Alas poor donred, I knew him well.

First, donred has left the greater Boston area to the more concrete pastures of NYC. Which rules for him but sucks for the rest of us, who don't have him around and won't have his shows at this legendary Boston hot spot to go to.  Fuck you Stuff@Night - Don Red, Ouch and The Thungs! brought me there before it was cool.

I've been camping and climbing with Kelly and equalize at Rumney, which was a blast, but I’m still getting over my tendon injuries. In my physical therapy they shock me. Literally. They connect some conductive pads to a 9-volt and let the electricity send medicine into my tendons. It's not pleasant. Nor is the "deep tissue massages" which is a bullshit term for pressing as hard as possible on the most painful part of my tendon. I don't understand how massages are supposed to work – WTF is a "knot" in my muscle? It's not a real knot (sorry) but some cluster of tightened muscles? Does pushing on it really relax them? I don't feel any better after the massages, so I’m not convinced that they do anything useful.

Kelly and I went to the very impressive Clark Art Institute on Saturday to see the Clark Brothers exhibit. Basically these two rich brothers (the Singer sewing machine fortune) hated each other and bought all sorts of art in opposition to one another in an effort to out-do and out-philanthropise one another. Okay, maybe it wasn't so competitive, but the curator at the Clark wished it was and made an exhibit that suggested it was. The exhibit featured pairs of paintings, one from each brother, and explained when and why they bought them. This pretense didn't matter much as the Clark has something like 37 Renoir’s, some Cezanne's, a lot of Corot's, some Picasso's, Matisse, Hopper, one Goya (the number one painter on Kelly's list of "fucking madmen") a bunch of 14th and 15th century Netherlands stuff, and so on. It is an impressive collection made more impressive by its location in the beautifully and rural Berkshire mountains.

An interesting note - the Clarks built all their museums and institutions in rural locations in order to strength the rural economies (I wonder if this is some latent guilt because of the Singer Sewing Machine's role in the industrial revolution and subsequent move away from an agricultural society and the damage that move did to the economy of rural towns?). The Clarks opened the national Farmers Museum and The Baseball Hall Of Fame. So if you ever wondered why you have to trek to Cooperstown, NY, it's because it was a rural town that the Clarks liked.

A weekend ago I had a housewarming party that was very nice (well, for me at least, hopefully for the guests as well). Thanks to everyone who came and especially thanks for not drinking all the wine you brought - rather, thanks for helping me become a wino. Jerks. You'll feel bad when I hit you up for $5 so I can get my Ripple on.

I also took a trip to grahams’ place for the yearly summer outing, which was a blast. We boated, swam, ate, played with AirHogs remote control planes (get one, it’s the cheap, hard-to-break easy to fly remote control plane you have always wanted) and generally hung around. A nice, relaxing trip thanks to the Graham family.

After the relaxation I headed out to Ithaca to see the newly-minted child of Sean & Kelly, sophusalexander and to do some manual labor around the house with Sean. We had planned on doing the housework prior to the baby being born, but then Kelly got hit by lightning and gave birth two months early. Sean roofed, I gardened, Kelly made milk, Sean & I did some dry walling, Kelly made more milk. I don’t like vacations where I do nothing so I’m glad S&K let me spackle and dig weeds. Note that if you don’t have an 18th century house in need of finishing for a premature baby to come home to, I won’t weed your garden.

Oh, I joined BookMooch, which I encourage you to join if you have lots of books and are willing to trade some of them for other books. I highly recommend it as I just got a copy of Escoffier for basically free (okay, I sacrificed a copy of Bukoswki’s “Women”, but it was worth it).

technical question

Sorry to use my livejournal for nerd questions.

I need some help configuring sendmail. I've got a relay configured, and i want to have the relay send a CC of any email coming to to Any ideas how to do this?

I've tried adding this to my

R$+ <@>    $#procmail $@/etc/procmailrcs/ $:$1

and then having a procmail file with:
:0 c
! -oi -f $1

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I get the mail at the CC address but not at the destination address. Am I being procmail dumb?

Housing Shopping

I just bought a condo, and I thought i would post some of the notes from my experience. I was shopping around Boston, so these apply mostly for buying a place in major metropolitan area with overpriced housing.

First, I have to thank S&K, Spieg, Jeff M and others who responded to my emails a few years back about their home buying experience. They helped clear up a lot of mystery and I'm hoping I can clear up mystery for others with this post.

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Update: mollyis points out that a buyer's agent makes their money when you buy a place; they want you to buy and don't really care where, and the more expensive the place the better. Be aware of this motivating factor.

Also, if you end up not using a buyer's agent be sure and try to get 2% knocked off the sale price because that is the 2% the buyer's agent would have gotten.


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Second, what I've been up to:

I've been playing a lot of chess. I took second in the March Thursday Night Swiss at the BCC in the U1800 section, with a very good game as black to seal second place. I'm also playing the 7th Annual Paramount on Monday nights, a 10 round double round-robin at the BCC. I'm the top seed in my section for that and am 3-1, with a loss to a 1347 after I took a pawn with the wrong pawn, giving him a passer that I couldn't stop. Sucks.

Climbing a little, as per my previous post. Elbows still hurt.

I've also put an offer in on a condo in Somerville. Ideally I will be moving in in early May. There will be a party, so plan accordingly.


I've been hitting the gym once or twice a week, trying to take it easy on my elbows. I'm still climbing a solid 11b even with the time off, and bouldering V2/3. I need work, and today is a nice day, and I can't wait to be outside... so maybe there is some sick time in my future?

If you climb you must read the "Comparative Testing of High Strength Cord" paper on this page:

Thanks to my friend Tad Hunt for sending out this link.

Also, note the two recent cam recalls from CCH and Trango. More info at their websites, and both have seen failures in the field. Eeek.

A Request & What I've Been Doing


Does anyone have any book recommendations?

Anything at all. I need them so bad I almost used the blink tag in that H3 up there.


(This is for grahams who always complains he doesn't know what I am up to.)

  • Played chess  in the January Thursday Night Swiss at the Boylston Chess Center

    A game every Thursday night, 40/90 G/25. I won two lost one and had to miss the last game. I played poorly. I'm also playing the the TNS for Feb but missed the first game, and lost the second game to the same person I lost my last January game to (and lost it the same way, touching the wrong piece). My rating suffers from my lack of play.

  • I've been working on a personal business idea

    More on this later. Not sure when later, but later.

  • I went to Paris for business

    I had to do a software installation at a client's office in Paris, and ended up getting tickets 4 days before the trip for $500 round trip. At that price (and with work covering the hotel) I took my girlfriend with me so she could study at the Louvre and d'Orsay. The work part went well and we got to eat some good food, visit the Louvre (everyone says it is amazing, and they are not wrong at all. It's ENORMOUS - I'd seen the outside and knew it was big but the sheer volume of art is insane) and generally wander around Paris.
    Paris bonus: New Favorite Picture

  • I've been slacking at climbing

    My hand and elbows have been hurting a lot lately, a deep ache that my MD said was tendon damage. Not good.

  • I skied at Stowe and Mad River a few weekends ago

    We got a foot of powder at Mad River and my brother and I skied Chute and a bunch of the glades and other trails. New favorite resort - some trails you have to jump a 10' frozen waterfall. "Sweet, bra."

    Stowe the next day and we skied Goat and the frozen riverbed off of Chin Clip, as well as others. I can't telemark moguls still.

    I'm going back up with gib this weekend and hope to do more of Mad River and some of the other front four at Stowe.

    Drawing, Seeing,  Learning

    Drawing, sculpting and painting have always made me a bit depressed because I have always failed at all of them. I justified this failure to myself be saying "oh, I just don't have talent in this regard," dismissing formal study as a means of learning these skills because I watched so many people in my life excel at them without that formal training. Somehow, my mind refused to think that training is way to improve at visual art. I didn't think you could train your hand to represent what your eyes are seeing. I always thought I could make visual art that wasn't representational - how hard could that be? - but never representational art. I wanted to make representational art because I wanted to be part of the artistic expression my friends were/are always engaging in (for example, Todd and John used to have sketchbook battles, drawing characters and adding more and more detail to each character in an attempt to make the "best" character).

    This lack of faith in anyone's ability to learn to be a representational visual artist upset me not just because I wanted to participate in art with my friends but also because I have a fundamental belief in the ability to learn any mental skill, and furthermore to be able to become an expert at any mental skill through learning and practice. The self-imposed roadblock on learning art made no sense in light of this belief but the violation of this belief that the roadblock implied made my inability to draw even more upsetting (a vicious circle, I know).

    That said, I fucking sacked up and decided I could learn to draw when Kelly offered to teach me. Her total belief in anyone's ability to draw removed the self-imposed roadblock. After I did a few (awful) sketches Kelly showed me some skills needed to draw and I made much more progress - I did a great drawing of a pitcher of water that my younger self wouldn't believe I did.

    The most mind-opening lesson I got from Kelly that I think is the super secret thing all artists know instinctively is that your have to draw what is actually in front of you, not what your mind sees in front of you. Without looking at your television, could you draw a reasonable representation of your television? You would draw a television, but not YOUR television. You wouldn't draw what your TV looks like, you wouldn't make the proportions correct or you'd miss the shape of the on off button, or some details. You'd draw the television as a symbol and not an object.

    This is amazing to me. I look at things totally differently when I try to draw something. Flowers? How big is that petal compared to the stem compared to the other petals? If you draw a tangent from the bend in the stem up to infinity, does that tangent cross the big petal in the middle or in the lower third?  Amazing!

    Symmetry is another facet of viewing an object or scene that is new to me. Odds are you can use the parts of the flower to align other parts of the flower. Nature is remarkably symmetrical without apparently being symmetrical. Your belly button is often halfway between your nipples and the apex of your crotch.  I learned so much drawing a nude model with Kelly and Todd on Sunday - staring at an object like a human is great for learning about what people really look like.

    The other mind blowing aspect of drawing is that by capturing the dominant features of an object you can call to mind the symbol that that object represents. We did 30-second and 1 minute gesture drawings on Sunday and the more skilled people captured not only the human figure but that particular model's most important features, and in such a way that if you saw the model outside her job and then saw the gesture drawings you could tell it was the same model without the drawings having any particular features (not even any facial details). So cool.

    I'll upload some of my sketches later. I'm not any good but at least now I know I can get better.

    More Font Rambling

    Does anyone have an example of a readable sans-serif font? A sans-serif font you could set a novel in?

    I think the western world (europe + america) has taught itself to only enjoy reading serif fonts. I wonder how the typefaces evolved into their current roles? The handwriting we are taught as kids is largely sans-serif (the lowercase 't' is sometimes taught with a half-bowl) and we rarely see examples of script on the screen or in font form (beyond a decorative font). Gutenberg's first type was largely meant to simulate that of illuminated manuscripts and other expensive handwritten works. I need to find a book on the evolution of type.

    (I excluded Asian areas because they use pictographs, but they must have ways of styling their pictographs.)

    UPDATE: Ren for the win! See the comments to learn many things you didn't know. Thanks Ren!