Category Archives: Not Nerdy

Snow in Seattle is a Big Deal

On Tuesday there were light flurries, which was enough to freak most Washington natives out for some reason:

Tuesday: Just a DustingTuesday: It Barely Colors the Trees

That didn’t make much sense to me.  So I went to work, and again on Wednesday.

Then I woke up this morning (Thursday) to the following:

Thursday: Holy SnowSnowy Parking LotThe Truck Only Made it This Far

You’ll note that the truck in red is stuck.  Blocking half the exit to my parking lot.  Of course, there was only one thing to do:

Build a Snowman!

Build a snowman!  And then, of course, listen for interesting sounds of stranded vehicles.  Who would have thought to catch this one so early?

Neither Rain, Nor Hail, Nor Sleet, Nor Snow...

That’s right.  “Neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet, nor snow…”  Not to fear, a rescue operation soon ensued, involving a special courier delivery of a spiffy set of tire chains and two grunts to shove the truck out of the rut after wrestling the chains on:

Tire chains to the rescueJust Give it a PushAnd We're Back in Business

Don’t worry, he made it.  Oh, and the snowman?  He was buried by 3:30PM…

Away he goes sporting hot new tire chainsBy 3:30PM the snowman was buried.

Yeah.  I think I’ll work from home today.  Did I mention that the entire King County only owns 27 snow plows and 15 dump trucks for over 2100 miles of road?  Compare that to Dane County, WI, which employs 58 plows for county and state highways alone.  Oh, and that’s not counting the “170 pieces of equipment” used by the city of Madison…

Obviously very different in terms of yearly snowfall, but still.  Can you blame me for staying home?

Yellowstone Trip: Day 8: The Grand Tetons

So it’s been over a month now: I seriously need to finish up my narrative of Jared and my trip out west…

Day 8 was our last in Wyoming, but we made the most of it.  After waking up to our final “Super Start” breakfast at Jared’s dreaded West Yellowstone Super-8-without-a-pool, we piled all our possessions back in the Corolla and drove into Yellowstone for the last time.  Turning south at Madison Junction and again after Old Faithful, we stopped in for one last cascade, and then found ourselves crossing the Continental Divide at a quiet, peaceful little lake called Lake Isa.  In wetter seasons, this lake drains in both directions, and ultimately feeds into both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico!
Firehole River CascadesA Duck Swimming the Continental Divide

This way to the Gulf of Mexico:
Isa Lake Drains That Way to the Missouri, Mississippi, and Gulf of Mexico

And this (currently dry) way to the Pacific Ocean:
Isa Lake Drains This Way (In Wetter Seasons) to the Snake River, Colombia River, and Pacific Ocean

Shortly past the Continental Divide, we found ourselves headed out of the park and into a National Forest of some variety between Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  The park itself didn’t hold our attention too long, other than a brief stop at some fancy lodge to try (unsuccessfully) to find an official map, but the view of what was coming next certainly grabbed our eyes:
Grand Tetons Ahead

Arriving at the park with no map, we made a few pitstops through ranger stations and such before we finally got our bearings, and then just made our way lazily down through the park, stopping wherever the view was awesome enough :)  One great spot was on the shores of Jenny Lake, where we actually met a couple from UW-Madison who took a picture for us.  This was the same spot that I had seen a picture from my friend Ben Broerman earlier, which convinced me to make the trip to the Grand Tetons in the first place.  Pretty awesome view, plus they have a glacier!
Jenny Lake and the Grand TetonsJared and Colin at the Grand TetonsTeton Glacier

We had lunch at an outdoor BBQ type place, with a grill and lots of picnic tables.  It was a nice change to just be sitting outside eating off a paper plate instead of in a restaurant.  Fit the location very well, though it would have sucked if it were raining…

After leaving the Grand Tetons through the southern entrance, Jared navigated me a scenic route (Wyoming Hwy 20) through the Wyoming countryside into Idaho, and over to I-15, which led us away to Montana in the north.  Once again, taking the scenic route over the main highway really paid off in terms of awesome scenery, and frankly, the bug count was only going up in either case anyway:
Wyoming Highway 20We Have Bugs.Idaho

Idaho was mostly sage… sage and sky and then there was a really cool rainstorm, which we could see coming for miles and miles.  And possibly the highlight of the trip for Jared: We stopped at a rest stop in Montana to get a hotel reservation and, well, use the restroom of course.  Except that Jared saw a portable toilet sitting out behind the main restroom, so he decided he had to use that instead.  Turns out it was the cleanest, best-smelling portable outhouse he’s ever used… ask him about it sometime.
Nothing But Sage and SkyNow Approaching StormThe Best-Smelling Porta-Potty Jared Has Ever Stopped At

And after the excitement of the outhouse, it was straight on to Missoula, MT, where we walked a mile or two to supper and back, and then hung out around the outdoor swimming pool with our beers.  Not sure whether that was kosher, but the college guy running the hotel for the night didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so there you go.  We even got to lock up on our way out.  Good show, Missoula.

From the "Would You Believe?" Dept.

I am trying (seriously, I am…) to get my possessions organized to take or ship out to Seattle for my first long-distance, long-term move, but I keep getting distracted by the things I am finding in my closets…

Here’s a couple things I took pictures of because I think they represent things I’ve done in my life that even some of my friends would probably not know about me. Help me waste a few more minutes of my last two packing days reliving a bit :)

Would You Believe: I was in Order of the Arrow in Boy Scouts?

Order of the Arrow Sash and Cub Scout Graduation Arrows

Yeah, not only did I actually go outside when I was in high school, but I defied the geek stereotype so far as to actually be recognized for it.  (Order of the Arrow is the “National Honor Society” of Boy Scouts)  Though in the interest of full disclosure, I did not pursue it further, and am only an Ordeal member. The other arrows here are one I received when I completed Cub Scouts, and one that I fletched myself for the Archery merit badge.

Would You Believe: I earned NRA Shotgun Sharpshooter and Rifle Marksman qaulifications?

NRA Proficiency Medals

Another throw back to the Scouting days, I spent a fair bit of my summer camp weeks at the gun range, earning the Shotgun Shooting and Rifle Shooting merit badges. In the process I earned my NRA Shotgun Sharpshooter (17 of 25 targets six times) qualification, and NRA Rifle Marksman (2 courses of 150/300 3-position light rifle) qualification.  Only had to go back once to the canteen to buy more shotgun shells :)

Would You Believe: I was an over-achiever in High School?

High School Awards Banner

Yeah, actually you probably would believe that :-/ But my mom made me this awesome banner my sophomore or junior year of high school, and it was a lot of fun filling it.  Most of the medals are from math competitions and Solo & Ensemble for band, to be honest, but there’s a fair bit of other things mixed in for one-off events and scholastic stuff.

Would You Believe: I was Senior Ball King?

Senior Ball Crown and SceptreSenior Ball BK Crown

True story.  Don’t really know how…  (My sash is in the above picture by the banner)

Hm, well, that was good for killing 20 minutes :) I suppose I should go back to sorting out junk.

Graduation & Aftermath

It’s been a while since my last post, due to my intervening graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It would be a lie if I were to say that some frivolity thereafter did not also keep me from this blog. :-D

So, to quickly recap what’s been happening, in pseudo-sequential order:

  • Me, Dave, and Jared graduated
  • Apparently the University thought I was smart enough to get some extra red for my costume, which clashed magnificently with the orange tassel of Engineering:

    Actually, I’m pretty proud of that: the red stole is the “Distinguished Scholar Award”, which is given to the top 20% of each class in GPA. I hit that category pretty well, having managed to keep a 4.0 all the way through college!
  • Then since the red stole with orange tassel didn’t cover enough of the spectrum, I further added some yellow and gold in the form of an Eta Kappa Nu honor stole & cords:

    And, because I think it’s an awesome shot and I want to highlight Jason who took all of the above graduation photos, here’s that golden stole again:
  • After graduation I enjoyed some great food with my relatives, at Biaggi’s in Middleton (awesome Italian) and Pizzeria Uno as well (great deep dish, but watch out for the “Spinoccoli”, it gave my sister food poisoning).
  • The next day Dave and Jared both had grad parties, at Devil’s Lake and in Green Bay, respectively. Good times all around.
  • Later in the week, Jason, Justin, and I took a 10.4-mile bike ride along Lake Mendota Drive, with a brief detour through Dairy Queen on the way home. Later that night we cooked up our own custom stir fry with Dave. It was pretty decent, though left a few lessons learned :)
  • Later in the week, I went to Body Worlds at the Milwaukee Public Museum with Jeni. It was pretty cool to see, though also fairly creepy…
  • On Friday night, Nate had his birthday party / Lauren’s going away party at our place, reuniting me with Em and Jamie, who I don’t think I’ve seen in at least a year. Good times again.
  • Finally by Sunday I was headed back to Green Bay, through a rather amazing storm just North of Madison. The clouds were so thick I thought it was night… up until I reached the edge of them and saw that the sun was only just setting. It was beautiful.
  • Oh yeah. And lest I actually graduate having accomplished something with that ridiculous fountain I’ve been working on for four years… Check out what we found (and flooded ourselves with) in the basement:

    Nice.

