It wasn't NC BBQ...

Roastin' coals, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

...but it was in Durham. We attended the Durham County Fair on Saturday in Durham CT with Ethan and Bethany.
Mrs. Cupcakes had entered a pair of socks and a pair of mittens in the needlework category, so we had to go check out the scene. It was a bit drizzly, but we made it in time for the pig races, and we collectively sampled a cinnamon roll, lobster bisque, clam chowder in a bread bowl, spicy round fries, and Ethan and I each had a pretty good BBQ pork sammich. I also had one excellent, if overpriced, cannoli.

We saw pygmy goats, a minature cow, giant rabbits, pigs, llamas, chickens, and all manner of humanity. We parked in a field that reeked of manure, and rode a genuine school bus to the main gate.

Pictures here.


Our house...

...in the middle of getting insulated. Our house... Well, actually, our apartment is 1/4 of an old house that was never insulated in any modern sense. The windows were all replaced with new vinyl models, but the walls themselves were cold and drafty last winter.

We were told that some sort of insulating was going to take place this week, and Mrs. Cupcakes came home the other afternoon, and saw a truck and some ladders and some holes in the outer walls of our house.


What they do is remove some siding at a particular height, drill some 4" holes in the underlying wood sheeting, and then they "spray" insulation inbetween the outer and inner walls. If you click on the above picture and then look at the larger size or the original, you can see the row of holes.

Mrs. Cupcakes took these pictures of the process, as I was at work while this was going on. I guess they needed access to our apartment in order to use one of the outlets in our kitchen. All of our kitchen window sill inhabitants were carefully lined up next to the sink by the insulation workers.


Well, almost all of them. Campus Cutie stayed in the sill.


Yesterday, I got up and was going to begin my day with a little light face shaving, as per usual. I have an electric razor that I leave in the old medicine cabinet mirror in our bathroom.


I opened the cabinet and saw a sliver of daylight (?!?) inside.


One of the holes for the insulation just happened to line up with the back of the ol' cabinet.





They finished up the work yesterday, and all of the window sill residents were safely returned by the time Mrs. Cupcakes got home.


11T,000% productivity increase!

That's "eleventy-thousand percent". The G5 quad arrived at work this afternoon. I carefully and methodically and restaintedly unpacked it and installed the 2 gigs of RAM and got all the cables and such ready for tomorrow. When I get in tomorrow I will unpack the 23" Apple cinema display, hook everything up, and...proceed to install software for the next 8 hours or so. Hopefully it won't take that long, but you know how these things go, even on a Mac.

It is real purty, though, and I'll be glad to have it. Generally, my home Mac is better than my work Mac. This will be a refreshing change. I mean, I want one at home, but, really, work is where I need it, of course.

Pictures tomorrow.



do the dew

The only real benefit to a 9am start time at work is witnessing first hand the magical wonder of the pre-noon world.


Really, besides the dew on the leaves and the spiders in the corners, I enjoy the false justification for my increased coffee intake. I bring coffee with me from home, and with the 80 degree temps we've had lately, have an iced coffee break in the afternoon. There's a Dunkin' Donuts right across the street, and a few coffee spots within range. What gets me to work every morning (I kid, I kid...because I love) is the impending delivery of my new workstation. Due to great timing and the understanding nature of my new employer, there was an order placed for a shiny new Mac last week. Well, a shiny refurbished Mac, but I'm a firm believer in the dollar-stretching power of refurbishment, and it's a refurbished G5 quad, so, pretty much, I can't wait. The current G4 is capable, but pokey.

Before workstation

Almost as exciting as the speed boost (ummm, like, eleventy-thousand percent, let's say?) is the new flatscreen monitor, which will increase available desktop space by at least 80%. Seriously. I will also be able to view a 2-page spread at 100%. I know at least a few of you understand how exciting that is.



Moxie, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

This is a store window in Middletown. Vintage/thrifty clothing, etc. They are closing. That means that this town has no record shop, no [reliably open] used book store, no O'Rourke's, and soon no vintage/thrifty/funky clothing store. I thought this was a college town. I was wrong.

