I can’t say more than this picture does. I was in North Plains, Oregon today, helping my friend construct part of his base for a 70′ ham radio antenna.

The base of Fred's tower.

I left before dinner which was venison sausage and sauerkraut. They were calling it a “Sausagefest” which really describes every ham radio event I can think of.

I did want to make it to a barbecue this weekend but it ended up being a pizza party. Not quite the same thing, but more suited to the current weather conditions. Seems like it’s time for rain again.

Something I might be good at.

One thing I’m not that great at is this stupid iPhone game that I’m addicted to, Aurora Feint. There are timed puzzles where you’re supposed to clear away blocks at a rapid rate and I’m ALMOST getting there under the time limit. ALMOST. So, of course, I keep playing. Phooey.

I might be good at inviting myself to barbecues. Not the real Southern US kind that require wood-fired smokers, but the kind that mean grilling. I’ve successfully invited myself to one in the Bay Area two years running, and I may have invited myself to one in SE Portland tomorrow. We’ll see. It may actually rain us out tomorrow.

Also, I’ve found out the price for much of the house renovation. Every little piece is around $10,000, plus or minus 50%. The furnace, $12,000. The electrical, $7,000. Plumbing, I don’t quite know yet, but I bet it’s in the same range. The bathroom is probably divided into windows, plumbing, and cabinets, but they’re probably all within that range I gave.

In any case, we’ll find out soon enough. I’m going back to my iPhone game.

Plans for the future.

I think I’m supposed to have a series of plans at this point. A plan for my career. A fitness plan. A plan for my further education. A plan for my lackluster romantic life. A plan to make these plans.

But this is America and if it’s not worth doing half-assed, it’s not worth doing at all.

The problem is that bumbling through life you bump up against these people with plans and they’re kind of annoying. Not only that, but they’re probably from the East Coast and went to some Ivy League school and haven’t figured out just why we don’t drive that fast here in Oregon. You only drive fast if you’re trying to get somewhere else. That’s why when Oregonians are driving in Washington, we’re driving really fast, because we know they’re bad drivers and we don’t want to be there. If we stop, we might have to buy something and pay Sales Tax.

No one really wants to be on the highway in L.A., so they’re all driving really fast. Most of Portland is OK, so we’re not driving fast unless we’re on I-205 or US 26 or 82nd Avenue or Foster Road. I’m usually driving fast on the way to work because I really don’t want to be there either.

So this weekend I may just drive around under the speed limit. These three-day weekends are pretty nice because a bunch of people leave and it’s like the Portland of yesteryear. I may even go out and buy a Sno-Cone or an Icee.

Geniuses attract genius friends.

I was looking at my work email last night because I am an idiot. Well, one of my co-workers was online as well and he told me that he had flown his radio-controlled airplane into a tree. If you click on the link for the tree, you’ll see a nice google maps picture. A nice big field with two trees at the very edge and the genius flew his plane straight into it. I consider the genius a friend, so when he asked me to help him extricate the plane from the tree, I knew I’d end up helping him. We were lucky, no one had stolen the plane and the wind hadn’t knocked it out of the tree. It was pretty stuck in a bushy tree.

The thing is, no one was willing to climb the tree but me. I guess I have some experience watching my dad, who was still climbing much higher into his seventies. I’ve also done plenty of climbing around while pruning the trees at home and once I got stuck on the roof and only got down by jumping into a tree next to the house. Funny how the guy in his 40’s was up in the air wearing a dress shirt while the kids in their 20’s were on the ground.

I’ve also decided I miss getting my bills in plain white envelopes. I used to use the “back of the envelope” for taking notes but now there are advertisements printed there and all I can do is recycle the things. I found a stack of printouts from my when I got my MS in Computer Science so I probably don’t need the envelopes.

I used the scrap paper to sketch out my new bathroom and I think I’ve made some errors. I sure hope I can move the toilet around or there’s going to be some space issues. Maybe if I just make some sort of bridge so I can get to the shower I’ll be OK.

My sister, QOANJ.

I went to get a massage earlier this week and I found out that my sister has a list of nutjobs. #1 is the TMJ specialist she goes to. #2 is the massage guy. #3 is me. Well, the massage guy told my sister that she’s the Queen Of All Nut Jobs. A promotion, like how the Head Honcho at the gym is now the HMFIC.

I wasn’t really feeling all that peppy at the gym today and even at the start of the workout I was feeling a little lethargic. It was “Jackie” which meant, row a bunch, more thrusters than you want, and then a bunch of pull ups. My triceps are still shot from all the pushups we did on Monday and the “half moons” yesterday got my core tired as well. The idea is to do better than you did the last time, but at some point I just had to say, “Meh, that’s good enough.”

Which is what I have to decide at work around 5PM or I’ll be there forever. Yeesh. 7 hours of meetings in a day and they expect me to get work done?

You’d think drawing would be easy.

I’m trying to find some software so I can draw my bathroom. You’d think it would be easy, but I can’t seem to find anything cheap and easy. Real architects use software that’s hard and expensive, but I’m just going to make some cheesy drawings for myself. Like I said, you’d think it would be easy. Oh, how I long for the days of MacDraw.

I also wish there wasn’t so much going on at work. There has to be some sort of happy medium between being bored and being so slammed that I use lunch to hide from my email. I suppose it might be easier if I were more competent, but for some reason I think that it wouldn’t really help. What would really help is some sort of mind control tricks so people who are convinced of the wrong thing will see the light. You know, so when they try to violate some fundamental law of physics, I don’t have to argue with them. Faster-than-light travel is fine for the Sci-Fi Channel, but it sure doesn’t work with computer parts. And when other peoples components are broken, no amount of fixes on my part are going to make the whole thing work. You get the idea.

