Red Echo

December 31, 2007

Snow conditions were forecast to be weak today, so we decided to move New Year’s Eve up a day and celebrate last night. Music and mayhem commenced, and I finally toddled off to bed around six. Welcome to 2008, everyone.

Weather doesn’t look like it’s going to cooperate, so we may end up skiing in a snowstorm tomorrow. At least we’ll have the mountain to ourselves.

Eva made some great guacamole and a great heap of nachos. Chris and Colleen are doing something or other with the coffee maker. Barry, Michael H., and I spent an hour downstairs with power tools rebuilding the frighteningly flimsy base of the pool table. It felt good to use the engineering parts of our brains for a while. Anna is asleep on the couch; Barry is tweaking spreadsheets; Eva, Candace, and Erin are sprawled out in the living room having some kind of hilarious conversation about giant spiders and evil overlords.

I went out and sat in the snow for a while late last night, watching the trees and the stars. It felt good to have some time to think.

December 30, 2007

Whistler got about 10 cm of snow last night, so we all woke up early to go play in it. Due to one happenstance or another we got separated early and were unable to reconnect, so I spent the day solo. I basically found one set of runs I liked and stuck to them, pushing harder over the course of the day. I was pretty tired by three-thirty so I went down to the Longhorn Grill at the base and sat around drinking beer and gl├╝hwein with Dave P. and Erin R. It was a good day. I feel great except my left big toe hurts.

Candace and Eva are in the kitchen cooking something. I’m not sure what it is but its preparation seems to involve a great deal of hilarity. In the living room we have a hookah and some mellow groovy music and a lot of shared stories about the day’s adventures.

December 29, 2007

December 28, 2007


Carolyn drives off in her Honda

December 27, 2007


Carolyn deals with car purchase paperwork: welcome to adulthood


…or maybe not so fast, as we all whack each other silly with pillows

December 26, 2007

I’m in Sacramento, hanging out with the family. A bunch of us went skating this afternoon at the rink Julia manages. Right now we’re looking at old photos and heating up some cider. Later we’re going to get out the crayons and attack a bunch of coloring books, and maybe watch movies. We’ve done a whole lot of this kind of nothing for the last couple of days. It’s fun to have enough time to spend with my family that good times can feel spontaneous.

Carolyn’s turning 18 tomorrow; she’s going to go pick out and buy her first car. MJ and I are going to go along and help out.

December 25, 2007

December 23, 2007

December 21, 2007

I didn’t have a “bad Christmas sweater” as the party theme suggested, so I put on a Santa hat.

December 20, 2007

I needed a change of pace yesterday so I went to Home Depot and bought a gallon of paint. It’s a warm, peachy-creamy color, intended to complement the really rather terrible green and pink tile in the upstairs bathroom while toning the overall effect down a bit. I didn’t get a full first layer on before running out of steam, but I did make a pretty effective disaster zone out of the place – it’s a good thing Lesley is gone vacationing.

What the bathroom really needs is a set of recessed ceiling lights. That’s at least an all-day project, though, so it’s been waiting a while and probably has another couple of months to wait.

December 16, 2007

Went to bed around one, alarm went off at 4:40, met up with Barry, Erin, and Jane, couple hours on the highway, rolled into the parking lot at Baker before the lift opened. There were heaps of fluffy fresh powder everywhere, visibility was good, and we had a nice solid first day of the season. Barry and I each tried out a couple different types of demo skis. I had a lot of fun on the Salomon X-Wings.

We pretty much stuck to the blue runs and played along the edges, and I went fast, and then faster. I feel tired but basically fine – just the usual muscle burn. Early night tonight and I bet I’ll feel fine tomorrow. Glad I didn’t wuss out after all.

Barry’s brand of insanity is contagious. I am going skiing tomorrow (later today) after all.

Also, Kid Beyond rocks. But we already knew that.

December 15, 2007

I spent yesterday evening on the quilted winter pants and got them basically done. They still needed hemming, so I did that this afternoon, but I got a little carried away with the cuff treatment and ended up spending about three more hours doing this thing with overlapping panels, and now they are really done. The pants have the usual assortment of minor technical errors, and the fit isn’t as trim as I prefer, but they are comfortable, functional, and look exactly how I’d imagined they would, so I’m calling this one a success.

