dxmachina: (Computers 02)
...or how I spent my summer.

I spent a good portion of the summer teaching — the lab portion of my usual MCC assignment on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 to 10 p.m. The three days a week thing got old fast, but otherwise I had a good class and a good time. One of my students was even a minor local celebrity, a features reporter for a local TV station who is apparently chucking it all to become a (male) nurse. Of course since the local TV station is not local to where I live, I had no idea until some of the other students pointed it out. He was totally not the stereotypical self-absorbed TV personality, but was rather a keen student and very helpful to others.

As for the rest of the time, here are the highlights...

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Last weekend of June... )

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Fourth of July weekend... )

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Readercon weekend... )

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First weekend in August... )

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The funeral... )

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Summer ends for me on Tuesday, with the start of the semester at MCC. Meanwhile I have been busy preparing syllabi and lecture notes. I'm teaching my usual general chemistry course at MCC, Mondays and Wednesdays 4-7, and a lab over at CCSU on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30. The department chair at CCSU offered me a second lab section, but it conflicted with MCC, alas.

Hoping I can post this...

Nope, still down... and I lost all my tags. Bother.

And now we appear to be back.
dxmachina: (Dawn)
So... Last time I posted was back in April. The lack of posting hasn't been because I've been especially busy, or had nothing to talk about, but rather a matter of procrastination. <Shrug>

A couple of days ago I got back from a short camping trip to Watkins Glen, NY, with a small subset of my usual camping group. Fun trip for the most part. Did a couple of good hikes to see gorges and waterfalls, including the spectacular Taughannock Falls, along with a nice bike ride on the Catherine Valley Trail.The only negatives were the heavy rain the first night, and the fact that my air mattress developed a leak that got progressively worse each night, culminating in waking up at 2:30 Tuesday morning with my heavy upper body flat on the ground, my less heavy lower body boosted high in the air by the remaining inflation, and the largish meal I'd had at the BBQ joint in town trying to work its way back out through my esophagus. Yeesh!

I rearranged things to a more comfortable position and was able to get back to sleep until dawn. First thing I did was drive into town to Walmart to price a new mattress. Then I went to Dunkies for breakfast and wifi to check the forecast. They were predicting thundershowers the next day, so instead of getting a new mattress, I decided to cut my trip short by a couple of days, broke camp, and headed home. It turned out to be a good decision. I kept checking the weather radar the next day, and there were some intense cells over Watkins Glen. Now I just need to find and patch the leak. And maybe have a chat with baby!sis because her kids were the last to use the mattress.

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While in Watkins Glen, we went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the local theater for cheap*. It was great fun, but no one but me wanted to stay to watch all of the end credits, so I missed the big reveal. Not to worry, I already had heard about who it was. When I got back home I started looking up the comic book version of the team, and I'm pretty sure I must have bought some of the original series. I was a huge fan of Adam Warlock, and he was in it. Actually, knowing that now makes me disappointed that he didn't make it into the movie (although some have speculated the he, too, is part of the Collection). The only character I actually remembered was Drax, from his time with Warlock. And, of course, Thanos and Ronan. I did once buy the first issue of Nova, so I also recognized the Nova Corps, but I never was a fan.

* I should note that it had been almost nine years since the last time I was inside a movie theater. It may have been cheap by today's standards, but I don't think I paid that much in the first run theaters back in the day. One of the many reasons I haven't been in so many years.

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

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

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

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

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

Pump it up... )

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

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

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

I also took 10 swings in the slow pitch batting cage, also for like the first time in ten years. I can still hit a line drive, so there's that. I do miss playing ball.
dxmachina: (curse you)
We finally got some real winter weather over the last two weekends, mixing snow and sleet and gale force winds at various times and in various combinations. And just to rub it in, both yesterday and today the sun popped out to give a taste of spring, but only once it was too late in the day to get a ride in. Sigh.

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There was one good weekend for riding a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't take advantage because I was up in Boston for Boskone. Boskone was sort of up and down. I was able to find an reasonably interesting panel to attend most hours there, so that was good, but I didn't take a lot of notes, so I guess I didn't find much of it noteworthy. Still, there was a good panel on writing genius characters which included an observation by Charlie Stross that writing is a somewhat like doing stop-motion animation in it takes about an hour to write three minutes worth of reading material*. There were some other good panels and talks, including one by Guy Consolmagno, who works at the Vatican Observatory, on astronomers through the centuries who had the right data, but then leapt to totally wrong conclusions. Poor Schiaparelli did it on three separate occasions**.

