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.
dxmachina: (Bike 03)
Some posts by casperflea and ww1614 about kids and bicycles a while back got me reminiscing about my first bike, and then about the other bicycles I've owned and ridden. I started writing this not long after, expecting it to be just a short little post with a few lines about each bike, but as I researched the bikes in question, mostly trying to track down representative photos, I kept wandering off on tangents. Old memories were dredged up, and the stories got longer. I wasn't even sure what makes some of the earlier bikes were when I started, leading to a lot of very random searching early on as I pored over web sites full of forgotten bicycle lore. Forgotten by me, anyway. In the case of my first bike, it wasn't until I stumbled across a reference to AMF on a vintage bike board that the memory finally jogged loose of the box in the attic with the AMF logo on it.

I've owned eleven bicycles over the years. I currently have three, although two were bought in the last five months, and one of those was as a result of researching this post. One of the tangents mentioned above was discovering that some of the images I found were attached to eBay auctions. I wound up buying a bike identical to one I used to own, and was sorely tempted to bid on a couple more. For purposes of easy reference I've given some of the bikes alliterative names, but back when I was riding them, I usually just called them "my bike."

The Red Roadmaster )

The Blue Bombers )

The Black Beauty )

Carrier Landings... )

Four down, seven to go. As mentioned above, I wandered off on all sorts of tangents while writing this. The vintage three-speed tangent brought home how good a bike I'd had back in high school. Turns out those bicycles were made in Austria by Steyr-Daimler-Puch, and are still well thought of. Armed with that knowledge, the eBay tangent brought me into the possession of one of those bikes, along with a 1966 Fall/Winter Sears catalog and an autographed Ray Sadecki rookie card. I malign him a bit above, but Sadecki actually wasn't that bad a ballplayer. It's just that in 1963 it seemed like every other pack of baseball cards I bought had his picture in it. Still, that quirk of fate planted him firmly in my consciousness for all time, and truth be told, I really like the picture on Topps used on the 1960 version of his card, sort of a young Noah Bennett. Or perhaps Wally Cox.

Next time, the ten-speeds.
dxmachina: (Hangover)
Saturday was the wedding of my oldest friend's daughter, and it was very nice. It was at Rutgers, the service in the chapel, and the reception at one of the dining halls. I was kind of surprised that Rutgers had such an elaborate chapel on campus, being a state school and all, but then I remembered how old the school is. Turns out it was founded as a religious school. You'd think that after all this time they might have installed air conditioning in the building, but no.

The dining hall turned out way better than expected. If I hadn't known it was a cafeteria, I wouldn't have guessed. I did sort of wonder why the wedding was held there, since both bride and groom are pushing thirty. Turns out the groom works at Rutgers.

---
Friends and Brothers... )
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] snurri, with a theme as I wait for the Braves-Dodgers game to start.

Random softball remembrances )
dxmachina: (Bike)
It turned out to be quite a nice weekend. Saturday's heat disappeared overnight, and yesterday was terrific. Not that I did anything much apart from house cleaning. Today was sort of in between. warm and humid, but the sun spent a lot of time behind clouds. I took the bike over to the base and rode all over it, especially along the abandoned roads and trails at the north end. It was sort of like the Memorial Days I used to spend hiking through the woods up at the farm. I saw an enormous wild turkey. OTOH, as more of the old Navy buildings up there have been torn down and the land beneath them remediated, it's becoming less interesting in terms of the sense of history of the place. I did find ways around a couple of the "Keep Out" fences, so that added a bit to the spice of the ride. I was dead tired at the end. 16+ miles, about half of that over less than smooth terrain.

Once I got home I made a late lunch, then showered and took a nap. Now I'm achy, and have just a hint of a sunburn, so my skin is all tingly (forearms and face, anyway).

---
I've been lucky. I have no one specific to remember on Memorial Day. Nobody in my family, and none of my friends have ever died in a war. Even so, I make it a point to visit the Wall whenever I'm in DC, just to reflect on how lucky I was (a draft lottery number of 333). There are seven people with my last name memorialized there, which is an awfully sobering thought.
dxmachina: (Opus 03)
It was bright and sunny this morning, so I decided to grab the camera, and go photograph a few lighthouses. Whadda ya mean, the battery's dead? )
dxmachina: (Marvin01)
One thing I did over vacation was buy stuff. I won two eBay auctions, and bought a bunch of things at Newegg.com. The biggest purchase was an Olympus E-500 digital SLR camera that is just neat. Alex bought one of these over the summer, and I have been envious ever since I saw it back in June. The price was down to $700 for a package with two lenses (14–45 mm and 40–150 mm zooms) and a 4 GB compact flash card. I just couldn't resist its siren call anymore.

