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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Chris' LiveJournal:

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    Sunday, October 29th, 2006
    8:03 pm
    Traveling.
    Well, I finaly got around to booking my flight home for Christmas. Still wondering if I should have paid an extra $50 for a later flight on the way home. As it is, the flight will be really early. I will be home for 12 days. I think it'll work out to 6 vacation days. I won't be going home for Thanksgiving, but I've fortunately gotten an invitation out here.

    Speaking of traveling and holidays... my girlfriend is currently in the middle of a two week trip to New Zealand. Probably the saddest aspect of this is that she will be gone for Halloween. This is sad because for females at least, it is a holiday of infinity possiblilities. Why you could be a sexy nurse or a sexy cop or a sexy ... um... bee, or even a sexy RAINBOW BRITE! The only thing really missing is a sexy zombie.

    I am kind of excited that I might get trick or treaters, though.
    Monday, September 25th, 2006
    6:15 pm
    New toys
    I got two packages on Friday, leading to an especially fun weekend. The first was my new oscilloscope, the second my new laptop. It was the nerdiest weekend ever. the laptop is a Toshiba tablet which I immediately loaded Vista onto so that didn't get used to everything working. It's actually doing pretty good; there are a couple of power management problems, but otherwise most of the built-in functions are working, with the exception of the fingerprint reader and the DVD player (which is just because of the lack of provided DVD decoder in this version, I'll have to load one.) Actually, the laptop has some features that I didn't even notice when I bought its like FireWire and a memory card reader.

    So, essentially, I'm excited about it. I even wrote this whole thing out with the stylus, which arguably takes a lot longer than typing it. But the handwriting recognition is really good.
    Saturday, September 16th, 2006
    1:14 pm
    Wine Snob
    I ordered a bottle of wine in a restaurant for the first time yesterday. Which meant I got to go through the whole production of opening the bottle. Despite never having done it before, I am a psuedo-cultured person, so I know how to fake it. The steps are:

    1) The sommelier brings the bottle to your table and presents the label.
    2) You casually look down your nose at the label, then nod or make a 'okay' motion with your hand.
    3) He opens the bottle and hands you the cork. You sniff it. If you think you can get away with it, make a witty comment about tannins to the rest of the table. Then nod or motion.
    4) He pours a small amount in your glass.
    5) You swirl the wine around, making a big show about how it slides about.
    6) You sniff it. Extra points for doing it with an upturned nose.
    7) You take a sip, and play the wine over your tongue.
    8) At this point, it is very important to appear like you are thinking it over. Let the sommelier sweat a little. While you should look like you're thinking about wine, it's perfectly acceptable to actually think about whatever you want.
    9) Now do a big exaggerated head nod, like you've just now decided that you'll take it.

    In general, of course, I have no idea what sort of thing would actually cause me to dismiss the bottle. I'm not sure if I could picture somebody saying "Well, after sniffing that cork, I was really excited about it, but then I swirled it in the glass, and it's viscosity just wasn't up to par."
    Sunday, September 10th, 2006
    11:03 pm
    Interrogation
    Well, my girlfriend got the interrogation about me from her family today, so I suppose that makes it about time that I tell my family about her. Or I could just let them read about it...
    Sunday, August 13th, 2006
    11:33 pm
    Adult Dating Ritual
    Am I the only one who thinks the whole adult dating ritual is kinda messed up? I have a date on Tuesday, and I've actually never been on a date before. Oh, sure, I've gone out with women, to dinners, movies, and other activities, but in all those cases, I already knew that the girl liked me. This whole going out with people you don't know is unfamiliar territory.
    Monday, July 17th, 2006
    4:08 pm
    Spontaneous Adventure
    So, after about 4 days in a row of not getting a full night's sleep, I was fully prepared for some sleeping in on Saturday. I had nothing to do except go into work for a couple hours and maybe do some shopping. I am fully aware, however, that out of work, life, and sleep, I am allowed to pick two. So, when my phone rang at 11:30, I picked it up. It's Jodie:

    "Did I wake you up?"
    "It's okay, I was going to get up at some point."
    "Well, it's nice out, so we're doing something today."
    "Umm... okay, like the beach?"
    "Hmm.. I'm planning on going to the beach tomorrow, but maybe."
    "Well, how about you think of things to do and I'll shower and call you back."

    Of course, I do good thinking in the shower, and by the time I called her back, I had three or four of my own ideas. I prefaced my ideas with the caveat that some of them were not the sort of thing you usually started at noon, but we could go hiking over in the Olympic Peninsula. It was only a ferry ride away. And so we were off on a spontaneous adventure.

    First, of course, we needed provisions. Fortunately, there was a farmer's market right next to Jodie's apartment, where we got berries and snap peas and stuff, and next to that a sub shop where we bought a giant two-foot sub. Though I will say right here, that on spontaneous adventures, it would be a good idea to bring a cooler; the sub was good for the first half of the day, though.

    Ferries are the most convenient way across to the peninsula, it's just a thirty minute ride across. Otherwise you have to go hours south to get around the water. Of course, the wait for the ferry is typically longer than the crossing itself, but at least we got on the first ferry after when we got in line.

    After driving onto the ferry, we went to the bow, and started taking pictures. After taking pictures of each other, someone came up:

    Stranger: "Would you like me to take a picture of both of you."
    Jodie: "Oh... sure... that would be great." *Looks at the person*
    Jodie: "Oh, Hi! What are you doing here?"
    Stranger who actually knows Jodie: "We're going over for a barbecue."
    *More Conversation that I don't remember, then we get our picture taken.*

    Apparently they work together, and Jodie thinks that she'll get questions about whether I was a "Special Friend". Jodie and I can apparently not go anywhere without somebody assuming that, though I assume that this will not be as bad as the guy asking me on the 4th of July when my lady friend and I were planning on having kids. And while I am mostly a believer in the "When Harry met Sally" school of thought, it is possible to have other-gender friends.

    Getting off the ferry, we don't really know where we are headed, but I have a back-up default location in mind, so we head that way. As we approach one of the first towns, I say that the last time I went through this town, they had a civil war reenactment going on. I don't know what sort of civil war battle was fought out in Washington, but I suppose they just pick one they like. Well, going through this time, they have the same old fashioned tents set up, and we wonder if it's still going on. Then we see a guy in a kilt with a claymore over his shoulder. This being a spontaneous adventure, we had to stop, even having no idea what was actually going on. We pulled up and asked where a good place to park was. After asking if we were SCA members, we were pointed in a general direction. It took until I parked the car to remember that SCA stood for Society of Creative Anachronisms. I ran back to the car to get my wallet, because I figured I might buy a sword. We wandered the stalls, and Jodie decided that she now wanted to make medieval costumes. (She's a sew-er. Or sewing person, whatever it's called.) I bought a knife forged from a railroad spike. As we browsed a nice weapon stand, the girl working there told us about how at her church camp, everyone was required to wear and know how to use a knife. We still don't know what kind of church this was. I found a nice staff-sword I wanted to buy, but the guy only took cash. I asked if he knew where an atm was, and he pointed off vaguely, while showing me his teeth, which had been filed into points. (This lead to a conversation later about Narfling the Garthok.) When I asked a local where one was, he said three miles in either direction. I didn't really feel like going back to tell the filed teeth guy that I wasn't going to buy it, so we went back to the car to continue the adventure.

    You may have wondered why I had to go back to the car to get my wallet. You see, I have recently decided that I need a new wallet. It was, in fact, one of the things I would have gone shopping for that day. This was mostly because I have stopped being able to put new cards in the old wallet. Cash lives exclusively outside of the wallet now, also. And so my wallet had been sitting in one of the cupholders rather then my pocket. This, however, left it defenseless when Jodie decided that she was going to clean it out.

    The oldest thing in the wallet was probably my entry card to Disney land. I think we went when I was ten. This was, however, transferred from my previous wallet. Most of the out of date things started in High School. Jodie didn't seem to think that I needed four years of high school IDs and 9 semesters of college bus passes in there. Okay, maybe the discount card that expired 7 years ago could go, and I could get rid of 6 years of out of date car insurance cards, and a couple of unreadable receipts. But my key club membership, my illinois library card, and my slightly expired professional society card are perfectly valid to keep. Plus my miniature laminated diploma, of course.

    Of course, nothing got thrown away. Once I get a new wallet, the actually important stuff will go into it and the old stuff will go back into the old wallet for the wallet hall of fame. And, in return, I got to look through her totally boring wallet. Nothing expired in it at all. Now, if any of you have tried to look through my wallet, you may be especially confused at why this happened, because I typically will not let anyone look through my wallet. Mostly because I couldn't even remember all the stuff that was in there, and therefore can't remember how embarrassing it might be. But the most it got out of Jodie was an "Aww, that's cute.", without any questions that I wouldn't have wanted to answer. Which is why she got to look through the whole thing. Well... I did tell her not to look at one piece of paper... I can't give away all my secrets.

    Anyways, we'd picked up a map at a visitor information center, and had a destination in mind, so we soldiered on. There was a lavender festival on the way, but that took all of thirty seconds to see: Look! Lavender! Tractors! "Lavender, the plant of 101 uses. Okay, 17 uses! Okay, maybe 2 uses." And we skipped the quilt festival since Jodie is dangerously addicted to quilts.

    It was past 5 by the time we actually got to where we were going to hike. There was a waterfall, the reason why this spot had been chosen. It was actually a bit back from the trail, and there was a wooden fence gently discouraging people from approaching it, but that really didn't stop me. I was sorely disappointed to find that there was no hidden cave behind the waterfall. After that, it was up the Storm King. Which was supposedly a ~2 mile trail that went up 2100 feet. That's a pretty good hike, and as it was already 6:20, we started off by saying, "We'll just go until we get above the treetops." Of course, this mountain was tree-covered all the way to the top, which we knew. We meant above the trees at the base, which were a couple hundred feet tall. Well, after that we figured we'd just keep going. But, the trail just kept going up and up, and it was all tree covered so it's really impossible to know how far it was until the top. Eventually we figured we were so close to the top we'd just keep going. And since this was a National Park, we most certainly did not find a tree along the way and carve our initials into it.

    It's was much easier going down, of course, though I did discover on the trip down that my cell phone works on the side of that particular mountain. And that people like to call you when you are on the side of a mountain.

    We were really hungry by the time we got back to the ferry. We'd rushed to get to one and just missed it, so we ate at one of the places nearby that pretty much catered to people waiting for the ferry. Had fish and chips, which I've had every time I've gone over there. Sure, that's only twice, but it's starting to become a habit now. If we hadn't missed the ferry we wanted, we might have gone and seen the new Pirates movie. (Well, maybe not, as it's a long movie and we were beat.) But, as it was, we ended our adventure napping on the benches in the ferry and listening in on people telling ridiculous stories.
    Friday, June 2nd, 2006
    4:06 pm
    12:00 am
    Really, no pickles.
    I bought a motorcycle today. It's a Suzuki GS500F, blue. I will probably take pictures when it gets delivered tomorrow. I'm really excited. 52 mpg and I can use the carpool lanes... now all I have to do is not kill myself.
    Monday, May 8th, 2006
    12:16 am
    Motorcycling
    So, I took a motorcycling class. Basically all day yesterday and today I was riding. It was a lot of fun. And I didn't drop the bike. Not once. I killed the engine probably fifty times, sometimes from letting go of the clutch, many times from starting out on a hill. I only popped a wheelie once, and that totally wasn't on purpose. And finding neutral takes me a minute, but when do you ever need to find neutral. And my clutch hand hurts. And I totally can't do the U-turning.

    But you know what? I passed. All I have to do is show my completion card and I can get my license. And lower insurance rates. Those fools. 20 points or less of on the test was a pass, and I got 18 off. 10 of those were from the U-turn box. Of the 20 or so times I did the U-turns, I probably got 1 perfectly inside the box. But, so did everybody else. U-turns aren't one of the life-saving techniques, anyways.
    Saturday, April 29th, 2006
    11:14 am
    I don't want a pickle...
    I apparently did not get enough rebelling in during my younger years. Many of my coworkers, flush with cash, go out and buy expensive sports cars. I don't really like sports cars. However, for the past month or so I've been batting an idea around in my head. A sort of... two-wheeled idea.

    So, anyways, I signed up for a motorcycle class, which, assuming I complete it successfully, means I can get my motorcycle license.

    So yesterday I went and did something I'd been putting off for about a year, and got prescription sunglasses. It was actually the first time I'd used any of my medical benefits. And today I got a leather jacket. And I think the combination of the two looks really good. It'll probably be a while before I actually get a bike, but learning will be fun anyways.
    Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
    12:14 am
    Netflix
    So I signed up for Netflix. And then spent about two hours going through and adding movies. It'll probably take me a while to get through the 65 movies in my queue. Of course, while browsing, I'm kind of amazed at the number of movies that I've seen, too.
    Sunday, April 16th, 2006
    10:23 pm
    Where are you from?
    Where do you tell people you are from? I generally follow a convention of telling anyone not from Illinois that I'm from Chicago, anyone from Illinois that I'm from Rockford, and anyone from the Rockford area that I'm from Winnebago. I used to have a really good default joke for telling when I said that I was from Winnebago. (It was about how, yes, they did make the RVs there; everyone worked at the factory; I aligned the headlights.) Out here it is not often that I tell people that I'm from Winnebago. When somebody does qualify, though, it can often lead to small world syndrome.

    Jodie's friend Keirsten was in town visiting, and she's from Marengo, a town near Rockford, so she got the Winnebago answer to this question. Upon hearing this she said "Oh! I know somebody from Winnebago. He's in a family with like 8 kids, what was his name again..." Now, at this point I honestly already had a pretty good idea of who she was talking about, aside from not knowing which of the [actually 7, I think] kids it was, but I let the clues go on for a bit longer before saying "was it Boeke? Yeah, they live like a hundred feet from us." Keirsten then went on to congratulate me for getting the hell out of Illinois. Which, honestly, is not that uncommon of a comment for somebody from my area to say. You have to be from there to really understand.

    And now I go off on a tangent about story telling...Collapse )

    So, the three of us went to a David's Bridal Store. Now, this is certainly not what I usually consider an ideal shopping destination, but Jodie really needed to pick up a bridesmaid's dress for her brother's wedding. Now, as a guy, I have very little clue as to what to do in this sort of store. It's a mystery to me why it would be unacceptable to have all your bridesmaids have different color dresses, in the same style, of course It's flled with expectant brides, mothers, and bridesmaids, who come in three types: ones happy for their friends, ones bitter because they want to be married, and ones who don't want anything to do with it all because they have some problem with marriage. This creates a sort of overwhelming estrogen cloud. Fortunately, it's nothing that can not be overcome by pretending to be a polygamist from Utah, there with your two wives.

    Then, we went downtown, which was going to be to catch a movie, but since there was nothing good on, the only thing we managed to do was try out all the massage chairs at Sharper Image. It's amazing how much time you can pass that way.

    Anyways, here's a question for you: You are going to have company in thirty seconds, and your place is a mess, what do you do to clean up? Is it that pile of laundry, the pile of cans on your kitchen counter, all those food wrappers that you didn't bother to throw away? Please note that if you actually feel like answering this question, that there are some things I don't need to know about, like that huge pile of nail clippings in the corner of your living room.
    Tuesday, April 11th, 2006
    11:18 pm
    I'm kidding. At least half kidding.
    There was protest downtown yesterday against that immigration bill. My question is, and I know this may seem a little cold, but if it's a parade of illegal immigrants, can't you just call the INS to the parade and get rid of the problem in one big lump?
    Friday, March 31st, 2006
    12:14 am
    Cheesecake
    I made a cheesecake tonight, having gotten baking implements for my birthday. I needs to cool overnight. What are the chances that it will taste good?
    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
    6:41 pm
    Fire Alarm
    So, the fire alarm in my building just went off. Gave me a chance to meet some more of my neighbors. It also gave me a chance to be really unimpressed with the response time of the fire department.

    In other news, I got a birthday package from my parents today. Bratzles ( Cookies, but yeah, that's probably misspelled.) only slightly broken from the trip. But yummy.
    Saturday, March 11th, 2006
    10:01 pm
    Ultraviolet
    Ultraviolet is a bad movie. But, I knew that going in. We just wanted to see some bad SciFi action. Or, as I saw it described online, a Action/Adventure/SciFi/Fantasy/Horror. I'm really not sure where they got the Horror part. It took less then 15 minutes to figure out that they weren't really going to try to explain all of the plot. So, I spent the rest of the movie entertained by the fact that I recognized a lot of the locations. It was apparently shot in Shanghai, so I thought "wow, they got a lot of white people as extras in these shots". If you see the movie, and you shouldn't, remember that the Archministry is actually the Shanghai Museum of Science and Technology. I ate lunch in that big geodesic dome that the last fight takes place in.

