Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Past Blogs

Glass Work - First Half of 2009.


Large glass beach float This is how it all started. In April, the husband and I took a vacation to the Lincoln City area of the Oregon coast. We combed the beach, but never found one of those delightful Finders Keepers floats. We happened upon the Lincoln City Glass Center, so I signed up to blow my own glass float - shown at right.

Blown glass pieces - flutter bowl, ornament, drinking glass, flowers and sculptures In June, I took a beginner's glassblowing class at Art By Fire. Here are all of the pieces I made during the four 4 hour classes - a bowl, a drinking glass, an ornament, paperweights and sculptures. The class was a ton of fun, it hooked me on glassblowing. Almost every minute that I wasn't doing it, I was thinking about blowing glass.

Blown glass pieces - flutter bowl, ornament, drinking glass, flowers and sculptures I take every extra opportunity that I can to work with hot glass. In addition to structured classes, Art By Fire also offers once a month special events where even the absolute beginner can walk in and (guided heavily by the pros) create a piece in 15 minutes. In the first half of the year, I made another ornament and two small bowls (also known as "roman bowls") during these events.

Glass flutter bowl close up Here is a close up of the glass bowl that I made during the beginner's class. I've filled it with the cute jack-o-lantern Lindt truffles for Halloween. The bowl will last much longer than the truffles.

Many thanks to the husband for his effort producing all these wonderful photographs.

Bewpubs and Bad Service.


Why is it that brewpubs often have the worst table service of any other restaurant type?

McMenamins is where the husband first developed a test for fine microbrews, and I have a well documented weakness for the Communication Breakdown burger. But going to a McMenamins always seems to be a 2 hour commitment.

While in Hawaii, we went to the Kona brewpub. While the beer was excellent (so says the husband), and the food was pretty good, we were "unattended" for some pretty long stretches.

Even Rogue's Issaquah Brewhouse has poor to fair service to go along with it's excellent beers (again, according to the husband) and mediocre food. But we'll continue going once a month or so because of their excellent location. (Near the glass blowing shop.)

Why? Are the typical patrons so enamored with delicious craft brews that the don't notice? Or am I, typically a non-drinker, just overly sensitive to not having my water filled? Is it because we choose to sit tucked away at a table, instead of at the bar?

2 comment(s).

Programming Web Services with SOAP.


I finished reading Programming Web Services with SOAP last month. I was rather disappointed, especially for an O'Reilly book. Some of the overview stuff was somewhat useful, but most of the code examples were way over my head.

My biggest problem was that the book was very much out of date. It was published in 2001, and is full of talk about not-yet-supported stuff. It would be really nice to see a second edition of this book, because the situation has surely changed in the last 8 years.

Settlers and Munchkins.


PAX was not all video games & germ distribution. Tabletop gaming is a revered pastime, and it suffered no shortage of representation at PAX.

We had no trouble getting invited to a game of Settlers of Catan, simply by wandering around in the well-stocked board-game check-out room. Everyone else had a settlement on an ore point except me. At one point, after three ore-producing rolls in a row, I broke out the Monopoly card and took all the ore. Everyone acted so miffed! On the next turn, the player next to me also produced a Monopoly card and demanded ore. Good thing I had already built my city.

We also checked out a new game to try - Munchkin. We then had the good fortune to wander into the official Steve Jackson gaming area, where we played our first game under the excellent snarky tutelage of the demo staff. Munchkin is similar to Ninja Burger (which I've subjected friends and family to in the past) but much simpler. It is also hilarious! For playing the official Steve Jackson area, we each received a "Promotional Bookmark of Power" which play a practical joke on their owners. One bookmark allows a one-time special swag boost, but requires it's own destruction. But the other bookmark cancels the first bookmarks effects! I sure wouldn't mind owning a copy of this Munchkin game.

Advice for the Employed 1.


Are you employed? Congratulations! You've found gainful work in a dreadful economy. But don't rest on your laurels. There are more jobs out there, just waiting for the right candidate. (A friend recently earned a new job that even paid his relocation expenses.) Consider the following:

Is your job good enough? Does it pay the bills for the conceivable future? Do you have job security? Do you get enough vacation time? Does it offer opportunities for advancement? Does it pay for education or professional certifications? Does it have sufficient benefits for your longtime personal stability? Could your job be better?

Could your job be closer to home? Could you improve your quality of life with a switch to a different office, or even the same position at a different company?

The best time to look for a new job is when you already have one. You'll have the confidence to interview well. You can take your time to search for a good match. Your judgment won't be clouded by that desperation that accompanies unemployment.

Polish up your resume and check out those job sites. Go on an interview or two (remember that practice makes perfect). Find out what skills you're missing to qualify for new, better jobs, and learn 'em. At the very least, this will improve your negotiation abilities when review time comes. At best, you just might score an excellent new opportunity.

Seattle's Dog Culture.


Seattle has a very dog friendly culture. But some aspects are a little too dog friendly for my comfort. (I'm talking about pet dogs here, not service animals. I don't buy into 'companion animals', by the way.)

You can bring your dog on the public bus. I've seen some very big dogs crammed under seats on some very crowded buses. Those dogs looked pretty stressed - and that's when trouble can occur. Last month I saw a little dog 'mark' a corner near the driver's seat. The owner did wipe the area with tissue, but that just doesn't clear up the cootie factor for me. I doubt that Metro buses get a daily cleaning.

Lastly, I've seen a couple folks carrying their purse-pooches in the grocery store. The grocery store. There's clear signage against that, but what does it say about the local culture that people saunter right on in, and the employees don't say anything? I want the store employees to proactively stop pets in the grocery store; I don't want to have to be the bad guy. Is there even any way to say "I'm creeped out by your dog in the grocery store" effectively?

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