Tapirtype Blog: Index

Journal Archives

September 3, 2008

Dialing it up and down

I have a vivid memory of being driven to my first day of High School by my mom. I was nervous to near panic attack proportions that I was going to be late. A worry that lasted until we got close to the school and I replaced it with a panic about being too early.

I'm finding writing a paper to be very similar. "Oh my god, oh my god, I'm never going to have enough data. There isn't enough stuff here! I don't have enough to show! ... Oh, crap! I've got 9 figures. I have to cut!" With barely a pause in between.

June 21, 2008


I saw naked people today.

We had a lab outing, renting kayaks from Agua Verde. The initial plan was to go out by the Arboretum, but Faith's significant other's son, was with us and we decided that the cut would be a little dangerous for him, so we decided to paddle down toward Fremont instead.

It was also the Solstice which meant that the Annual Fremont Solstice Parade was going on. Paddling past Gas Works Park, we looked up and, yup, sure enough, there they were, naked as the day they were born. Assuming, of course, that they were born wearing shoes and body paint. Which upon reflection most of them probably weren't.

November 4, 2007

From Sasha Kopf:

The end of an era

Today I was walking down Beacon Street, and something was amiss. I looked up as I passed a storefront, and lo and behold, the Kosher Dunkin Donuts was gone. A sign said it had closed permanently. Patrons were advised to visit their other location on Boylston Street, but where will the neighborhood turkeys go for their morning pastry? It is a sad day for the town of Brookline.

Addendum: This void now creates the longest distance between Dunkin Donuts franchise locations in entire Greater Boston area: a full 1.7 miles. How will Brookline survive? Only time will tell.

September 15, 2007

From Sasha Kopf:

T is for turkey. No, really, turkeys like the T in Boston.

This morning, as I was waiting for the T, I saw a turkey. It was scrounging around the plants in the islands that run down the center of Beacon Street, right next to the trolley stop like it was waiting for a train to arrive.


At first, I thought I was hallucinating, but it was right there, about three feet away from me.

A Russian guy started throwing it bread crumbs. I asked, "Is that your turkey?" He said, "No, it is just hun-ga-ry!" I really, really wanted to reply, "No, it's not Hungary, it's Turkey!"

Continue reading “T is for turkey. No, really, turkeys like the T in Boston.” »

September 14, 2007

Do Not Want!

Things I don't like:

Fiddling around with my speaker wire to see if I can fix the (real or imagined) crackle in my speaker only to find I've poked my finger into an old spider nest.

Further finding the nest wasn't as old as I'd thought when I see a tiny baby spider skitter by on the floor.

Further looking down and finding the very large momma spider rushing towards me out of nowhere doing a very good impression of a momma bear who's found me messing with her cubs.

At least I didn't accidentally summon a fear demon.

September 2, 2007


Hey, I just noticed that I missed this blog's birthday.

Sad blog. I'll have to send it flowers.

March 21, 2007


While we're on the topic of substance consumption, I've got a new little problem. You see, to get the mix of coffee to milk right in my lattes, I order either a double short or a triple tall. Things is, most espresso machines are set up to make two shots at once, so occasionally they'll offer you four shots to make it even.

Three times in a row now this has happened.

Why isn't this a good thing? I can't say no, but really I'm addicted to caffein enough as it is. If quads stop doing it for me, I'm sunk!

Ah, the inexorable march of caffeine addiction.

March 15, 2007

A fresh set of bile, episode 2: Hard drive heartache

Subtitled: Brand name hard drive enclosures should last longer than a year.

This is just a short little rant today. The next thing that failed me was my hard drive. I have a little external hard drive. It's the result of the death of my old computer. Shortly before it died I'd sunk some money into it (I mean of course, I did, when else does your old computer die but when you've just put money in to make it last another year). So I took my brand new hard drive and bought an external enclosure for it both to ease the transfer process and so that my investment wouldn't have been entirely wasted.

After a cascade of events, I ended up buying a nice sturdy aluminum MacAlly enclosure for almost $40 at retail because I needed it right then. It worked perfectly for a year and lately I've taken to using the drive to offload things that I want to be able to access on the road but don't need all the time so I can off load in order to free up space on my already full internal drive. Mostly movies, older pictures in my Aperture library (Can I say how much I love that I can now offload the originals of some pictures while keeping low resolution stand-ins for offline viewing in the library? Pop my drive back in and they're all there just as if I hadn't off loaded them.), and a game that I've taken to playing.

