Dave's Journal, May2015
A wonderful thing about plants is that they let us know that May is a beautiful month and there is about 8 months ahead of decent weather (you guys down south don't get this, but us northern folk understand the transient nature of nice weather). Little buds and leaves and berries and stuff like that start popping out up here. Birds are busy busy scoping out food, filled birdfeeders, and nesting places.
Retired guys pry our asses out of recliners, flick the TV remote to "OFF", clean out the shed and the garden tools, drain gas out of the snowblower and fire up the lawnmower. We then attack the shrubs with clippers or shears, depending on what kind of artistic statement we are trying to make with each particular plant. We split hostas and irises, saw off dead limbs, drain the pond (how did those frogs get in there?? how do they find ponds??), repair winter damage (which means sometimes cutting the shrub back to almost ground level).
It's a good time of year.
Once or twice a year, I trek out to western Mass, and I went there earlier this week. I met a guy in Northhampton to close out a lens deal, visited the Smith College Art Museum, and stopped at a butterfly zoo (?) on the way home.
The lens guy I "met" on our photo forum; turns out he's an economics professor at Holyoke College (so is his wife). He's 33 and baby #2 is just out of the oven. Also turns out that we have almost the same Fuji cameras, except for minor differences. Anyway, I walked away with his 18mm/f2.0 and shot all the pictures that you see here throughout the day. I am very happy with the deal !
This is the view from the French King Bridge that day. Built in 1932, rebuilt in 1992. That's the Connecticut River below.
Smith College Art Museum
As always, I had the college art museum to myself. It's really a nice small-ish place, with a very nice collection of paintings. This time there was also an exhibit of Mary Bauermeister, a mixed-media sculpture. They did not allow photography in that gallery, but here is some of her work: Mary BauerMeister
It was interesting to look at - glass lenses and balls placed in front of drawings, inside boxes. The effect was more than 3-dimensional because as you moved, the balls and lenses redirected the light and you saw things at a variety of different angles all at the same time. Kind of like those abstract cubist paintings that you can't ever figure out.
I learned something very interesting at the museum. They had a Renoir up on the wall. Reading the card next to it, it is an original Renoir copy of an original Renoir that is hanging in the Louvre in Paris.
Back in the 1800's, the French painters really painted stuff they hoped the Louvre Museum would buy and display. When the Louvre did buy one of them, it would get very popular and people wanted copies. Original copies! They would commission the artist to make a copy (usually smaller to hang in their homes), and the artist would do so and make money selling "original copies". In fact, often it was the artists assistants and students who did a lot of the "first cut" painting (the sketching and first rough layers of paint), then the artist would complete it, sign it and sell it.
"Original copies" - you gotta love the concept, huh !
Shooting butterflies with a very wide angle (18mm) lens is not the smartest thing you can do, but I was anxious to keep shooting the new lens. It worked out much better than I thought. The butterflies were fearless (they land on you !!), you could stick the camera 6" away from them, and the lens is sharp even at f2.0.
Okay, enough chit-chat . . . .
This is not funny, but ..... well, yeh, it's funny, but .....
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police say an Alabama man who traveled to Oregon to live with a woman he met online not only struck out - he got struck in the skull.
Sgt. Chris Baldridge of the Marion County Sheriff's Office said Monday that 26-year-old Samuel Campbell of Adger, Alabama, met 24-year-old Haley Fox of Turner, Oregon, in 2013 and the two began an online relationship.
Last week, Campbell traveled to Oregon to meet Fox in person for the first time and live with her. Baldridge says Fox led Campbell to a table outside her home and told him to close his eyes. She then hit him with a baseball bat, fracturing his skull.
According to Baldridge, Fox told investigators she injured Campbell because she did not want to be his girlfriend.
Dinner at Kathy & Dennis' last night. Kathy is the chef (as always, dinner was excellent), Dennis is the "character". We went to see the new puppy, and somehow I never took a picture of it ? ! ?
How did that not happen ?
Cinco de Mayo (what *is* it?)
It has always bugged me when people make a note of Cinco de Mayo, but no one seems to know what it actually is.
So I looked it up (Wikipedia). . . .
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated in the United States and in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla,where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). Mexican Americans also often see the day as a source of pride; one way they can honor their ethnicity is to celebrate this day.
The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico's Independence Day - the most important national holiday in Mexico - which is celebrated on September 16.
May 6th - today was a great day to be retired and caught up on your yard work. I am not actually 100% caught up, but close enough that I hopped the train from Alewife into Boston. Got off at Downtown Crossing and wandered through the edge of Chinatown and the "Theatre District", both of which were ugly in every way. The Theatre district is probably nice on show nights when the lights go on and the minks and top hats emerge from their limo's. What I saw were worker bees either tearing up the streets (reparing utilities) or rushing their latte's back to the office before they got cold and acidic. (The window of latte perfection they tell me is from 4-7 minutes after it goes into the cup. After that, you may as well drink gas station coffee.)
