Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pie on the Brain

Seriously. I think I have been pouring over pie recipes for at least an hour now, trying to decide what I will be making for Apiecalypse Now. Huh? Haven't I mentioned that yet? Huh. Guess not. Well anyway, I'm having a get together with some friends to play board games, fellowship, and eat lots and lots of pies. Oodles of pies. It is the Apiecalypse!

Here are the rules:
  1. Everyone must bring a pie. If you are pie-impaired, bring a snack or some tasty beverages. Savory pies or quiches are welcome.
  2. No store bought pies. Store bought crusts are allowed.
  3. No boring pies! All pies should be out of the ordinary. No apple, cherry, lemon meringue, pumpkin, coconut cream, banana cream, key lime, peach, or chocolate pies unless they have some unusual twist, like ginger peach or frosted apple raisin. The weirder, the better. Contact Nils or see the www.pieofthemonth.org website for ideas.
  4. RSVP! Please let me know what kind of pie you’re bringing, too. Thanks!
So, I'm thinking I'm going to make 4 pies for the event. I had originally planned for 3, but I've found another strange pie I want to try, but I want to further expose people to the wonders of the vinegar pie. So I'll be making a modified hamburger pie, vinegar pie, creamy pie whose nature will be a surprise, and then some sort of fruit pie. I just can't quite decide what. In the pie cookbook Angie gave me (365 pie recipes) there's a pear ginger pie that sounds good, as well as an autumn pie, which sounds lovely, but I can't fathom how it'd stay together. There are some other interesting ones (cantaloupe pie, anyone?) but I'm not even sure where I'd get some of the ingredients. Gooseberries? Red currants? Paw paws?

The pie manifest is growing though, and people are coming up with some creative ones, so I'm pretty stoked. I'll leave their identities as a surprise for you lucky folks who are coming. August 17th! Mark your calendars. (Yes, it's two weeks away and I'm already worrying about which pies I'll make.) And yes, I made the radioactive cherry pie. It actually wasn't very good. Too much highly-enriched uranium. That and store bought pie filling.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hodgepodge

So, I forgot to mention it, but miraculously my pedal stopped clicking as spontaneously as it started. Thank goodness.

Nothing gets to me like a compliment I feel I don't deserve. Today as I struggled through Flex, I was paid a rather heady compliment about my work. It made me feel terrible. There's an insight into the way my mind works.

I went to a toasted cheese restaurant called Chedd's today. We went there for Amanda's birthday. I have been skeptical of the concept of a toasted cheese restaurant ever since Chris told me about one in New York. Oh my goodness. Fantastic! Also, one sandwich, despite not being overly large, will cure you of hunger, peckishness, and the munchies simultaneously. Even the cherry pie in the fridge held no allure for me.

I have been feeling incredibly lazy. So now I have created a Chore Wars party with Isaac and Elsa to motivate me. This is how nerds get things done. Let me know if you want to join.

This video is simply stunning. If you like art or animation or think they are one and the same, this is for you.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Complete Weekend

All right. This was a pretty good weekend. On Saturday I got up early and joined my friends Gavin, Sarah, and Ryan for a climb up Mount Bierstadt, one of Colorado's many 14ers. I have had some less than enjoyable climbs of 14ers in the past, but this was a good hike, about 6 miles round trip. I've learned to pace myself, but I still forget what altitude can do to you. I had a tremendous headache the rest of the day, but for the most part the altitude didn't hit me until I was actually off the mountain. Still, it was a good hike, and you can see my pictures of the hike in my gallery.

After the hike I plopped down on the couch and spent the rest of the day reading. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I thought was a very satisfying end to the series, despite a few lapses in common sense for the sake of drama. Still not quite feeling like spoiling the reading mood, I also started into the book Soon I Will Be Invincible, which is a novel about superheroes told partially from the villain's perspective. It was nice and well done, like a novelized long episode of Justice League: Unlimited. Man, where has that show gone? It was so good. Anyway, it's not a terribly deep book, but quite enjoyable and takes an interesting view of how the villain views the whole comic book story. I finished that book today, trying to compensate for my exertion yesterday with plenty of non-movement for the rest of the weekend. Man, I haven't read this much in a long time. Feels good.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brevity, not Levity

So, this will be a short post, because, um, Isaac and Elsa just lent me their copy of the last Harry Potter book. Despite this, I need to post. Yesterday, I came home feeling crushed and beaten. I was in a weird mood, but at the heart of it, let's just say that Flex makes me sad. While praying this morning, I really cried out to God to control my anger and my mouth for me, and today was such an answered prayer. I was working in Flex and not exactly excelling, but I was making progress. I was calm and rational and didn't have the urge to beat anything the whole day. Thank you, God!

