This tunnel became suddenly interesting again when it got stuck here after the party. The toy in the foreground is from a party guest who took advantage of the loophole that while we did specify "no gifts" we didn't say "for the kitties".
I wrote a link-laden comment over on the Cascadia Scorecard Weblog in response to Alan Durning's post announcing that his family has decided to try car-free living. Unfortunately they're stripping html from their comments (damn spammers anyway!), so I'm putting the linky version here. All but the last link go to other entries here on Mad Times.
We went through an almost identical process a little over a year ago and are still car-free.
For us, living out in Issaquah (16 miles east of Seattle along I-90 for readers outside the Seattle area), where buses are few and far between and flexcar isn't an option, it has a different set of challenges. Around town here, we can get by most of the time with bikes and feet. For trips around the region, the bus works sometimes, and when it won't we rely on informal car sharing relationships with our wonderful friends. For trips, we rent a car or take the train.
As you say, though, your transportation needs are subject to your own choices. Choose to live close to work or close to transit and your need for a car decreases immensely. Kipchoge Spencer said it well recently: "The most efficient kind of transportation is already being where you want to go."
Taking the plunge with a family of five, though, that's true courage. I look forward to hearing more about your family's experiences!
The party went really well. 72 people showed up over the course of the five hours and it seemed like everyone had fun. We didn't run out of anything but party favors (see below) and I'm making more of those.
The pictures are of our guest wall where we had people sign their names, and of the art project we had set up for people to work on. We're not good at the mingling thing when we're at other people's parties so we made sure to have some things for people like us to do.
The other thing that worked out just like we planned was having a little trivia game to lead people around the house. We made signs that said "Jeff or Becky?" and each had a fact about one or the other of us with a post-it note covering up the answer so people could make a guess before looking at the answer. We made 20 of them and put them all around the house so people would be forced to move around a bit. Plus have something to make fun of us about (we talked about adding a 21st question "who is the biggest dork?" with the answer being "you tell us.")
Finally, we gave away a party favor of a CD with a bunch of songs by artists we really like. Since I'm still kind of in the party mood, I'm offering a copy of the CD to the first ten readers who ask in the comments or via email. I'll email you and you can send me a mailing address if I don't already have it. (This is partly a test to see if I have ten readers who got this far ;-) Mom, I'm already sending you one, so you don't count. I'd tell you who's on the disc, but that would ruin the surprise. Good stuff, trust me. Don't be shy, what's a little postage and plastic between friends?
When mom and dad are running around the house like crazy people, the kids have got to stick together. Early picture this week cause we're in party-prep insanity mode (which would be a thousand times worse if our amazing friend Marilyn weren't doing most of the work!)
Becky pointed this one out for me and got to watch as I walked all around it looking for a picture that wasn't just "glove on pavement".
I've been a Varley fan for a long time, but his novels have always been hit or miss for me. This one is a hit. In a near future, a couple of space crazy late teens go joy riding on the beach with their girlfriends after watching America's first manned mission to Mars lift off. They narrowly avoid squishing a very drunk ex-astronaut and start a friendship with him and his eccentric genius cousin. Through the magic of some sufficiently advanced technology, some nationalistic fervor (a Chinese Mars mission is going to beat the Americans there), and a suspicion that the American mission's new drive technology has the potential to fail catastrophically, this unlikely group determines to build a space ship and head to Mars themselves.
The "teenagers build a spaceship" thing has been done repeatedly in the history of SF, but in my opinion never with as much credibility and humor as Varley pours into this tale. The characters are somewhat charicatured, but they do have personalities that make them feel real despite the cliches. Plus, the fun of having a semi-plausible wish fulfillment fantasy like this story going on pretty much swamps any such minor concerns. And it looks like the fun will continue as Red Lightning is slated to come out in April.
Becky and I are both turning 40 this year so we're having an open house party thing between our birthdays to celebrate. If you actually read this blog, it'd be fun to have you come.
When: Saturday, March 25, 2006, 3-7pm (or until whenever)
Where: Our house in Issaquah, WA. Let me know if you wanna come and I'll set you up with directions. Or you could try to deduce my location from info on the internets. Not too hard.
What: Food, Fun, and Friends
How: Come as you are! Come whenever you like! No gifts, please!
If you're interested, leave a comment, or email me.
It's going to be fun to see our various friend circles collide.
More from the wayback machine.
I think these "divided highway" signs are a relic of the days when this stretch of Gilman Blvd was part of the highway that became I-90. If I'm right then they're older than I am.
If I hadn't been reading this as a nominee for the Endeavour Award, I probably wouldn't have finished it. Frank Compton is the protagonist. He used to work for the UN, but he has a problem with politically ill-advised honesty and got fired. As the book opens he's being given a train ticket by a guy who's close to dead from some kind of sci-fi projectile weapon. Compton doesn't know anything about why the guy's there or why he's being given this ticket, so of course he goes and gets on the train. But it's not a choo choo, it's an FTL conveyance with a stop out by Saturn that ties the inhabited systems of the galaxy together. Once he gets out there he finds out it's the "spiders" who run the railway who've given him the ticket cause they have a job for him. They have had a prescient vision of a big war and want him to stop it before it starts.
I have a lot of gripes with the book, but they all boil down to the fact that the author's hand is far too evident for my taste. Compton gets shuffled around by different players in the story for reasons that while they aren't completely arbitrary are pretty close to "Zahn says so". The capabilities of technology are arbitrarily limited or expanded to move the plot along too. I could go on, but I'd rather just put this one behind me. Okay, one more: it's twice as long as it needs to be. Read something else.
Been playing with the scanner so here's one from the archives. This was within a day or two of our bringing Alice and Theo home in May of 1997. Oh, the cuteness!