21 entries categorized "Redmond"

Wherein Don gets hot chocolate solely to warm his hands

It’s not cold in this room. I know this for two reasons.

First, I have photographic proof:

Temperbature
And second, I don’t feel cold.

But my hands do not know this.

My hands! They feel frozen and have for most of the day, dammit!

So, having achieved fluid equilibrium a few hours ago, that state where I must expel fluids at roughly the same rate I am consuming them, I went down the hallway a bit ago for a refresh of my beverage. And I thought:

Ah ha! Hot chocolate!

Which I am now not drinking but am hugging closely to my person, in an attempt (so far vain, because I have taken my hands off the warm cup so I can type this post) to warm my poor frozen hands.

Also, earlier (and unrelated), I sneezed five times in a row. Best sneezes EVER.

So how’s your Friday?


Percussive fashion?

Walked into the restroom just now.

Greeted by loud metal-on-metal crashing sounds from one of the stalls. Sound stopped, I think when the person realized there was someone else in the restroom, then resumed a few seconds later, accompanied by grunts.

“Are... you all right in there?” I asked.

Crashing stopped. “Yeah,” he answered. “I’m having trouble with my belt.” And the crashing resumed, continued until I left the restroom a couple minutes later.

Hell of a belt, I guess.


Monday, by the numbers

Today was even more Monday than most of the Mondays I’ve experienced. In no particular order:

  • 9: Hours worked
  • 11: Times Outlook crashed
  • 23: Maximum number of IM windows open at one time
  • 519: Emails received, oh dear God
  • 2: iPhone users in my three-person carpool
  • 7: Sneezes in the shower

I thought of more items when I was riding home in the carpool, but of course now I can’t remember them. I need a notebook or something, but I can’t read my own handwriting, so that probably wouldn’t help me much.


Of late

Been a while since I had a non-photo, non-posted-by-mobile something-to-say prattling. Figured I’d catch things up a bit, in no particular order.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Had my eyes examined twice in four days. Bright lights shone INTO MY EYEBALLS at various times, some after I had been given eye drops that would prevent my eyes’ normal response to bright light to safeguard my vision. Institutional evile, it is.

Eye exams are such an odd thing. A bunch of tests designed to safeguard and even enhance our visual acuity, each test resulting in its own odd killing of vision for a short time.

Today’s tests involved digital photos of my retinas. The pics were cool, blood vessels in a circular cut-out on the computer screen, but the method kinda blew. The technician had me watch for the little red blinky light, just focus on the light, she had to make some adjustments and get things just so, don't worry about blinking, just blink like you normally would and keep focused on the red light, almost there, keep watching the light, another slight adjus—ZORCH the camera flash detonated INSIDE MY EYEBALL, practically. Pretty photos, but I saw the flash afterimage for almost an hour.

And within that hour I got to take an extended field-of-vision exam—I stared at a little yellow light and pressed a button each time I saw, somewhere in my field of view, a little secondary spot of light appear briefly. At one point I got a little button-happy and they had to repeat the test for my left eye because I spotted roughly 12,000 non-existent light blips, but I think it was just the machine getting annoyed with my predictive capabilities.

All of that took only 26 minutes. I think that’s like the old cigarette thing, the one where they say each ciggie cuts something like, what, 7 minutes or 23 hours or 800 years off your life? Yeah, that 26 minutes of eye exam from hell cost me 100 hours of sensitivity to light.

Sometimes at night, when I close my eyes really hard, I can still see the spots.

:: • :: • :: • ::

In other news:

We had a thunderstorm over Seattle tonight. I was on the phone with my friend David, because I LAFF AT DEATH and ignore the old saw that you should never use the phone in a thunderstorm, and also I only have a cell phone so if I managed to get zapped by the phone lines, it would definitely be newsworthy. But anyway, I was chatting with David and gazing out over the city, watching the storm move across town and thinking, definitely a good night for Safeco Field to have a retractable roof, eh wot?, and there was a lightning strike atop the Space Needle.

