Slight change of plans this weekend.

29 July 2008

Last weekend wound up a bit in the air due to an emergency at the last minute - one of Lyssa's relatives died unexpectedly and the family was hastily reconvened for her funeral, which was held on Saturday. because I'd been on the road the weekend before, I didn't have to make the trek back to Pennsylvania, much to my relief. Grant picked up Lyssa sometime on Friday while I was at work and returned to their homestead, which left me with some time on my hands. The first thing I did was move my car maintenance appointment back to Saturday, which gave me some more time to work with. On the way back from work that night, I stopped by Microcenter to window shop and see what new toys had hit the shelves.. the prices of their small electronics tools are looking very inviting, and I'll probably be picking up a couple of things in the near future, for reasons that I'll get to a bit later. I also hit up Safeway to get food for the next couple of days, and spontaneously decided to get a pound of organic chicken and supplies to make General T'sao's chicken, one of my favorite Chinese dishes.

Do yourselves a favor, everyone: if you go to Safeway, don't get meat there. The chicken I bought wasn't bad, exactly, but it did require a substantial amount of trimming to make it edible. Two chicken thighs turned into one and about a half chicken thighs, which is wasteful when you think about it.

Note to self: don't ever buy meat there again. Even if it is the nice one in the same shopping mall as Microcenter and Michael's. The rest of the night was spent relaxing, scanning the Net for more news articles about The Last HOPE (which I eventually plan to put links to on the HOPE wiki (now that they've fixed the CAPCHA system)) and catching up on my reading.

I got up at 0900 EST5EDT on Saturday morning to take a shower, get dressed, fix breakfast, and get the TARDIS down to the dealership for 45k mile maintenance and inspection. I had to push things up two weeks because Lyssa and I will be making the trek up to New Jersey on Thursday morning for her sister's wedding, which leaves little time for lifestyle maintenance. Getting the car there was easy; getting home proved to be something of a challenge because the dealership's courtesy shuttles only go to two places on weekends: the dealership and Tyson's Corner Mall. Nice, but non-optimal, especially when I had to be at home to wait for someone.

Fuschia, who is an old friend of Lyssa's was in town this week for a conference, wanted to hang out with us last weekend. This is all well and good, but she said that she'd be hopping the Metro to our apartment around 1100 on Saturday, this also meant that I had to be there to let her in... which meant figuring out how to get home in time. I was somehow able to talk the driver into dropping me off at home on Saturday morning, and made it back in plenty of time.

What none of us realized, however, was that Fuchsia had the wrong phone number for me in her cellphone, so she'd been pinging someone in Rhode Island all day. She also had no net.access, so she wasn't in a position to e-mail either Lyssa or myself. Net result: she didn't get to the local Metro station until later in the afternoon. Oops.

By 1400 the TARDIS was ready, so I gave Hasufin a call and asked him to drive me over to the dealership so I could pick up my car. On the way over I found out that Fuschia had changed her plans, and she'd be making her way to my neck of the woods by 1745 EST5EDT, which gave me a little more time to work with. Since I was out that way to begin with, I got on route 7 and headed for Stacy's and the Mad Scientist Coffee Klatsch to hang out with people and see what kind of trouble I could get into. As it turned out, Q- had taken the Metro up from Maryland and had a couple of questions about a project she's been working on... I'll admit, I don't have a lot of experience with the metaphysics of communication on a scale of light years, but for a problem like that I'll gladly put my mind to it and see what I can come up with.

A little after 1700 local time, I received a text message from Fuschia stating that she was within spitting distance of the Metro station, so I took my leave and headed out to pick her up, which was a good twenty minute drive or so from Stacy's. We got her loaded up, home, and then set out for Minerva's for Indian (because it's been too long for both of us). Somehow, and I'm not quite sure how, the topics of conversation veered away from science fiction and into the realm of urban exploration, which was a hobby of mine when I was younger and had more free time to get lost in odd places.