It arrived last Monday after sitting in the UPS distribution center in Warwick over the entire Thanksgiving holiday (explain to me again why Black Friday is not a "business day"). The weather, naturally, was gray and wet all week, so despite hauling the camera along with me into work every day, there were no opportunities for picture taking. (I do have to note that the temperatures were unseasonably mild all week. I went for a walk around 10 p.m. Thursday night, and it was still in the sixties.) I did fiddle with the controls a bit. One thing that I liked right off the bat is that it seemed lighter than my old Minolta. I weighed the bodies, and they're almost exactly the same weight (although both are lighter than my original SRT-101), but the optics are noticeably lighter on the Olympus.

(My history with Olympus equipment goes back to when I was in grad school, when my boss was the keeper of the department's Olympus OM-1. The OM-1 was a terrific little camera, but sadly, most of its features were never needed as it was used mostly for preparing white on black slides for talks (in those pre-Powerpoint days). I was the one who did most of that work for the department, since I was the guy who had the keys to the darkroom. (I was doing X-ray crystallography in my research, which meant I was constantly swimming in stop bath and fixer.) I'd also been developing my own color slides for years, so I didn't mind the extra load. I enjoyed it; the going rate was a six-pack of beer per job. Anyway, the OM-1 often made me wistfully think of unloading all my Minolta gear, and replacing it with Olympus. Now, at last...)

Yesterday, dawn finally brought a brightly shining sun with nary a cloud in the sky. I was up around 5:30 a.m. anyway (I'd fallen asleep really early), so I decided to go take some pictures. I drove down to Beavertail Light, on the southern tip of Conanicut Island, which sits in the middle of the entrance to Narragansett Bay. Lovely day, except that it was a bit colder than it had been. Mid-forties, plus the wind was whipping off the ocean, so it was really quite nippy out. Still, the air was crystal clear, making it an excellent day for photography. I took a bunch of photos there, then drove to Fort Getty to take a couple of shots of Dutch Island Light in the West Passage, and then went cross island to Fort Wetherill to take some shots across the East Passage of Castle Hill Light and Newport. Finally, I went off in search of Conanicut Light, the long discontinued light on the north end of the island, but I couldn't find it. I knew that it had been converted to a private home long ago, but I didn't really remember what it looked like, or that the glass dome is no longer on it. After I got home, I tried to pinpoint its exact location on Google Maps for a future expedition, and discovered that I had turned the truck around in its driveway. D'oh! It's a sobering thing to discover that you are Watson instead of Holmes.

After that, I gave up, and decided to play with some of the other stuff I bought, discussion of which will have to wait until the next entry.

172,199.8

Nov. 21st, 2006 03:26 pm
dxmachina: (Adios)
I justed watched them haul away my old Subaru. After years of procrastinating, I finally called the auto salvage yard to come get it. I damn near cried when they came. I drove that car for eleven and a half years, and loved it almost as much as my old Volkwagen Bus. Near the end, it was rusting away, and the electrical system was going. I only drove it once after I bought my truck. I meant to keep it a while longer as a back up, but I let it go too long between starts, and the next time I tried, the engine didn't catch. For the next four years it just sat in the driveway, acting as an occasional storage facility for me, and as an occasional home for yellowjackets.

I sat in it for a little while this morning, just remembering. One of the singular moments in my life happened in that car, and a lot of lesser moments, as well. I drove to Maine, and DC, and all sorts of places in between. It carried me to a zillion soccer and softball games. Looking back, I should've taken the $100 the dealer offered me for it in trade. I let it sit there in the driveway so long that it gradually sank about two inches into the macadam. Now there are four tire-shaped holes that I need to figure out how to patch.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
From the Providence Journal's website (emphasis mine.):

The state medical examiner’s office announced this morning that a former Cranston man was murdered in 1964 and did not drown himself, as the office initially ruled after the man’s body was found in Narragansett Bay decades ago.

Louis James DeFusco was 38 years old when he disappeared on Aug. 6, 1964, according to a statement issued this morning by Chief Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson.

His body was recovered 12 days later, floating in the bay with a ship’s anchor tied around his legs.

* * *
The original autopsy in 1964 identified a bullet wound in the man’s mouth, but failed to observe the gunshot wound at the back of his head. The autopsy only documented nonlethal injuries to his teeth.

* * *
This summer, Gilson's office conducted that autopsy and discovered a previously overlooked gunshot wound to the back of DeFusco’s head.