The Needle is maybe 6 blocks from my apartment, so it was roughly, well, NO TIME AT ALL before the thunderclap sounded. But it was quieter than I expected, and though my usual thunderstorm freak-out nerves were jangling, I was fascinated to see a building strike so closely and so uneventfully. Right at that moment David was talking about his recent visit to Cotton Eyed Joe (WARNING: Flash site, loud audio), how crazy it was and how much fun he had, and I was doing all in my power not to run into my bedroom and shimmy under the bed if for no other reason than I will NOT appear that unmanly in front of my cats, both of whom sat at the balcony door watching the storm and didn’t even twitch when the thunder rumbled over us.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Speaking of phones:

My Verizon Wireless contract ended Saturday.

First time in my personal-cell-phone-having life—thanks to the miracle of Palm devices, I can tell you that’s been since March 11, 2000—that I’ve hit the twin milestones of

  1. Finishing a two-year cell contract without making changes to my service, and
  2. Keeping a single phone alive through the entire contract period.

See, I’m usually hell on phones. I’ve damaged or outright killed a couple myself, drops and bangs and general use-and-abuse, and then there was the time my RAZR got smacked out of my hands and shattered into pieces on the tile floor of a downtown restaurant when I was only, what, a month shy of the end of the cell contract I was on at the time. So my keeping alive for (so far) 2.5 years a device that’s both a phone and a PDA is something of achievement in my little world.

Even more than that, I’m not running right out to replace the phone. I’m sticking with the current plan on month-to-month for now, because it suits me and I have a couple of ideas on phones I may want to try, but I’m holding off until I know more about them.

I really hope this isn’t some hideous sign of maturity. I’m only 37, I can’t be grown up yet.

:: • :: • :: • ::

So then, what else?

Oh, I started a 3-person carpool a few weeks ago. Doesn’t matter so much on the drive to work—we use the SR 520 floating bridge to get to Redmond, and there’s no HOV advantage eastbound.

Westbound, however, the HOV lane between I-405 and the floating bridge on SR 520 is a 3+ lane, and we sail past all those fools in their 1– and 2-person cars as they sit in traffic, mostly idling but occasionally moving forward by a car length or two, and I have to discourage my carpoolers from laughing maniacally and pointing and otherwise possibly causing road-rage incidents even though I secretly want to laugh and point as well.

But I was one of those non-HOV fools until earlier this month. Now I’m routinely home less than 40 minutes after I leave the office, and that includes dropping two people off when I’m driving.

Nice to be home by 5 each day, especially when there are still 3 or 4 hours of daylight to go.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Saw two movies in cinema the weekend before last: Star Trek, which I loved, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which I kinda liked.

I always want to type Wolvering. Have to correct it every time.

Anyway, two movies at the cinema in one weekend is a lot for me. Usually I’ll see two movies at the cinema in a span of several months, and I’ve realized why. It isn’t the opening-day (or even –weekend) crowds, or the occasionally shoddy projection or the sometimes uncomfy seats or whatever. It’s the people sitting immediately around me who act like they’re in their personal living-room THX auditoriums with the talking and the crinkling plastic and the God knows what other noises are emanating, to say nothing of the occasional dipshit who didn’t silence the cell phone.

I’d usually rather wait for Netflix to deliver the film experience in my own living room, where I know when I’m going to make crinkling noises and I can ignore myself easily.

But yeah. Loved loved Star Trek. I saw it courtesy my friend Matt, who turns 27 tomorrow. (Had to get that in there, of course.) He was dying to see the movie, already had tickets to an IMAX showing on the weekend, but he scored us seats at the 7pm showing on Thursday, May 7th, because he just couldn’t wait two more days for the IMAX showing on the 9th. Good loud visually exciting popcorn movie I’m sure I’ll see at least once more in the theaters and then at least once more on DVD, if I don’t end up owning it.

WolveringWolverine entertained me but didn’t wow me, or even strike me as a very compelling story. Hugh Jackman was good, he’s made the part his own, but I couldn’t buy Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth. Something just didn’t ring true, and in a summer blockbuster of mutants with retractable metal claws and sharp fangs and the like, if you can’t buy an actor in a part, something’s just not right there.

And if I never see Will Ferrell again, it’ll be too soon. They showed the fucking trailer for Land of the Lost FOUR TIMES in those two movies, and I’m sure all the remotely funny bits were in the trailer.

FOUR. TIMES.

:: • :: • :: • ::

OK, I’m done for tonight.

Have a good Wednesday, everyone.


How my workday is going

I just spent several minutes staring at the names of two permissions groups, trying to figure out

  1. why there were two groups with the same name, and
  2. how anyone had MANAGED to save two groups with the same name. When I try that, the system bitch-slaps me.

Turns out one had a hyphen where the other had an underscore.

It is by such simple means that I can be trapped utterly into the world of Must Figure This Out Or It Will Kill Me!!!.

I am an easy mark.


A general indicator of my state of mind as I left work this afternoon

I started the car, let it idle for 10 seconds or so, watched the dashboard indicator as I dropped the gear selector into “Drive” and saw nothing. Blank, no indicator at all, not the usual P R N D 2 1 legend—the little window was utterly bare.

I was a little wigged out.

Then I realized I was actually looking at the radio.


A lovely drive home

My commute from work in Redmond to Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood is just over 14 miles, about a 20-minute drive at posted speed limits with no traffic. In the usual afternoon traffic volumes, it’s 25 to 30 minutes.

Tonight’s commute took 107 minutes, about five times longer than normal.

And it gets better.

The first 7.6 miles, from the office to the east end of the SR 520 bridge deck, took 91 of those minutes, for a blistering average speed of 5 mph.

The remaining 6.6 miles required just 16 minutes to travel, including the surface streets. Averaged 25 mph on that leg.

The floating bridge was fun, however. It was swaying noticeably on the rises at the east and west ends, and the spray over the road surface was better than the heaviest rainfall. Quite enjoyable, particularly because by then traffic was moving at nearly the posted 50-mph limit, and keeping the cars in their lanes while the road surface was moving a foot or so left and right was a bit of a trick indeed.

Oh how I love driving in Seattle in any type of inclement weather. :-)


The day so far:

So I’m 37 today, which doesn’t faze me in the least because in my brain I’m still maybe 23 or 25 at most and that means I won’t be a grown-up for, what, 10 years at least?

Halfway through, then, here’s how the day has shaped up:

  1. Actually got some sleep, glorious sleep! I’ve a mild cold and the biggest problem I experience with such things is sleeplessness, but I managed almost 7 hours last night. This despite the fact that
  2. I woke up half an hour early so I could ferry Katharine to work so she in turn wouldn’t have to worry about her car during the fabulous Spa Day she would be enjoying courtesy Julie Anne’s gift for Kat’s own birthday 3 days ago. So I picked up Julie Anne and we headed north to Bothell, picked up Katharine, and
  3. Stopped at Starbucks for caffeination. I ordered my usual, a triple grande non-fat no-whip white chocolate mocha (yeah, I am “that guy in line at the coffee shop who places an order with way the fuck too many syllables”—but I knows what I wants and I speaks their language!), which they got entirely right except for the “white mocha” part—I received a standard mocha. But I didn’t much care because we had already left the drive-thru lane and I was already starting to twitch from the caffeine. And then we were off
  4. At work, with the caffeine and a slighly slow day making things tolerable, and now I’m waiting for
  5. Julie Anne to pick me up for a couple hours of billiards and a beer or two at The Parlor in Bellevue.

Woo birthday!


On the rain in Seattle

We have a Pineapple Express-style storm rolling through Seattle today and tomorrow. I’m quite enjoying it, mainly because I’ve been home from work for five hours now and avoided the majority of the afternoon rush hour, one advantage to my early work schedule. I usually beat traffic unless there’s a crash or something.

I did, however, experience some of the usual Seattle Rainy Day joy. In this city with its reputation for endless rain and the gorgeously green landscape that accompanies, once again I was amazed by the sameness of the rainy-weather experience.

Some things never change:

  • I was angrily glared at, flipped off, honked at, passed stupidly closely, or cut off several times on my way west on SR 520, all because I was leaving several carlengths of empty space ahead of me and apparently Seattleites aren’t happy unless EVERY GODDAMNED INCH OF HIGHWAY is covered over by crawling vehicles.
  • Several spin-out crashes reported on the traffic updates in the 30 minutes I was on the road between Redmond and Queen Anne. This lack of willingness to slow down just mystifies me, particularly when people aren’t very good at braking correctly even when the pavement’s bone-dry.
  • Several cars I saw, the drivers seemed dead set against using the windshield wipers. At a couple points I was wishing my car’s wipers had something beyond the normal and fast options, perhaps an OH SHIT I CAN’T SEE A DAMNED THING setting that made the wipers invisible, they were zapping back and forth so fast. How can anyone think not using wipers at all is a good thing, even in the mildly misty rain we usually have?

