The big thing for the weekend was that J got a new mac laptop; he'd been waiting since September, was quite excited, and is thrilled to have a new shiny toy to play with.
The friends in question are friends we see about once a month; usually one couple is responsible for dinner, and the other for dessert. We go over, eat and talk, and then play board games with one parent while the other puts the kids to sleep; games to continue into the night. With a newborn this works a little less well, but we tried: we picked up yummy kabobs (with lavash, zaziki, and greens) from a persian market near where they live, and hung out and talked until bedtime. The newborn is ... not very expressive and a bit floppy, but what do you expect for one under a month old? The other kids are just now getting to the ages where they can mostly entertain themselves, which was nice, but the younger one was quite overdone. Our friends were happy but tired - about all that can be expected, really. They made instant cobbler (the plan had been for pie, which they like to make, but the absence of flour killed it).
We went home as they were putting the kids to bed. I felt under-exercised, so I went to the gym (where I did some weights for the first time in a month and a half - I'd injured my back somehow in late February and so was staying away) while J played with his new laptop. After, we cuddled and watched more tv (West Wing) while I had a fantastic cherry ale (imported samuel smith; quite good, captured everything I love about cherry lambic without the negatives).
Sunday morning we were up early: a friend was arriving at 8.30 to drag us away. (We ran a little bit late). The plan for the morning a 7.6 mile hike through the Windy Hill Preserve, an open space preserve in the mountains behind the bay area urban agglomeration. At the peak, we could see both the bay and the ocean, which was (a) quite pretty in the mid-spring sun, overlooking fields still green from the endless late winter rains, and (b) a nice reward after the 1000 foot elevation gain in 1.6 miles. (ouch!) The whole circuit clocked in at 2.5 hours, a nice pace given the gain.
(The gain truly sucked; we were all wiped and out of breath when we got up to the top, and I was drenched in sweat. Part of the problem was that the gain was in open meadowland with no shade - usually conditions I like, but they exacerbated the discomfort). The downhill was much gentler and shaded; perfect for a nice stroll through the woods. :)
After lunch we hung out for a bit and then went to J's parent's house, where we played two games of Puerto Rico. His mom is a bit overdone (not unusual); his dad seemed generally happy; his sister was away.
I spent most of the evening fighting with an irritating problem: my ipod causes itunes to hang while syncing. Poking around online has returned this advice: (a) reset your ipod [done], (b) restore your ipod [impossible as the ipod never even gets to that point]; (c) change usb cables [possible but unlikely as i can sync my old ipod just fine]; (d) reinstall your usb drivers; (e) reinstall itunes; (f) reinstall windows [wtf?].
I've tried a-b, and d. (no backup cable). I"m currently backing up my music library in case (e) trashes it (it's been 6 months or so since my last backup and my library has grown substantially in that time). Hopefully that will work. cross fingers
New music over the weekend:
Fever Ray: seems like a cross between M83 and MBV. Interesting and fun (especially for exercising to), but ultimately shrug. I know people who love this variety of music, and it certainly has its merits - the atmospheric effect can be exhilirating - but it's very much a sometimes food.
Atoms for Peace: I would have seen this band had I been at Coachella. I might have enjoyed it just for the crowd experience, if the crowd had really been into it. But, wow, was this act oversold to me, and overrated.
Some of the problem may be the mediocre quality of the bootleg. But I don't think that's it; i've loved bands before based on exposure to mediocre quality bootleg. It's more ... this is a band with so much promise, but it's boring. It's like the Dreamworks SKG of music.
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