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[personal profile] dxmachina
...or how I spent my summer.

I spent a good portion of the summer teaching — the lab portion of my usual MCC assignment on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 to 10 p.m. The three days a week thing got old fast, but otherwise I had a good class and a good time. One of my students was even a minor local celebrity, a features reporter for a local TV station who is apparently chucking it all to become a (male) nurse. Of course since the local TV station is not local to where I live, I had no idea until some of the other students pointed it out. He was totally not the stereotypical self-absorbed TV personality, but was rather a keen student and very helpful to others.

As for the rest of the time, here are the highlights...

---
Last weekend of June...

Baby!sis and her two youngest came up for the weekend and much fun was had. Lots of biking, a trip to Block Island, and kite flying and lighthouse touring at Beavertail happened. So lots of fun that weekend.

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Fourth of July weekend...

The fourth started with a not really so close encounter with Hurricane Arthur as it traveled up the east coast. The storm dumped huge amounts of rain on us, but there was very little wind to speak of. We had stronger nor'easters this past winter. So that was good.

The storm did put the kibosh on fireworks throughout the area, so most were rescheduled for the following night. I hadn't gone to a fireworks display in years, but this year I drove over to Rick and Chris's place over in Fall River and we all went down to Battleship Cove watch the show there while sitting up on the bow of the USS Massachusetts Fall River shoots off their display from a barge on Mount Hope Bay, so this is a great spot to watch. The show was kind of short, but the location was great. Being high up over the water on the bay we could also see other displays in all directions in the distance.

---
Readercon weekend...

The next weekend was Readercon, and I kind of made things difficult for myself there. I'd registered for the con and booked a non-refundable hotel room in Burlington back in February assuming that there was no way I'd be teaching on the Friday of the event*. Fast forward to July, and I realize I have to teach on Friday night while having a room in Burlington. Nothing for it, I went to the con in the morning and early afternoon, then struck out for Manchester to teach... down Rt. 128 to the MassPike... at 5 p.m. on a Friday night.

* MCC offers very few classes on Fridays, and none in Chemistry during the regular semesters. I didn't realize that it was different in the summer (and only for the course I was teaching). As it was, The only person leaving the building after me on Friday nights was the campus cop who locked the door after me.

Not fun. The traffic was awful until I finally reached the cutoff to I-84. Fortunately I'd allowed plenty of time, and got there with time to spare. Taught the lab, then turned around and headed back to Burlington, which is quite a bit farther from Manchester than Slocum is, and collapsed into bed. The next day I had an invitation to a volleyball party in East Providence, which I'd RSVP'd to as a not likely. But this year's slate of panels really didn't excite me very much. I spent much of the con bored while in the sessions. It happens some times. You never know what the program is going to be until about a week before, probably well after you have committed to going. Even the WWI panel, which I have always enjoyed in its previous incarnations, kind of got hijacked to a discussion of a long poem about one author's experiences in the war. The panel seemed into it, but poetry, especially long form poetry, is just not my favorite thing.

Anyway, I skipped most of Saturday afternoon, and went to the party and had a great time. The people I go camping with were all there, there was good food, and there was volleyball. Of course it's twice as far from Burlington to East Providence as it is from my house. The whole point of getting the hotel room is to spend less time (and gas) in the car. Oy! I attended a couple of the morning sessions on Sunday, but again got bored, so I headed for home earlier than usual. Next year I need to rethink the hotel room, especially if I'm teaching the same class.

---
First weekend in August...

My honorary brother, Adrian, was back east for a few days and my brother, Bill, invited him up to the farm in NY for the weekend. I hadn't seen Ade since his daughter's wedding in 2007, and I hadn't been up to the farm (now two farms) since 2000. So I headed up on Friday. I didn't drive my usual way out the MassPike and on through Albany because I had to go through northern NJ on the way. This meant I took the winding roads through the Catskills, past Hunter Mountain, which was slow but interesting. I prefer the usual route.

It was good to see Ade and my brothers. Bill bought some land across the road from Jim's original farm, and recently put in a house with all the necessities (even wifi) on the property. My brothers are part owners of a distillery just down the road*, so we got the tour of the current, small distillery that they are outgrowing, and then the much larger building a bit further down the road that they are renovating. Very cool. Also handy, because I stopped overnight at Bill's on my way out to Watkins Glen.

* Bill's property is just to the left of the scene in the photo at the top of the distillery's home page.

A small colony of displaced folk from my hometown is gradually developing in Charlottesville from Jim's original purchase of his farm back in '83. Besides Bill's farm, my brother-in-law Peter has a place, as well as a couple of Bill's friends. Now Adrian is looking to buy a small place to use as a summer home to escape the summer heat of Arizona once he retires.

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The funeral...

...Was for Swifty, my main computer and longtime faithful companion, who died in her sleep one Monday night a couple three weeks ago. She was old for a computer, originally built in 2005, and rebuilt in 2006. After that there were occasional upgrades and repairs, but it was essentially the same machine throughout. It was a great machine. I'd recently been switching her over from Windows XP to Win 7, but I hadn't gotten around to moving over all of the applications to the newer operating system. For close to a decade she served me well, and I'd only recently begun turning her off at night. One morning she just wouldn't boot. It appears to have been a massive motherboard failure, so the contents of the hard drives weren't lost. She left behind her siblings, Flash, Speedy, and Slick. More on that at a later date, if LJ, which currently appears to be down, ever lets me post this.

---
Summer ends for me on Tuesday, with the start of the semester at MCC. Meanwhile I have been busy preparing syllabi and lecture notes. I'm teaching my usual general chemistry course at MCC, Mondays and Wednesdays 4-7, and a lab over at CCSU on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30. The department chair at CCSU offered me a second lab section, but it conflicted with MCC, alas.

Hoping I can post this...

Nope, still down... and I lost all my tags. Bother.

And now we appear to be back.

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