Thursday, August 28, 2008

bits of angels falling, around me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Katie Picture

Another Katie Picture

New Job is good!

The layoff has indeed been the proverbial blessing in disguise. I have definitely traded-up and see all kinds of brightness in my new employment-future. The work so far is similar to the work I did before; SQL reporting development, except now I will have many greater opportunities to learn new technologies and have my hands all over every aspect of database administration and programming - opportunities I did not, and would not have had at Fairview. I'm digging deeper into SSRS than I ever have before and building with SSIS for the first time, I expect to be getting up close and personal with stored procedure functionality and ASP in the near future and diving deeper into .net all the time. I had no idea the grass was so green over here.

Some other positive differences so far: I don't have a pager, I'm never on call, my phone never rings, I get less than 1/10th the email, no more crap-tastic-application support, my boss who is cool and understands development work, checks in with me every couple of days but generally leaves me alone to focus - he's pleased with my production. I make a bunch more money too.

To tell the truth, the first couple days I was completely freaking out - like on the verge of panic, on the verge of getting up and leaving and not coming back, because I knew that I didn't know all of the things that I knew I would need to know (sounds like a line from the Honeymooners), - like I was a liar, an impostor, and any second it would become obvious to everyone there that I couldn't do it. ...I guess all new jobs are somewhat overwhelming at first. I finally realized that this role is truly an opportunity to produce the work by using my strongest skills - the scientific method: by figuring it out, trial and error, learning as I go, researching it on the web, building on past discoverys and connecting the dots - it's called "software development" and it's my new job.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Maeve today.

Como Zoo Arboretum


Grandma's town

Friday, August 8, 2008


...First there was Rockhopper. Manitou II fork: the beefy-ist inch and a half of travel available anywhere besides a pro-only three inch travel, triple clamp downhill fork - but who has an extra twelve-hundred bucks sitting around? Sweet helmet too - that's what I call ventilation!


Specialized Stumpjumper M2 1993. Silver-grey with red graphics. XT components. Specialized air/oil fork - like an inch and three-quarters of travel. Mavic SUP 217 rims with XT hubs. Shimano 747 clipless pedals. XT cantilever brakes. Panaracer Smoke/Dart tires. Ringle cages. Purple Yeti grips.

Steve bought a black M2 in 1992, the first year they came out. I remember sitting in his apartment looking at it thinking that the ultra-smooth welds and shiny components made it look like something from outer space compared to the bikes we had then. I bought mine the next year, the picture is probably 1995 or 1996. A couple of years later when the frame cracked Specialized replaced it with a dark blue one. In 1998 I got the green FSR and never looked back. I sold the blue M2 to a work friend (Dan O) around 2000 or 2001.


One bike to rule them, one bike to find them, one bike to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. The one green bike: 1998-2004.

Finally, in 2004 the frame at the top of the shock bent and Specialized replaced it with an Enduro which I am riding today. There is no question that the Enduro is a better bike in every way, - but there are deep memories connected to the green bike; many things I had never done before and many things I will never do again, things that make it un-replaceable.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ibanez Destroyer and tapered jeans

Scorpions Powermad Carcass Jesus and Mary Chain

The first concert that I ever went to was Judas Priest at the Duluth Arena, January 1983 - Screaming for Vengeance tour, still one of the best and most memorable concerts I've ever seen. I remember standing in line waiting for the doors to open with all of the burnouts and rockers; denim jackets and shoulder-length mullets, blue collar, KQDS-hard-rockers all the way. Nobody in early 80's Duluth listened to metal or looked metal, my small circle of friends were the only people I knew who listened to metal, and we didn't look metal - Judas Priest themselves in full Leather and studs - then defining the stereotypical look - seemed to be from the planet: Metal by comparison...

Anyway, there was this guy, probably just a few years older than me, obviously drunk; slow and groggy, looking for a place to sit down - to the mumbled cheers and jeers of the rest of the line. He finally sits down on the floor and moments later passes out. The cops are there seems like instantly. As they shake him to wake him, he pukes a river all down his jacket and onto the floor. The line roars with amused repulsion and the cop grabs the still sleeping guy by the back of his collar and drags him out the door to his car leaving a glossy trail across the polished stone floor. I kept thinking; what an idiot he's going to miss the whole show.

Anthrax Coroner Sisters of Mercy Dead Can Dance

Later that same year I went to Scorpions on their Blackout tour, this time at the Duluth Arena Auditorium which has fixed-row seating - the second concert I'd ever seen, and another blockbuster. A strange and unforgettable thing happened there too. I ran into a couple of guys I kind of knew from school (Jeff and Dayton) and we ended up sitting together. We had pretty good seats, only about eight or so rows back from the stage (because we had gotten there early and waited in line to get in first). Now I was nearly six feet tall then and both of these guys were taller than I was by at least a few inches; Jeff is pretty gentle and soft-spoken, I didn't know Dayton very much at all but he wasn't as mellow as Jeff.

When the show starts everyone is on their feet screaming and cheering. Dayton, who's down a couple seats from me decides to stand on his chair, which must be what caught my attention. The guy behind him is a kind of shorter stocky guy who now can't see and kind of smacks him a few times to get him to get down. Dayton turns around on the chair, looks at him, and kind of gives him a "ya, whatever" kind of gesture and turns back to the show. The guy shoves him off of his chair and he almost goes over the row in front of him. After he recovers his balance he turns and swings at the guy, I think he hits him. The guy doesn't flinch, and proceeds to pound Dayton in the face about six or eight times - rapid fire style. Dayton is flailing back but not really connecting with any meaningful force. The guy pauses like "had enough?" and Dayton holds up his hands like "yes I have". They both turn back to the show. Dayton holds his hands to his smashed and bleeding face and then leaves. The guy goes back to cheering for the band like nothing happened. Jeff gave both of us rides home after the show, we didn't talk much on the way.