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The Cube Next Door
I'm starting the fourth phase of my IBM life now, as measured by the often underrated double metric of (neighbor, desk location). With the beginning of Simon's sabbatical in England, Kevin's moved down the hall to share Elias's office, and--for the moment--the cube next door is vacant.

Each phase has its own characteristics. Its own banter, its own quirks, its own work and foosball habits. Each phase has its own video games, its own work-at-home policy, its own projects. And, somehow, each phase exists beyond work, marking in some strange manner the continuing storyline of my life.

The first phase saw AJ as my neighbor, in our old desk location near the elevators on good ol' Floor 3N. We didn't even have full desks there, and the beginning of that first phase is deeply etched into my memory; I started working on September 10, 2001. The AJ(1) phase was filled with evolving dynamics, as I was meeting Jordi, Lonnie, Brian, and John, as well as the rest of the team on the other side of the wall. We constantly used our headphones to listen to music, and we toyed with creating a music server out of a discarded machine.

Foosball was a learning experience, as AJ dominated the ranks and also strove to emphasize the beauty and science of the game and to elevate our play. The foosball of the AJ(1) phase culminated in the first Foosball tournament, in which Rooney and I teamed up only to crash down to an early exit. I worked on Sash--Sametime specifically--and I slowly learned what an extension, a location, an action, an instance, and a weblication all were. Mainly, I familiarized myself enough with the existing Sametime infrastructure to add group-chat support to the Sash Sametime extension. The 21R gang instituted work-at-home Wednesdays, and doggedly followed that mantra for many, many weeks. We ate lunch downstairs often and at the mall sometimes, and almost never brought lunch from home. On late Friday afternoons we played the demo version of the beta of Wolfenstein 3D.

I was living on the border of Cambridge and Watertown with Dodzie. Lynn was still at Northwestern, and we visited each other as often as possible. It was largely a waiting game, as I waited for Lynn to graduate so that we could begin our lives together.

In the first few months of 2002, our group migrated to the far end of Floor 3N. I was still next to AJ, though now we all had full-fledged cubicals, complete with rearrangeable panels and glass dividers with fish stickers. And so began the AJ(2) phase. We talked more and, except for AJ, listened to less music. Not long after the move, Brian moved on to his current job with American Express. Our passion for foosball cooled off for a while, only to be renewed with the summertime arrival of the Extreme Blue students. The second foosball tournament -- I don't remember the name of the Extreme Bluer I was paired with -- came to an abrupt end with the end of the AJ(2) phase. We almost never ate downstair anymore, though with the arrival of warm weather we ate outside often and played frisbee during our lunch hour. We brought communal sandwhich fixin's to work for a while, but didn't maintain the diligence needed to make that continue. I spent the better part of a month digging through the Sametime toolkit source code, attempting to solve a crash on Buddylist's close, and I spent the rest of my time developing an unnecessarily complex file-transfer extension as well as becoming more and more intimate with the guts of Sash. We discovered the joys of multi-player emulators, jousting regularly in best of 3, 5, 7 or 9 series of Tetris Attack.

I travelled several times to Chicago during the AJ(2) phase, culminating in my visit to Chicago for Lynn's graduation. Wedding planning heated up and Ithrew myself full blast into the arduous chore (ha!) of planning our Hawaiian honeymoon. I travelled to New Jersey almost every weekend in July. I enjoyed both the drunken antics of a bachelor party in NYC as well as the absurdly comedic antics of a weekday jaunt to Six Flags with the guys from work. Lynn and I got married on the happiest day of my life, and then we spent 14 equally happy days in Hawaii. And while we were there, AJ picked up and went West, heading to graduate school at Berkeley, leaving behind him an empty cube adjacent to mine. And so, as the first hint of an autumn 2002 chill was felt in Beantown, the AJ(2) phase came to an end.

But I was not to be without a neighbor for long, as Kevin joined our team and filled the vacant cube, beginning the Gibbs phase. The Gibbs phase was noteable for the large degree of change from the AJ(1) and AJ(2) phases. Sash came to a subdued end, having fought the good fight for many years, and our team turned our attention to life sciences, including Jordi, Lonnie, Elias, Simon, Sean and I, who turned our attention to the annotation project. The light workload of the summer was replaced by intense design meetings and the beginning of a significant coding effort near the end of the year. Ben, aka Rockhead, quickly filled in for AJ's abandoned position as one of our top foosball players, though foosball intensity has never quite reached the levels it once was during AJ(1). We still refused to eat downstairs for the most part, but there was a large increase in incidents of leftover previous-night-dinners brought to work for lunch. Tetris Attack declined, replaced by sporadic Final Fantasy III sessions (featuring Jordi as Terra!) Music was rarely heard or seen, at least until Jordi purchases his Big Ass Headphones late in the Gibbs phase. Gibbs provided an endless stream of brilliantly absurd ideas, always springing fully developed from the uncharted depths of his being. Two more members of our team departed, with Rooney accepting a new job in NY and Simon heading back to England pending a cross-country and then cross-world journey with Eva.

Lynn and I furnished our new home and found married life to be wonderful. Our familiy began to brave tough times, with incredible closeness, strength, and courage. I started playing in cousin Larry's monthly poker game, satisfying a lifelong (well, maybe decade-old) goal of mine. Rohit, Dodzie, Eugene and I (and Lynn) planned and executed an awesome trip to Vegas in January 2003. Lynn endured the mountains of work of a first year law student, and I endured the seemingly endless winter.

And then, a few weeks ago, the weather began to improve, and with Simon's departure on the horizon and Kevin working with Elias on Lobo, the end of the Gibbs phase drew close. So we said our goodbyes to Simon last week and at the same time saw Kevin trudge down the hall to share an office with Elias. The cube next to mine sits empty once more. Tumbleweed blows freely through it, as I think about what the next phase might bring. Undoubtedly it will see a continuation of the high amounts of work the annotation project entails, as well as a summer of basketball, tennis, and weddings. Other things are less easily anticipated, but no aspect of my life is any worse now than at the beginning of the Gibbs phase, and many, many of these aspects are better.

What, then, remains the same as I enter my fourth and as-of-yet unnamed phase of my IBM Life? Jordi, Lonnie, and John have never been far away, and as the months pass I grow increasingly fond of them all, as well as of the rest of our team, all of whom I know better and better with each passing phase. Of course, Lynn and my loving families have a cohesion, warmth, and love that transcends all phases and will continue indefinitely. And Lynn and I share a bond stronger than the most intrinsic forces of the universe.

And as a final shout-out, my life for the past twenty-plus months my shifting neighbors have marked the times, but all along I have actually had two neighbors at work. From day one, the mysterious Dunster House resident whom I had never known very well, the master of stir-fry, DDR, and friendship, and the man paid tribute to by a painting hanging on the wall of the corridors at work has been my constant and consistent neighbor at work. There may still be those members of our group that confuse Wing and I, but from introducing him to Friendly's on our trip together to BoV to watching the Nets sweep the Lakers in the NBA Finals last year (what's that you say? I can't quite hear you), to our late night IM conversations, Wing has become a tremendous friend, with my only regret being that we didn't really know each other sooner in life. If you don't know Wing, you should. He rocks.

