Red Echo

December 29, 2009

Back from California, where I spent Christmas at my mom’s place, with Ava, and most of my siblings. It was a short visit since I couldn’t take much time off work, but it was good to see everyone. We went to see “Avatar”, spent a day in San Francisco getting rained on, romped around in the snow at Echo Summit, and then went home. Now it’s time for work again.

Happy to say the latest TSA craziness had no effect on our flight. I wish there were some way to fly Seaport all the way down to Sacramento.

Rental car was really unsatisfactory: do not buy a Dodge Caliber. Gutless engine, ugly styling, squirrely steering, and it was hard to see out of the scrunched-down windows. The only thing I liked about it was the red inset panel on the upholstery.

December 21, 2009

I went to see Avatar last night, with Ava, Adam, Michael, and Lakhita. I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that hit my sense of wonder so directly; it felt like being a kid and watching “Star Wars” again. It’s an old familiar story, and nothing about the plot will surprise you, but that’s not the point. Avatar is about vision, awe, imagination, and love; the story is a comfortable skeleton supporting an immersive experience in an alien world. You have never seen anything like it before; someone clearly cared very deeply about this movie and paid attention to a rich torrent of detail that brings the imaginary planet to life. You have to check your cynicism at the door, but if you let him Cameron will take you on a beautiful, compelling, and spectacularly colorful ride.

December 19, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

December 18, 2009

New speakers

My new pair of KRK Rokit 5s just arrived. The music machine sounds so much better!

My latest sewing project is a pair of pants, made from cotton canvas in dark brown and vivid red. The design was inspired by a hasty improvisation for my bumblebee costume, where the legs are fitted through the inseam and crotch seam rather than the outer seam. This version uses the same fitment scheme but the leg is made from an outer panel of dark brown and two inner half-panels of red; French seams make a smooth line down the front and back of each leg, and the dark-brown yoke and waistband tie the sides together.

I’m only calling it a partial success; it fits pretty well but there are some details I got wrong. Still, it is an interesting experiment, and a perfectly wearable piece of clothing, so I’m happy I tried it. I’ll probably try this technique again.

December 15, 2009

Trader Joe’s

December 13, 2009

New top for Ava, back view

This is the top I’ve been making for Ava. I finally did the last little bit of topstitching…

Restaurant delivery site

So there is this site which lets you search for food for delivery. It is really convenient. I keep forgetting where it is so I’m posting it here; this way I can search my own blog whenever I forget. The site is
Eat24Hours; you can enter your address and it lists all the restaurants that will deliver to you. You can place your order right there, and 45 minutes later, voila! Food. It’s great.

Back from Montreal. Seattle has been cold all week, I’m told, but it feels pretty mild after the freezing wind up north.

I’m tired; it was a busy week. We worked all day and went out drinking every night, then capped off the week with a big company Christmas party. Drinks, good food, good music, a little dancing; it was really nice to spend some time with the rest of the team and get to know what this outfit is all about.

Ava and I just finished re-potting a couple of the hanging plants in the room here. I’m going to spend part of the afternoon sewing: the top I made for Ava needs about five minutes’ worth of topstitching to be truly complete, and I want to start on a pair of pants I’ve had in mind for a month or so. They’ll be two-color panel pants (red & chocolate), no side seam, welt pockets front and back.

The monitor system I’ve been using with my music machine is a jury-rigged assemblage of stereo parts scavenged from Value Village; I don’t think I spent more than $30 altogether. It has worked well enough to get by, but the sound is weak and the idiosyncratic bass reproduction makes it hard to get the mix right. So I hit eBay this morning and ordered another pair of KRK Rokits. The pair on my desk has been nothing but delight, and I’m sure the new system will make music practice that much more satisfying.

December 11, 2009

Dinner at Bar et Boeuf

Montreal Metro

December 6, 2009

Arrived in Montreal – settled in at a cute little hotel, about to head out in search of dinner. I’d be enjoying this more if I hadn’t come down with a cold last night, but that’s how life goes. I’ll be here for a week of work meetings; back home Saturday evening.

First impression: all the street signs are in French! No, really – in Vancouver, everything is bilingual even though practically nobody seems to speak French, and I’d assumed the same would be true here.

December 4, 2009

Llew R. came by this morning with three large boxes full of laser equipment. We unpacked two argon lasers, a 100-milliwatt and a 400-milliwatt, with matching power supplies. These things are BIG! We got one of them powered up just enough to generate a steady flash; I’ll have to work on these some more and figure out how to make them run properly. The boxes also came with two pairs of galvanometers, a standard 5-milliwatt HeNe with power supply, and another laser tube of unknown type. This is going to be fun.