August 13th, 2006


Cool, man

As I feared, Diego disappointed me Thursday, so first thing Friday I called the office (after turning on the a/c and having water accumulate within an hour, as expected), restated the problem and got the pleasant news that they would be replacing the air conditioner, time to be determined. Since the shrinking population of renters in my complex usually get others' refurbished items (like my scratched replacement medicine cabinet mirror door), I didn't have my hopes up but at least it would be a DIFFERENT old, wheezing air conditioner - maybe even the one this one replaced a few years ago.

They later called back saying Diego would be there after 1 that very day. Pleasant surprise #2: he arrived with a NEW air conditioner. At least it looked new, and he claimed it was new. He pulled the old one out of the sleeve, warned it would have water in it (but it wet my rugs a bit anyway), and we stuck it on the terrace for the time being. I did a quick clean of the inside of the sleeve with the already dirty towels that had been there to catch the water, and he put the new one in. It was slightly smaller than the space, so he put foam strips along the side. The frame that was to go around the back broke open, so he returned with duct tape to seal the area. Let's hope no bugs or other creatures can get through from outside.

The temperature actually seemed to cool when it was on. One possible problem - it suddenly turned off while he was applying the tape. I'm hoping he knocked out the switch or plug. Otherwise, we could have a fuse or power problem. It's possible the new machine is more than the old outlet can handle. So for the near future, I won't run it when I'm not there to keep tabs.

So of course now that I have a new air conditioner, the weather has been lovely.

Games in NJ

Saturday was a games party/potluck dinner in NJ. These are enjoyable since it's an entirely different crowd, mostly the hosts' non-puzzle friends with a sprinkling of NPLers.

I considered cooking and even took out some recipes (cabbage salad with sunflower seeds or penne with ricotta cream), but lost my energy and ambition and just bought a spinach quiche and diet meringues at Food City. When you're traveling by bus, you don't want to start lugging around casseroles and containers. I may make the penne for myself later, since I got all the ingredients. (I decided the sunflower seeds made the other recipe too fattening, and only bought the cabbage.)

E was also on the bus, which was very late leaving Port Authority. I learned her illness during con had also caused a car accident - scary, but probably fixable through nutrition. Our hosts were nice enough to wait at the pickup point, and we still got there early enough to help set up. I put some "Wordplay" buttons near the nametags, and almost all later got taken (I took the rest home). The floor had just been refinished, so we were asked to remove shoes; I left mine in my bag in the closet, assuring I would not forget anything.

People soon came with food, which was all eagerly snapped up. There were several different salads (all of which I had), so I'm glad I didn't bring one. I had a piece of quiche, as well as meatballs, chicken (a bit spicy), and noodle kugel. A man passed around a plate of later-arriving pigs and blankets, and I only grabbed one before they disappeared forever. When I checked back in the kitchen for new dishes, almost everything was gone but there was a new chicken and stuffing dish. They even had diet caffeine-free soda.

Several people had seen the movie ("Oh, I know her!" said one lady of watching and realizing she had met me at a previous party). One woman hearing a conversation about it said, "I saw that movie" and when told I was in it, looked at me blankly and said, "Which one were you?" Was she in the ladies room the whole time? I refrained from saying, "Do you know who I AM?" and just said it was pretty hard to miss me. Still blank.

Time for games. First up was basically the bird chirping game from LAcon without the bird noises (thank goodness); still not wild about this game. Then a great mini-extravaganza from Xemu. The experienced puzzlers had to disperse among the rest of the guests, and my team worked hard and had many aha moments and high-fives. It's gratifying to see people not used to this type of thing marvel at the cleverness of these puzzles. We were very close to finishing but got hung up on a diabolical word search exercise. I'd like to see the endgame; maybe Xemu can run this at an NPL event.

After dessert, where I grabbed a meringue (which all got eaten) and some fresh fruit from 2 different fruit salads, we wound up with a narrowing down game. Basically, "I'm thinking of an object" and people try to guess it within certain constraints. Not my thing. We didn't want to miss the last bus back, so left during this. The bus back was late (once one bus is late, does that make every other bus late since it's all the same buses going back and forth?), causing E to miss her train and wait until 3 a.m. for the next. That's why I like being able to just hop into a cab (well, there was a bit of a wait, but eventually I hopped) and go home without being dependent on transportation schedules.

Over the last few days, I finished almost all my work so there's just a bit more remaining. I may even be able to take a day off in the near future.