I'll continue to occasionally update this space with the arbitrary goings-on of my life, but for now I look into the unknown expanse of this new phase with nought but optimism and anticipation, and I look forward to sharing it all with those close to me.

The Grizzly Bear Emerges From Hibernation
I picture James Earl Jones as Terence Mann, standing up from his seat in the bleachers, surveying the baseball field before him--the sun's golden rays shining down on the diamond--and saying
The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.
And as he says this, before launching into his "one constant through all the years" monologue, he raises his hand before his face and brushes away the memories to which he refers. That gesture is how I feel now, as I attempt to brush away the metaphoric cobwebs that have infringed upon this log over the past five months.

I take a look at my last entry from last October, and I consider what has transpired since then. The coffee table that shone bright and new in the autumn has served us through many meals indeed. I can never write the full details of the events of the past five months, but I can summarize that time period, and in so doing allow myself to reestablish a more regular update schedule.

Work. Around the end of the year, Rooney let us know that he had accepted a position working with the w3 On-Demand team, working out of New York. It was sad to lose Rooney (my first IBM manager, *sniffle*), but Allister has replaced him as our manager and Allister (so far!) has been a great manager also. Still working on the same project that I"ve been working on since the fall, and we're working hard to get a variety of releases of our software done between April and August. Work featured my first ever business trip--a 3 day trip to Rochester, Minnesota with Jordi. We ended up flying first class (another 'first' for me) as a result of how late our tickets were purchases. Ate a few hefty meals on IBM's tab, and all in all had a successful trip. I missed home while I was away though; I don't think I'm at all cut out for frequent business travel.

Stefan, Alyssa, Wing, Lonnie, Jordi & Jen came over on Friday night for an evening of poizza, poker, and some video games, and I had a great time hanging out wiht everyone outside of work. I definitely feel lucky to work with a group of people with whom I not only work well, but also enjoy spending time outside of the workplace.

Weather.There's not much I can say about this winter, other than it's sucked. We've had about two feet more snow than the average winter, and temperatures have frequently been in the teens and lower. Our heat's help up rather well, but at those sub-twenty degree temperatures our heat tends to manage only prolonging the fight with a cold to a 63 or 64 degree stalemate. Two things about the winter bear mention:

  1. I hate the cold. It's March now, and I'm sooooo looking forward to some warmer weather.
  2. This marks the eighth straight winter in which I have not fallen due to snow or ice. This dates back to a black-ice induced wipeout I took 8 years ago on my driveway in Glen Rock when being dropped off after Hebrew High School one Sunday morning.

Home.Not much has changed since last October, although every day our place continues to feel more and more like home. We finally ordered a bookcase for our "office" a couple of weeks ago, though it won't arrive until the waning days of March. As one of her projects over her Spring Break this past week (yes, Spring Break. yes, it's February. it's not my idea.), Lynn decided to paint our bedroom. With great reluctance from me to commit to any particular color, Lynn made the decision on a light blue with some gray twinges and put on the first coat yesterday... and it looks great. She's putting on the second coat as I type this, and it's also looking awesome.

Events. There was Thanksgiving. Turkey was eaten. Twice. There was the Broncos vs. Jets game with Cousin Dave at the (freezing) Meadowlands in December. The Broncos lost. On the last drive. There was the end of December spent in New Jersey, including Lisa Cohen's engagement party and New Year's at Sabow's in Manhattan. Good times were had. There was a trip to Las Vegas with Lynn, Eugene, Rohit, and Dodzie. Good times were had, much food was eaten, and money was won. There was a visit from my parents for the Penn and Princeton v Harvard basketball weekend. Harvard lost. Twice. There was Joe Millionaire. Oooh. Ahhh. Slurp. Gulp.

The main branch of the Brookline Public Library reopened about two weeks ago, and Lynn and I spent some time there last week. Libraries are neat. I got a couple of John Irving novels that I haven't yet read (Hotel New Hampshire and Cider House Rules) as well as one of Dodzie's childhood favorites, The Dark Is Rising. I've finished The Dark Is Rising and enjoyed it, though not as much as one of my childhood favorites, A Tale Of Time City. I will still likely read the rest of the books in the series.

The Two Towers was seen. It was magnificent to behold. I can't wait for The Return of the King at the end of the year.

Many video games were played, including but not limited to, NBA 2k3, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Spyhunter, Contra: Shattered Soldier, and SSX Tricky. Dodzie mocked me for never finishing video games. So I went and finished Tricky (with Elise only, for now) and Two Towers (with Aragorn only, for now). I next plan to finish (not necessarily in this order) Rayman 2, Jak and Daxter, Contra, Spyhunter, and even perhaps GTA 3, as well as finish Two Towers and Tricky with other characters. Then Dodzie will become the mocked.

I can almost smell spring now. I can't wait.

One step closer to a furnished home

Of all the myriad pieces of furniture that Lynn and I have gone shopping for as we furnish our apartment, the one that proved to be the most difficult to find was a coffee table (& end table). We've been searching both online and offline for weeks looking for a coffee table that we like. Wood, marble, glass, metal, we've considered everything. So, of course, this morning we found ourselves back at Jordan's Furniture (for the umpteenth time), and we finally settled on one that we liked, which I need to pick up tomorrow afternoon. Now we can (more easily) watch TV while we eat dinner!

One story of note from this morning's trip to Jordan's: we arrived at the "Store On Top Of A Hill" around 11:50 AM, only to find that it doesn't open on Sundays until noon. This did give us the privilege, however, of obseving the carloads of nine year olds arriving for the birthday party being held at a furniture store. My eyes didn't believe it either, so let me repeat: A kid was having a birthday party at a furniture store. I think the apocalypse just may be waiting around the corner.

On Friday night, Lynn and I went out to dinner with Wing and Grant at the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse. Good burger and top-notch company. I hadn't hung out with Grant or Wing outside of Work in weeks and weeks, so it was nice ot spend some time together. Then we came back to our place and Wing passed out on our couch (that was one strong beer <g>) while I schooled Grant at Madden 2002 (well, actually, it was a close game and Grant had never played before, so maybe schooled isn't exactly the right word). Dodzie and Eugene them came over, and we played caps and video games for the rest of the night. Pretty chill, but a good time was had by all. Or at least by me.

Yesterday, Lynn, Eugene, Kate, Dodzie, and I went to see the Northeastern v. Harvard football game. Northeastern won, in a travesty that Havrard blew with a fumble with about forty-five seconds left in the game. Uggh. Yesterday night we stayed at home and did nothing. Today we got our coffee table and I watched football all day. Not a bad life.

Rooney's web logs since the first two have been markedly better. For fairness's sake, I must now recommend it, since I originally panned it. It would be nice if it were updated more regularly, but I suppose we can't all be Wing.

The other thing I did today was create a new page to act as my browser's start page. It contains a list of sites that I read on a daily basis, and I welcome more suggestions. You can see my current (short) list here.

Just Another Update
First thing first. Rooney has a web log now, finally. The first two entries aren't particularly exciting, but I'm sure it'll get better. Read it here.

I always make a half-hearted list of things that I want to write about in my next log update. Then, when I actually sit down to write the entry, I realize how woefully incomplete the list is, and I silently bemoan the "smokescreen" effect that prevents me from remembering other things to write about once I've read my list of things to log. Oh well.

I played poker with my cousin Larry and a bunch of his friends a few weeks ago. Whereas my friends and I have tended to always play nickel-dime-quarter stakes games, this was a half-dollar ante, dollar maximum bet game. Not exactly high stakes but about five times higher than what I'm used to. The other noteable property of the game was that they play with actual money (bills and quarters) rather than with chips. When I asked about this, the answer involved the Navy (Marines?) and someone's negative history with poker chips. Or something. I didn't press the issue. I had a blast though, especially since the Yankees lost over the course of the evening. I won about $30, though I think I was up about $90 with thirty minutes left in the game. I'm looking forward to the next game in November.

Lynn and I went to see a couple of concerts in the past few weeks. First, we saw The Who at the Tweeter Center (nee Great Woods) with Dodzie, Kate, Anne, and Eugene. We had outdoor lawn seats, and the forecast for the night involved several rather large buckets of rain. Luckily, the only thing that rained o'er us was love (groan), as the dry weather held out. The concert was awesome, as we expected. I suppose it says something negative about what sort of Who fan I am since the absence of John Entwistle didn't seem to detract from my enjoyment of the band. Highlights included "Bargain," "Baba O'Riley," and "5:15," but the whole show was great, even if I did get in trouble for not bringing chips with the sandwhiches. If ever there were an archetype of what a rock concert should be like, it's The Who.

A few days after that, we saw Paul Mccartney at the FleetCenter, courtesy of the wedding gift from Geoff and Marc, two of Lynn's Northwestern friends. This was also a very good show, though Paul did somewhat seem like a caricature of himself as he threw his arms up in a victory gesture after every song. The songs are great, however, and the audience was very energetic. Good show.

Last week Ben Folds released a new live album, with tracks compiled from his summer tour. You may recall that Dodzie, AJ, and I saw one of these shows this past summer at Avalon. Unfortunately, none of the tracks on the CD are from our show. However, the disc came with a bonus DVD containing about eight videos from the tour. Four of these videos are from our show, and they're great. They include a video of us (the audience) giving Ben the finger as he took potential album cover pictures. Still unsure if the actual cover is from our show or not, but it might be. That video comes complete with the rather amusing "Ben Folds sucks!" chant. I'm not a big fan of music reviews, but I give two thumbs up to the new live album. Real good stuff.

Lynn and I also went to the final Red Sox game of the season, courtesy of the generosity of Barbara and Larry. It was a beautiful day and so we walked to and from the game. The game itself was rather sloppy, but the most interesting part of it for me was the mildly depressing feeling that accompanies the final game of the (regular) season. All sorts of "could've been" feelings, I suppose, but any more ponderings along these lines will have to go into a sports log entry.

We take a brief segue here to recap two dreams that Lynn has had over the past few weeks. I offer no commentary on the dreams, nor what they might mean. I just think they're pretty damn funny. In the first dream, Shayne and Jess are married and have a young baby, which Lynn and I subsequently kidnap, apparently because we really wanted that baby. In the other dream, Lynn takes her young baby to work (on the 75th floor of a tall office building), when a fire breaks out. The employees, including Lynn, calmly take the elevator (sic) down to the ground floor, whereupon Lynn realizes that she left her baby up on the burning 75th floor. She walks upstairs, finds the baby unharmed, and carries it back downstairs. She swears her maternal clock is not yet ticking, but...

I have no comment on this, but I suppose it must be mentioned (specifically the October 3rd entry).

As I typed the title of this entry I realized that it could be interpreted as two different words. It's either "Content," as in substance, or "Content," as in pleasantly satisfied. My intended usage, thankfully, is the latter. As I write this entry, I am content. Why am I content? I am content because I am currently living in a world in which I can lie tummy-down on my bed, next to my beautiful wife (who is, in the interests of full disclosure, reading over my shoulder), and compose this entry on a sweet IBM T23 laptop via wireless ethernet. It's a pretty good life.

So, what's new? Lynn's parents visited last weekend. They came up on Saturday afternoon, arriving approximately three minutes later than they should have, mostly because Lynn's dad refuses to fully read my directions, preferring instead to (this part edited by Lynn; email Lee for the full story) rely on the winds of fate to carry him to this destination. It was well worth the additional wait, however, as both Lynn's Mom and Dad were of invaluable help in whipping our apartment into shape in the subsequent five or six hours.

Meanwhile, we were waiting for the sofa guy from Jennifer Convertibles to come and deliver our new sofa. He was supposed to come between 2:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon, but as the eighteenth hour of the day came and went, there was still no sign of him. As we tortured our day-before-Yom-Kippur stomachs with an ever-more-delayed dinner, Lynn and I worked ourselves into a mild state of paranoia by reading numerous complaints about Jennifer Convertibles on the web, including reports of pending lawsuits for bait-and-switch tactics. Anyways, long-story-short the delivery people came around 9:30 at night, the sofa is wonderful so far, and we ate a tasty (but no Kosher Nosh) late dinner at Zaftig's on Harvard Street.

We spent Yom Kippur with Lynn Spector at Brandeis Hillel. Services were good, and it was an easy fast, culminating with a breakfast at the brandeis dining hall consisting of--for me--mounds of tuna fish on a couple of rolls.

Since then life's settled down a bit. We're investigating coffee tables and end tables, and I just started playing Madden 2002 again. Dodzie and I played darts with Andy and Liam, a pair of Scottish blokes we met at Punter's Pub on Friday night where a whole flock of Northeastern Law School students were imbibing. They beat us pretty badly but they were very entertaining nevertheless.

This week looks to be very busy at work, as the various projects starting up are all picking up steam. I'm also looking to start work in my spare time on a silly little project that will accept a query and search various different sources on the web, using some (as of yet unspecified) fuzzy logic to determine what kind of search to perform (regular web search, weather search, baseball player search, etc.). It's not a terribly novel idea and I'm not sure how well it will work, but I'm planning to write it in C# (which I've never used before) so it should be an entertaining exercise, at the least. I'm envisioning a UI along the lines of the Google toolbar, but I'll write the engine on its own so that I can decide on the exact UI at a later point.

Lynn's gone to sleep next to me, and I probably should head blee myself. It's nice heading to sleep content.

