bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[Editorial note: As I've been remiss in my posting, I'm just going to do highlights back-dated to when the events occurred.]

Parked at Everett Station south (B) lot for a change. A big youngish bear with a pointy dark goatee and matching crew cut, in Packers gear, jeans and beat-up work boots, was waiting at the stop on Broadway and 34th and having a coughing fit. He sat behind the turntable. On the 106 from Canyon Park I spotted a big brown bear.

On the way home on the 532, I sat across from a sleepy red cub in vintage Mariners cap and hoodie, jeans and sneakers. At one point the cap came off to reveal sleepy cub was almost if not completely bald. Sitting on the high bench in front of the turntable was a huge young bear with long brown hair and a shorter beard, in a grey T-shirt and workout shorts. He was idly playing with his hair, which was long enough to hide his nipples should that become necessary. On the back bench was an older bear with sugar-and-cinnamon hair and beard, the latter trimmed in an unusual style, like a reverse goatee, with sideburns and a mustache that flared out over his jawline but his chin was clean shaven.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I didn't need to be in the office until 8 AM so I left a bit later for the bus than I usually do, and found the parking lot at South Everett freeway station was full. So I drove to Ash Way and managed to find a spot in the back relatively close to where I usually park. The ride in was uneventful. At the office I saw Seshu, both Matts from Cricket (the tall bearded one and his shorter, bald manager, who sound much alike), Veronica (who had an interesting proposal for me which unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to pursue), and Mike the Republican from my old days as an SA. Outside the office there was a big bucket truck parked close to the building to trim the trees.

Having gotten an early start, and guessing (rightly) that [personal profile] gmjambear would be downtown, I wrapped up about 3:30 intending to catch the 522 downtown. Having missed it by a minute or so, I caught the 535 northbound to Lynnwood to connect with the 512 there. At Canyon Park a dude who can only be described as a giant (at least 6' 7" and 400 lbs, but with no facial fur) boarded and sat on the back bench. The artic bus was fairly full but no one was standing. There were a lot of Asian kids on the bus, of high school or college age. As we crossed I-5 I noticed the northbound lanes slammed with traffic. The kid sitting across from me looked like he has potential to be a panda bear in about 10 years. He left at Alderwood (my phone's predictive typing suggested Aldershot, which is a stop on the train from Rochester to Toronto, so I found that amusing) and the giant came and sat in his place.

On the 512 I sat across from John, a chorus member who commutes from the U district to Lynnwood; he was on our bus the previous Thursday as well. At Mountlake Terrace a tall bear with long curly brown hair, in a throwback Mariners jersey with Ken Griffey Jr.'s name and number on the back, grey shorts and flip-flops boarded and sat on the turntable on the opposite side of the bus. A young dude sitting just forward of John had a long red beard and a severe haircut. By the time we hit the bulk of traffic at Northgate, I saw John nodding off; obviously it had been a long day. Downtown traffic was awful, more so than usual but not the worst I've seen. As we crossed Seventh Avenue on Stewart, we had to run circles around a #7 bus sprawled across the intersection; it was a tight fit, and I thought surely we'd snap off a rear-view mirror or something. We also had to wait at least three light cycles before we could make the left turn onto Fifth. Once we arrived at the stop at Westlake I ducked into the mall and through the lower food court, meeting Gary at the top of the steps by Wells Fargo. Someone had scrawled graffiti on the entrance doors to the bank in what looked like blue greasepaint.

We went in to BWW and were seated toward the back of the bar area. I checked the menu and noticed they were offering two different sauces in the Sauce Lab, without dates specifying when each would be available (normally they have one flavor at a time), so I asked the waiter and he said both were available. The one had a bit of a kick to it, but the other, the Scorpion with Myers' Rum in it, was on a whole new level. It wasn't all heat though; like the Mango Habañero I often order, there's a lot of flavor in it. I noticed a bit late that the new sauce came with a warning sticker not to touch your eyes, and to wash with plenty of water afterwards. ;) Still, I managed to finish the meal with vision intact and no upset stomach. And it was good.

The ride home was uneventful. We got out at Ash Way and I drove Gary to pick up his car at the far side of Everett Station.


Jul. 31st, 2014 04:44 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
All packed and ready to go...


bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Since I forgot to do a GST post yesterday, and since this is my last Tie-Dye Friday in this office...



Apr. 3rd, 2014 06:30 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
In my office, which I see less and less of lately.


bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
My brother used to say that to my niece (whose name happens to be Erin) many St. Pat's Days ago.

Kind of an uneventful day. I'm still coming down from the weekend. I've taken on the lead producer role for the SMC's No Talent Show at retreat, and this weekend's show turned out just fabulously, despite the change in venue from a working theater to a hotel ballroom.

[ profile] gmjambear told me I'd worked a little too hard on the show, as now I have a minor chest cold (mostly a cough triggered by postnasal sinus drainage). Still, I was able to get through a somewhat grueling dental visit and yet another SMC rehearsal before virtually collapsing Monday evening. This week I am also taking on overnight patching and upgrades once more, which means I am working split shifts again.

In honor of the occasion I decided to make Pig's Ass and Cabbage the way my mom used to (fun fact: at one point in my childhood I hated cabbage and Mom would substitute green beans; nowadays I rather enjoy the cabbage). Unfortunately, the third ingredient in the traditional boiled dinner -- potatoes -- had all sprouted or rotted in the pantry. So instead we made noodle soup of the ham and cabbage. It turned out very tasty and filling.

As my folks always say, "Top o' the morning to you!" (to which the proper response is "And the rest of the day to you!")
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Before dinner: a long day... )

Dinner was a blast. We had lots of good conversation and there were congratulations for [ profile] gmjambear and me signing up for NaNoWriMo. I had a cup of minestrone and a red curry with chicken; Gary had the roast chicken. I asked Gary if he wanted dessert but he declined. I had the caramel flan, partly so we could re-enact the scene from Real Women Have Curves (Gary: "Don't eat the flan!" Me: [chomp]). Pictures up at my Gallery.

The trip home... )

A fine evening if I do say so myself.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Employers are balking at paying skyrocketing health insurance premiums. So the insurers have come up with a solution: Make the plans "consumer-driven", and jack up the deductibles so high that folks will think twice about seeing a doctor if they are sick. Preventive care (such as physicals) is not subject to the deductible, but maintenance care for a condition diagnosed by the physical is. These deductibles are high enough that unless one has a chronic condition requiring medication, or experiences a catastrophic illness, the insurance does them absolutely no good -- they pay 100% of their care out of pocket. About the only thing they are good for is preventing a catastrophic illness from bankrupting a family.

First these plans were foisted off on non-union (management) employees, who have no alternatives and no collective bargaining power to get a better deal. Now that these plans are being forced on unions, they are the direct cause of serious labor unrest. Even (or perhaps, especially) in this economy, as companies force these excuses for health insurance on their employees, this alone is going to be the issue that precipitates a strike.

And in my industry, a strike causes a lot of disruption. Somewhat like the military, my employer is prepared to order thousands of people (myself included) thousands of miles from home, at its convenience, not that of its employees -- in order to force the unions to capitulate. This is going to get ugly.

Essentially, the commercial health insurance industry is sucking the nation dry. We need to take the profit motive out of health insurance by offering a publicly-funded alternative or moving to a single-payer system. Otherwise, we will continue to have severe rationing of care, either self-rationing on the basis of price or outright denial of care by insurers, as has been demonstrated by the horror stories we've all seen (The Runaway Jury is not that far from actual documented cases in the courts).
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Went to get my hair cut to reduce the effort required to keep it presentable for work next week and for the upcoming SMC show. I mentioned to the Asian woman who cut my hair that I had been trying to grow a ponytail but it wasn't quite working out, and she said I'd need to let it grow another year for an acceptable tail.

