Monday, June 26, 2006

Week in Review

Hi Blog Readers:

Sorry for the sporadic updates..  It's been a crazy month!  As many of your know, I'm getting married to M on Saturday.   We are doing much of the work ourselves to save money.  It's been very hectic, but in the end, I think it will be a great ceremony and reception.  I'd like to give a shout out to people who have been helping us along the past few weeks... Centime, Tung Lee, Sarenna Stein, Brian Thomas, Isabella, Z. Alonso, Margaret, Vuto, and the many others who I am too frazzled to mention at the moment!  

In other news, I had a pretty good week last week.  I gave a one hour talk at Draper Labs for my year-end review on June 22.  A research grant from Draper is funding my education, so I am grateful for that.  The talk went very well.  My current research is in graph-based information handling and manipulation for engineering systems architecting.  Twenty people showed up at my talk, which is a very good turnout for these types of things.  19 of 20 liked it.  The one guy who objected, didn't object too strongly, he just didn't like being told/didn't believe that my way of doing things is better than his way.  We'll see...  ;)

I had a good game of softball last week.  Our manager, Dan Kwon writes up funny articles after each game in our softball blog.  I hit a game winning double to end the game on Wednesday.  It was a great feeling, because my hitting has really stunk recently.  (I think I've been too distracted by off-field stuff!)

Last week M and I watched two movies at home:  Il Postino and Everything is Illuminated.  Both were fantastic, and I highly recommend them to almost anyone.   However, if you only like action movies and hate reading subtitles, these are not for you.    Il Postino is mostly in Italian with a bit of Spanish.  Everything is Illuminated is a mixture of English and Ukrainian.

I went to an appointment with Margaret's Radiation Oncologist on Wednesday.  She was her normal self, messing with the staff a bit.  This is the first appointment she has had since the radiation stopped three months ago.   The radiation used to treat her tumor takes about 6 months to 2 years to take effect.   The staff was very impressed by the improvement they could see in her.    There was one particularly funny exchange between Margaret and her doctor:

Margaret (in a gruff voice): "GENERAL!, has the radiation infiltrated the battlefield?"
Dr. Ramakrishna (standing tall, in respect): "Yes, Margaret!  Our intelligence images are showing the enemy may have begun a retreat.  It appears the enemy is not successful in it's attempt to call reinforcements, however we need more time to see the full effect of our attack!"
Margaret: "Great job, general!"

[In other words, so far so good.  There is some indication that the tumor is shrinking, but it's still too early too tell....  The good news is that the radiation did not cause the tumor to grow and did not cause any new swelling of brain tissue.  This is fantastic...  The next MRI and appointment is another 3 months from now.]

That's all for now.  I'll post more when I can.  Large numbers of family and friends are flying in soon, so I'll do what I can...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

funny things happen on the way to work

Well, this is mildly funny...  I was waiting for the #1 bus at the Mass. Ave. station bus stop
when a dark brown van marked "Boston Department of Public Health" drove up.  There were 4 or 5 guys in it.    The guy in the passenger seat had unlit cigarette in his mouth.  As soon as he got out of the van, he lit it up.   I get the feeling it's not the only cigarette he is having today.   Hopefully he is not on his way to some sort of public health education program.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Adventures on Craigslist

So, yesterday I bought a 27" inch TV for M's mom on Craigslist.  I've been trying to get one for two weeks to replace one that was broken.   I was getting frustrated with the routine.  I saw ads for good deals.  I would then email the person and get no response.  It seems that once something is sold, people just ignore the emails.     It would be nice to know either way.

I ended up getting a nice 27" Sony for $75.  Great deal!  In the end I just sat the computer, hitting refresh every couple of minutes, when I saw a good deal I immediately called or email the person.  Crazy.  It's like sniping on Ebay. 

Here's a tip if you looking for a TV:  Many people are selling nice TVs cheap these days because they are upgrading to $1000+ LCD flat screens and such.   There are tons of them on craigslist.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Isabella Returns

My friend Isabella will soon be in Boston!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Another set of updates...

tomato plantsHere is a photo of my tomato plants taken on May 25th. They are now about 3 times bigger. I'll take a new photo soon. I can't wait to eat my very own tomatoes. I've also planted rosemary, parsley, oregano, mint, basil, cilantro, jalapeños and a couple of strawberry plants. We were recently given lavender and catnip plants, so I'll plant those too.

The past couple of weeks have been busy. The wedding is just 18 days away. I am also working towards the year-end review with my funder on June 22.

Isabella is writing about the excitment about the World Cup in Argentina. In the US, you would hardly know it's going on. There is very little advertising or conversation about it here. Too bad!

I recently bought a used bike from my Finnish friend, Matti. It's quite a nice ride and I'm excited to try biking to MIT sometime.

That's all for now... back to the grind..