Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let's Go

I was out shopping- about all day at that. But that was after the buffet; I was thoroughly stuffed on crabs and sushi and what not. But Potomac Mills- that was a crowd. Picking up stuff for Little Brother. From IKEA to Steve and Barry's to JCP, it was a steady stream of shoppers. But why? The fatal flaw was last-minute shopping for Virginia school. Oh well. But Pentagon Cty wasn't too bad. And I'm trying to learn how to use the TI-84...

Friday, August 29, 2008

An inspirational story

Texas Hold 'Em let me down today- but I knew the creator's algorithm. Since alll you readers read and always bear with me, I'll break it to you- stick with the game, and you'll get a good hand- eventually-but remember to fold regularly. The chances of getting a high hand is much greater in online poker, when green cash isn't involved. The creators want to keep you interested in their game, you see. This evening, some chap pocketed 75 of my chips, in two occasions, due to my misjudgment of who had a higher hand. One pair, bad call. Three-of-a-kind + high card should have done it- but, two pair! So after losing 120 chips, and not succeeding for over 10 hands straight, Pacific Avenue style, I almost quit. But no- just
one more, and I got this bonanza- except I didn't have enough chips to maximize the opportunity- A straight or a Flush- remember, Texas Hold 'Em, it happens. And I took a rebound.

\\There's always tomorrow\\

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quick :ittle Post

Just sneaking a quick post here- In the first two days- and this much work. I wonder how the rest of the year will be. A little image into my busy world.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day All Over

What did they expect?
Was it this:

Oh, I'm so anxious about seeing them again-it makes my stomach drop- I mean, 12 weeks, I haven't seen them in 3 months. And the social anxiety- when I enter the hall and I'm there being unsocial-it's terrifying.

Of course not! I was busy grabbing things to go last night. I woke up at 6am just fine, with the little IKEA clock- still works swell. Trip over- not too crowded. Awkward silence- not too bad. Opening Mass- went swell. Orientation and all- fine.

Seems there is nothing to worry about, right. The year's getting off to a great start.

PS- I rediscovered the joy of
Great historical insights and pictures of the NYC Subway.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Caboose

The Closing Ceremonies are almost done on NBC. And on Tuesday, school starts. But today, I went on a strenuous climb on my bike up to the W+OD trail, and when onto the rail trail, which was a smooth, although hot ride. (Unlike the Capital Crescent Trail, the overhead ROW is occupied by powerlines, not trees). Some interesting railroad artifacts remained, as Little Brother turned around past the newer Citizen's Bridge in the proud city of Falls Church. A stop inside a railroad caboose museum, fitted with small photographic exhibits about the railroad's past. What concerns me most, though, is how many of these railroads are being converted. But that's just a fleeting thought. The exhibit hall provided cold water- something I hadn't had in 10 miles. Now we headed down the sparsely used Bluemont Park trail. into Ballston and over the Orange Line for a quick downhill slide Little Brother set a new record of his, 32.7 mph, entering Rosslyn.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lil' Update

Now, last Saturday, I recall again, the twine-transmission fix had no effect on the car;s performance getting home, as Daddy and I followed in the Ford Edge rental car from Hertz. On Monday, Daddy took it to the shop. It was ready on Wednesday- $5 clamp part, $78 in labor, plus a quick brake pad fix (labor as prior). If the Northern Virginians had not ventured under the car, we could have been charged hundreds of dollars frivolous, said Daddy.
On Internet Poker (Facebook and MySpace combined), I reached 50,000 chips today, which should put me in the five-star Shark ranking, up from the four-star Big Dawg.
I got my first 'motivational work award' at our last day of summer work- Leadership award- I guess it goes on resumes hitherfore.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Format, Format, Font

I haven't been on Microsoft ie in so long! I've always been using Firefox, but it's being goofy today, so now I'm here. At work today, we took the tour to the white-labcoat science museum, and found out: Kennedy Center tour tommorow.