Each of these happens every time we get rain here, particularly if there’s been more than about 12 minutes since the last storm. I just don’t get it, EVERY TIME.

Can anyone splain this to me?


SCHEDULE WACKO

I’m part of a team that must be available 24 hours a day on weekdays. Right now we’re handling this mainly by having about half our staff in India, so they work during their daytime hours and we work during our daytime hours and to the world we present a single around-the-clock face, the magic of 11 people working wildly disparate hours in two cities on opposite sides of the globe.

Occasionally, however, glitches crop up in this system. Each country has national, regional, and local holidays, and we have to take these into account, though we often forget until the last minute.

So this week, while our teammates in India celebrated Diwali, I got to work graveyards for two days.

Today was the second of those days, which meant I left work at 09:00 and don’t have to be back until 06:00 tomorrow. I’ve been about ready to crash into the floor for the last four hours or so but I’m waiting until 21:00 so I can get a normal night’s sleep and try to get right back into the groove of the regular 06:00 day after two days of bass-ackward sleep/wake cycling.

I have the utmost respect for people who routinely switch hours all around the clock as part of their jobs. I did graves full-time from Feb-Oct 2007 and by the end it was KILLING me, and that was only graves, not switching until the last couple weeks of the contract I was working, and that was enough to bitch-slap me into a simpering puddle.

That I haven’t been a complete zombie the last two days is something of a surprise. Pleasant, too, though I don’t want that too widely known because I only have so much of the “I’ll be a good guy and cover whatever hideous hours we need covered” good-guy streak in me these days.


Hello, weekend, sorta kinda

Woo Friday!

Busy week at the office, the week was that odd mix of “damn it FLEW BY” and some of the days just DRAGGED. How does that even work? Our perception of time just fascinates me, particularly of days when I perceive it one way and family or friends perceive it entirely differently.

In case it isn’t stupidly obvious, I haven’t slept much the last two nights. I have this mild cold, flared up out of nowhere Tuesday night. It hasn’t been at all bad as colds go, only a little sniffling here and there and so far the only times I’ve been congested are when I first wake up each day, but lately the strongest effect of even the mildest colds I get is sleeplessness, and when I do sleep, it’s a weird fitful experience, not very restful at all.

Doesn’t help that last night it was really 22:45 when I thought it was only, oh, 21:00 or so. I had planned to be in bed no later than 22:00 but didn’t make it until midnight because of the wacko time perception, so today’s 05:00 alarm arrived WAY TOO DAMNED FAST.

And I’m on call this weekend, which is its own particular level of hell—waking to the sound of a ringing phone has to be my least favorite experience of modern life—but I also have no plans for the weekend, which I find a comforting combination. If it’s a busy on-call night, perhaps I can sleep in daylight and adjust slowly over the weekend to the 00:00-09:00 schedule I’m working next week to cover for our offshore team’s holiday needs (about half our staff is in India), ahead of a quick road trip next weekend to Corvallis.

Busy busy, and a week ahead, I’m like the walking dead. If Halloween were tonight, I wouldn’t even need a costume.


So I was standing at the urinal just now

And I was thinking, hey dude in the stall by the sinks, you should turn your phone to its “silent” mode if you’re going to press a lot of buttons while you’re doing your natural business in there, because it sounds like you’re emitting an oddly staccato but low-pitched grunt otherwise.

Then I thought: Speaking of phones, I just put my phone in my pocket. Did I lock the keys?

Next thought: Wait. That sounds a lot like my phone.

Final thought, as somehow I managed to maintain my aim while I dug my phone out of my pocket and looked at the screen to see the short stack of random calendar events created by the keyboard presses the phone had endured in my pocket: Dammit, I really need to dig out my phone belt clip again. And stop, in the silences of my mind, giving other people shit about their weird bathroom habits.