5761 arrives and I'm still blogging daily

I didn’t actually expect to keep my string of blog entries alive today. And, if you count entries with actual thoughtful content, I probably didn’t.

After Rosh Hashanah services (we’re getting awfully close to filling the church we borrow because our own sanctuary is far too small — I don’t know what we’re going to do in a few years), we spent some time with friends from our Havurah, and that pretty much took care of the rest of the day. But it’s not midnight yet, so I can keep my string going if I hurry.

More tomorrow, probably.

Not just deconditioned, decaffinated!

The High Holidays are coming up soon. In preparation for Yom Kippur, I find it helpful to give up caffeine a few days beforehand, so that I don’t have caffeine withdrawal symptoms in addition to fasting. Yesterday, I was down to a small amount of regular coffee, and today, I think I’m completely decaffinated. At least I hope that’s why I feel the way I do.

It’s hard to stay caffeine-free for very long, though — especially when eating out. So I’m sure I’ll be going through the same thing this time next year.

Perspective

After posting the above, I looked at Al‘s page for today and read this:

Folks, if you have any good karma to spare and to share… Kaycee could use it right about now.

That’s an understatement if I ever read one.

Still deconditioned, but working on it

I’m just back from another attempt at jogging 3.5 miles. Let’s just say that I really didn’t mind being delayed by red lights! But my time was down by a few seconds from Monday, so there’s some hope.

A friendly voice at my HMO

We got a slightly odd “Explanation of Benefits” from our HMO a few days ago, declaring that the provider of a routine test was “out of network” and that the cost would, therefore, be applied to our deductible instead of having the test paid for. When I called the lab, they said that they handled this particular test for Unilab, who I know all too well is covered by the HMO, and so this should be covered, too.

So I tried last night at 4:30pm Pacific and got a recording telling me that they close at 7pm Eastern. This afternoon, I was working at home and had the paperwork in hand, so I called again, and, after fighting my way through the VRU menus, eventually found myself speaking with Christine.

I explained the situation, and she said she’d submit the bill for reevaluation as “in network”, which would mean that the HMO would pay the whole bill. Since she was so helpful, I decided to ask her how I could submit the bills from my adventure in Montréal. She went away for a while, then said that emergency treatment out of the country was usually considered “in network” and would probably be reimbursed, and that, rather than try to fit my situation into the forms, I should just fax her the bills with a cover letter. So I am.

And with any luck, I’ll get a check (or should that be “cheque”?) in a month or so.

Lament of the deconditioned

Yesterday, I realized I needed to exercise more (birthdays will do that to you), and since I was home and the weather was pleasant, I thought I’d go jogging outside. I’ve been fairly faithful about going to the Y several times a week and using the treadmill or other CV equipment there, but going out into the Real World is more pleasant.

It’s also very different. Even though a treadmill does provide a workout, it’s a very different feeling than really running. And I quickly discovered that I’d been taking it too easy at the Y — I used my usual 3.5 mile course but couldn’t avoid having to slow to a walk from time to time; when I was jogging on a regular basis, I didn’t feel the need to slow down nearly as much.

If I can get through the initial phase of discouragement, I’m sure I’ll get back into the groove — so today’s posting is a reminder to myself where it’s hard to misplace.

Star Trek comic books

That was Jeffrey’s birthday present to me. Somehow, I suspect there was a bit of self-interest involved!

Olympic Moments

Diane Reese reminds me of Brandi Chastain’s exposure at last year’s World Cup finals and the resulting controversy. To which I respond, yes, but there was a sponsor’s logo involved there, so of course it was OK to show on TV. :-)

Wine of the Day

From Webvan, Justin Monmousseau 1998 Vouvray demi-sec Blanc de Blancs ($9.22). The wine had a very sweet bouquet, but tasted far less sweet, to our pleasure. It went well with salmon; I’d happily order it again. I just wish we could find a bigger selection of wines in half-bottles, because even with a Vac-u-Vin, the wine is never as good on the next day.

Maybe I should have bought the insurance

Another day of mostly mundane activities, with little of terrific interest to write about (or rant about). But I won’t let that stop me from flipping my page.

