May 24 2013
Waking up from a nap on Amtrak, I ask Siri: “where am I”?
Kind of impressive.
May 24 2013
Waking up from a nap on Amtrak, I ask Siri: “where am I”?
Kind of impressive.
May 23 2013
I am currently sitting in the roomette I mentioned in an earlier blog entry today. I just walked to the café car (which is two cars away) and had the specialty sandwich of the day, which is a pulled pork sandwich served a la Radarange. The café attendant was a fine man from the U.K. and had a delicious accent. The sandwich was quite tasty and surprisingly low in calories. I saved my appetite this evening for such a feast.
I am now enjoying Bud Light in a can in the privacy of my roomette. I hope I can do a little craft beer exploring on this long weekend that I have just embarked on.
I am surprised at how quiet this room is. I think we are two cars behind the last engine; there’s a baggage car in between. I’m not overly familiar with how things work yet, so I did what I’ve done in coach and just walked around, looking for the café car. There might be a different diner car in the other direction. I haven’t explored that way yet.
There are lighting options all over the place. Ceiling lights, reading lights, seatback lights. There’s also a toilet and a sink. Both double as the ladder to the upper bunk. I have to say that I have a hell of a lot more legroom than I would on an airplane headed for the same destination.
From the seat facing the front of the train:
I’m enjoying sitting here in the dark watching the scenery go by. I’m going to be on here for the next 13 hours or so and I think the time is going to fly by amazingly fast.
We are just getting to Syracuse; I recognize several landmarks from a city that I still thoroughly love, including the tiny James Street Wegmans.
I have to admit that I was nervous about the thought of using the toilet that is built into the room, but now I don’t feel bad. During the composition of this blog entry I have heard several flushes from adjacent rooms. I guess there’s no reason to be nervous after all. And it’s a lot more comfortable than doing it on an airliner.
I just noticed that the bed has seat belts. Heh.
Another reason I am excited about this trip is because I will see my husband after being apart for four days. We’ve been together for over 17 years, but I still miss him very much when we are apart. It’ll be good to be in the same time zone again.
May 23 2013
I just realized that I never left the week’s obligatory cat photo. I know y’all were clamoring for it, so here it is.
May 23 2013
So tonight I am leaving to meet my husband at our long-weekend vacation destination. I am excited about this trip for a number of reasons, including the fact that I am trying a new adventure for this trip.
Now, normally I would hop on a plane and fly the friendly skies because my love of flying is not a secret from anyone. However, since I’m feeling rather feisty these days, I decided to do something different. I’m taking a train. But not only am I taking a train, I’m taking a train for 14 hours. It’s an overnight and I’m sleeping in what Amtrak calls a “roomette”.
From what I have read, this Roomette is approximately 3 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet. There’s a bunk that folds up into the ceiling and another bunk that turns into two chairs and a table. There’s also a fold up sink and toilet.
I’m not only excited about this little adventure, I am über excited. I’m sure that I’ll be blogging and posting photos and the like from my little Roomette tonight and tomorrow morning. If this ride goes well, I might be able to convince my husband to try a train trip on one of our adventures together.
If anyone has a Roomette experience they’d like to share, feel free to post a comment. I’d love to hear how others have enjoyed the experience.
May 23 2013
I love Kickstarter. If you’re not familiar with the site, Kickstarter provides a platform for creative, inventive types to generate revenue to turn their dreams into a reality. One of the devices that I use everyday, the Elevation Dock, began as a Kickstarter project and turned out to be a successful little gadget for iPhone folks.
Cali Lewis mentioned the words “Smartbike” in one of her latest episodes of GeekBeat and I was instantly intrigued. I watched her coverage and then headed over to Kickstarter to read more about Helios Bars.
There’s more information on the official website if you’re not in the mood to watch a video.
I ride my bike a lot and to do this I tend to ride in the darkness of your typical Central New York morning. While I have battery operated lights on my bike, they’re not the best in the world. They’re not that bright and I’m always worried that I’m not going to see something in the road or more importantly, that a sleepy motorist heading to work isn’t going to see me. I’m always looking for ways to improve my visibility and I think the idea of Helios Bars makes amazing strides in that direction. When you add the functionality of GPS and being able to track the bike via smartphone, well, come on, that’s just wicked cool.
And we all know how a geek likes wicked cool. Especially a geek on a bike.
I’m hoping that this Kickstarter project gets funded because I think this is a really good idea. I’ve made my contribution to the project because I really want Helios Bars on my bike and I’m all for making the world a safer place. With all of the distracted drivers behind the wheel these days, increasing visibility is really vital for those of us on bikes.
May 22 2013
A friend at work lost her garage and its contents (including their vehicles) in a fire that was started by a lightning strike during one of the storms that blew through last night. Since yesterday was already a pretty tense day at work, I can’t imagine having to deal with that as well.
See, this is the part of thunderstorms that I don’t like. Mother Nature can get a bit zealous with her wild ways. I was happy to see that folks at work are stepping up to help where they can.
I spent the drive home and some of my evening last night chasing the storms that came through. The weather radio was going crazy with announcements but there wasn’t anything wicked huge, just kind of loud and boisterous.
