Inspiration in waste

Jul. 25th, 2017 03:49 pm
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The sky was almost completely clear this morning, but I set the Podo up on the fence behind the swim center just in case any of the wisps I saw happened to float by. I'd parked on the residential street across a big lawn from there instead of in the park, and got almost to the door when I realized I forgot to grab a lock out of the car. Annoying, because that's a big lawn, but it's funny that it happened, because of what I saw on the way back. A woman was walking her dog right toward the Podo, and in my mind I pictured an awkward encounter where I saw her mess with it and had to ask her to stop. She was paying so much attention to where her dog sniffed that she walked right by it! Which is great. Seems like one of the main ways harm comes to dogs is when they find something bad for them in an environment outside the owner's sphere of control.

The swim was nice, but the video was just like yesterday's. Nothing to see, but I noticed some shadows moving across the roof of a nearby building in the last few seconds. From now on if it's a clear day, I'll try to find a spot with interesting shadows in lieu of interesting clouds. From the swim center, I drove over to Trader Joe's, then Grocery Outlet, and finally stopped by a gas station in the neighborhood for an unusual breakfast as part of my research for a Live in Everett post.

Not sure if I've mentioned it here, but we're trying to get our first real project in the house started. The main bathroom upstairs has a tub that we don't use or need, so we'd like to completely remodel that bathroom and put a washer and dryer where the tub currently is. It'll be so much nicer than taking everything downstairs into the dusty garage. It's been hard to find someone to come give us an estimate, though. We wanted to work with the guy who remodeled our bathroom in Seattle, but he's decided to move his family across the state. A friend's father-in-law is a contractor--who even bid on that first job--expressed interest at first, but isn't getting back to me. I finally asked for recommendations on Facebook and have two appointments lined up. One's coming tonight at 6:00, and another tomorrow morning at 10:00. I just made dinner so I wouldn't have to worry about the timing with cooking and eating later, and it's in the fridge.

Freaky Monday

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:54 pm
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Lisa joined me at Japanese Gulch yesterday hoping to see the owls I saw a week earlier. They never materialized, but Lisa wasn't surprised by that at all. It's rare to spot owls, and even more so if you're actually looking for them. I was bummed, because I didn't confirm that MapMyRun started, and it hadn't, so the walk wasn't recorded. If it was a walk on roads, it would have been easy to just sign in on the website and draw it, but the trail system doesn't show up on maps, so it's not possible to do that. Instead, I went again today and walked the route again. I only made one wrong turn! And I came down via the tracks instead of the center trail because there was a fallen tree I didn't feel like climbing over two days in a row. Oh and I spent a bit of time wandering around when I started trying to find a new place to leave the Podo. Other than that, I did the same route.


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Another goal achieved

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:26 pm
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Had a nice walk with my friend Lisa this morning, but I'm posting about it tomorrow. It'll make sense why when the time comes. The rest of the day was nice.

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8. Turn that frown upside down!

Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:01 am
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I am currently eavesdropping on a conversation between two people I know. The gist can be summarized in, "Nothing is as good as it used to be!" Specifically, it's about media like TV and movies. I am trying so hard not to side-eye one member of the conversation, because her history of consumption is t-r-a-g-i-c. The way she's describing characters in current shows is pretty much how characters in her favorite shows behaved, but I guess it's different somehow? Who knows.

I'm making a mental note to not be the kind of adult who is basically complaining about things because I'm older and the majority of entertainment is no longer targeted at me. I think that's what ages people more than anything: the cynicism, the unwillingness to change and adapt. I won't let that happen to me.

There's an upcoming meetup for people interested in joining the local roller derby league. I'm going to go. Hey, my knees are finally starting to heal up. That means it's time to bust something again, right? Right!

On that note, I'm off to the track - running, not racing.

Got one

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:29 am
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There's a spot by the river I found a while ago that's really great for leaving the Podo. There's a barrier made from tree trunks plunged into the shore, and many of them are hollow at the top, forming a little bowl. So while there's nowhere to wrap the tripod arms, that's fine, because I can just set it down. The river's pretty calm there, and the reflections are great. But the skies have always been so clear on the days I've been there, so I haven't gotten the video I wanted.

Until now... )

Cambridge, MA, photos 2

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:51 pm
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This trip was a little unusual in that we spent the entire time in Cambridge, only passing through Boston to/from the airport.

On Saturday we walked around Cambridge with perpetual teen heartthrob VillageCharm, who endured my glacial eating speed with good humor. Our second stop was the Old Burial Ground, just across the street from Harvard. Charm dazzled us with his knowledge of gravestone trends, such as the skull and crossbones giving way to the winged skull:

Eventually this was replaced by the more peaceful motif of an urn and a weeping willow.
This is also a rare example of an intersection of mine and Charm's interest--a gravestone for someone with the surname Tupper.

The urn carved here looks like a magic lamp.

There were many gravestones like this. I liked the optical illusion that made the letters appear to vibrate.

Then we were off in search of records, books, and whatever else caught our eye, like this ibis weather vane:


Our original plan was to walk from Harvard's square to MIT's, but I was having problems with my legs and couldn't walk the whole way, so we hopped on the T for the last leg. We had a fine meal at the medieval-sounding Meadhall (which only had four meads, all of them incredibly expensive), only letting Charm go home when he was in danger of falling asleep at the table.

The triumphant return

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:51 pm
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Had to stay in due to the timing of a couple of calls today, but I still managed to do yoga and get two nice time lapses!

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Cambridge, MA, photos 1

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:27 pm
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I took all of the photos over the weekend; it was cloudy Wednesday through Friday. I stayed at the cheapest hotel for the conference, a Hyatt that managed to be close to nothing yet still in a city.

The exterior is neat, but inside it was the 1980s, still: dark brown carpet and upholstery and beige wallpaper.

The ~half-mile walk to the conference took me past MIT's athletic fields; I didn't even realize that MIT has athletics. Their mascot is the Engineer, which is represented by a surprisingly ominous cartoon of a beaver:

At first I thought the cartoon was of a profile of a weirdly shaped baseball hat.

One of the many cool buildings on campus. I think this is a dorm or residence hall; it's across the street from the athletic fields.

This is also part of the athletic complex.

An enormous brick building in pristine condition. I wonder what it's used for.

The conference was held in the dome-shaped building behind the white tent (which was set up on the last day of the conference).

This sculpture, not far from the conference site, was a popular place for photos

I think this building houses the nuclear reactor.

I'm not sure whether these buildings are owned by MIT; there's no clear border between campus and non. They're near the area where I'd usually get lunch.

One of my co-workers said that MIT has a lot of modern architecture, but it wasn't as widespread as she had made it sound. This stretch of buildings was pretty cool.



More sculpture

I am a terrible person, because the idea of something for future children made me giggle.

A post about stuff

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
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Not about, like, stuff happening, but things. Items.

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Low tide love

Jul. 18th, 2017 02:28 pm
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When I got down to the beach this morning, I saw that the tide was really low, so I headed South along the beach even though a nice sunrise was starting in the opposite direction.


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The past two weeks have been stressful. It's finally and truly settled in that nothing on the internet is ever private or as well hidden as one thinks, so I won't go into details. Suffice to say, I kind of miss being young and stupid enough to think that everything was the fault of circumstances, and not my bad decisions.

Bad decisions, as my new favorite saying begins, leads to great stories, however, and that's where you'll find me today: writing. A post from Maria Kang helped me organize my week into three types of goals: physical, professional, and personal. On the middle one, I set a goal to write my morning pages five days a week (a.k.a. a normal work week for somebody who pulls a 9-5), 1k words towards my novel for these same five days, and sending five freelance queries. (If you're curious about the physical and personal goals, those are working out for 60 minutes for six days of the week, and catching up with my written correspondence, respectively).

I fell a little bit short on my novel goals, but not so much that I can't make it up today before my workout - which is going to happen, because exercise helps to tire me out so I can't worry. Hey, it's better than drinking away my troubles, right?

Anyways, I'm going to catch up to where I should have concluded yesterday, and then start on today's thousand.

Everything is going to be okay. I keep telling myself that. I have a vision. I have a plan on how to get there. I can fix this.

Running around

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:36 pm
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Nice swim this morning because the deep end wasn't crowded at all. I don't think there was ever more than two other people in there with me at any point. Afterward in the locker room, I asked a guy I know who's there a lot who flips houses if he happens to know any contractors because we want to remodel our main bathroom. He didn't, but a guy who does that sort of work overheard and introduced himself. He could do most of the work off the books, during nights and weekends, but recommended we call his main employer since we want to work with someone licensed and bonded. So I've added them to the list, but we may not need to call them. I have a referral from a Facebook friend (his brother) coming over a week from tomorrow to have a look, and I got an email from a company some friends of ours have worked with.

