Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Im not dead... but my computer is trying.

I know I have been promising pictures for a while now... and I have them. There are some good ones. But I am in the middle of trying to rescue my computer (my desktop). The week before I packed up my computer to store at Gwyn's house before moving out here, my 2 TB Western Digital Drive started to show signs of going bad. Well, turns out it did go bad. Lucky for me, it was under warranty, and WD sent me a new drive. Unlucky for me I have been trying voodoo magic to try to get as much information off of it as possible before I send back the bad one. This has proven to be difficult, and I have almost resorted to putting the hard drive in the freezer to try to squeeze some life out of it (google search 'Hard Drive freezer recovery'... silly people). Anyway, this means that my computer is spilled all over my desk. There are hard drives hanging out, there are wires everywhere, it is a mess. But I want to get as much as I can done before I close it back up again. This, I have not had a chance to load some pictures... sorry. Just think of it this way, you will get to see The Coat Factory after it has been lived in for a little bit, just this weekend I put up some more things (the bathroom is looking very pirate-ish).

Work is going great! Today, I got some parts in to work on an interface board I am throwing together. One of my coworkers suggested using an Arduino. I had never heard of this and did some looking. I am in love already. This platform is a basic microprocessor for hobbyist use and prototyping. It is designed to be used by people who do not know how to program micros and the community looks great! I am already stoked about making a garden computer for my future planter boxes, and a light controller for my eventual DVD shelf. I am stoked. AND THE LILLYPAD! Sew-able electronics, you use conductive thread and sew your circuits to the clothes. This is great! Anyway, I get to experiment with this awesome little board at work. Today, after lunch, I started working on it, and before I knew it, it was time to go. I was blown away, and am excited to get back in tomorrow to keep working on it. So yeah, the job is going well ;)

But, my bed time is approaching. And we are supposed to get snow tomorrow! Yay! But I need to go to bed. (I don't know how those are related, but I am leaving it)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Banff Film with a Sandwich

For the past week, there have been showing of the finals in the Banff Mountain Film Festival showing in Arlington. Wes, who is a big outdoorsy guy acquired a pair of tickets and asked if I wanted to go. I said of  course. He has been going on and on about this place in Cambridge called Deli icious, so we went their before the show. It was great! I am going to have to go back. They have a huge selection of different amazing sounding sandwiches. I took advantage of the 'Pittsburgh Pirate' (of course...) Steak sandwich with fries, slaw, and they added 1000 island. It was no Primanti's, but still a great sandwich. Ill have to be making a few trips back.

The film festival was also great! So all in all a great evening.

Tonight I have been taking it easy, getting my apartment back in order after being out last night, and having things left over from Pancake day! I got caught up with The Walking Dead. Such a great show! I know I have been promising pictures... and I still am, I am still trying to get all of my computers lined up for that. More to follow this weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Pancake day!

As per tradition, I held a pancake day celebration this evening with 4 friends (co-workers... )! It was great! But alas I am tired from making the wide array from Chocolate chip, nutella, peanut butter pancakes to bacon and maple pancakes... And I need to get to bed! So it was fun! Ill post my special pancake day pancake recipe soon, and Ill post the pictures I have been promising!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I have screwdriver hands...

Friday afternoon the moving company arrived finally! The two guys were super nice, and made the whole process nice and easy.

I think I have opened up every single box. There are still a few that I have to go through (with books and stuff like that) and all of my clothes are laying on my bed, but I don't have a dresser to put them in yet so they are going to get folded and put in a big pile on the floor. Oh well.

I need to go get that moving, tomorrow or Monday I am planning on taking lots of pictures to share, it should be good.

And for the record: work is great! I am really enjoying it, and am getting excited to actually get some work done.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Day: Check

The first day went off without a hitch. I am super excited, everything looks and feels great. Ill post more later in the week as I get a better feeling about the place, but here are some specifics:

I share an office with one other guy, and it has a window!
The general motto seems to be "get your work done, and do it well, as long as that is happening, do what you want."
So far, cool people to work with.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blog Face Lift

Hello Everyone,

I need your help. I need to change what is up there ^^^ I am no longer in The Burgh. And I am even further in to this silly country (any farther and I would be like that tea they got rid of a few years back...).
So I need a new blog sub-title. I feel like this is too important to just change willy-nilly.

Don't worry, I am still going to be here at stainedtartan.blogspot.com, that is not changing, just the layout and general format is going to get an update.

So if you would not mind giving some suggestions, you can get recognition right here... for all of my regular 5 blog readers to see. ;) I know that is killer incentive.

Layer One King

This message is getting sent out of my very first self terminated Cat5 cable! I did it! Alan and Mike knew I could, but I did it. And on my first try.

