I was disappointed the other day to find that O Cantinho had replaced their amazing (and cheap) sandwiches and appetizers with a full-blown dinner menu. They still offer the sandwiches and stuff for lunch, but it’s all real entrees at dinner time. Aside from changing the menu, they spruced the place up in an attempt to make you feel good about paying $20 a dish (instead of $20 for a complete dinner for two). I’m sad – it was one of my favorite Boston restaurants.

In spite of the rain, there were plenty of people out and about for the Somerville Open Studios. Definitely check out the former Masonic Temple on College Ave if you get a chance.

posted April 30, 2005 – 1:45 pm

In the rest of the world, May 1st is Labor Day, however in the US, it’s Law Day. In 2002, President Bush released this proclamation about Law Day, saying, among other things:

“Our forefathers imagined a well-qualified judiciary put in place through a dynamic and constructive interaction between the executive and legislative branches of Government. Under our Constitution, the President selects individuals for nomination to the Federal judiciary and the Senate provides its advice and consent. In all cases, both branches of Government strive to make certain that only men and women of the highest intellect, character, integrity, judgment, and experience are appointed to serve our Nation and its citizens in these critical positions.”

Now, given this list of blocked judges (a scant 7 out of hundreds nominated), how many of them fit the qualification of being able to “render decisions that are based upon the law and facts of each case, without regard for popular opinion or political or other extraneous pressures?”

As I was searching for more information about these folks, I found the Department of Justice’s own website for Judicial Nominations. For example, on the page for Priscilla Owen, several links are provided to documents supporting her nomination (and none contesting it). The contradictory nature of these documents would be amusing if it weren’t so awful – for example, one justifies Owen’s unconstitutional stance on abortion by citing the percent of the population in Texas that supports the procedure. Fortunately, our rights are not determined by a majority vote (and especially not a majority vote in Texas).

As a side note, if the administration is so concerned with the public opinion and majority rule, why aren’t they listening to polls like this?

Aside from the appalling idea that Senate Republicans may exercise their “nuclear” option and push the nominees through, I was pretty surprised that there are documents from organizations like Concerned Women for America posted on the Department of Justice website without any disclaimer or counter-opinion. This group gave their America Patriot Award to Jesse Helms for his “fights against liberalism, abortion, and the homosexual agenda.” Can I post a rebuttal on the DoJ site? I gave Jesse Helms an award, too, but it didn’t have the word “patriot” in the title…

posted April 28, 2005 – 11:21 am

Be sure to check out all the art this weekend at the Somerville Open Studios, especially Tova’s art and Dan’s photographs at Maven Realty in Davis Square.

I was introduced to a great game last night – Blockus. It’s one of those simple-to-explain games that turns out to be really fun to play and difficult to play well. It’s on my list of things to get once I’m settled on the West Coast.

posted April 28, 2005 – 7:30 am

Dan and I went to Great Meadows again this morning. Though we stalked them for the better part of an hour, we never really got a good chance at taking pictures of the wood ducks that are hanging out there now. I did get a couple decent shots though – check ’em out here.

posted April 26, 2005 – 6:58 pm

I’m never eating again. I ate more than anyone ought to consume this weekend, and while it was all great food, the thought of a meal right now makes me ill.

One of the desserts that contributed to my over-full state was this apple confit. Divine. Other items from the various weekend menus: New York bagels, tuna tartare, braised short ribs, chocolate souffle cake, more bagels, chinese noodle soup, turkey, prime rib, salmon, mashed potatoes, and, of course, more bagels.

While I was down in NYC this weekend, I picked up a couple of things at B&H; before they closed for passover: a new camera bag that’ll hold all my gear without splitting at the seams (in fact, it’s got room to spare) and the 50mm f1.8 lens I’d been eyeing for a while.

posted April 25, 2005 – 7:17 am

I put up some of the images from yesterday’s Great Meadows trip (and a couple from a photo outing a week or so ago) – check ’em out here

posted April 21, 2005 – 5:56 am

Check out the hot press Tova’s been getting lately. Also check out her soon-to-be-launched website (well done, Anna).

posted April 20, 2005 – 1:09 pm

I made a bunch of progress on the light machine recently including designing in the ball bearings, installing the two motors, and locating weldable cellophane. Should be up and running in not too long.

This morning I met Dan at Concord Great Meadows for some wildlife photography. We saw red-winged blackbird (by the hundreds), Canada geese, a single great blue heron, two swans, a wood duck (briefly), and a muskrat. Getting the exposure right for the blackbirds was tough, but there were a few decent photos in the lot (I’ll put ’em up soon). I’m glad it’s spring and we can be outside again!

posted April 20, 2005 – 12:08 pm

An ad in last week’s New Yorker (the Travel issue) noted that Texas contained more art than The Louvre. Well, duh! At about 550,000 square feet, the Louvre is an impressive 2% of a square mile. Even with considerable offsite storage, it doesn’t rival the 268,601 square miles that comprise Texas. There are plenty of reasons to visit Texas (and some reasons not to), but its art density is definitely not a particular highlight.

posted April 18, 2005 – 11:08 am

I did some experimenting with basic lighting for portraits over the weekend with my dad. Though we didn’t take a lot of pictures we did figure out it’s possible to get decent lighting for a simple portrait with inexpensive lights (think 100W bulbs). Definitely a lens with a larger aperture (like this one, which I’ve been coveting recently anyway) would make things easier (larger aperture means both better isolation of the subject from the background and a higher shutter speed), but this didn’t come out so bad considering we were just playing around.

posted April 18, 2005 – 7:18 am

I’m continuing to whittle down my collection of stuff – currently up for sale on Craigslist is my old 35mm SLR.

posted April 16, 2005 – 9:24 am

I finally got a chance to check out Metro Rock Gym last night. It’d been almost two years since I’d climbed, and I’m a little surprised I’m not more sore this morning. I enjoyed it a lot, though, and found Metro to be much better than Boston Rock Gym in many respects – it seems roomier, the climbing routes seem better, and perhaps most importantly, the people are much nicer. It’s not in a great area, but it’s not hard to get to, either. I’ll have to go a couple more times before I leave town.

Gotta love spring in Boston – I scraped ice off my windshield this morning but could go out in a t-shirt for lunch.

posted April 13, 2005 – 8:36 am

I went for a nature walk around Arlington Great Meadows this afternoon and took the D70 with me. You can check out a couple of pics here. I had a good time, but I was a little disappointed with the performance of the 70-300mm lens – there’s quite a lot of chromatic abberation (purple fringes around objects). Next time I’m out, I’ll do some experiments to see if using a smaller aperture helps at all.

posted April 8, 2005 – 3:24 pm

As my dad and I were eating an early dinner at Johnny D’s, we heard The Bills warming up and doing their sound check. We couldn’t stay for the show, but I picked up a CD of theirs and have really been diggin’ it. Cross Moxy Fruvous with the Resophonics and you’ve got The Bills.

posted April 6, 2005 – 8:07 am

I had ice cream for dinner last night after a nice bike ride. Ah, the benefits of being an adult.

posted April 5, 2005 – 7:40 am
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