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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Greg's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
6:11 pm
2 semi-recent pictures of my Bolsa Chica job..




And one of the news articles about the opening: http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/healthscience/scienceenvironment/article_1249134.php
Thursday, May 4th, 2006
8:14 pm
The Move Letter Strikes Again
On Monday, 4/17, I was told to be in Vancouver, WA for Tuesday morning.. I'm now set up in an apartment and moving my stuff from California. I drove over both of my bridges down here today for the last time, so I guess we'll see what happens from here.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005
9:00 pm
Radio weirdness
Last week, I discovered that I can get KOMO 1000 down here for about half my drive to work.. I don't know how that works over 1100 miles, but if I want I can get traffic and weather together on the fours.
Thursday, August 4th, 2005
10:54 pm
Back to CA!
This morning I accepted a move to a job located near Huntington Beach in California, between LA and San Diego. http://www.fws.gov/pacific/bolsachica/projectdescription/projectdescription.htm is the official page about what we're doing, though my district is mainly making the two bridges.

It's a 2- or 3- man job, and they want me ASAP so I'll be flying out probably Tuesday. Their plan is to set me up in a hotel for a while until I can find an apartment, but the job will be over in Jan/Feb so it seems kinda stupid to have to put down first/last rent and a deposit for a stay that'll only be 5-6 months. Hopefully I find a reasonably cheap place to stay somewhere within a reasonable commute.. The places popping up on rent.com were going for 1100+ for a one-bedroom apartment, and they aren't paying for rent so that's a serious hit to my paychecks.
10:41 pm
What I've been up to lately
Wow, hard to believe it's almost been 2 months since graduation. Since then I've:

-Visited Washington DC for most of a week, hitting up the Smithsonian Air & Space / Natural History / US History museums among other things
-Bought a 2005 Mazda 3, which I really enjoy driving
-Started full-time work at Kiewit

3 weeks after I started my full-time job, a massive reorg hit and I had to transfer. Now, instead of building all sorts of buildings I'm in a district that mainly does large bridges and other megaprojects. It'll be more to handle, but when WSDOT gets around to doing their three major projects (520 Bridge / Viaduct / 405 Widening) I have a chance at working on them now.
Thursday, January 13th, 2005
2:36 pm
Game stuff
Finally, after searching off-and-on for a few years, I found a disk image of Odell Lake for the Apple II. I just played a round as the Mackinaw Trout, the biggest fish, and I can remember playing this all the way back at Enatai (elementary). Yay Internet!

I also got the new Legend of Zelda GBA game on Tuesday night. It's OK so far, and the gust jar is pretty fun. I guess it's yet another game keeping me from finishing HL2..

Current Mood: happy
Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
12:31 am
Jobs and stuff
Three good things recently came out of last summer's internship: I got a box-o-goodies containing a backpack, jacket, and water bottle. I also got a scholarship that paid for books, parking, and a month's worth of rent (yay!).

The more important item came last.. A full-time job offer. I'm about to call them to accept it! It'll start sometime between 2-3 weeks after graduation, paying ~46k. It seems like the company does a lot of things right and I want to be a part of it. It'll be nice to have things set up for after graduation, too.

One thing that I plan to do during that break is to go hit Washington DC for a week or so and see all of the museums etc. that are there. I especially want to see the Smithsonian's aerospace museum. Anyone else want to come?

In other news, the EIT is this Saturday. Both of the sample tests I've taken show me passing, so that's promising. It'll still be ugly, though. For those of you who are lucky enough not to know what it is, it consists of 2 120-question multiple choice parts, each lasting 4 hours, with a lunch break between them. I'm headed down to Puyallup this Friday afternoon with some friends, and we're going to share a hotel room so we can sleep in a bit longer on the Saturday morning. I'm still vaguely pissed I can't use my 89 for it, but I'll cope with my trusty HP 6s.

In unrelated news, one of my Microsoft friends just published a book. It's called Privacy and covers all the work he's been doing with the privacy group and how you can make programs and processes that respect privacy. Amazon has some reviews and stuff.
Saturday, September 4th, 2004
1:21 pm
Strange stories from our carpenter foreman
Our foreman has had an interesting life, I guess.

