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.