A few weeks ago, my cellphone fell out of my pocket onto a hard floor, antenna-first, and the case cracked a bit around the antenna. Since then, I guess it’s been shedding plastic Cellphone in the process of deterioration: So I stopped by the Sprint store to ask what their replacement policy was, and found out that it was very simple and straightforward: I could have any phone in the store and I’d only have to pay the full retail price. If I’d bought the insurance (at $4/month), they’d’ve been willing to replace my phone with the same model for a mere $35 deductable.

I’m going to try to continue using my phone until the antenna falls off. And I think I’ll make sure that my next phone has a replaceable antenna.

Adventures in Print Serving

On the same trip, I stopped at Central Computers to pick up a print server. They had the Netgear PS110 two-port server for $113, and an unknown brand’s one-port server for $99. I’m not sure if I’ll ever need a second port, but I decided to spring for the name brand.

Setting up the server took about five minutes; setting up the software each machine took about as long. And then I was on the air. Not very difficult; not very adventurous; this stuff sometimes actually works!

Behind the Curtain

I didn’t join in the Behind the Curtain project because I didn’t think I’d have any interesting pictures to share — that, and because I’m way behind in editing the pictures I’ve taken in the last few months. But now that I’ve looked at a few of the contributions, I wish I had joined in; I appreciate the glimpses of life from those of you who did share your days.

It must be nice to be an optimist

Al points out an interesting story on women’s water polo at the Olympics. But I’m afraid NBC would never show those Olympic Moments!

Where do they find these movies?

Home improvement continues apace; today’s episode had us searching for (and ordering) ceiling fans for our bedrooms and the living room. If we’re really lucky, the electricians will call back on Monday so we can get on their calendar.

Back to the movie….

A miscellaneous day

This is going to be another short entry, matching my attention span today. I have done many things, none of them particularly blogworthy.

On the other hand, I did discover (courtesy of a fellow IBMer who happens to be an IBM Fellow) a new version of TweakUI on the Microsoft site; this one runs on everything from Win95 on up and exposes many useful options. My favorite (available only on NT and 2000) is filename completion, almost like the KornShell on Unix.

And I got pcAnywhere installed on my internal Manila server, which should save me many trips downstairs in the future.

Other than that, it’s been a quiet day. And I’m almost ready to call it a day.

Shabbat Shalom!

Home again

The title pretty much sums up the day; I woke up, had breakfast, got in a taxi, went to the airport, got on the plane, got in another taxi, and now I’m home. En route, I read two newspapers and watched two episodes of Star Trek.

Hope your day went as well!

A day in Lotus-land

I spent most of today working with the part of my team who are based at Lotus in Cambridge (Mass., not England); for a change, the people I wanted to see were there, and no one was rushing off to get a plane.

It’s a little too early to tell what may develop from today’s conversation; I may well be trying to help nurture a developer community around some new software coming soon. If nothing else, I now have a copy of it and am going to play with it; I also now have a copy of VMWare to allow me to play more safely.

Today was the kind of day which could almost convince me that Boston would be a nice place to live. It was sunny but not too hot (at least not for the few minutes I was outside during the day), then very pleasant this evening. I walked from my hotel to Harvard Square and back (about 4 miles round-trip); I hadn’t planned on walking that far when I set forth, but it was just too nice an evening to go back and face the keyboard! And after visiting
Toscanini’s Ice Cream, I had some fairly serious calories to burn off!
I don’t know if I’d call them
“The World’s Best Ice Cream” (as a quote from the New York Times on the window proclaims), but it’s damn good. Even their T-shirts are tempting!

Tomorrow, I’m homeward bound.

Wasting the company's money

The modern world of networks and firewalls is a real pain.

I am able to connect in to my intranet from the real Internet using a slightly weird SOCKS server which encrypts my traffic and tunnels it through the firewall. This actually works, as I proved not twenty minutes ago while sitting in a conference room at MIT.

And my hotel room (new, improved, and non-smoking) features Ethernet connectivity to the Internet for a mere $10/day. This seems better and probably cheaper in the long run than using the phone line.

