Max's World at Age 7

This is my boy, of whom I am so proud, reading Harry Potter 4 on the couch last night.  He's a Lego builder, a log-walker, a piano player, a fledgling fencer, a super-math-kid, and just a little too good at video games.

Esmé Spelling

Esmé (now 4) is doing a great job spelling phonetically...look at all the words she sounded out and typed all by herself!  My favorite is 'cupcake'...

The End Of Our One-Car Era

After 10 years of using public transit (seven of light rail to my office, three of bus during graduate school), I am now officially a full-fledged car commuter. You see, my office relocated from the downtown core to one of those 'nice' suburban office parks. Unsurprisingly, it is not well-served by public transportation. Perhaps it was time anyway--the kids are getting older, and we're starting to see the beginnings of multiple, overlapping extracurricular schedules. It was a bit sad to break our 13-year run of being a single-car household, but there was at least one fringe benefit: We cleaned out the second car space in our garage, and threw away about six cubic yards of god-knows-why-we-were-keeping-it junk.

So the bad news is that we're now buying two tanks of gas per week. The good news is that the new mode of transportation has 300 horsepower and no less than six beautifully-proportioned, manually-selectable gear ratios.

Transient Places

Airport hotels are strange Petri dishes of humanity.

Mentos & Coke

Just one of about 15 things we did to try to occupy the six 7-year olds at Max's birthday sleepover:

Mentos & Diet Coke

First time trying this, I'm glad it worked as well as it did. Of course, the novelty wore off quickly and we resorted to movies & video games to sedate the horde.

My First Paperweight

My briefcase is extra-heavy today with the beautiful painted paperweight (rock, that is) Esme made me in preschool. "Daddy, it's for the papers to not fly off your desk!" Thanks, special girl. (I'll wait until you're older to discuss heremetically-sealed high-rise office buildings...)

From Fish to Infinity

Steven Strogatz, a professor at Cornell University, just concluded a great series of articles in the NYT articulating math concepts (from simple to complex) in accessible language. I've really enjoyed reading these over the past several's the first article, and a link to the entire series.

Wi-Fi in Amish Country

After arriving home from a road-trip to Amish country yesterday, I asked Max to tell me the most interesting thing he observed during the day. He said, "They don't use electricity, but there's Wi-Fi in the coffee shop."

Passport Update

Kids are required to update their passports every 5 years (rather than every 10 for adults)...for obvious reasons:

Max's Passport Photo 2005Max's Passport Photo 2010

That whole growing-up thing happens pretty quickly.

Cleveland International Film Festival 2010

This year, the marketing team behind the Cleveland International Film Festival asked people to submit stories of how the festival has affected them. Authentic Films then produced several trailers for the festival, each featuring a series of these stories chained together, sharing a theme.

Cleveland International Film Festival Trailer.

Since Rose and I met and went on our first date because of the film festival, we were asked to participate. So of course we brought the kids along for the filming, and as you'll see, Max steals the show. (Our trailer is called 'Family, Friends, Love'.)

Tenth Anniversary

On February 18, Rose and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. I love her today more than ever. When we were first married, we got a lot of advice on having a successful relationship--some useful, some not so useful. Couples are as different as people, so it's tough to find blanket advice that applies to everyone. One important thing we have learned: To be happy as a couple, you must be happy as individuals. Being strong as a stand-alone person makes being together as a couple, in love, all that more meaningful.

Another secret to a good marriage: I roll the toothpaste tube neatly from the end, and she grabs and squeezes the hell out of it right from the middle.*

*That is, we have vastly different, but complementary, approaches to a shared outlook on life.

Biologically Inspired Design

Tokyo metropolitan rail system, as interpreted by slime mold.This is the kind of thing that really excites me: fundamental connections among biology, design, and human behavior. A group of Japanese scientists has shown that "the slime mold Physarum polycephalum forms networks with comparable efficiency, fault tolerance, and cost to those of real-world infrastructure networks--in this case, the Tokyo rail system."
Comparing an organism's behavior to a designed human system, then learning from that organism's 'reinterpretation' of the system in order to develop better models of design...amazing.
Link to summary article and full report ("Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design").