tuzemi: (Default)
We got through the inspection step and are now in a binding contract with no further negotiations needed.

I could cry. Seriously, I am so happy that we are moving forward. Looks like we'll be staying here for the foreseeable future.

Are you ready?
Elsa happy at the end
tuzemi: (Default)
Last week was really nice. Four of five of my work days I got to hang out with my wife for lunch, most of those times meeting near the Aquarium and sitting on a bench looking out over the water. The water taxi port just south of the Aquarium has some nice spots that are pretty quiet even when the tourists are out in force. Work is also going well, we just completed another "sprint" and I got basically all my tickets done.

This weekend we had a lot of walking outside. Saturday I hopped the subway to Sullivan station and then walked a mile down Broadway to get a haircut and some Chinese food, then grabbed a bus+subway to State St. station where I met my wife and we walked to the stores at Downtown Crossing, walked out to the stores by Copley by way of the Commons and watched the geese/ducks and lots of folks out there, then into the BPL to check out some CDs, then back to Downtown Crossing to finally buy something that I'm going to return today anyway. Oh well. Yesterday was back out to the Commons where my aunt and my cousin came up from Scituate and we meandered for a few hours down to Chinatown and back. There was a group of college kids playing Qwidditch which was funny. (Though I think the rule on snitches is stupid - they should at least be forced to stay in sight of the arena.) It was nice to see some family. For me it's been over a year to see any family at all, and these particular people it's been four years. Now I'm sunburned pretty good and getting ready for another week of work.

I'm also officially kicking off my actual hard-core diet today. I still won't watch the scale (it's been hidden since the move), but I know I've been losing weight without really trying. I'm down a pants size and my shirts are getting a bit baggier. I'm almost able to truly fit into my smaller sweater, probably another month or more at full diet pace.

Well, off to get my breakfast and make my salad for lunch.


Apr. 15th, 2013 07:21 pm
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This morning while walking to work I passed what looked like 20+ buses in a line slowly working down Cambridge street. Then I spent the next few hours closing two tickets and getting two others to needs_qa, and my wife texts me to call her. She had seen the news down in Texas while I had no idea. I bailed work at 3:30ish and walked home in a bit of a daze.

It's so weird today. The city keeps moving, but there's this ... thing in the air and on everyone's face. A lot of people didn't know and were doing normal touristy stuff, but you could quickly see the people who did know. A bit more obsessive over the cell phones than normal. Some folks hugging or holding each other.

12 years ago I lived far away from it and my first reaction was anger at being attacked. Today it was only about a mile away and I only feel sad for the people hurt and killed. Maybe it's the scale of it: thousands killed are so many it becomes abstract, especially if you don't know anyone from there. But Boston is different now, I really live here. We had marathon signs up for weeks already. It's not far away, it's my almost-home now. I'm sure I know a friend-of-a-friend who was hurt.

I think I will finish off my bottle of port in the bath now.

Rest day

Mar. 16th, 2013 08:36 am
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We are finally taking a day to rest after the last 4 weeks of crazy. The plan is to watch Netflix, get me a haircut (very easy as we are only a few blocks off Broadway in Somerville), take some naps and a hot bath for her, and maybe get into the moscato but maybe just stick with water.

So far I have done three lunches with coworkers which included sandwiches twice and Umberto's Italian (calzone and one pizza slice). I must conclude that a) city food tastes really good and can be almost as cheap as suburbia food, but b) my digestive system is approaching celiac-like anyway due to simplifying it so much. In other words it tastes awesome going down but hoses my evenings at home. I really can't wait to get our own place and have the fridge space to get back to salads, vegetables, and simple meats and fish.

Work is doing good. I got my first ticket done (trivial) and am almost finished with the second. I'm now running a 100% Linux desktop (Debian and KDE/XFCE) and can reach nearly everything I need: the Windows share, a printer, email via IMAP (both mutt and kmail), IM through Googletalk/Jabber, and of course my dev VM via ssh. Yeah, I really missed this. Right now I am in a weird corner room but should be joining the rest of my team in 2ish weeks.

Boston itself is awesome. We've had some nice sunny mornings that make my current commute through Bunker Hill very pretty. I've found both bus and subway routes to work. Last night we had food at the Burren in Davis Square, the best clam chowder I think I've ever had and she was happy with her fish and chips.

Off to the day then.


Mar. 10th, 2013 08:53 am
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We made it to Boston yesterday evening. We are a mess of hurts and aches but we managed the tightest fastest move in our lives and I am damn. proud. of us both for pulling it off.

details of the timeline so I don't forget )

I have never had this kind of energy before. We schedule in some rest and a few hours later I bounce out of bed ready to do more. I got my first 8 hour night last night and I'm finally slowing down.

Last night we took a cab from our hotel near the airport to an Italian place in East Boston and had ravioli, meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, and some really nice bread to scoop up the sauce with. The noodles were a huge cut above the standard chain fare, and the crowd was mostly locals with a very distinctive Boston accent. Even though we were bushed, it was very nice.

The hardest part is not thinking that we are tourists who will have to leave someday. No, we are really here now.

I start my new job tomorrow, and next week we get keys to the new apartment. This afternoon we head to an AirBNB in Somerville and begin exploring the area. Next weekend I have a Linux thing to do at Harvard and we have a date.
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My last day with the company was supposed to be Friday, but instead they had a layoff yesterday. Since I had completed all of my assignments (took a lot off hauling ass the last month to manage) by noon yesterday, my manager graciously let me exit with the rest of the folks. It's great for me as I get to help my wife pack up today, but really sad to see so many people cut on one day.

They made a really deep cut into my former team. It feels a lot like the dot-bomb all over again. But I need to shake the funk off as I've got my next job starting on Monday.

Today we kill the Internet. See y'all later!
tuzemi: (Default)
Long long time ago,
In a galaxy far away,

...well you know the rest. Weird Al rocks.

Back in the old place I had a job that royally sucked but was nailed to because we Had A House. Then came a new employer and corporate relocation and we became renters again, and after pulling every spare cent of house equity (which still didn't cover our improvements but hey) and living so much cheaper in our apartment because we weren't going to Home Depot buying stuff for it, we cut my school loan debt by 50% and mostly eliminated credit card debt. We're on track to pay off the rest of school in 3 years and finally be free.

But last week we started running some numbers. There are places around here that foreclosed in 2008-ish, then got some serious upgrades, and are now on sale for 40% less than our old place. And the loan rates are under 4% - which is really freaking low. We could in theory be in a house with a lower monthly payment including tax and insurance than our current rent.

If I assume that I will have 12-18 months of employment (big assumption I know, except that I've never felt this good about any of my jobs before), then it becomes in our economic best interest to buy. And if I lose my job before then, a house payment in this area is actually about the lowest cost of living in the entire damn country that is still safe, not totally boonies, and has a decent mix of other jobs for both of us to apply to. And part of our Ireland trip finances included gathering up some cash which turns out is actually enough to cover the down payment.

We've been looking at a particular house for over 8 months it's been listed. I signed a formal offer on it last night.

I'm nervous of course. But hopeful too.

The saga begins again.

Dia dhuit!

Nov. 25th, 2012 07:42 am
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Our night-before-Thanksgiving date was to visit three different branches of the city library (which BTW I love this town, we have more books spread across the branches than any I've ever lived in) and checked out All The Things about Ireland. Then we spent Thursday and Friday working through a couple of the guides and finalizing our plans. We're both very glad to do this now as places are already booking up, but now we've got all but one night set. We'll be hitting Dublin, Galway, Killarny, Limerick, Belfast, Derry, and lots of smaller places along the coast and few sites in the Midlands.

Now I've got nine months to learn Irish well enough to read the newspapers and ask for the bathroom.
tuzemi: (Default)
Yesterday morning I cast the most conservative Presidential vote in my life, for someone to the right policy-wise of both Richard Nixon and George Bush Sr.

I'll let you decide who that might have been.

(And now the markets can settle down, which will be very welcome news for my employers. Conservative or liberal matter much less than just general policy stability when you're trying to re-engineer manufacturing facilities over a span of 5-10 years.)

In much brighter news, very happy to see both Warren and Baldwin in the Senate, and the voters directly choosing to support gay rights in several states. The voter-driver direct challenges to our insane Drug War are also welcome.


Oct. 22nd, 2012 07:16 am
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Not a bad weekend. I cooked my food for the week, we washed the outside of the cars, had some time to just hang out, decided that we're not going to my visit at all next year (which is a damn relief), and saw Friends With Kids which was mostly funny and little painful but generally quite good.

Now we're trying to decide what to do with Thanksgiving. There are cheap tickets available to go to Boston which would be great but would still be pricey before we're done. Other options include a stay-cation in a local hotel, or a smaller cheaper trip to Chicago. Part of my problem here is Traveler's Curse: we keep hitting the road when the loneliness gets high rather than try to find more locals to hang out with. But another part is that I'm getting tired after all these years of living in bedroom towns. But after this week's realizations, I'm thinking of volunteering or something for Thanksgiving just to break up the monotony and maybe meet some decent folks for real. We'll see.

On to another work week.
tuzemi: (Default)
A many-months-long effort just cleared a critical milestone this week at work. The upshot is that it looks like I'll have about 6x my salary next year in cost savings, with an additional 20x made possible by clearing the way for some other peoples' projects. My first serious improvement and I'm pretty happy about it. It also cements my understanding of a particular process that had baffled people for several years, I can now explain everything we have ever seen except for one line worker's comments that I now believe to just be an incorrect recollection.

