dxmachina: (Computers 02)
...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...

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Last weekend of June... )

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Fourth of July weekend... )

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Readercon weekend... )

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First weekend in August... )

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The funeral... )

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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.

Flats

Nov. 2nd, 2012 12:54 pm
dxmachina: (Warp Speed!)
As it started to get dark Wednesday night, I happened to glance out my front window at the truck and noticed that the right rear tire didn't look quite right. Closer inspection confirmed that it had lost quite a bit of pressure. Usually in these cases it takes time and a soapy sponge to locate the leak, but this time it was obvious. The head of a 2" drywall screw was sticking out of the sidewall at a 45° angle just inside of the tread. As it was getting dark, and since I didn't need to go anywhere, I left it for yesterday.

Punctured... )
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Speaking of Asbury Park... )
 
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
I'm going camping in Canada next Thursday, on the 10th anniversary of the last time I went camping, also in Canada*, in exactly the same provincial park. One of my friends grew up in the area, and her family holds a big annual shindig, the Otty Lake Blues Cruise, on the first weekend of August. A bunch of us went up ten years ago, and now we're returning. There will be biking, golf, and tennis, among other activities. A good time is anticipated.

* I just now realized that I've had this journal for ten years now. Holy cats!

I should have all the camping gear I need. However, I haven't used any of it in ten years now**, so I figured that as long as I have all this free time, I might as well check to make sure it's all in good shape. A stitch in time saves nine, right?

** I used to go camping somewhere almost every year, but got out of the habit. Stupid, that.

The first thing I checked was my air mattress to make sure it would still hold air.

Pump it up... )

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Apart from the nasty thunderstorm at 5 am that left my neighborhood without power for an hour, today was a nice sunny day, so I washed my sleeping bag and hung it out to dry on the clothesline. Smells like springtime!

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One of the activities planned for the trip is a round of golf. The last time I played golf was ten years ago at the same event. I like to play, but I has no one handy to play golf with, so I never got around to it and fell out of the habit. Plus, it's gotten tres expensive round here. Still, I'm looking forward to it, and in anticipation, I figured I'd better go hit a bucket of balls to see if I could still play.

Well, it wasn't pretty, but I didn't embarrass myself, either. Apparently my days of hitting the ball a couple hundred yards in the air are long gone, but I can hit it 150 or so, and it was usually straight. And hitting it shorter has the benefit of making it harder to really lose a ball when you hit it wrong. Unless you're trying to clear a water hazard.

I also took 10 swings in the slow pitch batting cage, also for like the first time in ten years. I can still hit a line drive, so there's that. I do miss playing ball.
dxmachina: (Bike)
Crocuses At least the crocuses next to the south wall of the house seem to think so. There's also a daffodil over there that seems ready to pop, as well. The other beds that don't get sunshine reflected off a wall appear to be a bit more uncertain about things.

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I took the photo with my new camera, a Panasonic Lumix that I picked up on Woot! for not a lot of money considering it's got a 12x Leica lens. I still have my DSLR, but I was looking for something that I can slip into my pocket, or (even more so) more readily stick into the handlebar bag on my bike. The only thing I don't like so far is that there is no optical viewfinder. Of course, those are almost impossible to find on point-and-shoots. I've never liked using an LCD for framing shots, even if it is more accurate. It's hard to see anything in the sunlight, and even when I can see the screen, it's hard to keep things steady at arms length. I mean, all I'm asking is that they drill a little hole through the case. How hard can that be?

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I've been riding, although not on my usual bike. I hit a sinkhole on the path at speed last Saturday, and broke a spoke on the Fuji's rear wheel. Thus I had to celebrate the onset of daylight savings by riding the old Univega until I could get over to the bike shop to get the spoke replaced. The Univega is a bike I rode without complaint for 12 or 13 years, but now that I'm used to the lighter, more nimble Fuji, the Univega rides like a pig. Plus it appears that the 5th gear on the rear cassette is shot, because any time I shift onto it, regardless of what chain ring I'm on, the chain slips. A lot.

The weather, apart from this past Friday, when it got up into the sixties, hasn't been particularly warm in the evening, especially in the shade of the bike path. It's also been pretty blustery, with a good stiff headwind to be fought on the return legs. Still it's good to be out.

I stopped by the bike shop yesterday on my way out to Tom's. Bike shop guy fixed the spoke and did some adjusting and fine tuning of the gear and brake cables, and didn't even charge me.

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Yesterday I drove over to Tom's for our annual March Madness and ribs get together. Good times.
dxmachina: (Hangover)
I spent New Year's Eve with friends, playing Apples to Apples and singing along (badly) while the kids played "We Got the Beat" in Rock Band. And feeling awful for Dick Clark.

Despite the lack of resolutions last New Year's, I managed to accomplish a couple of worthwhile things this past year. For one, even though I gained some weight back last winter, by the end of the year was I was a few pounds net to the good, so that's something.

The other thing is that for the first time in 25 years I have no credit card debt to speak of. I paid them off in June, and have since been able to not only pay off the balance every month, but also bank the money that I'd been previously putting towards payments. The only debt I am currently carrying is the mortgage on the house (which is about half of the current assessed value). My 401K is recovering from the recent unpleasantness, and just to add a cherry on top of the year, for Christmas my father gave each of my sibs and me a chunk of stock in the company the family business represents.

I have never had much of a head for money. I've also never been one to whom wealth was particularly important. Fortunately, I've almost always had a job that paid me enough to live comfortably. Where I got into trouble over the years was in frittering away what I could've been using to make myself even more comfortable on credit card interest and such like. I think I'm finally learning. On the other hand, money can't buy me love.

Other than those things, though, not much happened. Mostly I went to work, rattled around the house, or rode one of my bikes. I rode more than 1600 miles, my second best total ever. Probably could've beaten the old best, too, if I hadn't wussed out the last couple of months because of the cold weather.

So, the year gone by wasn't particularly exciting, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I know people who had terrible years, and that makes me feel lucky to live such an uninteresting life.
dxmachina: (Bike 02)
I rode all three mornings, Saturday and Sunday in Kingston, today up at Blackstone with friends.

I've taken to riding early on Saturdays so that I can do whatever chores I need to do after I ride, rather than before, which leads to tuckered-out rides. Given the forecast, i.e., lovely on Saturday, blistering after that, I did my annual July 4th trimming of the shrubs Saturday afternoon. It was still hot, messy work, but it wasn't baking hot nor terribly humid, so it worked out.

The basic problem is that the previous owner let most the shrubs get too big. The hedge on the north side of the house is perfectly sized, and the shrubs on the south side aren't ridiculous, although perhaps there are too many, but the junipers, yews, and even my beloved small-leaf rhododendrons out front are all my height or better. The yews are tall enough to partially block the view from the windows behind them. I can't really cut them shorter, because the leaves end not far behind the new growth, and because they also got too wide, so the sides the plants that face other plants are completely barren of foliage. All six of them are pretty much hollow.

I don't even like the junipers, as I get a mild allergic reaction if I get scratched by one, and although I don't mind the yews, they're just too damn big. The problem is that if I cut them out of there, I'm left with two rhododendrons that will flower gloriously come spring in front and on top, but not at all on their sides. To do it properly, I probably need to take them out, too. Sigh.

Anyway, after several hours of wielding my electric hedge trimmer as though it were Excalibur against the shrubs that say Ni, they were trimmed for another year. Actually, I got a little over zealous here and there, and there are some definite bare spots where I went a little beyond removing current growth.

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Sunday after the ride* but before it got ridiculously hot, I pulled out the loppers and my camp saw to do battle with the part of the evil thicket that was encroaching on the SE corner of the yard. Spent about an hour working on that, then continued training the tomato plants to their stakes. I have lots on teensy green tomatoes on the way, and even one tiny spaghetti squash so far.

* I rode the now well-adjusted 3-speed, and it worked flawlessly. I'm still surprised, though, at how badly it managed to get itself out of adjustment just hanging from a hook in the attic for the last year or so.

Afterward, I spent some quality time down in the basement organizing and cleaning up matted sawdust. Then I repaired to the a/c in the office to enter utilities and pay stubs for the last nine months into gnuCash. Still much to be done on both projects.

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Today, as previously mentioned, I went for a ride on the Blackstone path with part of the v-ball crew. Apart from Blake, none of them had ever been before, so that was fun. It was blistering hot, which suppressed the usual pack of strollers, pedestrians, and other speed bumps from blocking the path. (I will note, however, that since we were constantly stopping to wait for the slower members of the group to catch up, we often became speed bumps ourselves.) Later we went back to Dale's for a pool party and barbecue which was great fun. Fun fact: wasps will catch crickets and haul them back to their nests for dinner. I know this because the nest in question turned out to be in the tubular steel chaise immediately to my left as I sat talking to Christina, who was sitting in the aforementioned chaise. Fortunately, the wasps turned out to be too stuffed with cricket to do much more than glower at us as Chris noisily vacated the chaise.

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The one tiny silver lining to the temperatures was that it never got particularly humid (31% yesterday, 50-60% today, not Arizona, but neither was it business as usual for the Northeast). Tomorrow it's supposed to be even hotter. Yikes!

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I didn't go to any particular fireworks display, since a couple of my neighbors put on pretty decent displays in their own backyards. This year Rhode Island rescinded the statewide ban on private possession of fireworks (a state felony). They had been banned in the late seventies after a couple of well-publicized accidents involving children. It didn't help that Connecticut legalized them a couple of years ago, and that there was a store just over the border on 95. Now you can get them in Wal-Mart and even Stop&Shop. The fact that it had been a felony had never actually stopped the displays in the past. They've been going on for the ten years I've lived in this neighborhood, throughout most of the summer.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Easter weekend had terrific weather, but I was down in Jersey so didn't get a chance to ride at all. I did get to play a little wiffle ball with a niece and a couple of nephews. It's the first time I've swung any kind of bat in almost a decade, yet I'm the only one of the crew who actually hit the ball. Apparently none of them have their uncle's hand-eye coordination. I blame my sisters. Actually, I whiffed on my first two swings, then tomahawked a pitch that was about two feet over my head for a line drive that reached the street. Go me!

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Al, Durrah, and I took a ride down to the hobby shop in Magnolia, then stopped at an LL Bean on the way back. Never been to one before. I spent most of my time looking at overpriced bicycle accessories and clothing. Nice stuff, but nothing I couldn't get cheaper at a local shop. They did have one bike, though, that I liked quite a bit. Alas, I already have plenty of bikes.

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The weather continued to be nice for most of the week, and I did get a couple of rides in. And Thursday I tried to give the lawn it's first mow of the season, but was stymied by my old adversary, the Briggs and Stratton two-cycle engine. Wouldn't start for love nor money. So I bundled it off the the repair shop Saturday. It should be ready to take on the meadow outside my front door sometime later in the week.

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The basement continues to dry out. Friday I tossed out a couple of loads of soggy trash, and with that and the dehumidifier still doing yeoman's work, by Saturday morning it was smelling a lot less musty down there. Still feeling pretty lucky about it all as one of my coworkers still has water coming into his basement as fast as he can pump it out.

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I finished varnishing the cabinets, drawer fronts, and cupboard door for the hobby bench Saturday, and today I attached various pulls and hinges, and attached the drawer fronts to the drawer bodies. I just need to fill some nail holes and I can bring them both upstairs... Um... After I clear out some space in the nerd hole.