    Anyways, go watch Equilibrum instead.
    Wednesday, March 8th, 2006
    9:49 pm
    Furniture, part duex
    Well, my living room is (finally) fully furnished. This would have been done a week and a half ago, but I unfortunatly have a double corner on my entryway which I didn't take into account. So the couch is now a love seat. Of course, the 'chair' is about the size of a loveseat. So, I might end up refering to the rather large love seat as the 'sofa'.

    I went to an oscar party on Sunday. And since we were supposed to wear costumes, I went costume shopping on Saturday. Now, there was one movie costume that I specifically wanted to avoid, mostly because it was the easiest thing I could think of. But when, after looking for something else, I found an entire rack of cowboy shirts, I gave in. If you can't at least guess the movie from whom I was a character, you've been in a hole the last couple months. But, I did get voted second for hottest costume, which I blame on the high number of women in the audience.
    Saturday, February 18th, 2006
    8:36 pm
    Furniture
    Went furniture shopping today with my friend Jodie. Down in Tukwila there are about 15 furniture stores along the same street, so we just went down one side and up the other.

    The goal for the day was living room furniture. With couch on the top of the list, followed by a love seat or chair, tv stand, then maybe a coffee table and end tables. So, of course, the first thing bought was a set of coffee table and end tables. They're black with glass tops. But, we'd pretty much decided on a couch and chair by then, so it was fine.

    The couch is cool, and green, and the matching chair doesn't really deserve that name, as it was only slightly narrower than the love seat. I resisted the urge to buy the giant ottoman that went with the chair. It's normal for room sets to have a discount if you buy multiple pieces. Lke 'buy the couch and the love seat and get $x off'. But, I wanted the couch and the chair, not the love seat. In a remarkable stroke of luck, we managed to attract a saleswoman who was willing to say 'Yeah, you can get the same $80 off of the chair price.' Then, of course, it seems that she wasn't supposed to actually be able to do that. Fortunately, Jodie played the part of 'bitchy girlfriend who will totally make us leave if we don't get this discount' very well. And so she had to go make her manager give us the discounted price, plus a discount for paying cash (credit card, actually, but as long as you don't finance...), and when she finally got back, the price surprised us so much that I had thought she'd done the math wrong. Awesome shopping partner.

    Okay, I have to go put together tables....
    Thursday, February 16th, 2006
    1:00 pm
    DMV
    So I went to that wondrous fairyland known as the DMV today. Actually, it's not even known as the DMV here, just the Department of Licensing, though, as far as I could tell, they pretty much only do driver's licenses. And they don't even do vehicle licensing. For that, I had to go to another place. They do, however, let you register to vote, which I did.

    I was somewhat surprised that they didn't even make me take the written driving test. Apparently it's 75% bicycle questions. Also weird is that they don't print out your license right there. They give you a temp one and make you wait a week. I'll blame that one on the poor Washington government not being able to afford card printing machines or something.

    At the vehicle licensing place, they gave me the car's license plates right then. They even put the stickers on for me. Replacing my Illinois plates might be a pain, however, as I seem to recall that one of the back screws will turn in place, meaning that I may have to get a bolt cutter to get it off...

    And, to finish off the day's transportation trifecta, I got insurance. It ended up not being too bad, just about $25 more per month then I'm currently paying under my dad's plan, though there is probably a discount in there somewhere for having my renter's insurance through them. But, I haven't had a ticket or accident in the last three years. Somewhat glad that the agent didn't ask about the last 5 years, because though I've never had a ticket, I did have an accident 4 years and 11.5 months ago. But I'm sure that's in their system already. Did you know that there is a common database that insurance companies use? You can get your driving record from it online here: CLUE report.

    Current Mood: working
    Thursday, February 2nd, 2006
    9:25 pm
    Rosie
    So I was going around Target, getting many hundred dollars of assorted things that I needed for the apartment such as doormats, trash bins, cleaning supplies, the fillings of two medicine cabinets, assorted tools, a fire extinguisher, etc. Then I saw it. The one bad thing about having a two floor apartment. Sitting innocently in the vacuum section. A Roomba!

    "Damn!", I thought. "I have stairs!"

    But, the solution quickly presented itself. Get two Roombas! Okay... maybe not. Probably better to just move it between floors every couple of days. But I'm soooo getting one, soon.

    Now, if only I had enough tile to justify getting the mopping one, too....
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