Dear lord no.

posted November 27, 2002 – 8:29 am

I took some nice pictures of the snow this morning – check ’em out here. It’s still snowing. And my company’s moving today. In the snow. Without movers. Ugh.

I saw several amusing things on my walk from Harvard Square to Porter last night, including:

  • A sign that read: “No parking. Violators will be towed perfunctorily.” Only in Cambridge, I fear.
  • A rabbit in the front yard of a real estate office. I don’t think it was a pet (no leash), but I could be wrong. It was pretty happily enjoying its meal of grass.
  • A book of palindrome cartoons, including one captioned “Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.

The other day, as I was riding the T, the train conductor on the red line accidentally drove past a stop! Not just a little bit, either – we flew through Harvard Square, and didn’t stop ’til the whole train was well past the station. There was a bit of backing and forthing between the train operator and the central dispatch, as evidenced by the backing up and advancing of the train. In the end, though, we skipped Harvard and went to Porter. Asleep at the wheel of the train? That’s no good at all…

posted November 27, 2002 – 5:37 am

This weekend I bought some funky new shoes. (note that the color is more of an oxblood rather than brown). Color me excited!

Craft Day was quite a success, with candy making, painting, soldering & metalwork abounding. I finally took some pictures, so check back soon.

posted November 26, 2002 – 9:34 am

I got this email from a friend of mine. It’s sadly not a useful way to protest terrorism/bad foreign policy in the Middle East, but there are some easy ways that you can change things instead:

  • Buy less gas. Duh. Try not to drive everywhere. Sell your car if you can, drive it less if you can’t. Bike instead.
  • Write your representatives and tell them you want:
    • less dependence on foreign oil
    • less dependence on non-renewable energy sources in general
    • stricter regulations on fuel consumption for automobiles (some SUV’s get less than 18 mpg)
    • more money for research into alternate energy sources (bio-diesel, electric/hybrid cars, etc.)

    It’s easy to write them. See: Write your Congressperson -and- your senator.

  • Tell your friends to write their representatives.

This message brought to you by your local enraged citizen sick of money & politics getting in the way of a better society.

posted November 21, 2002 – 1:29 pm

I made a sweet potato pie last night for a dinner party, and everyone I talked to about it mentioned how it was just like pumpkin pie. I know they’re both orange & squishy, but they’re really quite different in my mind – pumpkin pie’s associated with New England and Thanksgiving, etc. and sweet potato pie is a Southern tradition. And sweet potatoes taste so differently than pumpkins. What do you think?

posted November 21, 2002 – 10:51 am

I updated the Projects page with a new project: the Homemade Yarn Swift. Ta-da!

In other news, I’ve spent about a day working on my home computer (an iMac). Figuring I should be at least close to up-to-date, I installed Mac OS X. This was not, however, a trivial undertaking. In moving from version 9.0 to 10.2, I was required to individually install versions 9.1, 9.2, 10.0, 10.1 and 10.2. Now Apple, is there really no possible way to have one installer do that for me? I spent about 8 hours in front of my computer to do this (granted it worked like a charm), and I actually know what I’m doing when it comes to computers. There were a few times (when I tried to skip a version, &c;) when the installer spat out cryptic messages (e.g. You can’t install this software on that disk – well, why not?) and I guessed what it meant. Overall, though, I’m happy with the new interface & applications, and still would recommend Mac’s over Windows machines these days.

I also managed to hook up the motor encoder from the robot arm to an oscilloscope at work today, and determined that it’s a pretty standard encoder. I’ll post some links & info on the Robot Arm page in the next few days.

posted November 19, 2002 – 8:01 pm

I went out this morning (at 4 AM!) to watch the Leonid meteor shower; ’twas fun, but it paled in comparison to last year’s show, which was simply spectacular.

Even though the gathering was organized by astronomers (from Harvard), there were plenty of inconsiderate people shining their flashlights and car headlights at the people watching the meteors (even people taking flash photographs!), making it pretty difficult to get adjusted to the dark. I did take some pictures (sans flash, of course), and will post them if they come out okay.

posted November 19, 2002 – 8:02 am

I put up some more pictures on the Robot Arm page. I’ve also managed to extract one of the motors and have taken it to the testing lab (a.k.a. my office at work) for analysis – some of the E.E.’s at work have been helping me out, and it looks pretty straightforward to get this thing up and running again – amazing!

I went out climbing again last night – in spite of the soreness that invariably ensues, it’s really good fun. I liked it enough to go out and buy a harness this week, in fact. Strange that I should just trust them to make it well and start using it without testing or anything, but I guess that’s how it goes.

posted November 15, 2002 – 11:11 am

I watched Bowling for Columbine last night, a great film by Michael Moore. Though sometimes lacking subtlety, the film hits home with some startling statistics and candid interviews. Check out the one at the end of the film with Charlton Heston, NRA spokesperson extraordinaire – truly shameful.

I’m signed up to play at Get HoHoHo! with a team called “Bowl Full of Jelly.” Yeah, bring on the December frisbee tournaments!

posted November 13, 2002 – 6:55 am

I put up some pictures from Amanda’s Celebrity Impersonation party (which doubled as Ben & Danielle’s birthday party) – it was good fun. I also added a new project to the projects page: a crepe spreader I recently made. Enjoy.

I ended up (after a visit to the yogurt factory) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s really quite a nice, quaint little town filled with good food and nice galleries. We didn’t have tons of time to check it out, so I’m game to go back.

posted November 11, 2002 – 3:12 pm

Surprisingly, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at work lately, as we had a big project to finish up today. It all got done, and now I’m surfing the web all day. Any suggestions for time-wasters?

I finished Seabiscuit a few days ago – what a great book! It’s a very engaging, well-told story. Read it.

I watched Monkey Business (the Marx Brothers film) last night. By far the best scene is when all four brothers, in succession, try to convince an officer that they are actually Maurice Chevalier. For a film made in 1931, it really holds up quite well – check it out.

In my quest to watch some Marx Brothers movies, I discovered that Blockbuster Video sucks, and Hollywood Express is a lot better, assuming you live in Cambridge/Somerville where they have several locations. Whereas Blockbuster had zero Marx Brothers movies in stock (at two stores, mind you!), Hollywood Express had a whole shelf full of them, for the same rental price, and since it was Tuesday, it was two-for-one. I’m cutting my Blockbuster card in half as I type…

Sunday is craft day – c’mon over and play.

posted November 8, 2002 – 6:27 am

Last bits of election stuff bouncing around my head:

People in Massachusetts must be dumb. That’s the only possible explanation for the outcome last night. So maybe I can understand about Mitt – I don’t like it, but I can understand wanting a balance of power, etc. But honestly, the results of the ballot initiatives were so skewed towards idiocy that I have to wonder.

How is it possible that we nearly voted away the state income tax? There are plenty of examples of places where that doesn’t work so well at all.

On the second ballot question, the fools in my state decided that it was okay to sue teachers and take away chances for non-native English speakers to learn the language. Simply put: would you feel comfortable in a high school French/German/Spanish/whatever class if you had only been studying the language for a year or less? I didn’t think so.

I also thought we’d covered the whole clean elections thing before.Voters voted (four years ago), the law was passed (by a 2-to-1 margin), and still the legislature balked, refusing to give out money to candidates who met the requirements. The State Supreme Court stepped in, forcing them to follow the law. Somehow, detractors of the law slipped a misleadingly worded question onto the ballot, and the public voted the law down. W.T.F.?!

So, again, in summary, people in Massachusetts don’t have a clue. Thank you for your time.

posted November 6, 2002 – 7:00 am

More election thoughts, now that enough results are in (looks like our next Governor’s name is “Mitt” – ugh!):

As of 10:48 PM, according to, with fifty-some percent of the votes tallied, Romney is up 52% to O’Brien’s 43%. What makes me so mad is that O’Brien and Clinton (who was in town recently to stump for the Democrat) made such a big deal about votes for Jill Stein amounting to votes for Romney when the election turned out to be enough of a romp that even twice Jill Stein’s votes wouldn’t have helped O’Brien.

I’m really not thrilled at all that Mitt won, and I’ll spend plenty of time writing him strongly worded letters about what he can do as my representative on Beacon Hill, but O’Brien sorta brought it on herself. Her campaign was pretty poorly run, and I can’t say I’m shocked.

posted November 5, 2002 – 7:58 pm

I’m having a hard time with this whole voting thing. I mean, I understand the basic principle involved, but this particular election is giving me trouble. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates are, to me, unacceptable. Of course, the Green Party candidate won’t win, but is a clearly better choice. Vote for her and take away a democratic vote, or choose the lesser of two evils? Neither appeals.

posted November 5, 2002 – 2:13 pm

This weekend’s activities included a fun Halloween party at Caleb’s house (he plays on my frisbee team). Pictures are up here (you can see my costume, too).

In other news, one of my roommate’s bosses is building an airplane, and I was slated to help him wire it up yesterday. He came down with the flu, so we’ve rescheduled for next weekend, and I’m psyched!

The coffee table’s coming along nicely, and should be done in a week or two.

posted November 4, 2002 – 10:03 am

Have you ever had a persimmon? When ripe, it’s like nature’s own Jello in a thin skinned fruit. Yum.

posted November 1, 2002 – 11:01 am
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