Well, this blog has been quiet lately. Life hasn't been, as you might have guessed.
In a nutshell: moved to Indiana in Yet Another Epic Roadtrip, where we were met in Lafayette by my parents, my cousin Mark, and both my grandmothers. After the boxes were hauled upstairs, my Ama walked through the apartment thwacking a Ziploc bag filled with salt and rice against the walls, then tossed whatever "bad luck" the baggie had accumulated out the window (I climbed down the steps -- 21 steps, a lucky Chinese number -- and put it in a nearby dumpster). In the meantime, my mom and Guama (who is a bit more Westernized) chuckled about "Shaman Ama."
Fortune smiles on my apartment! Theoretically, according to Chinese Grandmother Voodoo Exercises. But not my pocketbook, as I spent disturbing amounts of money on disturbingly small amounts of disturbingly cheap furniture, including an ergotron, which costs more than my desk and chair (exercise ball, $20) combined. It's worth it, though! The desk itself was something of a story; Sebastian (who has infinitely more style than I do) insisted on color-matching even the cheap Target/IKEA furniture, leading to a pleasantly color-coordinated espresso-stained wood theme throughout the living room, with little framed prints of the Eiffel tower. I admitted that it looked most excellent, then immediately selected two sawhorses and a bare slab of pine for my desk. He flinched visibly and tried to steer me towards a nice espresso-finished little table, or perhaps a glass top, or... anything... else... but no! I wanted to solder on this table! It was going to be a workbench! That wouldn't match anything! and back and forth we went until the nice IKEA salesman nearby could no longer contain his laughter and told us it was the funniest table conversation he had ever heard.
I am typing this blog post from a slab of pine atop two sawhorses. I am pleased. Behind me is a sofa-that-is-not-a-futon; therefore, Sebastian is also pleased. I think.
We drove out to my parents' for the 4th of July, his first Independence Day celebration, which was held in Mark and Randy's condo because their building's rooftop gave us (distant) views of the fireworks shows of no fewer than 7 towns. S and I brought raclette and a blind taste-test of (mostly) local microbrewed rootbeer; Triple XXX, Virgil's, and Lafayette Brewing Co's. Triple XXX, from the diner across the river, took first honors for its smooth, well-balanced flavor; Lafayette's (from the brewery down the street) was basic -- too simple, I thought. Virgil's (the only one you can get in supermarkets) came in last and was "too herby" for most, but the favorite of a few (myself included) for stronger food pairings. All were hailed as excellent.
Food: we've more or less mastered funky salads at this point, and are enjoying summer's bounty -- grilled chicken, sliced apples, candied (cinnamon-spiked) pecans, honey-mustard dressing, diced peppers, a variety of greens whose names I can't pronounce, in various combinations in a bowl. Sebastian made milchreis, and I made applesauce to go with it; it was delicious. I'm still a bit puzzled how something so much like champorado can be a lunch instead of a breakfast, whereas he's puzzled how champorado can be a breakfast at all. We found a bag of sauerkraut at the grocery and fried bratwurst to go with it, I got cherries and broccoli at the farmers' market, and he has been quite patient with my experiments (just a few days now) with a gluten-free diet on my part. (It means he gets to eat all the bread, which he's quite happy to do.)
Thanks to Greg's gift (last summer) of an iPod car adapter and Sebastian's playlist, the soundtrack of the past month has consisted of a lot of Sara Bareilles, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Kate Nash, and Amy McDonald. (My playlist would look more like: Beatles, Beatles, Mozart, Beatles, Orchestral Movie Themes, Beethoven, Beatles adapted by the London Symphony Orchestra, My Music Collection Is Extremely Small.) And U2. Another feature of this summer: U2 was my first Really Giant Concert -- ears still ringing, and the staging was... was... wow. Must know... how set was... constructed.. and logistics... of delivery to various venues, and... and... damn, those guys are good showmen and musicians.
Recent reading: the NYT's debate on "Computer Science's 'Sputnik Moment'?" and Raleigh's CityCamp, a sort of BarCamp for government instead of tech and new ventures. Dave Neary's post on effective mentoring programs in FOSS and the study on sustainable development (in terms of contributor burnout and turnover, not environmentalism) by Graham Percival it references. DNStunnel, which... makes me flinch and go "oh, clever" at the same time. The Open Government Initiative and the "I used to think... and how I think..." exercise, which is a great idea for workshop followup. Sumana's talk notes from "Learn Tech Management in 45 minutes," which I wish I'd seen, Sacha's thoughts on living in an imperfect world (but living, nonetheless!) and an article on the future of college my brother forwarded me (short version: it's all falling apart and youngsters can learn and do more outside the classroom -- a typical firebrand-revolutionary essay, but fascinating nonetheless). Startup people are crazy.
Writing helps to clear my mind and calm me down and get me ready for the day, or to wrap it up; I now resume this ritual.