A More Microscopic Entry
So my last entry was a big ol' summary entry. I'm going to try to do a more normal entry now, though it will probably be rather rambling. Tonight, Dodzie, Lynn, and I went to trivia at Matt Murphy's Pub (here in Brookline Village) with two of Lynn's friends from Northeastern, Kate and Linden. We did rather craptacularly (to quote Dodz, I believe), but it was fun. I think I prefer the format (significantly) and the trivia (a bit) of PJ Ryan's, but this place is literally a three-minute walk from our home, so...

Wing now has his very own web log (err, livejournal). He writes much more frequently than I do, so I'll take this opportunity to recommend to all my loyal readers that in those long, dark interludes between my updates you can draw comfort and solace out of reading Wing's thoughts. They have my formal seal of approval.

Wing mentions something which I think is worth repeating. Wing and I had countless opportunities to meet and know each other during our four years at Harvard. He lived in Dunster, right next door to Leverett. We were both CS. We knew many of the same people. Yet we never really knew each other at all. Now, a year later, we're close friends. I think that's really cool, and I'm real happy aobut it. (Not to say that I'm not also really happy about the other really awesome friends I have at work, just that Wing and I share a bond having started on the same day, attended orientation (BOV) together, and, well, you can read what Wing wrote.)

I've been thinking a fair amount today about people's reactions to the 9/11 anniversary. The majority (and media) reaction is very patriotic; it's full of flag-waving and American pride, amidst a sincere level of solemnity and rememberance of the victims. There's also a significant undercurrent of thought that seems to think that the American reaction to 9/11 has been too over-the-top, too holier-than-thou, and needs to end. Now. And of course there is then a backlash against these people, with many Americans believing them to be UnAmerican or unpatriotic. I think that's absurd. I think it's one of the most American of traits to question the behavior of the majority. However, in this case I tend to agree with the majority. I believe that the 9/11 attacks have not been overreacted to--they were unimaginably terrible acts, and they were directed not at the government against which the terrorists claim grievances, but instead against an international (but largely American) group of innocent civilians. I really don't see how that can ever be justified, and the magnitude of the attacks deserves to be acknowledged. Furthermore, I see nothing wrong with exhibiting pride in America on the anniversary of the tragedy. There is much to be proud of, from the emergency workers who fought to save lives in the immediate aftermatch of the attacks, to the passengers on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania, to the companies and their employees who worked dilligently to rebuild the Pentagon and remove the rubble ahead of schedule. These are all things to be proud of, and I think, importantly, they're all apolitical things to be proud of. I may not (in fact I don't) agree with all or most of President Bush's current foreign policy, but I believe that way too many people have been trying to link objection to the administration's policies to an objection to celebrating patriotism, even in the light of remembering the tragedy of one year ago.

Jordi has started playing Final Fantasy X. It's really very enjoyable to relive such a great game through the eyes of someone who has never played it (or any other Final Fantasy game) before. He's about four hours into it (on the ship having left Besaid), and he really likes it so far. It only gets better from there.

I really need to get cracking on wedding thank-you notes. Someone mentioned to me that proper etiquette allows people to get wedding gifts up to one year after the wedding. Unfortunately I don't think I can argue that that should allow Lynn and I a full year to finish our thank-you notes. Once our couch arrives this weekend though I can plant myself there and start churning them out.

People find my website (particularly this log and the sports log) by searching for the oddest things in Google. In the future, I may share some of these here. If you're curious, feel free to ask me what some of the funnier ones are.

The Autumn Cometh
So, the summer has been quite the blur, and I haven't updated the whole time, so I'm not going to be able to go into nearly as much detail as I'd like, but I'll write brief synopsies (synopses?) of the more memorable events.

July 4th - Lynn visited for July 4th weekend, and we celebrated on the roof of Natalie's building. We played some cards, watched the fireworks, and generally had a very good time. Natalie has since moved down to Tennessee to start med. school at Vanderbilt.

Bachelor Party - The weekend of July 14th was my bachelor party down in NJ (NY, actually). The details are not suitable for this forum, but suffice it to say that everyone present had a drunken good time. Of course, the Mets lost, which was a shame because Brian Della Torre had agreed to wear the free Mike Piazza jersey we all received for the rest of the night should the Mets have won. Which they almost did following a late-innings comeback.

Foxwoods - The following weekend Lynn and I met Randi and Scott and Barbara and Larry at Foxwoods. Larry, Scott, Randi, and I played poker almost exclusively, and although we didn't do to well overall, it was real nice to spend time with family, especially since we had been discussing a foxwoods trip since the previous Cousins' Weekend. On Sunday, after saying goodbye to everyone, I bretrayed my own promise not to play blackjack and was summarily rewarded by winnig $120 in about 30 minutes of play, at which point I pushed back from the table and drove back up to Boston. This marked my first successful visit to a casino since Noah built that big boat of his.

Six Flags - The gang from work (AJ, Wing, Jordi, and John) took me to Six Flags New England. We went on just about everything, except for the spinny rides which we all decided basically suck, except for AJ who was peeved at this decision. Sorry, AJ! We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Worcester that we found after driving around that pinnacle of modern architectural achievement that is Worcester for about thiry to forty minutes.

Uf Ruf - The following weekend was my Uf Ruf (also spelled: Auf Ruf) back home at Temple Beth Shalom. For the first time since my Bar Mitzvah, I davened Shacharit and Musaf, as well as singing the Haftarah. That afternoon, Randi, Scott, Lynn and I gave my parents our anniversary gift from them: VHS tapes that we had had converted from piles and piles of their old film, covering time ranging from my dad's childhood to Randi and my childhoods. It turns out we didn't quite get all the film, as some was stealthily hidden away in other parts of the house, but it's still pretty neat to be able to watch all this old film without having to seutp the oh-so-reliable projector.

The Big Day - And then--finally--the next weekend was our wedding. The wedding was great, no two ways about it. I can't imagine another day when I've been so happy, and that's saying a lot considering how damned hard I try to be happy as much as possible. Lynn looked stunningly beautiful... of course. The band was great; Noam, who officiated at the ceremony, was terrific. The only drawback of the whole day was that somehow during the party I (re-)injured my back and my wrist, which have been bothering me since. (Yes, it was at the party, not later that night, you pervert. Get your mind out of the gutter.) The highlights of the day were numerous and varied, but I was most relieved when it only took me two tries to stomp on the glass (the first try missed to the left (sort of a reverse Scott Norwood, if you wil) ). Everyone seemed to have a great time; Lynn and I can't begin to thank our parents enough for throwing such a wonderful party, but I can at least start by (semi-)publically acknowledging it here.

Honeymoon - And then we were off to Hawaii! Which was awesome. The three sentence summary of our vacation follows: We started in Maui, where we enjoyed the beach, a sunrise at the summit of 10,000+ ft. Mt. Haleakala, the beach, the incredibly windy Road to Hana, a hike to a waterfall through an incredibly eerie bamboo forest, and the beach. Then we were on to the Big Island, where highlights included the beach, petroglyphs, and walking to within 10-15 feet of actual, flowing, 2000 degree lava. We wrapped up the honeymoon on Kauai, where we saw the beach, the brilliant red and greens of Waimea Canyon (muted by the overcast day), the beach, and a three-mile kayak trip up the Wailua River to the (Not-Very-)Secret Falls and the Fern Grotto.