My first real teaching gig was as a sabbatical replacement for the Chairman of the Chem Dept. at CCRI (back when it was still called RIJC, 1977-78). The Chairman spent his sabbatical in the Medical Examiner's office, and he would stop by occasionally to regale us with tales of morgue hijinks. One of them concerned a mob hit that was then in the news. A local thug had been found dead in a parked car at the airport with several gunshot wounds to the back of his head. Just for fun, one of the guys in the ME's office made up a fake report for the guy, listing the the six or so wounds as self-inflicted. Funny guy.
dxmachina: (Koufax)
Spahn & Sain

First we'll use Spahn
then we'll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

-- Gerald V. Hern


Sain and BoutonBack in the day, when my best friend Richie and I used to play All Star Baseball under the maple tree in my backyard, one or the other of us would almost always pick Johnny Sain to pitch for our team. To be honest, I knew nothing about Sain as a pitcher. He'd retired when I was two. What I did know, based on his ASB disk, was that he'd been a heck of a hitter for a pitcher. Each player in ASB was represented by a disk that fitted over a spinner. You spun, and the outcome of the at bat depended on which numbered arc the spinner ended up in. (If it was on a line, we called "foul ball" and spun again.) The size of the arcs were based upon the players' actual stats. Sain didn't have much power (homers were "1"), but he hit a ton of singles ("7" and "13"). Plus, he hardly ever struck out ("10"). You really couldn't ask much more from a pitcher in a game in which pitching had absolutely no effect on the outcome.

When I got older, I read Ball Four, in which Jim Bouton sang Sain's praises as a pitching coach. (We had Bouton in ASB, too, but he hardly ever got in. I mean, look at all those frelling 10's.) Everyone who worked with him seemed to think he was the best pitching coach in the game. Leo Mazzone, probably the best pitching coach in baseball today, was a pupil.

Johnny Sain passed away Tuesday at 89. He was a terrific pitcher, a terrific coach, and a pretty decent hitter, too. Rest in peace.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Took a ride up to Pawtucket yesterday to watch the PawSox play Richmond with [livejournal.com profile] veejane. It was the first real nice day we've had in a while, although the breeze made it a little chilly where we were sitting in the shade. It seems like a lot of people were downright eager to get out into the sunlight, because when I got there about an hour early, the main parking lot was already full up. I had to park at the junior high across the street.

Vee got caught in traffic and missed most of the first inning, so I was sitting in the midst of a small group of empty seats, scoring the game when the woman sitting a couple of seats down the row asked "Are you a scout?" Now, the color guard had been a group of Boy Scouts and adult leaders, so all I could think of was that she had somehow confused my tan shirt with a scout leader's uniform, so I gave her a puzzled look, and said "no." She then said, "Oh, you're just scoring the game for fun?" and I finally got it. She'd thought I was a major league scout. Oh, the rumors I could've started.

Where's Choi? )

---
I got back home in time to witness a ninth inning rally by the Dodgers to beat Colorado. Rookie sensation Matt Kemp had two homers. Meanwhile, the Mets were beating the Diamondbacks like a rented python, 15-2. The upshot of this is that the Dodgers are finally alone in first place. Whoot!

Who's on first... and second... and short... )

---
The other thing of note from yesterday's major league games were three very bizarre plays.

The Player Vanishes... )

Yankee shocker! Damon runs into another player... )

Triple play... )

---
I have to mention here that I once played in a softball game in which my team turned not one, but two triple plays. I was involved in both, which were more conventional in nature (line drives caught with the runners going) than the play yesterday. It was the only time I ever played in a game where there was a triple play. Despite our fielding legerdemain, we lost the game 22-21 in extra innings.
dxmachina: (Marvin01)
The first time I ever saw the Jamestown Bridge was in the summer of '75. Kaboom! )
 
dxmachina: (Calvin)
There is a moment in every boy's life when he discovers a couple of awful truths: anticipation is often better than having, and advertising copy isn't always totally truthful. For Ralphie Parker it was when he found out that the mysterious secret message he was now able to decode with his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring was an advertisement for Ovaltine. For me, it was the Christmas I got my Digi-Comp 1.

Everybody wants to rule the world... )
dxmachina: (Opus)
You're supposed bold the books you have read, italicise the books you might read, and cross out the books you probably won't read. I didn't do that, because I use different categories.

Cut for length... )
dxmachina: (Roadkill)
I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out?

