Sandy

Just a quick post to say that my section of Main St in Somerville got power back at around 9pm last night. I’d lost power on Monday night, at around 9pm, so that was three days with no power. I know a lot of places got hit much worse that Somerset County. It was weird living without electricity for three days though.

My iPhone and iPad kept me connected. Both Verizon (iPhone) and AT&T (iPad) 3G stayed up most of the time. (AT&T disappeared for several hours at one point, but I never had a problem with the Verizon service.)

My cable service isn’t back up yet, so no high-speed internet at home just yet. Hopefully soon!

Reading and Music

I’ve been having a bit of a problem at home lately. They play music on Main St. now, for most of the day. They used to just do this around Christmas, but now they’re doing it all the time. They’ve got one set of songs programmed into the thing. It’s all basically soft rock, with a little jazz mixed in. Stevie Nicks, Seal, Sting, Sade, that kind of stuff. Lots of artists whose names begin with “S”, for some reason.

A few weeks ago, on a Monday night, the timer went wonky on it and it kept playing all night. Even with all the windows closed, and earplugs in my ears, I could still hear the music, and really couldn’t sleep at all that night. I (and at least one of my neighbors) called the police, but they didn’t know how to turn it off, or have contact info for anyone who could. (Supposedly, that’s been fixed if this happens again.)

While the music was bothersome before, this incident has reprogrammed my brain so that the mere hint of “Sweetest Taboo” (for example) starts to make me shiver and feel slightly nauseous.

This isn’t much of a bother on weekdays, since I only have to put up with an hour or two of it, between whenever I get home from work, and 8pm, when the timer (hopefully) turns it off. I’m generally watching the previous night’s Stewart and Colbert after work, so that drowns it out.

On weekends, though, I often like to sit around and read during the day, so this is a problem. I need to find some music I can listen to that drowns out the Main St muzak, but doesn’t distract too much from what I’m reading. I’ve been reading Zero History by William Gibson over the last week or so. I’m almost done with it. Yesterday, I used Fugazi’s Instrument soundtrack to down out the muzak. Today, I’m using turntable.fm, specifically the ambient/chillout and coding soundtrack rooms. I’ve discovered that I can get pretty good sound out of my iPhone by putting it in an old dock that I friend gave me a few years ago, and connecting that to my receiver via a mini-stereo to RCA cable, into the “tape” input. Previously, I’d just been connecting it by inserting the cable into the headphone jack, but the dock makes a big difference, for some reason.

I’ve really been digging Turntable.fm lately, by the way. This is one of those things that the internet is great for, but that usually goes wrong after a while. Right now, you can fire up turntable.fm, go into the right room, and there will be a few people with impeccable taste playing great songs for a crowd of maybe 50 or 100 people. No advertisements. No jokers coming in and playing Rick Astley. No spambots coming in and DJ’ing ads for boner pills. I’m not sure why it works, but I’m glad it does.

Also, about Zero History: good book! I’ve found that a number of things in it, sometimes just minor stuff, has sent me off to the internet to do a little research. Node Magazine and the Zero History blog have some good links. I’ve also found myself looking into Saharan guitar music and other odd stuff like that.

Walking

It was a great weekend, weather-wise, so I did a couple of nice long walks yesterday and today. I’ve been using the Runkeeper iPhone app to track my walks. It’s kind of cool to see them on a map. Yesterday, I stayed local. Today, I took the train into NYC, then a cab up to the Met.  I wandered around the museum for awhile, then walked back down from there to Penn Station.

time to move?

I woke up this morning to the smell of wet cardboard. My upstairs neighbor apparently had some kind of problem with his or her water heater last night. A bunch of water had leaked through the ceiling into my front closet. The only thing I store on that side of the closet is old cardboard boxes, thankfully. So I had to throw out about a dozen soggy cardboard boxes, and then do a bunch of mopping up, before I could leave for work this morning.

Apparently, they fixed the problem at some point during the day. I had a bit more cleaning to do when I got home, but not too much. This isn’t the first time I’ve had water leaking through from the apartment above. I’m starting to worry about what kind of shape the drywall is in, in a couple of areas.

My lease is up for renewal pretty soon. Maybe it’s time to move.

Somerville to join county library system

mycentraljersey.com is reporting that Somerville will be joining the Somerset County library system. I don’t know enough about the history on this to know why we weren’t *always* part of the Somerset County system, but it seems like a reasonable enough thing to do.

I only got my library card a few months ago, despite living in Somerville for more than ten years. And I haven’t actually used the card yet. I have a kind of sentimental attachment to libraries, since I used our public library in Roselle Park quite often as a kid, and because my brother Pat was a librarian.

I get most of my books through BookMooch or SwapTree now, or on the Kindle, so I don’t actually have much use for the library, but I’m glad we have one.

Somerville St. Patrick’s Day Parade postponed due to flooding

Somerville St. Patrick’s Day Parade postponed due to flooding

No St Patrick’s Day parade today in Somerville. Looks like they’ll try again next week. That’s OK. I’m not feeling too well today, so it’s a good day to sit inside reading books, and sipping tea.

The shopping center is gone.

Former Somerville shopping center now columns and debris | mycentraljersey.com

I haven’t been paying that much attention to local news lately, nor have I been getting out much, so I was surprised to see the downtown shopping center gone when I was walking down Main St earlier this week.  The place has been empty for about three years now.  The article doesn’t give me much hope that they’re actually going to do anything useful with the site any time soon, but I guess it’s a start.

St. Patrick’s Day

Somerville St. Patrick’s Day parade names first-ever female grand marshal

I see that the Somerville St Pat’s parade is March 14 this year, the day after my birthday. For a few years, we had a tradition going where Mom and Dad, and maybe a couple of other folks, would come up to Somerville for the parade, and we’d hang out in my apartment, have a few beers, and celebrate my birthday. I remember one year when Pat and Heather came up too, before they were married, I think. That was fun.

Since Mom stopped driving a few years back, we haven’t been doing that. I have some fond memories of St Patrick’s parades in Somerville, though.