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a bitter opening day

Yesterday was opening day, but did I pay any attention the Sox game? I did not. I wrote a great long screed about my displeasure with the team's ownership and broadcast coverage this afternoon, but I wrote it at school and sadly the university's internet access went out before I had a chance to publish the post. With no way to get the already information home, I sadly closed the browser window and said goodbye to my hard-written text. That's ok, though; instead of giving you that (it wasn't even that funny, anyways) I will follow a hallowed blogging tradition and just repost something someone else posted:

Yes, it's true, Dave O'Brien now ruins the summer pleasure of listening to the Red Sox game on the car radio. Instead of hearing the sounds of the shrine of Fenway, fans chatting, beer sellers hawking, Sawx fans heckling, planes overhead, all I'll hear now are Dave O's stories about when he was the announcer for the Marlins, and the obscure trivia that must be spewed over every sporting event he calls. Oh Christ, just shoot me now and get it over with.

That's from the blog Main St. USA. And I happen to agree.

blogging + money = success!!!

As she mentioned previously, Leah has got her foot in the door of the professional blogging business. I guess we both do, really. We are involved in the project linked as ITGumbo BETA!! in the sidebar over there; it's a blog network focused on the IT community that Leah is managing and I am cursing at Movable Type for. As the capital letters indicate, it's in "beta" right now, which means it's getting there but isn't quite there yet. To help us know what needs to be improved, she put together a little survey for folks to take. She presents it thusly:

If you ever read technology blogs and have under four minutes to spare, you could really make a difference in the future of the internet by taking this short, humorous, and not-annoying survey about the website www.ITGumbo.com.

ITGumbo is a new blog network where IT professionals and enthusiasts can get advice, start their own blogs, and meet like-minded individuals. The beta version is viewable at www.ITGumbo.com. Please take the survey here:


I'm giving away a $50 American Express gift card to a random person who completes this survey. If you happen to be the only one who takes this survey, your chances of winning will be 100%!

Since we're unfortunately ineligible for the prize (well, no one ever said so but it seems logical, doesn't it?) we thought we'd throw it out there for you all to have a go at. Serious—or at least semi-serious—responses only please: our honor is at stake!

more vigil antics

We just got back from another Maundy Thursday vigil at church. This year Leah was the first person to the sign-up list and got us a better time spot than we managed last time we did it (see, it took us two years to recover from staying up that late). I think the prayer vigil is a great chance to consider the human side of Easter, as it might be called; that is, we can imagine what it might have been like for Jesus's disciples over the last evening of his life. I think that's something that we tend not to think about as much as we maybe should. If you agree, but don't have the time to sit around a church for an hour at night, I can recommend two books that touch on the subject (and are also both great reads: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (of course) and The Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. The second especially would be required reading for me every holy week, if only it weren't so long. Good stuff.

not morning sickness, all-day sickness

Last Sunday at church i felt awful. I felt too nauseous to eat anything for breakfast, and when stood up in church i got a head rush, felt faint, and had to sit down. A woman in the row behind me asked if everything was okay, and i said, "Yes, i'm fine, i just got a little nauseous."
She replied, "Oh, you're pregnant!"
By the time the service was over the rumor had spread. "Congratulations!" said anouther woman as i walked out the door.
"Oh, i'm not pregnant." I said.
"You're pregnant???!!!" asked anouther woman.
"No, i'm not pregnant. I just got a little faint." i said.
"Are you sure you're not pregnant?"

So persistant were these interlopers that i had to purchase a pregnancy test on the way home from church.
"I'd better be pregnant," I said to Dan as i walked in the door, "Because i had to go to two stores to find this thing, and it cost me eleven bucks!"

Turns out, i'm not pregnant. I was, however, coming down with the flu which has had me bed-ridden for almost a week. On monday i woke up realizing i had a high fever and felt completely awful. "At least all this faint-ness has a cause," i thought, "The next option was cancer!"

The next time i feel like i might be pregnant, i'm going to head right over to my doctor and get some antiretroviral drugs. The percent chance of my birth-control failing, multiplied by the percent chance of Dan and I having sex, multiplied by the percent chance that the day we had sex and the birth-control failed i was actually fertile, equals a high probability that it's just the flu.

Sorry church ladies.


Passover delicacies

The traditional foods of Passover are all very well—delicious, in fact!—but here I speak not of them, but of the uses to which we've put our matza this year in the service of luncheon variety. The smash hit of previous years(for me, anyways) was the cream cheese and horseradish sandwich, which I discovered my first Passover and have enjoyed ever since. I didn't get a chance to make any this year, however, because of a lack of horseradish; but the gap was filled by many other delicious selections. To wit:

  • peanut butter and jam sandwich on matza
  • peanut butter and banana sandwich on matza
  • cream cheese and jam sandwich on matza
  • the old breakfast standby, butter and marmalade on matza
  • hummus, cucumber, and red onion sandwich on matza
  • tunafish sandwich on matza
  • cheese and mustard sandwich on matza
  • cream cheese and olive sandwich on matza

And those are just the ones I ate. Leah has her own favorites. I also conceived of the matza pizza, with tomato sauce and mozzarella and heated in the toaster oven, but I did not have an opportunity to try it out. And of course, there is the absolute best and crowning matza achievement (a dessert, natch): peanut butter and melted chocolate chips on matza. Truly the food of kings!


this joyful Eastertide...

... away with sin and sadness. Away, I say!

Happy Easter!

real grad school work

I'm pulling an all-nighter tonight to get my coloring homework done. It's hard to stay inside the lines when it gets past 11:00!

a predictable disaster

Not so long after I took the picture of the Easter basket that appears elsewhere in these pages, a few of the eggs met what can only be described as their untimely demise. The basket was on the coffee table, where sadly it was within range of the mighty tail of Freckles the St. Bernard. It is my sad duty to provide the updated picture below.

And we didn't paint any new eggs this year, either, so we're going to have to work extra hard next year to get that basket filled back up!

some changes needed

By the way, I really need to change the snow theme we've got going on here. Why? Well, remember back in January when I first put it up I said it was a wish for snow... and that wish came true. Now here we are almost to Patriots Day, and the snow continues to come down (along with all kinds of rain and slushy ice). Clearly, I am responsible for this state of affairs, and need to get to work on rectifying it. Expect a flowery Spring look by the end of the weekend.

the telltale clock

As a wedding present my Uncle George gave us a beautiful hand-made mantelpiece clock (since we sadly don't have a mantel, it lives on top of the tv). It's a great clock, very attractive both visually and, when it's running, aurally. "When it's running", though, is the problem: rather than relying on electricity coming into the house via wires or even batteries, it depends on us remembering to wind it every day. As such, it's an indicator of how much we've got things together. When it's running for several consecutive days, it means things are pretty much under control; when it's silent, on the other hand, we just may be getting overwhelmed by the press of work and life in general. Right now it's not running. We did take time to watch a movie together this evening, though!

sicky leah

Remember the last post i wrote on this blog, the one about me thinking i was pregnant but then getting the flu??? Well... that was two weeks ago and low and behold i STILL have the flu! I healed up for two days of easter celebrations only to contract ANOUTHER infection which has left me bed-ridden all this week.

It is mind-boggling being sick for so long. I start to forget the person that i used to be before it took an astounding effort to walk to the bathroom. I've still gone to all my classes, which probobly contributes to my continuing fevers. But i think i used to be someone who combed her hair and closed her mouth when she breathed. And despite the attractive image that you're now picturing, Dan has been nothing but the most helpful caring wonderful supportive husband in the entire universe. He's brought me tea and water and reminded me that this was not actually the end times. Some day when i can get out of this bed i'll reward him with clean socks!

Anyway, i hope to be beter soon so that i can get back to all the things i left off when i got sick, like working. and showering.

uh oh...

