The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

January 8, 2013

Random Thoughts: Back to the Old Grind, Life in a Tourist Trap, and Causing Trouble with Tribbles

Filed under: Random Stuff, Seattle — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 1:22 am

With the new year comes new resolve to do new things…  OK, forget that, that’s just cliché as heck,  but I’m still using this picture of the last sunrise of 2012 as seen from my apartment window, shopworn platitudes or otherwise.  On one hand, I’ve never been a big fan of having it dark so early in the evenings around this time of year, but one side effect of the later sunrises and later sunsets is that I get to actually see one every once in a while, even if I do wake up at a time that most of my siblings would consider ridiculously late (around 7:30, if you must know.)

Anyway, there really isn’t anything all that exciting going on here right now, so I thought I’d throw out a few random thoughts…

—–

Now that we’re a week past New Year’s Day, I think we can now well and truly call the Holiday season done and dusted.  All the Christmas decorations here are put away (not that I had a whole lot of them in the first place), most people are back to their usual routine, and things are generally back to normal (or in my case, since I somehow ended up starting a new job a week and a half before Christmas, things are starting to arrive at normal.)  As nice as the Holiday season is, there’s something that just feels a little bit off about the whole thing.  Perhaps it’s the fact that it seems like everything just has to be bright and cheerful with Bing Crosby crooning in the background, or maybe it’s the creeping sense of obligation in the background when you still have Christmas shopping to do (and, if you happened to be unfortunate enough to have to do your Christmas shopping at Southcenter the weekend before Christmas, perhaps the most ridiculous traffic I’ve ever seen at that place,) but it almost seems to be a relief when it’s all over.  Sure, it means that you’ve got another 2 1/2 months of Winter to slog through, and probably another four months after that until something resembling Summer happens to show up, but on the other hand it does also mean that there aren’t any major disruptions to the regular schedule of things until Memorial Day (barring the ones you add to the schedule yourself of course), and aside from the need for most people to do something at least vaguely thoughtful on Valentine’s Day and maybe do something for Easter, there aren’t a lot of holiday related obligations to deal with between now and the Fourth of July.  It doesn’t sound particularly festive, but it works in its own way.

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As I discussed in my last post, the job I started a few weeks ago has put me basically right in the heart of Downtown Seattle, just off the waterfront.  Of the various places that I’ve worked over the past few years, I would have to say that in terms of interesting things to see in the general vicinity, this one might be the one with the most choices.  I’ve found that Pike Place Market is an easy 10-minute walk from the office, and it’s not too hard to get over to Pioneer Square either.  The waterfront is, of course, a block away, and I suspect that as the weather gets better that should provide some nice scenery and people watching.  If I happen to be feeling ambitious enough to do it,  I can even hike up the hill (or cheat and find an escalator or two, even though that usually takes me several blocks out of my way) and get to various places in the Downtown core or make the trek over to Westlake Center and the shopping district.

Oh, and to top it all off, I’ve got one other thing at my new workplace that I haven’t had at any of the places I’ve worked in quite a while:  A decent teriyaki joint near the office.  There was one place that made passable teriyaki over near Amazon, and Downtown Bellevue one that was OK but mind-numbingly slow, but none of these places were anywhere near as some of the places I head over to Redmond for if I’m looking to get teriyaki that’s actually good.  There’s also at least three different Fish ‘n Chips places within a couple blocks of the office (including the original Ivar’s on the waterfront,) but that gets expensive in a hurry and is loaded with calories, so that’s something I probably shouldn’t  do too often.  If I’m feeling really ambitious over my lunch break I could probably even go try some of the places over at the Pike Place Market.  I hear some of them are supposed to be pretty good, but haven’t ever gotten around to trying most of them.

One of the things I’ve realized as I’ve wandered over to the Market a few times on my afternoon break is that it’s a lot less crowded than I’m used to seeing during this time of year.  Even as a local, it’s been fairly rare that I’ve had any reason to go over to the Market, and on most of the occasions when I’ve been there it’s been during some of its busier times.  Oh, and there was also that time when I got attacked by a cat, but I don’t like to talk about that one much (you’ll have to ask my girlfriend about that one.)  If you go to the Market on a Saturday when it’s really busy, the place can be wall-to-wall people, to the point that it can be tough to even get around in there.  If you go around this time of year it’s still reasonably busy, but at least you can actually get around.  You also don’t feel nearly as rushed trying to get from one place to another.  All in all, it’s a rather different experience than you might be used to if you’re the type of person who only goes when you’ve got tourists in tow, or when you’re trying to impersonate a tourist yourself for some odd reason.  If I get a chance I might do some blogging about some of the stuff I find there, as well as some of the more interesting sights in the general vicinity of my new workplace.  It’s certainly a lot more interesting neighborhood to work in than the South Lake Union neighborhood was, but then again that doesn’t exactly take much to accomplish.

