amethyst73: (tazz)
We're belatedly celebrating 17 years of marriage this year by taking a vacation that's Just Us - no family visiting, just doing things by ourselves.  We haven't had a vacation like that in over 3 years, and it was time.  We decided on San Diego - we arrived today, and plan to hit the zoo, the Safari Park, and we've got tickets for a whale watch Thursday.  We'll be here till Saturday.  Anyway, here's the story so far.

San Diego, day 1 )
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If you're from out of town, you broadcast the fact by using your turn signal before changing lanes.  Fortunately, as long as you pay attention, the locals indicate they plan to change lanes fairly obviously even without the use of a turn signal.

Entering and exiting I-610 in Houston was its own brand of interesting.  Well-designed?  Passably, but only once you got used to how they worked.  Well-signed?  Nope.

The gory details... )
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As pretty much everyone with an ounce of history knowledge knows, the Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, just shy of 2000 years ago.  There's currently a temporary exhibit at Boston's Museum of Science that features a sizable number of well-documented artifacts, and which is well worth your time should you be able to go.  (I can't find anything online about where else this exhibit will travel, if it does.)

Wall of text talking about how cool it was )
The rest of the Museum of Science has been updated quite a bit from when I was a kid.  The 'old' T. Rex, who was built back in the 60's and was pretty much the mascot of the museum at the time, has been relegated to the great outdoors, with his dragging-on-the-ground tail mostly embedded in the outer wall.  There's now a new dinosaur exhibit which includes a 'new' T. Rex in running position with his tail properly up.  It also has one of only five complete Triceratops fossils ever found, which is kind of neat.  We didn't have time to really look at most of the rest of the museum as we had a commitment late in the afternoon.
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Boy, driving in Massachusetts when you're used to driving in California is really annoying. The combination of lots of nonstandard intersections, no left-turn-only lanes anywhere, and drivers who all know much better than you is kind of painful.
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We are in Sacramento!

This isn't quite the view out our hotel window, but if you go out the gate and on to the bike path, this is what you'll see:



The Best Western on Jibboom is comfortable and clean.  Traffic noise on the river side of the hotel is not bad at all, but you can hear the trains as they enter Sacramento and blow their whistles.  I'm sure it's not the hotel's fault, but I do wish I could go kill whoever called our room, twice, at 4 AM this morning, waking us both up out of relatively sound sleeps! 
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Had a busy but generally good week and weekend.

Pasted from G+ )
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Fluffy Cat has to go to UC Davis in a week and a half to get radiation treatment for a recurrent spot on his nose. His appointment is at 10 AM on a Monday. I don't know whether the vet med hospital at UC Davis will consent to board him the night before, but I'm guessing not. So, I have questions for the Interwebs:

• Do you know of kennels in the Davis area that board cats and are open for dropoffs late Sunday?

• Have you ever stayed at a hotel that accepted cats with guests? What was the experience like? Did the cat stay in the room with you, or were there separate accomodations?

• We're likely to have some time to kill while Fluffy gets irradiated. Any ideas on things we should see while we're in Davis?
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So.  We leave tomorrow night on a trip to Boston.

Wish us luck... Wish us sanity! 
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We went to the local Good Upscale-ish Mall this evening.  The purpose was threefold: (1) to get some exercise (we got very little yesterday and figured that that contributed to our broken and difficult sleep last night), (2) to acquire a soccerball for Dad to give to his two little grandsons, and (3) to see if we could find me a new leather jacket.  Mine, which I've had since sometime in college, has developed several rips that are clearly signs of the leather itself wearing out, and it's just not in good shape anymore. 

We failed in the soccerball project; this mall was *too* upscale.  Fear not - there's a much less upscale mall with a Target pretty nearby, so we think we have a good chance of finding a soccerball there.

We did, however, find me a new leather jacket, almost coat, that I really like!  It's longer than my current one, and has a belt with it that I may not wear all the time.  The coolest thing about it is the removable furry lining.  It's pretty definitely warm enough with the lining to serve pretty well out here in New England, and I think without the lining it should work pretty well for the coldest weather we're likely to get in California.  So yay!  It's cozy and I like it.  :)

(We also succeeded in getting exercise.)

(Also in acquiring and consuming a strawberry-chocolate-whipped cream crepe.  Mind you, we didn't know that that was a goal when we arrived at the mall, but it still counts.)

Rrrr.

