SH Sean Harding/blog
TIBTIL: Cleaning contraptions
Monday, July 30th, 2007

Some people apparently find cleaning fun, but I’m not one of them. I like having things clean, but I most certainly do not like the process of cleaning. So the fact that I’m writing a TIBTIL post about cleaning contraptions should tell you that I’ve really been impressed by something. It is true. In fact, I’ve been impressed by two things.

The first thing is the Bissell SpotBot. We’ve actually had this thing since Christmas, and it continues to surprise me. It does the work of scrubbing carpet stains or spills for you. You just fill it up with water and solution, set it on the spot, push the button and let it go. It wets the spot, scrubs it and then sucks up the liquid (it doesn’t get the carpet completely dry, but it’s drier than when I scrub it manually). When it’s done, the spot is clean. If you’re not careful, the spot it cleaned will actually be cleaner than the surrounding carpet, so I don’t recommend using the SpotBot in areas where the whole carpet is visibly dirty unless you’re prepared to clean the entire thing immediately. Bright clean spots in middle of a dirty carpet are not attractive.

The second TIBTIL is the Dyson DC17 Animal vacuum. Ok, ok. I know that Dysons are trendy. And expensive. And Consumer Reports rates other vacuums higher. But several trusted friends have Dysons and love them. After reading way too many reviews of Dysons and other brands online, I came to two big conclusions. First, the vast majority of Dyson owners are very happy with them. Second, discussion about vacuum cleaner brands seems to devolve into religion quickly — people feel very strongly abut their favored brand. So I won’t claim that Dyson is the best, but I will say that we’re extremely happy with ours. It picked up an extraordinarily disgusting amount of dirt from areas that we’d been regularly vacuuming with our old vacuum.

It doesn’t make me happy that we had all that dirt in our carpet, but it does make me happy that we now have a vacuum that can pick it up…

Call me, call me any any time
Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Phones and phone calls are a pain in the ass. Seriously — if you want to get ahold of me, I’d rather you just send me an e-mail. But some things still require using the phone, so I can’t completely avoid it (yet). Anything that makes phone calls less annoying is a good thing in my book. If you agree (or if you use telephones a lot, or if you’re just into telecom/voip stuff), you may be interested in playing with GrandCentral.

Google acquired the company recently, so I’ve been trying out their service and it’s very cool. It does a lot of stuff, but the basic thing is that you have a single phone number that you manage from the GrandCentral website. You can control which of your phones ring when people call the GrandCentral number, including different rules for different groups of people. For example, you can have calls from friends and family ring all of your phones, while calls from your boss only ring your cell phone and calls from your crazy ex-girlfriend go straight to voicemail (or even get a “this number is no longer in service” message!). Extremely cool stuff.

GrandCentral is invite-only right now, but I have a couple of invites left. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send one your way.

BTW, my GrandCentral number is 425-318-4375 (yes, I’m that confident in GrandCentral’s spam filtering), or you can call me with the button below. But don’t be surprised if it goes directly to voicemail ;-)

Déjà vu
Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Last winter, on some of the coldest days of the year, we had a power outage. Starting last night, on one of the hottest days of the year, we’re having a power outage. This time, it’s apparently only a few hundred people affected. And it’s looking like the duration will be measured in hours (around twelve), rather than days. Still, with the temperatures as high as they are right now, it’s likely long enough to make us have to throw out a bunch of food again. Yay.

This has not been a good year for my relationship with Puget Sound Energy.

Hello? Is this thing on???
Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Try as I might to come up with a reasonable excuse for failing to write for so long, I just can’t do it. There is no excuse. It just seems that the longer I wait, the harder it gets (that’s what she said). But I finally forced myself to do it; I hope you can force yourself to read the result.

In early May, we got to go on a nice ten day vacation to Southern California. What? Don’t you always go on vacation a few weeks after starting a new job? Anyway, the original reason for the trip was to go to Herschel and Saghi’s wedding, but we extended it to visit other people, check out some of the sights in the area and enjoy the much better weather. Over the course of the ten days, we stayed at four hotels. The first and best was the Beverly Hilton.

The wedding was at the Skirball Cultural Center in LA and it was beautiful. I helped out by manning one of the video cameras, which was an awesome Panasonic AG-HVX200 HD camcorder. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

Later in the week, after the wedding was over, we went to see Spiderman 3 at the Arclight, which was incredible (the theater more than the movie). Seeing a movie at the Arclight makes it hard to ever go back to a normal movie theater.

The next day we drove to Malibu to check out the beach and the amazing houses.

Next we went south to Orange County to go to Disneyland and visit some friends. When we were there, we stayed at the Disney Grand Californian.

After Orange County, we went to San Diego where we somehow managed to avoid taking any pictures at all. I still don’t know how that happened, but the memory card doesn’t lie (and I don’t remember taking any). When we were there, we stayed at The Sofia Hotel. Finally, we headed back up to LA. This time, we stayed at the Universal Hilton and spent a day at Universal Studios, which I’d never been to. I especially enjoyed seeing Wisteria Lane.

Before we left, we also got to visit Wendy and Jennifer, who are always a blast to be around. It was a really great trip. We got to see a huge number of friends, lots of fun places and more sun than we see in a year in Seattle.

In other news, Improv 300 is over and I just started Improv 400! Level 300 wasn’t my favorite improv experience ever, but 400 is great so far. I feel very lucky to have a great group of classmates who I’ve been with since Improv 100. Having good people to play with makes all the difference in the world.

Last, but not least, we got a new car at the end of last month. Becky’s previous car blew a gasket, which was pretty expensive to fix. After that, we decided we didn’t really want to throw a lot more money into that car, so we went shopping. After hours of research and tons of test drives, we decided to buy a 2007 Audi A6 3.2 Quattro. So far, we’re loving it!

Ok. I think that’s enough for today. I’ll try not to wait two months before blogging again!

Back home
Sunday, April 15th, 2007

I got back yesterday from two weeks of orientation and training at the Googleplex in Mountain View. I’m a full official Googler (and a Noogler) now.

I had a blast in Mountain View, and I got to visit some great friends while I was down there. But two weeks is a long time to be away from home, so I’m happy to back. Sorry I’ve been out of touch and offline so much lately. A new job brings a lot of things to do and learn, and being out of town makes it even harder to keep in touch! Hopefully now that I’m back in town, I’ll be able to catch up a bit.

I also have a bit of improv news. My friend Lisa has organized an improv show to benefit Amigos de las Americas on April 26th. I’ll be in the show, and you’re all invited. I know most of you are from out of town, but I hope you can at least be there in sprit :-)

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