Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"The Doctor, doctor, fun." *

I can't believe how much joy I am getting out of this whole TARDIS at MIT hack. In a rather unexpected turn of events, after sharing my photos on the Universal Hub group pool, my photos of the hack went viral.


Well, viral in a whole "British scifi nerdy TV" kind of way. They are on Wired and Io9 and other techy blogs, not to mention Twitter. (I tweeted my photo to Neil Gaiman; his response, "brilliant". SQUEE!) The day after I put the photos on Flickr, I received a call from the editor of Boston.com, who had tracked me down at work and was trying to get permission to use the photos on their website. (I called them back too late, they had already sent a photographer, but my answer was going to be "no" anyhow. And now I have some privacy concerns that I didn't have before, although I am hoping for the best.)

For five original photos of the TARDIS at MIT, I have now gotten 19,759 views. The most I ever got of any one photo was something like 32, and now I have one photo that has gotten over 11,000 hits. At first, I was extremely freaked out by this (the aforementioned privacy issues), but, now, I am kinda loving it. I just hope this isn't my 15 minutes of fame, because if it is... it isn't what I was hoping for. On the other hand, as my friend L said, "Well, the beauty of the internet is that you can get lots of 15 minutes."

And as of yesterday, the TARDIS is back, only this time on the iconic Great Dome, which is where it should have been in the first place, in my opinion.

The Doctor returns: the TARDIS on the Great Dome at MIT

The Doctor returns: the TARDIS on the Great Dome at MIT

* Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars:
Adelaide Brooke: "State your name, rank and intention."
The Doctor: "The Doctor, doctor, fun."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"It's bigger on the inside." *

Look at WHO decided to pay a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today!


Keeping my eyes peeled for the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, but hopefully no Daleks!! Perhaps Ms. Pond is going to be matriculating into the class of 2014. Maybe the Doctor will have need for a new companion!

(I am so glad that I decided to brave it and head out into the rain at lunch, otherwise I would have never noticed it! You have gotta love those MIT hackers.)

* Pretty much every visitor to the the TARDIS has commented on this, weelll, except Rory.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Things to do on a rainy Sunday

Looking for something to do on a rainy day in Connecticut? Well, look no further. The New Britain Museum of American Art has a couple of really great exhibits going on, in addition to their permanent collection, which includes works by Cassatt, Benton, Hassam, and Bierstadt.

I was supposed to go to Tanglewood this past weekend with my family, but the weather was against us so we went to the museum instead. I was really glad we did, or, otherwise, I would have missed two fantastic art exhibits! The first one, which closes on September 2, is by Mystic-based painter Dan Truth, and it is a beautiful collection of landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits that are both realistic and impressionistic at the same time. I could have stared at his work all day. Some of them looked like Edward Hopper could have painted them, while others invoked the touch of the Dutch masters.

The other exhibit I loved was of works by Hudson River School artists that were on loan from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I do love the Hudson River School. The romantic qualities of their landscapes are not lost on this fan of Realism. (To be honest, it is the imagined stories are part of my love for the Realistic paintings of Edward Hopper. As I have said before, I feel as if he paints the way that O. Henry wrote.) Frederic Church's The Parthenon was stellar. The way he captured the light... the photos of this that I found on the internet just do not do it justice. You need to see this in person. So go before it closes in November!!

(There is also an exhibit of the lithographs of MC Escher. But as he isn't American, and there is already an exhibit of his work at the Museum of Science here in Boston, that didn't make my top two reasons for going to the NBMAA.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No, no, no! Darcy is the OTHER handsome brooding fellow!

Back on August 12, 2005, I posted the following:
My friend Mem often talks about how she thinks Jane Austen novels makes young girls crave unhealthy relationships for unattainable/emotionally distant men. Not that that has ever happened to me. < /irony>
Personally, I like Mr. Darcy better than Mr. Bingley. All that uptight repression could have transformed itself to something very interesting in the bedroom. Behind closed doors. Under the covers. With the lights off.
On the other hand, I totally am of the opinion that the Brontes were masochists. Rochester and Heathcliff are total sadists; all they needed were restraints and riding crops. And I bet that they probably had them somewhere too. Like in the attic with the kinky maniac.

Since then, the wonderful Kate Beaton did this:

I think that we are on to something...I feel a new hypothetical PhD thesis coming on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Frankly Scarlet, I do give a damn!

First off, congratulations to Lisa E and Diana who each won the North 26 super coupons! YAY!! I will be in touch to get them to you. I still have two more left, so if you like FREE STUFF, go and post a comment on the contest entry. You can't win if you don't play, like they say.

I have made no secret about the fact that I am a pocketbook fanatic: some people go crazy for shoes; I yearn for handbags. About ten years or so ago, my Aunt K made a gift of Vera Bradley bags to my mom and Sister K for their birthdays and wondered if I would like one for Christmas. I was decidedly against it, declaring that they were nice enough, but not for me, for people of her generation. Fast forward to today when I adore Vera Bradley.

In my defense, those early VB bags were in rather neutral patterns and had no pockets (something I find ESSENTIAL in a purse or tote.) Now they are in bolder colors and busy patterns and have lots of pockets and even key clips. I love that VB is keeping things fresh by coming up with new patterns and styles every season. So, yes, I had to eat my own words about Vera Bradley, and the irony of the whole thing is that I usually end up acquiring more VB bits and bobbles when I am down on the Cape visiting my aunt. (She loves to remind me that they are for people of her generation.)

My absolute favorite pattern is Frankly Scarlet, which is a bold shade of red with medallions in pink, black, white, and a wee bit of purple. I noticed it shortly after it was released and fell in love, not only with the name (LOVE GWTW), but with the cool combination of red, pink and black. Before this pattern came out, I was a pattern dabbler, getting things in this and that color, but not settling on any one thing. I espoused the idea it was better not to have everything be so "matchy matchy", but I think that the reality was that I couldn't settle on one thing. But Frankly Scarlet was different, and I knew that I had finally found my pattern. Now I just needed to go about pulling together a collection of traveling bags.

Now the downside to VB introducing new patterns all the time is that they retire old ones, and, to my initial great disappointment, FS was discontinued last year. However, the upside to having a retired pattern be "your pattern" is that all of the items in that pattern go on sale! You know what that means? Let the hording begin!! Before it was discontinued, I had three pieces in VB's Frankly Scarlet (the "Overnighter", a makeup bag and a wristlet). (As the bags aren't cheap, I thought that was a fairly good sized collection.) Since then have managed to track down a duffel bag, 2 totes, 3 makeup bags (of varying sizes), and a wallet, each of which was about half of the original price - which just makes thing. My friend Maggie, who shares my love of all things Vera, made me a gift of a key fob in the pattern too. At last, I can say, "my collection is complete."

The moral of this tale is that sometimes it is okay when things you love get discontinued. And that matching luggage is quite the thing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

400, 75, 26, North

This post marks my 400th blog entry! And my 75th post of the year, which is the most I have ever posted in a calendar year in my six years of blogging (and probably why I am only at 400 posts after six years.)

To mark the occasion, I have decided to do my first ever blog give-away! Yay!!

So last Tuesday, my family was visiting Boston, and we went out to dinner at North 26 in Government Center. It was a really fun time, and we had a delicious meal. The restaurant is American cuisine with French influences, although I happened to have a more Asian style meal. It is fairly casual and relaxed, and it seemed to be a quiet night in the restaurant, which was a nice change from our dinner the previous evening at Eastern Standard (also fun and delicious, but LOUD.)

Everything we had to eat was just really fresh. My parents both got the sweet pea and spinach soup to start, and it looked, smelled and tasted like it had been made just for them. Sister K dived into the kettle of muscles, while Sister B sampled the veal sweetbreads. I had an amazing dish of seared scallops over a fresh carrot puree with coconut rice. Again, it was like someone had made everything on my plate just for me. My parents and Sister B had fish entrées, while Sister K had the lamb. I enjoyed the skillet seared natural raised duck with pineapple tamarind ponzu, duck fried rice, and bok choy. This was even more delicious than the scallops. The duck was really moist, and there was a lot of flavor in the ponzu, but it didn't overpower the meat. I don't normally even LIKE bok choy, but I really liked everything on my plate. There were a lot of clean plates at our table.

I was, of course, excited that the restaurant had my beloved St. Germain cocktail on the drink menu, Mom had a G&T, and the sisters enjoyed some wine. The drinks were pretty much in line with most other Boston restaurants (although I usually try to stick to places with $10 cocktails), but the entrées were all priced under $30, which is a bonus. Our server was nice without being overly attentive and made good recommendations (both of my courses were ones he recommended). When we realized that we had been seated right next to the air conditioning vent, the manager was nice to turn it down before Sister B froze!

So we all really like the restaurant, and I hope to go there again soon with my friends. The folks at the restaurant must have liked us too because our server gave each of us a coupon good for 15% off of the entire check for either lunch or dinner! (This is where the blog give away comes in.) Now my family gave me all of their coupons in addition to the one I received so I have FOUR of these discount coupons to give away. SO, the first four people who say they want one by posting a comment on this blog entry will get one of these fancy coupons to North 26. (I have hidden the comments by turning on the moderation so that no one can tell which number commenter they are, because I am tricks-y like that. MWAHAHAHA!) If you have been there before, you know what a great deal you are getting, and, if you are yet to try it, I think that you will be pleased with your experience there.

Thanks to all my friends and readers who have been following along with me on this blog. What started out merely as a way to pass the time really has become an enjoyable part of my life!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Seven Things Making Me Smile

 I turned on the television tonight, and The Big Chill was on. When I realized that the characters in this film are supposed to be the same age that I am now, I had to go pour myself a glass of chardonnay. Yikes! I feel like people in their 30s a generation ago were a lot older than my friends and I who are in our 30s now. And it isn't just that we moisturize more. Gen Xers just seem younger than the Boomer generation; we never are in any rush to be "grown up".

Anyhow, before my train of thought was so rudely interrupted by an extremely dated film (with a kick ass soundtrack), I was going to post seven things making me smile. So back to our regularly scheduled posting and dismissing all thoughts of terrible things like growing up; here is my list.
  1. LL Bean Stretch Double L Polos have become my "go to" shirts for the summer. They are casual enough for hanging out after a day at the beach and yet are suitable enough for summer business casual at work. I have about 8 of them in different shades, mostly pinks and blues.
  2. So several months ago, I started watching "Arrested Development" and had a nightmare that George-Michael Bluth was stalking me. Fast forward to today, where I kind of have a little crush on his portrayer, Michael Cera. If he were only ten years older, or if I were ten years younger... Actually, I like the latter scenario better than the former.
  3. I had gotten really irritated with my magazine subscriptions and let them run out: Entertainment Weekly had changed their format and was too "Twilight" and "American Idol" focused for my liking; InStyle kept recommending clothes out of my budget and designed for rail thin models; and Martha Stewart was making me feel inferior for not making my own stock, clothes, and growing all my own food. So, I was done with magazines. Until I got a notice for Britain magazine. It is like it was written for me. Great photos and features on different locales; it has already given me some great ideas for my next trip!
  4. New favorite sandwich, inspired by a trip to the beach with MMH: Genoa salami, arugula, American cheese, on a roll lightly drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It is like eating beef carpaccio in a sandwich. (If you want, you can toss the arugula in a little bit of lemon juice beforehand too.) A couple of twists of fresh ground pepper, and you are done. SO GOOD!!
  5. Joe Hisaishi's score to Spirited Away. I have loved this film for years now (this and Howl's Moving Castle are two of the most imaginative animated films I have seen in my life), but listening to the score on its own is just beautiful. It is something that I especially like to listen to after work on a summer's day with the windows open and the warm breeze blowing.
  6. I have been seeing great results from Crest 3D White Advanced Vivid Toothpaste. Even though the dentist said that my teeth were pretty high on the white spectrum, with everyone and their brother bleaching their teeth, mine still felt kind of yellow. I have noticed a significant whitening from brushing twice a day for two and a half weeks, and, despite the fact that I have super sensitive teeth, I haven't experienced discomfort. I didn't think that I would feel this way, but I do feel more confident about my smile knowing it is whiter. (Oh, dear God, I sound like an infomercial.)
  7. Last summer, I read the entirety of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. As the books are really well written and mainly for a young adult audience, I read all five books in under 10 days. This summer, I am listening to them all on audio book. Four of the five books are read by Alex Jennings, who is best known to me as the Reverend Hutton on "Cranford". I love listening to him read, and he "does" all of the voices really well. (Even though their are several young English boys in the books, each one has a very distinctive voice on the recording.) I find that listening to these books has a much better pacing for the telling of the story than the devouring way in which I read them last summer. (I like to know what is going to HAPPEN.) I definitely have gained a fuller appreciation of Cooper's use of language, as well as getting a chance to enjoy the overarching story all over again.

So these are a few of the things making me feel good. Hopefully you have got some good ones this summer too!


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