Fuschia and I wound up packing half of our dinners to take home with us and heading back in time to meet Lyssa, who would be returning from Pennsylvania shortly. We hung out for a while and checked our e-mail until Lyssa got back and then set about getting ready for the night ahead of us at Spellbound. We weren't sure what to expect after the goth scene drama that had exploded earlier in the week due to a rather inflammatory article in the DC City Paper, but the only way to know is to see for yourself.

Note to self: It's too hot for steampunk garb right now. Think I'll stick to shorts and a t-shirt until October.

Hasufin and Mika decided to pass on Spellbound that night due to an upper respiratory virus that's making its rounds right now, and we weren't able to find Jason (he wasn't at Coffee, either), so I picked up Orthaevelve while Laurelinde helped Lyssa and Fuschia get into their corsets and we killed time until everyone was ready to go. After a quick stop off for cash we hit the Beltway and presently found ourselves in DC for a night on the town (traffic was remarkably light that evening).

What we discovered was a standing room only club (which we haven't seen since Ian Fford spun a couple of months back) that went through a couple of coolers of water all night due to the heat and humidity, a PA speaker that I had to convince to power itself back on, and some classic tracks that kept us dancing until the club closed at 0230 on Sunday morning. We ran into Pod and Tessa from northern Maryland shortly after arriving and caught up a bit on current events while I fixed my heat exchanger; they left somewhen around 0130 EST5EDT, unless I miss my guess. After heading back to the TARDIS, we decided that it wasn't quite time to go to bed yet, and so decided to spend a couple of hours eating, drinking coffee, and terrorizing the locals at Amphora, which goes 24/24 on the weekends. I think I scared a couple of people when outlining Q-'s metaphysical conundrum that morning... we didn't get home until 0430 or therabouts. I vaguely remember falling face-first into bed and falling asleep a few minutes after we returned.

When I came back online around 1230 EST5EDT on Sunday afternoon, I discovered that Fuschia had to get to the airport for her flight home at 1500 EST5EDT, which regrettably changed our breakfast/lunch plans for the day. We dropped her off at the Metro station and then hit up Anita's for tex-mex for a late breakfast, and then headed out to the local pet store for supplies. Laurelinde was buying a larger bowl and a few accessories for her betta at work, while Lyssa and I pondered the animals that could really use a rescue from the Pet Smart on route 7. Their fish, to be blunt, are in poor shape as a rule. Their selection of small rodents has also been slashed, ostensibly because they're changing around their selection of stock. The ferrets, on the other hand, are the same fuzzy hyperactive slinkies that we all know and love from other people's homes. Lyssa and I got to play with them for a while, and I have to be honest I can really see the attraction. They're far higher maintenance than I have free time for, however.

After returning home I grabbed my backpack and field kit and plotted a course in my GPS unit to the headquarters of HacDC, a hacker space set up in northwestern DC proper by Nick Farr, whom you might recall from my trip to the LayerOne conference early last year. Even using my GPS unit I still had a hell of a time finding St. Steven's Church in DC; I'm pretty sure that it took twice as long as it should have, and finding the site itself was something of a challenge. It was easy to get into the church, but not so easy to find where HacDC is set up... through a process of elimination I picked my way to the third floor and found myself in nerdvana.

Computers. Networking equipment. Test gear. Racks of spare parts. Shelves of donated... things... that could potentially be used in a project of some kind. Geeks.

Pretty much from the get-go, I was either producing tools for use, trying to download the last act of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, flying wingman on a soldering job, or getting to know everyone. Sunday night was supposed to be the grand opening of the HacDC space, with folks from hacker spaces in New York City, Detroit, and Germany (!) in attendance. Unfortunately, I had to leave after dinner to a) figure out how in the hell to get home, b) get ready for work on Monday morning, and c) figure out how in the hell to get home given how much trouble I had finding the place (note to self: the city zoo's parking lot is a great place to turn around).

I'll be going back. You can take that to the bank. I'll definitely be joining.

I've been running a bit short of sleep lately, which is why this update is late in coming. I even went to bed early last night to get back on my sleep. Hopefully I'll have a few non-weekend related posts coming this week, depending on how things go.