I bought a bike yesterday! I do not actually get it until tomorrow because there is a waiting period on used bikes in Portland. No, it is not to prevent people from purchasing a bike to be used to commit a crime in the fit of passion and rage. It is to prevent people from stealing bikes and turning them around for a profit. I guess the police need to “run the plates” or the bicycle equivalent. Anyway, the bike is a sort of a lightweight mountain bike sort of thing. It is not quite as beefy as a mountain bike, but not as fragile as a beach cruiser. Like a water-resistant Sony Sports Walkman, it is that bright industrial yellow and black. For groceries, I got a black rack thinger in the back that I can attach a crate-type-thing to or hang saddle bags over–but do not yet have either crate or bags. The gear shift is rather weird and will take some getting used to. Instead of a lever that you turn to the gear you want, there is a pushbutton to go up a gear and one to go down. Like a motorcycle, you have to remember what gear you are in. My legs are quite sore today. I do not think I have been on a bicycle in 10-15 years, but ended up going a number of miles yesterday–from the bike shop to home, then to and from the Red and Black to meet up with vegemitelover and maineiac_eric.
Sometimes, I get weird mental flashes in my head of things in California, thinking they are still nearby. For instance, I was driving home from work the other day, mentally going over things I need to do. I thought to myself, “I should swing by Trader Joe's,” picturing the one on 17th and Newport–the one where employees hide Mandy the Monkey in different places in the store every day and children or childish adults get to look for her. (As an aside: it is really weird to say “17th” without a prefix like “Southeast.”) Sure, there are two other Trader Joe's that are easy to get to, but my brain still “sees” the one in Newport. Similarly, I keep wondering whether or not I should renew my Disneyland pass (“well, I have not been in a while, but if I got a pass again, I would go much more often”), then catch myself and realize it is a thousand miles away. Unfortunately, there is no Disneyland up here. The closest thing is Oaks Park, which is sort of like a skeevy, yet permanent, carnival.
Work is going well. Glibc conflicts are annoying. Sometimes I feel like I am in lockdown. There is no internet, aside from a heavily filtered port 80. Cellphones are banned, although HR grudgingly lets cellphone/PDA/organizer handhelds slip past the ban. Cameraphones are right out, whether they are normal phones with cameras or organizer-phones with cameras. No cameras. There are some weird social things that I will elaborate on in a later post. Basically, everyone in the engineering department (we are about 5 people in size) report directly to the president of the company, but rarely talk to each other. Another guy and I are really trying to change that, as it will help everyone both socially and technically. Then there is the whole “carpet people” thing that I do not have time to get into now (need to run out for coffee with B and E.)
Interesting note: the Diedrich family (and their coffee roasters) showed up on a gadget site I read.