Monday, August 29, 2005

I chopped down a tree

This weekend we (my in-laws and myself) threw Jess a surprise 30th birthday party. She was actually surprised, coming two weeks ahead of her actual birthday and on the same day she was expecting to celebrate her father's 52nd birthday. I was thrilled that she was actually surprised, and it turned out really well. People we didn't think were going to make it ended up being there, there was a picture board with images from her childhood, some of her relatives wore custom T-shirts with Jess's picture on them, and so forth.

As the evening wound down, Brenda got a fire started and people began to migrate away from the food tables and towards that area. As we looked around for wood to burn, Brenda pointed out a dead tree in the back yard. We tried to break it with nothing but pushing and pulling on it, but our efforts were doomed to failure. It was just a little too big for that treatment; maybe 20 feet tall and a little bigger around than a 2-liter soda bottle.

So, yeah. I said, "If you had an axe, I'm sure we could chop it down."
Brenda: "I've got an axe."
Me, shrugging: "Ok, then!"

30 seconds later, I'm hacking away at the base of this dead tree. Small dead limbs are falling off the main trunk and scaring spectators away, but I am not deterred.

It was incredibly satisfying, I must say. Thing started creaking and cracking, and I knocked that bitch down and then broke it up and burned it.

Good times.

I was a little sore the next day, but I mean, goddamn, I chopped down a tree.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Insanity Begins

Yesterday, we received in the mail a single piece of white paper, with text on it printed in two very recognizable colors.

Red. Green.

The Raymond Family Christmas planning has begun. Who's coming, where's it happening, when is it, what should you bring, all that. Suggested spending ranges for Yankee Swap. Rules for the stocking stuffers. Clarification on who qualifies as "kids" ("never been married Raymond descendants," was the term, I believe). New for this year? A yahoo email address set up for handling coordination of gifts for the kids. Lots of other changes.

It's been pretty mild, weather-wise, the past week. I am absolutely ready for Summer to end, for Fall to begin. And with Fall comes the continuous orgy of fun that marks the end of the year.

Football season. Jess's birthday. Clint's birthday. Town Applefest. Mt. Wachusett Applefest. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Years. Superbowl.

You should see the shit-eating grin on my face right now. I love it all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Happy Birthday

I know I haven't provided anything new here in a bit, but things have been a little crazy at home. Not only that, the stuff I'd want to write about, a lot of it I'd rather not put here for everyone to read. Nothing dark and evil, just have some birthdays coming up which are occupying my time and energy, and while there's fascinating blogworthy stuff going on, I'd rather keep it quiet until after the events pass....

Instead I'll just say that I just turned 32, and it doesn't feel any different from 31. I usually try to take a step back and evaulate my life -- my goals, my progress, and all that -- every birthday. But this year I didn't really do that. I think it's because I've spent so much time in the past few months doing just that, whether it's money stress, talking with Jess about our future now that she's out of school, or looking forward at the next year and trying to figure out how to keep myself sane while taking care of my mother.

In other words, I've done enough introspection to last a couple months. Maybe I'll reevaluate around New Years :).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Las Vegas Trip Report - Day 3 (Saturday)

(Again, some pics mine, borrowed a couple from others, contact me if you want them down)

I woke up Saturday in fine shape, really. A mild headache, a little tired, but nothing I couldn't shake off with minimal effort. It was early again, though -- even trying to sleep in I was up before 7 and out and about well before 8. Still, I had gotten a solid five hours of sleep, a fine achievement for the weekend :).

We had a scheduled brunch with the WoW Guild at 11, so I just headed over to Krispy Kreme for coffee and conversation. Sure enough, I met Russ there and we chatted about video games and life for a bit before others started filtering in. Before long, we had a couple tables full of people waking up and multiple conversations going on (as tends to happen in big groups). Some people ate, but I held out -- I wanted to get my money's worth out of the buffet!

At 11, we got our big raid group together (I cannot tell you how many "raid" jokes went on during this trip) and went from one end of the casino to the other before packing into taxis and cars for the trip to the Rio for their buffet. Unfortunately, instead of seating all 23 of us (I think it was 23) at one table, we got split into 3 that were fairly separated. It worked out okay, though; we were all friends :). I ended up at RH's table so people were constantly coming by to chat with him. Also, with wait staff constantly refilling champagne glasses, the drinking began.
The buffet was actually very good; I was in a huge breakfast mood so I filled up on breakfast stuff, and then realized I had only seen HALF the buffet and there was all this other stuff I wanted to try. I tried to squeeze some in but goddamn was I full. So I snacked a bit here and there and sipped cheap champagne as people complained about the lack of L60 tanks and warlocks, and discussed Onyxia strategy (over my slowly-getting-drunk head). People rotated from table to table and we pretty much just mooched free champagne and talked WoW for a couple hours.