While Sasha was here I took some time to offload some more pictures and when she left I decided that to console myself I'd have a nice long game playing session. So I plugged my drive back in and... Absolutely nothing happened. The drive seemed to power on as normal, but nothing I could do could make Mallory (my new computer) give any evidence that she had any idea that a hard drive had been plugged in. No drive utilities could recognize that there was a drive attached to scan.

So I figured either the drive was damaged beyond my ability to repair with the utilities I had or the enclosure had died. So I bought a brand new, cheap, Bytecc enclosure for about $19. It's not quite as pretty, but it's aluminum. It's compact. And it even comes with a very nice carrying case that I didn't expect. Worked perfect right away. No problems with the filesystem or anything. Hopefully this will be the end of my worries, but I still see a second LaCie hard drive in my future.

I'll say it again: A retail enclosure should last longer than a year. It's as simple as that.

March 13, 2007

One! Two! Three! Four! ... May I have my coffee cake now?

Subtitled: The military coffee cake complex.

On my way home today I stopped by the U-Store to get a book and was tempted by some coffee cake at Bulldog News on the way back down the Ave.

Just as I was starting to order I heard a man coming up the Ave toward me shouting loudly "One, Two, Three, Four! Who's against this god damn war?!?" repeatedly. He made it up level with me just as I had ordered my coffee and was starting to inquire about the cake when he paused, looked at me, and repeated his slogan. I stopped mid pointing and proceeded to adopt my full on city mode and loudly ignore him, but he wouldn't have it. "Are you against this war?"

"..." I started to try to recover myself and begin to point at the coffee cake I'd like as the Barista and I kind of look around wondering what we are supposed to do, frozen in the middle of the transaction.

"Don't buy that! Before you buy that, think! ... Are you against this war???"

"...Um... Yes, actually..."

He held his hand out and, not knowing what else to do, I shook it simultaneously looking at him for the first time and realizing that he smelled like lots and lots of really old beer. As I shook his hand he said "High five! Now... ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, Who's Against This God Damn War!" clearly expecting me to join in and then he walked away.

After a stunned moment the Barista and I laughed, decided that it was ok for me to order now as long as I promised not to tell him so she wouldn't get in trouble for selling something to me, and went back to the beginning of the whole ordering process. Of course now I realized that I'd shaken this not so clean guy's hand just before ordering coffee cake that I really wanted to eat right now, but I tried not to think about that too hard.

The strangest thing about the whole episode was where it was happening. I mean, running into a young guy in jeans with a messenger bag on the Ave in Seattle you aren't very likely to find out that he's for the war. Of course, drunk and crazy as the guy seemed, I'm not entirely sure he knew where he was much less what war he was talking about. Maybe he was trying to recruit people to his side against the war on poverty or something.

A fresh set of bile, episode 1: UPS

So I'm back from the fly meeting and ready to dish out a fresh set of bile to the things that have failed me over the last bit. In this first installment we visit how complicated UPS can make delivering a simple little envelope.

My watch broke a while back. The crystal cracked seemingly spontaneously with a loud ping that was heard from four meters away. I really could put Skagen on the list for that, but it's balanced by the fact that I really, really like my watch, so I'll spare them my wrath for now unless it breaks again. (It did mysteriously loose half an hour a couple of days ago...) It was marginally cheaper--if only marginally--to get a cheap temporary replacement and send it in to be fixed than to get a new one, so I dutifully sent in my little box insured with return receipt and waited.

Next thing, I come home to find a UPS 2nd delivery attempt slip on my mailbox. Strange, I never got a first delivery slip. And no information was filled out, so I could only assume that it was my watch coming back. Oh, and it was dated from the day before... So sure enough I go upstairs and give UPS a call and they claim to already have made a third attempt making it too late for me to do anything about it other than spend money renting a flexcar to drive all the way down to the UPS facility in Sodo. So I talk to a representative, and to his credit, he assures me that he can have it sent to my work now, but it's the last chance and they won't even hold it for me if anything goes wrong. One more problem and it's going back to the sender and who knows what I'll have to go through to get my watch back.

So I carefully ask him exactly what information he needs to make sure it gets through the byzantine addressing of the UW to our new building, giving him building name, floor, room number, lab name, department, street address, and zip plus 4, which should have been redundant about five times over to get it to me. He tells me that unfortunately it's after 6:00, so it won't get to me until day after tomorrow. No problem, I think, just so it gets to me and I don't have to shell out any more money or time. Oh, if only...

So two days roll by and nothing comes, so I track the package and there are about a million notices up repeating that "this delay was caused by an error in routing, we're sorry for the inconvenience..." Or something like that. Finally the next Monday, I have a free moment to think about it and track it again and it says that it was delivered to someone with a name I don't recognize (first name only making directory lookup almost impossible) to the "office." Nievely I run down to the departmental office and ask for my package, but no one has seen it or heard of the person who supposedly signed for it. We spend some time looking around the building for someone who might have signed for it, wasting almost an hour with no luck. Finally we decide that it could have ended up just about anywhere in the University. The problem is, I'm leaving at 3:30 AM the next day for the fly meeting, so I'm afraid that I won't be around when whoever received it tries to find me and I'll never see my watch again.

So on the suggestion of an administrator I gave UPS a call again to see if they had any more detailed information and the recording tells me everything that I already knew plus something indecipherable in a non-artificial prerecorded voice. After asking for an operator, I'm able to gather that I'm being told a room number where it ended up in the I wing of health sciences. You know, the kind of information that would have been actually been useful had it been on the tracking information page.

Unfortunately it is a couple minutes past five now, so I run off to see if I can get in to where my package is and I track it down to a relatively high security locked door with a sign saying not to knock but to use the phone, which I do and get the voice mail of the person who signed for my package. Finally luck struck because as I was about to leave someone came by and used her card to get into the door. She was nice enough to let me in and look for the package which, after some searching, we found stuck behind another envelope. So at least the story has a happy ending.

You see, what happened is that apparently UPS decided to leave out half of the information that I gave them from the new shipping label. So even though it still had the street address and room number which should have been enough to get it to me, they became confused and tried to do a directory lookup on me. The problem is that we just moved and it seems that when I changed my address in the directory when I registered for the quarter, that didn't change my faculty/staff listing (which I should have thought of), so they gave it my expired address. How it then got two floors down from my old address instead of someone in the old space telling them that it was probably something for the who used to be there, is anybody's guess as is why they decided to deliver it to a high security area.

I fixed my address listing and I'd like to think that this won't happen again, but then that would be pretty naive wouldn't it?

January 3, 2007

What coffee's supposed to taste like!

There are many obvious reasons why it sucks to be back in Seattle: Separation from Sasha, facing work after a long absence, etc. But one thing sure doesn't suck.

Praise be for decent coffee! I really tried to find an independent coffee place in Boston that had good coffee. I tried to think of it as just being different. But no, it's not. It just sucks. And that no one there seems to realize it is the strangest thing.

But my first cup of coffee back here was absolutely perfect.

December 30, 2006

Capers at Revere Beach

Sasha at Revere BeachSasha at Revere BeachSasha takes pictures of the ocean

Sasha and I went to the beach today! We spent the morning wandering around Cambridge and wanted to wander around another neighborhood afterward, so she got the brilliant idea that we should take the blue line out to Revere Beach. It was very cool, both literally because it had just snowed--finally, it's been an unusually warm December--and because it was so pretty. Also, Sasha was adorable running around on the sand and snow.

I also put up a couple of movies of Sasha capering at the beach here and here. We also met a dog named Gohan.

Continue reading “Capers at Revere Beach” »

December 15, 2006

Off to Boston

I'm heading off to Boston in a few minutes to spend the holidays with Sasha!

As this is the first blog enabled Christmas, hopefully this year will bring many pictures and maybe even some video for friends and family over at Vox as well as here.

Holy windstorm batman!

Wow! We had a serious windstorm here in Seattle last night. I've never felt anything quite like it. The closest thing was the windstorm they had in Chicago when I visited there four years ago. My apartment building was shaking in the gusts and I watched, more than a little horrified, as my big window in the living room bowed in and out.

I was lucky, though. I only lost power very briefly and nothing was damaged. Or at least nothing of mine was damaged. There are shingles strewn about outside the building, so I can't vouch for the roof. Many of my coworkers were still without power this morning.

December 14, 2006

Bleeding ears

To whom it may concern:

You might wish to note that if--when I'm riding on the bus, and it's in the middle of a wind storm, and the driver is talking loudly to the driver of another bus that seems to be stuck, and I'm listening to music on my headphones--the music you are playing through your headphones is the loudest thing I can hear, then you are playing your music too loud and you probably don't have to look any further for the reason why you've gone deaf.

December 1, 2006

I for one welcome our new refrigeration overlords...

It's rather disconcerting to see the elevator doors sweep open to reveal three unaccompanied freezers huddled together, leaving one human sized space by the control panel. Perhaps they decided to show initiative and move themselves over from the old building and only made it as far as the elevator? Or maybe their human handlers had something else to do and decided to keep them amused by running them up and down the elevator like little children?

Or maybe it's more sinister? Could this be the new trojan horse? Are three stooped over and disoriented invaders about to tumble out of their refrigerated shells?

November 29, 2006

So cold... So, so cold...

Ways that I know that it is far colder and drier than any self respecting Seattle weather pattern should aspire to be:

  1. It hasn't broken freezing in the shade two days running.
  2. My electric heat is working full time to keep the temperature five degrees below the set temperature.
  3. I've turned on the heat in the bedroom for the first time in two years.
  4. I'm wearing my fleece and my east coast blizzard worthy parka.

    And most of all:

  5. For two days running when I've swung my messenger-bag around to the front to sit down on the bus, the static electricity generated by it as it rubs along my coat has bee sufficient to generate audible crackling in my iPod earbuds.

It's not that I've gone soft... It's just... disorienting!

November 23, 2006

Visit to the de Young Museum

Observation Deck at the de Young

The Observation Deck at the de Young

Masks from Oceania


On Wednesday my Aunt Mary and I went to the de Young Museum at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The museum was damaged in the '89 earthquake and has only recently been rebuilt, I believe. We saw an exhibit of Ruth Asawa work. Most of the exhibit consisted of intricate hanging woven wire sculptures with many layers inset in each other. I liked them quite a bit, but I was even more fascinated by a small set of pages from her notebooks. The exhibit did a really good job of focusing on her development as an artist through the years as she discovered and invented various techniques and then came back to revisit them years later. It's not the kind of art that I usually seek out, and it was nice to have an opportunity to see a really good exhibit of it.

After that we wandered up through a large section of Oceanic and Affrican art. I gather that in the old space they never had the room to keep all of it on display, but here it was one of the largest collections that I've seen and some of it was really fascinating.

After that we caught the exhibit on Gee's Bend Quilts and headed up to the observation deck at the top of the tower. I really appreciated that because I haven't been to San Francisco since I was little and it provided a very nice overview of the city. I'm a big fan of stepping back from the edge at decks like that and watching the people standing in front of the city sweeping out below, rather than staring directly out the windows. I've put up a few more pictures on Flickr starting here.

November 21, 2006

C Class Citizen

Southwest has decided that they are not interested in my business. They informed me today that there is no way, short of my coming to the airport 24 hours ahead of time, for me to get anything better than a "C" seating designation: The group of half a dozen or so people who got last minute tickets and are all guaranteed to have only middle seats available to them.

The problem is that I'm on the Watch List. Normally this is just a mild inconvenience. I've never had any extra security screening or hassles once I've got my ticket, they just tend to insist that I see an actual person to check in for my flight rather than using a computer. Seems a little silly since I'm going to show my ID anyway, but not a big deal. Sometimes this means extra delays, but the people at Continental just told me in that case to get in the 1st class line and tell them that I'm a selectee. Works for me.

Southwest, however, bases their seating on when you check in, giving priority to those who check in online ahead of time, something they will not allow me to do. Naively, I assumed that since this is a problem that has been going on for several years now, and every ticket agent that I've ever dealt with has expressed frustration and sympathy about it, helping me to navigate my way through, that the Southwest ticket agents would have a way around this obvious problem, making me an exception since I had no other choice. Not so. They even seemed a bit put out that I asked about it, telling me "You know you're on the Watch List, right?" and acting as though I should just assume that flying would be a painful experience no matter what airline I chose or what I did.

But if I really was a security risk, how would forcing me into the middle seat help anyone? Not a bit. Seat assignment is irrelevant. They just want to check my ID but don't want to take the effort to design a system that would allow me to get in line for a seat without completing the check in process. I mean how hard would it be to just give me a number when I tried to check in saying that I had started the process of checking in, but simply needed to do one more thing at the airport to finish it. Viola! Now I'm treated like a normal person except for the fact that they need to verify that no, I don't fit the profile of whoever it is that is making things suck for Michael Boyles everywhere.

