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I'm really scared about the traffic and really feeling stupid about my carefully laid plans. Gang oft aglay!

But, one can still have fun with a partial because little copies of the crescent sun will be in amongst the shadows of trees. You can make your own little shadow generator (really, pinhole camera), by simply crossing your hands at the fingers with little gaps, and letting the sun shine behind you. Look at the ground and there will be four little crescent suns in the shadow of your hands!

Maybe people will think it's a gang sign -- you can be in the gang Eclipse Nerds.

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The Sharon Triathlon was today. We watched people bike and run past our house for a while. When it seemed like it had been a while since the last bike, I hopped on mine and rode the course. I usually do this a little later, today I had to dodge runners so my start was a little slow. Then I sped up and rode as fast as I could -- well sometimes I noticed I was slipping, and had to remember I wasn't to coast downhill, but shift up and pedal. Anyway, 12.34 miles in 53:01 for an amazing (for me) average of 13.9.

This puts me about 420th in a field of 450. And I didn't start by swimming half a mile, or need to save energy for running 4 miles. In "Women 55-59" I'm in between #9 and #10 (of 10.)

Oh well. Never mind. I'll just stick to distance, and be happy I can ride 20 miles, which most people can't...
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I'm posting this from my kindle, testing it as a computing platform, thinking not to bring a real computer. It's better than the phone because it is larger, but the O/S stinks. I read on the net about hacking your kindle to be regular android, but somehow I doubt I'm going to bother.

Chaos is erupting; we learned that the town of Madras, where we thought to view the eclipse, is expecting 100,000 visitors. We think maybe we should not be part of that. Unfortunately, we made a tactical error in choosing a nice rental house an hours drive from centerline, outside of totality, rather than a crummy motel inside totality. If we were anywhere inside, we could give up on centerline and just walk. However, we will have to drive, somewhere. We are thinking to go a little further east and then go as far north as traffic will allow, and in any case, to get up way early to do it. Cross our fingers that it will work!

Better bike

Aug. 3rd, 2017 10:15 pm
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Tire held air all night. I rode in to get the car I'd sent north, and it held air the whole ride, too. Yay. Went a different way than usual (the "inside 128" route) because of known construction on the "outside 128" route, but it turns out to this destination, that route is longer. Either that or I don't know the efficient thing to do at the end. Anyway, 24.60 in 2:15:50 for an average of 10.8.

This brings me to the first 100 miles in 7 days in a long time!

Friday 11.7
Saturday 23.50
Sunday 3.77
Monday 26.25
Tuesday 14.2
Wednesday 0, because the tire was still flat
Thursday 24.60

Total 104! I didn't even need the little Sunday blorp.

Circus, too

Aug. 2nd, 2017 11:08 pm
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Tonight we went to The Cirque Us, who were performing in Somerville (at the same place Jocelyn performed three days prior!) They are really great. Technically skilled in all the arts, and they are very silly. A lot of "breaking the 4th wall". They totally look like they are having a BLAST while they're doing their tricks in the air or flips on the ground, where many other circuses the artists look like they're concentrating very hard. These guys make it look easy and fun. Anyway, I recommend taking a look at them when they come back next year, or if you happen to be in one of their tour locations (they were stumping for western mass this weekend at the end of the show).
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I drove the car in Monday and biked home. Unfortunately, I got a flat about halfway home, ran over some shrapnel. I managed to change the tube for a spare and get back on the road after only 1/2 hour delay, and had left enough time that it didn't get dark before I got home.

Tuesday morning I had scheduled an 8am meeting (on the phone from home), and a 12:30 meeting (in person in the office). This left about 4 hours for the ride in. No problem, since it takes less than 3 most of the time.

