traffic comments edit

The latest Traffic Asshole isn’t even someone I found on the road… it’s someone next to the road, if you can believe that.

This happens every year, and I should have been expecting it, but somehow, just like every other year, it once again took me by surprise.

I was headed to work on Monday the first - the first work day back after the Thanksgiving holiday. At a normally fairly clear area, I noticed cars were jamming up all over the place.

With the density of the crowd, I started thinking, “I wonder if someone’s had a real wreck up there… Maybe someone’s dead. Of course, I’m gonna be pretty pissed off if there’s not someone dead up there, with this amount of traffic.”

Okay, so that’s a little mean and morbid. But true. If there’s not some life-threatening thing going on, what’s with the backup?

Behold, the Griswolds have arrived in Portland:

Griswold Family

That’s right - every year the Shilo Inns headquarters puts up the largest lights display ever, and it’s right along the most difficult freeway in the Portland metro area. So I have Shilo to thank for the so-called Gawker’s Block in effect. Let’s see that again:

Shilo Inns, Take

Oh, yeah.

And the thing is, it doesn’t get any better as the holidays approach. You’d think after the first week all the regular commuters would have seen this thing and be ready to move on. But they always slow down. So Shilo Inns has, once again, fucked up traffic for an entire month. Good job, guys.

personal comments edit

I’m still at work because traffic is terrible out there and I’d rather sit around here and get stuff done than sit in a car indefinitely. Ugh.

I was reading the blog of a friend of mine and it brought up an interesting question. Where do you work best?

For him, he works best “out of his element” - traveling, sitting at Starbucks, in someone else’s cube, etc.

For me, it’s a whole other story. If I’m out of my element (i.e., working at home or out of the office), while I will be more likely to come up with solutions to nagging problems, the amount of code I will churn out will be *less* than if I’m sitting in my sensory deprivation chamber at work. Why? Call it ADHD - there are too many things “out there” that I’d rather be doing than sitting and coding… Art projects, working on my own personal code projects, playing with my cat, watching movies, playing games, etc.

Being at work, I have more of a sense of dedication to the task at hand

  • I’m at work so I can work.

I think I solve my problems best in the shower or in the car in the morning. I’ll figure out how to deal with stuff I’m stuck on while I’m driving to work in the morning or coming home at night. (Actually, sitting on the pot’s a great place to solve problems, too.) Once I’m going to code, though, I need to put the headphones on (music with no words - trance/techno seems to be best for me) and not answer the phone or see any distractions around me. Otherwise, the workflow goes kaput.

personal comments edit

Quite the weekend, considering it was four days long. I can’t say it was entirely restful, but I can say it was better than being at work. I think.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. It was pretty busy, too, considering it’s supposed to be you hanging out with your family. Unfortunately for me, that means two families - mine and Jenn’s.

11:00a saw Jenn and I at the local Hometown Buffet - all you can eat, anything you want. This is especially good for me, since I can’t stand turkey or ham. I ate my fill of baked fish while everyone else shovelled gamey disgustingness down their gullets.

After we finished eating at the buffet, Jenn’s parents gave her “part of her Christmas gift.”


I appreciate that they were trying to do something nice, but there are a few problems with candleholders, particularly candleholders of this nature:

  • They’re large, and we’re out of storage space.
  • They’re delicate, and the Tiny Cat will knock anything off a shelf if you look away for more than two minutes.
  • They hold candles, and even unscented candles bug my allergies like nothing else.
  • You can only use them during a short period of the year.


By 2:00p, we were 30 miles away from there sitting with my family at my grandfather’s house in Sandy. Having already eaten, Jenn and I pretty much just hung out during the dinner part of things and then ate pie when dessert rolled around.

I, of course, somehow got into the unavoidable “I need help with my computer” conversation, which I try like the devil not to get into but always seem to get sucked into anyway. I think it’s a combination of several key factors: I work with computers; I do stuff that I really can’t explain to the lay user; People want to have a conversation with me and don’t know what else to talk about, so they ask about work… and then it goes from there. I’m thinking I need to get into some common sport (hockey isn’t for these people, they’re -ugh- football watchers) so at least I’ll have something to talk about.

Hung out at Granddad’s for a few hours and headed home.

Friday Jenn worked, but I was off and I ended up going over to my parents’ house. My dad hauled 12 big boxes full of school papers, toys, and other things that they had saved over the years for us three kids, and they wanted to weed out the stuff we didn’t want. I ended up getting all of my stuff to fit into a single (sizable) box after throwing out loads of duplicates of things and a bunch of crap I’m not sure why we kept. It was an interesting blast from the past, though.

