Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why the Residence Inn is the Best thing ever.

We're staying at a Residence Inn again tonight (Marriott) and though I already knew I liked them, tonight has just confirmed that they are my favorite hotel chain out there hands down. They're designed as a long-term stay hotel, which is absolutely perfect even for short stays with our roadie lifestyle. The rooms are great (all suite-style), they have a good selection of TV stations, free internet, free full breakfast buffet, coffee and hot water for tea always available, and all sorts of other things.

Tonight since checking in, I've worked out in a fully equipped fitness center, swam laps in a pool that's actually long enough to swim laps in, relaxed in a hot tub, had several cups of tea with honey, and surfed the net while watching Comedy Central and eating complimentary in-room popcorn.

If all that's not enough, you can even rent a fish to keep you company.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Turkey day was great.  It was nice to have a day off between setup and the expo, greater to eat some home-cooked food, and greatest to catch up with relatives I haven't seen in a while.  I saw my Great Aunt Annie (who hosted), and Ashley (second?) cousin who I hadn't spent any time with for probably a decade, plus other semi-distant relatives.

The last two day have both been long expo days, particularly with reduced staffing available for the event.  I did, however, have time to venture out into the fray of Black Friday.  My theory regarding Black Friday is that it originally started out as a popular shopping day, but is now actually a manufactured marketing ploy.  Companies and the media have repeatedly reinforced the idea that you're supposed to shop the day after Thanksgiving to the point that it's almost becoming a tradition.  Not that I have a problem with that - I think it's good marketing.  Just realize that if you're feeling compelled to shop it's probably because some company paid money to put the idea in your head.

Friday night I took a stroll to check out the lights after the official Christmas tree lighting.  The most impressive has to be the 5 story star on Macy's.

With the long expo days, it's been nice that we're provided with VIP passes that get us into the hospitality room on the top floor of the hotel.

There were all sorts of sandwiches and munchies.

Load-out from the expo tonight went fairly smoothly given that there was one freight elevator for dozens of vendors and very few parking spaces.  I made my own parking space.

After packing up, we went over to the Seattle Center and set up most of our area for tomorrow's finish line.  We finished by 10, which isn't too bad considering there are only two of us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Little Lot Better

So today has pretty much been awesome. After my last post, I headed out. I

- Got to know Ryan from Crocs a little better

- browsed at J.Crew, Gap, and Nordstrom Rack for a while

- Unintentionally wore the perfect conversation-starter: my Oregon beanie. Everyone wanted to talk this upcoming weekend's civil war game.

- Met a guy named Jeff who talked to me for a while about

- Headed to Pike Place Market

- Listened to a guy play "Oh, Chrismas Tree" on a saw. Oh, the irony.

- Got to throw a crab!

- Watched the sun set

- Met a one-armed guy named Elvis and gave him my remaining 57 cents in change.

-Browsed books at Elliot Bay Book Company

-Gave directions to a lost couple

- Had a peppermint mocha at the original Starbucks

- Tried out the Blackberry Storm. It's absolute crap - the touchy-click screen thing feels cheap and the user interface is disappointing at best

-Talked to my parents on the phone. Happy 31st anniversary Mom and Dad!

And to follow all that fun up, I had pretty much the perfect workout in a really nice hotel gym.

- 30 minute run
- 15 minutes stair climb
- 15 minute elliptical
- 15 minute arm/shoulder weights
- 15 minute core workout
- 30 minute lap swim
- 15 minute hot tub soak

I feel good.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A Sign

Though the Westin Seattle is a nice hotel in general, the best feature of the room by far continues to be the excellent view. I like sitting at the desk doing work just for the view.

Anyway, so far today has been a fairly typical expo set-up day, only with less staffing since it's just Molly and I from Q now. Lots of rides in freight elevators...

And walking around back rooms in the hotel...

I haven't had the best day so far... not that there's anything in particular wrong. I'm just a little sore, cut and bruised from set up. I wasn't particularly looking forward to this afternoon, partly because I don't have a whole lot going on and I feel like I have already explored much of Seattle in the past. I'm also feeling the fact that the end of the tour is very near, partly because there's no longer really a team to hang out with, and Molly just took off until Friday with her family. So anyway, all that added up to me being a little downtrodden on the way up the elevator to my room after set-up UNTIL....