However, when I got to my bike at 8:30, the tire was flat again. Crap. So, I get out another spare tube. No problem, I think, I have a whole hour for this job. But, I was not sufficiently careful with the tire irons, and I sliced the new tube. Crap! Now I have three tubes with holes. Patch kit time! I find the problem with the 1st spare tube, which is that it had a slow leak around a previous patch. Slow enough that it got me 12 miles of riding the previous day, but not an overnight. I'm not sure I can patch that, but I threw a patch on it anyway. The slice in the other tube was obvious. I put a patch on it. Stick that tube in the tire on the wheel, inflate, seems to hold. Put the wheel back on the bike and get going. It's just after 9:30. If nothing goes wrong, I can bike to work and get a shower and make the meeting.

But, you guessed it, something goes wrong. After about 8 miles, I hear a squeak every wheel revolution for a few revolutions and then a hiss. WTF??? Yeah, flat. I don't have time to do the whole pop-the-tire-off and replace the tube -- and besides I'm pretty suspicious of the tube I patched the patch of. So I try just inflating it again, and it seems to be holding some air. I ride a mile and check. MAYBE it's lost a little? I can't tell. I put some more air in. I call home, and get the kids. Great, Valerie's out for a bike ride! Well, I'll go another couple miles. Still holding. But I'm getting pretty nervous about it, and all this fussing is costing me time; I think I'm not going to make it to work on time even if the tire holds.

Eventually I reach Valerie after another iteration and a couple more miles, and she agrees to rescue me. There's traffic on the way to pick me up, so that takes a while. At least I had my book. Then there's a little traffic on the way to work. I make the meeting, but only barely!

Today I spent more time on the tires. Fixing bikes when you're in a hurry just isn't a good idea. The original flat was a simple hole from the shrapnel that I got around to looking for and I patched it. The 2nd flat was the patch on the sliced hole failing, I think I didn't do the "rub it with the sandpaper" thing before sticking on the glue, and that really is important. I peeled it off and replaced it.

I let the tire sit with the new tube in it for many hours. Looks like it's holding. And I get another chance to try again tomorrow... Same schedule only shifted. 9am meeting at home, 1:30 meeting at work... Hopefully it'll work out better than Tuesday. (Also, I'm not going quite all the way, the car will be about 3 miles closer in the usual Waltham location.)

Monday: 26.25 in 2:31:46 for an average of 10.3 (slow because I was tired after the flat fixing, I think)
Tuesday: 14.2 in many little spurts, surprisingly the average was 11.7. But I think that's cuz I got to skip all the uphill at the end, and the uppy-downy bits in Newton, being rescued in Dedham.
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Yesterday, Jocelyn performed in Esh Circus Arts Student Showcase after her 3-week program. She had to be there in the early afternoon but the show wasn't til 8. So I drove her there, and bicycled home, so we'd have a car with a good parking place! Then we ended up driving in a second car, because she wanted to attend the cast party, which entailed an adult killing a couple of hours after the show and driving her home -- so we needed the second car. But there was parking anyway.

The bike home wasn't any great shakes average-wise, because it was urban riding for a good bit.

23.50 in 2:11:28 for an average of 10.7

Esh shows are very artsy. So there was more theater than acrobatic tricks -- though there were plenty of great tricks to go around.

Then, today, we went to the Circus Smirkus tour show in Waltham. This was not artsy, but much more acrobatic and clowny. Those kids are great. Jocelyn's great too, but she's applied twice and not gotten in. I think she needs more floor acro skills. The whole-group acts have a lot of acrobatics in them, people casually doing flips and cartwheels as they dance around the stage. Well, seemingly casually!
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We hope it's fixed, anyway. We called them about the overtemp alarm and they could take it yesterday, and they were able to fix it by today! So, I went and got it. Unfortunately while they were hooking it up to the van, apparently the mechanism didn't catch around the hitch ball, and so when I drove out of the driveway and there was a little bump entering the road, it DETACHED from the van! There was some yanking and noise and I could see it skewing around wildly behind the van. I pulled over immediately and went out to investigate and sure enough, no longer attached. First time those safety chains have been invoked!

I ran back to get someone to help, because although probably I could have lifted the trailer while I was running on adrenaline, I didn't want to do it alone in case I slipped or something. I also kind of wanted to show them their screwup... Three guys came over to help and they quadruple checked that it was connected before I went on my way.

