Longest weekend Eva

November 30th, 2005

That was a long weekend. This is a big breakdown of what was what.

I spent a very good chunk of time with the Wife and Kid and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Dex is a cool kid… so fun to just hang out with, and he’s pretty easy to take anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, it’s less smooth when you mess with his schedule, but even at his worst, he’s a great kid.

And the wife… I was smitten with her this weekend. She’s such a cool person and she her impression on me gets bigger each day. I could just be because it’s another holiday season added on to the few we’ve had so far but she’s just nice to be around.

For a week, leading up to T-day, Dexter was talking about how excited he was to see the “kids” (Kaitlin, Tyler, Karissa) and every day he would say “Dad, it’s time to go to Nina’s I think”. And then I would take him to a park or the Children’s Musuem to help him have fun while he waited.

[ the weekend was slow long, I started this post on monday and didn't get back to finish it until today (wednesday)]

Wednesday morning we found out that the kids were not planning on being at my parent’s house Thursday… the would be a “very bad thing” for Dex. There are a few things I don’t mind disappointing him about, like when we cancelled cable. But I’m still stupid enough to try and instill in the child some geniune appreciation in family – I’m afraid I would not be able to defend this idea if anyone put me to it.

So I dropped Dex off and set about making pudding pies – which happen to be very easy to make technically speaking, but you have to sit and stir the damn pudding while it thickens or else it burns pretty easy. That was basically my morning. I baked some cookies too while I was there. Watched “Stargate” which is a “very bad movie”. That didn’t make the time spent making food any funner. It was however nice to use the laptop. :)

I went to pick up Dex and he was really excited about staying with all the other kids and watching Shark Tale (this is to the exclusion of the fact that he stopped it mid-way a week earlier and said “This movie is too hard… too hard to watch”).

Dex and I end up heading out to the Stow camp around 4 or so… traffic huge on rt 2 – and gps helped me reroute to 117.. that was so much fun waving to the jokers that I passed after pulling a U-turn on rt.2 – ahhh, my computer is awesome.

We visited for a short while before I headed off to pick up the wife at the train station in Acton. And when we got back there wasn’t much time before we ate. Dex wouldn’t even think of trying the turkey…. but found some emergency pasta. It had been a long time since I saw the kids. Fun to visit.

After dinner, I taught the kids the Jackie Chan quarter snatching exercise that was on the DVD extras of “Rush Hour“. That was fun… and it allowed for some pressure to envince their characters. Katie ended up doing it for too long, Tyler complained that the game was stupid and went downstairs to practice alone, Karissa went from sitting on her mother’s lap to trying to steal drop quarters or get everyone to try her game that she just made up.

Most everyone got to bed early – I think you’re not supposed to eat turkey after 8 because it just puts you in a coma. Mariel, Tyler and I played a game of Tribond (except we didn’t play by the rules and the game was fun but long). Dex ended up watching Lion King with Katie.

Tyler and I stayed up a good chunk of the night trying to fly our paper airplanes 12 feet across the kitchen and into a waste basket. He ended up landing one perfectly in at about 2am or so.

Next morning was SNOWING. SNOW… no kidding snow, everywhere. My mother made the most devastating huge amount of eggs with cheese. It was really kind of nausiating. Like 12 eggs in the /second/ one she put out.

Karissa got increasingly unpleasent as the morning progressed and the kids ended up leaving with some swan song drama. It was good to hang out with Tyler – he’s a good kid, doing much better then the last couple times I saw him. And Dex just lovers them a ton… he has lots of fun seeing them.

We had some snacky-cakes and hung out. Kristin ended up leaving for her boyfriend’s house or somewhere. Then Charlie, Dex and I went to the Natick office to clean out the office of as much stuff as we could fit in the Subaru. Of course in my opening up of the truck the bluetooth adapter popped out of the computer so my navigation didn’t work the first time my dad was in the car. The computer has been working great for a month or more… no problems. Then when I want to show it off… bllrt.

