Archive for the ‘Metapost’ Category

16 Years in Massachusetts

Today marks 16 years since I first moved to Massachusetts.  This means that my personal state residency rankings have a new champion, as I’ve lived in Massachusetts longer than any other state.

Connecticut moves into second place, with 15 years, 9 months.

Virginia holds on to the third seed with 7 years, 2 months.

And New Jersey stays at the bottom with 2 years.

Hooray for Massachusetts and Me!  It’s been a good partnership, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon.

Related Posts:

2013 Year in Review: Memorable Events

I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

My 2013 list is a typical hodge-podge of activity.  Some of the events have links to when I wrote about them at the time.  Others I wrote a little bit more about in this post.

20 January – A Winter Day Out in Providence  - My wife left for a business trip, and I took the kids out for a successful outing to Rhode Island which included playing at the Providence Children’s Museum, a Providence Bruins‘ game (complete with thunderstix), & Harry’s Bar & Burger for dinner and ice cream sandwiches.

8-11 February – Blizzard of ’13 - also known as Winter Storm Nemo, dumped 25 inches of snow on our hometown making much delight for the children and cooperative snow removal ventures with the neighbors.  The photo below is from our outing to Centre Street in Jamaica Plain to pick up beer & cheese.

28 February – Beck Song Reader Concert - I was part of a 50-voice choir bringing Beck’s songs of sheet music to life.  You can see me singing out from the back row in the photo below. 

Spring & Summer – Peter learns to bike - My son learned to ride a pedal bike.  Now we need to work on braking.

15 April – Boston Marathon bombing – My kids and I were at a playground far from the Marathon route when it happened, and even if we’d gone to watch we’d have been far from the finish line, but it was still shocking to hear of the deaths and injuries.  Especially considering that Patriots Day is a civic holiday that is perhaps the day on the calendar when Boston is at its most joyous, communal, and supportive.  That spirit shined through with the many people – professionals and amateurs – who rushed in to help the wounded.  I was touched by the outpouring of support for Boston, and if anything good has come out of this it is that they typically self-deprecating Bostonians are far more positive and  confident these days.  A few days later, we had the weird shelter-in-place alert, but still spirits were kept up as we shared news and jokes through social media.  Not something I’d want to live through again, but I’m grateful for all the people who chose to help and that the casualties were not as bad as they could’ve been.

language matters


27 April – Regan Youth League Baseball Parade and Teeball - My baseball-obsessed son started playing teeball and we marched through the streets of Jamaica Plain, even stopping to sing.

May & October – Kindergarten Arboretum Field Trips - I stepped into a new role in fatherhood as I served as a chaperon on two school outings to Arnold Arboretum.  I particularly like the spring trip when the kids got to see a snapping turtle up close and personal. 

May to Present – Hope Central Church - We were in search of a new church closer to home and found a new spiritual home at Hope Central.

2 June – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon - This time my daughter was my co-pilot on this great fundraising ride through the city.

12 June –  US Open Cup game - Professional men’s soccer comes to Boston for one night only and it was great.

16 June – Father’s Day Outing to Wachusett Meadow - Two years in a row makes it a tradition, no?

28-30 June – Family Gathering in New Jersey – Susan’s family gathered in New Jersey to celebrate her Aunt Thelma and cousin Glen.  Peter enjoyed playing sports and video games with his many boy cousins.

14 July – Circle the City on the Avenue of the Arts - Huntington Avenue became a pedestrian haven for just one day.  I lead a walking tour.   Peter played lots of soccer.

12 August – Georges Island – Vintage Baseball - On a beautiful summer day, we sailed to the Harbor Islands and traveled back in time to the dead ball era.

20-25 August – Family Camp at Purity Springs - We spent a week at the Purity Springs Family Camp in New Hampshire with some of the friendliest people ever, our days packed with activities like lake swimming (and jumping), archery, paddle boarding, pooh sticks, canoeing, knee boarding, s’mores making, cookouts, and hiking.

2-8 September – New York City trip - Another great trip to the City with Peter and his Nana.

14 October – Tufts Health Plan 10K - Our friend Sharon coaxed Susan into participating in this run.  I enjoyed watching with the other spouses and children.  And Susan did great finishing all 10 of the Ks.  We are all so proud of her.

30 October – Red Sox Win the World Series - A great season, especially when viewed through the eyes of a five-year-old.

10 November – Claire & John’s wedding - Our dear friend Claire, godmother to our children, married a charming gent and we had a blast.  The kids played their part in the wedding ceremony and then at the reception we played, and hugged, and danced, and toasted the newlyweds.

“Cheers!”

25-31 December – Christmas Travel We’ve just returned from our annual holiday swing through North Carolina and Virginia.  This year was extra special as the kids got to see all of their grandparents, all of their aunts and uncles, and most importantly, play with all of their cousins.

Goodbye 2013, you will be missed.  Hello 2014, can’t wait to see what you have to offer.

Previously:

2013 Year in review: WordPress Annual Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 Year in Review: Favorite Books

Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2013.  For previous years see 201220112010200920082007 and 2006. You may also want to check out My Favorite Books of All Time or see Every Book I’ve Ever Read cataloged in Library Thing.