Earlier in the summer he was talking about the bad neighborhoods are around our jobsite.  He was working for the city, doing repair work on low-income homes or something.  His bosses told him to just completely ignore any requests that came from West Oakland.  One day he decided to actually try to help, only to wind up repairing something with a bunch of armed guys standing around him to make sure he didn't steal anything.

The other story happened just yesterday.  We were talking about how one of my co-workers had just turned down stock and left the company to move back to Wisconsin to be with his girlfriend (I'm pretty sure they're not engaged).  This was really shocking because the biggest perk of working at Kiewit is stock.  It gets some crazy double-digit yields, and once you are allowed to purchase it you can look forward to retiring in your 50s with a few million in the bank.

Anyway, we were talking about women and he started talking about how he knocked a girl up in high school and ended up with a kid.  He then offered the advice that as a young guy you should hit it and quit it, and make sure you wrap it.  I can still hear his voice talking about "titties and ass" :(  To top it off, he then started talking about how his uncle bought him a hooker in Mexico when he was 17 or 18, who proceeded to give him gonorreah.  I'm not quite sure why he was telling me about it, but it was pretty hard to not start laughing my head off.
Wednesday, August 25th, 2004
7:31 pm
Returning home soon!
I just bought my tickets to fly back home: landing ~5pm on September 11th.  I can't believe the summer's gone by so fast, but I have only 2 weeks left down here.  Another weird thing was that yesterday at work the tickets were ~70, last night they were ~170, and today they were back to ~70.

Today at work was the safety BBQ.  Because there haven't been any accidents for the past few months, we catered a lunch for everyone still on the job.  The food was good, but all afternoon it was hard to stay awake.

I'm still in charge of the punchlist, and now it's starting to get serious.  Steve Smith, one of the high-ups who interviewed me, has taken a personal interest in its progression and wants daily reports.  I will soon probably be in charge of buying off the $1 million pavement job from the paving sub, which is pretty cool.

At work they're looking for something to give the interns as a going-away present.  Last year it was palmtops, and this year my boss felt me out about the idea of an iPod.  I wrote up instructions about how to get the expensive one and pointed out that they're doing free laser engraving, and he seemed to like it.  The next day, I was told that the district guy in charge of the gifts was looking for an MP3 player around $100 to which I could only reply "heh, good luck".  Two days later, I found out the district guy had actually looked at the $100 MP3 players and had increased the budget :)  There's also some sort of scholarship program.  I didn't find out all the details, but it sounds like they only give out a few per district.  My boss said he was going to promote my case for one because the summer was going so well.  Yay!
Friday, August 13th, 2004
7:28 pm
Home
Today I went to the UW and had lunch with Eric, Damien, Beth, Derek, Andrew, Andy, Greg K, Ben, Craig, Ray, and Jonah at Finn MacCool's. After that, I got an AAA travel guide to the SF area, then eventually wound up at the MS store to get the Rise of Nations expansion and a spiffy build-a-desk-sand-castle kit. Tomorrow should mostly be taken by a LAN party at Dennis/Michael/Marcus's place.

On an unrelated note, I just discovered that Knoppix 3.4 (possibly others) has a built-in remote desktop client capable of connecting to the remote desktop service in XP. I'm on my dual p3 700 typing this through the client right now. The only problem I have with it is that it only appears to support 8-bit color, even when I set it to the LAN setting.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2004
6:55 pm
Going home
I'll be back in Bellevue for this upcoming Thursday-Monday, yay.  Going to the U district Friday, LAN party Saturday, and various stuff on Monday.  On Sunday I'll mostly be home, but will go back to the U district to check out the room I'll be in next year in Stevens Court.

Work's been going OK.  Steve decided to call me "the hammer", and I guess it's caught on.  My reaction is that there's one Hammer and I can't dance like him :)

Somehow my boss got something on his W2K computer and I can't get rid of it.  The first time he loads IE it spawns a giant porn pop-up with an empty task bar entry (qcache.exe, located in C:\documents and settings\username).  Every subsequent time he loads it, his homepage is hijacked to some random search engine (not CoolWebSearch).  I've tried Spybot S&D, CWShredder, and HijackThis.  I also downloaded autoruns and procexplorer from SysInternals, which didn't tell me a whole lot.  Running the antivirus at housecall.trendmicro.com found 3 java viruses, a trojan, and a backdoor loaded.  I had it delete them, but the problem STILL persists.  I set him up with FireFox, but he's going to have to reinstall to get rid of that (I think).  Anyone have any ideas?

It was pretty funny this afternoon when he finally showed it to the rest of us, because the porn that was on the banner was so completely out there it was crazy.  Even now I can see the picture of a lady with a large bottle in an incorrect place :(
Thursday, July 29th, 2004
8:08 pm
Grocery shopping in the ghetto
I had to go buy some beer for work and decided to go to the closest grocery store.  Unfortunately, that grocery store happens to border a worse-than-usual ghetto.

The first thing I noticed when I parked was that only one of the doors had the roll-up security door raised.  The second was a 3'x3' sign directly inside the door that proclaimed, "yes, we accept food stamps!"  I was helped by a young woman apparently named "Blanyneshe", then got out of there.  It was weird being the only white guy in the place, almost as weird as going to that soul food restaurant down the street for lunch with the rest of the office.

gg West Oakland, yet again
Saturday, July 24th, 2004
7:04 pm
fishing trip
I just got back from a chartered fishing trip.  We left the apartment before 4:30am and got back after 6pm, out on the water most of the time.  It was my first time fishing out in the ocean, and I was hating life until I got some dramamine from one of the other passengers.

I got 6 salmon and didn't get any halibut, but my roommate got 3 salmon and a halibut.  The limit was 2 salmon, so we each handed off the rest of our fish to the other passengers who hadn't caught anything.  The first place we only stopped for a few minutes, but managed to catch a salmon and a dogfish.  Appropriately enough, the dogfish was given to the dog on board to play with for a minute before being thrown back in the water.

Once we moved to the second spot, we were roping in fish like crazy.  We frequently had two or three guys catching fish at the same time, and pretty quickly got up to the limit of 2 salmon for all of the charter clients.  Most were small, with the classic salmon body shape, but one was large enough to get the large humps on its body.  The last stop for the day was right outside the golden gate bridge and all totalled we got 3 halibut.  Ryan decided, instead of clubbing it, to punch it.  We all got a laugh, and I got a picture for the company safety meeting on Thursday.

It was a great break from routine.  Last week was crazy at work, with me working 56 hours.  The paver is almost done now, so we should thankfully be less busy for a while.
Wednesday, July 21st, 2004
8:19 pm
Paving
We had the paving company come out today to put down a whole lot of blacktop.  I had to help put wood around some plastic pans in the tracks, working pretty close to where they were putting it down.  I was really glad I had a thin t-shirt on because the day itself was hot, on top of all the heat coming off the asphalt.  It was pretty neat watching the stuff from materials class actually happen, and being able to forsee problems caused by one mix of asphalt not having any large aggregate in it.  One thing that Prof. Janssen never mentioned was that if you don't include any large aggregates, the asphalt will take far longer to cool down than usual.

I also saw a guy wearing a hard hat in the shape of a cowboy hat, which was pretty cool.
Sunday, July 18th, 2004
10:12 pm
Visit to San Francisco
I finally got around to riding in to San Francisco today.  The BART ride took about an hour, and dropped me off at the Powell street station, which is in the basement level of a shopping mall.  The mall itself was almost circular and about 7-8 stories tall, with the Bon (I think) taking up the top five.  After grabbing lunch, I started walking North until I hit Fisherman's wharf (~1 mile).  The first hill was pretty steep, but after that it was all downhill.  Once I arrived, I found the USS Pampanito, which is a decommissioned World War 2 sub.  They let you walk through the main deck of it with a self-guided audio tour.  I couldn't believe how cramped everything was, and how hot it was even though it was docked at the pier with two main hatches open.  It must have been really ugly when underwater during the war.

I hit up some of the tourist trap places, getting a picture CD of San Francisco and a large stack of assorted Ghiradeli chocolate bars.  One of the places on the wharf is an old-time arcade, with plenty of old music-playing, movie watching, and fortune-telling things.  The best part was up at the front, where there was a simple two-line sign:

Fun
<----

Dinner was the requisite clam-chowder-in-sourdough-bread-bowl meal, then I walked over to Ghiradeli square to catch the cable car back to the BART station.  After standing around in line for at least half an hour, we got on and proceeded about halfway down the route before the car was stopped because the turn table at the far end was broken.  The conductor sat there for about 10 minutes, then told everyone that they could get off there or ride back to the starting point and be on their own for a ride back.  I jumped off and walked, which meant that my $3 fare provided me with a long wait and less than 10 minutes of ride.  Thankfully it had already done all the uphill stuff so it was an easy walk back.

