July 31, 2016 by Adam in Family

We took the train into London and settled into our airbnb flat. It's cozy and close to the tube. We headed out to go food shopping, ate some snacks at a church, and shopped around the neighborhood. Joanna found an old brass bell like the kind they rang at her school. She couldn't resist getting it.

I followed her home as she occasionally rang the thing cheerfully. Joanna cooked up a tasty dinner and we put on nice clothes to go out. A short tube ride away and we were at the Dutchess Theater seeing The Play Where Everything Goes Wrong. It was a play about a murder mystery play and it was hysterical. The set disintegrated around them and the female lead kept getting knocked out and replaced by assorted stage crew. Just fabulous.

Later we wandered around London at night, seeing the sights. Joanna reported great success at catching pokemon.

Tomorrow is the Kew gardens and shopping. Bed time for now.

Last Day at The Great House

July 30, 2016 by Adam in Family

We had a good time in Sonning today.  We awoke in our hotel and wandered leisurely down for breakfast.  I had a mocha and some very spicy eggs, while Joanna had a more traditional breakfast.  Afterward we walked down the Thames and wandered into The Old Mill, which has since been renovated as a bar and theater.  It turns out there were a few tickets left right up next to the stage.  It was an Agatha Christie book called The Hallow, which sounded both interesting, funny, and very British.  

We had some time before lunch, so we walked downstream to the tea house at the lock, watching the boats go through and peering around their little garden.  It wasn't tea time, so we kept going downriver looking at the scenery and people out with their dogs, returned to the hotel, changed, and went to lunch at the Old Mill.

The food was pretty good, with both vegetarian and gluten-free options.  We split a cider and made sure to duck under the short ceiling and beams.  The interior was clearly redone, but the ancient floors weren't quite level and some of the wait staff seemed perpetually stooped over as they navigated the narrow spots.

The play started, and I immediately recognized some of the actors as being in various BBC television shows and a few movies.  The writing was funny, with some great characters along the way.  The detective was clever and the murderer was surprisingly stupid considering they almost got away with it.  It made for a fun afternoon and we scurried back to the hotel in time for Joanna's father and Christa arrived.

We all assembled, eating and chatting our way through dinner.  Joanna's dad seemed tired, having his pacemaker installed not four weeks ago.  Still, he was clearly pleased to see everyone and I suspect his recent brush with mortality focused his mind keenly.  I was generally polite and well behaved and went off to watch Arthur and Fin play outside.  Joanna tells me her father said that she'd done all right, which I'm going to take as a round about compliment.

Tomorrow we head into London, taking the train and then tube into our airbnb in Islington.  We have another play we're planning on seeing tomorrow night, ironically about a murder mystery, though the twist is that the play is about a murder mystery play that goes horribly wrong.  The plan is to see the British Museum on Tuesday with Christopher and company.  Monday we might see the Kew gardens, or whatever strikes our fancy.

At Sonning by the Thames

July 29, 2016 by Adam in Family

We packed up our cottage in Cornwall and hopped on the ferry to Fowey then a taxi to Par and the train to Reading. The seats were nearly all reserved so we hopped about as people boarded and left, somehow remaining seated the entire time. Then it was a mix of buses and walking as we revisited Joanna's childhood locations.

The Abbey was her first school, bringing up memories of playground mischief and her mom picking her up. It was closed but we chatted with a couple people who worked there and peeked over the fence. Next was the hospital where she was born, almost by accident. Next was her childhood home, her mom's home, and the corner market. Sadly the sweet shop hasn't survived the thirty year absence.

Another bus ride and lots more walking brought us to the Great House where we're staying the night. Christopher picked up his girlfriend Ines while the boys played on the lawn. We drank cider, ate good food, and retired to our room.

Last Night in Polrun

July 28, 2016 by Adam in Family

We're back home, watching the Tumblyboos on the Night Garden. It's a kids' show that Finn adores. Soon Jay and Kiki are coming for dinner and then we prepare for our morning's departure. We take the train to Reading and visit Joanna's old home and school. Eventually we make it to the Great House in Sonning.

As for today, we did some laundry and carried the kayak down to the river. We wound our way past the ship refitter's and into a relatively empty river. After an hour or so we made our way to a little village called Pont, which is basically a half dozen buildings by a bridge over the footpath. The old buildings were rented out to tourists. We ate lunch in some old ruins and rowed back home.  After a little lay down we took the pokemon tour of town, visiting the three Pokestops. 

