Healing…. Slowly…

It is hard to believe that it has nearly been a month since the big accident. We are healing ever so slowly; each day we seem to be a little less frustrated with the pace.

definitely had more serious injuries than myself, and so it isn’t a surprise that her slow healing has cramped her style more than mine. But this week she was finally able to get back on her bicycle and ride to work, which was a huge milestone for her. I also think I noticed her sleeping on her left side last night, which as far as I know is a first since the accident. My injuries are mostly bruises, and while many of them don’t show any longer, I can still feel them.

Dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, which is Allstate, has been surprisingly painless and pleasant. I received the expected Blue Book value for Hawkeye, and they also reimbursed me for the damage to my computer. I decided, however, that I am not going to have the Macbook Air repaired. The estimate Apple gave me was for damage to the case and trackpad (which are apparently considered one unit on these machines). While everything else is in a reasonable state ofworking, I fear that the impact could have had caused hidden or yet-to-manifest damage. I don’t want to lay out nearly a grand to repair the case to have something else fail in a month or two.

So with repair out of the question, my real decision is what to do next.  What I will do in the near term is to bank the money and keep using the damaged Air.  As I mentioned above, the computer still seems to work, although it does overheat and throttle itself more often now, which has tripped up my usage on several occasions…  There is clearly a fan still working inside the thing, but perhaps this computer has more than one?  Or perhaps the slight bend in the case is enough to disrupt the airflow?  Who knows…   I’m afraid to remove the bottom case:  The ‘screw dents’ in the top case make me worry that taking out the bottom case screws may mean never getting them put back in.  That would take a mostly-working computer and turn it into scrap.

So at some point I’ll replace the Air.  When I do, I think I will probably replace it with a Macbook Pro as opposed to another Air.  The Air has been a great machine, but now that it’s my only machine the lack of hard disk space has been a bit of a frustration.  Honestly it would less of an issue if iTunes could deal with my network-shared 120GB music archive, but the pain of that is non-trivial.  Also, while the Air’s size and weight are great for the days which I walk to work with my laptop, those days are few and far between.  I think that for the money I would spend on another Air, this time I might trade some size for speed/space.

Even vacations regress to the mean.

Hawkeye Aftermath
Originally uploaded by seangraham

You may remember

or myself talking up our vacation to Spain about a year and a half ago.  We’d often say we got so lucky and had the perfect vacation.  Well, it turns out that even vacations regress to the mean.

We left Monday morning for Damariscotta, Maine.  Corinna’s boss has a place up there which she’ll be retiring to in a few months.  Until then, though, she’s only there on the weekends, so she let us use for a few days during the week.  The place was gorgeous, and we really enjoyed exploring that area.  We had some great food, and it turns out that Maine is rather beautiful.  We’ll post some pictures from my iPhone and Coco’s camera, but please forgive me for cutting this part of the story short.  It turns out, it’s not where the real action is.

Wednesday morning we packed up the car, Hawkeye, and continued on to Bar Harbor, Maine.  Our plan was to explore Acadia National Park, which has always sounded dreamy.  The beautiful weather we had enjoyed for the first two days, though, had given out and we drove up Route 1 in light-to-moderate rain.  After about an hour of driving, we found ourselves in Rockland, Maine.  In fact, we found ourselves at about 130 Camden Street in Rockland, Maine.  It was at this point of the trip that another individual, driving a Silverado, in the oncoming lane found THEMSELVES crossing the turning lane and slamming into the front of Hawkeye at a non-trivial rate of speed.  Hawkeye was rotated 90 degress clockwise and tossed into the parking lot to our right, and came to a stop.  The black Silverado pickup rolled into the parking lot as well, continuing to roll for a few hundred feet before stopping.  