Ok, now I'm going to read. Thank you, Isaac and Elsa!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Death Note

Oooooooo, I finally got my mitts on the final two episodes of Death Note, and they're tasty, if a bit strange. Whether intentional or not, some of the characters look a lot different in these last two, as if transformed by the events of the series. Anyhow, I highly recommend this series if you don't mind some dark stuff. There's not too much gore, but it wouldn't be anime without at least one gratuitous fountain of blood. Supposedly there are a couple movies for it, which puzzles me. The series was only 37 episodes long, after all. It also has a pretty tight plot, so I'm not sure where they'd insert things in the story line.

This will tide me over until I can get a copy of Harry Potter or my stinking Cake CD finally arrives. Waiting for me at the library is a book called Soon I Shall Be Invincible, which I have also been waiting for. I just need to get there. And there's that half-read Wired on my bedstand. I think I'll make it.

Oh, and my review today went well enough, though not as well as I hoped. Pretty much they said they're glad to have me aboard, but I'm not moving up to senior developer quite yet. That's pretty fair, really, so no real disappointment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sand on the Lens

Hey, I've put up the pictures from the Great Sand Dunes trip. They're in my gallery, where they belong. This was a tough one to pare down to a reasonable number. There were so many cool shots from the dunes I had many difficult choices to make. And to those of you to whom I promised picture packets, I'm going to get to work on them soon. Like right now. Really.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

To the Dunes and Back

Let's put this out there out front. The Great Sand Dunes are awesome. Really super cool, crazy nifty, and ab fab. I will have pictures up for it soon enough. My camera is demanding a recharged battery before it will turn them over to me. In the mean time, you get a blog post. Lucky you!

So Tirzah, Dean, Jill, and Jeff went down to the dunes on Friday night while I was learning about AIR and buying groceries. Gavin, Sarah, and I met Saturday morning with their dog Dash in tow. We hopped into Daria and sped down there and got into camp shortly before noon. We camped at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge campground, which was a private campground and not quite so regimented as the Monument campground. It was a nice little park, with innovative bathrooms (an old boxcar) and plenty of shade and space between sites.

We ate some lunch and headed up to do the mile round trip hike to Zapata Falls. The hike, until the last 100 yards, is pretty easy. Then you get to slide along a wet rock wall (or just walk in the creek) and then walk up the icy stream to the falls which are hidden back in a little slot canyon. Fortunately I had my waterproof boots and they did the trick. Unfortunately, even waterproof boots can't help you when you step up to your shin in ice cold water. The falls were very impressive. The sound and spray filled up the slot canyon and the sky was reduced to a narrow gap in the rock above. I chanced taking my camera in and it seems to have come out all right, despite getting a heavy misting.

We squished our way back down to the car and headed to over to the dunes. Since exposing my camera to water had gone so well, I figured I'd follow it up with another mortal enemy of photographic equipment: sand. As I said before, the dunes are incredible. They are unbelievably tall and uncannily located. You have these several hundred foot tall dunes juxtaposed with the rugged peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

I switched over to sandals and we splashed through Mosca Creek and started up to the top of High Dune, the second highest dune in the field. Man, that is a work out. I made sure my respiratory organs were clear by rapidly breathing in and out. Thankfully they were, but I continued to verge on hyperventilation just to be sure. I also ascended most of the slopes practically bent over double, just to inspect the quality of the sand, of course. I took off my sandals and went on barefoot.

Jeff's dog Fritz was impressive in his stamina. He's a little dachshund, and had to scale the slopes by essentially jumping up them, but he stuck to it. We summited the dune and were treated to spectacular views. Jill and Dean headed back down the route we had come and the rest of us struck out to some other nearby dunes for a roundabout way back. Man, going down dunes is a lot more fun than going up, at least when the sand is soft. We were also treated to lots of awesome views. Just jumping around on the dunes is fun stuff, and watching the dogs play on the slopes was great. We even ran into a guy I knew from DU.

When we were descending, we found that hard sand is much more difficult to descend on, and that there is no easy way to tell if the sand is soft or hard other than stepping on it. This led to some amusing runs down hills. It also led to me leaving a callus or two behind on the dunes. My heels will either develop into giant blisters soon or just remain some newly exfoliated skin. But the dunes are absolutely a blast. I'd go back there soon.

What wasn't a blast was that evening. We made dinner, my selection being a vintage MRE that Andy had given me who knows when. It wasn't bad, and so far there have been no ill effects. Afterwards we chatted around the fire and went to bed around 10:30. From somewhere up the hill came loud conversation and even louder laughter. As I lay on my air mattress, mosquitoes buzzed me, so loud they sounded like they were inside the hat I put over my face. Despite the cool mountain air, I was roasting inside my sleeping bag. Needless to say, sleep was not in the agenda. All of this went on until around 1:30. Finally, at the urging of my bladder, I paid a visit to the train car and then followed the sound of the braying laughter up the hillside to the offending camp. It wasn't hard.