Time to prepare for dinner and pack a little for tomorrow.

Fowey River Adventures

July 28, 2016 by Adam in Family

We roamed the countryside yesterday morning, taking a long path by the ocean, through farms, and back along public footpaths back home. We met a number of cows and an old world war 2 bunker along the way. That night Joanna's uncle went across the river to return with Indian food, which we devoured cheerfully.

Joanna is making gluten free bread from a mix she found. After we finish laundry we'll carry the kayak down to the docks and had upriver to explore the area by boat. Hopefully we stay somewhat dry.


July 27, 2016 by Adam in Family

The view out the window is of a little bakery, promising tasty crumpets.  It's terribly English here. Finn is watching Thomas the Tank Engine. The kids had Shreddies for breakfast. Soon we'll go tour the village. We were promised a sixteenth century castle, despite being very small.


July 26, 2016 by Adam in Family

We're about halfway through our journey, on the train to Paddington station. Hopefully we'll make it to Polruan by nightfall. Long train to Cornwall ahead of us.

Somehow got some sleep on the plane. It helped there was an empty seat next to us.

Update: We're on the train for Penzance, fortunately I'm wearing my pirate shirt. We're only going as far as Par, where a taxi ride and ferry await us. It's been a long day, but I finished my mocha and Joanna is setting up our English cell phone so we can communicate with the world.

Update 2: The train was long but we made it to Par, where Christopher had ordered a taxi for us.  The driver zipped us down narrow roads and then we boarded a tiny orange boat to get across the river. Christopher was waiting and made us a tasty meal. I met Joanna's aunt and uncle and saw her grown up nephews. Now I'm worn out and ready for bed soon.

To England!

July 25, 2016 by Adam in Family

Friday night was just Sam and I.  There were a few nights of just the two of us hanging out, which was pretty fun.  We played a lot of Warframe together, along with finishing the great 80's nostalgia Stranger Things.

It was a weekend of scrambling about, trying to get organized, while still hanging out with kids as best I can.  The kids and I played video games, tossed a frisbee around at the park, and managed to mostly make pizza by ourselves.  Joanna returned from her east coast trip and we fed her pizza while watching Adam Ruins Everything.

And mom - I totally forgot to wish you happy birthday.  It felt like I saw you practically every day this last week, but I think I absolutely missed your actual birthday.  Thanks for being in our lives and keeping an eye on everyone.

Sunday was packing, walking Sam through the house care routine, and spending more time with the kids.  Joanna was busy with work, coming up with assorted quizzes for a content marketing company.  Sam, Emma, and I played Starbound, having a good time saving the galaxy and farming crops on an alien world.  Isa came over for a while to hang out with Sam, which I think he appreciated.  Emma and I went a little crazy with the art projects, putting together an activity book for the England trip.  Mom came over and we had a big dinner I threw together from my repertoire of a dozen meals.

Now we're ready to head off to Portland.  Joanna has physical therapy and I have a few last minute things to track down.  Hopefully I can find someone with a power converter to handle 230 volts.

Happy Birthday

July 24, 2016 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Mom! I'm hoping the fact that I can't reach you on the phone means that you're out partying it up in style! 

Mocha Friday

July 22, 2016 by Adam in Family

I'm heading off to work momentarily.  Sam is still in bed and Emma is cheerful and funny, planning a day of video games and hanging out.  I, on the other hand, am off to work.  At least I'll have a mocha.

We've had a series of computer issues the last few days, some of which aren't quite fixed yet.  I managed to diagnose the problem - an obscure issue with patch levels of a .dll and new SSL certificates on a remote server.  Yes, it seems magical to me too.  Today I'm going to try to put nothing into live and keep the lights on another day.  I've heard we might get a new developer FTE, which is exciting.  Maybe I might not be quite so alone.

Tonight I may just be hanging out with Sam, watching the last of Stranger Things.  Tomorrow I presume I'll be getting Emma sometime - we've got some food shopping to do, but otherwise the day is pretty open.  Joanna arrives in the evening and then we get ready for England.

Birthdays Galore!

July 20, 2016 by Adam in Family

Today is Duncan's official birthday - he's turning 11.  He woke up in Rochester this morning, along with Berry and Joanna.  Apparently their trip went relatively well, with the only issue being Maisie bear being left behind.  Apparently we need to send a package to Rochester soon.  I had my birthday yesterday as well, turning 47.  Everyone in the family is officially odd now.

It's been relatively uneventful other than all the trip planning.  Sam and Emma returned from their Bend trip.  Emma showed me her pictures of lava fields and sheepishly apologized for using so much data playing Pokemon Go.  The feeling was short lived, as she then proceeded to excitedly show off all the Pokemon she caught.  I think Sam had a good time hanging out with Isa.

I returned from work yesterday to find assorted birthday cards left for me.  Many thanks to Yayoe and the family.  We went to Cafe Yumm for a simple birthday dinner, with my mom coming along.  Afterwards the kids and I played Metal Slug 3, which greatly amused Sam.  Later we tucked in Emma and Sam and I watched a couple episodes of Stranger Things, which was very nostalgic with the 80's vibe.

Birthday Weekend

July 18, 2016 by Adam in Family

It was a weekend of birthdays.  Friday night mom and Isa both came over for the exciting double-birthday of Duncan and myself.  Joanna wore herself out making birthday cakes and getting things ready.  Fortunately the cakes were delicious and we were happy with all our loot.  I ended up with some nice work clothes, a handmade plate, and some camping gear that earned Sam's respect.  Sam filmed it all, and only recorded Isa a couple minutes at the beginning.

The rest of the weekend was pretty busy.  I wandered around outside with Emma, playing Pokemon Go and visiting nearby Pokestops.  Saturday was Duncan's party with his friends where they played Minecraft and ate cake.  Mom took Emma to an art gallery, which had tiny cream puffs (and hopefully some art, but Emma mentioned the cream puffs twice).  The day wrapped up with pizza and an episode of Adam Ruins Everything that was all about sex.  Good times.

Sunday was a little more quiet.  Joanna took the little kids off to church and then Berry to a birthday.  I took Sam, Isa, and Emma to Jamie's house as they're going to Bend for a few days.  I spent time working on the new version of the web site, playing video games, mowing the lawn, and getting all the electronics ready for everyone's trips.  I'm pretty happy with how the new web site is coming along, learning as I go.

Tomorrow Joanna packs up the kids.  Tuesday is my birthday, with Joanna, Duncan, and Berry leaving for Rochester.  I'll miss them all.  I'm getting Sam and Emma for a birthday dinner out on the town.  Then the house should be pretty quiet until next Saturday when Joanna arrives and we scramble for our trip to England.  Exciting times.


July 18, 2016 by Adam in Adam's Games

I have fond memories of DOOM from back in the day.  I used to haul my computer over to my friend's house to hook up our coax network and play multiplayer DOOM.  Later when I was teaching at Omnitek, we pushed out the game to all the computers in the classroom and I'd play with the other instructors at lunch. 

So, when the sequel was released, I was pleasantly surprised that it maintained that sense of crazy, chaotic fun.  The start of the game immediately drops you into the demon-slaying action and it doesn't let up for any length of time.  The best parts were the giant arena fights, facing wave after wave of enemies, running low on ammo and health and trying to survive until the end.  I finished the shortish campaign today, enjoying it immensely.

Art Dresser

July 18, 2016 by Adam in Adam's Projects

We had an old dresser in the house that was a little rickety and didn't really fit anywhere.  I decided to turn it into an art dresser, enlisting the kids to decorate the drawers.  It's been a very slow-motion art project - it's challenging motivating their creative talents at times.  Berry and Emma are the only ones that have contributed so far, though Joanna wants to do a drawer.  I'm hoping I can convince Duncan and Sam to do the top or sides.

So far, I'm pretty happy with the end result.  I'm looking forward to loading it up with my old video game DVDs or board games.

Birthday Mocha Friday

July 15, 2016 by Adam in Family

It's a mocha Friday today.  A whole lot of travel and changes are right around the corner.  Duncan and I have a birthday party tonight.  Sam and Emma go to Eagle Crest on Sunday.  Duncan, Berry, and Joanna to to Rochester on Tuesday.  I'm not sure I'll be by myself much as Sam is at my house most nights, but it'll sure be quiet.