Nov. 22nd, 2010 07:42 am
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Right.  Tired of waking up in the middle of the night and losing sleep.  First night we were both so tired we just kind of slept.  Second night, awake for ~ 1 hr around 4 AM local.  Tonight... woke up at 5:30.  Still awake.  Annoyed.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled activity.  Or lack thereof, if you're lucky.
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We're staying at a Marriott near my dad's house for the duration of this trip.  (Normally we would be staying with nearby Awesome Friend, but said friend has cousins staying with them.)  The lobby is under renovation... but that's probably part of what led to the relatively low nightly rate.  We have an entirely reasonably-sized fridge.  We have a microwave (albeit old enough to have two heat settings: defrost and cook, along with a time dial).  There's a (CRT) TV, which we likely won't watch much.  There's free wired and wireless Internet.  The bed is cozy.  The bathroom is filled with grain-themed wash products (quinoa shampoo, amaranth conditioner) made in Pasadena.  I'm betting in the morning we'll have a pretty good view of Totten Pond.  And there's (contrary to what I was told over the phone while making the reservation) free continental breakfast, so yay. 

And it's a reasonable bedtime by East Coast time, at any rate.  Goodnight!
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Huz and I will be in Boston from Friday 11/19 till Friday 11/26.  Anyone around and want to hang out, either during the day (lunchtime-ish) or in the evening (post-8pmish)?
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Also, why doesn't jetBlue update their site to indicate (at 11:09 PM) that no, in fact, we will not be departing at 11:05 PM?
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• Huz is back!  We are both pleased.

• Many many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nezumiko , who let me hang out with her Thursday night and Friday during the day.  It was awesome and excellent, and we need to do it again sometime.

• Thanks also to [livejournal.com profile] orichalcum  and [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin , who were kind enough to let me come over Wednesday night.  Really, it was as much for their sake as for my cats' that I didn't spend the night, much as Mac might have liked me to.

• Rest in peace, Christopher Booth (icyjumbo on the Librivox forums).  You were a brave, funny man who wrote eloquently about living with cancer on your blog, A Mammoth Undertaking.  I am grateful that you were not just functional but able to enjoy activities and friends until such a relatively short time before the end.  May God bless you and be with your wife Gillian as she mourns you.

• Congratulations to the Choice of Broadsides team in getting a nice critical mention in the Guardian!

• Crystal Bearers is growing on me, at least some.  The camera, while annoying, is manageable: I'm getting used to nubbing the D-pad as I move to orient things properly.  The save business isn't actually so bad: in addition to the scattered Save Points, the game autosaves pretty much every time you enter a new area.  This generally means that your saves aren't more than 10-15 minutes apart, depending on how fast you cover ground and how much time you spend noodling around playing (for example) the requisite fishing minigame.  (It would still be really nice to just have the option of saving anywhere!)  No... If I could change any single thing about the game, after ~3 hours in, I'd add a map.  No map = really really annoying and easy to get turned around in Hyrule Field - oops, I mean the Wildlands - and in cities.

• Done with going to Berkeley for the moment.  Sure I'll be back in another couple of weeks with a new batch of clones to sequence.  Yay?
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So, Huz has been in Edinburgh since Monday.  He's tired (not getting enough sleep, surprise surprise), but his presentation earlier today (Friday, Edinburgh time) was well received.  The Best Western he's staying at, contrary to advertisements, does not have in-room Ethernet, and their lobby wireless has been broken all week long.  So much of the (very limited) chatting I've done with him has been while he's using the hotel Windows box, which is old, slow, and wanted by other guests.  Plus there's the 8-hour difference thing.  It seems I can often count on 'seeing' him sometime in the morning (my time), as he either takes momentary advantage of the wireless at the conference site or stops in at the hotel between conference and dinner stuff.  No Skype (or even voice) chatting since Monday night, when he was stuck in Newark, which has been a bit sad.

But I've been keeping myself very busy!  Work, for one thing, seems to be going at an accelerated pace - maybe that's just me after getting back from Boston, but then again maybe not.  And nezumiko has been awesome, letting me come hang with her choir Tuesday night, helping her clean (and purchase new) rat cages Wednesday, and playing with her D&D group last night.  Tonight I am dining with Huz's parents.  Dinner was meant to be at 7, but there are other guests coming, and they didn't leave San Francisco till, oh, 6:45.  We're guessing they'll be here around 7:30 - I hope!

I have not spent as much time with the kitties as they would like.  I will hopefully fix that at least somewhat tomorrow.  Seeing an old friend for lunch plus hangout, and then I really need to do housework, as there are piles of stuff everywhere.  It's even more difficult to be virtuous and pick up after oneself when there's not another human in the house being affected by the piles of mess.

Oh.  And it hurts to swallow.  :(

Happy July 4th, to those who celebrate it!
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Huz is on his way to Edinburgh for a conference!  All very exciting, yes.  His original flight schedule: leave SFO at ~1 PM, arrive at Newark and have a 45-minute connection time for his international flight.

We were nothing short of astounded this AM when we found a phone message from someone at Continental informing him that a lot of flights getting into the Newark/New York area were being delayed 'cuz of weather and requesting that he allow them to switch him to another flight out of SFO that left a good two hours earlier.  He called back, the itinerary was changed, all was well and good.  His new flight out was delayed by half an hour, but no biggie - as he said this morning, he'd rather wait around in the Newark airport when he didn't have to worry about missing further connections.

All that preparation came to no good, though.  The plane that the group will be flying out on is en route from Florida, nearly FIVE HOURS late.  (I think this was not the original plane they meant to depart on, but I don't know what happened to that plane.  Maybe giant penguins hijacked it to Antarctica.)

Huz's Edinburgh flight is scheduled to depart just shy of four hours later than originally planned.

He will have spent over 6 hours hanging about in the Newark airport.  Poor guy!

And to top things off, his NexusOne seems to have bricked - it won't turn on when he presses the power button.  :( 

Here's hoping the rest of his trip goes better than this first bit has.

Back home.

Jun. 19th, 2010 07:31 pm
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We went to Belmont last week.  It was, despite my multitudinous sources of anxiety about the trip, really just fine.  The memorial service and associated other stuff )

It's good to be home, in our own house - though I am forever grateful to S for giving us crash space in their spare bedroom while we were there.  It's nice to have been able to spend the day here, with our kitties, who are all very pleased that we are once more available for lap creation.  I've played some Portal, Huz beat the first dungeon in Wind Waker, we cleaned (yay for temporary decrease in household concentration of cat fur!), we've made and eaten our own dinner.  Looking forward to a quiet evening and a pleasant day tomorrow.  Extremely grateful that we came back on a Friday night and have two whole days instead of just one to rest and recover before getting back to normal life.
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Fear not, I am still here. I am merely frighteningly busy, between working on The Guest List for The Memorial Service and other such matters in the morning and some evenings, and trying to pack in a whole lotta work during the day between now and when I take my next trip to Boston in May.  Oh yah, and there's this recital thing too.  (And my choir director is stuck in South Africa, waiting for British Airways to be able to fly through Heathrow again.  My life is EASY compared to that.)

I think I might have gone through most of my social circles at this point (finally).  I don't mind so much talking about Mom's death, it just gets kind of exhausting after a while.

I didn't think finishing the book that I started while I was in Boston right after she died would make me cry.  It's a sort of marker, a reminder that it all happened.  (And Tigana is still a very good read on its own merits.  Even though the last sentence screams "Sequel!!!!" and Kay has never written one.)

Sometime I suppose it will quit feeling weird to call my father on weekends, as opposed to briefly saying hi as part of a longer conversation with Mom.

Sometime Easter season won't feel just plain weird.  We'll see when it gets to Pentecost whether it's Easter-specific or church in general.

Sometime it will hit me - really hit me - that she's gone.  I 'spect that'll happen right after the aforementioned Memorial Service, which I'm in charge of.  Once that project is done, I'll have much less "stuff" to do that''s related to her death but so full of fiddly details that I am buffered from emotional thought.

Right.  That must mean it's bedtime.
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Latitude and longitude of us now: 37.475,-122.227 (decimals truncated)
Latitude and longitude of Auckland, NZ: -36.847385,174.765735
We'd have to go a fair additional chunk west to get to exactly opposite where we are now, but it's close enough to make a good poetic title.  And I feel a little like things are upside down and topsy-turvy - we set up this whole trip basically ourselves, starting from no more than a whim on my part.  It feels both weirdly grown up, and like something we'd never ever do.  (Not us, not the

We leave tomorrow!  We've spent the past week running around, shopping, doing laundry and cleaning, and tonight we pack.  We have books to read on the plane (I have Gaiman's Stardust, Huz has Neverwhere), snacks, 20 hours or so of audiobooks (not counting the ones I've downloaded for myself), a whole lotta printouts of hotel reservations and flight info and the like.  We pack tonight. 

I'll be updating mostly through our NexusOne whenever we can get onto a wireless network.  Because the NexusOne has the idiotic fault that it can't upload photos to most websites (it's only configured to do so to Picasa, Gmail, twitter, facebook, and maybe one other thing), I'll write text posts here letting people know that there's new photos in my Picasa album.  The address for that album is here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/ceastmn/NewZealand2010

(The N1 interface seems to be poorly set up for hyperlinking as well, so please just refer back to this post for the album address!)

Those of you following my Buzz will see the pictures as they're uploaded to Picasa, as I've got them linked.  I'll post when I can, but I expect wireless access to be sketchy at best in some parts (particularly Paihia and Te Anau). 

Anyway.  Packing time!

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