Paddling in Clear Currents

One of the things I miss about not working in Providence anymore is WaterFire, an art installation running down the rivers in the heart of the city. Over 80 braziers installed in the river are filled with firewood, lit, and stoked over the course of the night, accompanied by music playing along the river. WaterFire runs every couple of weekends over the summer, depending on the tides and funding, and is something you shouldn’t miss.

I was looking at their site a couple of weeks ago, and noticed that they were running a Clear Currents event this weekend, which involves illuminated koi fish mounted over canoes and kayaks paddled throughout the installation. I first saw this a couple of years ago, and envied them then. When I saw the announcement now, I was interested, but balked at the price — $50. Then I remembered the times I’ve thrown a $20 bill into the donation bucket at past Waterfires, and signed up.

It was totally worth it. Continue reading

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015. For me, 2014 was a year of big changes: the loss of one job, and the start of a better one.

Once again, I went to First Night Last night. I started at Copley Square, and saw the ice sculptures and Grand Procession (and no, I didn’t see the protesters), then took the Green Line up to Park Street to see the ice sculptures on the Common. There were three there: one devoted to Einstein, an American Eagle, and Captain America:

Captain America Ice Sculpture

Captain America Ice Sculpture

Ice sculptures at night are hard to shoot — pictures don’t fully convey both the color and the detail simultaneously.  I suspect it would take a tripod and HDR, which would be very difficult to manage with the throngs of people there. Once I had seen the ice sculptures, it was only a short wait for the early fireworks.

After the fireworks, I walked down to Old South Church, for their “Pipes and Pops” performance on organ and brass. Once again, they opened with Also Sprach Zarathustra, AKA the 2001 Theme, and ended with a very good version of the 1812 Overture.

From there, I hurried down to the Hynes convention center to see a comedy program, “Divas After Dark”, performances by three female standup comediennes. The first and last ones were good; I thought the middle woman was more of a soccer mom than a diva — she had some good lines, but her delivery needed something.

Next up for me was some puppet improv, courtesy of the Puppet Showplace Theater. I’d never thought of Puppet Showplace as a place for grownups; these two guys were very funny.

Then came what was probably the strangest performance of the night, “Sleeping Weasel: Birth Breath, Bride Elizabeth”.  The description runs:

Revel in madness and cake in this runaway hit “lecture play,” written and directed by Kenneth Prestininzi. A deconstructed Mary Shelley/Bride of Frankenstein, performed by Stephanie Burlington Daniels, gives a wackadoodle lecture to young brides/scholars — she’s never sure which, due to her alternating bi-polar mania and verbal short circuiting.

I have to give props to Ms. Daniels – she nailed the performance, and I liked the idea of a mock lecture, but the content itself, while funny in spots, was definitely strange.

For the last show of the evening, I went back downstairs to the Puppet Showplace Theater, for the Late Night Puppet Cabaret.  This was four performers, including a shadowbox performer, and a couple of marionette performers who amazed me with what they could do.

By this point, it was quarter to twelve. I didn’t see any point in waiting around for the count down, and didn’t have the time or the inclination to get over to the waterfront for the late fireworks, so I called it a night, and headed home.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Video Test

This post is just a test post playing with embedding video with the HTML 5 video element. First, I’m going to try just dragging in a video, and see what WordPress gives me, then I’ll probably end up hand coding it.

This video was shot during my 2012 hot air balloon ride, with my iPhone. One problem I’ve had using iPhone video is that it often comes out upside down. It looks OK in Aperture, and in the QuickTime player, but when I go to transcode it into other formats, it comes out upside down. I discovered tonight the trick is to open it in QuickTime player, and export it.

Continue reading

Warm December

The unseasonably warm weather continued today. With a high around 54°, it felt more like October. I took the motorcycle out along Route 109 to 27 to  Route 16, past the Weston Ski Track, where they weren’t making snow yet, to Route 30 and back.

I then loaded the bicycle into the car, and took a ride along the Charles. My legs have been stiff and sore lately, so at the start of the ride, I wasn’t sure how far I could ride, but by the time I hit the Mass Ave Bridge, things had loosened up nicely, and I ended up going as far as the North Harvard Street bridge.

Boathouse Boathouse on the Cambridge side of the river, taken near sunset

It was beautiful around the river, but the earliness of the sunset was a reminder that it really is December. I’m wondering how long it will be before the weather catches up.

Nordstroms Has it Right


I saw this sign in the front window of Nordstrom’s today. I agree wholeheartedly.

Sign seen in Nordstrom window, text follows

“We won’t be decking our halls until Friday November 25. Why? We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time

Our stores will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving festivities. On Friday, our doors will open to ring in the new season in style.”



MedFlight Motorcycle Run

Did the MedFlight charity motorcycle run today. There were maybe 70 – 80 bikes, mostly Harleys, with only a few sport bikes. There was a police escort, so we didn’t have to stop for lights or cross intersections. It started at the VFW parking lot, then went down Bay Road down to Mansfield and Norton.

After we got back, there was food and then the helicopter arrived. It’s amazing how much wind those things kick up. I got a good look inside– hopefully I’ll never need a ride.

MedFlight helicopter

MedFlight helicopter right after landing