dxmachina: (DX-Opus)
So, after two weeks of misery, the Worst Cold Ever (™) seems to be abating at last, and I'm feeling mostly human.

---
I rode my bike yesterday. I wasn't sure I was up to it, but it was sunny and 50°, and forecast is for colder temps the rest of the weekend, so I bundled up and went. It was chilly, but I was warm enough, and the wind wasn't nasty for a change. Even better, no lungs were hacked up in the process. It was the first time I felt close to normal in two weeks. It was a short ride, 12 mi., just enough to nudge me over 1750 for the year.

---
Afterwards I took a ride up to the big box stores in Coventry to lay in my truffle making supplies. I took the back roads up to avoid the misery that is the interchange between Rt 4 and I-95. To wit, there is no interchange between 4 N and 95 S. One has to exit 4, negotiate the three traffic lights on Division Road as it passes between a shopping center and a multiplex, and then north on Rt 2 to the 95 S entrance ramp. Another of RI DOT's many hall of fame designs. I try to avoid the area as much as possible, but it was the best way to get to the big box complex off 95 from where I live.

That is, apart from Hopkins Hill Road, which runs straight down through Rhody's backwoods from Coventry to Exeter not far from my house. I often came home that way, because the return through Division Road is even worse. The only problem with the whole scheme was that when Hopkins Hill hit the Exeter town line, it turned into a dirt road.

Now, I like dirt roads. I enjoy the nostalgia of a simpler time. I think they're neat, so I don't mind occasionally driving on them. Hopkins Hill was kept up pretty well by the town, so it was bumpy, but not atrocious. But they're no fun at all in lousy weather, and they take a toll on the shocks. So I didn't use Hopkins Hill all the time.

Then, last September, they paved it. Now it is wonderful, sailing through the woods and past the farms smooth as silk. Of course it is dark as pitch at night, but that's what high beams are for.

I'll miss the dirt road a little. It was the only one I drove on with any regularity. There are a few other still in Exeter, so I can still indulge occasionally. Although there is another one I'd love for them to pave, Ten Rod Road from where it stops being Rt 102 to where it intersects with Rt 3. That would be so useful.
dxmachina: (Bike 04)
So, after doing my projects, I planned to get in some riding in, but it rained buckets Thursday and Friday, so no go. However, I did get out on Tuesday, and it was quite a ride, at least for me, anyway.

Longest. Ride. Evah!!1! )

There are some pictures from the ride here. I rode yesterday in a chilly, 20 kt wind, which wasn't a lot of fun. Today's plan is to head up to Blackstone and admire the foliage, if yesterday's wind didn't knock it all off.
dxmachina: (Thunderbird 1)
I suppose I ought to post something, if for no other reason than if I don't, it'll really screw up my first lines of each month meme in December.

The air show was this weekend, so yesterday I headed on over to Quonset to view the festivities.

Words and Pictures... )
dxmachina: (Rain02)
There's still a pretty good sized puddle downstairs, but it's a puddle, which means it has edges, which means some of the floor is no longer underwater. The pump worked as advertised, making short work of the top couple of inches of water. Unfortunately, that left another inch or so, which is where the new shop-vac came in. It's actually a 12 gallon model, not the 9 gallon one I was looking at and thought I bought. I think this was $5 more.

Works like a charm. It took about thirty seconds to fill it. Then it had to be hauled up the stairs and outside to dump it. Not fun. There had to be a better way. On my way back downstairs it hit me. The water on the floor may not be deep enough for the pump to work, but the water in the vac certainly is. Tried out my theory by filling the vac, taking off the top, plopping the pump into it, and firing it up. Fifteen seconds later about ten gallons of water was running out of the pump hose and down my driveway. Eureka!

Of course there was still a lot of water down there, so the process had to be repeated A LOT. I was able to do about three iterations of the process every five minutes, and it still took hours to get to where I am now. I didn't work straight through, though. It was just too tiring, so I did a half hour on and a half hour off to recharge. Still a lot better than carrying all that water up the stairs. And using the pump was certainly a lot faster than carrying it would've been, so go me.

Once of the first areas to emerge was the floor by the furnace and the water heater. I never lost the furnace, but the water heaters pilot had to be relit, something I'd never had to do before. It also involved moving a bunch of heavy objects so I could get at the little door at the bottom of the thing. But I got it lit the second time (the first time I dropped the match onto the still damp floor). The best thing about it was how well the tank maintained the temperature of the water. When I took my shower this morning, it was several minutes before I realized that the water wasn't quite as hot as it usually is, which was my only clue about it. Even late this afternoon I was till getting nicely warm water from the tap.

Anyway, now I am beat. I had a nice hot shower and some dinner, and now it is time seek my inner turnip. There's still more to do, but it can wait until I don't ache quite so much. The fun task for first thing tomorrow will be hauling the 6 x 9 indoor/outdoor carpet from the laundry area outside so I can hang it up to dry.

---
My attention has been down in my basement, and I rarely watch the local news anyway, but as I sat down this evening I caught some of the local news as I was flipping channels. I had no idea that a pretty good chunk of I-95 is still underwater, as is the Warwick Mall, not to mention the Warwick sewage treatment plant. The Pawtuxet River hit an all time record high yesterday. Unbelievable.

