Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tame Adventures in the Big Apple

I'm in New York! i took the train up last night and crashed with my cousin who's on a temporary assignment here and gets to stay in a sweet Manhattan apartment. I haven't seen her since Fred's graduation, so it was wonderful to catch up with her.

I'm spending today and tomorrow at the Virtual Worlds 2007 conference, which is targeting "Fortune 500 businesses seeking to understand and maximize marketing and business strategies within virtual worlds." Good stuff. So far, the best part is meeting recently hired Sheep and seeing Sheep I haven't seen since January. Definitely looking forward to our company retreat in April and getting the whole Flock all together.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

March hunks

This is Mr. March from the Chippendale's calendar hanging on the fridge in our kitchen. (We needed a calendar to record chore time, and this was the best available option at the time. Still is, in fact!)

And since we have our very own caution tape in the house now (warning us against the dangers of descending the basement staircase whose landing has been removed to reveal a gaping hole and a leaky wall), Scott and Jay decided to pose for their own sexy picture.

Not bad, eh?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Unwitting guest of honor...

I got to go to this neat New Moon event on Wednesday, and apparently I was a guest of honor! It was neat to see the current editors, and it was really neat to hear the journalists speak - Dana Priest in particular had some good stories.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Most bicycle friendly town in the world!

That's the motto of Davis, California. Scott and I will almost certainly be moving there in the fall so that he can start earning his PhD. It's exciting, and a little scary, but mostly it hasn't entirely sunk in yet. It's going to be hard to leave DC.

I need to start making a list of things to do in the next 6 months! I still haven't been to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, for example, and there are some Smithsonians I haven't visited since I was here with my family in 8th grade. But I need some smaller things on the list too. I've been meaning to visit Domku, the Scandinavian restaurant in my neighborhood, for a while now. All of you DC residents (past and present), send me items for my list!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fun Ways to Live Longer

Found this list on my birthday, seems like a good set of things to keep in mind over the coming year. I think I'm already doing most of them though...
1) Drink Red Wine
Red wine is packed with resveratrol, an antioxidant. These work to protect your body against the effects of aging. One or 2 glasses of red wine a day can help keep your body young.
I don't drink wine that often, but I'm happy to accomodate.

2) Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a wonderful food that contains a large amount of antioxidants that protect your body from aging. Find good quality dark chocolate, learn to appreciate it, and have a bit of it each day. Eating chocolate may lower your blood pressure and cholesterol while providing an energy boost.
Same as wine.

3) Smile
Smiling is a great way to change your attitude, connect with people and give benefit to your body. Like relaxation, smiling can work to counteract the effects of stress. By forcing ourselves to smile, we "trick" our body into believing that everything is good, thereby reducing stress. Like a switch, smiling can actually change your mood. So put a smile on, even if you don't feel like it, and pretty soon you'll be smiling for real.
Yay! I like smiling! I don't think emoticons count though. I'm actively trying to use fewer of them in my e-mails.

4) Have More Sex
Sex and touching are thought to be essential parts of health. Sex releases an assortment of beneficial chemicals in the body. Sex and touching help us bond with others, strengthens relationships, and increases our own self-worth. Frequent sex may even extend your life by years.
None of your business!

5) Relax
Relaxation is the opposite of stress. While stress brings harmful health effects, relaxation helps our bodies to rest, heal and function better. By practicing daily relaxation techniques, you can train yourself to turn off your stress and replace it with calm energy. This will improve your blood pressure, heart rate and ability to cope with life's challenges.
I think my What Would a Unicorn Do? spinner will help a lot in this category.

6) Make Exercise Play
Physical games and sports are a great way to keep both your body and mind healthy. Simple exercise routines are great for maintaining balance, flexibility, endurance and strength. Group games and sports can give your mind a workout as well, as you anticipate other people's actions and how to work together. Find a game and activity that suits your level of physical ability and play often.
My first frisbee tournament is 10 days away!

7) Sleep
Sleep is an essential body function. Most Americans do not get enough sleep. Medications, stress, illness and poor sleep habits all can prevent you from getting between 7 and 9 hours a night. The health benefits of sleep include more energy, better immune function, and more.
I'm good at this, despite all the dreams.

8) Spend Time With Loved Ones
Relationships are an important part of health. Not only do strong bonds with other people mean you will have help when you need it, being connected also means protection from loneliness, depression, and mental illness. Spend time cultivating your relationships with friends and family to improve your health and your life.
I'm truly fortunate to be surrounded by loved ones.