In no particular order:

And the complete list of books read in 2013 (books published in 2013 are in bold). And yes, I do intend to catch up on my book reviews as soon as I can:

January

  • Band of Demonby Rob Blackwell – ***1/2
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (A) – *1/2
  • Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (A) – **

February

  • Walkable City by Jeff Speck – ****
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage (A) – ***
  • Take Five: Poems in 5/4 Time by Tad Richards – ***
  • The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz (A) – ***

March

April

  • Doctor Who: The Forgotten by Tony Lee – **
  • We3 by Grant Morrison – *
  • Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy (A) – ***
  • Transatlantic by Colum McCann – ****
  • Laika by Nick Abadzis – ****
  • Back to Our Future by David Sirotta – ***1.2
  • Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (A) – ****

May

  • A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (A) – **
  • Through Time by Andrew Cartmel – ***
  • The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping – **1/2

June

  • Cape Cod by Henry David Thoureau – ***1/2
  • Star Trek the next generation / Doctor Who. Assimilation² written by Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee ; art by J.K. Woodward v1 – ***
  • Atlantic by Simon Winchester (A) – **
  • Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket – ***
  • Doctor Who : the writer’s tale by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook – **
July
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – ****1/2
  • My Song by Harry Belafonte (A) – ***1/2
  • Because I Said So by Ken Jennings – **1/2

August

September

October

November

December

What did you read in 2013, and what did you love?  Let me know in the comments.

Dead Podcasts

I recently updated my podcasts page to reflect what I’m currently listening to.

I’m a big fan of podcasts, and some of my favorites were either designed to end at a certain point, or their creators just moved on to something else.

Here’s my necrology of great podcasts that are no longer updated, but worth seeking out the back episodes:

  • Folkways Collection – 24 1-hour episodes exploring the collection of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
  • A History of the World in 100 Objects - the BBC and British Museum partnered on this historical exploration
  • Provoke Radio – a Jesuit-sponsored program about faith & social justice (sadly this one seems to be gone for good)
  • Rare Frequency – WZBC radio program dedicated to experimental, electronic, improv, noise, avant-pop, and other unusual music.  The radio show may still be on but the podcast hasn’t been updated in over a year.
  • Tales from the “Liberry” - hilarious adaptations of true stories from the author’s years working in a small-town library.
  • The Tone Generation - early history of electronic music.
  • Widely Ranging Interests - two funny guys talk about a variety of topics, seemingly off the cuff but often tied together by the end.

What are you favorite podcasts, dead or alive?  Let me know in the comments.

Related posts:

 

 

Seven Years of Blogging Down the Drain

It’s that time of the year where I briefly break out the party hat and celebrate the anniversary of my blog for the seventh time!

Unlike previous years, I have something to proud of as I’ve been keeping up writing and have published at least one post every day since October 30th!  Let’s hope I can keep the streak alive.  Or at least write something worth reading.  There’s still a lot in my head that I haven’t found the time or energy to write down.

Which brings me to you my dear readers.  According to WordPress, I have 78 followers for Panorama of the Mountains, and every post gets a few likes and a fair share of page views.  I have no idea if there are really 78+ reading this blog, or if they’re all spambots in some massive online pyramid.  So if you’re a human and you’re reading this blog, give me some feedback!  What do you like, what would you like to see, and who are you anyway?  Let me know in the comments.

To make things easier, if you don’t like commenting, I’ve also made a few polls.  Click away!

 

And with this shameless self-promotion done, I shall return to writing about things sundry and various.

Previously:

40 for the Forties

Today is my fortieth birthday. As I prepare for my next decade, here are forty things I’d like to accomplish in my forties.

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Me, forty years ago.

In no particular order:

  1. Become certified in First Aid and CPR
  2. Donate blood 6 times (the maximum) per year
  3. Visit Yellowstone National Park  and/or Grand Canyon with my family
  4. Travel to at least 5 states I’ve never been to before
  5. Attend games at least 5 MLB ballparks I’ve never been to before
  6. Visit two foreign countries I’ve never been to before
  7. Write a book (perhaps even try to get it published)
  8. Participate in Walk for Hunger  and/or Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon every year
  9. Audition (and hopefully perform) for the Revels again
  10. Enter (and hopefully win) USS Constitution turnaround lottery
  11. Ride in an open-cockpit biplane and/or a hot air balloon
  12. Take up birding
  13. Read a classic Russian novel
  14. Try singing with a barbershop quartet
  15. Participate in an atlas-based road rally
  16. Perform karaoke
  17. Take a martial arts class
  18. Paddle on the Charles River
  19. Play croquet in strange places
  20. Volunteer with Bikes Not Bombs and/or Boston Bicyclists Union
  21. Try rock climbing
  22. Visit the Great Dismal Swamp
  23. Write in my journal more regularly
  24. Climb to the highest points in each of the New England states and ccomplete hiking up all the 4000 footers in New England
  25. Serve in a ministry in our church community
  26. Walk inside the Mapparium
  27. Take the tour at the Sam Adams Brewery
  28. Become a patron of the arts by getting a subscription to a symphony, dance, or theatre series
  29. Through hike the AT
  30. See the reenactment on Lexington Green on Patriots Day
  31. Go to a drive-in movie for the first time
  32. Take kids to the  balloon parade in Stamford, CT
  33. Complete my Around the World for a Good Book project
  34. Build a new playhouse for the kids in the backyard
  35. Take a storytelling class and perform a story to a live audience
  36. Attend 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada
  37. Visit maritime Canada
  38. Play curling
  39. Visit Susan’s Michigan
  40. Get an SLR camera and learn how to take photos

If you have any suggestions for anything else I should try, let me know in the comments.

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