Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oddness Abounds...

I FINALLY HAVE A NEW CAR... YAAAAAY! That's not the odd part though... The middle-aged man whom my parents saw riding down the street on a bmx bicycle, with a quiver of arrows on his back, a thick & flowing beard, and a motorcycle helmet with an antenna sticking out the top... that might be part of it... or maybe the woman who waylaid my coworker with an extended diatribe about how all chronic masturbators should be locked up.... or maybe it's the man who wants to keep tropical fish in his outdoor pond in northern New England and insists that they can be kept in cold water if you feed them the right food... oh, and let's not forget the guy who thinks there is a conspiracy between the government, the religious community, and the medical community to conceal the fact that homosexuality is actually spread by pathogens (I'm pretty sure he also mentioned something about the neo-nazis being involved too)... life around here not dull very often.

Candid pic of my friend J (used by permission) demonstrating the potential of abandoned shopping carts as furniture.

2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Wagon
It is bad luck for a captain to pilot a ship with no name, so she is now known as "MATILDA"!

Hike To Gunnison Lake & Mt. Sunapee

Thursday was my day off so I decided to go on one of my long, rambling walkabouts (gee, I hope Australians aren't the only ones allowed to use that term). It is a form of walking meditation; helping me to iron out my priorities and recenter myself spiritually.

The map below details my approximate route which spanned seven hours, two towns and almost every type of terrain common to this area of New England. The experience ranged from falling into mud-holes through frozen snow, to scratching up my legs in dense underbrush, crossing a waist-deep freezing river, climbing 50 feet up a maple tree to figure out where the heck I was, viewing a beautiful panorama of the surrounding area from the top deck of the closed-down ski lodge on top of the mountain and on bare-soled sneakers skiing down slopes which had just been in use two days previously. I killed the soles on my old shoes and thought it curious that I never fell once (I fall frequently when actually wearing skis). I met my parents at the base lodge and we went out for pizza. Along the way there were abandoned shacks, partridges flying up in my face, bridges of questionable design & stability, and a cast-0ff crutch on the side of one of the trails. What a day. All pictures are in order of appearance on the trip.

Goshen/Sunapee NH area (click for a more detailed view)

Trails ranging from mixed mud & icy snow... snowy & slick.

Gunnison Lake (aka "The Goshen Ocean") with Mt. Sunapee in the background

Random trailer/hunting camp(?) in the middle of nowhere, literally 2-3 miles from the nearest road.

Should have listened to the little voice telling me that it was a stupid idea to wear low-ankle sneakers.

Some of the trails were washed-out

Falling-down shack in the middle of nowhere on the back side of Mt. Sunapee. The dimensions would indicate that it's primary use may have been for a hermit with an ascetic lifestyle or a temporary camping retreat for a single person. Just enough room for one to lie down in with a small stove and a backback. It measured about 9 ft. by 4 ft. and was just under 6 ft. high.

The stove was sitting outside the entrance, mostly rusted into the ground.

It was high enough that the trees near the top were very short, most of them looking to be 5+ decades old yet less than 15 feet tall.

Cell tower and lodge at the top.

Distant view of Gunnison Lake

Closer detail.

Ski lift

I found the severity of the language in this disclaimer enough to prevent me from taking this trail.

Lake Sunapee at the top right and Little Sunapee to the left

Awesome name for a trail!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Pertaining to my major car issue mentioned in the last post: my local insurance center has me insured through Concord Group. I decided to see if my comprehensive coverage would sufficiently offset this problem so I filed a claim. Not only did they come through for me with the full Kelley Blue Book value for my car, they even paid the bill for diagnosing the problem. I had been reticent about filing a claim because of the horror stories I've heard from friends who got into accidents or had their cars totaled in some fashion. I was envisioning having to haggle with the claims agent and possibly having to settle for a couple thousand less than what I should be entitled to in addition to having my insurance costs rise dramatically as a result. All I can say is that I am exceedingly pleased and thankful for the low-stress solution which was handed to me in the middle of a high stress situation.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

What I See and Do Lately

A beauteous and detailed cross-stitch that my coworker & friend D made over the winter. She chose a wonderful frame and matting color to showcase it as well.

Detailed view of said cross-stitch.

My friend P and I went out and visited the old covered railroad bridges again (previously mentioned in this post). This gives a good perspective on the size of the entrance to the bridge, large enough for an old steam-engine train with a stack to pass through. (P, I blurred your face because I forgot to ask your permission to post your image).

Close-up of the texture of a favia (aka: pineapple or moon) brain coral at work.

Close-up of a sun polyp coral at work.

So I could proceed to whine about my car having broken down... as in TOTALED because the wiring harness decided to have a complete meltdown, fusing to the frame and melting through the floorboard in some spots. It all happened while I was driving and caused a scene that will make an amusing story in a few months (or years), but I am too annoyed to find it humorous right now. It was only a 2001 Ford Focus and it had just 71,000 miles on it. I was good to that car; keeping up on repairs & maintenance. My plan was to run it another couple of years to further enjoy the "cinderella period" (when a car is paid off but not yielding major troubles yet) before needing to trade up to another vehicle, but I guess this was not meant to be. I feel torn because I really want to get another Focus and support Ford (it's one of the few American car companies with fairly progressive, inclusive initiatives in place in it's facilities), but I am also very soured by this experience as well as the Focus' general track record on the Consumer Reports website.

On the GOOD NEWS front it looks like I will be a home owner soon! Nothing further to say yet because the deal is not cinched and the current owners are still waiting to get into another residence, but it is looking more hopeful than it was a few weeks ago!