Coffee and blog posts

I’ve taken to making myself breakfast and coffee on the weekends. Turning into an adult is actually pretty awesome (even if it took me a LONG time to start the process).

When I was a kid everyone was like “you’ll have to work so much” and “you’ll have bills to pay!”

Now that I’m actually grown up, it’s just as awesome as I thought it would be. All those naysayers of my youth must have been getting it wrong. I get to do what I want mostly whenever I want. Sure I go to work 5 days a week, and yes I have plenty of bills to pay. The upside of all that work on top of being unmarried with no kids is almost unlimited travel and hobby time.

That’s really the primary focus of this blog. I only post when I buy a new toy, or go a new place with that toy, or have awesome visits with friends.

Now that we’ve got the random thoughts preface portion out of the way, let’s continue on with updates.

  1. May and June were a blur of concerts and hang outs. I went to see random bands play in random places in downtown Raleigh.
  2. July was up in the air. Literally – I flew a plane with friends one weekend, then jumped out of a plane the next. I stole Pete’s GF Beth for a day and her friend took us up for some air time. It was a very fun time! I miss flying.

    Jumping out of a plane was a pretty awesome feeling too, but honestly my favorite part of skydiving is piloting the chute down after the jump. I just like to steer things. I did a tandem jump so I didn’t get much free fall flight control – maybe if I jumped solo I’d be more into the free fall portion of it. In tandem it just feels like wind going by fast – like on a motorcycle, but way more expensive per trip.

  3. July also saw me hanging out with this wicked cool girl Lisa who I’ve blogged about before tangentially(Last August See 3rd of July section). My regular followers will be impressed that I started hanging out with and then dating Lisa when she was actually single. Personal moral progress on my mission to not be such a terrible wreck of a person.She mentioned that she didn’t like me at first (Re: I’m a terrible person), but that she’s glad she found out there was a better person under the Quagmire-esque veneer.I’m not sure how I’ve managed to fool her for so long, but it’s going well 😉
  4. At the end of July my Step Sister Amanda decided she would fly down to Raleigh to visit. This was incredible as I hadn’t really seen the girl much since her high school graduation. When I met her she was in diapers. Now she’s 21. It’s fun to show a little sister around.We spent a night in Raleigh, then drove down to Florida to visit my other Sister Jen, my Brother Cody, and Mom and Cal (Step-Dad).Amanda had never been to the beach, so we sorted that out. We also went to the springs. Check out the cool pictures:
  5. At the end of August I spent a weekend with my motorcycle buddies and we rode from North Carolina to Indianapolis, IN to check out the MotoGP race.Check out these great pictures of girls, motorcycles, and racing:

    As part of this trip I added three new states to the map of states my motorcycle wheels have touched:

    I also learned that a 700 lb Kawasaki Concours with 180lb rider can easily drive up onto a curb if that’s where the hotel valet wants you to park. Who knew it would be so simple? After much trepidation I just drove up on that damn curb, no hassle.

  6. After getting back from MotoGP in Indianapolis I took another long weekend for a camping and Jeeping trip up at Rausch Creek in PA. This place was gigantic, exciting, and had gorgeous trails.
    Andy, Shapess and I have many good memories and stories about the place. There is nothing quite like a long weekend of camping and Jeeping with buddies. Although I’ll admit I’ve had my fill of dude hang outs lately. Bring back the female social interactions please. Or put more simply: Boobs.

    Here are some awesome Jeeping and camping pictures:

  7. Not only has life involved all sorts of social interactions and vacation happenings, it’s also been busy at work.
    I’ve been applying and interviewing for a position in Advanced Services for a while now. It was a tough decision to make. There are so many things I love about my current job and my current team. Part of me wants to stay in this spot forever because of the things I like about it. I’m really going to miss the team and being able to help everyone solve complicated problems every day. I’ll miss being the technical expert who can come in and kick a problem square in the nuts and at the same time do some training of new guys coming in.

