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Elephant
jwg

The Dali Expo in Monterey

As part of the motss con some of us went to the Dali Expo in Monterey. Dali actually lived in Monterey for a few years and many of the works in this exhibit were illustrations for books (not biology text books!).

We have been to quite a few Dali museums - one of the most interesting was in Cadequés in a bulding that was his home. Of course I'd like to see a Dali exhibit in a building designed by Escher.

     

     

I am glad that I am not Dali's psychiatrist.

us-88
jwg

Motss Con XXXII

We just returned from Motss Con XXXII in Palo Alto. soc.motss, a Usenet news group that was created in the '80s as a means for LGBTQ people to communicate - and called motss for "members of the same sex" since using gay and lesbian in the name would likely have caused it to not be carried at many sites. Starting in 1988 there has been an annual gathering of motssers somewhere. We have been to every one starting in 1991.

Part of the tradition is to have a Foodie dinner on Thursday night, an official welcoming dinner on Friday night, a Dim Sum on Sunday morning, and a Stragglers' Breakfast on Monday morning. For some of these cons a while ago there were over 100 attendees, for this one I think there were 28 people who were at part or all of it. It's really lots of fun to hang around wth a bunch of people who communicate electronically (now on FaceBook) and get to meet in person once in a while. Looking forward to next year's wherever it is.

Most of us stayed at the Stanford Terrace Inn, The foodie dinner was at Evvia, an upscale Greek restaurant with delicious food. The friday night dinner was a picnic in Rinconada Park, the DImSum at Tai Pan, and the Stragglers' breakfast at the Palo Alto Creamery.

Some of the highlight events were a trip to Monterrey to the Dali Expo, a visit to the Rodin Sculpture garden and Cantor museum, and a visit to the Papua New Guinea Sculpture garden, Also the Gamble gardens,

And of course lots of sitting around by the hotel pool with people and going to nearby restuarants for meals. Definbitely a great way to spend a long weekend.

The Rodin Thinker and the Papua New Guinea Thinker


Dali: The Swallow or Defeat of Civilization




EatingInGreece
jwg

Our recent trip Iceland

We took an incredibly wonderful trip to Circumnavigate Iceland, stopping at various incredible spots including some small islands along the way. It was a Harvard Alumni tour - along with groups from other universities and organizations.

We were on Le Champlain, a really nice ship in the fleet of Ponant, a French company. It was launched in 2018 and the company has 5 others like it. About 160 passengers and 115 crew members. The food was excellent (a French ship of course) and we ate too much. The crew was mostly formally dressed and lots of them greeted you at various times. Dining was in a large room with tables of 2, 4, or 6 people. We usually sat down with people we didn't know and had a nice time chatting about this and that.



Each day we made one or two stops and then went on walking tours, or short bus rides to various sights. There were local guides who were knowledgable and entertaining as well. This country is full of beautiful and interesting sights. We had been there for a couple of days in 2001 on the way to Stockholm and saw a bit of it then. This was a great way to see a lot of things. It is nice way to travel - essentially you stay in a hotel that takes you to places so you don't have to move luggage, pack and unpack, etc. On some afternoons thay had people lecturing on various topics and we went to a few of them which were quite interesting. An example was explaining the difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic.



I'll be posting a lot more about this trip with a gazillion pictures - but not for a few days. I like to wait a couple of weeks after a trip to go through the pictures.

huh?
jwg

My MG-A

In early spring of 1962 I had decided to leave grad school and get a job in the computer industry having taken several computer programming courses and had a part-time job at MIT in the computer center. And along with that I decided I would get a new car to replace my then-current used car - I don't remember what it was - probably about a 1956 something or other - Ford perhaps.

My choice was an MG-A; a flashy sports car and I checked out a nearby dealer.

I went on a job interview at Honeywell and got a verbal offer at the interview. The job was to write a code generator for a Fortran Compiler. On the way home I stopped off at a bank to get a loan application (I was going to secure it with some stock).

A few days later I got the offer in the mail. I called up the new boss and negotiated a start date in early June when the MIT term was over. (I had a camp councillor summer job they wouldn't let me wait until the end of the summer to start since the project was just getting started.) And then I went to the car dealer to purchase the car.