Ski Trip!

Dave and I capitalized on the end of the classes coinciding with unexpected amounts of early-December snow this weekend by taking a day trip to Cascade Mountain for some skiing. We had a pretty awesome time; it was great to get to spend some time just having fun without projects, long-term assignments, or anything but a couple measly finals ;-) hanging over my head…

Cascade surprised me by how nice it was. I definitely did not expect to find that in southern Wisconsin, but I would definitely put it on par with Granite Peak in Wausau. Now, granted, it was a bit more expensive than places in northern WI and the UP that are significantly bigger, but I think that is probably due to its location: we met people from Illinois who could drive up for the day, but could probably not make it to the UP quite so accessibly :)

I don’t think I made it skiing at all last winter, so I was a little rusty, but it went pretty good for the most part. During the chairlift rides I was trying to find an example to teach Dave the meaning of yard sale, but wasn’t finding anything to my liking. So, I did what any responsible teacher would, and provided a live demonstration :) I took a little jump near a chairlift post, and wound up with lots of cheering from the chair lift, and a perfect demo of the spirit of a yard sale, looking a little something like this:

Yard Sale
Photo from: familyskitrips.com, and does not actually contain me, because I was an idiot and forgot my cellphone in the morning… Sorry

A very good time, all in all, and they even had Starbucks in their lodge!

So that's why my legs are sore

22-mile Ride

Click the image to link to the full Google map. It appears that I biked 18.9 miles yesterday. (I walked from work to the movie theater with Jeremy, 3.0 miles worth of that map). I’m impressed. Hopefully this will serve as motivation to keep it up during the school year.

Route: Home -> work -> UPS depot -> home -> work -> movie theater -> home.

Dinner and a Movie

So Jeremy said Bourne Ultimatum was “explosionary.” A good word. I should probably see the movie.

Fast forward through some planning

Jeremy’s friend heard a rumor that you could bring your own food into the AMC theater.

We called the theater while walking there to try and verify.
They said “We’ve never denied entry to anyone with food.”
We were still uncertain, because this seemed to good to be true.

We left 60 minutes before the show, for what turned out to be a 50-minute walk.

To fit supper in there, we stopped at the In-N-Out.
Jeremy waited for the orders while I bought tickets.

We walked into the theater bearing two fastfood bags and sodas.
Nobody blinked an eye.

I watched the movie while eating a hamburger.
I paid less for my entire meal than the guy next to me paid for his bag of popcorn.
Maybe that’s not a big deal to some of you reading this who grew up used to that, but for a Wisconsin boy, that’s “woah”.

Oh, and the movie? Bourne Ultimatum? Go watch it. End of story.
Wait, wait, wait. Actually, watch Bourne Supremacy first. Then go watch it. Today.

Kaisa Comes to California

My sister came to visit me in California! :-D

Highlights of the trip thus far

  • Her flight from GRB->MSP was delayed nearly 2 hours due to weather in Minneapolis, but there was no way she could have missed her connecting flight: She got off the plane, read the monitor to find her next gate, turned around and got back on it :) Pretty sweet coincidence!
  • Dennys for supper at 9pm. I don’t know my own city to know where else to go!
  • Jason & I still had to work an 8 hr day today, so Kaisa was on her own at our apartment. She accomplished much:
    • Finished a book for AP English
    • Cleaned my bathroom, which was, and I quote, “gross.”
      ::hangs head in shame:: Thanks for cleaning up for me, Kaisa! Love you!
  • Salsa Chicken, made from scratch according to secret recipe found at the first hit here passed down from generation to generation in our family since 2007. It’s actually quite good, despite being ridiculously simple to make, and me forgetting to put the cheese on top this time.
  • She has to post responses to every chapter of the book she read on her teacher’s blog. Yuck… I took a nap while she borrowed my laptop :)
  • Going to San Francisco tomorrow!

Almost as cool as the kids with new MacBook Pros

I reformatted my Mac last night. All I have installed since then is Starcraft, Adium, and Firefox, in that order. Perhaps tonight I shall search for an email client. Does anyone know of any good themes for Thunderbird? I was kindof getting tired of the default theme right before I wiped this thing…

So anyway, I haven’t posted on here in quite some time. In the meantime, here’s what I have done:

  • Work at NVIDIA
  • Hang out with Jeni & Jason
  • Take a trip to San Diego & Tijuana, Mexico
  • Work some more

And that’s pretty much it. Nothing too glamorous, I am afraid…