Uh oh... no new look yet. Things are looking pretty grim for Patriots Day weather... Will that stop us from trying to wake up before dawn tomorrow to go watch the reenactment? It will not!

bloggy news

The current appearance of the blog is only temporary, in a bid to propitiate the weather spirits. It is too late, sadly, to save Patriots Day, which was canceled this year. ;_;, as the Japanese emoticons say.

Secondarily, though, it also serves to advertise the opening of my new blog template business, the creation of which was inspired by someone adapting for Blogger this particular skin (which I created for that sixapart contest some time ago). I happened upon it (the Blogger version) by chance, and was immediately inundated by requests from folks who liked it, but who wanted custom headers. And then someone even asked me to do a custom Blogger skin for her, which I did with pleasure. With so much interest, I had to do something to capture it in some official way! Also I wanted something that would let me avoid doing school work.

Also we got about a million comment spams this morning. Why do they do that? Comment spammers, none of your links work here! Stop trying! I only have to waste time deleting your nonsensical posts, time that I could much better spend doing other things. Like avoiding school work.


rain day?!

Who's ever heard of school being canceled because of rain? Not me, that's for sure. That's why I drove all the way up to Lowell, and then (despite some misgivings at how empty the parking lot and, hmm, the whole campus, were) walked over to class in the driving rain. "University closed", said a handwritten sign on the door of the library. So it was back home for me, but not before I took a look at some of the flooding that forced the closing. Pretty impressive! We still shoulda had class, though.

Nevertheless, I clearly needed the extra hours at home, because I'm still working on projects now and there's at least another hour's worth of work to be done. Imagine if I had wasted two hours more in class?! (beyond the hour and a half I wasted driving back and forth and wandering around looking at water washing over the streets). The university might be closed tomorrow, too, they say; if only they'd tell me now that it will be so I could go to bed! I'm refreshing the city's flood info page every half-hour.

flooded with work

I didn't get any pictures of the flooding in Lowell that closed the University yesterday, so to make up for it I went out to Concord and took some at the Old North Bridge. While the flooding there wasn't as high either in terms of feet total or feet above flood stage, its percentage above flood stage was certainly impressive. By today, however, waters had receded slightly in Lowell, enough anyways for us to have classes again. Too bad about that, although I'm sure Lowell residents are glad that the river stopped within six inches or so of bettering last years terrible floods. I was refreshing the City of Lowell flood page and the University website as I did school work until 1:30 or so last night (this morning?), and was very disappointed that no further cancellations appeared. So I had to go to school, and boy was it hard to stay awake. So why am I still awake now?! Good question. Zzzz.

I couldn't stand that tissue box skin for another second; I don't know how anybody likes it. Since we obviously can't go back to snow, I reached back old-school until the official new spring skin is done.


some kind of record

It's a little extreme, I think, featuring three different blog skins over just three posts (and four in one week!). This new one should stick around for a while, though, at least until spring gets started. If you see any display problems (and I'm sure there are many, especially for IE6 on Windows) let me know in the comments!

it worked!

Ever since we got the new template up the weather has been beautiful. I take personal credit; any tokens of appreciation for the spring can be sent to us at our mailing address.

In celebration of today's sunshine we abandoned work for a couple hours and did some gardening. Well, gardening preparation. We're hoping to grow some tasty fruits and vegetables, so we need to get right to work. Too bad there are still three weeks or so of school to deal with before I can devote my every waking hour to sowing and reaping. Reaping eventually, anyways. In non-gardening-related celebrations, we also biked into Lexington to go out to dinner. Tilling the soil, biking for transportation... don't we feel like the best little hippies!

notes of summer

Today we turned off the heat* and made ice cream. Also I could have gone barefoot outside, I just happened not to. But I could have! I only hope the ice cream comes out all right... we didn't really know what we were doing. It was our first time, not only for the year, but ever. Hopefully the first of many.

