(This entry has nothing to do with Web services nor Business for that matter, but hopefully it will make you laugh if not with me, at me ;)


Perhaps this weekend I am the fool; 

            either that, or I simply have excessively bad car karma.


This was a weekend full of richness and potential stress.


It was my second time surfing since knee surgery.  I was so excited leaving work, you would not believe it, another ticket.  It was comical.  I looked at the guy like “seriously, are you going to give me a ticket?”  And suddenly a flashback from only 2 days earlier, in conversation with a friend of a friend, I hear his words loud and clear, “No honey, that wasn’t stupid, what would be really stupid is if you got another ticket!”  And the officer handed it to me, without remorse and those eyes of, “You are just another arrogant Microsoftie with plenty of money to cover your habits.”  I looked at him and said, "perhaps this exercising thing isn't so good for me."


With my head down, I drove off to pick up Noemi.


In life, everything in my mind happens for a reason.  I haven’t yet completely identified the reasons for the occurrences of the weekend; perhaps I may identify them before I end this entry.


I drove the speed limit (or only 5-10 miles above it) all the way to Cannon Beach, Oregon.  I battled to put my inner Bostonian aside.  No seriously, have you any idea what torture it is to drive 5 hours at the speed limit?  We were lucky though, we were blessed with a crescent moon over the water.  We ended up on the North side of the Columbia River so we enjoyed a poetic experience.


It is difficult to appreciate the good things in life if you don’t experience the bad.  And, I find that the goodness often overflows if you are not focusing on the bad.


We were a group of about 17.  After much laughter, talk, and wine, Vanessa sent everyone to bed early, I guess we had a full day tomorrow, and/or she felt we had already had a full day.  As you may know, it’s difficult to get a group of 17 people (14 married) to stay up past their bedtime.  They have preferential treatment behind closed doors and therefore do not feel the need to stay up and fraternize with the oh so few singles.  So the one redeeming couple, my friend, and I headed to the beach for a long stroll to Haystack rock (Apparently of Goonies’ fame).


In the morning, three of us rallied to surf.  The surf was moving in 5 different directions at once.  It was madness.  What is amazing is that we were probably dryer than the folks watching us on the beach.  The rain was coming down in torrential showers.  Right about now, I can feel almost every single muscle in my body from being so sore.  The rip tide was not worrisome because we were in the Short Sands cove and therefore were able to simply catch the white water all day.  I wore my hood thinking it was going to be cold, and as it turned out, the water was so warm I took the hood off early on; bad idea, because I now have diaper rash around my neck that makes me look like I found a singles club in Cannon Beach.  I was happy to have my overly-long board in those conditions.  I can stand up in just about anything.


To get to the beach at Oswald State park, you have to trek about ¼ of a mile to Short Sands beach, which means in turn, when you leave you have to trek out.  It is a beautiful walk through a rain forest with a river that runs wild.  I was in heaven.  Jen and Fulvio felt like they had to hike for an hour to get back to the car.  And when we returned to the car, and I went to get the key to the car from Fulvio’s wetsuit pocket... it happened.  There are times when losing weight is NOT a good idea.  Take Fulvio for instance, he has lost about 20 pounds and now his wetsuit is not as tight as it once was.  The combination of a not so tight wetsuite and viscous waves  = car key still surfing.  And at that moment, I knew that I was in trouble.  I now understand why someone would invest in Onstar.


I immediately hitched a ride from another surfer back to the cabin only to spend the next 3 hours on the phone while Fulvio and Jen did the fruitless search on the beach.  By the time I was done realizing I was up s$%&s creek, it was time for dinner.  The exhaustion from the day resulted in Fulvio promptly falling asleep after dinner on the couch while the rest of us played Apples to Apples.  I thought of a way to augment this game.  First off, you don't need to buy the game at all.  Simply have the judge say a word of their choosing, then have everyone write their own response work of choosing.  Have someone besides the judge read the responses so the Judge can not be biased based on handwriting.  It would make the game more personal and force everyone to work with individual peoples thought patterns.  Getting back to the story...