Below is not a picture of my car, but it looked like this. I really liked it. One of the downsides of the car was that it had a tiny trunk and very little space behind the seats so it wasn't very practical. Also the convertable top attachment to the windshield leaked a bit in heavy rain. The one speeding tiicket I got I am sure was because I was a youth driving a red sports car - I wasn't going any faster than other cars. It had a bit of engine trouble (the engine ran on for about a half minute when you shut it off); after a couple of years that required too many trips to be fixed so I traded it in for a red MG-B. The MG-B had more room in the trunk and behind the seats so it was more practical, and the top didn't leak. But it wasn't as cool looking.

I lived in an aparment in Belmont, Mass. One of my two roommates had a red Austin-Healy Sprite, and the other had a red Triumph TR-3. So we had quite a backyard where we parked our cars.


huh?
jwg

Long closed Boston and Cambridge Restuarants

When I was a MIT student I lived in a dorm, Baker House, that served food only on weekdays. So for weekends we went out a lot. This June for MIT reunion week there was an open house in Baker House to commenorate its 75th anniversary and I went there. I saw each of the 3 rooms I lived in. The place hadn't changed much. Room furniture was the same - perhaps replicas.

Saturday lunch was usually Durgin Park - recently closed. If you got there early enough the line was short. I usually got a big burger. The water pitchers were collosal - you could hardly lift them. And the waitpersons were habitually rude.

Saturday or Sunday evenings it was sometimes Simiones - a nearby Italian restuarant - that was distinguished by their shouting out the order numbers when they were ready.

Jack and Marions in Brookline was a great place - and they closed at 3am so it was good for late-night snacks. They had a Sjyscraper Special - $3 - which was a collosal sandwich and if you ate the whole thing you got your name on the wall. My name was there.

Ken's at Copley menu was similar to Jack and Marions - but you didn't get your name on the wall and it was hard to park there so we dodn't go much.

The English Room at 29 Newbury Street was good. And they set their prices so that when you added the meals tax no pennies were needed to pay the bill.

For late night snacks there was a trip to Elsie's in Harvard Square which had great roast beef sandwiches. Usually one or two people made the trip there and brought back a few sandwiches.

Just up Memorial Drive from the dorm there was the Smith House, and a bit further a Howard Johnson. We rearely went there.

Hippo
jwg

The tractor from many years ago

When I was about 12 years old my parents bought a country place in Stormville, NY. It was called Hidden Brook Farm for obvious reasons. It was about 150 acres - mostly woods, but there were some large fields - including some blueberry fields. It was summer only - but there was a second house and a caretaker lived there.

So we got a tractor: a Massey-Harris Pony - it was a small one; it had cultivators, a plow, a trailor hitch, a sickle bar mower, a disk harrow and a snow plow. And this how I learned to drive and operate farm machinery. It was a lot of work changing implements.

This is not our particular one (maybe somewhere I have some pictures):

moi 1946
jwg

Flag raising

When I was a kid - 7 yrs old or so - as in the icon in this post I had a summer job to raise and lower a neighbor's flag - folding it correctly and stowing it in the designated place.. This was at our summer house in Deal, NJ. I was very conscientious about this task and did it even if I wasn't feeling well. I think my pay was 50 cents a week.
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Us May 09
jwg

Our Breakfast "system"

We have a set pattern for meals preparation and menus. And who does what.

Our weekday breakfast is orange juice, cold cereal with fruit and milk, coffee for Robert rsc, tea for me. Milk is poured from Gertrude in Gloucester, Hildegard in Cambridge. We rotate between corn flakes, cheerios, bite-size shredded wheat, and "flakes" (some other kind of flakes). Take from the left put back on the right. Note that it is 4 kinds of cereal so a particular kind doesn't get eaten on the same day which would happen if there were 5 types. I rotate between tea types and always have green tea on Monday.

Occasionally when it is cold we have porridge (oatmeal) instead of cold cereal. And for this Rutherford, our Wooly Mammoth, comes down to supervise.

