Nothing says fall more to me than pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. I bought a couple of weird looking pumpkins the other day (a Sweet Dumpling Squash and an Organic Delicata Squash). So when I cut them in half and scraped their seeds out into the sink, I had an idea. Why not roast them in the oven along with the pumpkin flesh that I am cooking? The seeds turned out to rather intensely nutty, roasted, and caramelized. Perhaps a bit too much… but not bad for an experiment!
I haven’t been to the Rivery in a while. And it looks like they have done some construction in my absence. They paved the parking lot, they built a restroom near the playground (and hole 1), they installed some emergency call boxes, and they put some street lights in. Some of which are directly in our line of throw on hole 6!
In fact, hole 6 is completely overgrown! And I gave up on it when my sidewinder went into the trees. Which pissed off John as he managed to par it. Hehe… but thems the breaks….
Some one wrote some graffiti on the garbage can next to hole 2. It says “I only play the games that I win at”.
Still just the two of us (John and I) and still playing at Wilco. I had three good throws on holes 1, 11 and 15.
With three players present (and one of them being MWChapel), Through the Ages was nominated. I started off with Homer again. I really wanted to try a military strategy this time. And I started off good with Homer, two Warriors, and a Fighting Band. This allowed me to stay in the lead militarily. Which gave me the bonus when Uncertain Borders and Raiders showed up. When the first era showed up, Mike was able to take Michelangelo with a Theater. This allowed him to build two theaters and generate a lot of victory points. I was happy when I drew some aggression cards. I played Plunder against him to knock out some ore and food. On the next turn, I played Raid on him to destroy both theaters. This knocked him back down for a while. He learned his lesson real well and built up his military on the next turns.
I made one mistake in this game and it cost me the game. For some reason, Elvis Presley slipped under my radar. And when I noticed him, it was too late for me to pick it up. Sadly, there were no other point generator leaders for me to get. Doug noticed that the game was ending soon as well and picked up Elvis. This allowed him to win the game. But it was by a small margin. Less than ten points…
There were two interesting hands. The first was my first doubles as a suit of their own hand. I had the following: 6:6 5:5 3:3 2:2 6:4 3:1 2:0 and bid it as a 35. I lead off with the 6:4 as a 4. Next, I play the 6:6 and the 5:5. Thankfully the 4:4 falls which promote the 3:3 and 2:2 as winners. My partner dumps the 0:5 on one of the tricks and, surprisingly enough, the other team dumps the 4:1 on another trick. So I was able to show that I already claimed 33 points and with the 3:3 and 2:2 I could get at least two more points to make 35! Woo woo!
On the other interesting hand, my partner bids 34 and leads the 6:3 as a three. I have the 3:2 but I am worried that the 6:3 is a looser. However, the next player plays the 6:4 on it thinking the same thing. I hold off playing the 3:2 which was a mistake. My partner is already set if he loses that trick. Throwing more points on it does not hurt. And it actually is beneficial because I might not be able to throw him my 3:2 in a safe manner.
I love questions that start with “What are you doing next week?” Apparently, the maintainer for Red Hat’s installer, Anaconda, is moving to Hawaii soon. So Red Hat put on a presentation for the system 390 guys. And I was selected to go as well since my new job will be on the install team. The travel booking was a frustrating process. There were two flights available. The first one was through American Airlines and it had a layover in Dallas. The second was with Jet Blue and it was a direct flight. Of course, I wanted to use the shorter direct flight. But it would sometimes show an exception and sometimes not. And during this whole process, the 2nd closest hotel’s rooms booked up (the closest hotel at a 1/4 of a mile away was already sold out). I was forced to move even further away from Red Hat’s office. I ended up in Tewksbury — 13 miles away.
I arrived Sunday night. Surprisingly enough there is a Cracker Barrel right next to the hotel. I was not in the mood to eat at a place that is right next to my house. The whole point of traveling is to experience different things. There were not many restaurant choices around. So I settled on a Longhorn’s Steakhouse (ugh, they even had authentic Texas Chili on the menu). The rest of the days turned out to be much better.
Some of the things that I noticed about the Boston area include:
- Dunkin’ Donuts is like every where and Starbucks is almost non-existent.
- Instead of concrete curbs, they use granite (usually shaped at an angle like a triangle rather than square). But isn’t New Hampshire the Granite State?
- There are vans that have a sign (with lights) up top that say “school bus”. I don’t remember seeing a real school bus though.
