May 29, 2008

A full weekend

Filed under: Uncategorized — origamifreak @ 5:47 am
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Wow, last weekend was really full, especially considering I didn’t actually go anywhere.

Saturday I bought a new car.

Sunday a bunch of friends came over and we had a BBQ down by the lake. I was too busy chatting and eating to document the event. Also, there isn’t running water down there, and so very quickly the activities of grilling and cooking and eating makes the fingers so sticky as to dissuade one from handling electronics/optics.

We had 10 adults, 3 kids, 2 Newfoundlands, and 1 Italian Greyhound. We were able to establish that the Italian Greyhound responds best when spoken to IN Italian, (especially if the speaker is plying the subject with bits of food).

Monday we fed crocodiles.

Last night I flew to DC for work (greetings from the Greenbelt Marriott), and will come home on Friday.

I will be glad to stay home, weed the garden, and fold laundry this coming Saturday, I think! I’ve got plenty of new This American Life podcasts to listen to, while doing it.

(One of the Sunday kids has a violin recital I want to go to this coming Sunday, so I plan to actually leave the house for that.)

May 28, 2008

Memorial Game Day

Filed under: games — origamifreak @ 2:07 am
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Noel has been anxious to feed someone to the crocodiles in a new game he recently got. Last game day there were only two of us, and under those conditions the crocs go hungry.

Monday Deb‘s family came for a visit on the way home from western NY, and Noel brought the game because now we could have enough people to play AND feed crocs.

Before Deb & co arrived, we warmed up with a couple games of Blokus (I’m red, he’s blue).

In the second game we tied, each with 16 squares left over.

Then we played Carcassonne until the camera battery died:

…changed batteries, and resumed.

Then we took the cats for a walk around the house on leashes (so much easier when there’s a human for each cat) and inspected each of the catnip patches on the property.

Deb’s family arrived while we were making iced tea (note to self – next time use a recipe to get the tea/sugar ratio right).

I baked the last loaf of sourdough and we played Cleopatra:

I guess my camera can’t do video sideways… I need to figure out how to rotate the movie after the fact. Also, Google has a 2-minute limit, so the video stops a bit early. In the end Isabelle had the most corruption, so she became Crocodile Chow.

Then we played quick game of Fluxx while the coals started, and Deb and I worked on moving her blog.

We had grilled sausages on homemade sourdough, pickles, and iced tea for dinner. Hawthorne was stunningly good about being tied in the backyard, under the deck. He had food and water, and shade and grass and sometimes pieces of sausage magically raining down on him. Manna from Heaven, in a manner of speaking. 😉

After Deb’s family continued on their way home, Noel and I play-tested his other new game, Colosseum, each of us controlling two “players.” His green player came blazing up from behind, and won.

May 24, 2008

Parade of Vehicles

Filed under: transportation — origamifreak @ 8:33 pm
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1988-1990 Eckbert (the license plate had letters EKB)

1979 AMC Spirit

paid $250, got $12 for scrap

This was my first car. Like all of them, it had a manual transmission, and like all of them, I paid cash. It had a gazillion miles on it, and this was the good side for pictures, because the other side had a dent where someone had T-boned it. When I got it the first thing I did was go scavenging at a junkyard, because it was missing all kinds of knobs and dials, and even the windshield washer reservoir and pump! The fact that the previous owner threw in a Chiltons Manual for free says something about what kind of condition it was in. I learned a lot, though, doing my own oil changes, and with a friend’s aid and timing gun even adjusted the timing belt. It had acres of empty space under the hood and a distributor cap and rotor.

It had rear-wheel drive and really loose power steering. I had it when I lived in CT. Whenever there was any kind of snow or ice, I was usually in the gutter within 5 minutes. I once had a very scarey freezing rain experience in it, and after that didn’t drive it much. By the time I got it towed for scrap, there was a small treeling trying to grow up through the bumper!

1991-2008 Horace Les Carage

1991 Honda Civic DX

paid $8500, got $100 for trade-in

This was my second car. I finally started needing to get around again, and the Spirit used too much gas and handled very poorly. I got this one after much agonizing – it was the biggest purchase I’d ever made, and the thought of spending that much, let alone being responsible for my Very Own New Car was daunting. It lived with me 3 places in CT, one in NV, and 3 in NY before retiring. It handled exceptionally well, laughed at snow and ice when wearing winter tires, gave me 2mpg better than the EPA estimates, and hauled all kinds of things, including kiddie swimming pools, large furniture, a plasma TV, and once even a 14-foot Sailfish boat – INSIDE. See previous post for more.

2008 – ? Yet to be christened

2008 Honda Fit Sport

paid $15905

This is my latest ride, as of this afternoon. It looks black except when the sun shines on it, when you can see the sparkly purple highlights. A bit low-rider aesthetically, but definitely better than the other option, bright royal blue. I was happy to find a place nearby that actually had one (let alone two) on the lot. Of all the new features, I think I might actually be most excited about the cup holders. Really. On the way back I stopped at Circuit City to pick up a cable to plug in my MP3 player, and bought a Vitamin Water. It was So Very Convenient to have somewhere to put it, besides wedging it between the parking brake and the passenger seat. 🙂

My system for paying cash, by the way, works like this:  I start a long-term, high-interest CD to which I contribute something like $100 per month, automatically.  By the time the car needs replacing, I have the cash to buy it.   Whatever is left over goes into the next CD. It’s like paying a loan, except I get the interest.

16 years, 10 months, and 14 days

Filed under: transportation — origamifreak @ 7:48 am
Tags: , ,

I’m heartbroken about my Honda Civic DX hatchback. He’s almost 17 years old and still averages 37 mpg per year (including winter). He only has 162K miles on him.

His “real” name is Horace Les Carage, from the days when he belonged to BMG (he liked jazz, if I recall correctly – the cats had memberships, too). If you say his name fast without a French pronounciation, you’ll hear what it means.

Until Tuesday I never had a single mechanical problem. Not once, in 17 years. He’s comfortable, economical, fun to drive, has lots of cargo space, and up ’til now, reliable. The only things I would change are:

  • four doors because my friends and I don’t fold as well as we used to
  • more safety features (he’s pre-airbag)
  • cruise control because my arthritic knee doesn’t like staying in one position for over two hours
  • cup holders
  • a direct connection to my MP3 player (the cassette converter sometimes warms up and doesn’t work as well on long drives)

But on Tuesday morning the ignition coil failed while I was on the road, causing me to have to pull over, wait for a tow, miss a seminar, and crash at a friend’s house unexpectedly overnight because the repair place couldn’t get the part until Wednesday morning.

It’s obviously Time To Say Goodbye, now that we’re getting into unreliability due to age. He’s so old, he would be driving himself, if he were human. I’ve been in him longer than any home, except the one I grew up in, and only one year longer there. It’s going to be weird driving around in someone else.

Fortunately Honda has introduced the Fit, to replace the hole created as the Civic over the years has grown into an Accord. So I can pretty much get a new one of what I’m happy with, with the added features, above. I’m relieved that all the controls are still in the right places, and the mileage should be about the same.

The swap is happening today.

May 19, 2008

More Free Rice

Filed under: language — origamifreak @ 8:00 pm
Tags: ,

Back in February Deb alerted us to the Free Rice website.

At that time I managed to get to 50:


You have now donated
4360 grains of rice.

Then in April another blog I read mentioned it.

Yesterday I attended a taping of Says You, which featured some intriguing words: vada, fick, stipe, among others. I knew stipe outright, figured fick was Anglo-Saxon (which helped me guess the meaning), and guessed wrong about vada. Interestingly, vada is not in the OED (SY said it meant “moistness”), and the only fick listed is a proper noun, and not remotely the same definition (SY claimed it meant “a lock of hair.”). So now I am beginning to wonder just where they do get these words?

It made me want to go back and look at Free Rice again. Today I managed a new record:


You have now donated
2940 grains of rice.

I stopped on parcener for a while.

Then I decided to keep going to see if I could get to 52:


You have now donated
7180 grains of rice.

Next I got crepuscule which I knew, guessed right on pogey, and guessed wrong on the next one that I’ve already forgotten.

I think that’s enough for now. My head hurts! 😉

This site has some interesting comments about the words there.

May 15, 2008

Um, has anyone tried this?

Filed under: cats — origamifreak @ 9:21 pm

Wow, just wow.

…and then there’s this one…

Wonder why the human is always wearing a white coat? Cat funny farm?

And what about this one?

Thanks (?) to Noel for alerting us to this bizarre phenomenon…

May 6, 2008

Game Day

Filed under: games — origamifreak @ 12:21 am
Tags: , , ,

On Saturday Noel brought over two new games he just got: Cleopatra and Colosseum.

We warmed up with a couple games of Blokus (I was red, Noel was blue)

Then moved on to Ticket to Ride: Switzerland

At this point the battery in the toy camera died and I discovered that I’d left the spare (and charger) at work. So we switched to using the SLR on the tripod with the cable release, taking one frame every time we either put down a tile or a meeple. Frames were stitched together using Photolapse, which was amazingly fast and easy (and how can you beat free?)

Then we played a couple games of Carcassonne:

When we started it was pretty sunny, but by the time we finished a rainstorm had moved in and begun spitting. In hindsight I wish I’d used the UV filter instead of the polarizer, because the exposure is kind-of dark.

We snacked on tinapa paste on toasted homemade sourdough (this combination was unbelievably good) while waiting for the ribs to BBQ. Which were also good, but not quite smacking up against this side of gourmet, the way the happy accident of tinapa and sourdough did.

Then we took naps on living room chairs, aided by purring cats, started a Bundt cake, and played Cleopatra while munching on it.

After Noel left I finished making some sourdough dough and stuck it in the fridge to wait until I’d bake a loaf on Monday evening.

A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday, if I say so, myself!

Hello, sour!

Filed under: food — origamifreak @ 12:01 am

Oh YES.  That is the stuff.

I made a sponge on Saturday, dough out of it Saturday night, and it’s been in the fridge proofing and getting punched down ever since.

Today when I got home from work I chopped off a hunk of dough, formed a loaf, and let it rise for about 6 hours.  It wasn’t done, but I was (it was midnight) so I baked it anyway.

MMMMM.  Yes, that is the flavor I’ve been missing.  And I love that spongy texture.


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