Monday, January 19, 2009

The essentials: Food. Computers. Word games.

Hey y'all.

Just in case anyone was starting to worry that I'd starve away into a space smaller than the empty set, I did make it to the grocery store yesterday. I'm now stocked up with enough good eats to last me a week or more. It was a bit of an adventure though - despite forecasts that the snow would stop (it had been snowing for a good five days or so), it never really got around to it. And I was getting hungry. So I ventured out, down roads that apparently this state chooses not to plow with any real frequency on the weekends. Seriously - there was a good 4 inches of snow on the road. Felt like I was in the middle of a blizzard. But I made it. ~$100 later, I've got lots of food, and a little set of tiny screw drivers so I can take my laptop apart (yeah, food is definitely more expensive here than it was down south; I wasn't shopping at a gourmet store by any stretch of the imagination). Although the first shop in a new place always costs more - 'cause you have to invest in all of those one-time items, like a pack of TP or ketchup or olive oil, etc.

I was kind of a lazy bum all weekend; hardly left the house here, and didn't really do any science, which is bad. But I did spend a good chunk of time on computer maintenance, trying to bolster my laptop and help it hang on for another half a year or so, until I start grad school. I'm jumping from 512 mb of RAM up to 2 gb, which should make a huge difference with luck - waiting forever for firefox and other essentials to load is really starting to suck. I might even be able to run Mathematica again on this machine. Figuring out what memory to get took a long time though, as I had to do a lot of sleuth work to determine the make and model of my laptop (an old, not mainstream piece of technology). Along the way, I came across a site with all kinds of advice on my particular kind of laptop, including the reccommendation that the fans and venting duct work needs to be cleaned out every 6 months or so to prevent blockage and overheating. Good thing to know, now that I've owned this computer for ~4 years... Oops! So I pulled out some surprisingly substantial dust bunnies, and the temperature of my CPU is now 20 C cooler than it was before. Still too warm, but loads better. And, my computer no longer sounds like it's an early prototype jet plane trying to take off.

Saturday night we hung out over at one of the grad student's houses. Had a really good time. Snacks. Beverages. People in good humor. Dirty Dancing (the movie) on fast forward. And then someone brought up word games. I've found another word game addict! Joining forces, we coerced various other people into playing speed Scrabble, Squabble, etc. Fun fun fun. Also, playing speed Scrabble while slightly buzzed adds a whole new twist to the game, haha. Before we knew it, it was 2 am. People started dispersing, heading back through the snow to their own houses. Jogging through the snow/snowbanks at 2:30 am with a headlamp on is a happy experience. There was ice in my beard when I finally arrived back at the house here. Yay winter!!!

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