    However, I think after 6 years my stress levels of constantly being on the hook or on the phone with customers on their worst days, has taken its toll. You try to steel yourself against the customer who says they’ve spent millions of dollars and now everything is down and they need you to fix it ASAP and make sure it never happens again, but they do take their toll, one piece of sanity at a time.

    Some customers are great, patient, understanding, appreciative of your time, and know that some problems just can’t be instantly fixed.

    Some customers are ungrateful, impatient, uncooperative, willfully ignorant of basic facts and reality (even when clearly presented to them), and set expectations so unrealistic that their lives are guaranteed to be a constant disappointment for them. Some people have problems that I can’t solve. Some people just want to watch the world burn 😉

    That’s tough for me. I like being able to solve the problem, and then being recognized as the bad ass without whom it would not have been possible.

    Have you ever seen House? When House makes his diagnosis he walks away. He’s solved the puzzle – figured it out. The patient themselves are not the prize, it’s solving the puzzle. That’s my motivation – interesting puzzles.

    This new job is going to be designing and deploying voice solutions for customers who contract with us. I believe it will go like this:

    Customer wants solution / Customer is sold solution
    I come in and help gather requirements for design and implementation
    I present design and deployment plan
    I deploy and verify success
    Next project

    I’m excited to get started on it at the end of October. The two main differences are going to be:

    Project lifecycle has clear start and end points (as opposed to non stop incoming cases)
    Customer is paying you for the work you perform (as opposed to customers having paid a flat service contract fee ahead of time, entitling them to have their problem fixed no matter how long it takes)

    Also – travel and more work from home. I’m going to get to see some places and spend more time enjoying the downtown digs.

All in all – life is pretty damn good right now. I’m excited to see what this next chapter of personal and professional development brings.

Now my coffee pot is empty and it’s time to take on the rest of the day. Hope you enjoyed the updates.

Winter Jeeping

As usual it’s been forever since I’ve updated my site.

I went to see all of those shows in the previous post and they were awesome. Especially Menomena and The Thermals. Say Anything was pretty sweet too.

I finished a simple Android app that can be used at work. I don’t use it. I’m trying to find time to get some more training.

Lately there has been some serious downtown condo / house hunting. There are a few places down by Moore’s Sq I’m seriously considering, but this requires further concentrated thought. It’s apparently a lot of money to spend all in one place for something you CAN’T EVEN DRIVE!

I have a camera full of pictures of things I’ve done that I haven’t posted. Like my motorcycle trip to Florida for Thanksgiving. 1200 miles of motorcycling awesomeness.

Last weekend I went snowboarding in Snowshoe, WV. My skills are developing there. It’s always amazing to first suck at something, and then get better with practice. I’m not used to being good at anything besides computers. At the end of Jan we’re heading out to Tahoe to get some more boarding in at Squaw. Should be an excellent time. I hope I don’t get injured too badly.

This weekend I’m taking DC Heather (I don’t know what I’ll call her if she ever moves) out to the Mountains. We’re going to drive through some snowy trails in the Jeep and try not to die, or get stuck. I’ll finally have an excuse to go visit the Biltmore Mansion too, since Heather will be coming along 😉

Anyway – more updates once the weekend is finished and I empty my camera’s contents. For now – time to drive out through the crappy weather to Mountain City, TN.

A Midsummer Night’s Blog Post

I’ve been ridiculously busy since my last blog post. I’m starting to keep track of things by having my picture folders include the full date in the folder name. Otherwise I’d have no way to remember what order things came in.

In chronological, photographical order here is what I’ve been up to:

Marcy came down to visit Lauren and we all spent a few nights hanging out. It was a really great time.

Raleigh Times:

The Pit and The Saucer:

Matt’s House for Matt and Lauren’s Birthday, followed by Napper Tandy’s:

That one is a pic of Marcy trying out the Rum siphon. Engineering + Alcohol = WIN!

The weekend after Marcy visited, I went out Jeeping with Brendan, Garland, Andy, and Shapess in Mountain City, TN. It was a full Jeep caravan to Callalantee. This place was pretty awesome. We found a Jeep playground to jump over things, as well as some very cool logging trails up mountains!