Once the car came to rest, and I got my bearings, I checked on Corinna, who seemed to be in pain but intact.  She was saying her chest and neck were hurting, but mostly her chest.  It sounded like she had the wind knocked out of her, but she said she thought she was OK.  I felt pretty banged up, my knees hit something, and my left elbow and thumb got banged up a bit, but while my injuries couldn’t be considered trivial, it all seemed to be bumps and bruises, nothing broken or life threatening.  I couldn’t quite get my door open, but I managed to force it open enough to sidle out of the car.  By the time I got around to Corinna’s side of the car to try to open her door I noticed she was passing (or perhaps passed) out.  Her eyes were rolled back into her head much like the time when I had my appendix out and she fainted while I was being prepped for surgery.  I yelled for her to wake up, and she did, but was a little out of it.  Afterwards she would tell me that she had a vivid dream while passed out, but I’ll let her tell that story.  At this time an off-duty EMT pulled up and offered her help, and a seemingly off-duty fireman also showed to do the same.  While the EMT cared for Corinna, making sure she didn’t move her neck or do anything crazy before the ambulance showed up, the fireman tried to pry the hood open enough to cut the battery cable, reducing the chance of the car blowing up (or something).  I was pretty much out of the loop on this one, not really able to help anywhere, so I took the above photo of the damaged car and made my way over to the other car to check on it’s driver.  It was a woman in her 30s who claimed to have pulled out of a driveway across the street, lost control of her truck while it fishtailed, and plowed into us accidentally.  I asked if she was OK, which she said she was, and she apologized while looking completely terrified.  Everyone seemed to be skeptical of her story, but whatever, I can’t imagine whatever it was she did was intentional, so there’s little point in getting caught up on the details.

The fireman couldn’t get to the battery cables with the tools he happened to have in the back of his personal car, but quickly the cops, firemen, and ambulance showed and with their equipment the cut the cable.  Everyone thought it’d be a good idea if Corinna took a ride to the hospital to get her chest x-rayed and get looked at by a doctor.  They got a collar on her and on a backboard (which seemed to take 3 hours, but obviously my perspective was skewed), and I grabbed a few of our belongings (her purse most importantly) and jumped in the front of the ambulance.  Pen Bay ER was only a few minutes away, and they took her in while I gave the front desk her information.  After I finished with that they brought me around to see her just before they took her for Xrays.  Everything checked out fine, and the doc thanked her for wearing her seat belt and told her to take it easy.  Her chest was pretty bruised from the seat belt and it would take a while to heal.  We both walked away from that crash thanks to our seat belts, so it’d hard to be mad about our bumps and bruises.  Her chest still hurts pretty badly, even a few days later, and she’s having trouble getting out of bed and has to avoid coughing, laughing, and sneezing, but she seems to be getting better every day.  I know I can, at times, be prone to hyperbole, but this was without a doubt the closest I’ve come to dying in my life.  A few things go differently, and it’d be my construct here typing this.

After Corinna was discharged it took awhile to get the rest of the day squared away.  We were about 2.5 hours away from Bar Harbor, but we were 3.5-4 hours away from home, so we decided to press on.  First, I needed to get ahold of the cop who reported to the scene, as he had my license and registration (as well as all the information about the other driver).  The ER staff were very helpful and gave him a call and Officer Daniels came right over.  He had already prepared a little form with all the details I needed regarding the other driver, and even had a badass little baseball card-style business card, which gave us a laugh when we needed one.  He took some other information from us and was really helpful and comforting.  After he left I spent a bit more time on the phone with the other drivers’ insurance and Enterprise rental who came over to pick us up in the rental.  We stopped by the tow yard to take some pictures and get all our crap out of Hawkeye in the mud and pouring rain, and we’ll probably never see him again.  He gave his life protecting ours, and while our final moments may have seemed a little unceremonious and ungrateful, I know he wouldn’t have wanted any pomp and circumstance;  He wasn’t a hero, he was just doing his job.  

While I was transferring stuff to the rental, the husband of the driver stopped by to see his car..  He seemed very cool, and reassured me that they had full insurance coverage and they had already told the insurance company that the accident was his wife’s fault.  We chatted briefly and shook hands, I don’t think anyone felt good about what happened earlier in the day so there’s no need to hold grudges.  With Hawkeye cleaned out we grabbed a quick meal and set out, slowly, for Bar Harbor.  We arrived around 6pm, approximately 4 hours after we had originally planned to arrive.  It boggles my mind that so much happened in those four hours.  Upon arriving, I opened my MacBook Air to discover that it took some injuries during the crash.  It was in my bookbag behind the drivers’ seat, and the trackpad button got smashed and the case has been bent.  You can see the tops of the case screws pushing through the handrest in the above photo of Officer Daniels’ baseball card!  Fortunately, I’m hopeful that their insurance will cover this as well.

We did our best to make the most of the remainder of our vacation, but between our injuries and the rainy weather, there was only so much we could do.  On Thursday, after sleeping in pretty late, the weather was decent for a spell and we got up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, but the cloud cover was below the summit, so the only good views were on the way up and down.   After that excursion we returned to the B&B and rested before dinner.  Friday the weather was pretty miserable, but we still managed to tour the loop road that goes around the park and stopped for a few very small hikes and vistas.  The miserable weather and the tides did combine to make Thunder Hole pretty exciting, though.  This morning we had breakfast at the B&B and hit the road pretty much right away, watching the bad weather melt away into a beautiful day as we travelled south.  

Perhaps I’ll come back with more details about the non-accident part of our trip in the future, but for the time being it is really all I can think about.  Not to sound melodramatic, but I’ve seen the replay of that black pickup coming directly for us over and over again, and it hasn’t lost any impact yet.

Pay it Forward

Last year, at Matt & Casey’s anniversary extravaganza, we had a little car accident due to some really wet ice.  Nobody was hurt, and there was only a little bumper scraping which occurred, but the person driving the car on the receiving end of our car was very nice and didn’t even want to exchange insurance information.  We were quite grateful.

Last night, after leaving the CfA, Howard and I were trying to pass the Sheraton Commander hotel in Harvard Square, but there was some Fire/Ambulance activity in front. Because of the emergency vehicles, a MBTA bus, which runs on overhead catenary wires couldn’t continue down the road.  We got a green light but after crossing the intersection approaching the hotel we were stopped.  The cars behind us ended up "blocking the box" and were jockeying to get out of the way of the cross traffic.  The car behind me tried to pull up along side me on the right to get out of the way, but ended up tapping my bumper.  I could tell it was a fairly non-event impact, and seeing the terrified eyes of the woman who hit us in the rear-view, I decided to let it slide and just continued on my way.  When I parked the car I assessed the damage, and it was a small amount of paint removed from my bumper, which is already very battle scarred from years of parking in Brighton.

Do unto others, or something…

(Mostly) successful project

For many months now I’ve been putting off a project on my car, and I finally decided the time was right the weekend to get it done.  Between my GPS, Sirius Radio, and iPod, I was having serious contention for the sole (“cigarette lighter”) power connector in my car.  After a few weeks of using a crappy 3-way splitter (and having it get knocked out by several passengers), I decided to do some wiring work in the car.

All of these devices operate on 5VDC, so I bought a Mean Well SD-25A-5 power supply with the intention of burying it in the dashboard.  Spotlight tells me that this order was placed on March 1st, so that should give you an idea of how long this project has been nagging me.  Originally I put it off because we were getting the old place ready to go on the market, then our move, then the oppressive heat of summer…  It finally occurred to me that if I didn’t take care of it soon, I would delay it further because it was too cold out.

So on Sunday I decided to finally crack open the dashboard and fire up the soldering iron.  Building the cables and harnesses went pretty smoothly, and after removing the dashboard (which I have done before), I was able to do my first “lap test” of the power supply and made sure that everything was running off of it.  Fortunately, from a Sirius radio past (which ran on 12VDC), I already had a 12VDC line coming out of the stereo wiring harness, so that made testing very easy.  That, though, was “always on” power (so I could pause the radio with the car off while I ran into a store), so I removed that harness and wired it to a switched feed.  After reconnecting everything and making sure it still worked, I disconnected everything from the power supply and started preparing the more permanent runs.  The Sirius is on a mount on the dashboard, so I was just able to sneak the power for that out between the trim and the dashboard.  But the GPS required a hole to be drilled.  I did a decent job, but it wasn’t as clean as I wanted…  I’m going to find one of those car seat plastic repair kits they used to advertise on TV to clean it up a bit…

After finding a decent spot for the power supply to live, and reconnecting all of the wires, I gave it one last test before sealing up the dashboard, and everything was hunky-dory.  I reconnected all the dashboard switches to the dash trim and popped it back in, screwing the few screws which hold it all together.  I was satisfied with a job well done.

