over the hills

Hey hey, my first day biking to work and back… no problems at all. I mean, other than being winded and coming home with legs made of jelly… oh, and the sweat, the commute went swimmingly. The ride in in the morning is somewhat hampered by thick fog… which at speeds forms a nice damp mist over my arms and legs. It’s not wet enough that the tires kick up road-muck onto my back, so I’m OK with it. My urticaria seems to be well-controlled, at least with respect to bring brought about by cooler ambient-temperatures; I think the multi-antihistamine cocktail the doc’s got me on is just the panacea I needed, even if it’s not protection from cold-water swimming, at least I’m not itching something furious when the temperature is sub-50°. If my legs aren’t too sore, tomorrow will be day #2. Wish me luck.

I saw this link on fazed the other day, and absolutely loved it. One day I’m gonna have a full-on “study,” filled with leather-bound books, comfortable chairs, and – the piece de resistance – a pipestand (y’know, the old-type floor ashtrays?). Anyway, I downloaded several illuminated manuscripts and paintings to use as wallpapers… and some freeware wallpaper flipper to change ’em every so often. What a nerd. I have some fascination with Renaissance art and thought, and the more I read about humanity’s obsession with doubt and reason during that time, the more interesting it gets. Guess I shoulda paid more attention in World History or something.

I hate when I pull a shirt or sweater out of the closet in the morning, only to pull it over my head and realize it reeks of the restaurant I ate at several days passed. Mexican food is the worst offender, but Indian food runs a close race. Sometimes, even after being allowed to “air out” in the closet for over several days, jeans or shirts retain a surprisingly potent food-funk. Occasionally it’s so bad I have to toss ’em in the hamper and move onto choice B. It’s almost as stinkified as the dreaded I-cut-onions-a-friggin’-week-ago-and-my-hand-still-stinks phenomenon.

That’s really all I have… I know it’s slim. I was tired last night, and wasn’t in the writing mindset – and work kept me too focused all day to dream up good material.

See ya.

smoke and silence

Zealots need not apply.
As much as I love music, I sometimes crave silence. When it’s silent, you can hear sounds you normally don’t hear. The sound your spit makes as you work your mouth; skin rubbing skin as you wring your hands, your own breath in your throat. Smoking my pipe in silence has always been enjoyable to me, to be able to listen to nothing at all and watch the smoke waft from the bowl of the pipe. I can remember sitting on the back porch back in Florida smoking my pipe and reading the yellow-paged copy of The Fellowship of the Rings I bought from the used book joint. I liked to go out when it was raining… sit in the screened-in shelter and read and smoke in silence. Yeah… that’s what I’m writing about.

I’ve got to try and get to bed earlier tonight… this 1am thing is fine for vacation, but won’t work with a 7am rise-n-shine. One thing that staying up and sleeping late is good for is dreams. Over the past week I’ve had several memorable dreams, a strange occurence for me. My dreams always seem to mix old and new. Just this week, I was trying to protect a friend who hired another friend to kill an ex; was scuba diving with two acquaintances from college, and making a scale model of some geographical feature… an islet, or isthmus, or phalange or something. Whenever I wake up able to recall a dream, I wish I had one of those dream “interpretation” books, although I’ve looked at them and they’re about as specific as a horoscope most of the time. Still I would hate to miss the fact that dreams about scale models of fjords mean you’ll win the lottery if you only buy a ticket.

Something about the idea of a commune is totally appealing to me. Except, I wouldn’t call it a commune… I think the term “co-op” has a lot less Davidian connotation. Y’know, get some friends together… snag some cheap undeveloped land, and start communing on it. We could grow our own grub, build our own houses, generate our own power, maybe do some web-developing work for extra scratch (like the comet-cult), whatever. No job except tending the crops and animals, keeping the house, generating power, and fervently praying to the co-op’s chosen higher power. OK, we could skip the fervent prayer part… but I guess the “no job” thing is relative considering maintaining the cult… uh… co-op would be a full-time job anyway. Maybe I’ll just join the Rainbow and move to a national forest.

One the back-to-basics kick, I proposed a week-without-TV experiment to Sharaun tonight. I want to go one week without TV, seems like such an easy thing right? We could read more, talk more, maybe get out and walk around more or something (pre-surgery, of course). When it comes down to it I guess we “watch” a lot of TV. Even though I rarely “actively” watch, the TV is probably on every second we’re in the house… even if just in the background. Most of my killing-time time is spent on this computer, typing or surfing the web for nothing. I bet that’s not so uncommon nowadays… online time overtaking TV time as the dominant thoughtless activity. Anyway, I just wanted to see if we’d feel any great sense of “liberation” by cutting the cord and going TV-less for a week. I picked a bad time though, with her being laid up post-surgery and all. Although, she didn’t seem completely opposed to the idea in general… so maybe after she’s recovered a bit.

Ugh… every time I search through my old entries and find one of those strange WordPress-conversion artifacts (y’know, commas-turned-question-marks, letters with accent marks turned Chinese characters) I just cringe. I hate the fact that some of the older entries look crappy. Every time I find a post with artifacts, I try my best to fix it… but I know they still exist out there. Tell you what, if you see one… or find some ingenious way to search for them… lemme know and I promise I’ll fix every last one. OK? Thanks.

What a piecemeal entry… I’m sorry. It’s time to go to bed now, goodnight.


Dag yo, messy.
A cool and sunny Sunday afternoon; “crisp” even, although I’m unsure how that adjective relates to weather. The heat has been on now for almost a month, keeping the house a comfortable 70° for us warm-blooded folks. The sensation of being warm and “safe” inside a house while still being able to see the potentially unfriendly elements outside has always appealed to me. Like being in a tent in the rain, or sitting in a screened-in porch in Florida while a thunderstorm rages around you. Shelter; caves, Gilligan’s Island huts, Abe Lincoln log-cabins, whatever… it’s a known obsession of mine.

Today I finally broke down and installed SuSE Linux 9.2 as a dual-boot on my home machine. My thought was, since I’ve abandoned most of my non-freeware software on Windows, maybe this time the big “switch” would be easier. I’ve tried Linux before, but haven’t ever been able to stick with it. I always get frustrated and got back to Windows because I can’t do some ridiculously simple thing like change the screen resolution. This time though, I’m hoping the dual-boot scenario might help “ease” me into the switch. Ideally I’d love to run a completely no-cost system, but I guess time will tell. Right now, I’m happy because I’m trying it out, but I’m still not sure if I’ll stick with it. I mean, as it is now… it won’t see my RAID array and despite recognizing my sound card, I got no sound. Whatever.

Foggy this morning, the ground’s wet with it and the Christmas lights on the house won’t stay on for 30sec before tripping the GFCI circuit. This weekend was ultimate low-key for me, although we did host a meal and gift-exchange thing on Saturday night, which involved beers and champagne (toasting Suzy’s new job) and darts. I put on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special CD, what I consider to be the penultimate embodiment of Christmas music, jazzy and warm. Then we all played “adult” and sat around to open presents from each other. The rest of the weekend though, I sat around and did absolutely nothing. I practiced my dart throwing for a bout an hour on Sunday, watched some old Twilight Zone episodes, and did the dishes. The shit is bananas people, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Wednesday we set out on our trek to Oregon, I need to get the tires rotated and oil changed in prep for the journey. Checking this awesome page, the I5 pass into Oregon looks like it’s snow-free (click the little cameras for live shots of the road… the internet rocks). That’s not to say it may not snow between now and then, but at least we know it’s not snowed under now. I’m kinda looking forward to the drive, even thought it’ll be looong… but I kinda enjoy road-tripping, especially w/friends and an ample supply of good tunes.

That’s all for today, Dave out.

the deep south

As the Lord sayeth, so shall my moms doeth.  Hopefully...
On the road to Orlando, spent the entire hour-plus drive doing that nasty bit of outstanding work I mentioned yesterday. That’s fine really, made me feel all Jetsons, driving down the highway on a laptop; got several perplexed stares from bearded rednecks in old trucks spraypainted camo for hunting. Not really, but they probably really do think I’m from the future… or “fancy” or something. Working at Sharaun’s folks’ place was a nightmare, dialup isn’t even internet, as far as I’m concerned. I managed to check some e-mail, and decided I’d had enough. I surfed the web to look for a wireless hotspot, free or not – just needed something close. Turns out I was out of luck though, as the wireless internet apparently hasn’t come to my old home town yet. Not a hotspot for 20mi. If they passed a law to affix transmit antennas to all rebel flag back-window decals, trailer homes, and shotgun racks- they’d have the best coverage in the US. And again, I kid y’allz… Florida is rad.

Now it’s midnight and we’re driving back from Orlando, all the stoplights are late-night blinky. I’m even more dead tired than I was earlier, and just want to crawl into bed. Got my work-work done on the drive over here before dinner, and now I figured I’d get the blog done on the way back. I’ve got this tiny headache in the front of my head, I’ve had it ever since the flight out – and I’m pretty sure it’s just my brain telling me I need some sleep. 57% battery on the laptop, so this isn’t going to be a particularly long one. I will, however, spice it up with some photos to pad it out. Speaking of, here they are:

Florida beach through scrub.