While I was laying in my sweaty sleeping bag listening to the nitrous-huffing jack monkeys up the hill, I had been playing out various scenarios in my head, most involving poisons and/or acts of violence and destruction. I have put up with drunks outside my window, because they go away after a half hour or so. These inconsiderate hyenas however, were not going anywhere and showed no signs of shutting up, so something needed to be done if I wanted any semblance of sleep. Now was a time for (shudder) confrontation! However, among the panoply of insults, invective, and incendiaries I had thought up in my sweaty tossing and turning, I decided to go the Christian route. I just asked how they were doing, asked if they could keep it down because it was 1:30 and we had been listening to them for 3 hours. And thank you, Jesus, they apologized and were quiet for the rest of the night. Of course, around 7:30 the next morning they started up again, but everyone in the campground was up by then. But still, peace was restored the campground, thanks to Nils the Brave! (heh. whatever. just going up there was a major accomplishment for me, with major credit going to my bladder for getting me out of bed.)

When I returned to my sleeping bag and started taking off my boots, a jingling shape ran up to me out of the darkness. It was Jeff's dachsund Fritz. Jeff was sleeping in a hammock and had told me how Fritz would nestle down inside the sleeping bag, but sometimes get up and out of the hammock. Now Fritz was there outside of the hammock and trembling something fierce, so I let him into the sleeping bag and he took up residence between my calves. Normally I toss and turn before getting comfortable, but now I was sort of locked in place lest I kick Fritz in the head or crush him. After lots of careful maneuvering, I finally got in a comfortable spot and was able to grab a couple hours of sleep.

Then it was my turn to get cold. The heat had gone out of me and a breeze had come up. However, Fritz had commandeered the toe of my bag and slid off the end of my air mattress, so I couldn't pull the bag up around me without making dachshund jelly. Thankfully, dawn was around the corner and I got up and watched a magnificent dawn blaze out from the mountains and light the dunes. I stoked the fire and fed it a steady diet of twigs while everyone else slept. Even Fritz, who poked his head out after I left decided that the sane creatures were the ones still in bed and he nested down in the vacated bag. A later trip to the train car confirmed that I looked the way I felt. Thank goodness for hats.

Anyway, we made some breakfast and packed up. The Friday crew headed out, but Gavin, Sarah, Dash, and myself hung around the dunes for a little while before taking scenic 285 back up to Denver. I then spent a restful afternoon removing pitch from my new air mattress and unpacking the camp gear. I am now number 383 in line for one of the 288 copies of the new Harry Potter book at the library. Looks like I'll be avoiding reviews of the book for a while. Well, that'll give me time to get the pictures up, right?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Transit Woes

So, today was pretty busy. This morning when I went to go into work, I found a flat on the rear tire of my bike. I popped in a new tube and sweat popped out all over me. Unfortunately, somehow changing the tube in my tire made my left pedal pop annoyingly every time I push down on it. Something had to get messed up when I set the bike down after I took the tire off. Any thoughts, Dad?

I evidently didn't inflate the tube enough and the ride in was horrible. I felt like I was carrying about 50 extra pounds on my back. I was grimy and sweaty by the time I got to work, so I enjoyed the shower. Unfortunately, when I set out to Mile High Station, where the event was held, my chain came off and I got grimy again getting the chain back on. By the time I got there, I had sweat through my shirt, front and back. Nice.

The conference was nice, if not particularly exciting. They fed us very, very well, and Mile High Station is a really cool spot all done up in an industrial style. There's an old crane still hanging from the ceiling. Anyway, most of the sessions were pretty tame. The guy from Yahoo! had some good stuff, but the highlight of the show was unfortunately the last session. It was given by Lee Brimelow, who had all manner of super cool video apps. I ducked out after his presentation and a host of tasty hors d'oeuvres. Then it was a hot, hot ride back up to the office to grab my panniers and then back to the apartment.

But now I'm packed and prepped for the Sand Dunes tomorrow. I've remembered my camera, so there should be some good pix I hope.

Conference Post II

As you can see, I am hard at work at the onAIR conference. What colors should Murphy be in? Flash makes for some easy color changing to see what works. Anyway, right now a guy from EffectiveUI is showing us a cool eBay app that is made with AIR that is spiffy. Much of what is made with AIR is spiffy. The Yahoo! stuff shown earlier was super spiffy. They showed us the miniBar and the music player app they're making, both of which show the impressive prowess of Yahoo!'s developers. I remember being wowed way back in Orlando when a guy from Yahoo! showed us their YUI Ajax framework.

