Red Echo

April 30, 2007

It was a wild weekend here at Heden. Saturday night was the Spring Fling party, and we spent all day getting ready. I finished setting up my room about an hour before guests were due to start arriving – just enough time to grab some dinner and take a quick shower. Then it was non-stop go until dawn; I finally shut the door to my room at around 7 AM.

The room was even more of a success than I had hoped. People were crowded in here all night, talking and laughing and drinking and having fun. There were rarely fewer than five people sprawled out on my bed. Total strangers leaned against my bookshelves and held hour-long conversations. It was great. I spent less time dancing than I usually do at parties like this, but I had more fun than ever; there’s nothing like having all your best friends pack into your room and rock the place out for hours on end.

I bought a pair of Rokit RP5 monitors a few weeks ago but had not had a chance to plug them in until now. What a big, crisp, clear sound! You can hear everything, and it sounds great. I wish I’d made this upgrade years ago.

Sunday we spent laying around talking, relaxing, and basically doing nothing. I left the house once, at about 4 PM, to pick up a big pile of sushi for breakfast.

April 28, 2007

New room is finished

April 26, 2007

I had an accident with a razor knife yesterday. The double-sided tape I used on the rope light project proved to be inadequately strong, so I took down the parts that hadn’t already fallen down, reinforced the channel strips with screw-in C-clips, and hung it all back up again. A few feet from the end, while trimming back some of the plastic, I slipped and cut a gash into the side of my arm, which quickly became a bloody mess. Uh oh. Ran downstairs, enlisted Alexis’ help, and then spent three and a half hours sitting in the emergency room doing a whole lot of waiting, which eventually resulted in five stitches, a tetanus shot, and some vicodin. No serious damage, it seems, but this will make the remainder of my move more complicated.

Speaking of the move: the piano guys did their thing today. My piano is down in the garage for the next week or two, so we don’t have to deal with rearranging the living room to accomodate it right before this weekend.

Lesley and I are starting to fit out our shared balcony/porch area. She cleared off all the accumulated moss, pine needles, and the like, and I set up a table & chair, some candlesticks, and a pair of lawn torches. We’re still making plans, but there will be many plants and possibly a fountain out there.

I got a second cell phone yesterday, to replace my business line. Now my office is completely portable.

My brother Michael called; he is apparently moving from Georgia to Ft. Lewis, down near Tacoma. I don’t know how much time he will get away from his duties, but perhaps we’ll have chances to see each other this summer.

April 24, 2007

April 23, 2007

I’m sitting outside on the porch in front of my new bedroom window, in the shade of a big evergreen, watching the flowers and the dog-walkers and the cars and the bicycles. It’s a lovely blue spring afternoon, sunny but still cool. The birds are out and the trees are blooming and I feel good.

I brought a big load of stuff over today: a couple of Mucha prints, another bookshelf, my bass, my sax, skis, and so on. Fitting everything in here is a challenge, but at least there is a lot of storage space in the garage.

April 20, 2007

Last look at my apartment

…and tomorrow, I move!

We tried something new at band practice this week: we collected all of our amps and stacked them up into a tower o’ noise in one corner of the room, capped off by the vocal monitor, all pointed at us standing around the drum kit. Suddenly – wonder of wonders – we can all hear each other play! No more mud; all the parts are clear. Why didn’t we think of this months ago?

Yesterday I spent the afternoon getting started on my presentations for the Real World conference next month.

The room at Heden is almost ready. I painted the inside of the closet yesterday, then built a set of shelves (with a couple of sliding basket-drawers, even). I’ll go back later today to install the hanger bars – then all it needs is a bit of cleaning and I can start moving in.

April 17, 2007

I painted the ceiling of my new room last night, before going over to the Garage, using some “pearlescent” faux-finish stuff. Looking at it today, it’s subtler than I’d intended, but I actually like it better than the silvery finish I thought I was going to get. It’s more of a glow than a shine; you probably wouldn’t even notice it if you didn’t know it was there, but it brings the light up and makes the room feel open.

