Sunday, July 31, 2005

Outta here 

The action has moved to the new blog: A Short Letter Home. Hamburgerland will remain here to maintain the few posts to which others have linked.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The long goodbye 

I got to hug my supervisor today. Not that I had a burning need to hug her or anything. No, it turns out that she has Thursday and Friday off this week, so this was the last day we were working together. So I got a surprise farewell hug.

It's been weird, people have already started to say goodbye. Monday as I started my shift, I ran into one of my coworkers from first shift. She figured she'd say goodbye since we tend not to see each other much. Then, when I logged onto my mail, I found a nice letter from a guy who used to work in my department, but was moved to the other side of the building. It struck me as a bit odd that he'd be mailing me on Monday. But then, left to my own devices, I would probably just put in my hours on Fiday and then quietly slip out the door, so who am I to judge? It's always been a bit surprising to me how differently people leave this place. Guess saying goodbye to a departing co-worker is likewise varied.

Typically, I haven't given much thought to missing the folks here or any other negatives like that. My personality tends to be present focused and I retreat into that when faced with impending unpleasantness. Like when I moved out here, I left Illinois with hardly a glance back, knowing darn well that eventually I'd be mourning the loss. So I suppose in a few months, if not sooner, I'll be longing for the cameraderie of Wombatsch or the simplicity of the old routine. For now, however, it's nose to the grindstone.

Anyway, two more days left. Tomorrow is my exit review, or whatever they call it. Friday is my farewell cake (during work hours) and my farewell beer (after work hours). I'll have to compose my farewell e-mail, complete with a parody of the current corporate template. (Basically a verbose paragraph telling people to delete any accidental mail they get sent. Face it fellas--security and internet are not compatible.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

The more things change... 

Well, having two weblogs certainly doesn't mean I'm posting twice as much. I spent the whole weekend without even looking at my blogs. We've managed to find renters for the house-- ha! listen to me. "Find." By a miracle from above, suitable renters answered an ad and found our house acceptable. (Whether it was because of the view or because our heating oil bill was about a third of what they were paying, I don't know.) Anyway, we got renters and so painting became a lower priority. Instead I did a variety of deskwork and packing tasks.

Of course, it wasn't all business. One project I undertook was the totally frivolous digitizing of a tape I had recorded back in 1974. I had just received a casette recorder that year and some friends and I recorded a spoof of radio and TV programming. I had not listened to the tape in years--so it was somewhat interesting to compare the actual tape with my memories of the same. One distressing aspect of this was the fact that most of the other kids were funnier than I was. Another was discovering how much of my childhood was influenced by Cheech and Chong.

One thing that really struck me was how often we spoofed the news: three times in a 45 minute tape. Of course, maybe I shouldn't be surprized. Mock newscasts are a staple of sketch comedy. Whether that's because it's fun to mock "authority", or that newscasts lend themselves to short gags, I don't know.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hail to the Chief 

Here's a bit of foolishness I just couldn't resist:

Get your position here

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Where's the fish? 

Originally uploaded by Hamburger Lad.
Did I mention that Ernesto finished the shower? Well, Ernesto finished the shower. It took 7 days rather than the original estimate of two, but, man, did he do a good job. He also bought the coolest shower curtain (right) with fish on it.

Oh, yeah. In addition to all the other tasks abounding on my to-do list, I managed to buy a new camera (digital) and open a Flickr account. More things with which to play instead of working....

Rest in peace 

Just heard on the news that James Doohan--best known as Scotty from Star Trek--has died. What's going on here? Are all the actors from the original series going to die in the order in which I liked them? Watch out Nichelle!

Let them eat cake 

I ran into our HR person in the hall yesterday and she asked me if I'd be open to having the traditional farewell cake in the lunchroom next Friday. (My last day is next Friday! Crimeny!) I don't care for such fussings myself, but I wouldn't want to deprive my coworkers of cake. (That's assuming any of them show up.)

I think the reality of my departure is really starting to sink in for me. I'm starting to let the irritations of the job slide and am feeling the first hints of mourning over the people and the positive things about this place. The full feeling will probably be covered over by the stress and excitement of the coming month, of course. I'll have to go over to Classmates.com and sign up for their workplace section....

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Going out of business sale 

Just a little announcement that I've started a whole new blog for the China venture: A Short Letter Home. In my paranoia over offending the Chinese government, I was thinking of rebooting Hamburgerland--essentially covering up my past posts and my daily blogroll. Sherri had suggested starting a new blog, but I couldn't find a name I liked. Until now, that is. Anyway, the new blog has started and sometime in August I will mothball this one. So make your own copies of those gems in the archives, update your links and make whatever Blogshares transactions you want. A year from now I may look back and laugh at myself, but... well, it wouldn't be the first time.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

But that's all over now 

Okay, I'm better now. The cold that was plaguing me and lulling me to sleep has (mostly) passed. So should I write about this past weekend, or the shower project? Heck, let's go for the weekend.

