Life Update

I’ve been too busy at work and home to post here of late. I’ve been trying to settle into a routine here in Central Oregon, but still haven’t really got the house sorted out. Nick & Sue have had over a month to unpack their things, but I’ve been on the road for Facebook, learning how they do things in their existing datacenters for most of the past three months (when I wasn’t moving from Washington to Oregon.)

I spent yesterday unpacking the workshop. It sort of became the “catch-all” spot to throw stuff while we unloaded the moving truck. The shocking realization that this workshop is probably one-sixth the size of our former barn sort of hit me as I was unpacking. I always had plenty of open space in the barn. Not so here.

I barely made room for one car. It is going to be a while before I genuinely have the place set up for car maintenance and repair. I’m going to have to build an addition on to it first to set up the home-brewery. Stay tuned for that.

Work is great. It is wonderful to be on-site in Prineville. There is so much to do, and be a part of! I can’t wait for the whole crew to be here at once, and the real datacenter work to begin. Meanwhile it is all about completion of the first phases of construction and commissioning. I’m doing my best to document it all with my camera. I share daily snapshots with the rest of Facebook on our internal websites. You can keep tabs on what we’re doing by photos posted on the official site, some of which are off my G1. See if you can spot them.

My commute is a refreshing change from the Seattle freeways I’ve been battling for most of my life. It is all two lane roads through the Central Oregon High Desert – sage and juniper, mixed with cattle grazing land. If I keep my eyes open I get to see things like this:

Young coyote hunting mice near Powell Butte, Oregon.

A nice Saturday drive.

As I stated in the previous post, yesterday I joined my friend Mark Collien in his 1973 Triumph TR-6 for a drive around middle Maryland with some other Triumph cars (and one other vintage British machine built somewhere other than Coventry.) I brought along my camera gear and snapped some photos for you…

Mark & his TR.

Mark driving his TR.

Mark driving his TR.

The obligatory Chuck shot.



Mark's dash.

Mark driving at night.

The dash of the TR-6 at night.

I drove the TR-6 for a while. What a fun car! Suffered from quite a bit of scuttle-shake, and lacked the throttle response of the E-type – but it pulled quite well, and made wonderful noises. Had all the charm and attraction of classic British sports car.

Car Photo of the Day: Still Life with Covered Bridge.

One of the great pleasures for me of the Internet Protocol is finding kindred spirits in far away places. The transformation of that relationship from virtual to real makes things like business travel endurable for me. I’m stuck in a hotel in Northern Virginia for two weeks but since I have “Internet Friends” all over the world I have been able to do things an ordinary business traveler normally can not, such as:

  • Attend a friend’s birthday party.
  • Go to a professional hockey game (or two!) in a strange city.
  • Have dinner in an amazing ethnic restaurant with somebody who knows what to order.
  • Go for a drive in a vintage car through some autumn color and covered bridges.

I’ve done all of the above in the past week, all while still going to work every day. Yesterday was the “vintage car and covered bridges” day with my friend (and GTTSR Co-driver) Mark Collien. Mark lives in Maryland and invited me along on the drive (more pics coming soon.)

Meanwhile here is a photo with two mystery cars for you to identify. I didn’t even see the mystery blue car at first, but as I walked into the bean field it was revealed lying on the opposite bank of the stream behind the bridge. Can you name the cars?

Shooting the Moon

I lugged my whole time-lapse rig out to Virginia from Oregon, but I have a cable or camera problem. It doesn’t work. I had hoped to get some good sunset and aircraft footage, as my hotel is just off a runway at Dulles. Oh well.

Tonight however I was treated to a gorgeous crescent moon, so I snapped the telephoto on the G1, got out my free-standing monopod (neat trick eh!?) and shot the moon.

The results are sort of … meh… but there were a few sketchy keepers in there. Here you go:

A jet on approach to DCA flying over the moon.

A long exposure shot with several aircraft. Note the monopod wobble.

Moonset over Ashburn, VA. 10-10-10. Shot from my hotel window, Panasonic Lumix G1 45-200mm lens @ 128mm, 6 - 60 second exposures @ f/14 ISO100, blended in Photoshop using HDR processing. Aberrant first moon due again to monopod wobble.

Apologies Dear Reader!

Since mid-summer my life has been… topsy-turvy… and you dear reader, have suffered for it.

Both Sue & I found new jobs – 500 miles away from the place we have called home for over twenty years. I joined Facebook as part of the new datacenter in Prineville, Oregon, and Sue will be a Public Defender in Jefferson & Crook Counties of Oregon. This lead to a search for a new domicile, and an attempt to sell our old one. All the while I’ve been “on the road”, having spent several weeks in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia at Facebook’s existing datacenters learning the ins and outs of Facebook’s systems.

Finding a new home also meant finding a new school for Nick. A huge life-change for a 16 year old, deeply involved in academics and athletics.

We found a wonderful home in the hills SE of Bend, Oregon. Sue can board her horse nearby, Nick has X-C coaches that are awesome, and I have a pleasant, two-lane twisty back road commute to work, with stellar views of mountains and hills.

Selling our old house became an exercise in futility (we’re trying to rent it now).
Buying a new place became an exercise in frustration (banks are not lending money anymore).

Sue’s mother passed away suddenly in August while I was in Virginia. She had just been at our home in Washington and seemed to be doing very well. Quite sad.

Nick & I lived in a hotel in Bend for two weeks in early September while he started at his new school.

We moved in Mid-September, Sue & Chris arriving with pets, and a moving truck arriving with our goods. (We’re still unpacking.)

Chris returned to college at the end of September.

Now, once again, I’m in Virginia for several weeks.

Sue starts her new job soon, and …hopefully… life should return to some semblance of normality by the end of October. We’ll all be in the same place, and settled into a semi-normal schedule.

The short end of the stick for all of you is that my writing here has been minimal, and spotty. I hope to change that asap. I post to Facebook often, so FB users can always follow me there, but I try to reserve this space for more in-depth thoughts, “Car photo of the day/name that car” stuff, and of course, car adventures. All of the above will resume soon. Apologies for the dearth of posts of late, but I’m sure you understand.

Thanks for hanging in there!