Monday, December 20, 2004

Two Week Update (Portland and Seattle)

I flew to Portland for MICRO. It was a pretty good conference, got to catch up with some folks. Besides the usual schmoozing, we also started the planning for an ice hockey game when ISCA goes to Wisconsin next year. The first pictures are from the excursion to the airplane museum. The center piece was the "Spruce Goose", an airplane designed to ship up to 750 troops at once across the Atlantic (no danger from U-boats), but by the time it was finished it was over budget and the war had ended. The cool thing besides its size is that it is almost entirely made out of wood (birch actually, despite its nick-name).

The first picture is the inside of the plane, which makes one think of Job trapped in the whale's belly. The second picture gives a better idea for how big the Spruce Goose is. That's an SR-71 parked underneath the Spruce Goose's wing with plenty of room to spare. One evening, we went into downtown Portland and stopped by the Technical Books branch of Powell's bookstore (super-huge bookstore in Portland). In the computer architecture section, we found old ISCA proceedings that someone had pawned off for a few bucks. Even funnier was that at least one of those someone's was Doug Carmean (we found the conference registration receipt in the front cover).

After MICRO, I went snowboarding on Mt. Hood on thursday, visited Intel on friday, and then took Amtrak up to Seattle on friday night.

Heidi, Sue and I went to the 5 Spot in Queen Anne for brunch on saturday. The current theme was "Little Italy", and they had placemats with funny pictures with Italian phrases and the corresponding English translations. On the walk back to Heidi's we passed by a big radio tower. While staring at the monstrous tower, we noticed that someone had lodged a pumpkin in the barbed wire for unknown reasons (note that this is well after Halloween). Then that night, we went to the WindowsCE holiday party which was held at the EMP. The space needle looked nice all lit up, so I took a picture.

I used to go to the Dexter Deli every morning for my coffee. Someone had apparently orphaned a mug there. Simon visited for a day, so we trucked around most of town. In the Pike Place market, we saw this crazy looking broccoli-cauliflower-like vegetable that looked really cool. Wednesday night I dropped in on the Steamer's hockey game (the team I used to play with two winters ago). Apparently nothing's changed. The goalie is still getting drunk before games...

We dropped by the Arboretum on saturday. My favorite room was the cactus room, which had a really large variety of cacti and other succulents. I liked this first one because it grew so wildly. The second batch were just impressive due to their shape and size (each is very spherical, and you can see the person squatting on the left to get a feel for their size). The third picture was cool because of the brain-like appearance of the cactus.

The trip to Seattle also included a lot of chinese food, a sushi-making night, a snowboarding trip to Mt. Baker, and working. Next week we head off to Las Vegas to visit Sue's dad, and then it's Orlando after that to meet up with my parents.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

We went to visit Sue's mom for Thanksgiving. We flew into the Toledo airport, and they had this ancient TDD device for hotel information or something like that. It has one of those old Speak-and-Spell displays, and made assorted beeps whenever you hit any button.

One morning, we went to this little diner called Weber's (on their sign, it said: "Good Food. Mediocre Service."), and I ordered the item called "Big Vic's", which is basically a cookie sheet full of breakfast food. It has two eggs, two pieces of bacon, two links of sausage, a biscuit+gravy, a pancake, two pieces of french toast, a potato pancake, and two pieces of regular toast. Their coffee was darned close to water.

We drove up to the Detroit area that day where one of Sue's aunts lives. We visited some big ol' mansion that was once owned by the Dodge family (Dodge as in "does that thing have a hemi?") and was decked out in all sorts of holiday decorations. I only got a few half-way interesting pictures.

The first is a small closet that is the "Wrapping Closet". There's a small work surface, and a roll of wrapping paper on the wall. The only purpose of that closet is to wrap presents. I just found it interesting that they had enough presents to justify dedicating part of the house full-time for wrapping.

The next picture is a Tiffany lamp over an old player piano (well an organ really). The player piano had all sorts of rolls of music that look like super-long punch cards. Anytime I see these lamps with all of the fruit, it reminds me of a house that one of my dad's uncles used to live in.

The last picture was a platter of antique booze bottles (with the original contents still intact). Most of them were "South Africa" brand, and it was in a really beautiful sun room.