Little Mr. Muffet...smashed and killed the large spider

While Colorado so far is shaping up to be great, I'm just glad I wasn't home for this. Leif killed this in our basement today:

Leif Killed This In the Basement Today

He identified it as a wolf spider, but geez...a big shudder here...

Please note the furry legs if you go to the larger image on Flickr. BLECH.

First Thoughts as to Our Move

It's been a few days since we arrived at the new house, but there's been a lot going on. We ended up blowing through Wyoming on Saturday (we were supposed to stop in Rawlins), and just bit the bucket and headed straight for the house. Arriving at around 9pm, we noticed that no one else had any lights on, so were wondering if people just went to sleep early or were all out. After letting the dogs out, figuring out some of the light switches, and unloading the car, we headed out to get some pizza. I'd like to say thank you to my TomTom 910 because without it we wouldn't have ever found the house, nor ever found anyplace to eat. We got back to the house, and our next door neighbor, Brian, was in the garage. The second we got out of the car he said "hi new neighbors, want a beer?" Both of us knew at that point we'd get along fine. We all stood on his driveway for awhile, meeting his wife, and some of the other neighbors, before heading back into the house, downing the pizza quickly, and going to sleep.

Sunday we weren't entirely sure what to do since our stuff wasn't arriving until Monday, so we just wandered around the area looking for random stuff and seeing where things were. Towards dinnertime, we opened the garage to leave to go to the store, when Brian called over to us from Kurt's porch (2 doors down), and told us to come over and get some beer. Hung out there for awhile, and after about 4 beers Leif mentioned he was hungry. I swear this is the nicest neighborhood. They knew we didn't have any food, or a fridge, and wouldn't let us eat takeout again, so Kurt grabbed some pork chops from the freezer, and we had grilled pork chops and veggies for dinner.

I was really worried about meeting people since I'm not going to be working yet, and Leif's working from home, but already we had met a ton of people, and EVERYONE is so nice! Everyone has offered to help us out with stuff if we can't find something, or need anything. Brian has already gone out of his way several times with beer, lending us a phone so we could test ours, directions, what have you. Both of us feel very welcome to this neighborhood.

Monday we got most of our stuff, everything except for the overflow shipment. I actually got sunburned sitting outside with the movers telling them where stuff went. Towards the middle of the afternoon, the 2 kids from next door and one of their friends were outside of our fence throwing a tennis ball for Loki. We had them ask their parents if it was ok if they came inside the fence to play with the dogs. The kids had a blast, playing with the dogs for about an hour. Their favorite part was filling up the water dish for Loki and watching him splash all the water out. Monday night I went to a scrapbook party (yes, already!!).

Today we attempted to go to the DMV to get new driver's licenses. If you ever want to learn about inefficiency, go to the Lakewood DMV. No appointments, 70 people ahead of us (you get a number for a certain line depending on what you want to do when you get there), 2 tellers helping out with the licenses. In 15 minutes, 5 people were helped. We looked at each other, decided the California licenses were good for awhile, and left. We're going to try going Friday morning at 8am, and maybe hit an outlying office instead of the main one. Both of us were flabbergasted though.

Things I've noticed so far that are different:

1) You can't buy liquor on Sundays, and you have to go to a liquor store to even get beer. The grocery stores sell beer, but it contains less alcohol than normal.

2) Every single person we've met so far, including all of the wait staff at the restaurants we've been to, all of our neighbors, and the teller at Wells Fargo, have been VERY FRIENDLY. It's kind of creepy and weird if you're coming from a state like California, but definitely refreshing.

3) The altitude does affect you. Both of us are more tired than normal, and really thirsty. I've also been told when you bake you have to change the recipe for high altitude.

4) Out of all the people we've seen, there's probably only been 1 I might stereotype as an illegal immigrant, and I wasn't too sure as to that one.

5) The DMV here is like the California DMV before appointments, a lesson in inefficiency. It makes you ill.

6) There is no helmet law here, we've seen a ton of people riding their motorcycles without one.

7) After the tax writeoff, we're paying less in rent for this house than we did for our little house in Santa Clara. Housing prices here are NORMAL!

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Moving and Driving

I'm not sure what the worst part about moving is: the packing, or having the driver who's supposed to move your stuff come look at everything, and realize the estimator mis-estimated by at least 2000 lbs and he doesn't have enough room on his truck for everything.

Thursday morning, August 10, 7:15am. The driver, Kevin, shows up ready to roll. Within 5 minutes of walking through the house, he sees the big-screen TV and asks if that was there when the estimator was there. Leif and I looked at each other and said "yeah, she saw it". Apparently he has 3 other loads on his truck, and those people were estimated correctly, but packed like little birds were going to be carrying the boxes, so they went over their space limit. We get unlucky enough to not only be mis-estimated, but last to load, so he can tell immediately there definitely won't be enough space.

