July 16, 2006
After 4 days of searching, I finally found a place to call my very own. It's 464 square feet of Studio Apartment goodness -- basically one big room, one dinky bathroom, and a kitchenette. It's actually completely-new, it was being finished being renovated while I moved in. The landlord took pity on me driving around for days with all my crap in my car, and let me move in early.
Interestingly, I kept gravitating towards the part of town that I'm now living. It has high elevation (so less of a climb to work), and has quite a few churches, two schools, a public library, a grocery store, two burrito stands, a *real* british tea house (featuring "Noon Tea, High Tea, and Creme Tea" at $20-$25 a head for a 2.5 hour tea seating), a tattoo parlor, two burrito stands, a coffeehouse, a hamburger joint, a pizza joint, etc. My apartment actually looks out on a ballet studio (no view inside, sadly). It's the kind of place I like -- hip, but quiet once the hour gets to be late (no bars).
Even more interesting about the location than what's around it commercially is what's around it historically. Apparently I live one block away from my grandfather (a US Navy test pilot) lived with my grandmom and my dad. They moved away when my dad was about 7 years old. I even tried to rent their old house, unbeknownst to me that that was what it was. Sadly, it had been rented out that morning.
Now that the first hurdle has been overcome, I'll probably find life a lot more enjoyable. Already I've booked airline tickets to see The Girl as soon as possible, been biking around up in La Jolla (strangely, the state park north of there has Mountain Lion warning signs...motivation to ride faster?).
I'm laying low for the rest of this week, bagging my Grand Canyon ambitions. My car is in desperate need of an oil change and other things, and I have a bunch of paperwork to get through for work, not to mention some friends coming in from out of town for Comic-Con...
July 11, 2006
This Travelling Life
My cross country trip has been successful, though not without a few minor bumps along the way.
I left on July 5th, headed to DC to pick up some forgotten items at Laura's Aunts' house. I then cut west along I-70, making frequent stops to snut up tethers and sleep...I really didn't eat much on the entire cross-country trip; I just drank coffee.
I made it to Oklahoma by the end of day 2, still following I-70, where I cut south to meet my brother, sister-in-law, and a certain niece. After a few days of resting up, it was West again, this time following I-10.
The deserts of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona are fascinating stuff. Frequent dust devils kept the drive entertaining. Desert rats provided amusement as well. Honestly I almost called it when quits when I got here. The desert life is so harsh and inhospitable that it's beautiful, as are all the critters that live there (except for the people, of course).
I camped in the New Mexico desert on a full moon. I went hiking at sunset, setting out with 1.5 liters of water (1 liter per mile I was planning to go). I didn't make it that far in this arid climate, both running out of water and narrowly missing stepping into multiple fireant nests in the twilight. As I said, what a horribly beautiful place.
I finally arrived in California without much fanfare on July 11th, sometime around 5pm. I began my apartment search immediately, calling around and driving around until 11pm pacific time (I had woken up at 6am Mountain/5am Pacific), and was too tired to continue so tried to find a hotel room. 2 hours later, I secured a place to sleep, to try, try again tomorrow...
July 4, 2006
The Voyage (to the New) Home
As promised, some details on what I'm up to.
Work at the AFRL became somewhat less-than-challenging after being there for less than a year. I nearly got fired over a security 'incident,' in which I pointed out that policy was too lax concerning zipping security-relevant information around using unsecured channels. There were other things, as well -- management that had no real interest in code (regardless of my own interest and motivation, they certainly couldn't manage me).
A few months ago, I met some Really Neat People at a conference and they were hot to have someone with my...talents. So I applied and got the job. Which means that now I am on my way across the country to live in San Diego for a spell -- either forever if the work continues to be a challenge and interesting and technical, or else slightly less than forever if the lure of my girlfriend draws me to the middle of nowhere once again.
For now, today is my independence day, quite literally. I leave New Jersey tomorrow for what promises to be a better life.
July 3, 2006
The Lost Episode
I've finally left 315 for good. I've had a couple of send-off parties, which were pretty good stuff. The exodus has been something of biblical proportions, of course (it is me that we're talking about, after all).
After my last day of work (Thursday), I spent all day Friday cleaning out my room and packing my car. My suspension weighed down, my car packed to the gills, I was off to the first stop: my brother Erik in New Paltz.
Erik promised to make me happy to sit still for a few days driving across the country, and boy did he deliver. I went to his house Saturday morning, and we picked up some drainage pipe. Then we fixed his well, and set to digging a ditch through his yard. 5 hours later, digging through clay, we had a big enough trench to lay pipe down in and start filling. And afterwards, we went to an art exhibit. Talk about cultural clashes.
Sunday, we awoke early to bicycle Peek-A-Moos Mountain, which included a 3500' climb on a 55 mile bike ride. Talk about exhausted!
We met up with the Old Man and had a look at my car, deciding that it was a little too weighted to be driving around in the desert in the summertime. I unloaded most of my worldly possessions at my dad's house, in hopes of getting them mailed to me in a few weeks when I'm safely tucked away in the West. Worries aside, I now focus attention on the drive...