Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped for lunch.

Damp Dave

Originally uploaded by eidolon.

In my ongoing “bike a little further each day” track this week, I decided to run some errands while I was out riding. Today’s trek took me about 9.5 miles down to the Natick DPW and back.

Wunderground showed no storm clouds in the area, though the report said there may be some, so I decided to give it a whirl. I don’t mind getting wet, but I would have liked to avoid it.

Wellll, I didn’t. I stopped for lunch on the way back (really the main reason I was going out), at a less than exciting pizza place (Pizza Plus in Natick. Okay food, not exactly a charming venue) for about 20 minutes. As I was leaving, I noticed it was a lot darker, and a light rain was beginning to fall. Oh well, I’ll just suck it up and deal. I only had about 2.5 miles to go to get home.

As I was making my way up Rt 27, the rain got steadily harder, and I was hearing thunder. I stopped for a bit under a tree to move my Treo from my front pocket to my backpack, and to take my glasses off. I thought maybe the rain would subside quickly, but after 10 minutes of waiting, it was obvious it wasn’t going to, so I pushed on.

I’ve never really ridden in a downpour before. At first I was a little irked by the steady strip of wetness up the back of my pants (I had a backpack on, so that keps my back from getting splattered), but after 5 minutes or so, I was soaked through and through anyway, and just laughed and started enjoying it.

I was chilled initially, but warmed up quickly, and started cranking along at a good pace. Initially avoiding puddles, I gave up and plowed right through (some a few inches deep). I took great pleasure in noting I was moving quite a good clip -faster- than the folks on Rt 27 (where traffic has steadily gotten worse over the last year or two), and realized about 15 minutes in that I was in my stride. Average speed was about 13-14mph, I was moving smoothly, and was in my groove. I was completely soaked, but I was laughing the whole time.

Passed a jogger on the way “Another beautiful day, eh?” I called out. She gave a ‘Yeah!’ and continued on.

All too soon I was back at the house. I wanted to snap a quick picture – it doesn’t convey the total drenchedness of the experience, but I there I was.

A few things I’m thankful for out of this experience.

  • I didn’t need to be anywhere where I had to be DRY. Was able to come home and strip down.
  • I can see ‘okay’ without my glasses. In that rain, if I had to keep them on, it would have been bad news.
  • I brought my backpack. I was able to transfer my Treo into it to keep it dry, and my book stayed dry as well. Yay my O’Gio backpack.

Tomorrow? Hopefully we can crack 10 miles. We’ll see! For now, it’s time for towels and warm clothing.

Socialism! In online gaming?

Group Mining in Eve

Originally uploaded by eidolon.

As in most MMPORGS, Eve Online has a way of organizing into groups with other players. In World of Warcraft, this are called ClansGuilds. In Eve, they’re called Corporations. Recently I joined a corporation that has taken a completely socialist tack.

Our ‘Collective’ pools all resources. Cash, ships, equipment, eveyrthing are all owned by the corporation. Members of the corporation can take any of the ships or equipment or weapons anytime, long as you put it back or replenish when done. All money from operations, missions, and bounties go into the collective wallet.

Recently, we needed to pick up minerals for manufacturing. A half dozen players got together and went on a mining op. This screenshot shows the op in progress. Several small mining ships re mining (me in the middle). The mining ships have almost no armor, and very small cargo holds. So the ships jettison mined ore into holding containers, or ‘cans’. The cans are ‘gang’ owned – meaning anyone in the mining group can open them. Another pilot has a ‘hauler’. His job is to run around to all the cans emptying them of ore, and shipping the ore back to the corporation’s hangar. A round trip of about 10 minutes, but the hauler can hold 50x what a mining frigate can hold.

Also in the gang are escorts. Their job is to keep rats (NPC pirates) and normal pirates (player characters) off our backs while we mine. We’re in ‘low security’ space, so there’s no police (in Eve, they’re called the Concord) around to help keep law and order. We’re on our own.

