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August 30, 2005

Photos: Katy and Dorian

By popular demand, here is a photo of Katy. By virtue of being cute at the right moment, here is also a photo of Dorian.

Click to enlarge.


August 28, 2005

Nearly Final Furniture

The long process of finding furniture is nearly complete. I still need storage for glasses, though I may have figured that out already, and I still need curtains.

Here's what I have or have on order:

Dakota Bed (headboard only)

Dakota Bench

Dakota Nightstand (qty. 2)

Enise 6-Drawer Dresser

Dura Pella Living Room (sofa only, in red)

Dura Pella Sage Living Room (recliner only, in bright purple)

Cosmopolitan Dinette (table, chairs)

Astonica Calvino 42-Inch Dining Table and Dining Chairs

The images above may be protected by copyright laws on behalf of Pier 1 Imports, Roomful Express Furniture, Amazon.com, and/or other organizations. It is believed they can be used here in this fashion due to fair use copyright laws.

Of course, I have tons of other furniture, but this is the big stuff. I will have real pictures available when it all shows up here. Most of it is still waiting to be delivered. :)

News from Allegheny County

Queste notizie sono importanti. Colto prego.

La signora con quale recentemente ho speso molto tempo non può riferirsi ancora dal termine con cui sta riferendosi il passato pochi anni. Siamo molto felici circa questo. Grazie, ognuno. Quello è tutto.

P.S. Il mio italiano salta le capre.

August 27, 2005

Goings-on, Briefly

I have DSL now, after a pretty decent guy came out here, worked out that the line was not connected from the pole to the house, and then fixed the problem. I wonder why the line wasn't connected?

Its speed isn't quite what I wanted. Comcast cable Internet here gets well over 700KB/s, but my Verizon DSL doesn't even top 200. Check it out:

Yesterday was CMU ECE graduate student orientation, which I attended from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM or so.

For a couple hours in the morning, we split into our academic groups, and this was the most rewarding and informative part of the day. I am in the applied physics group, along with only three other people, so I saw presentations from a few of the applied physics faculty members. CMU does some really super-cool stuff in the applied physics field, and I'm excited about becoming a part of it. The faculty members also seem pretty cool. Hooray!

Oh, and free Indian food, pizza, beer, wine, you name it. CMU rocks.

August 25, 2005

An Oily Telephone Dinner

Oil prices are up to a record $68 per barrel today, in part due to concerns over Tropical Storm Katrina (we're already on K?!). This doesn't bother me so much at the moment, as I've driven my car a total of less than ten miles in the past four days. Being within walking distance of many shops and restaurants helps this, as do the 500 and 71D buses that run along Fifth Avenue and have stops only a two-minute walk from here.

I have been in contact with Verizon rather a lot lately, as my DSL doesn't work, and my telephone jacks provide no dialtone. As I discovered today, the jacks at the exterior network interface box also provide no dialtone. I've been testing this with my old brick laptop's modem, since spending $10 on a one-off telephone seems absurd. Verizon is scheduled to turn up here Saturday, between 8 AM and 6 PM (f'ers), for a look.

I received a Verizon bill in the mail today. I think I'll call them and tell them I disagree with their policy of billing customers for service they don't have.

And, dinner. The CMU ECE department is hosting a dinner for graduate students at the Carnegie Museum tonight. Its purpose is to provide an atmosphere for people to socialize and meet other graduate students and professors. I'm not a socializing kind of guy, but I'm going to attend anyway, since it seems like it's probably the right thing to do.

Tomorrow is mandatory graduate student orientation. I think I will arrive late and leave early. A day of presentations doesn't sound like a lot of fun, regardless of how esteemed CMU is. Maybe they'll have free beer or something. After the orientation is a happy hour on campus, sponsored by the ECE Graduate Organization (EGO), of which I am now a member. Certainly, there will be alcohol there. Good.

After the graduate dinner tonight, I'm doing something-or-other with Katy. I can't wait. Things have been very repetitive at home lately, and her fresh perspective on things is always welcome.

Some of my furniture showed up here today. Two greasy Pittsburghers, speaking fluent Pittsburghese, brought a chair (not four, as the other three were apparently on back-order), a dining table, and a couch up my three flights of stairs and were visibly not happy about the ascent. I wonder if they are unionized labor?

I think I know more about unions than many Americans, but I still want to learn more, as I'm now in a city full of them. Very little has ever impressed me about them; maybe I can find some ray of light somewhere in their vast, complicated web of spun crap.

I also need to learn more about how to clean furniture. I suppose there are special (natural) chemicals I can pick up for this purpose at (Whole Foods) a grocery store. Which reminds me: I miss Central Market, and I've decided someone really needs to tell them to put a store in Shadyside.

In related news, I'm putting off taking pictures again until more furniture shows up.

