The Long Rant Goodnight

First off, Mickey finished working on another image recently, and will likely be posting it later tonight, so do check the visual gallery sometime soon. I’ve seen the image in question already, and I think you’ll be well pleased.

Next: sorry for the lack of posting. Hopefully you’ve all noticed that Mickey at least has been posting regularly on her LiveJournal account. I simply haven’t felt up for posting lately, in the midst of getting everything set up and such. That is not to say that I don’t have a lot I want to say, merely once again making it clear that desire [to speak/write] is not always enough of a motivating factor. What finally got me motivated to post? Frustration.

We ended up going with cable modem instead of DSL, because Qwest was dicking around with us and we got fed up… we’ve been pretty satisfied with the results of that decision, which I’ll talk more about in a second. For now, please bear with me. There is one (1) cable connection in the apartment, which is downstairs by the front door. Rather than pay lots of money to get the house rewired (foolish since we don’t know how long we’ll be here, and it’s not THAT big a deal), I’ve moved the cable modem and my airport base station to that location. While this is good in some ways (I can run wire directly from the router/base station to the hub housing the console connections), it means that I’ve had to find a solution in getting my PC connected adequately upstairs in my office.

This should be a relatively simple proposition. I’ve got an auto-configuring ethernet converter (which you can now get for MUCH cheaper… the cost of being ahead of the curve), so it should just be a matter of plugging that into the ethernet port and we’ll be off and running.

This in fact did turn out to be the case, and is how it is set up now. But (of course) it didn’t work that well when I first tried to connect. Thinking that perhaps the auto-config wasn’t working, I tried connecting it into my laptop with the built-in airport turned off. I connected just fine. This left a bit of a dilemma, as I haven’t really dug under the hood of XP Pro all that much. As much as I hate to say it, I actually missed 98 and it’s approach to networking. XP’s approach is all well and good when everything goes smoothly: it SUCKS ASS if anything goes wrong.

Ultimately, I ended up just sitting and going through various options in their “Home and Small Office Network Wizard,” until something finally decided to work. I hadn’t changed any settings from when things were working in Vermont, and the network connection type was the same. Why it stopped working is anyone’s guess.

That’s what got me to actually sit down and write. Now that I am, though, I’ll take some time and catch up everyone on what’s happened over the past week or two.

Our first week or two in Seattle was a little surreal, in delightful, strange ways, a few of which I’ll elaborate on. Right off the bat, it is worth noting that Seattle as a whole appears to not be a morning person. Most businesses that I’ve come across don’t seem to open until 10, and we have in fact seen ads for an “early early morning class” of yoga… at 8:30. While I’m sure this might seem appalling to those of you who actually GET UP in the morning, think about it this way: the restaurants still open early, which means that people are able to get up, take their time in the morning, and come in to work relaxed and refreshed, having had some well made food (it’s on my list to mention, keep reading), possibly gone for a walk in one of the many parks, or taken one of those “early early morning” yoga classes. Do you now see how this might (just might) be potentially a good thing?

We hung out with Eli and Megan for day or two before they continued on their road trip (they are home now). We made a tasty stirfry, and wandered around a bit, but mostly just relaxed. We also took to the opportunity to sample the complex’s pool, which was quite refreshing (Mickey has gone nearly every day since, though it was a little too chilly today… I’ve made it about half the times she went). We also ordered a television (32″ 1080i HDTV… got a very decent price on it), and went to Ikea, a place that feels more like an amusement park than a furniture store. Or maybe that is just because it is a GIANT blue building that is full (and I do mean SWARMS) of people wandering aimlessly through the aisles and aisles of poor flow control. While I loved the store, the people drove me a little starkers. Ordered a bookshelf for my office (8 shelves!!! The thing nearly touches the ceiling), which, when combined with my red shelf and my glass shelf, holds essentially all of my books. I am well pleased: only my comics are still in their box, and that is where they belong, in my not so humble opinion. With the exception of the graphic novels (which I probably WILL actually put on a shelf when I feel up to doing some rearranging), it’s not like the comics would be visible on a shelf anyway.

