Jan 29, 2004

Ok, so I updated the moblogging gallery without posting. Bad Mike. Here is a rundown of the updates:

Katherine in her natural habitat, Starbucks.

A store called "Lovers Package" in Redmond. Lovely.

Jamie, killing time at the airport since NWA forgot to fly out my luggage.

The Jimmy John's menu. A work of art.

The Jimmy John's menu and Alissa. Dual works of art.

Megan looking as holy as ever.

My second favorite mexican wrestler.

Emily Lahtinen, an old girlfriend that I ran into on a recent trip back to Detroit.

I wonder what movie they are going to see?

Crappy suit? Check. Old-model Porsche? Check. Talking on a cell phone at all times? Check. Sleazy lawyer? Of course.

Joe at Amer's.

Leah at Amer's.

Yes, that shirt says "If it has tits or tires, it's gonna' give you trouble!" Yes, I saw that in public at the airport.

I should have posted this as soon as I woke up this morning, but I can never seem to get going until 1.5 hours after I wake up. Unless I wake up late, I will kill 1.5 hours every morning. Granted, I consider my drive to work to be killed time simply because I am nowhere near fully awake and thus I drive by instinct. Listening to commercials the entire way there is not uncommon, simply because I am not paying attention whatsoever. Anyway, the post.

The remembered dream from last night consisted of some sort of party. It was possibly a party for me, or just a party in general. I believe it was a party for me since I was given a car (an Audi TT, or at least the shell of one. Someone said the rest would be in next week. Odd choice of car since I do not and have never wanted a TT.) and there was an interesting gag gift. Basically, someone took all of my prized possesions, which curiously included a house, shrunk them down and locked them in a glass case for everyone to look at. All throughout the party I never noticed this case. Once everyone had left, it finally revealed itself and of course I tried to pry it open to retreive my things! It was a long case, probably 12 feet long and 3 feet wide and high. The case was in segments, each with a sealed door. After attempting to pry each door open, the last segment contained what looked like just a piece of yellow paper. This door opened, and out flew a few miniature (fruit fly-sized) bees! I'm not allergic nor phobic of bees, but I am not a fan. For some reason, my mind told me that an ex-girlfriend, Emily, had done all of this. Made no sense!

Jan 28, 2004

CNN.com - Study: That Neanderthal was not your grandfather - Jan. 26, 2004

Jan 27, 2004

When visiting Cannon Beach for Valentines Day, here are some possibly decent restaurants:

The Nehalem River Inn Restaurant

Blue Sky Cafe

The Riverhouse

God, come in god, god, come in god. Damn you're a girl. Well, I guess the reason why I'm talking to you tonight is because I've been doing a lot of thinking. I consider mysef a pretty cool guy and I've never cheated on any of my girlfriends. Well, except that one lil' time in Japan, but that was just head and head don't count, right? Aww, thanks god, I knew you'd understand. Well, I just feel like, well to be honest with you, god, I just need a sweet bitch. Ya know, somebody not too fast, but not too slow, 'cause I dont have it all my damn self and life ain't easy. Ya know you just want someone by your side to help smooth that thang out. At this point, I'm not being picky, she doesn't have to have a big ol' ass, ya know. Just something well proportioned to her body, ya know a nice lil' tail. What, you say, you say you found somebody? Is she cute? So when do I get to meet her? Aww, god, you're the greatest. Well, I guess I'll talk to you later. Amen. oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, a-lady.

- "God" by Outkast.

No, Kat, this has nothing to do with you, this is just the worlds greatest interlude.

Jan 26, 2004

Tis the time to start questioning my health. Let's just say that for a past few months I've been having some odd issues for someone my age. Just today, I had a serious headache kick in around 2:00 PM. At first, it seemed to be another caffeine-based headache, but my caffeine intake has been quite minimal lately. Instead of trying to fight it, I just called it a day and went home to rest. Though I didn't feel tired until the headache kicked in and I've been getting adequate sleep, I ended up taking a 2.5 hour nap. I'm still feeling a bit groggy. Let's just chalk all of these problems to stress and not enough exercise (at least lately) and hope they all go away. Ignore it; it will go away.