Well, onto the weekend.
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Grand Rapids is one hell of a cool city. It reminds me so much of Austin TX circa 1992 it isn't funny. It's also this weird mix of super-Christian stuff (due to so many Christian universities/seminaries) and beer hippies. Makes perfect sense for Mars Hill church to be there. BTW this is the "hippie granola bar Mars Hill", not the "ultra-conservative Dominionist Mars Hill" from the west coast. I only wish Mars Hill had a planting out here, we could really do that. Plus they chose to keep teaching through Acts like it's any other Sunday than go all Political Pastor Piss Off The IRS Day.

Having visited several of the GR breweries with highly-touted beers, I have concluded that something is really wrong with my taste buds. Founders' beers honestly did not impress me at all (though the service was great), nor did Hopcat. I really like Guinness and Chimay (the blue bottle), I find Molson and Shiner Bock and Killians Red OK, and I can tolerate commercial lights like Budweiser/MGD/Dos Equis/Corona/etc. But the microbrew IPAs and stouts I just can't get into, they leave this gross aftertaste everywhere. On the liquors, whiskey and tequila are right out, rum and bourbon are OK when mixed with colas, but vodka and flavored liquors like Kahlua and Baileys about the only thing I like anymore. My alternative hypothesis is that the microbrews just aren't as good as people want to believe.

I'm thinking that career #2 (what I'm doing now) will be good for another 5-10 years but after that I think we're going to be done with living in the little exurbs and the manufacturing facilities no one wants in their backyards. I know we're affected by the Traveler's Curse, but seriously why can't we live in a real city? (BTW shout out to Portland OR, it tied with San Francisco as our AirBNB's most desired city to live in.) Career #3 I want to be portable, where I can really live and work out of home and can do 4-6 hours a day on average. Thinking either engineering consultant or direct programmer; by then maybe even oDesk prices will have risen where I can get $20/hr on the right projects.
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My wife has been visiting family and friends the last couple weeks, and tomorrow night we finally get back together for hopefully a nice weekend in a new city. In the meantime I setup with a new Family Video store (seriously a very nice Old Skool video chain with dirt-cheap prices) and have been watching through five movies this week. A brief rundown...

The Cabin In The Woods is frankly hilarious. I won't spoil it, but I was laughing a lot of the way through. OK, I'll spoil one bit: I absolutely loved the part that goes Ding! and someone says "Oh shit!" That part was worth a couple re-watches.

Wedding Daze was so-so. I've found that Jason Biggs' characters in every romcom just grate the hell on my nerves, but then Isla Fisher is the cutest damn thing and makes up a lot for it. A couple funny moments from Cipher make the rest of it palatable. I think it would make pretty decent Netflix background movie fare.

The Watchmen was forgettable. I read the comic so I had a good idea of what was coming. Rorschach was by far the best character, but the other actors did alright by their characters except for Dr Manhattan, he really needed to be a lot more of a baritone voice. The sex stuff was overplayed, yeah it's a big deal in the comic but not nearly as much as they portrayed in the movie. Honestly I was flat bored through most of it.

An Education was pretty good. Jenny is way too smart for her age as a character, but Carey Mulligan portrays her brilliantly. It's one of those films where kind of everyone comes off looking like an ass except for the headmistress who is an ass but comes off looking pretty wise. The period outfits are gorgeous, both the scenery and all the people (even the besotted boy). But I just have a "thing" with the 1960's: every movie that tries to glamorize it (looking at Across The Universe) just makes me think of everyone as pampered firstworldproblem'ers and I've got no sympathy for any of them. "Oh woe is me, living in a time of amazing economic growth and dirt-cheap high-quality college education and the breaking of one social barrier after another and I can't decide what to do with my life because daddy is paying for an entire family including all the college-bound children on one salary." Well gosh, boo-fucking-hoo.

Enter the Void. Well, this one is really really interesting. I'm not quite through with it yet, but it has really sucked me in and I had to take a break to tell myself I'm not on drugs and not in the middle of one hell of a trip. I rarely get to see movies that treat the audience like adults. Weirdly enough the movie that this reminds me of is Ink which rates in my top three movies of all time.

That's it for now. Tomorrow morning is work and then I'm going to go pick up the wife.
tuzemi: My friend's hand holding the longbow (longbow)
For those wanting to see the longbow, I've got a picture but for various reasons don't want to host it on either DW or Picasa. What hosting services do y'all use and like? My #1 requirement is that it doesn't mind anon/pseudonymity and will hang onto the pics for a reasonably long time. (DW would be ideal but I don't want to enable email posting at this time.) Here's a thumbnail until I find a better image host. That's not my hand in the picture, it's the friend who found the longbow at an antique store and got it for me. The archery place warned me it might break after so long, but it did OK. I have to unstring it most of the time, but now that I have the tool I can use it on other bows.

