Sorry for the lack of updates lately! In the past 48 hours I’ve had 3 hours in front of a computer with ‘net access, and I used those three emailing and watching Igby Goes Down at Julie‘s recommendation. Fantastic movie. Go rent it. I think I might just watch it again before I take it back. It’s that good.
So yesterday I was woken by a phone call:
them: “So ya coming?”
me: “uh…..” *rubs eyes*
them: “everyone’s here, we’re just waiting for you!”
me: “what time is it?”
So yeah! Everyone had to wait for me, because, due to some screwup at the airport, the van we rented to take the lot of us up to Tampa for the convention was only insured under my name. d’Oh!
Now the thing is, I made it to bed on time on Tuesday night (9:30), I just didn’t set my alarm. Oops! I ended up arriving 12 minutes late. The trip takes an hour, and we had two hours to get there, so it wasn’t a big deal after all.
Actually, funny story about the van. As I was pulling out of the airport Hertz parking lot, I pulled the e-brake release and backed out of the stall to get on the highway that would take me back to Sarasota.
So I’m on the highway, merrily doing 80 mph, when I notice the hood seems to be vibrating a little. Well, more than a little. Hey, wait a second. That doesn’t look right at all! Then it hit me — I had pulled the hood release when I was leaving.
Guess the 2003 Ford Windstar isn’t designed like the 1978 Econoline 150. Haha. Managed to pull over, plop the trunk down and remerge without incident (though it took about 10 minutes for there to be few enough cars so that I could accelerate).
Anyway, I’ll post a few bits about today’s eventful happenings a little bit later (most likely tomorrow morning).. Have a good sleep all!
This insomnia really must stop. Last night it was 2:50am. Look at the time now.
And I managed to get up at 7:20 without a problem. Now that’s just weird. Brendan told me this morning nothing will put you to sleep early like good, old-fashioned exercise. Maybe I’ll hit the gym tonight.
In other news, our company is hosting a big tradeshow this week. I’m going tomorrow and Thursday. I have to be at work by 6:30am tomorrow so we can all drive up to Tampa by 8! Should be tons of fun — I’m looking forward to seeing how customers use our product.
I’m between tasks and my manager is at the show already, so I’m tasking myself. Hope I’m on the right track.
Last night I did something that I haven’t done in a long time. I sat down and read. A book.
Yeah, that’s right. A book. I can hardly believe it either. It’s funny, because I read a lot of words these days — but very few are in books.
Those of you who know me well know that once I get into a book, I really get into it. I power through vowels and consonants like nobody’s business. Phone calls go unanswered. Sometimes I read an entire page in one day. e.g. I’ve been reading Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation since August (13 months after I bought it), and just two days ago I hit page 157.
So you can only imagine my bliss when I breezed through 23 pages of this masterpiece in one sitting. Pure joy.
90 to go.
Recommended: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. Half a century old and thrilling as ever. ps: it’s short.
What are your favorite (short) books?
So wow… Running a bit of a blogger deficit here, hehe. I’ve got stuff from 4 days ago I wanted to post but hadn’t gotten a chance to. Hehe… so instead my usual style, I present to you….
—=== +++ The Whirlwind Tour! +++ ===—
So Thursday I went out to play ulti again! Wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I’d be after playing for 3 hours just the night before. It was a good night. After the game, I met a guy named John (I think!). He asked me about the job market down here. He’s from Nova Scotia — Antigonish actually. Majored in CS. He’s a SmallTalk bigot; hates Java (“It’s hokey, I don’t like it at all”). SmallTalk is cool and all, I agree — but man, that’s a pretty narrow job market. Turned out he was Emily‘s brother. Her father had come to watch too. Had a little chat with him about the human patient simulators I work with. Him: “At that price, I bet it can simulate sex pretty well!” Me: “No comment.” (but see here).
Went home after that, but not before grossly violating the rules of my soymilk experiment. Mmmm.. grande vanilla steamer w/o whip!
Friday night! At ultimate, Emily and Thomas had mentioned the store that they worked at — Wine Warehouse — was having a tasting on Friday. I heard Eric J and Sonia were interested in going, so I gave them a call when I got home (I had no idea when it was set to start). Turned out it was already halfway through (it ran from 5-7pm). I managed to get there by quarter to seven — just in time to help finish the open bottles off, haha!