The slightly buzzed trip back to Excalibur led to a relaxed afternoon. We sat by the same old quiet always-abandoned-during-the-day Minstrel's Lounge and people smoked cigarettes and talked about their families and other serious real-life topics. I skipped out instead of boring them with my own sad tales of woe and went shopping instead. I figured I had to buy Jess something. I also won 15 bucks in a slot machine after putting in a dollar (I probably put 3 bucks into random slot machines during the trip as I walked by and they caught my eye -- generally just the progressive ones with huge jackpots), and got depressed at the lack of cool things to buy Jess. Everything was either completely cheesy or wicked expensive -- and I didn't want to go either way. With her birthday and related expenses coming up, it wasn't the time to buy anything costly.

I ended up buying a jigsaw puzzle with a medieval knight/lady theme, which is kind of cool because we always do puzzles when we travel and it sort of keyed into the whole "you aren't with me but I'm thinking of you" vibe :). Also bought her a very nice artsy card.

At 5, we met for a drink (or, you know, four) to our friends who couldn't make it. Not just couldn't make it, but couldn't make it because they are serving overseas. One of them in particular has stayed in touch while he does his tour of duty in Iraq. His squad does all sorts of highly dangerous and visible stuff like giving kids vaccinations and disarming IEDs. They've lost 4 people in the past few months, out of like 50. So the vets and former .mils in the group talked a little about what it means to serve, we read the local newspapers' stories on the 4 people who died in that guy's platoon, and we toasted them all. Ice and Jan sipped from a scotch in his honor. Very somber but solid event, with many people in attendance. Drew a lot of stares from passersby, obviously.
This took much longer than it sounds like it would have, since almost everybody wanted in on this but took time getting there. Add that to "gotta run to get my camera" type delays and we didn't get done until after 6.

After that, some of the people went off to play craps but I just sat and chatted with some people and sipped a couple beers. With less than an hour before our big dinner, I said I was bored and wanted to pass time and suggested just sitting at a nickel slots for a bit. Tara joined me, but nobody else seemed too interested.

Of course, I won 30 bucks right off the bat at that, so we bailed rather than risk any of it. I cashed in the money and we all went our separate ways to get ready for the big party.

Side note: if you think a lot of drinking was going on, you're right. I didn't dip in as heavy as some people did, but I was pretty well buzzed from about noon to midnight, Saturday. I was "smart," though, and kept finding and drinking water the whole time.

At 7 we met in a banquet hall for the big party. Basically this was like the sort of room you'd have a wedding reception in, but sized for only 50 instead of a couple hundred. We had a buffet, a cash bar, and a dance floor. We had our own band (The Bacon Boys ... Bacon being an anagram for ABCon) made up of 3 Basiners (there's actually a fourth in the band who couldn't make it at the last minute, resulting in them renting some kind of drum beat machine, which worked out fine even though we missed Terry).

The food at this event was average, but there was a bar and there was live music, and we had fun. The band members all wore kilts and were funny as hell -- the sort of thing that I guess you'd have to be there and be a part of it to understand. Various guest singers popped up -- TPJ sang his wife a ballad because she puts up with all our (and his) shit, Mouse sang all the female parts of various songs, and Alan (who I play WoW with every Tuesday) guest-guitarred and sang on one song.

After a few songs, the band reminded us that this wasn't a concert, so a few of the ladies started dancing. Most of us hung back, but the girls finally got tired of being the only ones dancing and started pressuring people to go up. Once there was a somewhat mixed crowd I finally let myself get pulled in, and had an amazing time the rest of the night dancing like an idiot. It seemed like my arrival on the dance floor broke some sort of odd balance, because from then on the floor was always full.
At midnight, we capped off the party with a huge line of drunken people kick-dancing to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" while singing along at the top of their lungs.
It was no-shit awesome. Everybody was getting along (mostly, heh -- but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and that includes the good gossip), we were all pretty buzzed, the music had us in a great mood, and it was just great.
By 12:30, people were finally done taking pictures and were heading off in various directions. I was wired, but I could have fallen asleep. Instead, I got talked into playing poker. I ended up at a 2-6 table with RH and Zofox, and once again made forty bucks before giving up for the night around 2:30. It was much less stressful the second time, but there was one really rough hand where I folded pocket kings after spending 20 bucks to see the flop and not getting any of it (flop was AJ4 -- and the only guy who stayed in with me bet $12 to start [it was a kill pot, stakes doubled]). General consensus the next day was that I had done the right thing, hard as it was to do. Heck, it wasn't that hard to fold -- I was up and wanted to quit that way.