Settling In - Since we got back, we moved up to Brookline and into our condo. We've bought lots of furniture (<deep breath>TV, entertainment center, desk, desk chair, night tables, lamps, couch</deep breath>) Lynn's started Northeastern Law School, I'm back at work (with a reset foosball statistics database!). This past Friday night we had Eugene, Ann, Dodzie, Kate, and Irena over for Rosh Hashanna dinner, which was very nice. We went to services with Lynn (Spector) at Brandeis, which were very traditional except for the lunatic Rabbi who jumped around stamping his feet and pounding his podium with his hands during the more upbeat songs. We had dinner last night with Barbara and Larry and Larry's family down in Braintree at Larry's brother's home. Their whole family is incredibly warm and fun to be with (this being my second time following Yom Kippur break-fast last year). I'm also looking forward to playing in Larry's monthly poker game starting in October. I'll report on how that goes in a future update here.

Football started this week, I'll get around to writing a sports log entry sometime soon. Broncos beat the Rams though--that's a nice start to the season. That's all from the friendly confines of 17 Aspinwall Ave. #1 in Brookline. Until next time... Private.

Writing this log sure is tough...
I mean, after all, that must be why I haven't updated in so long. In any case, I had a really nice conversation with Josh today on the phone, and afterwards I was surfing his website when I came across this page, which has links back here. That reminded me of how infrequently I've been updating, and how much has happened since my last update more than six weeks ago. So at least now I'll record some of those events for posterity.

May passed without much that I remember at this point, except for a few things that I jotted down or have recorded in my Handspring Visor. Some highlights were getting to see Janak, Alex, and Lucy one weekend when Lynn was also in town visiting, and then having dinner with Eva and her boyfriend Alex the next week. Along the same lines Stuart and I had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory just last week, seeing each other for the first time in a while, and we're doing it again tomorrow, so that should be fun.

Memorial Day weekend was Michael Sackman's Bar Mitzvah in New Jersey. Michael was awesome (no surprise there) and the party on Sunday was a lot of fun. Lynn had Northwestern's annual spring party, Dillo Day, that Saturday, but she did manage to fly home Saturday night and come to the party on Sunday. That Monday, Wing came to my house in NJ (he had been visiting cousins in NYC) and we drove towards Boston, stopping along the way to eat some delicious Indian food prepared by AJ and family ( as well as to pick AJ up). Of course, this was only after Wing and I saw through AJ's devious tricks: his directions to his house had specified a nonexistent exit off of I-84. As Wing might say, "He _tricked_ us!"

The only notable event of that week, according to my Visor, is that I found and prepared the Garfield card to send to Lee Sabow in congratulations of his graduation. Lee and I for many years sent back and forth to each other a birthday Garfield card that said nothing beyond "Lee, Happy Birthday! --Lee" Then one year, Sabow lost the card and the tradition was abruptly brought to a screeching halt. (Lee disputes this particular part of the story. He's wrong.) To repent for his sin, Lee gave me a similar graduation card upon our graduation from High School, and I dutifully held onto it and completed my end of the bargain to celebrate the end of his Brown career. Of course, as I wrote on the envelope, he better keep it around for the day when I decide to end up at grad school!

The next weekend I travelled to Chicago to see Lynn. The plane was mightily delayed by thunderstorms; it took off about 90 minutes late. I did, however, discover a passion for listening to the chatter between the planes and the local air-traffic control tower, which I did for most of my flight out and then for part of my (less eventful) flight back on Sunday. My short list of "other careers I'd kind of like to pursue someday" now includes astronomer, high school math teacher, and air-traffic controller.

In any case, Saturday was absolutely beautiful and Lynn and I enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch on the banks of Lake Michigan, complete with (you guessed it) tuna sandwhiches and lemonade. Later that day we played tennis; Lynn destroyed me and I realized what truly horrendous shape I'm in. I hope to try to find time this summer to be active and improve a bit. I already started to do that the other week by playing basketball with AJ, Grant, Dodzie, and Jeff, which was probably the first time I've played basketball in about two years. Going back to Chicago, Alex, Margaret, Lynn and I went mini-golfing that evening, and I soundly and safely came in last place.

As a brief aside, I've noticed recently that I've been losing games with a lot more frequency then I ever remember in the past. Maybe it's just a streak of bad luck, and hopefully I haven't lost my edge. I like to think, however, that it's just a monumental increase in the collective game-playing skill of the rest of the human species (or at least in those people I know).

We played foosball at Alex's place that evening, and they introduced me to the Sunday Night Sex Show, which is on the Oxygen channel every night at 1:00 am and is frickin' hillarious. It's a call-in show hosted by an elderly Candian lady who is, very, very entertaining.

I came back from Chicago to one of the worst weeks ever in my life--our Internet service was out! It wasn't fixed until the following Saturday, and I'm sure you can imagine how painful that void in my life was. (In fact, that week is why I haven't updated this log in so long---yeah, that's the ticket!) In other news that week, NR and I had lunch on Friday with one of his new grad students. It was good to see NR and catch-up on some of the work he's been doing and will be doing this summer. I also got an evaluation copy of the textbook that he's rewritten; I'm going to attempt to read through some of it in the weeks to come. I hope that the next game night that NR and Cory have is sometime when Lynn is visiting so that she'll get to attend, but we'll see how that works out.

That Friday, AJ and I drove up to Saugus to Bob's to get some clothes. AJ picked up about thirty-three articles of clothing for a total of eight dollars. I wasn't quite as impressive, but I did get a few shirts, a pair of jeans, new sandals, a pair of shorts, some socks, and some boxers for a bit over $100. Pretty good. It allowed me to put off laundry for another week.

On June 8th, Dodzie, AJ, and I went to see Ben Folds perform at Avalon. Without going into tremendous details, the concert was incredible. It was only Ben and his piano (and Neil who opened for Ben and was great also), and it truly rocked. The songs were awesome, and Ben's rapport with the audience was spectacular. I was also impressed by the crowd's ability to sing very sweetly in three-part harmony on Ben's command. I will definitely try to go see Ben again sometime soon, and hopefully bring Lynn along.

Dodzie, Eugene, AJ, Vishal, Grant, and I have started going to a weekly Tuesday night trivia at PJ Ryan's, a bar near Davis Square. We've gone twice now (only the second time with the full crew), and we've already managed to net third place (and a grand total of $20) the second time, highlighted by answering correctly questions such as "What five current Red Sox have played with no other Major League teams?" (not an easy question for six guys who are not Sox fans; for the curious, the answers are Trot Nixon, Lou Merloni, Nomar, Shea Hillenbrandt, and Casey Fossum.) We plan to make this a regular outing (though we did skip it this week), and we'll apply our winnings towards dinner prior to the quiz.

Finally (boy my hands are tired, and I've even omitted a couple of minor things from my list!), my mom visited this past weekend. Dad was supposed to come too, but there was a fire in his office building last week :(, and he's been very busy handling it and making the necessary preparations to relocate his business for the next few months. Thankfully no one was hurt, and I'll still see him soon enough. So Mom came up on Sunday by herself, and then on Monday she came with me to the closing for Lynn and my condo in Brookline. The closing went smoothly, and I was handed a keyring with fifteen keys on it, and I suppose I can now call myself a homeowner, though why I'd want to is still a bit beyond me. Of course, all this means in reality is that my headaches now move from taking care of the purchase aspects of the closing to taking care of the normal "new apartment" issues such as phone service, payments, utilities, etc. Oh well, that's just the pessimist in me speaking. The place is great and I'm really excited about moving there after the honeymoon (I'm even more excited about finally living with Lynn after all this time, but that should go without saying.) OK, that's it for now. Later.

Home, Sweet Home
Again, it's been too long since my last update, but I think I'll make up for that with the size of this update. It's been quite an exciting and busy couple of weeks. I've made notes for myself so I'll try to cover the important events.

First, a pair of stories that deserve to be recorded for posterity. I had taken my camera home for Passover, and when I got back up here to Cambridge I had looked at it and realized, I thought, that I had forgotten to take my rechargeable batteries back with me. So I emailed my mom and asked her if she could look for them in my room and mail them up to me. The next day, Mom calls me and tells me how a day or two after I left New Jersey she had parked in the driveway and seen some batteries lying next to it. Thinking that "some kid" had left or kicked them there, she decided that she would eventually get around to throwing them out, but she never did. When she received my email, the connection clicked and she went outside to look for the batteries. Two of the four were quickly ofund near the driveway; an exhaustive search of the front lawn netted one more, but the elusive fourth remained missing.

On a hunch, my mom called my dad, asking him if he had come across a battery on the lawn at any point in the past few days. "Sure," my dad replied, "I threw it across the street!" Excuse me, Dad?!? What would ever possess you to pick a poor, defenseless battery up and throw it across the street? Of all the possible reactions, that is just about the strangest and most amusing to me. Apparently, the garbage cans in the backyard were just too far away.

The other story concerns a random email I received a month or so ago from someone named Dave Arlington who had read my web log. The email was short and to the point, and concluded with twenty baseball trivia questions (which, I have not yet answered - aah!). I didn't reply, because I had no idea who Dave Arlington was. Anyways, long story short, after a week or so I mentioned this to my coworkers, and we did a bit of research. The ISP indicated in the email address was national, so that didn't help. I attempted to correlate the timestamp of the email with my web server logs and determined that Dave Arlington was coming from an IP address that resolved to a Maryland provider.

Now the only people I know in the Maryland area are the Swerdloffs, but their last name is Swerdloff, not Arlington! I mentioned to Brian that the only person I knew in the area was a family friend who works as a radio DJ. Brian whipped out his Google skills, and within minutes I heard him say to me, "Do you know a Dave Swerdloff?" You can imagine my surprise at hearing a name that I knew I hadn't mentioned to Brian. It turns out that Dave Arlington had been the answer to a radio trivia question about what DJ Dave Swerdloff was, and so his search for (I think) Maryland, Dave Arlington, and radio, brought up a page mentioning Dave Swerdloff! Bingo, mystery solved.

Last week Wing and I went to the mall for lunch one day and ended up going to the third floor where the Fleet ATMs are because I had a check to deposit. There, we stopped by the game store, where I looked for Settlers of Catan, with an inkling that I might buy it. I didn't see it there, however, until we returned there the next day, at which point I bought it. I already own Cosmic Encounter, but that requires five or six people to play, where Settlers can be played with three or four, and is almost as much fun. So I'm glad to now own it, since unfortunately Tom is no longer close by :-(. This brings me too...

...Randi and Scott's visit this past weekend. Randi had a friend who was having a bridal shower on Sunday, and so Randi and Scott came up here on Friday night to hang out until Sunday. We didn't do too much, but we did play a bunch of games of Settlers, and I think they both enjoyed the game very much. I won the first two games, including a second-game comeback in which I built three consecutive cities on my three last turns to pull out the win, but then I didn't win another game all weekend (and we must've played four or five games). It was, as always, very good to see them. We tried to go to Jake Ivory's on Saturday night, but when we arrived there at 9:30, there was already a huge line. We waited for about twenty minutes, made almost no progress, and bailed back to my apartment to play Settlers, video games, and UNO. A good time was had by all.

And the biggest news of all. Scattered among the other events of the past few weeks I had started to look at condos for Lynn and I to purchase. You can see pictures of some of the ones we saw at my online photo album. In any case, to make a long story short, we saw a wonderful place near the heart of Brookline Village this past Friday, and as of Saturday night we had made an offer and had our offer accepted! Home inspection is tomorrow and then we sign the purchase and sales agreement next week; closing is scheduled for June 17. Needless to say, Lynn and I are both extremely excited, and more than a tiny bit nervous. I'll keep this space updated as the process moves along. Wow.

Oh yeah, the place is at 17 Aspinwall Avenue in Brookline, and in my photo album the relevant pictures are the ones with captions labelled "Brookline Village #1." Wow, again.

Pre-Patriots Day Thoughts
I don't really have any Patriots Day related thoughts, except that it's a Massachusetts holiday and I have off from work tomorrow. Whee!

I sent the link for this log to my parents, and my dad found enough time late last night to read what I've written so far, and then sent me an email badgering me on the fact that I hadn't updated this log in two weeks, so I woke up early this Sunday morning (it's 10:10 AM right now) just to write an entry.

Actually, that's not true. I had an appointment with Alison Joseph, the real-estate agent who helped Dodzie and me find an apartment last summer, to begin looking at condos for Lynn and me. However, neither of us had remembered that this weekend is both the marathon weekend as well as a series of Red Sox v. Yankees games, and cavorting around Boston early this afternoon trying to look at places would be miserable. Not to mention that many places are not having open houses today for the same reason. So we postponed our meeting until next Sunday. Randi and Scott helped me last night compile a list of approximately 12,882 questions to ask about a prospective place, so I feel that I'm all set except for, as Randi put it, that it will take me three hours at any given place to get the answers to all the questions.

Played poker last night at with Jordi, AJ, John, and Wing at AJ, John, and Wing's place. I ended up the big winner for the night, doubling my initial five-dollar stake. Also played Super Smash Brothers and (Super?) Monkey Ball on their Game Cube. Super Smash Brothers is such an incredibly good idea, it's almost a good enough reason to go purchase a Game Cube (but not quite). The various levels in the game are all adapted from levels in classic Nintendo games such as Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, etc. You choose to play as a classic character (Mario, Link, Samus, etc.) and along the way battle other classic characters. Very, very neat concept.