Procrastinating between posts requires a Herculean effort to catch up. Sigh.

Well, last weekend I went back to Detroit for the second time in three weeks. The main reason for going back was to attend the auto show and to see friends and family. I arrived around 6 AM, rented a car, drove back to Livonia and just fell down dead in my bed. Once noon rolled around, my aunt and I went to the Plymouth Ice Show (image gallery) and just hung out for a bit. The ice sculptures cannot really be considered art, though some of the pieces showed some technical skill and creativity. Also, art doesn't usually melt after two weeks... It was cold enough for my body to shut down blood flow to my hands, so much so that I had difficulty using keys to get back into the car to get warm.

The rest of the evening was spent with Chris. We hit Twelve Oaks to grab some Panera (they really need to open one here in Washington: fresh and chewy breads, sharp cheeses and choice cuts of meat make a great sandwich) and then sat around his place until the Chris and Lindsay engagement party (image gallery) started. It was a laid back affair consisting of wine and beer and conversation. This was the first party I've been to with Megan, Iren and Lindsday where they didn't go on a 1.5 hour tangent about their childhood, a discussion which no one else can participate in. No offense girls, just don't do that again! I talked to Marty for a bit and his opening bit was classic Marty:

Ma: "Have you ever watched Twin Peaks?"

Mi: "Not really, a few episodes, but I know you are a big fan."

Ma: "So why did you go to Snoqualmie then?"

My first reaction was that this was just Marty being Marty (if you know him, you know what I mean. Otherwise, you aren't going to meet him, so don't worry about it), and then I realized that Twin Peaks was filmed in Washington, near a waterfall and then it clicked. I didn't feel like defending my choice to visit Snoqualmie for a non-Twin Peaks reason and Marty was just trying to show that he has been following my site. Casey, one of the Northvillians that Chris used to hang out with every week back in high school, was also at the party. By the eighth beer, he was becoming quite the extrovert. He knew what he was doing, so he was enjoying the party laughing at him whilst he laughed inside.

The next morning was the auto show (image gallery) with my dad and grandpa. Honestly and unfortunately, I wasn't terribly impressed with the show this year. That shouldn't be much of a surprise since this is the first year where I've been in the actual market for a car. Previously, I was most excited about the exotic concept cars but now I want to see vechicles that are in showrooms that I can and want to purchase. Since I just recently purchased a car, I was looking toward the future, toward what should be my next car. Based on the fact that the Focus is a three-year purchase, that will put my next round at the summer of 2006. Considering that I should be able to afford a much nicer car, I was looking at the BMW M3 and the Audi S4 as possibilities. I took many pictures of each, and got a good feel inside and out for the look of the cars. The M3 has a terribly dated interior and it will be redesigned within the next 18 months. The redesign could take the car in any direction, basically invalidating any observation of the current model. The S4 has a delicious interior and the exterior styling is sedate enough yet still sporty. While this car is a sedan, the back seat leg room is laughable at best. With the drivers seat fully back, I could barely fit in the S4. In contrast, I had plenty of leg room in the Infiniti G35 coupe, though head room was an issue there. Hopefully by the time I am completely fed up with the Focus, a new car will hit my target requirements:

0-60 MPH < 6.4 seconds

Mature styling, inside and out (no more thoughts of the STi or Evo)

High build quality (Odd, I didn't realize that Audi was so far down the list...)

Ample room for 4

More to come

I wholeheartedly recommend the Infiniti site for car comparison. Their tool pulls in just about every specification you need for comparing cars.

Ok, enough for one post.

Jan 22, 2004

Looks like Jeff, his office mate, some other coworkers and I are going to hit a shooting range next week. In honor of this great event, here are some video clips of things being shot. My favorite is the wide angle view of the pudding cup spreading it's life force across the screen.

Jan 17, 2004

Making NASA stronger == Kill NASA.

Don't Leave Children Behind == Leave them behind.

Healthy Forests == Cut down the forests.