I had success on my old laptop running its old operating system at other hotels in combining these two technologies to get high-speed access to my intranet from my hotel room, so I thought I’d do it here.

So here I am on the Internet, but I don’t seem to be able to find the magic words to get me far enough to be challenged for the secret code to let me into the intranet. And various commands are failing when they try to do name resolution. So I’m probably doomed to go back to the phone after all.

Oh, well; it could be worse — it might be raining. Oh…it is.

Time heals all wounds

Or at least it healed my network problems; I guess it was something wrong “out there” somewhere, because I certainly didn’t do anything to fix it other than go out for dinner.

Legal Sea Foods was as good as ever — also as crowded as I’ve ever seen them; we had to wait an hour for a table. I thought about going elsewhere because I was hungry, but there wasn’t an obvious other choice except the hotel bar/restaurant, and going there means admitting defeat. It was worth the wait, but next time I go get on the queue while waiting for my dinner partner!

They claim I'm normal

Or at least my MRI came back as normal, which is good enough for me at this point.

I’m appalled to hear about the vandalism of Diane Reese’s car. It’s not entirely because vandalism is bad — there is some self-interest involved, too, since I park in the same parking lot, and I was wondering why there was a car up on jacks on Wednesday when I came in. We work at a rather isolated facility, so I am afraid that it was a co-worker who did the deed.

Off to Boston….

….and here I am!

Word of advice to all: make sure your travel agent has your current hotel guest numbers in your profile. I didn’t, and they sent the wrong number to Marriott. As a result, my record didn’t get flagged as a frequent guest, and they didn’t hold a non-smoking room for me. I’m lucky, though — I have a room (they were starting to walk people) and, though it’s a smoking room, it’s not horribly smoky.

I have now gotten the travel agent to fix my profile.

Such problems the modern era brings…..

More locksets

A very late page-flip today, just barely in time to keep my string going.

We visited two Home Depot stores today in search of locksets; at the first, I found one which I needed; the second one (Sunnyvale, for those of you keeping score) had the other four. [This whole process reminds me of the search for Pokémon cards!]

The installation took much less time than finding the pieces. But now, of course, I need to find an antique brass deadbolt for the back door, and the front door needs some work….it never ends!

Other than hardware wars, it was a quiet and restful day; we even managed to take a nice walk after dinner for the first time in days.

It's never as easy as it seems

Today’s project was pretty straightforward — replace some interior locksets. This is a very simple task, one which even a dexterity-challenged individual like myself can do in five minutes, as I proved several times today.

The first time took a bit longer, since I was so eager to get right to the task that I didn’t take a minute to figure out how to get the old knob off (the screws were hidden by an escutcheon, which I could pry loose but couldn’t get past the knob). So I spent about 15 minutes using a screwdriver at an 80-degree angle to the screw, moving it very slowly and tearing the slot apart in the process. Finally, I reached the point at which I’d done so much damage to the slot that I couldn’t make any more progress — at this point, I realized that there had to be a better way.

So I looked at the knob and found the little release tab (which I’d seen right at the beginning, but for some reason didn’t think was significant) and pushed it with the screwdriver — it went in and the knob came off, but because the knob was no longer supported, the screwdriver kept moving and I had to go find some Band-Aids.

After that, it was easy; well, except when I decided to make sure that the latch would fit in the strike — before putting the knob on. It did fit; it took me a few minutes to figure out how to open the latch by hand so I could get out of the room again.

But after that, I knew what to do and what not to do, and I did the next two rooms in under five minutes each. So, on our way back from Side Man (about which more anon), we stopped at Homeowner’s Hell…err, Home Depot…to get more locksets for some other rooms.

And when I got home, I looked at the label on the new locksets, which showed the outside lever curving up and then down — and I looked at the three doors I’d already done, and realized that two of them were right, but one was the other way. And I couldn’t figure out how that could be, so I took a closer look. And discovered that I had a mutant lockset on the bathroom door — the inside was right, but the outside was not only the wrong way, but lacked the emergency unlocking mechanism! In other words, some previous customer had returned the lockset I’d bought, but not before mixing up the parts of two non-matching ones.

