Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Big Big Big Big Big...

OK, I just have to mention some more about the train museum. They've got this one locomotive there, #4294, that's this enormous (well, anyway it towers at least 15 feet to the top, not couting anything sticking up from there, like the smoke stack) black monstrosity of gleaming black metal. It's amazing to think that, as big as it is, it isn't even as big as some out there now. I stood on the track just in front of it and looked up and felt dwarfed. I know that's how some people feel standing next to ME, but jeez! It's actually the last of the diesel cab-forwards. The cab-forwards were created by the SP because in some of the longer tunnels and snow sheds, the train crews could actually suffocate because of all the heat and smoke being produced by the engine if they were in a cab that was at the back of the engine. So, sensibly, they moved the cab up to the front of the engine. Wow. I remember sometimes being at Jack London Square and standing on the sidewalk some 10 feet or so from the tracks there as a freight engine would roll by. They are so unbelievably huge and load and create so much vibration it boggles the mind. I never had a problem with thinking it would be a good idea to try to drive across the tracks going around the crossing arms with a large train coming on, but I remember once thinking how could anyone be that stupid??? I mean, even going only a few miles an hour the thing generates enough wind and vibration to strike fear into the hearts of anyone noise sensitive or small, and the amount of momentum involved is truly stupendous. Oh well, I guess that's just Darwin for you.

Sunday was a pretty nice day. The weather was mediocre, as it has been for a while, but Dawn and her father took Rachel to a friend's birthday party. I went for a bike ride and then folded laundry. The bike ride was really nice. 3.67 miles each way up to Spruce & Grizzly. Took me about 40 minutes round trip, and only involved maybe 4 minutes of stopped time. Also took almost exactly twice as long going up as coming back down. No big surprise there. I was pretty pleased, though; from Hearst & Oxford I made it the rest of the way up without stopping at all. It's not that it was a trivial climb, but it wasn't as daunting as I sort of thought it might be. I've been reading a lot of biking info lately (at least starting to), including roadbikerider.com's 29 tips which include having a positive attitude about hills, and that might actually have helped some. I did have a funny moment with shifting - the mountain bike (Dawn's, now) has 3 cogs in front and for some reason I was convinced that my road bike did as well. I therefore got into my lowest gear a lot sooner than I planned. Of course, I didn't discover this until it wouldn't shift the front into the smallest of three cogs - mainly because there is no third cog. Duh.

In the afternoon, we went to the game, having gotten the other three tickets from Alex, Holly, and Carol. Rachel did really really well, although letting her insist on not wearing her jacket might finally have come back to bite us (she's sick now). She asked to leave sometime in the 2nd inning, but I was able to distract her. Then around the 4th I started talking about singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, which she was really interested in. She even wanted to practice a couple of times, so that got us through to the 7th. And that might have been when I pulled out the big guns - we went and got a $7 Ghirardelli chocolate sundae. I was planning on not buying another (that's two this season) because it offends me that they charge so much; after all, they would probably sell a lot more of them if they were, say, $5, so they'd probably make more actual profit which is clearly their intent. And don't try to tell me they've done research and blah blah. It's gouging and they'd do better to charge less. We did leave after the end of the 8th in order to end on a high note. Rachel was still doing pretty well, but she was clearly getting tired and if we'd stayed longer, we'd have wound up having to deal with a lot more other people leaving and such.

Monday sucked. Got another migraine, which makes 3 in just over a month. Like last time, the homeopathic sugar pill my accupuncturist gave me did a pretty good job and didn't cause any bizarre neurological side effects, but it's still a hassle. I had to have Dawn & her father come get me and my truck so I could go home and rest. Did get some work done, but not a whole lot. At least it was not last week when we were trying to get extra hours in to get a little closer to our targets for the quarter. I obviously didn't ride in yesterday and since I thought I might be going home to take care of Rachel (I mentioned she's sick) for part of the day, I didn't ride today either. Maybe tomorrow, if she is feeling well enough to go to school. Naturally, she'd made something like 10 days without wetting her bed, but last night she woke up at 3:20 in the morning because she'd done so - I think because we gave her "purple medicine for my nose" - it's sudafed, essentially, which is a diuretic. Poor thing. She was very disappointed about it. Dawn, meanwhile, feels badly for picking Rachel up fairly late on Monday - Rachel was playing when she got there to pick her up, but was obviously going on adrenalin, or something, because she completely dissolved on the way to the car. I hope she feels better soon. And I really hope I manage to duck this one; I've been doing pretty well at not getting these colds & coughs since I started working with Sandy in February, but now I'm trying to rule some things out as causes of the migraines, which means not taking most of my daily pills, including echinacea & vitamin C, etc.

I decided it was finally time to start ripping my CDs, and since I hardly ever get time to do so at home, I am doing it at work on my extra desktop machine that has tons of space. I haven't figured out how I'm going to get it all home. I figure I can either bring my laptop in, put it on the network and copy everything over, or I can just open up the desktop and borrow the hard drive for a weekend. I think I'll still need to get a couple of new large hard drives to hold it all, one for a backup and one for bringing to work... I think I might have decided that the actiontec wireless media center I have sucks. It was nice to use it for displaying pictures on the television over the wireless from the computer, but it is very limited in folder management. I need to look a little more, but it isn't all that great so far. We'll see how it goes. We might just have to break down and get those Tivos, especially since that'll let us play the music in our bedroom as well as in the living room, and that would be quite nice. I also put a small flat screen television on our list of wanted items - now that we have a cable hook up in the downstairs bedroom, I figure we ought to have a television down there for our guests, but you know I'm not going to put a new one there! I suppose we don't have to buy a flat panel, but it seems as if we really should...

We're meeting with our landscaper tomorrow evening. I think the basic plan for the front is this: remove the grass on the East side of the front walkway and make it a planting area; expand the size of the planting area behind the front lawn a little bit; grade the front lawn so that it drains away from the house all the time; replace the front lawn; possibly add a small planting strip directly to the West side of the front walkway; add irrigation throughout. I'm not sure what we're going to do on the side other than provide irrigation for the vine and two trees and try to do something about the weeds. In the back, we're going to add irrigation (that's the primary purpose of the whole exercise), plant Rachel's Rose, remove & replace the lawn, including reshaping it some and leveling it, particularly at the end of the concrete patio, put in a stone patio under the tree in the back corner, and plants... more plants. It'll be interesting to see what else he recommends at this point.

But, really, I need to get some actual work done now!

No comments: