in this situation, because the government trusts that you'll do the Right Thing so much, that it's not even worth their effort to punish you if you don't. Here the answers are easy, the solutions simple, and each individual is trusted with the decision.

Now for a greyer and more touchy example: abortion. Regardless of its legality, trying to determine what the Right Thing to do is in this situation is one that's hotly debated. Somehow, a woman who does not wish to have a child finds herself pregnant. Whether it be from a failed contraceptive or from, heaven forbid, something as grim as sexual assault. Whichever path got her here, she's now in an ugly situation, and she will do whatever she thinks is the Right Thing.

That is, if we trust her to. Pro-Life supporters don't think that this is a decision that she can handle on her own, so they want laws that explicitly say what the Right Thing is (in their case, that she must carry the baby to term) and force her to do that Right Thing. Pro-Choice advocates do trust the woman to consider what's best for her and her child, and let her choose what she believes to be the Right Thing to do.

On a bigger scale, we have things like our current electoral college process for elections. There are really only 538 votes cast in an American election that hold any weight at all on who becomes president. The popular vote, the ideological one vote per person is tallied, but each state decides how the popular vote will influence the electoral vote. Some states have it all for the most popular, some have it split proportionally, and some electoral votes are completely independent of their popular counterpart. This was designed so that, if the populous didn't vote for the Right Thing on election day, the electoral votes could fix it so that the Right Thing did happen and the right candidate was elected.

This is what happened in 2000. The popular vote determined Al Gore to be the best man for the job, but apparently everyone who thought that was the Right Thing was wrong. Phew. That was a close one.

And with another election in front of us, every issue is another version of this question of trust. Do you trust the banks to regulate themselves and only give loans to folks who can pay them back? Do you trust agencies & corporations to provide equal treatment to same-sex couples as they do heterosexual couples?  Do you trust employers to give equal opportunity and equal pay to women as they do men?

Whoever we elect this year will be in the position to make these decisions. I think Obama will choose what I view to be the Right Thing in these situations. Substantially moreso than McCain. I can only hope that as a nation, we decide this strong enough to make sure the electoral votes agree that this is the Right Thing to do.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More time, less time.

I'm definitely not doing as much after work nowadays. It used to be I
had a crazy social schedule. Mon night salsa, Tues night Thai food,
wed night puzzle, thur night baking, Friday night unwinding. And amid
all that I had energy and focus to work on my website.

But I don't have most of that to do after work anymore. In fact, I
really just en up working a bit more because of it. So when I get home
it's hard to work on the stuff that I've already spent all day working
on. And fir some reason blogging doesn't have the same expressive
relief it once did, so that fallen by the wayside as well.

Which is sad. I really do have some great ideas of things I want to
write and things for my website.

Maybe I'm just saving it all up for NaNoWriMo.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Idea seeds

There are a couple of things that ive wanted to write about, but the
time has escaped me. When there is time, hopefully I can flesh out my
views on:

Gender and minority issues.
Things I unequivocally enjoy.
Trust: personally and in the media.
Family: birthright or social function?
The future of the Internet.

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones I can remember of the
top of my head. I'll refer back to this list when I want to write
about something but need an idea seed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No hangin' out.

Sometimes I have a busy day at work. Today was one of those days.

Sometimes I get a lot of work done. Today was almost one of those days.

The reason: process. I have 2 bug fixes, but I can't call em done
until they go through a process that proves that my change isn't
adding more bugs than it's removing. A lengthy process. One with many
moving parts.

For the last few days, these parts have failed to move entirely,
leaving me with work I can't really do any more work on, but that
isn't actually finished. So I loop in a bunch of other people in an
attempt to get this process machine running again. Other coworkers are
having the same problem with their machines. It all points to a
problem external to ourselves: the engine is fine, but you can't use a
combustion engine in a vaccuum.

So I call the folks with all the oxygen and say, "Hey. Oxygen folk. We
need some." But instead of giving us oxygen, they just kinda look
around and say, "we've got oxygen here. What's the problem?"

This goes on for an hour, a time that would kill anyone who actually
did need oxygen.

And when you finally convince them that yes, you do need air, the task
of giving it to you is passed off to another person who doesn't truly
understand that not giving this to us immediately is stopping us from
running our process and getting actual work done. Why is this how it

Because that's their process. And they've got all the oxygen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The moon doesn't count.

Even on a super clear night, after a beautiful day of cloudless sun,
there are no stars in Seattle.

This bugs me.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Not all thinking is good.

This was a tough week. Fairly draining. I did have some fine PieMo
merch to help me get through it, but that only does so much.

Literally 8 bugs resolved this week. That's madness for me. I have 8
more to go over the next 3 weeks, but they really are harder ones.
Regardless of difficulty I was just on fire about being motivated to
get my shit done.

But I'm drained. And I need to be as motivated in the weeks to come.
So for the sake of my job I need to do fun things this weekend to
energize me to work.

But I don't tend to do that anymore. None of the folks I know in
Seattle ask me to do things- they're just not that kind of friend to
me. And I've become tired of bugging them to hang out with me. So the
result is me, at home, all weekend.

It's crap.

And then work serves as a relief: after a 2 day haiatus, I'm finally
surrounded by people who want to talk to me. My occupation shouldn't
serve ad my only social outlet. But I do need folks to kim me in the
pants once in a while to do what's really best for me.

I'm going to be diappointes by this weekend. I know it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

blogging powers for good. Friend of a friend is missing in NY. If you've seen something, let the authorities know.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

story premise

I had this great idea for a story yesterday. The basic premise is this:

How do you tell the difference between something you remember and something you dreamed? Really, the only major difference is memory continuity -- you wake up one day, and have two distinct memories of something having just happened. Either your last day ended and you went to bed, or you had some adventure that we believe was generated by your subconscious. Most of the time your brain figures it out with the following logic: one means you should be in bed, which you are, and the other means you should be running away from Ninjas in china or something because you stole their prized statue of a green monkey. It could happen.

But during most dreams, you believe everything at face value. And you seem to lack the memory of having just gone to bed. Somehow this continuity isn't questioned.

Oh man i'm spinning off a couple of different ideas about dreams, all story worthy.

  • Original idea: Every one of your dreams ends the same, you are somehow tricked into pushing a red button that sends you back to the waking world and destroys your memory of the dream. Like Groundhog Day but with a sinister puppetmaster toying with you every night to make you push this button. Except you notice a girl beginning to recurr in your dreams. Each time, it's her trying to stop you from pushing the button, as this dream world needs your help desperately, but so many times you end up pushing the button anyway (which usually erased the memory of her, but she keeps appearing in the bits you remember) The puppetmaster of this dream world is doing something bad, and you can stop him if only you could break this horrible cycle of red-button pressing. 
  • Spin off 1: Every dream begins the same as well. You wake up from your bed and do something. But this memory is so mundane that it is lost.
  • Spin off 2: What do sleepwalkers think when they wake up? Or hungover people when they don't entirely remember how they got there either? This seems to break my theory of memory continuity, as folks are still just as easily able to tell what was a memory and what was a dream. Well, maybe notsomuch with the drinking. hm...
So yeah i really only have one idea. but I like it. I should figure more out.


Really? Is this a real thing?

Apparently so. I got an IM from someone named opinionatedtrout, asking simply "Would you like the keys to a shiny new Austrailia?"

The cleverly reworded Dr. Horrible reference was enough to get me interested. I responded that getting one certainly would dry my tears. To which they simply responded "sure, why not?" and let the conversation go silent.

I've come to terms with the fact that the internet is a fairly weird place. Just sitting idly on it, there is a chance I'll get IM'd by a stranger, or by a bot trying to phish for my information, or perhaps by someone I know but don't actually want to talk to. Most of these are simply ignored. But normally when other folks start a conversation with me, and I engage, I expect them to have something more to say. Well, unless the start was simply "hey. hey. what's up. not much, u. not much."

So I did a search for it. Apparently Professor Chaos learned how to program an AIM chat bot that would start conversations between strangers. And that's called trouting. or something.

Anyways. I figured it out. What was a bot was now a kid from SoCal. Who hadn't seen Dr. Horrible. So I sent 'em the link.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My heart's still I'm Berkeley

It's pretty flippin awesome here. I swear I haven't seen a cloud for
my whole California trip.

Everyone says I should return to California. I'm inclined to believe

Monday, August 25, 2008

2 days at home: still alive.

