|Tuesday, July 15, 2003|
Update your linkbars, I'm moving to TypePad! Sorry Winer, your product just sucks too much.
You can now find my regular blog at: cortana.typepad.com/rta
|Monday, July 7, 2003|
My TypePad Blog
Adventures in Troubleshooting
Raley Field Last Night
Time to pack here, and hope on a redeye to Dulles, and then on to Atlanta.
In other news, I've been selected for the Type Pad Beta. More on this when I figure out what is and what is not NDA-required.
|Sunday, July 6, 2003|
The rotational torque in John Fogerty's grave has just gone off the charts. Applebee's has licensed "Suzie Q" for use in their ads. Except they changed the lyrics. No longer is it Suzie Q, I love you, it's now Barbeque, I love you. Stop spinning John, you'll only burn up the coffin.
11:18:34 PM comment 
It was a gorgeous day in Sacramento at Raley Field. A perfect day for some baseball. 88 and sunny, light breeze, and comfortable seats. The four of us had great seats, about 15 rows back from home plate, just on the shady side of the park.
The Cats played very well, but couldn't come up with a victory. Harden started off very poorly, walking the first batter on four pitches. He managed to get his groove back by the fifth and sixth, ending up striking out 6 batters before he was relieved. He is an impressive pitcher, but he's not Barry Zito. His fastball has a lot of motion on it, hurling in the upper nineties frequently.
I'll write more on it in the morning when I can string a few words together without sounding like I failed high school english.
Adventures along the Coast
The Beginning of the Adventure
Tiffany and I woke up around 7 this morning, bounding out of bed, our circadian clocks still adjusted to Eastern time, off for an adventure. The first stop this morning was the Farmer's Market, where we bought fresh peaches and apple juice, as well as some corn muffins with cheddar and chili peppers that were to die for from Ciocolat. Our hunger sated, we slid into traffic, enjoying the quality german engineering from the folks at BMW as we put the pedal to the floor and rocketed down I-5 at 80 miles per hour.
The long slow meander down the central valley was exceedingly pleasant in the silent and smooth riding 540i and the sky did not disappoint, gossamer streaks of cloud spreading across the crystalline sky. Stopping in Westley for gas and a pair of cheap gas-station shades, we paused to enjoy the smell of the empty hills. California has a beautiful smell to her in the summertime that is unique. Baking grasses, robust tomatoes, a hint of herbs and sunshine, it is pervasive and wonderful, sneaking its way deep into your clothing and hiding there until you move. Back into the car we went, and once again the pedal went to the floor as we rose up the hills toward the San Luis Reservoir.
The intensity of the colors here has always struck me. The golden hills, the deep brown live oaks, the delicious blue of the reservoir, the gray of the asphault and the yellow skipping lines keeping us winding our way up into the foothills of the Coastal Range, headed for the ocean beyond.
We cruised into the marine layer along about Hollister, trading hot and dry sunshine for the cool grey mist of the clouds and the gray-green of the Pacific ocean. The salt smell slowly began to seep in through the air conditioning as we weaved through traffic along the dunes. Getting off amidst a bevvy of leather-clad motorcyclists, we wandered the streets, dependent upon the navigation signs, like bread crumbs leading us to the feast.
Monterey and her charms
Parking the car, we headed for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the various exhibits. We first approached the sea otters, watching them glide through the water as if they controlled each and every dihydroxide oxide molecule in their habitat, waving them away from their faces and flippers while playing with one another. The otters have a way of making you appreciate the value of play in your everyday life. So much of what they do is different from the workaday nature of ants, and the grim seriousness of most of the fish in the Aquarium. If I were to come back as an animal, it would have to be a sea otter.
We ventured through to the Kelp Forest, the 30 foot tall tank with hundreds of thousands of gallons of seawater and the towering lengths of floating kelp sheltering all sorts of aquatic life from señoritas to rockfish to eels and sharks to the occasional human in a wetsuit and breathing apparatus.
Not tarrying long at any exhibit, but letting it wash over us like a warm rain, we covered the Nearshore Habitats, as well as the Penguins and the Tropical Exhibits, and then on to the new exhibits at the Aquarium, Jellies as Art and the Outer Bay. Both were fascinating full of art and tanks full of jellies floating and propelling themselves around. It is so hard to come up with good words to describe them, so I've decided to cheat and show a quick movie. (Double click to view it)
See what I mean?
After our Aquarium Adventure, it was time for lunch, which in this case meant heading up to Moss Landing and more importantly, to Phil's Fish Market. Tiffany and I split a cup of clam chowder, and traded forkfuls of squid-n-chips and shrimp-n-chips. Folks, if you are within a few hours drive of Moss Landing, you need to go to Phil's. The clam chowder was creamy and inviting without being overindulgent and heavy. The potatoes were cooked, but still slightly firm, and the clams were fresh. As for the squid, all I can say is, Wow. Sated, we set off for the next chapter of our adventure: Asilomar State Beach.
My favorite place in the Whole Wide World
Nestled at the northern tip of the Monterey Peninsula, Asilomar is a state-run conference center and quasi-resort. It's been a favorite of my family for many years and I can remember many a winter trip to the seaside hideaway amidst the sand dunes and pine trees. My favorite place on Earth is the beach there. Long and soft-sanded, Asilomar Beach has rocky outcroppings that make for perfect tide pools, full of anemones and hermit crabs and even the occasional Red Octopus. Tiffany and I parked along side the ocean road, kicked our shoes off and wandered down the beach.
The marine layer never lifted over Monterey today, leaving the hazy grey sky overcast and the breeze chilly over the water. The tide was making its journey back out, leaving behind kelp fronds, mussel shells, and all manner of sea detritus. The thick smell of salt in the air stings the nose but invigorates. The freezing cold water of the Pacific nipping at your feet like holy water, blessed by God, designed to convey some holy meaning beyond your simple opinion.
We walked along the beach, taking turns snapping pictures, of the rocks, of the waves, of each other, but we didn't have nearly enough time on our hands to stick around, we had a dinner to be going to!
Jumping back in the car, we sped up Highway 1 past Santa Cruz and Pacifica and into the City. Val was crying out for fewer cars and a faster speed limit on the curvy coastal road that caused German engineers to wake up in the morning with clammy sheets, but that was not to be as we got stuck behind bimbo boxes and other slow moving traffic.
Dinner in The City
Dinner tonight was with Chris, Gretchen, Courtney and Kevin. We snaked our way through the streets of San Francisco on our way toward North Beach and the plethora of Italian restaurants. We were late, but not awfully so, and arrived just before eight at The Steps of Rome Trattoria, a delightful tiny italian restaurant on Columbus Ave. I had the Petto di Pollo Ripieno and a lot of great conversation. It was an enlightened crowd, all the way around! Some excellent Cannoncini for dessert and some delightfully chill air as we strolled back to our cars.
One of the truly nifty things about the day was the garage that we parked in. At the foot of each space, where normally you might find a number, instead we found fortunes like the one at the top of this entry. If we'd had more time, we could have catalogued them all, but we had just a scant five minutes once we'd paid to get our car out of the grips of the garage and back onto the streets of The City. We, of course, took many pictures, and those are just a few.
Exhausted, we trekked across the bridges on home, smiles on our tired faces, contented purrs of joy from the engine of Val, who loved being driven all over creation, and our bellies full of good food and our heads full of fantastic memories. The ephemera of the day were both captured and logged in digita for future reference and will thusly remain.
One short tale before I go off to bed. Before leaving the farmer's market, I came across a stall run by a woman named Dorothy. She was plying her oils, garlic canola and basil canola. I was her first customer of the day, and she said I ought to have a prize, I waved the bottle at her and told her I had already gotten it. A smile spread across her tanned face, knowing that she had gotten much joy out of that transaction.
Good Night California, May Tomorrow Be Yet Another Adventure.
|Friday, July 4, 2003|
A beautiful day here in Davis. After cranking ice cream, we wandered through downtown Davis, watched some bike races, took a driving tour of Davis and beyond, then relaxed and watched some great fireworks, ate some ice cream. Good Times.
We hold these truths to be self evident...
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Happy Birthday America.
|Thursday, July 3, 2003|
Some random things.
Mirra, from Herman Miller, is the next best thing to an Aeron, it seems. I want one. My office chair sucks.
A Review of the Death of Wired that's worth reading.
Apparently Clarion is in danger. This is a Bad Thing. We need more good SciFi writers in this world and Clarion helps them. My Dad is a graduate of Clarion West, as are several others that I know. Help keep this alive.
Dan's looking for other Vonage users.
Okay, I'd started a long entry on how much pain OS X Server has caused me this week, but let's just suffice it to say it got lost. Overall, I think the documentation for the Server OS is for shit, that there are major holes in its capabilities (like, say, changing IP addresses after a password server is set up) and that I think that if Panther's not much, much better, Apple's clearly got a bad case of cranial-rectal inversion.
10:44:36 AM comment 
|Wednesday, July 2, 2003|
So Wrong, But So Right...
Bruce Campbell's new movie.
Synopsis from the website:
So Wrong, yet So Right.
Failing the Foreign Service Exam...
A few months back, I took the Foreign Service Exam. It was a hard test, but for the most part, I thought I did really well. Apparently, I did not do well. I failed.
But what's most irking is the total lack of feedback regarding the exam. The rejection letter just says "Regretfully, your score on the written examination was not high enough for you to proceed." I don't know if they didn't like my essay, or if I scored so low on the English section that I should be enrolling in a remedial grammar class, or if my density when it comes to popular culture and current events is such that I couldn't answer the questions on Dog Eat Dog.
There's always next year, I guess.
But I still feel like crap.
|Tuesday, July 1, 2003|
I had lunch today with a dear friend and former-coworker. She left the Center about eight months ago and occasionally we catch up and talk about pretty much anything. Today, we had an interesting discussion about accomplishments. I've been out of college for just over three years. June 28th was my 2 year anniversary with the Center (has it really been that long?) and I am feeling a bit stagnant, like I haven't accomplished much. But, she and I discussed what exactly it is that I have accomplished.
I moved 3000 miles from home and have yet to go broke. This represents a major accomplishment because the job I was supposed to have when I first got here vanished with the dotcom bust.
I have a healthy relationship for the first time in my life. What's past was clearly not healthy at all.
I have a job that for the most part does not suck, has allowed me some growth, has given me responsibilities and projects and has provided me with numerous frequent flyer miles and AmEx Membership Rewards points.
I am doing more with music than I ever expected to. As a part-time musician I'm getting paid for singing for the first time in my life. Singing with Choralis and Echos have also made all the difference in my sanity levels. We just got the Elijah CD back from the pressers and listening to it in the car on Friday, I was moved. I've never been a part of something that sounded like I could buy it from a music store before. I know that sounds bad, but to me, it's a big deal.
With such an emphasis on the accomplishments that are utterly extraordinary, we have to keep ourselves grounded in what we have done. That society places value only on the superheroes, and not the average people who work day-in and day-out. I think that's the power of the blog, at the end of the day. I don't have to read about the superheroes, I can read about people like me. I like that.
So, what's next? I don't know. Maybe owning my own place? Maybe grad school? We'll have to see.