Monthly Archives: February 2008

Everyone’s a Wii-ner

Tonight we had dinner with Corey, Vicky, and Vicky’s roommate Jasmine in Vicky’s apartment in Somerville. After dinner, we played some games on their Nintendo Wii! This was our first time playing a Wii, and we had a lot of fun. We played tennis, boxing, and bowling in Wii Sports, and we also played a few rounds of Smooth Moves. Catherine had fun watching her Momma and Papa gesticulate wildly in front of the TV. 🙂 Good times were had by all, and Catherine was definitely sad when we headed home.

The family that Wiis together...

See some more pictures from the evening.

Photographs, recently

My photography workflow goes something like this:

  1. Take photo with digital camera
  2. Delete photo on camera if it’s obviously bad
  3. When all photos are taken, connect camera to computer
  4. Download all photos into iPhoto
  5. Delete any photos that are bad upon closer inspection
  6. Make corrections to the remaining photos: crop for composition or extraneous elements, correct color and exposure, sharpen, remove noise, enhance saturation
  7. Export photos from iPhoto to Gallery
  8. Write up a blog entry to let people know about new photos

Steps 5-8 are typically where I get hung up, as they are the most time-consuming. I’m particularly bad with #8 – sometimes there’s really not a whole lot to say about a particular batch of photos, and I don’t feel like just saying “Hey, here are some photos.” But I know that friends and family want to see the photos, so I’d rather let them know about them sooner.

So with that being said, here are some assorted photos that I have taken recently.

I shot a bunch of photos of Catherine in the living room, on an afternoon where there was some decent light coming in. I really like this one, where she’s just seen a dog walk past the house:

ooh!

See more of Catherine

That same day, Rebecca, Catherine and I met up with my cousin Mark and went to Taco Bell for dinner. Here’s Mark with one of Taco Bell’s new dinner plates:

Mark gives it a thumbs-up

See more from our trip to Taco Bell

Valentine’s Day Dinner

cafe

Catherine and her Papa had a nice Valentine’s Dinner date last night and they were nice enough to let me come along! The three of us went to the Daily Harvest Cafe for some delicious sandwiches. At first we had a table for three, but Catherine decided she would rather sit in the comfy chairs- alone. with Papa. So I stayed at our table while she and Peter went off to color by the windows.

A good time was had by all!

Five Years Of World Wide Wood

I just realized this morning that an important date had passed us by without fanfare. So here it is in belated form:

Five years ago, on February 8 2003, Rebecca announced the birth of the website that you’ve come to know and love, World Wide Wood. prwdot.org itself had been around since November of 2001. At first, prwdot.org was my personal homepage, and then after Rebecca and I got married on 10/26/2002 it became simply a placeholder that redirected the reader to either Rebecca’s website or my website. Since 02/08/2003, we’ve blogged her together on all manner of topics. Our two main goals are to inform our friends and family of the goings-on in our household, and to educate and inform people about the interests and issues that matter to us.

We hope that you, our readers, have enjoyed following us all of these years. For your entertainment, here is a link to an archive of the previous versions of prwdot.org, going back to November 2001. For even more fun, here’s links to archives of some of my even older websites, going back to 1999:

Happy Five Years, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Local Food Consumption

Part of our commitment to living more conscious lives involves being more local consumers. Buying locally grown and produced foods from local vendors is good for both the environment and the local economy. We have already changed our eating out habits in order to patronize local establishments (Acapulcos, Pizza Bella Mia, Daily Harvest Cafe) and we’re working on filling our pantry with locally produced staples.

When it comes to groceries we’ve always shopped at Market Basket. They’re a locally owned franchise of grocery stores that don’t waste time and money on advertising, websites, or stock presentation. They just have low prices and a wide selection of groceries. They’re based out of Tewksbury, Ma, so I already feel better knowing that we aren’t supporting a multinational company like Stop and Shop.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed a few positive changes at my local Market Basket. First, they got on board with the larger chains and started selling their own, branded, reusable shopping bags. Yay! I haven’t bought any, though, because I already have enough bags. They have also upgraded their checkout computer systems. My receipt is now printed on both sides and I can now sign the digital tablet when I pay with my credit card- both of which save paper on every transaction! And slowly but surely I am training the baggers to fill up my cloth bags and forgo the plastic. I’d like to think that eventually they’ll use so little plastic that they’ll stop offering it all together!

I usually stick to my list while shopping and buy the least expensive/best value of the selection that I can find. Take peanut butter for instance. Normally I buy the Market Basket brand at $1.50 a jar. This week I noticed that the same size jar of Teddie all natural peanut butter was 2/$4. I decided to pay the extra 50 cents to check it out. As it turns out, Teddie is a local, family owned company, based right here in Everett, Ma. And as an extra bonus the peanut butter comes in a wide mouth glass jar that will be perfect for fridge storage once we’ve licked it clean of pb!

The last month or so we’ve also been drinking local milk. Those of you on the North Shore will certainly know Richardson‘s for their ice cream but they also sell their own milk. I don’t drink milk, but Peter claims that it tastes quite good and milky. I like the fact that Richardson’s raises their own cows and feeds them corn and grain that they grow themselves here in Massachusetts. We do have to drive a little further to get it, but I think it is a good trade off.

We’ll continue to seek out opportunities to buy local food. When the weather warms up I’m sure we’ll have a ball at the farmer’s markets that are in our area! How do you support your local farmers and economy?

North Shore Web Geek Meetup

Last night I attended the North Shore Web Geek Meetup, hosted by Joshua Porter of Bokardo.com. The venue was The Grog in Newburyport, a nice little bar and grille, where we had our own private room on the second floor. A little over 20 people showed up on the cold and wintry night.

