The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

December 12, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside is Supposed to Get Frightful…

Filed under: Wanderings, Washington — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 4:18 pm

…At least that’s what they keep telling us.  According to forecasts for the upcoming weekend, the Puget Sound area is due for one of those much vaunted arctic blasts we seem to get one or two of per year that serve mostly to drive the local news stations into their typical storm-reporting frenzy.  It sounds like the Pacific Coast and northern Puget Sound area are going to be the ones to get hit the hardest by this, but for some reason, it seems that anytime something happens in the so-called Puget Sound Convergence Zone, Redmond manages to get most of the effects of it, even though Redmond is just a bit to the south of where the zone is generally considered to be located.  The short version of this is that we could be in for some snow, and there’s a good chance that there will be icy roads on Sunday Morning…  Which happens to be precisely when I’m supposed to be flying out to Orlando.

Assuming that I can manage to actually get off the ground on Sunday, I should be able to dodge most of the really nasty stuff (the forecast is expecting the sub-freezing temperatures to stick around for days,) and the weather down in Orlando is looking just a little bit better than it is around here, with mid-to-upper 70s, and even an 80 or two) in the forecast and what should be clear weather for most of the week.  Apparently it does get fairly cold in the evenings down there though, so it looks like I will need to keep the jackets and pants handy, just in case.  Even the low temperatures look fairly tolerable though, and for the most part it looks like the weather there should be a whole heck of a lot better than the weather for the next week or so is going to be up here in Redmond.

In the meantime, I am still trying to plan out what I am going to do when I get there, and even though over on the DISBoards there are literally thousands of trip reports, theme park tips and all sorts of other stuff (apparently that board is where a bunch of the really experienced Disney junkies like to hang out, I have still only managed to put together a relatively vague  outline of what I will be doing while I am there.  And believe me, some of these people are downright obsessed with this stuff, taking trips there 2 or 3 times a year and writing these monster trip reports that seem to cover everything down to the tiniest detail.  In an effort to blend in with the locals, I have actually been putting together a pre-trip report over there as part of planning, but even that is nothing compared to some of the big 73-page threads going on over there covering planning, traveling, spending time at the parks, the hotels, the resorts, and all sorts of things. 

One thing that I have learned over the years is that for pretty much every subject you can think of, you can find an entire board full of people dedicated to that subject, often to the point of near obsession (I stopped reading the Price is RightI used to visit on occasion somewhere around the time that pretty much every thread started descending into angst-riddled drama over changes made in season 37.  I mean, this was total full-blown “the world is coming to an end” type drama.  You’d think Syd Vinnedge came over and personally kicked all their dogs or something.  Anyway, if you can get past the drama and generic angst that generally accompanies such things (fortunately, DISboards seems to be mostly free of such things,) resources like that can be surprisingly good resources for planning.  That doesn’t mean that I’ve actually managed to get any significant planning done yet, but at least I know where to go complain when I manage to get myself stuck for three hours on It’s a Small World.

I am definitely looking forward to this trip though.  While there’s something to be said for being able to bring your kids to the Happiest Place on Earth (or at least the Happiest Place in Florida, or the Happiest Place A Few Miles West of Downtown Orlando, or whatever the place is) and watch them enjoy the sense of wonder that come with the youthful ability to suspend disbelief, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there would love the chance to go on their own, free to roam without worrying about the kids getting sick (one thing I’ve learned from reading all the trip reports over there is that it seems to be impossible to take two or more kids to the place for more than a day without someone puking) or not being able to go ride the Tower of Terror or some other appropriately thrilling ride because the kids don’t want to go.  On the other hand, as a single guy traveling solo, it also means that there are some things I probably wouldn’t be able to get away with (I’m going to guess I should probably pass on all the princess stuff.) I suspect that I probably won’t get the chance to take a solo trip here again (if I ever figure out who I’m supposed to marry, that is,) so I might as well enjoy it while I still have the chance, but not so much that I don’t care to go any other way.

I also need to make sure that I’m not trying to run full tilt for four straight days while I’m there.  As I’ve discussed before, I have the tendency to overdo the whole vacation thing sometimes, and don’t bother taking any time to relax.  In retrospect, I really wish I had scheduled longer than 4 days to spend there (or at least had gotten myself a later flight out than 7:05 am on Friday) but if I was staying much longer than this, I would find myself beginning to run into some of the big crowds that come from the Christmas break.  I suppose that I’ve got to figure these things out somewhere along the line, so I’ll be able to plan a lot better the next time around.

