Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New hobbies

I've acquired more hobbies than simply knitting, playing boardgames, and fixing my car. Now, I'm painting miniatures, and I've begun jogging. Yes, I've long disparaged joggers, but it's more interesting than running on the spot, and I do need to get more exercise.

The miniatures painting is connected with the boardgaming; one of the regulars of my group is running a role-playing game campaign starting in August, and I decided I would paint a miniature to represent myself. Since the painting supplies run into money, it's worth painting more minis, once the investment is made; I have enough paint for literally hundreds of minis, so it's going to continue cheaply. Besides, I have a boardgame which has plastic figures for players; they came unpainted, but they'll look great painted.

As for the jogging, last time I saw my doctor, he was concerned about my cholesterol levels, so I'm working on diet and exercise to avoid statins. I've also decided to train to run a 5k at the start of June. That gives me a target to aim for, and I can measure my progress towards it; when I can run twelve laps of the block I live on, that's three miles; just short of 5000 metres. I have a way to go before I can manage that, but I will do it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An update on the car...

I've been doing quite a lot of work on my car of late. Just last week, things came to a point where the LA authorised the purchase of new parts, and so I ordered (from a well-recommended parts supplier in Connecticut) a pair of struts for the boot lid, a door switch, and several bulbs. The bulbs are a special type, used only by Volvo, and cost $9 apiece from the dealership... from this place, $7, which (with the failure rate) was about what I'd been paying from the junkyard.

And now, my car is in better shape than when I bought it. The messed-up starboard bow is no longer so; I've replaced pretty much everything that was on that corner now, and I know my work is good. The tired trunk lid is no more; it positively leaps open now. All the switches light up (the gear shift quadrant still doesn't, but I've come to the conclusion that they built the entire car around that bulb, much like 240s were infamously built around the blower motor) and all the interior trim is solidly attached. All the doors now trigger the interior lights and their marker lights correctly.

I'm proud of just how much of the improvement is stuff I have done myself. There's a little of my soul in that car now. I'm also amused by the fact that my car now has a front that is roughly 50% from the previous model - and yet it looks as it should!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free is always good, right?

Certainly in this case. Sometimes, other offices in the same building as the LA's office will be throwing out furniture. Usually, it's desks and suchlike, and not that great, but yesterday, while I was sitting quietly in the corner of her office (upside of a family firm) because my car was in the shop, we realised that the table which was being thrown out was actually a good size for gaming upon - and 6' x 3' is a better form factor than 42" x 42" for gaming, so... we realised that even after my car was out of the shop, we couldn't get it home. Too large for either car. Had we been lucky enough to have a Volvo wagon, it wouldn't have been an issue, but when buying used, one's options are restricted.

Fortunately, one of our regular Wednesday night knitting group drives a compact pickup (for Europeans: a pickup truck. Full-sized trucks are never seen in Europe) and was willing to help us get it home. It was once we'd done that that we discovered it was too large to fit through the door of the gaming room, a trait shared with its predecessor... so, today, out came the tools and it was knocked down to size. Now, my game room contains a table which can seat six comfortably, eight if they're friendly.

It'll be fun to move, though. In the sense of "not fun at all".

Monday, March 15, 2010

US Census 2010

The LA and I received the form today. For all the usual ballyhoo about how invasive it is, it doesn't want anything like as much as the UK government wanted in 2001. Heck, the LA informs me that it's less invasive than the 2000 census was over here. What it wants is: how many people live at the address the form was sent to, whether they own, rent, or squat, and for each person it wants name, relationship to person #1, age, Hispanic origin if applicable (which, incidentally, is officially Not A Race Thing; I don't quite understand), race, and whether that person occasionally lives elsewhere (to avoid double-counting).

The LA and I were unsatisfied with the options presented for the race question.

We both checked "other" and wrote in: HUMAN.

Please, do likewise. Let's get enough people writing in HUMAN to make them give it its own statistical bucket!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Growing up

Not something I ever intended to do, but lately I've had great fun playing a board game in which one manipulates the stock market, and today the LA and I were spring-cleaning. Yes, really.

We've decided our 5-foot dresser (for UK family: low chest of drawers, not what you'd call a dresser) really, honestly, had to go. It's been broken since LA, it's been a pig to move the last two times we've moved, and it's far too heavy for what it does. It's likely to meet the business end of a sledgehammer, once we can procure an assisstant to move the blasted thing out of the house. I've also been reorganising my game room, which now has much more space (despite almost no changes; not sure what happened there) and we're going to be reorganising the garage as well.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about all of this maturity, but I think I can live with having a house in which we can find things. We've already found some things which have been lost since... well, since before I arrived in one case, and that's been a while now!