After Jeeping in TN I decided it would be an amazing idea to ride my motorcycle to NYC from NC to go to a Brewfest on Governor’s Island. I was correct.

I stayed with Pete at his Parents’ place on Long Island for a few nights, as well as spending a drunken night in Manhattan with Munns. It was fun to finally visit Munns and see him in his natural concrete habitat.

Here is the gang drunk on the island. Just like old times:

My back, hands, and wrists were sore for a week after that trip! It’s a hell of a long ride on a motorcycle to just tackle on a long weekend, but definitely an adventure.

I took the weekend of June 25th off for actual relaxing (I think).

The next misadventure was the 3rd of July party at Justin’s house. I proceeded to get liberally sloshed and make a new drinking partner (Ruri) who can drink more tequila than I can, while at the same time thoroughly making an ass of myself. It seems the two go hand in hand. I woke up the next morning on Justin’s couch.. knowing that there was something I should apologize for – but not what exactly. Either way – I had fun!

If I hit on your friend, girlfriend, fiance, or wife (or any combination thereof) I’m sorry. That just happens.

I don’t even remember this picture at all! No one should have let me near fireworks.

I hear they found me asleep in a chair on the back porch and then wrangled me to the couch. I have no recollection of that either.

After much recovering, it was decided that I should start drinking at a more moderate pace.

I spent a weekend of general sobriety Jeeping at Gulches ORV Park in South Carolina with Andy, Nadine, Cam, and Shapess:

Sobriety lasted until the weekend after that – when I decided I hadn’t yet put enough miles on the Jeep, so I drove it to New York. That’s NY trip number 2 of the summer. Probably the 4th time I’ve been to NY so far this year!

Marcy has a cottage up on Seneca Lake in NY. Finger Lakes Wine Country! There was a Wine Fest in the infield at Watkin’s Glen. I drove up with Lauren and Brendan to spend a very long, very relaxing weekend. We floated around in the lake, drank some wine, and took a lap around the race track in a pace car. We even managed to fit a trip into Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse.

Here’s the view from the Lake House

Here’s Brendan very sad about the number of our sign for picking up the wine:

Here’s Brendan and I taking a drunk ride (as passengers) around Watkin’s Glen:

After spending so much time in the Jeep it was time to spend a little less time behind the wheel.

That doesn’t mean I was done travelling though!! This past weekend I went BACK up to New York for my 10 year HS reunion. It was certainly an interesting time. Seeing everyone again brought back a bit of nostalgia (which was to be expected), but also turned out to be a much better time than I thought it would:

After the reunion we drove around town looking for bars that were still open. Quite an adventure.

This weekend I helped Pete move from his small 2BR in Chapel Hill to a big house with a 3 car Garage Mahal. We loaded up a massive truck with furniture and assorted boxes of crap. The best part of helping was getting to pilot his BMW R1200RT over to his place while he towed his other two motorcycles on a trailer. Woo motorcycle.

I’ve finally unpacked from all that travelling and done some laundry.

I’m beat.

I’ve become unstuck though. I want to go somewhere else now.

The summer has one more trip to NYC planned, and then WHO KNOWS? More motorcycling? More Jeeping? A road trip in the Z? We’ll see.

Busy lately – Camping, Jeeping, Motorcycling, Partying

I haven’t posted in quite a while. That time has been filled with all sorts stuff. I’ve been riding my motorcycle around, going camping and Jeeping, Ward’s wedding, more motorcycling, and just hanging out with people around Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

I guess I’ll start with links to albums in chronological order, just to document things. I have such a backlog of stuff that I can’t really write it all out in detail. Instead, we’ll skip straight to the pics, and brief blurbs.