On Monday, I ate at Westford Grille. The seafood was not bad at all. They had a number of beers on tap (unsurprisingly Sam Adams, surprisingly Guinness. But it seems that there are enough Irish folk around here to warrant every pub and restaurant that I went to to have it on tap.). On Tuesday, we went to The Brewery Exchange. We had to eat downstairs because some congresswoman or senator was holding an election rally upstairs. Supposedly there are a number of big screen televisions up there and we could have watched the Red Sox in the playoffs. I had another seafood dish and it was not bad at all. But I should have ordered the lobster bake. On Wednesday, we drove to downtown Boston. We warmed up at the Cheer’s Bar on Beacon Hill. And, afterwards, we walked down to Legal Seafoods. This was by far the best restaurant! The clam chowder was excellent. I tried out a new (to me) fish called Arctic Char. It is related to Salmon with a milder flavor. And I finished it off with a Boston Cream pie. Well, not a slice of a pie per se, but it was definitely worth it. In fact, Legal Seafoods was so good that I ate there again on Saturday by myself. (And wouldn’t you know but they have locations in Town Center, Boca Raton and CityPlace, West Palm Beach). On Thursday, we drove out to Firefly’s B-B-Q. There is not that many BBQ joints in this neck of the woods. So Firefly’s tried to make up for it by offering six different styles of sauces. Their Texas Sauce was made with chipotle and black molasses and it was not that great. On Friday, I went out on a limb and tried the Europa Cafe since it claimed that it was a Portuguese restaurant. I was a little worried when I drove to the place using a small advertisement map. But I found it after walking around a neighborhood. The place looked like a small neighborhood bar. There were some tables off in a corner but the lights were turned off. So I sat at the bar instead. I ordered the Chourico a “Bombeiro” for an appetizer and the Bacalhau a Casa for the main dish. The chourico came on top of a cute porcelain pig. The back of the pig was slatted to simulate a grill. The woman poured some Jose Cuervo inside of it and lit it with a match. Another amusing incident occurred when a guy in a purple pimp costume (complete with a large, fake, gold chain that said “pimp”) walked downstairs. The people in the bar gave him grief.
The ride into Boston on Wednesday night was easy enough that I did it again on Saturday. From my hotel in Tewksbury, I took 495 (exit 35a) -> 3 (exit 25b) -> 95 (25b) -> 2 -> Alewife station. And then took the subway down to Park Street. One important thing to remember is to not get off on the road that says 2A. But wait for the next exit for 2. Stoopid trap! Another oddity is on the exit out of Alewife. There are two roads that merge into one and both have lights that turn green at the same time! I wonder who was responsible for that screw up?
I was a little worried at the start of the week since the weather forecast was predicting rain on Saturday. But it cleared up nicely and turned out to be a sunny day in the 70s. I walked the Freedom Trail out to the U.S.S. Constitution and back. The trail is helpful in that it has a line of red bricks (or paint) running along the trail. Or at least most of it. There is a problem when you get to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the line runs into a large, open market. And the line runs through two areas where it is fenced off. I took some pictures here. I also climbed the Bunker hill monument. Which was interesting. The width of the stairwell is enough for one person. Yet you always have to pass people going up or going down. The condensation was amazing. Every stair was wet. And after I made it up to the top, I realized that the iron banister (only on the right, not the left side) that I held on was rusted because of the dampness and my hands were stained orange.
Well, my battery finally gave out and I put the second battery in the camera. I love the new high capacity batteries that the Mark III uses. I was able to take 4640 pictures (as well as a lot of chimping) on a single charge!
Overall the trip was really fun. The Red Hat guys sure know how to party. I would get back to my hotel at 1 in the morning each day. Which destroyed my sleeping schedule. I also ate and drank a lot. Oh, and by the way, I did learn Anaconda in depth. The only negative was my upstairs neighbor in the hotel. For some reason, that person would walk back and forth constantly at all hours of the day and night. Which just baffled me. The room is rather small with a bed, a bathroom, a couch, and a small kitchen. I don’t know what required walking back and forth twenty times at a pop.
When I first moved into the house, it had spiders. Which I did not mind as long as they left me alone. After all, a live spider means dead insects. But now I am seeing lizards in the house. Or at least dessicated husks of babies that could not eat enough bugs. While it is sad that these lizards are dying, I guess that I am happy that there are not enough insects in my house to keep them alive.
Taking the picture was rather interesting, and frustrating. I used a EF-25 II on the 70-200mm. I also used the live view feature to focus. It was kind of neat to see the razor thin plane of focus move up and down the lizard. Of course the wind kept blowing the body around and the slightest touch on the lens would jitter the picture. And I had to use an umbrella to see the screen in the bright sunlight.
Today, the “group” met at Old Settler’s. And, by group, I mean John. It looks like a “bridge” was built over the tiny creek. I guess some construction equipment needed access and the tiny, wooden bridge was not cutting it.
Apparently there is a famous snake that lives at hole four called Bogey. I don’t think I have ever seen a snake at Old Settler’s before.
It seems Old Settler’s park is rather crowded today. We did not throw at hole sixes’ tee box for fear of whacking a car. Given the number of people walking dogs out here, John guess that Barktober fest was going on here. We asked a couple with two large dogs (Great Danes?) and they confirmed his guess.