Then I cut back through the public garden (a bore, but pretty), down Commonwealth, cross over to Newbury (this is where I rub elbows with the snobby but vulnerably insecure kind of people that I deserve to mingle with). I had lunch (Chardonnay, chips and a tuna melt) at Stephanie's. I walked up and down a while, and fancied a life in Boston's "Back Bay" area (where I was), supported let's say by a monthly allowance from rich parents who were all to happy to indulge my lifestyle habits so I wouldn't go to the tabloids with the family secrets.
I also fancied being younger. A lot younger.
I have been saying that, in my next life, I want to be 27 all the time. You know, 27 for 80 years.
But, based on today's experience, I am lowering that to 23. I want to be 23 for 80 years. (This includes having that monthly allowance that I mentioned a few paragraphs above.)
Anyway, here is my map of the day. Below are some pictures.
Loretta and I, 1970
(We haven't changed a bit ! !)
I got a very early start today out in the yard. I started by tripping on a stone in the pathway, and spent 2+ hours fixing a bunch of the other stones. By 9:30AM, I was tired. Took a break and did more stuff as the temperature rose and the sun beat down. Caved in at 12:30, and hit the recliner for a bit.
Maybe for 2 or 3 bits, actually. By then I was done for the day.
Later on, I stuck a pinhole lens on a camera and made this artistic impression of the porch door, and one of the lawn chair.
Now, to check the spaghetti that is probably boiling over.
Treefall (my neighbor's back yard today)
I was amazed how fast he cut though that trunk. I almost didn't grab the shots !
The Lady in the Red Dress
Well, Hollywood's red carpet affairs can have their glamourous people.
We have Emma.
This weekend, Emma stepped out to a prom in a stunning red dress and captured the moment .
Click the picture there to see more.
Every morning I grab a coffee, come down here, and think if I have anything worth journaling about. This morning, an email in my basket gave me something.
Fifteen (15) years ago, I was heavily into heat transfer calculations and writing AWK scripts to do these easily on any small computer. (AWK is a very elegant computer programming language.)
I created a web domain called "tikmark" and uploaded all my AWKscripts onto it. At the time, I got a lot of interaction from engineers and colleges all around the world, because it was a very cool idea, and easy to learn for students. I kept improving the website to deal with peoples' questions, and I guess it ended up pretty good because the questions slowly stopped coming in and, over time, I have forgotten about tikmark.
Until this morning, when I get this email from a guy in Switzerland:
Dear Mr. Dave Leo
I was trying to write a short tool to estimate the impingement cooling for a gas turbine liner.
I found first the paper
ASME paper, "Streamwise Flow and Heat Transfer Distributions for Jet Array Impingement with Crossflow", by Florschuetz, Truman, Metzger (1981)
and then your website
I think you have an error in the last part 'Exact Correlation'. The beta constant for the calculation of the Gc/Gj ratio is divided by Z/D and not by X/D.
The equation that he is talking about is the very last equation at the bottom of thie page: Impingement
Now . . . as I have given away all my books and tossed my technical papers, I have no way of determining if this guy is correct or not. I am curious, but .... I'll have to think of something, I guess ?
Well, Lexie has reviewed my calculations, and sadly, she says that Martino Ferretti is correct and I have an error in my equation. (Yeh, but sh#t guys - she's a $#*&ing cat !!!)
A few years back, Deb asked for a birdhouse with a vampire theme, so I made one and hung it out back on the shed. The vines died ! !
Dinner at Ferruccio's & Joanne's
Cousin Pete sent this picture of his latest monster creation (Karloff's Mummy). It is always fascinating to show Pete's work.
This one is beautiful !
"The US is a country of 300,000,000 people who annually undergo 15,000,000 nuclear medicine scans, 100,000,000 CT and MRI scans, and 10,000,000,000 laboratory tests.
[ed: that averages out to 33 lab tests per person per year!] Often these are fishing expeditions, and since no one is perfectly normal, you tend to find a lot of fish. If you look closely and often enough, almost everyone will have a little nodule that can't be completely explained, a lab result that is a bit off, a heart tracing that doesn't look quite right."
"We have long assumed that if we screen a healthy population for diseases like cancer or coronary disease, and catch those diseases early, we'll be able to treat them before they get dangerously advanced, and save lives in large numbers. But it hasn't turned out that way. For instance, cancer screening .... has dramatically increased the detection of breast, thyroid and prostate cancer during the last quarter century. We're treating hundreds of thousands more people each year for these diseases than we ever have. Yet only a tiny reduction in death, if any, has resulted."