No damage to boat or trailer, minor damage to the bumper of the van -- which I'd slammed into with the Leaf two years prior so it's not like it was any great loss. I decided not to make a claim against their insurance -- it was their fault, because they are the ones who actually did the hookup. Maybe it was also my fault for not checking that it was hooked, but I figured they do this every day. I've had the mechanism not catch before, and I could always tell it wasn't working so I would try to re-seat it until it was solid. But, like, the van's 11 years old and I don't care what it looks like. Cosmetic damage is great: it keeps thieves away.

It's still in the driveway because we're being cheap and waiting til the boat ramp police go home at 7 so we can launch for free.
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Today I did many things. Most of them were interruptions for another thing I was in the middle of. "Let's see, I'll just do this and ..." "Squirrel!" "Well, guess THAT didn't happen!" Or, "3 hours later...." I think I popped the stack enough times. But there were things I wished to get done that did not happen.

The boat is fixed! Housemates went and got it yesterday, and we launched it, but it was really windy and boat-wake-y, and the waterskiing was pretty random yesterday afternoon (plus I was really tired from my bike ride). This morning we tried again, though it was hard to get people interested. Unfortunately it was slightly windy then too, and there were some boats, I guess 10am isn't early enough. The wind dropped during the day, and I noticed a few times that there happened not to be a bunch of boats churning it up, but no doubt by the time I interested enough people it would have become churny again.

Unfortunately the boat may have yet another problem, because we got an overtemp warning, so maybe the water pump is flaky or the water system is clogged. We checked the intake, and it was clean, so we don't know. If it happens again we have another thing to try.
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There was a rally about climate change in Providence today, outside the convention center, where there was a Governor's meeting going on. It was small, only about 150-200 by my quick estimate. There were some speakers, and some chanting ("No more pipelines! No more fracking! Send the oil barons packing!"); the whole thing lasted about an hour.

Valerie and I went down on the train (seems wrong to drive to a rally about climate change...), and I brought my bicycle! I had printed a set of maps and directions, plus I had my phone. It was hard to get settled onto the route, though, the roads never seem to match the map and directions. So there was a lot of stopping and pushing the "find me" button on the phone. Plus a stop at dunkin' donuts for lunch. All in all it took about 3 hours elapsed (I didn't look exactly when I left the rally). I picked up some speed at the end, when I'd gotten back into familiar territory and there wasn't so much stopping.

26.45 in 2:23 for an average of 11.0, which isn't too bad. Not much in the way of hills except at the very beginning, and even those were mild. And don't forget the 2.2 mile jaunt to the train station at the start!

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We keep our house warmer than average in the summer. Partly this is because our downstairs A/C broke last year and we chose not to fix it. But mostly it's because we're green.

Unfortunately, we learned the first year we had fish that "tropical" doesn't mean "82" and there was a huge fish die-off during a heat wave. The next year we kept an eye on the temp and changed out water sometimes when it was getting too warm, and then we stuck a small fan on top of the tank to evaporate water and cool it that way, but it was a pain to get it in position. This year we have upgraded that solution. Ken took three small fans from a computer, and wired them up with a 3-way switch so we can have any amount of cooling we need, and screwed it to the lid so it was aimed in the right place all the time.

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Nothing was on the calendar for today! So, Ken and I went bicycling. We went up Blue Hill. 10 miles to get there, one mile straight up, one mile back down, 10 miles back home. Before the ascent my average was 12.6. After it was 10.5. Strangely, it was 10.6 when I returned home. I thought the base of the hill was the same elevation as home, so my average should have improved a little, I'd think. But, the down is not really very fast because it is littered with potholes, parents, kids, dogs, horses, horse poop, other bicycles... And there was some dorking around because we stopped at the hardware store on the way home and the parking lot is large and slow. So, that's my excuse.

Turns out we actually had plans, because some of our many guests from last weekend are stopping back here after a camping expedition and before their airplane tomorrow, so we need to feed them. So I made vast food for dinner (which now just needs to bake for an hour), and also plan to make vast food for dessert because tomorrow there's a square dance and I want to bring some snacks. So I need to have decoy snacks by making a double batch or there won't be any for tomorrow.

Food and bicycling, my default hobbies :-)
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I drove it a bunch this weekend, towing many children on a tube, who all had a good time, and the elder of whom kept asking for "faster", but there wasn't any faster to be had. I tried to waterski, got up on two but not one, and when I thought about dropping the 2nd ski, seemed like I was kind of sinking a lot and might not have stayed up. Jocelyn got up on one, but said that the ride was more work because she was plowing through the water so much.

The shop had said it was fine to drive it in this "running rough and not giving all power" state, even said it might be good for it, blow out crap that was in the carbs. But, no go. I ran through about 8 gallons of gas, I'd say. Put in the gas conditioner they'd given me last time, even. Hope they're done by the 23rd! I told him about the party and he seemed to think there would be no problem having it ready.
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Sunday: 9.2
Monday: 25.73
Tuesday: 25.66
Wednesday: 9.4
Thursday: 6.8
Friday: 6.8
Saturday: 15.97

Total: 99.5

People more anal than I would have ridden down the street for 1/4 mile and back...
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There turns out to be a huge windmill farm at the Indiana/Ohio border near Toledo. I took pictures out the car window. You can't really tell just how many there were from this picture. I thought it was pretty cool, just making power for free there. (Just like we are on our roof now! Which I've been tweeting about incessantly, though I haven't posted anything here about the solar panels. I guess now I have...)

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We have a pleco in our aquarium to keep the algae at bay. This is the most amazingly healthy fish ever. He's just growing and growing! For a long time he was very shy, hiding behind the decor, but now that he's like 10 times bigger than anything else, he's willing to show himself frequently. Partly, he doesn't FIT behind anything anymore!

The stripes are an artifact of having taken the picture just after feeding -- they are the food pellets dropping through the water during the exposure.

1000 miles

Jun. 30th, 2017 06:03 pm
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So, I wasn't going to bother to post this, but while messing with the photos on my phone I was interested to compare to last year, so I scrolled back through LJ, and learned that in 2016, I rode my 1000th mile on Wednesday June 15. THIS year I rode my 1000th mile on Wednesday June 14, exactly 52 weeks later!

nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
Actually it didn't rain very much, just a little splatter. Monday I drove to work and abandoned my car, Tuesday I rode back in. I had thought that there wouldn't be any specific reason for me to be at work Tuesday morning, but then there was a problem at work overnight and so I wanted to get there before noon, and, having a morning phone meeting, didn't get to leave at the crack of dawn. So, I had incentive to move. Apparently incentive works:

Monday: 25.73 in 2:31 for a lame average of 10.1. Maybe a little headwind.
Tuesday: 25.66 in 2:14 for an AWESOME average of 11.4

boat woes

Jun. 25th, 2017 08:44 pm
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Went waterskiing Friday evening, boat worked really well. We'd had earlier problems where the battery was toast, and had replaced it, and while replacing it, had discovered that the wiring harness was also toast, and patched it together. So, we ordered a new wiring harness, and it came and Ken installed it today. It seemed to start and stuff. We didn't actually drive it around, just started it. Neighbors came to go boating. The motor behaved terribly for them. Started ok, but very rough when running. They came to see if we'd done it. Ken doublechecked his work but couldn't see how the wiring harness for starting could have anything to do with making it actually go. So, we're sad, because it might take forever to get the shop to look at it. At the end of last season it was behaving terribly also, and we took it to the shop this spring. The shop couldn't reproduce the problem, just cleaned everything out and all was well again. Temporarily, I guess. So sad. I hope it gets fixed before our big party in 4 weeks!

But we got the rest of the dock in, so that's all set. Still need to put out our duck-repellent netting, because the ducks have been having a field day, ew.
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I got the pix from the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservatory. Photo credit for the one of me to David Resnick, who also has a better camera than my phone.

A good person would know the names and origins of the butterflies pictured. It was totally fun, despite the tshirt.

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