This afternoon I’m going to paint the remaining walls. I’m worried that the cream color I picked may turn out to be too pale, but I guess that’s easy enough to fix.

April 16, 2007

Here’s a very cool lamp made of copper pipe and tube bulbs. Great stylish design.

April 15, 2007

Right then, a quick weekend update before bed.

Yesterday morning, met Adam over at the Rocket Factory and helped pack a vanload of playa gear and other storables into our storage loft. John M. came over with his completely adorable daughter Isabella, who spent a lot of time standing on the ladder (and repeating, in a voice of surprised accomplishment, “Standing on the ladder!”). After we arranged all the plastic bins into nice pretty rows, we went back to Home Depot and bought some lumber for the remaining loft floor section.

Once cleaned up I drove north to my aunt Melinda’s place in Lynnwood for Grandma’s 80th birthday party. She was in good spirits and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It’s always fun to spend time with my cousins. Why don’t I visit them more often? We drank wine, played cards, caught up on each other’s lives.

Evening: down to Columbia City for Jay & Lena’s housewarming, now that they’re no longer living downstairs. They have a funky new basement place with exposed ductwork, concrete floors, a prominent fusebox on the living room wall – it’s great. And now they have a whole room for music.

By the time I got to Kevin & Erica + Nathan & Miller’s housewarming, it was all I could do to greet everyone before I felt like I was falling asleep and had to start making the goodbye rounds. It’s a huge house, and all very new, so it was good to see all of our mutual friends there making it feel homey.

Today I started off with pancakes and then went straight over to Heden to work on the room. The drywall contractor came back and finished up the patches, so I put a coat of primer on two walls and spent a long, long time cleaning up not quite all of the layer of fine white dust covering the room. It’ll take a second and possibly a third mopping. Meanwhile I installed curtains and put the fourth coat of red paint on the accent wall. Maybe four will be enough? Red paint is transparent stuff.

Tonight, over to Peter & Jacqueline’s place for a sushi party, which also turned out to be Jacqueline’s birthday party. Conversation topics included microcontrollers, video games, the uses of various flammable gases and extremely cold liquids, and home renovation plans.

Now I am going to curl up in bed with a book.

Life is good.

April 13, 2007

BT at Club Heavens

The drywall contractors came by Heden around noon and worked for three hours. The holes are all covered up now, with big creamy panels of drywall mud. They’ll be back on Sunday for some finish work.

I did what felt like a lot of coding today. I’m changing the way the incremental compiler system tracks changes. Timestamps have turned out to be hard to get right when we can’t assume that each compilation unit is backed by one file on disk; the compiler ends up breaking any time there’s a bug in the timestamp code anywhere in the IDE. This is not so much fun to fix. Instead I’m having the compiler save the source hash in the object file; then the recompile algorithm can simply hash the current source and compare it against the old state to see if anything has changed.

Tonight is the DJ Eva / JunkieXL / BT show down in Pioneer Square. I’m about to head over to the Frodis Lounge for a pre-func, then we’re all going to take over the VIP room at Heavens. It’s rumored that BT won’t be coming on until 2 AM, so it may be a late night… It’s dance music, so I have to dress up, but it’s Pioneer Square, so I don’t really want to get too crazy. I’m going to wear some stylish jeans, a silver T-shirt, and my laserfingers… should be plenty.

April 12, 2007

Busy day today. I took Shane (the MacBook) over to Heden and spent the morning there working. At elevenish the drywall contractors came over and spent a few minutes looking over the room. They made an estimate, I liked it, and they’ll be back tomorrow to start work. Lunchtime, afternoon, more coding, fixed some bugs, remained stuck on the one bug I was really trying to fix. Done with work, I put a third and hopefully final coat of red paint on the wall of my new room.

Once done and cleaned up, I met Adam H. over at Home Depot and picked up some parts for the next stage of our Rocket Factory project. We’d planned to build a stairway up to the storage loft, but Adam noticed some neat already-assembled folding attic-stairs kits, and after some hemming and hawing we decided prefab was the way to go. We cut a hole in the floor, repositioned a joist, cut and fit some more 2x4s, and mounted the stair gizmo. It works well: folds up and out of the way when it’s not in use, fits flush against the ceiling, and comes down easily with a little pull-cord. We felt happy.

