Dirt Draws Kids

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Kate and I had our third (fourth?) spring garden class in Oxford on Sunday, and our guru revealed his double-wall polycarbonate cold frames, planted with lettuce two weeks ago, now completely bursting with wall-to-wall red and green lettuce. I am not a vegetable fetishist, but… well, I guess now I am a vegetable fetishist. That lettuce did things to me, man.

So Kate, Lydia, and I spent Sunday afternoon turning over one of our five-foot by five-foot beds, and adding a year’s worth of nice, black household compost to it. Which immediately drew a crowd of neighborhood kids, each of whom was delighted to help. You’re never more aware that garden tools are basically big, heavy pieces of sharpened metal on long sticks than when you have three five-to-eight-year-olds eagerly waving them around. Lydia, of course, was unutterably delighted to have the Big Kids around.

Things turned out really well; the bed (one of four, though we may only two two this year) is looking good, and Kate and I have a bunch of lettuce to get in the ground tonight(?) or tomorrow morning(?). Or sooner, if the Local Gardening Mafia keeps after us. A knock on the door at about six PM last night revealed one of the local, cherubic five-year-olds:

  • Cherubic Five-Year-Old [Gravely]: “You said that you were going to work in the garden today, and that you would tell us, and that we could help.”
  • Me: “Oh, you know, we spent today with Kate’s dad, and didn’t work in the garden. On Sunday, we said we might work in the garden today.”
  • C5YO [Even more gravely, after a pause]: “No, you said that you were going to work in the garden today, and that we could help.” [Glances significantly at hose]

Other kids were ranged out on the sidewalk, anxiously watching the result of the conversation, and hoping no doubt for some pre-bedtime pitchfork use. Clearly, we are now the proud owners of a Community Garden, and we’d better start considering our responsibilities.

Dirt Draws Kids

Help, O Internet!

The photo, with comments, on Flickr

Kate has had some good luck asking a question into the wind, so I thought I’d try it here to see what happens.

My big, black, and greasy 1977 BMW R100/7 sidecar rig won’t start. Turning the headlight switch all the way on results in a high-pitched whining noise from the headlight relay located on the right side of the headlight bucket pictured above; turning the turn signals on SOMETIMES results in a lower-pitched buzzing noise from the turn-signal realay in the left side.

Clicking on the picture above will take you to this Flickr photo page, which is annotated with notes and the steps I can take to reproduce the problem. Anyone reading this that could help, do you think you could follow the link, read the steps, and leave a comment with any helpful advice?

I’m hoping to prepare a lean, mean, hierarchical list of things to do when I get out there next time. Any suggestions, O Internet? I should mention that I have a multitester and know how to use it (kind of), but my grasp of “check connection” is pretty much limited to “wiggle the wire and see if it makes crunchy noises.” Any tips about how to check if a wire is doing its job?

Kieran, do you know any Buckaroo Banzai types at MIT that could help?

Help, O Internet!

The MacGuffin for the Guerilla Drive-In is almost ready.

The MacGuffin for the Guerilla Drive-In — that is, the secret AM transmitter that participants have to find, in order to get the Secret Access Code — is almost complete.

My friend and across-the-street neighbor Harold Ross took some photographs of the shell yesterday. He has an awesome studio nearby, where a single push of a button plunges the whole place into darkness, and then he opens the shutter on some kind of badass digital-backed Hasselblad and bathes the subject in the light of a fiber-optic wand. The fiber-optic wand makes Important Beeping Noises while he’s using it, and his cameras are attached to huge cast-iron booms to immobilize them. Basically, it’s the loading dock from Aliens. With Cintiqs.

I’m really excited at how the MacGuffin is turning out. This is not a photoshop, but an actual device that exists:

Everything looks better in a Pelican case.

Loyal readers of this blog (hi, mom!) will recognize that this is in fact my knitting bag, now re-purposed as an AM radio transmitter to be hidden in a Secret Location. With a rubber whip antenna, and a Big Red Light, because everything needs a Big Red Light.

The MacGuffin for the Guerilla Drive-In is almost ready.

2007 Guerilla Drive-In: on the way!

I’ve been getting ready as fast as I can for the 2007 season of the Guerilla Drive-In: soldering together the AM transmitter, replacing the battery on the motorcycle, writing the FCC (no kidding!), etc.

I had planned on having everything in place, then sending out an announcement to the (about 400) folks that had asked to be on the notification list on the first day that the weather hit seventy degrees in West Chester. Well, it looks like that day is today!

Here’s what Weather Underground had to say about my zipcode:
SATAN LAUGHS AND SPREADS HIS WINGS, then asks for a nice cool lemonade.

So I’ve still got lots and lots to do, including making up the audio tape that will power the Secret AM Transmitter that will be the goal of the GDI Hero’s Quest*. Rock-and-roll MIT doctoral candidate Kieran made an awesome station-ID MP3 for me (you can hear it here; the chords correspond to the numbers 1-9-7-7, which have Mystical Significance.) So I’ve got more soldering to do, and I’ve got to make sure that the Commando Projector still works, and I’ve got to make sure I have enough Capital Letters Left to Sustain my Breathless Style of Enthusiastic Prose.

Wish me luck!

*Guerilla Drive-In dates are announced ahead of time, but the actual movie to be shown and the secret outdoor location where it will be screened aren’t announced until the day before — and then, only to a short list of enthusiasts who have completed the Hero’s Quest. If you want to find out more about the Hero’s Quest when it’s ready, just comment the blog or email me!

2007 Guerilla Drive-In: on the way!

Here’s where I blog about my GI tract, and reference eighties movies

At almost exactly 9:30 PM on Sunday night, the stomach bug hit. Like an angelic choir in reverse, where instead of the clouds parting and a sweet, white shaft of light stabbing down to find you, an ominous kettledrum rolled and all the lights dimmed to half their brightness. The worst part of a stomach bug, as far as I’m concerned, is the waiting. I mean, we’ve all done enough puking in our adult lives to know that once you’re done puking, you’ll feel much better, right? But it’s not like that translates into happy expectation of the event to come. Okay, that’s enough on that subject, I’ll just point out that for 24 hours, I did not have enough energy to remove my SOCKS, even though I kind of wanted to. Man, I hate the stomach bug.

I was the last to get sick, but I went down only twelve hours after Kate. Since I was sick, Kate did not get her full recuperation, and was pressed back into parent service as soon as she was ambulatory. By this time, however, Lydia was just fine. Can’t we get an inflatable emergency autoparent? You know, they don’t have to do the FULL job, just queue up new episodes of “The Berenstain Bears” on the Tivo, keep Lydia from using the glue stick to lather the upholstery, and feed her some lunch? Just so mommy isn’t forced into the same work ethic as a Civil War doctor. I mean, Kate, you did a wonderful job, and I thank you, but it woulda been nice if we could have just lolled around and recuperated together, listening to the occasional businesslike monotone coming from downstairs: “no… request for second lollypop… denied.”

Everyone is present and accounted for now, though, though my usually cast-iron stomach still has odd likes and dislikes that I’m not expecting (Vegetarian Indian buffet yesterday? Great, yummy, no problem. Glass of milk? Forty-five minute stomachache. Cup of coffee? Can’t even think about that right now.)

Here’s where I blog about my GI tract, and reference eighties movies