As I mentioned, Sunday was Poodlepums' confirmation. My folks, my brother and his wife, and my sister all flew out for the event. It was the first time either sibling has been out this way since we moved out here, so we had a grand old time playing tour guide. We did the old Seattle staples: the Underground Tour, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, a harbor cruise and Mt. Rainier. We were going to spend a day at Pt. Defiance in Tacoma, but rain forced us to visit the Museum of Glass instead. The only day we didn't go out and about was Sunday, when we did church and had a luncheon for all the attending relatives at our house. (And so we learned that the upstairs of our house does not seat 25 comfortably and (thankfully) the garage roof can support the weight of at least ten people.)

Exhaustion aside, it was a near perfect family vacation before we head to China. (It would have been perfect had my brother-in-law, neice and nephew had also been able to come out.) When we visit Illinois, we usually stay with my folks and visit with my other family members once or twice. Well, there's usually at least one big family gathering where everybody shows up. Anyway, this weekend was a chance to spend a lot of time with just the immediate family, enjoying a lot of life's blessings before us Seattle Hamburgers head out to the land of strangers and culture shock. Of course, now we all need to go on serious diets, but that's okay....

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Hosting the family this weekend wore me out. My head hurts, I'm dozing off in front of my monitor and ... zzzzzz. Time to go home.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

On the run 

Manoman, what a week!
Saturday was full of being handy.
Sunday was filled with support raising, lunch with friends, supper with the in-laws, a baseball game and fireworks.
Monday, I put in a shift of overtime and later caught the fireworks.
Tuesday was split between behing handy in the morning, pulling my regular shift and bopping over to the Webloggers Meetup. (Tommy Williams' report is as good as anything I could write up... plus he has pictures. Check it out.)
Today, my brother and sister-in-law came to town , so we spent the morning hanging with them, and then I headed into work. :-(
Tomorrow my folks and sister fly in, but that's okay, because I've got the rest of the week off. (The influx of relations is due to Poodlepums' confirmation on Sunday.)
Friday through Monday will be filled with being a gracious host and trying to squeeze in as much family time as I can.
Then Tuesday it's back to shower installation. But that's a post for another time....

(Oh, and to answer the question posed to me at the meet-up: this weekend the family subsisted on sponge baths and/or use of the showers at the Rainier Beach pool. Less than ideal, but it worked.)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The dream that wouldn't die 

No painting this weekend. No-sir-ee. No, this weekend is a plumbing weekend. Hoo-hah!

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but one of the big question marks on this year's to-do list was to have a shower put into our ancient domicile. You see, our house came showerless. It had one bathroom with one bathtub--take it or leave it. We took it since the house was cheap and had a view. We thought that some day we'd remodel and add showering capabilities, but of course, some day never comes.

Fast forward to this year. We had our initial meeting with the rental agent and he suggested putting in a shower so that we'd be able to get a bit more rent for the place. We thought, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." But then we looked at our post-porch finances and thought, "Maybe not."

At our second meeting with the agent, months later, he then suggested putting in a shower so that we'd be able to get a renter. We thought, "Aaaghh! We've got to do this!" But then we looked at our post-encephilitis-shot finances and thought, "With what money?"

Then we got a nice gift to be applied to our own bank account rather than our China account. We thought, "Hmmmm, maybe we can do the shower after all." But then we got an estimate from the recommended handyman and thought, "Mmmmaybe we better not. We don't trust estimates anymore."

But then Noodles remembered that a friend of ours, Ernesto, had done some major plumbing work for a camp up in the northern part of the state. And he and his wife had already offered us a day of labor to help us with our home improvement woes. So we swallowed our pride and asked him if he could do this for us. He scoped out the job and said that he could probably do it in about two days for the cost of supplies. Mrs. Ernesto said it would end up being four days, but most wives take a pessimistic views of their husband's proclaimed capabilities. We said, "Wellll, let's go for it."

So today was the second day of the shower project and Ernesto has made a really good start on it all. I've helped out a bit--mostly being an extra pair of hands. I've really felt like a kid again, helping out my dad. This is partly due to the fact that I know zilch about plumbing and partly due to the fact that Ernesto has so much more tools than I do. I have really been neglectful in my American male duty to accumulate tools. I'm still in a single tool box (not counting hand saws), while Ernesto brought three toolboxes over just for this job. (I'm guessing that he has an entire tool wall in his garage, built with his own hands. Or maybe whole banks of tool racks, just like that gun rack scene in The Matrix. That would be cool.) I've also been neglectful in getting a pair of steel toed shoes, which I discovered when I dropped a plumbing wrench on my foot. (My second thought, after "Ow!", was, "Oh, great, like I've got time to deal with a broken foot.")

But despite my deficiency in toolology, I did manage to be of some use. The weird thing was that I really regretted having to cut into the wall and the other acts of destruction needed to make this improvement. Once again I've seen firsthand how well this house was built and I hate having to screw up the original artisans' work just to add the luxury of a shower. But hey, such is the way of this world.