9) Solve Puzzles and Play Brain Games
Mind games are a great way to stay involved and engaged in the world. Games can exercise different parts of your mind and entice your curiosity. If possible, choose social games like chess or bridge that exercise your brain while keeping you connected with others.
Three cheers for Scrabble at 7 am on Saturday mornings!

10) Be Positive
Having a positive attitude about aging can add more than seven years to your life, according to researchers. Avoid the cultural push to glorify youth and regret each passing year. Find ways to to pleasure in your increasing age and enjoy greater learning, experience, and control in your life.
I do my best.

Entering my late 20s, still feeling like a kid.

I am the proud owner of a delux 2-pocket folder with THIS on the front!

I had a really happy birthday. Damon took me out for coffee in the morning, and we had a great conversation. I got nice e-mails all day long, and then Scott took me out to dinner. We walked up to Cake Love, where I claimed my free birthday cupcake and we drank fru-fru (sp?) tea. Then we went home and I got to open my cards and presents: a bright red "I want to be a pirate, ARGGG!" t-shirt from my sis, some good books from the 'rents (The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, and one about the mysterious Bourbaki mathematicians) and a LapDawg laptop stand from Scott, which is very practical and which I'm very excited about. Even better, he gave the semi-practical yet very exciting unicorn folder pictured above, as well as two tins of grog-flavored pirate mints.

I dreamt about being in Italy last night, but it was an anxiety dream - I was there without a passport or hotel reservations. I was most upset about the fact that I had forgotten my guide to saints' portrayals in artwork though!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Girls weightlifting in Florida

Just found this article in the NYT about high school girls' weightlifting in Florida. Very cool. Here's a link to a related video.

Things to do on a rainy Friday

Recent tame adventures...

On Thursday night, I got to host five members of the current Wellesley Ultimate team who are driving down to a whole slew of tournaments in various southern states. They arrived at 1 am, so I didn't get to chat with them until Friday morning, when we stood around in the kitchen eating scrambled eggs. It was great to hear that the team is doing so well - it's the first year they've had numbers to field a B team since 2003, and they've got their eye on Nationals this year! I'm so glad that George Cooke is still coaching them. My sen year was his first year, which makes this his fifth year with the Whiptails. It's great that he's so committed. Hearing these women talk about playing and learning and wanting to improve was surprisingly inspirational. Made me want to jump in the RV with my housemate Abby who was driving down to Atlanta for a tournament on Friday. But Fools Fest is two weeks away... so I'm pretty sure I can wait until then. I'm more excited than ever for the reunion Millyfest tournament at Wellesley this year.

Friday was really really rainy, so our basement flooded. As usual. Despite the construction that's been done down there so far this year, it still flooded. There was a puddle an inch deep in the bathroom that was flowing across the hallway into the furnace room. Ugh. Fortunately, our landlord came over to get an eyeful of it himself, so hopefully an effective solution is on the horizon.

I spent the evening at Temperance Hall, a neat bar down on Georgia Ave. Despite the chilly, sleety weather, a bunch of friends joined me. I was grateful, and I had a great time. I got to hang out with Sumana and Jen, two of my friends from Wellesley who I haven't seen in years! Way cool.

No Scrabble this morning, since Scott is out of town. I worked a bunch of last Sunday's crossword puzzle, but it's not quite the same.

Last thing:

This reminds me of riding the T in Boston, singing camp songs with Abby and Morgan and Kate and Alissa. I'm not sure we were received quite as happily as the group in the video...

Friday, March 16, 2007


Here's the website of Chris Jordan. Beautiful images, until you realize what they represent, and then they're slightly sickening.

Depicts 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I try not to write about the weather too much, but days like yesterday are so exciting!

I had an absolutely gorgeous workout yesterday! My teammate JJ and I ran down to the Lincoln Memorial and did a workout on the staircase that leads down to the river. Light breeze, pretty afternoon light, good company. Couldn't believe more of my teammates didn't join us... the Fools Fest tournament is only 15 days away now!

Sadly, it looks like the weather is taking a turn for the worse tonight, and the city issued a flood warning for tomorrow. Gross. I just want the rain to hold off until after I get home tonight. (I'm going to a members-only tour of the Modernism exhibit opening at the Corcoran tonight!)