Still to do are the bench top and a pair of sliding shelves for the cupboard. The plywood for the bench top is cut. The edges need to be trimmed out, then I need to finish it somehow or another, with something that can stand up to spilled paint thinner. I'm running a small experiment with epoxy appliance paint, which is only recommended for painting metal, to see if it'll work on primed wood as well. So far, so good.

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Meanwhile, I've been hacking up my lungs since Friday. I'm not sure if it's a chest cold or allergy/asthma due to all the plants popping off so early. Am taking loratidine and tussin in the am and nyquil in the pm. Whatever, I've felt like crap all weekend, enough so that for another weekend I didn't get any rides in. Blehh!

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"I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait till
it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up." - Bob Uecker


Charlie Haeger, a knuckleballer, started for the Dodgers today and turned in one heck of an outing, striking out 12 in six innings of work. Only ten of the twelve strikeouts actually resulted in outs as catcher A.J. Ellis was having as much trouble catching the knuckler as the Marlins' batters were having hitting it. Alas, it was all for naught as the bullpen blew another game in the late innings.
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
I was shocked to find daffodils in full bloom in the bed alongside the house. I thought it was a bit early, given that the crocuses had only popped a few days before, so I checked my Livejournal archives. Last year they didn't bloom until around April 12th. That's some kind of early blooms. Time to think about starting some tomato seedlings.

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Drove down to Connecticut for the annual March Madness w/ribs at Tom's. Watched some terrific basketball, especially the Northern Iowa-Kansas game, which saw plucky N. Iowa outplaying number one seed Kansas for the almost the entire game. Then in the final couple of minutes Kansas's pressure defense seemed to have N. Iowa coming completely unglued. Kansas got within a point, but Iowa finally solved the defense, making a three and drawing a timely offensive foul from the Jayhawks, and it was all over. Another bracket busted.

I'm having an awful tournament as far as my brackets go. At one point in my competition with Tom (where we make our picks one round at a time), I was down 33 pts. I think I'm still down about 22. The bracket I have in the Dodger Thoughts competition over at ESPN got wrecked by the Big East's seeming total lack of interest in showing up for the tournament. I mean really... Georgetown? Villanova?

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My alma mater, Seton Hall, took a slightly different approach to tournament time it seems. They failed to make the NCAAs (as usual), but did make the NIT, and were even favored in the nationally televised opening game. Five minutes in, one of the Hall's better players got a little miffed apparently, and punched one of the opposing players in the groin. Way to represent, champ. The player, quite naturally got tossed, and things quickly went downhill from there. The next day the coach was fired for conduct unbecoming the University. About time, too. He was a jerk; an abrasive individual who antagonized pretty much everyone he came in contact with, including his players.

Meanwhile, player who only a week before had been dismissed from the team for criticizing the coach was arrested for an armed robbery in which he duct-taped eight people while stealing their credit crads and cash during a break-in. I guess since basketball had turned out to be a dead end, he'd decided to try a new career.

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Vin Scully was back on the job today, two days after the entire Dodger community and fandom held its collective breath after Vin had a fall at home that required staples and an overnight hospital stay. Fortunately it turned out to be nothing serious.

What's funny about this is that Vin actually apologized on air today for causing such a fuss.

"Hi everybody, and a very pleasant Sunday to you, wherever you may be. Hope you don't mind if I take a moment out: First of all, I am sorry to have caused the accident that caused so much stress. I'm very sorry for that. I'd also like to salute the gentle heroes of 911 in Calabasas, and the doctors and nurses at West Hills Hospital, for taken care of me so very, very well. However, now that I've done that, let's get to the more important thing, and that is the game. The Dodgers and the Indians. Jake Westbrook will be on the mound for Cleveland. Left-hander Eric Stults will be on the mound for the Dodgers. And Lord, I am happy to be here. We'll be with the ballgame, right after this."

There's more here from his brief press conference today, including his own self-deprecating play-by-play of the accident. The man is a treasure.

Which reminds me of one of his more famous quotes:

"Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day... Aren't we all?"