So far today:

1. Weighed in, reasonably happy with the progress. I'm avoiding talking about hard numbers this time around, it's a mental game thing, but the good news is that the diet is having the exact same effect as it did on me two years ago. I'm a lot better also at sticking to it too.
2. Walked to Walmart, picked up some tangerines and a zucchini, and walked back, all told about 4 miles. Enjoyed my headphones and a cool sunny morning.
3. Cooked lunch and ate it. It's a treat while on diet to have a warm lunch.
4. Did my laundry.
5. Vacuumed the whole place.

All that's left now is fixing dinner and putting the soon-to-be clean sheets back on the bed.

I'm thinking of seeing Looper tonight too, maybe. These things are so freaking expensive now, but it would be a nice way to top off the day.
tuzemi: (Default)
I now have a working longbow and four arrows. Yeah, a longbow.
tuzemi: (Default)
So I've been working a whole year now, and seriously it feels like three have passed. Sooo much to do that one week feels like a month and two months feels like a year. But on the bright side, in about one more month I'll finally have some concrete dollars (cost savings) to show my manager along with hundreds of hours of crap work some of our floor folks won't have to do anymore. Lots of happy people I hope.

In home life though I really need to get a handle on work-life balance. We had July 4 off and really no idea what to do besides veg on TV and drinks. Hulk needs new hobby.
tuzemi: (Default)
It has been about 7 years (shit I'm old) but as of today I have no more broadband at home.

The recent storms probably did something such that our cable modem - which was already a bit flaky - completely gave up the ghost. Rather than get a new one we just killed the service. We have already had two days of no broadband and it wasn't such a big deal.

Obviously we still have some kind of connectivity so I can post this: our iPhones work ok for light use. But I still feel like our house is a lot More serene.
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I will identify two movies that IMHO suck for the same reason: Melancholia and Rachel Getting Married. I don't mind that these movies have weddings in them, or even that the weddings are central to the staging or plot. What irks me is when these weddings feature families and friends that are both ridiculously wealthy and obliviously unlikeable people. 10 minutes into Melancholia and I was ready for the planet to be destroyed because not one of the dozens of well-dressed folks had connected with me enough to want them to live on.

Damn. I normally look forward to Kirsten Dunst, even when she has a mean conniving role like Mona Lisa Smile.

Oh and to any Hollywood folks out there reading: for the love of God please do not start your movie with an entire 5-minute song and no other dialogue to "set the mood". It doesn't set any mood but "when will the movie start already?" I'm looking at Melancholia still but also Midnight in Paris.


Jul. 1st, 2012 07:43 am
tuzemi: (Default)
In my dream I'm hearing the THX sound.

In real life I'm snoring.

Weird dream )

Someday we'll get the means to record what we SEE in dreams. Hollywood will have its hands full competing with those visuals.
tuzemi: (Default)
Not at work anymore!

The crappy thing with being in the "enterprise" industrial space -- and one which honestly is important to the nation's economic future -- is that Everyone Wants To Steal Our Stuff, so we have to Break The Internet To Save It. It was bad enough being forced to run Windows for everything, it was much worse being behind MS IISPROXY which only passes http and https. Now we're sitting behind proxies that block on these categories:

  • Open source and freeware: now I can't check my own bugs on the lunch hour, or look at open-source science software.

  • Social networking: doesn't hit me much, but a lot of others have to use their phones for Facebook.

  • Entertainment: including a surprising number of political blogs. Oh well, I'm likely not voting this year anyway.

  • Network hosting: which also kills a lot of blogs. It's either this category or something else that kills connectivity to my system at home too.

  • Non-IE browsers: so now I finally uninstalled Chrome.

Due to a number of differences between 2010 and now, this doesn't feel quite as isolating as my last job. I've got an iPhone for when I really need to get online. I've got a separate Linux box that I can legitimately use for work purposes, though I could lose access to the Debian repositories at any time; if that happens I can bring my personal netbook in for an afternoon. I've also got lots of interesting work that I can do at home, so I could make some home "research days" and have both the real Internet without too much hassle. Mostly I'm going through some kind of mid-life change where the Internet is much less emotionally interesting than it used to be. A lot of it reminds me now of the constant drone and hum of high school which I desperately sought to get out of. I tossed my Facebook a long time ago. Now I'm thinking of tossing my LinkedIn profile too, but I'll probably wait another year.

With so much effort to reign in the Internet with apparently a lot of public support in most places (yes, people want free music, but they're willing to pay for iTunes if it means those dirty hippies and atheists stop being all visible and shit), I think the pendulum is swinging back to the 1980's model of Locked Up Stuff, except where back then it was typewritten papers hiding in locked filing cabinets now it's Word documents hiding in AD-secured Sharepoint Document Libraries.


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