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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A full year
 
Today marks one year at BASES for me. The time has flown by and it is hat to believe that St. Patricks Day is upon us again. Hopefully the commuting traffic this week will be as light as last year. My whole first week we made it back into the city in record time every evening.

I'm looking forward to another year of learning lots and excessive optimism :)

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Square root day is here
 
Cut some corners on your turnips because Square root day is here! We only get 9 of these every century, so take the occasion to celebrate while you can.

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Monday, January 26, 2009
Gynandropmorphs
 
It's not everyday that you get to see such interesting examples of gynandromorphisms. Even the birds can do it too.

And interestingly, I just learned that order Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) has an interesting sex determination system, whereby the male / female outcome is determined by the number of 'X' chromosomes present, rather than the presence of a Y chromosome. Additionally, it is the males that have 2 (or more) X's, and the females that have only 1 X. Apparently many birds and insects share this system.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008
Read this book
 
I could have started with "steal this book" which was one of the many inspirations for Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother". However, as he offers this book for free via a creative commons license, it wouldn't really be stealing now would it?

Little Brother is set in the near future, where the liberties and freedoms we know today, already reduced by the government's response to 9/11, are further curtailed in the face of a fresh terrorist attack. The story chronicles the fight wrought on the streets of San Francisco to regain these liberties and stop the totalitarian control of the DHS.

Through innovative use of the ubiquitous technology of the time our protagonists chronicle their fight, their triumphs and their heartbreaking losses. A powerful tribute to the way our world could have been (and might very well end up) this novel is a must read for anyone interested in freedoms lost and found in the face of terrorism, the subculture of hackers or even just those with an insatiable desire to know or figure out how things work.

Download a copy today or purchase the dead (but recycled) tree version at your local book store.

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Monday, December 15, 2008
The Christmas countdown
 
Growing up just a stone throw from New York meant that we often came into the city, even in the traffic-heavy month of December. One staple, for as long as I can remember, has been the countdown to Christmas, as seen underneath the Panasonic billboard on the ramp to the Lincoln tunnel. As a commuter who drives by this daily, I expected to see it up now that the cooler months have come and the holidays are just around the corner.

Imagine my surprise then when the bus pulls around the ramp as it spirals down towarda the gaping tunnel mouths, and not seeing this classic countdown looming overhead. How will I know how many shopping days remain till the holiday is upon us.

Of course, I now just pull up amazon's home page where I can see how many days left I have to get free super shipping before Christmas.

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Friday, December 12, 2008
Titles
 
Naming things, especially personal things, has always been tough for me. Whether it was coming up with a screen name back in days of old or a personal domainname more recently, it has never been easy. I believe that this has to do with my inner perception that these names must somehow be a total embodiement of who I am.

As a result I usually fall back on my name, as it is in one sense, one of the few things that can in some way sum me up. While logically I know the fallacy of this, I can't help but let it influence my thoughts and actions in these situatons.

In cases where my name wasn't chosen (such as smallwalls) it took a long time for me to be comfortable putting my thoughts down under this name in their totality due to my inability to let the name stand for the whole. More recently I've come to at least understand this tendency and am working on moving past these limitations.

We'll see how things go as I try to expand the writing beyond the ins and outs of daily life.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Lots of thanks to give
 
Thanksgiving this year will be one event after another. First up, on Thursday morning, is the third annual lunch at Alyssa's school for those in her community that might not have a full thanksgiving coming to them. After that we will hop a train up to Westchester for thanksgiving day dinner with Alyssa's cousins. Then on Friday we will be heading out to New Jersey for dinner at my mom's house with almost 40 of our closest family and friends. My job for that evening is the desserts although I was spared the hasle of transporting pies by the always useful Costco.

My brother will likely return to the city with me on Friday and we'll spend some of Saturday together before Alyssa and I head out to Dirt Candy for her birthday dinner (it is actually on Friday). Then Sunday will be a lunch with my dad's side of the family at a tbd location. All in all a busy few days off with not too much time in there to relax.

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Friday, November 21, 2008
No product placement, I swear
 
The iphone is amazing. What other device would let me touch type with impunity, weigh next to nothing and let me post here while sitting on the bus on he way to NJ. I highly recommend it.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Snow?
 
