104 entries categorized "Seattle"

You can HEAR the anguished wringing of hands

It’s snowing in the Seattle area, which means two things.

  1. Area school districts started announcing changes to their schedules, or outright closures, more than 24 hours ago, at the first hint of snow in the forecasts.
  2. Drivers are freaked the hell out.

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.

KOMO: ...

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.


The year in cities, 2009 edition

Spent at least one night (or most of a day, for the day trips) in each of these cities in 2009.

Listed in roughly chronological order; links go to related posts or categories.

  • Seattle, WA*
  • Orlando, FL
  • Sequim, WA* (day trips, first to hike Dungeness Spit and later for Easter)
  • Yakima, WA
  • Kapa‘a, HI
  • Telma, WA (actually a cabin on Lake Wenatchee)
  • Cannon Beach, OR
  • Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • San Francisco, CA
Lists get a bit shorter each year. If anyone remembers a city I’m overlooking, sing out in the comments.

Previous lists: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.


Not quite the view we’ll have, but close

Fireworks explode from the Space Needle in 2009. (Photo by Jim Bates, The Seattle Times)

Friends and family joining me shortly for dinner and hanging out. At midnight we’ll crowd out onto my balcony to toast the new year and watch the Space Needle fireworks display from 6 blocks away.

It’s like living a postcard each year. :-)

Happy new year!

Photo by Jim Bates / Seattle Times, via article Space Needle’s fireworks to welcome new year


Kinda weird day this has been

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.

Subpoenas taped to my building’s main entrance doors
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.

So how was your Tuesday?


For your holiday pleasure: Lighted boats on the weekend

Since we live in one of the more nautical corners of the planet, it’s almost considered mutinous not to watch a parade of brightly decorated boats every December. You have multiple chances to join in the salty holiday spirit this weekend.

View the full article on the Seattle Times site: Lighted boats will buoy up your holiday spirits


2600 in 6

Julie Anne’s Christmas tree, 2009Twenty-six strands of lights and the entire ornament collection all in six hours, to the accompaniment of the “Christmas favorites” iTunes playlist and a lovely dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers. Oh, and a brief pause to watch the lighting of the Westlake tree, the Space Needle, and the KING5 broadcast tower atop Queen Anne Hill.

Been a busy day!

Must be the holiday season?

Julie Anne in Baking ModeThis morning we stopped at Starbucks for eggnog lattes and at Target for Christmas lights, candles, and a wreath and hanger.

Now back at Julie Anne’s discussing the particulars of her holiday decorating plans before we retrieve the dozen or so Christmas boxes from her storage unit, all while she’s mixing up a batch of home-made bread and Christmas songs waft from the living room.

Definitely that time of year!

Happy holidays :-D  


Ah ha, the power was out!

Some 6,000 to 7,000 City Light customers on Lower Queen Anne, including portions of the Seattle Center and the Space Needle, went without electricity for 45 minutes early this morning

via seattletimes.nwsource.com

No wonder my microwave and stereo were doing the 12:00 --:-- 12:00 --:-- 12:00 --:-- 12:00 blinkies this morning. Kind of weird to find out about an immediately local event via the newspapers a few hours after it happened, though.

And I suppose it’s a good thing I use my phone as an alarm clock.


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.


Insomnia blows

I worked late on Wednesday and I have to go in early Thursday. These two simple facts have turned my brain against me and I’m lying here in the soft glow of my phone’s screen, typing a mobile post about how I’m not sleeping right now.

This is a crazy world.


Flying carpets


Flying carpets
Flickr: Don Nunn
Balcony door was open, warm in the apartment and I was cooking. I kept hearing these odd boom/crash sounds. I wasn’t sure if it was a car backfiring or, who knows, gunshots or whatever.

When I went outside, I caught the end of the carpet installers’ four-floors-up carpet-tossing act.

My Treo’s microphone does no justice to the loudness of the slamming sound these carpet remnants were making.

I love living in the city. :-)


Been kind of a crazy week

On Sunday morning there was an assault and stabbing in my building. Happened to be my neighbors, and I was the second person to call 911. Spent much of the rest of the day talking to police, writing a statement, giving a recorded interview with a Domestic Violence Unit detective.

I talked quite a bit about this on Twitter Sunday*, but I haven’t mentioned it here until now. I wasn’t sure if I was going to mention it here at all, since it involves other people in a sensitive story, but I decided since it was part of my life and the victim’s anonymity has been maintained in the news coverage, posting about that coverage was okay.

Anyway. After the jump, the latest story about the case from one of the local papers.

* See (in this order) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Continue reading "Been kind of a crazy week" »


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. :-)


2008 in cities

List gets shorter each year, even though I’m spending about the same amount of time traveling. Fewer destinations, more trips to some of them.

Links lead to related posts; boldface indicates cities I visited more than once.

A bit different method this time. The list includes cities where I spent less than 24 hours if the city was the primary destination. Previously, I only included cities I where I had spent at least 24 consecutive hours, but this year I made a few day trips I wanted to include.

If this is at all like last year, family and friends will remind me of a couple of trips I took and didn’t have listed in my calendar, so I may add to this list over the next few days.

Previous “in cities” lists: 2005, 2006, 2007.

Also, Katharine’s list; our friend Julie Anne’s list.


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!


A couple missing options here

Flickr photo sharing: A couple missing options here
A couple missing options here
Flickr: Don Nunn

Nice that iCal offers an option to hide completed task items after so many days, but no option to show uncompleted tasks only so many days before their due dates?

I have some tasks set for as far out as May 2009, but iCal’s options allow only an all-or-nothing approach. I get to see every uncompleted task or only tasks whose due dates fall outside the current calendar view. I rarely use month view because my calendar has enough items in it to make month view nearly useless, so I’d rather be able to set an option to see all uncompleted tasks due within 14 days, for example, no matter what view I’m using.


Who goes there?

It’s a little blustery tonight.

Across the street is a tree that moves in the breeze across the line of sight between my balcony and the security light on the building directly south of mine.

The tree’s crossing the light keeps making me think there is someone walking across my balcony. In the last few minutes I’ve had several WTF moments.

Time, methinks, for bed. Have a nice Sunday night. :-)


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.


Today’s kinda sucking suddenly

Okay day at work, a bit busy this morning and then the day DRAGGED for the roughly 27 years between 09:30 and 12:15, and then it was a bit busy again in the afternoon to finish things out.

So home I went, normal commute with not much traffic (score!), couple quick errands on the way and when I walked in the door, I fell over a stack of recyclables and two cats because I forgot to take them (the recyclables) down to the bins this morning—actually didn’t forget at all, I chose not to take them down because I hate making noise at weird hours and I leave my house for work at 05:30, no one wants to be awakened by the sound of glass bottles clacking in their hideous high-pitched manner into the goddamned recycling bin—and when I stood up, I had a slight sore throat and a mild post-nasal drip.

Damned cold coming on! I think it’s actually the cold I thought I was getting a couple weeks ago, but that one never went anywhere, just camped out in my sinuses and/or lungs until it could spring on me as I lay prone with cracker boxes and Diet Coke cans and unread weekly advertisement-mail wads scattered about me and two cats fleeing in terror down the entry corridor. Its moment spotted, that dormant little cold pounced like 12 ninjas and now I am sniffling and my throat’s slightly scratchy and I’m out of night-time cold meds, but my head isn’t actually stuffed up, so I’m not going to the 24-hour Bartell Drugs nearby, it’ll wait until tomorrow.

The whole point of this was to mention that part of what I planned to do tonight was try to rescue my phone from yet another of its roughly quarterly calendar crashes, where my 10-year, 20,000-item-plus calendar gets eaten by a sync that fails because the computer crashes or the phone resets or the gods, enraged by my successful daily syncs over the previous 88 days, jealously wreak their vengeance and force the sync to fail, and the phone will never sync again after that. So I have to reset everything, set the phone to be overwritten in its entirety, a process that takes roughly 13 weeks and works maybe a third of the time.

Today it took only 90 minutes and worked on the first try. Possibly sympathy for the scratchy throat, but I have my doubts. I think it’s trying to gaslight me by making me think it’s on my side again, and three months down the line it’ll crash again, or next week it will burst into flame unprovoked, probably right as I’m trying to look up what movie I saw on Jun 11, 2003, after we had been at Tap House Grill and had probably more than a few beers before we saw... what movie was that again?

Here, I’ll look it up.


Seven years already?

On this date in 2001, I made my first DVD rental from Netflix. Picked three movies, received all three two days later.

In alphabetical order:

Antz. I can’t remember exactly why I rented this. Only thing I can figure is it was a fairly new DVD release at the time, and probably I wanted to be able to compare it to A Bug’s Life, which was due for release in November of that year.

The Big Kahuna. Hated this movie. Hated, hated, HATED it. Rented it because I generally like Kevin Spacey and the trailers somehow made it look good to me.

Enemy of the State. Will Smith’s latest (at the time) blockbuster, and it held my attention from beginning to end despite the occasionally laughably obvious plot.

I was struck, as I looked over the rest of my rental history, by how strongly I remember some of the movies, or at least the circumstances of their rental or viewing, and by how utterly forgettable other movies have proved to be. The Ice Storm, for example, I still clearly remember watching on a November evening in 2001. The film itself didn’t register on me much, neither particularly good nor hideously awful, though I quite like both Kevin Kline and Joan Allen; but the circumstances of when and where I watched it, I remember well. Not so for Spider-Man 3, which my calendar and my Netflix history both tell me I watched less than a year ago on Nov 15, 2007, but which I have no memory of seeing—neither the movie itself nor the when/where of it apart from my calendar record.

The seven years in my Netflix history since, by the numbers:

  • 435: Number of movies I’ve rented.
  • 165: Longest time (in days) I held a movie. I’d lost a Netflix envelope among a stack of papers and needed several months to find it. And then returned it UNWATCHED.
  • 50: Discs returned unwatched due to lost interest. Some of these I knew I wouldn’t watch and forgot to remove them from my queue.
  • 14: Times I changed my membership level, as high as 4-at-at-time/unlimited and as low as 1-out/2-monthly depending on how I was using the service at any given time.
  • 12: Number of movies I’ve rented twice.
  • 9: Discs returned for replacement due to unplayability. Scratches mostly, my DVD player is VERY sensitive to that; but in one case, the DVD arrived snapped into four pieces inside its mailer.
  • 2: Times I put my account on hold while I was moving from one state to another.
  • 1.2: Average number of movies per week over the entire 7-year run.
  • 1: Shortest time (in days) I held a movie (actually 30 different titles) and number of movies I rented 3 times.
  • 0: Discs I’ve lost and Times I’ve entered movie-rental stores.

Hell of a ride. I wonder how much my late fees would have been on those films I kept longer than the brick-and-mortar stores’ policies allowed back in 2001? I should figure that out sometime, but I think this is enough stats geekery for now.


Compromised

This morning I was horrified to discover I left my apartment front door unlocked all night, and I left my front passenger window rolled down when I got home yesterday afternoon.

Strictly from a personal– or property-safety perspective, neither of these is cause for huge concern. The part of town where I live isn’t a massively high-crime area, and I live in a secured building so the front-door thing was less a personal security risk and more a memory failing. And while there have been some vehicle break-ins in this neighborhood over the years, there have been none in my building’s parking lot in the year and a half I’ve lived here.

It’s much more the lapses of memory that wig me out.

While I was lying in bed last night, just before I drifted off, I did wonder to myself if I had locked the door after I got home from the day’s activities. But I dismissed the concern out of hand, so when I reached to disengage the deadbolt this morning on my way to work, I thought: Did I already unlock the door this morning? Why, if I did? And if not, why didn’t I listen to myself last night when I wondered if I had locked it?

Even though my building is secured and my neighbors are pretty low-key, I normally lock my door the moment I close it because my apartment door is at the end of a corridor with an exit stairway door immediately to its right. I would lock the door immediately more often than not, but I purposefully got into the habit after the time a few months ago when a man I’d never seen before (nor since) walked into my apartment thinking he was opening the stairwell door. He didn’t immediately realize his mistake and turn around even when he saw a coat tree and a litter box instead of a stairway, or perhaps he just figured someone was using the stairwell as a storage space of some kind. So he continued further into my apartment, I guess thinking maybe the stairway was around the corridor or maybe off the bedroom.

Shocked looks on both our faces when I came out of the kitchen to ask him just what the hell did he think he was doing? He mumbled something about looking for the stairwell and hastily backed out the door, and I started keeping the door locked all the time.

The car thing is a little more disconcerting. I had both front windows rolled down on my drive home yesterday afternoon, and I clearly remember closing the driver-side window when I got home. Passenger window didn’t even register on my mind at all, in fact I didn’t notice it was open until I started the car and thought, hmm, seems louder than usual.

And sound louder it does when the window’s open, idiot!

I did the quick once-over: Glove compartment, center console, visors, stereo intact. Nothing was missing or even appeared disturbed.

Signs of approaching middle age, I suppose. Urk.


Weekend in a minute

  1. Beautiful weather. This was all weekend, but it started Friday, so chronologically it goes first.
  2. Drinks and dinner with Katharine and our coworker friend Ian at Macaroni Grill Friday night. Second time I’d been there in a week, but only once for a meal. And while we were there . . . .
  3. Ran into my friend Matt and his roommate Liz, who were there to wait for their other friend Jason, who is one of the bartenders. So of course I had to hang out with them a bit once the dinner part of the evening was over, and somehow that meant a trip to the grocery store to buy a foot-long sub that was actually 14 inches (I called it “the baker’s foot”—I am such a card) and a 12-pack of Coca-Cola. For Jason, that is. I still had my lasagna leftovers.
  4. SLEPT. Ahh.
  5. Relaxing Saturday morning and early afternoon of household stuff. Never used to relax me, now I find it enormously satisfying. Damned adulthood.
  6. A complete reset of my TiVo, which had been doing Spanish-language and cooking shows again, but oddly, no Spanish-cooking shows. Also insisted it was out of program info as of yesterday even though the listings actually ran through the 18th. The little TiVo dude may be cute and cuddly, but damn if I don’t want to slap the shit out of him sometimes.
  7. Lovely happy hour and dinner with Julie Anne at Bell Street Diner on the Seattle waterfront. Watched some cruise ships pull away, watched some drama with a whole passel of Seattle Fire Department trucks and personnel including divers for a water rescue that wasn’t actually necessary. Also a lot of BYU fans who were just pleased as non-alcoholic punch by their football team’s one-point victory over the Washington Huskies, though the one set of blue-wearing jackasses on our left did spend a good part of their meal whining about how the Cougars beat the Huskies by “only” one point, woe are they, their team is better than that! The one guy ordered the salmon pot pie, which Julie Anne hates and would normally warn persons she likes against ordering it. This BYU-fan numbnuts she encouraged to order it.
  8. Home by 21:00 Saturday so I had a nice evening of warm weather, lovely Seattle city views, and my new rope lights on the balcony to add a bit of ambience, and to blind me to the views of the closer neighborhood. Hadn’t quite thought that all the way through, but it works well enough for the light I actually want out there sometimes.
  9. SLEPT more. Ahhhhh.
  10. Woke up absurdly early, silly body getting used to the work schedule and holding me to it on the weekends. Drank 12oz Diet Coke, which seems like way TMI but is important a point or two down the line.
  11. Met Matt for coffee at Borders in Alderwood Mall. Twelve ounces of non-fat white chocolate mocha there (again, not really TMI, just wait for it), ahead of
  12. The 11:30 showing of The Dark Knight in Lynnwood, accompanied by roughly half of a 32oz (they call that “small”) Diet Coke at the theater, so that when the (3-hour!) movie was over
  13. I could barely stand up, my bladder was so stretched. RESTROOM EMERGENCY, I walked out of the theater bent over like Igor from Young Frankenstein, but I made it with no lasting ill effect. Ahhhhhhh.
  14. Late lunch with Matt in Edmonds at Anthony’s Beach Cafe, or Bell Street Diner North as I’ve decided to call it. Similar menu, similar waterfront experience (though the sandbox and screaming children added a whole level of Family Fun! to the meal), absolutely GORGEOUS afternoon.
  15. Home to wind down the weekend with a few more householdy things while I get into the mindset for my first full five-day work week in what seems like months, but is really only a few weeks, after the last few work weeks were shortened by holidays and visiting family.

Seems like such a more happenin’ life when it’s listed in 15 items like this, go figure.