Author: troyh

Queen City Grill

Before dinner Gay said she wanted to go to Queen City Grill for a Manhattan. I was shocked. She wanted to go because it recently changed ownership to one of Gay’s local favorite restaurateurs.

Why I was shocked: I took her there on one of our first dates because I liked the history of it. Her mood during dinner made me think it was our last date. I later found out that she was insulted that I took her to such an uncool place. In fact, she has often expressed her disappointment about it ever since. I never understood why she hated it so, the food was fine, the decor was classic and the building is stately. But she was to never let me live it down. Ever since, I felt obligated to point it out when we’d drive by it and jokingly ask if she wanted to go there, which always elicited an exasperated gasp from her. To make the place even more memorable and determined to turn it into a positive, when I proposed to her my plan, if she said yes, was to go there for a celebratory dinner. I did propose, she did say yes, but we went to one of our old favorites Dahlia Lounge instead (and had a disappointing dinner and have never been back).

Gay may have finally come to terms with my infamous Queen City mistake.


European restaurants have long had electronic payments devices right at the table but American restaurants always ask you to hand someone your card while they walk away and do who knows what with it.

Gay and I went to dinner at Heartwood Provisions tonight. At the end we were handed a device we’d never seen before: TableSafe (from a local Seattle company). We paid the bill and swiped our credit card ourselves, got an emailed receipt and no paper to throw away! Are American restaurants stepping into the 21st century?!

iPhone XS Max

I got my iPhone X last November and started Apple’s iPhone Upgrade program. With that program, there’s no reason not to get the latest model because you pay the same per month whether you have the old or the new model. However, I had to wait until I paid my 12th payment to upgrade. I ordered the iPhone XS Max yesterday and today it arrived.

It’s Space Gray and 256GB, same as my X. The transfer from my old one to the new one was as easy as ever. So far, it seems the same as the X, just bigger.

Everyone, including Apple, incorrectly pronounces it ten-ess max but I pronounce it ex-ess max because Unix isn’t uni-ten, Linux isn’t lin-uh-ten, NeXT wasn’t ne-ten-tee and OS X isn’t oh-ess-ten (well, maybe that is but it shouldn’t be). Gotta respect the historical X of Unix.

Deception Pass

We packed up the Basecamp Friday and soon after Havana got home from school we left town for Deception Pass State Park. Traffic was bad all the way to Marysville so we didn’t get there until after 7pm. Jon and Megan and Emmarie left later and got there at 8:30pm. We were neighbors in slips 306 & 307. The last time we were here was over 12 years ago when Gay and Megan ran a marathon.

Jon and I went to the Deception Pass Bridge for some drone videos and photos — I flew the drone under the bridge and then over the bridge:


Flying the drone so far away, sometimes out of sight, and over water made me nervous given how my previous drone was hard to control and ultimately died in water. But the Mavic 2 was perfect.

Barley needed a seat after a long walk:

Havana wanted to sleep in the tent with Gay so I got to sleep in the Basecamp with Hudson and Eva both nights. I really like sleeping in the Basecamp. The Discovery is still great to drive.

Anticipating rain, I picked up a Caddis Rapid Shelter 10’x10′ canopy at REI Thursday evening. That was easy to setup, feels very sturdy and worked great over the camp site table to keep the rain off us. That’s going to be nice to have!

Apple Watch Series 4

My new Apple Watch arrived today!

I’ve had the original Apple Watch since it arrived in May 2015. I liked it but overall I felt that while it was better than a regular watch, it was not as good as it could be. The next 3 models (Series 1, 2 & 3) weren’t that interesting to me either – the hardware was mostly the same and battery life wasn’t any better. And newer versions of watchOS were released and through several updates, it gradually improved. The apps were better, it was a little faster and I appreciated it much more. It was still too slow at times, too small and I wished it was round.

It was very durable, though. It hardly had a scratch until it fell onto concrete last month and the screen cracked. I was more careful with it but the touch screen slowly got more and more unreliable until the display finally gave up last Sunday, just 2 days after ordering its replacement and 5 days before it arrived today.

48-hour update: The battery was at 90% when it arrived and I didn’t need to charge it until 2 days later when it was down to 10%. My last watch lasted 18 hours max so this is a huge improvement!


I took a few photos with my new drone last weekend, they were automatically uploaded to Google Photos where I keep backups. This morning Google told me their robots made a panorama photo out of them. Thanks Google! It’s impressive that they can take photos that weren’t even taken sequentially and figure out that they can go together to make a panorama shot.

More drone photos taken that day: