Visiting Priya in Birmingham

I decided to keep up the friend visits by following through on a promise to visit Priya in Birmingham, Alabama. This was a great time. Priya knows lots of beautiful girls which is always a nice bonus. Here’s the full photo set of my trip to Birmingham.

We also did a group dinner which was awesome. Priya introduced us to a number of her girlfriends. Everyone was pretty cool.

Group Dinner in Birmingham

We went to a bar where they sang Sweet Home Alabama. This was a lot of fun when you’re actually IN Alabama. Everyone went a little crazy.

Alabama bar (college bar?)

We went to an after hours bar too. That was a little insane because we were out WAYYY too late.

The trip was a success and much fun was had.

Birthday. Turning 30 and trying to be a better person.

The moral of this post is that Lisa is awesome and will make cakes on demand. It’s better than movies on demand. Full album of 30th Birthday Pics here.

First things first.. I’ve been working on my plate at The Flying Saucer. After much drinking I was finally able to complete the task of drinking 200 different beers. I have a long list of beers, a plate on the wall at the saucer (and a matching one for my house), and a beer belly in progress.

I kind of went a little nuts for the Birthday thing so I spent a bunch of time doing donuts and burnouts in my car for fun, bought myself a new keyboard and bought myself a nice set of knives. Happy Birthday to ME!

While messing around with the car I ran it out of gas twice. Apparently at full throttle going 10 mph sideways you use a TON of gas. Who knew? Pete came to my rescue and Brendan and John Gill watched my hijinks. Thanks guys!

Lisa made me a great cake which I had apparently commissioned at some point. The text is exactly per my specifications. I got a huge kick out of this and I’m sure everyone else did too. Thanks Lisa!

We played some Cards Against Humanity which was fun. Great to have my apartment full of drunk people saying terrible things. Scott even got to read some risque cards. That was a treat!

Even better, we convinced Lauren to come out to the bar. She’s been either pregnant or a mom for so long now that the moment was marked with MANY cell phone photos. Here’s a fun one that captures the spirit of the moment.

Now that I’m 30 I will try to be a better person. So far it’s actually going alright. I don’t believe I’ve done anything despicable yet. Pretty sure. I may have hit on Lauren after that photo was taken – but only jokingly and after much tequila.

Thanks everyone for coming out to my place for the party and following me around for drinking. I also owe a big thanks for all the shots people were putting in front of me. Everything was going so well until the 151 showed up!

Cisco Live 2012 in San Diego

Another catch up post here about a trip to San Diego straight from Hawaii for Cisco Live 2012. Seems like the weeks and months have just been melting away recently so I’ll do my best to keep things brief on summary while hitting the high points. It’s nice to look back and remember all the good times. Even better to jot them down for posterity.

I was headed out to be a backup speaker for a session on SIP Trunking (as mentioned in a previous post).

The first order of business on arrival was to take brewery tours of Green Flash and Stone, followed by dinner at Stone. This turned out to be a great idea.

We crammed a whole bunch of TAC engineers onto a bus and headed for beer town. This was a pretty cool cross site team bonding event!

Yep, it’s beer

The octopus was cool. No idea what that’s really for though.

Part of the Jeeping crew on the West Coast

Tons of people on an Escalator headed for the opening day of the conference

The CCIE party was on an air craft carrier. Pretty much the most bad ass place I’ve ever had the chance to drink a beer… sitting in a helicopter on the deck of an air craft carrier.

The we gave a presentation

The customer appreciation even was Weezer. They somehow topped the air craft carrier

I ran into Liz who I hadn’t seen in a while, but kept bumping into throughout the week.

The grass in the outfield of PetCo park feels pretty good!

Cisco Live 2012 was a really fun event. A week of hanging out with colleagues, attending training sessions, meeting with customers, and presenting our own session. This was an insanely busy week that required some time to recover from.

Excellent Hawaii Trip

This is a super belated post about the trip I took to Hawaii back in June with 7 awesome friends.

I have to admit being invited in the first place was quite a surprise to me! Heather told me there was an extra spot and that the collective decided I could be allowed to come along. I heard there were bets placed on the sort of debauchery that I’d be up to when stranded on an island with so many nerdy girls who fit my M.O.: Ex GF, Someone Else’s Wife, Someone Else’s GF, and prior.. whatever that was. Apparently I have a reputation for indiscretion.

You’ll be happy to hear that in the theme of “me becoming an improved person” there was no havoc wreaked of any sort whatsoever. I’d like to claim full responsibility for this, but I think the reality is more mundane in that my reputation is over hyped. I sound like some lady killer when instead I’m just a lonely dude who sometimes finds love in the wrong places.

ANYWAY – on to stories of incredible vacation!

Justin managed to swing a super sweet place to stay on the West coast of The Big Island. I arrived very late after a full day of travel. Everyone else had booked airfare before I was invited, so I wound up traveling about 20 hours by myself. I enjoy the alone time so this is cool. I rented my own car at the Kona Airport and drove the 30 minutes up to the house. It was about 10:00PM local time, so about 4AM Eastern time. Everyone was passed out!

The next morning Heather gave me a tour:

The best part about this place was that every single area was large enough to accommodate a group of 8 people in that endeavor. Breakfast for 8? No problem? Hot tub for 8? No problem! Outdoor meal for 8? No problem. Movie time for 8? No problem.

We enjoyed a day of relaxing and exploring the local area. We woke up crazy early since we were on East Coast time, 6 hours ahead. We had group breakfast in the bag by 8AM and were ready for a day of just vacation.

One of the first exploration items was Kona Brewery, right down the road. If you love beer this is a highly recommended destination!

Everyone got a sampler (except for me). There is a nice distinction in Before and After pics. See if you can spot the difference. Heather is the outlier here. Sorry for posting that terrible before pic of you Heather!

After Kona our house was well stocked for games and socializing. The group is very game centric so we brought games with us as important travel items:

We also explored the whole island. To me the most amazing part was that the West side was barren desert lava wasteland.

The East side was lush tropical rain forest. When you crossed over the crest it was cold fog and wind!

There is a lot of stuff we fit in here, so I’m going to start the abridged version. Use your imagination to fill in the story.

Waterfall group shot

Funny times instructing people to be whacky while I take photos

Crazy lobster claw plants that secreted a super slippery fluid that was worth touching

Snapping a cute candid of Heather BECAUSE she hates being photographed.

Everyone in the group!

Triple waterfall

Great view from the pool deck at our house.

Jesse had an AMAZING idea that we should get a keg from Kona for the house.

Ostensibly the trip was to capture the Transit of Venus. Justin did that. I helped with SD card rotation and moral support when everyone else was like “Are you still fucking with that camera?!?” 😉

Hawaii has sunsets

We hiked across a volcano crater. It was hot and there was still steam coming up in spots.

Double rainbow nearly caused me to crash the minivan in excitement

I photographed well

Hawaii has great signs

Things got a little saucy when we pretended to be adults and dress up for a fancy dinner. This one wasn’t my fault.

Hawaii was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. Things were pretty much perfect and I couldn’t ask for a cooler group of people to go with. Would definitely go back.

New Years Snowboarding in Vail, CO

I spent my Mandatory PTO / New Years in Vail, Colorado. I really wish the snow could have been better – but the front side of the mountain was open and it was an awesome time! The place is huge.

I went with Pete, Kenneth, Paul Harvin, Pete’s friend Brandon, and Kenneth’s brother Jeff and Jeff’s wife Mariana. It was crowded but fun. We apparently all like to drink because I had to recycle two giant trash bags of empty beer bottles!

Check out some pictures of the trip here:

Raleigh Apartment and Esther’s House Warming

It’s been a month since my last update. That sounds about right to me.

The first big change is that I moved to downtown Raleigh. I’m in an apartment building called “Hue,” which is pretty nice. The view is awesome.

My Jeep and the FZ6 are living at Pete’s house, along with power tools and some other things. I’ve got the 1BR and a single parking spot that has the Z and the Concours parked in it right now. Locked parking garage. Pool. Sweet View. Close to all of my favorite bars. Not a bad setup.

I’m in desperate need of furniture, but that will come in time I’m hoping.

So Brendan has been excited that I’ve moved downtown. In his excitement he’s been trying to get me to leave Raleigh as often as possible. An opportunity popped up to drive to DC with Brendan for Esther’s housewarming party. At the same time I’d also get to visit Heather.

Two beautiful girls, one stone. I had a fun time. Esther took Brendan and I rock climbing which is pretty awesome.

Here are some pics of the house warming party.

Esther was in party preparation mode.

