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January 29, 2001

Kim and I went skiing twice last week, both times at Northstar. On Tuesday night we drove up, and it took an extra hour and a half because we had to put on the snow chains and drive at about 25 mph for over 60 miles. Ugh. But it was worth it; the snow on the slopes was fantastic. It snowed both days, so even in the middle of the day when it usually gets softer due to the sunlight, it was cloudy (snowing!) so it was still nice and powdery. n Wednesday there were so few people on the slopes that I had a slope all to myself for one run - nobody above or below. Schweeeeet. I'm finally doing all intermediate runs now, and I even managed to take a trail that was all moguls twice without falling. Caught some air too. Woo hoo! It's a good feeling to practice and get good at something new.

We were going to go back on Saturday (and I was going to try skiing on a black diamond "most difficult" trail) but there were so many people that we got there and decided to go home instead. You may be thinking, "no way, if I were there I wouldn't go home", but imagine what you would do if there were twice as many people there... keep going until you are imagining a loooooooooot of people. :) It was ugly.

Right now I'm in Cambridge, MA, attending Sapient Start, which is the orientation class for my (new) employer, Sapient. Boston is nice but brr! Now that I've had time to get over the jet lag from being in NY visiting Kim's parents, it's back to the east coast and the eastern time zone for some more jet lag. So sleepy.

Rocking out to bis on my Rio 500. Yeah.

Oni is out today. I'm going to see if I can go buy it tonight. I've played the demo soooo many times, I can't wait to play the real thing.

January 23, 2001

We're back. Cross-country flights are a real pain, especially if they aren't direct flights. But Southwest is cheap, and they made us stop over in Nashville. Oh well. There was a guy behind us on the last leg who had 2 noisy kids with him. Really noisy. I couldn't think of a civil way to say TELL YOUR BRATS TO SHUT THE HELL UP so I kept trying... Kim got fed up and politely asked him to ask his kids to keep their voices down. He replied "I don't have that degree of control" which is the lamest response I've ever heard. I spent the next 5 minutes thinking up snappy answers... "would you like some advice as to how to gain that degree of control? I can demonstrate several methods of discipline if you like!" Et cetera. He sorta shushed his kids when they got really obnoxiously loud but he obviously didn't care about being considerate if it meant standing up to his kids.

I'll be in Cambridge, MA next week at Sapient Start which is their orientation. Fortunately this will be a direct flight :)

Tero and I saw Dracula 2000 in New York (Copenhagen was sold out and I didn't feel like seeing anything else). It's OK if you're into vampire movies or Jeri Ryan (or even Jeri Ryan as a vampire), but not great. Good for a rental, not worth the full theater ticket price. The soundtrack was quite good, though.

It snowed a bunch on Saturday night. It was a slow drive all by myself from NYC to Centereach due to the road conditions (icy / snowy) but once I got to the back roads it was great. Lots of fun can be had in a rental car and an inch or two of snow on an empty expanse of pavement.

January 12, 2001

I've accepted an offer with Sapient as a Senior Technical Architect. I start on 1/29/2001.

We'll be in New York visiting friends and (Kim's) family until the 21st.

January 10, 2001

Mozilla 0.7 is available, and it actually works for all of the things I have tested it for in the last 10 minutes, including mail. I'm testing it as an end user not as a developer BTW, so I have no idea if some obscure JavaScript thingy works or not... still, it's worth taking for a spin.

January 8, 2001

I just read an article which included a funny quote... remember how stock trading was going to be one of the killer apps of pervasive wireless internet service? "You don't need Internet access on a pager or a cell phone just to get stock prices. You don't want to know the prices anyway." Funny.

January 1, 2001

Happy new year! A bunch of folks including Fiid and Susan, Hans, and a bunch of people I hadn't met before, went to dinner at Greens. Greens is a vegetarian restaurant. We arrived at 8:45, were seated promptly, and then it took about and hour and a half to get the appetizers. The waiter came over a half hour after he took our order and asked "so are you ready to order?" Not good. "You already took our order." "Hmm, oh yes, I did..." (walks away quickly to enter the order). Another half hour for the main course, and another half hour or so for dessert. If you're not counting, that's about three hours, so we were sitting there at 11:45pm with totally rock hard frozen desserts (which were supposed to be "mousse like" in consistency) trying to chisel off bits to eat. And of course we missed the fireworks because we were still at the restaurant at midnight. Not a great experience. The food was okay but not great; the service was clearly bad; the decor and the band were excellent. At $65 per person (flat price for new year's dinner) plus a 17% mandatory gratuity, I can't say it was worth it at all... I don't think we will be going back.

