Hole in the Wall
digimind
thwack
Today while I was at work our basement walk-out door became a hole in the wall. But that's ok... the foundation was built up in its place and the above-grade portion is boarded up for now. Eventually it will have an egress window installed (per code) and the stairs outside will be filled in. All part of the plan to fix the poor design that led to our recent flooding issues.

Also on the agenda is a new roof. No date set for that work to start yet.

Ah, home ownership.

In other news, I went for a run outside today for the first time in like... ever. Jamie had mapped out a 5K course around our neighborhood, so I ran that because she had the treadmill tied up tonight. But also, I wanted to see if I'm ready to run outside yet because the Airport 5K is this weekend and I'm thinking about signing up. (Jamie already is.) Anyway, I ran it in about 36 minutes, but that includes walking around the house for a minute at the end to check out the mason's work.

suck
digimind
thwack
I decided the flooding downstairs wasn't going to evaporate on its own fast enough, so last night I was up 'til 12:40 with the shop vac, sucking water out of the carpet. (Jamie said I was vacuuming for like... 8 hours.) It worked a lot better than I expected though; I must have dumped at least 5 gallons overall.

But now the whole house smells like ass.

At least I got a good workout, moving the exercise bike, treadmill, chair and piano so I could vacuum under them.

boom
digimind
thwack
Crazy thunderstorms last night... Constant lightning for an hour or more, one must've struck within 200 ft. Rain was heavy too, flooding through our basement door from the inadequately-drained outdoor stairwell. Who engineereed that, anyway?

I love a good storm, but I wish it coudld've passed through earlier in the day instead of waking us up at 2AM, kicking off our power long enough to reset clocks and PCs, and staying noisy for another 2 hours so I couldn't fall back asleep.

Christmas 2010
digimind
thwack
Today was Christmas with my family at my brother's house.



From my brother out near Saratoga, NY, I got a "Peppermint Pig", apparently some old tradition from there.

From my parents, I got this cute little tree ornament.. tree... ornament....

From my sister, I got a bonsai tree. Looks like it needs a bit of work. I don't think it's in very good hands. :) It even came with a book, "Bonsai 101 Essential Tips"... I read the whole thing, but it leaves a lot to the imagination, of which I apparently have none. A lot of it apparently relies on basic gardening knowledge, too. Again, not me.

We also got a whole bunch of food: 2 bottles of wine, 1 jar of Texas salsa, 1 jar of homemade salsa, corn chips, 1 jar of homemade grape jelly, and a bag of assorted fudge, cookies and peppermint bark.

Friday was Christmas at Jamie's sister's house. Her parents got me a multi-ratchet wrench that looks like a phone, and her sister got me a $25 gift card to Regal Cinemas.

From there, Jamie, her parents and I met up at my parents' for traditional lasagna dinner before going to evening mass. Back at our house, I let her open her gift from me a few hours early: an Amazon Kindle 3G.

Jamie's gift to me should be shipped to me at work Monday: some parts for me to rebuild my PC. I ordered the main guts of it myself, and that should arrive Tuesday.

Cat Farewell
digimind
thwack
After months of consideration, Jamie and I decided to take Tobey and Lina back to Lollypop Farm today, with a $150 donation. We hope they'll be adopted together into a new family who can give them the love and attention they need.

This morning at around 8 AM was the last I saw them, as I gave them both a goodbye kiss on the head before I left for work.


Best Sig Ever
digimind
thwack
"Bad analogies are like waxing a monkey with a rainbow."

From CountBrass @ Slashdot

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
digimind
thwack
3 more photos


We were there.  :)

The crowd was huge and tightly packed...  Going anywhere required weaving through people like red blood cells trying to pass through capillaries, so once we found a spot with no smokers around us (seriously, people?) and a somewhat decent view of a video screen, we stood in that spot the whole time.

Here's a 360° panorama from our location:

(This was well before noon, so it wasn't fully packed yet... You can still see some grass!)

The rally opened with a few too many songs by "The Roots", then finally things started happening.  Of course you can't attract a crowd of hundreds of thousands and not let the boys from MythBusters have a little fun.  So Adam and Jamie go on stage and tried some experiments with the crowd.  The first few just involved doing "the wave" in various ways.

Here was our view of the wave that started at the stage and propagated west:



They also tried having the crowd make different sounds like laughing, crying, doing "cheek pops", all cued by the video screens.  That part seemed less exciting, at least from our location.  Another idea they had was apparently to try to trigger an earthquake...  They set up a seismometer and tried to get the entire crowd to jump up and land on the ground at the same time to see how big of an impact all that "meat" could make.  But I think someone failed to inform them that the video screens weren't all in sync with each other.  They were delayed to match the speed of sound coming from the stage, so using them to synchronize the jump didn't really work.  The seismometer picked up a rumble, but probably nothing like it could've been if it was truly synchronized.  I think Adam said we hit the ground with a force "about 100 times more powerful than a minor car crash."  :)

After the MythBusters were done with their fun, finally Jon Stewart came out to huge applause, followed shortly by Stephen Colbert, who had supposedly been hiding deep underground below the stage because he was fearful that nobody had shown up for the rally.  They showed a video feed of him on the screens, shirtless in a dark place like a Chilean miner.  When Jon finally talked him into coming to the surface, Stephen slowly ascended up through the stage in a rescue pod.