As promised, here is the result:


Feb. 28th, 2009 08:56 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Oh say, can you see
My eyes? If you can,
Then my hair's too short

I've been experimenting over the past couple of months with letting my hair grow out beyond all reasonable bounds. It's been fun, but I'm not managing it terribly well, and it's not even long enough for a proper ponytail yet. However, with my trip to Dallas coming up Real Soon Now (during which I will be meeting my immediate supervisor in person for the first time, not to mention spending a lot of time wearing a hard hat), I figure it's time for the experiment to end. As much as I'd rather not, I'm going to have most of it sheared off tomorrow.

[ profile] pandabuff mentioned at a special rehearsal this afternoon that having hair that long would bother him, and I know it does [ profile] gmjambear if only because it overemphasizes his bald spot. But my father still has a full head of hair at eighty-four, even if it has gone mostly snow white. So I figure while I've got it I should make the most of it.

So today we decided we both needed to get out of the house, and I wanted to get some pictures before making such a radical change in my appearance, so we visited the Everett Marine Park and Lions Park and got some pictures of Possession Sound and the mountains. Then we took some posed shots of each other to use in LJ icons and such.

I'll want to do "after" pictures tomorrow. But for now, here are some of the pictures we got in the parks today.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[ profile] gmjambear and I have been busy today. Check it out... )

We also decided to go out for dinner, this being Valentine's day and all. Of course, it seems the entire population of Everett had the same idea, and our first choice, the Grand China Buffet, had a long line and a full parking lot. So we went to Chang's Mongolian Grill instead; there was a wait but it wasn't long at all. After dinner we picked up some prints I'd made so Gary would have some family pictures to grace the staircase as well. I think we'll finish that up tomorrow.

Not a bad way to finish up the day, I think.


Sep. 18th, 2008 09:37 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
  • All this week I've been seeing lots of bearish bus drivers and the occasional passenger as well.

  • This morning my cow-orkers and I were having a conversation about Burn After Reading in which my ex-boss recommended people see the trailer and skip the film because the best parts of the film are all in the trailer. So, speaking of spoilers, I pointed out the two T-shirts that T-Shirt Hell advertised right after one of the Harry Potter books came out that read "[so-and-so] dies on page [such-and-such]; I just saved you [this many] hours and [this much money]", with the US version bearing one page number and a price in dollars, and the UK version having a different page number and a price in pounds. When he asked why the US and UK versions had different page numbers, my cube neighbor pointed out that the words in the UK are longer with the extra "u", as in "colour", etc.

  • Speaking of films, I keep wanting to call this one Mountlake Terrace ;-) (This is a neighborhood just over the county line between Shoreline and Lynnwood, north of Seattle proper.)

  • Over in soc.motss, someone posted his surprise at hearing the "Flute Concerto" by "Jacques E. Bear" performed by James Galway. Looking at the program notes he discovered the composer's name is Jacques Ibert. Sort of reminds me of the first time I saw Chantal Hébert ("Eh, Bear") on "At Issue" on the CBC's The National.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Not too much to post about. After having to do patching at the data center in Bothell rather than from home, and not getting to bed until 3 AM, I decided to work from home today and drive to GALA rehearsal. We basses got a bit of a break on the choralography as we did voice-blend work with Dennis while Eric and Catherine worked around the tiny size of the risers. Once more the Beautiful Theory got gang-raped by Ugly Facts.

I did see someone interesting at Arby's in the drive-thru line ahead of me, a young driver who pulled up some distance from the window and got out of the car to pick up dinner. He was wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, and despite the fact he was wearing a belt, his jeans were about halfway down his thighs revealing most if not all of his white boxers. Hey, if some (presumably) straight kid wants to show off his ass in public, who am I to deny him? ;-) [ profile] gmjambear disagrees, but then again he's just showing off the "daddybear" side of his personality. The cashier seemed to be new and a little out of his element, but also easy on the eyes.

No more patching, by the way, last night's was the last before the mass change freeze which will take us into GALA week (which just so happens to be right after the iPhone 3G launch). So I'm up a lot later than I really ought to be, but then again, these things do tend to throw me off schedule for a couple of days.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Haven't had a whole lot of time to post the past few days.

Monday was a long day. Work went OK, then I hopped on the bus early to get downtown and grab an early dinner before rehearsal. Having some time to play with, I hopped on the monorail to Seattle Center. The return monorail trip was delayed about 20 minutes because they had to test the one working train, which was annoying because they didn't announce what they were doing until they had pulled the train into the station and then pulled out again without letting anyone board. Rehearsal was exhausting. We got to work with the band for the first time though which was nice. After rehearsal I decided to try the express bus across Lake Washington instead of the Rodeo Bus, especially since I'd parked at the park-n-ride lot next to Boeing instead of at the Renton transit center. However, I ended up catching the 240 local bus and it took forever to get there. I barely got home in time to do my system patching work at 11 PM. Saw a couple of interesting folks on that long bus ride though, including a bearish antique dealer and a youngish fellow in a tweed jacket praying the rosary quietly to himself.

Tuesday I got a late start having slept in a bit. I got to see this big red bear in Carhartt overalls working on the electrical system at Bellevue transit center again, as he's been there the past few days. On the way home I had a chat with a young woman who works in the cafeteria. She mentioned that she was interested in board games and I mentioned a few of them that [ profile] snicholson had demonstrated on Game Nights back in New York. We ended up discussing our respective commutes and I mentioned that I sing with SMC, which prompted her to ask if [ profile] gmjambear sang with the chorus as well. I had to tell her no, he doesn't; he's the "chorus widow". After returning home, I went for a walk with Gary in the park before another round of patching.

Today I decided to park at Kennydale for a change. Looks like the bus bypassed us, as we had to wait about 40 minutes when there should be one every half hour. Ah well, one of the other riders was easy on the eyes, with tousled brown hair, a nice smile and a fair bit of fur peeking out of his open shirt collar. Once I got to Bellevue the red bear in Carhartts was up on a scissors lift working right over my head. ;-) Unfortunately, I discovered that there's a hardware problem which will prevent me from working from home for my final patches tonight. So in about an hour I will have to haul butt to Bothell and start my 11 PM maintenance window by physically powering down the server so I can (hopefully, fingers crossed) monitor it remotely afterward.

Wacky day

May. 22nd, 2008 05:57 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (bigbear)
Was awakened at 4 AM by the on-call pager. Last Sunday morning I was involved in the resolution of an outage on our POS servers (that's Point of Sale although Piece of S**t seems more appropriate) after one of three Storage Area Network (SAN) devices lost its mind and shut down all paths to the storage from both servers in the POS cluster. Well, this morning it happened again. Spent 2 1/2 hours on the phone trying to figure it out before east coast stores opened.

Which reminds me: Fry's had similar trouble with their computers yesterday while we were shopping for micro-SD cards for our new phones. (Without a card, the phone will only store two songs at a time in its music player. Ouch.) It got to the point where it was more hassle than it was worth. So I see how important it is to keep the systems that support retail going at any cost.

By the time I was done with the conference it was time to make the trek to the office, since I had three nearly back-to-back meetings scheduled for today. I decided that since I already had a couple hours in, I would leave right after my last meeting of the day, at 2 PM. I actually made it out at 2:30. I will be so glad when my on-call turn ends tomorrow at 3 PM.

Observations from the bus:

A nice-looking kid got on the bus at Totem Lake, all bright eyes and perfect hair -- then he got closer to me and I could see the lower half of his face was rather badly scarred. Odd that it didn't really ruin his appearance so much as make him more interesting to look at.

As we reached downtown Bellevue some of the many construction sites were knocking off work for the day, which resulted in an abundance of bears in orange vests wandering the streets in search of their rides home.

I'm still a little tired but too mentally engaged to sleep just yet. Maybe after dinner.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
As it happens, Solaris (Sun's version of Unix) provides something called the Platform Independent Control Library (or PICL for short), which has a component that runs as a system service (or daemon in Unix terminology). I kept getting dinged at work because when many of the systems I work on were built, PICL was not installed because at the time it only supported the newer systems from Sun. So after asking what this PICL daemon was, I thought I'd draw a cartoon of it. Behold:

A Cartoon )

By the way, the other text at the top refers to another Solaris feature, Flash Archives (or flar's for short). It asks simply, "Where have all the flar's gone?"

OK, I'll stop.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
There's something about waiting for a bus on a Monday evening in downtown Seattle after SMC rehearsal that is very different from any other part of my bus commutes.

This particular Monday, it was a fairly thin, Hispanic-looking guy in a blue windbreaker and a white T-shirt, standing at the bus schedule board and using it to steady himself as he was a bit tipsy. He kept reaching up under the front of his T-shirt and windbreaker to scratch himself, or maybe play with his nipples, finally just pulling the shirt and jacket up and exposing his furry chest and stomach to all and sundry. Just like the cub with the flip-flops last week, I found this distracting -- at once mildly erotic and revolting. Eventually he made his way to a nearby bench and sat down.

The actual ride back was fairly uneventful (apart from a few seconds of the Rodeo Bus trying to buck the passengers off in the middle of I-5) until my on-call pager went off and I joined one of those interminable phone conferences that seem to pop up at the drop of the proverbial hat when I'm on-call. Nine times out of ten, the problem is with the application, the database or the network, and not something the system admins can fix. By the time I got home it was clear this was going to be one of those calls so I dropped it. I had too much other work to do anyway.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Yesterday at work I got an e-mail stating that my employer is willing to give me a free bus pass if I agree to use it at least an average of 3 days a week. Considering a normal day's commute for me is about 40 miles round trip (or just shy of 2 gallons of gas), this would be a much-needed boost for our combined finances not having to drive quite so much.

So today I decided to try the bus commute for size. The most convenient way for me to do this is as follows:

  • Drive to the top of Kennydale Hill and park at the Kennydale United Methodist Church lot which serves as a Park 'n' Ride.
  • Walk across to the other side of I-405 and board the express bus to Bellevue. (I could also have left the car at home, walked the opposite direction half a mile or so and caught the same bus at the Boeing bus stop at Park and Logan.)
  • Transfer to a second express bus at the Bellevue Transit Center.
  • Ride that bus to the off-ramp of I-405 closest to work.
  • Walk about half a mile or so (15 minutes) to my office.
  • Reverse the whole process on the way home.

If I'm to do this most every day, I think I will need to find a backpack for my laptop. Humping this over-the-shoulder soft-sided briefcase that distance makes my back hurt, probably because the unbalanced weight makes me walk funny.

Other than that, though, the ride was pleasant enough, and I think I will try to make this a habit. Let's see how tomorrow goes.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
  • The concerts Friday and last night went spectacularly, both from a performer's perspective and from the feedback I've received from the audience. We opened with a pre-recorded track which was followed by a piece by Eric Lane Barnes called "I Am", which featured an alto soloist from the Seattle Girls' Choir in pajamas kneeling in front of an amorphous blob which was the entire chorus -- risers, piano, and all -- performing under a gigantic white parachute silk.

  • Traffic has been the bane of my existence all week. From Wednesday through Friday I was commuting from work in Bothell to McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center, located just north of downtown in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood. Based on distance alone it should take about 25 minutes but it was taking more like 45, since every route into downtown Seattle gets extra-crowded when the Mariners have a game.

  • Today traffic was effing ridiculous because not only did we have to contend with the Mariners vs. my hometown Reds, but we got caught in the tail end of the pride parade traffic. Fortunately the delay in the parade meant that the pride rally was also delayed about 45 minutes, so I actually arrived in time to sing with the Chorus at the rally.

  • After wandering around the post-parade festival grounds we decided to grab lunch at the Seattle Center House nearby, then we made the trip up to C.C. Attle's on Capitol Hill to see the Northwest Bears' float which won first prize in the Stranger's first annual pride float competition. It was good to see the Bears since I've had so many conflicts between Chorus and Bear events over the past month or so, and to meet some folks from out of town.

  • This evening will be time to kick back and relax, as I go on call for work next week. It should be fairly quiet (I hope so anyway), as we have a change freeze in effect that is going to get more stringently enforced as the iPhone launch approaches.

August 2017

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