Brining Dex wasn’t a great idea, it was hard to keep him entertained and close. While I was wrestling with a piece of furniture he headed for the stairs and I yelled down to my dad that I was getting file cabinent and assumed that was good enough for a hand off… then when get to the office door Chuck was at the top of the stairs – I asked where Dex was and he said ‘he’s right down at the bottom’… I turned to the bay window and there’s Dex out across the parking lot near the road, talking to a couple girls that were walking on the sidewalk… sub-optimal hand off. I kept a closer tab on the kid from then on. The wagon did not hold as much as I thought it would – but way more then the Honda. I got to show off the navigation on the way home too, so that was good. Dex was a great chatting us up on the way home. And we listened to Elmo’s classical review one too many times.

When we got back, Mariel had clean out most of ‘our’ crap from the old garage that Chuck and I consequently filled up with crap from the office. We had some left-over turkey and I conked out on the carpet while everyone watched the disney “Aristocats“.

Here the details get shady… I think we may have gone to Brittany’s to see Mariel’s family and then came home. But honestly, all the stuff is running together. We came home and Dex was happy to be home finally. Although he was very tired he played with all his toys around the house until 10 or so.

The next day I putz the time away and in the evening we went back out to Stow to go to my 10 year class reunion. I had planned on writing my impressions of everything that happened that night, but then I remember that I handed out cards with this web address on it. I didn’t really have anything disparaging to say, but if I did, I wouldn’t journalize it. :)

I just verbed journal. The evening was pretty surreal. It was all very shockingly familiar and from another world. Kind of like visiting an alternate reality where everyone was represented by something you knew closely, but they had just advanced along an derivative path or something. I ended up getting sauced and bragging about my kid and the way people acted towards me was pretty much as I expected it was. I had ideas of getting to talk to people personally and you know, asking them about the past and try and actually get some insight into the past and what not. I didn’t… it was all very cool and superficial.

A couple of surprising things: Nothing really shocked me about the way people turned out – except that I had embelished the positive points of some of them in my memory. I found myself saying “that’s exactly how I remember person x” but ask me 10 years ago if they would turn out as crappy as they did and I would bet an apendage they would be cooler.

Ms. Folin showed up and said she was surprised I was married and had a 3 year old son because I was the least mature person in our class. She also said something about me being funny and making everyone laugh, but seriously that was all washed over with the least mature comment.

Mika (spelling) the exchange student from Germany came back and she was a trip to talk to. I remember trying to talk and connect with her back in highschool, but I probably talked too fast and was trying to joke and stuff, so it ended up that we rarely talked. But I got a chance to talk to her for a while because I was trying to “work” the room. That was the most informative of all the chats I had because I got to hear how I looked to a foreign exchange student back then. Everyone else I had probably gone to great lengths (and word counts) to manufacture a nice image of myself, but her’s was perspective untainted with any of my suggestions. She said that in high school I didn’t talk to anyone at all and was very “cool” – which I first took as a compliment, but as I play it back it was probably a translation problem and she probably meant “recluse” or “aloof” or “dorky”. :) This was funny: while I was talking to her, my “husband” insecurities kept popping into my head. She would keep a “european” conversational distance, and I would say to myself “hey this nice chick and I are smiling and talking close… where’s my wife” and I would take a step back. It was funny.

I had seen Keith and while back at Borders but didn’t have any time to talk because little Dex was on the run. I got to do the catch up with him.

I talked to Marco for a while. I remember us being good buddies – but I’m suspicious that everyone I thought was a buddy didn’t like me at all, and everyone I thought hated me had a crush on me. Turns out he sells “anti-piracy” technology. I did my best to be interested without paying attention to the details [because the technological premise is either complete bullshit or completely unethical]. It’s good that he can sell people that, but man… that concept is just odious from about every perspective. He seems like he’s pretty set up though in NYC and pretty happy.

I didn’t make it around the very tiny room fast enough and before I knew it people were packing it in. Then came the very surreal part – someone said that there was an Extreme reunion at the portugese club and that people were headed over there. I dug through my memory and found an old church/barn thing called the portugese club that I had gone to for some dance/bday party or something. I remember where it was and Mariel drove us there (I had two drinks and was more marinated then I’d been in a long time).

So we pull up to where I remember this place being – and there was a huge frigging building sitting in it’s place. Decked out to the hilt. It was massive and looked like a casino. Masses of people were parked all along the roads and it looked pretty packed. Inside was more impressive.

It felt like we were in a rich person’s ball room or something. Tons of people there. All from Hudson (and all that implies). We hung out more with the HCH people.

Throughout the night I was just totally smitten with Mariel. I don’t know if it was the contrast of the people there, but it felt like I had known and loved her longer then I had known any of these people. Funny how strongly I feel for her that she seems to leak back through my whole life.

Anywho… at one point the reunion people were sick of Nuno’s band and said that we should go downstairs to the lounge. We get in this elevator and there’s ten of us or so. Old hch people in a small space and no sound. It was mind blowing. We all looked 10 years older and trapped in a tiny box. We get out and take two turns and there’s this lounge – a full bar with a window over the river. This place was nuts.

There was Europe “The Final Count Down” blaring… there was Telemundo on the TV over the bar…. and Fox News was on the flat screen over the music station. Everyone there seemed to be looking at us sideways. I felt too tall and too fair haired to stray too far from the HCH people who knew their way around.

I brag about my kid some more to Matt, Eric, and Gregg – and finally we head home and get some well deserved sleep.

[rushing now... this is huge]

The next day we woke up and I found out that we were to head to brittany’s for some turkey leftovers. I also come to find out that Casey is in town and he’s leaving the next evening. So I tell him to give a call when he gets some time and we drive to Waltham (or is it Newton).

We go and visit and eat more and more food at Brittany’s. Dex was good, fun, and funny. But he ran out of gas and we head home. We all get home and crash for a nap. I wake up at 6pm and I think it’s 6am and I’m completely disoriented. The rest of the night goes quick. Turns out Casey fell asleep too and we’d see him the next day.

Sunday…. We clean all day and hang out. Run out to panera to get some food for the Muratoris because we think they are coming for lunch.

Around 2 or so I call Casey and we plan a hand off at Emerson because he’s not leaving for the airport until 6 or so. He comes over… we visit. It’s great to see him. I pass off some media to him. Dex shows off how incredible he is. Casey’s parents show up around 5 and we all sit around and shoot the bull until 6 and they take off.

A ton of stuff…. maybe I should get back to writing once a day. My wrists are killing me. :)

homebrew, autonomous, high altitude glider – hack a day – www.hackaday.com _

November 23rd, 2005

homebrew, autonomous, high altitude glider – hack a day – www.hackaday.com _
homebrew, autonomous, high altitude glider

original site: High Altitude Glider Project : Intro
High Altitude Glider Project

Reading this stuff makes me want to be like Art. It’s funny to me how a focused pursuit of just about any discipline to the point of mastery seems like living the Good Life TM – while I’m not really doing anythinng real well at all. It’s all so pointlessly defying the inevitability of our decay.

Ebay flame – burn bright, burn quick.

November 22nd, 2005

This whole ebay transaction may turn me off the experience despite all my best wishes.

Message-ID: <4383CE46.5020507@slowburn.net>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 21:04:54 -0500
Subject: Re: PLZ read it before shipping ebay item(5831290647 ) -Response

> Hi. there.
>
> I won your item on ebay and I have already paid for it.
> However I have purchased a lot on ebay so I need the recognize way.
> I’d like to give me your assistances.
>
> first, I’d like to write down the item number outside the package.
>
> Second, plz tell me the tracking number or confirm number with item number.

In an attempt to be as responsive as possible, I shipped the item out as
soon as you paid. I didn’t hear back from my ebay message sent on the
morning of Nov-21-05

For security reasons I have a special auction transaction ID that I use
instead of the ebay item number. Otherwise anyone could look up the ebay
transaction ID and know what was inside.

My auction transaction ID appears in the upper left corner of the
package label and reads as follows:

Matt Cornell
87 White st.
Belmont, MA 02478

If you see that code, you will know it’s the SGI keyboard (won with a $5
bid).

Thanks,
matt

Sell this!

November 22nd, 2005

I Ebayed.