On the plus side, for me anyway, I am slowly discovering the hidden delights of Hamden. Yesterday on my lunch break I went and dropped off a roll of Konica Auto S3 film at Ross Imaging, picked up an iced coffee at Java Jive, and then got a sammich (well, ok, it was a wrap...) at the Whitney Donut Shop. I will have to take pictures of Whitney Donut next time I go. It looks like an unassuming donut shop with a drive thru on the outside, but inside there is an actual lunch counter with stools. It's awesomeness knows no bounds.


Blue Oar, or BLOAR! as I like to call it!

BYOB at the Oar, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Yesterday a Middletown contingent headed south to the Blue Oar Restaurant in Haddam. It's right on the Connecticut River, and they have a basic chalkboard menu on the wall, covered with delicious sammich options, plus a few special dishes and sides.

You place your order, receive a number, and go find a table. We brought our own beer, pictured above, and sat at the tables overlooking the "marina". Within our contingent we sampled crabcake, catfish and lobster roll sammies. These were hot lobster rolls, with a buttery sauce instead of the "seafood salad" mayo treatment.

I had the cajun catfish sammich, and it was quite quite good. Nice seasoning and a good sized piece of fish. I did get at least a bite of everything on the table, as is often the case ("Hey, wanna finish this?" "Yes. Yes I do.").

It was a perfect afternoon for sitting outside by the river, drinking a beer and having a leisurely lunch. I hope to go again soon, and often, as they are seasonal and only open until the end of the month.

In other non-news, work has gone really, really well so far, and starting tomorrow I fly solo. The woman I'm replacing has left, and the other potential part-time employee has yet to be secured. That makes me full-time, which is fine, and gives me a better opportunity to learn the ropes. I will, however, be responsible for training the other part-timer, if and when they show up. I have lots of notes.

Fall is creeping into the local trees, but the weather is not steadily reflecting the season. Yesterday it was in the low 80s, today and tomorrow predict the same. We've had some cool overnights, and on Friday a ton of rain, but not much of that crisp, cool air of fall. I'm sure it's coming.



'maters, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Saturday was fine, but uneventful. We drove to Burlington, MA to pick up 10 boxes of books, but nothing special happened, and the pick up was on the edge of Boston, by a giant mall. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Sunday SUNDAY Sunday however, we went with Heather back to Rose's Berry Farm, and had the brunch, picked some raspberries, and hit an organic farm on the way home.

Pictures here.


Checking in.

For you far flung fans out there, I'll have some newworkclothes photos up here sooner or later. I'll need the lovely and talented Mrs. Cupcakes to wield the camera.

And speaking of camera wielding, the flickr set I put up of my pictures from the morning of the O'Rourke's fire has been viewed over 600 times, and I was asked if some of the images could be used on theamericanroadside.com (not to be confused with roadsideamerica.com) to accompany their articles about the tragedy.

Word on the street is "rebuild", and the assessment of the diner shell is a go. Hard to say what will happen, but I think chances are good for a rebuilt interior in the same location and exterior. There are several fundraising activities happening now and in the weeks ahead, and being recently employed, I hope to attend and contribute and document these events.

Unrelatedly, Mrs. C and I will most likely be driving our Corollas Caravan® north towards Boston this weekend on Official Archival Business™. Seems there are books to be had up yonder, and we are just the Corolla owners to go get 'em and bring them back to the archives*. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be able to read about the adventure right here.

*NOTE: Not our house, the school archives. Our house, while being a veryveryvery fine house, technically has more books than bookshelves right now.


Three Day Weekend. Seriously.


Labor Day weekend has always signaled the end of summer. The Minnesota State Fair ends on Labor Day, and school almost always starts the next day. This Labor Day weekend felt strangely familiar, as I tried to figure out what I needed to do before starting work today.

Well, needed is a strong word. I needed to get some clothes for a more presentable work-look. Everything I own is casual casual, and pretty much nowhere near business casual. There is no stated dress code, but I will be doing a bit of everything, including face to face customers, so I shouldn't slob it up quite so much.