Clear Skies Act == Degraded air quality standards.

Improve Head Start == Dismantle Head Start.

Taken from Slashdot here and here.

Jan 14, 2004

Slashdot: Woo, Services for Unix is now free! The most important part is that it is almost completely based on OpenBSD. Running OBSD tools on Windows sounds like a great fusion to me.

So, I've heard of mice with too many additional buttons to be useful, but thankfully my new mouse just has left click, right click, scroll wheel, scroll up button, scroll down button, task switch and then two currently unassigned buttons that I would assume are used for forward and backward in a web browser. That may sound like a lot of buttons, but I think of the scroll up and down buttons as just an extension of the wheel and the task switch button is miniscule.

Now the keyboard on the other hand is just asinine. Along with the normal keys that a normal keyboard has (letters, numbers, punctuation, navigation and keypad), this one has seperate keys for scrolling, go, back, sleep, f-lock, e-mail, messenger/sms, webcam, media, mute, volume up/down, last track, next track, stop, play, iTouch, search, shopping, favorites, and my home. Additionally to that, it has a function key to enable new, reply, forward, send, undo, redo, print, save, my computer, my documents, my pictures, and my music. To make matters worse, they labeled the normal control key functions like undo, cut, copy and paste. They keyboard is just a little bit overboard!

Living in the land of coffee, I have yet to be impressed by the coffee shops available out here. There is no end to the number of Starbucks available and there is a healthy dose of Tully's as well. The only place I've enjoyed so far has been Caffe Ladro, and they are only located in Seattle proper. Well, today I found out about a place in Redmond called Victor's, located at 7993 Gilman St. I will have to give it a try soon!

Jan 13, 2004

So I go to backup my MP3 drive on my server and it crashes, deleting every single MP3 I have collected for the past six years! I am going to cry. There was so much effort put into building that collection, from ripping my own CDs to downloading full albums from Kazaa to emusic (which isn't even the same site anymore). So pissed.

Happy four month anniversary!

Last night, I originally planned on leaving work a bit early, taking a nap, having a quick bite to eat and then hitting the gym with Jeff. None of that happened! Around 5:30 PM, Eric and I were talking about the new laptop he just ordered. I told him not to buy Office from Dell since I could get a good deal on a legit copy of Office 2003 from work. I decided to run to the company store right then since I was tired and needed a bit of fresh air. After that, Lee sent me a chat request and convinced me to join him and some of his MS friends for dinner. We went to Cucina Cucina (a decent to mediocre italian restaurant, thankfully we get 2-for-1 specials) and had a fun time. It was good to meet new people, but I sometimes forget how horribly dorky we can all be. I explained how Microsofties and non-Microsofties have difficulty mingling and there needs to be a certain percentage (we estimated 60%) of non-Microsofties for a group to work.

I still planned on going to the gym with Jeff, but he was feeling fairly comfortable at home and wanted to skip it. Good thing, since Russ called me soon after wanting to get drinks to unwind from a 13 hour day. We went to Tap House, he got dinner and I got a liquid dinner of an Emerald City Tea and a Manhattan. I pretty much ordered the tea (vodka, gin, rum, midori, pineapple, sprite) because it already looked like Russ and I were on a date, so I had to get something fruity and served in a hurricane glass. The Manhattan was used to bring up my testosterone levels afterward. We had a good discussion and I'm glad I skipped working out. I can always go a bit harder tonight.

Kat and I had quite a relaxing and enjoyable weekend, if I may say so myself. Originally, we had planned to go to Dahlia Lounge for dinner on Friday, but we both had a hard week and figured we wouldn't be up for such a nice dinner. Instead, we ended up going to Wasabi Bistro and had some of the best sushi available in Western Washington. We tried two of their signature rolls, the Spicy 101 and the Belltown. Other than an overabundance of mayo on the Spicy 101, the meal was great. Kat had a craving for edamame and that was satisfied by the complementary bowl served with every dinner.