On Saturday it is blintzes. I make them from scratch - a batch yields about 10 - we cook 4 and freeze the rest, and the second Saturday which uses up the Ricotta and the other Neufchatel yields another 10 so we have usully 3 more weeks worth in the freezer. Blintzes are served with yoghurt and fruit and cinnamon and sugar. Robert makes the filling the night before. Saturday tea is Rooibos

Sundays rotate between pancakes, waffles, and french toast - all served with maple syrup and fruit with yogurt - also cinnamon and sugar. The pancakes are made with corn, rice, and soy flour, wheat germ and the liquid is fruit juice. Waffles are wheat, rice, and soy flour with wheat germ; milk is the liquid. Baking powder of course. Grated orange rind is often also added to these. The eggs for pancakes and waffles are separated and the whites are beaten and folded in. Sunday tea is some kind of spiced tea. The coffee has cinnamon and sometimes something else added. We make more than enough pancakes and waffles and the extras are wrapped in waxed (not wax) paper and are used for evening snacks with ice cream on them.

I am the one who officially pours the pancake or waffle batter into the pan or waffle iron. Once when Robert did it he got this Certificate of Excellence which is posted on our bulletin board in the kitchen. Note the signature.


For weekday holidays we make an egg dish - a frittata, omelet, occasionally poached, fried, or scrambled, and very rarely eggs Benedict. Today it was a frittata. And then my tea is Earl Grey.

The general rule is that who ever gets up first does the cooking and the other person washes the dishes which sometimes includes some of the previous day's dishes. When we cook an elaborate dinner or there are too many dishes we wash them after dinner. Dishes are left in the dishrack to dry. We don't have a dish washer.

The general rule about oranges is: "I don't squeeze Oranges". The exception is on the first of the month when I do them. When we have grapefruit instead of oranges I am the one that sections them. Whenever we buy a batch of oranges we buy a grapefruit - so that is about every 5 days.

Having a system like this makes everything easy. No dithering or deciding about what to have or who does what.

huh?
jwg

My First Car

Looking some of my old pictures I found this one taken in May 1956. It was my first car, a 1940 Chevy. Standing with me is my aunt Ruth (my Father's sister).

I did lots of mainbtenance work on it - painted it, tuneups, did a brake job. Tuineups in those days were easy - idle speed adjustment, and idle mixure adjustment screws on the carburator, and point gap.

I took auto mechanics in High school. A side effect of auto meqchincs was that yuou could park your car on the school lot instead of the street a block away. And we occasionally snuck out there to smoke a cigarette. They allowed smoking foin the lunch room near then end - when they flicked the lights to say iot was OK, but nowhere else and you weren't allowed to leave the campus and thus couldn't go out . Fortunately, a few years later I stopped for good.


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'guana
jwg

Our recent trip to Guana Island

We've been home for several days after a wonderful trip to Guana Island, a fabulous resort in the British Virgin Islands. This was our 24th trip there - the first one in 1983. It is a private island of 850 acres with a ~800ft peak (Sugar Loaf) and a 450ft peak (Pyramid). The dining room and dwelling houses are at about 250 ft and higher. There is a gorgeous beach - close to 1/2 mile long with white sand where you swim, etc - it is called White Beach. It has a coral reef that is no longer in good shape. There are several other beaches at various points. Lots of trails - many of which we have hiked. They will drive you up and down the hill to and from the beach, but we always walk on various routes.

View from the terrace in front of dining room

There are usually between 20-40 guests, many of who have been there before. The dining tables seat 8 - there are private opportunities - and we were mostly with 3 other couples who we have been there at the same time as us.

The food is excellent - there is an orchard and the orchard keeper and the chef cordinate their work.

It was devestated by Hurricane Irma and was closed in 2018. Roofs destroyed, furniture blown out to sea, much of the vegitation messed up. But restoral has been done and much of it looks like it did before. A big tree near the dining area is gone and the tree at the beach that provides shade is much smaller. The owner is a wealthy person whio is really committed to keeping the place thriving for guests, staff, and wild-life so he made sure the funds and other resources were available for restoral - many other BVI resorts are still not open. In October there is Scientist's month.

There is a salt pond near White Beach which has flamingos - there used to be 7 or 8, but this year we counted as many as 38. It is hard to count accurately since they are often clustered in the distance.


There are also some Rock Iguanas roaming around; they are almost extinct - only 100 of them according to the placemats and some are on another nearby islands.

And lots of pelicans - I love watching them dive.