We joined friends for a matinee of The Producers in Issaquah. I was getting into the car on our way to the theatre when I bobbled the phone in my left hand and it clattered to the driveway for the fourth time I can remember, and this time it gave the unmistakable psht! sound of the glass giving up the fight.
Yay AppleCare+ — we’re waiting now at the Apple Store, University Village for warranty service. Should be all good in the next hour or so.
Twelve-year-old me really really really wanted this morning to watch Seattle City Light deal with the fallen tree a block down the road. The tree went down as a fast-moving storm blew through the neighborhood Friday evening, taking out or cable service and snapping a power pole in the process, and my 12-year-old self was all about gawking at the work to fix the problems because: Ooh! Big powerful machines!!!
Forty-year-old me knew that if I didn’t mow the damned lawn, it would overtake the house in a matter of hours. It had been three weeks since the last mowing, a combination of weekend plans and bad weather repeatedly delaying the next mow.
Somehow my brain arrived at a perfect compromise: Mow the front yard first!
So that’s what I did, and I managed to avoid chopping off any digits and scalping the turf even though I kept my eyes on the work down the street even more than I kept my eyes on the task immediately at hand.
On the drive home from work—which was itself unusual, I haven’t driven to work without a specific reason (like after-work plans or errands I need to run midday) in I don’t even know how long—I found myself belting out If That’s What It Takes. Which got me to thinking:
HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE that I know all the words to this song.
Why didn’t I notice what I was singing until the last 30 seconds?
Thank God no one else could hear me in stop-and-go traffic with my windows rolled up, though this kinda shoots that all to hell.
I can’t remember exactly when I last had fish in stick form. I mean, I’ve had fish & chips fairly regularly over the last few years, but that fish is more wedge-shaped or (in many Seattle-area restaurants anyway) random–filet-shaped. There have been other fish entrées in restaurants fairly regularly over the last few years. And I grill fish on a regular basis year-round, mainly because I like to watch the planks burst into flame. But the stick form, they fell out of my life when I was, oh, maybe 12 or 13, and didn’t make another appearance until tonight.
And oh were they good. Crunchy little things, 2 by 1/2 by 1/4 inches. I remember them being much bigger when I was a kid, by which I mean about the same length and width but maybe twice as thick. Also soggier, no matter how long you baked them, but maybe the bigness was cuz I was smaller and now I’m an adult and most things from my childhood seem smaller, like the time I voted at my elementary school and I needed to use a restroom and I thought, good Lord, I’d have to kneel use these urinals.
The snow is sticking to lawns, roofs, and trees, but it’s barely making the roads wet yet. However, the forecast calls for up to 3 inches of accumulation from Seattle southward by this afternoon.
I am of course in heaven. I was born and raised (and more importantly learned to drive) in Salt Lake City, where men are men and holy underwear is the norm, and where they get REAL snow. Where by “real” I mean in quantities of inches at a time, sometimes a foot or more, and as the license plates will confirm it’s the greatest snow on Earth.
Which means that anytime the Seattle weather forecasts mention snow or La Niña or “Arctic flow” or the other winter-weather flag phrases, I get a little giddy. I remember the years of walking to school uphill in the snow (but one way only) and the inevitable late-night sledding sessions down the block-long alley across the street, including that time Matt almost got crushed by the bus on 6th Avenue but only his sled bit the dust because of his expertly timed ninja dodge maneuver, and the look of utter horror on the bus driver’s face when he felt the bus’s front right tire go over SOMETHING (and probably felt the crunching of the sled’s wood deck) and he had seen a teenager waving wildly on the sidewalk just before that.
Ahh, the memories.
Anyway, back to now. Yesterday we had several brief periods of “snow”—really, it was the hardened version of Seattle’s famous misty rain. You had squint to see it—it made NOTHING wet, not roads, not cars, certainly not exposed skin. Immortalized in a conversation with Julie Anne as we had a late pre-Thanksgiving-shopping breakfast at Original Pancake House in Crown Hill:
Don: Oh look, it’s snowing again.
Julie Anne [squinting]: It is?
Don: You have to really want to see it.
Julie Anne [pause, still squinting]: Oooohh.
Laffs all ’round!
