I finally found a new route home from the gym that avoids the dreaded Route 3 entirely. Woohoo!

In other news, I test-drove a hybrid Civic last night. All in all, it’s quite nice. It drives a lot like a normal car, and the acceleration is decent considering it’s such a small gas engine. One of the more fun features is the continuous gas mileage display – it gives you the mileage you’re getting right this second, as well as your mileage for the current trip. I don’t think there’s a lifetime gas mileage display, sadly. My only other complaint was about the garish faux-chrome plate covering some of the dash and gearshift – ick!

posted February 28, 2003 – 8:45 am

For finishing the coffee table I’m building (look for pictures soon), I bought an electric sander. We use them extensively at work, and the Porter-Cable’s seem to hold up under near-constant use. I’ll let you know how things go. Thanks to mom & dad for another great birthday gift.

The Enormous Room was fun & tasty, as expected. I guess when you only have one dish (meat and vegetarian versions available), you can focus on preparing it very well.

posted February 26, 2003 – 12:45 pm

Off to dinner at the Enormous Room tonight (caution: bizarre website ahead) for Jo’s birthday. They’ve got a tasty vegetarian platter and a funky atmosphere. Check it out sometime.

It’s sad that the lists section at McSweeney’s doesn’t get updated much anymore. Why is that?

posted February 25, 2003 – 10:40 am

Well, I played in the Scrabble tournament on Saturday in Somerville – you can see some pictures and (not many) results here. Though it doesn’t say it, I played in Division C and went 4-1 (same as the winner of the division, but my point spread was smaller). I came in second, and won $12 (I made a buck on the day, after the $11 entrance fee). Not bad, for my first Scrabble tournament.

I learned how to drive a stick-shift car today (cheers to Laura), so I’m all set to go test-drive for a new car. Oh, the excitement!

posted February 23, 2003 – 6:48 pm

I got around to putting up some pictures from my recent Seattle trip – check ’em out here.

posted February 21, 2003 – 7:31 pm

I went last night to a meeting of the Lexington Area Scrabble Club. They were quite hospitable, and I had a good time. Some differences between their competitive games and a living room game include:

  • Only two people play at once.
  • Use of a chess clock to impose a time limit on games to 50 minutes (25 minutes per player). Penalty of 10 points per minute over the limit.
  • They use a dictionary from the National Scrabble Association as their official word list
  • Challenging someone’s play and being wrong results in a lost turn. Same if your word is challenged off the board.

To make it easier for newcomers, the Lexington Club (and many others) eases some of these rules – overtime penalties aren’t enforced, challenges don’t lose you a turn (but they still do your opponent), and you get to refer to a cheat sheet of all the acceptable two- and three-letter words.

I did okay – 1 win, 2 losses – and met some nice folks. I’m usually climbing on Thursdays, so I might not make it back for a while, but it’s possible I’ll play in a small tournament tomorrow. We’ll see.

posted February 21, 2003 – 7:22 am

Last weekend, I saw the original Lolita at a great art-house theater in Seattle called the Grand Illusion. What an amazing movie! Just as gripping and intense as the book with some incredible acting and cinemetography. Kubrick & Nabakov were geniuses, and if you haven’t seen this movie, you should.

posted February 20, 2003 – 1:17 pm

My bag finally returned itself to me (I truly believe American Airlines had little to do with it), and all is right in the world. Well, except for the whole war thing, which stinks of something (or someone) rotten.

While in the Seattle, I revisited a great woodworking store. You can see them on the web here, but you should really see the store in person – it’s really quite breathtaking. Nice folks who work there, too.

Random thought for the day: instead of printing warnings on the cartons (it’s been shown that pretty much everyone who smokes knows the dangers, and even overestimates them), we should make cigarettes or the cartons or both bright neon colors. It’s hard to look cool while holding a hot pink smoking thing.

posted February 19, 2003 – 8:26 pm

I’m back from Seattle, in spite of the snow. I was kind of hoping to get stuck out there for another day or two, but it was nice to sleep in my own bed, too.

Unfortunately, though I made it home, my bag did not. It’s probably happily traipsing across the country, having all kinds of adventures, and doing whatever luggage does whenever it’s left your “immediate control.”

I’ll put up some pictures from the trip soon, but in the meantime, here’s a story.

Abby & I were in the bookstore looking for a kid’s book on geology for her neice when we came across this scary book. No hint on the cover of the dubious, “scientific” content. No subtitle: “A Creationist Reference”. We skimmed through, and the first tip off we had was the section on fossils: apparently, the only dinosaurs that were fossilized were the ones that “didn’t make it on to the ark.” Uh, yeah.

Elliot Bay Books, though, was great – one of their associates overheard our cries of disbelief and happily moved the book to the religion section from the science section.

posted February 19, 2003 – 6:34 am

Seattle’s great – it’s practically spring here! The cherry trees are in bloom, and everything is so green. It’s sunny, 60° and beautiful.

How’s Boston these days?

posted February 11, 2003 – 12:36 pm

I received some more questions from enterprising drivers on Route 3 – apparently I didn’t cover all the bases last week.

1. Is it okay to fling many lit cigarette butts from my car?
Absolutely. We encourage you to make the drive interesting for others, and giving them a “light show” of the butt hitting the ground and sparking is a great way to do that. If you’re not a smoker, we encourage you to check out Monkey’s ‘R’ Us in Lowell – you can pick up a low-end, chain-smoking chimp for not much, and train him to fling the butts out the window for you.

2. What are some signs I might see on Route 3 while I’m driving?
Here are just a few:

  • Road Work, Next Quadrillion Miles
  • Driving in Breakdown Lane Prohibited Some of the Time (You’ll know when we pull you over)
  • Road Integrity Dubious at Best

Well, you get the idea.

posted February 7, 2003 – 6:26 am

Do you think eating mall food court Chinese restaurant orange chicken has the same vitamin C content as some orange juice? According to this recipe, the orange (zest) is optional anyway. There goes that plan to stay healthy…

posted February 6, 2003 – 6:30 am

I’m off to Seattle this weekend. And I can’t wait. Is it Saturday yet? Are you sure?

posted February 4, 2003 – 7:04 am

A midday-Monday Catch-22 for you:

I drive my brother’s car to work. He doesn’t use it during the week, so I pay him for the mileage, commute to work, and then return it on the weekends. According to Somerville (where I live), I have to register a car in Somerville to park it there. According to Cambridge (where he lives), you have to register the car in Cambridge to park it there. Well, what happens when we share the car?

According to Somerville, I should call Cambridge and “see if they can do anything” for me. According to Cambridge? Call Somerville. Gee, thanks guys, you’re too sweet.

posted February 3, 2003 – 9:45 am
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