Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mini mileage

Can you believe this? 510 miles on one tank of gas! My mini cooper is so cool!

A Sad Day

Today, a part of the sync connector for my PDA broke the plastic support for the connector wires broke out. For the time being, my PDA will sync, but the connection is ginger – I mustn’t touch the PDA or sync cable or it will disconnect from my PC.
My PDA was a hand me down from a friend at work, he wasn’t using it and thought that I would. He was definitely right. For the last year and a half, or so, this PDA has served me well. The device is definitely approaching its three year mark, but it still works great. The processor and memory handle my needs very well (rudimentary spreadsheets, address and calendar management, electronic books), so I don’t want to replace it. Also, I just bought a house, so I don’t exactly have the funds to replace it.
I hopped on Dell and went the Axim forums and found several discussion threads about repairing broken Axim sync connectors. I thought that Dell would be my only option, but I also found a company that would repair it, PocketPC Techs. They offer the repair for a fair price. I might have to check them out.
I wonder if I could get my employer to buy a replacement PDA for me…

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My first posting on Craigslist

Drawer pulls / cabinet knobs

So, we've sold a car and bought a car on Craigslist (the big transactions) and I know that my wife has found other stuff on Craigslist. But tonight, I made my first listing. In our new kitchen (and all the bathrooms and built in cabinets), there were these white knobs. We changed all of them out with polished nickel ones and maybe we can make a buck or two on the left over parts!
We also swapped out our oven and as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to start disconnecting our dishwasher. Those will be on Craigslist, too!

I have a MINI Cooper

I am super-excited; yesterday morning I bought a 2002 MINI Cooper S, with the John Cooper Works. My super wife found it on Craigslist. The car is silver with a black top (I guess it pays homage to my Oak-town roots?). And boy does it drive.
Yesterday evening, I was so enjoying driving that I missed my freeway exit and had to quickly tour some of Renton.
There are enough windy roads around here that driving alternate routes will be a blast.
So, after 9 years of driving automatics, I’ve got a manual transmission (with 6 gears, no less) to get back into the swing of. I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments (I stalled during the test drive), but the best was at the metering light. It was just me, a long freeway entrance ramp and the metering light. I thought to myself, “Well, why not. When the light changes, I’ll just hit it.” And the light changed and I let the clutch up and stalled out. That was yesterday. Today, it is all coming back to me.
I’ve also noticed that Washington drivers drive slower than California drivers. Being a California driver, I have to make a conscious effort to drive not at what is natural for me, but with the flow of traffic here. Now having a stick, I have also come to the conclusion that on top of the better fuel efficiency, having to shift into a higher gear reminds me of how fast I am going – thus making me more aware of my speed.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Today's commute

Thirty-five minutes to work and forty-five minutes home. Not to shabby.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Issaquah Park and Ride isn't Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride

So I tried out the Seattle area public transit system today. While a generally satisfactory experience, my work and home aren't quite public transit accessible. Seattle has done some really neat things with buses - like a bus alley and a tunnel under downtown. They also have a version of 511.org called Sound Transit. The interface isn't quite as nice as 511.org, but it works. It turns out that my house is too far away from the bus end points, so it took some work to find alternate end locations (doubly hard because I am so new here).
While waiting for the bus, I read a magazine and failed to prepare my money. Yes, I was that guy, fumbling with money (still in a money clip), dropping money, asking how much the fare was - holding up the flow of progress. The bus system covers so much distance that there are different fares depending upon how many zones you go through. So, when I asked the driver what the fare was, he told me the one zone fare, but I was really going two zones. After I had put my first quarter in, he asked how far I was going. All the way to Pioneer Square was $2 and I didn't have enough quarters to make a dollar, so that bus fare cost me $2.25.
What I didn't realize as I was getting on the bus, but quickly came to understand that I was going to go from Kent to Seattle to Sammamish - a pretty indirect route. But I got to see interesting parts of Seattle. Seattle has built a busway - an alley for buses so that they can make a straight shot through Seattle and not have to worry about traffic. It is pretty cool and makes the bus ride much shorter. As you get to downtown, they actually have built a 1.3 mile tunnel underground that has a few larger stops, "stations" they are called. That is pretty cool. The bus goes downtown, but avoids the downtown traffic.
Once I got to Pioneer Square, I had to walk a few blocks and wait for the 554 bus. Another bus , the 210, came and the sign said Issaquah Park and Ride. I stuck my head in and asked if she went to the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride and she said "Yes."
Well, it turns out that it had been a long time since she had driven this route and I didn't really know where I was going, so I ended up driving through Renton and ended up at the Issaquah Park and Ride. It is on the wrong side of I-90 and several miles south. But luckily there was a bus I could transfer to that took me to the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride.
I called my wife and she came to pick me up. My adventure started at 4:20 pm and ended at 7:15 pm. Almost three hours for a commute just doesn't work.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

