Monday, March 23, 2009

Odiorne Point - A new view (my first Synth)

March is not the right time to visit the beach in New Hampshire. But we went anyway after a birthday luncheon in Portsmouth. It was cold but clear. I took a few shots of the coastline and I thought I would present it in a slightly different way. I built a Synth made up of 25 individual shots. To see this you will need to using a supported browser and install a Photosynth plugin. It will only run on supported Browsers (IE7, Firefox). It also requires a good graphics board and a good amount of memory. So only try if you feel adventurous.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Organic Gardens

Today the White House is breaking ground with a organic garden on the south lawn.. the chef wants fresh arugula and transportation costs will be nil!. Nice model of sustainability.. When we stay local we reduce our chances of mass distribution of toxins... like bad peanut butter.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Maple flavored icicles

The iced storm was devastating to our forests. Now that the snow is retreating we can see the piles of downed limbs and brush to be cleared. Roadside signs have appeared offering chipping and brush clearing services. These limbs are green wood and are very heavy. Some are bent under tension so when I’m using the chainsaw I need to pay even more attention to the direction of the cuts. Everywhere in town folks are trying to burn piles of brush unsuccessfully because green wood is not very flammable. Kerosene helps for this task.

The other day I noted that chickadees were visiting the broken branches of maple trees. They were drinking the sap which is running freely now. My driveway is wet, my windshield is covered with it, all oozing from broken branches. In the morning after an overnight freeze I was greeted with maple flavored icicles, quite tasty I must say.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy π

Of course March 14 (3.14) is just a rough approximation of the “real” value of π but leave it to those quirky folks at the Exploratorium to have a proper celebration.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What “Real” Engineers do!

My nephew is a mechanical engineering student at UNH. He sent me a photo sequence that makes me a bit queasy but I’m a bit nervous about heights. I’ll include his description of what he is doing.



For those of you out there who think that Engineers just sit around all day in front of a computer, here is a little taste of what we do on a regular basis. For those of you who don't know, I work for Sig Sauer (one of the world's foremost handgun manufacturer) as a Design Engineer. I work primarily on R&D and the design of firearms and firearms components. An average day for me includes several shootings, the handling of a minimum of 20 different firearms (more often than not there are machineguns, grenade launchers, and suppressors thrown in the mix also), and it is not uncommon for me to have to move a firearm or two to get at my keyboard. The pictures depict me investigating the possibilities for wind power at my parents house. I scaled the 32m (105ft) tower to get dimensions of the tower as well as to inspect it's structural integrity. The next steps are data collection for the areas wind activity, and perform FEA (Finite Element Analysis) of the tower to determine safe operating parameters. So, as you can see, not all of Engineering is "simply basking in the glow of a computer monitor" (quote stolen from Steph - ChE)

Maxine Dombroski (1929-2009)


Maxine’s daughter Martha wrote a beautiful testimony to her mom:

In January of last year, I attended a Day of Recollection for caregivers and was struck by the words of the homily during Mass. Our celebrant referenced the Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ reflection on the scene of Jesus’ birth speaking of “God’s infinity dwindling…dwindling into an infant.” Our celebrant then paralleled this by saying we see the same dwindling in Christ’s crucifixion – God’s infinity dwindling into the reality of the world we live in. This theme of dwindling struck me as I too was witnessing my mother’s failing health. It was painful at times to watch this once vibrant and energetic woman “dwindle” into the form of an infant. And I know it was painful for her to reconcile herself to her state of health but eventually she “let go” of her need to do for herself and trusted in God’s mysterious designs. It was the greatest lesson my mother taught me – to “accept and trust in God’s plan”.

My mother was a woman of courage, determination and great faith. Leaving her home of Bay City, MI in 1957 at the age of 28, she came to Stamford in response to a job ad for Stamford Hospital in a nurse’s magazine. She met with her pastor before leaving and he told her to find a Polish parish so she would still feel a connection to home. So she came here to Holy Name. One fateful Sunday, a young man looked down over the railing of the choir loft, nudged one of his fellow choir members and said, “Hey look at that, finally a woman with a decent hat.” That man was my father and he was looking at my mother. When my mother called my Aunt Josie, the choir director, to ask about joining the choir, my aunt handed the phone to my father and said - “Hey, that lady you like from church is on the phone, talk to her.” They made plans for their first date to go to the movies and since you know both my parents were of great faith it should come as no surprise that they went to see “The Ten Commandments”. The rest they say is history.

My mother was also a great cook. I could look in the refrigerator and say, there’s nothing to eat – she’d look in, pull out about 5 or 6 things and whip up a gourmet meal. Every birthday was special too as my brother and I each got our special meal with our favorite kind of Angel Food Cake. Along with being a great cook came the distinguishing characteristic of being a great party planner. I can remember conversations between her and my dad. My mom would say - “Hey so and so’s birthday is next week, we should do something – invite the family. My father would say ok. Next thing, I would hear papers rustling, pages in books being turned, my mother calling the family to invite them over and in about 20 minutes they were out the door to go grocery shopping. Something like that would take me days to plan.

In addition to working as a nurse at Stamford Hospital for 37 years she volunteered by giving her time to her church, and my brother’s and my schools (from grammar school right through high school). I was amazed, because for most of her tenure at the hospital she worked the night shift – but still found time to be there for us, her family and friends.

This is how I want to remember my mom – vital, alive, full of energy and enjoying life whether it was volunteering for the church at the annual Dozynki festival or going on fantastic trips with my dad.

I know my father’s passing had a profound effect on her and I believe it contributed to her rapid decline in health. As much as it pained me to see her “leave me”, a little bit every day, I knew she was leaving for a much better place. There were times we would just get on each other’s last nerve usually with her saying “leave me alone, I can do it myself” and me saying, “I’m just trying to help.” The night before she died, however, I asked her if she was tired and she wanted to go. I told her I loved her, and not to worry about me, that I’d be ok. And although she couldn’t speak, she mouthed “O.K.” When I got the call the next morning, I remembered our conversation from the night before and thought to myself – “Now… she listens to me.”

I knew that God had a plan for her and for me. It was as if we were each experiencing our own individual Agonies in the Garden. Begging God to let this “cup” pass us by but if not then His will be done. My mother came to accept it and eventually so did I by watching her. It is one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned from her.

I believe the late Avery Cardinal Dulles said it best in his final McGinley Lecture at Fordham University. “Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence….If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity.” As it was in my mom.

Monday, March 02, 2009

My Brother – A short film

Touching film, worth viewing. Remember only 50 words allowed, also shot in less than 50 hours. Impressive.

Chris Wood writes:

Our weekend adventures just finished up, and our film from the 50/50 film festival is finally complete! For the festival, we were to write, shoot and edit a film in under 50 hours using only 50 words in the film. Eddie Schmit, Max Cantor, and I wrote the script and put together a team. Our given theme was "The Other: How does it feel to be the only one?" which we had to incorporate into our concept.