A few more celebrities were involved later on, including Ozzy Osbourne and Sam Waterston.  But a little before 2pm they gave the stage to some musical act we didn't recognize, and we decided to leave early so we could beat the crowd onto the metro and get on the road to Massanutten, VA, where we're spending the rest of this week on vacation.

Good evening, officer! Wait, what?
digimind
thwack
So, we're relaxing at home after work and a police officer knocks on our door... and hands us an accident report because somebody destroyed our mailbox.

Ok, maybe normally that wouldn't be so bad to deal with. Home insurance probably covers it, I'd guess? It would probably just take some phone calls and some time to get things worked out.

But in our case, we're leaving town on Friday for over a week, so time is in short supply. To make matters more complicated, our mailbox was actually mounted on a post shared with our neighbor, in their yard across the street. So in that case, whose post was it? For that matter, do residents ever "own" the post or does the post office? That's always been a confusing concept to me.

Well on the bright side at least we don't need to tell the post office to hold our mail while we're on vacation... they'll probably figure that out on their own when they try to deliver tomorrow's mail!

Road Trip YouTube Contest
piano
thwack
Hmm... I don't think I'm gonna make it to the top by tomorrow.

hg56959: 10,143 views
fizhy37: 6,617 views
janaedowney: 2,927 views
NinjaPeter7: 2,812 views
thwack318: 2,581 views

Dream Journal
digimind
thwack
It's been a long time since I've had such a vivid and memorable dream that made no sense, so I thought it was worth an entry.

It seemed to bet set in high school, and the earliest part I remember was being in band practice. The director told us all to open up one of several books in our folders to a piece titled "Millennium". (I'm not even sure if such a thing exists, but if it does, my brain isn't familiar with it so there's no meaning there.) However, many students in the band soon found that the 3 to 4 pages that would have contained that music, alphabetically by title, were ripped out of their copies of the book. So were mine. And during a bunch of frustrated discussion like "who would do such a thing?" I noticed that the band director's copy was missing its pages, too. In the back of my (dream world) mind I was thinking... "Wait, so, you wanted us to rehearse something you clearly haven't even tried to lay eyes on, since you didn't know your pages were missing?"

Next part I remember, I was walking down the halls of the school with a bunch of other students, probably from the band, and we were teasing each other about birthdays from the perspective of who is older, and one of them told me something like "well since you'll die later, your body will continue its gravitational pull on the oceans for a longer time than mine", which makes no sense at all, but whatever. I don't think it was anyone I had respect for. :)

Apparently the discussion was so heated that they had all stopped moving, but I actually had somewhere to be so I broke free and walked away from them. I passed some sort of teacher walking the other way towards the crowd as he gave me a look and pointed as if to ask, "what's going on back there?" I just shrugged and said, "I dunno, talking about death or something," and kept walking.

As I turned one corner of the hall, I encountered two students who were trying to throw some kind of contraband to each other across the hallway, and somehow I immediately recognized what they were doing and had no desire to interfere, so my automatic behavior was to crawl on the ground to pass between them so I wouldn't obstruct their trajectory.

Further down the hall, I noticed a student who had just received from another student what appeared to be some kind of drug-laced English muffins. They clearly had something pink injected into them. As if a student carrying a pack of English muffins will be less suspicious than the drug itself? Plus, I can't imagine it's a very tasty combination, even though I have no clue what the drug was supposed to be, but I imagined it tasting like cough syrup.

As I turned a corner to head up some stairs, I saw Jon Stewart coming down them muttering something like, "oh, my poor broken heart." I guess he was supposed to be one of the teachers there. Another teacher seemed to be consoling him, and I asked what was wrong. She just gestured up the stairs to the higher floor. Up there I saw someone who was supposed to be Jon's wife. Although I'm not sure what Jon's real wife looks like, this person looked something like Kirsten Gillibrand to my waking mind, but in my dream I just recognized her as Jon's wife. Clearly she had just done something to upset him. Maybe they had a fight.

It's difficult to describe the configuration of this staircase, but somehow between Jon at the lower level and his wife on the floor above, there was a landing or something with a ledge at the height of window sill that was just big enough for a sculpture that I recognized to hold special meaning for Jon and his wife. It was some kind of puzzle made up of about 20 large pieces, and its completion was supposed to symbolize their love for each other (I know, cheesy). I don't recall anything about the overall finished shape of it, but I decided I had to remind her of it and make her rethink whatever she had just done to Jon, by taking a piece out of the puzzle and giving it to her.

However, this puzzle was also somewhat like a game of Jenga. Taking the piece out would be difficult without the rest of it falling. Sure enough, one of the larger pieces fell out from above the one I tried to remove. It appeared be only a surface piece though, and not one that goes all the way through for structural support. As I tried to put the piece back, suddenly the whole thing became snow-covered. I guess I wasn't in the school anymore. I was still trying to pound it into place and wipe the snow off of it when the alarm went off.

Weird, right?

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