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Tue, Mar. 2nd, 2010, 03:11 am
Fashion show

It simply never occurred to me that one day I might end up being a ferris wheel operator. And indeed, operating a ferris wheel is something I have never done, and never expect to. Likewise, it absolutely never crossed my mind that I might end up on the runway of a fashion show. But weirdly, that just happened.

Seeing myself in runway-model makeup cracks me up without fail:

I'm pretty sure I'm not that gaunt. I think that's the make-up. Maybe runway models aren't really skinny, maybe it's all make-up!

I was expecting the event to be almost boring actually (and perhaps for more experienced models it was), like a dance competition without the dancing, so I was pretty blase, and instead it kind of knocked my socks off. In a good way :)

I also got Kora interested (for those out of the loop or overseas, she's a (MARRIED!) friend of mine, and is one of the instructors at a studio I go to), so here's Kora in one of the outfits she modelled, from an anime-style line:

Give that girl a ray gun :)

A whole bunch more pics and descriptionCollapse )

Mon, Jan. 4th, 2010, 10:23 am
THIS is why the rum is gone!

There is a good reason why I'm in a bathrobe and tail-suit and blowing fire in front of a bunch of people in their pajamas. A perfectly good reason. I can't think what it is, but I assure you there is one.

Oh right - New Years Eve!


Later on, I got a call from a friend sounding disoriented and scared. She said she was drunk and didn't know where she was (she wasn't drunk, she had been slipped a roofie), but she thought she was somewhere near my place. She said she thought she lost the creepy guys, and then passed out mid phone-call.
I was with friends in another city, so did a rapid disappearing act and drove back to my place to search for her.
All's well that ends well, and things could have so easily gone a lot worse than they did, but she had a really nasty New Years. And the day after. And the day after that. That stuff really makes a mess of you. :-(

Fri, Dec. 18th, 2009, 02:41 pm
Christmas wishes

Dear Santa,

I have been a good boy all year, so I hope I am on your Nice list! For Christmas this year, I would like a girl from your Naughty list.


Fri, Dec. 4th, 2009, 12:37 pm
christmas comic

Thu, Dec. 3rd, 2009, 03:27 pm
In which Our Hero suddenly ages, and a bottle of champagne is decapitated with a rapier.

Liz was absently thinking my birthday was later in the week so when the day arrived she hadn't planned for it (we were going to get some food or something to mark the day). Perhaps she learned her lesson over this, because this meant that I had to make myself some last-minute plans, and dragged her along over her protests that these (outdoor) plans were NOT her idea of fun and she wasn't dressed for it and she was going to freeze to death (and then I'd have to tell her mother). But I had a car that does ~ Mach 0.3, a full tank of gas, a trunk full of everything needed for anything1, and enough food and snacks to get us to Mexico!
(And a rapier.)

But by then it was 11pm, so instead of Mexico, we only went as far as Kora and Simeon's place out at Snoqualmie. It was a great night - full moon, thick fog, barely below-freezing temperature, no cars on the road, heaters on, and a co-pilot to pass the snacks.

1. The trunk of a man's car should look like this.

Liz hadn't seen the Falls before, so I drove there, and forced her from the warm car out into the cruel cold night, to the gentle background soundtrack of Liz repeating that she hates cold, and that I'm crazy, and that she's only doing this because it's my birthday, and godamnit.

We walked to the lookout, the falls thundering, the spray wetting us, and then peering out over the railing, she was finally able to see... the same empty gray wall of fog as everywhere else and in all other directions. Except louder and wetter!

Liz also looked kind of cold, but I wasn't ready to get back into the car. So I took her into the forest and we walked down to the bottom of the gorge to see the falls from their base.
The full moon was shining through the trees, casting moon-rays in the fog, it was amazing. I so wished I hadn't left my camera in the car, there were so many incredible shots to take! But I was pretty sure that if I went back to get it, and then spent another 20 minutes standing still with a camera, I'd turn around to find Liz had become a small lifeless popsicle, and then I'd have to call her mum. So we walked on!

Clambering through huge wet rocks and uprooted trees in the freezing foggy dark is fun. It's obvious, right? Even just reading that sentence, you just know right away that that has got to be a good time. This wasn't immediately apparent to Liz for some reason, but she eventually had to concede that it was exceeding expectations. And eventually she even had to partly unzip one of the coats she was wearing, as movement started to defeat the cold.
Not everything was great - unfortunately I was wearing my good boots, which have no tread and so were quite slippery, and rocks cut and scuff the hell out of pristine leather, and they are now no-longer my good boots :-(

Onwards to Simeon and Kora's place. I had decided to open my birthday champagne with the rapier. I had never done this before, but I had done some research on the technique and was confident I could do it without a hitch. The others were.... not so confident.
Unfortunately, as we headed outside, the stairs were iced over, and my boots have no traction, and I had a bottle of champagne in one hand, and a sword in the other, so when I slipped, I had no hands available to grab the railing, so I fell down half a flight of stairs until I came to rest on the ground at the bottom. But during the fall, I managed to keep both the bottle and the sword from hitting anything, so all was good.

I lopped the top off the champagne with the rapier, poured us all a glass, and we had a birthday toast.

Liz is a bartender, and a very good one at that. I'm a total lightweight. She opens more bottles in a day than I open in a month. And she just got schooled. :-)

Here is the bottle after the cut!

Then we retired inside to warmth and comfort, and talked and talked for hours until it was almost time to get up and go to work. It was a good birthday.
Even if I didn't get my wish.

Mon, Nov. 30th, 2009, 03:12 pm
Top Secret Plans


Tue, Nov. 24th, 2009, 11:05 am
Mystery solved

So I now have independent confirmation that Cirque du Solei people did indeed come to the club last year, thus solving the mystery.

In other news, I realised that the new short hair means it will be a lot more fun to drive with the top off the car. So now I just need it to stop raining... in Seattle. :-/
Temperature doesn't matter - car has heated seats :-)

Mon, Nov. 23rd, 2009, 03:10 pm
You Have Been Warned

It's my birthday on Tuesday one week from now. I don't really have any plans yet, but thought I'd at least let you all know. :)

Tue, Nov. 17th, 2009, 11:49 am
Get a haircut!

I've been meaning to do this for years - finally got around to cutting off the long hair.

Here's the traditional quick bathroom-mirror snap:

another picCollapse )

Fri, Oct. 9th, 2009, 01:53 pm
Yet another chapter of CARS, in which Justin heats his brakes, and gets a ticket.

The dealership, as a goodwill gesture, replaced the large race-brake pads on the front wheels with ceramic pads. (Race brakes tend to squeal, and they rapidly cover the rims with brake dust, but hold up under extreme heat. Ceramic pads are quieter, and not as dusty, but heat-fade quicker during motor-racing. I don't race, so the disadvantages of race pads were annoying).

So with new brakes, to get the best results there is a "bedding in" procedure to get a good surface mating between pad and disk. The process involves heating the brakes by braking from 60MPH to 10MPH a set number of times, without giving them a chance to cool.
It seemed a bit hokey, but as I was still sometimes able to get some quiet squeal from the brakes, and the overwhelming consensus of other owners with the same niggles with the same brakes was that the process helped considerably, so I decided to give it a go.

Speaking of brakes and heat, the C6 corvettes have been very successful in motorsport, winning a bunch of stuff like the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance races, a stock corvette breaking the lap record at Nürburgring, etc, etc. What this means, among other things, is that we have photos of corvettes operating the brakes at high temperature:

Those pics are both scary and reassuring. They have also been described as "brake porn" :-)

So anyway, I had to find a road where it was legal to get up to 60MPH (100km/h), and where I could repeatedly, safely, come to sudden near-stops, without anyone around. Especially not police, who take a very dim view of anyone doing anything unusual. In an urban area of millions of people, with a huge traffic congestion problem, there is no such thing as a deserted stretch of road, and what I wanted was a deserted stretch of freeway! All to myself. Unfortunately, Seattle only has four freeways (the 420, the I-5, I-90, and the 520), and it turns out that it's using all of them :-/

But, I reasoned that Redmond is mostly suburban housing, has absolutely no night-life, and no businesses open late. That should mean that at 2-3am on a Tuesday, while there would still be residents using the 520 to return home to Redmond, the only thing coming out of Redmond would be the occasional semi truck once they had unloaded their cargo at Redmond's department stores and gas stations. This suddenly becomes significant because 520 terminates in Redmond, instead of passing through. So at a particular time, at the extreme east end of 520, in one direction (westbound), it should be empty.

So driving on 520 towards Redmond, 2am Wednesday morning, and despite the traffic around me, as I crested the hill I could see down into the valley and over the barrier to the other half of 520; and saw miles of empty freeway. Unbelievable.

I drove to the end of the line, turned around, and had a freeway all to myself.
So I bedded the brakes. On the third or fourth deceleration, you could really smell it, despite the windows being closed. Soon after, I learned first-hand about what brake-fade feels like (although the smaller rear disks still have race pads, so those were preventing it being as bad as it would be with ceramics on all pads, but the difference was still pronounced), all the while while keeping an eye in the rear-view mirror, because it would be obvious from my lights to a (police) car entering the freeway even miles behind me that something was "wrong", and on top of that, it's a quiet car when driving placidly, but when bringing it rapidly from a near-stop to 60MPH, it's LOUD.

Improvement (after the brakes had cooled down) was instant, but I only care if the improvement endures.

The next day, I parked in a space among a bunch of other cars. And unbeknownst to me, the pile of rubbish on the curb contained a fire hydrant. You can't park next to those. The meter maid called a tow to impound my car.

One of the perks of having a silly car is that people know it's yours, so someone driving by noticed what was going on and tipped me off. Thanks to that tip, I was able to return to the car before the tow truck got there, and so having narrowly dodged all the impound and towing fees, the actual parking ticket fee is pretty reasonable.

The thing is, I've never seen a meter maid working at midnight before. Word on the grapevine has been that states with large budget shortfalls (such as ours - which relies on sales tax, which has been badly hit by the recession), have starting ramping up revenue collection from traffic infractions, issuing more speeding tickets for smaller violations, and so on. I wasn't sure how much stock to put in that, but as I said... I've never seen meter maids working at midnight before!

I actually got off lightly. She didn't notice that I haven't installed my front license plate. Meter maids are supposed to write you a ticket for that, and that ticket would have cost over four times as much as the parking ticket I was given for blocking firetruck access to a trashpile.

We'll see how long it takes for me to get fined for the front plate. Most people report never having a problem, but in these days of budget shortfall, and so many cars flouting the plate requirements, there is a lot of very easy money to be collected there. A crackdown wouldn't surprise me.

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