At 'exit 24' near Albany, we tried to find the really good deal Best Western- but, there was no ramp to the street at that exit- go figure! So we headed south into the darkness. At Newburgh, home of Stewart Airport, New York's fourth airporet, it was hard to find a room, but we found one at the Ramada. The Olyimpic parade in Peking (Bejing) was just getting underway. It was already 11pm by the time I dozed off; I missed the spectacular flying spectacle-I caught a rerun the next morning, though, before heading to the rather rationed continental breakfast (I've always felt that hotels that didn't give you free breakfast are sort of scammy) But, there was a reason we stayed no further south. Daddy's surprise maneuver sent us onto I-84, not the Thruway, rushing to the Jersey Turnpike. Instead, we were headed westward. Soon, though, we arrived in the formerly industrial town of Bethlehem. A rusting steel mill sayed it all. Lehigh University was the attraction, though. Nice place, though with quite high hills. Digital camera card filled. Now I cringed at the though- fresh air and Segway tours. Since when? as I later learned, the mill closed in 2003, but the gentrifying Bannana Factory opened in 1998, and the University had been there for over 100 years. How nasty and dirty did it used to be?

Now we sped home, past Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's busy capitol, and onto I-83, arriving home at 6:27pm, with 2352.8 miles and a nice parking spot out front.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Music

Not much again, except that I was able to pick up my debit card, albeit farther into the 'hood than ever :) School's going to start next Monday; tomorrow, we go to the scientist's delight science museum- the Koshland. Never heard of it? It's run by the AAAS.

And then, after the big rainfall, we had some cereal in the trusty plastic bowls, and packed up alongside the group from Baw-ston. First place- Cabot's creamery- delicious cheese and dip! It's a shame that it doesn't get to DC fresh enough. Then quickly to the Ben and Jerry's tour. No pictures of the plant floor! again, more delicious samples, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and their only retail store, and onto a cider plant, and a cheese+sausage plant- Daron Farms- another great selection.
Then it was straight south, heading down the I-87 Northway past the Lake George Ferry.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Title?

A 20-mile bike ride when I least expected it leaves me here tonight. It was a trip up the rail-to-trail prototype- the Capital Crecent Trail ( A history-loaded trail with some sites of its former days. Connects Georgetown to the Palisades to Bethesda, and Silver Spring. And home via Wisconsin Avenue, up the hill to Tenleytown, highest point in DC, and speeding down Mass Avenue on the way home.

Now we reached Quebec, the only walled city in Northern America at rush hour. We didn't stay long, although we got quite a few good pictures from the old citadel. Now I remember- it was raining profusely. Heading towards Vermont, we spent our last night in Canada at Parc National de Frontec after a superb supper at Normandin. Arrived at around 9pm, Quite wet- rained all night and into the morning. Pretty place, too.

After Brunch at Eggsquis- which we later found out to be a chain- but in a positive light- also served great food. We crossed the border back into the USA at the remote crossing onto the road into Stowe- the Adirondacks of Bostonians, and not too far from Burlington. It was 3pm when we arrived: we decided not to visit the factory tours until the next day, but to do some cooking over the fire- and get started early on that. Some hamburgers, chicken legs, and a duck leg were grilled up (where else can you find a duck leg at the supermarket?) It turned out that the lean-to was a good $7 investment, as it started to rain-again. But let it rain- get the most out of the lean-to.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Tragic. My debit card won't be in until Tuesday. That means I'm unable to control my $ until that day. More importantly, we headed off to the Hollins Hill Farm in Delaplane, VA, (doesn't this roll off the tongue- I have a little place in Delaplane) where we picked peaches off the trees, berries off the bush, and ate a ton of peaches- there were 7 varieties today. A merry day, 2 pecks of peaches= $20, 1 pint berries=$5. We headed back to the car to head to our favorite buffet in Front Royal, about 20 minutes farther west-about time too; it was 12:45pm Oh Agony! after pulling the car partway out of the grass parking area, the gearshift came loose. Daddy, who was busy cleaning the house, was summoned. In the meanwhile, while waiting for Daddy to arrive, we sat,, and we picked and bought some more fruits and veggies- tomato, corn, potato, carrot. But while Little Brother and I were picking carrots, some kind soul with a mechanical mind decided to check under the car to see what was wrong with the transmission. A loose bolt. Some twine would prove to be a temporary solution, as we waited for Daddy to arrive with a rental car. He did come, at 4:00, and Mommy gingerly followed a series of gear-switches to get down the mountain and onto the highway.

Now let me say two things- Hertz does put you in the driver's seat, and it's bedtime.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Down to the Ground

I came to my senses after a combined amount of 3hr. 15 min. of hunting for my wallet that reckoned it was in the lost/stolen category. What I was really worried about was the debit card, loaded with gas money (most valuable thing to be bought w/o pin). There was a company picnic, which we rode our bikes to. The bikes were the 'junk'. And the usual violin lesson.