I don't mind a little sensible inconvenience in the name of security, but do not force me into permanent second class status because you're too lazy to adapt on your end.

November 20, 2006

San Francisco Tomorrow

I'm heading off to San Francisco tomorrow to visit my Aunt and Uncle for Thanksgiving. It'll be the first time that I've been out to there to see them since a trip we took when I was in 3rd grade, I think, which is really too bad and kind of embarrassing since they've been out east to visit us. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't had a good chance to visit with them for a long time and it'll be nice to see San Francisco as an adult. I'll try to take some pictures while I'm there and write a post or two.

November 16, 2006

From Sasha Kopf:

What Real Men Drink

So, I was getting a mocha at Athan's this morning, and a guy from the hardware store across the street came in. He was watching the barrista make the mocha.

Guy: So what is that, some kind of chocolate espresso?

Barrista: It's a mocha!

Guy: Hmmm!

Barrista: It's milk and coffee and chocolate syrup.

Guy: You can't go wrong with chocolate syrup, I guess.

Barrista: You know what Andrew gets? One of these but with strawberry syrup.

Guy: I should really fire him.

Barrista: Yeah. But you know what? My boyfriend gets the same thing. But he thinks it sounds too girly, so he doesn't call it a strawberry latte... He calls it a "Super Coffee."

November 14, 2006

Pagliacci: Best Pizza Place Ever

So it's late and I've been working all night on getting something to work for Sasha with the computer and long distance troubleshooting is never fun. So I decide, blah, it's too late to cook and I'm hungry so I'm just going to throw up my hands and order a pizza. But when I run down to get it the guy tells me "You've been selected for a free pizza tonight." He hands me the pizza and on top of it is a card from them saying "Thank you and this one's on us" with three signatures in it. Now that's a surefire way to make my night better fast!

The sad story of lattes and lids

One unfortunate thing about Seattle coffee culture--at least the part that I'm most tied into--is that for the most part it isn't about people sitting around in coffee shops, it's about people running from place to place and grabbing coffee on the way. And that means that whether it's a disposable cup or your own 99% of the time you drink your latte through a lid. But the good thing about a latte is that it comes with a head of foam so fine that it doesn't come off so much as foam but thickened essence of coffee. Then you slap a lid on it and the tiny bubbles start colliding and merging and by the time it gets to your lips it's either thick foam or coffee, the equilibrium destroyed. I can't say how many times I've been presented with a beautiful latte, leaf design and all, only to have a lid slapped right on top of it.

Today I got a latte on my way to work and grabbed three quick sips, thinking about how I should really buck the convention and go un-lidded. But my desire to avoid a wet sticky wrist won out and by the fourth sip I was back to the land of the lidded.

November 8, 2006

Elections that don't make me want to shoot myself...

Oh, my god. I hardly know how to deal with actually being pleased by election results. It's a whole new world for me.

October 29, 2006

Faith's Pumpkin Carving Party

die, pumpkin, die pumpkin guts! bucket o' pumpkin guts

Faith was kind enough to invite me over for a pumpkin carving party this year. Which was really nice because without having an excuse to do something like that I tend to just forget that it's a holiday at all. And even for a silly little holiday like halloween, it's nice to mark it in some way.

Faith particularly likes Fall, and I agree. Even with the encroaching darkness and the back to school feeling, there's something nice about the crisp newly cool air and the harvest imagery.

Continue reading “Faith's Pumpkin Carving Party” »

October 25, 2006

Ooooh, pretty new building!

Unfinished cafeteria in new building
Unfinished cafe, March 2006

I just went over and got lunch from the cafe in our new building. This is the building that we were supposed to move into last April, and are finally going to be moving into early November.

There's been so much trepidation and anticipation about moving that I've been left with largely mixed feelings, but I think I'm sold. It's sooo pretty over there. The food at the cafe was very nice. They've got these pesto, swiss, tomato sandwiches (with or without ham) that they toast for you. And the espresso machine they have looks to be one of those very highly automatic ones that means that there isn't that much that the barista can do to screw up your coffee--at least if you get an americano.