This is a community of players working together toward a common goal – the strength and prosperity of the corporation, which we’re all a part of.

This is a great game.

The Weekend that Was


Originally uploaded by eidolon.

My goodness, what a couple days. I’ll try and write a nice long pictorial history of the trials and tribulations that were AnimeBoston. All in all, a successful, if exhausting event. By far the largest deployment I’ve ever done, with our fastest throughput ever (over 500 badges printed per hour). Next year we’ll go even faster!

This picture is from Sunday, getting close to closing registration. The lone security person (whose name escapes me, but she was awesome all weekend) is directing the few last-minute registrants to either pre-reg or at-con registration lines. We did have a few hundred show up on Sunday, even some who had pre-registered.

Spectacular mad props to Ben and Barb for pulling 12+ hour days all weekend, and dealing with my own crotchetiness.

Spring Storm

Spring Storm

Originally uploaded by eidolon.

We get some lovely storms coming up the coast. This one was the leading edge of a storm front that just whipped through Worcester county. The radar image looked just like a boomerange. Nothing in front of it, nothing behind it, heavy rain and wind and clouds at the front and rear edge.

Zach and I went down to the edge of the lake and took this picture just as the front edge was moving over us. Within 90 seconds of this picture, we were being pelted with pretty heavy duty hail.

Fruit Bowl!


Originally uploaded by eidolon.

I rarely get the chance to create something in the kitchen, but somewhere I got a reputation for making nice fruit bowl sculptures. Since we’re going down to a birthday party for Catya‘s grandmother today, I had a request to make another fruit bowl.

This was a smaller watermelon than I usually use, so instead of the ‘built in handle’ I usually do, I decided to make it sort of more ‘cradle’ like. I cut the melon down and removed the ‘lid, and hollowed out the interior (after cutting watermelon balls using a 1tbspn measuring spoon). After that I cut up pineapple, honeydew melon, grapes, kiwis (with Zach’s help!), and strawberrys, and mixed those in. The baby pineapple was _TOO CUTE_ to cut down, so I fitted it into the top part of the watermelon.

Toothpicks are used a bit to hold the things on the top of the melon, but mostly this is just a bowl full o fruit. We have about the same volume again to refill as folks eat, carried in a seperate set of bowls.

Dog added for scale.



Originally uploaded by eidolon.

I do like taking walks. After a morning helping out family members, I spent almost 2 hours in the woods near Bolton, MA on the conservation trails. Toward the end the sun was beginning to go down, and the trail crossed this stream.

I don’t think I’d ever been on this bridge before, but I loved the patterns of the light and the water.

A view from my office!


Originally uploaded by eidolon.

Okay, not exactly. Today I had a bunch of errands that required me out on the road, including dropping the van off to get a trailer hitch put on. This of course left me without net connectivity (GASP!) for several hours, as my laptop is still in the Laptop Medical Center undergoing major surgery.

What an excellent opportunity for a bikeride! I brought the recumbent with me, and after dropping the van off, loaded up my gear and headed off.

My route took me from Waltham into Lexington, onto the bike trail (see picture), and out to Bedford, and back. Along the way I took and placed a few phone calls, eliciting odd looks from folks as I chatted away on my headphone while biking along. After returning, and noting the van wasn’t done yet, I went into town and had lunch, and rode back. My bike computer said around 21 miles, but goole pedometer says 18.8. I trust my bike computer a bit more on this, I think, since it took into account all the little noodling I did along the way. My first serious bike ride of the year.

It was an invigorating ride all told. Weather was EXCELLENT (at the moment my outside thermometer says 71 degrees. Woo!), and I suspect I even got a little suntan out of it.

The most interesting part was on the return from Lexington. This is about the 15-mile mark, and I was hitting my stride. Riding on Lexington street is challenging because of the lack of shoulders, and the fact that there’s a lot of traffic. I realized after the third ‘weave’ that I had switched into NYC Bicycle Messenger mode. Approaching a traffic light, I looked for the best course through the standing cars, and took it – whether that was between the rows or on the sidewalk. I took no real ‘risks’ (never stopped short, never jumped through cross traffic, etc), but it felt REALLY GOOD. Between traffic lights I was sprinting with the flow of cars – many times I was moving at speed or faster than the traffic around me, and the cars let me have a space in the lane. When things slowed down, I slowed, found a way around the stalled traffic, and zipped on around, pumping hard to get back up to speed. I snarled at slowdowns “Grrr! I just got back up to speed!”

During one particular sprint, I realized I had shifted to my large front chainring, and was pumping away at a good pace. Looking down at my bike computer, it happily proclaimed 27mph, which is haulin for what is basically a very gentle downslope. I was in the groove!

I was able to hold this mode for about 15 minutes, between Lexington and Waltham. I now see the attraction to riding in town, in traffic, when in shape. I can’t hold onto it very long, I just don’t have the muscles or lung power for it, but I can see it coming.

I love my bike.

Zach and Justin on Wengo

Zach and Justin on Wengo

Originally uploaded by eidolon.

For some time now, Barb and I have been using Wengo for video and chat calls. It turns out, the kids love it almost more than we do. THis is Zach (sitting at my desk), talking with Justin (who is in Pittsburgh, 600 miles away), and just hanging out together. They ended up spending 2-3 hours just playing around, showing off stuff they were doing – heck, they even ‘shared breakfast’.

Isn’t this the space-age video phone technology that we were always told would come? Now I want my flying car!

Broken Treo Screen

Broken Treo Screen

Originally uploaded by eidolon.

Okay, THIS I could have done without.

I’ve been using the Seidio belt clip holster for my phone. I find it very convenient to be able to snap the phone on and off the holder on my belt, and still have a swivel hook. Total space used up wasn’t very much – it didn’t stick out very far and wasn’t catching on things. Much.

Tonight it caught on one thing too many. Coming through a door at a meeting, I leaned too close to the door frame, the treo caught on it, and it went flying out of the clip. I didn’t notice the screen was damaged until I used it again a half hour later, but it was pretty obvious what had caused the damage.

Fortunately, I have insurance on the device, so Verizon -should- be able to replace it for me without any hassle, but it really means belt holsters are not for me.

So where does that leave me? Cat is ver fond of a big aluminum case style. I find these things incredibly unwieldy and impossible to use. You have to flip the case open (sideways) to talk or use the unit, which means you have a big piece of aluminum flapping either above or below your face while talking on the phone. Last but not least, this type of case doens’t support a belt clip. And if it did, it would stick out a tremendous amount. Not for me, thanks.

The ones I like the most are the leather magnetic-closure flip cases, which are belt-clippable, look nice, and do protect the phone quite well. What I’m worried about is how well the magnetic flap thingy actually stays closed.

I could use a top flip style case, which won’t have the magnetic problem, but these cases still seem to suffer from the “the clip part is very weak, and breaks easily.”

I could also choose something like a belt pouch style. My issue with this is the belt clip isn’t swivel, so it could get in the way (that’s probably not so bad), but the phone has to come OUT of the pouch to use it. Which removes a lot of it’s protection.

Maybe a belt pouch -and- a skin case. By day, the phone would live in the pouch, wrapped in it’s skin. At night, it could be pulled out, still protected!!!

Bleah. I’m open for suggestions here.
Edit – I just came across the Zcover which is a skin for the treo, with an integrated belt clip. Hmm.

Castle Island, Boston, MA


Originally uploaded by eidolon.

While waiting to go to the New England Boat Show, Zach and I walked around Castle Island, home of Fort Independence, a well known sight to anyone who has sailed or boated in Boston Harbor.

It was extremely windy, and cold (well, it’s February in Boston. Whadya think?) but the clouds and light were just too beautiful to ignore.

This particular shot (one of 3 of this setting) was actually shot while sitting in the van getting up the gumption to go walk outside. 🙂

Click here to see the entire Cloud series