On Sunday July 20th, I got a call from another friend here in Boston, Derrick. He wanted to know what I was up to... I had no plans, so I suggested that we go to Six Flags New England (about a two hour drive from downtown Boston.) He was all about it! We got there about 4:00pm (just in time to take advantage of the 4pm-10pm pricing) -- once getting into the park, I discovered something new: Q-Bot. This additional feature, which costs $20 for one person, $30 for two (and so on) is the best thing to happen to amusement parks since the invention of the roller coaster! This product, manufactured by Lo-Q PLC allows the user to take the Q-Bot (a pager-like device) and place it up to a plaque near the entrance of the ride and queue up (reserve a place in line) for their ride. Ten minutes before it's your turn on the ride, Q-Bot beeps and vibrates. You have a total of 20 minutes to get to the ride before your place in line is removed. When you arrive back at the ride you want to go on, you enter a special "Q-Bot" line, indicate you are there for your appointment by holding it up to another plaque and proceed to the front of the line! (It really pisses people off that don't have Q-Bot that while they had to wait two hours in line, that you are given priority seating, but hell, they could have paid for a Q-Bot too!!) The hacker in me found a security flaw that allows you to get two rides with one appointment :-) Leave it to me to hack Q-Bot, eh? Thanks to Q-Bot, I had enough time to ride all of the rides (some twice) in the park!! What a great trip!
On Monday, July 21st, I desperately called Yamaha dealers to look at my bike, as the big Ohio trip was coming up. All but one said no dice. I took the bike to a shop in Framingham, where they diagnosed the problem as a failed solenoid. I asked them to check twice, as I felt it was the starter relay. They confirmed that it was the solenoid... crap. I arranged $120 for the solenoid, $40.00 for overnight shipping, and was told there would be about $70.00 for labour to install the unit, and made an appointment for 1:00pm Wednesday.
On Wednesday July 23rd, I was on time for my bike repair appointment -- all dressed and loaded for bike trip to Rochester/Ohio and home. It took them three hours to get my bike up on the lift. I was NOT happy. I knew the weather was shaky at best, and I needed the lead time to beat the rain and be able to hole up in the event of a rainstorm. To make a very long story short, my original diagnosis was correct; the starter relay was defective -- my solenoid was just fine. They did not charge me for the solenoid or the shipping, and happened to have a spare starter relay in an old Yamaha Virago in the back... I was on my way to Rochester at 5:45pm.
Everything was going well until I hit the ½ way mark -- Albany, NY -- where the sky opened up and poured on me. I ducked under a bridge for about 45 minutes while the road-spray diminished. The remainder of the trip home went like this until I hit Utica (about midnight), and stopped for a beer (and to escape the rain) at That Place (the gay bar in Utica) -- I have not been there for three years. The place has been remodeled (again), but was still the same old bar (which was nice to see!) I had two beers, and the rain was letting up again, so I hit the road. Ten miles later, I found myself under another bridge escaping he rain. I went to each of the thruway service areas to dry off, as this time, the rain was NOT stopping. I ended up pulling into Rochester at 4:30am -- far too late to disturb Bruce and his son, so I went to Rochester Spa and Body club (baths) where I knew they had a dry sauna. I paid my $17 and dried off my chaps, jacket and boots in the sauna for about two hours; and then went to my room and got some Z's. I showed up at Bruce's at 8am -- and crashed. Later that evening, Bruce and I went to Dan & Al's to spend the night, as the four of us were going to the Unicorn Run together.
Friday/Saturday & Sunday was the Unicorn Run (Rites of the Full Moon) -- the four of us put on an open bar cocktail party on Friday, which was very successful. The rest of the weekend consisted of eating, playing, drinking and sleeping. As usual, it was a great weekend! We were lucky that it did not rain -- as there were serious storms and flooding nearby earlier that week.
On Sunday afternoon, we left Ohio to go back to Dan & Al's. Once I hit Jamestown, the rain started and was relentless until we were only 20 miles from Dan and Al's. Once again, I was soaked from had to toe. I put my leathers in the drier, and plopped myself into their hot tub to warm up.
On Monday, July 28, Bruce and I hung out poolside at Ben & Pams, went to happy hour at the forum, and then went home to watch Donnie Darko with his son. Donnie Darko is a great movie, it was Bruce's first time watching it. If you haven't seen it, you should! It's very much like The Twilight Zone.
On Tuesday, July 29th, it was my 37th Birthday -- I had dinner with parents, then went over to Kel & Gina's, and then to the Forum for cocktails until last call. It was a nice birthday.
On Wednesday, July 30th, I drove back to Boston. It was dry at least.
On Friday August 1st my weekly oncall rotation began; and I found new apartment!! It's in Quincy, MA, only 5.5 miles from work, and close to the "T", so I can avoid the daily traffic jams to and from work, as well as head up to downtown Boston anytime I like.
Last night, Saturday August 2nd I went to The Alley for "Black Out Night" -- it was a blast! I ended up going home early, as I was oncall -- good thing too, as this morning at 7:00am, some systems crashed and I had to go on-site to check them out...