It certainly doesn’t help that the media here in Seattle buy into the frenzy wholeheartedly. KOMO News radio usually switches to their astoundingly lame “driver to driver coverage”: Joe Sixpack calls in on their news line and reports what he may or may have seen, or sometimes what he expects to see, or what his wife’s coworker’s neighbor said she once saw. And somehow the metro area hangs on his every word. Usually delivered all in a rush, because Joe Sixpack is not a professional radio personality and so has no clue about modulation and pace:
KOMO personality: We have Joe from Medina on the KOMO News Line. Joe, tell us what you see.
Joe: Yeah so I was driving on 520 toward I-5 and as I got to Montlake I saw a snowflake and I slammed on the brakes and a semi and a bus behind me almost crashed as they tried to avoid me and I spilled my Starbucks all over the dashboard and now I have to go to the detailer.
KOMO: O...kay, thanks, Joe. Now to Melinda in Shoreline, you have have something to tell us about the power up there?
Melinda: Well our schools are all closed and our power is on, it hasn’t even flickered. But we have about an inch of snow and my driveway is really icy.
And so on. It just never ends. I know (or at least I think) they think they’re providing a necessary civic service, but come on.
Really they’re just enabling the cold-weather-pansy mentality.
I walked into my bedroom just now with the sole intent of taking my shoes off.
When I walked out of my bedroom, I had opened the blinds and bedroom window, and turned on a fan. I still had my shoes on, which did not register on me until I walked into the kitchen and did not feel Purina Cat Chow gouging my toes.
This little vignette rather well describes my day at work, wherein I accomplished nothing beyond rebuilding a single Dell XPS M1530 laptop four times despite its repeated need to shut down without warning, I believe due to overheating. I would just get to a point where I could do useful work BAM shutdown, leaving the OS installation in a state of chaos it charmingly deems “improper shutdown”—really this is their code phrase for “gaslight the hapless user by making him run the recovery and diagnostics tools repeatedly”—off I’d go again, restore point in place and just get things set up BAM shutdown.
Somewhere in the middle of all that I managed to contribute peripherally to a couple of problem solutions, entirely by overhearing the conversations in our group work area. Though one of those solutions was really just a few ideas toward a solution—no idea if that one panned out, I gave up and left at 14:45 because I needed to call Dell technical support and my cell-phone battery was nearly dead, its charger lying 7 miles away (as the crow flies) on my desk at home.
The actually helpful (!) Dell technical support representative, who gave her name as Rachel in an attempt to induce in me a belief that she was from the upper midwest (most likely somewhere near Indianapolis) despite her obviously exotic accent, took over control my laptop from God knows how many thousands of miles away and rapidly determined that the problem was an old BIOS, along with two general drivers. But then she noticed I was using Windows 7, and the machine I have is supported only for Windows Vista, because her scripts don’t cover Windows 7. She could offer me further fee-based support, she’d be most pleased to do so!, but I opted to end the call and muddle through various BIOS and driver updates myself.
So far it seems maybe it worked. Laptop has been running for three hours now without a single heat-related sudden shutdown. No sudden shutdowns at all, in fact, only the 12 separate restarts required to install all of the OS and driver updates I found. And they don’t count because the installers warned me about ’em each time.
So yeah. Here’s hoping the remainder of the week is a bit more productive and a bit less technical-support-requiring.
My Tuesday started out as a fairly dull day at work and ended with my subpoena as a witness in a criminal matter.
Jumping backward a bit....
Way back in January, I was involved as a witness in a domestic-violence assault incident in my apartment building. I was the second person to call 9-1-1, and I ended up giving several statements over the course of the day. It was rather a harrowing experience as a witness—I can’t even imagine what it must have been like from the victim’s perspective.
In typical fashion, once all the hoopla had died down, the incident mostly left my conscious thought except for occasional reminders. I was asked to tell the story a lot over the next few weeks as I saw family and friends who knew about the whole thing, but hadn’t heard any details. But after those retellings, it faded from my immediate memory until occasional reminders like brief mentions in the newspaper came along. And most of those came fairly early on—here’s one from Jan 29 and I can’t find the article I’m vaguely remembering from midsummer sometime. When the six-month mark passed without further word from the police or the courts, I assumed it probably had been disposed by plea bargain or something along those lines.
Cue my arrival home today to find a file cabinet’s worth of subpoena paperwork taped to the building’s main entrance door. Seven total; mine’s the one on the lower right.
I imagine the recipient of that UPS InfoNotice was pretty intimidated by this display of summonsy goodness.
