music, activities comments edit

Jenn and I saw Phantom of the Opera last night and it was wonderful. Honestly, it was all I hoped it would be. The costumes were perfect, the sets were perfect, everything was great. Only two things I think were issues…

First, the way I imagined it was slightly different than how it played out on stage. Yeah, not an issue really, but sort of an interesting turn. Most of it was right, mainly just the end was different than how I expected it. Second, the lady who played Christine was just a tad sharp on everything she sang in the first half of the show. I was okay with it and decided to ignore it, but leave it to my mom to break me from my Suspension of Disbelief and remind me repeatedly about how sharp she was.

Overall, though, brilliance. I’d definitely see it again if it comes back. I’m starting to think about getting a Portland Opera subscription because there are lots of other shows I want to see as well. It’s expensive, though. I dunno.

Speaking of expensive, we ate dinner at this place downtown called “Veritable Quandary.” It was sort of… well, “preppy,” in a Pottery Barn sense. People wearing black shirts and tortoise-shell glasses. Waaaay too many wines on the wine list and even more people that thought they could actually tell the difference between them all. Very good food - Jenn and I both had the “Black Angus NY steak” - but slightly on the spendy side. It’s actually got a restaurant and a bar; the restaurant is in the back, the bar’s up front. The bar sounded like it had some tasty normal-people food, so we may have to go back and check that out.

I pulled a nice, cold drink out of my new birthday refrigerator this morning and it’s just right. It took about 24 hours for the fridge to get up to full speed, but now it’s ready to chill.

My boss/friend, Greg, just came over and told me he’s going to the coast for the day, taking some friends from New Mexico who haven’t been to the Oregon Coast yet.

I have a problem with the Oregon Coast - that it’s a coast and not a beach. What’s the difference? If you go to the beach, you expect sand-colored sand, nice blue water you can wade in, sun… you see where I’m going with this. Hawaii has beaches. California and Florida have beaches.

Oregon has a coast. You can’t wade, really, because if you spend too long in the water you’re going to get frostbite. You can’t sit on the sand for too long because the wind will sandblast your face and any other exposed body parts. You can’t wear glasses because it’s always misty there (and you know about the magnetic properties of water and glasses). The sand is a dingy brown-gray. The water is… dingy brown-gray.

I love beaches. I hate the Oregon Coast.

Man, I sure go off on little rants at the drop of a hat, don’t I? Here, I was expecting to write a nice review of my Phantom show, and then I get sidetracked by my hatred for the Oregon Coast. Welcome to my world. Now do you see how I could go out without combing my hair?

personal comments edit

(Yes, it is a word.)

I have to go off on this one because it’s one of those pet peeves that I’m sure bothers everyone out there but nobody really talks about it because they don’t want peoples’ feelings to be hurt.

System administrators, especially those concerned with security, are, by and large, excessively pompous individuals.

Either that, or they don’t have any social skills.

Or maybe both.

The reason I say this is that, over the course of my employ with various technology-related companies and whatnot, I’ve had the opportunity to deal with several different sysadmins, and most of them had a particular security focus (as a good sysadmin should). By that same token, almost all of them have committed the following gaucheries while discussing their various interests with me… keeping in mind that I, too, am a reasonably well-versed sysadmin, at least where the applications I am responsible for are concerned:

  • Treated me like I dropped out of school in the fourth grade.
  • Directly contradicted everything I said, then later restated my thought, taking it as their own, denying that I said it to begin with.
  • Spoke to me as though English were not my first language (hey, slower and louder always makes me feel like I’m speaking with a peer).
  • Explained to me a basic concept as though it were the first time I’d ever heard of such a thing. For example, I’m a web application developer… why would you explain to me what a web server does? I’m pretty sure I’ve got that down.
  • Quoted, verbatim, security notifications received from agencies like CERT, and claimed it as their own thought.
  • Suggested that they, as an admitted non-programmer, might know more about programming than me.