One very fun thing about the House Warming party was trying to mount a clock to the living room wall with 6 drunk people and power tools. I’m glad I have video of this:

I’m definitely bummed that I didn’t get to hang out with Heather for very long, but we still had a great time.

When I have furniture I’ll have a house warming party myself and invite everyone.

Snow Boarding and Mardi Gras Motorcycling

I’ve been extremely busy being eXtreme lately.

Here are some pictures of a snow board trip I took to Tahoe with Brendan, Kurt, Lauren, and Marcy.

I also rode 1000 miles from Raleigh, NC to New Orleans, LA and back. I tried to get my Iron Butt certification (1000 documented miles in < 24 hours) but just missed it due to some terrible weather. It rained on me for something like 20 hours of the 36 hours I sat on my motorcycle. I rode through several tornado warning zones. I don’t really know how I can endure distances like that. It clears my head though. I enjoy the solitude and scenery. I’d do it again just to get away from things. I can just head out any direction I please for hundreds (or thousands) of miles. In NOLA I met Jason and Ashley, Dan and Tammy, and Chuck and Gina for a week of Mardi Gras celebration. Here are pictures of motorcycles, and drinking. You can’t really go wrong here. I loved New Orleans and ordering drinks to go. The music and costumes were the best part.

Oh, and I wandered into a spontaneous Mardi Gras parade:

On St. Patrick’s Day I fell in love with a beautiful brunette. She was really friendly and we got along quite well. Her boyfriend did not appreciate this. I realized that I definitely have a type, and my friends know it now too. They saw her and said “Burns, you would like this girl”. They were definitely right. I saw her and said, “This won’t end well for anyone.”

I wish I remembered more of the night, but when I realized I’d met yet another great girl with a boyfriend, I started drinking at a brain and liver punishing level. I sincerely have been trying to avoid that – but having a DD and a reason makes it tough 😉 Tomorrows will bring better days though.

I can’t say that I should only ever pursue single girls (even though some of my friends INSIST I MUST). It’s rare that I meet a girl who gets me to talk, let alone try hitting on her. But, I think I’ll make something of an effort to leave the “It’s Complicated” girls alone.


Buffalo Visit – Tiffany and Don’s Wedding and other great friends.

This past weekend I went up to Buffalo for Don and Tiffany’s wedding. You can find some great pictures of the wedding here:

Don and Tiff's Wedding

I drove the Z up on Thursday to stop by and have dinner with my dad, and to go see Jaime. That’s an interesting story because I “met” her at my HS reunion. I know what you’re thinking, how do you meet someone at your HS reunion, don’t you know them already? Well yes I suppose that’s true, but when you have a terrible memory for people like I do, and 10 years go by, it’s like meeting someone again for the first time.

I drove the 10 hours up to my dad’s then the 35 minutes out to East Aurora for coffee, then around EA, then back out to Delevan, than back out to EA. We wound up staying out WAY too late, which turned out to be a fun time for everyone. I didn’t make it back home until somewhere around 5AM, at which point my dad was already working on getting up and doing chores.

Friday I went out to see Elementary school friends Janette and Will. That’s always a blast from the past when you can hang out with someone you remember from 2nd grade!

Friday night I spent at my Uncle’s place where my grandmother cooked dinner. Home cooked meal == win!!!

Saturday was the wedding proper which worked out really well. I was partially responsible for some of the decorations. It was my job to light all of the candles hanging from the trees in mason jars. After a few drinks I don’t know what I was doing at the top of a ladder, but I survived. The lights came out great:

You can look through all of the pictures to find some ridiculous dancing, and me getting to hang out with a ton of old HS friends. Always a great time.

On Sunday I made it home from the wedding at about 7AM, just in time to eat breakfast at my Dad’s, and then go to sleep! When I woke up I made a trip out to Rochester to hang out with Kaija and Devon. It was interesting to meet Kaija for the first time after chatting with her online for nearly a decade (wow).

Monday I made the long trek back home to Raleigh.

In the end the odometer says 1700 new miles, and 31 hours of seat time!

My left leg calf was really sore from all that clutching. I’m just not that used to it. The Z drove great minus some hydroplaning issues in the rain. I enjoy road trips more than any sane and normal person should! My friends told me I should be a truck driver since I love driving around so much.

Now I’m back in Raleigh after being in DC for business. Just back in time for Matt and Candra’s wedding. I need a weekend of rest to prepare for it!

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!

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.