On Friday night Dodzie, Kate, Eugene, Anne, and I went to dinner at Kaya. Vishal was supposed to meet us for dinner, but he ran late babysitting and so, though we ordered enough food to include him, he never made it to dinner. Thus, I'm now batting 0.500 (2 for 4) when it comes to overstuffing myself at Kaya to the point where I'm ready to curl up and take a nap upon finishing my meal. We came back to our apartment afterwards and played Twenty Five Words or Less, along with some other games, and then discussed Mideast politics for a bit.

I sent my laptop in to IBM for repair, and with a turnaround time of four days, including two weekend days, received it back with a replaced screen and in great shape. Impressive.

Jeff's been in town for the past week or so and I had a chance to see him and the rest of that blocking group last weekend on Friday night when we went to John Harvard's and then the Red Line (new bar owned by the Grafton people at the old location of the Grille). It was very good to see and catch up with Jeff, who I hadn't seen in a while.

In other big news, Jordi and Jen got engaged on Monday! Jordi proposed along with a circular saw he had gotten Jen for their anniversary, and then they picked out a great looking ring together. To cap off an exciting day, they then placed an offer on a house in Arlington, which unfortunately was not accepted but---what a day! These crazy kids getting engaged so young, whatever are they thinking?

A Holiday Surprise
It's been three weeks since my last update, though in fairness I have updated my sports log in the meantime. I hope in the future I'll update this more frequently, as my memory fails me more than about a week in the past, and so I'm sure I'll miss recording some worthwhile events.

I did some work on Monday and Tuesday with a bloke (chap?) named Paul Smith, a contractor with IBM in the UK. He's been developing some application using Sash, and specifically, the Sametime extension that I've worked on, and so I spent some time helping him with that; I also had the chance (privilege? chore?) of learning a bit about how Netscape plugins work in order to write a very simple one to allow a Weblication to be launched from Javascript running in Navigator. The Netscape Plugin architecture appears exceedingly straightforward--a blessing for the simple task I needed it for but somewhat lacking in features for more complex and robust applications, I'd imagine. In any case, Paul had a deadline on Wednesday, and though we were still ironing out a lingering bug a bit past the deadline, I think things turned out alright. I'll find out more tomorrow.

For the past few weeks I had thought that I would need to be at work on Thursday and Friday, which would have necessitated me missing my parent's Passover Seders for the first time in my life. Luckily, I ended up able to bring my laptop home and attend the Seders, but I decided not to tell my parents this. So on Wednesday afternoon I drove home (no traffic! anywhere! even at the Tappan Zee!) to New Jersey. I stopped at Lynn's house (where I surprised her mother, who didn't know that I was planning on coming home early--only Lynn knew) and called my mom from there to wish her a happy Passover pre-Seder. You can imagine her surprise when I showed up 35 minutes later, immediately after she had just finished telling our cousins how I wasn't coming home. When she saw me she collapsed to the ground and then hugged me and wouldn't let me go. It was priceless.

The second half of the surprise came with my father, who arrived home shortly thereafter and was similarly surprised, though not in so dramatic a fashion. As always, our Seders were very enjoyable, even if the Bernsteins never showed up to watch us singing Eliyahu Ha-Navi from our back deck.

I played some ping-pong while I was home for the first time in months, first against my cousin Stuart (Sackman) during the Seders and then later in the weekend against Lynn and Scott. I did better than I expected I would considering how out-of-practice I am, though I struggled with my bizarre grip on the racket at some points and lost some games I shouldn't have to Lynn. It was fun to play again though; tangentially, it reminds me that I really want to make an effort to play tennis this spring--maybe with AJ?

On Friday night, Randi, Lynn, Scott, and I stayed up very late playing cards. Randi and Lynn beat Scott and me in spades, largely due to a 100-point bonus for "first seven" and despite us succeeding in a blind nil bid (of course, that followed an unsuccessful blind nil bid and therefore ended up a wash). After Lynn went home and Randi went to sleep, Scott showed me how to play two-person spades which we played for a while. It made for a surprisingly interesting game: each person alternates drawing a card from the deck, deciding whether to keep it in their hand or take the following (unseen) card in the deck. Regardless, the person sees both the card added to their hand and the other card that is then discarded. Each player ends up with a 13 card hand and then the bidding and play proceeds as normal. The game loses several of the nuances of four-player spades, but there seems to be more strategy then one might at first think.

My laptop from work (that I'm typing on right now) has had a problem with its screen for the past two weeks or so. The screen has a blue-ish tint that goes away when I put pressure on the top-left corner of the screen. It's usable, but not pleasant, and it's unpredictable when the tint is there and when it is not. I should really call the IBM hardware support line and arrange sending it in to have it looked at, but that would require me being without laptop for several days, which might make some of my debugging work difficult.

In any case, it's getting late so I think I'll retire to my bed for the night. I'll have more to say regarding ongoing wedding plans et al. come my next update.

On Religion and Physics (well, not really)
So in physics and chemistry, electrons, reactions, and processes in general execute at the lowest possible energy level. (I had originally written: "seek the lowest energy level" until Dodzie pointed out that that violates everything I ranted against in last week's entry.)

With that in mind, I turn to the stories recorded in the Old and New Testaments. Assuming an omnipotent God, of course it would be possible for all of the stories in the bible to have occurred. However, the stories seem an awfully convoluted and complex way of testing faith, demonstrating power, and dealing with evil in the world. I'm sure there are many reasonable answers to this from a theological standpoint that rely on humans not understanding the motives of the omnipotent, but as far as this ordinary mortal is concerned, it's rather perplexing.

I went out to dinner last night with Eugene, Vishal, Anne, and Anne's friend Andrea. We went to the Harvard Square Chili's. Now, in my experience, the Harvard Square Chili's has some of the worst service of any restaurant I've ever been to more than one time. Yesterday, it lived up to its reputations. Appetizers took at least 30 minutes from when we ordered, we were given no plates for our appetizers, our orders were screwed up in multiple ways, we were not given straws for our drinks, the waitress repeatedly forgot to bring us small things we asked for (such as extra salsa), etc. Eugene and Anne did speak to the manager and get several $5 Chili's gift certificates, but the experience reaffirmed my opinion of that place. We also went to Charlie's; I like that place and should go there more often.

I played Scrabble with my mom earlier today online at Playsite. The board was in pretty miserable conditions pretty early in the game, and as a result I spent a large part of the game with great letters but no place to play any 7-letter words I had. My mom had a mid-game 7-letter word (DENTALS), but later in the game I finally played GRANITES. I was trailing by 10 with almost no letters left, but I was able to play QAT to get rid of the Q and that left me with DISSAN as my last 6 letters. My mom on the other hand was left with something like IIOOURT, which aws much harder to deal with, and at that point I won pretty easily. All in all it was a good (if very low-scoring) game.