Tyler commanding the expidition.

Launching before the sun.

How much better than an alarm clock?

Not a computer to be found.

The morning’s only catch.

I’m thinking tomorrow I may try and head down to snap some pictures of old haunts, which is something I really wanna do while I’m here. I also want to cruise by the old house and check it out.

My dad called me early this morning, California time, while I was trying to take a post-fishing nap on the couch. He started out with the same chat, then all of the sudden asked me if I remembered when my mom’s birthday was. “I know it’s in November,” I said. I’m bad with remembering things, dates especially. For some reason, my folks’ birthdays are something I never managed to store in non-volatile memory. Knowing that, I have “reminders” set on all my computers, and my cell phone. The reminders pop up and tell me who’s birthday it is, and that I should send them a card (they give me about a week’s lead time). The cell phone reminder goes off on the day-of, as a “last chance” reminder so I can call if I somehow missed the two computer reminders.

Well, this year, I switched e-mail clients, and the portion of Outlook that used give the reminders has been eclipsed by Thunderbird, which I hadn’t setup reminders on yet. So, I missed the computer reminders. Then, Sharaun accidentally took my cellphone instead of hers one day, and it happened to be my mom’s birthday. The reminder popped up, but she forgot to tell me about it. And, that brings me to today… where my dad tells me that both my brother and I forgot to send my mom a card for her birthday. Ugh. How crappy must that be? A card from everyone but your two sons. I even called her a few days afterward, and talked to her like any other day… making it painfully obvious I had completely forgotten.

Well mom, I’m sorry. Sorry that I have to set reminders instead of knowing, sorry that I missed the reminders, and sorry that I forgot. I love you though, even if I am bad at dates. Forgive me this once, and I promise I’ll do better next time, OK?

Dave out.

bland and without passion

The lines make me tired.
Riding in the back seat on the way home from a weekend in Oregon. My driving shift just ended and now it’s my turn for a nap or something. According to the battery meter on this laptop, I only have about 26% left to write – that’s cool, because seeing the scenery go by out of the corners of my eyes is kinda making me sick. We just passed a town called Balls Ferry – I’m laughing on the inside.

Oregon was awesome. I flew in Friday night around 11:30pm, just as Sharaun and Ben were driving up to the Portland airport – timed perfectly. We spent Saturday bumming around, and ended up getting a new pack for Sharaun at RIE (the no-sales-tax-havin’ policies in Oregon made it a good buy), as well as some nice long underwear for me – you know, to keep the boys warm on cold overnight campouts. Saturday night was a mini family reunion of sorts at Ben’s folks’ place, where Ben and his siblings came together for some BBQ ribs and a multitude of other foodstuffs. Went to bed that night on an air mattress with a full belly and happy heart.

Sunday morning we woke up early, thanks to the cell-phone alarm (those things have really changed the way I do a lot of stuff), and packed up for the road-trip to Smith Rock. We stopped in the touristy town of Sisters on the way down, and walked a few shops before grabbing lunch at some place where I had an awesome prime rib sandwich. (My goal here is to *not* mention food in every paragraph, so as not to appear a complete glutton). Less than an hour later we had pulled up to the bivy camping area at Smith Rock and were picking pads and setting up camp.

Smith Rock is an awesome state park, they’ve put a heck of a lot of work into the place to make it very people-friendly. With it’s hundreds of climbs, it’s a seriously popular destination for sport climbers from around the world – and at almost any time you can see people tied in and climbing all over the rock-face. I likened it to be at a skatepark, watching some really good skateboarders at their best. Watching those climbers was great, we sat and watch a couple groups for a quite a while on our hikes, it’s just to fascinating – kinda makes a fella wanna try out the sport, y’know? (Maybe if I didn’t have to haul all the extra poundage up with me, I’d give it a go).

Anyway, we did a couple short hikes to some scenic spots. Really nice hikes, strenuous but not very long at all so not killers. The camping was also great, since the weather was gorgeous I didn’t bother putting the rainfly on the tent, giving us a great view of the stars at night. It’s great waking up and looking through the mesh at a sky full of stars, especially out there where there’s no artificial light to obscure any – it’s like the whole sky is speckled. When I was leaving Houston on Friday, I was actually thinking I’d rather go home to Sacramento and relax – but after the weekend I’m really glad we went. The combination of all the recreational time and work-related travel-time I’ve had lately has really been like being on some blissful extended vacation. Going back to the office for a four-day week tomorrow is gonna be like putting the shackles back on.