Pete and I took our motorcycles down to the beach one random day for lunch. We ate, walked around looking at girls in bikini’s then we turned around for Easter Dinner.
Wings

I went to Ward’s wedding and met up with a whole bunch of RIT and Cisco folks. It was incredible to have everyone together again. There was a lot of bittersweet talk about how this was the first and maybe last large reunion of so many RIT grads in one place.
Ward's wedding

There was camping and Jeeping after that.
Jeeps

Brendan and I took a random Thursday after that and went up to Richmond, VA to see Flogging Molly and Big D and the Kid’s table. They added ridiculously hot dancers. I was immediately in love. We also met up with Esther and her friend that night. It made for a long night. I eventually wound up riding my motorcycle at home from the Cisco parking lot at 3AM. Heated grips are AMAZING!

The next night we went out for Sasha’s birthday party. Raleigh was in full blown skirt season. It was excellent.

The first week of May is a Blur. Brendan’s friend Daniel had a grad party

I saw Steve’s band Idiom play at The Berkely. We met a cute Brunette that worked at an Animal Hospital

Aric had a house warming party where it was decided that everyone loved this girl

We also ran into another short Brunette who had opinions on whether or not Earth should be keeping a backup planet in the works for disaster recovery. Awesome.

Shapess, Andy and I had a random day out at Uwharrie. I had time to dial in the scope on my 22, AND spent some time shooting Shapess’ AK-47. Too much fun there.

On May 12th Kenneth, Pete, and I drove down to Charlotte to see Say Anything and Angels and Airwaves. Say Anything put on a good show but the set was too short unfortunately. It was nice to know that the girls belt out the lyrics to “Every Man Has a Molly” even louder than the guys.

You god damned kids had best be gracious with the Merch money you spend.
Cause for you I won’t ever have rough sex with Molly Connolly again.

I met a beautiful girl with so many awesome traits it’s hard to believe she actually exists.
1. Bartender
2. Graduated Culinary School
3. Loves the music scene
4. Gorgeous
5. Incredibly friendly / nice
6. Brunette
7. Tiny
8. Likes jeeps and motorcycles, knows how to replace a radiator.

Doubtful that said girl will actually get in touch with me – but it was a good night regardless. Another weeknight of getting home around 3AM. Energy drinks are my savior.

Just last night I went to a Skinny Tie Party at Justin Tiexera’s place.

I proceeded to introduce myself to a girl so forcefully that she immediately notified me she was someone elses wife. I need to do a better job looking for rings.
I also met another beautiful brunette who can bust out the quadratic equation at the drop of a ‘hat’. Math teachers for the win. There was Rock Band. People rocked out to Coheed and Cambria, and I sang my heart out to NIN – The Hand That Feeds. I don’t even need the scrolling words to sing this one:

And finally – today I went on an awesome motorcycle ride out to Wilson NC with my motorcycle gang. We hit up Parker’s BBQ and it was delicious. There was some really beautiful back country and great roads between here and Wilson if you avoid the highway.

After riding around NC I went over to Andy’s house and helped him tinker on his new front axle. We removed the diff cover and took out the locker, getting it ready for the new axle. We also greased up his lower control arms, and I drilled some holes for his new bump stops.

I am now VERY tired just thinking about all of that.

The future holds a trip to DC to see the air and space museum, and hopefully a trip out to the mountains with my Mom to check out the roads there.

In other non fun related matters, I’ve REALLY got to recertify my CCIE 🙁

August Update

It’s been a month since I’ve last posted. That month has contained all sorts of randomness. My schedule and routine is completely thrown off. I’ve been prety busy.

I’ve been stuck on this one problem at work the entire time which is a huge drain on me mentally. I’ve stopped going to the gym and just come home to relax instead.

Here’s a run down on some of the things I’ve been up to, in as close to chronological order as I can muster.

I posted all of the pictures from Networkers in San Francisco. Pete and I were there for the 4th of July weekend. We met beautiful girls, drank intoxicating beverages, and also learned ridiculous amounts about new technology. It was great to go as a CCIE and get extra special treatment. Here are some pictures of Networkers 2009.

Here’s Kenneth and I explaining something to an unruly and uncooperative Cisco Partner:

Kenneth Pete and I
Kenneth Pete and I

After I got back from Networkers I’m sure I did something worth writing about. I can’t remember what it might have been.

