I feel exactly like this: keeping busy, waiting on the rain to stop and the sun to come.
I am an admitted cyber-hoarder. I have gigs and gigs of image files across 5-6 hard drives: Images of furniture, vacations, design details, machines, demotivational posters, LOL cats, etc… that I will someday get around to looking at again or using for some future unnamed and unknown project. The few times I have gone looking for something, it has taken forever to find the wanted file.
I was introduced to Pinterest and I thought that this was the solution to my hoarding problem: a cleared up hard drive, organized files, I would be able to add comments to pictures, etc… Nope. Wrong. Stupid Pinterest solved nothing. Now I save files to my hard drives AND link to Pinterest. I have said many times that I don’t use Facebook because it is the black hole of time management. Now I will “glance” at my Pinterest account and BAM!! it is 2:30 am, I have 2% battery left on my iPad, and I have been repinning pictures for seven hours. This is really cutting into the time I have allocated to plotting my scheme for world domination… Dammit!
Watches… Every man wants a useful, tough, attractive watch. EVERY MAN. Even the guy that wears a Timex Ironman with a suit, or the men that buckle on a Seiko calculator knock-off every morning all want their watches to keep accurate time and need it to stand up to the rigors of their possible day. Some men want a diamond encrusted Rolex, others a multi-dial race inspired TAG, Japanese quartz Citizens are popular, some NEED a slim rose-gold Patek Philippe with a crocodile band, and then there are gents who want a $20 Timex that they will beat on and replace every year.
For me, part of my REM sleep is spent dreaming about a Swiss made, stainless steel, Omega Seamaster 007 strapped to my wrist as I progress from intrigue to adventure to interwoven & outlandish plot in the hours before I wake up to start my real day as a cube dweller. Ever have the dream about showing up naked to class or work? When it happens to me there is an Omega 007 on my wrist. Below is a short film that shows some of the detail of why a Swiss watch is special – enjoy.
I have been out of touch and away from my blog for a month or so: lots of travel including a 48hr trip to Ireland, a climbing vacation with the boys, a couple short trips to SoCal, and 5 days in the English countryside on a tour of round-a-bouts and concrete cows…
In the process of racking up a large hump of air-miles I have flown on 11 different airlines and I can say without a doubt that Alaska Airlines has been the carrier that has provided the fasted check-in, slickest and most useful App, and all my flights were somewhat on-time. The Alaska App was the clincher. I checked in on the way to the airport, chose my seat, fast-tracked through security, and the QR bar code on my iPhone was scanned at the gate for my boarding pass. From Taxi to assigned seat in the aircraft it took me a total of 23 minutes! Really, I timed it. Now, I still had to remove my shoes (fvck you very much asshat shoe-bombing terrorists!!) and take my laptop out of my bag, but that is just par for the course. If every flight check-in and trip to the gate was this great, then I wouldn’t complain at all about air travel.
A list of stuff and things that I want currently – not that I necessarily need, but that i wuold like to have or see done/happen:
1. More time to read, write, build, snuggle, climb, bike, run, laugh…
2. A twin Murphy-bed in my office disguised as a mid-century modern wardrobe so that we have more guest space.
3. For my year-long kitchen project to be finished
4. To remember the password for my old laptop so I can have access to 10+ years of pictures…
5. My very own spending money that I can do with what I wish without submitting to a vote/need analysis
6. To have my FVCKIN’ tools back that some asshat stole…
7. A few new t-shirts for summer and a flat belly to reside under them.
8. For my Mother and Sister to find the perfect place in life
9. For all the dandelions in my yard to cease to exist
10. I would very much like for the really sad, really pregnant girl I say in Seattle yesterday to find someone/something/someplace that makes her warm, happy, and safe.
Stamps-With-Foot and I went to the 3rd annual Steamcon this past weekend with our hearts open and expecting to be impressed. Last year we had a ball at their western/adventurer themed event: Great costumes, a cool retail section with memorable window shopping, and lots and lots of people having a great time. This year, the theme was a “20000 Leagues Under the Sea” affair. We had HUGE hopes for some very cool costumes/props and had been looking forward to going all year.
“Expectation is often better than realization…” I am not sure what it was, but this year’s show just didn’t have the same spark. Some of the costumes were terrific, but there seemed to be fewer original ones. Don’t get me wrong, we saw some classy dresses, finely tailored suits, mechanical hands, harpoons, gvns, hats, Leather roller derby gear, big wrenches, a pet shoulder dragon, and a goldfish tank on a leash. Some serious thought and skill went into these outfits. There were just fewer kinds of them this year than there were last year. It also seemed like the event goers this year were more subdued.
The convention was held at a larger and more spacious venue, which would normally be great, but it took away from some of the intimacy of the gathering as compared to last year. We were somewhat disappointed with the retail space/offerings. It seemed to be a rehash of last year, with each vendors efforts doubled at another booth. While I appreciate the entrepreneurial sprit, some of the items for sale were not made to withstand the test of time: if one uses hot-glue on an artistic/functional creation, shit will fall off and it will be neither the latter nor the former any longer. I will say that the art displays were terrific and we picked up a couple of small things for Le Maison du Talley.
I am holding out hope for Steamcon IV. I know some people that are discussing an awesome vendor booth and Victorian Monsters is the theme – rich material for the creative set. The Steampunk crowd has a high relative population of former Goths, so I am figuring that black capes & cloaks with high collars will be coming out of hope chests everywhere. Wooden crosses and silver bullets for the initiated. More lace, bite marks, wolf references, mad scientists, mummy’s, parasols, and meerschaum pipes will be seen. Vampire hunter kits will be produced, there should be some terrific League of Extraordinary Gentleman inspired regalia and maybe the show will find a home that is equal parts convenient for participants, has the perfect ambiance, and room for running amuck.
Someday I will have a phaser and a tricorder, but for now my iPad is a real close second. This baby let’s me get stuff done! The third morning that she (my white lovely has to be a girl as she is smooth, helpful, and sexy) came to live with me I hopped on first thing that morning while in my bath robe and with a cup of coffee in my hand. I got my daily news fix, sent seven e-mails to customers, corrected a drawing on my work machine via remote access, looked to see if my bus was on time, checked that week’s weather forecast, looked at the traffic on the bridge, made a quick Skype call, and for good measure updated a spreadsheet – all before that first cup of coffee was gone.
Below are the apps that I have loaded and that I have found most useful. Before loading anything, I had tried all out on others’ iPads or used the iPhone version. This is not an end all, be all review/recommendation, just a list of what I use and find really helpful. note: I am not a big gamer, but I have a couple that I will resort to on long flights.
I was reading the Seattle Times on my Kindle saturday morning while having my coffee and croissant and what appears before me: “Owners of the Kindle from Amazon will be able to download e-books from 11,000 U.S. libraries later this year, the company said Wednesday.” This is HUGE. The one reason that I ever even give the Nook a passing glance is because I could use it at the library. Living a few houses from my local branch has saved us some cash, but my wife mentioned last week that my e-book shopping is getting spendy. Problem solved! Man, I want to hop up from my bench, drop my oar and dance in the bilge, err I mean push away from my keyboard, leave my perfectly 5S’ed cubicle, and see the sun outside.
Sunday before last, my Father-in-Law, the Chatty Buddha, and I trekked over to the 2011 Seattle Bicycle Expo. We got a late start, make later still by the whole Spring Forward thing. We arrived at the show a little after 3:00 (show ended at 4:00), snagged free parking, and talked the two young ladies at the door into letting us in for free! We spent some time looking at the classic bikes (Where I drooled some and my pants got a little tight), made a quick walk of the show floor, and the circled back to the booths that were most interesting: the $70 cycling Jerseys going for an end-of-show-special for $30 were particularly attractive. We picked up a couple and a conned the vendor into giving us two caps that matched the jerseys for the price of one. J
I walked through the Bamboo Getto and took a few shots, talked to the gents at Co-Motion cycles, Eben Oliver Weiss, AKA Bike Snob, gave a talk that I wanted to see, but my packed weekend schedule prevented it. He Blogged about his trip here.