And uh, here's another substitution for a conference pic. It is another cyclops, and although I have no clue about who he is or what he is about, it is clear he is about to school someone in tennis.

Oh, maybe I should say something more about AIR. It is ... neat? For a quick briefing, essentially it is a way to design applications in Flash OR HTML and JavaScript that then can run on your desktop using the Flash Player as the platform for the app. It can do neat things like be a transparent window, and interact with the file I/O. For instance, you can drag stuff from the desktop into your application (and vice versa), save files, etc. And it can also check your connection to the Internet and the app can behave differently depending on your connectivity. Pretty keen, if you ask me. Can I use it? Uhhhh, I'm a bit away from that in skill level. Let me get a handle on Flex and then we'll talk.

Shhh! We're onAIR


Since it is de rigeur to post from conferences, I had better follow suite. After all, I am at the onAIR bus tour, I guess I should do as those proverbial Romans do. Now normally, people post pictures from the convention that they're at, but instead, I have this doodle of this sheep cyclops. I dunno who or what he is, but he's what I doodled while listening to Adobe people talking up the benefits of AIR. And that's all I have to say about that ... FOR NOW!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Certifiable

The view from the 25th floor was quite stunning. The uncharacteristic humidity today put a veil of atmospheric haze around the outskirts of Denver, so that the outlying office towers on Colorado Boulevard were only halfway discernible and the foothills were completely shrouded, leaving only the upswell of Denver's highlands visible. The capitol buildings were right there with the shining dome of the state's and the odd crescent of the county's. I was waiting for the certification exam.

The walking cliché of a secretary had pointed me to this room from her desk. When I first came in, she had an emory board running across her considerable fingernails and was talking on the phone with a friend about health problems. This is where stereotypes come from, people. She ignored me as I waited close by for her to hang up. I waited. I waited some more, and still she gabbed on, not giving me the slightest regard. I tried a few throat clearings, but to no avail. Finally, I leaned over her desk and gave her the eye, finally winning enough regard for her to point me to the waiting area in the test area with the towering view over downtown Denver.

Finally, I got to take the test. It was actually a lot easier than I had expected. Most of the questions were no brainers, and a good deal of the more obscure ones I had luckily picked up during my studying. The ones that got me, however, were the video and audio questions. I just never work with those in Flash. I hazarded good guesses and moved on. I completed the test in about 25 minutes and then went back to review those that I was shaky on. All in all, I came out with an 89% score. The passing grade was 70%, so baby, I am in like Flynn! Thank you, God for your grace and the gift of intelligence, even if it may be limited to taking tests.

This little victory means that RealEyes will pay for me to go to the MAX conference in the end of September, and things will probably go a bit better for me in my review I have next week. Two Adobe certifications in one week! Not too shabby. For immediate effects, it means that I am a heckuva lot less stressed out, and I treated myself to a luxurious celebratory dinner at Racine's. Now, I can enjoy the AIR roadshow tomorrow and the trip to the Sand Dunes without stress. I'm all for it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

TV Guide

Before I disappear in Essential ActionScript 2.0, let me note that I saw a striking TV Guide issue in the trash in the mail room and fished it out. The hook? TV sci-fi previews. The pay off? Bionic Woman, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, Heroes: Origins, and The Clone Wars. Dang, I hope Genndy Tartakovsky is on that one.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Help! It's RoboHelp!

RAGE! I want to find whomever is responsible for the scrollbar component in RoboHelp and beat them so hard their grandchildren will be born with bruises. It's so freaking kludgy! RArarararARgh! That being said, I am almost done with this neverending piece of crap project.

Okay, enough venting. I have to study for the Flash Developer Certification Exam which I am taking on Thursday. I didn't think I would have tonight to study, but after driving all the way down to Clement Park, I couldn't find the group from my church, so here I am. Gleeeeeeee.

Monday, July 16, 2007

On Quiet Wheels

Wow. The Edgeworks/Bicycle Doctor totally have my continuing business. While I was off in Boston, my bike was luxuriating in their shop. I took it in to get my rear brakes fixed before I left and picked it up when I got back. When I picked it up, not only were the rear brakes rock solid, but so were the front brakes. On top of that, they had evidently cleaned and lubed my chain. And all of this for less than $20 and with less than a week notice.

This morning my bike went along whisper quiet and silky smooth. Lovely. Now I just have to keep from riding through mud puddles like I did last time I got my bike cleaned. Thank you, Bicycle Doctor!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hungry for More

Sometimes I have trouble being satiated, or more accurately, content with the food I have. Sure, I can become full or not hungry, but I always seem to be craving something more; a salty snack, a sweet dessert, fresh vegetables. I never seem to be totally satiated. Even after a heavy meal, I can find room for some postprandial snacking. This is why I cannot keep snack foods in my home. But this is not just limited to food. I find that in media it is true as well.

I went to see the new Harry Potter movie today. It was a decent flick; not particularly good, but not bad either. It was rather disjointed and had some awkward feeling pauses and lines and only a couple of really wow moments (Hall of Prophecy collapsing and the ensuing battle) in its more than 2 hours of film. I'm glad I didn't pay the 13 dollars for the 3-D IMAX version, but it still was enjoyable. One little slip up (perhaps) I did notice was that all these British kids were wishing each other Merry Christmas rather than the Happy Christmas Mrs. Weasley later imparts.

But here's the thing. I'm hungry for more. Even though the movie was lackluster and I thought the book was a bit of a downer to begin with, the movie was long and should have been filling. But I'm hungry for more. I want Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and I want it now. Gimme more escapism. Gimme more magic. Gimme something tasty and meaty. I'm reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but despite the good prose sprinkled liberally with spicy words that send me to the dictionary, I want something more escapist, less good for me, and feeling less like it has to end in tragedy. Not to say that the next Harry Potter book won't, but that world of J. K. Rowlings' is just so delectable.

I can't believe I scheduled the camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes on the weekend that the book comes out. Sheesh. Oh, and still no Cake CD.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Post 101

Yeah, how about that? This is my 101st post. From growing up on Highway 101 to here ... anyway. So I made it back to Denver without incident. Perhaps the fact that Jorma was flying with me shielded me from harmful United radiation and/or bad mojo. Last night we went up to Nashua, New Hampshire to visit some of his relatives, and we ended up staying over up there and coming back down to Boston today with his uncle Mark.

We did a spin around Boston, visiting the beautiful Old North Church that figures so prominently in American mythology. It was shorter than I had pictured, but I guess back when it was sending signals to Paul Revere it had less competition for altitude. We went to an old graveyard and scaled a fence to get out on the side we wanted. We later went by Paul Revere's house and grabbed some vittles in Faneuil Hall and a beer in a Cheers brand bar. I had a Sea Dog blueberry ale served with a dollop of blueberry compote. Not what I was expecting, but it tasted good.

Jorma and I dined high on the hog there. We hit a steakhouse and a great Irish bar called Mr. Dooley's. Earlier we had gone to the Bell in Hand Tavern, which is reputedly the oldest in America, having been established in 1795. We also found a great bakery called Au Bon Pain, which had a most delectable almond croissant which is the closest thing, oddly enough, to my Mom's bear claws.

So yeah. I'm tired, and uh, you know, I'm going to go lie down. 101 posts. Whew!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yippee. Uh. Ki-yi-yay?

So here's a little note from inside Adobe's Newton, MA offices. I just passed my Connect Training certification exam. Huzzah! I guess it's not quite really an exam. I had to stand up and present some of the curriculum. Thank you, Speech & Debate experience! Connect is pretty neat meeting software, so if you want to buy it from RealEyes and have me train you, lemme know! I have mixed feelings about learning that the Library already has upgraded to Connect. I was sort of hoping to score a free trip to Orlando training gig there. Did I mention that there is free soda here? Magical wonderful vending machines that need no money. Lovely. And really wicked good chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

Boston is a beautiful city, but very confusing. Thus, Boston is a woman. :) It took me forever just to figure out what way is north, not that that helps, because the streets are crooked, tweaked, diagonal, and all about a half mile long. Still, it's very pretty and I love all the old buildings. Also interesting is seeing sea gulls flying around downtown office buildings.

Taking the T (Boston's subway) has been an interesting experience. I'm still not used to the fetid, dank heat of East Coast rail stations. It's easy enough to figure out how to get around, but the rail line unfortunately is under construction for the four stops between where we need to go and the last of the open spots. We're taking a shuttle between the last stop and our destination. Okay, it's time to go. I'll have a bit more when I get back, though I forgot my camera. Durrrr.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

When Going to Beantown

So, there's the heart symbol that lets us use shorthand for love. I (heart) Oregon, for example. But what about hate? There's no real shorthand symbol for that, right? But what about the dagger †? For example, I † United. Why is that, you ask? Perhaps it is because after my three hour delay and cancellation when I went to Portland, they delayed my flight to Boston by 2 hours. I checked for delays before I left, and there were none. When I checked in, they said there was a half hour delay. When I got through the 9 miles of lines for the security, they delayed it by 1 and a half hours. By the time we actually left, it was a 2 hour delay. I was supposed to get into Boston around 6, and instead ended up getting off the plane at 8:45. By the time I navigated through the messed up streets of Boston, I got to my room shorty after 10. So much for a leisurely dinner and evening of study.