My imagination has run some distance ahead of my actual sewing skill. I don’t know of any way to catch up but to keep making things.

I made plans to go skiing tomorrow, anticipating a return to full health, but a simple trip to the grocery store this afternoon left me thinking about a nap, so I’d better wait.

December 13, 2007

I’m halfway through a new pair of pants. They’re designed for winter, lined and quilted, with gabardine accent panels and a red tuxedo stripe. It’s a functional sort of garment, not flashy or club-oriented, but there are still enough unique details to look interesting and feel Martian. I’m trying a more generous cut than I used on the last pair, too, so I will hopefully end up being able to actually wear these. It’s been cold out and some warm comfy pants to run errands or lounge around in would be great.

December 11, 2007

I am up and about again after having been unwell for a week. I am going to try to hold myself to another couple of low-energy recovery days, but I think I will be back in good form by this weekend. Maybe I’ll even go see Kid Beyond at Neumo’s.

I feel like I’m still looking ahead to December. I basically just woke up from a week-long nap, following five straight 12-hour days getting RB2008r1b1 ready, which followed…. November.

Instead of trying to fix the chocolate/tan panel pants I was working on last, I’m going to scrap the project and move on to something else. I’ll probably try the concept again someday. The cold weather lately has given me plenty of opportunities to wear my big fur kimono coat, and I am thinking about making another one, including some design improvements. An idea for some warm, quilted, denim, semi-utilitarian pants, something you might wear in winter when you wanted to feel comfortable, but look like you dressed up, without being actually dressed up precisely.

The China factory sent back the first manufacturing sample of the furry leggings. It looks exactly like the prototype we sent them, except they missed one seam and used the wrong glue – minor details. It’s a little spooky to see someone else’s rendition of my design. A year ago this was just a piece of fur and some elastic and a bunch of wires I’d put together for Burning Man, you know?

We need one of those label tag things that tells you it’s made of all-unnatural materials and that you should take the battery out before washing.

December 10, 2007

If my kid brother lived in the same state, we would build one of these walking robots together.

December 7, 2007

Google Maps just linked up with King County Metro and can now offer route plans using public transit. Brilliant – you just pick between “Drive There” and “Take Public Transit”, and it’ll happily display directions either way.

Now this is some cool stuff – scroll down and check out the laser dresses! That’s the way to do it, people. More!

I want my workshop back.

December 5, 2007

Paul pointed out this solar-powered, LED-bearing ski jacket designed as a concept piece for the 2018 Munich Olympics bid. I’m not sure that I want one, exactly, but I think I’d like to make one of my own.

I spent the weekend writing code, wore myself out, and now – predictably – have a cold. Thankfully, working at home means I haven’t had to get out of bed all day. Propped up against pillows, watching the rain alternate with sunshine… now if only I could focus my brain enough to get this documentation written.

December 2, 2007

I’m over at Michael H.’s place, sitting on an oversized heap of pillows, sipping bourbon and writing code, hammering away on the language feature I’ve spent the last three days on. Candace is doing something complicated to a bunch of playlists; Eva is busy with some colored pencils adding her own unique twist to a giant psychedelic mutant furry cat poster; and Barry is trying to decide whether Python returns objects by value or reference, or whether that’s actually a meaningful distinction in this context. The noises in the kitchen suggest that Michael is cooking something. The Mackies are cruising along, Pixel is running around collecting cuddles, and life feels very good.

We moved into the new Rocket Factory space yesterday. I came away feeling a little unsettled about the place. It is smaller and more ragged than I’d remembered, and one corner of the concrete floor (which was hidden under boxes last time we saw it) turns out to be all lumpy and crumbled. The electrical system is haphazard, the storage loft is inadequate, and I’m unhappy with half the built-in shelving. It’s going to need a lot of work.

Then again I shouldn’t forget how many hours of carpentry and wiring we put into the old place before it was really a comfortable place to get things done. This time we have vehicle access, better power, and better lighting… It will work out fine in the end; I’m just a little taken aback at the amount of work I see ahead.

First thing we need is a good heater.

December 1, 2007


Snow in Ballard


Moving into the new Rocket Factory