Until the ride to work this morning, when I quickly realized that my turn signals didn’t work at all…   I got really angry, setting the stage for a bad day at work, and then when I got home I grabbed a flashlight, screwdriver, and hopedI could quickly figure it out..  Turns out than when I reconnected the wires going to the hazard switch, I accidentally put it into a dummy spot on the dashboard instead of hooking it up to the actual switch.  I’m kind of surprised that the turn signals are dependent on the hazard switch, but whatever…  Everything seems to be once again working, including my new modification.

I didn’t bother hooking up power for the iPod, since I rarely use it in the car and the traditional power socket is now completely free for it’s use.  I think at some point I’m going to put a USB connector somewhere in the dash which could power any USB device (including the iPod), but for now I’m very satisfied.

Return of the Corn


returned from South Dakota on Friday around Midnight, we managed to get a few hours of sleep in before piling into Hawkeye and heading down to NJ. 

was visiting from TN, and I hadn’t seen her in quite awhile (Christmas?).  I also used the opportunity to trade cars with mom for the week and bring the crap I’ve kept in their basement to the new place now that there’s room for it.  It was a really busy 36 hours or whatever…  Saturday night we all went out to Outback to celebrate Father’s Day a little early (since we were all in town at the same time). 

was accompanied by Stosh and her “stepkids” (she and Stosh aren’t married, but she lives with him and helps take care of the kids when they are with Stosh).  They are cute kids, but a handful, and totally reminded me why having kids is a bad idea… =)

Anyway, I was in the basement with Mom and Dad, who were helping me spelunk the basement for my stuff, and helping me bring it out to the car.  My dad was bringing out a box to the car when I looked into my plastic Rubbermaid coffin and noticed the infamous can of corn.  I quickly sprung into action, grabbing the can and bringing it out to the car with the intention of hiding it in his car..  Unfortunately, he caught me as I entered the garage, and quickly proclaimed “Damn it!!”  Apparently, he had just put the can in the coffin a few minutes prior..  This was extra special, because this is EXACTLY how this whole can fiasco started almost 10 years ago when I was packing up to move to RIT (in late August or early September 1997).  The ball is back in my court… for now…

On the way back from NJ we stopped over in Manhattan for a few hours to visit with Sara, Dave, Sappha, and Finn…  To save time, I drove directly to their place down by Battery Park, so we could just blast up the FDR when we were done as opposed to taking the PATH back to NJ then driving from there…  The Holland Tunnel was awful, but the TomTom got us there without too much hassle…    Sara made some awesome baked Mac & Cheese, and we caught up for an hour or two before we hit the road…  Mom’s Honda Pilot treated us pretty well, but I really don’t like driving such a big car, especially when I can’t see out the back..  Fortunately I didn’t have to do all that much backing up…

We got back to Watertown around midnight, and we quickly settled in for the final episode of The Sopranos..  What a way to go out, it was everything I could have hoped for…  Exactly the kind of way I had hoped the series would end, I mean, I wasn’t “expecting” how it turned out, but I really hoped many of the “all wrapped up nicely” theories that were floating around leading up to the finale were wrong…  I’ll leave this spoiler free for awhile, but I’ll try and come back to it at some point…

Car all better (?)

AAA came out in less than 20 minutes to service my car..  After a few tries, a jumpstart got it going…  I picked up

, dropped her off at Target, and and drove the car to AutoZone for a new battery.  I had to buy a few tools to change it out, but swapped the battery out in the parking lot.  Now I’m back in the parking lot of Target borrowing some WiFi from someone… 

Busy Weekend!

This was a pretty crazy weekend!  On Friday night I went to Symphony Hall to see Artie Lange, from the Howard Stern Show (and formerly of MadTV).  It was a great time, Jim Florentine and Greg Fitzsimmons opened, both of whom I’ve enjoyed for some time, so it was great to see them live.  The MC was some local guy, who wasn’t that good and got pretty heavily booed, but he handled it well and probably knew what he was in store for… 