So I've been thinking. I'm not quite sure why I chose now to come back for a week and a half. I mean, to my credit, I am getting to enjoy cloudless sun while Seattlers are dealing with rain. The typical, constant, rain. And I do get to have one day off for free without even taking a vacation day, on account of Labor Day being one of my vacation days. But, everyone in the south bay is working. A good chunk of folks have already gone back to their respective colleges. Well, namely Meg. But all the Berkeley folk have also gone back because for them the schoolingtimes have already begun again. This leaves me with loads of time during the day and nobody to see. I do hang with my brother, which is cool, but essentially it leaves me with the whole Everyone-At-Home-On-Different-Computers dynamic that I deliberately left. In a house with the air conditioner cranking out the cold like it's got something to prove. And a dude who still hasn't learned how to chew with his mouth closed. Gah I hate it here. But I've been fighting it. On Sunday I had a great day. Country Potato Wrap at Cafe Adrias. Mini golf at Golfland, for 7 holes in one (41 total score for 18 holes. Pretty freakin epic). Then badminton with Laura (cheapo set: $60) during which we destroyed all 3 birdies that came with it. Also some cheap-ass ball game that amounted to little more than a colorful plastic & rubber ball version of throwing soap-on-a-rope at a towel rack. Needless to say, we played that once. Mostly because my dad wanted to play it. Then it was back home for dinner & birthday stuff. I know what you're thinking: "Oh my, is it your birthday? I totally forgot, but will now act like I did remember." Or the more attention-paying of you will be thinking, "Wait. Your birthday is in early July. Did your parents forget this badly, or did you concoct some scheme to convince them that yet another year had passed and they owed you even more gifts?" Well, neither is true. Turns out, when I didn't send them a wish list of what I wanted for my birthday, they couldn't figure out what to get me, so didn't get me anything. This was so I could come down and celebrate my birthday with them. Oh, and also, they got almost nothing from the list I did eventually send them. So no list next year. They can just deal with it. I still haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with myself for the rest of the week. I'm thinking I'll head up to Berkeley for 4 or 5 days or so. Probably Wed or Thur through until Monday. Not sure where I'll sleep, but it'll be better than the crap futon that I'm on now. Oh yeah, that's right. I don't actually have a room to sleep in here. So I'm sleeping on the old futon in the old computer room. Lovely. But tomorrow afternoon will be a pool party at Lisa's. That will be fun. Yay for that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Long day.

Up since 5 or so.
Pretty uneventful flight.
Afternoon was an awesome BBQ.
Dinner was fancy Italian.

So tired now.

A year and a day

They say you should try new things for a year and a day. 366 days of
commitment and then you can reflect on your experience in its
entirety and see if you want to keep with it.
Today is that day. I've been at Microsoft living in downtown Seattle
for a year an a day. As I left the office today I cleaned up a bit.
Left my desk nice and tidy. Tied up all the loose ends of my work to
be sure it's well taken care of while I'm away in California. It felt
like I wasn't going to come back, and it was actually goodbye.
There are lots of things to think about. Do I like what I'm doing? Do
I like where I'm living? Do I like where my life is going in general?
Am I happy? All so seemingly simple but fairly complex to answer
I love what I'm doing now. I've wanted to write code for the browser
since I was little. It's also not the backend work I was doing before,
where I was truly lost. This week I kicked ass figuring out some
complex rendering issues and javascript compatibility problems. Stuff
that users can see in weeks or months, not never.
And Seattle's not that bad a place to live either. There is a vibrant
Ultimate community, there's tons of nice people, and I can almost
always find something to so here. The weather does take some
adjustment, but I've been spoiled in that regard so far.
But there is something missing. I've been putting myself out there
trying to meet people, but after a year and a day I haven't really
made that strong of a connection with anyone. My fruitless pursuit of
ladies aside, the folks I hang out with in my free time are usually
limited to the single activity we share a common interest in.
It's not a blanketing true statement. I've gone to bars with the folks
I eat Thai food with. I've gone to parties with ultimate players. I've
gone to karaoke with coworkers. But it's limited to these group plans
where more often than not I need to organize them. It's not someone
calling me up because they're bored and wanna hang out.
My friends in Seattle are nowhere near as close to me as my friends in
So things have come full circle: a year and a day. My trip to
California for the next week and a half will give me time to reconnect
with those I don't see, and to reflect on my chosen path. If I were to
never return to Seattle, I doubt it would pain me as much as if I were
never to return to California. But, to be fair, California has a
pretty sizable head start.
We shall see. California, here I come.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Boo on that

I had a stressful day.
Flight for California leaves on Saturday morning.
I haven't packed.
I have a day to finish 2 work items.

Tomorrow will suck.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's my city -- it'll rain if it wants to.

Summer must be over. I have no problem with that.

I think the real trouble with the rains comes from the difference between expectation and reality. In California, the expectation is that it will be sunny. And if it does begin to rain, the expectation is that it won't be for long. Most of the time, that's spot on.

Coming from that mindset to one were it's raining almost all the time isn't easy. Although when I first came here a year ago, I didn't think it was so bad. I was told to expect rain, but the summer lingered. There was decent sun and warm days. It wasn't too bad. And when the rain & clouds finally did begin to set in, I was already off to a good start, because I had been expecting them for some time.