Day 5, continued
Heading South at the juction in Alma, a town grown rich off of hydroelectricity and aluminum and logging, the road was more used, and they were widening the highway to 4 lanes. TBC.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oops, with respect to Brittany

Today was a wild one at work today. The lady from Richmond made a surprise pop-in at 11:30 am, again, and let her 110 miles of emotions gathered on I-95 in 1/2 an hour before a cold turkey lunch.
What a difference from a week ago.

Day 3, continued
We first walked along curving roads to the local Tim Hortons. It was so crowded with Montrealians that we went across the street to Mc D's. About 10 minutes later, after getting orientated with the directions, we had headed in the wrong direction. We reverted back, and took a long hike to the nearest train station- St. Michel on the Blue line (or, in French custom, St. Michel-Snowdon) We paid 12.00 for 6 tickets to ride on the rubber-tyred metro. Soon, we were at Mc Gill- and walk around (my pinky's hurting). And that was basically it, other than a picture at the Parisian "Metropolitain" station entrance at Square-Victoria- Daddy tipped the 'doorman' $2. After a DC-style transfer (pick up the paper transfer on the way into the station, and show it to the driver when boarding the bus. If going from bus to train- shell out some cash) from the train to the connecting bus into the suburbs- the 141. A short walk under the highway, and the cell phone rang. That was a first- I never knew they worked in Canada. Anyway, the car was as good as Saturday Morning. It was already 3pm, and we headed fast to the campground straight north of Trois-Rivieres.

Day 4

The campground at Riviere-a-la-Peche was beautiful in the trees at first sight, but that was only the beginning of nice campground- We were spoiled so much that that one became 'forgettable'. Breakfast at...not Tim's...I'm checking the travel log...oh. It was Mickey's, again. Again, we sped north. Fuel was a remarkably low $1.29 per litre- $4.90 a gallon. It was sheer wilderness- a wilderness like he Pacific Northwest, with lots of evergreens and lakes. Feeling the car window, it was cold as if it were on an aeroplane. By luchtime, we were at our destination lake, after the omnipresent one-lane work crews worked to mainain the wily road. We had a picnic lunch at a beach in Robertval, and took a toe-dipper in the cold, iron-rich water. Continuing around the circular lake, we spent the night in a campground at Doubeau-Mistassini, in the northwstern corner of the lake. There was a grand waterfall, and an isle-mignon (cute island). It only gets better. Dinner was definitely forgettable- canned stew and lots of crackers and cracker topping. I did fill up fast, though, on the marks that malstereotypes camping.

Day 5
In the morning, after breakfast at the Bonnet Rouge, and a chat with some Torontoneers, we had to cross the 49th parallel, since we were so close. At10:13am, in the small village of St. Stenislas, we reached our northernmost point. Afterwards, the family headed up to the Trappist Chocolate Factory. No, there was actually not a factory tour, but a gift shop that sold lots of sweet treats. Apparently, the shopkeeper spoke abut no english, so Mommy had a great time practicing her French. The family picked up chocolate covered sweetmeats and bluets-aux-chocolat for ourselves, and Mommy picked up a variety box for the office. Yes, she frequently enjoys an exotic treat from a co-worker who went on vacation, or on business to exotic places. This was a little thing to return the favor. And we continued around the lake for the road to Quebec City.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Musicals not related to Canada

I have been commisioned (pro bono) to write my first script soundtrack for a skit, called the Big B. You have to start somewhere. To be fair, Little Brother did arrange some tunes for the piano part. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get a video of the production. And back to the adventure of the Canada trip.

Day 2, continued
Again, after escaping the wrath of the tow truck, the car needed to recover from its last lug. On the other side of the 'freeway', there were a bunch of shopping centres. We crossed over, after dilly daddling on this side. For too long, we found out. It turns out that Canadian shopping malls tend to close at 5pm on Sundays, as well as most everything else. Of course, that included auto repair shops. For some reason, we headed towards the direction of a hotel. A 20-minute walk from the suburb to the end of the road, at Rue Sherbroke. Block after blok we walked, until we finally met the street at the Metro station. There was a demi-upscale hotel, but it was sold out for the night. The 'Receptioniste'
had mercy on us, and called ahead to the next hotel down the road. I forgot to mention that Mommy was waiting outside with 2 gallons of antifreeze! But, we headed back to the car to give it a calculated shot at making the 2 1/2 mile move. So we made it back to the car before darkness fell. It was, again, 5 blocks from the exit Daddy thought,"Why did I do this, parking the car so far away?" The car was carefully monitored as we slowly took it to the Hotel Augbernes.
It made it, with temperature at normal. We checked in to the hotel, notably with only one slow elevator in the lobby (serving 10 floors).