Anyway, the Connect Training course is going to start soon, so I will go. Oh, and to put icing on the cake, the class, which we were told started at 7:30, actually isn't starting until 9, meaning that I didn't have to get up at 5 in the freaking morning today after all. :(

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Long Hard Doodle


Hmm. I may have some doubts about my plans for doing the comic through Flash. It just might not be as easy as I thought. I still have to figure out a style. I did Bigvai today and here he is compared with Ickthiel as I drew him in Flash a while back. You can see the difference in style. I'm not sure which I like better. You guys have any thoughts? The main thing I'm not sure of is using black lines for outlines, like with Ickthiel, and keeping a more hand drawn feel, or to go with the smooth, colored lines like I've used with Bigvai. This'll take some figuring out.

Bigvai is the guardian spirit of cacti and shares some duties in the management of deserts. That's why he has the gourd and his pet lizard, Pete. He hangs out with Sookmuk and Lapinus, but doesn't share their surliness quite as much. He's just quiet, which some may think is surliness, especially in the context of his pals.

Well, enough of that. I'm going to go have some mindless entertainment with Jason tonight. On the menu: Transformers.

Building Blocks

Sweet. I've got more than half the data gathered for my parking map. This morning I gathered the missing pieces to complete the area bounded Broadway and Washington and 14th and 5th. The rest that is left will be more challenging because it is west of Broadway, where trees and shade are in short supply. That limits me to morning or late evening hours to keep things pleasant, and people are going to be more suspicious if I'm doing it at night rather than early morning. I've had a couple people ask me what I was doing already. Anyway, I just need to get the blocks bounded by Delaware and Broadway and 14th and 5th and I'll have all my data.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Evidently

Thanks to the hardworking folks of Denver Parks and Rec or whoever it is that scrapes the sediment off of the Cherry Creek bike path. Without them, my ride home last night would have been fraught with peril or at least mildly treacherous. Evidently the thunderstorms of July 4th brought some flash flooding to the trail, so yesterday morning was a muddy ride for me. I didn't leave work until after 9, so a ride home in the dark over sand, mud, and riparian debris would have been no fun, but instead it was smooth riding through the darkened park, past the night heron standing watch over the slide below the Broadway bridge. Thank you, public workers!

The delightful bit was that when I got home, along with a ton of other mail, my book was waiting for me. After going through the rest of my postal presents, I read the book straight through and got to bed around midnight. It was a short book, but packed with comic goodness. Now if only Cake would get their act together and send the CD.

Making up for the two late nights earlier this week, I went to work late so I could go out to DIA and catch my brother Andy and his family as they passed through town on their way to Nebraska. We had some breakfast at the Village Inn and I got to play games with Austin while chatting with Andy and Michelle. My new niece, Taylar snoozed through the whole meal, but she's a cutie for sure.

For good measure I knocked off work early to go celebrate David's birthday at Caldonia's (slogan: We'll smoke anything). I finally was able to get the RoboHelp skins finished up, packaged, and sent the heck out of the office, so I could relax and enjoy a few brews and barbecue. The weather afterwards was perfect for ice cream, so I paid Bonnie Brae a visit and had some interesting cashew ice cream. The ice cream itself wasn't that flavorful like their awesome toasted almond, but the salted cashews made for an interesting contrast with the sweet ice cream. I strolled around the Wash Park neighborhood in the gathering dusk while slurping ice cream and chatting with my folks. Such beautiful homes around there.

And just to throw as many disparate elements together as possible, have ya'll seen the new Idaho quarter. At first I thought it was rather striking. Then I realized it looks like a giant blind peregrine falcon is menacing the state while muttering Latin (BTW, it means "may it be forever"). Someone pointed out that there is no potato on the coin. I'm okay with Idaho breaking out of the spud mold. Idaho, not just potatoes any more! Now we have giant birds that can swallow Boise whole! However, there are a few other proposed designs out there that I thought were cool, in particular this one with the river turning into the outline of state. Both of the ones pictured here however, are better than the one burdened with the horrible slogan: "And here we have Idaho, Winning Her Way to Fame." You know what Idaho is famous for? Potatoes! Don't you want to get away from that? How much cooler are the Sawtooth Mountains? Much. Much, much more.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Heat Island

Today, boys and girls, we learn about the heat island effect. The idea is that cities are generally hotter than rural areas in the same climate because of all the concrete and asphalt and dearth of nice heat-absorbing materials like trees. This certainly was in effect today as I did a walk this morning to do more mapping. I set out after I made the pies this morning, so it was a bit warmer than I would like and I didn't get home until 1. I walked a good deal on Broadway and Lincoln, neither of which has much in the way of trees, unlike the neighborhoods to the east of here. Boy, I was sweating buckets and dragging by the time I got back to the apartment.