That’s it for me today, bland and without passion, but that’s it. Dave out.

in front of God and everyone

I remember those panties like yesterday.
Today I woke up at 5am and, despite laying quietly in bed for another 15min, couldn’t make myself fall back to sleep. Since getting back from Taiwan I’ve once again been lucky and experienced no “jetlag,” but I can’t help but think my early-morning pep is somehow related to the 15hr time-change I went through this weekend. I already decided that if it happens again tomorrow I’m going to make the best of it and go spray the yard for crabgrass before work. Intro paragraph over.

Whooosh!! (Sound of the blog being sucked through a hole in time, back into the year 1990.)

As a new relatively new teenager, I can remember walking from my house to my then-girlfriend’s house, she lived about a half-mile away (if you cut through some backyards, crossed a ditch, and walked through the woods). I used to love that walk because I knew we were going to make out when I got there. If her parents were home, we’d “go for a walk” and end up off in the woods somewhere rolling in pine needles. If her parents weren’t home we’d just watch TV on the couch when we came up to breath. It was exhilarating, nothing in my life yet could compare to it. I fondly recall swigging a couple gulps of mouthwash prior to leaving my house, maybe a squeeze of toothpaste too for good measure, and trying to swish it around in my mouth for the whole walk to her house. The thought being I’d be minty-fresh upon getting there. To this day I can recall walking under the smothering Florida heat while my cheeks burned, begging me to spit out the Scope.

We had different places to go, but our main objective was to get as far away from civilization as possible. I mean, if any items of clothing were going to get removed, we wanted to be as far out of sight as possible. We’d follow firebreaks or worn trails into the woods for ten minutes or so and then track off into the brush, blazing our own trail to a nice secluded spot. We’d hit the dirty dusty prickly ground as if it were a featherbed, lips instantly locked and hands instinctively roaming. Something about being outside made it all the more exciting, two semi-clothed, hormone-filled kids wrestling in the underbrush. Usually we’d head for nice “hidden” areas, a small copse of trees or grass-rimmed depression we could slip out of sight into. A couple times though, I can remember deliberately walking extremely far out into an open field of knee-high grass and going through our whole routine standing up in front of God and everyone. I mean, where we were there was no one around for miles – but to stand in an open field with the sun beaming down on you as pull her shirt through arms stretched high above her head is, at fourteen, otherworldly.


Two big weekends coming up. This weekend we’re headed south to Mt. Whitney, where we’ll attempt to summit the tallest peak in the “lower 48” states. I’m actually pumped because we’re taking both Friday and Monday off work, and camping on a Friday and Monday instead of working on a Friday and Monday just sounds so much better. We’ll spend Friday night camping at about 8000ft in a bid to acclimate our bodies to the higher elevations before moving up to the ~14000ft mark to summit. Should be a great time, and I think with the extra days I may be able to set a pace that will see me to the top and back – providing I don’t get sick. The following weekend I’m off to Houston for a customer visit, and instead of flying home will be meeting Sharaun and Ben in Portland (they’ll have road-tripped their way up earlier in the day). Then we’re headed for a weekend of hiking, camping, and possibly fishing at Smith Rock. I’ve never been to Whitney or Smith Rock, so I’m really excited to see, camp, and hike both.

Then that’s that then. Dave out.

you wouldn’t want it to get too cluttered

Man, that's longer than Tracy.
Ugh man, I’ve got that ten-hour plane-flight funk going on. You know, that thin sheen of been-up-too-long sweat and grease all over my body. Coupled with the stretched, frazzled feeling you get from bring travel-worn – I’m ready to sleep in my own bed. I got bumped from business class on the long leg of the flight, so I’m in the next best place – the exit aisle with no seats in front of me, on the aisle seat. I actually think this would be fine were the arm rests just a tad freakin’ wider so as to accompany my ate-too-much Taiwanese food hips. I mean, my wallet is pressed so tight against the armrest that it’s holding the seat-recline button in perma-depress – which is really pissing me off. The only problem with sleeping in this seat is that I tend to naturally lean out into the aisle to keep from laying my head on the shoulder of the attractive young Japanese woman sitting painfully close to my hip pocket in the seat next to me. I think they are stewardesses, I hope they don’t mind the snoring.