(Summary for those keeping score: 100$ won playing poker, $80 in the casino, $20 in a casual game. I got silly lucky, but the only reason I managed to not get a big head about it is that I know enough to know how little actual skill I was employing, and was in the presence of people who won 5x that amount on the trip against much stiffer competition).

I had stopped drinking when the party ended, and drank water all the time while playing poker. So when I stumbled off to bed I was just exhausted, not drunk. And when I woke up, 3 hours later, I wasn't really hung over as much as just dead with exhaustion and bodily protest. The rest of the day went by way too fast, and I was at the airport by noon. The rest of the story is pretty dull (airport delays, long drives home, etc) so I won't bother with it. Let's leave the story with me winning money at poker, ok? :)

I had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat. Can't wait till ABCon VI in Chicago!

Las Vegas Trip Report - Day 2 (Friday)

(Most photos mine, one courtesy Icewind)

I woke up around 6, and wasn't able to get back to sleep.

Welcome to Vegas. Here's your complimentary hangover. Holy shit, I was hurting. Much too late the night before, I realized I hadn't been drinking any water. I had tried to solve this problem, but it had been too little too late. Now I was paying for it, big time.

I went looking for coffee, and ended up at Krispy Kreme with a couple donuts and a halfway decent cup of coffee. A couple people showed up, other early risers. I had a chance to talk a bit more with two folks I had met the night before (Russ and Icewind), great people who are still active in just D2. Yes, those people do exist! Anyway, both of them had been around the block a time or two more than I had, and it was great to hear some of their stories.

Various people dropped by and got coffee and chatted, and it was nice even though I was fading fast. My head was pounding and the donuts I had eaten felt like a pair of lead weights in my gut. I went down to the convenience store in the Casino and bought some advil and some fruit juice, but the acid in the juice was not helpful. I kept drinking water, but it was rough.

We ended up in the dark and quiet Minstrel's Lounge. People drifted in and out and I sat back in my chair wishing it would just turn silent, but knowing I wanted to be there anyway. We had plans that night to hit the Star Trek bar that night at the Hilton, but we found out that there was a Trek Convention in town and that the entire Trek area of the Hilton was going to be closed down and dedicated to that starting at 4:30 Friday. So someone had the bright idea of heading over right then -- around 11. I was -starting- to feel human again, so I decided to come along.
I was glad I did -- we had a great time just sitting and chatting it up at the bar, watching the joint fill up with hardcore trekkies. I think about 10 of us went, maybe? Anyway, drinking began again, and while I couldn't stomach the idea of beer I was able to slowly nurse a giant rum drink. We ate appetizer type foods and shot the shit about D2, WoW, GW, the community, and various people's stories. We kept swapping seats and getting to know each other, and those of us who wanted to get a good buzz on, did (I wasn't really looking to, but kind of did anyway). We caught up those who had missed the party on what had happened, we laughed far too loudly at things that were only funny to us, and we basically had a great time for a couple hours.

My hangover was quieting down quite a bit by this time, so I really enjoyed the company and such on the trip back. We took the monorail, wandered through MGM Grand and NYNY on our way back, and somehow I kept hydrated through it all. I knew I would be drinking again on Saturday so I paced myself Friday.
Upon return, I ended up meeting a couple new people who were getting together for a "Casino Clinic" in Zeede's room. We ended up talking craps a little but that was about it as far as casino clinic went. Someone brought out Settlers, but I headed down to the casino floor instead, since I had told Russ I might play craps with him. He was nowhere to be found but Tara/Sisqui and Jim/ReptileHouse talked me into going to play poker with them and Steve/Zofox in the Excalibur poker room. Tara and I each bought a hundred bucks in chips and got sat at the same 1-3 table, Jim and Steve at a 2-6 (both spread limit, unusual in Vegas), and we played for a couple hours. I was feeling mellow and quiet, so poker suited my mood just fine.

