guitar circle

After attending the MIT forum last night the stars all finally aligned properly and I had an opportunity to see and hear my friend DavidK‘s Guitar Circle New England. They were the live music at the Thirsty Ear on the MIT campus and since I was already there I had no excuses. The music was really nice. The five-piece band consists of all hollow-body, 6-string, steel-string guitars and the players follow the methodology of Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft using New Standard Tuning. This makes for wonderful arrangements with relatively wide dynamic range for guitar-only pieces. I particularly liked the arrangements of traditional “Morning Has Broken” that used some of the guitar melodies found in Cat Stevens’ famous version and the slow melodious “Love Is Green” from Jeff Beck’s seminal Wired album. I don’t know any of the other pieces played but they ranged from contemporary classical to traditional classical to some serious King Crimson/ Robert Fripp sounding material. If you are a fan of guitar music and have never heard a Guitar Craft group play then definitely seek out Guitar Circle New England.

tumbling in new orleans

As some of you know I spend a considerable amount of my volunteer time with a high school youth group at the Unitarian Universalist church in Arlington. Next week thirty-seven of us will be in New Orleans to work on a service project in the ongoing efforts to rebuild after hurricane Katrina. I have set up a Tumblr and, network coverage willing, I will be posting some stuff there during the week. Feel free to take a peek.

chaliceyouthinno2009 dot tumblr dot com

I am trying to keep this particular site off the search engines, hence the lack of real URL

near mux

nf_logo.gifA while back Hieronymus posted about a nice web resource called Muxtape. I’ve used it now on a few occasions to share songs with friends. Today I am wishing I was getting ready for NEARFest this weekend so I decided to put together a muxtape from this year’s NEARFest artists. Most of these tracks are available on the official site but I thought it would be fun to put them one from each artist together as a “tape” to share. NEARFest is an annual weekend-long progressive rock festival in Bethlehem PA. Unlike the Bonnaroo inspired trend this is a very civilized, indoor event with one stage and a tight lineup of progressive rock artists. In addition there are a couple of vending rooms where one can waste a lot of money on hard-to-find music. I went for the first time last year with DavidK. He is kind of busy this year so he couldn’t go and my schedule made it difficult too. Oh well for now juts listen to the good music and maybe next year….


pic213590_t.jpgThe other day my older son came home with some homework that involved doing some history research. He had to look up some information online on Hannibal’s famous war-elephant march on the Roman Empire. Being the good father that I am I mentioned to him that there is a very highly rated game that acts out some of the history around the Second Punic War. This, of course, was a great “reason” for me to finally invest in the new reprint of that game, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. I’ve actuially never played it but I’ve  now walked through almost all the rules and am ready to go through some of it with him. He seems mildly interested but, even though he is an avid Magic: the Gathering player, heavy rule sets tend to intimidate him. Of course I would love the opportunity to play with some of the real experts out there that I know occasionally read this blog.


I have two of my friends to thank for some recent hours solving some serious puzzles.

Fisrt I want to thank DougO for sharing with me that the Atlantic Monthly has published all of their cryptic crosswords for free online. I started with the most recent one and am working my way back wards in time. These are great for riding the bus and subway as the single sheet is quite compact. I am particularly happy in that as of today I have completely solved (without cheating) two out of the first six I tried.

Secondly, against my better judgment, I am following Aaron’s lead and dipping my toe into I am in way over my head with most of these but I’ve got the first two with some very simple spreadsheet filling. In doing these, I also created a rather fun (for me) interactive Sieve of Eratosthenes spreadsheet. Unfortunately MOD(600851475143, n) is beyond the capability of my spreadsheet. It looks like I need to shake off some cobwebs and do some coding for number 3.


search_result.gifFor the first time in my dozens of years of subscribing to the weekly science newsmagazine Science News I actually know someone whose work was referenced in one of the articles. My friends and former colleagues from ADL Peter Stark,  Allison Halleck (previously mentioned here) and Dale Larson have done some ground-breaking work in optical imaging on a very small scale – smaller than the diffraction limit. Pretty impressive work. Peter and I have our names together on a patent on some work we did on treating a biological fluid with light a number of years ago. He has been working with photons for quite some time and it is great to see Peter and Allison getting their years of hard work published in a serious technical journal like the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. I’m very proud to have worked with them.

real pop!tech

logo_94px.gifIn the "all I got was this t-shirt" category…for a number of years now I have wanted to go to Pop!Tech, the annual conference on technology and culture held in Camden Maine. I was introduced to Pop!Tech by a former colleague and friend, Renee Blodgett, who was doing PR for the speech recognition company I was working for at the time. Well that year I could not go but she brought me back a great t-shirt (black with that year’s slogan "get real" on the front in white, plain sans-serif text  and the Pop!Tech logo on the back). I still have not been able to get the time to attend. This year Renee is one of the "official" live bloggers from the conference, going on right now. She always has some good insight into the crossroads of technology and culture and so far she has been shining with informative posts on a large number of of the speakers at Pop!Tech. Now I guess I’ll have to donate at Kiva and read Stephen Pinker’s newest book.


DSCN2816.JPGWe had to put our cat Tasha to sleep today. In the fall of 1990 Stephanie and I had been married and living in our house for a year and we felt it was time to add another presence. Since we are both cat people and as it turned out we were a good six years away from wanting children, we decided that a kitten would be the best choice. We went to the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem and picked up beautiful, almost perfect Tortise-shell kitten. Having been grieving over the demise of one of our favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation characters the previous season, we decided that Tasha was a good name (better than Worf anyway). Tasha was best described by my friend Bruce as a “roving knick-knack”. She never got in your way, she was always just part of the things in the room. I can’t help imagining that just like her namesake, there is some parallel universe somewhere where Paul and Stephanie only had Tasha for a very short period before some “skin of evil” takes her life…fortunately for us we live in the universe where Tasha lived a good long time.


Reality can be refreshing sometimes. Today I met Bradley Whitford of (West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip fame…neither of which have I watched) at the Unitarian Church I attend. I am a friendly with his brother, David, who is a  writer, Arlington resident, and a member of First Parish UU of Arlington where I go with my family. David’s wife and I taught the Coming of Age class together two years ago and I am a youth advisor for both of their teenage daughters. Bradley was in town for a big family gathering they have every year…. So there I was chatting with him when he introduced me to his three children. He then noticed that his 8 year-old had cake all over his face. “Go get a napkin and wipe of your face” he said sternly, echoing the same thing I said moments earlier to my almost 8-year-old. I guess it doesn’t matter what we do for a living, we always have to keep our kid’s faces clean.

dash confessional

a moving video from a friend of mine…

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