Red Echo

March 30, 2007

Amy S. at the Bal-Mar for her birthday

I went over to Heden after work and started redesigning the upstairs bedroom. I cleared out a bunch of pillows and things, swept the floor, then spent a while rubbing my chin, saying “hmm,” and trying to figure out where to start. It’s more complicated than it seems like it ought to be, since I have many little projects in mind which all affect each other. Should I replace the ceiling light first, or wait til I’ve painted the ceiling? Which color should I use for the ceiling? Should I paint the red wall, or replace the electrical sockets first? Is it worth doing the cove lighting now or is that too much for one month?

Eventually I decided to replace the ceiling light, because it annoys me, and get to work on the red wall, because it excites me. So I swapped the hanging chandelier looking thing with a simple frosted-glass dome lamp that won’t hit me in the head every time I walk across the room, and rolled a coat of hilariously pink primer onto the north wall. It’s a good start.

March 26, 2007

Whistler showed some signs of flirting with spring yesterday – we had brief windows of blue sky – and now that I’m back home in Seattle I find spring bursting out all over the place. The trees outside my window are all sprouting leaves, and I hadn’t even noticed the buds yet when I left!

Last night I played some music after dinner: improvising, looping, tweaking sounds, building up the percussion and breaking it back down again – doing the whole live-electronica thing I’ve been working up to. It felt good, it sounded okay, people were getting into it, and when I was done I was astonished to find out I had been playing for an hour – I thought it’d been more like twenty minutes. It felt good, playing for people. I like where it’s going; just need to keep practicing.

Skiing yesterday: went out with Geoff S. and Samantha P. After a warmup run, Geoff and I split off and did Peak-to-Creek, which is four miles long and drops just over 5000 vertical feet, from the peak of Whistler Mountain down to Creekside. Unbelievable. Exhausting. We stuck to more normal runs after that. Rejoined Samantha for the last run of the day, down to Whistler Village.

OK, tired. Time to go take a shower and maybe a nap before going to the Garage for drinks and pool.

Life is really good.

It’s a beautiful day on the way home from Whistler

You had to be there, but it was impressive.

March 24, 2007

Samantha, Leah, Rhonda, Karen, Richard, and Barry waiting for Sushi Village to open

March 23, 2007

It’s raining today, and I have a bunch of work to get done, so I’m hanging out at the cabin. The others are currently in the kitchen playing a card game of some sort, and Barry’s big speakers are pumping out the psytrance at a steady 144 bpm.

I went boarding yesterday, for the second time ever; I borrowed Chris W.’s gear and spent the day with Leah P. riding up the gondola and falling down the green runs. I definitely made some progress over the course of the day, but I’m still not entirely sure why people prefer this to skiing – so far it just feels like another way to slide down a hill. Skiing experience definitely helps: I’m comfortable going downhill much faster than my level of boarding skill actually allows, so I can try hard things (and deal with the inevitable crashes) without feeling afraid that I’m going to fly out of control and die.

Wednesday was totally epic, despite only being a half day: there was lots of powder and it snowed all afternoon, so we were skiing on fresh snow almost all the time. I went out with Barry, Stuart, Geoff, and Colleen, though Colleen wasn’t feeling well and dropped out early. We basically skied the same loop all day: up to the top of Glacier chair, down to the bottom of Excelerator via Ridgerunner, and back. We kept going faster, and by the end of the day had each run and lift timed so that we could squeeze in the maximum number of runs before the lifts closed. It was great. Barry showed me a way to improve my technique that made it take a lot less work to stay in control, and I have never flown down a mountain so fast before. Terrific fun.

And then I went shopping in Whistler Village and bought a helmet. I’ve always been a skeptic, but Stuart and Barry both strongly encouraged me to look into it, and I decided that this was a good time to benefit from other people’s experience. I’m running much harder terrain and travelling much faster this season than I ever have before, so the risks have definitely increased.

March 21, 2007

I’m still up at Whistler. Great skiing: we had a good day with fresh fluffy snow. I spent most of the day by myself, and met up with Dave, Geoff, and Colleen after a late lunch. Dave and I rode the peak chair just before the lifts closed, so our last run of the day went from the top of Whistler Mountain down to the village, with a long delay after we took a wrong turn on a ridge and had to climb back up a very fluffy snowbank. I was plenty tired when we reached the base, but it was a good long run with some wide-open stretches (since most everyone else had already cleared off the mountain).

After my first run of the day I found that my “rocket” skis needed waxing and sharpening, so after turning them over to the ski tech I stopped into the demo tent next door and took off on a pair of Atomic Nomad Crimsons. Nice, nice skis: a little heavier than I’m used to, but smooth and just the right amount of float. Great edge control. And they are a gorgeous shade of red, which is far more important to me than it really ought to be. But, they’re also quite expensive, and I already have a couple pairs of perfectly decent skis…

Beautiful day on the snow. Spoiled somewhat when Barry triggered an avalanche and got whacked in the head with the tip of his own ski, resulting in lots of blood and eight stitches… but he’s OK and in good humor about it.

March 18, 2007

It’s been a quiet day here at Black Tusk Village. I spent a couple of hours this morning playing with my music system; after some adjustment I have everything set up within reach on top of the big blue flight case. After a couple of hours recording loops and playing with drum sequences, I even plugged in to the big speakers and played a song for everyone who happened to be in the living room. For the first semi-public demonstration of this system, I think it went fine.

