Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thieves and Visitors

I've been walking around everywhere I can the past day or two, looking for native plants that I might want to steal...er...collect cuttings from to grow on my balcony. I found some berries that look like they could be raspberries or blackberries, but I am not quite sure. What if they're poisonous? Could I start growing what appear to be lovely "blackberries" and then make some "blackberry" jam, give it to my coworkers, and see if they survive (before trying some myself)? Would that be immoral?

What I really need are some plants that will be all thrivey and growy and flowery in the winter time here in Seattle. I'm pretty sure the berries will soon be dying back or something, as will my clematis. Perhaps I'll be able to spot some natural thrivers as the weeks progress and the season actually turns.

Meanwhile, I am getting my very first visitor from back in Pittsburgh in the next day or two. I am looking forward to it, especially since it will force me to look at Seattle and the area around my house from a different point of view, and force me to try some more of the restaurants and bakeries around me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More and more stuff

The shopping spree continues, to my dismay. This weekend, I acquired all sorts of good stuff, ranging from a coffee table to a bookshelf, to some plants.

The plants are my first purely decorational and recreational purchases for my apartment. I went to Sky Nursery, which has an apparently good reputation round these here parts, and will sell me hops when March arrives. I bought a clematis, chives, violets, rosemary, ficus, and thyme. I'm also scheming to add a plant, which I only know by its Romanian name: cherchelushi (spelling is, of course, all wrong). I *think* that it may be a kind of fuschia, but it is unclear to me. I have spotted a bush of the good stuff growing near to my apartment, and I am going to attempt to make a cutting of it, and use that to spawn my own. If successful, it may be an entertaining means of adding to my plant collection.

The furniture has turned out reasonably. It is clearly not the most expensive stuff on the block, and it took *forever* to put together. It was not helped by the fact that some of the pieces came without any instructions, but many many little screws. So, it was a bit of an adventure to put together. I only have two ziplock baggies full of parts left over. I *think* I know what they're supposed to be used for, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't use them. Not having instructions wasn't awful, since there is apparently an algebra for how to put together Ikea furniture, which I have apparently mastered. So, all in all, it took something like 4 hours for assembly for 3 pieces of furniture.

I've been making better use of the Pike Place Market and bakeries near my house this weekend. Dinner tonight was some roasted red pepper and tomato soup with garlic chive parpadelle and broccoli, all culled from the Pike Place Market for a steal. Lunch was a tasty Rocket Muffin from Macrina bakery.

With that said, again, this weekend, I proclaim that my apartment is finished. Interspersed are some photos of the finished product.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And bread...

Today, I made some of that nice-n-easy no-knead-bread stuff. I gave it a good 29 hour rise time, and added rosemary, olives, and a dash of olive oil. Aside from setting off my smoke detector at 7am to the chagrin, I am sure, of my neighbors, it all went smooth as buttah. The result was super-amazingly-breadily-tasty, if just a wee bit too salty (i was heavy handed with the salt). The crust is unprecedented --- way better than I encountered on any of my previous bread baking attempts.

Surely, it is too much bread for me to eat before it starts to get stale, so I reserved some for breakfast and some for dinner, and put the rest out for my coworkers to enjoy. Hopefully this will make them more pliable when I ask them for performance data :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Evolutionary games

I am not a video game review guy. I am also not a video game guy. I do, however, like to hear my friends' commentaries on gaming systems, and video games. I especially love hearing them complain about not being able to run their games because of software, hardware, or other incompatibilities and failures. While I do sometimes wonder if that makes me a bad person, I am occasionally rewarded with sheerly brilliant performance art, such as this review of Spore, which comes to me from tleaves:


I should mention that it contains liberal usage of curse words but only in a funny, British way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oktoberfest shopping

We organized a little outing today for the Seattle Googlers to Fremont Oktoberfest. First, we formed a group of Nooglers (New gOOGLERS) to run in the scavenger hunt around the Fremont area. Then, we got together with some of the older Googlers to sample some of the Oktoberfest beers, where I got schooled in some of the finer points of beer snobbery. Hales had a few good offerings, a Kolsch and an Autumn Ale, both of which were extremely tasty. The Hales rep even taught me all about the art of growing hops on my balcony, for which, I suspect, I will one day be grateful.

Besides the Hales brews, I thought that Deschutes had a pretty tasty "Whit" and a Porter, which were well worth revisiting. Someday, I will have to do so, when I'm less beered out.

Meanwhile, I have made many many purchases for my apartment. For the first time in my life, I am the proud owner of a very sharp knife, and a fancy (and thankfully, inexpensive) saucepan. In addition, I bought a shelf that sits over top of my toilet to hold bathroom supplies and towels. This shelf has already brought me an unimaginable amount of joy to my life. Now, when I sit in my toilet, I am strangely warmed by a comforting knowledge that there are towels just above and behind my head. I am certain that this sensation is not normal, and I wonder whether it signals the presence of a brain tumor or aneurysm pressing on something important in my frontal lobes.

