Happy Halloween!

Though I’m not going trick-or-treating tonight (it’s been at least 12 years since I did that), I am going to a costume party on Saturday, and I’m dressing up as Father’s Day (covering myself in bad ties, cheesy greeting cards, and other bad gifts oft received on Father’s Day). What’re you dressing up as?

posted October 31, 2002 – 6:42 am

So I discovered today that my earlier efforts to rid myself of cellular telephone service were in vain. How could this be, you might ask? Simple: AT&T; didn’t actually cancel my account when I asked them to. They said “Sure, we’ll cancel your account” over the phone, but never actually closed it in the computer, so I still got billed for a month and a half of service. Strange to say the least, especially since the (very nice) customer service rep. I spoke with on the phone this afternoon said the notes in my account indicated that I wished (on Sept. 12) to close the account. Bizarre.

[They’re doing the right thing, by the way, and crediting my account for the time, as well as actually cancelling service this time. They were very nice about the whole thing, so don’t mistake this for a rant against AT&T;, who I more or less liked for the time I was with them].

posted October 29, 2002 – 2:57 pm

So I went to a bunch of different woodworking stores this weekend and stocked up on tools & wood for coffeetable-making purposes.

The first stop on my tour was at Woodworker’s Warehouse. They seemed to have plenty in the way of tools, but their salespeople weren’t so eager to help me find the right thing. Granted I’m not the kind of person they’re used to seeing (seems to be a contractors haven), but they could’ve been a little nicer.

Stop number two was at the dreaded Home Depot, where I sort of found some of the things I was looking for, but no one to help me (they actually sell some nice wood by the foot, if you can find an employee to cut it for you). I ended up being in the store for over an hour, and was fuming by the end of the ordeal.

Finally, on Sunday I ended up at Rockler. Though I got some other tools at stops #1&2 for less than they were offered at Rockler, I haven’t found nicer wood anywhere else. Through some measuring flukes and generous salespeople, I ended up getting a rather sizeable piece of oak (27″L x 16″W x 1 3/4″D) for only twenty bucks, and will happily go back there.

Expect pictures of the coffeetable in the not-too-distant future.

As a part of my quest for wood & tools, I borrowed my brother’s car this weekend (thanks Matt), and remembered exactly why I’d sold my car back in February. I so dislike traffic & bad drivers; driving just makes me a mean, unhappy person. Hooray for being carless!

posted October 29, 2002 – 8:00 am

Last night I went rock climbing with Simone – good times! Aside from my involuntarily curled fingers this morning, I’m not too sore, and none of my messed up joints gave me any trouble at all. I may have found my winter activity (sadly, frisbee’s over).

And I have on a comfy pair of new corduroy pants. Mmmmm…

posted October 25, 2002 – 6:42 am

Les images de Seattle sont arrivées – ils sont ici.

posted October 23, 2002 – 12:09 pm

Weather in Boston today: sleet/rain, 36°, unpleasant.
Weather in Seattle today: partly cloudy, 55°, just fine.
I came back why?

Look for pictures soon.

posted October 23, 2002 – 7:29 am

Well, I just got back from Seattle, and had an absolute blast there. Some recommendations for the Seattle traveler (or local who hasn’t explored everything yet):

  • Agua Verde – a Mexican restaurant on the waterfront near UW
  • Restaurant Zoe – fantastic modern (for lack of better description) cuisine. Try the scallops.
  • Matt’s on the Market – an out-of-the-way gem that’s to die for. It’s tucked away near Pike’s Place Market, and they don’t take reservations, but it’s worth the wait (they’re also open for lunch on Monday’s with much less waiting). They make the best catfish sandwich ever. Hands down.
  • Coffee at the Victrola coffeehouse, followed by dessert at the B&O; coffeehouse, both on Capitol Hill
  • Dancing at the Century Ballroom – swing, salsa, whatever, this place is gorgeous.

Also recommended is not getting lost on Mt. Ranier, which we did not manage to do after a very nice hike up to the Carbon River Glacier.

Abby & I came down a different trail than we’d hiked up – it was eventually supposed to reconnect to the original – and could not for our lives find the connection. Until then, the signage had been great, but as the trail crossed the river, there was no indication of where it went. We spent quite a while futilely thrashing through the underbrush (Want some exercise? Try swimming through small pine trees for half a mile.) before we were forced to backtrack almost two miles to the top of the hike. By this time, it was pretty late in the afternoon, and getting dark. Luck was on our side, though, and the dark dirt path was highlighted against the light colored groundcover, which had turned a nice bright yellow for fall. We spent about three more hours slowly following the path in ever-increasing darkness before we made it back to the car. By the end of the hike, under the densest trees, we couldn’t see five feet in front of us. Scary.

While we could have spent the night out there if necessary, it wasn’t gonna be fun, and we both were pretty interested in sleeping in a warm bed rather than huddled in a pine needle nest near a glacier. It was pretty stressful for a while when we couldn’t find the trail, and very frustrating trying to make our way through the forest off the trail, but we did make it back.

posted October 22, 2002 – 8:03 pm

Well, I made it to Seattle without too much incident, as long as you don’t count the laundry fiasco wherein many of my formerly white clothes found themselves less than white. How old will I be before I figure out about the red shirt and the white clothes?

As I was leaving my house for the airport, I realized I was still wearing my slippers (they’re comfy, what can I say) – once I got the footwear issues sorted out, the travel went quite smoothly.

Knock on wood, the weather here’s been stellar (65-70°, sunny) and my hosts quite hospitable. No complaints from the Northwest.

posted October 16, 2002 – 10:31 am

So last week I lost my pen, which made me sad. Today I got a new one (had to go to five stationery stores to find it, though), which made me happy.

posted October 14, 2002 – 11:22 am

EFO put on a fantastic show on Friday night in Northampton. I daresay they crossed the line from a family-oriented folk show to downright raunchy – a rare thing for them, but easily explained as we saw the later of two performances (and everyone was a bit riled up from sitting in traffic).

Craft day was pretty slow – the weather (chilly and rainy) seemed to deter most from coming, and those who showed up had crafts that involved sitting around and watching the football game.

Off to Seattle tomorrow morning for a week!

posted October 14, 2002 – 7:58 am

Well, yesterday’s unpleasant afternoon paid off, and lots of stuff got done at work. Our project came together, and the lifting hook I designed passed its first round of testing – needless to say, I was pretty nervous when the half-million dollar submarine was dangling from the line, hanging only on something I designed.

I designed the metal thingy.

Half a sub, four feet up.

Craft Day is Sunday, and I’m finishing up a sweet project (shrouded in secrecy ’til I return from Seattle). What’re you doing for craft day?

posted October 10, 2002 – 11:54 am

Shit, meet fan. Fan, shit.

It’s been a rough day at work, and there’s a lot more time left in the day. Whee!

posted October 9, 2002 – 12:34 pm

On Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, the new Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas movie, Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post writes:

You could run this film backward, soundtrack included, and it would make no less sense.

High praise indeed.

posted October 8, 2002 – 2:08 pm

My friends ended up having their birthday party here on Friday night. Word to the wise: don’t go there. Ever. Ear-splitting loud (bad) music, nasty drinks, sticky floors, and more of a meat market scene than I’ve ever seen. Gross.

Peter Mulvey and friends (Erin McKeown, Kris Delmhorst, Jennifer Kimball, Sean Staples and Anita Suhanin) put on a marvelous show Saturday night at the Somerville Theater. Don’t miss ’em if they come to your town.

Truth be told, Snappy Dance really didn’t live up to their name, and their performance this weekend wasn’t nearly as good as others I’ve seen by them in the past. Part of the problem, my parents and I decided, was that they had really shifted from simple, happy pieces to more complicated, somewhat dreary ones. We also decided they’re in dire need of an editor – someone to cut about 30% of the choreography – as they’re quite self-indulgent. I’ll still go see them again, but only if they promise not to depress me and put me to sleep as much.

posted October 7, 2002 – 11:15 am

Well, I feel cheated. I was going to write about how much I was looking forward to dinner tonight with my folks at a nice restaurant. Considerate as I am, I was also planning on including a link to the restaurant’s entry in the Zagat (like they’re gonna get a link now) Guide. Sadly, Zagat decided to make their listings open to subscribers only (and an online subscription costs more than the dead-tree version of the guide), and also decided to do so without giving any advanced notice. Poop on them, I say – if they’re interested in treating their customers like that, I’m not interested in being a customer.

[ N.B. – And I was a customer. I actually bought the paper versions of the guide every year, even though the listings were online for free. ]

But you should still go to Oleana, a great restaurant on Hampshire Street in Cambridge. They’re nice, accept reservations, don’t ask for more money than they said upfront, and make a mean Baked Alaska.

posted October 4, 2002 – 11:00 am

As I was biking in to work today, I got hit by a car (but I’m fine – no injuries sustained). The weird thing is, I can’t tell if it was my fault or not. I was pedalling along the right side of the road, going through an intersection, and a car making a right turn hit me. I cannot, for the life of me, remember if I came up from behind him, making it my fault, or if he’d already passed me. This is certainly a vote for drinking coffee before I bike to work rather than when I get there.

posted October 2, 2002 – 6:41 am

As I was walking home from the Diesel tonight, a group of four or five people were walking ahead of me. Two of them ducked into a store’s entryway to read a bulletin board ad or the like, and when the others turned around to look for them, there wasn’t anyone there (but me). It took these people a good thirty seconds, though, to figure out what’d happened. They really just stood around for a while, dumbfounded, as I stifled a laugh and walked by – what was going through their heads? Upon further reflection, it appears the answer is “no intelligent thoughts.”

posted October 1, 2002 – 8:29 pm

Well, I picked up my new (old) robotic arm this morning without too much incident. Traffic was light, Laura was a good sport, and the security alarm at Northeastern stopped going off after a few seconds, so it was a quick trip. The whole thing is quite a bit bigger than I anticipated, though. While the arm is reasonably sized (about that of a breadbox), the controller computer/electronics is gargantuan. About the size (and a good part of the weight) of a window-installed air-conditioning unit, the box houses the programmable logic as well as the power supply & servo controllers. As I dig up more information, I’ll put up a page of resources & projects (done: check it).

posted October 1, 2002 – 10:10 am
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