Fall Breakfast

While I sometimes wonder if we’re missing out on everything living in the city can offer, it’s mornings like this that remind me why we moved out here. Just back from my long morning run, I was having breakfast on the back porch when the neighborhood flock of wild turkeys wandered in.

Just passing through…

While several would stop, stretch their necks to stare at me on the porch, as long as I just sat there eating breakfast, they didn’t pay much more attention to me. They seemed perfectly happy scratching at the dirt and leaves, pecking at whatever they found tasty, and enjoying a Sunday morning breakfast before laying down for a rest in the warm sun.

Sunday morning brunch. There were four more wandering just outside this picture.

Hope your Sunday morning was as pleasant.

Wentworth Freshman Move-In Day

We took George down to Wentworth today for freshman check-in and move-in. Below are a few photographs we took about the day, about the area where George will be living for the next year, and about his room in general.

George and Joyce, ready to move to Wentworth
Check in stations at Wentworth
Unloading lot – park in the empty spaces, use orange rolling bins to load and transfer students stuff.
View of Evan’s Way Park, outside George’s dorm
View of street, dorms on the right.
Traffic was relatively heavy as it was a Friday afternoon.
Main entrance to George’s dorm
Common room in George’s dorm, looking in from the front door.
View out the window of the common room.
Common room, looking towards the front door. One of the parents brought homemade cookies for everyone.
General storage area just off the common room.
Door to George’s room, which he shares with two other boys.
Joyce and Brian. Corey was expected late that evening.
Joyce and Brian. George’s bed is above Joyce, with his desk and study area under the bed.
One of two bathrooms in the suite of 10 boys.
View out George’s room.
Closet George shares with Brian and Corey
George's room. Joyce in the window.
View of George’s room from the outside. Joyce is in the window.
Laundry room in George's dorm.
Laundry room on the ground floor.
George's room (3rd down, wide windows)
George's room.
Joyce and Jennifer waving from the window.
View out George's room.
View looking down.
Laundry room in George's dorm.
Laundry room, dryers and folding table
George getting bed set up.
George getting his bed set up.
George getting Wentworth assigned laptop computer.
Picking up Wentworth assigned laptop PC.
George getting Wentworth PC
George getting Wentworth PC.
Walking outside George's dorm.
Walking to dinner outside George's dorm.
Happy campers.
Happy Campers
Walking from dinner outside George's dorm.
Coming back from (early) dinner at Sweet Cheeks Q
Outside George's dorm.
Evan's Way Park
Evan’s Way Park – https://www.urbancultureinstitute.org/uploads/1/1/4/6/11465358/evans_way_park_valerie_maccarone-2.pdf

Geek Joke

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Word Salads

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Short, Cold Days and Long, Cold Nights

Sunrise: 7:10 AM. Sunset 4:11 PM. Still two weeks to go to the first day of winter. Dark when I leave for work in the morning, dark when I get out of work in the evening.

The pond across the street, which has now grown to cover half the street, is frozen solid. Jennifer, George, and two of his friends spent part of yesterday after school ice skating.

Winter is here.

Playing Mr. FixIt

With the weather cooling off, dark in the morning, and soon dark in the evening, it was time to brush off the treadmill for wintertime basement running. Stepping onto the belt and turning it on, I was greeted with a low hum that sounded like the motor was trying to lower the platform. Problem was, the platform was already at the lowest point. Pushing the ‘up’ rocker switch produced nothing.

I flipped the unit on its’ side, and removed the protective covers from the bottom. I found a pleasant surprise on the underside of the covers: Full schematics for the electronics! Wheee!

The schematics clearly showed the up/down motor controlled by the ‘lift board’, so I started tracing wires to locate the board. The location of the board again confirmed the nth corollary to Murphy’s Law, in that the probability of a component failing is inversely proportional to its accessibility.

After disconnecting the all the lines (and noticing the board was ‘floating’, i.e., no ground line or grounding points), I was able to take a close look at the board.

Fortunately, it clearly said ‘Lift Board’. (If it had said Heisenberg compensator I’d have to go back and start pulling other boards.)

After testing the board with my volt-ohm meter, I found one of the triacs (one of the two black boxes with three legs in the top picture) had failed. After getting another one in through Amazon (and a two week wait), I was able to desolder the old one, and solder in the new unit.

Using a Sears multi-meter, and a Radio Shack soldering iron, to make repairs on an old-school electronics board. Says something. What I don’t want to hear.

After getting the new triac soldered in,  replacing the board, and putting everything back together again (with no extra parts left over!), the treadmill is back running smoothly again.

Another nice try…

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Oh Really?

I see where representatives of Google, Amazon, Apple,  AT&T,  and others testified before congress today to implement federal legislation to “… protect consumer privacy.”

Nonsense.

The only reason companies like the above clamor for federal legislation is to protect their own positions. While they made it clear they believe federal legislation should override state legislation (thus only having to lobby Washington rather than 50 state capitals), the overriding objective for such companies  has always been to inhibit the creation and growth of competition. Guaranteed any new federal rules and laws will do nothing more than to make it more difficult to create and launch new companies, potentially competing against the big ones. Big companies are never taken down by another big company, but by the little startup that figures out how to provide a product or service that negates the established guys position. Inhibiting new companies, new ideas, and new business models, only serves to protect the entrenched interests.

And we’re back (Part 3)…

The storm had been hyped for several days, with excited forecasts of heavy snow starting Wednesday late morning to early afternoon, and going on through the night. Come Wednesday afternoon, nothing. Easy drive home, with the snow just starting as I drove up Rt. 3. The snow picked up quickly, with big, fat flakes after I got home.

About 10:30, just as we were getting ready for bed, the lights flickered a couple of times, and a few minutes later, went out for good. I added a couple of gallons of gas and started the generator, then went to bed. As we fell asleep, we could hear loud cracking and crashes in the woods next to us. The next morning, we were knocked out of our beds by a crash that shook the house, and awoke to find this outside.

Trees bent over with heavy snow.
Back yard and shed.

Front yard, north side.

Tree broken off by heavy snow.
North side, near screen porch.

Downed power line from house.
Tree top, with downed power line.

The top of one tree took out our power lines to the pole, and another just missed our back porch. The news reported Tyngsboro was 92% without power, and many other towns nearby were completely dark. Reports said many roads were blocked by downed trees, poles, and lines, and to stay off the roads unless necessary. Later that afternoon, Jennifer and I ventured out for more gasoline, and she took these pictures along Frost road.

Broken power pole on Frost Road.
Broken power pole on Frost Road.

Frost Road.
Frost Road.

Snapped branches on power line - Frost Road.
Snapped branches on power line – Frost Road.

More snapped branches on power line - Frost Road.
More snapped branches on power line – Frost Road.

Power crew on Frost Road.
Power crew on Frost Road.

The power was restored to our neighborhood around eight that evening, except to our house. Power crews were not able to address individual homes until all the large areas and critical operations were restored, so we didn’t see any activity until Sunday morning. First a tree crew arrived to clean the downed limbs from the lines, then the line crew arrived to reattach the lines from the house to the pole.

Power line and branches - Sunday Morning.
Power line and branches – Sunday Morning.

Broken power line connections - Sunday morning.
Broken power line connections – Sunday morning.

Power crew reconnecting line - Sunday morning.
Power crew reconnecting line – Sunday morning.

Power crew reconnecting line - Sunday morning.
Power crew reconnecting line – Sunday morning.

Just getting back to normal, just in time to start another school and work week. Forecasts are now calling for another ‘noreaster for Tuesday, here’s hoping it will pass us by.