Guy Fieri is my hero.

Just wanted to say, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives is not something I should be watching before dinner. I saw some people talking trash about his cooking show, but I’ve never seen it. Triple-D is the shiznit and that’s all I need to know.

Watching the barbecue show gave me serious cravings for the brisket at the Willamette General Store in West Linn and I finally made it back there today. I think the brisket could use some more smoke, but I really shouldn’t try to improve on something so tasty. They’re a Trager dealer and they also run the grills and sell smoked meats and sandwiches. Funny thing to sell at a hardware store. If they were any closer, I’d be much fatter. Fortunately, they’re 30 minutes away and that’s when I’m driving like a maniac.

Happy Birthday to the HMFIC!

It’s the Head Honcho’s birthday today. He’s catching up and in two more years he’ll be my age. (But then I’ll be two years older. My plan is not really working.) In any case, getting older sure beats the alternative.

I may be the silliest person at the gym, but I’m not the most talented. I can stand around looking pale with the best of them.

Pale dudes standing.

But to get serious madness, I have to get help from the animator Nick Childs of Muledick fame.

Todd and the discus.

Todd and the pommel horse.

Todd and water polo.

That’s right. I’ll be the guy at the gym with the medals around his neck.

Lazy enough day.

I wasn’t feeling all that peppy this morning. I woke up several times during the night, and then my neighbor started watching the final Olympic basketball game at 7AM. Or at least he opened his window and started hooting and hollering at 7AM. I didn’t feel all that great. I did sort out a couple more boxes of junk and cut some of the neighbors bushes that were hitting our garage. There was also weeding and pulling of ivy involved, which is a lot more than I thought I’d do when I got up.

My mom wanted to go to the Thai restaurant and we risked walking in the rain because there was a break in the weather. Unfortunately the Thai restaurant (E-San in NW) decided to close on Sundays. So we tried the new pizza restaurant (Mangia Pizza) and it was expensive but good. Pretty much just like everyone else was telling me. And that is the extent of my day.

Everything happens at once.

Today I was invited to two things going on at the same time, a wedding reception and a 25th Wedding Anniversary. I made it to both, fortunately. I think there was a lot of stuff going on this weekend, as it’s one of the last weekends of the summer and the weather was great. I went to the reception first (fashionably late due to conversations about my bathroom remodel) but didn’t leave right away because there were fewer people there than most of us expected. I can’t abandon a guy in the middle of all that.

Besides, the place the reception was being held was the same place that one of our gym members works. She’s been missing lately, so I figure I should post her picture just to remind people what she looks like.

Missing from the gym.

Of course she told me she’s been busy, working 10-hour days, etc, and she was even working on a Saturday. But we should remind her that the Head Honcho of the gym is welcoming and is not a frightening man, unless of course you’re smaller than him and challenge him to a wrestling match. (No, not me, my primary means of self defense consists of running away and hiding.)

I’m a sucker for surveys.

Somehow I get sucked into all sorts of surveys. Phone surveys, intarweb surveys, and sometimes even focus groups. I’m stupid about it because I’ve been paid money to attend focus groups so I guess that’s one of the reasons I answer the questions. I’ve watched several TV shows for surveyors and usually they’re awful. I kind of liked Hawaii but they never got ahold of me for my comments, which would have been, “It’s frigging Hawaii. Where are all the damn Asians?”

Tonight I watched a new show called Captain Cook’s Extraordinary Atlas. The main protagonist was an 11-year-old girl and so I thought it was a kid’s show. But the rest of the show was very dark and scary, so I have no idea who the hell the audience is supposed to be. I’m remembering how I was at that age and I would have had nightmares for years if I saw this show. But other than that, it was kind of weak. It’s like after reading something like Harry Potter and getting really sucked into the story and then reading some weak wizard story that was marketed to suckers who wanted more but didn’t really deliver.

In other words, it wasn’t worth it. It felt like a PBS show at times, then a WB show, then ABC kids, and finally it just didn’t satisfy any of the expectations. Oh, well, I’m sure someone will like it.

More New, Improved, but this time at work.

My work email is being upgraded tonight. If this goes as well as any IT operation at every company I’ve worked for, it could very well be a disaster. It’s probably going to be a good day to go to work and make sure things are working, and not a good day to hide like I was planning, darn it.

It was pointed out to me that the yoots at the gym might not have ever been exposed to such wonderful bands such as, “Oingo Boingo,” and they might be worried about the songs I was singing along to. I believe this because I was eating a very unhealthy lunch today and along with the so-called “food” we were listening to some sort of awful music-ish radio station. It was as empty as the calories in my hamburger. Looking at the the playlist on their web site, I think the worst of the songs was by, “Michael W. Smith,” followed in horrendousness by, “The Backstreet Boys.” Ugh.

I also had a salad but that wasn’t enough so we went to Sonic where I ordered some sort of fried ice cream thing. That, too, probably wasn’t anything that could be classified as “food” but I ate it all anyway. It’s just been that kind of week at work. Oh, the things I do to avoid going back to work after lunch.

If I had any choice, I’d go to Grand Central Baking and have another BLT. They only make them when they can get heirloom tomatoes and they also use very tasty and peppery bacon. It’s a wonder I can see my shoes to tie them.

Grand Central BLT.