After dinner with Janet L. at Jules Maes we went back and tidied the floor up a bit: reinforced the outer edge of the floor, added some extra corner braces, and hung up our clock and whiteboard. (We’re engineers: whiteboards are an essential thinking tool.)

Okay, time for bed. More bugs to fix tomorrow.

It’s slowly dawning on me, as I have begun to think about my apartment in terms of fitting it into the new room at Heden, just how much stuff I’m going to be able to leave behind. Books, clothes, furniture, even music gear – it’s time to strip it all down. It feels good to separate my things according to what I actually care about and what I’m willing to let go. There’s a little lift every time I detach myself from something.

I made a little bookshelf, about five years ago, out of three big slabs of wood and two ornamental grilles scavenged from a craft store’s going-out-of-business sale. It’s elaborate, interesting, took a lot of work to make, and looks unique… but I think it’s time to be done with it. I don’t have to carry it around with me forever just because I made it.

April 11, 2007

The new wiring is (finally) finished. I ran some cat-5 cable too, since the wall was open.

April 9, 2007

I’d hoped to throw one last cocktail party before leaving my apartment, sometime later this week, but I may have to give up on that idea. There is a lot of work to do this month!

April 8, 2007

I put in a couple hours of work on the bedroom at Heden yesterday, then went over to Stitches to help Katie M. make herself a pair of fuzzy light-up leggings. It took a while, and we didn’t get the lights finished, but we got all the sewing done and they will work just fine as unlit dancing clothes.

Met up with friends at ATC for Heater’s pre-func, then a dozen of us went over to the Fenix for the Bassnectar show. The opening band did not impress, and I felt totally out of place standing around listening to a jam band wearing lit up blue furry raver clothes, but once Bassnectar took the stage life was good. They put on an energetic, engaging show, the stage full of all kinds of craziness, and I danced until they quit.

This morning, got up around ten-thirty, met Alexis and went climbing. I haven’t been out to Vertical World in a few months and had less stamina than I expected, but it felt good to stretch my body out and pick my way up a few walls. (Idea: build a climbing wall at the Rocket Factory?)

The rest of the day I spent working on the electrical system at Heden. I climbed up into the attic and ran a ground wire from the junction box I’ve been working on over to the other wall, where I’m installing new grounded outlets. Some carpentry and lots of pushing, twisting, and wiring later, I had four outlets set up in my room and another four on the opposite side of the wall in Lesley’s room. I ran out of daylight before I could finish wiring up the cove lighting socket or the new switch, but I felt exhausted by that point anyway. I’ll do the rest on Tuesday.

April 5, 2007

Manu Chao is coming on a U.S./Canada tour. May 25th in Vancouver sounds good to me!

Brady Forrest at Ignite

We recorded a few songs at practice last night, using a little digital note-taking gadget Greg brought. The sound quality is terrible, but even listening to what sounds like a bootleg of our own practice session is exciting. We’ve never heard ourselves play before, and… um… we’re not half bad. The recordings sound awful but the music rocks.

In other news, we got a letter from some Los Angeles band which claims to have trademarked the name “Three Against One”. Boo. Maybe we’ll end up being the Puget Sound Machine after all…

April 4, 2007

Right, the last couple of days: busy. Monday we shipped REALbasic 2007, release 2. We pulled my big new namespaces feature just before it went final, but my big new incremental compilation feature stayed in – not surprising, as it’s been finished for months. What’s more, all the devs upgraded our internal tool environments to 2007r2. We’ve been “dogfooding” RB for a long while now, but this is the first time we’ve been able to upgrade at the same time as our users.

Evening, I went over to Question House for dinner with Eric, Leah, and Connie. I helped Leah cook – we made a caprese salad and pasta with sauteed vegetables. Nice way to spend an evening with some good people.

