dxmachina: (Snow02)
...and other thoughts about the blizzard of '13.

It's another snowy weekend, although I don't think there's as much on the ground as they were predicting (6"). At least there's still power. I lost power in last weekend's blizzard around 9:30 Friday night. I didn't come back until around noon Sunday, so around 39 hours without heat or other conveniences. It wasn't so bad Friday night, as the house is well insulated and there was still a lot of residual heat in the house. It was getting near bedtime anyway, so I reported the outage to National Grid, and then stuck myself under the blankets around 10:30 and went to sleep.

Staying warm... )

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Pushing snow )

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In other neighborhood news, whilst doing my second shoveling of the end of my driveway, I finally had a conversation with my across the street neighbor. She's lived across from me, on and off, for 9 years, so it was probably about time. I also had my first chat with the guy who lives next door to her, so it was a very social blizzard.

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The power outage bugs me more and more. I'd been lucky in previous big storms, not losing power when many others did. What is bugging me so much is that during the great blizzard of '78, which was a much worse storm, far fewer people lost power. This time around, more than 190,000 homes were without, and remember, Rhody's population ain't all that big. There's been storm after storm after storm that just clobber the infrastructure in dimensions that seem to far exceed what they used to. I wonder how much of that is due to the utilities cutting back on tree trimming in the name of profit. Blech.

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Speaking of natural disasters, I am so very glad that the meteor didn't hit Russia, say, thirty or forty years ago. That could have been bad, in the crossing the streams sense.

Just Awful

Jan. 9th, 2011 12:34 pm
dxmachina: (Default)
From Jon Weisman's Dodger Thoughts:

One of the victims of the tragic shooting in Arizona on Saturday was the daughter of Dodger scout John Green and granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.

Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green was among six people killed, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, and 12 others wounded, including Arizona congressperson Gabrielle Giffords, on Saturday in a mass shooting in a Tucson mall.

Christina Taylor Green was born the day of the September 11 tragedy in 2001 and was featured in a book, "Faces of Hope," on children who shared that birthday. According to reports, she had just been elected to the student council in her elementary school and had been invited to meet Giffords' at her community gathering as a result. Her father told the Arizona Daily Star that she had become interested in politics from a young age. She also played second base on her Little League baseball team, the paper said.


Just awful. A life bookended by tragedy.

Oh, Joy...

Apr. 29th, 2009 11:01 pm
dxmachina: (Calvin)
The high school in my town has been closed because a student there showed flu symptoms today after returning from a vacation in Mexico. Let the hysteria commence!
dxmachina: (Thunderbird 1)
According to a report from China’s official news agency Xinhua, “thousands of dolphins” recently prevented an attack on Chinese merchant ships by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.


http://tinyurl.com/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish
*

(Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the tinyurl tag. That belongs to Dodger Thoughts commenter Humma Kavula.)

Wildfires

Oct. 25th, 2007 04:50 pm
dxmachina: (Default)
Burning Bike

Salon had this Reuters image on their front page this afternoon. It'd be beautiful if the event surrounding it wasn't so horrible.
dxmachina: (Default)
With all due respect to certain nimrods in the House, it seems to me that the best way to support our troops would be to get them the hell out of harm's way.

Rant

Oct. 2nd, 2006 06:54 pm
dxmachina: (Default)
Ya know, I really liked the CBS Evening News when Bob Schieffer was the anchor. He was great. Things over there have gotten seriously fucked up. Tonight, Katie Couric introduced a very special "Free Speech" segment in which CBS invited the father of one of the Columbine victims to share his thoughts about today's school shooting in Pennsylvania. He immediately went on a rant blaming the shooting on legal abortion, teaching evolution, and the lack of school prayer in public schools. (Of course, he failed to mention was that the school was a private religious school and that the shooter was a 32 year-old adult.) And there are people in this country who are sitting in their chairs at home listening to this fucking moron who are thinking, "Damn right, Bubba."
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Previously in the Plentiful Vintage...