* Or considerably longer if'n you're me.

** The most famous of these was his drawings showing the
canali on Mars, which Consolmagno attributed to the tendency of the human mind to apply an unsharp mask to blurry objects.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself there, and had a couple of great meals at Tennesee's BBQ in Braintree, so not a bad weekend.

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The good news for the week is that it looks like I won't be going to Brazil after all, which is fine by me. This may yet change, because it has already changed several times a few times over the last few weeks, and we are now on victim designated traveler #3, but at present I am considered too indispensable on my current project to go anywhere but my office for the next month or so. Meanwhile, one of our other technical people is making arrangements for the awe-inspiring robust vaccination regimen required for the trip***. So it goes.

*** Which, like the whole visa situation, was not even thought about by the higher ups until designated traveler #2 happened to mention the trip to a friend, who, in turn, then mentioned the bit about all the needles...
dxmachina: (Garrett)
The Brazil trip is postponed until at least March whilst we try to figure out the visa sitch*, and also because the tickets will be way cheaper. The visa thing is weird. My visa is one set of fees because I have a Jersey drivers license, while the vp's is another because his license is from Maine. The rules are more complicated than those of some of the old SPI wargames.

* Thank you [livejournal.com profile] ellenbs. Nobody here thought of it, nor did our travel agent mention it.

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Got the first substantial snowfall of the season over the weekend, but it's already melting pretty quick. It's been too cold to ride since the first week of January, so shoveling the fluffy stuff was good replacement exercise.

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I've been watching The Finder, mostly because it's on, rather than for any investment. I wonder how long it'll stay on the air without making some major changes, like ditching the annoying juvenile delinquent who looks too much like Zoe Carter. It's a bad sign when they're already bringing in Bones crossover guests in the second episode. OTOH, I never watched Miami Vice back in the day, but the send up was funny**.

** Remember when Mario Van Peebles was the next big thing? And what's worse... he's only four years younger than I am.

But that wasn't the best meta reference in the show. The best was when Michael Clarke Duncan told the death row inmate "If you're lying to me, I'm going to bring you back from the dead and electrocute you again." That was terrific.

Cooperstown

Feb. 6th, 2011 01:02 pm
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
Last weekend I joined my friend Tom Z on his annual pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I'd never been before, despite it being no more than 15 miles from my brothers' farm. Tom goes every year for a F2F with his online fantasy baseball buddies. Now I know how civilians feel at b.org gatherings.

We were a little worried about the weather, as snow showers were predicted, but they didn't really materialize. If fact, there was less snow on the ground in Cooperstown than in coastal Rhody, and far less that at Tom's house in central Connecticut. We were all supposed to meet up for breakfast, but the usual restaurant was closed for renovations, and we chose the wrong backup. We met up with the group at the Hall and spent most of the day there. I have pictures here.

It was fun. It's not a big museum, and there are areas where you think they might have done a better job, although a lot of that might be personal preference. You get a little bit of everything, but not a lot of depth, which I suppose is par for the course in any museum. One item actually annoyed me. In a generally well-done exhibit about baseball movies, they include a jersey Tim Robbins wore in Bull Durham. What annoys is that this is the same institution that banned Robbins from speaking at a celebration of that movie because of his political views. Jerks*.

* The museum is currently embroiled in a bit of a scandal of another sort. Sometime in the 80's some items went missing from their collection. Some of these have now turned up at some high end auction houses. An employee at one of the houses notified the HoF, and reports they seem to show no inclination of getting the artifacts that they were entrusted with back, along with apparently refusing to assist the FBI in its investigation. Meanwhile, the nY Public Library has been much more active in trying to sort out similar thefts from their collection. More information here and elsewhere on that site, which is for a forthcoming book on the subject.

Midway through the day we all had lunch, and the conversation turned into a bit of a wake. These guys are all heavy hitters in the world of fantasy baseball, and one type of game in particular**, a game that was just canceled by the company running it. I got to hear more about the politics and business aspects of running fantasy baseball competitions than I need to know, but not enough to put me off the day (my own leanings are to baseball simulation games, and the search for the perfect sim, so I know from the zeal). Apparently the company that originally ran the game was the outfit that successfully fought MLB's bogus attempt to copyright game data. They won, but used up a lot of dough in doing so, and sold out to another company. That company was sold to the conglomerate that owns the Atlanta Braves, among other things, and the corporate PTB decided to get out of fantasy baseball. So, RIP, Diamond Challenge. Or maybe not. One of the guys at lunch apparently helped launch the game back in the day, and is now trying to launch it again under new management. I hope it works out.

** Normal fantasy baseball involves drafting a team from the current list of ML players, and seeing how they perform over the course of the season. The late, lamented game (Diamond Challenge) has the same goal, but a different approach to rosters. In the usual game, once a player is drafted no one else can get him for their team, just like in real life. In the Diamond Challenge, players are assigned "salaries", and more than any team can draft any player, as long as they stay below a set salary total. Thus every team in the league can put Albert Pujols on their roster, but paying his humongous salary doesn't leave much to spend on the rest of the team.

Anyway, it was good day.

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I stumbled across Momma Mia! on TBS last night, and watched it for the first time. So, who thought it was a good idea to have Pierce Brosnan sing? Because he makes Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon sound like Pavoratti.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
I am home. I actually got home last night. Old Bridge got 2+ feet of snow, so I had to spend an hour or so digging both the truck and Alex's driveway out before I could leave. Apart from a great deal of turbulence, the ride back was only eventful at the beginning.

Getting out of Alex's development was interesting, not because the streets weren't plowed (they were in pretty good shape, all things considered), but because the light for the left turn onto Highway 9 (as in "sprung from cages on...") wasn't working. Rather than chance crossing three snow-packed southbound lanes sans signal to get to the northbound side, I turned back into the development and drove to the other end of it where there was a bridge over Rt. 9 to the northbound side. Turns out the bridge wasn't working, either. There some sort of blockage, likely an accident or stuck vehicle that I couldn't see. Fed up, I turned right onto the southbound on-ramp and drove down to the first jug handle with a working signal, turned around, and finally got myself headed in the right direction.

The condition of Rt. 9 was a disgrace—barely plowed, yet with piles of plowed snow blocking access on and off the highway, many of them with cars stuck in them. This isn't some country road. It's a major route with three lanes in each direction. Fortunately, there wasn't much traffic. It got me to the Parkway, and from there things got much better.

The plows had done a much better job on the Parkway and the Turnpike. For the most part they were dry as a bone. The Palisades Parkway was a little worse, but still easily passable. After that things were a snap.

It's an amazing thing to be able to drive the Connecticut Turnpike (aka I-95), at rush hour on a Monday with traffic levels more akin to those at midnight. Connecticut and Rhode Island got about half the snow NY/NJ got. My own street was well plowed. All that remained to do was shovel out the driveway.

I hauled the snow blower up from the basement and started in. It was wicked windy out, but I managed to clear about half of the driveway. Then disaster struck. I must not have latched the side door properly. A gust of wind ripped it right off the side of the house, smashing the adjacent light fixture as it whipped around. It stayed attached only by the chain and spring that's supposed to keep it from opening wide enough to hit the fixture. I had to detach it to keep it from doing more damage. Bother.

Discouraged and beat from all the earlier shoveling, I gave up on trying to continue snow blowing into the swirling wind in the dark, and left the truck parked on the street. I went inside for dinner and a hot shower. I finished up this morning when it was much less windy and very sunny.

So, now I need to replace the storm door and probably the flood light fixture. I'd been planning to do the storm door at some point anyway because previous experiences with wind gusts had bent it slightly out of shape, making it both drafty and difficult to open and close. OTOH, I had just replaced the flood fixture a couple three months ago. That's annoying.
dxmachina: (DX-Opus)
...thinking about the countryside and sunny days in June. Or July. Whatever.

I am actually sitting in a hotel room, a very nice efficiency at a Candlewood Suites in Burlington, MA. Only $50 per night, which is a terrific deal around these parts. The place is very new, and has all sorts of amenities included in the price, like the full kitchen in the room, free washers and dryers, and free DVDs available for checkout from the desk. The only sort of normal thing that isn't available is wireless internet, but they hand you an ethernet cable when you check in. How do they do it? The one obvious thing is that housecleaning only cleans your room once a week, which is fine with me. That's still way more often than I clean at home. If you need clean towels, you can get more at the desk. The only negative in the whole experience so far is that the desk/table is a bit too high, maybe 36" or so versus a more normal 30", which makes typing or writing a bit uncomfortable. Some one shorter than me might need to sit on a phone book to make it work.

I am here on a little two-night mini-vacation while I attend Readercon 20. I could've just driven up each day, but while it wouldn't quite cost me $50 a day in gas, it wouldn't be a lot less, and I certainly wouldn't have to deal with the bumper-to-bumper on Rt. 128 like I did Friday morning. I did this last year, too, although just for one night. That was in a much shabbier hotel in Bedford, the next town over. The main reason I stayed there was that it was within easy riding distance of the north end of the Minuteman bike path.

Friday was spent at the con, which went well into the evening, so there wasn't much in the way of side travel. Saturday morning I was up bright an early, so I drove to Bedford to get in a ride on the Minuteman path. I rode as far as Arlington Center, where the path disappears for a bit. To get to where it starts up again for the rest of the trip to Alewife one has to ride along Mass Ave through an incredibly busy intersection (being the center of town and all). Been there, done that, experienced the terror, so I decided to skip that part.

Spent more time at the con, but apart for some special evening events (a rock concert, for one) I found myself with nothing to do after 4:00. This was the point last year when I took my ride, but since that was already done, I just drove around for awhile, and shopped. Got a 1 TB portable hard drive at BJ's for $80, which is amazing to me. Stopped in at the local Barnes and
Noble, and the local Borders for awhile. I also found a place called the "Used Book Superstore," where I picked up a copy of the Landmark Books edition of The Battle of Britain to add to my small collection of other Landmark Books I had when I was a boy. I also looked at netbooks and laptops at Staples. I'm typing this on Slick, a ten year-old laptop running Win98, and it's about time for a replacement. Slick has soldiered on for more years than I had a right to expect when I bought it, but it just can't handle a lot of modern web sites.

After that it was dinner in the bar at the Outback while watching the Royals play one of the worst innings of baseball I've ever seen versus the Sawx. The shortstop chucked a ball into right field, the catcher chucked one into center, and the left fielder, after actually catching a ball, began running in to the dugout with it thinking it was the third out. But it wasn't. Oops.

We had a rainstorm last night, but it seems to have cleared out. I will look at the con schedule again, but last I looked there was nothing there to interest me this morning. I may head over to Concord to visit the bridge and take a few photos, then perhaps stop on the way home at Blackstone Valley for a ride.
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.

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Friends and Brothers... )
dxmachina: (Hangover)
Am safely in New Jersey, piggybacking on someone's wireless. It might be Al's, but then again, it might not be, because Slick is picking up at least three wireless networks, and I just selected the most likely one. He and D are still asleep, so I can't confirm.

To pick up where I left off, I got the rest of the chocolates dipped, cooling them on parchment paper this time rather than the rack. Worked way better. I got Nero installed, and a bunch of Christmas CDs burned.

The trip down was interesting, in the "may you live in interesting times" curse way. The weather was misting for a good chunk of the CT portion of the trip, but traffic was actually pretty light, what with virtually every car in America parked in a shopping mall parking lot somewhere, and I made excellent time. Usually. The major blot on the journey was the parking lot that was I-95 in New Haven. It took an hour to get from Branford to West Haven, about ten miles. First there was "Emergency Roadwork" going on in East Haven. Now, I know Connecticut is renowned for having bridges fall down, but there is no bridge where they were working, so I can't imagine what the emergency could have been. After that there was an accident in West Haven. Fortunately, it was a minor one, but it was just south of where I-95 and I-91 come together, so there were six lanes shrinking down to one. Joy. (The really nasty accident was the SUV that rolled over on a ramp near Old Lyme, although it didn't really slow traffic down much since it was off the main road. I'm surprised I didn't see more accidents, because folks were driving crazy. Twice I had folks try to enter my lane whilst I was directly beside them.)

After I escaped from New Haven, the weather turned quite nice, with bright sun and unseasonably warm temperatures. I arrived at Al's not long before dinner, so we headed out in search of food. I wound up getting a free meal because there was masking tape in my garlic mashed potatoes. I discovered this when what I initially thought was some potato skin in my forkful of mash resolutely refused to break apart when I tried to chew it. No harm done, and I might not have even mentioned it if our waiter had not arrived a minute later for the usual mid-meal "How is everything?" Free food!

Watched Hoodwinked afterwards, a movie that I'd meant to see, but never got around to. It's laugh out loud hilarious retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" from the point of view of the police investigation following the whole incident. I especially liked the private detective, a frog named Nick Flippers, who wears a William Powell-esque mustache, and investigates cases accompanied by a little terrier. I'm going to need to own a copy.

Today it's hang out for awhile, then off to baby!sis's for an early dinner (3 p.m.). I spend the night at sis #2's tonight, and then the traditional family Christmas dinner at sis #1's tomorrow, and back on the road home after that.
dxmachina: (Writing)
Luxury suites are a very nice way to watch a ball game, especially when it's cold and rainy. Pity the A's didn't win.

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I have to reiterate what everyone said about [livejournal.com profile] debg going above and beyond the call of duty this weekend. She is one fabulous host and great cook.

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After dinner at Chez Deb, six of us piled into Deb's Camry for the trip back to the hotel. Gropemobile 2 - Eclectic Boogaloo!  )
 
dxmachina: (Roadkill)
So, I went for a walk up Haight Street and back. In most cities, when one goes out for a walk, one strolls, be it in the French Quarter, or on the Mall, or even up Fifth Avenue. In San Francisco, one hikes. Oh, you can stroll in the immediate area around the hotel, where it's dead flat, but once you turn onto Haight it's time to break out the walking sticks. The street messes with you, too, because after you go up the hill, it flattens out for awhile, leading one to believe that it's smooth sailing the rest of the way. But that's not the case. There's a second hill, just as long and steep as the first.

My plan was to check out Haight-Ashbury, and maybe do a little shopping. I'd never been, and I was interested in this legendary place from my youth. Yawn. There's a Gap on one corner of Haight and Ashbury, and a Ben & Jerry's on another. I kept walking. Most of the places I might have considered going into were still closed. (This was about 10:30. I know this because I was asked four different times what time it was. Doesn't anyone in this town wear a watch?) Finally I came over a little rise, and could see Golden Gate Park ahead. I was distracted, though because just short of GGP was Amoeba Music. Woo hoo. I hadn't even known it was on Haight, but it was one of the very few places on my list of must go to while in SF. I picked up a couple of CDs (a Magnetic Fields and a Yo La Tengo). I think I actually like the one in Hollywood better. Still, very nice to stumble across it.

I headed back the other way. My feet were killing me, but I took solace in knowing it was all downhill. I stopped for lunch at a BBQ joint called Memphis Minnie's. I wasn't especially hungry, but the aroma coming out the open door as I walked past just smelled so good. I had a smoked pork sandwich and a pint of Anchor Steam. Good stuff.

I could have gotten on a bus at that point, but I kept on walking until I got back to the hotel. All this after I did 40 minutes on the stationary bike this morning. Tired now.

Back

Nov. 26th, 2005 12:30 am
dxmachina: (Default)
NY 119 is the Best. Road. Ever. It helped me survive the trip to NJ. The weather alternated between rainy and miserable, and bright and sunny. Later it got ridiculously cold. Traffic was heavy. I left 95 for the side roads in East Lyme to get around one back up, and there were two more before I even reached Old Lyme (One was an accident which fortunately was on the other side of the highway. Well, fortunate for me, not so much for the participants.) The were also the usual backups at Branford and on the approach to the Tappan Zee, where I left the highway again for the side roads. Go 119! Choose 119!

It was the smallest Thanksgiving dinner I ever remember being at, just my parents, my sister, and me. Everyone else was off with in-laws, or hunting. I'm not used to a family dinner that quiet. Spent some time showing them their houses in Google Earth, along with some other familiar places. We also looked at the air base where my dad was stationed in WWII, which is now the airport in Great Bend, KS. Afterwards, I went back to the parentals' house to take a look at my mom's computer. It's taking a good two minutes plus to run through its post routine, after which XP loads normally. I had no clue, but it's got to be a hardware issue, so I told her to take it the the repair shop and have them take a look. Then I headed on down to Alex's to crash for the night. Spent today driving around Monmouth County with Al going to various hobby shops, hitting the Sam's Club in Freehold to stock up on Yeungling and inexpensive wine, and then dinner before hitting the road late tonight. It was a great decision. There was zero traffic, and I was home in a little over three hours.
dxmachina: (Default)
Woke up to discover that the first snowfall of the season occurred last night, Not much, just enough to really slush up the roads now that it's raining. I'm heading for NJ for Thanksgiving dinner in an hour. I'm trying to decide if I should try the Tappan Zee, ar just give up and go directly up to Bear Mountain to get across the Hudson. Must consult Google Maps. Joy.

The office has defeated me for the time being, so there'll be more cleaning to be done when I get back this weekend.
dxmachina: (Default)
It is very pretty outside my office. There is fluffy white snow on the ground, and the sun is shining. It just all so sparkly. Mind, I wasn't thinking the snow was so great last night as I was driving through the storm.