Much of Saturday morning was spent lounging around my apartment, but it was definitely not a waste of time. Much of the afternoon was spent at Starbucks: Kat doing work, me just playing around on the internet. That evening, we made the first meal in her new townhome. We made spinach and cheese ravioli, fresh bread and a mixed greens salad. All in all, very enjoyable. Before we could make dinner, however, I had to put together the table and chairs we would need to eat off! I've gotten pretty good at putting together Ikea furniture, so it didn't take too long.

Sunday saw me fighting with my server for a good part of the afternoon and then having dinner at Kat's parents. We played a dominos game called Mexican Train and then had a lovely filet dinner. Her dad and I did most of the talking, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

I have now moved to my fourth office in six months. If anyone takes my stapler, this place is going down!

Jan 12, 2004

I have been a bit behind in adding new image galleries to the navigation. I have since added these galleries:

Mmmm, new wireless keyboard and mouse... Thanks, slickdeals!

Jan 11, 2004

It's Fifteen Minute Photoshop® time!

Basically, my bedroom is not in the most optimal configuration. Both of my tall bookshelves are covering up one window completely and part of another window. So, I started thinking about alternative arrangements. Knowning me, I couldn't just visualize this or write it out on a sheet paper, I decided to measure and model my room in Photoshop.

It's pretty hard to see on the left, but there is a long window there. The upper left red line is another window. The red line on the right is the bathroom door. Here is my suggested layout:

This clears both windows (since the dresser fits underneath the window and the sides of the bed are not against the bed) and seems like a good idea. Bah, no time to do it tonight.

I've been wrestling with hardware issues for about four days now. That is what I get for naming a server fireball! Basically, the machine that has been my internet router, NAT box, development web server, database server, RDP proxy has gone through quite a few upgrades. It originally was my old overclocking desktop (thus, "fireball") running a 300 MHz Celeron. It was upgraded to a 500 MHz PIII and it currently has a 700 MHz Duron. A month or so ago, I bought a new 120 GB drive for my desktop (thanks, Slickdeals!) and last week I finally got around to putting my old 30 GB drive into fireball.

The problems started then. Since the 30 GB drive was already in my desktop, I decided to install OpenBSD 3.4 on the drive before transferring it to the server. That install went smoothly, but the drive would not boot when I transferred it. I figured it just didn't like the transfer, so I reinstalled OpenBSD while in fireball. When I tried to boot after the second install, the bootloader would come up with crap like "@$%&@#$&*@#$#$%!@#(&(^%". After 45 minutes of playing around with the bootloader, the BIOS and the boot sequence, I finally figured out that it wouldn't boot unless the drive was the primary on the IDE chain. Ok, finally got the new drive up and running! When installing OBSD, my first steps are to install the ports tree, tcsh, vim, the source and add 'mbibik' as a user. I got as far as compiling tcsh static when the machine just froze, hard. I figured, whatever, just a random lockup. Nope, anytime I taxed the processor, the machine would freeze. Obviously (at least to me), this seemed like a heat issue. I opened the case to check out the CPU fan, but it's a fairly small (AKA cramped) case so I couldn't see the fan behind the power supply. I monitored the CPU temp and it never seemed to get into dangerous territory.

I gave up at this point and told Russell the internet would be down for awhile (no server, no NAT, no internet). I started to play with it again, but there isn't much you can do when the damned thing freezes every 15 minutes! I gave up trying to install tcsh, vim, etc and just started surfing the net from my desktop. Oddly enough, it didn't lock up. At this point, I realized that interactive activities such as installing or compiling are probably accessing the disk more than just using the box as a router (which would only access the disk to periodically write logs). I switched back to the old drive, and all is well. Too bad my 30 GB drive is fried!

Reminder for later: Sour Times; Breath From Another

"Everywhere in these days men have ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather that in isolated individual effort." - F. Dostoyevsky

Jan 9, 2004

Let's see, what's been going on lately... Chris and Lindsay are getting married this fall. Definitely congratulations to them! I am the best man, so that means I should get started on writing the toast. I've been best friends with Chris since 1992 and I've known Lindsay for years, so I will have lots of material with which to work.

My knee is slowly healing. No longer do I need to wear my brace daily, just when exercising. I no longer limp around and I have full range of motion. I am supposed to go snowboarding this weekend, but that is not going to happen. If I really want to heal on time, I need to do more physical therapy.

There is some political crap going on at work, but I can't say much yet. I still have a job, so I am okay.

Jan 8, 2004

So Kat spent the night last night because she had a big day today and her parents wouldn't leave her alone long enough to do her work. She comes over here, and I set not one but two alarms so that she wouldn't be late for the big day. Well, I set my bedside alarm clock for 6:30 PM instead of 6:30 AM and my PDA/phone didn't fire the alarm because the phone portion was off. I'm really sorry.

Jan 7, 2004

Altruism, as a concept, exists. Altruism, as reality, does not exist.

Jan 6, 2004

My parents were here for a week during the holidays. There aren't too many highlights, since we decided to keep the vacation relaxing. We didn't want it to be one of those vacations where you have to keep to a schedule and cram in as much as possible. They didn't even go to the Space Needle! Some of the places we did end up going were Snoqualmie Falls, Pike Place (NOT a good place for someone in a wheelchair) and a casino in Tulalip. Other highlights include me making five batches of scones, cooking Christmas dinner and then Kat meeting my parents on the last night they were here. I believe it was beneficial to have them out here, for both parties. For thier sake, they got to see how I am living my life and meet some of the new people in my life. For my sake, I got to see them for a little while in the comfort of my own home without having to break much from my normal routine.

Dialing the time machine back to about a month ago...

So, the holiday parties last month. All three parties were right in a row this year: Thursday was the organization-wide party at EMP, Friday was the team-wide party at a lodge at Snoqualmie Pass and Saturday was Kat's party at some little restaurant in Puyallup. Thursday started off very slowly. I was supposed to meet some of the younger members of my team at EMP around 7:30 PM and eventhough I got there at 7:45 PM, I was still early. Eventually, everyone showed up and the party picked up. The food was good, but the two drink tickets didn't last very long. Being the ingenious people that we are, us Microsoft people, we figured out that we could simply exit the building, come back in, show our ID and get two more tickets. Of course I didn't do this, but my ID was used by a non-Microsoftie for this purpose. Afterward, a few of us were supposed to go out to a bar, but we all parted ways for a bit and we were supposed to reconvene 15 minutes later. 15 minutes later, one of the girls still hadn't showed up. We were all a bit drunk and antsy to get away from the formal party, so we just left. Four of us went over to a friends place and continued the drinking and watched some TV. I ended up fitting five people in my car, dropped them all off, and called it a night.

The next day, the team party was supposed to start at 10 AM, but since I knew there was no rush, I didn't end up getting there until 12:30 PM. The drive up to Snoqualmie Pass was interesting at least for the fact that it was the first snow I had ever seen in Washington. The farther up the mountain, the more snow there was (shocking, I know). By the time I hit the exit for the Pass, traffic was down to 30 MPH. I actually passed someone on my team on the exit, which wasn't surprising since he had a RWD Bimmer with bald tires. Anyway, most of the day was pretty laid back. A few of the highlights included me running the white elephant gift exchange (including a box of old Atari games, a Nascar coffee table book and a bike axle), playing DDR, and a snowball fight that included someone in a hot tub. I picked up Kat from the airport that night, but I can't remember the rest of the evening.

The final day of holiday parties was at some crappy little restaurant in a crappy little town far far south of Seattle. This was with Kat's coworkers, who had an average age of just about 35. It was slightly odd socializing with them, but luckily we got a table with the friendliest of the bunch. The food was horrible, the drinks were crap, and the supposed white elephant gift exchange wasn't! Kat brought a gag gift, since that's the point of a white elephant gift exchange, yet some of the other gifts included a fondue set, a set of nice martini glasses and a clock from Pottery Barn. For dessert, I ordered decaf coffee. Since I was awake until 5 AM and got about two hours of sleep all night, I believe it wasn't decaf. Anyway, the parties overall were typical work holiday parties.