He calls our estimator, who's on vacation btw, and challenges the shipment. She comes clean about how she knew about the big screen TV, but "never writes down if it's big-screen or not, I just write down it's a TV." Kevin and I roll our eyes. He informs her to send an overflow truck out later that afternoon. She says she can get one by 9:30am the next day. I almost go ballistic at this point since we're leaving at 9am to start driving. She calls me and tells me this. I inform her that if that's the best she can do, she can pay for my last minute plane ticket to Denver while Leif drives the dogs out himself. She definitely doesn't like that idea, and calls Kevin back in 10 minutes saying an overflow truck will be there by 3:30.

I have to say that Kevin, and the 3 guys he brought with them were absolutely without a doubt the best move team I've EVER had. They not only put up with my stress about getting our stuff out of the house, but were extremely efficient, and I couldn't BELIEVE how tight they managed to pack the truck. Everytime I thought they couldn't fit any more on the truck, they played a giant game of Tetris and got more on. In the end, everything fit except for 1 box of RC stuff, everything in the backyard (bbq, lawnmower, dog-igloo, patio furniture), our china cabinet, and bar.

The overflow guys did show up at 3:30 as promised and were done by 5:30. A big hearty thank-you to the 2 guys who drove their truck out from the Modesto area to come get our stuff. The main bulk of our stuff (on Kevin's truck) will get to us apparently on Monday, and the overflow I'm not sure about yet. I think it's in a warehouse at the moving company and it goes on the next truck going towards or through the Denver area. The really important stuff is in the main shipment though.

This morning we started driving to our new house, and towards our first stop in Elko, Nevada. Pretty much an uneventful trip. Definitely the longest trip in the car I've ever done (driving from Half Moon Bay to San Diego was my previous longest). Around Reno we got really hungry and just wanted to hit a drive-through someplace since it was too hot outside to leave the dogs in the car for any length of time. Leif insisted on getting a Big Mac, he just wouldn't go anyplace else. Note to the GPS companies: please keep your points-of-interest updated -the first McDonalds we tried to go to didn't exist anymore. The second one did, but hey, it still was annoying.

We stopped for gas around then too, and when I went into the gas station to buy some water, the first thing that hit my eye were the 10 slot machines in the store there. I guess you know you've entered Nevada, huh? Also apparently fireworks are extremely legal here since we saw a ton of billboards advertising fireworks being sold. One place was a cigarette AND fireworks store.

Day 2 is tomorrow. We're supposed to hit Rawlins, WY, but may try to push through someplace further depending on our timing, how tired we are, and if any other pet friendly hotels along the way have space.

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Blogging From Kelly Clarkson Concert

For Linnea's last day in the US, we took her to the Kelly Clarkson concert at Shoreline (Leif was thrilled). To keep my sanity, I used my cell phone to write some notes during the show.

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7:20pm Finally after standing in lines for 45 minutes we have a Kelly Clarkson hat, little stuffed dog animal with a Kelly Clarkson (says "I love Kelly Clarkson". It *should* say "I (heart) Kelly Clarkson" though) shirt on, and food. By "we" I mean "Linnea", although I have food as well. I opted against buying the $30 Kelly Clarkson hat. The concession people take the caps off the little bitty bottled water. I wonder why since you can bring in bottled water with the caps on. Their little bitty bottled water is $2.50 a bottle. I make mine last for about 15 minutes taking tiny sips.

7:55pm Rooney comes on..finally. They're not good enough to be 25 minutes fashionably late, but they don’t suck either. I give them another 2 years max before they fade into obscurity. The girls behind us scream like they’re the second coming. I don't think I was able to ever get my voice that high pitched, even at 15.

8pm Leif picks up his magazine (Astronomy) to read.

8:05pm 3 girls walk by, and by "girl" I mean in their 20's. One is wearing ugly ass gold tights. She's missing the matching gold hooker short jacket though, so her outfit isn't complete.

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8:07 Rooney proclaims it's great to be in San Francisco. Several people yell that it's Mountain View. They don't seem to follow the Simpsons rule of writing the city name on the back of the guitar.

8:10 Leif lays down on the blanket to sleep presumably.
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8:15 2 girls in the front row get called on stage to play the tamborine. I think they’re going to have a heart attack when they take pictures of themselves with the "omghe'ssohot" lead singer (say that in your best 15 year old voice).

8:20 Ok I give them a year. All their songs are bland and sound the same.

8:25 Fat women should not wear really tight halter tops, I’m sorry. Someone has to say it.

8:28 Leif starts getting into the concert

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8:40 Rooney leaves. Finally. The wait for the main event begins.