Meanwhile, I apologize once again for the light Blogging here this week, and I suspect that Blogging will be light again next week while I’m at Disney World, since I will have limited access to Internet (I’ll pretty much have my phone, and maybe Internet access at the hotel if I feel like spring for $9,.95 a day for Internet access.)  I suspect that I should have plenty to say about the trip once I get back though, and after Christmas and New Years Day are done with, hopefully I’ll have some time to work on some of those projects I’ve been putting off for a while.  In the meantime, anyone got some Pixie Dust I can borrow?

October 20, 2008

It’s Just a Little Rain…

Filed under: Redmond — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 4:26 pm

This afternoon while I was at work hammering away at the twisty little maze of string arrays and parameters that I’ve somehow managed to turn into test automation for my current feature, when we started hearing the sound of rain on the roof of the building.  The building I work in is basically a big, nearly windowless concrete warehouse with a cube farm set up in it (if the research I’ve done is correct, I’m guessing that this is the building that housed Safeco’s printing facilities when it was built in the late Seventies, since it is quite a bit older than the rest of the old Safeco campus,) and if it gets to the point where you’re actually hearing the rain on the roof you know it’s got to be pouring outside.  Although you can’t see it too well on the obligatory BlurryCam shot, was in fact raining pretty hard out there.  There were even a few tiny hailstones scattered on the ground, although these were unlikely to have been big enough to cause any damage.

A check of the weather conditions by one of the co-workers I share a cube with showed a precipitation map that looked like this:

That rainstorm seems rather specific, doesn’t it?  Do you ever get that sneaking suspicion that someone’s got it in for you?  Me neither, but when you look at the weather map and see something that looks like this, you might start to wonder…  For comparison, here’s what the rest of the Puget Sound area looks like on the same map:

 

 I’m sure there’s some complex explanation for the whole thing involving convergence zones, ocean currents and a really really small low pressure zone or something like that (or, since I haven’t got a clue about meteorology I could just be making all that stuff up,) but it just seems a little odd to me that it’s raining the proverbial cats and dogs around here while virtually everyone else on this side of the Sound has nice (sort of) clear weather (Not sure what’s going on down in Enumclaw though.)  At least this time I’m not stuck outside or anything like that…  If that were the case, I might have to actually use up my monthly weather complaint post on this thing, but since I’m safely inside, I’ll just chalk it up to an odd little bit of weather.

August 20, 2008

Well, So Much For My “It Never Rains Here in August” Theory

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 9:42 pm

I’m not sure if my post on Saturday counted as using up my monthly weather complaint post, but just in case, I think I might have one saved up from July that I can toss in here as needed.  Around here, August weather tends to be more along the lines of the heat wave that we saw last weekend, and it is rare for this area to get any significant amount of rain at all during August.  Things might get cloudy at times, but for many of the years that I have lived here, any rain that occurs during August tends to be in the form of halfhearted sprinkles.  Since the weekend heat wave, the weather has taken a distinct turn toward the rainy side of things, starting with some thunderstorms on Sunday evening and a decent amount of rain and wind to accompany them, and eventually leading up to a thorough drenching as I went home from work today, which you see here. 

According to Scott Sistek over at the KOMO Weather Blog, this type of weather pattern actually isn’t all that unusual…  For November.  Fortunately, we’re not getting quite that cold around here, but this type of weather tends to be a bit of a mixed blessing.  On one hand, this system did a pretty good job of getting rid of that heat wave over the weekend, and the rain definitely helps to green up the area, but when you get a significant rain event like this right in the middle of August,  it sure makes it seem like you’re getting shortchanged a bit on the whole Summer thing.  Combine that with the fact that it;s starting to get well into the later part of Summer, and you start to get to the point where you take a mental accounting of what you still need to do during the Summer, and realize that there’s no way you’re going to be able to get half the stuff done in the time remaining.

For the time being, I’ve got slightly more immediate things to deal with though, specifically the fact that I’m taking care of Imola and Minardi this week.  So far, I’ve been lucky that I’ve managed to avoid getting rained on at the dog park (like happened the last time I was over here dogsitting back in April,) but with the pouring rain I ran into on the way home from work this evening, I was worried that I was going to need to find myself a rowboat to take the dogs out on their walk.  Fortunately, we managed to catch a break in the weather, and made it through the evening walk in relative dryness.  With the weather expected to improve over the course of the rest of the week, we can only hope that drier times are ahead.

