New picture.

I finally started to grow my hair out because having it short made me look too much like a guy who thinks he’s a badass but isn’t. Or a guy who spends too much time at the gym thinking he’s that way. But man was it good for being lazy or wearing any sort of hat. My head itches when I wear a hat and no hair sure cured that. All day with a knit cap was no problem with a buzzcut.

As you can see from this next picture, I found out that fluorescent light is truly not flattering, I have gained weight, and I just look tired. Or maybe just old. At least my hair is longer.

All crossed up.

The past two weeks I haven’t been able to keep track of what day it is and I keep thinking it’s later in the week than it really is. I’m not sure why that is, but I think I mentioned that I’m tired but I can’t seem to get to sleep very easily. I shouldn’t complain because other than that I’m sleeping just fine.

It’s about six months until my long trip to Japan. I’m looking for short-term apartments because I’m planning to stay in Tokyo for a solid month and then wander around a bit. I’ve never lived in Tokyo and I figure it’s high time to just go and visit some of the neighborhoods I’ve heard about but never have seen. Maybe I should do the same for other cities, but for some reason Tokyo is calling to me. I think I found something in Korea Town just north of Shinjuku. We’ll see how it all pans out. Another thing I’m planning on doing is looking up the address of the woman my dad married and divorced in the 1950’s. That’s somewhere in Kyoto, and maybe it would just make more sense to look it up on google maps, but everyone needs an adventure once in a while, even if it’s pointless.

Stupid spring.

I’m having a hard time with sleeping properly and I’m blaming the seasons. I hope it’s not just because I’m getting old. I’m tired during the day and when I try to go to sleep I start hearing the voices from earlier in the day and sometimes even Morse code. I need to get off my radio but right now I’m trying to hear a guy on North Cook Island which has been about as uneventful as trying to hear the guy on Macquarie Island. Earlier I heard a guy from BurkinaFaso but there seemed to be a bazillion people trying to call him so I didn’t even try.

I went to the happiest place in the state today, the Department of Motor Vehicles! I thought it might be crowded because of spring break, but I think it was mainly because it was their “Monday”. I must have been pretty annoying to the people there because I kept telling everyone around me in line about how I thought the line wasn’t that bad. There were 30 people in front of me and it only took me about an hour of waiting to get another horrible picture for a new driver’s license.

I better try to get some sleep before I start hearing more imaginary Morse code.

And what have I been doing?

Most nights lately I’ve been busy playing with my radio. I “talked” to Tonga, Nigeria, and Senegal and it took a lot of my limited free time. I’ve described it to be like fishing with lots of waiting while listening to radio static while you tune around looking for signals. The propagation of radio signals is rather random as well, which makes it more fun. For example, I couldn’t get anyone from the Caribbean to hear me Friday afternoon, but I talked to two guys in Cape Verde off the coast of Africa. Weird. I’m always surprised who hears me and who doesn’t.

I’ve also done a lot of driving, though none this weekend because there was a radio contest. That’s really one of the only times that anyone’s even on ham radio any more. Two weeks ago I drove up to the ham radio swap meet, and last week I drove to the coast for Megan’s grandma’s funeral. It’s sad as the year pass that there are people I only see when there’s a funeral.

Traffic sux.

My commute to and from work takes about 25 minutes without traffic and some bending of the speed limit. And, as you’d expect, I’m not even keeping up with the fastest traffic. My midlife crisis car still doesn’t get the mileage you’d think it should (it’s a frigging Prius, after all) but the sound system has quite a lot of bass punch to it. I was driving 3MPH and trying to stay sane so I had my iPhone playing my usual shuffle, fast-forwarding past the non-dance music. I had a Justin Timberlake remix playing so loud that the rear-view mirror was vibrating and I couldn’t clearly see the guy right behind me. Fuzzy or not, I could tell how far he was so it wasn’t that dangerous.

Turns out there must have been quite an accident because it looked like there was flame-retardant foam all over the side of the road.

Yes, I admitted to playing Justin Timberlake at a loud volume in my car, sort of on purpose. And it was a dance remix.

Sugar daddies.

I seem to have all sorts of acquaintances who are going out with women who are around 30 years younger than they are, and the recently deceased 63YO editor of our local newspaper, The Oregonian, died at his 23YO mistress’ house. This from a paper who is too chickenshit to print the Doonesbury cartoon this week because they’re pointing out the ridiculousness of some of the recent anti-abortion or contraception laws.

Well, I’m reading the comics online, and I think I just “talked” to Nigeria on the ham radio using Morse code. They were going really fast and I’m not sure if I sent them enough info or not.

Sitting at my desk, late at night, reading comics on the intarwebs and sending Morse code to Africa. That’s what really gets the chicks.

Jet lag from DST.

