15 March 2015

10/52 - Toronto Potatoes, Chimney Caps, Christmas Tree?

We asked Anders to make a list of the items he needed from the grocery store for a particular school project. Little did we know that we were going to get something more like a work of art.

It's really fun to hear Anders play with new words and try to use them in sentences. Of course, his first few attempts may not be quite right.

Example #1:
Yum. This pork is really brittle.

We think he meant tender.

Example #2:
These Toronto Potatoes are too spicy.

That may be the first time in recorded history that phrase has been spoken. (They were actually chorizo potatoes, but who's keeping track?)

Sometime earlier this year, the metal cap on our chimney blew off on a particularly windy night. It appeared to be a homemade cap, so it was a little difficult to tell what size we would need in a replacement. We needed to see what the top of the flue looked like. Neither of us really wanted to climb up our old 25' wooden ladder to look ourselves. But we're engineers, so we engineered a solution.

A camera with programmable timer, a 30' pole, and some duct tape...

...and voila!

We ordered the cap in the correct size and hired someone to install it for us. Because as we said, we're too chicken to climb our 25' wooden ladder. Done.

We've discovered that we like to keep our Christmas tree up for quite a bit longer than the average family. Last year our tree came down around Valentine's Day, but this year we beat that by about 2 weeks! When March rolled around and we were preparing to travel to Arizona, we decided the time had finally come.

Goodbye, tree! You served us well.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders

08 March 2015

9/52 - Seeq Week in AZ

This past week was one of Seeq's week-long meetups, when we all travel from our individual work locations across North America to spend a week together. We converged on Fountain Hills, Arizona for team discussions, demos to investors and potential customers, and social activities and events.

One particular discussion topic focused on what we wanted our company and team cultures to be, and what specific things we could do to achieve them. The company has roughly doubled in size over the last 9 months and expects to continue growing, so there's no time like the present.

Software team discussion on providing feedback, with the namesake fountain in the background

We also took the opportunity to celebrate a recent milestone: our first publicly available software release, code name Orion!

Ordinarily spending a March week in Arizona would be a nice change of pace from winter in the Northwest, but this year it was actually warmer in Portland when we left than in Phoenix when we landed. It was definitely more of a respite for our East Coast coworkers, giving them a bit of an escape from the Northeast winter that doesn't want to end.

While we were in Arizona, Anders enjoyed extra time with friends and a week of sleepovers.

By the end of the week, we were all ready to relax at home. Of course, after being gone for a week it took the wood stove a full day to warm the house back up to a "normal" temperature again.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders

01 March 2015

8/52 - Birthday Cake, School Lunch, and Alton Brown

We've been long-time fans of Alton Brown, even hosting our own Alton Brown Dinner Parties over the years. So we jumped at the opportunity to see his Alton Brown Live tour.

He used the same crazy props and weird camera angles that were a signature feature of Good Eats.

His live show featured all of the things that he couldn't do on television. As one example, his Food Network censors required that his yeast puppets (see above) emitted 7 burps for each 1 fart. (Who knew?) So for his live show, he reversed the ratio. He made ice cream in 10 seconds with a CO2 fire extinguisher, and cooked pizza in a 54,000W, 1 million lumen Mega Bake Oven made from stage lighting, his adult homage to the Easy Bake Oven. The show was great fun.

Sometime between when we bought the tickets (last year) and the night of the show, we started watching Good Eats episodes with Anders. Since we have the episodes from all 14 seasons, we would have Anders choose a food or cooking topic and then consult the Good Eats Fan Page to find a relevant episode to watch. Anders is now also a big fan and thinks Alton is hilarious. Anders kept asking why we didn't buy him a ticket, but we didn't know he was going to be such a big fan! We will be sure to make it an all family outing the next time he comes around.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Donna! To celebrate, we baked a chocolate cake with coconut butter cream frosting and decorated the top to remind us that spring is on its way.

For her birthday, we gave Grandma Donna a cool picture frame for housing Anders' artwork. The day before the celebration, she and Anders had this conversation:
A: We have a birthday present for you.
GD: What is it?
A: I can't tell you! It's a surprise! ... but the first word is picture and the second word starts with an f.

Anders's school is small; each grade is only about 12-20 students, and everyone is in the same building from K-12. They didn't have a "hot lunch" program in the school until about two years ago. They have some of the school lunch standards, like hot dogs, fish and chips and the like, but they have worked hard to make their menus more interesting than the average school. For example, currently they have an "International Tuesday" theme featuring different cuisines.

On one Tuesday in February, they featured Thai Chicken and Rice:

A few weeks later, Indian Butter Chicken and Dal:

Parents are welcome to join the students for lunch, so we jumped at the chance.

It's the only place in Trout Lake to get ethnic foods! Besides the school, there are only two other places to eat in town. And at a cost of $3.25 per adult, it's the best meal deal going. I'm sure we will be back.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders