Weekend

Aug. 8th, 2005 11:20 am
dxmachina: (Hobbes)
Saturday, I started doing some electrical work, to wit, replacing the incredibly ugly chandelier in my office with something more suitable. Ran into a snag, and didn't finish. Also, there are other lighting decisions to make. More on this in another post.

Yesterday, I took a ride up to Salem for a BBQ at [livejournal.com profile] noradeirdre and Tom W's new place. Most of the Somervillains were there, along with [livejournal.com profile] casperflea and fambly, and JZ. It was a lovely afternoon, with good food, good conversation, and toddler watching. Casper is one of the most adorable toddlers ever.

The Dodgers took two of three from the Pirates. Eh.

My Bad...

Jul. 31st, 2005 09:49 pm
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
It's my fault the Dodgers lost today. I hadn't been paying attention to the game, but long about dinner time I decided to check the score at MLB.com. Lo and behold it was 5-5, with the Dodgers up in the bottom of the ninth, so I immediately clicked on the audio feed to listen. LA had the bases loaded, one out, and Saenz up. Unfortunately, the very first thing I heard on the feed was Charley Steiner describing the double play Saenz hit into to end the inning. Bother. Brazoban got into a jam in the tenth, but pitched out, while the Dodgers did nothing in the botton half, despite using their last remaining position player (Phillips) to pinch hit for the pitcher. Tracy then did something very strange. Phillips was the last out, but rather than put the pitcher back in his spot, Tracy kept Phillips in the #9 slot, and put the pitcher in Robles's # 2 spot, i.e., the pitcher would be due up second in the bottom of the eleventh, with no available pinch hitters. I can only attribute this to a brain spasm.

Anyway, while I continued to listen, Alvarez gave up a double and two walks to load the bases, after which I turned it off figuring maybe their luck would change. Nope. The Cards scored two, and Tracy had to send pitcher Jeff Weaver in to pinch hit for the pitcher in the bottom of the inning. Jeez. We had a chance to take a series from the best team in the National League, and I blew it for them by tuning in at the exact wrong moment. Worse, the Padres lost again, so now the DBacks are in first place. Every team in the NK West is under .500.

No big trades this year. There were some minor deals, but the Dodgers didn't do anything. Probably just as well, although after Lowe's miserable performance yesterday (another three homers allowed), I was hoping DePo could fob him off somewhere.

I spent part of today helping vee and her flatmate move to new quarters, which involved some heavy lifting down labyrinthine staircases, avoiding attacks by the dust bunnies of doom whilst doing said lifting, sliding sofas down ladders, and eating pizza. It was fun.
dxmachina: (Hangover)
Busy, busy weekend, with very large chunks of it spent in the car. Friday it was off to Chez Virago-Bug for a birthday party. The drive up to Cambridge was odd in that there was no traffic of any consequence, despite it being a Friday evening. This was true even at the Worst Intersection Ever, i.e., the intersection right next to the Doubletree, where the Mass Pike off-ramps funnel into Cambridge Street at Soldier's Field Road. On any normal Friday, it takes two, three, or even four cycles to get through this intersection, and traffic coming off the Pike is backed up to the toll booths. This particular evening, however, I was able to drive right up to the stop line at the intersection. I was amazed. All this generosity from the traffic gods also meant that I was way early for once, so I stopped at Whole Foods and bought some beer, figuring the time spent would help bring the timeline back into balance. The party was fun. There was chocolate cake, and Stargate watching, and math, so it was all good.

Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] veejane drove down from Somerville, and then the two of us headed down 95 to NY to meet up with my friend, Tom, and his daughter for Dodgers-Mets at Shea. Again, the traffic gods were with us (or else they were just too busy gumming up 95 north, which was pretty much a mess from Greenwich to New London), and we made it to Shea way early.

(For those of you who've followed the driving adventures of DX and Vee over the years, we did have a minor adventure this time around when I missed the exit For Shea, mostly because the exit sign said "Northern Blvd." instead of "Exit Here for Shea Stadium, Dummy," like I'm pretty sure it used to. It turned out to be no big deal. We were able to get turned around in the proper direction at LaGuardia, after which we were able to get to where we wanted to go with only one mildly dubious manueuver, and what's the point of having a pick-up truck if you can't do a little off-road driving once in awhile, anyway?)

We parked at the World's Fair Marina, which is not only a nice spot for a picnic, but is also free. (Which is odd, because both Tom and I recalled paying to park there in the past. Now I'm wondering if it was just some guy standing at the entrance of the parking lot collecting money from folks driving in and pocketing the proceeds. I mean, all it would take is a poster board sign that said "Parking - $10," and a means to prop it up, and you could make a mint.) It was a lovely day, sunny and hot, but there was a stiff breeze coming off the water that cooled things down considerably, so we sat and picnicked until Tom and S. arrived.

The less said about the game, the better, at least from the Dodgers' point of view. It was an ugly affair. The Dodgers jumped ahead early on a fly ball that popped out of Carlos Beltran's glove (and yet was scored as a hit), then Gio Carrara gave the game back to the Mets late on a four-pitch walk followed by a triple. Sanchez coughed up an insurance run to finish off any hopes the Dodgers had of coming back. Feh. Fortunately, the company was good, and the weather was perfect, so despite my team losing, it was still great fun. (I will also note that while my team lost, Tom's won, so at least one of us was happy about the outcome.)

The post-game traffic around the stadium was nasty, but once we were across the Whitestone it was clear sailing all the way back to Rhody, so it was a nice trip back. Plus, there was ice cream, which automatically cranks any nice trip up to great. All in all a great time.

Yesterday I was up in Taunton visiting with my BiL and nephew as they started a tour of college campuses. The nephew did great on his SATs (including an 800 on the history subject test). He's interested in history and possibly archaeology. We cruised around the Wheaton campus a bit, then had some dinner. They'll be headed up to Boston for the next couple of nights, so I recommended a couple of places to eat (Redbones, the Border Cafe). Afterwards, I went home and crashed pretty hard.

Also, you know what's great? getting into your car and discovering someone left a mostly full bag on M&Ms in the center console. Mmmmm, M&Ms.

Weekend

Feb. 28th, 2005 03:22 pm
dxmachina: (Snow)
I finished rereading Fred Pohl's Gateway, which I'd started while on the way Boskone last weekend. More behind the event horizon )

Most of the rest of the weekend was sucked up by an old computer game (circa 1994) called the Superhero League of Hoboken, a very silly DOS graphic adventure game written by Steve Meretzky, one of the Infocom guys, probably best know for adapting The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy into a text adventure. Keeping the world safe for life, liberty, and the pursuit of bananas )

There was also a quick trip up to Cambridge for dinner and margaritas at the Border Cafe with the Somervillains. As usual, it was a very good time.

I hear tell there's more snow on the way. Imagine that...
dxmachina: (Default)
I feel fuzzy. I seem to have finally come down with a cold, although it seems a mild one. I'm a little congested, but not extremely so. My throat is scratchy, but not sore. That kind of thing. However, it has left me lethargic to the extreme. I want a nap. Now. Gonna be a long day.

It's cold and snowy outside. The snow is very fine, and falling lightly. It's been falling for several hours, and we still have barely a half inch or so on the ground.

The weekend was fun, social, and productive. [livejournal.com profile] noisedesign was in town, so I drove (twice) to Somerville for the first time in what seems like ages. Friday was Trivial Pursuit night at Chez Virago-Bug. We played both my old circa 1987 edition, plus my shiny new Pop Culture DVD edition. Saturday we did the Somerville Arts Council's Illuminations Tour, a tour of many very over decorated houses in the city. Jon B was our tour guide, and the whole thing was great fun. Before and after we all hung out at [livejournal.com profile] theodosia's house, scarfing down snacks, and playing with the evil robo-rat.

Yesterday was spent finishing two projects, doing laundry, and coming down with the aforementioned cold. I also watched some of the extras on the RotKEE. Today I need to do some shopping. Still lots of presents to get.

The Hub

Sep. 15th, 2002 08:25 am
dxmachina: (Default)
It's odd. In the time I'd lived in New England prior to becoming a Buffista, I'd been to Boston or its immediate surrounds only a handful of times. In fact, it's so few, that I can remember each and every trip - three times as a tourist (once with Deb, once with Alexander and Elizabeth, once with Nadine), two trade shows, six games at Fenway, three NERCST softball tournaments (two at MIT, one at Harvard), and one party. That's a grand total of fifteen visits to Boston in twenty-six years. Contrast that with the fact that I've been to New Orleans seven times since 1988. I was actually kind of proud of my record for avoiding the so-called hub of the universe.

And then I became a Buffista. Since last September, when I first met the Somervillains, I've been to Cambridge or Somerville nine times, and there's a good chance I'll get up there three more times over the next nine days. I'm getting to the point where I know enough street names and landmarks that I can find my way around without resorting to Mapquest. Scary, and yet not, because I enjoy hanging out with this group of people so much that I'd travel to much more scary and distant places to see them. Like Newark.

Yeah, Boston is ninety minutes away (seventy-five if I hustle and the traffic gods are with me), but it's not that much different than when I lived in NJ, and my friends were scattered all around the state, or even now with Z in Manchester or Crick in Fall River. Plus, the truck makes it a much more enjoyable ride.

Friday night I went up for Nora's birthday. I should've RSVP'd, but Ellen's message mentioned a tapas bar, and I figured that we'd just be drinking at the bar, so I didn't. My bad. Turns out it was a sit down restaurant, and we wound up with seven of us squeezed around a table meant for four. They couldn't accomodate us with a larger table so we finished our drinks, then went over to another bar that had enough stools for all of us to sit on, and had really excellent cheeseburgers. So it worked out. This week, Suela will be in town Thursday night, then the Firefly premiere is schedules for Friday night at Connie's. The following Tuesday is the Buffy premiere, although that will likely be in Worcester at Victor's. Note to self - almost time to get the oil changed in the truck.
dxmachina: (Default)
My lawn mower appears to be pining for the fjords. There's no reason for this to be so. It's only two years old. A bit of history. I've never has good luck with lawn mowers, but I've always attributed this to the fact that I've always been stuck with ancient, second-hand pieces of crap. I got my current lawn mower brand new when I bought the house, and it's never given me a lick of trouble before today.

Today was the first time I've mowed the lawn in well over a month, due to the fact that until last week, it hadn't rained here since the middle of July. I did manage to water the lawn once, the day before the town declared a total ban on watering, but with the exception of a few very hardy weeds, nothing in my front or side yards has needed cutting since July. The back is a little better, because it gets some shade during the day, and the leach field is out there.

Anyway, the mower started right up, and I cut the front yard with no problems, because there was really nothing to cut, even though I had dropped the blade down an inch. Side yard was no problem either, except near the very back, where the grass was shaded, and pretty thick. The machine struggled with this, and the engine was knocking, which I don't recall ever hearing it do before. Just as I finished the side, and began to work on the back yard, the pinging got worse, so I started taking thinner passes, trying to ease the strain. Still got some pinging, but it seemed to be cutting okay. Suddenly, the engine back-fired then quit, and I couldn't restart it.

After several tries, I got out the tools, and pulled the spark plug out. I had only installed this plug in April, so it should still be good. It looked okay, but I sanded the contacts anyway, reinstalled it, and tried again. No joy. Took a ride to Wal-Mart, and got a new plug, some starter fluid, and some gas conditioner. My logic was that a new plug couldn't hurt, spraying starter fluid into the cylinder always got the old Toro working, and if there was water in the tank due to the long layoff, the conditioner would help.

So I took out the old plug, squirted some ether into the spark plug hole, and installed the new plug. Yanked on the rope, and the engine wheezed like an eighty year old asthmatic. Checked the air filter, which I'd also replaced last April, and it was full of grass and dirt. Blew all that out, and even tried starting the engine without the filter. Again, nothing. Reinstalled the filter. Went on-line and looked at a small engine trouble-shooting site. They said check the fuel, so I did. There was plenty of gas in the tank, and when you take out the spark plug right after trying to start the engine, you can smell gas on the plug, so the fuel system seems okay. Next they said check the air, but I had already cleaned the filter, and it didn't start without the filter, so that's okay. Most of the rest of the stuff they said to check involves taking the engine apart, so that's when I gave up. I'll try and snag the mower from work tomorrow to finish the job.

Was up in Somerville on Saturday, helping some of the other Buffistas help Emily move to her new apartment. The new digs are nice, and so was the company, so it was fun.
dxmachina: (Default)
Heh, got an e-mail from TT asking me to come back there and pay them for what I can get for free from WX. No thanks. Everyone I want to interact with is on WX. It's not about the money - I've already kicked in some cash towards the Phoenix Board. It's just that it still looks like Salon and TT are on the verge of going under, and that this is a desperation move.

It's been a year since TT went pay, and most of us left. It doesn't appear that they've ever recovered from that. The wind whistles through the ghost town that is their TV folder. Ah, well...

Actually, my paid time for LJ just ended the other day. So far, I haven't noticed anything remarkably different about being a free user versus a paid user.

In a similar vein, I happened to take a look at WX forum that was created by another group of TT exiles, which for a while last year was neck and neck with the Buffistas for most active forum on WX. I was never especially interested in joining this forum, but I lurked there once in a while out of curiosity, and I got to recognize some of the names. It had still been a vibrant community the last time I looked, a couple of months ago, but they seem to have hit a rough patch lately. Apparently there was a disagreement between two of the participants, which escalated as people took sides. A lot of people stopped posting and left. Reading some of the posts, it appears that some of this had been building for awhile. Kind of sad.

The cold seems to be gone, actually, I felt pretty good last night. I still have a bit of a ticklish throat, but that seems a bit better, too. Good thing, got a busy weekend planned. Tomorrow it's up early to head down to Jersey to register the truck, see the parental units, down to Old Bridge for dinner with Alex and Durrah, and then home. Get up early on Saturday, head up to North Attleboro to help Victor and Lea move to Worcester. Sunday evening, if I'm still alive, there's a cook out at Jon's in Somerville. Yeesh! Should be fun, though.
dxmachina: (Default)
Blecch! I have a cold. Woke up on Sunday not feeling my best, but I attributed that to not having gotten to bed until 4 a.m. Turns out I was wrong. I'm sniffling, sneezing, coughing... oh, and there's mucous. Took a nap, and went to bed early (tenish). Felt worse Monday morning, suffered through work. Bad day, because LD was home with a kidney stone, and I had to do his stuff, too, but at least the cold is better than having a kidney stone. Took some nyquil and went to bed at nine, and woke this morning feeling even worse. Made it through today, but I still feel half dead.

OTOH, had a great time Saturday night. Took a ride up to Somerville, watched some DVDs (Simpson S2, FotR extras disk), and then went off to watch meteors (the Perseids) with Nutty, Connie, and Jon. We wound up at Walden Pond, which was neat. Had the place pretty much to ourselves, and it's dark enough for good viewing. Good company, too, with much snarkage. Of course we didn't get back to Jon's until 2:30, so I didn't get home until 4. Still it was a great time. I just wish I didn't get sick immediately afterwards
dxmachina: (Default)
Had much fun playing the Buffy board game yesterday with the Somervillains. Good triumphed over evil twice, first the Master, then the Mayor. Of course, I wasn't very sure it'd go that way at first, at least for me:

Jon (walks in door): Dibs on Oz. Hi Tom.

Nutty (walks in door): I'm evil!

Everyone else: We know. Oh, you mean in the game.

Jen's DH: I'll be Willow.

Emily: I'm Buffy.

Me (Notices that Xander is the only character left. Conventional wisdom has it that Xander always dies first.): Uh oh...

Jon: Now everybody gets to draw a helpful card.

Emily!Buffy (Draws a big, honkin' sword): I fight with weapons.

Jen's DH!Willow (Draws a helpful spell): Cool!

Jon!Oz: (Draws a #2 pencil, useful for staking vampires): Cool!

Nutty!Master (Draws an evil card): Mwahahahaha!

Me!Xander (Draws S2!Jonathan as an ally): I am so dead...


But in the end, Xander survived, due to my sound strategy of identifying evil and running away from it. I then passed the torch to Victor for the second game, and spent the rest of the evening as a snarky spectator. The game is very much fun, especially when margaritas are involved.

Had done two laps on the bike path earlier in the day. The weather was nice, with a good breeze. Lots of speed bumps about - people just standing in place blocking the lane, one pair who thought they were supposed to ride in the left lane, a pair of runners running abreast who refused to run in line when there was traffic coming. Feh. Get out of the frellin' way...

Didn't feel all that well today, so I didn't ride. Even wound up taking a nap around 5 p.m., which means, of course, that I'm still groggy. Did do some errands and stuff, so it wasn't a complete waste of a day. Also worked on the quote database a bit, but still haven't got it right yet. I think I know what I need to do, but don't have the energy to invest in it right now.
dxmachina: (Default)
Today would've been my twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. Damn I'm old...

Managed to finish most of the quotation application today. Still a couple of thing to finish this weekend, but it should be working for some testing on Monday. Access is driving me crazy. Somethings that are conceptually so simple are just so difficult to actually implement. For example, the first part of the application has the operator input the recipe components for the standard in a subform, one component at a time. I wanted the subform to automatically number each component record sequentially, starting at one. The autonumber won't work for this because it just picks up where it left of the last time. There is a published workaround to do this in a report, but not in a form. I tried setting up a field in the subform to count the component records for the standard, and then set the default value for the new record to the count plus one. For God knows what reason, it numbered the first component '1', the second component '1', and incremented after that. If you stopped and clicked on an earlier record, it reset the counter to the correct position, but then did the same behavior from that point. After a good day of banging my head against it, trying various permutations of the code with different triggering events, I finally tried counting the records in the table using DCount(), rather than using Count() in the form. That worked. I have no clue as to why the other ways didn't. It really ought to be simpler than that, ya know?

New Farscape tonight. Aeryn's back. Damn it was good.

No ride today, but I'll hit the bike path in the morning before I head up to Somerville to play games with the Somervillains. Should be a good day. Now to sleep.
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)
Had fun in Somerville last night. Went up to Ellen's to watch Farscape with the Buffistas. We watched Bottle Rocket first, which was quirky and fun. Farscape was the first part of a two-parter, and ended, as Tom W noted, with a cliff-hanger involving an actual cliff. Was fun helping to explain some of the back story to the people who were new to the show.

Driving up only took about ninety minutes. There was minimal traffic, and I'm starting to get a feel for where things are in Somerville. Going home was a nightmare. They were doing some kind of work on the I-93 bridge, so they took four lanes of traffic down to a single lane. Then they did it again right after the tunnel. Yeesh! No doubt these are the same swinging geniuses who are doing the planning on the Quonset project. Took two+ hours to get home in the middle of the frelling night. Plus the muffler blew out just as I was leaving Ellen's. Very, very loud.

Went to Midas first thing this morning, and had a new muffler put in, along with an oil change. $222. They also had to weld the pipe immediately behind the catalytic converters to close a crack. It's a temporary fix, but it's better than paying six hundred bucks to replace the converters on a car with 170,000 miles. Much incentive now to get serious about looking for a new vehicle. I really do need something new before going to Canada in August.

It was kind of a crappy day out. It stopped raining around noon, but it never did clear up. After I got back from Midas, I did some clean-up type stuff in the basement. Cleaned the chain saw, then installed a stationary tool wheel set on the woodworking bench, so I can push the bench to wherever I need it and then set it in place, instead of having to haul it about. Very handy. Tomorrow I need to get the piles of stuff off of the table saw, so I can start working on the bookcases.

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