Well, that went quick…

Earlier this week Ennie put the BMW up on Craig’s List.

The next couple of days a slew of responses came back. We got together with one potential buyer on Thursday. He decided to not pull the trigger.

Today we had something around four folks lined up to take a look at the car. The first potential of today came all the way from Portland. He drove up and stayed with his brother who lives just a mile or two from us. We met in front of our bank at 9AM. Within five minutes of seeing the car he said he’d take it.

At the asking price.

We went a shop to have them inspected and it passed other than some minor issues that didn’t make a difference.

At 1PM we signed over the title and deposited the cashier’s check.

We dropped the car off at his brother’s house and took off the plate.

The strange thing is that it seemed if this had fallen through, we could have had a few more people that would’ve been also willing to buy it for the same price.

At car is going to a good home… someone who just lives ad breathes BMWs and was looking for just this car.  :-)

Long rides

One of the things that came out of my Soylent experiment was (kind of like I was hoping actually) is that some of my bad habits got broken.

It was really the jump-start to me losing some weight. It gave me a lot of motivation to re-start exercising and I’ve been able to keep it up since I stopped the Soylent regimen.

Today was my first long ride. You can say it was stupidly long since the typical rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t up rides by more than 20-30% from your longest. Up until today that would be around an hour and twenty minutes. Today was two hours twenty minutes.

And hilly.

The Chilly-Hilly ride around Bainbridge Island.

I did it! I rode this (well, virtually in all cases this post) a few times a year or so ago, but since then I’ve been a slacker.

The first long ride always sucks. But you have to prime the pump, er legs, somehow.


Letting go

It’s been a long time that we’ve had the BMW 3 series. We went shopping for a car for Ennie back in 2004 when we were ready to trade in the VW Beetle that she was driving around at the time. The lease was over and we were ready to move to the next car.

(Honestly, the engine seemed like it was having top-end problems and we had been concerned with the valve-train imploding for the last few months of the lease)

We went shopping and decided on a the 330ci from Solon BMW just down the street from us. We picked it up on a lease and had a smoking deal because of an error on the dealer’s part. After the lease was over we purchased it out of the lease since it was still a good deal (still due to the error) and it’s a good car.

Fast forward to 2012 and our move to Seattle.

We went from being a two car, two motorcycle household to two cars and a motorcycle. The problem, if you can call it that, is that we barely needed a car. At the time we were both taking the bus to get to work. Last year I discovered the joys of motorcycling into work… but that didn’t change the fact that the cars were barely getting a workout.

It has come time to sell it and let someone else who’ll drive her around more. There’s no reason to just keep it in the drive way on a battery tender since it’s barely being driven around.

It’s sad… but it’s also a waste to keep something around that you never use.

Amanda Fucking Palmer plays “I’m a Creep”

While waiting in line to get our copy of her book signed someone a few people ahead of us brought in a ukulele. AFP is known to be quite fond of this instrument. In fact she’s done an entire cover album where she does nothing except plat songs from Radiohead.

She played one last night.

She played the fuck out of it!  :-D

Amanda Fucking Palmer

This will have to be a short one since we’re waiting in line to get Amanda Palmer to sign her new book, The Art of Asking, after her show down here at the Town Hall.


I’ve been a fan of hers from back when she was part of the Dresden Dolls. Honestly I have no idea how I heard her / them first. Ever since I did I was hooked though.

We’ve been lucky enough to see her in another show here in Seattle last year. Today was all about mostly talking with a few songs thrown in for good measure. That I missed their show in Cleveland back when they were still the Dresden Dolls I still regret.

That said, I still like to support artists. Kind of meshes with the theme of the book.

Office fun

We did this at work a couple weeks back, but I didn’t want to post since the target of the prank might be reading the blog.

So, the back story is that one of our team mates was off in India getting married so he was going to be gone for three weeks. Three weeks where we could have some fun.

One thing you have to know about Amazon is the culture of the “Door Desk.” It’s basically a door (well, actually I don’t think it is, but it started off like that at least) with some legs. It’s a way to show that we are a frugal company.

He started off with a standing desk. He also appropriated a regular desk. Maybe even two regular desks in addition to his standing desk that he inherited from someone else who left.

These desks are constructed from a “door” and four 4x4s. We decided to substitute some that were a bit shorter. Moving from a standing desk to this:

The desktop was arranged just as before…

Here’s another shot for some perspective:

“What the?!” as he walked in.

It was worth the $10 for wood and the 20 minutes over a lunch.

The joke might have been on us though. He just moved one of his other desks and he now has a regular sitting desk and a coffee table…


CycleOps problems and solutions: A broken Joule 3.0

I’ve written in the past about my indoor bike trainer.

Well, as it happens one part of the “bike computer” (a Joule 3.0 for those keeping track at home) part of it decided to die last week.

Specifically the resistance button…

This is kind of important. Googling around led to find that this was unfortunately a common predicament.

I tried to open it up but from the construction it seems that I would have to peel away the front cover to get to screws that are underneath it so I can actually take it apart. I stopped trying to repair it at that point.

When I’m simulating riding on a virtual road, this is how I switch virtual gears. Without it I’m kind of screwed. I can also control the system with a keyboard, and for a few times I was doing exactly that, using a wireless keyboard and hitting the “+” and “-” keys to switch gears.

One thing I noticed when I was using the keyboard instead of the ANT connected computer is that things were a lot more responsive.

Using the keyboard sucked. Using the computer now sucked as well. (Even when it was working it was only OK at best)

Then I had an idea. I would build an Arduino controlled doodad that can send USB keyboard commands to emulate me pressing + and – on the keyboard. I started to figure out what it would take this get this working — what does it take to get a controller up and running?

That’s when I had a better idea:

If a controller is what I was making… why not just freaking buy a controller.

I decided on a Buffalo Classic USB Gamepad that looks like it could run a Nintendo emulator. Then I installed JoyToKey and set the shoulder buttons to trigger + and – and I was a happy camper. While I was at it I added controls for some of the other buttons as well and now I have an even fuller functioning remote at my fingertips. Add in some zip-ties and it’s all ready to ride.

$14 later and I have a better solution than what I had started with originally! And this one doesn’t even have batteries that need to get charged!

Pulling the Andon cord on the Soylent experiment

I had originally set out to do a full week on nothing but Soylent. My first day was Tuesday and I was aiming to go until next Monday.

Toyota, in its vast manufacturing enterprise, came up with the Andon cord. It gave the ability for anyone on the assembly line to immediately shut down production for quality purposes. If someone pulled it the line would stop down and the problem would get quickly addressed.

Well, I had to stop because of mostly my mind. My brain pulled the And on cord in this case.

The first couple of days was easy and everything was going quite well. I had more energy throughout the day and all was well.

The downfall really came when I was out with my friend Holly on Wednesday and she was eating what looked to be a delicious greek salad while I had nothing but Diet Coke. I made it through OK that night. The following night the whole gang went out to see Hump 2014 and beforehand we went to another restaurant and I watched Ennie and Holly eat some awesome looking and smelling food and I was, again, drinking Diet Coke.

While (and I’m sure I’ll get some flak for saying this) Soylent is a nutritionally complete meal replacement and from a purely physiological perspective I was doing just fine, the social aspect of eating was really starting to bum me out more than a little. Mentally I was getting put on edge and was really missing that aspect of my day-to-day.

Am I going to divest myself of Soylent? No. I think it’s a great (if bland) substitute for the occasional meal.

Can I survive on Soylent if I need to? Yes. I’m pretty confident that if pushed (think: natural disaster) I’d be fine with it for at least a few weeks. In this scenario I’m figuring there’s not a lot of social eating happening.

Can I eat Soylent all the time in “normal” times? Not really. I get a bit messed up in the head with just Soylent.

Public transportation efficiency

Ennie and I had tickets to a movie (that’s another post) downtown at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). She works just a few blocks from there and I’m presently working in South Lake Union.

Now on a typical day I’ve been riding my motorcycle in to work and back home. This has been saving me a ton of time because my normal bus stop that I was getting off at has been closed for over a year now. It’s likely to continue being closed up until the tunnel that’s replacing the Battery Street tunnel is completed. If it’s completed. The stop before would add a half hour walk to my commute. The stop after only adds 20 minutes. (My bus stop before was only a five-minute walk from my office)

Ever since I realized how easy and cheap it is to park my bike at work I’ve been doing that. I figure it’s saving me around 45 minutes to an hour each day even when you count traffic into the equation.

Today I had to make a decision. Bus in to work, and walk from my office to SAM (or if I’m exceptionally lucky, bus some of the way) or should I ride my bike to and fro then bus back in.

Bus back in won.  :-(

I would up spending less time moving myself around to take two trips to downtown than taking one trip and a bunch of walking, bussing, stuff.

That gives me a sad.

AWS News

The past couple of days it would have been cool to be at Re:Invent, which is Amazon’s AWS conference held in Las Vegas every year.

This one was a very lively one for new product announcements all over the place. Some of the new features are not something that I’m really in the market for (like the super high-end EC2 instances or the faster EBS), some of them I might be able to find a use for.

The biggest cool feature is the lambda functions. It’s a light-weight way of running some code on events without actually spinning up an EC2 instance to do the processing. I can see a couple of interesting use cases that I might be able to tackle on my blogging app that will use exactly that.

It’s one thing for me to run a service, it’s another for me to deploy a service out to the world where customers expect uptime.

Uptime requires redundancy. Redundancy, especially for low-load services, is expensive. Expensive isn’t a good thing for small businesses.

Lamb really seems like a “well, I have this tiny bit of processing to do when a customer signs up” type of deal. Quick and efficient. And I’m sharing the redundancy costs with everyone else. I like it.

I signed up for the preview, but I’ve not played with it at all yet. It certainly seems pretty awesome!

%d bloggers like this: