Something a Little Bigger Than a Microblog

It's nice to get out someplace new for a while. Maybe 24 or 36 hours. I try to now and then, for no particular reason. Or for some reason. The important thing is that it's outside of a normal routine. IE, not necessarily for work or a semi-regular trip to visit relatives.

I'm doing this now. Nowhere drastic, just a couple hours away for an event. It's fun, although I do kind of miss my own bed and certainly my cat. I had a good dinner, and my hotel room is nice. I'm messing around on the internet and listening to Bill Evans before I get ready for bed.

It's amazing to think that you can travel a hundred miles or so in a couple hours. I have mixed feelings about cars, but this is quite an amazing thing when you think about it. A trip like this could take days on horseback back in the day, although it wouldn't be bad on a train either – assuming the train goes where you need to go.

It's something to take advantage of now and then, the ability to just pick up and go somewhere not quite on a whim, but close. Or on a whim if that's what you want.

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I'm traveling today. It's cool out, rainy, and cloudy. I'd hoped to catch part of the eclipse, but that was out of the question.

The leaves are still fairly green, but they're changing. Despite the gloom today fall is actually looking pretty nice. It's cool, but you can still do things outside if you want.

October is a beautiful time of year around here, and I think it's peak fall. Not that November isn't nice, but there's a little bit of summer left over, and the trees look great.

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I need to do some cleaning. The house isn't too bad, but I've been putting it off for a while. Mostly, I need to vacuum, but there are a few other things. For one, there's algae growing on one side. I scrubbed it off on a different side a few weeks ago, and it looks great.

I should mow the grass too, but it's not too bad yet. Leaves will be coming soon, which need to be raked/blown uphill, always good for a workout.

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George is curled up on a pillow at the table I normally work at when I work from home. He's taking his nap, and he might be there for hours. He'll probably be there most of the time I'll be in the office this afternoon.

I've usually been working half-days at home. This morning in a meeting George was in my lap and attacking my hand, while I spoke to something I was working on. I'm actually decent at that by now. Of course, he wanted some more food and to play, so when I was done talking I fed him and ran him around.

I can't imagine working from home without a cat. Or any pet, or even another human. It's easy to get sucked into what you do, and having a distraction of some sort is key here and there.

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We have a week or so of summer left here in the Northern Hemisphere, but it might as well be fall. It's cooler out now at night, so much so that I'm not sure I need the air conditioner in my bedroom anymore. I'm going to wait to put it away just in case, of course, but I think we're done with that part of the year.

It's still plenty green out, even though some leaves are starting to fall. The plants look nice, and I actually have a pumpkin starting to grow. They've been this late in the past, I'm not sure why. I suspect I need to be a little more on top of the watering and fertilizing. Still, I may actually get one later in the fall, probably not in time for Halloween.

Days are shorter, but still a decent length. There have been some nice clouds too, but still a good amount of sun. The solar panels in my mini off-grid power system still get enough power for to run my laptop during the day – more than enough in fact. As we get into winter I'll have to go easier on it, just because as I live on-grid there's not much need to stress the battery. I'll use power if it's sunny, but otherwise try to keep the battery topped off. Power outages do happen, and it's nice to be ready.

I need to look at the furnace. It should be fine, but it's good to do a trial heat run before it really gets cold, just in case it's got any big problems.

There might be some maintenance I try to have done before fall. Definitely some wood work that would be good to get out of the way.

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I wanted to throw together some sort of system to automatically water plants, or at least to let me control the watering remotely. I never completed it, but there are solenoid valves available, and Raspberry Pis and similar single board computers have GPIO you can use for that sort of thing. I've got some of the parts, and will put it together one of these days.

Right now, I go outside and turn the hose on for a sprinkler in my garden. I've got a setup nearly complete with some black plastic pipe that runs to some key areas, which will reduce the need for a garden hose. It's a step in the right direction. But I'd like to be able to log in to something from anywhere in the world, and turn the sprinkler on for fifteen minutes.

I'll add it to the list of projects. It is kind of important, considering that I'm trying to actually grow things in my garden other than weeds, and I'm occasionally out of town. Plus, honestly, it's kind of a neat project.

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It's hot outside. I think it said abut 88 degrees F in my car. It's clear out (no wildfire smoke), and the sun is out in full force.

I like summertime, and it's nice to have this much daylight. But the heat is not my favorite part of it all. Yes, I like that it warms up, and I like that it makes swimming more fun (and possible). But the heat itself is tough for me.

Luckily, there's air conditioning, and pools at various opportune moments. So I manage.

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It's raining pretty hard right now. Not a big storm – yet, but a good, solid rain. We did get a pretty violent thunderstorm over the weekend.

Rain is nice. Hopefully I won't have to water the plants for a little while. It's also cooling things off.

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I don't post my amateur radio call sign online much, and I don't plan to here. But I will mention that I've participated a little bit in Field Day, a contest put on by the ARRL. I haven't participated much, and have raked up maybe 10 contacts so far. I normally like to take it easy, and today I was fighting quite a bit of QRM, the source of which I couldn't track down.

Contesting is a neat part of the hobby, but the spirit of Field Day is about setting up a station to service some sort of disaster or urgent need to provide communication. And a lot of clubs and individuals rise to this occasion, either operating from home, or setting up at some location. Seeing this sort of infrastructure just pop up is kind of neat.

You can say that there's no need for amateur radio in this day and age. Indeed, if you just want to chat with someone, there are much better ways to do it. Email is easy, as are cell phones. But not only is there something neat about talking to someone else just over the air, perhaps in another state or country, with no other infrastructure, but it's also a great way to learn about radio. You can build your own gear if you want, or experiment with propagation. Basically, it's radio spectrum set aside to mess around with. The rest is up to you.

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Once in a while, I end up in New England. Usually it's for vacation, but sometimes for other reasons. I used to leave relatively close to it, although I'm not too far where I'm at now.

I'm visiting Connecticut, and it's pretty nice here. Preview trips to NE are usually to the ocean, and I'm inland now. But it still has a New England feel to it, which is nice. It helps that it's summer, too, although the bugs were kind of bad.

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