Day 3
We found out that we were only 7 blocks from the Volvo dealer and shop. We were also bamboozled that that the radiator hadn't leaked overnight. But we still wanted to make sure, as the fluid level (of the radiator) had fallen a bit. By 9 am, we were at the dealership. Then the car let it out. Lots of green fluid poured out of the underbelly of the car. Apparently, Volvos are popular in Canada, and there was not a mechanic's slot for 2 hours, at 11. And we were advised; "Don't think of asking before 1pm." That gave us another day in Montreal.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mo Canada

This morning, I woke up at the luxurious 8:20am, and heard about the incident on the Bay Bridge. Long backups as one span is closed due to a truck that went over the edge. Nevertheless, life goes on here, a bike ride, and reading the recommended book. Now I talk about the last week;

Day 1, continued
The border crossing into Canada was easy, passing over the 1000 Island bridge into Ontario. Soon, we entered Ottawa. Because all the hotels were full in the City, from the suburbs into downtown, we crossed the river into the francophone Quebec, in Hull, and stayed at the Holiday Inn there.

Day 2
The car was in the underground garage, next to the laundry room hot air outlet, resulting in a buch of Canadian linen lint on the car. Traveling northeastwards, we (Kids eat free at the Holiday Inn, but not everyone) went to Tim Horton's- a Canadian favorite- comparable closest to Dunkin' Donuts in the USA. By lunchtime, we had arrived in the metropolis of Downtown Montreal, and had a chinese lunch, after skipping Mommy and Daddy's formerly favourite place, now under new control. After the scrambled lunch, we went to la vielle-ville and took nice pictures, before heading further Northeast, after stopping at another Tim Horton's. On an Autoroute in the northeastern suburbs, while the coffee was still hot, smoke was flaming out of the engine. This was disaster that was bound to happen (you see, we're going to get a new transport when this one dies, and it's high, high mileage). I grabbed my bag of valuables that I had placed strategically in the event that it happeed now. We pulled over on the shoulder and watched. We waited half an hour for the engine to cool a little. But, a tow trick shark came along, and its moneygreedyness was evident. The car, which had cooled down to movable levels. Daddy put 7 pints of water in the radiator, and the car started. He prayed as we moved the wounded car to the next exit, and into a residential neighborhood.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Canada, French Canada, and Beyond

As you may have guessed, I haven't stayed at a Raddison* in the past week. Yes, no internet access, or even computer access for 7 days. (*or for that matter, any out-of-lala-land guest friendly hotel, such as HI express). Now let me get reorientated with the mouse, the keyboard, and I'll give a synopsis of the trip to the best of my recollection.

Day 1- Saturday
Little Brother made sure to set the alarm clock on his cell phone to 3:30am, and the parents' bedroom clock to 4am. When I was half-awake and incapable of dozing back to sleep at 4:30am, the thunderstorm which Little Brother forgot to tell me about came with wind and rain, but it soon went away; we all reluctantly moved the bags to the car, and drove off at 6:14 am, a little later than LB kid wanted, but still a little dark. Passing through the nitty-gritty Shaw neighborhood, we saw ladies dressed in swimsuit-like short shorts (after a hard night shift on the rounds), but they just didn't look like they were headed to the YWCA. By 7am we entered Baltimore at sunrise. Normal workers and businesspeople were fiddling around outside the convention center. Enter I-83, and we sped north past Harrisburg and thru to Wilkes-Barre (PA), where we made our first fuel stop at 10:45am. A little sidetrack off the interstate was necessitated by roadwork. Quoting CAD, "It was good". The first destination point was Cornell University, where we just 'walked around' the sprawling campus. Lunch at the Ithaca Mall, a gleaming, shiny place, compared to other malls. After eating our fill, I noticed green liquid leaking from the underside of the car. For certain, this was a radiator problem. Under the hood, the fluid was a bit low, so Daddy filled the reservoir with a pint of water. Driving on. We crossed the US-Canada border, on I-81, at 6:40pm.


Friday, August 1, 2008

to go

I'm in a rush around here; you see, Little Brother wants to leave at 4am tomorrow to go to Canada. But I think 6am is a better time. Work was relaxed today; however, we did not launch the rest of the rockets. Oh well.
I better get back to packing.