—–

For some odd reason, recently one of my friends bought a pink Tribble off the Internet.  I’m not sure exactly what you’re supposed to actually do with a Tribble since it’s basically just a ball of fur that sits around, purrs every so often, and is occasionally prone to potentially disastrous quantities of reproduction, but for some reason she decided she needed one.  Normally It shares a shelf in her house with a couple of slightly deranged Furbies, but the last time I was over there, I thought it looked a bit lonely with no others of its own kind to hang around with.  After arranging a meeting with an only slightly shady looking trader, I was able to acquire a number of additional Tribbles, and one evening when she wasn’t paying attention, we brought them over to the house.

It didn’t take them long to settle in.  They seemed to like the place…

But for some reason they seemed awfully hungry…

…and pretty soon they were getting into all sorts of places where they weren’t supposed to be.  It’s probably a good thing my friend keeps the Quadrotriticale on the top shelf in the cabinet, otherwise things could have gotten out of hand.

On the other hand, these things don’t seem to have much of a sense of self-preservation.  Apparently there aren’t a lot of microwaves on Iota Gemorium IV.

Then again, it seems that the things can find their way into just about anything if you’re not careful.

By the time my friend discovered the Tribbles, things were getting just a little bit out of hand.  Eventually she was able to find most of the Tribbles and move them to a (somewhat) safer location, but not before taking this family portrait.  The infestation seems to be mostly under control now, but at the last report she is still finding Tribbles hidden throughout the house on occasion.  According to a recent estimate, at the current rate she should be able to locate all of the Tribbles in approximately 17.9 years.

Anyone know where I can find that weird-looking trader guy so I can request a refund?

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May 17, 2009

To Boldly Nitpick Where Thousands Have Nitpicked Before: The New Star Trek Movie

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 3:35 pm

WARNING:  This post is full of spoilers on the new Star Trek Movie.  If you have not yet seen it, and wish to do so, I would recommend that you not read this post until after you have watched the movie. 

Although over the years I have watched quite a bit of Star Trek in its various incarnations, I do not think that I would consider myself to be a Trekkie.  For one thing, I have never really done much besides watching the show itself, and even with that there’s still a fair bit I haven’t ever watched.  I’d say I’ve seen most episodes of The Next Generation, but beyond that I have watched bits and pieces of the other various Trek series (mostly Voyager.)  I haven’t even watched all of the episodes of the Original Series yet.  I’m sure I’ll eventually catch up on all this stuff, but suffice it to say I am not exactly the biggest Star Trek fan out there.

With this in mind, on Friday I finally broke my years-long streak of staying out of movie theaters and joined a number of other people to watch the new Star Trek movie that is out in theaters right now.  I actually hadn’t planned on seeing it, but since all the cool kids were doing it (well, at least the cool kids that weren’t over in  the other  theater for Angels and Demons) and because I began to suspect I might be putting myself at risk for revocation of my nerd license (which is probably already on some sort of probation not only because I took so long to see the Lord of the Rings movies, but because I never bothered reading the books before seeing them) if I didn’t see it, I ended up at a 9:30 showing at the Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue on Friday.  The theater at Lincoln Square actually has an IMAX screen they were showing the film on, but for this one we just stuck with the standard version. 

Although I found the movie to be mostly enjoyable, I found that even taking the loose interpetation of the laws of physics present in the Star Trek universe into consideration, there were still a number of scenes I found to be a bit far-fetched, which ultimately turned into the nitpick post you will find below.  Once again, I will remind the reader that this post is full of spoilers, and is not recommended for anyone who has not yet seen the movie if they plan to do so.  For those of you who might find this type of thing boring and/or headache-inducing, there should be a new Recycled Newspaper post coming soon to give you something more to your liking to read.

As usual,  you will find the remainder of the post after the jump.

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