We've moved in

Finally, after a long day of unloading the moving truck, we are moved in. Our house is full of boxes, but we have gotten all of our stuff back, new appliances delivered, cable TV and our home network is up. Did you notice that I didn't mention phone? I have figured out that there is phone in our house but it isn't the phone number we were supposed to get. Hopefully it is the old phone number - the phone guy was supposed to come today but didn't show up. I hope that isn't representative of Qwest's service.
The kids spent half of the afternoon watching just the video on the TV, because the audio in our old house ran through the stereo and the TV was set to use the auxillary sound. It took a long time before I could figure out how to change it with out the remote control.
Our neighbors are really friendly and I think we've met all of our immediate neighbors. The street is full of kids and each one of our kids has a corresponding grade/age kid so close by. This place will be all right.
We have no food in our house right now (though we do have beer that I bought when I was in the hotel - and it is in the new fridge and cold!), so we need to go find dinner.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Driving to Seattle

I did it. I drove to Seattle in one day. And I even stopped to walk the dogs (twice) and for dinner in Portland with a friend. The drive wasn’t bad – it was hot outside, but the air conditioner worked very well.

I took State Route 160 over the Antioch Bridge and into Sacramento. From there I took Interstate 5 the rest of the way. I delayed buying gas in Sacramento and started to get worried. Luckily, I found gas in Zamora, north of Sacramento, but paid through the nose for it. That set the tone for the gas costs the rest of the way.

I blazed through California. When I was planning (or not planning this trip), I was expecting that to take much longer. By one o’clock I was in Oregon. Oregon sped by, even faster. I think that it was due to the friendly drivers on the road. Once I left Oregon, the road seemed to drag. Mileage signs in Oregon were infrequent, but Washington has signs posted every ten miles or so. It seemed like the last 175 miles took forever.

I rolled into Seattle at about 9:30 pm with out a place to stay. I got a lot of help from my wife, checking online and calling places to see if they would take dogs. After quite a bit of calling, she found an extended stay hotel (read weekly rate, not hourly) in Kent. Unfortunately, by the time she found it, I had driven past it, but I was looking for a place to stay, so I turned around.

The dogs have been hanging out in the hotel room and I checked out Sammamish. Our new house and new neighborhood will be all right!

Friday, August 12, 2005

My last Bay Area posting

I am writing my final post in the Bay Area. We are moving to Seattle. Today (and yesterday) have been an interesting mish-mash of feelings. I am excited about our nice, new, larger home and I am sad about leaving my friends.
I'm glad I got to see so many of my friends from work and I'm sorry that I missed some, too.
Yesterday, as I was leaving work, I had forgotten to pack my keyboard. So, I strapped it to the back of my messenger bag and hopped on BART.
Our house is full of boxes (I've got a picture to post later) and my car is full of stuff. At the end of today, I'll be driving away from here, but also loaded with lots of great memories.
I'm rambling, so bear with me.
I've really enjoyed my time with everybody here and I am looking forward to seeing you all again when I come back. Those trips are already scheduled!
I'm going to miss the Bay Area and the people in it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I love my daughter and she likes Fugazi

Last night, as I was driving home, the DJ on the radio was introducing the next song as a one of those bands that influenced all emo and hardcore music. He went on and on about it and then played Fugazi's Waiting Room.

I went home, got on iTunes and bought 13 Songs.

Tonight, I was cleaning up after dinner and decided to listen to Fugazi. As I turned it on and the sougnds of Fugazi filled the house, she grabbed my hands and started to dance. How can I go wrong. My 5 year old and I danced away.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I am a renter!!

Today is an exciting day. After waiting all day, I have found out that the sale of our house has been recorded. For the next two weeks, my debt ratio has gone down significantly, my cash reserves will increase and I start paying rent again (this last one isn't cause for much excitement, though).

It also means that we are this much closer to moving to a new house in Seattle.

Exciting, yes. But sad, too as this chapter in the Bay Area draws to a close.