This apartment has a little data closet. By little, I mean that there are 6 full Cat5 connections and 3 half connections. My plan is to have the wireless router in the closet, and cables running to each of the rooms as needed. This way there are only cables running in the wall and not on the floor!

So now I need to label and terminate the rest! So much fun!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hold up 'Merica.

This is a direct cause off having no one to discuss this with, and getting riled up about what people are posting about Whitney Houston. Let us stop and think about what this means:
"she died of drug use and she died when she was 48. she will be remembered forever as a great singer. we honor her for her strong ability of singing to this day. R.I.P Whitney Houston" - From Yahoo Answers
 Really? This seems to happen every time a celebrity dies. Don't get me wrong, I wish that no one had to die, I wish that Whitney Houston was still alive now. It is a horrible thing to have anyone die, but look at what we are holding up as a society. Everyone seems to think that the cause of her death is due to her abuse of drugs and alcohol. Are we saying that we are ok turning a blind eye to this fact, and mourn her as a national hero. When a teenager who has been addicted to drugs dies, we hear about the rising drug problem in our city. Why is there the double standard. Just because someone is an artist or is famous for some other reason does not give them a free pass. Look at Chris Farley, John Belushi, Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious... these are just from the Wiki pages on heroine and cocaine related deaths. Lest we forget about Kurt Cobain (there was a lot of heroine involved in that case), Michael Jackson (I know there is a guy behind bars for the 'homicide' of MJ, but he was on a number of questionable 'medications' when he died), Billy Mays, Heath Ledger. Don't get me wrong, they all produced great things, they were funny people, great actors, wonderful musicians... and they all had addictions to drugs. Something that we, as American People, are ok either ignoring, or downplaying, because of their fame.

I don't think that we should tarnish their legacy by focusing on their problems, but at the same time, when we go to crack down on drugs, lets start at the top. It is no wonder why kids get in to drugs, all of their idols are using and we are ok with it.

Grocery Shopping One

I know that I have already said that I went to the Market Basket (the local food supply store) and I know that I already said that I like it. But now, after doing real shopping there, I can say that I love it. It is great! They have tons of stuff, with a huge variety, and is a lot cheaper that I was expecting. This may be due to the fact that Giant Eagle is taking advantage of their monopoly on the Pittsburgh food market. Anyway, it was a good experience.

Some caveats: I left the apartment at 2:30 ish. It is only .25 miles away. And I have already driven this particular way a number of times, but it was a mad house. Apparently everyone does their shopping on Saturday afternoons. There were people parked next to my apartment walking to the shopping center, it seemed like most of them were going to H Mart, some sort of Asian import store. So yes, there were tons of people. Which lead me to realize three important things that I am going to have to deal with here in New England. First: people, no matter where or how far they may be parked from the store don't use the cart return. It is appalling how many carts I bring back from the beyond. It seems as though people just leave their carts wherever they maybe when they get in their car to leave the parking lot. I have seen this before, we all have. The stray cart or two out in the last row of cars... but here there were more carts in the parking lot than there were in the cart return. And there were a lot in the cart return! So... this just means Ill be parking farthest from and corralling as many carts as I can. Second interesting tidbit: when walking around, no one makes eye contact. At all. None. Everyone, regardless of perceived social or economic class looks up or away from what they are doing. They are in their own little world. This makes things like navigating a busy grocery store rather difficult. Dad you would have fun with this... The best is when there is 10 people in an isle, all with their own carts, pretending to be the only person in the store, and you just want to get some mustard. Then third: you have to be a little pushy to go anywhere. Both with driving and with pedestrian locomotion. If you let one person by then everyone things that they are deserving. If you wait for a path to clear... it wont. You just have to jump in and go. This combined with tidbit #2... makes for some interesting stress. Oh well. We will see if it gets better.

I was able to get enough supplies to make my crowd favorite Chicken Paprikash, Which is what was for dinner tonight. :) Along with dinner was a movie: 'Forgetting Sarah Marshal' which I found both enjoyable and amusing.

Now on to ironing!

Friday, February 10, 2012


I was just looking through my cell phone, and found these pictures of Murphy. We were going on a little car ride, and Murphy does not like car rides....
'I don't want to go in the truck, I will not like it'
'You may think I am smiling... but I am not. I am terrified.'

Boston: First Week.

A lot of this past week has been spent in odd limbo... not quite on vacation, but certainly not working.

So Monday at 10:00 AM we got our keys to The Coat Factory. Interestingly they are electronic keys. They are these black plastic things with a smooth cylinder that gets inserted in to the lock, then electronically opens the lock. The apartment is great! It is facing away from the rest of the complex so we get a nice view off trees and whatnot, we spent a while just walking around the place...