August 23, 2005

Furnituring, Still

I'm still furnituring, but I did manage to order patio furniture and a wall-mountable stemware rack. I still need a good spot for glasses and a dresser or chest of drawers or something for clothing, and I'm not interested in spending over $1000 like all the stores want me to do!

My mom is going to be in hospital for a few days starting Thursday. She's having her other knee replaced this time. Yikes. She's doing it now so she will able to walk when she and the rest of the world visit me here in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. How sweet, right? :)

I've managed to severely hijack my neighbor's wireless network, so I can again send and receive email through normal means. And, you can, too, if you access your email the same way I do. Be sure to use https instead of http, though, because I only opened the https port for web access. Hopefully, Verizon gets their act together and sets up my DSL "for real this time" soon.

August 22, 2005

Furniture Woes &c

I have no idea how I'm going to store my glasses. I looked at Ikea today for something that might even remotely work for glass storage and found nothing. I looked at department stores, furniture stores, and even on the Internet. Nothing. Please, someone, tell me where to get something in which I can store my glasses.

In other news, I bought new bed rails, two wine racks, and three tables that will serve as a cool desk-type-thing. It's promising.

I spent this evening (and into the wee hours of the morning) with Katy again. We checked out one of the bars on Ellsworth Street, just a couple blocks from here, and it turned out well. Several pints of Arrogant Bastard Ale and Franziskaner Hefeweizen later, we came back here, and everything again turned out very well. Silly lesbians.


August 21, 2005

Lofty Decorating

In order to unpack after moving house, one must have appropriate storage for most of the items that are to be unpacked. Thus, Debra and I have spent the past few days searching the suburbs for furniture that performs such a function. Debra flew back to Texas today, so now I'm on my own.

So far, I have an occasional table, a kitchen counter thing (which will nicely double as a butcher block, I think, to go along with the sweet cutting board Tamara got for me) with drawers and shelf space, a coffee table, and an end table, all from Ikea. I ordered a sofa, a chair, and a dining table and chairs from a furniture store. Venturing into Pier 1, I found a swanky headboard for my bed, along with other matching bedroom stuff, but it turns out they're having a bedroom sale starting a week from now, so I'm going to put that off until then.

Now, I need a desk, a bookcase or three, more shelving, a file cabinet, a dresser, bed rails, and patio stuff, as far as furniture goes. Beyond that, I also want to get curtains, another something-or-other for the bathroom, and more stuff for my office.

I want the most basic desk you can imagine: a long piece of finished wood supported by two other pieces of finished wood. I've decided buying another dining table is actually the way to go for this.

In the morning, I plan to head down the street a few blocks and check out the shops on Walnut Street, which include Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, for shelf-type stuff and patio furniture. Then, I'll go back out into the 'burbs for a dining table/desk.

It's coming together very well. You should visit and check it out! And, for those of you who suck and won't bother visiting me, I will post pictures here after everything is arranged.

In other news, my car was rear-ended at a stop light on Carson Street last night while Katy, Debra, and I were trying to find parking for our new favorite martini bar. It ended up being a hit-and-run; the dude didn't even pull over with me. There was no damage, though. Oh well.

After parking at Ikea this afternoon, I watched a big pick-up truck trying to park, and he hit the front of the car in the adjacent spot. He got out and didn't bother leaving a note or anything.

I guess Pittsburgh is the land of crappy drivers. It's time to be even more defensive while driving, parking, etc. I'm glad I have off-street parking at home.

August 18, 2005

Ersatz Design

First, Tay, yes, the one from Kingwood. She's all grown up now, and she's given up that ridiculous Christian Science crap, and she's become a lesbian or so. Her mom came to Pittsburgh today to help her move into the house she just bought, and her mom never really liked me too much, so I'm going to stay away from them until it's safe again. On the other hand, I'd like to see her again soon, and I plan to do that as soon as it's possible.

I hired a bloke from down the street to help me move the rest of my boxes out of my U-Haul truck today, so that happened quickly and effortlessly. Hooray for craigslist.

After that, Debra and I ate lunch and spent a few hours looking for furniture. As suggested by my neighbor Beth, we visited Arhaus and Weisshouse on Highland Avenue, which respectively had furniture that was not contemporary enough and too retro. I wish I could bring myself to spend a ba-zillion dollars on an interior designer, and then everything would just work itself out.

After Arhaus and Weisshouse, we went to Ikea.

I have maintained (and still do) that Ikea sells slightly-better-than-cheap furniture that is largely readily breakable and is not particularly good value in the long run. That said, I spent over $600 there and plan to spend even more there in the next few days. One storage thing I bought had broken pieces, so I'm going to return or exchange it tomorrow, but overall, I'm satisfied with my purchases. Also, the cashier said she had just been in Plano and Frisco for eight days, helping to open the new Frisco Ikea store. Weird.

