Life is for the Living
"God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages." Jacques Deval
This past Saturday was the annual ATI summer picnic. I had a blast. It was a day full of mini golf, bumper boats, food, pitch and putt, and more food. Some might claim that the weather wasn't all that great due to the down pores we had during the afternoon, but a little rain never bothered me. I think it just cleared the people who didn't want to get wet off the rides and made more room for me :-) They had one of those big air filled bouncy rooms for the kids that was empty because of the rain so I claimed it as my castle. Let me tell you that the rain makes those things super slippery. It had this big slide and I was able to get enough speed due to the rain to go flying out of the side and skid to a halt out on the grass. I wish I had some pictures, but I left my camera in the car. I don't mind the rain, but my camera gets sad when it is wet.
Treating the Symptom
I saw this article about genetically modifying sunflowers to produce insulin for diabetics. I don't argue that this is a great advancement, but it makes me wonder how much money was spent on researching this advancement. Part of the article states that the use of insulin is going to increase 3x over the next 5 years due largely to an increase in the number of diabetics. The increase in diabetes has been linked to obesity. It frustrates me that we put so much research and money into treating the symptoms and not the source. I admit it seems like a hard sell to convince people to become healthier, but I believe if there was a large ad campaign, discounts for healthy food, subsidized health clubs, and other incentives to live healthily then more people would live healthier lives. It is almost always cheaper to spend money on prevention rather than a cure.
I'm part of a slow pitch softball team made up of mostly people from work. Our team is pretty mediocre, but we have fun whether we win or lose. There are few overly competitive souls on the team that get frustrated when we start loosing, but there are enough of use out there who just want to have fun that we do have fun even when we loose. Last week Friday we had a double header. Our first game we lost by something like 5-40. Ouch! It was all over after the first inning and most of use had a great time loosing. There are a lot of opportunities for joking when you're down by over 20. The second game we won 12-7. As you can see there tend to be a lot of runs. I tend to be pretty good at getting a lot of singles and doubles. I mostly just swing lightly and try to hit it on the ground then run to first base as fast as I can. It seems to be working since I just took the lead in the batting average race with a mean 793. That's not a typo; the person I just passed now has only a “lowly” 775 batting average :-) If only we could have that kind of batting average with fast pitch, I think we might be major league material.
Swimming Near Gloucester
I headed north to the famous Gloucester shoreline earlier today. Beyond seeing a few lighthouses and playing around on the beach I managed to find two fine swimming holes.
The first one is at N42 38.77 W71 02.236. This is a quarry that was supposed to be a missile silo, but was never developed. It's got some nice (albeit short) cliffs to jump off. I'd say the jumping cliffs are 4 feet to 8 feet. Since it's a quarry the water is crazy deep and there are no worries about hitting the bottom when diving. The water was the perfect temperature. The downside to this site is that there is a lot of litter lying around. Not any broken glass, but just about everything else. It bummed me out that such a nice site could be wrecked like this. Maybe I'll go back there someday with a bunch of garbage bags and clean the place up. There is so much stuff though I think I'd almost need a team of helpers.
The second location is at N42 39.228 W70 54.702. This is a bridge along a country road. When I got there there was a police officer with his lights flashing and a few swimmers standing on the road. I stopped and asked them what was up. It turned out the officer was in the process of ticketing an abandoned car. After that he came over and gave us all that you’re guilty until I say so act that all too many law enforcement personal seem to have. After alienating us to anything he might say he went into the spiel about the risks of jumping off a bridge. I explained to him that if he didn't want us jumping off of bridges maybe he could have asked nicely before alienating us to any cause he might have. He seemed surprised that I took offence to all of his leading questions he'd just asked us. After that I just closed my mouth and he went away. This location sometimes has a rope swing, but it was missing today. The water here is only 6-9 feet deep. It's a much nicer setting though since there was no garbage sitting around.
I sent my digital camera to Canon to be fixed. It's still under warranty so it's not going to cost me anything, but it will take them about two weeks to get it back. I've compensated by taking more film based pictures, but I have no way of posting those shots on the web. So this means fewer pictures for you for these next few weeks :-(
Kite on the Cape
I went to First Encounter Beach in Cape Cod this past weekend. I had a lot of fun just bumming out at the beach. The water was warm, but I didn't get much swimming in. Eric and I must have walked out a half a mile and the water was still only waist deep. After our failed attempt at swimming, we succeeded at playing some hacky sack and we dominated the air with my kites. Fun was had by all.
