Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry entered the nearly deserted dining hall. A few other Hogwarts students were in the far corner carrying on a game of Wizard's Chess; one of them -- a Slytherin Harry didn't recognize -- looked up for a moment, but then returned his attention to the game.

Minutes passed. Where were Ron, Hermione, and Ginny? Harry hummed a tune; something catchy he heard played in a muggle shop. He didn't know most of the lyrics; something about a boy in Detroit catching a train at midnight to anywhere. The thought of a train reminded him of King's Cross station and made him chuckle. How constraining it must be -- was, he reminded himself -- to be tied to train and bus schedules, having to fill up automobiles.

Ginny enters and asks him how his meeting with Snape went. "Oh, as you might expect," Harry says. "Draco won't going to testify against his father to the new ministry."

At this news, Ginny sighs. "Well, we can't expect it all to happen at once. Hey! You're sitting on my wand!" she says to Ron as he enters and plops himself down next to her.

"Sorry. I've spent the last five hours tending to Professor Sprout's mandrakes, and I'm wiped. But as dad used to say, 'Try to remember the times that were good.'" A few of the chess players look over in their direction at the break in the silence. Harry feels the gaze of the Slytherin student, putting him on a bit of edge.

Ron shakes some dirt off the sleeve of his robe; something ruffles in his pocket. "Oh, right. Mum sent me a box of Bertie Botts." Ron pulls the box out and starts to open it. "Want some? Hey, where's Hermione anyway?"

A brief interruption in the sunlight streaming in an upper window catches their attention. Another shadow -- this time, they can see it's Hermione flying backwards, attempting to park her broom. "Ah, still trying to park," Ron sighs. The Slytherin student walks slowly towards them, still gazing at Harry. He pulls his wand out, and Harry feels a chill on the back of his neck. Just as Harry moves to pull his wand out, the Slytherin brushes past them to go to the restroom.

Ron finishes opening the box of jelly beans, and they each pop one into their mouths. Hermione, having finally parked her broom, runs up to the dining hall entrance.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

For my roadgeek friends...

I used driving directions from Google Maps today which included the following:
  • South on US 101 for 3.3 miles.
  • West on WA 108, WA 8, and US 12 for 38 miles total.
  • South (again!) on US 101 for 0.5 miles.
Yes, the directions are correct.
Yes, US 101 runs reasonably north/south in both locations.
Yes, WA 8/108 and US 12 run reasonably east/west.

The answer lies in the strange routing of US 101 between Astoria, Oregon and Olympia, Washington:
  • From Astoria, it runs north to Forks via Aberdeen (directionals read north/south).
  • From Forks, it runs east through Port Angeles to Port Townsend (directionals read east/west).
  • From Port Townsend, it runs south to Olympia via Shelton (directionals read south/north and the mile markers increase going south).
In case you're curious, we were going here.
Being so far behind in the series, I decided to read the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows plot summary on Wikipedia. The only thing I don't quite understand: Why, exactly, did Harry kill John F. Kennedy?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Let me tell you firsthand: stingray stings are painful. Much more painful than a bee sting.

I was swimming just north of the San Onofre nuclear power plant on the Camp Pendleton side. Reaching the end of the swimming area, I stood up to turn back and promptly felt an intense pain in my right foot. After a sharp yelp followed by a few expletives, I hobbled back to the lifeguard tower where they had me soak my foot in near-scalding water. Trying to burn my foot never felt so good; apparently, the toxin breaks down when exposed to heat.

I discovered a combination toilet paper dispenser and iPod dock at Fry's yesterday. Seriously, folks -- if you're blowing money on this kind of crap, you have way too much disposable income.

Here are a couple pictures of the concrete roller coaster they're installing on I-15:

Sunday, July 8, 2007

In San Diego briefly; heading up to Mt. Whitney tomorrow with my dad.

First, though: WTF, San Diego? Have you decided that you wanted to pick up the worst features of Los Angeles and pave over the entire place? I swear, it looks like you're building a concrete roller coaster in the middle of I-15. Every town along the corridor looks like a game of Sim City gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Wow... I never thought I'd be glad to leave SoCal. The place is soooo married to the automobile, it's frightening. It's impossible to be a pedestrian here, really -- watching people try to navigate their way across eight-lane surface streets is sad.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I've been remiss in posting these.

Today's workout was a killer -- just myself and the coach, and we had initially planned on a 1:20 workout. Instead, it ended up being 2:15 (!). We were 35 minutes in; she mentioned that I had been swimming with the current so it'll take longer to get back. Ok, "but let's go for five more minutes." Five minutes later: "Oh, hey, look, there's a neat beach neither of us have explored." Ten more minutes, we're at the beach.

Remember how I was going with the current? So, 50 minutes there... 1:15 back. About 3.4 miles total.

My arms were killing me when I got out. And this was all after an on-call shift from hell (35 pages in 48 hours... WTF?).