So, Mrs. Cupcakes took me clothes shopping. I got me some real nice non-khaki colored khakis, or chinos, or trousers, britches, dungarees, slacks, whatever. To update things I got a few polo shirts (the comfort of a t-shirt, but with a collar, for business!), and a cool sweater. Thanks Cupcakes!

Speaking of the works, I am back in the prepress industry. Think "Ma & Pa Kinko's". I'm sorry, I meant "Ma & Pa FedExKinko's". It's literally a Ma & Pa & Son operation, with another two or three employees, now including myself. We do all the basic printings, and some signs and promotional items. We will be expanding our sign and large format printing capabilities, which I'm pretty psyched about, and most of the equipment is pretty cool stuff. Anyone else get excited about full-color networkable Creo-ed copier printers? Let's chat!

I do have a thirty minute commute, but I can deal with that, and my hours will vary between half-time and full-time, but always between 8-5, M-F. Their graphics/preress person is leaving after nine years, so I have a bit of learning to do. I will be working closer to New Haven, so I expect to learn more about that area as well.

Now back to our weekend!


We drove down the scenic route to Hamden, so I could show off my new work location and satisfy some Connecticut wåndérlüst, and then headed back to Durham, just south of Middletown for a SNACK AT THE SHACK. Or maybe we SWERVE TO THE SERV! Anyway, the big green monster at the beginning of this post is the Durham Dari Serv's pistachio ice cream. I do love pistachios, and it was delicious. Mrs. Cupcakes had a peanut butter swirl frogurt, also apparently delicious.


We then were off to meet Heather, for new (for us) picking adventures. While in NC that would've meant banjos, here in CT it has usually meant fruits. This time it was Lyman Orchards.



Peaches, pears, apples, and squasheses. We then went to the main Lyman's shack and ate cider cinnamon donuts.

Then things got foul.


Happy Laboring!


Say cheese! Now say wine!

We headed to Colchester, CT this afternoon to find Cato Corner Farm, home of delicious farmstead cheeses that we tasted at the soggy but delightful Open Air Market. We found the farm, and met some cows!

Checking out the cows

We were also waiting to get into the tiny cheese room because there were about six people in there already, pushing capacity. Once inside, we were welcomed and able to see the selections.

Cato Corner cheeses

I could attempt to describe the flavors in detail, but suffice it to say that everything tasted more like cheese than any other cheese I've ever tasted. It was all fantastic, and we walked away with about a pound, total, of three different cheeses.

Before we walked away, the cheesemonger asked if we had come from the vineyard. Vineyard? You mean there's cheese like this and a vineyard? The two aren't directly connected, but they're pretty close together, so we went to find the nearby Priam Vineyard.

Priam Vineyard

There were bottles for sale, but we bellied up to the "bar" and signed up for a tasting. For $6, they give you a nice wine glass with the vineyard logo on it, and proceed to pour you tastings of six different wines from their collection. We had five whites and two reds, and I actually preferred the whites to the reds. the reds tasted odd, but better with the dark chocolate that they offered at the end.

We headed home through Deep River and Chester, and never received the "heavy rain" that Ernesto was supposed to deliver. It was gray, and windy, and drizzley, but that's about it.

O'Rourke's coffee/cake fundraising

, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

This morning we walked down to O'Rourke's to contribute to the fundraising/communityraising/spiritraising effort. There were amazing baked goods and coffee, and the donations were flowing in from foot traffic and people driving by.

We spoke to Brian O'Rourke and he said that there were inspectors, architects, etc. coming today to assess and that was the next step in the "What's next?" process. There is no shortage of support for Brian, his family, and all the employees, but there are a lot of possibilities to consider. Brian kept mentioning several doors of opportunity opening to him, including many Main St. restauranteurs literally offering to open their doors and kitchens to him and anything he wanted to do.

I have joined the ranks of orourkesdiner.com, a message board set up to support and inform everyone interested in the phenomonon that is O'Rourke's. I have also started an O'Rourke's flickr group.

Unrelated, and on a personal note, I got a job yesterday.


Mr. O'Rourke

Brian O'Rourke, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.