Here’s Thomas and Emily, sitting behind the counter at the Wine Warehouse. Thomas is part-owner of the store.
Some guy making sure the counter doesn’t go anywhere while Thomas is on the phone. (Photo by Emily.)
I ended up buying two bottles. I guess tastings really work! I think it’s especially helpful that Thomas can actually walk the walk. I could say “tell me about this one” and point, and Thomas could talk about it for five minutes. Haha.. Actually, Thomas put a cork in one of the unfinished bottles and gave it to me to take home. Membership has its privileges!
Afterwards, Eric, Sonia and I went out for a bite to eat out on Siesta Key.
It was anything but easy to speak! The band playing was super loud! But they were good, too, so between sips we made due by yelling at each other.
On the way home from Siesta Key, there was a beautiful skyline of downtown Sarasota — I just had to pull over and get a shot of it. This was taken using a 4-second exposure:
10:45pm, standing in the same spot, rotated counter-clockwise 90 degrees. See the car going across the bridge?
Saturday, Eric and Sonia and I went for lunch at this awesome little Carribean Jerk-sauce restaurant. You’d never have guessed it was anything special from the outside. It looked like a fast food place! And that’s the really weird thing about restaurants down here: you can’t predict the quality of food by the appearance of the building. This was a unique, one-of-a-kind, owner-operated place. Very different than in Victoria. Eric attributes it to the straight-forwardness of pacific northwesterners. “What you see is what you get in Portland. Here, it’s pretty different.”
And today (well, yesterday, technically, I guess), I was finally supposed to go kayaking!
But the guy who owned the kayaks — Chase, a friend of Eric and Sonias — turned out to not be home. But that didn’t keep us from hanging out at his place while we waited for him to get there.
I thought they were all hibernating for the winter, but I guess it must have been warm enough out today for some of the lizards to come out! This is a shot from Chase’s garden, from about 12 feet away:
Well, half an hour or so passed waiting for Chase, so Eric and I walked over to the beach — just a 2 minute walk away:
A few moments later, and we were at the beach!
In a way it was a good thing Chase didn’t show up — it was far too windy to go kayaking for the first time! Here’s a shot of some of the neat vegetation growing just on the beachline:
Hotels lined the beachfront of course. Some of the hotels had set up little chairs for people to sit on. Technically, those chairs were on the public beach, but I guess no-one minded, since they were helping out both beach goers and the hotel patrons. Here’s me sitting on one (all that’s missing is the Corona!):
A little further down the beach:
Getting a cone at a classic car museum/ice cream shop hybrid made the trip. And then it was back home! I capped off the day with another exhilarating two hours of Ultimate up at New College. A totally satisfying weekend, I hope all of them are this fun!
mp3 [5:16, 160kbps, 6.1 mb]
Well wow. What a week.
As I mentioned, work was pretty aggravating. I’m less angry about it now, though the situation really isn’t any better. I think I’ve been busy enough with non-work stuff to keep my mind off it. If you want to know more, scroll down and read the comments for the “Rectal Inversion” post.
Last Sunday at the New College pickup game, Eric J and Sonia mentioned that they’d like to head up to St. Pete for Ultimate at Coquina Key. I’ve been meaning to check it out for the past 5 months, but I’ve never actually made the 42-mile trip, especially since it starts at 7:45pm on Wednesday nights.
Wednesday morning rolled around, and I decided to send Eric J an email to see if he was still into it. He was, and so was Eric G, so at 6pm, Sonia, Eric G and I piled into Eric J’s Pathfinder and bombed up the 275*.
We arrived 45 minutes later to a field split in two. On one side were players for the casual game. On the other, the Tampa Bay Ultimate team — “Bulge” — was going through a hardcore warmup routine. Sounds like discipline to me!
That’s Bulge doing jumping jacks in the background and Becky in the foreground. Becky, and six or seven other talented highschoolers made up part of the 22 folks playing in the casual game. Since there are only 14 on the field at any given point in time, we had plenty of subs!
That’s a blurred Eric J on the left, and Eric G sitting on the chair.
Eric J watches as Sonia shows what she thinks of you.
(Notice the apology was *after* the catch was missed, haha…).
Eric and Sonia have the most well-behaved dog ever. Melvin rode in the back of the Pathfinder with Eric G and I on the way up to St. Pete, and he didn’t even bark once! Here he is, in black:
Teams in ultimate are generally denoted by shirt colour (white and dark). Here, the team on offense (dark) has set up a 45-degree angle stack.
See the player who just threw the disc? She’s got a player from white on her right. See how the other white players are on the left of the dark players? This is called forcing. The idea works like this: if the defensive player ensures the offensive player (“thrower”) can only throw to side “a” so that side “b” is inaccessible, the other defensive players don’t need to worry about checking their offensive player on side “b”.
Forcing can be an extremely powerful defensive technique. Done right, it can reduce the playing area available to the offensive team in half. Done wrong — e.g., say the defensive players are all standing on the same side of their check — and scoring becomes easier than if the defensive team had not tried to apply a force at all. Okay, enough theory. Did that make any sense to the non-ultimate players out there?
We played for three hours, and I think we started an “official” game (you know, one where you keep track of the score) somewhere in there. Maybe. All I know is I had a lot of fun. Afterwards we headed over to a tiny little pub on the USF campus — The Tavern. After running around for three hours I *really* really wanted a beer and some fries. But the Tavern didn’t sell fries! Whose bright idea was it to come here? Their menu listed nachos, but they had run out of those too. Suppose maybe it had something to do with being 10:45pm on a weeknight? I compromised by having a Guinness.
Two-and-a-half liquid meals and a Shakespeare (like a club sandwich) later and I was ready to call it a night. Eric G owes me $10 from that night. Don’t let me forget.
In Eric J’s jeep, heading south on the 275 from St. Pete.
No, we didn’t go to a rave afterwards. 😀 This shot is from the drive back home, as we went over the breathtaking Sunshine Skyway bridge [more pictures, history]. I swear it’s the highest point within a 40 mile radius. The yellow blur is light reflecting off the support cables.
Got home — totally exhausted — at 1:15. Man. My futon never felt so nice.
*Verbiage courtesy girlrepair.
mp3 [8:03, 128kbps, 7.4 mb]
Can you spot the one legitimate message?
If you want to get a hold of me, using my “alumni” address is about 4-trillion times more reliable.
Well, I had a big entry to post tonight, but my browser crashed on me a few minutes ago and I lost the whole thing. Grrrrr. On the non-negative side, I won’t have to redo the image work I’ve been doing in prep for the post. Woo. Not. (To those of you who have written me inversion mail, I’m going to try and get the note out tonight or early tomorrow.)
Isn’t that grass lovely? Bedtime for me, I’ll have some behemoth posts later today methinks.
Oooh, there’s some things going on at work that are making me really, really mad. Just furious. More in a bit –maybe I won’t be so homicidal about it then.
Microsoft just acquired the rights to Connectix‘s PC-emulation software for the Macintosh, Virtual PC. [MacMinute, 3:27pm EST] [MacCentral, 2:50pm EST]
Reminds me of when Microsoft bought (legendary Mac game developer) Bungie. Now where are their Mac games? Do you see Halo anywhere?
Okay, support for running Windows XP and its brethren on your Mac will still be there. Might even get better. Doubtful, though. And you sure can’t call it a Good Thing. I’m pretty much expecting support for all non-Windows platforms on Virtual PC to all but fizzle away as a result.
[update, 6:24pm] Not to mention the fact that this is one more way — in addition to Microsoft being the sole producers of Office for the Mac — that Microsoft has a stranglehold on Apple. Perhaps it’s retaliation for Apple introducing (Internet Explorer competitor) Safari and (Powerpoint competitor) Keynote?
Had a dream last night! With major and minor details and everything. And — as far as I can tell — it’s not related to anything I’ve seen or heard in past few days. I’ve gone without dreams of any sort for at least half a year, and I have no idea what’s changed that might cause me to dream now. Weird.