I heard a little more about the security job.  I don't think it's as sure a thing as it was before, but I'll at least get an interview.  The manager and his reports all like me, of course, so maybe that'll make a difference.  The security teams are in a bit of disarray at the moment, so perhaps it's a blessing in disguise.  In the meantime, I keep working on learning new web technologies and honing my development skills.

Joanna also had her first book published, with a box of books delivered to our doorstep.  She has some book signings lined up for Rochester and Portland.  I'm still not quite sure how I managed to marry a lovely English author.

What A Strange Future We Live In

July 13, 2016 by Adam in Family

Last night at dinner I was talking about my coworker who excitedly got new computing hardware so he could mine bitcoins faster.  After dinner, Joanna took the little kids out looking for Pokemon using the new augmented reality game.  It's pretty wild.

The week has been moving along at a steady pace. Sam's been working for my mom, doing yardwork and assorted tasks.  Emma was sick with a cold when she went to her mom's on Monday.  Hopefully it's a little better.

This Friday we have a birthday dinner for Duncan and I, as Joanna and the little kids are heading to Rochester on my actual birthday.  We're going to England in less than two weeks, which seems pretty crazy.  Hopefully we have a good time.

Sam's been working on his video game, making some good progress.  It's fun watching him learn things I never figured out.  I continue to work on a new version of this web site - trying to make it all fancy and learn things along the way.

Back to Work

July 11, 2016 by Adam in Family

I'm heading out the door momentarily.  I have assorted go-lives and a vast quantity of work waiting to be assigned to me.  It's weird having it lurk on the horizon - I'm working on fostering a healthy sense of apathy about such things.

The weekend was generally good.  Joanna and I went out Friday night, thanks to Sam stepping in as a babysitter after our normal one got sick.  We went to 5th Street Market and listened to a violinist and had a polenta dish improvised for us on the spot.

I hung out with Sam quite a bit on Saturday.  He managed to get his 3d human model animated and in-game.  It's something I've never done, so I was quite impressed.  Emma went to see Finding Dory with her mom and Meg in the afternoon.  Joanna took the little kids to a soccer team party at Fern Ridge (my ex-girlfriend and Joanna's teammate Allison said hello).  That night was pizza and Mythbusters, wrapping up the day.

Sunday I mostly hung out with a sick Emma as Sam went off with Isa much of the day.  We went to the library, did art, and played Munchkin.  I'm halfway done with another drawer in my arty dresser project.  Joanna worked away on her new book.  The kids played a lot of video games.  I worked on rewriting this web site into the latest and trendiest web technologies.  Eventually we all got together for dinner with Isa and my mom.


July 09, 2016 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been slowly working through my steam summer sale games.  I got stuck at a giant robot demon in my Doom game, so I switched over to the indie game Firewatch.  It was short and very story-driven - you play a troubled man who goes to man a fire watch tower for a summer.  It's pretty good and the artistic style is very pretty.  You get a disposable camera and see at the pictures you took at the end of the game when the credits roll.

Mocha Friday

July 08, 2016 by Adam in Family

It's a quiet summer morning, raining away outside.  I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, thankful the short week is nearly over. The security position was posted and I applied.  I'm not sure I'll actually get it - apparently there's more change coming and the person that asked if I was interested may not actually be that involved with the hiring process.  I guess we'll see how it goes.

The family have all been doing relatively well.  Duncan has been hanging out with friends.  Sam reunited with Isa and they've been hanging out.  Berry built a weird and cool lava lamp out of a "build a thing" catered box I got her for her birthday.  Jamie had the kids last night, so it's been pretty quiet lately.

I keep meaning to do a recap of the vacation, but I'm not sure I can encompass it all.  Below is a video I put together on the trip - it's only lightly edited and pretty long.  Mostly it covers the things I liked best - not the places we went or things we'd seen, but hanging out with family and having a good time.

Back Home

July 06, 2016 by Adam in Family

We drove nearly nine hours, unpacked, ate, had Jamie pick up Sam and Emma, and I've finally collapsed with a few moments to spare.  We had a great time hanging out with everyone, soaking in the hot springs, going on hikes, playing board games, or just chatting away while eating smores.  I can't wait to see everyone again next year.

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