I spent the first part of March in New York City meeting "the friend of a friend" whom I'd been emailing off and on for a few months. She and I had each ended a long term relationship at about the same time, and a mutual friend quickly suggested that we were similar people and should get in touch with one another. Our friendship was nothing more than very infrequent emails for many months, growing in regularity as time passed. Jamie is getting her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University Of St. Augustine in northern Florida, and with her spring break approaching I suggested that we meet each other somewhere not in Florida. We selected New York City, the reason for my visit to this metropolis.
As our mutual friend had suggested, we very much hit it off. Enough so that I've been very neglectful of other aspects of life, such as work and maintaining KernelTrap. Our three days in New York turned into a little over a week thanks to Jamie doing less than perfectly on a final that earned her an unrequested two month break from school. It was only the beginning of what's proved to be a whirlwind of fun and distraction, and ultimately a new relationship.
After Jamie returned to Florida, I stayed in the city a few more days to catch up with Micah, an old friend and fellow out-the-roader, and his girlfriend Sam. We all stayed up far too late each night talking, laughing, and seeing awful movies. All in all, it was an amazingly fun time.
Is fascinating. Today I learned how Suzanne Vega had a profound role in developing psychoacoustic compression technology. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy obsolete technology; because, in every piece of gear that you own, there is a story in how it was conceived, developed, delivered, and ultimately succeeded or failed. Sometimes, even the failures are more interesting than the suceeding technology. 10 years ago, I would have never convinced myself that I was really a historian at heart, but when I look at my passions for research, they usually center on tech blunders. That's OK, because if Neil K. and I ever do start our mythical software company, I'd rather come to the table with parables on what not to do instead of repeating common mistakes.
Is it me, or is that Dr. Neil Clark Warren dude from eharmony.com just freakin' scary. Now normally, I wouldn't mention it, but eharmony has been on a TV ad spree, and spamming my inbox like crazy. So, congratulations, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, you've officially made my $hitlist.
Looking at his wikipedia entry reveals that he was a former dean of a seminary. I guess that explains his cult leader like demeanor in ads.
Hana and Alice 花與愛麗絲
Yun Shui Yao 云水謠
A Dirty Carnival 卑劣的街頭
A Midnight Clear 戰火赤子心
Beyond The Clouds 云上的日子
Blood Diamond 血鑽
Green Hat 綠帽子
Na Qie 納妾
Saw III 電鋸驚魂III
The Cave 魔窟
The City of Violence 同夥
The Double Life Of Veronique 雙面薇若妮卡
The Painted Veil 面紗
Might be the husband of Rachel Probert. I was flipping through my co-worker Josh's copy of Linux User magazine, reading an article about the Fish shell, when I flipped forward and caught her article (and picture) at the end of the magazine. Ok, dude, how did you find a woman that looks like that and digs Linux? My bet is that he went all Weird Science and made her! Any advice for a punk rock loving, El Camino (with flames on it) driving, Linux loving guy like me?
Another week down. Another show down. The show went well; nothing else really changed with respect to the band.
The two big news items this week are:
The work thing is pretty straightforward. I generally like where I work. It's got its share of bureaucracy and B.S., but the Navy prepared me for that in spades, and unlike the Navy, it actually pays. Not quite as well as as it did when I was a contractor, but I'll have benefits that I won't feel uneasy about using, and other perks (401K and such). It's the right move to make.
Another weekend gone. I'm "on call" this week, so I've sort of had to stay availabe (which, for the most part, meant staying at home). To that end, I finally got my house wired up. I terminated the end of the Cat5e in the low-voltage panel with RJ-45 connectors, and hooked them into a switch. My low voltage wiring panel has a electrical socket in it, so powering the switch is no big deal. I have Cat 5e connections in each bedroom, one in the loft, two in the family room, and one in the kitchen...so I can get pretty networked. I hooked up my laptop, and it made me realize how much nicer a wired connection still is. Wireless works, but even with my iBook, I've always had little dead spots, requiring me to position either myself or the computer in weird ways to get a good signal. Not to mention that I think many wireless chipsets are taking a step backward in usability, at least as far as Linux is concerned.
I have always been easily distracted. But lately, it seems like I can't focus on jack. It's kind of driving me nuts. I feel like I was better about juggling tasks when I was younger compared to now. I wish I knew why. I have seriously considered getting a Ritalin script, but I'm not too enthused about taking a prescription amphetamine. I used to just be better about prioritizing what I wanted to do.
On July 31st, 2006, my niece Greta Lauren Andrews was born weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces. I'd been planning to get up to Craig ever since to meet her, and finally made it for Thanksgiving. With her heart-stopping smile she was even cuter than I'd been told, and the first infant I've felt comfortable holding. One of the highlights was when I carried her to a winter bazaar and she fell asleep, somehow relaxing and comforting to have an infant asleep in your arms.
I visited Josh and Shelby and Greta for a few weeks, the first couple staying with them on their 32' sailboat along with two dogs. Not a lot of space, but we all managed to get along fine. The third week we moved into a house sitting gig. I went up to the high school where my brother teaches each day to take advantage of the high speed internet, getting some work done. Prince of Whales is a pretty island, somewhat surprising considering all the clear cutting that's happened there. All in all, an enjoyable visit, I'm already planning to head back and see how much Greta has changed in a couple of months.
From Hollywood I jumped on I-5 and headed back up to Chico to catch a Lou Reed concert with my friend Robyn. The concert was good, just Lou Reed and two bass players, performing lots of slowed down covers of his old Velvet Underground songs as well as many from his more recent Magic and Loss and The Raven albums. The concert included accidental side shows, to one side of us a man snored through the whole concert then commented at the end how good it was, and to the other side a couple argued and ultimately ended their relationship with the woman storming out and the man just shrugging his shoulders and staying for the rest of the concert.
Earlier in the day we drove up to Lassen Volcanic National Park, but at the gate we were told there had been some slides and the road was blocked off within a mile from the entrance. We went in as far as the "Sulfur Works", then followed a trail up above the snow line.
My drive down Highway 1 ultimately led me to Los Angeles where I visited my cousin who is an up-and-coming television star, Eric Millegan. The day I arrived he had some time off, so we enjoyed ourselves wandering around and catching up. That evening we went to the grand opening of the Original Penguin along with his friend Ben Blair, a bizarre red-carpet affair at a Hollywood clothing store where I literally ran into Lindsay Lohan and rubbed shoulders with Paris Hilton, attended by dozens of other Hollywood stars generating excitement but whom I wasn't familiar with. From there we ended up at a casino playing Texas Hold'em where I quickly lost my $40, as did Eric, while Ben turned his into a couple hundred.
The following day I accompanied my cousin to work at Fox Studies, spending the entire day on the set of Bones. I got to spend quite a bit of time with the entire cast and crew, all of whom turned out to be exceedingly friendly and accommodating. Being the guest of one of the main actors, I was made to feel a bit like royalty. I was particularly impressed by Emily Deschanel, T.J. Thyne, and Tamara Taylor, all of whom spent quite a bit of time talking with me and even hugged me good-bye. I also spoke at length with the show's creator, Hart Hanson, who seemed quite nice though was obviously the top of the pecking order. The other big name I met that day was David Duchovny from the X-Files, who had directed the previous episode of Bones and was on-set to finish up one last scene.
The fourth time through emissions, I finally got my 1973 El Camino to pass. About time! I'd like to give a big shout out to Neil for the assistance in this, and fixing a leaky gas line. Here's to one more year with the beast!
The secret was....actually richening the idle mixture. For anybody who ends up reading this....I have a small block 350, with an Edelbrock 1405 performer carb, and an Edelbrock performer manifold to go with it. The 1405 carb was way too rich to begin with; my idle HC was 814 ppm (spec is 400). I downjetted the primary jets from .100 to .095, and changed the metering springs to the 4" (yellow) variety. I left the metering rods alone. Then I played with the mixture quite a bit; trying to lean it out. The third time through emissions (the second time they failed me due to no rear brakes), the loaded and idle readings responded (loaded quite well, actually), but idle HC was still 701 ppm. Then I got out a vacuum gauge and tuned the idle speed and mixture settings for highest vacuum. Idle was about 950-1000 rpm in park. Once I got highest vacuum; I turned each screw in about a quarter turn. I think the screws are somewhere between 1.5 and 2 turns out. The biggest difference was that the car idled quite well at that point. I took it through emissions again today, and it finally passed. It did the following:
Life here is returning to a bit more sane pace, or maybe the past weekend has just allowed me to relax. In any case, I figured maybe almost a month and a half without a blog entry was a bit much. Kudos to Jeremy for putting the new KT theme in place; I know that it's been a long time in the making.
Christmas was good. Kari's family was in town. Usual family type stuff; food and fun. I did relatively well, giftwise. Her parents got me a couple of flashlights; one a battery/ solar/ hand crank powered thing with a built in radio, and also an LED flashlight. Kari's sister really hooked me up; she got me a set of glasses exactly like the set that Lisa took during the divorce (it was always a bit of a sore point with me since one of my good friends hooked me up with them).
That's the long story short.
Highs, in order: Lake Tahoe, Joshua Tree National Park, Rocky Point Mexico, Lake Bartlett Arizona, my 30th birthday party, Newport, Oregon, my annual Halloween bash, and going snowboarding in Vail with my buddy Vince.
Lows, in order: getting diagnosed with testicular cancer, losing Mr. Lefty, finding out it metastasized, undergoing three rounds of BEP chemotherapy, losing my girlfriend, and finally, losing my amazingly healthy, 54-year-old father after he dies, quite unexpectedly, of a heart attack.
First off, I'm excited. I pick up the keys for my house tomorrow. I found out yesterday that not only have the base prices on the homes gone up, apparently they don't include as much stuff as they used to, so long story short, a house of the same model as mine, outfitted with the same stuff, sold for 40k more than I paid for mine. Here's to instant equity! I haven't even moved in yet either.