You say you've got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We are doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is, brother, you'll have to wait

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead
What in the world you thinking of
Laughing in the face of love
What on earth you tryin' to do
It's up to you, yeah you

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one


It was twenty-five years ago today.
dxmachina: (Hobbes)
Man, was it ever a lovely day. It was bright and sunny, and got up to seventy around mid-afternoon, so I had the windows and doors open to let in some fresh air. I did spend much of the day inside working on getting the new machine up and running (I'm using the new machine to type this, so it worked), but I did get out on my bike for a while this afternoon. I did nine miles on the bike path, along with most of the rest of South County. It was crowded, but there no real speed bumps. It really was a lovely day to ride.

Tonight I heard fireworks off in the distance, so someone was celebrating the day. We used to always have a party back when I was in college, and I rekindled the tradition during my last couple of years in grad school. We burned Reagan and Tip O'Neill in effigy at one. Those were the good old days...

All Dead...

Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:46 pm
dxmachina: (Opus)
Miracle Max: Now, all dead...well, with all dead, there's usually only one thing that you can do.

Inigo: What's that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.


More progress:

Make list.
Reroute heating system flow.
• Replace porch lights.
• Move ceiling light fixtures around in back room, kitchen, and office.
Clean out Subaru, and make arrangements to have it hauled away.
Put away air conditioners for winter.
• Get new tires for the truck.
• Rip out the carpet in the living room.
• Head down to Jersey to see assorted crippled family members.
• Ride bike as much as possible.
• Play a round of golf.

I went through the Subaru's clothes today. It's been a couple of years since I've even tried to lie to myself that the old crate was just mostly dead. Yeah, I suppose I could've gotten it a new battery, and turned the engine over, but really, it was already on it's last legs when I got the truck, and it's been three years since I even last tried to start it. I do miss it sometimes. I drove it for almost twelve years, 175,000 miles worth. It was a good car for a very long time. It took me to Maine and DC and Boston and down the trails on my brothers' farm. I still miss the four-wheel drive. I hauled soccer gear and soccer players all over the northeast in it, and hauled myself and teammates to softball games from New Haven to Hanover, and from Burlington to Orono. I drove it through a blinding snowstorm to get to my grandmother's funeral with only a back massager plugged into the lighter for heat to defrost the windshield. I even fell in love in that car, for all the good it's done me.

Now it just sits there, a storage shed on wheels that have become semi-embedded in the tarmac of my driveway. It a place where I can stash lawn fertilizer, and where yellow-jackets can build their homes, but not much else. Tomorrow I'll call someone to haul it away. The final tally - $2.06 and 26 Garden State Parkway toll tokens.

---
Speaking of dead, I just finished watching the last Dodger game of the season, a loss to the Padres. Wait til next year...
dxmachina: (Hobbes)
The mower took all of five minutes to set up, and then I was off and mowing. It was a lovely evening, so I didn't mind at all. I viewed it as taking a nice walk, even if it is only just back and forth across the yard again and again and again. Just a little louder than I'd prefer for such things.

As I was following the mower around the yard, it occurred to me that I closed on my house five years ago today. As I continued, it also occurred to me how serendipitous the whole process was. Serendipity rules... )

Man, I started writing this early in the morning, but the combination of the sunshine baking my office at work and a lousy night of sleep last night, and I was barely able to keep my eyes open all afternoon. I was a complete lump.
dxmachina: (Default)
I may just have done my last Easter dinner with my family. It has nothing to do with my family, and everything to do with the fact that I don't get Easter Monday off, which means I'm always stuck having to drive 200+ miles after dinner through traffic that seems to get worse every time I make the trip.

It'd been a couple of years since I last went down to NJ for Easter. Last year I didn't go because it was two days after my accident, and I still was in a lot of pain. This year, though, the day dawned bright and sunny, and I was healthy. I just went down for the day, and the ride down was fine. Traffic was light, and I made excellent time. Dinner was at Sis #2's house, and the parentals and five of the seven sibs were there. Got to play with assorted nieces and nephews, including newest!niece, who gave her mom one heck of a puzzled look when she was handed her over to a virtual stranger (me) to hold. Sis made prime rib with roasted potatoes and green beans, and it was all delicious. A good bit of the conversation was about some of my late aunt's idiosyncrasies, and how Sis #1 (who is the executor) keeps finding unclaimed accounts and such of hers.
Sis #1: It's frustrating. There were a bunch of uncashed paychecks.

Me: Well, yeah. She's been dead.

I also got to regale my nieces and nephews with fun uses for siblings who are too young to understand what's going on. A tale of my misspent youth )

The trip home was a pain. It was bad enough that traffic headed to the Tappan Zee was backed up to the Garden State Parkway. I half expected that. It was the jam from Old Lyme all the way to Mystic, a stretch of road that's usually deserted after 10 p.m. that really made it nasty. Feh. I wonder if Heath ever made a teleporter kit?

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