At least I discovered the problem before accidentally locking the bathroom from the outside — and I got more practice in installing locksets than I’d planned. And there wasn’t even a line at the returns counter at Home Depot, much to my surprise.

So at this point, I’m out of locksets (for some reason, the kind we want is in short supply — if we wanted a bright brass finish instead of antique brass, we’d be all set; sometimes it’s a pain to have different tastes than the majority), but there are still two or three Home Depots yet to try (the other big local hardware chain, OSH, doesn’t carry antique brass in this design at all).

And after all, it is just a five minute project.

Side Man

In between my hardware adventures, we saw Side Man at San Jose Rep. I highly recommend it.

Like many interesting plays, this one is the story of a dysfunctional family — the son is the narrator, and he wanders around in time from 1985 to 1953 and back, showing us scenes from his parents’ lives. His father is a jazz trumpet player, a side man; his mother wanted to be a flutist but got sidetracked to the bottle.

For further details, go see the play!

Six in a row and a weekend to boot

I don’t know what it’s been about this past week, but it’s been one damn thing after another, and so I’m glad it’s over.

We said good-bye to a co-op at work today, so I had lunch at Good Luck instead of trying the cafeteria — yesterday, even though I went into the servery three times, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat and wound up driving down the hill to Baja Fresh. So I was happy not to even have to consider the cafeteria today.

It was the Family Service at Shir Hadash tonight, so we helped with the Oneg (Diane is officially on the committee; Jeffrey and I help a bit, too). There was also the New Member picnic beforehand, but we decided to skip it and have dinner at home so we wouldn’t have to rush to set up. That, and we wouldn’t be competing with a large batch of yellowjackets for the food.

Tomorrow, we go to San Jose Rep to see Side Man, and Jeffrey goes to the Creative Playshop program that they host. I’m looking forward to the play, even if it does contain “Adult Language”.

The laptop continues to accrete software; I even got the X-10 Home Control software to work on it, though it requires a trick: the 32-bit communication module doesn’t work on Windows 2000, but the 16-bit one does, so you have to rename things to fool the system.

And I got a sign that next week may be looking up — my upgrade came through on Monday’s flight to Boston. Perhaps there’s hope!

Shabbat Shalom!

Today was better. *whew*

Yesterday’s evil spell continued until well past midnight; none of us could sleep at all well (Jeffrey knocked on our door at 1am to tell us he couldn’t sleep — we got him back to bed and then I think he did drift off), probably because of the unexpected humidity. If I’d been mentally awake as well as physically so, I would have turned on the air conditioner, but I didn’t think of it.

But the humidity has broken, at least for now, so I’m hopeful.

Despite the lack of sleep, today was a better and more productive day for me. I remembered to bring my briefcase and laptop in to work, and I installed every networking device I could find (a token ring card, two Ethernets, two modems, and a wireless LAN) to make sure they all worked, and they did. So then I spent the rest of the morning putting on yet more of the pile of software to be installed on the new machine.

There must be an easier way.

I want a "do-over"

Today was one of those days. The morning was somewhat frantic, mostly at my urging — I wanted Jeffrey to practice his spelling before going to school, and that made for a very rushed end-of-morning. He made it with seconds to spare, and then I walked back home, got into the car, and drove to work, ready to battle my Windows 2000 installation.

At which point I discovered I’d carefully forgotten to put my briefcase and my exercise clothes in the car, so I didn’t have my laptop, and so I wasn’t going to make any progress on Windows 2000 today.

I should have taken that as a hint and gone home. But I knew there were other things I could accomplish at work, so I stayed.

Well, I did get my desk partially clean, dumping weeks worth of trade rags and filing the receipts for my last expense account.

But I think my level of incompetence was contagious today — even the good folks in the mailroom were infected; I gave them a fax to send to England, and they faxed it to me at my eFax number instead (which was the “from” fax number on the note). Fortunately, I saw the fax arrive a few minutes later and quickly had them send it to the right number, but I’ve never seen them do anything like that before!

The rest of the day passed in much the same way. I left early, hopefully before I caused any permanent damage or ticked anyone off for life — my mood was as bad as my productivity today.

So after dinner, I went to Fry’s to buy a 10/100 switch for my home LAN and a 6-pack of Diet Coke for my office. How hard could it be? Finding the switch was easy; there was only one person ahead of me at the register; things were looking up. But then the cashier couldn’t find the rebate form — it took two people to find it (it was misfiled). And the Diet Coke rang up at the wrong price, and I was irritated enough to make them void the sale and do it again (Fry’s doesn’t have cash registers you can see, so you can’t tell what price you’ve been charged until you get the receipt; by that time, they’ve put in your credit card, and so they have to void the sale if there’s a problem (even though you haven’t signed the receipt)), even though it was not a signficant amount of money.

But the switch seems to work. So now when I have to copy files among the various computers at the house, it should be quicker. Will I ever save as much time as I spent buying the switch? Probably not, but at least I don’t have to be ashamed of my slow 10-megabit home network anymore, at least not until my friends have Gigabit Ethernet.

None of you have Gigabit Ethernet, do you?

The light at the end of the tunnel?

Well, I had my MRI; results are due in two days (but I’m not going to hold my breath — last time, it took over a week). It was slightly less fun than last time; I guess the novelty wore off quickly. The only really bad part was needing to scratch and not being able to do so except between scans — as far as room went, I think I’ve been in tighter middle seats on airplanes — and the MRI place wasn’t trying to serve me lousy food.

I continue to build up my “new” laptop from work; it’s so much fun re-installing Microsoft Office and the service packs on yet another machine. I’ve gotten better at it; this time, I wrote down my serial number so that I didn’t have to fire up Word to get it before installing service pack 2a. I should have downloaded more of the software I need yesterday while at work instead of doing it from home — downloading 430MB takes a while.

And Hebrew School started today. Jeffrey is as thrilled about going as I was when I was his age. And he gets just as much choice in the matter as I did. I think his class (and teacher) is far better than what I had, but I just don’t think it’s ever going to be on the top of his list of things to do. Not unless they start reading Hebrew comic books instead of the Siddur, anyway.

You must remember this….

And we continued to watch Casablanca at home. By the time we’ve had dinner, gone out for a walk, and Jeffrey’s done his homework, we don’t have much time before his bedtime, so we’re watching it in half-hour bursts. I’m sure that that does not do justice to the film, but it’s still awfully good — I find it hard to believe that I’ve never seen the whole thing before now.

Once we finish with the disk, I think we’re going to cancel our NetFlix subscription. The idea of being able to hold onto films as long as necessary is a good one; so is the concept of being able to turn over discs as quickly as we like. But in practice, I find that we watch an average of one to two discs a month; that makes the effective price somewhere between $10 and $20 per disc — and we can’t always get the movie we want when we want it. For us, I think it’s going to be more cost-effective and perhaps less hassle to buy the discs we want to keep and rent from a local merchant when we know we’ll have time to watch the disc, instead of pre-ordering by mail. I’m sure there are people whose viewing patterns are a perfect fit for NetFlix, but it doesn’t seem to match ours.

Web and Society, anyone?

I’m now co-chair of the Web and Society track for WWW10, next May in Hong Kong. My opposite number and I are working on the official Call for Participation on our track, but I thought I’d put out an unoffical notice here. Contact me if you’re interested.

Weekend Thoughts

I have very few thoughts to share this weekend — I spent much of it editing the Temple bulletin, including a piece on Friday night’s 20/10 service (not written by me!). Other than that, it was a quiet weekend — Sunday school started today, so we spent the morning at Shir Hadash talking with people (including Jeffrey’s new teacher) or wandering around the neighborhood in the few minutes we had free.

And I went to Fry’s to look at 100-megabit hubs and switches, and at print servers so I can put my inkjet printer on the network — if anyone has any advice, especially on the print servers, please feel free to chime in, either in the discussion group or by e-mail.

We started watching Casablanca this evening; we had to stop it just after Ingrid Bergman came in so that we could start getting Jeffrey on his way to bed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the whole movie; I hope he doesn’t have too much homework tomorrow so we can watch more!

20/10

I’m just back from services at Shir Hadash; this was a special service, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the congregation and our Rabbi’s 10th year with us. All of the past Rabbis were there, we had a Torah reading, and a special song was commissioned for the occasion — and with all of that, we still finished before 10. But then there was the gala Oneg Shabbat (goodies!), and that kept us (well, me) busy for another hour.

It was a very good service; the only problem is that we’re finding it difficult to fit into our building, and the building is only two years old!

I could continue with my tales of Windows woe (this time on my new laptop), but I’d rather keep today’s entry positive. Shabbat Shalom!

Windows is a Four-Letter Word

Since my computer is almost three years old, I immediately hoped it was a hardware problem so that I’d have an excuse to get a new machine (my motherboard only supports AGP 1x cards, so a new graphics card might have been hard to find). But I made the mistake of mentioning the problem at work today, and one of my friends suggested I look for a new driver and see if that would help.

This seemed like a good idea, since I was running the original Win98 drivers for the Viper 330. And, sure enough, there were new drivers on Diamond’s site. And a new BIOS, too. So I downloaded them and set to work.

The install procedure seemed simple enough: reset the system to VGA, reboot, and run INSTALL from the directory with the new drivers. When I told Windows to drop down to VGA, it complained — said that wasn’t the hardware I had. But it was willing to let me do it anyway, and I rebooted in glorious 16-color, 640×480 resolution, ready for the next step.

The next step seemed pretty easy, too; but Diamond’s install program told me that I had some files which were newer than the ones it wanted to install, and suggested I keep the ones I had. So I did. And then I rebooted.

And then things started to go wrong. Windows wouldn’t let me set the display to anything better than straight VGA resolution (though it claimed I was running the Diamond Viper 330 drivers). If I did try, it required me to reboot, then told me that my hardware wouldn’t support this mode, and dropped back to VGA resolution.

16 colors is not enough to edit pictures, so I decided I’d better persever. My next step was to reinstall the driver again. I got the same results. At least it was consistent.

So then I flashed the new BIOS into the card (a step I took most reluctantly). And I rebooted Windows. And nothing had changed.

By this time, I was getting annoyed — I actually had things I wanted to do on the computer other than play with drivers. So I deleted the display driver and let Plug-and-Play reinstall it from the Win98 distribution.

This got me back on the air — I could go back to my normal resolution and color depth — but when I went into Thumbs Plus, it still got the blurry picture, so I hadn’t fixed my original problem.

I decided to make one more attempt; this time, instead of using the Diamond installer, I used the regular Windows driver install. It complained that I might not be using the best driver in the world, but it installed the driver with no warnings about downlevel modules. And when I rebooted for the tenth time this evening, it worked — and so did Thumbs Plus!

So I guess I can wait a little longer for a new system. That’s probably just as well — it’d come with the successor to Win98, and I feel like I’ve been through enough for a while without telling Microsoft to go ahead and “Windows Me!”

Tall Ships, Hard Candy, and a Skunky Aroma

That pretty much describes our long Labor Day weekend visit to Chicago
(pics to come). Diane’s has a cousin there who’s been inviting us to
visit for a couple of years, and we were finally able to make it happen
this past weekend. She lives two blocks from the
Museum of Science and Industry, so
we were pretty sure we’d see that museum, but other than that, we did
very little pre-planning.

By happy coincidence, AT&T Tall Ships Chicago was scheduled for the
weekend; we didn’t know about it until we were en route to Chicago, but
we quickly changed our lack of plans to include at least one trip to
Navy Pier to see the ships.

Saturday

Saturday, we slept late, but eventually caught the bus downtown to the
Field Museum and visited
Sue, as well as
seeing Underground
Adventure
(which charges an additional fee — I don’t think it’s
worth it) and part of “Inside Ancient Egypt”, plus bits and pieces of
other exhibits we passed along the way. I particularly enjoyed
Urban
Anthropology: CITY 2000
, photos of Chicago In The Year 2000 from an
anthropological viewpoint.

They eventually threw us out of the museum and we found the Metra
station to take the train back down to Hyde Park. I bought three
tickets, but when we got on the train, the conductor told me that I only
needed two, because Jeffrey was free. I wish I’d known that when I was
fighting with the ticket machine to get it to take the last couple of
dollar bills.

Later that evening, we walked to a nearby supermarket, where, among
other things, I discovered the motherlode of hard candy; in addition to
the expected Brach’s Pick-a-Mix, they had Daintee (from England) and
Peerless (a local Chicago
brand). I ignored the Brach’s and bought a small amount of the other
two — good stuff!

Sunday

On Sunday, we used that left-over Metra ticket to go back downtown; this
time, we had to run to get to the station for the 10:40am train. I
still had to fight with the machine, and Jeffrey had to go under the
turnstile (it wouldn’t work without a ticket, and we already knew he
didn’t need a ticket!), but we made it, and met Diane’s younger cousin,
Dori, who was on her way to work at the
Terra Museum of American Art.
She helped us find a CTA station so we could buy a mag-stripe bus ticket
so that we wouldn’t need to have exact change for the rest of our rides
on buses or the L; then she went to work, and we got on a bus to Navy
Pier to see the Tall Ships.

The lines were long, the sun was hot, but it was worth it. We got to
visit three of the ships (the True North, the Highlander, and the
Tecumseh) before we ran out of energy and decided to head back to the
train. Unfortunately, the only really good picture of a ship I got was of the Windy, which wasn’t actually part of Tall Ships Chicago — she is actually based at Navy Pier and takes people out for harbor cruises.

We decided to walk back to the station (so much for being out of energy)
using my trusty GPS as a guide (we probably could have made it without
the GPS — the route only required one turn). We emerged onto Michigan
Avenue after a few minutes, and started looking around at the buildings
— and suddenly, we saw Dori on her way back to the train, too. So we
joined forces and headed back.

[More to come; I would have put up a picture or two, but I’m not having
much success editing them on this machine. I have two more computers to
try, but not tonight. But before it’s too late, I do want to say one more thing: Happy Birthday, Al!]

Monday

On Monday, we started the day with a trip back to Navy Pier to see the Tall Ships again — but the lines were longer than the day before. I guess the fact that it was Labor Day and the AFL-CIO was having an event for union members and their families might have accounted for some of the additional people there. We spent an hour on line for the Fair Jeanne; after seeing that ship, we decided, regretfully, that we’d skip the Picton Castle and the Nina, in favor of lunch.

We hiked up to Water Tower Place for lunch — they have an interesting arrangement there called Foodland, where there are about a dozen restaurants sharing one set of cash registers. You get a mag card on your way in, and whenever you order something, it gets noted on the card. On your way out, the card is read by the cashier and you pay the total. This makes it easy to pick and choose things from the different restaurants — on the other hand, it makes it hard to keep track of your spending! But the food was good (much better than standard mall food courts) and well worth the price.

Water Tower Place also has a Marshall Field’s, and we took advantage of that to buy some Frangos (wonderful mint chocolates, though they’ve extended the line to other flavors, too).

Then back down to Hyde Park, where we finally visited the Museum of Science and Industry until closing time, then back to the apartment for a Chicago deep-dish pizza (I almost wrote “Chicago-style”, but for a change, it was the real thing!). And another trip to the supermarket for a big bag full of hard candy — Peerless makes good stuff!

Tuesday

Tuesday, it was back to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the U-505 — a German U-boat which was captured during WWII and brought to Chicago about 10 years later. I am very glad that my career path never had anything to do with submarines.

And then home — as usual, the flight was about half-an-hour late, but we were still home before 7pm. United has started giving away free headphones in coach — I wish the movie had been worth seeing.

Something had preceeded us, though. A skunk had decided to get scared in our yard, and the evidence was quite noticable throughout the house. Fortunately, we have an exhaust fan, which made a good dent in the odor quickly.

Wine of the Trip

Bonny Doon Winery’s Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. Very refreshing, and a nice accompaniment to the pizza.