30 November 2012

Power Failure.

Last night I walked in to work and about 4 people stopped me to fill me in on the happenings of the last half-hour. Apparently some weird transmisssion-line something failed near Central Sq in Cambridge and caused this huge power outage that ran from Kendall to Harvard Yard. And because our servers are located in another part of town they were affected. So we had lights at work, and little else. No phone, no internet, no network drives. Nothing. It made my night really quiet, as I only had to field questions. I think everyone else's night was a lot busier. Lucky for me, one of my co-workers took pity on me and found me a book to read to help pass the time. (Yeah, it would have been a good night for me to have actually brought my homework with me. I would have gotten tons done, oh well. hindsight is 20/20.) But it made for a nice evening. I got to enjoy the effects of a power outage in a warm, lighted building.


28 November 2012

Something exciting

I had something exciting planned for today, but I'm not really feeling it right now.

Instead, enjoy this picture of a sunset in Antarctica that I found on Google.

27 November 2012

On being an adult

I've decided that being an adult is a hassle. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that we hadn't gotten any mail in a long time. But because I'm not always the one to check the mail I couldn't be sure. And my memory isn't great for things like that (I mean, why should I remember when the last time the mail came?). So I started paying more attention. And luckily I was expecting a letter. By mid-week last week I got concerned. We didn't even get grocery ads before Thanksgiving. So over the weekend I called up the post office. After some research they managed to establish that our letter carrier refused to deliver our mail after they slipped on the leaves on our sidewalk and fell. I told the post office that the walk would be cleared by Monday and that our mail needed to be delivered. Well, Monday came and the landscape people did a great job cleaning up the front walk and still no mail. So I called again. And this morning I went down to the post office (where they gave me the go-around and were utterly unhelpful) and ultimately I ended up spending more than an hour sitting on my porch waiting for the letter carrier to walk by so I could ask them personally to deliver my mail (in case you're wondering, it snowed all day--I only went inside because my fingers were so cold I couldn't type anymore).

When our mail was finally delivered this afternoon (about a 2.5 inch thick pile of it) some of it had postmarks back nearly 3 weeks ago (good thing there was only a handful of time-sensitive things in it). I understand the letter carrier's concern over delivering mail to a place where they had slipped and fallen, but what I don't understand is why the United States Postal Service can stop delivery without informing their customers. I can't think of any company where the service provider can quit providing that service without notifying anyone. I would have been more than happy to have swept the front walk 3 weeks ago if I had known it was problem (no one in the entire building uses the front door), but if no one tells me it's a problem then how can I fix it?

What it comes down to now is that I'm going to spend the entire snowy winter wondering if my walk is clean enough for them to deliver my mail (what am I supposed to do, quit my job so that I can be continuously shoveling?). I'm losing faith in USPS, and if I had another option for mailing letters I'd use it.

26 November 2012

An online portfolio

I am sure I have a nice long-winded post about how awesome my thanksgiving was, but for the moment I need your help.

I'm working on developing a website (ok, actually I've developed it, it just needs some finishing touches)  for my technology class this semester. The assignment was to create a personal website (with a variety of constraints, like the presence of 20 pages). I decided to create an online portfolio that I could show to a prospective employer.

What I'm looking for from you is feedback. What works and what doesn't? Where did my editing skills fail me? What do you wish was there that isn't?


I really appreciate your feedback. It will help me a lot. Hope your Monday has shaped up well.

23 November 2012

And now it begins

Here we are. Black Friday. A day that some people love and some of us dread (technically, given the two options I'd fall in the camp of the latter, but since I don't really care to shop on any day of the year, this day isn't really much different). Since I'm currently playing with my family in Utah, I am just reposting a timely article I read earlier this week from Slow Your Home. It's about preparing your home for the holidays with a "pre-holiday de-clutter."


22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all are enjoying a food-filled day with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

21 November 2012

When to call a place home

The question always is at what point in living somewhere does it become "home"? I think one thing that makes a place "home" is the ability to navigate it mostly successfully, most of the time (not perfect, but good enough).

Yesterday I went on an adventure to buy books for a book drive my library is hosting this month and so I went to Porter Square Books in (you guessed it) Porter Square. Even though I've lived in Boston for nearly a year I've not really spent much time in Somerville, and so don't really know my way around it too well. I looked up directions to get to the bookstore and then to get to work afterward. They seemed simple enough and so I headed off on my bike.

Getting to the bookstore went as planned and I had fun picking out some books for a book drive the library was having. After getting my books I headed to the library. I'd been riding along for a while watching for the street I needed to turn on and eventually I decided that I'd missed it. Luckily the next intersection had a long line of cars coming from the direction that I needed to go and so I turned to "follow" them, figuring that they were all people commuting out of the city. Not too long passed before I found myself on a familiar street and much closer to the library than I had thought.

This was one of those moments where I felt at home. I managed to successfully navigate a city that I'm not at all familiar with because this is my home, and ones knows their way around their home.

20 November 2012

Greatest accomplishment of 2012

Janssen and her sisters shared their greatest accomplishments for 2012 today. Reading about their wonderful accomplishments has gotten me thinking about what my greatest accomplishment was this past year. Of course this year isn't over yet, but it's close enough that I doubt anything truly earth-shattering will happen. It's been something of a struggle to think of what my greatest accomplishment has been this year, I've done a lot. But one thing that I'm really proud of this year was the bookbinding class that I took this summer. I learned to work in leather which is a lot of hard work, but is really quite fun. And I even got to dip my feet in the waters of gold tooling. I learned so much in that course, and I hope that bookbinding can be a continuing part of my life.

Historic models
I even took this picture myself.
Sometimes my camera turns out reasonable pictures.

19 November 2012

Vulnerability is not weakness

So, yesterday I sat down and watched a couple of TED talks by Brene Brown. They were excellent. Here are a couple of take aways from the second one:

Vulnerability is not weakness.

Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.

Shame is an epidemic in our country

Empathy is the antidote to shame.

And here are the two TED talks. I'm really looking forward to reading her book that came out earlier this year. It sounds really interesting.

16 November 2012

A leaf from a friend

To take a leaf out of Mel's book. It's been one of those weeks where not too much worthy of note has happened (I didn't quite fall asleep on the train today...) and so in lieu of something interesting from my own life I'm going to share a TED talk I've shared before.

15 November 2012

Boston Book Fair

Get ready. This weekend is the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. Yes, that's right. A whole book fair full of antiquarian books. What could be better?

14 November 2012

One of those days

Today has been one of those days where you get everything all ready to go and then have to make about 6 more trips back up the stairs for things you forgot.

It was also one of those days where you have the brilliant idea to stop at your neighborhood branch library on the way home from school so that you don't have to go to work early to work on homework. Sounds like a good idea right? I thought so, and since the branch library was only about  a block out of my way it was perfect. It took me a few minutes to get my bike chained up outside because the bike rack, peculiarly, is mostly inside a bush. But I got it chained up and I walked up to the door and it was locked. Yeah. That branch is closed on Wednesdays. And I knew that, which made me feel that much more foolish. Oh well, I just went in to work early and got the home work done there instead.

13 November 2012

The Wednesday Wars

So after I read Okay for Now last week I felt the need to reread The Wednesday Wars. It is so good. I love the way that Schmidt used Shakespeare to guide the story and to guide Holling's growth. I went back to Goodreads to see what I'd rated it when I finished this morning. I ended up raising my rating from 4 to 5. I think one of these days that I'm going to have to invest and buy a copy. This books a keeper.

09 November 2012

Techno Lust

I came across an interesting term in one of my textbooks the other day. Techno lust. I thought it was a pretty succinct way to describe the way that society feels about new gadgets that come out and new bells and whistles. I like the connotations that come with the word lust in this phrase. I feel like we never really need these new bells and whistles and that they are just a way of making us more dependent on technology that will probably eventually let us down and leave us stranded somewhere with no coping mechanism. And I feel like lust describes the relationship that we have with technology pretty well. It is something that we desire, and we want, but since we don't really need it we end up with this kind of co-dependent relationship on it. I'm not saying that all technology is bad, I'll be the first to admit that I love things like electric lights, and there is a lot of good that can come out of technology (like FamilySearch Indexing, for example). But I do think that a lot of times when we hear about the latest and greatest new toy a lot of us (myself included) want it just because it's cool and new, and everybody else has it--we lust after it. I'm hoping that now that I've become aware that that's what I do sometimes, that I can control it better, because let's face it, lust is pretty much never a good thing.

08 November 2012

Strawberry Cream Jell-o mold

One thing that we have in the new apartment that we didn't have before is a bundt pan. The best thing about bundt pans is their awesome shape. Ever since I discovered this I have been wanting to make another Jell-o mold so that I could make something that actually was shaped like something cooler than a bowl. So, here we are. This is actually the same Cherry Cream Jell-o that I made a while back, from the book Hello, Jell-o, but this time I used strawberry Jell-o because that's what I had.

07 November 2012

Okay for Now

I really enjoyed Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. I loved the way that Schmidt used the Audubon bird pictures the same way that he used Shakespeare in The Wednesday Wars. I like that Schmidt uses things like literature and art to help his characters cope with life and learn to deal with the trials that come with being human. It's a good example of a coping mechanism that might work well for many of us. In many ways this book is very similar to The Wednesday Wars, and probably that's why I liked it. And while they do feature some of the same characters it is a totally different novel and any back story you might want from the other book Doug fills you in on. Okay for Now stands completely on its own and I think it's terrific. I found it when I was reading a post about good reads for book clubs by Janssen. In her posted she linked to her review of Schmidt's book. I clicked over and almost fell in love with the book before even starting it. And I enjoyed checking it out of the library and having the time (or pretending I did) to sit down and read it all in one weekend.

This makes me a little sad

I don't know if you can really read this, but it is a screen cap I got from weather.com today. It says that today's high was measured at 8:25 am. Somehow that makes me a little sad--that at pre-8:30 am it was the warmest it would be all day!

06 November 2012

It's that time of year


It's that time of year again. A time of year for lots and lots of good food. And my first question to you today is what is your favorite appetizer (I'm looking for ideas for Thanksgiving, but an appetizer is an appetizer)? My second question is what is your favorite appetizer, that can be made ahead of time, or doesn't use the stove/oven?

And here is a picture of the Charles River. It was a delightfully drizzly day.

05 November 2012

The Fifth of November

Happy Guy Fawkes day!

I hope you do something exciting for it. Like build marshmallow effigies and burn them, or watch V for Vendetta.

02 November 2012

I win!

This morning when I got up it was sunny and blue skies, if cold. So when I was choosing footwear I did it consciously. I knew that I could wear my least waterproof shoes because it was sunny, hadn't rained in a couple days and there was only a 20% chance of rain today (the same as yesterday...)

We had an all day staff development day at work. It was really good, I'm glad I went (besides, free breakfast and lunch). The last speaker of the day talks about how she makes random little (achievable) goals for herself just so that when she meets them she can say "I WIN!" I sat there thinking that my random goal for the day would be that I dressed appropriately so my feet would stay dry all day. I was super excited that I'd get to say "I WIN!" I mean, who doesn't like winning?

After work, I get all my stuff packed up and walk upstairs and its raining.

Yes, raining. Which means that I don't win. I wore my shoes that get my feet wet if I so much as walk across a damp sidewalk (not a puddle mind you, damp). Yeah. I definitely didn't win. But my feet made nice squishing sounds all the way home. That's kind of cool...