I don't know where/who they came from or why they are in my room, but I found them nicely wrapped sitting on the desk when I came in. Houskeeping hasn't even gotten to cleaning yet, so it couldn't be them. They are delicious! And now I feel motivated to go out and do something fun. Yeah, it was probably just hotel hospitality staff doing their job, but don't ruin the moment! As far as I'm concerned, they showed up magically as a sign that I'm stupid for being down about nothing. Now to go conquer the world!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seattle Evening Stroll

I took advantage of clouds lighting the skies above Seattle combined with some recent rain to go take some pictures at night. I continue to be impressed by this camera, and I've found I really enjoy shooting in the dark. There's something about the warm colors you get from a slight overexposure that is very satisfying. The first photo is the view from my hotel room. Pretty spiffy.

Monday, November 24, 2008


It was really neat to see Lake Shasta for the first time yesterday. It was not so neat to see just how low it is.

And of course, Mt. Shasta.

Last night I went to the movies with Rachel. I'm not staying with them this time around in Eugene. Instead, I'm staying at the Red Lion Hotel - the one that was right on the way to the grocery store from my apartment. Anyway, I thought the truck in the foggy lit parking lot was worth a picture. When I parked, it was surrounded by cars. When I came back, it was looking a little lonely. And cold.

Then we dropped off the truck and went to Dough Co, a Eugene late night staple. Their calzones and cookies can always be relied upon for some delicious nourishment.

Today, instead of seeing anyone or doing anything, I've stayed in. I left the hotel briefly for some Hawaiian Time for lunch (scrumptious!), and then again at dinner for a brief stroll to Borders and Cafe Yummm (toothsome!), but other than that it's been a day at the hotel. Sounds lazy huh? WRONG! I applied for 4 more jobs, updated my iPhone software, found several more jobs to apply for, followed up on two jobs I've already applied for, listened to some new music, worked out, and blogged!

My computer screen has looked like this much of the day.

I definitely agree with my mom that far too many of these applications require you to send a resume and cover letter and then also an application that basically includes a good chunk of the stuff found in the resume and cover letter. Just look at the resume! I've put far more time into that than into your application. Mine is really attractive looking anyway. Much more so than your clunky online application that tries and miserably fails to extract information from my resume.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SF Revisited

What on Earth is this thing?  I got passed by it heading towards Vegas from St. George.  It was very loud, looked home-made out of numerous pieces of sheet metal, and seemed to be styled after a sports car/tank/airplane combo.

Anyway, after a fairly uneventful stop in Bakersfield, CA we proceeded on to San Francisco, where I immediately met up with Joey to do some work.  It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I sat in his office with him for several hours on Friday night brainstorming how to monetize his company's product.  White-boarding ensued.

After that we went out in North Beach/Chinatown and met up with Erika, and acquaintance of Joey's.  I'm not sure when/why this picture happened, but it's kind of interesting.  It almost looks like a movie on the LCD screen.  We went back to Joey's for some poker, and Joey proceeded to fall asleep so we stole all his chips.

Saturday we headed out for a quick 9 holes of golf at Golden Gate park.  It's a surprisingly nice muni course with views out at the Pacific Ocean through the trees.  The ninth hole we kept hearing nearly everyone that teed off yelling fore, so we decided they were particularly bad and we would make sure to not hit at anyone.  That mentality of course led me to put my first shot left of the narrow fairway right at #1's tee box.  Joey did the same.  I think it must just be bad hole design.

After golf, we went back to my hotel for a bit to take a cat-nap and get Joey some shoes.  He'll now be rocking lime green Santa Cruzes.  Then we went to a football watch party for the OU - Texas Tech game.  The game wasn't even close, but the company was interesting.  It was a group of 20 or so people, nearly all of whom work for tech startups.  It's a little odd to use all these various websites and then meet the people who actually work for them.  Digg's marketing manager was even there.