We just finished dinner. I made tortellini in a vodka-based tomato sauce with sauteed andouille sausage and some stir-fried vegetables, with caramelized cinnamon mango slices for dessert. Seemed to go over well. I haven’t cooked for other people in some time, and it felt good.

relaxing at the Whistler cabin

March 16, 2007

I’m supposed to be in Canada by now, but felt very tired, took a nap after work instead of packing, and decided to relax tonight and drive up tomorrow morning instead. The snow report for tomorrow doesn’t sound promising anyway.

I have packed my table of electronica gear into a big blue flight case (where “packed” means “stuffed everything in and inserted foam into the gaps”) and will be bringing along my keyboard as well. I don’t know whether I’ll actually spend much time making music, but others will have their instruments along as well, so I’ll be equipped for a jam session if one occurs.

The skis are finished. I’m not completely happy with the texture of the finish, but it’s good enough for a fun little stunt, which is basically what this project is. They’re very, very red, and the rough stencil style looks great. They will be fun to play with.

March 14, 2007

I cut out of work a little early today and went up to Edmonds with Adam to retrieve my old Rover. It’ll sit over at Heden until I get a chance to sell it. Then we dug Adam’s tools out of the Heden garage, packed them into the new Rover, and drove down to the shop. An hour of poking around with a tape measure gave us a plan, which we refined over beer across the street at Jules Maes. For starters, we’re going to build a 160-square-foot storage loft, possibly with a stairway. Once storage needs are settled, we’ll set up workspaces using pegboard, 2x4s, and folding tables.

All this will have to wait for a couple of weeks, however; I’m leaving on Friday for a week and a half in Whistler. Barry B. rented a cabin up there for three weekends, and a couple dozen of us will be rotating through for various lengths of time. Ski during the day, relax with friends at night – I can’t wait! It won’t exactly be a vacation, though; I’m going to bring my laptop, so I can work during days when the snow isn’t great or I’m too tired to ski.

New shop, new car, lots of travel, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be moving; life is exciting right now.

The skis are painted: nothing left but lots of polyurethane clearcoat

March 13, 2007

Say hello to the new Mars Rover

Welcome to the Rocket Factory

Those are some red, red skis.

March 12, 2007

M. A. Jackson‘s rules of optimization:

Rule 1: Don’t do it.
Rule 2 (for experts only): Don’t do it yet.

March 11, 2007

Freak Skate 2

At the Lynnwood Bowl & Skate

I spent this afternoon over at the new shop space, which I’m tentatively calling “the Rocket Factory”. I moved in a few things from my basement storage unit – table, chairs, tools – then went to Home Depot for a ladder and some cleaning supplies. The place is still almost empty, but now we can start building workbenches and shelving units.

Once I had the essentials in place I started in on my skis. I took off the bindings, scraped off the REI stickers, and sanded down the top surface. Then I pried off the rubber tip caps, which turned out not to be such a smart idea. I had imagined the rubber bits as caps over the ends of a normally shaped ski, but it turns out that the skis themselves are weird stubby-ended things, and the rubber is what makes them come to a point. I think I will solve this problem with bondo. In the meantime, I went over one of the skis with a light coat of paint, just to get started; it’s going to take a good few coats to make the color opaque, but once it’s done these are going to be some dramatic skis.

March 10, 2007

Draft of a custom decal for a pair of skis I plan to redecorate

Wilderness restoration in the Cedar River watershed

Today was another Cedar River Watershed restoration project. Geoff S. picked me up at 8 and we drove out to Rattlesnake Lake. The YMCA was sponsoring some kind of youth service project, so a group of fifteen or so teenagers provided the bulk of the work force. Clay spent half an hour going over the map of the watershed and talking about its history, then we piled into the vans and went out to Taylor Creek.

Today we worked on another road decommissioning. These are always my favorite kind of restoration project. The City of Seattle tears up some 20 miles of road inside the watershed each year; today we planted about 300 trees along a half mile of an old logging road. They’d already removed the roadbed with bulldozers and backhoes, and torn out the culverts where the road crossed little creeks. Our project today was to plant along the edges of the streams, to protect against erosion and help encourage habitat development.

I’m awfully tired now, the more so as I was out late last night and thus didn’t get much sleep. Still, the ache in my muscles feels good, the wilderness is a beautiful place to spend a day, and it always feels satisfying to help roll back the damage from years of logging and other development.

March 6, 2007

Just another day at the office

Beautiful weather in Seattle today

March 5, 2007

I am back home and tired. I don’t think Melissa or I ever got to sleep before three during my visit. The flight home last night took off late (heavy traffic at JFK) and didn’t land in Seattle until midnight, so I got to bed around one, with an alarm set to go off six and a half hours later.

My work efficiency today is pretty low.

March 4, 2007

Pieces of buildings, cut up by Gordon Matta-Clark, at the Whitney

March 3, 2007

March 2, 2007

my sister’s post-bar-exam party

March 1, 2007

I’m sitting on a couch at the Devi Tea Lounge in Brooklyn. It’s a great little bar/teashop full of couches, newspapers, ceiling fans, overstuffed lounge-chairs, and laptops by the dozen. I showed up at my sister’s place around nine-thirty and promptly took a nap; now I’m relaxing and playing with my new toy while she’s at a hair salon a few blocks away.

Adam and I just rented a shop space, which we hope to share with Mark A. I got a message from him a few minutes ago – he’s dropped off the rent/deposit check and picked up the keys. Excellent! It’s a 400 sq. ft. room in big old brick place in Georgetown, across from the 9 Lb. Hammer. It’s basically just a big box with power outlets, lights, and 12-14 foot ceilings. There’s no direct vehicle access, so we won’t be building any more art cars there (whew!), but there’s plenty of room for tools, workbenches, and storage, and the neighbors won’t complain if we feel like playing with angle grinders at midnight.