Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Break driving adventures

Did you know that there are over 50 billboard signs for that stupid South of Border along I-95 (southbound) in North Carolina before you actually hit Dillon, SC? That place is so cheesy, my daughter and I may just have to visit before she grows up too much. I will have to see if we are allowed to climb the sombrero tower before I commit to staying there, though. It is a comfortable drive from our town to Dillon in one day, so it is within the realm of possibility...
We took the scenic route north when travelling to (almost) Trenton, and it really was pretty. I found this road that is basically an interstate highway, but almost nobody is on it. Sorta like the Suncoast Parkway in Florida - sadly underutilized. In North Carolina the roadside forests were draped with wisteria in full bloom. The medians were congested with daffodils. I found a buffet in Cheraw, SC that had some tasty fried chicken. I could tell that it used to be a Quincy's because it had the same layout, food warming islands and color scheme as our town's old Quincy's. However, the drive north went poorly after Charlottesville, Virgina (where UVA is). What is it with university towns and their absolute inability to build enough roads to handle traffic?!? (see Gainesville, Morgantown, etc). There were roads, but each one was filled to the maximum, peppered with useless traffic signals designed to slow the progress of those on the main road. When I finally got north of the worst of it, I was in this very pretty rolling hills, and frustrated by other slow drivers. Then two cars zoomed past, and I attempted to keep pace with them. Now, I did not want to drive only 62 in a 60 mph zone, but neither did I think it was a good idea to drive 72, either, as I soon found out when a Virginia state trooper pulled over both cars just a mile ahead of me. I was going about 68 and deciding the locals were not slow for no reason, after all. So I made the decision to get back on the interstate rather than continue on the slower byways. Wouldn't you know I found a large truck center near the last few miles? So many semis on these little country roads. I was glad to get back on the highway even if I did have to skirt DC. The two good things about it: Snow flurries in Virgina and taking the high-occupancy-vehicle lane exit to 495 which had a super-fun roller-coaster dip right off the exit ramp. "Do it AGAIN!" yelled my daughter. Wish I could, baby, maybe next year...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

getting back into it

I am finally getting back into the groove after Spring Break and this yucky cold we passed around. Also, I have been wasting my computer time by watching old Survivor seasons on YouTube - it is great fun catching up, and I have seen both season 1 and 2 now. The house chores seem to just pile up, so I made a dent by vacuuming the porch (really the best way to remove the layer of pollen and cat dirt) and bleaching the skylights until I am dizzy and my nose-hair curls.
I have also made the decision to remove a bicycle from this household. This is a major hurdle for me. I am in love with bicycles. I love to ride them, build them, tune them and dream about new parts. Much of my money I earned as a laboratorian was sunk into bicycles, so for me to give one up feels like giving up the whole hobby. But realism prevails. Realistically, I cannot keep this one bike going - it uses special rubber elastomers as shock absorbers. This rubber rots in the Florida heat, so I need a continual supply to keep riding this bike. There is no way to engineer around it (its a pro-flex). The last time I bought the elastomers (three years ago) they were 20 dollars each (I need two), and the bike store said they only had two left and no new supplier. I didn't buy the last two, figuring someone else may need them. Realistically, I have not even gotten much use of the last two I bought. So I have decided to disassemble the bike, scavenging the parts I can for my old bike, and tossing out the old frame. I would recycle the steel frame, but I don't know how or where. You can't even recycle old baby carseats, except if you live in Denver. It is a disposable society. I have fought it long enough, though. I don't even want to give the bike away, because the recipient would just have the same hassles and headaches. That is no gift! So it is an end to my multi - bike era.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

update on phone and fan

The ceiling fan works! "It Blows!" said my dear husband. The up side is that I got it finished while daughter was at school, it moves tons more air than the old fan, and it is prettier too. The down side is that halfway through the install, I ran out of cuss words I was so mad. Seriously, when the best you can come up with is "Get in there you fucking fuck-face fucker," you need to either take a break or grab a thesaurus. Also, I have aches in my forearms and shoulders from wielding a screwdriver above my head for so long. Still it was worth it to flip the breaker and see it purr to life (rather than spark, arc-weld to the light fixture and explode). No I didn't peek into the attic. By the time I was finished, I had 15 minutes before I had to get my daughter and I spent it looking up stuff for my phone on the internet.
So that brings me to my phone. After extensive googling, and reading countless posts in obscure forums (fora?), I found a solution to getting my pictures and videos off my phone and onto my PC, and for putting an electronic book from my pc on my phone. It actually worked, and I am so pleased. I am still looking into getting new ring-tones. I want "The Path of the Wind" from Totoro to be one of my ringtones, and I wouldn't mind paying for it as long as I could guarantee that it would work. Any advice in this area is welcome. I also want new games and that one memo app, but those are looking not very likely at present. I tried to put tetris on there, but it didn't work, so I may try variations of the same program and see if I can make it go.
The ebook was the most successful task. Not only did I get it to load, and was able to read the book on the phone...but I also found the coolest website for electronic books, which I am adding to my links list on this blog. If you have thought about getting books, particularly classics, and want to download them instead, please check out Project Gutenberg!

chore list

I have a new cell phone and it is pretty cool, but of course I want to make it cooler. I am able to program it to remind me of things using a calendar function and what they call a 'to do' list, but I cannot really write an actual list under 'to do'. I want to be able to write a list. Oh, sure I could get a piece of paper... Its just that I have twenty seven pieces of paper, all of which are to-do lists that I start, then shuttle from one flat surface to another, occasionally checked off, and usually not completely cleared, then filed away, then re-started. If I have a phone to-do list, I am a) not killing trees, b) always carrying it with me and less likely to lose it, and c) don't have to keep re remembering what things I need to be doing. So, I have found an application for this very thing for my k630i, but I don't know if it will work (and therefore worth the 12 dollars) because I actually have the chinese knock-off version of the phone. I have more investigating to do before I buy the app. My dear husband was so helpful in suggesting that they probably do make an app... in Chinese! I'm sure they do, and what good does that do me?
Most of my to-do's involve house improvement chores. I am currently contemplating the ceiling fan in the computer room. First I am going to have to turn off all of the computers, internet cable modem, firewall, etc in order to play with the circuit breakers, because it is not clear which breaker is going to be correct for de-powering the fan. Then I am going to have to work fast, because dear husband will not be happy to come home and find a half-wired ceiling fan and all his computer capability shut down.
The sink project did turn out to be rather involved, but that is typical for home improvement. Why does it always take three times longer and involve fourteen trips to Home Depot before you can fix something. Do contractors actually think along the lines of, "Yeah, lets plumb this house with mobile home pipes so when they replace the sink, they will have to saw off the old drain and buy a new coupling."?!? I would love to hunt the plumber down and kick him in the shin, the cheap bastard. At least home depot is filled with wise, nice men on Saturday nights! At least the sink works, now.
Painting. I have to paint the outside of the house. I mean it is really overdue. I have to paint the eaves (my sprayer was a birthday present two years ago - still in shrink wrap). I need to buy a case of caulk because there are miles of gaps that need filling. Oh yeah, and I should probably replace two windows before-hand so I won't need to re-paint when I am done.
And, I have rearranged furniture so that I can get up into the attic (my personal horror), because we have been in dire need of applying more insulation up there since we bought the place. I fear and loathe the attic. I have to do it soon, too before it gets too hot. If I were to make a horror movie it would be about a florida attic in the late summer...filled with roaches. UGGHHH! insert shudder here. Actually, we have had enough cold spells this winter to make me believe that the attic won't be that bad, now. But I do have to start soon. Maybe I will peek into it today....