I think you see where I’m going. I don’t like being treated as though I’m stupid. And you can’t just say “it’s because they’re trying to teach me.” Bullshit. You’ve been in school, right? RIGHT? There were two kinds of teachers: the teachers that took the time to explain things to you the right way; and the teachers who were condescending about everything and thought all the kids were stupid.

Guess which kind of “teacher” sysadmins are.

One of the main reasons I bring this up is that Sysadmin Appreciation Day is coming up on Friday. I don’t expect anything out of it, but if you do decide to “appreciate” your local sysadmin, keep in mind whether they’re condescending and bitchy or whether they’re nice and explain things reasonably.

Again, not all sysadmins are like that. Sometimes you get the good ones; the ones with social skills. I’m just saying they’re few and far between.

personal, activities comments edit

Surprisingly enough, the birthday barbecue last night went off without a hitch.

People in attendance:

  • Grandma and Grandpa (Dad’s parents)
  • Granddad (Mom’s father)
  • Tori (sister)
  • Tai (sister) and Dan (Tai’s fiancee)
  • Mom and Dad
  • Jenn
  • Dan and Aggie (Jenn’s parents)

Dad cooked up some burgers on the grill and we had chips, dip, and various fruit/vegetable salads. We also had a Grand Marnier chocolate cake (my favorite) from JaCiva’s, a local chocolatier, courtesy of Jenn. Mom got me some Monsters, Inc. plates, napkins, and tablecloths, which were fun. People seemed to get along pretty well and there was no drunken brawling, so I would consider it a success.

This was actually the first event that my parents and Jenn’s parents have spent any time together at. They seemed to get along rather well, especially our fathers, who talked about model trains and remote control HumVees most of the night.

The gifts were plentiful and all were cool (which is a rarity… You know how you usually get that one gift and you’re speechless because it wasn’t remotely anything you wanted? That didn’t happen.). I got:

  • From Tori, a funky zebra puppet that I can torment my kitty Xev with; and a Survivor board game that looks like quite a lot of fun
  • From Tai, an electronic meat thermometer fork (I barbecue a lot, so that’ll be handy)
  • From Dad’s parents, a check (you can always use money); and a windchime that has hung in their kitchen for, well, my entire lifetime as far as I know… very cool, since it totally reminds me of them
  • From Jenn’s parents, a small refrigerator/freezer to go under my desk at work
  • From my parents, a strategy guide for Medal of Honor: Frontline; a big box of Crest Whitestrips (is that a hint?); and… a small refrigerator/freezer to go under my desk at work

Yes, that means I have two refrigerators. Great minds think alike, eh? Interestingly enough, the two are actually identical items with different brands attached to them. Too funny. So I’ve got one plugged in here at work now doing its thing and the other will get returned for… well, I don’t know yet. I’ve gotta think about what I want instead. Maybe some binoculars or a digital camera. I’m not sure how much the fridges cost.

All in all, a rather successful celebration. Tonight Jenn and I will have dinner at Veritable Quandary downtown and then see Phantom of the Opera. I’m looking forward to a brilliant evening.

personal, family, cats comments edit

Yay, me, it’s my BIRTHDAY!

Thus far, I’ve already had two donuts for my birthday. Granted, that was in our staff meeting where there’s always donuts, but hey - they’re birthday donuts as far as I’m concerned.

Later today there’s a birthday celebration in the other building here at work for all the July birthdays. Cake and ice cream there. And on my birthday. All the better.

Tonight my parents are having a barbecue at their place for my immediate family and Jenn’s parents. I think this will be the first time Jenn’s parents have actually spent time at an event with mine. Should be interesting.

Speaking of family events, I saw the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding last week. Friday, I think. Anyway, it was really, really funny. I learned two things from that movie: First, that Jenn’s family is probably part Greek (“I have 27 first cousins…”). Christmas at her grandma’s house is a lot like the wedding preparations you see in the movie. Second, any illness can be cured by Windex. I’ve yet to verify this latter point.

