Saturday, August 16, 2008

Washington run II

Update: If I had made the loop up 32nd then it would have come out the same distance, but I didn't really study the map before I set-out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Made it safe and sound--party went well...

With all the logistics of flying and the fact that we only came in one day before the party, it was a big relief to actually set foot in Washington.

Tons of people (in terms of many, not mass) were able to come and many I had not seen for more than a decade. It was somewhat lucky that my aunts, uncles and cousins have been taking good care of themselves: They all look unchanged--time has gone by but left no mark on them. This is good. Time will win in the end, but best if we can stave-off her depredations for as long as possible.

All the kids were changed a lot--we expect this and it is good and really fun to see. I think there were 10 children (counting ones that are pretty grown-up), 5 neices and nephews, and 5 more children of cousins. It was quite festive.

Clarification: The 10 kids listed do not include our own 3. So there were 13 in total.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I felt a pang when I slid open the freezer door

Awake or asleep, in the room or somewhere distant; open the freezer and Meenah comes running for her ice-cube ration. She loves crunching on ice and who can blame her? I love chewing ice too.

Well, for a couple of days she is away visiting friends. When I slid open the freezer drawer on a routine mission to emplace some pesto pucks, no Meenah!

Lately I have chafed at having to give her ice whenever I go into the freezer. Now that I don't have to, I miss those pleading eyes.

One fine day in France

Four men huddle around a cafĂ© table in the outskirts of Paris and are seen to be chatting about something very serious…

Amaury: That was a very interesting practice session we just had today.

Alain: We are going to smash those Americans—we just beat the world record by more than 3 seconds and will do even better in China.

Fred G.: Take it easy Alain; these new suits might be responsible for some of time we shaved off and…

They fall silent for a moment as a waiter walks close-by their table, the waiter notices the sudden silence and the faint scent of chlorine in the area.

Fred B.: Yes! The Americans and everyone else has these suits too.

Alain: You guys are acting like, how you say in English? Cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys. I say let us trash talk the Americans. Then crush them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I want to garden, Fate wants me to be a mechanic

I knew going into today's session of lawn mowing that I would have to fix the drive-belt first, since I broke it last time I mowed.

So I took off the blade and heaved the belt back into its groove.

Then I put fuel in and started her up. She was running rough and slow, so I adjusted the throttle but this helped hardly at all.

How about the air filter? It is usually pretty dusty, so I opened it up and cleaned a lot of dust and debris out. Wow! It ran great: Tons of power. Then after one minute of mowing, it died and wouldn't restart.

Last resort: Take out the spark plug and have a look. It was all covered in greasy black soot. I sanded off the conductor with fine sandpaper--just for good measure I narrowed the gap a little since the electrode looked like it had eroded away somewhat. A final extra measure was to pour a cap full of oil into the spark plug hole to lubricate the top of the cylinder.

She ran great: Plenty of power, little smoke (except right when I started it and it burned off the oil I put in) and it seemed to sip fuel.

I think I spent a little more time tuning and repairing the machine than I did mowing with it. Here is hoping that all I have to do next time is put some gasoline into the tank.