A little closer to home, when I left work Tuesday I noticed that the police had blocked one lane of Rt. 403, the very new highway into Quonset that I now use for my commute. There were a lot of quality issues with the project, and this stretch of the road runs up a long, constructed grade, so I figured that perhaps they noticed some washout, and that there were going to need to be some repairs. Well, sort of. It turns out that the road is fine, but that stretch runs alongside Amtrak's main line, and a whole bunch of mud slid off the the side of the grade and down onto the tracks, burying one of the two lines completely. They're working on it.
dxmachina: (Warp Speed!)
It was an expensive evening. Drove up to Sears and got new tires, a new battery, and an oil change. The one plus was that my five year-old Die Hard was warranted for seven, so I got $36 bucks off the new one. I hadn't had my truck serviced at Sears since I got the battery. I used to go there all the time when I had my Subaru, mostly because the Sub went through a lot tires and Sears sells Bridgestones, and also because they're open in the evening. TirePros, where I usually get the truck serviced isn't open at night. Also, no batteries, and the truck desperately needed a new one. Twice in the last week it was stone dead when I tried to start it in the morning. Fortunately I picked up a portable jump start battery last year, and it paid off big time this week.

The biggest difference between going to Sears for service now as opposed to five years ago is that you used to be able to while away the waiting by wandering through the RI Mall. These days, though, the mall is a ghost town. Other than Sears, only a couple of storefronts remain occupied, and none of those are the usual mall chains that used to inhabit the place. The only place that was at all crowded wasn't even a store, but the local office of the motor vehicle registry. This isn't the fault of the economy, either. This particular mall has been withering on the vine for several years. There were only a couple of more stores open two years ago. It's as though the owner has been deliberately driving out his tenants.
dxmachina: (Bike)
From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
When the dawn begins to crack.
It's all part of my autumn almanac.
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow,
So I sweep them in my sack.
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.
— Ray Davies


AAA showed up about five minutes after I posted, and I was out and about in no time. Went to Sears looking to burn a gift card I got last Christmas, but couldn't find anything I really needed to have. At least, nothing that I could buy with the gift card.

Sears is near the Cranston bike path, so I took the opportunity to take a ride. Not my favorite path, but it was a nice day. A cold front had moved through overnight, but it wasn't as chilly as predicted. Good chunks of the path are tree lined, and since we're hitting peak foliage time around these parts, it was very pretty. The only negative was when some of the local fauna started yelling insults at me from out of a car window near Lowes. I have no idea what prompted it.

I also drove over and did the Coventry portion of the path (RI DOT still hasn't connected the two properly), and even a little bit of the trestle trail. Twenty-four miles on the day, breaking 1500 for the year.

Since it was such a lovely afternoon when I finished riding, and since I was already out in the boonies, I decided to drive through the woods and look at the leaves. I started by heading up to Rice City, just to see what was there. I never heard the name until I drove through there a couple of weeks ago, and it was dark then, so I did see much. Turns out there is neither rice nor a city. Just some houses and farms. There's not even so much as a filling station.

I drove a bit further west to the CT border looking for Riconn airport, a small, private field right on the border, but it's not visible from the road. Then I headed south along the border, through Greene and Hopkins Hollow. It was a very nice ride. The roads are in very good shape, and since they don't go anywhere, I was usually the only vehicle in sight. The leaves were colorful. I only wish I'd brought my camera. Maybe another ride is in order. (Side note — gas prices dropped fifty-five cents a gallon this week. That's kind of stunning, even if it's still pretty damn expensive.)
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: (Books 02)
It took me a couple of chapters to get comfortable in Halting State, by Charles Stross. The book is told using second person narrative, and it took awhile to get used to it. (Well, that and because the first character the reader takes on both speaks and thinks in Scottish.) The device makes perfect sense, since the book is about the investigation of a crime that takes place in a virtual world, so just as the investigators have to take on avatars to investigate the crime, the reader in turn takes on the investigators as avatars.

Accountants and dragons and orcs, oh, my... )

---
Gem of the Atlantic... )
dxmachina: (Crusader02)
There's a strip mall a few miles down Rt. 2 from me in Exeter. It was only built three or four years ago, one of the newish sort where there are clusters of buildings surrounding convoluted parking lots, all masquerading as some sort of town center. Exeter has no town center of its own, so perhaps the developers are hoping that this will step into the void. If so, it's an odd choice of location, because although Rt. 2 is a main road, it's also very much a country road at this point. Not many houses or even nearby developments. The Agway is just a mile further south, as is Allen's Seed.

If only there was a Chinese restaurant here... )
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: (Dandelions)
At lunch I sat in the truck, parked in the usual place down by the airport. Not much going on there today. It's clear and sunny, but it's also cold and very blustery (enough so that the NW wind was rocking the truck), so the general aviation pilots seem to have taken the day off.

As I sat there reading, I kept noticing little flashes of... something in my peripheral vision, so I finally put the book down, and started looking around to see what it was. There was nothing moving on the runways, nor were there any boats on the bay beyond. Finally I saw it. It was the waves being driven by the wind up onto the rocks of Hope Island, a little piece of land out about a mile and a half out in the bay. From where I sat, you could see these little geysers of white spray erupting every few seconds all along the dark brown of the shoreline. Pretty neat. Given that I could see them from a mile and a half away, I imagine it must be quite spectacular seen from the island itself, but I doubt anyone is out there to see.

---
I am further amused to learn that the small pile of rocks just off the shore of Hope is named Despair Island.
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: (Marvin01)
The first time I ever saw the Jamestown Bridge was in the summer of '75. Kaboom! )
 

Turf Tech

Aug. 29th, 2005 01:44 pm
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
When worlds collide (and really only interesting if you lived for fourteen years in a house surrounded by a turf farm), a story about the local turf farm that's been providing the turf used at Fenway Park for the last thirty years, and why the recent resodding of the outfield following the Rolling Stones' concerts there required turf from New Jersey. (Bugmenot: projo@dodgeit.com/bugmenot)

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