The lighting is so pretty in there. Things are relatively dim, but there are so many windows and little lights that everything gets perfused with a kind of glow. It's a nice change from the J wing over here in Health Sciences where the windows, if you are so lucky to have one, usually face another wall, and they've disabled every other fluorescent light in the halls. That last, in a city where pretty much everyone starts being affected by seasonal affect disorder at some point during the winter, is the most frustrating. I mean, I'm all for saving energy, but I'm also all for having not crushingly depressed employees.

Oooh, and my card works now to get in to the upstairs of the new building! It's all very exciting. I can't wait until we're all moved.

Continue reading “Ooooh, pretty new building!” »

September 11, 2006

9/11, 2006

I wasn't really sure if I should write anything today. Overall I think too many people say too many things about 9/11 that they shouldn't. But I do feel that an important aspect of coming to terms with events (all evens whether traumatic or not) is to talk about them. The more I think about it, the more I feel that the people who have been talking about 9/11 have, for the most part, not been focusing on the right things.

Continue reading “9/11, 2006” »

August 28, 2006

From Sasha Kopf:

My first day of school!

I just got back from my first day of orientation. It went very well - yay! I met a lot of nice people, and all the professors seem just ridiculously cool. When they were introducing themselves to everybody, I felt like I should wave a lighter around from the desk.

Continue reading “My first day of school!” »

Northeastern: Sasha's First Day

Northeastern University Law School from Au Bon Pain

Sasha started law school today!

I got up and did the commute with her. It was a little more eventful than planned because the T broke down. Fortunately they run all the time and it stopped running after a few lines had converged so we were able to catch another train pretty quick and even waited for one that wasn't packed full (literally). The commute is kind of long and kind of funny, but very easy. We are right on the Green C line of the T, but Northeastern is on the Green E line, so to get from one to the other you have to take the T in to the center of town where all the lines run together and double back changing trains. It gets you door to door service, though! It takes something like 40 minutes. Today even with the little snafu it took us about 40 minutes, so usually it will probably be closer to half an hour. And that included waiting. I can definitely get used to trains that run this often!

Anyway, we got to Northeastern and Sasha wanted to find the place she had to go for orientation, so I told her to be nice to the other children and not to throw her blocks and went off on my own to buy a T pass and get some breakfast. I took this picture from the Au Bon Pain that is across the street and am posting this mooching off of Northeastern's wireless access. Now I want to go and try to buy a map and get home before UPS comes.

Continue reading “Northeastern: Sasha's First Day” »

August 27, 2006

Verizon is evil

So I've finally got internet access for more than 30 seconds at a time. Unfortunately that is because we finally broke down and went to the nearest Starbucks to buy a T-mobil day pass. Verizon, who we called 12 days ago, still hasn't sent us the equipment to connect to the internet. They had told us that the equipment would be shipped out USPS within 24 hours of the phones being turned on (that happened before we got to the apartment on the 23rd) and would get here one day after shipping. Finally Sasha called them yesterday and they said that they still hadn't sent things out and that the account was in a "pre-approval" state. Riiiiight.

So we're dumping Verizon in favor of the new combined service from Comcast. Yes, I know that's trading one evil monopoly for another, but at least it is trading to one that has never given me problems with providing the services I've payed for, just charged me an arm and a leg for them. And actually when you combine all the services together the prices are competitive. It's too bad. I'd kind of been excited about Verizon's service. Mostly that was because it is a) cheaper, and b) they will eventually have their fiber service which promises to be very, very cool. But that's in the future. And so far their current service is in the future, too, since they seem to be utterly unable to get it hooked up. Comcast will be out on Tuesday.

August 21, 2006

Things that are hard:

Trying not to laugh while getting your hair cut when the Simpsons episode Two Bad Neighbors is on in the background. For those that don't know/remember, that's the one where former President George Bush Sr. comes to live next door to the Simpsons. I think I came very close to loosing an ear at one point, but I pulled through.

Another Grumbly Etiquette Nitpick

I like to hold doors open for people. It isn't a men holding doors open for women thing, it's a basic human politeness thing that I do for both men and women. You see doors are often heavy and no matter your gender, if someone lets one swing closed too close to you it breaks your stride as you have to either wait for it to swing shut or reach in to wrench it open while its momentum is working against you. My problem isn't with people failing to open doors for me, it is instead with the people I open the doors for.

