Idyllic late-Spring suburban day yesterday: the little boy reached a Major Life Milestone and mowed the lawn for the first time, I cleaned the leaves off of the roof and the moss off of the back patio, we went out to the local Chinese Buffet for an early dinner, and the sun shone down on everything. (The only thing missing was the little daughter, who is [sniff] off on the Memorial Day Weekend Orchestra Trip.)
The other year (maybe even just last year) I applied some incredibly powerful dangerous long-lasting biocide of the "kills everything and nothing more will grow for the foreseeable future, don't use this anywhere where the most distant little root of anything that you value might reach, because it'll die die die DIE MU-hahahaha!" to the patio; apparently there should have been a footnote saying "except for moss; moss will grow even better than ever".
For the last few years we've been using a local lawn-care firm (five guys with a truck and industrial-strength mowers) to do the lawn, but the little boy is so big now (another recent Major Life Milestone: he's now taller than M) that we figured we'd let him earn some money (and us save some money) and get valuable experience in atom-manipulation and stuff.
So the other weekend I took the old gas mower to the local mower place to be reconditioned. Yesterday morning I checked with them, and they said that well it needed a valve job ("valve job"), and that altogether the cleaning up and valve jobbing would cost like US$120 and really I could probably buy a new one for not much more than that (although not from them, since they only sell Top of the Line and their cheapest mower is like US$250 and that's without the optional TV and wet-bar).
I went to the place where I bought the mower years ago; a little independant hardware store that's somehow survived (although now allied with TruValue) despite the springing up of a massive Home Depot not far away. Turns out they don't sell mowers anymore, but they said that Sears or Home Depot might have something simple like what I was looking for. The thought of buying something from Sears or Home Depot just to avoid paying for a valve job somehow didn't appeal, so I went back to the mower place and said go ahead do the work, and a couple hours later it was done and the little boy was mowing away.
I'm glad it worked out that way; I realized later in the day that I would have regretted junking the old mower just because it was old. This is the same mower whose praises I sang here five years ago, and it's still just as deserving of that praise now as it was then.
So what was good.
Let's see, what else did I want to tell you about? Here's the Cloud Appreciation Society. And here are some really amazing videos of domino runs and Rube Goldberg setups, the particularly interesting thing here being that they're happening in virtual game-engine worlds rather than this (pointing) "real" world. I had no idea game-engine physics was so advanced.
And finally, here's the Shelter Island Bridge and Tunnel Authority, just because.