The auto-complete function on my iPhone is making me crazy. I keep sending inappropriate e-mails to friends, the dog walker and now a big-wig at my company… My greatest hits include:
Since this “feature” is making me seem even more inappropriate than usual, I hopped onto in inter-webs to figure out how to turn it off. I ran smack into a site listing MANY more examples of auto-evilness. Thought I would share.
The wife and I strive to have as little impact as possible on the world around us. My green lawn is chemical free, our firewood is shop-scrap and blown-down timber, our garden is organic, we conserve water and electricity, I compost our kitchen and yard waste, we are looking at honey and egg production this year, we recycle or reuse over 92% of our waste (real number – I calculated it out over a three month period by volume), I build furniture and cabinets from recycled and thrown away wood, and we either carpool or I ride to work most days.
However, we have a dirty little secret that needles at my green-bent little soul at least a couple of times a day – the massive 1942 oil-fired heater in our basement. We burn diesel to warm our home. Worse, we burn it in an antiquated heater that our service person said was “…about 30% efficient…” I feel like I and wearing a scarlet H (hypocrite) on my chest. We HAVE to do something about it!
I had considered switching to biodiesel, but so much oil is used in the production of bio-crops (tractor feul and fertilizer) that there is actually more oil used to produce most available biodiesel than regular fuel. I do not have the time, room, and am not zoned properly to produce my own biodiesel from used fryer oil. We have instead decided to replace our war and famine-fueled antique oil guzzler with a modern heat pump. I wanted a closed-loop geothermal system and we have the ground space for it, but the $25K price tag put it out of reach. We have instead opted for an above ground model that will have an electric booster for when the outside ambient temperature falls below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It will increase our winter electric bill some, which now sits at ~$40 a month, but it will give us air-conditioning for the one week a year that we need it and the projected price increase (~$20 a month) will be offset by the $2K+ savings on oil every winter. The system has a 20 year warrantee and will pay for its self in fuel savings in three years J I wanted it installed last fall, but it looks like it will go in this summer.
Additionally, I am installing a fireplace insert upstairs and am building an electric “fireplace” for the basement family room to help out when the temperature drops. We have only lost power once in the year and a half that we have been in our home, but just in case I am having an auxiliary generator adaptor wired to our main panel during the kitchen remodel so that our heat pump, fridge, freezer, stove, water heater and a few lights will be available if a storm or wind knocks our power out.
“Steampunk is for Goths that have discovered brown.” - I love that quote and it makes me giggle every time I think about it. While I can really get into the Victorian Zeitgeist, making your own cool stuff, recycling old gears into art, bargain hunting at flea markets, and retro-fying 21st century gadgets – I think that it is the roll playing sub-set that has kept me away from embracing the movement. Well, that and I already have WAY too much crap going on and not enough time/money to do any of it that well. I can’t add another hobby, but like I said, I can appreciate some of the aspects of the movement/genre/fashion/cult/trend/??/….
Anyway, when I saw that the largest Steampunk show in the US was going to be held in Seattle this year, my interest was piqued. When I later read that Gail Carriger was going to be signing her books and meeting fans, well that sealed the deal. Don’t judge me! I picked up her first book, Soulless, at an airport bookstore on a trip and that tiny little woman’s writing is so God damn good that she hooked me (qwerky, well built characters and she uses English as an offensive weapon…). I will drink some beer later, burp and scratch while watching some football or hockey as my man-penitence.
Stamps-With-Foot and I got up early on Saturday, I proptly forgot the camera, and we headed off to the wilds of the SeaTac Airport Marriott for our chance to say hello and gush at Ms. Carriger. We did just that and found her to be very approachable, genuine, funny, and sincere – all that you could ever want an author that you meet to be. Buy her books! We then decided to take a walk and look at what and who there was to see. HOLY CRAP! we stepped into a mess of nerdy, techy, historically inaccurate stew! All ages, races and genders were present and I was shocked to see that the male/female ratio was 50/50ish. It may be profiling, but… at most tech, comic, or game conventions there are significantly more males of the species and the few ladies in attendance have their pick of which Spiderman loving, +2343 hit-point having, IT professional they will be going so be spending time with. Steamcon seemed to appeal to both sexes equally and there were some truly beautiful people walking around in costume, shopping, flirting, and having a great time. The costumes were interesting and for the most part very well done: Victorian fantasy accessories, sexy boots, tiny hats, spats, ray gvns, a steampunk Geisha jet packs, a saddle(?!), parasols, wings, accoutrements that looked like they took months to build, some really good art, pith helmets aplenty, monocles galore, and some characters of questionable lucidity. The people watching was A++. I would wager that more nerd-nooky was had this weekend at that hotel than the combined amount in all of the western US up to this point in 2010. I took a few pictures with the iPhone and below are the best of them. Sorry for the pixilization.
I have made the leap into the arms of technology once again. After months of internal debate, fondling display models and endless questions & comments, I bought a Kindle 3 this weekend.
My wife gave me the cash and “permission” to buy my e-reader crack of choice for my birthday. We were in Portland this weekend and since Oregon has no state sales tax, I figured it was the right time to buy. We did go to two different stores to find one in stock and were greatly assisted by the magic of the iPhone and its ability to look up store locations and phone numbers on the fly. I opted for the plan-Jane cover and the wifi-only model: I don’t NEED a Cole Haan calf skin leather case, polished with the tears of a busty virgin for $100 and am never joinsin’ for a book so hard that I need 3G coverage. After loading a couple free books, I bought a Steampunk novel and downloaded a newspaper to take a shake down run. Results: Matt likey!! It is small, light, simple, and a pleasure to read.
I spent Sunday morning sitting at a friend’s table reading the International Times Herald, drinking coffee, and popping doughnut holes into my mouth. It made for a really nice rainy Pacific Northwest morning inside. I will include a gallery below of my e-reader lovely next to the Moleskine medium square-ruled notebook that I use for work
I feels extra-smart… Like i gots me some real serious book-learnin’, whew-ee!
My wife, Stamps-with-Foot, went online last night and tried to comment on my Kindle lust post. She gave me a wry look and said that the comments weren’t working. I glared at her with the same suspicion your IT guy at work gives you when something is supposedly “wrong” with your computer. I issued the “move over” command – I have been studying how IT works and nerd-bravado is something like 72.61% of their technical skill set - and took her laptop. Sure enough, the comments were off. Huh? I turned them back on and in just a minute the very same thing happened with the next post that she wanted to make some witty quip about. I then spent close to an hour, hunched over her netbook, figuring out what was up…
It would seem that when I updated the appearance on my blog template a month or so ago, I somehow turned off all the comments on all my posts. I have had swarms of e-mail lately and zero comments, so I wondered what was going on; now I know – I clicked the wrong check box and that was that. I feel extra-smart.
Why am I surrounded by Gun Nuts? It is not just the ones with “…out of my dead cold hands…” tattooed somewhere, the other side of the spectrum is very well represented as of late. Three weeks ago I bump into a guy running for city council. I talk to him a bit, he seems to be on it concerning local issues, appears to listen and think before he responds, and I am starting to like the guy. Then, he notices me noticing his very poorly concealed pistol. I mention that he should get a better holster, like a Kramer, so as to blend better with the non-pistol toting folk. At that precise moment, he stepped on the express train to Crazy-Town!! Immediately he perceives that I am also a member of the lunatic fringe who thinks that our current President (you know the one I voted for and love) is trying to repeal the 2nd Amendment, that Hillery Clinton is secretly running things, and that we are on the brink of a conservative proletariat revolution. He went so far as to use the ‘Tree of Liberty…” Thomas Jefferson Quote. I smiled, nodded, took his literature and walked briskly away.