I showed up at 6pm, the first person there other than Josh, and I left at 10pm (there was still a handful of people there). I might have stayed longer, but I did have a 40-minute drive home, and work the next day. I’ve been to a number of other meetups, and this is the first one where I’ve stayed more than an hour or two. I met some fantastic people, had some great discussions about technology, the web, the North Shore, and life in general, and enjoyed a bit of good food. The setting was very informal; people just stood around and drank and talked, and would order food whenever they felt like it. When my food arrived, I ate as quickly as I could so as not to miss too much time socializing (and because I was hungry).

Some observations from the evening:

  • Roughly half of the people at the meetup appeared to be in their mid-twenties and under (I didn’t take a survey). The <=25 crowd and the >25 crowds seemed to naturally band together, perhaps because of similar temperments and life experiences. This was kind of an eye-opener for me, as I’ve always felt like part of the younger crowd. But last night it hit me as I found myself sitting at a table with a bunch of guys who were married with kids and had spent more than five years in their respective fields. I’m 29 years old, I’ve been married for five years, have an almost-two-year-old, own a house, and have been working for the same company for almost eight years now. I don’t feel like that makes me an old guy, but in fact that’s about all it takes to cross the bridge. What is more surprising to me is that I’m okay with it. I enjoyed hanging out with these people, had a lot in common with them, and felt very comfortable. So here’s to my “old”ness. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the younger folk – the ones I talked to were very nice people in their own right, but in terms of interests, life outlook, and work experience, I really hit it off more with the “older” crowd.)
  • Most of the people that I met were from Newburyport, or from fairly close by. Thus, the meetup might more accurately be named the Merrimac Valley Web Geeks Meetup. In fact, Newburyport is only part of the North Shore in the broadest definitions of the term. On the other hand, having “North Shore” in the name was a selling point for me, as I identify strongly with the North Shore. So I might not have been as interested if the meetup was more “accurately” named. 🙂
  • All of the people I talked to came from one of two different job types: employees at small design/development/consulting firms, or individual freelancers/consultants. These types of people work in small teams for a variety of clients, in contrast to my work which is steady, permanent work for a single client. From what I recall, nobody I talked to has been in their current position as long as I have, and I’m not sure that even the older guys I talked to had worked for any one company for a long period of time. So for me, it was interesting to talk to these types of people to see what their work is like, and I hope that it was somewhat enlightening for them to hear from a long-time corporate developer type.
  • Something I’ve observed at other meetups, and seemed to hold true at this one as well: People generally don’t like going to meetups far from home. At the meetups I’ve attended in the cities of Boston or Cambridge, people generally balk at the idea of traveling to the hinterlands of the North Shore, while at the NSWG meetup, I heard people talking about not being able to / not being interested in attending meetings in Boston. Personally, I’m up for traveling just about anywhere as long as I’ve got the time. It took me about 40 minutes to drive to Newburyport, but I’ve driven twice as far for lesser events. Maybe it stems from the fact that I’m originally from a small town in the Midwest, and we had to drive far to get everywhere. Or maybe it’s just my temperment. Or maybe the reason I drive so far to attend these types of things is that I haven’t found many geeky meetups in my immediate vicinity. There’s the North Shore Computer Society, which holds meetings in Peabody, but they’re a bit more formal and old-school than I’m interested in. If there were a bunch of great meetups being held in Danvers or Peabody, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to drive so far to attend other ones. Hmm.

To wrap up, I’ve got a gallery of photos from the North Shore Web Geek Meetup, and I’ve been using del.icio.us to tag the people I met with nswgm. Check out those links and my commentary. Hopefully Josh will be planning more of these events in the future. Overall I had a great experience at this one, and came away feeling very excited and affirmed.

See you at the next one!

Need something to read?

I’ve recently finished a couple of good books:

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf, Davin Wann, and Thomas H Naylor

I found this to be a good primer for examining the effects of over consumption. The book is based on a 2000 PBS documentary and, as such, it has a casual narrative style. It was a fairly easy read but is definitely intended to incite its readers to action- specifically to reexamine your own consumption and to reduce it- for the sake of the Earth.

Affluenza was strong on the causes and symptoms of Affluenza but seemed to fall short when discussing cures or solutions.

More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre

This second book offers some of the solution that was lacking above. Written, and contributed to, by members of the Mennonite faith, this book is primarily a cookbook. In addition, it is a handbook for cooking and living in simple and sustainable ways. I especially like the mindset that the author is coming from. The recipes are all basic, but unique and tasty. Most of the ingredients are easy to find at the store. And there are little tips here and there about how to save and use your leftovers and scraps. I love having thrifty inspiration.

Daily Harvest Cafe

Peter, Catherine and I had the opportunity to check out a new local restaurant last week. The Daily Harvest Cafe recently opened on High Street in Danvers and we were eager to give it a try.

cafe

We were all very pleased with what we found there. Catherine loved the wagon full of kids toys and was disappointed to see that the kid sized table was already occupied. Peter and I were intrigued by the variety of the menu offerings. Peter had the “Chloe” (a turkey and muenster sandwich with a cranberry orange mayo) and I had the Thai Chicken Wrap. Both were delicious! It was difficult to choose from all the sandwiches, salads and burgers on the menu. They also had a huge selection of natural juices and bottled soda as well as a soda fountain serving Real City Soda.

I particularly like that if you ‘eat in’ your sandwich comes on a real plate and you get a real glass for your fountain soda! It is great that they are doing their part to reduce waste. Overall, it is a comfortable, earth/health conscious, locally owned establishment. We will definitely be going back.