September 15th, 2002


The Hub

It's odd. In the time I'd lived in New England prior to becoming a Buffista, I'd been to Boston or its immediate surrounds only a handful of times. In fact, it's so few, that I can remember each and every trip - three times as a tourist (once with Deb, once with Alexander and Elizabeth, once with Nadine), two trade shows, six games at Fenway, three NERCST softball tournaments (two at MIT, one at Harvard), and one party. That's a grand total of fifteen visits to Boston in twenty-six years. Contrast that with the fact that I've been to New Orleans seven times since 1988. I was actually kind of proud of my record for avoiding the so-called hub of the universe.

And then I became a Buffista. Since last September, when I first met the Somervillains, I've been to Cambridge or Somerville nine times, and there's a good chance I'll get up there three more times over the next nine days. I'm getting to the point where I know enough street names and landmarks that I can find my way around without resorting to Mapquest. Scary, and yet not, because I enjoy hanging out with this group of people so much that I'd travel to much more scary and distant places to see them. Like Newark.

Yeah, Boston is ninety minutes away (seventy-five if I hustle and the traffic gods are with me), but it's not that much different than when I lived in NJ, and my friends were scattered all around the state, or even now with Z in Manchester or Crick in Fall River. Plus, the truck makes it a much more enjoyable ride.

Friday night I went up for Nora's birthday. I should've RSVP'd, but Ellen's message mentioned a tapas bar, and I figured that we'd just be drinking at the bar, so I didn't. My bad. Turns out it was a sit down restaurant, and we wound up with seven of us squeezed around a table meant for four. They couldn't accomodate us with a larger table so we finished our drinks, then went over to another bar that had enough stools for all of us to sit on, and had really excellent cheeseburgers. So it worked out. This week, Suela will be in town Thursday night, then the Firefly premiere is schedules for Friday night at Connie's. The following Tuesday is the Buffy premiere, although that will likely be in Worcester at Victor's. Note to self - almost time to get the oil changed in the truck.

Impulse Buys

I should not be allowed to go to computer shows unescorted anymore. For a while now I've been having trouble getting Flash to boot up cleanly. Sometimes it works, other times it just hangs at various points in the sequence. There was also one very warm evening when the hard drive started making funny noises, and the computer locked up. To me that's a clear warning that the hard drive is unreliable. Also, I discovered that I can't connect my SCSI scanner to Speedy, because with all the other devices I have installed, there is no free IRQ for it, and either Win 98 or the BIOS won't let me fiddle with the setting to try and work it out. This is not actually a big deal, because I can always hook it back up to Flash, but Alexander was showing me his new Microtek 4900 USB scanner, which has 4800 x 2400 DPI optical resolution, a slide adapter, and only runs about $129. There was a computer show at CCRI today, so I took a ride up there with the intention of getting a new hard drive, and maybe, I repeat maybe, pricing USB scanners. That was the plan.

I wasn't there five minutes, when I found myself handing over my credit card to buy a refurbished HP 21" Trinitron monitor. I mean, it was a steal! It was $139 plus tax, and the guy didn't even hit me with a credit card surcharge. A couple more minutes later, I was wheeling a cart with my precious on it up the ramp and out to the parking lot. Sigh...

I did get a hard drive, a 30GB Maxtor 7200 rpm for $63, from the same guy I get all my drives from. Plus I picked up some assorted doodads, but no software and no scanner. Restraint R Us.

The monitor is huge. Speedy currently has a very nice 19" ViewSonic short-back monitor, but that's the machine that's on my big desk, so I might put the new monitor there for the time being, where there's enough room for it. Flash does need a new monitor, as one of the color guns in the picture tubes keeps clicking in and out, but since right now it's on a really narrow desk, the big monitor won't fit.

What I'll do eventually, is throw the DVD drive and an ATI All-in-Wonder video card into Flash, put Flash and the big monitor in the back room, and use it as the world's most expensive television, now with internet access and games!
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