On the other hand, the big storms like this do make for some interesting cloud formations.  Unfortunately, I only had my cellphone camera when I took this, so it doesn’t really show the clouds very well.  I’ve been meaning to bring my real camera back over to the dog park and take a few more photos to show some of the effects of the change of season on the place.  Maybe the place might stay dry for a while this time…

June 4, 2008

The Obligatory Monthly Weather Complaint Post

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 12:03 pm

If I’m reading the calendar correctly, it is now officially June here in the Pacific Northwest, Summer is just a couple of weeks away, and we’re supposed to be breaking out the shorts, sandals and the sunscreen by now.  So why is it that the temperature is barely making it into the fifties currently?  This was what the thermometer in my car showed on the way to work this morning:

That’s not even taking into account the heavy rain and the wind that has accompanied the past couple of days worth of this stuff (when I was at the old and moderately decrepit  KFC in Redmond last night, the roof had developed a rather aggressive leak as a result of the heavy rainfall, and water was pouring down into the seating area.  Needless to say, I ordered to go.) 

I suppose this would be a really lousy time to point out that back in December I was complaining about 45 degrees being too warm when the average temperatures were hovering just above freezing (link goes to a post on buzz.mn that I didn’t crosspost over here,) but still.  Last time I checked, at this time of year I usually shouldn’t need to wear a jacket just to get from one building to the other at work in June without freezing and/or getting drenched, and I should be using the air conditioning in my car far more than I should be using the seat heater (and yes, I am complaining about using stuff that I managed to survive just fine without for a decade of driving my old beater Camry.) 

Granted, we’ve had a few nice days scattered here and there, but for the most part things have been cloudy, cool and rainy for most of the spring, and the long-term predictions are calling for a cooler than average summer in the Puget Sound area as well.  I’m sure that by the time August rolls around I’ll probably find an excuse to complain that it’s too hot and hasn’t rained in weeks, but for the time being it would be nice if we could just get the weather in June to actually be June-like for a change.

April 18, 2008

Breaking News: Spring Cancelled Due to Lack of Interest

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 4:32 pm

Late March is considered to be really late in the year to be getting snow around here… So why in the heck are we still getting snow in the middle of April? It doesn’t seem to be sticking around for any length of time. Still, the standard commuter panic seems to be in full effect as a result. I managed to get a short video as well showing the type of snow we got (more like freezing rain, if you want to nitpick,) but since WordPress doesn’t seem to like to embed video off of Photobucket, the link can be found here.

This is about as much as we got before it started to taper off and melt away.  All in all, probably not anything to panic about (I’m sure people will find an excuse to do so nonetheless) but just enough to make us wonder what the heck is going on with the weather lately.

April 17, 2008

Don’t Like the Weather Here? Wait a While

Filed under: Random Stuff, Seattle and Vicinity — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 1:11 pm

It was just a little bit less than  three weeks ago that we found ourselves dealing with some late snow up here.  Even though a few people had some issues with it (particularly at the higher elevations,)  for most people around here the snow didn’t do much more than make us wonder if Sping got stuck behind an avalanche on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass.  Of course, it seems that things always manage to even themselves out somehow, and last Saturday came with weather straight out of July, with a perfectly clear sky and temperatures that made it into the eighties.  This provided an opportunity to get outside for a while, go hit some balls at the golf driving range, get my car washed, and go tour a rather interesting (and usually inaccessible, with good reason) site here in Redmond, which I will eventually be posting some stuff here about.

On the other hand, it looks like we’re not out of the woods just yet around here.  According to the latest weather reports, this coming weekend will be bringing us yet another cold snap, with forecasts calling for temperatures below freezing, and even the possibility that we might even get some snow again, although not in sufficient quantity to do much damage.  The article also points out that even with the one glorious shining moment we experienced on Saturday, this has still been one of the coldest Aprils on record so far for this area.  It also points out that there have only been two days this year (last Friday and Saturday) in which the average temperature in Seattle has been higher than 61 degrees, far less than the 12.6 that we normally have by this time of year. 

Snow in late March around here is bad enough, but snow in the middle of April?  Sheesh.

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