These are a few of many alarming quotes from a New Yorker (May.11) article, written by a surgeon and B&W Hospital (Boston) who is also a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
I can't write a good summary of it here, but if you can get a copy of the magazine, this is well worth reading. This article pretty much supports how I have felt about medical tests and treatments for the last few (10?) years.
Anyway, the article is so good, I promise to get this guy's book
(Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End) and read the whole thing.
Also from The New Yorker (I need a laugh after that medical article)
At some point in the future, someone is bound to ask me "What is the most sensuous thing that you ever did?". Well, I expect that lots of special events in my life will pass through my mind, searching for the best answer to that question. (To be honest, that weekend in Malibu with Christina Aguliera is gonna be hard to beat, so let's put that event aside for the moment.)
On the short list of answers must be "The 2 hours that I spent yesterday in a hammock on Mike's porch".
Mike is prepping me for a weekend of tent / hammocking up in the New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest. That is a much-loved place in my heart (and Mike's too).
For the last 30 years, my idea of camping has been "Sheraton", "Days Inn", etc etc. But we are going to go back to basics on this trip and sleep out at night in hammocks slung between trees. With my old bones, that was possibly a problem. But .....
I got into the hammock loaded with anxiety molecules. Ten (10) ####ing seconds later, I was lost, comatose, catatonic, nirvanic . . . . gonzo..... and I stayed in that condition for 2 hours. (Un-####ing-believable is how I described it to Deb. )
I drove home in this smooth, warm, tranquil state of mind, and later that night realized that I somehow left my cellphone AND a hearing aid in the hammock. (One of life's mysteries I guess.)
Getting back to a conscious state of mind . . . .
Today, I went on a mission to the other butterfly place in Massachusetts, and decided to start a web page devoted to butterflies: WebPageDevotedToButterflies.
One of my favorite gunfight scenes (this is from Shane)
Shane: So you're Jack Wilson.
Wilson: What's it to you, Shane?
Shane: I heard about you.
Wilson: What'd'ya hear Shane?
Shane: I heard you're a low down yankee liar.
MFA with John and Pat
John is not deeply into the arts, but he happens to know the lady who just donated $86,000,000 worth of art to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. So . . . we hopped on a train and went to see the exhibit. It was interesting (I learned that there is such a think as "opaque watercolors", and they look pretty cool).
Then we wandered around the Back Bay for lunch and people-watching. Walked all the way from MFA to the Park St. train station (with a huge Joe's American Superburger in my belly + 2 glasss of wine !!).
Memorial Day Flags on the Boston Common
Democrats = "spend and tax"
Republicans ="spend and borrow"
Deb = "wash and wax"
Dave = "do it tomorrow"
This is interesting. Don't ask me why (because I don't know myself), but while I'm sitting on the porch, a question popped into my head.
"How much does it cost to run this country, compared to how much we produce each year?". . . . that's really a good question, and it bugged me. The answer kind of points to how efficient is the US in terms of operating expenses (the Federal budget) as a percent of our total productive output (Gross Domestic Product).
I went on the internet expecting that our federal budget would be sucking up a huge percent of our productivity. Sort of like your household expenses eating up a huge percent of your wages from working. I was wrong ! !
Since the end of WW2, our federal budget has only been about 20% of our Gross Domestic Product. That really surprises me. That's like .... you earn $100,000 / year and your total household expenses are $20,000 / year. That is EXTREMELY great. Back when I worked, household expenses were like 99.99999% of my income from wages.
So . . . WTF are we complaining about? We have en extremely efficient government (in terms of cash flow ...... stupidity, laziness, corruption are another topic).
After 2 days of digging in dirt and a day stuck in the house for thunderstorms, I went to Boston today just to walk and be among people (I'm okay with people as long as I can simply walk by them flashing my award-winning smile and don't have to chat ever-so-pleasantly with them about the weather or how cute their little baby - or dog - is).
It was a really nice day - I walked along the harbor, ducked into Quincy market for handheld take-out food (spinach arancini from the North End Bakery).
Text that I stole from the internet . . . .
Quincy Market is a historic market complex near Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It was constructed 1824-1826 and named in honor of Mayor Josiah Quincy, who organized its construction without any tax or debt. The market was designated a National Historic Landmark, recognizing its significance as one of the largest market complexes built in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.
On my way back to South Station, I zig-zagged between the Harbor Walk and The Greenway. Gotta be honest .... the $15B they spent to reconstruct this area of Boston was, in my opinion, well worth it. I mean that seriously, but I do have a few friends in Wisconin, Arizona, New Jersey, Alabama, and Florida who disagree with me (it was "federal money", thank you Ted Kennedy ! ).
Okay, political issues pushed aside, this is a beautiful area of Boston. There is also a resurgent interest in "public art" around town. Today, there was this kind of colored mesh stuff streaming in the wind between several tall buildings. Kind of cool, I guess.