Sunday, June 18, 2006

Flying Wheels 2006

I just rode Cascade Bicycle Club's Flying Wheels Summer Century for the second year. The route was as beautiful as I remember, meandering up and down hills through Sammamish, Duval, Snohomish, Carnation, and probably a couple of other towns I can't recall.

I was pleasantly surprised that, with the exception of a little ITB strain I sustained about twenty miles from the finish line, I really didn't feel like I had ridden a hundred miles. I also didn't subject myself to massive Clif Bar intake - I ate a bagel with lox and a shmear before the ride, had a tomato and mozzarella sandwich at the forty-mile mark, and downed just one bar down the home stretch. My body seems happier with me today than it did a year ago.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Books Everyone With a Job Should Read

The short list now includes:
  • Peter Drucker: The Effective Executive

  • For knowledge work, DeMarco and Lister: Peopleware

  • New on the list: Buckingham and Coffman: First, Break All the Rules
I'll be posting my notes on all these works shortly.

yes, I'm alive

Due to popular demand, I'll start being more regular about writing. :) I might as well start with recent events.

Trip to California
Just before I started my new job in March (with a different team at Amazon), I took a week off and spent a few days in LA. One of my closest friends, Dan, is a dental school student at UCLA, and another good friend, Regan, works in the Irvine area for an insurance company. I had a really good time catching up with them, and discovered a part of LA I actually liked (the area around the campus). Highlights included
  • hitting Santa Monica with Dan, who played "All I Wanna Do" on the stereo as we drove down Santa Monica Blvd.

  • driving to Pasadena at breakneck speed for drinks with Dan and Regan in Regan's modded A4, with Jay-Z and Linkin Park providing the soundtrack

  • walking down the red carpet just before the Oscars

  • finding out that Dan is seriously rocking dental school, and Regan's doing quite well himself

I bought a Tag Heuer Carrera on a bit of a whim.

Trip to Portland
I spent a fantastic weekend in Portland that took off about two months of stress. It started with a train ride down on Saturday morning, and ended with a return trip Sunday afternoon.
  • The train ride down was on the Coast Starlight, which runs from Vancouver to LA. I sat in the observation car on the double-decker train - the car had bay windows, the weather was gorgeous, and I was grooving to everything from John Fogerty to Elvis on my iPod. As a bonus, these guys from "Trails and Rails" would occasionally point out sites and give the history behind them.

  • The Fifth Avenue Suites Hotel, where I stayed, had extremely friendly staff whom I immediately hit it off with. Keegan, Meaghan, and Lucy, among others, were terrific. The hotel does a really great wine reception every evening as well, with guests socializing in a way I've rarely seen in Seattle. Upon entering my room I found a teddy bear on the bed - the hotel used to be a department store, the store's mascot was the cinnamon bear, and this is their way of keeping history alive - very cool. At the end of my stay the bear looked sad, so I brought him back with me - he seemed happy about that. :)

  • I met a lot of great people in general. While eating a sandwich outside the Pearl Bakery I met this guy and his dog, and we hug out and shot the breeze for awhile. At dinner at the Heathman I had a great time talking with my waitress. And so on.

  • Saturday was prom night. It was extremely amusing to see hordes of girls in black dresses taking over the sidewalks.

  • After dinner Saturday I hit the 20-odd floor restaurant at the Hilton for dessert, and downed a chocolate souffle and ruby port while looking out at the city from the windows on three sides. Then suddenly a fireworks display ensued (possibly since it was the day before Mother's Day). While leaving the restaurant I encountered a great jazz performance in the lounge, and left to a beautiful smile from the singer.

  • Sunday I met Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles and toured his shop. The man does AMAZING work. I'm now in line, and about two years from now should be a proud Vanilla owner.

Trip to NYC
Just a week ago I took a last-minute flight to NYC, arriving Friday night at midnight and leaving Sunday morning at 8 AM. I stayed with my friend Christina at her "crib" by Gramercy Park, and it was great to catch up with her - we had a late dinner and drinks after I arrived, joined some folks for a ridiculously rich brunch the next day, had coffee at 9th St. Espresso that afternoon, and then ate at a fantastic Italian restaurant that's apparently one of the top five in the city. My folks drove up from NJ and met us for coffee, which was really nice since I don't get to see them very often. Saturday night I headed to the Katwalk Bar and Lounge for my ten-year summer school reunion (yes, you read that correctly), and was psyched to meet up with Sofia, Charlie, Brad, Kjell, Howard, Brooke, and others I had lost touch with since Harvard '96. It turns out that Charlie has become a very accomplished comedian, and we got to see him perform with Upright Citizens Brigade. After that we ended up at a wine bar, and then Kjell took me to a bar where we drank until the 4 AM close. At that point I headed back to Christina's, hung out with her on the couch in a stupor, and then caught a cab to the airport. What a weekend!