...or pretending to wake up.
We unloaded my car with all off my stuff, making rather short work of it. Then spent a little time putting stuff away, and then enjoyed our first meal in the apartment:
Then, of course, there was a game of Carcassone to fully christen the space. After all of the festivities, I took Gwyn to the airport.

So since then, highlights: Internet in the apartment. New Tv. Putting up pictures. Bike riding.

Oh! Ok, so I rode my bike around the complex, and found this little road that cuts behind the major shopping center. Turns out there is a whole bunch of stuff right there, including 'Market Basket' what looks like a really nice grocery store! I am stoked! I get to keep biking for food! There is also a 5 Guys, a Trader Joes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Jo Anne Fabrics, Old Navy... just about everything I need! It was so exciting!

So other stuff:
Big Bang on the new TV. No furniture to sit on makes it weird.
I found this guy crawling out of my stuff... Ugg. He is dead now.
Other news: Today (in a few hours) I am going to go enjoy some Star Wars action. Then heading to Costco, then to Burlington Presbyterian Church for Friday game night! I am stoked.

In addition, my stuff is not supposed to get here until the 17th. :( and I get to start work on Monday, so there is going to be a few days of hotel living left. And dinners like this:

The Coat Factory, disclosure

As I sat down to write this, I realize that I have to be aware of my audience. I feel as though I don't write offensive or charged things, but some people may be uncomfortable or weird about this. Oh well.

Gwyn will be moving in to The Coat Factory (my apartment... well when she gets there it will be 'our' apartment). She is finishing up a show in Pittsburgh at the moment, the show needs to be set up by mid March, and the show itself opens in April. Some time after setting it up she will be moving her stuff up here. She is currently head first in job searching and applying to grad school.

There are plenty of excuses and reasons for this cohabitation, but I don't really think you care about that. If anyone is concerned with the moral implications, there has been much conversation and a number of precautions. We will have two separate bedrooms, there is a roommate agreement (ala Big Bang Theory) that will be taken seriously. We are sticking to our faith and our morals. If anyone wants to talk about it, email me. Also if anyone doubts me... let me know.


So I am currently sitting in the lovely dining room of the hotel enjoying pig in a blanket. And I am sitting next to 3 people, an older guy, I assume his wife, and 40 ish year old guy. They have sat next to me for the past two days. And their conversations are just annoying. If I was a little more vocal I might tell them. The younger guy reminds me of Larry, very opinionated, and in his view always right, and he wants everyone to know it. He also keeps building up the past, like 'it was a whole 'nother time' and 'things changed fast...' This mornings topic of conversation is 'cheating the system' from toll roads, parking, speeding tickets (he spent awhile bashing the UKs practice of speed and red light cameras everywhere, and then spent a while talking about, rather illegal, ways of getting past it), and now they are talking about evading taxes...  dang. The older guy seems very gullible, he does not protest at all, and is very attentive to the younger guy. The wife is not interested at all, she keeps changing the subject to other things like the weather or traffic, or people they collectively know.

I am sure they are all lovely people. I should not judge.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To the Right Coast (don't worry, not the correct one)

Last Wednesday I hopped in a plane and left my beloved Spokane. It was hard to leave, but like my Father said 'Life is an adventure, this is just a new chapter.' The week before I had been packing everything. It is very different to pack for your car than it is to pack for a moving company. Everything had to go in boxes, everything had to be wrapped... The moving people showed up, things went well. And I packed for Pittsburgh.

Once in The Burgh, I got to enjoy some of my favorites including Pierogie Night with Gwyn, Sam, and Andrew, Pamela's with Skanda, ChurchBrew Works with Mrs. B. Jones, Mrs. Rohrer and Gwyn, and then Burgertory with Jeff, Bri, Sam, Andrew and Gwyn. I spent most of the day Thursday collecting information for my security clearance, I needed some files on my computer that was packed away, so that got lugged out. That evening we did some co-pilot training for Gwyn, she previously did not know how to drive manual, now she does. And she is great at it. Friday was spent packing up my car. I really wish Chelsea or my mom were there, they are great packers... It is the 'Georgia Hogle' packing gene. Every single nook and cranny filled, every space utilized. It was packed... and really full. I had to leave a few non essentials at Gwyn's house.
Hey! We have seen this picture before!
Saturday, my copilot and I took off on our vast journey east. First stop: Starbucks. Then to the open road! The road out of Pittsburgh was awesome! It was hilly and windy and great! It reminded me of driving to Leavenworth from the Tri. All the more reason that driving in western PA is like flying a spaceship, or riding a roller coaster. It would have been a lot more enjoyable if I didn't have all the weight in the back... :( just meas ill have to go back! The sound track for the trip was an audio book for 'World War Z' a great book that Andrew told me about, and I had finished the printed book on the plane ride to PGH, but Gwyn had not read it. I love the story, and the presentation it is great!