*[note for my mother: I turned it back on—very low—in case it gets cold during the night. Yes, I am prudent.]

spring forward... fast forward

It got hot. We still have our storm windows down and the down comforter on the bed, and it reached 80+ degrees upstairs in our house yesterday. Even so, I didn't feel right about leaving the window (screen by then safely in place) open when I went to bed. What if it got cold?! I didn't want to get sick from the breeze blowing over me! Clearly, I'm failing to adapt to the rapidity of the changing conditions.

The plants outside are adapting with some rapidity, however. I can't remember any other springs to compare, but it certainly seems like the budding leaves are moving faster that usual. Our flower tree—weeping cherry or something—was entirely bare the day before yesterday, and now it's all over in flowers. And I have no doubt they'll all be gone by the end of the day tomorrow. Rhododendrons too are moving fast; what other years have we seen crocuses and rhododendrons out at the same time? In a way it's sad that everything's going so quick—spring is the best time of year hear, and it's a shame to have to miss it because of finals!—but on the other hand I'd sure appreciate some leaves on the trees. 85° is bad enough; 85° with no shade is entirely unbearable.

Yes, until you convince Leah to start writing again you're just going to have to read me commenting on the weather. What can I say? I find it fascinating.


instant flowers

Bare sticks to this in 2.5 days. Not bad for a little tree!

are they supermen?

People around here have a very high opinion of the physical capacities of their garbage men. Yesterday was trash day, and along with a wide variety of other random furniture and big snarls of metal adorning the sidewalks (spring cleaning in many households, no doubt) someone was throwing away an entire full-size basketball hoop. And not just the hoop! Backboard, pole, that thing on the base that holds it up (in theory, anyways; everyone with such a hoop found it knocked over after the storm last weekend). What did they expect the trash pickup personnel to do with it?! Even assuming it would fit in the truck, which I doubt, it's not like the one guy who usually handles the trash could just pick it up and toss it into the back after he does the cans. I pictured the homeowner and maybe a couple friends struggling to haul this gigantic thing out to the curb, letting it fall with a crash, and straightening up to dust off their hands proudly.

Of course... it's gone today, so maybe the garbage man really can perform feats of superhuman strength. That's pretty awesome!

overheard at the gym

Spin Teacher: "So bring your bike next week because this class is going to be outside."
Clueless Student who is wicked annoying because she does not ever stop talking about herself: "I gotta go buy a bike still. I saw a nice one at the store for only $500."
Teacher: "There are some good ones on Craig's list too."
Student: "Who's Craig?"
Teacher: "You've never heard of Craig's list?"
Student: "No, is this like someone you know?"

doing her data-mining homework, Leah is sure of herself

L: I don't like this data. I want different data.
D: Can you do something different, or is it too late?
L: No. Well, I'm still going to get an A, but...
D: Oh, so you're going to get an A and be able to parlay this research into paying work, but you don't like it cause it's boring data?
L: No, it's not that it's boring, I just can't do anything with it.
D: ?
L: I'm an analytical powerhouse and...
D: Blogging!
L: ... and I'm not using my powers to their fullest potential!

Blogging in real time!


real back-woods types

The Boy Scouts spent the weekend in our woods. Not our personal woods in the backyard here—we couldn't fit a very big troop back there—but the ones across the street, which are dignified with the name "Hartwell Town Forest". Despite that impressive appellation, however, these woods are not the forest primeval by any stretch, so it must have taken the Scouts a little imagination to make their camping trip a truly magical back-woods experience. You could see the road from one of their three encampments, like.

Of course, when you bring three portapotties into the woods with you it's never really back-woods, is it. To say nothing of about 17 coolers (filled, I hope, with nothing more exciting that delicious fruit drinks). All that gear perhaps excuses the fact that the adult supervisors felt the need to drive in to the campsite, a trek of all of 200 yards. They didn't even need their SUVs, either: as we were walking Rascal we were very surprised to have to move out of the way of a Hyundai sedan coming up behind us. It was silver.

Now, I make fun, but I'm sure they all had a great time, even though it rained on them last night. Camping is always fun, and if you can do it practically in your own backyard then more power to you, I say. But I'm glad they're gone now, too. Rascal didn't like all that commotion in his woods one bit.

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