House foo

It’s been a really interesting weekend.

We saw a house listing come on the market last week that was a few blocks North of us. Walked around the area, looked at the house, and decided we didn’t really want it… too close to Penn, had a grocery store being built right behind it with an HVAC and fans, had strange backyard, was even further from work and parks and people than our current place…

But we went to see the house yesterday anyway. And the inside of the house sold itself to us. Fully updated electrical and plumbing, remodeled third floor suite, beautiful living and dining room areas, really well sized rooms… I think we both loved the house. The backyard also ended up being really, really nice, even if it had looked a little strange from the driveway at first.

So we spent this morning looking over and kind of drawing up an offer on the house, which pretty much meant ruining our Easter brunch plans. Went back to the house for its open house with our agent and asked some more questions. Looked up some more information from the current owners about how loud the fans and units would be at the store.

Ultimately, the decision was that the unknown of the fans, along with some schematics and decibel maths, meant that we didn’t want to run the risk of the noise when the store did open, no matter how perfect the house itself might be.

So the end result of the weekend is that we’re right back where we were last week, albeit with some more knowledge of what a sale contract actually looks like.

So onward to more listings and more houses. We probably won’t find one before the lease is up on this place, but at least we can renew the lease and keep looking throughout the year.

Carnival 2014

There was a Carnival. It was awesome to see people again, but for some reason this Carnival ended up being rather more stressful than fun.

Total photo count from Wednesday through Sunday: 2887, edited down to just over 2000… a far cry from past Carnivals where I took around 1000 a day (or, in the case of Carnival 2009, 2255 photos in one 24-hour period).









More photos exist at photos.

Life otherwise has been pretty much the same routine. It’s nice having weekly rock climbing and board gaming.

Pittsburgh weather has been full of crazy. Today it snowed. Yesterday it was really warm. Sunday it was in the 80s.

So yeah.

Life things. Yay.

Climbing, blood work, houses, food

Climbing goes. I actually had a really good day today… got my first top-out on the big top-out wall (this yellow V2 route that Austin is climbing):

and also got my first real V2/3. (I’d gotten a few V2/3s before, but they were clearly misrated V1/2s or V2s.)
Here’s the view (and Maja) from the top of the wall.

I’ve been dumping climbing photos at my photos site in case that interests you. March climbing will be dumped after Friday, since that’s the last climbing day of the month.

In other less happy news, I went and had a routine physical at the beginning of February and had routine blood work done as a part of it. I have now been billed over $300 (after insurance) for the blood work, since apparently they sent the blood to a hospital to process, and I got charged a bunch of hospital rates for the work. Sigh. At least I have insurance… it would be well over $600 without. But I am never getting blood work done again. :\
…And they wonder why people are reluctant to seek medical services.

House hunting continues. It had been slim pickings for a while, but the market seems to be heating up now that the weather is starting to heat up. We saw two houses this past weekend that were interesting.
The first one had a huge, two-story, covered-in-glass room in the back that was really nice. Unfortunately the rest of the house was not so great… it had “three” bedrooms, but one was really awkwardly shaped to be used for anything but an office, and the second had a built-in desk that would make it weird to put a bed in. The kitchen was also rather tiny and had no counter space.
The second had “four” bedrooms, but one wouldn’t have fit a queen bed, a second wouldn’t have fit *any* bed, and the third in the third floor had the stairs in the middle such that you can’t fit anything other than a couch-mode futon in there. So that was fun. They were also asking way too much for it, according to our agent.

In other things, Ben was in town late last week for Simiao’s match day for med school. She got her first choice (yay!) and afterward we all went to dinner at Cure.
It’s probably the fanciest restaurant I’ve been to (at least on-par with Salt of the Earth and Toast), and featured a lot of interesting things. The menus were on nice wooden cutting boards.

Simiao’s drink had little fruit juice beads on an orange peel that looked like caviar and mine had a super-thin slice of some fruit with fruity foam on top.

Juice beads made another appearance in Greg’s cream of mushroom soup, this time in a lime variant. The soup was poured at the table into a plate containing crab meat and other tasty things.

Simiao got the foie blonde, which came with delicious crumbly pistachio stuff, and Lilli’s beef tartare had some odd foamy gel stuff.

The food was, of course, delicious. Greg was not eating meat that day, and was contemplating ordering the lamb gnocchi minus the meat. In the end, he ordered the chef’s vegetarian special and was pleasantly surprised by gnocchi, minus meat, plus veggies.

I ordered the spaghetti carbonara as a safe choice (I really don’t like my meat red, and they don’t serve meat over medium-rare here), and it was delicious. The egg was gummy, so it was cooked through but not so much that it was hard… Simiao thought they’d probably done it sous-vide. Delicious.

Everyone else got hanger steak.

Dessert was also very good… Ben got chocolate souflee cake while Greg, Simiao, Lilli, and I had frozen creme brulee with passion fruit and blood orange.