Some of the boxes that things were stored in were kind of neat, too. Remember the Commodore Vic 20? Here’s the box:

[Vic 20 Box -
Front [Vic
20 Box -
Back [Vic 20 Box - Back

We had one of those, and then we ended up buying a Commodore 64 when the Vic 20 got stolen:

[C64 Box -
Front [C64
Box -

We also got one of the floppy disk drives:

[Commodore 1541 Floppy Disk

So that was sorta neat to see. (Those boxes have since been dumpstered.)

Saturday Jenn worked again, so I ended up doing housework and working on my blog here. Of my previous list of things I wanted to do, all that I didn’t get done was fixing the links between blog entries, updating my “about” page, and fixing the blurbs to do fancy popup thing I want them to do. The rest got done, though, and I think it’s much more usable, at least from an admin standpoint.

Saturday night I went to the Winter Hawks hockey game and watched us barely beat Seattle. It was also the “Teddy Bear Toss,” where, on the first Winter Hawks goal scored, you throw stuffed animals out onto the ice. The animals are then collected and donated to charities. This year they had 5,448 animals thrown, which filled up two pickup trucks and several dumpsters. It was pretty slick.

Sunday was spent doing things around the house for a while, then we went to the mall because we were bored. Not much going on at the mall. At at the Cajun Grill, which is, in my opinion, the best place in the food court. After that we went to another Winter Hawks game, where, once again, we barely won. Went home and watched Alias, which always rocks, and then went to bed and had a bad dream about zombies coming to kill me.

So the weekend was okay, though I would have liked to have rested more. Because Jenn worked over the weekend, I ended up doing her chores and mine, and that sucked a lot. I’ve got the last two weeks of the year off, though, and I’m hoping that’s a bit more restful.

food comments edit

I was craving Indian food (after having eaten some at a great buffet around my work) and I went online to get a recipe for something I knew I liked - Chicken Tikka Masala.

The thing is, I’m one of those people who, when he gets a test that says, “read all the instructions before beginning the test,” and then the last instruction is “don’t do the test,” I fail. I do stuff as I’m reading. So here’s how the night went:

I got my chicken out of the fridge (after having marinated all night long) and started the oven preheating. The instructions say to cook this sauce while you’re baking your chicken, so I started getting out the ingredients for the sauce while the oven was heating up. Ten ounce can of tomato puree - check. Five ounce can of tomato paste - check. Two pounds of chopped tomatoes…

TWO POUNDS OF CHOPPED TOMATOES?! I didn’t have any tomatoes at all, let alone two pounds.

I turned off the oven, cat-proofed the kitchen, and went to Safeway to get my two pounds of tomatoes.

That’s a shitload of tomatoes.

Got home, started it all back up, started chopping/de-seeding the tomatoes. About halfway through that, the oven was ready to go.

Now, you’re only supposed to cook the chicken for like 10 minutes, which means I had supposedly 10 minutes to finish chopping a pound of tomatoes, get all of that in the pot, and have it boiled down to a “thick sauce.” 10 minutes later, the chicken was done and I was still chopping tomatoes. I left the chicken in and set the oven to “warm” so the chicken wouldn’t overcook or dry out, but would stay warm.

I finished chopping, dumped the tomato stuff into the pot along with 4.5 cups of water and started “cooking on a low temperature” according to the instructions. I then mopped the kitchen because two pounds of chopped tomatoes generally yields a lot of water, much of which ended up on the ground in my furious chopping effort. (It was at that exact moment that the Swiffer WetJet decided to run out of WetJet liquid soap, so it’s probably not as clean as it should be.)

After an hour of “low,” I decided that the heat needed to be, as Emeril puts it, “kicked up a notch.” I wish I had time lapse photography of the heat knob. I’m sure it would show me cranking up the heat like nobody’s business. By this time it was, oh, about 8:00p.

In the meantime, I thought I’d make some Indian flatbread (“naan”) to eat with the chicken. I mixed up the dough and stirred the pot of sauce by holding the spoon between my teeth (I had doughy hands). I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes as specified and finished with that at about 8:30p. Next step - let the bread sit for three hours.

THREE HOURS? There goes the flatbread idea.

Two hours later, it was like 10:00p, the sauce was boiling on medium heat and was nowhere near “thick,” and my flatbread still had a minimum of an hour and a half left to sit before I could start cooking it.

I put in a call to Jenn (who was at a meeting at the time) and she brought home Burger King. We’ll be trying to finish up the Indian cooking effort tonight.

I’ve learned a couple of things from this. First, always read all the instructions before you start and be clear on what they mean. Second, sauce doesn’t cook down as quickly as folks might imply, and “low heat” means “all day.”

It sure smells good, though.

traffic comments edit

I was wondering if I’d get a Traffic Asshole before the Thanksgiving holiday, and sure enough, society came through for me.

Behold: A double-long dump truck doing 20 miles an hour in the fast lane!


He stayed in the fast lane for probably five miles. Traffic was backed up way beyond that even. Once you got past him - smooth sailing.

Thank you, Traffic Asshole, for a nice commute just before the holidays.