It really got to be bad in June. Because in my mind, June is summer. June + July + August = summer. Those are the three months that there will be good weather and it will absolutely happen. No question about it. And my summer mentality is essentially equivalent to California mentality: it can be crappy for a day but really there's no way it'll last longer than that.

Thinking that for a month of June rain was absolutely shitty. And for all but the 2 weeks in July where it was constantly nice, the clouds & bits of rain persisted.

Then there's today. It's still August. Still part of what I like to call "summer". And it rained. On & off, all day actually. But it had a different feel to it. The same feel that it did when I first got here and it did begin to rain. The "Ah, my arch-nemesis, I see we meet again," "I'll take you on, your bullets cannot harm me," "Is that the best you can do" kind of adversarial attitude I normally only associate with Ultimate.

Actually, that's one of the ways I fought it. I made the effort to play Ultimate today. It was pretty damn good, although I left early because I really do have tons of work to get done by Friday.

But yes. My expectation now is that I won't see the sun in Seattle for months. I can only hope daily battles with my arch-nemesis can keep me entertained until next Summer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Kicker" is a dangerous word

Last week, my product group shipped SV3, which is secret Microsoftese for our 3rd major update to the Office Live Workspace service. (For those untrained in Microsoftese, all the words are 3-4 characters, all capital letters, and probably a descriptive acronym whose original meaning has since been completely lost.) But point being, it's an important milestone, so time to celebrate.
On Friday, we had our ship party. Cake, beer, food, whathaveyou. The services world is great because we have these on the order of months rather than the order of years.
But today was the special Dev team treat. The Dev Manager, Sam, took us all out to lunch. And not just lunch--Thai food. 
I was really energetic for some reason. Part of it was because I was getting free Thai food for lunch. Part of it was also the fact that, including the Dev meeting right prior to lunch, there was going to be about 3 consecutive hours during the day where I got no actual work done. When I only have until Friday to get all my work done through the end of the month so I can go on vacation. But yes! Excited!
The lunch was good Fun. Oscar made a napkin-man out of the place settings. Julia made some ridiculous claim that I didn't set up David for like 5 consecutive "that's what she said" jokes at the last Friday Unwind, which I totally did. David agrees. I explained to Rick what a rickroll was. Good times.
When I was looking at the menu, my eyes were caught by the bottom of the drinks section. I had already ordered a Thai Iced Tea, but this drink sounded about 150% more awesome. It was called the Thai Tea Kicker. Just linger on that name for a moment: Thai Tea Kicker. It's like Chuck Norris just bitchslapped you while grinning and holding a tasty beverage. DON'T YOU WANT THAT BEVERAGE NOW?
Well needless to say my curiosity was piqued. So I read on. Oh, crap. Apparently it was an alcoholic drink. Because this was the Alcoholic Drinks section. Of the Drinks menu. Crap. Not only do I need a new menu now, but additionally I probably shouldn't try this new potentially balls-to-the-wall awesome drink, because it's about 12:30pm on a Tuesday. The story of this drink should have probably ended there.
But it didn't.
In passing I mention the drink to Rick, who was also entranced by its aura of awesome. "Well, maybe if we split one afterwards, that would be okay. Half of a drink's not going to get you ineber.. inebray.. drunk." I love it when more senior devs encourage me to do what my own internal detectors tell me is a Bad Idea.
So once our appetizers and main meal have come and gone, and others are ordering Fried Banana and Chocolate Raspberry-something, I order our Thai Tea Kicker. The waitress pauses. "That's an alcoholic drink." "Yes," I reply. After another moments hesitation she goes off to put in the dessert orders and bring Rick & myself back a tasty beverage. 
When it comes back, it almost looks like a Thai Iced Tea. The top looks the right color, but the rest looks like they've already mixed the sweet milk in with the tea part. Not quite so elegant, but I'm still looking forward to it. 
And then we taste it.
Ugh! Really? This is what I had been waiting for? It was as if Chuck Norris had dropped the drink on his foot, began hopping as he held his injured foot in his hands, only to slip on the now-all-over-the-floor crap beverage and hit his head on the nearby coffee table. There was simply too much alcohol in it. The alcohol dulled the bitter bite of the tea and all but muted the sweetness of the milk. And it didn't really replace it with any great flavor. Just This-Will-Get-You-Drunk-Quick fumes wafting out of a glass that wishes it were as good as Thai Iced Tea. At least if they had used cheaper liquor, or something sharper, then, while probably being a worse drink, I'd at least feel it was worthy of being named Kicker. 
As I told my old officemate Justin: I didn't find it to be bad exactly, it just wasn't an $8 cocktail. At best it was some half-assed concoction thrown together at one of the classier Ultimate parties that actually has liquor. If it was that kind of party setting, I would have finished it. But since it wasn't that tasty, and I did need to get some work done after lunch, I left the drink mostly untouched.
Rick didn't even give it a second thought. After his first sip, he simply remarked "Oh, that's terrible" and didn't want any more of it. I had 4 sips because I really wanted it to work.
My mind's still intrigued tho. It looks like if I want to have a good Thai-Iced-Tea based alcoholic drink, that I might need to figure out how to make one for myself...