A side note: having grown up on the East Coast, quite often I look at a menu at a nice restaurant out here in California and have no idea what half of the words mean. Nicer places in the D.C. area still have menus that one can read and understand without having to subscribe to culinary magazines. Not so with SF. Just look at the CitySearch description: "phyllo", "confit", "polenta"... say what? Perhaps this is an unavoidable side effect of the great restaurants in SF: the chefs here are using ingredients and making things that you just don't see in D.C., so there is a special vocabulary used to describe it. Fair enough. But it's still frustrating to feel illiterate looking at a menu. Maybe I can take a night course in Intensive Food-ese... :)

Adam B. and I went skiing this weekend. We went to Alpine Meadows on Friday, and Sugar Bowl on Saturday. We ate dinner at the oh so sleazy Tahoe Biltmore. I gambled for the first time, lost $1.00, and now that I've tried it once I don't need to do it ever again. It's as boring as I expected it would be. Also the layer of sleaze is pretty thick, at least at the Biltmore.

I'm now able to ski on the intermediate slopes; I've figured out the parallel skiing thing and I can deal with moderately steep slopes. I still fall down a bit but I didn't lose a ski all day Saturday. On Friday I did wipe out a few times and lose a ski; I had gone to the top of Ward's Peak (see the map [300K image]) and although the view from the top was amazing (you can see Lake Tahoe from there), falling my way down the mountain wasn't pretty. I really didn't get the hang of things until Saturday, at Sugar Bowl. I basically just went up the Mt. Judah lift and skied down the same trails repeatedly (Buena Vista to Coldstream) until I got it right.

At about 10am, I took a break from skiing to get some water, and when I came back my rental skis and poles were not on the rack where I left them. Doh! I looked around and there were some similar sets - all the rental skis look pretty much alike - so I talked to the rental folks and they looked up the serial number for the skis I rented. I looked at the skis which were still on the rack where I left mine and the numbers didn't match. They were nice enough to provide me with a second set at no charge, and at the end of the day (2:30 pm) I noticed that one set which was on the rack at 10am was still there; I had noted the serial number earlier and it was the same set. So I returned my second set and the one which had been there all day. I imagine that somebody picked up their skis at the rental place around 9:45, stuck them in the rack, got something to eat, came out and grabbed mine, and then took mine back downstairs to be readjusted once they noticed their boots didn't fit. Something like that. Anyway, it all ended well.

The snow is really crummy right now; from what I've heard it hasn't snowed for 2 weeks up there. There are exposed rocks, bushes, closed trails, and very thin hard-packed snow. At one point on Coldstream I fell hard on some dense snow, squarely on the top of my shoulder. I don't think I broke anything but there's a large faint bruise over the whole area, and it certainly doesn't tickle when I use certain muscles in that area. I've been icing it and if it doesn't get better soon I'm going to see a doctor about it :(.

Kim and I recently returned from a trip to D.C. and Richmond to see friends and my family. We were fortunate enough to get to see a lot more people than we usually do. Four women we know are pregnant, and all are expecting next spring. That was a bit surprising. We visited with Rupi and Mike S. and got to see their little munchkin ("Michael++"), and we were fortunate enough to have Edith and Mike H. join us. Here's a pic of Edith, Rupi, Kim, and Mike H.

We met Leslie B. for lunch at the Ritz Carlton where she works. They built a walk-in gingerbread house in the hallway that took up the whole hallway. Check out the pic of Kim and Leslie looking thru the window. What a cool idea.

We also met some of my high school friends at Penny Lane Pub in Richmond. Here is a group pic as well as a gratuitous portrait of Jeff who has been clearly practicing his crazed outlaw look.

A tradition in Richmond which I haven't seen elsewhere is to go crazy with Christmas decorations on the outside of the house. We visited a few and one in particular seemed to be the best. There are pics from far away [77k image] (sorry for moving the camera, the shutter time was pretty long, but you get the idea), of the sun room [131k image], and of the front yard [74k image]. I think it's particularly impressive that the owner was able to wrap the tree completely in lights - I imagine there must have been a cherry-picker involved.

We had a great time visiting with my family as well. More pictures later.