I just spent a lot of ridiculous time trying to get my USB microscope working so I could look in my ear. I’ve given myself all sorts of grief in the past doing just this. I even irritated my ear to the point of getting an ear bleed once. But I’m still stupid enough to want to look in there to make sure I can clean things. After hours of updating my VMWare Linux boxes, I’ve gotten nowhere. For now I think I give up.

Yesterday was similarly exciting. Since I already did my taxes, I did my mom’s taxes. Woo. Life in the fast lane.

At least I’m in a fairly good mood for a Monday.

Ham radio swap meet (again)!

I drove two-and-a-half hours from Portland to the Puyallup Fairgrounds in Washington to the Puyallup Hamfest. It’s a swap meet focusing on ham radio equipment and is a lot different than the ones down in Oregon. What I’ve found is that the same stuff shows up year-to-year at the same swap meet, just owned by different people. But if you go to a different swap meet there’s different stuff. When I walked in I only wanted to buy one thing, and it is new and available on the intarwebs. So I knew I was driving 5 hours today and paying $8 to do almost nothing. Then I realized it was like visiting a museum. There’s all sorts of old ham radio equipment from my youth and even earlier and it was fun to look at. Plus there were old friends there I could talk to.

I generally don’t buy old ham radios because they have tubes in them and they don’t work as well as modern equipment does. As another friend says, it’s like we’re Civil War re-enactors. Using old gear pretending that we’re in olden times. I have an old receiver and transmitter in the basement and I don’t need to add any more.

One of the best parts was the drive back. I went through Lakewood, WA where there’s a huge Korean population and had Korean BBQ at Honey Pig. I also stopped for gas in Longview, WA, driving through the town and fantasizing about living by the lake. I really needed more sleep and less driving.

The high point of the day was getting checked out at the ham fair. An attractive and probably age-appropriate woman gave me a head-to-toe scan. She was probably a bored spouse and you can imagine that there wasn’t a lot of competition if I was getting the once-over. I still haven’t gained 100# and gotten my comb-over yet.

Once again I ask, why am I still up?

I had to get up early for a 7AM meeting. It’s not all that hard, since I’m usually at work around 7:40AM but just waking up a half hour earlier means my stupid brain worries about what time it is and I wake up during the night. I’m a little tired but I’m still screwing around updating my iPhone to iOS 5.1 and doing other useless things. I think I’m getting tired enough that I’m just googling random crap to answer questions that really aren’t that important. How long does it take to get to Puyallup (and am I going to drive by myself to the ham radio swap meet up there on Saturday – most likely yes)? How did I run out of windshield washer fluid so goddamn quick on my new car? Why can’t I find the obituary for my old ham radio buddy whose funeral is some time Friday?

I should  probably just get some sleep.

A case of the Mondays.

I was fairly crabby tonight because I stupidly checked my work email and because of the half-assedness that goes on at the gym on Monday nights. I was honestly daydreaming about quitting my gym and trying to get a membership in the Multnomah Aryan Club because I hear that the weight room is empty most of the time. I’d never last because I’d never get along and I’d have to dress nicer than I do to go to work just to get in the front door.

Fortunately I got a call from my buddy Il with good news. He and his girlfriend just bought a house together. It’s in a sketchier part of town than I like, but really everywhere is sketchier than where either of us lives now. That, and possibly listening to Notorious B.I.G., pulled me out of my funk, even after talking about his mom’s funeral and my dad’s funeral which were just a few days apart.

Speaking of which, why is it so hard to find an obituary for someone?

My Ukranian import.

It was a beautiful day but a ham radio contest was going on. I finally dragged myself away from the radio only to be reminded that I hadn’t finished my taxes yet.So, instead of sitting inside having fun talking on the radio I sat inside typing numbers into boxes and hoping I didn’t have to pay the government more money.

Most people would think I’d have a nefarious import from the Ukraine or some poor deluded mail-order bride, but it’s an antenna analyzer. It checks to see if your antenna is properly tuned. Really useless for most people and quite uninteresting to them as well. Updating the firmware took a bunch of fiddling and I’ve used it one whole time already to see what the frequency span of my antenna was. Wow, talking about it was even less interesting than I thought.

I’m not sure if I feel any better or any more adult now that I’ve finished my taxes, but at least that’s done. And I got to play with my radio too.

Who called the hit on Andrew Breitbart?

i think I hear a bunch of stations on the radio tonight from all sorts of exotic countries, but I can’t tell for sure because they’re sending Morse code so fast that I can barely understand it. Was someone calling Montserrat or was someone calling from Montserrat? Sheesh. I know I heard Texas, but that’s not THAT interesting. Who knows?

OK, I have no love for Andrew Breitbart, but it almost sounds like someone called a hit out on him. But if they did, they must have been just sort of rich. As they say, a millionaire can have you killed, but a billionaire can have you disappeared. I’m guessing it wasn’t someone with billions or the power of someone with billions. Or the poor guy could have just died of actual natural causes.