Anyway, yeah. Three pages of paperwork demanding my presence at the courthouse in downtown Seattle on or about January 25, which coincidentally happens to be the one-year anniversary of the attack.
Last week was good! Fairly normal work week, random signs of injury I can’t recall, absolutely smashing good weekend!
I think it must have been... Tuesday? Wednesday, actually, now that I think about it. Anyway, when I noticed on my right forearm a large(ish) bruised area, maybe two inches wide. Hurt a bit when I pressed on it, that first day, but the second day nothing but discoloration.
This is one of those bruises I cannot for the life of me figure out how I got. I don’t recall slamming my arm into furniture or bouncing hard off any walls. Nothing fell on me or hit me within the last 10 days, and I haven’t been in a physical fight in well over a year. The bruise’s shape gives no clue to its origin—there are no faint outlines of baseball stitching or backward sports-equipment logo typography embedded in my arm.
But the highlight of the week was a weekend jaunt to San Francisco with Katharine and Julie Anne to attend a live-album recording show by my favorite singer/songwriter, Vienna Teng, and her frequent collaborator (and producer of her last album, Inland Territory), Alex Wong.
Fantastic time. We had VIP tickets for the Sunday evening early show at The Independent, got us some face time with the musicians while they were doing their sound checks. Also I’ve a newly signed poster I need to get framed at some point. It was a fascinating crowd, too, all ages (21+ only) and just about every type of person you could imagine, all clearly fans of the music and really into the show.
No idea when the album comes out, but I’m hoping to hear my voice among the whoops and hollers from the crowd. Maybe it’ll list where each track was recorded as well so I won’t be one of those fools who says, “That’s me clapping first,” only to be told that song was taken from a recording made in New York, where I’ve never been.
San Francisco was lovely otherwise. We flew in Saturday morning, took BART from SFO to Powell Street Station, checked into our hotel with no fuss (our rooms were available even though check-in time was still 4+ hours away), and were out wandering the city a little after 10:30. Spent the afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, marveling at the planetarium show and chuckling at the penguins’ antics and bemused by the free-flying butterflies in the rainforest globe. Beautiful building, they pack a lot into a relatively small space, but it isn’t at all claustrophobic—the exhibit spaces are thoughtfully laid out with plenty of room for people to move around, and the exhibits themselves are an engaging mix of old (dioramas, animal enclosures, blocks of descriptive text on wall signs) and new (Surface-style computer-driven information about the California coast and such, an all-digital planetarium with a 75-foot projection dome, a state-of-the-art living roof, the works).
We flew home this morning, allowed an hour for bag check and security screening and barely made it onto the plane for the 09:20 departure—and, as it turned out, only because the TSA agents handling the lengthy security lines were canvassing the crowds for departure times 40 or so minutes away at any given time. The bag-check agent had claimed a 45– to 60-minute wait in security; if we hadn’t jumped the line at the TSA agent’s behest, we would have missed our flight, and we had a bit over 60 minutes from bag-check finish to our entry into the security line.
The flight back to Seattle was packed tight. The Alaska Airlines check-in kiosk had even asked us if we would be willing to accept booking on a later flight (with a travel voucher to be used in the future) because our flight was overbooked, and the crowding aboard clearly indicated it would be a busy travel day all around. I think we ended up among the last half-dozen or so passengers to board, which meant that my laptop bag flew home overhead row 18 while our seats were in rows 23 and 24 (in a 27-row 737-400, oh joy).
We did get to enjoy the log-sawing stylings of the Western Conference Champion snorer. This guy could go pro, probably get taken high in the second or late in the first round. He had snorted himself awake five times before the plane was even off the runway at SFO, and several times during the flight—each time, his rowmates would all flinch with the surprise of it.
Sometime during this flight I also noticed the couple of bruises on my right upper arm, a couple of little quarter-inch dark spots on my biceps.
Seems parts of me were beaten senseless over the last several days and I’ve no memory of it.
Anywho. Back home now, all is good and I have a two-day work week because of the Christmas holiday—we get both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, for some reason I absolutely am not questioning aloud but still wonder about frequently. Bag is unpacked, cats won’t leave me alone, the wind is rattling my balcony door, and the weather forecast calls for rain and chance of snow tonight and tomorrow.
Just as things should be for December in Seattle. :-)