After a brief Guitar Hero rock session, we headed out for the night.  The highlight was seeing a Tesla roadster in person in the Marina District.  For those who aren't familiar, this is a brand new $100k+ fully electric sports car that has insane acceleration.  Only 30 or so have actually been produced and sold, so seeing one in person is a rare experience.

Today we're currently on the road to Eugene, where it will be interesting to play visitor to what was until recently home.  We're staying at the Red Lion Inn, which is right next to where I used to regularly grocery shop.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Catching up with the fam

Yesterday after arriving in Flagstaff I met up with my brother at NAU. He's busier than I've ever seen him, which is a good thing - fraternity, school, dorm life... We went for some supper at Red Lobster. Tuesday shrimp special. Yes, there's totally a creepy oversized hand thing going on here.

After dinner he had a last-minute fraternity meeting come up, so I went back to the hotel for a bit and then re-met up with him at his dorm and proceeded to hang out and catch up and meet various friends until well past midnight. On one hand, I miss dorm life. On the other, the insanity of the dorms and never getting anything done isn't particularly appealing at this point.

My brother continues to be hilarious in his own quirky way. His nickname is "Smooth" and he had some great stories ("I'm sorry, Taco Tuesday ends at 11." "But it's still Tuesday!"). He proudly posted his restraining order against a certain ex on his room door. Long story.

After catching some shut-eye, I set out around the Eastern edge of the Grand Canyon to get to St. George. Along the way, I spent time enjoying the amazing views and utilizing my camera.

I took the time to explore the area at Lees Ferry, the Northern end of the Grand Canyon just past the Glen Canyon Dam holding back Lake Powell.

The canyon is much smaller here, but it's really interesting to see the bright green Colorado River in a small canyon, knowing how quickly that small canyon turns into a massive one just miles downriver. (It's not a small canyon per se, but scale-wise it has a long ways to go to become "grand" worthy.)

The Vermillion Cliffs were also intriguing. It looks like there's a ton to explore in that area when I've got time in the future.

The oddest part of the day was starting at 4000 feet after leaving the canyon area and driving up into a national forest (don't you usually drive down to find more vegetation?) at 7000+ feet. Here's a view on the way up looking back towards the cliffs and the beginning of the canyon.

The road for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon branches off in the forest - I was severely tempted to drive to the North Rim, but was a little concerned about running low on diesel and being able to find a good station, given our recent experience with bad diesel.

After driving through the Kaibab National Forest, you descend right back down into rocky desert.

Tonight has been low-key hanging out with my parents. They saw the truck, I saw the changes in the landscaping, and we had sherbert.

And since the post topic is family, I should mention that our (middle-aged) puppy Pepper whom I miss dearly is living it up with his newly adopted family in Alaska. Clamming, tent camping, rolling in smelly things... I'm jealous.

Seriously... what could be better than getting wet and rolling around in the mud?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Floor Tectonics


Here we have the early stages of a convergent boundary with a subduction zone. As the figure illustrates, one plate of flooring is beginning to move underneath the other, resulting in an uplifting of the "mantle" flooring. Luckily, there is no volcanism involved or Nate's feet would be toast.


In figure 2 one can see a divergent boundary. This active rift zone is the root cause of much of the other tectonic floor shifting going on in the 20' by 20' known as Crocgaea.


In figure 3 we have a great example of a right-lateral strike-slip flooring fault.


Figure 4 presents a striking visual of the effects of a continental collision convergent boundary. The simultaneous uplift of both flooring plates results in a pleasant little hill we'll call Mt. Crocmore.


Figure 5 shows further development of the divergent boundary responsible for all the hubbub. Here we nearly have two separate continents. This large trench could give the Grand Canyon a run for its money if it were to scale. Don't get confused though - the Grand Canyon was created by water, not foot traffic and stiff carpet.


In figure 6 we have complete and utter chaos, with multiple floor plates doing whatever they please with no particular order or scientific theory. I think this might be something like how mountain ranges form. There would be two peaks here with a nice little pass through the middle.

Maybe a river would run through it.

It would also be the logical place to build an interstate freeway.

And in the winter it would probably snow, since they're mountains and all.

And since you've got an interstate and mountains, obviously a resort and ski area and golf course and reservoir would pop up.

Ok. I'm done.