Saturday was a hugely busy day for

and I.  After grabbing breakfast, we headed over to the newly-rented storage locker to check it out, and then went across the street and rented a van from U-Haul.  We only really needed the van to move some of the bigger stuff (closet shelves and one of our dressers), but we ended up taking a bunch of other shit that was ready to go over as well.  I think the U-Haul guy was startled when he saw our total mileage was 3 miles in 2 hours, but then again, they are probably used to that in the city.  Moving that big stuff into storage sucked, but not as badly as it could have.  We spent the rest of the day packing away some unnecessary clothes and items..  The goal of all this is to make the apartment look less cluttered when we start showing it (hopefully in April).  This was a good motivator, imho, because the whole house was a mess, so it was hard NOT to be compelled to clean it up.  We ended up getting into a fight, which I guess can be expected when doing something so stressful, but we worked it out.. :)  We took another carload of stuff over Saturday night, and when we got back from that trip,  I turned the car off and realized I could pull up in my spot a bit more.  I went to start the car and it wouldn’t even turn over (even all the instrument lights were working fine).  I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with it, but I guess I’ll have AAA tow it to my mechanic tonight.  Hopefully it’s just a bad battery, but I guess it could be something far more nefarious…

Sunday was spent cleaning and doing laundry..   I was pretty tired by the end of the day, and was nodding off a little bit on the train ride over to the movie theatre.  The film club saw 300 last night, which was fun…  It was much better than I expected, and while I had some minor criticisms, overall it was a fun flick.

First Day at Snowbound

I was scheduled to start the new job this morning at 9am, so I hung around the house, listened to Howard Stern, and got my things together. I was planning on driving in this first day so I could unload all of the books/manuals in my trunk as well as the box of desk effluvia. But when I got out to my car, it wouldn’t start. The battery was drained, and probably needs to be replaced. I don’t think any drains were left on overnight, but I didn’t have time to diagnose. I ended up taking a cab to work since I didn’t have enough time to take the bus.

But aside from that nuisance this morning, everything here has been great. I decided that I have no interest in working for anything other than a software company again. One of my biggest problems at the last job is that I felt that the company considered software (consiously or otherwise) as an afterthought; They made cameras, not software. Even though I’ve only been here for a day, it is already clear to me that not only is this company a software company (That’s pretty easy to say, since they have no other products), but the team here is serious about writing software. I’m going to be focusing most of my time on their Java Applet, FlexSnap, but I have spent most of today getting my workstation set up and filling out HR forms.

One clear and present danger: Free snacks and soda are available. I am going to try and eat healthier while I’m here, but they sure aren’t making it easy. One thing is certain though, it is awesome working in the city again (well, technically not in in the city, but close and within the confines of the MBTA).

Hawkeye’s Angry

On the way home from work yesterday I had another flat tire… Fortunately, this time around I was able to get it off the car myself and replace it with the donut spare. By the time I got home all the tire places were closed, so I was forced to take care of it this morning. Unfortunately, I had plans to meet up with some of my family at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.. It’s a 3 hour trip over there, and the air show starts at 2pm, so I just don’t think I can make it now.. We’ll see when I get out of here, though… But that is likely impossible now, as I am still sitting at the tire place and they are doing the alignment now (it was needed for awhile now). I had them replace the other two tires, since one went a few months ago and one went yesterday, I didn’t want to have to worry about the other two. Thank god for free WiFi at this place…

I can’t help but think that Hawkeye is jealous that my new job will cause me to require less of his services… One week left at Goodrich, this week was tough. The Critical Design Review for the project I’ve been working on for the past year is this week, and so everyone is scrambling to polish off documents, make slides, and make sure we are well-researched for any questions that come up from the customer. Even though it will suck to have my last few days at Goodrich spent in meetings, I feel good that supporting the team through CDR and then leaving is a clean break. All of the documents for my software are in order, including requirements, design, and interface control specs, so whoever is assigned to pick up where I left off. I would feel better if they let me know who was taking it over so I could transfer some knowledge personally, but I’m not going to worry too much about it. My design is pretty comprehensive, not only specifying the software architecture but the individual algorithms required for each calculation, I did my best to hold the programmers hand (mostly because I’ve been thinking about leaving for quite some time and was hoping that I wasn’t going to be that programmer :P).

What surprised me the most about the past week was that while “short time” status always stinks, the worst part has been the commute. Traffic wise, it has been the same as the past 2.5 years. But since I almost drive past my new job 3 miles into my commute, it really punctuates how much I hate the remaining 24 miles until I arrive at Goodrich. But I got my September bus pass in the mail yesterday, and after 5 more days the commute will be much more bearable.

Update: Damn, there is some abuse of the language in this entry… I guess it was a combination of anger, sleep deprivation, and writing in a mechanic’s waiting room… I leave it as-is for posterity…