I've been getting the MLB Gameday audio package now for a few years just so I could listen to him do the games. But he only does the first three innings on the radio, so this year, since it is likely to be his last, I decided to splurge on the MLB TV package for the year. They give you a discount if you're a returning subscriber, even if it was just the radio feeds, so that's good. What was less so was today's spring training game was going to be Vin's first of the year, but the feed wasn't available. Feh, I say!
dxmachina: (Computers 01)
Lots o' humidity yesterday and today, with added heat today, but the three days preceding were fabulous, especially Saturday. Good thing, too, because it made for a splendid day for vw's graduation party.

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Yesterday I gutted the grill and replaced all the internal organs with replacements from the Depot. New burner, new drip pan, new grill surface, and new igniter, although the last doesn't seem to work. That was the one part I didn't buy. It's been sitting on a shelf in the basement for years. I bought it for my previous grill, but it was the wrong one, so I never installed it. It wasn't the proper part for the current grill, either, but I adapted it. Or so I thought. Shrug.

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A couple of tomatoes have started to turn yellowish, and the spaghetti squashes are growing so fast you can almost see them expanding. At this rate maybe in a couple more weeks I can hollow one out to use as a garden shed.

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I've had a Facebook account for a while now, but I never did anything with it until Saturday. The impetus mostly was because I was apparently collateral damage in the DDOS attacks on LiveJournal last week. It seems that at least one of the attacking machines must've been nearby, because even for most of Saturday I couldn't get to the site. They later explained that some of the steps they took to mitigate the damage might cut off folks on the same local nets as the attackers. Just to make sure I wasn't one of them, I ran a packet sniffer on my home network for a little while, and came up clean.

Anyway, in the meantime I decided to have a look at Facebook. I friended a few people, and was in turn friended by a bunch more, which is kind of neat. Previously, the only person who'd ever tried to friend me was a retired school teacher from the south somewhere who seemed like a nice lady but was a total stranger, so I passed. Probably a misidentification.

I don't know how much I'll use it. The people who I've friended and been friended by are all folks who I can see on LJ anyway, and the interface is strange and offputting to me. One odd thing about me is that it appears that none of my immediate family nor any of my meatspace friends are on Facebook (or LJ, for that matter). They all use the net, but apart from some of my nieces and nephews, none are into any kind social networking. Well, except my mother, but she hangs out over on the MSN WebTV boards. This was one of the reasons Friendster seemed so useless to me. I brought nothing to the table in terms of connections.

Tuned Up

May. 25th, 2009 01:19 pm
dxmachina: (Bike 03)
So, after much delay, bike shop guy finally rebuilt my rear wheel, broken since September. And he was also finally able to find a pair of the tires I ordered back in March. I went over there Saturday to get the wheel and new tires put on, as well as getting the bike the tune up it's been badly needing.

The first order of business was to take my set of gears off the loaner wheel I've been using and put back onto my wheel. Except they didn't fit. I have nine gears on my bike, but the replacement hub he used is only long enough to fit eight of them.* Bozhe moi! So he took the high-tech rear wheel off his own bike, which does fit nine, and put my gear set on that. He figures that'll provide him some incentive to not let the thing hang around very long.

* The loaner wheel had the same problem. It's not really a critical issue since I almost never use my smallest gear, but it's the principle.

The rest of the visit went well. I have the new tires installed. That had become an issue because I've had two flats on the old set since I ordered the new ones. The rubber was really getting thin. He also gave me a third tire and a couple of new tubes gratis because it took so long. The rear brakes needed new pads, so he installed and adjusted them. The rear derailleur got adjusted and the cables all got lubed. Took the bike for a test ride, and it was like having a new bike.

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All that effort was put to good use yesterday when I headed over to Block Island with the volleyball crew. We were a little worried at first, because it started raining as we were boarding the ferry at Pt. Judith, but fortunately we didn't get any rain while on the island. We didn't get a lot of sun, either, but it still turned out to be a decent day. The temperature was right around 70°, and it was breezy, but the riding was pleasant enough, even on the long climb up to Southwest Light. Good time.
dxmachina: (Garden01)
Overthinking Loppers...


