At the Somerville Open Studios, I bought a print by a local artist, Laura Quincy Jones. It finally came back from the framing place, and looks great. Check it out:

Monotype print

posted May 28, 2004 – 4:59 am

The Hot Club of Cowtown was at Johnny D’s last night, and I even had time after our frisbee game to shower before the show. They’re always so much fun, and last night was no exception. If they make it to your neck of the woods, check ’em out.

posted May 27, 2004 – 11:02 am

I’m sooo close to being done with both the shelves I’m making for friends and also the piano bench. Both should be done Friday or so, and pictures will follow soon after. Needless to say, having all of the boxes and junk from our basement stored in the garage for the past two weeks hasn’t made finishing projects any easier.

For work, I had to pick something up from a teacher this morning. For some reason, I still bristle at the idea of going inside a high school – they just give me the creeps! Guess I should have thought of that before I signed up to go back to my high school in a few weeks to celebrate the principal’s retirement. Hmm…

posted May 26, 2004 – 7:12 am

For a change, there’s actually some good news in the news today.

First, videos produced by the White House to promote the new Medicare drug benefit were declared illegal by the General Accounting Office. The ads violated federal law by not identifying the government as the source of information contained therein – they’re considered “propoganda.” The ads were disguised to look like segments of TV evening news, then sent to TV producers to be included in local news shows, where they weren’t necessarily identified as advertisements. They even included the typical reporter sign-off, “I’m Karen Ryan, reporting.” As the article points out, Karen Ryan is an actress, not a reporter, and she was paid by the government to tell half-truths about the new Medicare package. And they expected this was an okay thing to do? Get the full story here.

Second, the Massachusetts State Senate voted to to repeal the 1913 law that prevents out-of-state gay couples from being married in Massachusetts. The House still has to vote on the issue, which may be more difficult given the current budget issues on the floor, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

As Rif recently pointed out, our favorite Korean restaurant in Central Square closed a few weeks ago. We’re on a hunt for good bi bim bab (the kind served in a stone pot) in Boston, and this search led us to Wu Chon House last night. Their version (called “Stone Pot Bul Goh Khee Bhee Bim Bahp”) wasn’t bad. Compared to the old Korea Garden, though, Wu Chon’s bi bim bap was slightly smaller, and the pot arrived much hotter, leading to premature crispiness and even burning of the rice (and a few burnt fingers, to boot). If it’d cost a few bucks less, or if Wu Chon House was very convenient to get to (it’s in Union Square and most of us are Red Line-based), it’d be just fine. As it stands, we’ll keep searching. Next stop, Seoul Food, on Mass. Ave near Porter.

posted May 20, 2004 – 7:00 am

As you may know, Google is offering a new, free email service with 1000 MB of storage called GMail. Right now, it’s in beta testing, and you can only get in on it if someone with an account invites you. Apparently, a GMail account is pretty desirable, as demonstrated by the following things people are willing to swap in order to get one (collected here):

  • “$35 Paypal Instantly!!”
  • “The world’s best chocolate cake”
  • “A Guaranteed way of getting a girlfriend”
  • “Handwritten postcard from Canada”
  • “Donation to John Kerry”
  • “Imaginary box w/ imaginary stuff inside”
  • “Your choice of Tastykake product!!”
posted May 19, 2004 – 7:56 am

On a more positive note, I had a really good time out at the Bike Week celebration outside Redbones last night. It’s always exciting to see lots of folks come out for a community event, and fun to run into folks you know, too. Though I’m not involved in it at all, the bike riding/racing sub-culture in Boston seems to be a really nice one. There were some very impressive raffle prizes, too.

A reminder: this Friday is National Bike to Work Day.

posted May 18, 2004 – 6:44 am

I keep forgetting that gay couples being married in Massachusetts is, in fact, really big news. I guess since it’s been planned for so long, and since I thought it was a good idea in the first place, it didn’t really make a big impression on me that the first such marriages would be historic events. But they are, and they’re getting plenty of news coverage, which I’m certainly in favor of.

The rest of the news these days, however, is on the depressing side. Israel bulldozed over 100 houses and killed tens of people yesterday, all in the name of just “expanding a buffer zone” and “preventing arms traffic” (uh-huh), and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the abuses in American-run Iraqi prisons are anything but isolated examples of individual wrong-doing. Swell.

And it’s raining.

posted May 18, 2004 – 6:13 am

I went out to Club Passim in Harvard Square last night and heard a great concert. Hanneke Cassel was there to officially release her new CD (which I highly recommend). She’s an amazing fiddle player – one who makes playing look absolutely effortless – and a great composer. She also seems to have a lot of very talented musician friends, including “Crazy Cello Guy” Rushad, Jake Armerding (mandolin player extraordinaire), and Aoife O’Donovan (who has a gorgeous voice), all of whom played along with her last night. Definitely check her out next time she’s in your neck of the woods.

posted May 13, 2004 – 6:01 am

When I bought my table saw used, it didn’t have some of the safety equipment a new saw would have, most importantly a splitter. A splitter is attached behind the blade and keeps the kerf (the groove left by the blade) from closing up, which, in turn, prevents the saw blade from binding up and/or burning the wood you’re cutting. Recently, I’ve been thinking of making one for my saw (especially since I made some cuts this weekend that would’ve gone much smoother with a splitter), but yesterday got a sales circular from Rockler that they were offering a new product: a new kind of splitter. More info on the product is available here. It looks like a very smart design, the reviews I’ve read are positive, and at $15, it’s not a very big risk, so I’ll probably pick one up in the next few days.

posted May 12, 2004 – 6:38 am

Paul Krugman has a fantastic opinion piece in the New York Times today. You can check it out here.

To summarize his point of view, with which I whole-heartedly agree: the Bush Administration has run one of the most closed (meaning least observable) governments in the history of our country, and managed to get away with some seriously evil things. “No administration since Nixon has been so insistent that is has the right to operate without oversight or accountability,” he says, and he’s right. A PATRIOT Act that allows the government to investigate and prosecute citizens in comlete secrecy, an unwillingness to abide by international law, and now a call from President Bush for people to “get off his [Rumsfeld’s] case and let him do his job.”

It’s our job to oversee the government, and, in spite of what Bush says, it’d be unpatriotic if we failed to question what’s going on.

posted May 11, 2004 – 6:40 am

As payment for building a set of shelves for a friend this weekend, I received four of these! Guess they’re not what most folks get excited about, but I like ’em just the same…

The shelves came out well – they’re made from nice birch plywood with a facing of birch lumber (actually, the facing has yet to go on). We routed out rabbets and dadoes for the shelves, and drilled some holes to make some of the shelves adjustable. For a big project, we made very few mistakes, and my rabbet plane saved the day when we discovered, during the gluing process, that one of the dadoes wasn’t wide enough to receive a shelf. Look for pictures soon.

posted May 10, 2004 – 12:12 pm

I put up a little summary of my hybrid experiences ’cause it’s been just over a year since I bought my Civic. You can see it here. Summary: still happy!

I’ve been busy with plenty of projects lately, in spite of being sick. The piano bench is progressing well (I made the metal coupling between to two threaded rods last night on the lathe), I’m building some book/storage shelves with a friend on Saturday, and I’ve picked up the knitting needles again to continue work on a sweater I’ve been knitting for several years. Good thing, too, as it looks like I’ll have to give up the garage for at least a week or so in the not-so-distant future while our basement – the site of the sewage unpleasantness – is being professionally cleaned and the boxes stored therein need a temporary home.

The BUDA Summer Club Leage season has started – Love Child lost its first game (we were on the comeback trail, but it got dark) on Tuesday, and we’re having regular practices now. I’m happy to be running more!

posted May 6, 2004 – 10:58 am

I went to the market yesterday afternoon, and, in my sickness-induced stupor, wasn’t reading signs quite right. They had these little signs all over the market labelling products as Atkins-friendly, but I kept reading them as saying “Crab Monitor,” not “Carb Monitor.” There’s something very entertaining (or at least it was to me) about imagining little crabs inhabiting the nooks and crannies between produce in the supermarket.

We had more sewer issues at home. Turns out you really shouldn’t make important pipes out of soft clay and bury them near tree roots. In the tree roots vs. clay pipe battle, bet on tree roots every time.

Speaking of betting, I had a good time at Greg and Scott’s Kentucky Derby party on Saturday. I managed to win $9, had a finely crafted mint julep, and a good time was had by all.

posted May 4, 2004 – 7:37 am

Not only did I visit a bunch of studios over the weekend, I bought a piece of art! It’s really my first “big” art purchase, though it wasn’t tons of money (it’ll certainly cost more to frame it than for the art itself), and I’m really happy with it – it’s a monotype print of a Boston cityscape. I’ll be sure to put up a picture when I get it framed.

I’ve been sick the past few days, which isn’t much fun, especially since I don’t get sick frequently. Just a cold, but who gets a cold in the springtime? And over the weekend! Poor timing, to be sure…

posted May 3, 2004 – 5:41 pm
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