Then it was over to RealEyes for a company barbecue in the parking lot. Fortunately there was a corner with shade where we could camp out. Also it was cool inside where we were playing XBox. The pies were well received, especially the vinegar one, and John cooked some amazing barbecue. Sooooo tasty.

We did play some baseball up at the nearby park and only hit two cars and one person, with no permanent damage to any of them. Success! I did quite admirably, hitting what was thrown at me quite consistently, though not getting any real distance on them. Running to field balls, however, made my tummy very unhappy. In fact, I still need to go lay down, so I'll be brief. We watched fireworks from the balcony of the office building, and I drove home in a thunderstorm and scored some very nice parking. And then I took a cold shower, and now I will go to bed. The end.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Another Late Night Doodle

It's late, and I'm not quite ready to go to bed yet, but I don't want to open up Flash either for working on the photo gallery improvements or for drawing cyclops, so I sketched out this guy in Sketchbook Pro. I do like how the airbrush tool does cloudy textures for both the clouds and the puddle.

Huppim is the guardian of weather, specifically storms, and actually a high manager in the world of the spirits. He was among the first cyclops I drew, but sadly I don't think he'll be making too many appearances.

Huppim is constantly ruining paperwork with all the rainwater that comes out of his sleeves, and don't even get him started on how many computers he's ruined. Mainly he dictates, I guess.

I wish it would rain. Not tomorrow, mind you, but soon. The heat and the dryness could use a change up.

Take Two

Thank you to all who have been praying for me. Today was much better than the past few days, and God kept me calm and my frustration in check. Things went more smoothly and I was able to finish up the skins that are due on the 9th, though it meant staying until after 8:30. I may not even need to work tomorrow. That'd be nice.

On the way home, I stopped by the store to pick up the ingredients for the 2 pies I'll make tomorrow (a vinegar pie and a frosted apple raisin pie), and narrowly avoided paying $11 for a bag of cherries. I got home and called Dad to wish him a happy 70th. I had gotten him a gift certificate for a nice restaurant in Couer d'Alene, but unfortunately it hadn't gotten to him yet, even though it only had to come 13 miles and should have been mailed on Saturday.

My mail that I have been waiting for also did not make it to me today, so I guess the soonest I can get my book is Thursday, though the cruel Postal Service may make me wait longer. The more I desire this book and CD, you know the slower they'll go.

Also, oddly enough there were several fireworks displays tonight. I heard one start while I was talking with Dad and went up to the building's roof to watch. Unfortunately the downtown one was mainly obscured by the skyline, but some over in Bel Mar and down in, I dunno, south Englewood, maybe? were nicely visible. I'm not sure why they did them on the 3rd, but I hope there'll still be some tomorrow. The office should have a nice view of downtown for the festivities.

In other news, the radio is great. I am especially loving the remote control for it. I don't have to get up to turn it off while I'm eating breakfast and doing devotions. Let's see, anything else? Ummm, I don't think so. I guess that does it for today. Tomorrow will be barbecued ribs in the parking lot of the office, making pies, and the threat of baseball.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Lousy, I Guess

Right now some people are having a really ugly break up spat outside my window. The girl's voice is really going through some interesting transformations from growls to squeaky highs that must have all the dogs in the building on edge. The guy has some ambiguous accent and is receiving the brunt of the conversation. I guess there are worse days to have than mine, huh?

See, I did have two highlights to the day. Primarily, Rob and Adrienne from my Bible study back in Florida came down from Fort Collins where they've been with their work and had dinner with me at Le Central. Mmm. Any day with that bread pudding can't be that bad. Also, I finally got word that the book I've been waiting for is shipping finally. They actually sent confirmation that it has shipped, though the Postal Service made it sound like it had only been told that it was going to ship. I'm going to smile and nod and say that I'll get the book either tomorrow or Wednesday. So that's a good thing.

The rest of the day? Sucktacular. I continue to be confounded by technical difficulties and my own inability to figure out solutions to the problems I've been given. The maddening thing is how long this is taking me. I've just never faced a challenge of this caliber to my best skillset, and the fact that I am not doing as well as I would like to think I should is really getting to me. Frankly, I've never felt this stupid. Pretty much everything I did today failed. There were a lot of intense prayers going up from my desk today. That's pretty much how I made it through the day.

The capstone for this day was that I thought I had finished one of the Flash skins today. I tested it, showed it to Paula, and then zipped it up and sent it to the client. Then, just before 6 as I was getting ready to leave, I got a call from the client, wondering if he was doing something wrong, because the skin wasn't working. I tried the skin, and yep, it was a no go. Somehow it broke spontaneously. Fan-freakin'-tastic. This was especially rich coming on the heels of another skin that I had been working on that also spontaneously broken under different circumstances as I was putting the finishing touches on it. So of both the skins I spent all day working on, both at the end of the day were inoperable. Now, I need to get these done by the end of the week, as the deadline for two of them is the 9th, and that's when I leave for Boston. And we have the 4th of July in the middle of this week. And I have two other projects that have loose deadlines for the end of the week that I haven't even started on, and then there's the big project that is supposed to be done by the end of July that I haven't touched for days and oh, did I mention I need to be studying to take a Flash certification exam by the end of the month too? I foresee some very long evenings at the office in the near future, say, tomorrow? Maybe on the 4th, as well. :(

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Park Place

I guess I forgot to mention it, but I decided not to get the parking place. Well, decided is a rather strong word. Mainly it was that I forgot about it until it was too late. I didn't feel motivated by any urgency to jump on it, and I've been so distracted by things at work that I just didn't pay it any mind. Plus $95 a month is an awful lot to pay for parking.

In related news, I also went out Saturday morning and did some more mapping for the parking map. This time I got 12th St. and the side streets along it. I walked by some great houses, but the one at 12th and Pennsylvania is a magnificent edifice. The Google Street View doesn't do it justice. Other interesting sights I saw were a punk rocker looking like an extra from Mad Max sitting outside his apartment hanging his head like he just lost his best friend and a cafe, which by the benefit of its name compels me to go visit it just so I can blog about it.

Rats, Bratz, Radios, and Wiis.

I had been poisoned. I had just watched consecutive trailers for Bratz, Daddy Day Camp, and Mr. Bean Does Paris or whatever that abomination is called, and I could feel the cinematic venom seeping into my brain and beginning to dissolve my neural tissues with its incalculable horribleness, its unfathomable craptitude, its unspeakable inanity. Oh, Rowan Atkinson, what has become of you?!

Thankfully, Pixar swept in with an antidote for the dark poison. First there was the delightful short Lifted with a look at the other side of alien abduction. Then came Ratatouille. The movie is another collaboration between Brad Bird and Pixar, so you know that it is good, and oh, how it was. Sure, the plot is a variation on the Unlikely Buddies formula, but its subject is so unusual that it stands out. I mean, how are you supposed to react to rats handling your food? When a horde of rats swarms over the tiny car of a French health inspector, I'm with the health inspector. That's a scene out of a horror flick. And it's fortuitous that Ratatouille doesn't gloss over this discomfort with rats, or else it would feel way too Hollywood. But let's talk about animation. Ratatouille is gorgeous. The hair and water, especially in the storm sewer scene are masterful. The animation of the human faces picks right up where The Incredibles left off. Chef Skinner's facial expressions in particular are wonderful and feel real. The details of scenes are wonderful too. Pay attention to the office of Anton Ego and all the death-related details hidden in the scenes. The movie was quite good, though not quite up to The Incredibles standard.

After the movie, I went to Circuit City to pick up the radio I impulsively bought. After hearing on KCFR that they are now broadcasting in HD on the FM band, I checked out the Boston Acoustic Recepter Radio HD. Mom and Dad had sent a check to help me purchase a radio after I whined enough about my radio difficulties. I can't get good AM reception in my apartment, especially with my RadioShark away from the window, and the online streaming of the station is plagued by constant buffering in the middle of stories I'm interested in. So with the promise of static and buffering free NPR, I splurged and got the radio. It is currently flawlessly bringing me Weekend Edition Sunday. Yay!

After buying that, I went over to Isaac and Elsa's for Bekah's first birthday party. After cake, ice cream and a tasty mint julep, Isaac's brother Kevin broke out his Wii and I got my first taste of that nifty little system. I enjoy the Wiimote controls, but the games in the Wii Sports and Wii Play packs are pretty shallow. After playing for a little while, the novelty begins to wear off, but they are fun for what they are. I know they are meant really to just acclimate players to what the Wiimote can do. The tanks and ping pong games in Wii Play are pretty darn fun for the long term, and the cow racing and fishing are pretty nifty too. Heck, even just making your Mii is fun.

The Wii was followed up with s'mores over the barbecue out back while we read Trivial Pursuit questions. Good stuff. Thanks Isaac and Elsa! I need to have you folks over for some food and fun at my place. And that was Saturday.