Tales of Little Imporance

I'm sitting here, as I have before, and I will again, and as I am now, currently, at this very instant, without a good idea of what to write. It's hardly a foreign problem, although I'm sure this problem has been had while writing in foreign languages or foreign lands. I want to say something of interest, of relevance, of importance. But above all else, I don't want to say nothing. Nothing is as boring as nothing said. I thought for a moment. I've been in Seattle for almost a year. I've been at Microsoft for almost a year. There's at least a year's worth of stories that have happened to me. Something must have been interesting enough to be relevant to your interests. To be important enough for me to take the time to go through, remember it, chose an arbitrary order of words from a rather limited phrasebook to aptly describe that occurrence, and then put it on the internet. And actually, much like how you find love when you least expect it, all this writing about not having anything to write about has reminded me of a few excellent stories to tell. Potlatch with the GDGFK memorial team. The After Lunch Coffee Club. How I created the Friday Unwind. My overarching struggle to find a place in the world where I can't stand socially being out of college but academically couldn't be happier. Adventures with Nate & Coop, adventures to Sasquach with Diane. My perpetual quest to be a bit more religious but never finding time I want to dedicate to that pursuit. The Intern Game, or How I Stayed Up All Weekend Making Interns Do Puzzles. Then there are the Tales of Little Importance. I saw Casey on the bus today. Some random dude IM'd me. My left eyebrow aches just enough for it to be weird. These are the true secrets, the gems of our existance. Someone else can recount the stories -- they were there (or should have been, becuase it was probably awesome). Nobody knows the tiny little crazy things that bounce around in my head all day. Which don't make for interesting details. But they should make good stories. I'll tell you them later. I sleep now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Memory's a funny thing

I found an old blog of mine yesterday. My first blog was an OpenDiary -- that's long gone since they only kept things around if you kept updating. That was also in an age where I backed up to my local disk in case something I put on the internet was lost. Ah, what an age.
Anyway. No, I'm talking about my Xanga, Which I seem to have used throughout the later years of high school. And despite all my last few entries being along the lines of "Sorry I haven't updated more often" and "You should really read my livejournal, I update that all the time", there's some quality content in there. Not only was I a struggling adolescent, but I was also a struggling adolescent with moments of literary genius. I was trying posts of different structures, different narrative tones, and an absurdly large amount of personification and metaphors. 
I still do the personification thing, but rarely. Metaphors are all but gone from my blog posts.
Well, actually, my blog posts have been gone as of late too. But this is a first step towards fixing that. Anyway.
Point being, I read through all of it and was up til like 4am. It was pretty awesome. There are some sweet quotes I salvaged that may once again see the light of day. But more than that it was amazing to read something from the perspective of a 17-year old me. I mean, of all the other people in the world, I'm really the only one who can truly understand the experience this writer is speaking from. Because I've walked in his shoes. Because they were also mine.
More amazing was the fact that my brain still stores all the memories I had from high school. All of it. Every single flippin detail. It just needs to be prodded to remember. Every little experience I wrote about I could almost relive as I read it. It was actually tough to read some of the bits about I had to go to Tahoe again for a goddamn week because my folks wanted to put me to work and--- GAH my parents suck. And if it weren't for the internet, I might've forgotten just how much they suck. I also could've done without remembering my senior prom. That was a house Tragedy with a side of Death Threat. 
Anyways. Point being: I need to write more about the mundane things. A: because once I lower the bar of blog topics to mundane things I'll have to get better at writing again to make them interesting. And B: because I might look back and see that this was the important part of my life that's worth remembering. 
Not really though. It's pretty mundane.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I wrote this long entry about how cool I is to blog with pictures from
my iPhone, an then I go so fast the iPhone loses the email entirely.
Way to go, Apple.


Let's see what happens.