I can’t believe I forgot about this when I posted earlier…

We also had a great visit to Dia: Beacon on Sunday. The space is simply amazing, and, again, the weather really added to the experience.

Dia: Beacon is a contemporary art museum in the Hudson River valley housed in a huge old Nabisco box manufacturing plant. The place is lit primarily through sawtoothed skylights (the roof of the building looks serrated, with the skylights facing south), and the light inside is gorgeous. The space is interrupted only occasionally with columns or temporary dividers, and even the floors are attractive – they’ve got both the old wood, factory floor and newly poured, polished concrete floor.

As for the art, I’m not a huge contemporary art fan. One of the first spaces in the museum is filled only with nearly white canvases (Agnes, I’m looking at you… and don’t think I’ve forgotten you Ryman!) – I mean, really! There were a few spectacular pieces, though – those by Heizer and Serra really stood out.

So definitely check it out if you’re in the mid-New York state area (the Metro-North Poughkeepsie line stops about a quarter of a mile from the museum, so it’s easy to get there from NYC).

posted March 30, 2004 – 12:33 pm

We had a really nice weekend out in Sharon (CT) and Colrain (MA). The Eddie From Ohio concert at the Iron Horse on Sunday was brilliant as usual, and we took advantage of the beautiful weather and got plenty of hiking in on the mountain in Connecticut and in the woods of Colrain.

I’m pretty disappointed that the Massachusetts legislature voted for an ammendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage (won’t go into effect ’til 2006, if it gets all the votes it needs later), but I am glad the Attorney General all but ignored Mitt’s attempt to ban them immediately.

The roll call for the vote, along with the text of the ammendment is here. Now I’m no constitutional scholar, and I’m already offended enough by the idea behind the ammendment, but I find it pretty offensive that gays and lesbians are referred to in the ammendment as “same-sex persons.” What the hell kind of a phrase is that? Almost as bad as “activist judges.”

By the way, if you live in Massachusetts, you can find out who your representatives are on this site. Take the time to write them a letter and tell them what you think.

posted March 30, 2004 – 7:13 am

Salon has posted a pretty interesting interview with former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke. Check it out here. Clarke (who’s served under Republican & Democratic presidents alike) comes off as a non-partisan guy who’s mostly looking to put the truth out there rather than incite partisan wars.

While I’m less convinced that the 9/11 attacks could have been avoided, I’m certain the Bush administration didn’t always have the nation’s best interest in mind when they made decisions like going to war in Iraq. This interview gives a little insight into their pigheadedness, and also will hopefully refute some of the offensive personal attacks they’re launching against Clarke (rather than talking about the matter at hand).

MoveOn.org is gathering donations to put together an ad about Clarke and Bush. You can check it out and donate here.

posted March 24, 2004 – 9:24 am

We’ve been having some plumbing issues in our house in the past few weeks. If you can avoid a mild sewage stench permeating your house, I’d recommend that.

I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a home-owner in the past month or so. I’m still on the fence, I would say, but the fact that I, and not my landlord, have been dealing with the plumbers and roto-rooters means I’m not really avoiding those sorts of hassles by renting. Might as well be paying something each month towards owning a house instead of giving it away, eh?

posted March 20, 2004 – 12:04 pm

An online comedian sent a prank letter to all 100 senators asking them their favorite joke. Check out their responses here. Funny stuff.

There’s a pretty embarassing clip of Rumsfeld’s Sunday appearance on Face the Nation hosted on MoveOn.org in which he claims the administration never called Iraq an “immediate threat” and is then served several quotes of his own to the contrary – check it out here. Signing the petition available on the site (after the video shows) is a good way to send a message that it’s not okay for the leaders of our country to lie about these things.

Sadly, the snow’s doing a good job of keeping me out of the garage/workshop. It’s March, for cryin’ out loud!

posted March 17, 2004 – 9:18 am

The father of a friend of mine from high school is coming in to town to give a demo on April 17th on Islamic Calligraphy. Mohamed Zakariya is one of the few (only?) classicly trained Islamic calligraphers living and working in the US, and does absolutely beautiful work. Check it out if you have a chance.

posted March 16, 2004 – 7:20 am

I had a great trip to the MFA on Friday. I visited a friend from my NBSS woodworking class who works in the furniture conservation department and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the furniture lab. They have some amazing pieces, and, of course, most are in storage ’cause there’s not enough room to show all of them at once. I was very impressed with the work he does – it’s a tough combination of history (art history, really), chemistry, and studio art with a good deal of craftsmanship required.

A friend of his at the museum was selling their jointer/planer (link goes to a similar but not identical machine) for cheap, so I picked that up on the same trip. Though it had rusted a tiny bit sitting in the guy’s basement, a little cleaning and oiling got the machine up and running in no time. We’ll see if it’s something I really even need, but for forty bucks (!), it would’ve been hard to justify not buying it (tool-buying problem? nope, not me).

posted March 15, 2004 – 9:00 am

After the costuming excitement of the weekend, I decided it was time to see Labyrinth again. It held up pretty well (much better than The Dark Crystal did), but the plot wasn’t nearly as subtle as I remember. There also wasn’t as much contact juggling as I remembered, either. Too bad, since the manipulation was actually done by one of the better CJ artists around, Michael Moschen.

posted March 9, 2004 – 7:39 am

I had a busy weekend. I cooked for a dinner party, dressed up as David Bowie, and made a box from this book. Phew!

While you can expect pictures of the box soon, pictures of me in costume won’t be up here any time soon.

posted March 8, 2004 – 10:06 am

Several university professors (and one grad student) recently released a report on the electronic voting system made by the Diebold Corporation. One of the authors of that report, Avi Rubin, signed up as an election judge in Maryland for the primaries that took place yesterday, and posted a summary of his experiences here. Makes for a good (and slightly scary) read.

posted March 3, 2004 – 10:17 am

When we were in Italy (end of January, mind you), both Abby and I sent postcards to folks in the States – I even sent one to my office. Well, we bought our stamps (francobolli) at different Tabacci (convenience stands), and apparently mine weren’t as good as hers. Abby’s family and friends received postcards about a week after our trip, and mine didn’t. I thought they’d sold me bum stamps, but as the postcard I sent to work arrived yesterday, looks like they were just tortise-express stamps.

So check your mailbox – I might have sent you a postcard over a month ago!

posted March 2, 2004 – 6:50 am

The weather here was beautiful this weekend, and I took full advantage of it.

Friday I went skiing at Cannon Mountain. We had a sunny day, and even though it hasn’t snowed in Franconia Notch since December, the conditions were pretty good. Cannon is located in a state park and run by a contractor rather than a commercial entity – lift tickets were only $34 (weekday)! It also couldn’t be more convenient to the highway – it’s about two minutes off route 93.

We biked to an interesting exhibit at the List Visual Arts Center over the weekend called Son et Lumiere (up through April 4, 2004). The most promising piece was Listening Post – an audio and visual work that culled snippets of dialogue from Internet chat rooms and presented them to the viewer in various ways. The display (several hundred small, electronic text screens) was impressive, but, I felt, under- or mis-used in the work. If you were close enough to see what it said on the screens, you couldn’t get the effect of the whole “wall” of screens, and if you were far enough to get a sense of the whole display, you couldn’t read a word of it. It’s free, though, and worth stopping in if you’re in the neighborhood.

I got some more good work in this weekend on the piano bench. My hand-planing skills are getting better, and almost all of the wood is ready to be finished for the piece. A little metalwork, and we’ll be in business! It’s much nicer to spend time in the garage when it’s 50° and sunny out instead of below freezing (big shock, eh?).

posted March 1, 2004 – 8:40 am
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