I'd like to play some chess sometime soon; I haven't played in a long time. I know AJ plays, so maybe I'll try to get him to play a game with me sometime.

Those Darn Biochemists
I've had a bone to pick with the way people studying biochemistry talk about cellular and molecular processes. Particularly, the way in which they assign teleological goals to non-sentient entities. They regularly use phrases such as "the cell undergoes riboflamivious in order to dodge the tentacles of shmofflitis" or "the ras protein diffuses through the membrane in order to find its place in life."

While in some cases I'm sure this anthropomorhphizing is isomorphic to the true causes of the process in question, I fear that in many cases trying to understand a process in these terms may only obscure the true, chemical causes (and effects!) of the studied mechanisms. Current technology should allow us to follow biochemical processes at a more holistic level, and therefore to better understand the interactions between subprocesses. I guess it boils down to that I think teleological ways of approaching checmical processes will tend to do more harm than good.

Went out Friday night with Dodzie, Kate, and Dodzie's grad. school friends to the Sunset Grill & Tap in Alston. Nice place; combination bar and restaurant featuring over 400 beers including over 100 on tap. Following a North Eastern Copper, I chose beers largely by name, enjoying a Smuttynose Shoals from New Hampshire, a Celebrator from Germany, and a pale ale whose name I do not recall.

On Saturday, I drove Lucy down to Dorchester to pick up an old TV that an SCA member was giving away. It was nice to spend some time with Lucy, even if the guy's directions told us to exit 93S at a nonexistent exit.

Today Dodzie spent the morning with his sister (who was in town dancing at halftime of a basketball game), and he returned bearing Grand Theft Auto III for PS2. What an incredibly sick and entertaining game. I've been watching Dodzie play it for most of the day.

Since my last time writing, the Denver Broncos and I won Super Bowl II of Dodzie and my 30-year John Madden 2002 franchise mode. Dodzie and his St. Louis Rams won the first Super Bowl when the Jets upset me in the AFC divisional game. This year, after thrashing the Dolphins and Chiefs in the AFC playoffs, the Broncos crushed the Rams 45 - 21 in a Super Bowl featuring (marred by?) Kurt Warner tearing his achilles tendon when sacked early in the second quarter. Needless to say, I was thrilled. We finished the offseason today, with Dodzie improving his overall team rating from 95 to 99, while the Broncos improved from 92 to 95. We also bumped the difficulty level up from Pro (level 2 of 4) to All-Pro (level 3 of 4). I lost my first game of season three today to the Chiefs, but I'm optimistic about the rest of the season. Future ramblings on our Madden seasons will be pout in my new sports log.

Dodzie just spilled on the rug, and claimed that the rug would neither end up smelling nor sticky because "that doesn't happen to rugs". What do you think? Let me know.

The First Entry
This is my first entry in my personal web log, in which I intend to periodically record the goings-on in my life, as well as some personal thoughts when the fancy strikes me. Personal web logs of this sort have been becoming more and more popular recently (for example, Blogger) but I haven't really understood the desire to share private thoughts with random web-space passerbyers.

I talked with AJ about this a couple of weeks ago, as AJ has his own collection of thoughts--the format of which is about 98% responsible for the format of my site--at his website. We discussed how while it might be nice for friends and families to have a one-stop place to catch-up on his life, it's even nicer to have a permanent record of life events that he can look back on six months, a year, or twenty years from now. This is the part that appeals to me; I hope to read what I've written here in the future and remember my past, both the good and the bad.

As I write this first entry, I've been employed for IBM for over five months (since September 10, 2001), working with the Advanced Internet Technology Group. We're working on Sash, a JavaScript runtime designed to allow web developers to create native Windows applications and to easily hook into web services, among other things. Since September I've worked on a Sametime extension for Sash, a peer-to-peer file-transfer extension, and miscellaneous other goodies. The work's been challenging and interesting, and the people are all great.

I'm also engaged to Lynn Zuckerman since July 20, 2001, and we'll be married this coming August 4 at Rockleigh, NJ before going on a two week honeymoon--probably to Hawaii but we haven't ruled out the Caribbean--and then settling down somewhere up here in the Boston area, where Lynn wil be going to law school.

I'm currently living in Cambridge right next to the Watertown border with my roommate of 4.5 years, Dodzie, and as with the past four years, this is working out great, although our superintendent is anal about recycling cardboard, and so we've stopped recycling it after getting chastised about it twice. Must've had our apt. number on the pizza box we recycled without first cutting it up. Oh well; if that's the worst of my apartment complaints, things ain't all that bad at all.

In more specific recent news, Lynn visited last weekend. She came on Friday afternoon and worked out with AJ, Wing, John, and I at work. We spent a quiet (*cough*) night at home Friday night. On Saturday, we drove downtown by the Fenway to meet with the directors of Northeastern University's Law, Policy, and Society Program. Lynn applied and has already been accepted to Northeastern Law School, and the LPS program can be done concurrently with the Law School program. She's also applied to LPS which seems like a very interesting program, though Lynn and I were both a little bit taken aback by the extent to which the LPS students are older people who seem very directed in their studies of one particular social issue.

We played catch Saturday afternoon, which also happened to coincide with the Mets first spring-training workout of the year, featuring new arrivals Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Roger Cedeno, and Jeromy Burnitz (among others). I wore my Mets jacket for the first time in 2002, but I've since gone back to my Broncos jacket for now as the weather hasn't cooperated with me yet.

Saturday night Rohit and Serre-yu, who were visiting the Boston area, came over to hang out with Kate, Dodzie, Lynn and I. As always, even after weeks or months of being annoyed with Rohit not answering emails, it was very nice to spend an evening with Serre-yu and him. On Sunday, Lynn showed me how to make tuna melts before she had to fly back to Chicago in the early evening.

This weekend the guys from work (AJ, Wing, John, Lonnie, Jordi, Brian) and I were supposed to play poker, but it turns out that AJ's spending the weekend with his mom and Lonnie has a friend from school (?) visiting, so it looks like this is going to be postponed. Since I'm going down to Lee Sabow's next weekend, I'm not sure when we'll end up having a game, but I hope we do at some point.

I've been watching the Winter Olympics from Salt Lake City, Utah for the past couple of weeks off and on. I was pretty excited for them before they started, and then found that I wasn't very into them in the beginning, but they've grown on me over the fortnight and now I've been enjoying watching them mightily. I watched the figure-skating exhibition tonight, the highlight of which was Sara Hughes' (16 year-old gold medalist from Great Neck, NY) encore performance which was preceded with her personal tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks. It seemed very heartfelt and was really nice to see, especially coming from a New Yorker. I find it odd that I'm seven (SEVEN!) years older than an Olympic gold medalist; that's just bizarre.

I have lots of other things I could write about, especially since I'm starting out. I have lots of things to ramble on about sports (go Nets! what a season!) and my future plans and even current events, but I feel I've written a good start for this li'l endeavor, and this way I'll leave myself plenty to talk about next time, which hopefully won't be too long from now.