What followed was incredible addicting fun. The Excalibur is VERY newbie friendly, so I didn't feel that out of place. And at first it was fine; I was folding, calling, checking, not really doing anything tough. But then I took a hand to a showdown and won it, my first real pot in Vegas. I am not kidding you, my hand was shaking as I stacked my chips afterwards. The incredible fear of thinking you have the table beat but not being sure, questioning every single little thing, trying to act like you've done it a million times ... sheer terror. It was intense.

Most of the time, though, it was quiet and slow. We had a fairly quiet table, not a lot of joking around, and I was starting to feel tired instead of hung over. So a couple hours of quiet poker went by, big stretches of boredom punctuated by short episodes of terror. Insanely fun.

When we quit to have dinner, I was up 40-something bucks. I wasn't playing aggressively -- probably a little too passive-tight. Still, I had a ton of fun and won plenty, and saw a Royal Flush win a guy a small pot (he had a short stack and couldn't capitalize enough).

I think five or six of us went, afterwards, for dinner. We hit one of the semi-fancier restaurants in the casino, and enjoyed a nice meal paid for with our winnings (Jim and Steve had won hundreds already playing poker -- over the course of the trip Jim paid for his flight and hotel in various cash games and tourneys). The food was pretty tasty, and the conversation casual and enjoyable. Not a bad dinner, considering it was in a casino restaurant we had never heard of :).

A little while after dinner we were able to get two different rooms of people playing .25/.50 poker with chips and cards that people brought from home. This was more like my usual casual game, people doing stupid stuff like playing entire hands blind, etc. But every hand was hold-em. We had a weird night, probability-wise, with some amazing flushes and straights, and 3 different hands involving pocket aces. I doubled up -- buying in for twenty and taking back 40 at the end of the night. Not bad (sorry guys)! Didn't drink much since the room with all the booze in it was one floor up and we didn't want to trek back and forth with it. Laziness keeps me sober!
Once the game fell apart, I ended up back in the party room, sipping scotch and tequila and chatting a bit. I think Jim and Steve went to earn more money at the poker tables -- I was winding down. A short stay with the single-malt guys, and I was ready for bed at midnight -- sober but exhausted. TPJ had finally showed up, but he was busy with his own thing and I was falling asleep standing, so we didn't talk much. I took off, hoping I'd wake up Saturday a little better feeling than I had Friday....

Las Vegas Trip Report - Day 1 (Thursday)

(Photos not mine: taken by WeeScot, Venom2099, and Mephista. Will be removed upon request.)

I timed things poorly and ended up in a rush to get to the airport. I was a bit OD'd on caffeine, listening to The Crystal Method, and feeling stressed out at every little delay. About halfway to Hartford I realized I was, in fact, going to make it, but my heart might asplode if I didn't calm down. I eased up on the gas, switched the CD player to Beck, and managed to arrive feeling more mellow and with a little time to spare before boarding began.

Flying into Vegas is completely different than driving in. Driving in, you approach the city with this sense of awe and wonder; there's all this desert everywhere and all roads seem to be leading to this one place. As you drive through the "city" you eventually arrive at what we think of as Las Vegas, with all its billboards and neon. Flying in doesn't have that same sense of magic, though it does offer its own surreality as you view the strip from the air.

I checked in, ditched my stuff in my room, and started making phone calls. I soon hooked up with a half-dozen folks sitting at the Minstrel's Lounge bar with a pile of empties listening to an awful lounge singing act and found out that another half-dozen were currently out procuring much cheaper liquor. I was tired from the flight and starving, but after eating a crappy cold cut sandwich and enjoying a couple cold beers, I started to perk up.

Before long, we were all lugging 200 dollars worth of alcohol from a van in the parking lot up the elevator to the room shared by the members of the Bacon Boys band. Coolers, ice, several cases of beer (and fine malk litta), a box of wine, a bottle of Grey Goose, and some 1800 all were successfully deployed, much to our amusement. Security gave us a couple eyeballs but nobody said anything.
Side story: we had a real Vegas moment here as one of our party (name removed since what happens in Vegas stays there, right?) just randomly started talking to a cutie wearing a "Talk Dirty to Me" t-shirt while we started deploying the booze. She ended up taking one of our beers, of course, and wandered off with her friend instead of joining our party. Still, it was an awesome "You're in Vegas now" moment.

So. Once we relocated upstairs, the party really took off. I didn't know most of the people there, but I did know how to drink beer and meet people, so that's what I did.

I couldn't list everyone I met there right here; it would take too long and I'd forget someone :). But I probably spent the most time talking with Tara/Sisqui. A Basin "record keeper," she handles paperwork type stuff, procedure stuff for counting votes, tracking who is applying, who got in, making sure people who apply aren't just banned people reapplying, etc. She does a LOT of work and takes a lot of shit every single time something goes wrong. Anyway, she has no power to actually make changes in people's system status, so we interact a lot -- I do the flipping of various software switches in response to the work she does. Anyway, she and I had a lot to talk about, bitch about, and joke about, so we ended up spending a fair amount of time getting stupid drunk and talking "shop" (shouting over the drunken din).
And I do mean drunken din. I pity the fools stuck in the hotel room next door.

Tons of people showed up, getting into Vegas and calling around to see where the party was. We just kept crowding people into this one room, since nobody had adjoining rooms. A lot of these people I "know" online but had never met. Others I was "aware of" online, and still others were like "who is that?" Anyway, it was great to meet them and chat a little, but eventually it just degenerated into drunken silliness. Lots of shouting of "HEEEEEYYYY" every time a new person showed up ... you get the picture. After a shot of tequila, I realized that even though my cell phone said 12:30 AM, it was really 3:30 AM as far as my body was concerned, and sleeping might be a good idea. Some of our group had already drunkenly stumbled back to their rooms (Tara, for example, had to be helped down the hall), and I decided to follow suit. I managed to flop into my bed before my brain completely shut itself down, but it was a close call.

For a moment of foreshadowing, you'll notice that nowhere in the list of beverages I consumed will you find a single drop of that rare Vegas commodity known as "water."

Back from Vegas

Sorry no updates, still recovering from Vegas. I've been typing up my notes and will post a "trip report" here soon.

For those who bet along at home on my hours of sleep, here's my best guesses.

Thursday night: 5
Friday night: 5
Saturday night: 3

Probably slightly above median for Las Vegas :).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

These eager feet are getting on a plane in a few hours, destination Las Vegas.

If you'd like to gamble along at home, you may place bets on how many hours of sleep I will get each night.

I am not going to bring my (and by "my" I mean "my employer's") laptop, because I don't want to have to worry about it while I'm there. So no blogging from Vegas.

Fear not, I'll provide a detailed summary on my return :).

(In other news, giant yellow construction vehicles are tearing the shit out of my apartment parking lot. It's fascinating in a little boy "wow look at the giant machines" kind of way. )

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

South Korean dies, gamers panic

I told you I was hardcore.

I used to get all worried when I read stories like this, that people were going to see my hobby as some great evil. But at this point in my life, I just don't care. People die all the time for all sorts of stupid reasons, and I'm not worried about the future of "computer gaming" because of a little bad publicity.

You know, I never really got into Starcraft. It must be doing something right to be killing people off left and right :).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Out of touch: back to Africa

Today's "now what?" moment came when I was browsing the news and saw a headline on Mauritania, a West African country which recently underwent a bloodless coup. The headline which caught my eye stated that the new government had released "Islamist" political prisoners held by the previous government. Without CNN or Fox News spinning this for me, I wasn't sure how afraid to be :).

I first turned to BBC, which had a nice "Q&A" story.

For some dark humor, check out this quote:
This unit of 150 men is still in Nouakchott and failed to notice any change of behaviour in the National Guard.
This refers to US "consultants" in the country who were gathering intelligence and working with the local government in the "war against terror." I'm sure they won't be offering to teach the new government much.

I also found this story from six months ago, where the new government sentenced previous coup plotters to life in prison. Worth noting is that the president who was ousted in this particular coup put himself into power via coup in the 80s.

What a mess. What's the American spin? I went to CNN and read the most recent AP story. It doesn't attempt much spin. Although the message is clear (Islamic fundamentalists take over government, free Islamist prisoners) the overtones are very vague and soft. The story is full of criticisms of President Taya's policies and actions, and very little mention is made of the implications of losing an ally.

Surely Fox News would satisfy my craving for, as the kids like to say, "OMG TERROR." Not so -- Mauritania isn't mentioned on the front page at all, or even the first page of "US & World News." A search found the most recent story from August 3, a full five days ago. That story was just an AP story.

Of course, maybe the real issue here isn't faith or democracy at all:
The country is expected to begin producing crude for the first time in early 2006. Initial output is expected to total about 75,000 barrels a day, significant for impoverished Mauritania but relatively insignificant compared to regional powerhouse Nigeria, which produces about 2.5 million barrels a day.
In any case, it'll be interesting to see how and if this story develops in the US media. The best I can come up with is "more of the same" -- a struggle for power in a poor nation grasping at straws for its future, under the guise of "the will of the people." For once, I don't feel out of touch.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Very Brief Movie Review

Shaun of the Dead. It's a terrific movie, funny, lovingly crafted parody/tribute to the zombie movie genre. Instant classic.

(Yeah, that's all I got right now. It's been a busy week, and today's only going to be busier.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Half-Blood Review

Yesterday I finished the latest chapter in the Harry Potter saga, and I am completely satisfied.

I'll avoid spoiling anything here, and just speak in generalities.

The story, and the way it is being told, is continuing to grow more "dark," if by dark you mean mature. This isn't the darkness of pointless torture described in detail, but rather the darkness of a young man growing into adulthood with an incredible burden and finally understanding its full extent and its full cost.

Every single chapter I read, I was happy with. I never put the book down without thinking "when can I pick this back up?" Is it because Rowling is some kind of technical genius at the intricacies of writing? No. There wasn't a single time when I stopped reading and admired the actual technique she used to tell the story. I just ate up the setting, the characters, and the story, and let her tell it any way she wanted.

In fact, there was only one time I thought about the techique of the storytelling, and it's towards the end of the book. A couple important events happen simultaneously, and intsead of giving them both "face time," she follows Potter through one and then has the readers learn about the other event through Potter's eyes as he hears about it from those who lived it. It works, but it felt a little awkward.

Other general comments I can make? The characters are sixteen now, and growing up. There is dating in this book, couples "snogging" in the hallways, sneaking off together, and so forth. Some readers might wish we weren't subjected to quite so much of the teenage romance angst, but the books have always focused on the problems of the "kids" at each age. It's a fact of life at 16. I'm surprised the kids had enough mental focus to care about Voldemort at all :).

Anyway. I had a ton of fun reading this book, and will be buying book seven on release day as well. There's a lot left to wrap up ....

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My Own Mortality

Yesterday I received the third death notice by company email I've gotten in the past few months. The first two were for people I knew, this one is not. Still, it's never a pleasant email to open. Sad news, tough times, we'll update you about arrangements, etc.

All three died young. Two were somewhat expected, coming after struggles with fatal diseases. One was a complete surprise, an assumed heart attack in the middle of the night in an otherwise healthy individual.

It's hard not to think about your own mortality, and that of those around you, when seeing those messages. It's a cold reality that some day you will wake up to face the day without those you have faced it with for so long ... or someone else will do the same in your absence.

I keep writing and erasing words here, trying to capture what I'm thinking. I'm failing miserably.

I guess it boils down to this. Many people have some kind of mental checklist of things to do "before they die." The whole idea is ridiculous. You could die tomorrow, you could die at 105. If you wrap up the list by 45, are you going to stop living? It's not about what things you do, it's about how you do them. I may never jump out of a plane, or see the Great Wall of China. But when, each day, I make a hundred small choices, I know I make them right. And that's what matters.

I try not to worry about whether I do it all. I just try to do it right, whatever "it" is.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Blackstone River Hiking

Saturday, Jessica and I had some free time due to a canceled BBQ. Instead of doing what I suggested ("play video games and watch TV while you study, dear") we did what she suggested. We dug out the Nature Walks book she got me for Christmas last year, picked a place, and went for a hike.

We ended up on Lookout Rock Trail in Uxbridge. I'd have pictures but the camera batteries died after just one shot -- so that's what you get. The picture was taken early in the hike near the flat wetlands area.

The hike wound through a very brief meadow area and then quickly into the forest, up a hill and to an incredible view from a rock which rumor has it was used by Native Americans as a lookout point (this has been said about almost every prominent rock ledge in New England, I guess). I wish I had a shot from that rock, the view of the river, the valley, and the distant road was great. It was interesting to hike a couple miles and be able to look down at the road where you knew you were parked and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with saying "that's how far we walked!?"

Anyway, I don't have any deep thoughts to offer on the subject, but I figured I'd at least share the moment.