I didn't mention it yesterday, but I had a crazy old lady try to offload some canned goods on me in front of a Safeway.  I was walking in when a short old lady sticks a plastic bag in my face saying something (in the stereotypical old lady voice) about "do you have a family?  or maybe just you? ... can you use these?  these are too spicy for me".  I have no idea what was in the bag, but there was a little bit of water so some of one of the cans was sticking up against the bag.  Thankfully, she was gone when I left.
12:27 pm
Coming home!
I'll be back for the weekend of August 14-15, yay.  I land in Seattle around 5pm on Thursday the 12th and fly back out at 5:30 Monday the 16th.

Anyone have anything cool going on that weekend?
Saturday, July 17th, 2004
5:03 pm
Yay, I got accepted into Stevens Court yesterday.  I'm especially happy because I didn't have any sort of reasonable back-up plan for a place to live for next school year.  Hopefully there's enough room that I can get a desk and set up all my computers on a KVM.  UW surplus is only a few blocks away so I can probably get something absurdly cheap from there.

At work they're shifting me to 5x9 because in CA apparently any hour you work over 8 in a day is automatically overtime, regardless of whether you wanted 4x10 to count as 40 regular hours.  The upside is that 5x9 gives me overtime every week and I can sleep in a bit later, but the downside is that I no longer have Fridays free.

The VW bug was removed yesterday as well.  The city is going to re-pave in front of the office, which will remove all parking that isn't inside the jobsite.

I added three new pictures to my page, too.  Two of them show the bascule doors above the drop table when Amtrak was testing to make sure they could lift the set of wheels from a locomotive.  The third picture is of the support columns for the crane and the roof.  It's basically an I beam of I beams, probably because they had to worry about two potentially large bending moments instead of just one.  A N-S moment is caused because the load can never be directly over the support and E-W is because the crane isn't going to be parked exactly over the column all the time.  The steel in the building was all pre-fabricated and transported to the site.  Probably due to shipping charges, the steel is far thinner than a regular I-beam so the flanges have to be much further apart.  The beam shown is probably 3' long by 1' wide.
Wednesday, July 14th, 2004
7:52 pm
Ghetto car was removed today by the police.  Apparently it started out earlier this year as a full car, then slowly got chewed up.  There is a competitor in the wings, though, because there's a red VW bug parked at the end that's been there for a few weeks.

The Amtrak people were testing with wheel stuff today, so I got some pictures of the table running around.
Monday, July 12th, 2004
7:08 pm
Over the weekend the guys found a shank on the jobsite.  It was a short saw blade electrical-taped to a short piece of PVC pipe, with two screws to secure it.  Hooray for West Oakland!

The safety guy notified everyone on the job about it in the safety meeting, then said "remember, guys, we don't use improvised or shop-made tools on this jobsite"

Current Mood: amused
Friday, July 9th, 2004
2:09 pm
Weekly update
This week was a nice short one, with the day off on Monday and having today off (yay 4x10s!).  After the house- and pet-sitting last weekend, Steve invited me over for a spaghetti dinner on Tuesday night.

At work, on Tuesday I had to help dig out a railroad tie.  Somebody ran over one of the clips, which meant that because the tie was concrete we had to dig out the whole thing, drag it out (600 lbs), put a new one in, and shovel back in the ballast.  The dragging and lifting was handled by a loader-type vehicle we call a Pettibone, but all of the digging was by shovel.  It would have been OK if it was small gravel or dirt, but the ballast was 3” angular rock.  It took us a few hours to get everything straightened out.  On Wednesday I was calling people, and on Thursday I helped a guy from Whiting, the drop table supplier, run the table around.  The drop table is a platform about 30’ long by 15’ wide with a pair of rails in it, which drops down into the ground, goes horizontally, and raises up and opens doors to the side.  It’s used to exchange wheel sets on locomotives.  It was fun the first time, watching the giant doors open up, but got pretty old after a few hours of “north”…”south”...”north”...

I put all of the pictures I’ve taken so far online at http://students.washington.edu/ggt/oakland/ .  It's got thumbnails that expand to 2048x1536.  For anyone curious, yes, the ghetto car is STILL there.  I can take more random pictures if anybody wants.

Current Mood: relaxed
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