Jenn and I took a nice long (three-day) weekend in Seattle this past weekend, and I think it generally rocked.

Friday Jenn only worked a half day and we left by 2:00p for Seattle. Traffic sucked. It took an hour and a half to get to the Oregon/Washington border, and I only live like 40 minutes from the border. Terrible, terrible traffic.

We got to Tacoma, to my aunt and uncle’s house, at close to 6:00p. Dropped off our stuff and headed over to a different aunt and uncle’s house for a barbecue.

It turned out the barbecue was for all of the July birthdays in the family. My uncle George and I have the same birthday (July 23), and I have two cousins with July birthdays.

We ate barbecue food, took a boat ride (they live on a lake), and just took it easy. After all was said and done, we returned to the first aunt and uncle’s place in Tacoma to stay overnight.

Got up the next morning, went to breakfast at the clubhouse (they live on a golf course), and Jenn proceeded to get sick. I think the heat was starting to get to her (it was like 100 degrees the whole time we were up there) and her stomach was rumbly, too, not to mention a headache.

We returned to the house where my aunt rubbed some Tiger Balm on Jenn’s head. Apparently she has some sort of coworker who swears by Tiger Balm… I don’t know if I buy that, but Jenn’s headache did go away.

We left there and headed for the W Hotel in downtown Seattle. We found it, but it was too early for check-in, so we parked at Pike Place market and walked around there.

There is no shortage of stuff to see at the Pike Place market. From fish vendors to fresh flowers to donuts and handmade wares, if it exists, it’s probably at the market. We saw all sorts of crazy crap. The first Starbucks is there - that was neat.

After that we walked around downtown and looked at the Pioneer Square area. Again, lots of interesting stuff to see.

We got back to the hotel, shin splints and all, by around 3:00p. We checked in, but they didn’t have the room quite ready, so we waited for an hour sipping iced tea and enjoying the air conditioning.

W Hotels Promo
ArtWhen we got to the room, I have to admit, I was impressed.

Everything’s modern. The bathroom fixtures, the furniture, everything. It reminded me a lot of Pottery Barn, actually, mixed with Dania or Ikea. Normally I’m not into that, but it was cool.

The best part was the bed. I don’t like hard mattresses - we have one of those air mattress beds - but this thing was plush. I really dug it. I may just have to buy one.

The art was cool, too. Something about the sort of “fantasy” style of the art on the key cards and postcard and such… very neat. I’m having their concierge look up the name of the artist. I stole some of the art and threw it up here so you could see what I’m talking about. It’s photography, but done in a stylish and whimsical setting. Cool.

We had dinner at the “Earth and Ocean” - the restaurant in the hotel. It was really fancy and very good food, though I have to admit places like that where they wait on you hand and foot then charge you an arm and a leg are intimidating to me. Regardless, very tasty. I’d eat there again.

By the time that was over, it was late, we were full, and we were tired from walking all over, so we took our desserts up to the room with us. We couldn’t stand it, though, so we ate the desserts when we got there - raspberry parfaits (or, as it said on the menu, “She Wore a Raspberry Parfait”) - rather than saving them for later.

The next morning we got up and headed back to the Pike Place market to have some breakfast. We ate in a little French bakery (tasty!) and watched the early morning crowds. After that, we headed back to the hotel and checked ourselves out.

The drive home wasn’t nearly as bad as the drive up. We made it in about three hours, give or take, and had enough time to unpack and get stuff ready for Monday. We even went to see The Bourne Supremacy (which was good, but nothing like the book).

I had Monday off, but Jenn worked. Not that I didn’t work, mind you. Laundry, yard work, shopping, general clean up… I kept busy. I did find time to go get myself a couple of birthday presents (the Transformers PS2 game and La Femme Nikita season 2… which, as of this writing, says it’s “unavailable” at Amazon - that’s weird, because I found it just fine at the store).

All in all, not a bad way to spend one’s 28th birthday.

And now I’m back at work. I always realize when coming back from vacation how I’m not a big fan of the whole “work” thing, but I guess you gotta pay the bills.

Oh, and a minor note: I actually have a contractor coming in on Thursday to deal with my drywall issue. Woohoo!

Today is my birthday, so happy birthday to me! I’ve reached 28 which, as far as ages go, is neither here nor there. Not a bad place to be, mind you.

Woke up this morning (got yourself a gun?) around 6:00 because, while I have the day off, Jenn works. I got my presents from her (I like presents): The Best of James Taylor and a Harry Potter Lego set. Very cool.

Jenn’s working a half day, and when she gets home we’re going to head up to Seattle to visit family and do the tourist thing. I’m in the process of ripping the James Taylor album so we can listen to it on the iPod on the way up.

Aside from that, no real insight. Another year older and wiser, as they say. A lot’s happened, though (most of which I’m remembering from scanning through my site… it’s a good thing I keep this thing or I’d never remember anything). Let’s see…

Not bad for a year. I look forward to what’s in store for me this year. Stick around, folks. I think it’s gonna be a good one.

