Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuba Christmas

Tuba Christmas
Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Thought I'd mention that we went to this thing called "200 tubas" which is apparently an annual event that's held at Faneuil Hall during Thanksgiving weekend. It's basically an all-tuba orchestra that plays a 1-hour concert of Christmas carols. They did a headcount and apparently there were actually only 103 tubas this year, but it was still fun.

Really, really cold. (can't-feel-my-feet-cold) But fun. But cold.

And then we went to Wing's kitchen and had Pork as big as your head.

A good day.

Except for the cold part. Did I mention that it was cold?

I guess it's just been a little confusing since it hit the low 60s on Thanksgiving Day.

Travel Planning

We decided to punt on the deferred New Zealand honeymoon because things never did quite slow down enough for us to actually plan the trip. We're settling for two weeks and change in Hawaii tacked onto some holiday travel in California -- life could be worse.

We scored some frequent flier tickets on American, so we just needed to book the inter-island flights because we're planning on flying into Lihu'e, but out of Honolulu.

My mother pointed me to a travel search engine called Farecast which purports to track the trends in airfare prices in order to help you decide when it's a good time to buy your plane tickets. Seems like a pretty clever tool -- I had been googling for exactly that kind of information for the New Zealand trip. Unfortunately, it only seems to hit the major hubs in the major markets -- so LAX, not Burbank. O'hare, not Midway. (well, sometimes) Honolulu, not Lihue or Hilo or Kona.

But still, it did a pretty good job finding flights for us. And I thought the user interface behaved a lot better than Sidestep, a fare aggregator that the SOOTTAD often uses. The filters responded quickly and didn't make the page jump around. I also liked that it sends you to the airline website (or at least, it did for me), when it figures out that it's cheaper. As an aggregator, Sidestep would often send the SOOTTAD to some discount site like (no link because it's N/G) that she vows she will never use again because of all the headaches it created when we had to change a ticket over the summer. When she uses it now, she finds the fare and then manually goes to the airline site.

Anyway, Farecast found some good prices on Mesa Air for our island-hopping and sent me to their reservation site. Which was very considerate, except for the part where Mesa only seemed to operate within the central plains of the continental U.S. I had to poke around before I found Go! Hawaii, one of the subsidiaries of the Mesa Air group. I wandered through the Customer Care page in order to find it because I missed the direct link the first time around.

Anyway, cheap tickets. Couldn't figure out how to sign up for their membership program, but that probably isn't a big loss since I don't think I'll going to be flying there all that much. (nice thought though, huh?) Now we just have to hope that nothing funny happens to this airline or our flights between now and when we get to the islands.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ketchup 1: Crap we found under the deck

Crap we found under the deck
Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

So a few weeks ago we finally found some time to do some yardwork. We were planning on just doing a first pass of leaf raking, but once I got going on the leaves under the deck, I pretty much had to clear out all the other crap that was down there.

Somehow I thought this post was going to be more interesting. Oh well.

For what it's worth, we're keeping the crab.


Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

I had every intention of doing Art Everyday Month this year, what will all the craziness of the year theoretically behind us -- moving into the new house, finishing school, setting up the new business, selling the old house, getting married. Y'know, stuff. But I guess it wasn't really *every* intention, seeing as I got as far as starting the above drawing on the first and only just got around to "finishing" it this afternoon. (and by that I mean that I've done enough for it to be presentable, even though it doesn't really feel done.)

Life often seems like a never-ending sequence (an infinite series?) of "almost there" moments where things are largely sucking and it seems like you just need to turn a corner and everything will fall into place and it'll just be smooth sailing from then on. (you mean like in Iraq? No, not like that. Well, yes, kinda... in the never-quite-turning-the-corner way as opposed to the unfailingly-optimistic-in-a-delusional-if-not-cynical-way way)

Anyway, things keep feeling like they're going to settle down and get back to "normal." Except that they're not. There's always something coming up on the horizon. Things are good, but invariably there's always something that's a little crazy going on in the background, some crisis we're managing or some crazybomb that's about to go off.

Shit happens.

But, you know, things are good. Always with the step back and the happy sigh. And it still feels like we're making progress. Maybe it *is* fair to think of it like a mathematical infinite series. As in, mathematical convergence.

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit out of it these days, but I haven't been able to put my finger on what the dealio is. The head feels like it's in a funny place. I've felt a bit disconnected. Things seems strangely unfamiliar. Maybe it's just that my routines are gone and I have to develop new systems.

So I went to the well. Although it's really more like I found myself in my well, and I've been trying to find a pause between all the stuff that's been going on to take some time to process things a bit.

The well isn't really a bad place. It's a concept I took from Haruki Murakami's "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" where it's something of a reoccurring theme. It's a place for introspection. A quiet place, hidden away, separated from the systems, the chaos, the crazy of everyday living. Maybe it's its own little crazy, but it's at least in a more manageable form-factor.

So it's the start of the Turkey day long weekend. I figured I'd have some free time while we're at the SOOTTAD's parental homestead, although we've been put to work for a good chunk of the time we've been here already. But I may still have a chance to find that pause. Hopefully I'll at least get a few of the catch-up posts out to let you know what I've been doing and thinking about recently.

And, of course, if not, hopefully this'll do for some of the explaining.