You see, like I said, doors are heavy, so once you open a door for someone, you are at their mercy. Either they can, as they should, take the door from you and continue in after you (holding it open for the next person in line behind them if necessary) or walk on through. If they choose to just walk on through, unless you want to potentially maim them by letting the door swing closed, literally, in their face, you have no choice but to keep holding the door. And if someone is behind them nine times out of ten they will simply follow through the door as well. I've literally been forced to stand holding a door open as a dozen people stride through, not all in one group, but all in a line with no gap large enough to let me safely let go of the door.1 I don't really care about the people following. It is human nature to do whatever the person in front of you does, and I'm sure that I've done the same many times. But that first person should know better.

Today the woman who did it to me did something odd. As she passed through the door she lifted up her arm as if she was about to take the door from me, and then, just as her had was perpendicular to the door so that if I had let go it would have slammed painfully into her outstretched fingers, she dropped her hand back down. It was as if she knew that she should offer to take the door from me, but didn't think for a moment that there was any possibility of me taking her up on that offer.

It is true that most often the people who do this to me are women, so possibly they are misinterpreting my actions as an old fashioned etiquette thing of gentlemen holding doors for ladies. Still, do you really think that I have nothing better to do with my time than stand there all day holding the door open? Like before, the thing that really bothers me is that there is no consciousness of behaving badly. I'd feel much better about it if the person just barged through with a "hey, you gave me the window, I'm taking it" attitude.

1 Incidentally I'm almost always carrying something when this happens.

August 17, 2006

Life Stuff: Sasha Moves to Boston

I figured that I should post some life stuff since a lot is happening.

I took Sasha to the airport last night to fly off to Boston to attend Law School at Northeastern University. Actually she flew into Hartford to stay in Northampton with her parents until next Wednesday. I'm lucky to have a flexible enough schedule that I am going to be able to fly out after her. I'm flying into Boston on a red eye over Tuesday night, and she'll pick me up on her way from Northampton and we'll go to the apartment together. The nice thing about that is that we can kind of come into the new apartment together and I can be a part of her Boston life from the beginning even if I'm flying back to Seattle after a few days.

I'm also excited to see the apartment. When we rented it, the former tenants were still living there, and they had been there for several years, so the apartment was due for some remodeling. So supposedly the floors, walls, and kitchen should be all redone. We'll have to post pictures as we are getting things set up.

The picture I posted is of the main living room windows. The apartment sits in the back of a nice, quiet courtyard, and is pretty well lined with windows. Nicest perhaps is that the living room juts out into a big bay window (shown here). It is a bit far away (all the way down the Green C line) and is a bit small, but it was by far the most livable apartment for the money that we saw. Also nice is that it seems to be very professionally managed and doesn't make the assumption that so many (read here, all) of the other affordable apartments we saw made that we are students can be safely treated like we don't know our rights as tenants, or can't be trusted. Interesting aside here. In a town like Boston where there are so many undergraduates, the term "student" gets really funny when applied to housing. You would think that a 26 year old, engaged, law student, would come with a different set of assumptions, than a 19 year old frat boy, but sometimes the word "student" just gets in the way. Another interesting exercise: substitute for "student" the word "black," "hispanic," "gay," etc. and see if the treatment that you can often find seems at all legally or morally ok.

August 10, 2006

Morning, grumbly nitpicks

Ok, it's a little thing, but come on. When you are walking down the middle of an empty sidewalk and you encounter a small group of people coming your way, you politely move to the right to give them room to pass to your left. It's just considerate. And when the guy at the front of the group who has plenty of room to his right, comes up to you, he should move slightly to his right so that you can pass.

What he should not do is walk blithely on ahead, forcing you to move even further on to the curb because he is too self absorbed to move six inches to his right into the empty sidewalk.

August 7, 2006

From Sasha Kopf:

Sasha adds to Michael's Saturday morning photoessay

Michael at Cafe Allegro

Photo by Sasha Kopf

Reflection in the Allegro mirror

Photo by Michael Boyle

Continue reading “Sasha adds to Michael's Saturday morning photoessay” »

August 5, 2006

Saturday Morning at Allegro and the Farmer's Market

Cafe Allegro

Photo by: Michael Boyle

Seattle Farmer's Market Sign on The Ave

Photo by: Michael Boyle

Sasha and I have made a tradition of going of getting up late on Saturday morning and going to the University District for brunch at Cafe Allegro after which we walk up to the Farmer's Market to stock up on fruit and other goodies.

Continue reading “Saturday Morning at Allegro and the Farmer's Market” »

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