Spam (madbodger) wrote,

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On Friday, toys showed up! I got a Fly pentop computer to play with. It's sort of like the Logictech one, but aimed at tweens. It has a little onboard camera, and works with special paper with dot patterns the computer can track to see where you are. It does a decent job of reading printing (my usual all-caps drafting style), and has several fun modes. You can draw a calculator and then use it by tapping on the keys. You can also draw a keyboard, drums, and several recording controls, and play those.

I also got a new pocket camera — a Nikon S2. I was attracted to its solid metal construction, with a sliding door to protect the lense, and the fact that it's waterproof. It turns out to be a fairly amazing little camera. Lots of useful scene modes (I have a real fondness for the "Sunset" mode on Andrea's Coolpix 885, this one has that too). Nifty dock that hooks it to the computer (via USB) as well as charging the battery. Takes pretty good pictures (I'd say "excellent" for a pocket camera). Very well thought out UI, too.

On Saturday, there were several possibilities. First we were lazy until early afternoon. A good start. Then we went to a neighbor's get-together to meet the folks who built a house a couple of doors down. That was pleasant, but when the talk turned to gossip, we got a bit bored and wandered off (presumably we then became the subject of gossip). Then we headed out to the craft fair at Dulles Expo Center. We got there a little late, so had to hurry around a bit, but we did get to see the whole thing. We picked up a really cute fabric cat, some maple candy, and some nice handmade wood shelving (the woman had her shop tucked behing the display, and was busily making more during the show). Then, since we had noticed it on the drive over, and we'd been curious about it, we went to Cici's pizza. This is a pizza/pasta buffet place, which seemed like a fun concept and a way to get food pretty much instantly. Unfortunately, most of the food was fairly ordinary in execution, and certain flavours (like white pizza) were grabbed by the shoving mob as soon as they were put out. The pasta didn't have a lot of choices of sauce, the salad bar wasn't too impressive. The garlic cheese bread was really good, though, and the sticky buns were quite yummy. And it's cheap to eat there. Then we went to shop for cell phones (we've been planning on combining our service onto a family plan, and technical issues have kicked up the priority for new phones). A fairly pushy rep at a kiosk wanted my SSN for a "prequalification", which he said didn't include a credit check. This seemed a little fishy to fizzygeek, but I peered around at the screen he was using, and it was the usual T-Mobile sales software. We quickly got tired of him, and made excuses to wander off. We found out the Dry Ice store1 was having a going out of business sale, so we had a look. They had a cool cow-print chair, but even on sale it was over $200. There were also a couple of lamps I liked, one multiple gooseneck lamp with colour-changing ponds, and another Sputnik-style one with a bunch of tiny halogen bulbs with angle-cut frosted shades. Turns out the Sputnik one was the last they had, and several shades were missing, so I gave it a miss, but picked up the gooseneck one. Later, we found the actual T-Mobile store, where there were actual clueful employees, but they were swamped. We decided we'd probably go with a pair of Nokia 6010 phones (paid for by T-Mobile), and buy an additional Nokia 5140 (ruggedized, water resistant, "outdoor/active") phone and car kit directly from Nokia. Sadly, we realized we didn't have the energy to journey out to patches023's party.

On Sunday, first I resumed work on the porch with the (now repaired) circular saw. Sure enough, it made short work of the extra lumber. Then I spray-painted the area with primer, so it doesn't stand out so much. Then I decided to see if it was time for the final back yard mowing of the year. I found the large2 branch I had noticed earlier, and decided I should attack that. Then I went out to the remote part of the yard, only to find a huge3 branch down. I diced up the first one handily enough, and sawed off most of the longer bits of the huge one, and gathered up the bark and branches it had thrown everywhere. I had fun hauling out the large branches it had driven into the ground and then broken off, leaving all-natural punji sticks. The remaining hunk of the branch is still to heavy for me to move (I can rock it a little if I lean on the end of it with all my weight), so I left it there. A little girl threaded her way through it while I was gathering up bits, so I figured I'd clear a path all the way to the smooth ground around the house next door. When she came back through, I explained this, and she said "okay". I suspect the phrase she was hunting for was "thank you", but I'm a scary stranger with a chainsaw, so maybe she didn't want to say much. Then I fired up the tractor and mowed the back yard and a path. I should probably go trim the hedge, but I think I'll shower and curl up with a book instead.

A little more research revealed the Nokia 3220 has several features that compliment the ones the 6010 has, so I'll check with fizzygeek, and if she agrees, we'll get one of each from T-Mobile as well as the 5140, then we can share 'em around as needed by moving the SIM cards. I'm guessing we'll order the gear from Nokia, and when it's ready, then either order phone service from Let's Talk (we can get extra rebates and bonuses that way) or just go pick up phones at a T-Mobile store. Our numbers are transferable, so our friends won't have to learn new numbers for us.

1A store aimed at the 8-14 year old female market, but containing some surprisingly cool stuff.
2large: big enough I'll have to saw it into several chunks to be able to move it. This is why I have a chainsaw.
3huge: bigger than "large", time to consider a larger chainsaw or professional help. Little metre-long chunks were almost too heavy for me to carry.


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