There was a very loud noise [scene one]. The earth cooled, and primitive life crawled out of the ooze onto dry land [scene two]. Shortly thereafter, folks started hitting round objects with sticks. More recently, life has day after day of sheer boredom [scene three], punctuated by moments of financial terror [scenes four and five]. Books were read [scenes six and seven]. Also, our hero's foot hurts. No, not that foot [scene eight], the other one. (No, I don't know what I did to get this one to hurt.)

And now, this week... )
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Google is by all accounts a lovely place to work, with lots of perks, including world class cuisine in their free cafeterias. The cafeterias are so good they were profiled on the food network. Now, to maintain all those lovely perks, Google has decided to screw over 100 million users.

What's Chinese for "You can make money without doing evil"?

---
I am cranky and my arm hurts. I had blood drawn at lunchtime, and I knew as soon as the tech stuck the needle in that it was gonna hurt like hell. It was no mere pin prick. She must have used one of those gigantic #5XL horse needles with the hook on the end that my father always used to warn me about when I was a kid. It's gonna leave a mark; I know it.

---
Neddy Colletti continues to add new pieces to his collection of antique catchers, this time signing Pat Borders (who will be 43 in May) to a minor league deal. The reports are that he'll be Crash Davis to the kid pitchers and catchers on The Dodgers' A team in Vero Beach as he trains to become a manager. Don't think, Meat, you can only hurt the ball club.

---
More baseball behind the curtain... )

---
Finally, yesterday the Cubs purchased the contract of Angel Pagan, a man whose name, at least, covers all the bases.
 
dxmachina: (Thunderbird 1)
I happened to flip the channel to MSNBC just moments before they broke in with the story of the Jet Blue situation last night, and spent the next two hours or so watching the plane circle Los Angeles as it burned off some six thousand gallons of fuel (at ~$4.50/gallon) before attempting an emergency landing at LAX due to a balky and badly misaligned nose gear. Apparently when they tried to raise the gear after takeoff, it a) wouldn't retract properly, and b) locked up with the wheels pointed 90° to the direction of travel. Not good.

Even when you're just showin' off... )

One other thing to note. JetBlue gives each passenger their own TV set and DirectTV. The crew didn't turn the sets off until they began their appraoch to the runway, so a good chunk of the passengers were watching the commentary while they circled around the city. Some apparently found it unnerving, and many apparently only listened to the worst-case scenarios being spouted by the anchors, and were a tad panicky. I think I would have just been glued to the set, fascinated.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
Revenge is a dish best served deep fried, or at least that's the opinion of this fellow, who discovered that Fuddruckers, one of those family burger franchises with an excessively annoying name, was hotlinking directly to a game he'd written for his website, making it appear as though the game was actually hosted on theirs. Basically, they stole his bandwidth without bothering to ask.

Anyway, the guy set up some code so that instead of the game, folks linking to it from Fuddruckers' site got a screed mentioning that the bandwidth was stolen, along with a bunch of pop-ups showing pictures of what goes on in the slaughterhouses that provide Fuddruckers' product.

Sometime overnight, the moron running Fuddruckers' site took the whole site down, replacing it with, of all things, Google's home page. That's right, if you're gonna steal some bandwidth, might as well steal it from the big boys.

---
Have been watching some of the coverage of the aftermath of Katrina, and the level of cluelessness demonstrated by Dubya and the feds just defies belief. Even that odious, GWB ass-kissing toad Tony Blankley was publicly criticizing Bush on the McLaughlin Group last night. That was immediately followed by a repeat of a NOW episode from 2002 discussing what would happen if a Katrina-sized storm hit NOLA, and questioning the massive slashing of the Corps of Engineers' budget request for upgrading the levees. Talk about an "I told you so." Very prescient reporting. The news people on the ground in the area seem to be on the verge of, if not already, losing it. CNN, especially, has been just hammering the pols. Anderson Cooper was irate the other night as he interviewed Senator Landrieu, accusing the politicians of patting each other on the back while doing nothing. Jack Cafferty somewhat ironically wondered if it was a coincidence that the politicians didn't show up for their photo ops until the supply trucks started arriving. CNN also put up this handy list of things the feds seem clueless about. (Fox News, OTOH, ran an update on the Natalee Holloway story at one point last night.) Meanwhile, George Bush was talking about how poor ol' Trent Lott lost his summer home. Really tugs on the old heart strings, ya know?

---
The Rockies hammered Weaver and the Dodgers last night. Feh.

---
Absolutely perfect day outside. Trying to decide whether to ride my bike this morning or mow the lawn. Later Vee and I are going to a charity BBQ at McCoy stadium where we will stuff ourselves with burgers and hot dogs while watching the PawSox take on Scranton.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
I finished Gaiman's American Gods a week back, and really liked it. It's sort of the book I was hoping Winter's Tale would turn out to be off Tale's early chapters. I liked Gods a lot better for a couple three reasons. First off, Gaiman doesn't fall in love with his own prose. Mark Helprin wrote a lot of beautiful prose just for the sake of writing beautiful prose. A lot of it did absolutely nothing to advance the story, which bugged the heck out of me. Second, Gaiman actually provides an ending, rather than having the book just trickle away incoherently. Finally, he actually explains what is going on, and ties up various loose ends in a satisfactory manner, something Helprin never did. Tacking on an epilogue that states "draw your own conclusions" just doesn't cut it. Anyway, if you haven't read it yet, do. I see that there's a sequel coming soon, and I'm looking forward to it.

---
I'm currently reading a couple of Wodehouse books, one a collection of early stories, the other the novel Right Ho, Jeeves. I've seen all of the Laurie and Fry Jeeves and Wooster episodes, so I'm well familiar with the goings on of the Wooster social circle, but it's fun to see them in their original form.

---
DeLowe threw a one-hit shutout through eight last night before leaving because of a blister, beating the Reds, 4-0. It was an impressive performance. It does seem that his contention that he's fixed his mechanics may be accurate. That'd be nice.

---
Best ninth inning commentary during a baseball watch & post ever:
Since Schmoll is warming up and Lowe is picking on a blister as well as sitting on the bench with his belt undone and his fly open, I would say that there will be a pitching change in the 9th.

I may need to use that as a tagline...

---
Alton Brown tried to kill me yesterday. I tried making his recipe for ribs. I have a recipe I developed over the years that is a bit like his, but I never actually wrote down any measurements for the rub, so since he has a system, I figured I'd give it a try. His system is simple 8:3:1 + 1, 8 parts brown sugar to 3 parts salt to 1 part chili powder, plus one part other spices and herbs. As I said, this is similar to my own recipe, except for the 3 parts of salt. I rarely added much salt at all, if any. It turns out 3 parts of salt is a helluva lot of salt, even if I wasn't supposed to watch my intake. I only had two of the ribs, and not only did they taste way saltier than I like, but I could just feel the jolt on my blood pressure. His brining instructions tend to produce really salty meat, too.

---
It's summertime, and once again my town's water system is comtaminated with E. Coli. This is the fourth time in five years. Fortunately, the base where I work, and my end of town have their own systems, so I don't have to boil my frelling water like the majority of the folks around here. It does affect the Dunkies where I get my coffee, though. They're using bottled. The state ordered the town to begin chlorinating that part of the system a year ago. They procrastinated until this past week, a couple of days before the contamination was found. Now, part of the problem is that the water towers involved are, like, sixty years old, but you'd think that someone in the water department would show some measure of intelligence about this. Those folks have let the system fail four times in five years. The first time could happen to anyone. Even the second, maybe. But the third and the fourth? Especially after the state ordered you to chlorinate, and you dragged your feet? Sadly, civil servants don't get fired. They get pensions and full bennies from my ever increasing taxes. Feh.

In the midst of this, there is, of course, a shortage of bottled water, exacerbated by folks who now refuse to trust any water in the town, even in the newer systems.

---
Russia’s Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered in Apartment

I have to admit, there are times I have fantasized about beating a random spammer's brains in with a rusty shovel. Yesterday I received spam with the subject line "Congratulations! I'm Hispanic!" WTF?

---
Also, it's wicked hot out, and the a/c in my office doesn't work very well.

Damn

Nov. 3rd, 2004 04:54 pm
dxmachina: (Runforit)
Went to bed early rather than listen to all the blather. When I woke up, the thing that struck me most was the electoral map. My high school history book had the electoral map for every election from John Adams on, and the thing I remember about that is that the electoral vote always seemed oddly scattered. The red states and the blue states were intermingled seemingly at random. No so much with this year's map. Read more... )

I'm trying to maintain an even strain. I am worried that the sky might fall, but I think I'd rather try to see what can be done about keeping it up there rather than running around screaming that it's falling.

Eternal yammering is the true price of freedom. -- [livejournal.com profile] veejane
dxmachina: (Default)
R.I.P. Salty Brine, who was world famous in Rhode Island.

No school, Foster-Glocester...
dxmachina: (Calvin)
Ye Gods! It's even worse than I thought. In addition to the 14 statewide referenda on the ballot, my town has an additional 9 of its own. I was a little apprehensive, because I hadn't seen any of them yet, but after doing a little research, it turns out most of them have to do with amending the town's charter to change the name of the town's "Master" plan, to its "Comprehensive" plan. Oy.

Also, it seems we're voting on removing the phrases "slum districts" and "slum clearance projects" from the charter. That's a relief, because given the fact that my house is at the very low end of the price range in this fairly affluent town, I might actually be living in what would be considered a slum around these parts. The best part is that they're separate questions, so I can vote to remove "slum districts" and keep "slum clearance projects," or vice versa. It's tempting.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
I will exercise my rights as a citizen after work. Down with fascism, up with freedom. Not that the outcome is much of a question in Rhode Island. One of the nice things about living in a non-swing state is that I haven't had to put up with a lot of propaganda ads. We're pretty much in the Democratic column all for all the national races. I haven't even seen one for the congressional race in my district. I know that one of the independent candidates in that race is running on a "Bring back prohibition" platform. Good luck with that, although it is a shame he didn't run any ads.

There were some ads in the other congressional district, where the Republican candidate, an ex-Navy SEAL, put on his wet suit and actually swam around as much of the district as he could, which since it includes Aquidneck Island (aka Rhode Island) and a bunch of coastal communities is actually quite a lot of it. He did this to prove that he actually spends time in the district, something his opponent, Patrick Kennedy, rarely does. He still doesn't have much of a shot.

I haven't been completely barraged with phone calls, either, although a goodly part of that may be because I have no answering machine. I've gotten a couple of calls from the Governor, but I hung up before he could tell me who he was supporting. I got a call from one of our senators asking me to vote for the guy who used to run the Nineteenth Hole at the municipal golf course for my rep. in the General Assembly. He and his GOP opponent have been the only ones to ring my doorbell so far.

There are fourteen statewide referenda. The big one is to decide whether to add a separation of powers amendment to the state constitution. As it stands now, the constitution is hugely vague on the matter of separation of power between the executive branch and the legislative branch, so much so that when ruling on the matter, the state Supreme Court had to cite the original colonial charter given to Roger Williams by the King of England as the controlling document. In effect, our General Assembly is a parliament, and the Speaker of the House has more power than the Governor. It's a system that breeds corruption, and there is strong support for the new amendment from everybody, except, of course, much of the Assembly.

The rest of the referenda are bond issues. One of them is for further money to modernize the road system at Quonset Point, or in other words, further screw up my commute for the next ten years. I'm conflicted about that one.
dxmachina: (Default)
The big news is that I bought a truck today, a Chevy S-10 with and extended cab. I wanted a Ranger, but there were no extended cabs left at the local Ford dealer. Things I really like about the truck - the dual cassette/CD player and the third door for the extend cab. Things I'm not crazy about - only 2wd. The 4wd version was about $8K more, just couldn't swing it. It's only got a 4 cylinder engine, good on gas, not so good on power. It's also an automatic - I'd have preferred a five speed. I get to pick it up on Monday. Now I just have to figure out how to get to Johnston to pick it up.

Talked to the folks tonight. Sis #3 and her DH have bought some land on a lake in Maine, where they plan to build a campground. So cool. Someplace to go for vacation.

Mom also sent me an article. The priest who was headmaster of the Prep when I went there was just arrested in a sex sting in Montreal. No details about why he was arrested, but it's very weird.

Farscape was very cool last night. Crichton and Chiana trapped in Stark's game, with cameos from all the Farscapers past. Plus Claudia Black in a blonde wig speaking a southern accent with a lisp.
dxmachina: (Default)
Very odd day today. Woke up to a yellow haze across the sky, the result of smoke from forest fires in Quebec. Whoa!

Friday, it finally cooled down enough to move about outside. I know... I'm a wuss. Actually, it was very nice. Took a ride in the morning, but the legs were tired, and the wind was strong, so I cut it short (8 mi). Can't imagine why my legs were so tired. Pretty much all I did on Thursday was lay around watching tv. I did finally finish putting in the brick border around the tomato patch, and then I staked up the plants. Should've done that a couple of weeks ago. After lunch, I took a ride up to Attleboro, and had a quick cup of coffee with Victor at Borders. Good fun.

While I was at Borders, I picked up a copy of the Sharpe's Waterloo DVD. Surprisingly close to the book as I remember it, although Rossendale's death wasn't quite as cruel. Anthony Denisof's Rossendale is remarkably like his S3 Wesley, probably because he uses the same accent. Took some getting used to.

Saturday was another nice day. Went to Blake and Sandi's for a barbeque, some croquet, and a lot of volleyball (seven games). Hadn't played that many games in one day since before last Thanksgiving. Very sore afterwards. Still very sore today, so no bike ride. Didn't mow the lawn either, even though I should have. Oh well.

I've been slowly working through the Lord Of the Rings since last November or so. I was halfway through the Fellowship when I saw the movie in January, and I been reading bits and pieces of it here and there ever since. I'm having trouble generating much enthusiasm for reading it. I don't recall having this much of a problem when I read it the first time, er, twenty-five years ago or so. Last night I was reading the battle of Helm's Deep, and I had to reread the chapter a couple of times to try to get a feel for the lay out and time frame of the battle. I still have only the vaguest idea of what the battlefield looks like, despite all the description Tolkien put in. I figured it was because I was tired and just wasn't getting it, but a friend posted in one of the threads that she had the same problem with that battle. I don't feel quite so dense anymore.

Thinking about it, I reminded myself that I'm constantly refering to the maps to figure out where everything is, because a lot of Tolkien's geographical descriptions are indecipherable to me. Part of it is his use of quaint (I'm trying to think of a better word - archaic isn't exactly right) terms like leagues (somewhere between 2.4 - 4.6 miles, how precise) and coombes (a valley or basin on the flank of a hill). If there's no map, I'm lost. Sigh.

And the weekend is over. Bigger sigh.
dxmachina: (Default)
I can see the thunderheads building to the northwest, so the cold front is finally approaching. 'Bout damn time. Another scorcher today, got up to 93 in the house, except for the little oasis I created in the back room. Got up at 5:30, and did 14 miles on the bike when the temperatures were still in the high seventies. Then I took some stuff to the dump, got some breakfast (sausage McMuffins w/o egg, first time in years and years), and then holed up for the day in the back room with the laptop and the remote control.

The big excitement was the shooting at LAX. Someone shot and stabbed some people at the El Al ticket counter, before being shot by El Al security. Three dead so far, including the bad guy. Israel immediately called it a terrorist act, but it's also possible it was just some guy who went postal because he was pissed at the service he was getting. It's funny how perspective changes depending on your reference. I sit horrified by the Israeli Buffistas descriptions of the shootings and bombings in Israel, but if some guy goes postal in the US I usually just shrug it off. Go figure.

I'll probably try to get to sleep early, and get up early to ride again. It's fun riding when there's almost no traffic, and the wind is calm. Before I go, though, I need to tighten the handlebar. It was slowly rotating down. Before today, I'd noticed that it seemed like the shift levers were lower than they once were, but I wasn't sure. Today, the rotation accelerated (due to the heat?) such that eventually I couldn't even see the dials on the shifters at all. I was able to pull it back where it belonged, but I need an allen wrench to tighten the set screw. I need to do that I soon as I log off.

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