Wednesday, March 05, 2008

morning cappuccino...

Made this for Sabs the other morning before work... have I mentioned lately how much I love this machine?

Monday, February 25, 2008

still alive...

I'm still here, still alive, just busy with work and home life. Here's a picture from this weekend of our little family, out for a doggy play-date in the snow with Cozzie's new friend Callie.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Our new puppy, Cosworth:

Monday, September 03, 2007

a bit of an update, at long last...

Unfortunately, it's late, it's Labor Day, and I have to go to work in the morning... so this will be brief.

My last post was on May 15 (if you can even call it a post... and the last before that was six months prior)... since then, I've gotten married, quit one job, started another, and managed to bypass an entire summer without noticing.

The wedding was awesome and I'm now happily married to the woman of my dreams. Most of the people reading this were there when it happened, but for those of you who check in here every six months wondering if I've put up anything new, it might be a bit of news.

A week or so ago, I left my previous employer (where I had been for over six years). It was a tough decision, but the business was seeing some tough times and I could no longer deal with the stress and the mental and physical toll it was taking on me. I left on good terms, but that didn't make the last few days any easier... I'll miss everyone there, and I wish them the best in future endeavors.

As a result, I started my new job last week. I'm a senior software engineer at a new startup, doing some interesting work in virtual desktop delivery for enterprises. It's a completely new field for me, which has been alternately terrifying and exhilarating... I have to prove myself all over again, but the problems are new and interesting. The new job will allow us to relocate a bit farther south (to Massachusetts, unfortunately) so sabs has a shorter drive to work (fortunately). The new apartment will also let us get a dog, and will put us closer to some of our friends.

I hope to be posting a little more often from here on out, but we all know how that goes. Eventually, I hope to revamp the website in its entirety. I set up a new server and want to migrate most of my projects and content over there, and probably de-emphasize the blog portion of the site (since I'm so atrocious at maintaining it).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


mrnf. that is all.

Monday, November 27, 2006


These twelve hour workdays have to stop. I feel like my brain is about to just shut off, whether I'm in bed or not.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

long holiday weekends...

I love weekends. I especially love long weekends. I took a few extra vacation hours on Wednesday of last week, so I have had five straight days of weekend. With the holiday, of course, things were way too busy to actually enjoy the time off... Wednesday was filled with errands and cleaning the apartment, Thursday was driving through torrential rain to RI to visit with family, Friday was spent doing wedding info-gathering, board games with the family, and the trip back to NH. Saturday was mostly relaxing, but the evening was a little crazy, as Sabs's brother and his roommate were able to stop by on their way back to NJ. Today started with our regular weekend breakfast, was followed by some quality TV watching, a woodworking project (a plant stand for the tall-ish and unbalanced palm tree in our apartment to allow it to stand away from a wall), grocery shopping, cooking dinner (pan-seared fresh atlantic salmon with garlic-dill shrimp, along with fresh steamed brussels sprouts), and some more TV.

I don't want to go back to work tomorrow, but after a weekend like this, I'm in as good a mood as can possibly be expected.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I feel like I've just had a lobotomy. I've spent the better part of the day fiddling with JavaScript, particularly trying to get an oddball new feature in Firefox 2.0 working, triggered from a bookmarklet. The indiosyncracies of XPCOM/XPConnect security models, JavaScript, incapability of relative paths with the file:/// URI (particularly with respect to variant drive letters in a portabilized browser installation), and user preference manipulation have left me feeling virtually powerless to actually do anything useful with Firefox. It certainly makes me feel like I have no marketable skills in a "Web 2.0" economy. *shudder*

Friday, November 24, 2006

on family, the beach, and wedding plans...

Today was yet another good day. I slept poorly at my parents' house (as is typical, given the foreign bed and the constant, low level noise that starts at 5AM), but was greeted in the morning by three deer in the backyard and a large breakfast. In this case, breakfast was prepared for 5 1/2 people (the 1/2 person being my nephew Dale), and comprised some fifteen eggs, a substantial block of cheese, and the chopped crudités from the day prior. Later in the day, a large plate of leftover turkey and mashed potatoes served as lunch, followed by a slice of apple-crisp pie and chunk of sabs's phenomenal dark chocolate flourless torte, both topped with unsweetened homemade whipped cream.

Apparently, my family managed to polish off an entire 27 pound turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, green beans, creamed onions, two apple pies, a pumpkin pie, and the aforementioned torte in almost precisely 24 hours from start to finish. We are professionals. Do not try this at home.