Driving was good. No problems, fun drive, lots to look at. It was overcast and lightly dusting snow (nothing accumulating). We hit our first destination after 5 hours of driving: Scranton! If you don't know the significance of Scranton, this means you don't watch The Office. Scranton is the location of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper company! I have been to the actual set of The Office in Hollywood with Chris and Cassie, but now I was in the town! And it was great! Gwyn and I both freaked out a little... then realized that the town is really tired and run down. It could just be that we drove through the tired part, we were only there for 15 mins... but got the iconic Office picture:
Watch the opening credits some time...
  From Scranton it was a short hop in to New York. The very first time I have ever been to NY! Sometime I should actually go to the city...
 Anyway, our hosts for the evening were none other than the great Mr. and Mrs. Evans and their lovely family! For those of you not up to snuff on Hogle clan lore, my Grandfather was transferred to Poughkeepsie while working for IBM. They lived there for 3-4 years (I never remember) around 1970 (+/- 4 years) and next to the Evan's. There have been plenty of stories from here, such as the monstrous driveway that would ice over in the winter, my grandmother's first experience driving in the winter, the legendary papier-mache Halloween costumes, summer nights in the screened in porch, and many other classics. For those of you who keep up to date with my blog, last summer Karen and her three nieces came to Pittsburgh for a concert and was the first time I had any contact with the family besides Christmas cards and e-mail. (you can read about that here). This time I got to meet the rest of the family! Karen's own kids, Maggie, Timothy, Kyle and their lovely dog Tanner. I also got to meet Lynn! the other daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Evans. We had a lot of fun sharing stories and laughing. Gwyn and I got to play around with the kids, they are all great! and so smart! I got to see some pictures of my family, including some of my Great Grandfather sitting in the house where we were. Mrs. Evans made us a wonderful dinner complete with 'Aunt Georgia's Oven Fried Rice.' A recipe that has been associated with my grandmother for a while, but she does not have any recollection of it.

The next morning Mr. Evans took Gwyn and I on a covert tour of my mom's old house. It was covert in the sense that the people who had been living there (since my Grandparents lived there) recently moved out. We managed to get in and took a little tour! It was so cool putting a place to all of the stories I have heard over the years. If your name does not end in a -ary, -onna, -erb, or -eorgia these will not really mean all that much, but here are a few pictures:
Yep... that is monster of a drive way.

I think this is my Aunts old room!

Me and Mr Evans. As he said, I am the 4th generation to stand there.
I want a screened in porch!
After feeling a little criminal, Gwyn and I set off for the State of Massachusetts. On the way we hit Connecticut, yet another state I had not been too (well I guess when we were over here as a family we might have taken the train through... oh well.)

I know you all know this, but New England States are small... we made it through Connecticut fairly quickly, and made it to MA!
Shortly after crossing in to Mass. there was a little incident. I was in the right lane of a 4 lane wide road, on the far left shoulder there was a large predator bird. A hawk or small eagle. He was looking in to something... possibly a dead animal, I don't know as I didn't really get a good look. But he was startled by something, and took off. Directly to where my car was going to be in 1.2 seconds. I saw him jet out across the first two lanes, which at that point someone in the car, I don't remember who yelled out 'BIRD!' There is an image frozen in my mind right before I blinked of a very frighted bird with its wings fully spread reacting to my car being there... I blinked, there was a very loud thud and a large smear from the center of my windshield to the top passenger corner. I have no idea what happened to the bird after that. We hope that it landed softly on the grassy shoulder of the road and picked itself back up again. After the adrenaline stopped pumping we stopped for lunch and inspected the damage. I was really worried there was going to be a bird stuck on my bike.... but no, there was just a giant mark to show for it.
We eventually made it to the suite. MIT put me in a suite instead of a hotel while I am waiting for my furniture, this means I get a small kitchen! Gwyn and I ordered some pizza and watched the super bowl! Neither of us were really all that interested, Gwyn was cheering for New England, I didn't really care. But we did make it!

Coming up: Moving in!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Coat Factory: Episode 1

This is the very first blog post from 'The Coat Factory!' There was just a guy in here who set up the internet, so now I can do one more thing in my apartment... surf the web. While sitting on the floor. With a blue cat5 cable running down the hallway. I need some furniture.

This is going to be short, because I am about to leave, but stay tuned: There is going to be a few changes to Stained Tartan. Got to keep up with the interweb.