Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Am I speaking English?

Sometimes I have a difficult time communicating with people, and other times, people just don't get my jokes. Does anyone have any advice? Here are some examples:

Me: “Hey that’s a nice jacket.”
Anonymous 1: “Thanks.”
Me: “Is it warm?”
Anonymous 1: “No, it’s cold outside.”
[The antecedent of “it” was meant to be “the jacket” not “the weather”]

Me: “Hey, I heard that the metal used to make a penny is actually worth more than a cent.”
Anonymous 2: “Yeah, me too.”
Me: “Don’t you find it ironic that pennies were once made out of Nickel?”
Anonymous 2: “Yeah, I think so.”
Anonymous 1: “Huh?”
Me: “The element Nickel also shares its name with a coin of a different value.”
Anonymous 1: “Haha, yeah, that’s funny.”
Anonymous 2: “Oh, now I get it.


Monet in Normandy

A little bit ago, Sharon and I went to the North Carolina Art Museum in Raleigh, to see the Monet in Normandy exhibit. There were about 50 paintings by Monet, borrowed from public and private collections from around the world. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go. I recognized some of the paintings, so it was especially exciting to see the originals. At first, I was going to say “it was surreal”, but this would have been a terribly inaccurate pun. [Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a founder of the Impressionism movement whereas the Surrealism emerged in the 1920s.]

The museum staff did an excellent job of laying out the exhibit by grouping works of similar dates and subjects. In addition, a photograph or painting by another artist would occasionally complement Monet’s work. One of the more famous paintings was “Garden at Sainte-Adresse” (1867) on loan from “The Met”. This one seemed familiar, and there’s probably a good chance I had seen it before in NYC.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Andee Firestone

This weekend I was saddened to learn my cousin passed away due to complications arising from a brain tumor. My parents attended the funeral service today near Boston, Massachusetts. Andee Firestone was a registered nurse who worked at the Bertram House of Swampscott, a Sunrise Senior Living community. She has touched many lives as a mother and caregiver. [In a small world way, my friend Chris works for the Sunrise Senior Living Real Estate Investment Trust.]

We must find our own balance between enjoying life and working to make this world a better place. Often times, these overlap, which is all the more special. In times of sadness, I think we are left with the challenge of transforming our grief into growth.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Computer

My desktop computer just stopped working so I needed to get a new one. Turning to the world leader in silicon innovation, I build a computer based on the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. My chip actually has 2 processors within the same chip package, each running at 2.13 GHz (with 2GB of RAM). Built on Intel’s 65 nm technology, roughly 291 million transistors arranged in an area that's 143 mm^2.

More information about the process is located here, but I’d like to point out that the gate oxide thickness is only 1.2 nm, which is basically a distance of no more than 10 molecules. “These guys are good.”

I did learn that Intel’s design team in
Haifa, Israel contributed significantly to the processor’s high performance, low power multi core architecture. It's powerful in application, not in energy consumption.

Good Times, Great Oldies

New Year’s nicely segues into the following weekend with Nick and Craig mentioning that they’re going to be coming down to Durham. With a nearly record breaking high in the 70s, we saw the men’s basketball team host Virginia Tech in Cameron. It was a tremendously exciting overtime game, but we unfortunately lost 69-67. [Last year, that crew was here for the FSU overtime game in Cameron where we won 97-96.] The scarceness of overtime makes it such a thrill to watch, especially when it’s live.

That night, there was a huge reunion of friends on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. I’ll have to get the photo from Matt, but I’d say a dozen of us met up at Top of the Hill.

Post Scriptum: Nick found my CD, Elgar’s Enigma Variations. This was huge! I had been looking for it for a long time. By the way, my favorite variation is Nimrod (number 9)

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New Year’s 2007 in DC

There’s been much excitement this past month, certainly too much to capture fully on the blog. I will try to catch you all up on some highlights. This year’s adventures began in our nation’s capital. I met “The DC Crew” along with some fellow visitors. There are far too many names to list, but Chris, Nick, John, Craig, Brian, Brook, Marko and Gracie immediately come to mind.

Some activities included walking around a few monuments and historical sites. That night, the Crew had planned for us to attend a party at the Hyatt downtown. It worked out great! (The Metro literally stops under the hotel so it couldn’t have been more convenient.)

In addition to the live music, DJs played all the expected 80s hits. To name a few:
  • “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey*

  • “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard*

  • “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi**

  • “Your Love” by The Outfield

  • “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield**

  • “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

*Saw these guys at Alltel Pavilion last summer
**Some fellow partygoers gave these songs an a cappella reprise that night on the Metro. They were certainly in the ‘spirit’ of the holiday.

It’s a small world moment: I ran into two friends (Bryan and Brian) from High School there! In their words, that alone was worth the ticket price.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Beethoven (Remix)

Just when you thought Wellington’s Victory (1813) couldn’t get any better, it does. As previously noted, Part I of this piece contains a quote of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

The new development relates to Part II: Victory Symphony. If you listen carefully, it is possible to hear the melody of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” [Technically, we should refer to this song as the British National Anthem, “God Save the King/Queen.” According to wikipedia, the lyrics for My Country, ‘Tis of Thee hadn’t been written until 1831.] It is quite cool. I've got the CD if you want to borrow it.

Personally, I think the story went something like this: Britain/Spain/Portugal just beat France in this battle and they asked Beethoven to write a little something commemorative. Beethoven was probably really busy working on one of his symphonies, but didn’t want to say no. So he threw together a couple “pop songs” with some trumpet fanfare and a little percussion. And the peasants rejoiced.


V for Vendetta

This was a great find on Netflix (Saw it on HD-DVD, of course.) Definitely a 5-Star movie, it really makes you think about freedom. It also included a Latin moment: Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici which translates to “By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.” Did the movie remind anyone else of Fahrenheit 451?


Family Visits Durham

My parents and sister came down to Durham a little bit ago. It was nice to see them and show them around Duke. My sister ended up getting really good grades this past semester. I think it was almost all A’s, which was great especially with her very full schedule. We saw the Da Vinci Code on DVD. I didn’t feel like it lived up to all the hype.