Steps vs steps

I carried around a Fitbit for a goodly while. I managed to lose it (not right before my summer trip… It was getting pretty long in tooth with the plastic chipping along the edges anyway so it was due for the most part.

I decided at that point to simply rely on my iPhone’s M7 or M8 (depending on version of course) to count my steps.

The problem is that it really seemed to be undercounting my steps. Not just undercounting but vastly undercount. There was a couple of days that we walked for literally miles (7-10 miles) that I barely got to my 10,000 stop goal.

In doing some research I found that the Fitbits are generally regarded as pretty accurate. There’s always sources of error, but the Fitbit seems to be close to real.

Today starts another little experiment: compare the iPhone to a new Fitbit. The convenient thing is I’ll have both on my person so we can have an apples-to-apples (or is that Apples-to-apples) comparison. My hypothesis is that the iPhone is just plain wrong.

Hot and wet

Get your mind out the gutter — this isn’t about that.


We always seem to have the worse luck with plumbing around Thanksgiving. A few years back (still in Solon) we had some variety of major toilet issue on Thanksgiving proper. We were having company over as well so it was going to be a problem. (If I recall the innards were messed up and the valve at the wall was as well… so we would have had to turn water off to the house)

Today, two days before Thanksgiving: Hot water heater.

I was luck to have gone downstairs and open the door to the mechanicals — almost by accident. (Long story including looking for a new washer and dryer) I was greeted by a pool around the tank and half of inch of water sitting there soaking the bottom few inches of drywall around the floor.


The one good thing is this is a common failure and there’s enough infrastructure to get these things replaced in short order.

Except not at night…

I guess I have to look at the upside… we still have cold water and heat. (but not together)


CBT can refer to a number of things… cognitive-behavioral therapy, computer based training, and lots of other things

In this case, today, it’s the computer-based training.

For some reason people up high seem to think that scheduling training like that is imperative. After five hours I was about to work my way through it — all while not really learning a thing.

I guess it makes some folks feel better.

You can measure completion, but I’m not sure you can measure results as much.

One thing for certain, five hours spread over 5,000 programmers and you get over 12 employee years.

That’s something.

2014 Formula One

Another Formula One season is in the books. Lewis Hamilton is taking home his second world championship with good win when he needed it.

It’s a strange sport in many ways. On the face of it seems like a boring sport with not a whole lot of passing that America seems to long for.

Once you start digging deeper into it its enjoyable from an engineering perspective. The teams, even the minnows of the field, are engineering powerhouses each designing and building their own bespoke vehicles to campaign around the various tracks of the world. The engines, though only designed and built by three manufactures, Mercedes, Renault, and Ferrari, are themselves marvels — especially this year with their hybrid power plants.

This doesn’t even get to the teamwork by the pit crews that are regularly servicing their cars in well under three seconds. This by itself is amazing.

This is all before even getting to the drivers themselves! Each of them, even the ones in slow cars, are way more fit than most of the folks around you (myself included). The forces involved with driving a car like that are far closer to flying a jet fighter than you everyday runabout. While the forces may be comparable, the workload in F1 is far higher since most driver aids are banned by the rules.

Anyway… this is just me thinking about F1. And looking forward to next year.

TL;DR: I think F1 is super cool.

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…


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