Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cannibal pumpkin, raunchy beer, & butterdogs (Daily Photo 10.29.10)

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I was lucky enough to get a long weekend (truthfully, not so much "lucky" as "I was owed a day off"), so I did some more pumpkin carving. This is the second one I've done this year (this is the first), and if I have time before Halloween I may do a third.

The event was fueled by beer in my new set of AC/DC pint glasses. For those about to drink, we salute you. Nik asked if the new glasses make the beer taste any different, and honestly they do: it tastes slightly more crass.

We also got a dog Halloween costume for Myrna. Stanley gave it a go too. Shut up, it's cute and you know it! For a couple more unbearably cute pictures of the dogs dressed as butterflies, see Nik's blog.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

iPumpkin (Daily Photo 10.28.10)

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This is how geeks celebrate Halloween. 

I had a small decorative pumpkin for my desk. I figured I could fit a tea light in there. I just needed a shape that would be simple to carve out on such a small pumpkin.

I had a good model. Once I got that down, it didn't take long.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Run (Daily Photo 10.27.10)

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Stanley heard me say the word "run."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shatterproof (Daily Photo 10.26.10)

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 I know most people would hate this, but I'm not most people. I love this shit and thanks to Costco I can get it in bulk, son. I don't care how early it is in the year. I'm fine with it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin (Daily Photo 10.25.10)

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Got myself a decoration for my desk.

Tree (Daily Photo 10.24.10)

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Went back to work after a week off. It's amazing how quickly the good vibes of a vacation wear off once you're back in the office.

A beach run and non-ghost photography (Daily Photo 10.23.10)

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On the last day of my weeklong stay-at-home vacation, Nik and I took the morning and went for a 6-mile run in Newport. We started out on Bellevue Ave., where all the rich folks have their mansions, and ended up on Cliffwalk, a 3-mile path along the Atlantic Ocean that's partially paved, partially gravel, and partially just boulders strewn along the coast.

We haven't done the whole Cliffwalk in years, because it was under construction for a while. We haven't seen this tunnel (by a Japanese tea house) in ages.

The path, as I said, hugs the beach. It's a lovely spot. Check out the run we did here, on Daily Mile. Or go check out more pictures Nik took and posted on our 4 Feet Running blog

At night, we stopped off in Providence and took a ghost tour of the East Side. It's an area Nik knows quite well since she went to school there at RISD. We both think ghosts are utter horseshit. But it's a great excuse to get out of the house and traipse around the most historic part of Providence at night. The tour guide was a swell guy named either Dylan or Dillon who was dressed like a '20s-era gangster (but no spats, sadly) yet carried a lantern.

This is a building which may or may not be haunted, except it isn't at all.

This was the home of H.P. Lovecraft, writer of weird and eerie stories, father of modern sci-fi horror fiction and creator of the Cthulhu mythos. It's said that the idea for a hideous, indescribably monstrous creature with a tentacled face and innumerable eyes and grotesque scaly claws and dragon-like wings so repulsive and horrifying that to gaze upon it causes abject terror and stark raving insanity came to Lovecraft after a night at Club Fantasies.

We were told to keep an eye out for orbs, poltergeists, apparations, and specters. I found none of those things, but I did see a ghost rider in the sky.

The tour guide was great -- very entertaining and game. He had an electromagnetic meter he used occasionally to try to contact spirits from the other world, unsurprisingly without even the slightest bit of success. Shit happens.

Nik and I mostly enjoyed the tour because it was more historic and macabre than ghostly. Every other story he told was about some damn fool falling down a flight of stairs -- barely any mention of ghosts. It's the thing we took away most from the ghost tour, actually: be careful around stairs. Don't skip down stairs backward holding a candle and looking into a mirror -- as it turns out, that's dangerous.

The 15 or so other people on the tour enjoyed it, too, except maybe a few who wanted more ghost shit.  Either Dylan or Dillon told a creepy and hilarious story about a young woman who went charging down this steep hill on the East Side on a runaway horse, only to get flung off its back, soar through the air, and land impaled on the iron fence in the left background. "The moral of the story is, don't try to fight physics because physics always wins," he said. Afterward, I heard a lady whisper, " she a ghost now? Or was there a ghost there at the time? I don't get it." She was utterly confused. Some people are just like that. You have to pat them on the head and move on with your life.

There are a ton more awesome non-ghost photos that Nik took: Check out her blog.

New camera, Part 2 (Daily Photo 10.22.10)

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This isn't about me getting another new camera -- this time Nik got one. 

Nik (obviously) has a wonderful eye for photography, but hasn't taken many pictures for a while, mostly because of her equipment. She's always had cameras lying around, from a Spider-Man camera she used when she was a little girl (now lost) to a Polaroid (also lost) to a Quaker Oats pinhole camera (thrown away) to various and sundry film cameras and a digital. The problem is that none of these were particularly portable and all of them were rather a pain in the ass for her to bother dealing with. Years ago I bought her this Olympus OM-1 at right, and she loved it because it's heavy and gorgeous and satisfying and I got her both a prime and a telephoto lens -- but who the hell can use film anymore? Years later I bought her the Canon Powershot A95 at center. It was more portable and convenient, but it weighs slightly less than the Olympus and requires 4 AA batteries every half-hour and it's not great to take on a run or to stash in a pocket or purse. 

So she bought herself a new digital camera, one she can carry around anywhere, simple to use, but which still blows all her old cameras out of the water feature-wise. She settled on a Sony Cybershot. It's amazing. 

She's also posting daily pictures on her blog, too. Check them out and subscribe to her blog here. Get after it!

P.S.: There's about half a roll of film still in that Olympus pictured above. We have no idea what's on it or when it's from. At some point we'll finish off the roll, develop it, and share what's on there.

After she bought her camera we went walking around the neighborhood looking for stuff to take pictures of. I found this telephone pole by the house which, for some strange reason, is decorated with keys. 

Freedom Trail (Daily Photo 10.21.10)

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After taking the dogs on a hike in the middle of West Bumfuck the other day, we figured we'd take the dogs on a hike in East Bumfuck. Or Boston. Stanley immediately found a fountain in Boston Common by Park Street and tried to eat the leaves floating inside it.

We figured we'd walk them along the Freedom Trail, a 3-mile tour of some of the more historic sites in Boston. For instance, this is where criminals are housed.

The trail winds through the Government Center area and the Financial District, where old buildings mingle with new ones. 

From there it takes you into the North End, the Italian neighborhood. The whole place smells like tomato sauce and pastry, which drove Nik crazy since she can't eat any bread or pasta, or anything available there within a 20-block radius.

The trail is lovely and cozy in the autumn, since everything's made of brick and iron. It's like one giant fireplace. 

The trail crosses the Charles River into Charlestown, once its own town but now a beautiful and quiet and historic neighborhood of Boston. It's not like the other neighborhoods -- it's only stinking rich instead of filthy stinking rich. (The brick path there is the Freedom Trail itself, woven into the landscape rather nicely.) 

The trail ends at the Bunker Hill monument in Charlestown, which commemorates the Revolutionary War's Battle of Bunker Hill. We kicked ass that day, boy! By "we" I mean "they," since my ancestors had nothing to do with it. My kin were at the time still in Portugal dying of tapeworm infections and trying to feed a family of five with one egg. But never mind. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Locust St. (Daily Photo 10.20.10)

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Went for a 5-mile run just before the sun went down. I hadn't gone a mile and a half before this happened, and I ran the rest of it in the dark.

October road trip (Daily Photo 10.19.10)

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Nik and I decided we'd take the day and drive way the hell and gone somewhere in Massachusetts to take the dogs for a walk.  We have a book that lists dog-friendly places in New England, and I pretty much randomly chose Willard Brook State Park in Ashby, Massachusetts. We knew nothing about Ashby except that it was in north central Mass., about 2 hours away on the New Hampshire border.  I'd never even heard of it before, but if there's one thing I like, it's picking random spots on a map and driving over to see what's there. Also, the place got 4 out of 4 paws in the book's fun scale, the dog equivalent of Disneyland.   

There are several hiking and walking trails there, some a bit tougher than others. After a mile and a half on a tougher trail, trying to keep Stanley from diving into rivers and jumping onto beaver dams and climbing into drainage pipes and pitching himself off cliffs, we found a flat road for horses and carriages, and walked that. 

We're not country people. We prefer cities. But occasionally we like to visit trees to see how they're doing.

Stanley stood in Damon Pond, staring at leaves sunken at the bottom and trying to grab them. He learned an interesting detail about water: you can't breathe under it. He tried sticking his nose underwater, found himself blowing bubbles, and grew confused.

Myrna had apparently figured out how water works a while ago: she won't go near it.

After a few hours in Ashby, we figured we'd drive around some more and see what we could see. We checked a map and realized that Nashua, New Hampshire, was right up the road. So we went there.

Turns out they have a gorgeous park with ponds and rivers and dams -- the works. It's pretty nice. We'd be there every day if we lived in Nashua. There was a cross-country team in training and other Nashuans biking and jogging. Other kids, maybe high school age or even college age, were running through the woods after each other, apparently playing hide-and-seek. Apparently it's the kind of city where people do that kind of thing. They probably go home and eat pie for dinner.

Sad face (Daily Photo 10.18.10)

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Myrna can't help it. It's her usual expression.

Almeida's (Daily Photo 10.17.10)

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Nik and I swung by Almeida's farm stand in Somerset (Swansea? I can't remember -- it's on the border). They've got fucking pumpkin fever there, a much better selection this year than they had last year. We picked out two: the traditional orange and a white pumpkin. We've got carving ideas for both of those beauties already worked out.

Leaves (Daily Photo 10.16.10)

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I'm staying at home for my vacation, so I decided to use the time to do things around the house that I keep meaning to do but never have time for. One of these is raking leaves. 

I actually like raking leaves. It's relaxing work, the rake makes a lovely noise, and at the end of it you end up with a nice pile proving you've done something.

The downside: This is the front yard one hour after I raked it clean.

Last day (Daily Photo 10.15.10)

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My last day of work before a week vacation was met with what a co-worker called a "big-ass rainbow" outside. I thought that was a nice omen. By the time I got to the windows, it was gone.

The end of the rainbow arced onto the roof of a BJ's Wholesale Club store next door. That's where you find economy-sized pots o' gold.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yin and yang (Daily Photo 10.14.10)

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Seen at Whole Foods Market, Providence.

Crate (Daily Photo 10.13.10)

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Stanley, half-in and half-out.

Collard greens (Daily Photo 10.12.10)

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Collard greens have a strangely dry texture. You wash the leaves and water beads up and rolls off, like they're covered in Turtle Wax.

To prepare collard greens, first buff on a thin coat of Turtle Wax, then wipe it off in a smooth circular motion.

In the cellar (Daily Photo 10.11.10)

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Myrna gets very curious when I'm in the cellar. I'm not sure why, because there isn't anything down there treatwise that she likes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Savory (Daily Photo 10.10.10)

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I like round numbers. So for 10.10.10 I ran 10.10 miles. I'm sure that means something in binary. Anyway, I ran past two savory things today: one of them was this cow, on a farm along a 6-mile loop I run sometimes. 

This is the second.

ING Hartford 2010 (Daily Photo 10.9.10)

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Over the weekend, Nik & I ran in Hartford -- she ran a half-marathon, and I ran a 5K. We both went into the race not really thinking we'd do all that well, for various reasons: underconfidence, tiredness, and so on.

In the end, we both ended up with PRs. Here's Nik's race report and here's mine. Just goes to show you: Trust your training. Isn't that what inspirational people say? Whatever. Run fast and you'll get there fast. Done.

Here is a slideshow of tons of other photos I took:

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