Not two days after my run-in with Candidate-in-need-of-a-straitjacket, I am in Big 5 buying pellets for my son’s air rifle. The checkout lady asks me if I’m going hunting. I smile, gave a little chuckle and said no, that they were for a small pellet gun and that I was teaching my 9-year old the basics of proper marksmanship. A nano-second after it comes out of my mouth the lady behind me in line, buying a new yoga mat (no demonetization meant against yoga practitioners – I love yoga – it is just what she happened to be buying) shrieks and starts yelling at me – no really yelling at me about how I should be ashamed “teaching a child to kill.” She launched into a a stuttering unrehearsed diatribe about how wrong guns are, how evil and vile they are, how I was “perpetuating violence against animals and women” - really, she said that – and that “I should be arrested…” I stood there like a statue, not knowing what to do or say. The cashier started yelling at this woman and by the time an employee from the baseball section came running up, the screamer was so worked up that she was almost foaming at the mouth. She dropped her stuff on the floor and charged out the door. The three of us were left just staring at the glass door and each other. I shrugged, they shrugged and I left. I am afraid of both sides of the spectrum when it comes to gun nuts, so I didn’t walk strait to my truck, I stopped in at Starbucks for a much needed Mocha first and took a long look at the parking lot. I was half afraid that the anger over our “discussion” and the loss of a new mat, might drive the woman into braining me with a tire-iron as I tried to leave. No joke, the thought went through my mind.
What has happened to the middle of the road citizen? What is it that seems to have made so many people so aggressively partisan? How is it that all these rational people with real jobs, education, hobbies, etc… go off the deep end? It is that you just never hear from the moderates? Do they just keep their head down, go to work, occasionally go to the pistol or clay range and just go on about their lives????
I have a book addiction and right now I am jonsin’ for a binary fix: I have a mad case of Kindle lust: one eye is starting to twitch, my mouth is dry, I am all itchy, and I can think of little else but e-ink. I need a Kindle….. NEED! I complained about the size and Amazon made it thinner. I reasoned that it sucked because I couldn’t arrange content and they released new software to allow organization. I bitched about the high price and they dropped it, if only to mock me! 1500 books, my daily paper and Wikipedia access… Fvck it hurts! I am starting to shake.
I am trying to be good, trying so hard. My wife said, “No, we have other things to spend money on right now” (she is right) and she knows that I will spend hours every night for weeks downloading from Project Gutenberg and will buy a crap-ton of new stuff online – she KNOWS… If I just go out and buy the thing, I will get it taken away like I am 3 years old and she will start using it smugly to ‘teach me a lesson.’ That and the sleeping outside alone (dog snuggles with her…) for the months it would take for her to calm down from my wanton disregard of our financial responsibilities would be too high a cost to pay if figured into the overall purchase price.
I am holding out for now, but God as my witness, the minute I can go to the library and check out an e-book with a Kindle, I am gonna go online and buy me some dirty e-reader relief, even if I have to prostitute myself out to a sweet old lady at the retirement home up the street for the cash!
My lovely little wife drug me into MySpace kicking and screaming. I made a profile, started collecting friends, heard from some kids I went to Jr. high with (still great guys), a couple of old girlfriends stopped by, I posted some pictures, I blogged a little, collected more friends, posted more pictures, spent hours looking at buddy’s and perfect stranger’s pages, etc… It all got to be too much. I have so much other stuff going on that I had to stop logging on. I am not sure the last time I checked my profile, but I haven’t added anything in 3 years or so. I have left my profile up just because, but I am pondering the decision to delete it as it seems that MySpace has become the denizen of pedophiles.
Now the pressure is on to “Facebook.” Somehow a noun has become an verb while I wasn’t watching, but I digress… I have fought the Facebook wave for the last three years. My wife has a page, my daughter has a page (I check up on her there) the ladies at work have pages and speak of being one another’s “Facebook-Friend” and ask if I will be one too… Really? Isn’t working with me and seeing me 9+ hours a day 5-6 days a week enough? I don’t particularly want my coworkers to see what my wife, daughter or deranged climbing buds might post on my Facebook page. In this age of information, I think that I would like to keep my private life just that. If I want to share something, I will blog about it – I like having complete control of the content and any comments that might come from the three people that follow my online musings – for the record, my wife isn’t on of them. She gets enough of my sardonic wit from sharing a life with me…
Nope, no Facebook for me.
If iPhone lovin’ is wrong, I don’t wanna be right! I was SLOW to jump on the iPhone bus for all sorts of what, at the time, were goods reasons: It was expensive, promised upgrades were just around the corner, and the data plan was an additional monthly expense that it pained me to even think about dolling out. I am already hemorrhaging funds every month $40 at a time for phones, security systems, insurance, internet, cable, trash collection, etc… I just didn’t need another expense.
My lovely wife got the iPhone bug after playing with her best friend’s for a weekend and badgered me about it for a while, but I stayed strong and resisted – even in the face of threats concerning sleeping on the couch. Well, my employer recently signed a deal with AT&T that gave DEEP discounts which meant I could convert and pay the same amount, so I made the leap. I am now in love, not the old tired version of love reserved for a cat, no, no this is new hot freaky girlfriend lust! It is like my hand was incomplete until just now. I feel like Schmeigel with that pesky golden band…. my precious…
In addition to the normal bells and whistles on the unit, I have loaded Peak.AR, NPR, a unit converter, Distant Suns, and Stanza e-book reader Apps to the home screen. This thing is now a proper tool to help me navigated the complexities of always-on 21st century Engi-nerd professional life and is almost as handy as a three-armed man in a titty bar. While I have researched what I have installed thus far thoroughly and I am not App crazy and I am not looking to install every semi-cool/useful App that I come across. If I will only use it once a month, then it can stay at the App store. I am currently deciding between iTrails and RunKeeper Pro for a running/cycling companion.
The only real issue I am currently experiencing is iPhone envy. Laurel looks at me with daggers in her eyes when I pull it out of my pocket. I am going to have to concede defeat and see that she gets one of her own if I want to keep peace in Casa D’ Talley. So, in the end I get to spend the money I was trying so hard to save…
I have noticed more and more that people get really wrapped up in their own little techie universe (I do it at times), and sometimes we forget that there are other people out there and all about the manners that Mom and Dad taught us.. We have all stood in line at the grocery store behind someone on the phone with their girlfriend or buddy: They are loud, ignore everyone around them, often don’t acknowledge the checker’s presence, and discuss things publicly that should be reserved for their home or Dan Savage’s sex advice column.
Normally, I just chalk it up to poor home training, but I draw the line at the movies. How hard is it to remember to hit the power button?! Every time I have been to the movie in the last three years (I go a lot) some unthinking prick’s phone starts going off and they fumble like a monkey with a math problem trying to shut it off. Recently, a girl in Hamburg got a call, answered it, and talked for a few seconds thirty minutes into the show. If that wasn’t bad enough her phone rang again not five minutes later and she answered it AGAIN?! Even my pacifist wife shot her an icy look, full of daggers, and was ready to fit her for a pair of Las Vegas-special concrete shoes. As everyone around her glared and she finally got the message and grudgingly switched the thing off. Is it rocket science to turn off the FVCKING phone before the movie starts?! If I can learn to put down my beloved CrackBerry and disconnect from my Borg-like BB hive for the greater good, then it shouldn’t be that hard for the rest of the world to have a touch of common courtesy.
I know I am ranting here (this is my corner of the web and I am allowed to do that when I pay for the bandwidth) and I get that part of this is a kind of unconscious rudeness, as most people don’t realize what they’re doing or that there are others around them as they discuss So-and-so’s erectile dysfunction while standing in line at Blockbuster (true story – I heard the conversation in Newport Beach) or on the commuter train. Essentially, those people subject us, against our will, to their conversation and if you dare to ask someone to keep it down: you get the stink-eye and told to mind you own business, as they flip you the bird and tell the person on the other end of the conversation how rude you just were to them. Apparently, I missed the memo that said as of a specific date loud, obnoxious cell phone use in public is OK. So that I don’t just go on and on about this: please think when you are on the cell. Be polite, put the phone down if you have to interact with sales people or staff, don’t pollute the common space with personal details, and PLEASE turn your cell/handy/Razor/BlackBerry/Treo/etc… off before the movie starts.