Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Registering a truck (part 2)

I went to do the smog check today, hoping that it would pass with flying colors, just like the previous owner said. To my surprise, it failed with Manufacturer Specific code P1440 and 'Service Engine Soon' light. Big disappointment... I guess it's expected for a 11 year old car.

It turns out that P1440 on a Nissan Pathfinder means "EVAP Control System (Small Leak)". I only found this out by going to another mechanic, who, for only $85 plugged the car to a computer and found out the problem.

It seems this is a common problem with Pathfinders and the garage recommended to change the EVAP canister (quote for $360) and also maybe the EVAP purge control solenoid (quote for $340), if still needed.

As I knew garages are pushing their prices up, I started looking around for the parts myself. So far, no much luck, the cost is still around $260 for the EVAP canister & valve + the work, which I could do myself.

To be continued...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Registering a truck (part 1)

I rushed to DMV this morning before work, trying to register the car... Sorry, actually it's a truck :) I want to register it before the end of March, when the sales tax goes up from 8.25% to 9.25%. I laugh... In Europe the tax is 19% !

I thought I would arrive there early so I wouldn't have to wait in line. Sorry, no such luck. I ended up waiting 45 minutes, when finally a bored Mrs didn't actually complete my registration as the car still needs a 'smog check'. That's California trying to make the air cleaner -- checking the car's emissions to be within a given limit.

I also ended up paying more than expected ($260, that's a hundred more than I calculated) and I was late for my 10 o'clock meeting with the CEO who is visiting from Amsterdam... Lovely :(

But who cares? Life is great, we got a nice car, we live in California, weather is great, I do a job I like... Fingers crossed, no jinxing :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DOL Ho Dim Sum

Today we had a culinary experience... We went to eat dim sum at Dol Ho in San Francisco.

This is a typical chinese joint, in the heart of Chinatown, frequented mainly and mostly by Chinese. We read some reviews about it, and it was advertised as a place to go only for the brave ones... if you don't have somebody speaking Chinese with you.

So, all in all the food was good, I have to say, but was not amazing. It was very tasty and to our surprise, the waitress actually spoke some Engly... maybe 5 words or so. Not be a red neck, but also as a foreigner, make a bloody effort and learn some to get by! Especially when you're waiting tables.

Anyway, I digress... The food was not as extraordinary as touted, but it made a difference from the usual. I will go back there, after I learn some Chinese food names. Price wise though, it was extraordinary! $25 for 4 people including tip!

My favorite stays the Nieuw King on Zeedijk in Amsterdam.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mare eveniment, mare!

Azi am luat masina. Am gasit pe craigslist un Nissan Pathfinder LE 1998. L-am vizitat pe om dimineata, si l-am cumparat cu 4500 dolari.

Dupa ce am cautat cam 3 saptamini masini mici, am realizat ca defapt vreau masina mare. Asa ca primul SUV ce l-am vazut, l-am si cumparat. A mai trebuit doar sa o conving putin pe Mada :)

In orice caz, pentru o masina de 10 ani, pretul este foarte bun, transmisia e noua, iar pompa de apa si cureaua de distributir au fost si ele schimbate recent.

Am platit si asigurarea auto la Geico, in valoare de aproape 500 dolarei pe 6 luni (pentru 2 soferi care inca nu au mai fost asigurati in America). Pretul se pare ca e bun!

Asa arata masinuta (si noi foarte mindri de ea):

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Avem carnete de conducere

Azi am dat examenul de conducere, proba practica. La ora 8:20 dimineata, Mada a fost prima sa il dea. Din pacate, pe mine nu m-au lasat sa asist.

In 15 minute, Mada s-a intors, cu carnet cu tot ! Uraaaa!!

Am urmat eu. Cu aceeasi inspectoare, am facut acelasi tur ca Mada, si in 15 minute am trecut si eu. Singura manevra ce m-a pus sa fac, a fost sa dau cu spatele drept pe linga bordura, bineinteles, fara sa ma sui pe ea.