8:45 They show some Kelly Clarkson Vitamin Water ad and people freak out and think she's coming out. I laugh and roll my eyes, being a concert vet. The people in line in front of me in the bathroom start complaining they're missing the show. I silently hope they'll jump out of line so I'll get to the front faster, but no such luck. Maybe she'll be out by 9:30.

9:15 Looks like she's coming out, but nope. "You Shook Me All Night Long" is played and everyone knows the words. I think Kelly covers it which is probably why, but this is the original, so that's much much better.

9:20 Finally. I was 10 minutes off from my 9:30 estimate. The blonde in front of me starts jumping up and down. If it were a boy band I’d notice she probably isn’t wearing a bra, but it's not so I don’t pay attention.

9:23 A song I know - Behind These Hazel Eyes. I sing along with the 2 8 year olds behind us. Leif just gives me a look.

9:25 The adults in the audience have given up and are sitting down.

9:27 Kelly is wearing this weird black wristband. She could have carpal tunnel...but from what?

9:28 Crappy slow song. If this were a rock power ballad it might not suck so bad...but it's not, so it does.

9:30 She talks to the audience and sounds real. I’m not horribly surprised given she started on American Idol. She wishes a kid in the audience a happy birthday.

9:32 Leif gets bored

9:36 Some drunk guys come and stand next to us and get all obnoxious. I’m debating what to do and then they leave, but not before diving for the flying beach ball, almost landing on the girl sitting in front of us.

9:45 Ugh 3 slow songs in a row. Hurl.

9:48 2nd cover in like 30 minutes, and they’re not even that good. Wtf I came to hear her songs. We know she can sing covers..hello?? American Idol??

9:52 Damn, I think Rooney was actually better.

9:54 I lied. She went back to her fast songs so she's kicking it! That's me trying to be 15 again. Doesn't seem to be working too well.

9:57 She pimps Ford. I guess they’re sponsoring the concert. She sings the song they 'did' together (translation the one they wrote for her while she was under American Contract). Sucks. A lame video plays in the background.

I asked Leif earlier if he'd rather go to Kelly Clarkson or the Wiggles and he picked the Wiggles.

10:02 Another slow song. I feel like I know it, but it may be just because some of her slow songs sound the same.

10:05 I just noticed the guys behind us are dancing to her songs. Judging by how they look and the age of their kids, they're probably my age or older. I suspect they're the same ones I saw wearing homemade Kelly Clarkson shirts before the concert, but in the dark I can't verify that.

10:07 One of the backup singers looks just like someone taken from a 1980's Jane Fonda workout video, clothes and all. I keep expecting her to sing "work it" into the mic.

10:10 Why do people think cell phone pictures taken from really far away in the dark are going to have any chance at coming out? "Look, that little tiny blobby out-of-focus dot is Kelly Clarkson! Ohmigod!!"

10:15 Another song off her new album due I guess in February. Leif suspects it'll bomb with her target demographic - the teenybopper. It's a combo blues/soul song, and she likens it to the styles of Chaka Khan and Prince. You can hear the collective "who?" coming from the young ones in the crowd.

10:17 Finally a good song. An acoustic version of "Breakaway." Easily her best one so far.

10:19 "Since U Been Gone" is played. I like that song, but the spelling still bugs the crap out of me. Is it really that difficult to also type the letters "y" and "o"?

10:21 And we're done. Wow that was short. For a 3 hour concert we heard about 90 minutes of music. Thankfully we didn't spring for the $75 seats and got the cheapo lawn seats instead.

2 More Weeks

We're so close to moving, I can almost taste it! Although as I'm writing this, I look around and see all the crap we still have to pack up. Leif says we're "right on track", but I still don't think he realizes how much there is to do. Of course, I'm doing most of it since I'm off of work so it's easy for him to say that. :)

In any case, the last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.

I had a goodbye lunch at Yahoo.
The Viking Table!

We went to the Jelly Belly Factory.
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Dropped Linnea off at camp for 2 weeks.
One of the camp horses

Closed on the house.
Front of house

Had a goodbye BBQ for us where it was 105 outside and everyone crammed into our tiny living room just to get some of the AC (except for people like Leif who didn't want to be too far from the kegs).
There's nothing like an ice cold beer in the 105 degree heat

Created a memorabilia page for my Library of Memories assignment.
Memorabilia page for Library of Memories class

The Times They Have a'Changed

As part of my class at Big Picture Scrapbooking, I'm going through all my photos and memorabilia, from....forever. I've come across a lot of interesting photos and news clippings and such that I had completely forgotten about. I saw this one today, and just had to laugh.

This is from the Apple internal newsletter, dated September 17, 1995. At this time I was about 3 1/2 months out of college, Apple had literally just established their web presence, and I was the webmaster of the Apple Developer website. The date is important to put this quote into context.

...Developers like the fact that they can download the information they want - for free. We get about 10,000 people looking at our content each week. It's a really great service for them.

So in 1995, the developer site got 10,000 hits a week. I found some statistics on alexa.com, that shows the Apple website gets roughly 600 million - 1 billion page views a day. The developer site is 1% of that. So roughly the minimum page views per day for the developer site is 6 million, so per week the developer site will get 42 million hits. I know that's page views and not users, but still, that's still an interesting statistic.

Oh yeah, here's the crappy picture that went along with the article:

Apple Webmasters - circa 1995

Almost There...

It's just been insane lately. We're real close to closing on our new house, so I'm really really hoping that we make it through the last 2 weeks. It's been a real long close, I think it was 50 days, which is fine with us since we're not moving until August, but darn it, I just want the house to be ours! We've barely started packing - gotten boxes (Costco has a great moving kit which comes with a whole bunch of boxes), packing material, mirror boxes, styrofoam for the picture corners, and a whole lot of tape. I honestly think the worst part of moving for me is the packing. Just trying to figure out if you've packed the fragile stuff securely enough. At least we got our moving company figured out, although I'm still waiting for the Fed Ex I was promised on Thursday containing the official quote and info, instead of just an email.

Leif's niece is coming tomorrow so we're pretty excited about that. 7 months ago I got the bright idea that if she was doing real well in school, and doing real well in English that maybe she'd like to go to an American summer camp. The excitement that generated was unbelievable, and Leif found a fantastic camp. She's staying with us for a week, then we're driving her up, she's at camp for 2 weeks, then we're picking her up, with us for another 5 days, and then 5 days after she leaves we're moving. Whew.

I'm actually extra excited because I'm tired of hearing from friends "oh my nephew is staying with us," or "my brother is in town." My brother is a complete self-centered selfish bastard who refuses to come visit. I'll save that rant for another post though since that'll take up a lot of space, needless to say, it's just cool that she's flying on her own from Sweden and staying with us. I've figured out some stuff to entertain her with that she hasn't done out here before (this will be her 3rd visit, but the first without her mom) - Great America, Jelly Belly factory, the Kelly Clarkson concert, Great Mall...and oh yeah, she can help me pack.

And finally, I'm done at Yahoo as of yesterday. There's things I'll miss, and things I won't, but overall it was a good experience.

Library of Memories

I've been taking the Library of Memories class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking recently, taught by Stacy Julian. We're at the end of week 3, and it's definitely a whole new way of thinking about how to organize my photos for scrapbooking. I've had to go through my photos, sort them *all* chronologically, put them in easy-to-pull-out albums, pull photos for categories from the ones I just sorted, find random connections between photos that otherwise didn't exist, and finally go through all my existing scrapbooking layouts and determine what type they are from an existing list given to us. Phew. All in 3 weeks.

I'm having a blast so far though since I've seen some photos I completely forgot I had. My parasailing pictures from the one time when I went. I called my parents after the fact. Pictures of Leif dyeing his hair blue and then getting a call the same day saying he had to go meet a client for work RIGHT NOW.

Besides that, I finished reading The Dam Book, and have decided to rename and reorganize all my digital photos using that method. Oh I can still do my Library of Memories stuff, but first I have to rename all the digital pictures, then sort them by year, and then I can bring them into a program like Bridge and start tagging them. This is going to take months, but I feel like I definitely have a process for this.

Big Joe Has Hart

Yeah yeah, cheesy headline.

We just finished watching the NHL Awards show aired on OLN.

The big MVP award (Hart trophy) goes to...JOE THORNTON OF THE SHARKS!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

A good story on this on the Sharks website.

Yahoo Hack Day

I participated in my first Yahoo Hack Day yesterday and today. Coding was from noon on Thursday to 1pm on Friday, with hack submissions closing at that time. Basically the idea is what cool Yahoo thing can you write in 24 hours, be it something useful, something fun, or just something you've always wanted to do. The demos started at around 1:20 on Friday, and ended at 4:30, just in time for pizza and beer. While I can't talk about anything publicly since it's Yahoo internal stuff, mine had something to do with how long employees have been at the company. I didn't win anything of course, but I was not only impressed that I got something finished, but it looked decent, and I got a large round of applause when presenting (and several laughs as well), and it's something I can cross off my "must do" list. I've never participated in anything like this before because my coding skills...well...haven't been up to snuff, but as this was all web based (my code was Perl, PHP, MySQL, and an AJAXified (is that a word?) UI) I was able to hold my own without any problems.

6/21 - I found the NBC 11 video of the Hack Day story they did on their website. Unfortunately it's in Windows Media player format (asx actually), and my Intel MacBook Pro wouldn't play it, my parents couldn't play it, and few of my friends could, so I moved it over to YouTube for easy access.

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