Honestly, shopping for my apartment is growing tiring. I hope, however, I am at a point at which I can live relatively comfortably without buying anything more. In the meantime, I can sit comfortably in my apartment, watching the ships roll in over the sound...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chocolate makes everything better

So I've finally moved into my apartment. The landlord wouldn't let me move in on Sep 7, like we arranged, because the builders hadn't yet finished fixing a bunch of things in my apartment. Eventually, the landlord let me move in on Sep 13. Despite the week's delay, every single thing that appeared broken on the 7th was still broken on the 13th. RAGE.

Having an actual apartment, however, is a much more relaxing feeling. On my inaugural night, I cooked some dinner, drank some wine, and watched the ships in the harbor while the sun set. Very pretty. Very relaxing. Then, I baked some chocolate-coffee cupcakes with buttercream icing. My icing failed a bit, but they were tasty nonetheless.

The best part, was that I took my surplus cupcakes to a BBQ thrown by our site director. The little kids loved the cupcakes, despite the fact that the icing was melting by the time I got to the party. Many of the kids ate more than one cupcake, and more than one of their tiny little faces were completely covered in chocolate. The icing on the cake was that the kids were extraordinarily hyper for the rest of the party. My rough estimate is that hyperness is a quadratic function in the number of cupcakes eaten, and inversely related to the size of the child. Watching the children terrorize each other, the dogs, and the adults made me feel that my job was well done.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Homeless in Seattle

I'm still homeless in Seattle. Until the 13th. Ugh. I haven't slept in my own bed for 2.5 months, and haven't had a place to call my own for a month and a half now. Hotels aren't bad, but they're starting to get to me. Especially, since I have to keep changing hotels every few days due to availability issues.

Meanwhile, Google is treating me well. The food is good, and there are more ideas and projects here than I could really ever have imagined there would be. Very exciting stuff. The people are friendly too, with a strong family atmosphere, which is pretty nice.

I'm also finding friends in the dance community. There is a *lot* of dancing --- there are at least 4 "big" dance nights a week, and 2 more smaller nights. I've gotten a few instances of followers claiming to really love dancing with me, which always makes me melt. I'll have to figure out how to keep that going :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

I can break ANYTHING

My biggest accomplishment after my first week of working for Google is to break my laptop 3 separate times. I really missed my calling in the fine industry laptop quality control.

On the home front, my apartment still isn't ready. I was supposed to move in on Sep 7, but it looks like the earliest it will be ready is Sep 11, and the latest it will be ready is Sep 13th. Meanwhile, I have to live in hotels, which are getting increasingly hard to find --- there must be something going on in Seattle this weekend. I've got some place to stay until Sep 11, and then I worry it'll get pretty dodgy whether I'll find someplace with vacancies.

Furthermore, on the home front, I have learned that Ikea has inexpensive, but super-uncomfortable sofas. Sofas designed, I think, to discourage lounging and relaxation, to encourage one to instead emulate that characteristic Swedish productivity. Thanks to a coworker, I have discovered at least some comfortable sofas at Crate and Barrel, even if they're a bit pricier. I'll have to also check out the Goodwills around here to see if they sell furniture.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Weighty matters

Today I got a little back into my exercise routine. I was surprised, however, that in the past month of traveling and eating, I have still managed to lose like 6 pounds. Perhaps it's because it's been an especially stressful month. Either way, it's not a great situation.

Meanwhile, I just heard this song, and it made me strangely sad. But it's a good song, so I will post it:

A You're adorable
B You're so beautiful
C you're a cutey full of charms.
D you're a darling and
E you're exciting and
F you're a feather in my arms.
G you look good to me
H you're so heavenly
I you're the one I idolize
J we're like Jack and Jill
K you're so kissable
L you're the lovelight in my eyes.

M,N,O,P, I could go on all day
Q,R,S,T, alphabetically speaking, You're OK!

U make my life complete
V means you're very sweet

Oh, I love to wander through
The alphabet with you
To tell you what you mean to me!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sweet Home San Francisco

Well, I'm back in San Jose for training. I went to dinner to Greens, a fancy little vegetarian restaurant up in San Francisco. The driving is soul-sucking, but it's nice to be back in the San Francisco area. San Francisco itself is pretty and comfortable, and makes me feel like I've come back to someplace homey. I think I missed it more than I think I did.

Chase, my credit card company, has been causing me all sorts of grief. They shut my credit card off again today. This is the 3rd time in two days. Every time I've called and tried to get it straightened out. And, so far, every time, they've shut it off after I change locations. I presume it has to do with all my moving around raising some red flags for them. Who knows.

No real observations here, except that you should go to Greens. Very tasty, and very pretty, and everything.

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