The day also brought a visit to the beach club to get measurements and photos to prepare decorations for the wedding. Actually, it was two trips, as the first one was cut short by a somewhat urgent call from my brother, who, upon traveling over a large bridge, had suffered a seized brake caliper (along with the full complement of smoke, flame, and semi-metallic reek), and wanted to have someone along his return route to the house with a fire extinguisher in case things got out of hand. This actually ended up being rather fortuitous, as our second visit to the beach club was more fruitful, as there was a man setting up decorations for a wedding and let us in the building to perform our reconnaisance.

The afternoon was filled with an absolutely epic game of Trivial Pursuit. Now, we decided to be adventurous and try the Millenium Edition, which, in retrospect, was a bad idea. The poorly composed questions, coupled with anywhere from four to six players (depending on attrition), all in a leftover-induced tryptophan haze, resulted in a game that lasted for nearly four straight hours. Next time, it's back to the Genus-style questions.

The drive back was calm, easy, and remarkably empty, and sabs and I are back in our own home, with our own bed, and most importantly, our own peace and quiet.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


turkey. pie. chocolate torte. family. scrabble. more pie. exhausted.

Good night all, and I hope you had a Thanksgiving as good as mine.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

recipe for disaster...

Take one part wild errand-running (for the upcoming holiday), add one part of your future brother-in-law visiting your home with his roommate in tow, add a pinch of Mexican dinner (and the attendant late-night flatulence), margaritas, a healthy dram of scotch whisky, and fire up a movie...

That's Ken (sabs's younger brother) smiling maniacally, and his roommate Andrew (the one who's passed out). Oh yeah, it's a good night.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Searching for fonts is really fucking annoying. I want the last hour of my life back.

Monday, November 20, 2006

on welcoming the wandering readers...

First off, I'd like specifically welcome Rashenbo (who, as if she didn't have enough going on, what with trying to write a novel, post to her blog every day, and dealing with typical holiday stress, has decided to orchestrate a complete review of all of the blogs participating in NaBloPoMo). I know that in the next day or two, she'll likely be scanning across this blog, most likely after already reading sabominator's site (conveniently placed at the top of the "S" group). Yes, sabs and I sit together every night in the apartment and blog together. It's rather touching, in an antisocial, geeky love sort of way.

In other news, it looks like I'll be out in NorCal during the first half of December for work. We'll be visiting with some potential partner companies in the San Jose area, and it'll give me an opportunity to, hopefully, visit with Kurt, and possibly even my old college friend Ryan and chat about virtual reality and neuroscience over a cup of coffee.

Also, pursuant to my commitment earlier this month to try and do more photography, I've recharged the batteries in my 20D and wrapped some tape around the zoom ring on my Sigma 17-35mm, keeping it locked at 30mm, and have made space for it in my bag. I figure that if I'm happy with the stuff I start getting with that lens, I can justify buying the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 that's been plucking at my heartstrings. I plan to start uploading stuff to Flickr a bit more often, too.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

random links of the day...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

the good things, the bad things...


  • waking up on a crisp, fall morning under a soft, flannel-covered comforter

  • being a "regular" at your local diner, and they know your order without asking

  • dark chocolate and fresh truffles from the local chocolatier


  • starting to come down with the plague that has afflicted all of those around me

  • accidentally breaking sabs's brand new windshield

At least the weekend isn't over yet.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I miss my camera(s). I've been so busy with work and life that I've barely touched any of my photo gear in many months. The last time I did any real work was back in July at Lime Rock Park, and before that, in June up in Montreal. My batteries are long discharged, the memory cards empty, and the lenses dusty. I managed to miss the New England autumn and all of the colors, and I'm starting to really miss pressing that shutter.

As I was driving south on Main Street through downtown Nashua today, I saw all of the beautiful lights that have been put up on the trees and light poles in preparation for next weekend's holiday "stroll" (apparently something of a Nashua tradition). It struck me how beautiful the winter can be up here... and the snow hasn't even started to fall yet. Previous winters have left me feeling completely lacking for subjects... the monochromatic world, lit only for brief daylight hours through thin clouds... but there's a special beauty, in the details, that I think I'd like to try and capture this year.

Hell, I carry a camera bag every day, full of miscellaneous gear, notebooks, chargers, the PSP, etc... I think I'm going to take this weekend and get my 20D settled with a single lens, and start bringing it with me every day, and maybe have some shots to post up here as time goes on. We'll see.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

we are young... heartache to heartache...

I'm too tired to post anything worthwhile. I'll just inform you that I have Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield stuck in my head. It's not nearly as bad as you might think.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

it's a video game system, people!

The scene outside of my local Best Buy here in Nashua, NH is one of rampant capitalist opportunism, crippling nerdity, desperation, abuse of sick time, and widespread unemployment. A line of forty people or so have lined up outside the doors, awaiting the release of the Playstation 3. The weather forecast calls for rain and gusty winds for the next few days, leading up to the Friday morning release of the system. These folks get to wait outside in the inclement weather for a chance... a very small chance... to get a video game system.

Don't get me wrong... if there was a single decent launch title for the system, and I had $600 in my pocket with nothing else to spend it on, and suddenly lost all self-respect, I'd be sitting in that line. At this point, of the people in that line, no more than twenty or so are actually going to get to purchase a system. Sony will be lucky to deliver even half of its target number of systems for the launch, and a good number of these people are aiming to flip these systems on eBay.

The people in line aren't the only ones lining up to make a quick buck this week. Best Buy is taking advantage of the fact that the system only ships with a composite video cable to gouge people on HDMI and component video cables. We're talking about 1000% markup. Some retailers, like WalMart, are taking advantage of Sony's complete failure to meet demand by selling much-loathed "bundle" packs, where you have to buy a stack of accessories and crappy games, to the tune of nearly $1500, just to get your hands on a system. I mean, I've never looked forward to a system launch before... I got a Playstation 2 secondhand in 2003, and a PSP from a bankruptcy liquidation sale back in August. I'm stingy.

I guess if I was younger, holding daddy's credit card, trying to get my grubby little paws on a system like this to take to college, paid for by my trust fund, and the only thing I was missing by sitting in front of a big-box store for a week was a couple of algebra classes, maybe I'd understand. But I'm old, paying my own credit card bills, working full time, haven't had an actual vacation from work in five years, and I've got a wedding to pay for.

Maybe I'm bitter. Maybe I'm justifying why I won't have a PS3 for a few months. Maybe I'm just surprised that the predictions of multi-day campouts for this launch are actually coming true. Mostly, though, I'm just happy that I'm going to sleep in my own bed tonight, dry, warm, and with someone I love more than anything in the world... and that's better than any video game can ever try to be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

attachment disorder...

I absolutely despise email attachments.

The external mail server for my work email is notoriously unreliable, often going down for days at a time with no warning or explanation. It's also hideously slow, particularly during normal business hours.

Now, I'm one of those very geeky types who likes to use IMAP to access everything, which keeps the email on the server and manipulates it all in-place. Regardless of what computer I might be using, all my mail is right there and easily accessible.

The problem is, I get a steady stream of attachments coming in to my work account. Mostly, this is due to the fact that we have no centralized file service, a barely functional VPN capability, and limited web space. Our office internet connection is a (relatively) slow DSL line, so we can't host things on site. My boss also loves to send attachments, even when sending links, or notices about changes to content or documents available over the local network.

This would all be just fine if the mail server didn't suck large, hairy, donkey testicles. Instead, ten or twenty megabytes of attachments sprinkled through my Inbox is apparently sufficient to bring my entire IMAP session to its knees. Luckily, Thunderbird has some really neat features to cope with attachments, including selectively removing the attachment from the original message and deleting it, while keeping the message on the server. This is all well and good, but it unfortunately requires downloading the entire message, including attachment(s), before it can remove the offender. Furthermore, it doesn't have any sort of batch mode, so you have to delete the attachments from the messages one at a time.

Naturally, over the office DSL connection (which achieves what I can only describe as near-ISDN bandwidth), this is a long and arduous process under the best of circumstances. Under circumstances like today, where the IMAP connection was randomly dropping and the mail server was wedging solid and failing to respond for minutes at a time, it's infuriatingly slow.

What ever happened to just emailing text, for pete's sake?

Monday, November 13, 2006

blogger is a big pile of poop...

Just making it clear... this post, and the one before it, were both submitted to Blogger before the end of the day... but Blogger is having one of its typical publishing failure issues... so they likely won't show up until tomorrow. Meh.

new bookmark of the day...

BLDGBLOG. There's a part of me, deep down, that really loves architecture. The contributors to the site manage to capture that fascinating dichotomy between the cold, structured nature of edifice and the warm soul of the humanity that dwells within and amongst the constructions. Great stuff.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

on whisky and lurking...

