December 25th, 2013

chronic rift

The Chronic Rift Network update

Here's the latest from The Chronic Rift Network of pop-culture podcasts:

The Chronic Rift
web site | Facebook | Twitter
    Spotlight: Dirk Maggs. Jay Smith interviews the BBC audio drama director and producer about his work on so many classic audio plays, including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Superman: Doomsday, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and tons more.

Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast
Facebook | Twitter

The Sci-Fi Diner
web site | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

HG World
web site | Facebook | Twitter
    Season 0, Episode 3: "You've Got a Hunger for What You See." Ronni and Hicks come across an abandoned helicopter, while Gray and Derrik are wounded and under siege, and the UN is under fire from an unexpected source. The latest chapter of the Parsec Award-winning audio drama written by Jay Smith, featuring Keith R.A. DeCandido, Stacy Dooks, Ayoub Khote, Rebecca Rinas, and more.

Cinefantastique Online
web site | Facebook | Twitter
    Spotlight: Her. Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons examine the new film from Spike Jonze starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johannson, Amy Adams, and Rooney Mara.

The Weekly Podioplex
Facebook | Twitter
    December 24, 2013. Michael Falkner looks at the continued reign of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, while special guest John S. Drew recommends some favorite holiday offerings.

The G2V Podcast
web site | Facebook | Twitter

Presenting the Transcription Feature

You can subscribe to the Network's podcasts via iTunes, or get them from the Rift web site. Comments can be made at the Rift forums, at the Rift Facebook page, via e-mail to john at chronicrift dot com, or by phone to 888-866-9010.
  • Current Music
    "A Christmas Song" by Jethro Tull

a Christmas tire adventure (or a tiring adventure, depending on how you look at it)

So we had a bit of an adventure on Christmas Eve.....

We were driving up to Poughkeepsie to pick up my uncle. He doesn't have the best night vision in the world, so he prefers not to drive at night. Mind you, he can do it, but we figured we'd do a mitzvah and pick him up and take him home.

This plan seemed feasible right up until I got on the parkway and I heard a grinding noise from the front wheel tire that Wrenn, Dale, and I all recognized as a flat tire. I immediately (and slowly) pulled over into the shoulder.

All three of us are firmly of the opinion that a spare tire should be a spare tire, not a fucking donut that barely gets you to a repair shop. So we had an actual tire in the trunk to replace it with. The fun part was that we were on a slight incline (couldn't be helped), and our car's tires also don't like to be just pulled off. The last two times we had to change a tire, we needed a sledgehammer to get the tire off, and both times we said, "We've got to keep a sledge in the damn car," and both times we forgot to do that part.

So we were able to jack up the car, but we had a couple of false starts due to the incline -- we fixed that with some big-ass rocks that were off to the side of the road. But the lack of a sledge was an issue, so we had to call my parents, who zipped over with one. We also got offers of help from a volunteer local group who does tow and other car work on the parkway for folks in distress, and also from a local cop who saw us on the shoulder and made sure we were okay -- and then parked behind us with lights flashing so people would slow down (the shoulder wasn't all that wide...).

Once my father banged the tire off, all went well, though it took a bit of time as the spare only had about 10 PSI. Luckily, while we don't have a sledge in the car, we do have a portable compressor that you plug into the cigarette lighter and will check the pressure and fill the car with air. However, it's tiny and very slow to fill the tire, so it took about ten minutes to get it up to 25 PSI, at which point it was good enough to make it to a gas station with a real air pump.

It was a true group effort: Wrenn was the one who had made sure the car was well stocked with everything you might need in an emergency (except, well, a sledge, but we still had a jack, tire iron, full spare, and portable compressor), and was the one who placed the jack in the right spot. Dale got the lugnuts off the old tire and onto the new tire, and I was the muscle, doing all the jacking up and rock-fetching and such. And my father tossed in the sledgehammering, for good measure...

At this point, it's been an hour, and my uncle has agreed to drive himself. We head to a gas station to pump air into all four tires, getting them all up to 30 PSI, and then I need to change clothes, as I had to kneel down in wet leaves to jack up the car, and wash my hands, as tires are filthy things.

So that was fun. :) Christmas Eve itself was lower-key than usual, as for the first time since 1980 none of my cousins were there (and the first of them was born in 1980). All but one of them have moved away, and the one who hasn't spent this Christmas with his girlfriend's family, plus my other uncle goes to his wife's family for odd-numbered years. So it was a smaller-than-usual crowd for chicken soup, lasagna, and baked goods (not to mention wine, beer, bourbon, tea, and coffee), and lots of cool presents. I really only got one present, as it was from everyone: a Samsung Galaxy tablet, which I've already been playing a great deal with. Happy me! It even has a keyboard.....

Today we're off to Wrenn's father's place to have Christmas dinner with her Dad, her uncle, her three brothers, and the latter's assorted SOs and children.

  • Current Music
    "Riu Riu Chiu" by Andrew Parrott