As I type this, the weather radio here in the kitchen just started blaring. We are under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 10:00 p.m. tonight. It’s a good thing I gassed up the Jeep and charged up the portable weather radios.
I tried taking a photo off the front porch of the house during one of the storms yesterday evening.
I should have made sure the video camera was charged up as well. I’m ready for tonight.
As I fell asleep last night, I watched yet another light show. I captured this photo with my iPad.
May 21 2013
I didn’t get much sleep last night. A thunderstorm came booming through town around 2:30 a.m. and someone (mainly, the bachelor of the week) left all the windows open so all of the windows needed to be shut before the rains accompanied the lights and noise.
It was kind of awesome. I shouldn’t speak in subtleties, it was friggin’ awesome. Despite paying the price through fatigue today, I loved every moment of it. I’m kind of excited to see that more storms are predicted through tomorrow. I’m crazy like that.
I love opening up the window shades to their fullest potential and watching Mother Nature’s awesome beauty in her thunderstorms. I find it so thrilling. Watching lightning bolts zig zag across the sky and seeing the big maple tree by the road sway back and forth (but still stand tall) from the wind is absolutely marvelous to me. I don’t know why it is, but I can never get enough of a thunderstorm. I always feel a little sad when they make their way through town and head somewhere else. I’m hoping that someday we’ll have a bedroom that has skylights so I can watch storms that way too. If I had the opportunity, I’d live in a place that required a storm cellar in a second. Like I said, I’m crazy like that.
I mentioned on Facebook last night that I wish I had paid more attention to Earth Science back in high school. I’m not comfortable with the amount of knowledge I have about the weather and how it works. I need to learn more. I wish there was some way that I could take my love of wild weather, namely thunderstorms and tornadoes and the like and turn that love into knowledge that could help others that don’t love a storm the way I do. I want to give back to the world by harnessing that information and helping build some sort of warning system, much like they attempted to do in the movie “Twister”, so that folks like those recovering in Oklahoma today weren’t mourning the loss of loved ones because of Mother Nature’s power.
I occasionally find the devastation left behind by Mother Nature’s power to be breathtaking, and not in a good way. The aftermath left by storms that I love so much can be so heartbreaking.
I’ll be thinking about the folks in Oklahoma tonight when the storms come rumbling through again.
May 20 2013
So Earl and Jamie left for Chicago this morning. They are off to start the ball rolling for Jamie’s move to the Windy City later this year. Earl has more vacation time available than I do so I’m going to meet up with them this coming weekend. He’s also going to be doing some work while he is out there so it’s all good.
This makes me a bachelor for the week.
Bachelor Mode has typically included a supper of soup and popcorn every night and being a complete geek about the house. I think my focus this week will be on getting some extraneous chores done as I have had things sitting on my to-do list for a while now and haven’t found the energy or motivation to do them. It’ll be easy to embrace my loner tendencies and get some of these things done.
With the marvels of modern technology, Earl is just a FaceTime call away, so it’s not like I’ll be lonely or anything. Actually, I will be lonely because that’s the way I can be, even though I’m on a loner, but with the little projects I have planned I’ll at least keep my mind occupied.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even write in my blog a little more. And share some cat photos. Because it’s always good to share cat photos.
May 19 2013
I have mentioned before that I have a master clock system wired throughout our house. Typically found in schools, there is a computer sitting in the basement acting as the “master” clock and once a minute the clocks in each room click-click ahead to the next minute. All of the clocks are made by The Standard Electric Time Company of Springfield, Mass. and even though they’re all from different eras and schools (as my collection has grown over the years), they’re all compatible with one another and theoretically could have existed in the same building, much like they’re wired in our house.
I know, this clock collection makes me even more of a geek, but I have had an interest in the clocks since my first day of kindergarten, sitting on the floor in Room 5, Mrs. Mosher’s room. The clock clicked to 9:00 and a buzzer sounded, signaling the beginning of the day. It was neat.
As I have collected clocks over the years (including three clocks from my elementary school), I have built quite a collection and have connected with others throughout the country that share this interest. There’s some comfort to know that others live in that lunatic fringe of geekdom with me.
I have recently discovered all of the yearbooks available on classmates.com. This has helped me see some of the clocks I have collected in their natural habitat. It has also given me the opportunity to see what kind of clocks are in an abandoned building or some art deco wonder of a school that I may have spotted during our travels. For example, on my bike ride yesterday, I rode by an impressive looking school building in Oxford. A quick look at one of their yearbooks confirmed that they indeed had a Standard Electric system, as seen in this shot from their office.
Going through these old yearbooks I can’t help but notice how much nicer the students and teachers were dressed back in the day. Folks looked well groomed. We might not always agree with the beliefs of the time, but superficially speaking, at least folks looked good. It’s amazing how much times have changed. I don’t know if there’s a lot of schools that have “Future Homemakers of America” or Rifle Clubs these days.
By the way, I’m always curious as to who remembers their clocks from elementary or high school. Here’s a picture of one of the clocks from my collection. Purely designed for functional purposes only, I still find these to be wicked cool.
May 17 2013
The proper way to listen to Agnetha Faltskög whilst writing code. I am still loving this album.