My baby Xev kitty is a demon in cat’s clothing. She’s so wild all the time. Sometimes I wonder if she actually sleeps. I’m beginning to think she likes being squirted with the water bottle. I do know that she likes playing in the sink, and when we’re not looking she’ll jump up onto our kitchen counter, run to the sink, and start drinking the water soaking on the dirty dishes. She’s very bad. If she wasn’t so cute, I’d be forced to kick her ass. She’s starting to play well with Semper (the other cat), though. It’s kind of funny to watch - Semper is like 16 pounds and Xev is maybe 3 pounds. It’s sort of like a squirrel playing with a polar bear.

That’s about it. So far, my 26th is just another day in a long line of days. I’ll probably have more tomorrow once the barbecue has taken place.

personal comments edit

Since tomorrow is my birthday, I will take a cue from Walt Disney’s rendition of Alice In Wonderland and sing myself the “Unbirthday Song.”

Now that I’ve done that, I feel better.

Jenn gave me her gift early since she realized I’d suspect something if she hadn’t, and rightly so. She got me lettering for my Winter Hawks jersey - my favorite player, Eric Bowen, #26. For those in the Winter Hawks know I’ll admit that no, he wasn’t the greatest player in the world. He was a mediocre puck handler and had okay skating skills. But when he was on the ice, no opponent was safe from the wrath, man. That boy would throw down unlike anything ever seen. He’s actually what convinced me to buy season tickets in the first place.

So Jenn took me and my jersey to Northwest Skate Authority and we sent it out for lettering. Yay, me! I’m stoked. I have wanted that for a long time but really didn’t know when I’d get it done. So now it’s good to go, and I’m a happy camper.

Speaking of birthdays and unbirthdays (sort of): let it be known that I hate cards. I hate ‘em. Cards are the sappiest, most meaningless show of feeling ever. It’s $3 you’ll never reclaim - you get the card, you sign your name, you hand it to the recipient, they read it, they pitch it. There’s the life cycle. If they’re environmentally conscious, they might recycle it. However, there are two exceptions that I have found thus far to the “card rule.” The first is a handmade card. Anyone who takes the time to create a card by hand - not just with one of those ready-made card programs on the computer, but actually works to create the card - has legitimized their feelings in physical form. I appreciate that. The second is a certain series of cards distributed by Flavia Art. This particular series has a nice, rich artwork to it, a decorated envelope, and just pretty much makes me happy just looking at them. Here’s a birthday card in that series; here’s the anniversary card I bought my parents this year. They have posters like that, too. Good stuff.

Jenn and I go see The Phantom of the Opera on Wednesday. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never seen it before, but I know the music by heart, so I’m expecting great things.

Oh… went shopping this weekend with Jenn because she wanted to find a dress to wear to Phantom and something for my sister’s wedding on August 9. I’m not sure if I’d call it a successful trip. See, I’m not too picky about clothing. Or maybe I just find stuff that I like and buy it regardless of how it hangs on me, how it’s cut, etc. If I like it and it generally fits, I get it. I mean, I walked into the store, wasn’t even looking for shorts, and found some rockin’ shorts that fit, on sale. No problems.

Jenn’s more of an enigma in that respect. She didn’t want a black dress because you “can’t wear black to a wedding” (why, exactly, is beyond me; I’m wearing a black suit, after all). She didn’t want anything too long because it’s going to be hot at Phantom (it’s pretty hot this week in Portland). And so on.

Anyway, we shopped for hours. Seriously. I walked the entire mall, saw everything I wanted to see in every other store, and still spent time in the “man chair” outside the womens’ dressing room in Meier and Frank. In the end, you know what she bought?

A sleeveless black dress that goes to the ground, in the style of one of those Chinese dresses. And she’s not even going to wear it in the near future. She’ll wear something more casual to Phantom so I don’t have to wear a suit (which is a good thing) and then wear an outfit she already owns to the wedding.


Other than that, I’m still reading The Bourne Identity and totally loving it. I think I may dedicate some time to it when I get home.