With George in Boston

wiring up the sound stands

Last catch-up post: On Thursday I had lunch with George Chang. He and Becky are in town while she attends a conference, and he and I decided it would be a good day to walk about the city, have some lunch, and take some pictures. As it turns out, it may have been a perfect day for photographs in downtown Boston. We ate lunch near Copley Square and then wandered around in the square, inspecting and photographing the preparations for the parade today (which I did not attend, thank you very much, preferring to stay warm and dry inside). After a bit we caught up with fellow Sloanie Rick MacDonald and walked up the Harvard Bridge to Central Square for some Tosci’s.

I got what I think are some pretty good photos, particularly the one of newly restored Old South Church and the abstract series off the Harvard Bridge.

Last night we had dinner with George, Becky, and some of Becky’s friends from her residency at Taranta, which appears to have shifted focus somewhat from purely southern Italian to some inventive cross-breeding with Peruvian cuisine. We slipped in our party of eight on the promise that we would eat and be out in an hour, so that they could re-set the table to help accommodate the party of 30 that would be arriving at 8:30. It was needless to say fabulous, particularly the yucca gnocchi with lamb and spicy cilantro pesto ragu. Afterwards George, Lisa and I retired to the wine bar at Via Valverde for a cheese plate and two outstanding half-bottles, a delectable Dolcetto and a stunning Chianti. The review in USA Today does not appear to have gone to their head.

House. Work.

i don't want to hear anyone singing 'Autumn Leaves' for a long time, thank you very much.

Yesterday was Leaf Hog Day. As I believe I’ve mentioned, our leaves are the last to fall on our street, and I’m learning that what I thought was a lot of leaves was just the by-product of our neighbors’ trees. (Here are the trees in question.) Yesterday I experienced the main event: yellow leaves blanketing our parking spaces to a depth of six inches, covering the new grass that Lisa is trying to establish on a ten by ten foot patch along the back fence, totally covering everything that I had cleared just a week previously. So, it being a dry day, I got the Leaf Hog out and got to work. Several hours and aching back and forearms later, I was done. I was spitting black (and we won’t even mention my nostrils) from all the dust that came up from the driveway and the grass along with the leaves, but I was done. Of course, this morning the modest rain we’ve had has completely covered the driveway again.

And today? I finally hung the structured media enclosure I bought back in August, which was in itself a bit of a project. I only have bare concrete block walls in the basement, so I inaugurated a masonry bit: drilled quarter-inch holes with a standard drill bit through a 1/2″ thick piece of plywood, then held the board against the wall, switched to the masonry bit, and drilled through the holes into the concrete. A set of hammer-in concrete anchors finished the mounting job for the plywood. Then the box. First taking a flat-bladed screwdriver and popping out the knock-outs to bring the wires in, I then screwed the box into the plywood, using a thick brass spacing washer to ensure the wood screws wouldn’t punch through the back of the plywood and push the panel away from the wall.

Great. So the panel is mounted. Now how do I get the phone board mounted? Wait a minute, there’s nothing on the inside of the enclosure that’s even remotely like the spacing for the screws on the panel. How do I make this fit?

Ah. Enlightenment strikes. The Leviton blocks are designed to snap into plastic mounting brackets that then screw into the back of the enclosure. So I guess I have to make a Home Despot trip today. Oh well. It’ll give me an excuse to pick up some more shelves for the garage so I can finally move enough things around to get a car inside.

Catching up: on freezing one’s butt off for an eclipse


Things have been a little euphoric here in the great Northeast for the last few days, to the point that my blogging has fallen off precipitously. Here’s a quick catch-up, starting with Wednesday night.

I walked outside and saw the edge of the moon darkening. I decided it was time to try my luck with a camera. I grabbed it and a small tripod and walked down the hill to the park, a large unlit area where I figured I’d have the best chance of getting a decent sky picture.

There are four large rocks on the hilltop in Robbins Farm Park, which seemed tailor made to try to position the little tripod to catch the sky. Unfortunately, though, the telescoping legs don’t hold intermediate positions, which was necessary to get the view of the sky. After a lot of give and take (and a few minutes to snap some other pictures, including this sardonic and almost unreadable LensDay entry), I eventually got the camera in position and stayed out, freezing, taking a photo every few minutes.

The result? Well, the image to the right is the only one that actually came out well. But the rest make a nice QuickTime movie. The only problem was that toward the end my hands were so cold that I couldn’t snap the shutter without knocking the camera out of position—hence the swerve in position toward the end.