Independence Day

On July 4th, Megan, Gal and I had a picnic lunch at the top of Mt. Holyoke. Unfortunately the weather was quite cloudy, so the views weren’t as nice as normal, but at least it didn’t rain on us. At the top of the mountain is an old hotel which used to be quite the hot spot, hosting guests like Abe Lincoln and some famous opera singer whose name I forget. The state turned the area into a park in the 40s, and it is now a small museum. We toured the hotel, had some sandwiches, and wandered along the ridge for a bit, enjoying the scenery. Continue reading

Barclay Farming

In late may Megan and I headed down south for her cousin’s wedding in South Carolina. Along the way we made a few stops, the first one in New Jersey to visit my family. My dad gave us a tour of his vegetable patch in the community gardens at Barclay Farms. I didn’t see any popcorn sprouts (they grows in small, microwavable bags, right?), but lots of other things were starting to come up.

Finally Spring!

In the last week, Spring has finally arrived in Amherst. The season suddenly changed from cold and gray to incredibly warm and sunny. We’ve had several days in the high 70s now, and it looks like the forecast will remain that way for the time being. I was very ready for winter to end this year, and even though I am very busy working on a paper which is due in a few weeks, life just seems so much more pleasant now that I can sit by an open window and feel the warm sun on me.


Megan’s friends Scott and Jess visited us with their two year old daughter this week.  They came up from North Carolina, so we wanted to show them what real winter is like. We had a great time sledding down some of the hills on campus. First we had to acquire a sled from the hardware store (our third try after Stop and Shop and Walmart). It was all downhill from there.

Canon Xti Test Pics

For my quarter century birthday I decided to think about the future and started a retirement fund at Vanguard. To balance out that amount of fiscal responsibility, I also bought myself a Canon Digital Rebel XTi SLR camera. I bought a refurbished model from, so it was (relatively) cheap, but probably still one of the more expensive purchases I’ve made in dollars per cubic inch. I’ll post more about my thoughts on the camera later, but here are some sample pictures I have taken. Additional photo credits go to Megan and Gal.

Winter View

winter view smallWe’ve had a very snowy winter this year in Massachusetts. This animated image shows the view from my bedroom window looking out down our driveway. The pictures were taken sporadically since we had a big snow in early December. Click the picture for a full version (a large 2MB file).

Since I’m sure to forget how I made this, here is what I did using the Imagemagick program:

  • convert -delay 100 -loop 0 IMG*.jpg output.gif —– 1 second delay between fames, loops forever, uses all files like IMG_XXX.jpg to make the image
  • convert output.gif -resize 20% small.gif —– resizes the image to 20%

Winter Cabining

Last weekend eight of us went camping at the Nunnemacher cabin in New Hampshire, run by the Dartmouth Outdoors Club. The cabin is nestled between some of the ski trails of the Dartmouth Ski Way. We spent two nights with no electricity or running water, and nothing but a drafty, ice cold privy. It was great. Continue reading