Thursday, June 29, 2006

Portable Aircon

"What? But why would you want an aircon in Seattle? Isn't it cool and rainy all the time?"

Well no. Sometimes cool and rainy, often sunny, and for a short time in summer, very warm. Whether or not AC is worth buying for that short period is something one could argue... but only when it's cool. When it's 97'F and you want to sleep, I shall be snug in my chilled bedroom, and you will suffer, and I will laugh, and you will cry.

As a compromise, I bought a "portable AC". Unlike the wall-mount or in-window units these just roll around on wheels, much like R2D2. You hook a vent hose to your nearest window, and tada, instant cooling. The downside is, of course, that it takes floorspace, and tend to be less efficient (the guy at sears said 50%, but I have trouble believing it's that much).

Back around the time of our last heat wave (after it cooled down), I bought a 9000BTU Royal Soverign portable for a cool $500. from Sears. And sure enough, plug it in, run the hose, and tada, cold air comes out. But there's a catch: it's loud like a freakin' jet engine! This thing is NOT pleasant to have running while you sleep. Plus, they are not exaggerating at all when they tell you the size of room they can chill - if you plan to chill a full apartment with this single room AC, think again. I can get my bedroom cool over time, but the thing won't make so much as a dent on my living room.

But on the plus side, it has a remote, and, my primary concern, it makes things cold. The main concerns.

A friend waited until now before buying one. They're nearly impossible to find now, but my friend lucked out and grabbed an Everstar 10,000BTU portable at Home Depot. It's a bit larger in size, but it cools amazingly - far more than you'd guess from a 1000BTU difference. Plus, it has a removable condenser tray and a few more modes. But on the other hand, the remote is rather finicky. The biggest bonus though: it's QUIET! Far quieter than mine. I'm now officially jealous.

... but at least I'm still cool.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rikki Rikki

I love good food. Sadly, I find myself able to eat less and less of it, but that just means I must work extra hard to find those top bites.

But, even more than I appreciate fine meals, I appreciate service. Where I do business may not be the best quality place, or even the cheapest place. I will do business at the place that treats me respectfully. This applies to everything from my financial institutions to my web provider*, and more than anything, to food.

(* BTW, 1 and 1, if you were wondering, and yes, they get the seal of approval)

So, today, I'd like to recommend you all have one meal at Rikki Rikki, on Central Way in Kirkland, a sushi place I frequent due to it being literally on my doorstep. I really appreciated the fact tonight that the matron of the establishment greeted me warmly and recognized me right away. That, despite the fact that I was entering as the sushi chefs were cleaning up, that they were eager to serve me whatever I wanted, for however long I wanted to eat. That they brightened a long day by feeding me excellent sushi and a chilled glass of top quality Mu sake (nice brand, quite sweet to my inexperienced palate). That they made pleasant smalltalk and were friendly instead of rushing me out the door.

... and a waitress that could have been a stunt double for Lucy Liu. Wow, if all my food was served by waitresses as cute as that, I'd probably be a very fat man by now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A real visa, all for me!

Just a quick note - I've been accepted for this year's H1B quota! As of October 1st, I'll have three years in the US, or until Microsoft realizes I'm lazy and inept and tosses me out*. Should I decide that the USA is just a place to visit, I can renew it once (giving me six years total). However, the whole point of this visa is that, should I desire it, I'll be allowed to begin the process of obtaining a green card here in the United States.

Of course the green card is a long, complicated, drawn-out, painful process, with many of its own pains. And potentially more periods of travel lockdown. Great. And it's not even all that good - it's one of those "use it or lose it" things.

... and don't even get me started on citizenship. I already have plenty of rants on that.

What this means:
1. I will definitely be off travel lockdown on October 1st.
2. Since it's a port-of-entry application, I will HAVE to travel sometime between October and December.

So start planning the party, folks! Mikey's coming to town!

(* I'm not actually inept. I actually do many good things for Microsoft. Both in my own work and my almost constant scathing criticism of the work of others. But I mean well.

... please don't fire me. )