Archive for July, 2007

Fires and Kites

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Today was a different in a good way day. There was an actual fire at work, something small in one of the semiconductor labs in my building. It was a bit strange, the first fire truck arrived, and then a few minutes later a second one, and then a third. By the time the third one showed up 10min into the ordeal we knew it was not a drill or a farce. The whole thing took maybe an hour and a half, but it canceled the 2:00 meeting that I decided I should goto. That, of course, got me off the hook that I personally hooked myself on, and it was a good thing.

When I got back to the office there was an e-mail about flying kites with camera’s over Boston with the guy from xkcd. Which, having missed the first time around, I was determined to goto. I ended up driving all the way to campus (default reference for the word campus has been changed to MIT’s main campus; consider this the memo), which violates my rule of not driving closer to the city than my apartment. But I was running late as it was and it was hot and humid and unhappy out so I drove, which also meant I wasn’t conspicuously carrying my acrobatic kite on the T (which I would totally do now, just hours later). It took me too long to find a parking spot where I could reasonably believe that I would not be towed or ticketed, but it was worth it as my car was still there when I went back for it 5 hours later. Not 5 hours of flying kites, a group from the kite flying went to dinner and then to play guitar hero at an MIT dorm. Not my first time in one, see the fireworks post. But this time I met a lot of new people, including some of those responsible for the hack at the xkcd @ MIT talk. Everyone was quite friendly, and well I’m sure I’ll be wishing I’d even attempted to goto MIT for undergrad if I hang out with MIT undergrads any more. I think I can deal with that.

So the kite flying, well I showed up a bit late, but just in time for writing on the kite in case it was lost, complete with URL, email, and of course a comic, of a kite being flow with the URL and email on it. On the first test flight the kite crashed into Simmons Hall, but it was able to relaunch from there with only some manipulation of the line and was safely recovered. That building, by the way, uses 1 foot square windows to make it seem huge and far away, its a very interesting illusion and it works well. Meeting Randell was cool, I didn’t actually meet him at the MIT talk because, I was rather busy that day, and he was swamped with adoring fans. Today he was really interested in meeting everyone.

Eventually there will be pictures at from this run of the kite. As you will see from the pictures the kite few much father into Cambridge than it did last time. By all estimates the kite got higher than the first attempt, and definitely more string was let out. In the end it crashed onto the track/football field which was out of sight from the athletic fields, but recoverable!

Next time they go kite flying, which may be this weekend if it occurs before I have to leave for Vegas for work on Sunday, I am going to be flying my little acrobatic kite, that I keep in my car at all times. Yes that’s right I get to spend my birthday in Vegas on the office dime, score! Oh, or maybe you found it strange that I keep a kite in my car at all times, but why would that be strange? I really need to decide how I plan to protect the kite for my trip (via airplane) to the Outer Banks in a few weeks, any suggestions? This post really feels like I could just do a lot of free association and delve off into many other topics, but I think I’ll just save those for another time.

July Fourth Fireworks 2007

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

After too much searching I finally ended up with an actual plan to go see the traditional July 4th Fireworks on the charles rivier. I went to a BBQ with Jed and Post at Eastgate apartments, which is an MIT dorm like place. Jed is firends with some people who live there, most of whom I’d randomly met before. Jed and I watched the fireworks from the top floor, 28th, of the tower, but others from the BBQ opted to watch from the river side in the rain. Aparently it was raining both water, and fireworks rocket shells, so I was glad to be inside. The show was pretty sweet and included fireworks shaped like cubes, and some really awesome bright white lines that were suspended from parachutes.

There was maybe an hour or so between the end of the 1812 overture, which ends with a small fireworks display on the river, and the start of the live nationally broadcast fireworks. Durring that time I was surprised to see multiple different fire works shows taking place in the city itself. It looked like they launched some from Copley sqaure. It took a while for me to deterime that they were actual fireworks and not some projected on some kind of tempoary outdoor screen. But there were other fireworks as well from farther away, possibly the south end, or who knows where. They were just rising over the buildings between the John Hancock and Prudential towers, so wherever that might be.

I did a lot of walking, at least 5 miles worth by my estimates during the day. I was egar to get out of the house and so ended up at the BBQ like 2 hours early. So I killed the time walking around taking in the sites. I also walked home from the fireworks because I didn’t get to Kendal station ahead of the pack and didn’t particularly want to wait in that long a line. Although, it was probally still faster to take the T; I did have firends to walk with and no one to stand in line with, so I walked.

Familar Music

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

My new computer is so quiet that I can now spy on my bedroom window neighbors’ tv viewing habits. Well just the audio portion, which is currently playing some very familiar sci fi and/or science documentary music that I can’t quite place. It could be X-files, it could be something by Caral Sagan, it could be something else. If only I was enough of a music person to be able to turn the tune in my head into notes so there’d be some possibility of figuring it what it is! Or I could just ask them through the window, but that seems creepy. Why isn’t there an xkcd about this kind of thing?

In other news: Turns out that the loudest part of my old machine was the 13Gb hard drive I was using for the OS. Its been chugging along without a hitch since 1999 so I guess it’s earned the right to be loud. I’ve successfully saved all of my data from my 1 year old dying drive at this point, RMA request here I come. *Insert comment about just not making them like they used to here.*Update: I have confirmed that it was indeed music from the X-files, which, I never watched, and is not on my to get/watch list, but somehow I know the music.

Dinner in the North End

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Antico Forno Chris, of liquidorange founding member fame, and Elsa, also of liquidorange fame are now in Boston. We went out for dinner in the North End to Antico Forno tonight. It was good to see them, and well to go explore a new restaurant. We split two pizzas which, while yummy, were strangely not filling.

I was also formally introduced to Mike’s Pastries and cannolies. I had a yellow cream one, it was really good, although I sadly was unable to consume all the scrumptious cream before it got all over the wax paper and there was no more shell remaining. It was good, but I can’t recall if that is the place Erik recommended or if thats the place everyone else recommends and he recommend some other place. All I remember is that he recommended a place other than the one everyone recommends. It was a really excellent ~65 deg. F. night in the city, its July, my birth month, and possibly the best weather I’ve ever experienced during it so it was great to have something to do to take advantage.