Thursday, March 29, 2007

more sad news...

Yesterday's Rocketboom brought more sad news on the free speech front as it discussed some revelations by the nyt of all of the ways ny police limited free speech before the convention and forcefully took people's property without returning it ever! Gotta love living in the america of bush...



So I was behind this truck on the Kennedy today heading in to tutor in the city. And it has this huge sticker of an American Flag on the back and under it in large letters it said "Support our troops wherever we go, no aid or comfort to the enemy!"

Now had it just said the first part, I'd be like, eh, ok. It can be the whole support the troop person and not actually what they are doing and I guess it's all right (but seriously, *wherever* we go...don't know about that). Anyway, it's the second sentence that really got me. Seriously, no aid or comfort to the enemy? Does that include everyone in Iraq? Cause I bet the truck driver would say that it does (much like the governor of ohio). Grr.


Monday, March 26, 2007

What I've been up to....

It's been a while since I've posted! That's because I've been insanely busy...but a very good busy that involved my first days off of work in the past two years that weren't for baseball :)

Last Tuesday I was out in Boston for my class again and got to meet up with a very good friend of mine from college who was visiting from Cambridge UK. I hadn't seen Helen since I visited her out there a few years ago with Stacie so it was great to catch up over some great food at Brown Sugar. (As you'll see, good food is a theme to the week).

I came back to Chicago on Wednesday and the MIT reunions continued as I met Carol at the airport. She was staying with me until yesterday and came in to run Shamrock Shuffle with me and enjoy spring break in Chicago! We had a blast and ate at all of the wonderful veggie restaurants of Chicago (Blind Faith, Chicago Diner, Karyn's Cooked) and made it to a Thai place up on Montrose that a coworker recommended called Roong Petch. They have this dish called double-0 tofu that's quite excellent. We also enjoyed a "Mock Duck" Massaman Curry that was tasty :) Although we had quite a hard time getting the waitress to understand our question when we asked if the "mock duck" was vegan. She was like, Duck, it's meat, not vegetarian! And we were like, but it's "mock" which means fake. Finally she went and asked someone and was like, oh yes, it's not duck :)

While not eating awesome food, we made it to the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute, a showing of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, and the expo for the Shuffle. All in all a super fun weekend!

The Shuffle itself was wonderful! Not only was the weather amazingly perfect for March in Chicago (mid 60s at race time, almost 80 by the end of the post-race party) but my favorite local band, Mike and Joe, were playing after the race for all of the runners! I couldn't imagine a more perfect day in Chicago! For those wondering, I finished in 47:04, a little over 3 minutes better than my time from last year! Not bad seeing as I haven't trained much at all this year. After all of that, I took carol back to the airport and totally crashed. Such a busy and fun week totally left me exhausted :)


Saturday, March 17, 2007

WIldStang wins again...

Today was not as productive as I intended it to be, but I did spend the afternoon down at the UIC Pavilion watching WildStang go all the way and win the Midwest Regional (again). For those not in the know, WildStang is my high school robotics team that I still show up to mentor from time to time. It's sponsored by Motorola and covers Wheeling and Rolling Meadows High Schools.

So yes, it was wonderful to get down there and see it live. I haven't missed a Midwest Regional since the first one in 1997. :)

Also worthy to note, if you haven't heard the Weird Al song "White & Nerdy" you really should download it :) They were playing it at FIRST today and I could not help laughing, very hard. It's to the tune of "Ridin' Dirty" Selected lyrics of note follow, full lyrics here:

First in my class here at M.I.T.

MC Escher, that's my favorite MC

Keep your 40 I'll just have an Earl Grey tea

Steven Hawkings in my library

Yo I know Pi to a thousand places

There's no killer app I haven't run
At Pascal, well, I'm number 1
Do vector calculus just for fun

I ain't got a gat but I gotta soldering gun

I edit Wikipedia

They see me roll on, my Segway


Thursday, March 15, 2007

the past week...

It's been a while since I've posted. I've been crazy busy but having lots of fun as always!

The past few days I've been involved in Mobile Social Software overload. I've been trying Twitter, Radar, and of course still using ZoneTag. I'm really drinking Maia's Kool-Aid and believing the Lightweight Visual Communications line of thinking. In all of these applications, what has been really compelling is the sense of presence provided by the photos (or short text) that really bring you into their life and their events. I invited Maia, from TinyPictures, to talk to my class on Tuesday night and hearing her talk was just reaffirming all I believe in about mobile presence. I need to start using Radar more. They really get it! :)

Also, I must say that I really love boston...yet again on the way in from the airport I ran into a friend of a friend and talked all the way back to campus. It's such a small city :)


Sunday, March 11, 2007


So I just finished Obama's "new" book, Audacity of Hope. Lots of good in there, but also a little reality seeping in. First off, he's an amazingly smart man. Wonderful writing and thoughts on ideas that shows some deep thinking and a true desire to make things better. And in places he's not afraid to say that he doesn't know the answers, and that getting a bunch of smart people together to solve these problems is what is needed. Man, if only our current leader could say that instead of wanting to always be "the decider" :) But some comments in the book, as well as some recent news make me step back and realize that indeed, this man is not the panacea, the savior of our nation, the man who is outside of politics. He knows how to play the system, especially in his recent speech in the south where he lays on the y'alls and southern black speech. And his opinions on family are, well, pretty old world. It's pretty sad that he hasn't stepped up more in his marriage or with his kids.

One final interesting bit...he talks about how his wife racks up the parking tickets, and it came out last week that he had quite a few cambridge parking tickets himself. Not that I care at all about that, but apparently when you go for the bar, you have to sign something that says you have no unpaid tickets, and well, he did.

Anyway, overall, totally smart, amazing man. He wants to seriously improve education, build strong international coalitions to solve some of the world's big problems, and promote science and technology. He believes that government has no place telling people who they can sleep with or marry and to respect people and their choices as long as no one is hurt.

I'm still likely to vote for him, but it was a little sad to see the "perfection" that's been cast on him cast off. At least it makes him a little more real.


Thursday, March 08, 2007


So most of you know that I'm at Logan quite a bit in the spring. And sort of without thinking I go though the same routine each time I'm there. I get my bagel and oj at the dunkin donuts in the food court, browse books at borders, make my way through security, and go to starbucks. Now starbucks always has a huge line, but I've got the timing down so I don't have to worry about being late to my flight. Yesterday morning I made it through security and got in the starbucks line. I made it all the way to the front of the line and placed my order for a tall soy chai. The lady behind the counter says "look up." A bit confused, I did, and discovered that it was now another dunkin 100 yards from the other one that I was just at. I was like, oh, sorry, I already went to dunkin today and went to the gate tea-less.


Friday, March 02, 2007

This American Life Live!

Originally uploaded by bentley79.
So yesterday was perhaps the most wonderful day in Chicago I've had in years! Not only was it a great food day with Hannah's Bretzel for lunch and Karyn's Cooked for dinner. And not only did I score an alpha unit from my favorite startup. But I got to see a live taping of This American Life and some footage from their upcoming Showtime (In Ira's words, the network that no one gets) TV series.

It was awesome to be packed into the Chicago Theater with 3600 other public radio listeners! Not your typical audience for a production in that space :) It was great to run into a bunch of people I knew as well...yay for my friends and coworkers being WBEZ listeners :)

The show was excellent and the theme was TV (appropriate as their TV show is coming out soon). All the regulars were there, Sarah Vowell, Dan Savage, David Rakoff, and of course Ira. It'll be on the radio in two weeks, so you should all listen!

I came into the show extremely skeptical about the TV show. I just didn't think they could do it. TAL is such a radio show and it works so well in that format. But I must say that after watching the segments last night, it's going to be a really great show on par with the radio performances. So check out the one billboard "somewhere in chicago" that will constitute all of showtime's advertising campaign for the show. And lets all hope the episodes are posted on iTunes so all of us non-on-demand, non-showtime people can see it!