So, I have new loppers, although not the ones I really wanted. The ones I had were pretty compact for loppers, only 18" long or so, similar to these. They were light, and in a pinch I could manage them one-handed. They also used Fiskars' "3X" gearing system for added leverage, which was a feature I liked. That's what I was looking for when I set out to get the new pair. Except no one had them. Not Wal-Mart; not the Depot; not Lowes. Oh, they all carried Fiskars, but only in the 27" size. (Wal-Mart did have these, but it was an anvil model, versus the bypass type (which are more like scissors), and they were made out of plastic rather than metal. No sale. BJ's had the Lop and Saw model, which were close to what I wanted, but I already have a saw, and they were way more expensive than plain old loppers. Amazon had the ones I wanted, but they would take awhile to get here. Then I noticed something on the Fiskars site. They have a lifetime warranty. It turns out I may be able to get mine replaced under warranty. That would be nice.

Meanwhile, however, I still needed a pair for right now. Knowing that I may be getting my smaller pair replaced, I went ahead and got a 27" pair at Lowes. They are heavier and more tiring to use than my old ones, but on the other hand, I can lop higher branches with them. They certainly work. Now I just need to contact Fiskars about the other pair.

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I have lots of crocuses already, even out by the cherry tree. Last year the cherry tree crocuses didn't start popping until the second week of April. That seems odd, because it hasn't exactly been warm this month.

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March Madness...


Today is my annual journey to Connecticut to eat ribs, drink beer, watch college basketball, and talk baseball, which makes it possibly the best day of the year ever.
dxmachina: (Archie Goodwin)
First off, congratulations to David J. Schwartz, aka [livejournal.com profile] snurri, whose first published novel, Superpowers, was nominated for a Nebula award. Whoot! Now I can say I knew him when.

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Meanwhile, I've been ripping though Nero Wolfes.

The Little Matter of Arnold Zeck... )

Snow!

Dec. 7th, 2008 06:47 am
dxmachina: (Bike Snow)
It snowed last night. Not a lot, as I can still see some grass poking up through it, but it is still coming down. Bummer.

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Active day yesterday. Went for a ride around noon, hoping to get started before the sun ducked behind the oncoming snow clouds, but no such luck. It was cold, mid-thirties, but I was well layered. I added a thermal headliner (i.e., a light-weight balaclava), used a set of chemical toe warmers, and wore an old pair of heavy ski gloves, and stayed pretty warm. The gloves worked especially well. I got two sets of them at Job Lot a couple of decades ago for $5 a pair. I used 'em mostly for cross country and snow shoveling. The first pair finally wore out a couple of years ago, so the current pair is still practically new. They are a little stiff, but not nearly as stiff as wearing leather gloves over my cycling gloves is.

The toe warmers sort of worked. They do an excellent job of warming the bottom of the toes, but the warmth doesn't travel far from the pad, and the tops of my toes still got a little chilly. This may again be more the fault of the shoes I wear than anything else.

Of course, none of this stuff addresses the other problem with cycling in cold weather, that the bike doesn't work as well either. Metal contracts as the temperature goes down, the effect of which shows up mostly in the rear derailleur. Links slip, and the bike occasionally shifts to higher gears on its own. Very annoying, and not much I can do about it.

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Later I went to a Christmas party a friend's house, where I spent most of the night playing Wii pool and Wii bowling, and Wii golf. I was exhausted by the end of the evening, but it was great fun.

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I got spam yesterday from someone claiming to be named Beets Piccirilli, which is, like, the best spammer name ever.
dxmachina: (Warp Speed!)
Friday night I went out with friends to see another friend in a production of "The Kitchen Witches" in Willimantic, CT. The play was fun, a light, attractive entertainment about two cooking show divas forced by circumstance to share a single community access TV show. Friend Dale was terrific in her part as one of the divas. This was her first non-musical (although she and her co-star did sing the cooking show jingle), and her first starring role. Very exciting.