I'm strongly considering attending this elephant parade on Monday. It's not all that close to work, but I think it sounds like fun.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

π Day


I'm having p(ad tha)i for lunch. Not sure if I'll get any pie today though...

Here are some tidbits from the Wikipedia page on pi.
  • The value of π has been known in some form since antiquity. As early as the 19th century BC, Babylonian mathematicians were using π = 25⁄8, which is within 0.5% of the true value.

  • The Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata in the 5th century gave the approximation π = 62832⁄20000 = 3.1416, correct when rounded off to four decimal places. He also acknowledged the fact that this was an approximation, which is quite advanced for the time period.

  • The Chinese mathematician and astronomer Zu Chongzhi computed π to be between 3.1415926 and 3.1415927 and gave two approximations of π, 355⁄113 and 22⁄7, in the 5th century.

  • Even long before computers have calculated π, memorizing a record number of digits became an obsession for some people. The current world record is 100,000 decimal places, set on October 3, 2006 by Akira Haraguchi. [3] The previous record (83,431) was set by the same person on July 2, 2005 [4], and the record previous to that (43,000) was held by Krishan Chahal.

  • There are many ways to memorize π, including the use of piems, which are poems that represent π in a way such that the length of each word (in letters) represents a digit. Here is an example of a piem: How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature (or: of course), after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics. Notice how the first word has 3 letters, the second word has 1, the third has 4, the fourth has 1, the fifth has 5, and so on. The Cadaeic Cadenza contains the first 3834 digits of π in this manner.

  • Swedish jazz musician Karl Sjölin once wrote, recorded and performed a song based on and called Pi. The song followed the decimals of Pi, with every number representing a certain note. For example 1=C, 2=D, 3=E etc. The song was then performed as a jazz song, thus making the harmony more liberal.

  • On July 22, Pi Approximation Day is celebrated (22/7 - in European date format - is a popular approximation of π).

  • It's also Albert Einstein's birthday!

Happy π Day everyone! Do something to make yourself a well-rounded human being today.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pearly Whites Day

I'm happy to announce that I have a clean bill of dental health. Flossing does a mouth good!

I'm always so impressed by my dentist's office - it seems like they make good use of the available technology. All of my records are stored electronicly, displayed on a flat screen monitor hanging just in front of my chair and flipped through by my hygienist wielding a wireless gyroscope mouse. I got digital x-rays taken, which were also instantly displayed for me. Cool!

I think today was the first time I've had a male hygienist, a really nice guy who noticed my Nantucket t-shirt and spent the rest of the appointment talking about shellfish, even though he doesn't like to eat it.

I learned that Brita filters do not take the fluoride out of the water (a concern that was raised over dim sum on Sunday), that Minnesota and Michigan both put LOTS of fluoride in the water (did you know it all started in Grand Rapids, MN?) and that DC doesn't put much in at all, so a little nighttime fluoride treatment every now and then wouldn't hurt. It works by stimulating your teeth to repair the enamel from the inside out.

Other news: Scott was accepted, and offered funding, by the University of Maryland's Agricultural Econ program. Go Scott!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday's details.

Alas, Marshall lost to Hermantown 4-1 today. Better luck next year, guys.

I had a productive day. Whole grain pancakes with Scott, a Scrabble game in which I drew way too many vowels, and then a trip to the National Gallery of Art to meet up with a group of Wellesley alums to tour the Jasper Johns show. An excellent field trip! First of all, I like Johns' work a lot and have been looking forward to seeing this exhibit. It met my expectations, AND I discovered that ANOTHER Jasper Johns exhibit is opening tomorrow, so I need to make sure I go back to check it out.

Among the Wellesley women there, I ran into two acquaintances, which was definitely fun. One was a coworker from my days at the conservation lab in the library. She went on to get her Masters in library conservation science and is in DC interviewing for internships. Great to talk about her about her work - she's so passionate about it, and it brought back lots of great memories from my work at the library. Still one of my favorite jobs, I think. She said that she learned how to make her own bone folders (an integral tool of the trade). A guy came in from Idaho to teach a workshop and brought moose bones for them to use. I'm a little jealous. Funny that I dreamt about making a book last night; I woke up with a great idea for an image to put on the back cover. No idea what the rest of the book looked like though...

The other woman who was fun to talk to was a member of my house council the year I was president of my dorm. She said that one of my R.A.s has moved back to DC and is living right up the street from the zoo, which is funny because whenever I go by the zoo, I think of this particular R.A. and remember how much she said she loved that place the first time I met her.

After the Johns show, I headed down to the basement of the East Building. I remember really liking the "Stations of the Cross" paintings, and they're just as wonderful as I remember - simple, elegant, engaging variations on an extremely simple theme: black verticals on a white background.

It was such a nice day out, and I hadn't been down to the Mall in such a long time, that I decided to wander around down there for a little longer, and made my way over to the Botanic Garden - one of the Smithsonians that I hadn't visited before. It was great - so full of life - plants and flowers and lots of families. Almost made me want to live on the Hill so I could visit more easily more often.

I biked home leisurely. It was warm enough to ditch my jacket and just wear short sleeves - such a treat. Picked up some terrific roast chicken at Sweet Mango Cafe for Scott's and my lunch. Spent an hour working on throws with Scott in the schoolyard down the street. I feel pretty rusty after a winter of not too much Ultimate, but Scott is a terrific coach, and I feel like I improved a little bit. It was so great to be outside. Sunny and 60. Couldn't ask for a nicer spring afternoon!

Back at the ranch, I nailed down our hotel reservations for Italy. Yay! One night in Venice, one in Florence, three in Rome, two in Cinque Terra, and then one more in Rome.

Now I'm off to Aaron's birthday party, which reminds me. What should I do for my birthday this year? I'm turning 26, so an alphabet theme seems appropriate. But I've been meaning to have a math party... maybe combine it with a Pi Day celebration?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Update from Margo, who spent her lunch break today watching high school hockey semi-finals in Minneapolis:
Marshall won 3-2 in over time, tomorrow they're playing for the championship!
Hooray for Marshall! I'll wear my sweatshirt tomorrow to wish them luck. I'm not sure the team was ever this good when I was in high school... I only remember going to one game.

Another high school note - my old friend Bridget was in town this week and crashed at Delafield, so I got to reminisce about ballet and classmates and Camp Widji. Fun!

The other night I dreamt that someone sliced off my arm. I put it back on again, and it sort of stayed, so I was trying to decide whether or not go play ultimate. I was worried someone might knock it off again... so I decided to wait for my dad to come home from the symphony so that he could take me to the ER where they'd properly reattach it. I was very relieved to wake up and find my limbs all completely in tact.

The Delafielders went to see Breach on Wednesday night, which is a movie about a double agent in the FBI and based on a true story. I thought it was good, and I really liked that it took place in DC. Seeing the metrobuses was like seeing someone you know cast as an extra.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Junk mail be gone!

Go to this site to opt out of credit card offers. Filling out the online form gets you off the lists for 5 years. Mailing in the form gets you off of them permanently. (Thanks to Scott for passing it along!)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sightseeing, driving, select flooding

We're home in DC after a highly succesful trip to Philadelphia. The surgery went really well, and Scott was discharged on Wednesday night. He's walking relatively well and hasn't needed much of his pain medication. No awful grimaces when he tries to sit down!

But since this is MY blog... the trip was notable for me in two respects. First, because even though Philadelphia is a terrific city less than three hours from me, I had only been there once before, in 1998 on a college tour with my dad. This time I only got to see bits of pieces of it - from thoroughfares as we were driving in, on a walk to a coffee shop on South Street, and on the campus of U Penn where we spent Tuesday night. Fun to be in a place that feels so different from DC and NYC. I'll have to head back for a pure tourism weekend sometime.

The second striking thing about this trip was my realization that I'm terrible at navigating a car. I'm an okay driver - nervous because I don't drive much outside of Duluth, but competent overall. But when it comes to figuring out where to turn, I'm atrocious. Finding entrance ramps for freeways is my particular debility. I think I improved over the course of the trip. If nothing else, I at least got better at (a) noticing signs, (b) reading them and (c) realizing that I just passed the turn I should have taken. Thank goodness for Scott's métier in getting us back on track.

A healing trip for Scott, an educational one for me. A trip that I believe will serve us well in the months to come.

Now that we're back in DC, Scott and I are praying for the heavy rainfall that is predicted to come tonight. The construction in the basement can't be completed until we get a nice, big storm to test out the new drainage system they installed. Until then, we'll continue to camp out on the 2nd floor. It's warmer up there and more congenial, but my stuff is in disarray and I'm anxious to get settled in again down there. So cross your fingers that tonight's flood warnings come true on the streets and NOT in the basement!