Got home to find the lawn in a shambles. See, we had some decorative concrete curbing (mow-strip) installed one Friday while I was gone, and apparently the install crew got the sprinkler treatment during their job (at least this is what I imagined happened). To fix this problem, they decided to simply turn off the main water (they had no choice really, not being able to access the controls in the garage or anything). Anyway, Sharaun didn’t notice the sprinklers weren’t coming on until the lawn told her by turning a nice I’m-dead brown. Not her fault, how’s she supposed to know. She ended up calling me at a customer in Taiwan, where I proceeded to work through an extremely frustrating 20min debug process in which we attempted to figure out why the sprinklers weren’t working. Eventually, and without even getting divorced, we figured it out and got them up and running again.

But you know me, I take a lot of pride in the yard. I mean, I’ve worked dang hard to keep it looking OK. And now with the appearance of the dreaded crabgrass the week before I left, the large spotty-brown thing I once took so much pride in is just a neighborhood eyesore. I know it sounds trivial, but you don’t know how much it frustrated me to be greeted by that sad sight upon pulling up to my beloved house after a two-week stint overseas. Anyway, I hit it double-hard today with a nice dose of crabgrass killer and some kinda turf-builder, and it’s been getting enough water – so perhaps the majority will grow back. I mean, I guess when it comes down to it, who cares right? But man, that seriously bummed me out.

This weekend was sufficiently laid-back: hung with friends, cleaned the house, worked a tad in the yard. The thing is, I’m really gonna be slammed this week at work. I have several commitments which I placed “on hold” when I was traveling, and they will be coming back to judge me this week. I’ve got to make good on some promises, and one involves getting a big project done by tomorrow evening. It’ll be tough, but I think I can swing it – even if I have to work late. What’s worse is, I have to take Friday and Monday off because we’re climbing Mt. Whitney this weekend. Don’t even get me started on how woefully unprepared I am for that. I should’ve been running every day for months, instead I’ve been stuffing myself with Chinese food and Bloody Marys – just hoping my weary legs can carry my clinically obese ass up that mountain. We’ll find out I suppose.

I promised you guys the scans of the Taipei Hooters menu that I boosted one night whilst at dinner. It’s funny for a couple reasons, both of which I think are obvious. Firstly, these girls have no hooters. I mean, c’mon y’alls, we all know the “hooters” in Hooters isn’t really talking about owls like the logo may lead you to believe. They mean boobs! No, I’m for real, that restaurant Hooters is all about boobs. Anyway, we took to calling the place “Hoot” because the “ers” was actually pulled around the back of the shirt being that there was nothing in front for it to stretch across. Secondly, at Hooters in Taiwan you can order all sorts of seafood. Shock! Seafood at an eatery in Taiwan?! These people live and breath fish man. Pat even complained one morning because his bacon at breakfast tasted of fish – and that’s what I mean, everything there is seafood. Oh, it may not be seafood overtly – like fish or prawns or whatever. But you can almost bet that it was made or cooked with seafood or some seafood “essence.” I’m being unrealistic for the sake of comedy of course, but really? they love some seafood. And yes, I know it’s an island. Anyway, without further ado – the Taipei Hoot menu:

Janet was our waitress, and mighty attractive if I may say. You could land a plane on her chest, but she was cute nonetheless. Note that you can order “Chips and Salsar” or the “Fried Fishman Platter.” You can keep the fishman thanks, I’m not feeling terribly cannibalistic today – but salsar, now that sounds new and exciting.

Here’s the flipside, where you can feast on such delicacies as “Curly Squid” and “Pork Knuckle.” Man, when did Hoot go all gourmet? To be fair though, the “Fried Mushroom” only costs lantern-house-menorah-sailboat, pretty good if you ask me.

I think it would be cool to sell a shirt that had nothing on the front but the words “Where I stand.” Then on the back there would be a short list of items and two columns, “Yes” and “No,” with a box for each column after each line-item in the list. Before I get to the list, lemme say that the purpose of this shirt is controversy. You take the few most-debated political and social issues today and list them out – then sell all the yes/no permutations. I imagine a list something like the following:

  Yes No
There is a God.  
Capital punishment is just.  
Keep abortion legal.  
Affirmative Action is rad.  
Gay people will burn.  
Three AK47s? No problem.  
Welfare works!  

Anyway, you wouldn’t want it to get too cluttered, so I think that list would be enough to enrage enough people. Then you wear it around see, and people know right away where you’re at. Maybe I should make these shirts. I mean, there’d need to be 128 of them to get every possible combo – then you could keep stats like which permutation (combination?, I forget my statistics) was most popular and stuff. It could be a whole website, people could even vote on the next issue to be added to the short-list. Hmm? Oh yeah, and for any of you entrepreneurial bastards out there – I’m pretty sure that’s my intellectual property now that I wrote it down, so don’t even think about it.

And I’m out, g’night.