The ride to and from was interesting. For those unfamiliar with New England geography, Willimantic is in the middle of frelling nowhere, and although there's a decent road heading out that way from, say, Providence, you just cain't get there from down here. So it was fifty miles of back roads each way. It actually wasn't a bad ride. The roads were in good shape, and there was very little traffic, owing no doubt to the fact that there's absolutely nothing of interest between here and there. Did you no that there's a hamlet in Rhode Island named Rice City. I didn't until I drove through it, and I've lived in these parts for more than thirty years. It even has a wikipedia entry.

I also drove through Scotland, which is a town in Connecticut. It's just east of Westminster and Canterbury, and a bit north of Baltic, Hanover, Versailles, and Lisbon. Props to those early Connecticutians and their mad European geography skilz. Gave the ride sort of a euro flair, ya know.
dxmachina: (Bike 03)
It didn't rain today. It didn't even threaten to rain today. Apart from some typical August humidity, it was a very lovely day. I could get used to this.

Went to a barbeque/pool party at Dale's this afternoon. There was lots of good food. And since I was already up in that general direction, afterwards I headed over to the Blackstone Valley bike path and did eighteen miles on the three-speed. Am now very tired.
dxmachina: (Books 02)
Proven Guilty — Jim Butcher

I'm still getting used to the written version of Harry Dresden as opposed to the TV version. Just as enjoyable as the TV series, but different. This is the second Dresden novel I've read, and he's so much more of an action hero in these. What with riding dinosaur skeletons into battle and playing Dresden the Barbarian in ice castles in the Never Never. This time it's a group of demons that manifest as the evil characters from horror movies. Good stuff.

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Weekend

Mar. 9th, 2008 09:29 pm
dxmachina: (Dawn)
Lousy weather but decent weekend. It rained like crazy yesterday. I drove out to the bike shop to pick up the Univega, and it wasn't ready of course. I suspect it's not so much that bike shop guy forgot, but rather that he wanted to have someone to talk to for awhile besides the cat. So I hung around, skritched the cat's ears, and talked tiki music while BSG worked on the bike. Besides the tuneup, the bike needed some repairs to one of the shifters, and the wheels needed some straightening.

Last night was game night at A's with the vball crew. Good fun. We played Taboo. A lives just up the street from where the ex and I used to live. (A, in fact, was our paper girl when we lived there. That was a really strange thing to figure out when we became friends years and years later.) So I drove by the house to see how it's holding up. It's just so strange to see how the trees I planted thirty years ago have grown. There was a for sale sign on the house next door to it, so I looked it up. $329,900?!? It was $35,900 when Deb and I looked at it in '77. We liked the house next door because it was somewhat bigger (gambrel roof vs cape), and had a far better floor plan (and it was only $4K more). You can see one of the problems in that the chimney (and fireplace) is where the staircases ought to be. The staircases run lengthwise between the living room and the first floor bedroom, making the latter really narrow. The staircases in our house were crosswise opposite the front door, like in my current house. The other problem with it is that the woman who wound up as our neighbor didn't take care of the house at all for however long she owned it, and that would worry me. A lot of the things wrong with my current house are the result of severe neglect. She was an eccentric and tiny librarian. Nice lady, but I just don't think she realized what taking care of a house involved. She never cut the grass. She'd bought a manual mower, but she wasn't strong enough to push it. A couple of times a summer the guy on the other side of her and I would mow the lawn for her. Occasionally she come by to borrow a tool, and I go over and help her fix something. I think she finally gave it up around the same time Deb moved back to NJ.

(One other weird thing about the old neighborhood is that all the house numbers were changed when RI finally put in its 911 system. My house used to be #33. Now it's #38. Even and odd switched sides of the street. I have no idea why, but there must be some sort of system. Very strange.)