Baseball, it could be argued, is the “national sport” of the United States. When people talk about the US, and what might be construed as its “culture,” the phrases “baseball” and “Mom’s apple pie” come out.

I don’t know about y’all, but my mom didn’t really make apple pie all that much. In fact, I think I could probably count on one hand all the times Mom cooked an apple pie. (Maybe an apple crisp every once in a while, but not pie.)


Jenn and I went to a baseball game at PGE Park last weekend. We watched the Portland Beavers play the Las Vegas 51s. The original reason for the trip was that Jenn’s niece, Aurora, and her tee-ball team, were all going to go out on the field.

We got to the stadium like 20 minutes before the game started. We sat down in these tiny, tiny seats where I had to straddle the seat in front of me, knees knocking the shoulders of the hairy biker guy in front of me (who wasn’t too happy about that). I can’t say I was happy to have my feet floating in a puddle of spilt beer from three rows back, either, but what are you going to do?

Just before the national anthem, a cloud of identical-looking children in numbered t-shirts ran out on the field. They distributed themselves at each of the four bases and the national anthem was sung. After that, the kids all ran back off the field.

That was it. That was the whole reason we showed up. They stood on the field for the national anthem.

I was prepared to watch some miniature baseball. At the Winter Hawks games, when the kids come out on the ice, they actually play hockey. That’s cute. Not here, though. No playing, just standing around. I couldn’t even tell which of the tee-ballers was Jenn’s niece.

Thus commenced the game.

Now, I am not a baseball fan. I’m in love with the concept of baseball, the romantic notions it conjures up, but I hate the game itself. It’s slow. It’s boring. Nothing happens. Who struck who out? Does it matter? Why should I care?

We stayed for an hour and a half and got halfway through the game before I couldn’t take it anymore and we left. I think I can safely pass on heading in there again and I won’t feel like I missed anything.

I hear that there’s a lot of strategy to baseball. Who pitches, and what kind of pitch… who bats… when the people run from base to base… The thing is, I don’t have time for that. Nor do I care. It’s like watching a slow character-development-based movie where they haven’t taken the time to show you why you should care about the characters.

When I think “baseball,” I think: hot dogs, hanging out with friends, relaxing, having a good time. When I actually see baseball, I think: boring. There’s not enough going on out in the field. Admittedly, it’s got some of the simplest rules of any sport out there, but it’s boring as hell. On par with curling or shuffleboard. That said, I’m not a football fan, either - the rules, in my opinion, are far too complex for what it is.

I think that’s why I’m a hockey fan. There’s a lot going on, and the rules are simple. That’s the best of all worlds. Maybe I should have been born Canadian. Baseball has to be the dumbest national sport EVER.

It never bodes well when you go up to the next floor and an aroma somewhere between popcorn and Trix comes wafting from the break room and descends upon your very soul. It is times like these when you know that making a hasty retreat is a moral imperative, regardless of your reason for venturing beyond your own veal pen.

Friday, and paid time-off, rapidly approaches. I’m taking Friday and Monday off to attempt some rest and relaxation of sorts, although I will be spending some of that time with extended family in Seattle so who knows what brands of hell might break loose while that’s going on. It’s always a good time visiting them, though, so I do look forward to it. I’m hoping my cousin Adam will bust out some of his increasingly-famous lewd dance maneuvers. That always livens the party up some, much to the chagrin of his mother.

I finally got a drywall contractor to come in and give me a bid on my bathroom job, which I promptly accepted since he was the only one I could actually get to show up, albeit 45 minutes late. Now I just need the job started.

I also took my car because the “check engine” light came on a couple days ago and got that back with no significant issues. They had to do some sort of reprogramming with the onboard computer… something to do with the idle timing. Whatever. It fell under warranty and, as always, the service was excellent, so I’m not sweating it.

Thus, I am regaining composure, slowly yet surely closing on issues, and looking forward to a long weekend. (I had to take some vacation soon anyway because I was rapidly approaching the “use-it-or-lose-it” point. Regardless of the reason, vacation is vacation, which is to say, “not being at work,” so it must be a Good Thing. Right?)

Saw this posted over at Slashdot and figured it was interesting enough to comment on: The musical preferences of IT-related personnel.

I am a Microsoft-certified professional developer and database administrator. According to the survey, then, I should be listening to mainstream pop music, heavy metal, and indie rock. Hmmm. While I do listen to some mainstream pop, I’m not a big heavy metal fan. I dig the indie rock, but if I had to choose, I’d say I’m more a techno/electronica listener than anything else, which, according to the survey, makes me a Linux user.

I guess that just goes to show that I don’t quite fit the stereotype.

I also find it odd that they didn’t list “Mac user” as one of the categories. Maybe they don’t consider Macintosh users as IT-related people. Interesting.