Monthly Archives: November 2013

A relaxing and in-the-city weekend… AKA “I moved 2000lbs of wood this weekend!”

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Weekend of 16-Nov & 17 Nov

 

Many weekends, I want to adventure and hike and climb and party.  But sometimes a week is slow and stressful, and I need a bit of a breather.  This is one of those weekends.  At least mostly.

Saturday, 16-Nov-13

  • Adventures in moving wood pellets!
    • Since we have a Pellet stove at my house in Cambridge, pellets needed to be acquired before the winter hit.  So i looked into it, and found that you can’t really buy single bags of pellets… anywhere, actually.  Instead, they sell by the ton.  Well… fuck it!  A ton is 50 bags, we’ll probably use that over the winter.  Right?  I hope so, because I ordered it up and set it to be delivered early on Saturday.
    • I was up and moving early, though… not so much before the delivery was set to be… BI didn’t hear anyone deliver anything, so I was a bit concerned that they’d just skipped over me.  I’d assumed that they would call…  But nope, I walk downstairs and the pallet of pellets is sitting and waiting for me
    • Bring Ringo outside to hang out with me while I re-stack them all indoors… it’s a long and heavy process, but it’s a pretty nice day out, so I’m actually happy starting the day this way
    • It’s a full ton… literally 50 bags weighing 40lbs each.  2000lbs.  And I moved them all in less than an hour.  With a short break in the middle to play with Ringo of course, but still.  <flexes>
  • After starting the morning with some lumberjackery (yes this counts!  Shut up!) I headed inside to relax and make up an excellent (and for once, not so simple) breakfast for myself. Ground Beef, cheese, and jam omlette, with bacon and tomatoes and apple slices on the side.  With, of course, some “Thunder Mountain” espresso.  Yum!
  • Spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon relaxing.  I was originally going to put the wrap on the windows to keep the heat in, but it was an unbelievably amazing day!  So instead of shuttering down the house, I opened up all the windows and let it breathe in the last breaths of autumn while Ringo and I went for a long walk
  • Yeah, some video games happened too
  • Around 3:00 Chirag shows up, and we hang out for a bit before rolling out to Jordan’s Furniture, where we get a late lunch and check out furniture and such.  Woo much fun.
  • First party of the night is Liz’s International potluck!
    • Just a fairly standard-issue dinner party, with the disclaimer that all potluck dishes should be international.  Chirag made Bean Salad, and I cooked up some Matzos Ball soup.  And as a note?  My soup got rather amazingly rave reviews.  Mmmhmm.  Grandma’s Recipe for the win, every time.
    • hang out and gnosh on tons of small bits, people are quite good cooks!
    • We play a few hands of Cards against Humanity… but to be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy the game.  So after a bit Chirag and I head out for the next party… 
  • Pack up the soup all careful-like into the car.
  • And now… Second party of the night!  Katies Disney Drinking night!
    • Daniel’s sister has a fair number of parties based around a very specific theme: drinking booze and watching Disney cartoons.
    • It’s a kind of simple premise, but it works very well: the rules being that if you’re not singing along to the songs, you have to be drinking along to the songs that people are singing.  Leads to lots of horridly off-key voices, and even more completely beverages when people don’t know all the words.
    • Enjoy ourselves,  have Gin & Tonics, and watch movies!  Beauty and the Beast, along with Tangled.  I hadn’t seen Tangled before, but it was actually quite good.
  • Drop off Chirag, then driving home carefully so as not to spill the soup!

Sunday, 17-Nov-13

  • No rush, up slowly.
  • Link up with Chirag, and grab brunch in Davis, at a place called Foundry.  AMAZING!
  • Another long walk with Ringo, since Lizzie isn’t home yet, she’s at a wedding with friends.  Maybe that’s why the weather is so perfect…
  • Head out to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Manchester!
    • Fun drive, without much difficulty
    • We park, and go out on a mission to Dunking Donuts.  However, due to Chirag’s “unique” method of reading a map, “one block up that way” turns into “a mile or so up the street in the wrong direction, so that we barely make it back to the arena in time”
    • The show itself!  Amazing and jaw-dropping! The music itself dealt with slightly low sound quality, most likely due to it being in an arena instead of somewhere with actual acoustics, but the show itself was amazing!  The lights and Pyrotechnics were top-notch, and the band members were obviously having a great time.
    • The stage itself was a prop too – different tiers, and sections would move around and swing out over the crowd, or raise up with neat lights underneath.
    • I definitely recognized most of the lights as things I’d worked on at Color Kinetics.  Kind of neat.
    • Damn though… symphonies are loud.  I think I got my hearing back two or three days later…
  • Drive home, no problems there.  Nice and simple actually
  • Nachos for dinner, then League with Das ‘Rag before bed.

Punching Cars

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Tuesday, 12-Nov-13

 

This story makes me think of this song… so play it while you read!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GemKqzILV4w

 

If you’re not a cyclist, also take a second to look at…. THIS!

 

SF-Bicycle-Coalition-Right-Turn

 

OK!  Story time!

 

I punched a car tonight.

I don’t get to do this often, and when I do it generally puts me in a quite good mood.

You see – I was biking, and I got cut off.  This isn’t really a unique occurance, but this is one situation that frustrates me to excess – it’s simply a driver making a mistake and not looking where they’re going… but it’s indicative that drivers don’t even think to check for cyclists before turning.

Now, lest this turn into some rant (which it shouldn’t), here’s the fun and simple story of how my night could have been horrid, but instead was fun and excellent:

I was biking in the bike lane, and the car directly to my left decided to make a right turn.  Fine, in most situations.  But not when there’s a bike that you have to drive THROUGH in order to turn.

So I cranked the brakes, did a bit of a dodge, and gave her side-panel a good left jab.  Couldn’t get a full swing in, unfortunately, but the impact made enough of a noise that the driver knew that something wasn’t right.  Then she looked back, and saw a cyclist.  Then, her face dropped.

In mass, hitting a cyclist is a bad thing.  I mean… it’s always a bad thing, but here the law is on our side.  Example: if you door a cyclist?  Not only can the cyclist bring a civil lawsuit against you, but you are also going to be charged with criminal assault, just the same as if you’d smashed a pedestrian with your door.

So this driver knew she had done something wrong.  But she was frozen to the wheel, looking forward and trying to not look at me.

So I did a bit of a “come on now…” hand gesture, indicating she should roll the window down.  She did, and we had a short conversation that basically amounted to “Don’t cut me off!”  “Sorry!  I didn’t see you!”  “Obviously!  Just be more careful next time”.

And then we went our separate ways.

Adventures in Connecticut

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08-Nov-13 through 10-Nov-13

 

Friday, 08-Nov-13

  • Leave work a bit late, drive down to CT
  • Grab some snacks in Waltham, but from there just cut and drive the whole way to Danbury
  • Park, Link up with Big T, and grab some dinner at a solid Mexican place down the street
  • Hit up a bar nearby for reunion drinks.  Yep.  That’s Jack Daniels.
  • Hang out, play some Halo 3 and Lego Lord of the Rings, then watch an episode of Avatar: Legend of Korra
  • Fall asleep like a log

Saturday, 09-Nov-13

  • Up early, head out to Dreads apt. with Amy
  • Grab some food first
  • Good drive… if a bit frigid
    • Hang out at the Salon, actually arrive early for once
    • Hair gets done; it’s horridly painful, as usual… but it looks good!
  • Roll out, and drive in a random direction
    • Hey, “Hazardsville” looks cool.  Let’s go there
    • Hike a bit, read a bit, wander a bit
    • As I’m driving, my hands are freezing and I wish I had driving gloves… cue a Harley Dealership, so I stop in and buy a pair of motorcycle gloves.  They fit perfect, and keep my hands nice and toasty in the cold.
  • Drive around a bit more, and head into Hartford for a walk along the river
    • Try to find a place to park and/or a coffee shop.
    • Nope, cannot find either.  Literally.  No coffee shops in Hartford.
    • No parking spots either it seems…
    • Finally head to the pub that we usually go to when we go to the convention – Steam Brew pub
    • Great Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Bacon and YUM
  • Head out, and meet up with T at his place again
    • Grab some snacks, watch an episode of Avatar, and chill
  • Head out to his friends place for a party
    • Drinks, chill, toasts, the usual small house party
    • They’re fun, and it’s a cool vibe in the house
    • Drink maybe a bit too much… I admit to nothing
  • Head back, watch an episode and play Lord of the Rings, then crash

Sunday, 10-Nov-13

  • Wake up slowly and painfully
  • Grab some advil
  • Grab some Breakfast!
    • First place isn’t actually a diner
    • So we wander
    • Second place?  Totally a diner.  And they have GOOD food
    • And good coffee
    • <drool>
  • Chill for a bit, relaxing and shooting the breeze.  Watch another episode or two, and generally just sit back and enjoy our hangovers
  • Roll out to a state park nearby, called Bear Mountain Reservation
    • Do a bit of walking around… one could even call it hiking
    • Fields, lakes, and abandoned buildings.  Fun times.
    • Shoot the breeze and somehow it’s like we’re back in college, wandering around on a Sunday after a big dorm party
  • Finish up the trail circuit and head back
  • Roll out to my Aunt Tovah’s house up in Roxbury, CT.  It’s about 30min of excellent top-down driving away.
    • On the way I notice a Volvo following me… and an arm waving out the window!  It’s my Aunt Tovah behind me, which is excellent because she stops me from taking a wrong turn, heh.
    • Visit with Tov for a while, hanging out and feeding the goats, seeing the gardens, etc…
    • Relax and chat for a few hours, until it’s late enough that I really should be rolling out
  • Start in on the final leg of the trip
    • Take a break in Terrysville, at a small deli called Sunrise Deli.  For some reason I’d passed a ton of other small places, but this one called to me…For good reason – the guy behind the counter was chill, and we shot the shit for near-on 45min as he made up a sandwich for me.
    • Fun guy, talked about traveling in Europe, Polish food, etc…
    • Why Polish food?  Well – this deli stocked fresh Pierogi.  Of which I purchased more than a few.  Apple Bacon Ranch.  Yes.  Excellent
    • Eat the sandwich in the car as I read a bit more… it’s amazing!
  • Drop the top down again and roll out!
  • Put the top up before I get onto the highway, and hit the long and boring road home
  • At one point the computer systems in the car crap out, and it takes a hard stop-and-reset to bring them back online again.  Otherwise, an uneventful drive.