Back to the surreal stuff. Once our phone line was actually hooked up (email me if you know Mickey or myself and don’t have it yet), we decided to celebrate by ordering a pizza. Flipping through the yellow pages that we now had, we picked almost at random, choosing a place called Pagliacci Pizza. They aren’t quite a chain, though they do have multiple locations throughout the Seattle area. It is also some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, using premium, fresh ingredients to make a truly quality New York style pizza. So here is where the surreal part comes in: the person who picked up the phone was knowledgeable and professional, not harried at all (despite it being a peak ordering hour), walked me through the whole process of ordering the pizza, making sure we had everything, offering some suggestions on additional items that might go well with the pizza (we went with some tasty raspberry gelato ice cream). The delivery guy showed up about 10 minutes LESS than the estimated delivery time, and PRESENTED the pizza to me, opening the box and confirming that the pizza was what we ordered and was to our satisfaction. The real kicker for me is that the following day, the place CALLED US as a courtesy call, to make sure we’d enjoyed the pizza.

While we’re on the subject of food (see? Told you I’d get to it), let me mention the Crossroads Mall, less than a mile from our house. It is worth mentioning for several reasons, above and beyond the stores (a Circuit City, a Michael’s, a Bed Bath and Beyond, and a fine cookware store immediately coming to mind). First off, it has a mini-town office IN THE MALL. Also, a branch of the county library. ALSO, a series of gaming tables with complimentary chess sets, above and beyond the giant chess board set up in front of the Wizards of the Coast outlet, which is available for public (free) use. It also has a grocery store in the mall. Oh, and the DMV also has a branch there.

But what really does it for me is the food. That is what makes the place surreal. It is a mall food court with GOOD FOOD. They have sushi, thai, hibachi, mediterranean, diner fare, indian, chinese, korean bbq… all of which (thus far) is excellent. We are particularly fond of the sushi place, which has those delightful bento boxes that I’ve mentioned before.

Shifting from food back to technology, let me explain the whole dsl vs cable modem thing. Basically, I was interested in DSL because I’d been assured by one of the techs at Qwest (when we ordered the phone line in the first place) that I’d get a static IP and full vpn/remote networking capability (useful for when I’m across the country at my residency). It wasn’t quite as fast as cable modem, but the speeds were more reliable, latency was better, and was about $5 less a month. After the phone line was installed, I was informed that yes, in fact we COULD get DSL installed there, and a ticket was made up to get it set up. Installment time: the 25th of August (and likely later, if reports from other people in the area are any indication).

The ordering of the DSL had taken an additional call (despite the fact that we’d ordered it when we ordered the phone line), and at the end of it I was left VERY frustrated. After discussing it with Mickey (I’m one of those weird geeks that actually tries to communicate with their spouse), we decided to call the Cable guy and see if we could get cable modem installed sooner than the DSL would be set up, just on a whim. Our apartment complex had given us the name of the actual cable guy who serviced our area, so we called him directly. He got us a great deal on the whole package, and set us up for an appointment two days later (instead of 11). Enter the surreality the following evening when he calls us and says “Hey, I got a cancellation this evening, would you mind if I install you now?”

Blink. Blink. We HAVE in fact entered the Twilight Zone, and frankly I don’t want to leave. All of these things are above and beyond the fact that we’ve had two weeks straight of sunny warm weather (hence why Mickey has swum nearly every day), with today being the first grey day we’ve had since we arrived. I know that this is summer, but still. Apparently this has been an extremely dry summer for Seattle. People are actively wondering if they are going to get the two weeks of rain they get every August. Seeing as how the month only has 8 days left (well, 7 by the time anyone reads this), I somehow doubt it.

Other than unpacking and buying some necessities (groceries, et cetera), that’s about it for the past week or two. I attended a LAN party last night (which was a great deal of fun), and swung by the Penny Arcade/Lanwerx Gaming Day today to shmooze with the people there, and also to check out both the PC version of Halo (not yet available for sale, though it’s looking SHARP), and the demo of Halo 2 (the videos on the net do NOT do it justice). I’ll write more about both events tomorrow, as this post is getting pretty long.