Today was sunny, but cold and really windy. I would've loved to go for a ride, but it wouldn't have been much fun. I did take a walk around the yard. Some daffodil leaves have appeared in the south side bulb bed, and there are a couple of small sprouts starting to poke up here and there in the beds I planted last fall. They don't get the sun reflecting down on them from the house, so they'e a bit behind. I also did some work down in the basement on my current project. I should be able to finish that next weekend.

Wii Not?

Jan. 6th, 2008 07:40 am
dxmachina: (Computers 02)
Spent way too much time at work yesterday, but the evening was good. Went to a Twelfth Eleventh Night party, ate way too much food, and then got my first look at the Wii. Boy, did I ever want one for about five minutes there. Mostly it was fun just watching the kids play it, but some of us adults got to play a quick game of golf on it later on, and it was just... neat. The controller is interesting.

Still, I don't want to spend money on new gadgets just now. Plus, in order to play it to full effect, you really need a largish TV screen, something else I don't have just yet. I also suspect the experience is lessened when it's played without a group of people surrounding you. Le sigh. Perhaps I should just reinstall Tiger Woods 99 on my PC.
dxmachina: (Charlie Brown)
Went bowling last night with the volleyball crew. It was simultaneously fun, annoying, and frustrating. Fun because I don't see these folks much anymore. Annoying because they over-invited, so we had thirty people crammed onto three (later four) lanes. It took an hour and a half for the eight adults on our lane to get through one game (and we'd only rented the lane for 2 hours). Plus, I was the one who fronted the money for our lane, and only four of the others ever paid me back. And frustrating because I suck at bowling. B and S's 10 year-old daughter had better scores than I did. She bowls as if she's a curler. Perhaps I should've considered trying it that way. The problem is the same for me at every bowling alley I've ever been to. My hands are to big for the finger holes on any ball smaller than about fourteen pounds. They're just too heavy for me. It's like back when I played softball, I always used the lightest bat available because I couldn't swing heavier bats well. I'd rather bowl with an eight pound ball. One time I tried throwing one of the eight pounders like a bocce ball, but my hands aren't quite that big. Feh.

---
In other news, I ran into the woman who was captain of the soccer team back when I started coaching it. I hadn't seen her in, like, twenty years. She was with her son. who'd she'd been pregnant with last time I saw her. He's taller than I am now. It was fun telling him what a remarkable athlete his mom had been back then, because I'm not sure he believed it.
dxmachina: (Hammer)
Managed to find Thanksgiving alright. It was where I was expecting it to be, and there was turkey and trimmings aplenty. Played Disney Monopoly with cutie patootie niece and sooper genius nephew. I lost. (We used different rules. First one to land on the property gets it and marks it with a house, no rents or payments are made, and the game ends when all the properties are gone. It's sort of like how the government hands out oil and mineral leases on public lands.)

I stayed at Al's, and we spent Friday visiting hobby shops. Then we stopped in at a Home Depot. The reason we were there was to look for a bulb drill, since Al claims it's the best thing ever for planting bulbs. They didn't have one, but we wandered over to the tool section, and I mentioned that I'd been looking at an air compressor combo kit that came with a pneumatic brad nailer, a finish nailer, and a stapler. It's been on sale a couple weeks ago for $249, but now the price was back up to $299, plus I didn't really need the stapler, so I'd passed on it. Just as I was finishing the story, we saw the very same compressor in a kit with just the two nailers on sale for $199 (regularly $279). Before you could say "pneumatic finish nailer" I was swiping my credit card through the scanner in the check out line.

Compressors are useful things, and I've been wanting a decent one for awhile. You can inflate bike tires with them, and power pneumatic tools. You can also hook them up to an air brush, an essential tool for a plastic modeler. Anyway, today I'll head up to the local Depot to get some nails for the guns, then head down in the basement to nail some scrapwood together. (eta: Didn't read the fine print. The kit includes 1000 nails. For each nailer! Woo hoo!)

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