When I was in high school, my basketball coach had her Honda stolen 3 minutes after we drove up to a game.  Apparently, since then, Honda has gone to great lengths to bring themselves down on the list of most frequently stolen vehicles.  Their new anti-theft systems are very well designed to keep people out , including their owners.  Once you are in, it doesn't matter who you are, including a locksmith, you aren't getting the car started without Honda's corporate computer.  BTW did you know that computers are only open 9 to 5 mon thru Saturday? Needless to say, another 2 hours of phone calls the next day, and an 86 mile tow, I am waiting in an excellent Italian restaurant in Portland to be picked up by Andy and Olivia to spend the night with them.  In the morning I will take the Max back to Beaverton’s Honda car dealership where my car silently (battery disconnected) waits to have a new key encoded to match the engine so that I can drive it back to Seattle/Redmond to work where I hope I will find sympathy.


This restaurant is 5 stars so far.  Piazza Italia on Johnson between 11th and 12th on the North side of the street in the Pearl district.  They prefer pretty people here.  I know, because when I walked in, I wasn’t very pretty.  I had on my rugged outfit: Blunderstones, Jeans, a Pacific Northwest fleece, and a knitted Beanie (don't forget the diaper rash).  And perhaps he could identify an underlying sadness from not having surfed that particular day.  I had ridden 86 miles with a very cute wrangler from a small town south of Cannon.  He was a rare boy.  He has my father’s integrity.  He doesn't pay for things, he works for them.  He lives, thinks, and buys local.  He feeds his horse with hay he grows.  I couldn't be more opposite than another human being.


But you know, I don’t think I did have an underlying tone of sadness, because the waitress immediately took control when I asked for a window seat.  I was told by the not so gentleman that the window seats were all reserved,. The waitress, intercepting him, took the menu from his hand and seated me right in front of one.  I decided I needed to go in the bathroom and do my hair to be worthy of the spot.  Perhaps she saw the great conversation I had just had about old cars and organic dairy farming in Oregon, or she saw my friends all collaborating with me on problem solving, or my stumbling on live music in the street, or my recent contribution to the Portland economy with the purchase of a well sought out for lampshade and wall mounted reading lights for my soon to be completed bed/bay window, or the relief of not having to drive all the way back to Seattle to retrieve a key only to return to my car so I could drive it back home (a sum total of 12 hours of driving for 2 people), or she saw me deciding to jump on the Max (Portland's lightrail) without a ticket because there were no banks anywhere to be seen and the ticket machine refused my credit card.


And now the restaurant is full, and I am not yet compelled to leave because the seat behind me is still empty, so I am not yet using someone else’s space, but I feel that not so gentleman’s eyes waiting for me.  I am the only geek in the restaurant with a computer in front of me as a companion.  At least my little Sony Vaio matches the stuffy demeanor of the neighborhood.


Most of my friends are now returning to their abodes in Seattle.  I would be having a fire with my housemate about now whilst preparing for my work week.  Instead, I am listening to predominately Italian conversation with an Italian beauty pageant on the T.V.  I have found the perfect spot in Portland, muscles with spaghetti al dente and a marinara sauce that put any past experience of a marinara to bed.   And don’t neglect the Tiramisu with at a perfectly made cappuccino. I am in Portland heaven.  If I had a Tablet, I would have to ask the chef to sign my entry.


Perhaps it is time to call my mother, her music has just come up on the radio, Be My Life’s Companion and you’ll Never Grow Old.  A line is forming outside of the door.


Time to end this monologue after $28.75, two glasses of Sangiovesse, a perfect meal, an 86 mile AAA tow with a stimulating conversation with my opposite, a weekend with awesome people, laughter on the beach, a day of surfing, awesome food (thank you Olivia and V), and a drive that allowed Noemi and I to explore all sorts of wonderful music.


Thank God something is not eating into my pocket book this weekend.  On to Powell’s.


Thank you to Olivia and Andy for housing me, feeding me, guiding me around Portland, and getting me to the car dealership.

And thank you to Mr. Tim Ewald for the stimulating conversation on my drive back.


I will return to Oswald in a month after the Dev Con, and next time, despite the fact that cars parked in the lot are considered targets, I will leave the key like a good surfer under the wheel well and assume that all goods inside will be stolen upon my return.  I will have to figure out how to cope with the speed limit.


And what did I learn?  Well, often times you take detours only to experience a different road.