Speaking of getting things done, I drove out to Marysville at lunchtime to get my car's emissions tested. There was an interesting-looking restaurant across the street, so I ate there. It was ok.


I like to hit the thrift stores when I go up there, but today that was just one store, because there was a fire recently at their Value Village. Goodwill seemed pretty crowded, I wonder if it's because there's currently less competition.

It's been a while since I did a hyperlapse from the car, but the sky was nice on the way home, so I set it up as I headed out of town.

Where I left off

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:18 pm
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Right after I hit Post on Thursday, I realized I forgot to add this photo.

Air plant doing great!

That's a plant I gave away over a year ago, as a prize at our July 4th 2016 party. Garrett's ex-boss took it home. She recently sent me the picture to show how it's doing, and I'm amazed! That's a bulbosa, and I've never had one last that long. Of course, I might have if I hadn't sold them. Speaking of which, someone ordered an item with one off my Etsy today, and I only had two which were my own, so that lucky customer's getting one of my favorites.

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.6. What do you want?

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:34 am
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Apples and trees, man. One never falls far from the other. In this case, it's communication styles.

It's most noticeable with my brother. While he's relaxed over the years, there's still the overwhelming sense that he doesn't do small talk. If you're calling, you'd better know the reason, and state it succinctly. It was intimidating when I was younger, but now I realize that's pretty much how I roll, too.

Cut to this evening. P came home after listening to a friend's band play. He told me a bit about it, but eventually went to sulk in his room. I felt a moment of guilt about that, then realized he's the one who chose to sequester himself. I only stated the truth: that I wanted him to get to the point of his story. He was literally giving me a play by play of what the parking lot looked like (I KNOW what it looks like, because I go to that area a lot, which he knows), the exact path that he walked, the various people he saw. There was no point to him giving all of that detail to me. None. And he tends to talk like this, which is just exhausting. I have a short attention span, especially when something doesn't interest me. Do not spend 25 minutes (I timed him once, just to make sure I wasn't overreacting) giving me a breakdown of every last second. Get to the good stuff!

We went to the local boardwalk today. Bug wanted to go on a ride. I'm holding off on doing that again until next year. I used to think that the scariest thing about rollercoasters is the big drop off. Now I realize it's hearing a little voice next to you saying, "I think I'm going to throw up!" (He didn't, but it sounded like it was a very real possibility at the time.)


Jul. 14th, 2017 10:56 am
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Slow week. Put some in the comments!

Old place, new sights

Jul. 13th, 2017 05:57 pm
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It's Thursday, so of course I went straight down to the tank farm. I did it a little differently today, with the Mukilteo Beach side first. It's better that way, because only one trip across the train station area is needed.

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Greetings from Cambridge, MA

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:59 pm
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I arrived about 24 hours ago. The humidity has been above 70% the entire time. During dinner (at local chain Area Four) , even I could hear the rattle of thunder above the cacophony of a packed restaurant. I had wedged myself into the last empty seat at the bar and watched the rain fall in sheets while I enjoyed the perfect beer and pizza (white with ricotta, parm, squash blossoms, zucchini, garlic, and lemon) pairing. It was still pouring when I finished eating, so I ordered a pint of cider for dessert. When the rain was merely steady and no longer deafening, I headed out without an umbrella (fortunately I always carry a waterproof case for my hearing aids). I had to walk about half a mile to the nearby Marriott hotel to drop off a form that they wanted faxed back (neither I nor my employer has a fax machine). I thought it would be easier just to hand it over in person, and it was, except for the rain. Then I had to walk slightly more than a mile back to my own hotel. Good thing I had all that booze--it kept me warm after I was thoroughly soaked. I think the men in the elevator were snickering about my bedraggled appearance, but I didn't have my hearing aids in.

I'm here for various robotics events, leaving Monday evening. Brent arrives in an hour or so and leaves Sunday night. He wasn't interested in my working dinner that evening, for some odd reason. Come to think of it, neither am I. All the people at the dinner I will see Monday in an all-day meeting. The number of people I can spend a day with is quite short (Brent, high school friends, VillageCharm, Furious_Mold) and does not include anyone from work.


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