Saturday, December 24, 2005


IMG_2329 I got back to New York yesterday to spend Christmas with the family. It's so good to see loved ones again, especially those I haven't seen for a while. (Though it's definetly good to see Cherie too, and I got to spend time with her only a month ago). But this is my first time coming back to New York since my parents moved out of Hampton Bays, and that means that while I'm as home as I will forever will be with my family around me, Home proper can no longer be in New York.

There's definetly been a lot of slippage of that term even from the very beginning of college. My parents had moved across town about a week before I started at Caltech, so that house was always a little foreign. And shortly after I graduated, they moved across town again. But the thing was, that I could always take my jet lagged ass out for a walk at 2a.m. and wax nostalgic for my high school days. (It's amazing how you can romanticise anything with enough time between when it happened and when you remember it).

Now I'm in a weird town. I vauguely know where I am on The Island, but to be honest, all I really know about Shirley is that their mathletes team sucked 10 years ago, and that there's a Dunken Donuts right off the freeway interchange (Sorry highway. I'm in New York) that was on one possible route to Brookhaven National Lab.

So I'm in a house with my parents furniture and stylings. It will always have a place in my heart that is connected to my childhood. But it's an oasis of love in a desert of suburbia I don't really care about any more.

And what really brings this to mind, and makes me ponder these thoughts, is that my little place in San Carlos has felt more like home through this past December than ever before. I'll get into it in another post (I think I hear Santa knocking on the chimney now, so I'll need to feign some sleep soon), but the short version is, I'm happy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Making Chirstmas. Making Christmas. Fah-la-laaaa...

DSC02194 Last week was a blur at work, We're doing a big push to get some changes out (hopefully) next week. Last week was put all the code into place, and this week is bugfixes and sitting back and going "Hmmmn. Is that right/best?" So we've got a little stored up energy and some time to do something with it.

What this means is that crazy ideas get floated around. We have a 4 foot inflatable snow globe that Tom brought in to spread Christmas cheer. As it turns out, it has some attachments at the top to make it suspendable. So Joy and Sawka asked me if I thought I could raise it up into the roof alcove over the newly aquired tree. And this is where you learn the lesson: "Never challenge a Techer to do something you don't want to see done."

After quickly running through a number of bad ideas (one involved re-tarring the roof), I decided on a not-entirely-bad idea of lasso-ing the fire sprinkler pipe that was up there. This did have the failure case of a very soggy Christmas tree (and hero for our story), but the pipe looked strong, the snow globe is pretty light, and I didn't expect to be able to lasso it anyway.

Well after standing on a table on a table, I was actually able to toss a phone cable over the pipe and hook it into place. We attached the glob and raised it up (with Christmas lights attached). It only took about a half hour from challenge to completion, and then we decorated the tree while we were at it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Farewell Fair Cat

IMG_0077 C.M. hasn't really been happy around Ishy. He never got the courage up to swipe Ishy across the nose with his claws, and so Ishy never learned that C.M. wasn't a plaything to be chase around. This meant that C.M. spent a lot of time outdoors after Ishy arrived.

While Lexi and Andrew lived upstairs, this worked out well for him. He would wander into their apartment and be loved in peace. They actually started to develop a large attachment to each other to the point where C.M. might have some keystrokes in the google code base, freakazoid style.

But the Basteels wandered north to San Francisco a month ago, and so C.M. had relegated himself to the laundry room in the back. He was getting by, and while I tried to make sure to give him some love every time I refilled his bowl, he wasn't getting the attention he deserved. And as it turns out, Lexi and Andrew missed him terribly as well.

So, yesterday when Andrew stopped off to pick up the junk mail that had been accumulating for them, he snagged C.M. as well. I know this is for the best and I know that all parties involved will be happier for this, but I'm going to miss him. He was my first pet and he has the same birthday I do. Godspeed, and enjoy the big city C.M.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Amazing Adventures of our Ishy

IMG_2003 Last week was pretty busy at work, so I've waited until today to post an Ishy story from over Thanksgiving. I've got a little bit to add to the story from this weekend, so maybe it's good that I waited.

The short version is that Ishy got some booty while I was in Ireland.

Here's the long version...When I landed in San Francisco I turned my phone on for the first time in five days. Mostly because I wanted to get a ride home from the airport, but I also liked reading the thread of reply-alls that went on a "this machine is down" message that went to my cell phone. In addition to the thread of mail that was useless to me on a 30x4 character screen was a voice mail. So I listed to it.

It went something like, "Hi this is your dog walker, and when I got here today to pick up Ishy he greeted my in the driveway. It looks like he got out through the front window in your house. I'm not sure what to do. I've already got a dog boarded up this weekend. Can you call me and let me know what to do? Um. Yeah."

Mind you, there was no information for me as to when that call was made (OK it's been pointed out that my voice mail service probably has that information, but like I have the time to figure out how to use voice mail). I went home to see what was up, and found it Ishy-less.

So I called up the dog walker and found out that she had boarded him for the last two days. So he was safe, sound and loved. And this is where I get to the short version because her dog was a fixed female. Apparently there was enough sex drive for the both of them in Ishy, because there was some consumation going on. He looked quite happy when I picked him up.

But the front window hasn't gotten fixed yet, so he's been wandering out of it the last few days. I'm gonna have to kick his butt a little (and get the window fixed I suppose) so that he stops wandering. Mostly cause I don't like getting pulled out of bed when the neighbor knocks on the door at 2a.m. saying he bused out again.