We are moving out of our offices in Natick and we have lots of electronics laying about. I hate throwing stuff out. It may be something ingrained from watching my father pick any number of food things off the topic of the trash after I had thrown it out because “That’s still good! that fuzz is where pencillian comes from”.

Or it may be my love of electronics, gadgets, and stuff. Anyway before throwing stuff out I think to myself “someone must want that on the web”.

SGI keyboard

So I ebay this sucker and put an initial price of $5 on it…

I sold it for $5 and $4 handing and $10 shipping

It took me 20 minutes to carve up two boxes and then go out and buy 2 packing tapes for $14 and then spent an unexpected $13 on shipping

Big waste of time…. EXCEPT:

I didn’t throw electronics in the dumpster
and
a) didn’t waste stuff I like but can’t use/store and
b) didn’t put any more lead into the trash and
c) I didn’t have to pay for hazard waste

so I think I may have just squeaked out ahead of the game. I went to sell another one for $10. If it doesn’t sell, I’m out $.60 for the listing (and bolding).

Turkies March

November 21st, 2005

So the turkish march has won the battle… I can’t stand to hear it any more – and neither can Mariel. I have all the notes store away in my fingers, I just can’t for the life of me play them well at the same time all the time. Every once in a random moment I’ll play it almost tollerable, but most of the time it’s just frustrating.

As a place holder, I just recorded myself trying to play it for 10 minutes or so and then I cut out the best one of those takes. By best, I mean the one which contained the most correct notes (even if there’s bad notes between them) .

This is harsh listening – somewhat like going to a bullfight and cheering for the bull. It doesn’t go anywhere but thrashy:
the practice

best take from the lot

I need to leave this piece alone for a while and come back to it. I’ve used up my alloted minute of practice on it and I’ve gotten as far as it’ll go. I’m fairly confident that when I come back to it, I’ll be able to add in some dynamic volume and keep the pace constent. Oh yeah, AND hit all my keying.

One quick note about playing music that struck a familiar note with me while trying to forge through this piece was that getting up to speed with an instrument for me isn’t about getting technically perfect, but just not spazing out when I hear bad notes and correcting them. I know I’m getting better because I can play this piece and when I screw up (sometimes) I can just play through it without having to take a deep breath and reset. With that said, my modus operendi is definitely a “take it from the top” approach – I’m not trying to kid myself here. Some space will probably help me hear the melody that’s supposed to be played and not what I’m actually playing and it’ll gravitate towards the good stuff.

Christmas Carols

November 21st, 2005

Christmas Carols
Music for Pianos

midi music for pianos…

BBC NEWS | Health | How singing unlocks the brain

November 21st, 2005

BBC NEWS | Health | How singing unlocks the brain
How singing unlocks the brain
By Jane Elliott
BBC News Health reporter

The brain
Singing is thought to help the brain re-learn communication skills
As Bill Bundock’s Alzheimer’s progressed he became more and more locked into his own world.

He withdrew into himself and stopped communicating with his wife, Jean.

Synergy

November 21st, 2005

Synergy
synergy: [noun] a mutually advantageous conjunction of distinct elements

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It’s intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s).

Personal Training software

November 20th, 2005

I was thinking about my car computer and how I could make the voice prompts and recognition a little bit better. And I thought it would be a good idea to do a personal trainer software thing like that.

It would read you instructions on the next exercise to do and whatever, and then it would listen for you to count out reps. It could ask you what weight you were using or whatever – and then it could calc the speed at which you did the reps based on your counting.

Then you could download different exercises (which would just be a different set of instructions to read) and even rountines that would just be collections of exercises. You could also have the computer prompt you for which exercise you’d like to do next.

I imagine it would be a neat piece of software to develop, but no one would buy it because the majority of people who work out go to the gym and wouldn’t have a computer around… but as pocket pcs get more prevelent. Might be a good ide .

Jazz88 FM – The World’s Premier Jazz Radio Station, NYC and NJ

November 19th, 2005

Jazz88 FM – The World’s Premier Jazz Radio Station, NYC and NJ
The WBGO stream loads into a separate window