I just got back from Indiana a few days ago, and things have been going pretty well. Took my girlfriend out to meet my family (they all loved her), and give me a chance to catch up on what has been happening in my absence. My grandmother had a pacemaker put in on Christmas Eve, and she is feeling much better. She says it is much easier for her to stay awake now. The train rides went well, and things were going pretty well here, until water started shooting out of the radiator… I must say, before today my knowledge of radiators and how they work was pretty limited. Back in Indiana, we typically used central heating (and air conditioning) for our houses. The idea of having hot steam flowing around the house seemed pretty alien to me when I moved here, and kinda dangerous. Nevertheless, I've learned to accept the Boston way of doing things, and have been pretty happy and warm here, even with the constant wheezing and farting noises.

Today, though, was a bit different. I got home, found that I had some new pans delivered from Amazon (yay!), and came in the house to prepare dinner. I was trying to decide what to fix when I realized it was colder than normal in the house. I tried fiddling with the thermostat (to no avail), and then proceeded downstairs to see what was happening.

The boiler had stopped heating water. There didn't seem to be a clear reason, so I went around looking at the system, checking valves etc. I then noticed a glass pipe that was used to indicate the system's current water level. It seemed to be empty, so I started looking for a "turn water back on" valve. I found such a valve, turned it on… then the burner started running again. Satisfied in my success, I went back upstairs. Things seemed to be making weird noises, so I went back down and checked the boiler. When I got there, there was water coming out of a release pipe. I put a bucket under said pipe, and turned off the valve I had turned on. Nothing else weird happened, so I went back upstairs.

I decided to go into the bathroom after coming upstairs. Much to my shock and horror, the bathroom was full of water! Even worse, it seemed to be coming out of the small steam release valve on the bathroom's radiator. I quickly threw down some towels to soak up the water, then tried to find a way to shut off the flow. With my girlfriend's help, I was able to mop up the water mess, but not stop the water flow.

I went back downstairs, turned off the boiler, turned off all the water, and went around checking everything I could. One of the other radiators had started dripping, but I caught that before it turned into a flood. (Thankfully, the bathroom floor was mostly sealed.) I had my girlfriend call a plumber, and I called my housemate/landlord to tell him what had happened. He had a few pointers for operating the system, which helped immensely. By this time, the water had stopped in most places, as the inflow of water to the house had been shut down. With the temperature inside the house dropping by a little over a degree Fahrenheit per hour (at around fifty-two degrees inside, and nine outside), I was very nervous at this point.

With the immediate crisis averted, I now set about unplugging/turning off various electrical devices that I believed may have been in the path of any water leaks. Thankfully, the actual water leakage was minimal, with the damage seemingly limited to a water spot in the kitchen near the wall.

With the temperature dropping, and no plumber in sight, I decided to take action to get things running again. Carefully, I drained the system of all water. Then, I reset all valves on the boiler to their pre-Alex positions, and reset the water flow to the house. Afterward, I turned the boiler back on for a few minutes (to ensure it still worked), turned it back off, then waited a while for the plumber. By this time, some pizza had arrived, so my girlfriend and I ate heartily of the warm pizza. (Our original dinner plans having been interrupted by the cold and water.)

After dinner, with no plumber in sight, I tried my luck at the water heater again. I turned the whole system back on, and set the thermostat for sixty degrees. (Cold, but a reasonable goal when starting at nearly fifty.) Furiously checking all outlets for leaks, I eventually was able to settle down in confidence. The system worked! Hot water was flowing from the faucets, and heat and noise was flowing from the radiators.

With things mostly back to normal, I called my housemate back. Having apprised him of the situation, I checked to see if there had been any serious water damage. With nothing terribly serious to report, I moved the refrigerator to another outlet (just to be safe), and started some laundry. The heat is slowly returning to my life, with a current inside temperature of fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit. After my laundry is safely tucked in the dryer, it will be time for some much-needed sleep.

Ah… to be back in Boston! ":-)"

Things have been getting fairly interesting here in Boston lately. I have only been here one month, and I've already made lots of friends, and even met a girl that I like! I never imagined that things would be going so well so quickly for me, but I'm very glad that they are. Although there have been a few complications, it has otherwise been enjoyable. I spent the weekend hanging out with LE, going to shops, visiting various parts of the city etc. We got to eat at various lovely restaurants, and I got to see parts of the city that I haven't seen before. I had my first trip to the Esplanade, my second (but first useful) trip to Newberry Street, and my first trip to the Galleria. I'm really happy that I get to spend time with such a lovely person, and I hope that we can get to know each other better in the future.

To those of you who have been caught in the middle of all of this, I apologize if I have made your lives any harder. I don't know if there is anything I can say or do for you that will make things any easier… I guess there really never is. I guess I'm thankful that everyone has been so nice about everything, and haven't made things more difficult than they already are.

In other, unrelated news… TG went with JR and MW to visit the wonderful world of Ikea. They brought home all kinds of wonderful things… when I came home they were nearly finished organizing the kitchen. The house is finally coming together! Now if only everything else could be so simple…

I finally got to visit Haymarket, this time with Jane. There were several blocks lined with street vendors selling various fruits and vegetables. The weather was cool on Friday, so the vegetables had not been forced to sit in the hot sun all day. Apparently, though, some of the produce was marginal, as it had rotted between purchase and taking it out of the bag a few hours later. It was a fun and interesting experience, though, and I would like to go back. With a little practice, I think, I will be able to get some really nice cheap food.

Well, my plan to go to Haymarket today was a total failure. I met Greg and Doug at the Davis Square station, and they said that Haymarket is only open Friday and Saturday. Who knew? (I wish Jane had mentioned this yesterday…) Anyway, they were going to a festival in Chinatown, so I tagged along. While I was down there at the annual moon festival, I picked up a few things for the house, and a gift for my grandmother. On the way back, I stopped at Porter Exchange and picked up a few more things, thus allowing me to remove a few items from the new house list. I will try Haymarket again next weekend, but only if the weather is favorable. (If it is too hot, the veggies will be spoiled by the time I get there.)

I have found some of the people I know around here on LiveJournal, but not all of them. As I was leaving the train to go to Porter, I realized that I should have asked if Greg and Doug had accounts. That would have removed some of the guesswork. Ah well…

I got a new MP3 player yesterday, a Creative Zen V+. it was less than $100, so all is well. ";-)" I had to hike up to the Alewife Staples to get it, as the store I went to in Harvard Square was completely out. It can supposedly play videos, but so far the results have been less than inspiring. It played none of my videos, and its "pack-in" videos do not play on my computer. (What kind of codecs does it use?) Oh well… at least now I don't have any excuses not to continue listening to my language learning materials.

Jane called yesterday to make sure I was watering the garden. The veggies got a quick bath, and seem to be much happier now. I guess I'll have to remember to do that every evening from now on. Tim isn't here to do it, as he has taken off for "somewhere southwestish." As a result, I have the whole house to myself for the next two(ish) weeks. Joy of joys.

After scolding me for not watering the plants ":-)" Jane suggested that I visit Haymarket. So… the plan today? Load up my freshly-charged MP3 player with language materials, find a seat on the T, and make my way to Haymarket. I have mixed feelings after reading some reviews online, but I'm hoping for the best. With any luck, I might meet some new friends there! (Hasn't worked so-far…) At least I might be able to find some additional veggies to go with my nappa.

My here-to-fore mostly unused LiveJournal account is has now been re-activated. I had previously created this account so that I could take part in the forum for the Vampires game. (Boy, that brings back memories!) With any luck, everything I post here will get mirrored there… but I somehow doubt it. The LJ plug-in for Serendipity is a little flaky. (Won't this look stupid when it is read at LJ? Oh well.)

Mood? Who cares!?!

I'm currently attending a party in downtown Boston, held by my company to honor a member of our team who is moving on. The food here is very different, but quite good. The view, however, has to be seen to be believed. I'm up on the 42nd floor (by all accounts,) and can see most of the west side of Boston and part of south east Cambridge. It is quite a beautiful view; recommended for all who can do it.


Settling in

I'm finally getting settled in to my new place here in Medford. We've been doing some gardening, some grilling, and many other fun activities. Our cable internet service is working here, but it took quite a bit of pain. Apparently, Comcast only wants you to connect a single computer running Windows to their service. Thankfully, I had a computer lying around that happened to have Windows 2000 on it. I got the service set up, and then cloned that computer's MAC address with the wireless router. (Of course, the wireless router in question was TRG's from-the-trash router. It has since been replaced.) We still haven't gotten completely settled, though… the carpet cleaning that GJM ordered was for the downstairs only, and so we are going to have to find another solution for the icky upstairs carpets. There is hard wood under the carpets, so we will probably rip them up, sand them down, varnish them, and be done with it. Wish me luck!

I am now living in one of the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts: Medford. I took a job out here, and am now living with one of my good friends. The last few days (and weeks) have been quite exciting for me. I arrived in Medford late last Wednesday. Thursday, I unloaded all of my stuff, and helped my friend Tim move some of his stuff. On Friday, I took a trip down to Cambridge to check out the local shops, and purchase a few "must have" items. (Cooking utensils etc.) Shortly after I returned from Cambridge, we finally got power here at our house and I was able to get things rolling. That evening, we moved the remainder of Tim's heavy (truck-needing) items.

Saturday, we got up early to return the U-Haul truck that I had rented, and spent the morning with Tim's boss watching rugby and grilling. We then visited the Somerville arts festival, where the Boston Typewriter Orchestra played some rather interesting compositions. The show consisted of the band, dressed in suits and chained to their desks, making rhythmic music using their typewriters, desks and papers. After that, we checked out the arts and crafts at the festival, and grabbed a bite to eat.

I apologize for not getting this written a bit sooner. Things have been a bit hectic lately, and I just haven't gotten around to it (until now!) We still do not have internet access here yet — I am writing this via a nearby wireless connection. Tomorrow I start work, and am looking forward to it greatly.

So far, my impressions of the Boston area are positive. There is much more to see and do here than I could ever find back in Indiana. Yes, the cost of goods is indeed higher, and occasionally you will find items that are eye-poppingly expensive (by Indiana stanards.) However, I believe that it is worth the extra cost to live in such a wonderful, cosmopolitan city. I am looking forward to all of my new adventures here.

The Good Red Road, a book by my father, has been updated. New in this update is the remaining English text of the book, as well as additional illustrations. Additionally, the text of the Spirit Testament has been added as an appendix, and the layout has been improved slightly. Please note that this is still an early draft, is missing many illustrations, and may contain omissions and other errors. I will post more updates as I progress. To all of you who have been waiting for this release, you will have to wait only a little while longer — this small collection should be finished in a few more weeks. The larger body of work, however, may take a few more months.