Just two weeks back or so I decided it was finally time to install my CB Radio in the Jeep. I mounted the radio in the cubby to the left of the steering wheel. It’s a pretty slick looking job, and allowed me to listen to the truckers on my way back and forth to the mountains.

Andy, Wes, Rebecca, and I went out to Hurricane Creek. Mile marker 8 on I-40. Just 8 miles from the Tennesee, North Carolina Border. This was one of the most beautiful and scenic trails I’ve taken the Jeep on yet. It was also the longest trail. We clocked in something like 10 or 15 miles of trail. Very cool.

Hurricane Creek Trail
Hurricane Creek Trail

We also managed to get some great YouTube videos of our Jeeping.

Here’s a video of me going over some big ass logs. This was fun. Listen to the V8 working.

It was a two day trip and you can look at all the pictures and videos in the previous links.

After getting back from Jeeping on Sunday night, I worked on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday night Brendan says to me:

Colleen is coming into town and Bringing her friend Kristan. I’m thinking of getting a Condo on the beach for the rest of the week and working from there.

I was undecided until we went out to dinner with Colleen and Kristan on Monday night. On Tuesday Brendan asked me again and I basically said.. “Fuck it, lets go.” Very unlike me to do something spontaneously like that. I need proper motivation. Which I suppose I had 😉

On Tuesday I left work and went straight to Brendan’s house after throwing some things together quickly. I packed in a rush, so forgot to bring swim trunks. Luckily Wings was open til midnight, and had cheap shorts.

Tuesday night was just dinner at Tower 7 and shopping. Notice that we started with the essentials for a beach trip: Corona and Limes.

Shopping!
Shopping!

Wednesday Brendan and I worked from the place, and took our lunch break on the beach. Lots of fun!

Wednesday night was dinner at Dock Street Oyster Bar, followed by a Ghost Tour of Wilmington, follow by Rum Runners.

Dock Street Oyster Bar
Dock Street Oyster Bar
Kristan at Rum Runners
Kristan at Rum Runners

Thursday night was Pizza, Rum, and Spades. Brendan taught us how to play spades which was actually a lot of fun. By the time  we finished spades it was 1AM, Colleen had passed out, and Brendan was stumbling around. So, obviously, the next step was to go to the bar. Which Brendan and I did. This is what that resulted in at 1:30AM:

Late Night 40
Late Night 40

Friday Brendan and I recovered by laying on the beach, walking around, and swimming. We took a walk on the pier with the girls, had a good brunch, and then headed to the Aquarium.

Aquarium - Sea Turtle
Aquarium - Sea Turtle

Saturday was a Brewery Tour, followed by Better Than Ezra in the rain. They put on a great  show, and standing around in the rain wasn’t so bad.

Brewery Tour
Brewery Tour

Here’s Kristan drying off a bit after the rain:

Kristan Drying Off
Kristan Drying Off

Here we are on Sunday. Work starts  up again in the morning, but I am heading out of town again on Wednesday to go to Florida until next Tuesday. Lots of beach time for me.

So that’s my update for the past month. Lots of working, lots of playing. Hanging out with beautiful girls at the beach.

If I missed anything in my stories, just add it into the comments.

Jeeping with Wes: Catastrophe

Just got back from Jeeping with Wes in Uwharrie. Wes decided to break in his BRAND NEW Jeep on the trail. He seriously got it no more than 10 days ago. It’s a 2004, but it was in pristine condition at the beginning of the day.

I fixed that. Got the new off.

Dumbass that I am, decided to back down a bit to get another go at an obstacle. I was pretty close to Wes, but thought not much of it.

I took a good look at the hill, mentally pictured going up it, and hit the gas. I needed to get a bit of speed because not all tires would be on the ground, and I don’t have lockers. I needed to roll over the obstacle a bit until all 4 wheels touched again for traction uphill.

Note to self: Before hitting the gas enthusiastically, check to see what gear you are in. If you want to go forward, perhaps the big R is not the right choice.

