23 January 2011

Deconstructing CES

I'm still recovering from the whirlwind three days that was the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 6th through the 9th. It's one of the most intense conference experiences you can imagine... 1.6 million square feet of conference space, 120,000 people from all over the world in attendance, all against the backdrop of Las Vegas and its endless amount of hotel rooms and casino floors.

I was there to see consumer-facing energy efficient devices and appliances, and I did. The photos that I took were mainly of oddities or cool stuff that I saw, some of which are shown below.

They had a Chevy Volt at the GE Ecomagination pavilion to tout the electric vehicle charging stations that GE is manufacturing.

CNET was broadcasting live from the conference, and they were discussing Lady Gaga's new Polaroid Camera/Sunglasses.

I think Audi was there to showcase their new electric vehicle, but I didn't care, because I thought it was it was the coolest pavilion in the entire show! It was like a space ship had landed in the middle of CES.

I guess this is Audi's new EV. Couldn't get close enough to it to learn about it.

The LG pavilion was awesome as well. They had these new monitors, much like the ones in this photo, that were only a centimeter or two thick. There were pretty amazing.

The Intel pavilion was nuts, and full of people at all times.

With a conference of over 100,000 people, the best way to get around - in theory - is the people highway!

11 January 2011


I wish there were good news to fill up the airwaves on the 24-hour news networks.

Instead, a lunatic tried to assassinate the popular and hard-working Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and what happens? The Chaos machine is set into motion... the butterfly flaps its wings, and we're left with a hurricane.

A young 9-year-old girl is one of the six caught in the crossfire. Her birthday? September 11, 2001. She was born on the day that America cried, when extremist terrorists attacked us, and she was taken from us by... an indiscriminate, extremist domestic terrorist. And America cries again. If there ever were an angel, surely Christina Green is one now.

...That butterfly flutter just turned into a strong breeze.

A judge who is friends with Congresswoman Giffords randomly visits her during her public event, and he also loses his life. Chief Judge John Roll was the chief federal judge in the state of Arizona. The entire federal bench in Arizona - his friends - recused themselves from the bench in the trying of the man who killed him.

...The strong breeze just joined the jet stream.

Meanwhile, the Congresswoman is shot in the head, and is it a miracle that she survives? Not only is she alive, but she is responding. Her astronaut / Desert-storm veteran / Navy-captain husband is by her side, holding her hand and helping her recover. Three months from now, he was due to captain the very last Space Shuttle mission. Right now, his twin brother is on the International Space Station.

...And the jet stream picks up moisture, and a storm is born.

The night before she was shot in the head, Gabby Giffords sent an email to a Republican colleague asking for help in toning down the noxious rhetoric infecting the public discourse. Was it the rhetoric that influenced this young man's mind? Perhaps. But a series of events was set into motion far before this event. Gun laws were lax, ammunition was available to a person that scared his classmates, nearly 50% of mental health service recipients in Gabby Giffords' county were dropped in 2010, and a catastrophe was born.

...And the storm becomes a hurricane, and destroys everything in its path.

As my hero Jon Stewart said, "It would be REALLY nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV ... Let's at least make troubled individuals easier to spot..."

How do you clean up after a hurricane? You don't. You rebuild. Here's to hoping we can build stronger than the house of cards we were sitting on before.

24 December 2010

Something happened on the way to Christmas...

Well, hello.

So... let's not pretend like I haven't posted here in 2 1/2 months. I haven't, and I feel bad about that. But frankly, for the first time since I started this blog, I became so busy that the months of October and November were a total BLUR. We are talking tranny hot mess up in here. The situation was this: towards the end of September, I scheduled my 2nd architectural exam, Site Planning & Design. I already passed Programming, Planning and Practice in August, and I wanted to get another one done before the end of the year. So I scheduled it for the week before Thanksgiving because, you know, everybody checks out mentally in the week of Thanksgiving and starts getting ready for the rest of the holidays.

After that, things got a little crazy.

I knew I had two presentations to give at the beginning of November, two distinct presentations for two distinct audiences, and I fully planned on working those into my normal working hours. Well then I got pulled into a very important, very time-sensitive project at work... and then another project blew up... and then another project got handed to me with a due date of the week after Thanksgiving. Before I knew it, I was working 10-12 hour days and coming home to either work on one of my presentations or to try to study. I did in fact get everything done, but even after giving my big presentations, I had to stretch out my studying until the week before the exam, and then I still had a big project to finish at work. It wasn't pretty, but I took the exam and then poured my effort into that one outstanding final project. Then, on November 22, our client threw us a bone... would we like to work on revisions and resubmit on December 8, with a final submission of December 15?

Heck yes!

And so it was that on Thanksgiving, for the first time in a full two months, I got to relax.

Yes, I am aware that Thanksgiving happened last month and I haven't posted in the month since then. But frankly I got knocked on my tail and after the mess of those two months, I needed to decompress and get ready for the holidays.

And I did, and here I am. And it's DECEMBER. It's 2010. We are just a week away from 2011! What is THAT all about, anyway?!?

They say that time flies when you are having fun... lately I've been thinking that I need to take up a hobby that I hate, because I am having entirely too much fun (knock on wood). Time is FLYING by and I don't know what to make of it. All I know is that I've loved seeing all my friends from Cincinnati while I've been here but I'm also missing Portland and my friends there, and all over, really.

I remember the times when I used to travel all over and see everyone. I can't travel as much as I used to and I have way too many places to visit. I wish I could, though. If you are reading this and you know me, you know that you are welcome to visit me in Portland anytime. And I hope you do!

I have to go to bed now. More philosophizing before the new year comes, I think.

PS. I passed my second exam, BTW. Four more next year! :-O

22 September 2010

Anybody out there?

Hey, did I tell you about the time that they turned Pioneer Courthouse Square in Downtown Portland into a giant sandbox?


No? It was pretty awesome. I mean, come on. Look at these things... it took all I had to restrain myself from jumping on them...


How about the time that they shut down half of the blocks in NW Portland so that they could have a road bike race? No? It was pretty intense... especially when the crash happened about 25 feet away from me. Thankfully everyone walked away...


How could Summer have come and gone so quickly?

31 August 2010

Houseguests galore

I keep complaining that September has come so quickly, but the truth of the matter is, if I lived my life like I lived this August, the years would simply FLY by.

I promised you much better news than the stories that I told in my last blog post, and I am here to deliver on that promise. A week after my first houseguest, Patricia, left, and I took my first ARE, I bought a new bike, courtesy of my Mother, for my birthday present. Have a look... this is Daisy, so named because she is flowery but also because she is the hotness, like Daisy Dukes. Also, Daisy will not be going anywhere without at least two locks at all times.


Later that same week, another houseguest arrived, and then the real fun started. Katie came into town to attend the Lady Gaga concert in Portland with me but we decided to have my housewarming party on the same weekend. I did not take too many pictures of the group of 10 girls that went to the Lady Gaga concert, but if I did I certainly wouldn't put them online. Instead I will simply post this one image from the concert and you will have to trust me when I say that Gaga is down there somewhere.


My housewarming party was a small, lively affair that involved homemade donuts, jello shots, and grilling at 11 pm. Good times. Katie and I rounded out the weekend with a pub crawl, hosted by my friends at PDX Pub Crawl. Again, you'll just have to believe me when I say it was fun, because I have no photos that will be going on the Internets from this one.

Originally that was going to be pretty much all I had to tell you, but August had to go out with a bang, just like it came in. I have one last houseguest to tell you about...

The entire month, a little adorable cat has started living underneath of the deck outside my front door. He cries and shows up when I come home at night and when I leave in the morning, and I'd pet him, and that would be the end of it. Until today, when it started raining, and I decided I couldn't take this situation anymore. So I took him to the vet, and as it turns out, he is NOT chipped, so he does not belong to anyone, but he IS neutered; he is also young and healthy. What I'm trying to say is that now I have a houseguest, who has four legs, and is adorable, until I can get him in at the Humane Society. I have no intentions of keeping him, however, I do have to name him... I can't have a houseguest without a name!


If you have any thoughts on names for this adorable boy, please let me know. It seems that The Universe has given him to me for now, but we'll see if this is where he is meant to stay...

23 August 2010

Oh, August

Oh look, another blog post! I will now explain why you are so lucky as to get two blog posts in one month:

As soon as August started, I should have known that it was going to be one big punch in the face. When August 1st rolled around, I was already on Day 3 of what turned out to be a 4-day migraine. The doctor thought I might be having a "rebound" migraine... I really didn't care what it was, I just wanted it to go away. Fortunately I was able to function with the help of migraine medicine, but still... it was annoying.

Then I went on a business trip, and then I came back and promptly managed to get my bike stolen. It was this one, the one I had named Daphne:

Well, Daphne my bike seems to have been as troubled as Daphne the Greek Goddess... first her bike computer got stolen, then her back light got stolen, and finally some punk-jerk swiped her whole frame except for the front wheel. With the frame went those nice fenders, back rack, a cute LED blinking light, and my lightning-shaped reflectors. It pretty much sucked.

Three days after my bike got stolen, I got a borrowed bike, and with my friend Patricia, used my old bike Darcy to ride 26 miles of the Providence Bridge Pedal. Aside from a slightly annoying change in route, it was super awesome, and the best part is still riding your bike on the highway bridges. Here's a view on the iconic St. John's Bridge:

We went to brunch and then Bite of Oregon after the Bridge Pedal to see Brian Boitano cook. He apparently has a TV show called "What Would Brian Boitano Cook?" which I think is just hilarious:

Later that same day, after the Bridge Pedal, while just WALKING, I proceeded to sprain my ankle. Again, not helpful.

There have been other challenges for sure, like getting my washer/dryer unit fixed but not really, as well as giving up an entire weekend to study for my first ARE and then taking it. But since then, things have been looking up. I don't want to give away all the goods so I will save the good parts of the month for another blog post. Three blog posts in one month! Amazing!

11 August 2010

Why yes, I did change the blog's layout.

I am going to skip the part where I apologize to you for not blogging in nearly 6 weeks. I have had a very tiring summer but promise to do better and I am going to start by announcing the following:

YES, I have changed the format of my blog. I think it was due for an overhaul, don't you? I like it. Change is good.

Now I will tell you about some fun that I had attending the Portland Highland Games a few weekends ago. Lots of cities have Highland Games but I had never been before, and I found out about Portland's just in time to attend. The day started off with some true overcast Portland/Scottish skies, but then the clouds disappeared and I got sunburnt. Yes, sunburnt. At the Highland Games in Portland! Good times.

The sky was still cloudy for the beginning of the Kilted Mile Race. I think this should be an Olympic sport.

This is the Simon Fraser University Pipe and Drum band, from Vancouver, BC. Also known as the World Champions!!!

This is my souvenir from the day. Celtic Mist air freshener for my car. Enough said.