Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post Irene Power

Irene brought massive power outages, with ours joining the crowd at 10:00 Sunday morning. It just returned, a bit before 10:00 pm on Wednesday. This is 48 hours earlier than NSTAR projects it will have fully restored all their customers in our town, so we're tickled pink. So are the neighbors, judging by the whoopin' and a-hollerin' we hear up and down the street.

More Irene details later, perhaps tomorrow or Friday, with photos. For now, it's off to bed, secure in the knowledge that electronics are charging, alarms will chime in the morning, and I'll be able once again to log some Rosetta Stone (Spanish) and some dailies (WoW) before work.

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Location:Framingham,United States

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Prepping for Irene

The rain just started a few minutes ago, but already it's a downpour. The thunder had been rumbling around for a half hour or so, so I knew the window for storm prep was coming to an end.  The heart of the storm isn't supposed to get here for another 24 hours or so, but this is one wide-ranging weather system.  The good news is that we're well inland (about 30 miles west of Boston) so there's no storm surge issue, and we're at the top of a very long hill, so flooding really isn't a problem (we do get puddles in the garage, which is built into the slightly uphill side).

I got up early this morning with the intention of giving the lawn a last minute mow, but we'd had some showers overnight so it was just too wet.  Instead I weeded the gardens, and broke out the weed whacker to clear out the edges of the gardens and around the shrubs.  My hope was that the debris would get blown away by the storm winds, but I think this rain is just going to pound them solidly to the ground.  I also tackled the volunteer forest that had emerged at the edge of the mint garden after the initial foray with the string trimmer.  I don't know what these things were, but they were about three feet tall and appeared to be readying some prodigious seed heads.  The downside of the hilltop is the wind factor, so I took the preemptive measure of controlled-downing a dead birch tree that was threatening the yard.

The deck finally got the attention it deserved, and it is now clear of the assorted flower pots and trays that had been attracting all the dead leaves from autumns past.  The cute metal ladybug wind chimes usually guarding the raspberries have been garaged. I folded down the backs of the heavy adjustable adirondack chairs, and then decided to relocate them to the newly cleared deck.  The grill is securely covered and in a sheltered corner, along with the additional propane tanks.  I flipped the smallish round wooden  table over, reducing its profile and blow-away likelihood.  After I had gone back in, showered and changed out of my thoroughly dirt-covered gardening togs, I received an email newsletter from the local bird store.  I had earlier decided to leave the (empty) bird feeders on their hangers, since they would need to flip almost upside down in order to blow away, but the bird store ladies strongly advised bringing in all feeders. I tucked my feet into my Merrell's (the sneakers are soaked from the earlier tromping through the wet grass) and collected all four feeders, which are now keeping the metal ladybugs company in the garage.

So here I sit, watching the pouring rain and listening to the thunder. Jules had an optimistic 11:30 tee time at a course not too far from here, so I'm thinking she at least got in 9 holes before being called in.  We'll soon see.  I should have picked up some Duraflames for the fireplace.  Oh well, candles will have to do, because I'm in for the duration now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Your Highness

We had a Natalie Portman mini-fest last night, where we each chose a movie from Amazon Unbox (downloaded to the Tivo), and we each happened to choose one of hers.  My selection was first, so Julie begrudgingly agreed to watch Your Highness, with the knowledge that her choice would be automatically downloading immediately after.

Your Highness is a spoof of medieval quest films, with a beloved, overachieving prince (James Franco as Fabious), his damsel in distress (Zooey Deschanel as Belladonna), a petty, unrealized potential, jealous brother (Danny McBride as Thadeous) and a mysterious warrior from another land (Natalie Portman as Isabel).  Overall, it's a crude humor, profanity laden, sight-gag ridden and at times gratuitously bloody movie that made me laugh out loud and revel in the bad-assery that is Natalie Portman.  Isabel is Amidala Unleashed and Padme with a Potty-Mouth.  She has Nina's insane drive from Black Swan, without the self-destructive bent.  The destruction aims squarely at her foes, starting with (spoiler alert) a sadistic captor (somehow they squeezed a Mad Max style arena scene into a knights questing movie) whose giant hydra hand puppet she dismembers one finger/neck at a time, finishing with an evil-soliloquy-ending javelin to the chest.

What's that? How are the rest of the cast/characters? Oh yeah, they're in there too. But let's just be clear - it's all about Ms. Portman, who can deliver outrageously tacky lines with such gravitas that you don't notice how offensive they would be had they been spoken by another actor in another setting, and whose fight scenes out-BAMF even Samuel L. Jackson.

My recommendation: set aside your bad taste filter for a couple of hours (in fact, lock it out of the house for the duration) and just go with it.

Warp Factor Scale: Warp 9 (4 star).
Tee Shot Scale: (I'l update it once Julie's awake, but I'm guessing it's a surprised Fairway/3 star).

Reviews and Custom Scales

I've designed some appropriate ratings scales, so I'll need to write some reviews to go with them. For reviews from a past blog-life, see this index to reviews on my old blog.  They can be quite entertaining.  I'm trying to remember where the fuck I found time to watch all that stuff, let alone write about it, while working full time and going to law school.  Oh yeah, Starbucks and Red Bull.

But enough nostalgia.  For reference, here are the scales: the Warp Factor scale for me, and the Tee Shot scale for Julie (I haven't told her about this yet, but I'm sure she'll love it. Or at least she'll humor me).

Warp Factor Scale:
Space Dock - No interest
Maneuvering Thrusters - 1 star
Impulse Engines - 2 stars
Warp 5 - 3 stars
Warp 9 - 4 stars
Transwarp - 5 stars

Tee Shot Scale:
Rain Day - No interest
Out of Bounds - 1 star
In the Rough - 2 stars
Fairway - 3 stars
On the Green - 4 stars
Hole in One - 5 stars