The holiday is over, and I managed to enjoy most of it, which was definitely a question going in. Turns out it's very hard to be glum when you get to hold a cutie patootie niece. Warning - the Surgeon General has determined that viewing the picture within may lead to death by cuteness. )

I got an assortment of loot in addition to the electic leg o'sex, including a teensy FlatFoto digital camera. It's not a great camera (maximum res is one megapixel, the lens is tiny, and there's no way to view the photos until you download them), but it's only 3/8" thick and the length and width of a credit card, so it's very handy to carry. The picture of the niece above was taken with it, as was this picture of one of the places my brothers and I used to play.

Yesterday I went down to see Alex. We got a few light flurries mid-afternoon, so we did an early dinner so I could get on the road before the real heavy stuff started coming down. The best laid plans... )

Today I am at work, but after 5:00, I am off for the rest of the year. Woo!
dxmachina: (Default)
Started off at around 7:00 Thursday morning with a quick side trip to Allie's for coffee and donuts. Had the traditional jelly donut in the parking lot so as not to spread powdered sugar about the interior of the truck, and then hit the road with two upholstery friendly maple frosteds. Yum!. I needed the coffee badly because I only got about three hours sleep the night before. I went to bed about 11:30 or so, intending to get up at five, but wound up tossing and turning until about two. I rarely get insomnia, but the combination of the a/c giving me grief (the coils were encased in ice, so air couldn't move through them), and all the running around in the heat and humidity left me unable to drop off.

Read more... )
dxmachina: (Default)
Just about done packing for the Great White North. Canada, eh! Got a clamp on soft tonneau cover for the truck, plus a rubber mat for the bed. Didn't take long to install either, total cost about $230. I also ordered a lockable fiberglass lid which will be installed in about 4 weeks. That was $700.

Everything fits with room to spare. I was even able to hook the bike rack on the back, although it's basically attached to the tonneau, not the truck. Don't know if this trick will work with the lid. Note to self, make sure to add some extra tie downs to the bike rack to anchor it to the actual truck.

I am very beat. Been running around all day doing stuff, as well as loading the truck. It was in the high eighties, and though it wasn't as humid as earlier in the week, it was humid enough. Plus the a/c in the back room (the new one...) couldn't handle it today. It's on full bore, and it's still eighty-something in the room. Don't know why that should be, unless it's just too small for that very small room.

Oh well. Off to finish getting ready. I want to get up at 5 a.m. So it'll be early to bed for me.
dxmachina: (Default)
Speedy is up and running. Installed ULead Video Studio SE, applied all the patches, updated Direct X, and attached the camcorder. Sonuvagun, it actually worked. Well, sort of.

I took about twenty-five minutes of video at the F2F party. The first time I tried to capture the video, iteverything was going fine, but it cut out after 20 minutes, which turns out to be maximum file size. No problem. The second time, I stopped capturing at about fifteen minutes, after the end of the theremin show. The resulting avi file was over 3GB in size. Woo. The file was fine, except that it was much darker than what was showing on the camcorder monitor. The video is dark to begin with, but what was showing on the computer monitor was really dark. There were occasional sound glitches, too. Video Studio has no settings for brightness or contrast. I installed Adobe Premiere, which does have such settings, but wasn't able to figure out how to use them. To be honest, neither program is particularly user transparent, but Premiere is about as opaque as I suppose PhotoShop is to a beginner, aka, me.

No matter, I was just fooling around at this point, so I decided to try and make a VCD out of what I had, and see how that looked. Used Video Studio to convert the avi file to MPEG1, which shrank it from 3GB to about 140MB, then burned it to a CD with Nero. Stuck the disk in the Sampo. and it worked. Wow!

The quality of the image sucks, though, compared to the tape, or even the avi. The avi is dark, but there is plenty of resolution there. The mpg and resulting VCD are blotchy, and what little color there was is very washed out. OTOH, the image on the tv screen is about as bright as the original. I'm not sure what to do next. It may just be easier to distribute the video on VHS than as a VCD. I need to talk to somebody who's done this before.

Gorgeous day, but I really didn't feel all that well, so I didn't go outside at all. Did go out last night to the Camp Canada planning party at Marnie's. Had lots of fun supervising the little kids with Shane and Alka at the playground while the rest of the adults were playing volleyball. Later, we talked about the trip. Way fewer people going this year than last, only thirteen adults and four kids. The trip is going to be a long one, about eight hours to drive up, and I have nobody to share the ride with this year. Oh well, it's not like I don't drive everywhere else in the world by myself. Woulda been nice to have some company, though. Got to remember to arrange for some kind of vehicle tomorrow.

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dxmachina

February 2016

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