In 3 sapt ne vin acasa carnetele de sofer. Primul act de identitate american!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Adevarata sfintire a gratarelor

Azi am sfintit in mod oficial gratarele din complexul nostru. Am facut o 'mica' tura de gratare pentru 11 adulti + Sarah ;)

Vremea nu prea a tinut cu noi, la ora 2 cind trebuia sa incepem, a plouat un ropot nasol, dar pe la 3 s-a inseninat. Neinfricati de un pic de apa, am continuat vitejeste cu friptul.

Am fript tot ce se putea -- si carne si vegetale. Am baut cam tot ce era -- si bere si vin si bacardi. Unii au baut chiar si Cola. Iar pe seara, pe post de desert, am fost pina la mol sa luam niste Cinabon! Astea, pentru cine nu stie, sunt niste mici bombe de calorii (asemanatoare cu niste cuibi de viespi) cu sos de caramel pe deasupra. Numai 700 calorii portia, dar cine sta sa numere?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Charlotte, NC

This week I was at a client in Charlotte, North Carolina. The project is going fine. I am working on an interesting piece of code -- exposing Tridion functionality as a Web Service / Java servlet, so that other web applications can read content from it using SOAP or plain HTTP requests.

Anyway, some remarkable things are the beer which is very cheap compared to California or NY and that I almost punched a partner. He was too much of a wise arse, claiming sarcastically that Tridion is rocket science. I luckily refrained from explaining Tridion functionality with my fists. However, funny enough, they bailed out of the project just 2 days later. Hmmm... maybe it was too much of rocket science after all. Ha ha :D

I also met up with Andi and Alina, old friends from back home. It is rare to see familiar faces where my job takes me, so meeting up with Andi and Alina was definitely a big plus. They showed me Charlotte, went to dinner, went to an Irish pub and just spent lots of time catching up. Here are some pictures from this lovely meeting:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend in San Francisco

Dupa cum spuneam, cadoul de 2 ani de casatorie a lui Mada a fost un weekend in San Francisco.

Asa ca Simbata dimineata am mers la 'oras'. Primul lucru, am vizitat podul Golden Gate si Fortul Point. Am mers apoi sa ne cazam la hotel si am dat o tura prin oras. Seara am cinat la 'Claude', unde erau niste francezi veritabili care spuneau ca de fiecare data cind maninca la 'Claude', servesc tartar-ul. Asa ca daca francezii spun ca e bun, atunci trebuie sa fie.

Noi am comandat niste salata de andive cu brinza albastra si cu nuci si alune. Mada a avut un somon la gratar cu legume facute in abur, iar eu file mignon in sos de foie gras cu crochete de cartofi si cu legume in abur.

Duminica dimineata am fost la Red's Java house pentru micul dejun. Apoi am facut o tura pe la docuri. Din pacate, nu mai erau locuri pentru excursia la Alcatraz asa ca am ramas pe continent si am vazut leii de mare si ne-am plimbat pe la docul 39. Am mers apoi cu Cable Car-ul si pe strada abrupta Lombard.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Little big celebration

Today we celebrate 2 years of marriage. I don't know where these 2 years went, but they went by pretty fast. It's cool to have 2 dates to celebrate. The 12 of March is the Town Hall wedding and the 15 of September is the church and big wedding party. So there goes a celebration every 6 months basically... He he. More parties for us ;)

We got congratulated by the close ones, I got a weekend in San Francisco and Mada got a necklace. We even received flowers from back home and some exquisite chocolate:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

8 Martie la gratare

Azi am sarbatorit un 8 Martie plin de gratare. A fost o zi superba, asa ca am decis adhoc sa facem niste gratare. Oricum e plin de locuri cu gratare prin complex.

Adica, sunt gratare pe gaz, dar care incalzesc o placa de fier, si de la ea se incinge gratarul. Carnea se frige foarte bine, ca si cum ar fi pe carbuni.

Traiasca California!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Onion Ring Tower

Big American portions... tasty fastfood food... gezellig company. That's to summarise the evening we had at Red Robin with Frank and Manon.

Something of note was the Onion Ring Tower, made out of 13 rings of onion fried in a very tasty spicy batter.