Wes received 5700 lbs, 290 ft-lbs of torque, in 4 wheel low straight to the Grill / Hood / Radiator. This required us to actually replace the radiator shortly after the incident as the life blood of the cooling system drained away. Poor environment.

On the plus side, I now know how to replace a radiator, and how much they cost.

Witness the carnage:

Luckily we were able to restore it to “just like factory” specifications:

Yep. Classic.

That will be an experience I’ll not likely live down. I normally wouldn’t post something this embarrassing so soon after it happened, but listen closely to 1:58 in the second video. I’m pretty much awesome.

Offroading in Uwharrie Again

I went with Andy and Bryan Garland to Uwharrie yesterday.

This time I rode along in Andy’s Jeep so we could check out some of the trails marked “difficult” and “extremely difficult”

We couldn’t make one of the difficult trails, nor the extremely difficult trail. We made everything else no problem.

Here is the hill climb on one of the difficult trails, Dickey Bell. Sorry for the short video, my memory card was full. Next time I’ll take my 2GB card instead. Videos beat pictures for offroading.

Jeeping in Uwharrie

I went Jeeping in Uwharrie with Andy, Bryan Shapess, and Bryan Garland.

It was a pretty awesome time, even though it was very wet. There was a lot of slipping and sliding. The downhill sections were treacherous. Have you ever tried to guide 5000 lbs of sliding steel down a 50 foot slope when the steering wheel was more of a suggestion than an actual useful input?

Excitement and adventure.

Here are some pictures of the whole ordeal

Backing off some rocks

Jeep – 4″ Superlift – DONE!

I just picked my 05 WK up from the shop last night. As promised here are the pictures of before and after, and some info for you.

Jeep: 05 WK 4.7L Laredo

Lift: 4″ Superlift w/ SSR Shocks

Install Difficulty & Time: Professional Installation at 4WheelParts, 3 Days. Requires welding and cutting.

Tires: 285/70-17 BFG A/T KOs

Spacers or New Wheels: ProComp Extreme – 17″ by 8″ with 4.5″ of Backspacing

Rubbing: Front Driver and Front Passenger fender at full lock. Driver side at full left lock. Passenger side at full right lock. Pics to follow.

Problems:

1. Shop forgot to hook the E brake back up. Whoops. No big deal there.
2. Very light rubbing on front fenders at the pinch weld area.
3. Drive shaft contacts exhaust pipe during some driving situations. Reproducible by driving up onto a curb with both front tires and letting the Jeep roll back a bit in Park.

Handling: Tires are a bit louder and you can feel the extra tread. I like this.

Takes a bit longer to slow down those 33″ tires.
Takes a bit longer to get those 33″ tires up to highway speed.
Must downshift to accelerate on some hills where I remember just powering through with torque before. Not a huge problem though as you can still get where you’re going quickly.

Before Pic:

After Pics:

Here is the Front Driver side Fender rubbing at the rear of the wheel well. You can see where it touches slightly at full lock to the left.

Here is the passenger side rubbing at full lock to the right:

Here’s the drive shaft hitting the bend in the exhaust pipe:

Full pictures available here.

The tires stick out a bit with the 4.5″ backspacing, but I think it’s a pretty good look.

I like the Matte Black rims with the white Jeep. Way better than chrome to me.

I picked it up at the shop last night. We knew about most of the issues when they handed me the keys and we’ve got some time setup for them to get it taken care of.

It’s muddy already because my coworkers wanted to see if it would climb some of the trails behind the office. It has been raining for the past few days here in Raleigh. The answer to their question was… yes it can.

One minor drawback, or a point of entertainment… depending on how you look at it. My short friends have a hell of a time getting in. Very funny to watch.

Jeep – 4″ Superlift

I had a long blog post about the 4″ Superlift for my Jeep. It included links to all sorts of things and detailed info.

Then right before I was about to post the damn thing.. I hit the wrong button, and all that work is lost.

Have some pictures:

Pro Comp Extreme Rims

End Goal:

Mine probably won’t look as awesome as those Jeeps, but I’m going to try anyway. Should be done sometime in December.

I’ll post tons of pics when the lift is done.