First off, I'll say that some of the more overwrought jokes on Family Guy make way more sense after a drink... or three. Or what you thought was one, but due to the strange warping of space time that occurs when you use a double old-fashioned glass instead of your normal spirit glass, and you're pouring cask strength, it ends up being substantially more than you expected. One of the consequences of such a mistake is that you'll want to mention that your post was brought to your readers by "Peat, Barley, and the Letter L." You'll notice that I resisted the urge. Mostly.

Anyway, I also received my first anonymous comment on this blog. It was in reference to my creation of a farting stuffed hippo, modeled after Bert of NCIS fame. Now, understand, the other night, I was thinking about how, even with this NaBloPoMo business, I get the distinct feeling that I'm updating my blog for a virtually nonexistent audience. I know that a few people, mostly close friends and family, read this... but I've assumed that it lacks the requisite panache of the more urbane, topical, or entertaining journals and blogs that get more broad readership. My impression is now being challenged by reality.

In that vein, I'd like to welcome any and all odd readers floating out there in blog readership land, and invite them to comment here. Who knows? I might just keep this thing going with regular updates, even after November is gone.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

slipping in under the wire...

There's precious little that can make a man more content than a couple of drinks with friends and some good mexican food for dinner... but I'm there... and I'm not about to waste this kind of mood sitting at the keyboard.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Nothing like biting a chunk out of your own lip in the midst of over-enthusiastic consumption of raw fish. I'm so tired that my jaw failed to recognize the difference in texture between my own flesh and lighly seared mackerel. The weekend is long overdue.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

the occasional anachronist

First off, the title might lead you to think that I'm some kind of Lego warrior... I'm not. My only uses for duct tape and PVC pipe are for automotive and household repairs.

Anyway, in the midst of a twelve-hour workday, starting with an hour-long conference call and ending with zoning out on a leather couch watching our CFO give a presentation to investors, I realized something rather odd. I love paper.

Sure, I'm a computer programmer, and the vast majority of my work output (and recreational, for that matter) comes in those all-too-ephemeral forms of ASCII text in files, bytes in executables, and pixels on the screen... with each vertical sync of the monitor, each tick of the CPU clock, the things I do come and go. Whether it's love notes to my sweetheart, blog posts, photos of friends or some event, or simply some silly video clip, virtually everything I look at, modify, create, tweak, or interact with is electronic.

But when it comes time to read a book, jot down some notes, or draw up plans for some sort of project, I inevitably reach for that ancient ink or graphite on dried wood pulp.

There's very little better in this world than sitting in your home on a rainy autumn weekend, curling up under the blankets with someone you love, and opening up an old hardcover book... when you can identify your favorite novels not by appearance or title, but by weight and smell. New books, old books, fresh books, used books... I especially love the used books. When I was living in Ann Arbor, there were so many used bookstores around, and there were all sorts of titles that you'd never find anywhere else... I'll never forget finding my copy of William Gibson's Virtual Light... impeccable condition, likely only read once... with slightly yellowed pages and an absolutely wonderful smell... like memories of the basement as a child, and your first ping pong table, of laundry lint and fresh cut lumber, with just a dash of tool oil and aging vinyl records.

I've tried so many portable devices, from my ten year old PalmPilot to the Playstation Portable, and none of them can even approach the portability, flexibility, and relaxation of a printed book. The new e-Ink displays might come close, but they'll never smell like a good book.

For drawing, brainstorming, doodling, or notetaking, I find myself reaching for a drafting leadholder and my four-square-per-inch graph paper notebook. Such an elegantly intuitive interface, so open-ended... I use graph paper because regular lined paper always seems to be missing a dimension. I don't use pens because ball-points give a horribly erratic feel when you write with them, and the other designs leave nasty blotches that soak through the layers whenever you pause, mid-stroke, to think. Most mechanical pencils feel like such a compromise... the lead is too thin for some things, too thick for others. The tips break, the leads jam, you can't shade with them... a good drafting lead holder gives all the benefits of a classic wooden pencil, but in a sleek, modern, and elegant package.

I know this seems rather odd and rambling, but that's the kind of mood my brain is in right now. It's actually rather incongruous with some of my actions, such as suggesting to sabs that we send our wedding invitations electronically. My timesheets at work, to-do lists, directions to destinations... I handle them all electronically, even though most normal people do them on paper. I'm not precisely sure why, but it seems that if I want the most direct and unmoderated access to my brain, whether input or output, it's best done on paper.

I'm off to bed, armed with a good book.

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