It is just after noon on October 28 and it started snowing. Been a long time since I've seen real snow in October!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Cosmo's Moon
 
I got a ride home from work this evening, and as Meli and I were driving along Route 3, just before the Meadowlands, when a gigantic full moon came up over the horizon, peeking between the construction projects. It's been a long time since I've seen a moon like that.

The last time I can remember where I saw something comparable was just at sundown, on the western coast of Australia, just a few kilometers outside of the Hutt River Province Principality. We climbed a steep dirt road, and just as we reached the peak, a blinding red light caught us by surprise. Uncertain as to the cause of this phenomenon, we eventually realized it was the sun, just as it was setting, and appearing at least five times its normal size.

Definitely an experience that you miss when you ride the bus.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008
MP3 Experiment 5
 
Just spent a misty day on Governor's Island for this years MP3 experiment. I got to the island a couple hours before the 3:15pm start, and enjoyed wandering through the buildings and examining the various sculptures placed strategically throughout the island. There was also a miniature golf course that was set up with some of the craziest holes ever seen in a mini golf course. The 4 heads collective was running an art show there as well, with 4 floors of incredibly striking visual, audio and sensory art crammed into the twisting corridors of an old house.

At quarter after 3 I join approximately 1.5 bajillion others, with a blue shirt and headphones on, and pressed play. Steve, the omnipotent voice from above, joined us as he has for 5 years now, and we were led on a journey that started with stretching progressed through thumb war, umbrella spinning, human twister and tetris, and culminated in an epic battle. This battle featured everyone in blue and green shirts on one side, while those dressed in red and yellow were on the other. We inflated our balloons (swords were a definite no) and lined up for a charge that definitely would have turned a Redcoat (and actually, it did since half our opponents were in red).

Heroes, villains and one giant furry bear died noble deaths at the hands of the balloon filled onslaught. But after the battle was done, we lay in the field as one, meditating and relaxing as Steve said his goodbyes and we were left to wander the island again, sans headphones.

We shuffled off towards the ferries, taking pictures, laughing and slowly coming back to reality. Another year, another mp3 experiment completed.

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Monday, July 28, 2008
Summering in Ipswitch
 
Just spent a lovely weekend up at Ipswitch MA with Alyssa's cousins. Between the good food and wine and 'Ye Olde Ipswitch Days' (don't ask) and meeting lots of interesting people I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Plus her little cousin Katie is just adorable. The only downside was how quick the weekend went (other than almost missing the last train from Boston to Ipswitch due to a very delayed bus ride from NY.

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Friday, May 30, 2008
The Dingeldein House
 
Alyssa and I spent Memorial Day weekend enjoying all that the Pennsylvania Dutch have to offer. We stayed in a bed and breakfast called The Dingeldein House, picked solely for the name of course.

For two days we raced women on scooters and horses and buggies up the hilly roads of Lancaster County. We also tried a variety of local foods at a food festival (although we preferred the local beers they had over the food, with the exception of Whoopie Pie). There was also plenty of shopping for quilts, candles, and other handmade goods, although we tried to restrain ourselves as much as possible.

Overall it was a fun weekend, and despite a few mishaps (including our innkeeper recommending we walk through a bad neighborhood and past the local jail to a restaurant a couple of miles away) we managed to make it out no worse for the wear.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008
Party like it's...
 
On the way home from May's 90's party, which by the way was lots of fun with tons of great music, I got on the subway and sitting there before me was a girl who was the spitting image of Ms. Farshtey, my Latin teacher from High School, same long red hair and all. Of course if the similarities had stopped there it wouldn't be that interesting, but she was of course talking about Latin with her companion.

She was frustrated that so few people have read the Aeneid, and that she would be happy even if they would just read it in English. Stepping back, she wondered how so many people could miss the references to Virgil in classic literary treasures throughout the ages. Eventually their conversation shifted to less Latin-oriented topics, but it was just one of those odd throwback to the 90's kind of nights.

Hopefully I'll make it to bed without any further run-ins with any of those 90's trends we all wish we could forget!

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