Oh, and now that I don't live in the suburbs, I am returning to my dislike of them, which is not a really good thing at the moment, since there's a giant shopping center (not unlike all that crap around Preston & 121, for those of you familiar with that area) about 12 miles southwest of downtown, in Robinson Township, that has Ikea and Target and all that stuff.

When we got back from the 'burbs, there was a parking ticket on the U-Haul truck. My first $25 tax payment, I guess. Oh, well.

I am the hero of Valhalla. Good night.

August 17, 2005

Pittsburgh: Life Anew

So, I'm now living in Pittsburgh. The city is wonderful, my neighbors rock, and nothing has really gone wrong yet. I'm loving it.

I'm using my downstairs neighbor's wireless Internet access until I get my [bloody] Verizon DSL on August 24 (or sooner?). It's working reasonably well, but I can't get any email sent to my normal account until I get the DSL, at which point it will all flood in from Los Angeles, where it is presently being stored. If you want to send me email before then, please do so at cwetherbee gmail com.

OK, that's really all I can write now. I need sleep. Good night.

Oh, and Katy is amazingly amazing. I had martinis with her tonight. I haven't seen her in six years, and I think the last time I saw her, she ended up hating me or something (because that's, by default, what people do the last time I saw them), but she's super cool now. Or something. More on that later, I suppose.


August 08, 2005

Free Government Massage

During my travels this past weekend, I received the free government massage in Dallas, Boston, and Baltimore, as a result of having the mysterious "SSSS" symbol on my boarding passes. I just Googled something involving SSSS and found a Today's Engineer article that says the following.

One-way air tickets are considered suspect and carry an "SSSS" code on boarding passes, requiring a full-body wanding of the hapless passenger. This also applies for round trips, using different carriers for the two legs, and even to code-share flights where one carrier issues the ticket, but a shared carrier is used for one one-way segment. The second carrier must issue a "SSSS" boarding pass. The logic seems to be that a terrorist planning a suicide mission would not buy a round-trip ticket if he did not plan to use the return part, in the interest of economy.

I was travelling on two one-way tickets. I guess that's why I got the symbol.

It doesn't explain why I would have gotten the symbol on the return flight from Pittsburgh the first time I visited, though.

Anyway, read that article. It contains all kinds of interesting stuff on airport security.

August 07, 2005

Bean-town: Revisited

After spending a mere 36-ish hours in Massachusetts, I have returned to the home which will be a home for only eight more days.

There was a little bit of fallout from the fact that I booked my flights so close to the travel dates.

Most importantly, I ended up flying Hoi Polloi Air, also known as ATA and AirTran, because all the seats on the less crappy airlines were taken. ATA stopped at Chicago Midway on the way to Boston, and that airport ranks up near Cincinnati on my list of bad airports simply because it was muggy, hot, and nasty on the inside of the terminal. Mayor Daley (I know his name because it's plastered all over Chicago) should really install an air conditioner or something there. At least a window unit. AirTran was worse in some ways and better in others; the passengers were more grungy, and the staff was far less friendly, but they had a first class cabin with free drinks, of which I took advantage, but the seats there were some funky (like funk funky, not neato! funky) suede stuff. Ah, well. Again, the question arises: when do I get my private jet?

The actual mini-vacation to Massachusetts was worth the difficult travel experience (the paragraph above doesn't really begin to describe the whole thing), though. Taylor's art show was super-cool, and Taylor's art was particularly awesome. Seeing family is always good, especially in small-to-medium doses. And, the Plum Island beach never fails to provide an instant sense of relaxation and calm. Oh, and Boston is just a really cool city by itself.

I registered for CMU classes while I was there, but I can't remember exactly what they are, and the online registration thingy is closed right now, so I can't find out. I know definitely one is a computer security class, but the other two are vague. Perhaps a VLSI CAD class? I wanted to get into an analog IC design class, but I ended up at the top of the waiting list, instead, so I enrolled in something less interesting, for use in the event of a water landing, er, if I don't get a spot in the class.

Eight days until Pittsburgh. Marvelous. I'm excited, and I think Dorian is finally warming up to the idea, too.

"You have heard of the yeti? The ubanamanamanala snowman? That is, of course, not an animal or a prehuman being. That is originally one of the shamans' gods. The real name is Banjhakri; that means shaman of the forest. So, therefore, nobody will ever find the yeti in nature because you have to go in trance, and then you'll find the yeti easily." -- Unknown; sampled in The Herb Garden by Hallucinogen.

August 04, 2005


I'm going to Boston now, so if you can't find me, that's why.

I just checked their forecast, and tomorrow's high is 91. Today's high is in the 80s, and Saturday's high is in the 70s. But, the only full day I'm going to be there... yep, it's in the 90s. Hooray, weather hates me.

I think that's all I have to say right now. It's hot, and my motivation to do anything is waning. Two more weeks to Pittsburgh.