I’m hoping the weather will stay nice for the weekend, since it’s the Somerville Open Studios.

Your little-known fact for the day: Jeff Goldblum appeared alongside Carol Kane and Geena Davis in a film called Transylvania 6-5000. One reviewer on IMDB wrote: “Anyone who manages to brave this film right through to its end may pray that a stake be driven through their heart to relieve them from the agony of boredom.” I only hope there’s a remake of the old Glenn Miller number as the movie’s theme song…

posted April 29, 2004 – 7:52 am

Friday evening I went to see a great show at the Somerville Theatre – Erin McKeown and Josh Ritter. I had hoped they’d perform together a bit, as well as on their own, but that didn’t happen but for one short song. Oh well… If you haven’t heard them before, they each deserve a listen. You can pick up CD’s from both of them at CD Baby.

I got a bunch more done on the piano bench on Saturday, including cutting the piano hinges to length. The weather was perfect for a bike-ride, too, save the gale-force winds that forced us to pedal on the down-hills. The weather was less than perfect for the frisbee game yesterday, but we had fun in the cold and wind anyway. It’s nice to be running again, and the full summer season starts in just a few weeks (right now, I’m playing in BUDA’s Spring League).

I found this site pretty interesting; you might, too.

posted April 26, 2004 – 8:18 am

After a few hours in the garage last night, I finally finished milling the wood for the piano bench. Phew – that was a lot of planing! While it is beautiful, the birdseye maple is hard as a rock, and doing all that planing by hand makes me understand why people use veneer. The next step in the project is to do some metalwork and prepare the hinges and aluminum side pieces. It’s getting there…

posted April 21, 2004 – 8:30 am

Bruce Schneier, a security expert (I think he’s actually earned that title) writes a monthly column on all sorts of security, often computer-related. This month’s column has two interesting sections.

First, Bruce talks about National ID cards and the problems associated with that plan. Basic gist: it’s a bad idea.

Second, there’s a short cost/benefit analysis related to electronic voting. If hacking in to a voting computer turns out to be at all possible (and hopefully we’ve learned at this point that, since it’s a computer, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be possible), doing so is a far cheaper way to win a close election than trying to advertise and win votes through legitimate channels. Which is not to say that all politicians will immediately try it, but it’s a sign that maybe we’re not ready for electronic voting machines. What’s wrong with paper ballots?

posted April 20, 2004 – 11:28 am

I must be getting old.

I went to see a friend’s band play last night at a local club (the Sky Bar in Somerville). The band, Childhood Scar, was pretty good (and my friend was excellent), but holy crap, they were loud! This seems to be a theme in bands playing “rock” music that I’ve seen around here.

I know I sound like an old lady when I say it, but why the heck does the music have to be that loud?! They’re talented enough musicians that they can safely turn their instruments down to non-deafness inducing levels without exposing any underlying lack of skill, and doing so might actually encourage people to see them play.

posted April 19, 2004 – 6:49 am

Two car-related updates:

1. You might recall my lucky find of most of a roof-rack back in September. With a company-provided gift certificate to L.L. Bean, I completed the roof-rack for a mere $70 (total actual value, about $300). I haven’t put in on the car yet – I suspect the extra drag will adversely affect my mileage – but I’m happy I can now carry canoes, bikes, large 2×4’s, etc. on my car if I want.

2. It’s been a few days more than a year since I got my Honda Civic Hybrid. I still love it, and would recommend it to anyone buying a new car. Then again, I’ve also heard the 2004 Toyota Prius is good, too, so don’t overlook it. Between only working four days a week and the hybrid, I feel much better about driving to work. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that those two moves saves a little less than 200 gallons of gas a year, or around $400 at current prices. Not too shabby!

posted April 12, 2004 – 12:50 pm

I’m 99.9% finished with Abby’s birthday present – a cribbage board (she requested one, so I haven’t given away any surprises). Look for pictures soon.

We had a potluck dinner on Saturday night in celebration of Abby’s birthday. Danielle and I made a mighty fine cake (if I do say so myself) from the cookbook from Rosie’s Bakery. I’ve had cakes and other assorted goodies from the bakery before, and they were great, so I wasn’t shocked when the cakes from their cookbook came out well, too.

Check out this neat, online exhibit of Danish furniture called Walk the Plank – each piece is made by designers and cabinet makers from a single board. I had a similar idea and thought of participating in the Somerville Open Studios with an exhibit called “2 x Chair” – chairs made from a single, 8 foot long 2×4. Maybe next year.

The Somerville Open Studios are coming up (May 1st and 2nd), so be sure to check them out. Especially notable is my friend Tova’s first public exhibition, which you can see at the Vernon Street Studios

posted April 12, 2004 – 8:39 am

At their booth at the NSTA meeting in Atlanta last week, Weyerhaeuser proudly proclaimed they had genetically modified Douglas Fir trees to grow to a harvestable size in 30 to 40 years (they neglected to mention any other effects on the tree or the local environment). That “genetically modified” moniker was notably absent from the packets of “Douglas Fir” seeds they were giving out to teachers to take back to their classrooms (though the rep said they were GM seeds). It also seems to be missing from their product page on Douglas Firs.

In the grand scheme of things, using renewable resources like wood is good. Harvesting and producing wood in an environmentally friendly way is also good (not clearcutting, replacing what you’ve cut down with a mix of species, etc.). Weyerhaeuser seems to be interested in doing just that (or at least they talk a lot about it). But, I think it’s inappropriate to replace harvested natural fir trees with genetically modified ones, especially since much of their logging takes place on federally owned land. I think it’s equally bad to give out seeds that are genetically modified but not labelled as such. So, bad Weyerhaeuser.

posted April 6, 2004 – 7:55 am
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