Ben was silly and paid for the whole thing. Poop on you. But thanks very much. :) It was tasty.

Emily, Card games, Kickstarter games

Emily has complained that I don’t post photos of her anymore, so here are Emilies. Lots of Emilies. Alllll the Emilies! Bouncing Emilies (assuming your browser supports the good old <marquee> tag)!







Click them… if you can. They get bigger.

Life goes. Not much else has been happening. Photos from my San Francisco trip have been posted to photos. It was really good to see Patrick again (in a context that wasn’t the formality of his wedding).

Before I left for SF, I’d ordered some card games for myself (kind of as a belated birthday present), so it may be time to update this list of card games I own. Key is the same as before.

  • Game of Thrones TCG
  • Lord of the Rings TCG
  • MegaMan TCG (Yes) (C)
  • Sonic X TCG (Yes+)
  • Star Wars: Young Jedi CCG
  • World of Warcraft TCG (Yes)

I’m finding it harder and harder to find rulebooks online for many of the games I have, including .hack, the X-Files TCG, and the Fullmetal Alchemist TCG. I’m wondering if it makes sense to enhance my TCG site to compile information on some older games I play as well… things like rulebook scans, starter deck card listings, and general game info. Meh. I can’t really be the only person who still plays some of these CCGs, can I?

Stonemaier games came out with with an expansion to Viticulture called Tuscany. It’s on Kickstarter now, and if you’re into board gaming, I recommend it.
Unfortunately, this means I’ve been dragged back into Kickstarter. In addition to the recently ended character meeple campaign (adorable Dargon the Dragon meeples!), I also found an awesome card game named POOP (yeah, perfect game for me :P) and an interesting dinosaur-based deckbuilding game called Apex Theropod. Still not quite sure what to do about the last one, as it’s reasonably-priced at $38, but my gaming group (and Greg in particular) tends to shy away from deck-building games. But it’s so, so pretty.

I haven’t really made any progress on People Wars lately, since I’ve been doing things 3-4 evenings a week during the week, and Saturday has been declared computer-free day in an effort to do something other than stare at a screen. (I spent most of last Saturday reading books, which was dubbed “cheating” by Greg, so I suppose future Saturdays will involve more things outside the apartment.)
In any case, I’ve reworked the newest set, Hijinks, to be themed around Rock Climbing instead. And similar to how lots of interesting conversations happen and people from different fields mix and mingle, the “Climbing” faction in the game will be themed around “Route” cards (similar to Kiltie characters and Cheer cards) that boot task scoring. We shall see how that works out.

Yay life.

San Francisco, again

I spent the past week in SF for work, and it seems I still can’t get a good travel experience. Last time, I got stuck in Vegas for 12 hours. Having learned that SF arrivals can be at the whim of the weather, I booked my flight into Oakland instead.

The flight itself was fine, and I got in at the expected 9:05 PM. I had booked a Supershuttle because I figured it would be more convenient, and that’s where the trouble started. Called for my shuttle, went to the curb, and waited. 15 minutes later, with no shuttle in sight, I called again and waited on hold for another 10 minutes. Turns out my shuttle had developed a flat tire and the expected pickup time was another 30-60 minutes.

This, obviously, was not good, so I decided to take AirBART and BART into the city instead. Unfortunately, I just missed one while I was on the phone, so I waited another 10 minutes for the next one to leave. Got to the Oakland BART station and found that one of the tracks was out of service, so they were running trains in both directions on a single track, resulting in slower service than usual. I finally made it to the hotel at 10:45 and barely caught the restaurant before the kitchen closed. Sigh.

The trip otherwise was really good. Since the four devs on my team are all in different cities, we’d synced up our visits to meet up. It was the first time the entire team (minus the doc writer, who is in Seattle) was in the same place. Woo.

Monday was a holiday, that none of us had realized before we booked, so we all spent the day individually wandering. I’d tried to sync up with South Bay folks, but no one responded, so I made arrangements to meet up with SF friends for food and karaoke instead. Unfortunately, I was called in for a P0 around 5, so I missed karaoke and instead met up with Zeke and Ian at a bar for food around 8:30.

Wednesday evening was a team happy hour. Over a period of 5 hours, I had four small sangria pitchers (about 6-7 drinks), a couple of glasses of wine, and about 5 cocktails at a beautiful high-up bar called The View. Was fine afterward, and didn’t have a hangover the next morning. I think this might be a new record for myself as far as alcohol goes. Let’s not do this again for a long time, but it’s good to know I still have my tolerance.

The rest of the week was work and usual group dinners, except for Friday when we had a team trip to Napa and Sonoma for wine tasting. That was tasty.

More photos will be added to photos at some point.

I’m currently in Lake Havasu with my parents. The most interesting part of the city is that they purchased, moved, and rebuilt one of the London Bridges. Unfortunately the city itself isn’t all that interesting, especially given that pretty much everything closes down after 6 PM. But we’re enjoying the weather and change of scenery, at least.

Whee things.