The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 13, 2011

Random Thoughts: A Summery Summary

Filed under: Random Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 2:08 am

Going by the calendar, we should be well into the Summer by now.  After a Spring that ended up being statistically one of the coldest on record in the Seattle area, I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the Summer has been a bit hesitant to come out in full force just yet, but it’s definitely had its moments.  In particular, the Fourth of July weekend was especially nice this year, which is a bit of an anomaly itself.  In between, the weather has alternated between being warm and mostly sunny, and slightly less warm and mostly cloudy, although the rain really hasn’t put in more than the occasional cameo appearance until this evening, when we got the first significant rain we’ve had in a while here in Bellevue.  I don’t really mind the weather (as long as it doesn’t get too windy at least) but then again, I tend to consider pretty much anything above 60 degrees to be shorts and T-shirt weather.  It would seem that some people might not agree with me though, as when I was in line down at the Jimmy John’s in my building I saw several people wearing jackets in line.  Personally, I have no idea how anyone can possibly be cold in this kind of weather, but it certainly seems like someone out there can’t quite bring themselves to admit it’s summer.  As far as I’m concerned it’s plenty warm out there, but your mileage, of course, may vary.  And with Summer comes all the stuff you do in Summer for the three months you can actually stand to go outside.  Even though I’ve got most of the fun stuff coming up later in Summer, there’s still plenty going on.

No Animals Were Harmed In The Making of this Ridiculous Pile of Fireworks.

Another Fourth of July has come and gone, and as usual, it was celebrated with all the now customary food, family, friends, fun and ridiculous quantities of exploding stuff. In fact, I’d say this year’s giant pile of fireworks was probably the biggest one yet, and I contributed a fair bit to it myself.  To be honest, I think I might have gone just a bit overboard when I made the annual trip up to Boom City this year.  And then by the time I made it down to Muckleshoot, I’m pretty sure the whole thing went completely off the deep end.  Then again, the Fourth of July is pretty much the only chance I get to be a bad example to my nephews and get away with it, so what the heck?  On further consideration of the whole fireworks thing, I think that just plain burning money would be cheaper, mostly because the thought of burning perfectly good cash would absolutely horrify most sane people, and even if it didn’t you’d get bored of it quickly.  After all, if burn a $20 bill, it  just sits there disappearing into a creeping flame for a few seconds and it’s gone.  Then again, light off something that cost $20, and it’s still gone within a matter of seconds, but at least it managed to do something to look interesting along the way.

At some point I had actually planned to do a Blog post here highlighting some of the fireworks out there these days, but I suspect the whole thing is just a bit past its sell-by date for now, so I’ll most likely end up saving that one for sometime next June or so. 

Oh, and here’s the obligatory “Truckload of Fireworks” shot from this year.  In particular, we had all sorts of mortars this year, including the big 36-shot Goliath pack you see here, several 24-shot and 12-shot packs, and a few of the 6-shot packs just to round it off.  And there was also plenty of little stuff to go around too.  To be honest, buying fireworks is something that is, to a large extent, a blind process;  Until you’ve got some experience with the stuff, you’re pretty much relying on the advice of the guy running the stand and the fancy packaging to try to figure out what’s supposed to be good.  And even then, sometimes you’ll get something that comes out of left field.  For example, it seems that someone this year decided that Ground Bloom Flowers, a popular old (and mostly predictable)  Fourth of July standby, would be cooler if they exploded at the end.  I can’t necessarily disagree with them on that one, but it might have been nice if they would have let us know about that before we started lighting the things off.  Fortunately, everyone made it through another Fourth of July with all limbs and digits intact, although I’m thinking I should probably stay away from airport security checkpoints for a few weeks, just to be safe.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, here’s a few more random thoughts:

