Monthly Archives: August 2009

Update: White Mountains were Awesome

The white mountains were quite incredible.  We ended up going to Franconia – some photos available here.  Overall, the experience was great – the hike was surprisingly challenging.  We ended up going up the Falling Waters trail and, lucky for us, found a beautiful hiking spot right next to the falls.  Overall, very satisfying – well water, fried potatoes and all.  A bit short as we decided to split before the rain started, but still…  legs will be rightfully sore.

What shocked me most, however, is the Appalachian Trail hikers – beautiful beautiful people.  Met four:

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Filed under Musings, Travel

Academia vs. Business

Today I finally was able to formalize to myself the difference between the academic and business mindset in our company.  When we started, we had, what I found to be these fairly strange turf-wars (which still sometimes happen).  I couldn’t quite understand why they were happening and attributed to “ego”, but now I think it’s much simpler: in academia, you are measured by your resume, which means that the larger your turf, the better you are.  So academics always want to bite off more than they can chew if the pie is there to bite on – they always want more turf.  In business, you want to get as much money for as little turf as possible – a lazy capitalist, if you will, perpetually trying to optimize his resources.

So if you take an academic and put them in charge of something, expect them to be super-territorial until they realize that they can have a much better work/pay ratio if they themselves don’t seek out responsibilities that people didn’t originally intend to give them, but won’t mind relinquishing because then they don’t have to hire someone else to do it.

It’s a funny situation…

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Filed under JoVE, Musings

Travel plans – New England

So I am trying to figure out where to go with my brother. 

Some options (all times are using Boston as a point of reference):

  • Go up to Mount Katahdin – 4 hours according to Google Maps, 5.5 hours according to Bing, but drive is along the East shore line, which might be pretty cool in itself.
    • Knife’s Edge on Katahdin, although I wonder if we might not be very well prepared. 
  • Lakes of the Clouds Hut on Mount Washington, which is roughly a 3.5 hours drive North of Boston.
  • Rent a car and simply drive up to Maine and see what happens grabbing directions/advice on the way
  • Lake Placid going South but we already did this in the past.  Would be nice to try something new.  It was pretty awesome though…  having said that, that’s also about 5 hours from Boston, so we might as well go up to New Hampshire or Maine, which will supposedly (according to Kerianne, a colleague of mine) be less commercial.
  • Another thing we could do is grab an Amtrak pass and travel around various cities, which would be great if we could go out further inland.  But if we leave on Tuesday and should be back on Sunday, that’s 7 days including the the day of departure and day of arrival.
  • Another thing that might be cool is to find cliff-jumping spots.  Perhaps we could check out Jamestown, RI, although that’s in the other direction…  Which might actually work – what we could drive down to Jamestown and then find hiking/sailing in Rhode Island.  Perhaps we could pick up a windsurfing or kitesurfing clinic?

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Traveling in Europe – Consequences?

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1918771 – oh man…  what a wreck…

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Boston is starting to get on my nerves…

Getting off at South Station, for the first time I felt physically nauseous at the sight of Boston.  Not immediately, but only after walking into the main hall, hearing sounds of music, and seeing an older couple playing on violins, all smiles.  Something about it felt so artificial, so…  inhuman.  And looking at the faces, at the pale white fat faces that exude intellectual superiority among with a faux-personality manifested in pink hair died half-way.

Yesterday I met with a couple in a pizza shop.  He is a model, she is a painkiller-pill-popping tatooed Asian bartender writer.  Neither stuck me as exactly high-class intelligentsia.  But they felt real.  Here, between cautious sideways glances laden with introspection, I am finding it difficult not to want to smack people that I am walking by.

Perhaps this was all brought on by a fascinating weekend with family.  Perhaps by personal frustration that life stagnates in Boston. Perhaps insecurity manifesting in forced self-aggrandizement, but, whatever the reason, Boston is pissing me off.

Anyway, there are far more interesting subjects to think about than this crap.  Moving right along.

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Russian Soul…

DSCN3109Saw pictures from a party at Rubinova’s recently.  Absolutely brilliant.  Now a dilemma… should I upload them to Facebook?  Picasa?  FlickR?  Choices choices choices…

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Man or McEnroe

Checked out “Man or McEnroe”.  So-so show, the idea is good, but undeveloped.  Just as it gets interesting, the play is over.  Initially I thought it was just a bad play.  But, towards the end, it turned into a self-reflection on part of the artists, but, just as it was in All Wear Bowlers, the self-reflection doesn’t bring resolution – it’s as if the writers didn’t really know what they wanted to say and got lost in their own thoughts…  There is no feeling of completeness afterwards.  But I have to say, the presentation is excellent.  Both actors make you believe that, in fact, McEnroe is a petty, unpleasant, sorry man that they judge harshly in an almost comic fashion…  which is what initially made me angry – I mean WTF?  Who are they to judge a public figure so harshly?  And it’s not until the end of the play that I realize that the judgment is, in itself a facade…

This made me remember the idea for a play/movie that I had a while ago and that I would really like to implement – the main point is that all assumptions can be wrong.  The performance would consist of several vignettes that would each add on a piece of information that would invalidate the model that the user build based on the previous segment.  For example:

Scene 1:

Lights on

A girl (B) is standing stage right.  A guy (A) enters stage left.

B: (pleads) No…  no…

A (walks towards her throwing the chairs to the side)

B: Please…  please…  don’t do this…

A: walks up to her, slaps her across the face, walks out

B: MONSTER! (yells sobbing)

Lights off

Scene 2:

A guy (A) is sitting at the desk stage left and is rummaging through papers.

A: No…  please…  this can’t be.  I trusted her.  How could she do this.  That is almost all my money. How am I going to take care of my family?  No, this is not right. (stands up, starts walking stage right)

Lights off

And so on.  Although I think something other than a domestic-money conflict should be used – something not quite as cliche or as trivial.

Basically, amplify the idea that was pretty well presented in Hilary & Jackie’>Hilary & Jackie’>Hillary and Jackie.

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Filed under Ideas, Theater