Tuesday morning, company meeting, then a drive up to Lynnwood to drop my new Mars Rover off at the dealership (forced to move from its oh-so-convenient South Lake Union location by streetcar construction). Yeah, yeah, I just bought the machine and shouldn’t be having problems, but I somehow managed to break the traction control system, and there was an incident involving a snowbank up in Whistler… oh well. Land Rover likes to make their customers happy, and sent me off for the day in a shiny new silver LR3.

Onward: engineering meeting. Lots of work. Fixing various problems in 2007r2. Nothing serious, but there are always a few last minute discoveries. We’ve been having lots of discussions about ways to improve our QA processes lately.

Once work was done I rocketed over to Heden for more home improvement. I punched a hole through the bathroom wall, hooked a ground tap up to the cold water pipe, ran it sideways around the closet wall and up to the junction box on the wall by the door, and then ran romex down to the new outlet. I punched another hole high on the same wall for the cove lighting and installed a j-box, which took some careful fitting in order not to disturb the existing wiring.

Out of time: home, shower, new clothes, over to Kai’s Bistro in the U-district for happy hour, then dinner at Ruby’s with Jenny T. There was a storm of dodgeball checkins from Waid’s, where Tuesdays have become Burner Night, so we rolled over there. Lots of good people, some decent music, punctuated by a big horn the DJ occasionally blew for no apparent reason. Waid’s has a pillow room upstairs – instant burner magnet.

This morning, I drove back up to Lynnwood and swapped the LR3 for my own car, which I actually like much better than the newer Rover. The traction control / ABS works again, the marker light doesn’t fall out anymore, and I have an estimate for the body work…. eyyshhh.

I stopped by Guitar Center on the way home and picked up another mic. Now we’ll have one for each of us. Collin & Greg do most of the singing, but Dawn adds her voice to the mix on a few songs, and I’m singing lead on one of our recent songs. We flirt with harmonies every now and then, but haven’t done much in that direction – maybe I’ll push us a little more in that direction now.

April 1, 2007

It’s been a hard-working weekend. Saturday started with a trip up to Everett with a car full of Jenny T.’s stuff. She’s moving to San Francisco, and decided to use her mother’s house for storage. Many hands made light work, however, and we were done by two.

Next I drove over to Heden, by way of Home Depot, and started in on the electrical work. This mostly involved cutting holes in the walls and test-fitting junction boxes. When the light got too dim, I flipped the circuit breaker back on and put a starter coat of red on the north wall. I’d hoped to find conduit or plumbing or something I could attach a ground wire to, but no such luck: I’m going to have to do this the hard way.

After dinner I met Adam and Janet over at Goldie’s for a few rounds of darts. It was loud, and I was tired, and we decided that instead of staying out late we’d get up early-ish the next morning and go to work on our shop space.

Sunday morning, then, not exactly early (but not really quite late, either), I made it over to Home Depot just in time to help pay for the cart full of lumber Adam had assembled. Our project: an 8×16 storage loft. Our goal for the day was to buy all the parts and move them into the shop, then demolish the crooked and not particularly sturdy shelves that came with the place. Much to our mutual surprise, not only did we have the old stuff torn apart by lunchtime, but we started building and then finished the new floor in just over two hours! Adam had to go to work later in the afternoon, so we called it quits for the day and left, very happy with our project.

So there I was, out of the house and wearing dusty clothes, with a good six working hours left in the day: time for another trip to Home Depot, then back over to Heden for more electrical work. I enlarged some of yesterday’s exploratory holes, then ran wire and installed a new outlet box next to the door. I’m going to install a second outlet box on the same wall, up near the ceiling, for the cove lighting, and rig a two-gang switch to control it. I’m still thinking about the grounding strategy; my closet shares a wall with the bathroom, so I think I can punch through and attach the ground wire to the incoming water pipe there.

Once again, sunset forced me to give up the electrical work, so I rolled another coat of red paint on the wall and called it a day. I’m not sure I like this “eggshell” finish; it’s a little glossier than I expected. I’ll give it another coat and see what happens.

This kind of work is so much fun. I’m sure I could find some way to get along without redoing the electrical system in this bedroom, but why pass up the chance while I have it?