  • Since the last time I cleared the images directory on my phone about 4 1/2 months ago, I’ve accumulated another 526 photos on there.  It’s taking a good 10 minutes just to copy the things off the phone onto my computer’s hard drive.  And if I went looking through them, I suspect most of them would be completely random stuff.
  • I keep forgetting that my refrigerator has an ice maker in it, and as a result end up drinking vaguely tepid water from the faucet and complaining about how freakin’ warm it is in here.  I should really do something about that.
  • As a software tester, one of the most frustrating things I find I have to deal with on occasion is when there’s a bug in the product that can not be reproduced consistently.  In this case, it’s obvious that’s something is wrong, but unless you can consistently reproduce the problem you are seeing, you really have no way to tell whether or not it’s actually fixed when someone tries to fix it, hence the need to be able to demonstrate the problem consistently.  The same holds true for other things besides computer software, as I’m finding as I try to track down a problem I’ve been having with the plumbing in my bathroom.  I’ve long suspected that there’s a leak somewhere in the drainpipe coming from the tub, and I’ve been finding that there’s water coming up from between the floor tiles after a shower several times, but on two occasions now I’ve had maintenance technicians from the apartment building come to look at this, and both times the problem has not appeared.  For that matter, even I can’t get it to happen 100% of the time anymore.  I don’t think it’s the type of thing that’s going to cause me to fall through the floor into the apartment below or anything like that, but it is getting a bit annoying. 

  • You can tell you live in a serious yuppie town when the sidewalks are littered with the empty packaging from $40 bottles of tequila.
  • While I’ve been trying to write this, I keep getting distracted by stuff on YouTube.  Currently, I’m listening to various songs from the soundtrack to Super Mario Galaxy, which is a game I consider to have one of the best soundtracks in the current generation of consoles, even if I’ve never been particularly good at the game itself.  In particular, this track, from the Battlerock Galaxy near the beginning of the game, is a favorite of mine.
  • Speaking of YouTube, if you ever happen to think that you spend a lot of money on fireworks, go spend an hour or two watching some of the stuff on YouTube and you’ll be convinced otherwise.  For example, our Fourth of July fireworks haul included a box of Excalibur mortar shells, which I seem to recall ran somewhere in the neighood of $60-80  for a pack of 24 depending on the stand you get them from.  The video below shows someone lighting off 656 of the things all at once.  It certainly makes for a spectacular show, but even assuming the guy firing this stuff off is getting a big discount on the stuff, that’s still got to be a good $800-1000 going up in smoke within less than four minutes. 
  • One of the interesting things about living and working in Downtown Bellevue is seeing all the people who work for some of the local video game studios walking around downtown.  I think Bellevue is just about the only place outside of a serious nerdfest that someone could get away with wearing an Aperture Science uniform in public.  And when I go out at lunchtime some days, it seems like half the people out and about have some sort of Bungie T-shirt on, which leads to an interesting challenge:  Ever since Bungie ended their involvement with the Halo series after releasing Halo: Reach and some map packs, nobody has really had much of a clue what they’re working on these days.  I’ve made it a goal of mine to try to figure out what their latest project is based on whatever T-shirts I happen to find their employees wearing when they’re out for lunch.  So far I haven’t really come up with anything interesting, but it certainly seems like there’s a ridiculous number of Bungie T-shirts out there.  This has been giving me a sneaking suspicion that Bungie has actually gotten out of the game business completely, and has instead turned their offices in the Bellevue Galleria into one big T-shirt printing factory.  If anyone from Bungie happens to read this, feel free to send me a cryptic T-shirt that explains absolutely nothing, and I’ll be sure to speculate wildly, making people think I’m completely crazy in the process.

  • And finally, just because, here’s a picture of a Ferrari 250 GTO that happened to be hanging out at Redmond Town Center a couple of weekends ago, parked right in front of an Enzo (not shown here, since I’m too lazy to find and upload the other picture.)  Well OK, “Hanging Out” might not exactly be the proper term for an incredibly rare car with an eight-figure pricetag on the rare occasion one goes up for sale, but it, along with a large number of other vintage and modern Ferraris, plus a bunch of other exotics out in the parking lot, were on show as part of one of the Exotics @ RTC events that take place on various Saturdays throughout the Summer.  More proof that you never know just what you’ll find around here if you know where to look.
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