I went to Plymouth Rock this weekend. I had a tip from a workmate that it was a pretty lame stop, but I was passing through on my way to a beach in Cape Cod so I thought I'd stop. While it was a quick stop I found it to be a lot of fun. While the rock itself is boring the history behind the rock is pretty funny.
The short version is that when the pilgrims first landed in 1620 nobody thought the rock was important. Then in the 1700's a minister started to use the rock as a symbol. From there the rock grew in popularity and in the 1800's they tried to move the rock and accidentally broke it in half. Eventually the rock was put back in its original location and glued back together. Today Plymouth Rock is only about a third of the size it was back in 1620 because so many people chipped off chucks as souvenirs. Because of that it is fenced off from the public, but you can still look at it. A more complete version of the story is here.
About a week ago I wrote about a photography class I'm taking. I just thought I'd give a quick update by letting you folks know it's going great and I'm having a blast. I spent last Thursday making prints from some of my negatives. The photo here is a digital picture of some of my film photos. I know it's a little weird :-)
Operation Cherry Bomb
After studying some maps of the area were the fireworks were being lit off in Worcester, I devised a strategy for getting into and out of the fireworks in Worcester without getting stuck in traffic. On the surface my plan was pretty simple. From my geocaching adventures I happen to know about a secret parking lot off of Seabury Road. I knew most people would be parking along Shrewsbury Street so I thought I might avoid the traffic this way. I also knew that all the land between my secret parking spot and where I wanted to watch the fireworks was public park land so I figured that it should be a piece of cake.
I got there and I found my secret parking was pretty secret since I was the first car there. My GPS said it was only 1000 feet from my car to my chosen fireworks watching location. It started out easy, but I soon ran into an inconvenient cliff. Actually it wasn't a cliff. A cliff would have been simpler since that would have forced me to be reasonable and take the streets. Instead it was just a really steep slope that whose purpose seemed to be to challenge me. I accepted the challenge and stumbled down this slope. It actually wasn't as bad as it could have been and a few minutes later I had arrived at my destination.
I hung out and as it got dark while I listened to the Massachusetts Orchestra. Then at 9:30 the fireworks began it was a great light show and to my surprise the Orchestra kept playing during the fireworks. I've never had music and fireworks and the same time, but I must admit they work well together.
After a great show I headed back up the cliff. It was a little more difficult in the dark, but I managed up it pretty quickly. I got stuck in the traffic for a few minutes, but nothing nearly as bad as I would have had if I had parked in the normal spots. It all worked out pretty well. I'd call it a success.
4th of July Weekend
These first 3 days of my 4 day weekend have been beautiful. The weather has been perfect. Yesterday it was so nice I spent a little too long outside. It got dark on me when I was out geocaching and I got a little lost in the woods. Luckily even when it's dark you can't get very lost when you have a GPS.
I've been taking a lot of picture. About half of them have been with a film camera which makes it more difficult to show you folks. You're probably wondering what in tar nations I'm doing with film?!? I've recently started a photography course and I couldn't find any good ones except for one that was a black and white film based course. I've only been to two classes so far and the first one was all theory. The second class was a mix of theory and film developing. It felt awfully cool to develop some film that I took. On Thursday I will make some prints from this developed film. I'm pretty excited. A lot of the course deals with things that are the same with digital and film photography such as composition and exposure. However right now I'm looking forward most to the physical process of making pictures which will not carry over to digital photography. Its funny how I went in expecting to like to like one portion of the course more and it turns out I like the exact opposite part the most.
Tonight I plan on going to see the fireworks in Worcester (second biggest city in New England after Boston). I'm in the process of planning "Operation Cherry Bomb" which will hopefully get me in and out of the city without too much haste. I'm not sure if I'll be going to the fireworks in Boston this year. Last year I went and there were many hundreds of thousands of people all trying to find a spot to watch and then trying to get out of the city was a nightmare. I'll probably only go into Boston if I don't get enough fireworks in Worcester tonight.
Hope you're all having a great 4th of July weekend!