Embarking on an aural journey


An excerpt from the book

Tired of the automatic preference suggestions? Spotify daily mixes? Pandora/XM/iHeart radio? 

I have been feeling like I hear the same ole tunes week after week. Like reruns of The Office for some others, it can make one feel like they are living in an audio roundabout. In a new turn of events, I have decided to start listening to a new album each day from the book 1001 albums you must hear before you die. The list is put in chronological order online in a csv format for ease of marking down which ones I have already heard. Since I spend about an hour in the car on my commute anyways, might as well get some culture time in right?

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a musical reference book first published in 2005 by Universe Publishing. Part of the 1001 Before You Die series, it compiles writings and information on albums chosen by a panel of music critics to be the most important, influential, and best in popular music between the 1950s and the 2010s. The book is edited by Robert Dimery, an English writer and editor who had previously worked for magazines such as Time Out and Vogue.
Each entry in the book's roughly chronological list of albums is accompanied by a short essay written by a music critic, along with pictures, quotes, and additional information (such as the album's running time and producer). Compilations of various artists, and most film soundtracks, are excluded.[3]

Half Marathon in Lowell


On October 17th, almost two weeks ago, I ran a half marathon. The path to running the race started with a conversation in August with my colleague Andrew. He ran on a cross country team in college and he wanted to try running a marathon. He motivated me to sign up for the race and gave me a few tips for running. I trained with a 1 mile run most weekdays and a long run on weekends. Before the race, the longest run I went for was about 10 miles. The race was the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA. It was exciting to start in such a massive crowd herded down a main throughway of the city of Lowell. As the race progressed, the herd slowly thinned out along the miles of track into a trickle of people. I am glad I did not encounter any serious pain or injury during the long trek. I was thankful for my headphones and the playlists I set up before the race. Once I was able to disassociate a bit, the time went by a little easier. When I came to the final turn towards the finish line, a small burst of energy came up from nowhere and allowed me to speed up a bit for the last 100 yards. Perhaps it was the casual cheers from passing strangers on the sidewalk. People who I did not know saying 'you got this' or 'just a bit further' was actually quite nice and helpful when I was that tired. Ally drove me home afterwards as I rubbed my feet.

After the race, I had a warm cup of coffee and a cold brown ale. Some people might avoid such a combination but I welcomed it. As I recovered, Ally and I built a chest of drawers from a popular Swedish furniture store.

Tired and wind whipped me holding my medal and foil blanket after the race. 

Time out in RI


I visited the state of Rhode Island for the first time two weeks ago. It was a great time and I was able to hit up a beach. The weather was not too hot and not too windy. It was just right. This weekend, I have been able to visit and see a few friends. As the fall rests just around the corner, I have a lot to appreciate and hope towards. In one aspect, I am looking forward to a half marathon in approximately one month from now. I have been training and currently run about 16 miles a week. I plan to push myself up to 20 miles this week and stay there until race day. The last thing I want to happen now is sprain or overwork something.

In order to run that distance, I have been cooking more good food. I heard that it's best to shop the 'edge of the supermarket', where all the produce, protein, bread, basics, and dairy sits. As opposed to the processed boxes of whatever. I think that is a good strategy going forward.

A Red Sox Crowd?


I went to the Red Sox game last Friday where the home team beat the Texas Rangers 6-0, although it went 10-1 Rangers the next night. My friend Conrad got the ball rolling on this expedition out into Fenway Park. Five of us friends went to the bleachers and talked about life while the innings passed by us. The stadium was packed. Beers and hotdogs were being consumed all about us. I only saw a few people wearing face masks. It seems most people did not even acknowledge my own mask, except when a concessions staffer said we should be smiling since the Sox were ahead "I can still tell you're smiling". It was a good night and I'm glad I went. It was a bit awkward in some ways. I've been reading about overwhelmed hospitals in parts of the country where ICU beds are filled up completely and mostly unvaccinated people gasp for their last breaths before collapsing into asphyxiation. It's a slightly different story in Massachusetts where vaccination rates are higher although covid cases have risen with the onslaught of the Delta variant of COVID-19. 

On Thursday, I left the gym and saw a large hawk sitting on a branch just outside the building. The gym attendant started telling a story about how a hawk once pecked through someone's skull, which I found concerning enough to exit through the other side of the building.

On Saturday morning, I stopped by MIT for a COVID test. It appears the whole area around Kresge is getting renovated. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, construction seems to continue booming. I would guess that managers and administrators of MIT as well as any college probably see this time as a golden opportunity to quickly handle a lot of infrastructure changes without placing a serious burden on the students and staff.

An absolutely wonderful vacation


It is somewhat funny that I feel somewhat melancholy at the end of this long weekend (it's Tuesday?). I think I'm down because this excursion is coming to an end. I'm enamored with Ally's kind and caring family. It has been a wonderful vacation.

On Friday night, Ally went to see a friend in Boston while I talked about music with my pals Hector and Hadrian. 

Early Saturday morning Ally and I jumped out of bed at 4 something AM and found that our scheduled Lyft ride was cancelled and our flight was delayed 30 minutes. On this discovery, we trekked to the Davis Square Station to ride towards South Station. We ambled through the bag check and security in good time and found ourselves sipping a Starbucks latte before hopping on the plane. I watched 1917 and she watched Judas and the Black Messiah. Both so emotional movies we landed in a daze.  I shook hands and hugged Ally's parents. Within minutes of grabbing our bags, we jumping in an SUV hurtling into the Atlanta traffic. A quick stop at her sister Calee's apartment, I was introduced to Calee's partner Noel and we then sped off to IHOP. After exceptional service, I napped on a hot balcony of the apartment before we zipped off to the Blue Ridge mountains. Tucked in a river bend, we found a large cabin that Ally's parents had rented for us. Fishing poles and a hot tub. Rope swing, basketball It was fully loaded. As well as the SUV was loaded with snacks, drinks, meals, and games. Taco night.

On Sunday, I nestled into a good book and finished it up quickly over the next 24 hrs. Between reading sessions, I jumped in the water, swam, talking, joked, told stories, and explained how Ally and I met. Ally and I made our popular Mediterranean bowls for dinner. 

On Monday, we went tubing on the Cartecay river. Took naps in the warm air. Laid in a hammock. Played even more games of pool and billiards. Good soup and salad for dinner.

On Tuesday, we went to a zipline park far off the beaten path. Chic-fil-a. Went into Atlanta to see Louis the child, super fun and loud show. Got back home at 2am.

Today, work and packing rapidly!

Tomorrow, business as usual

Still Making Things


It has been a good summer thus far, that we are halfway through. I have gotten a better handle on my WMBR show I've been running on my own. I got used to having guests and a cohost. Now I have to come up with the vamping material myself. Speaking of cohost, I went out on Saturday night with Noah (old WMBR cohost for Exit Tangent) and we saw Shakespeare's The Tempest with his partner Ming and mutual friend Conrad. We had a swell, odd time meandering through Cambridge and Boston. We talked about food and coincidentally both made a recipe from the same book this week. We both have read Nosrat's "Salt Fat Acid Heat". I made the Midnight Chocolate Cake while Noah made an Arugala and Radish salad for himself and Ming. I feel pretty good when I am able to pull off a new recipe. It is a sure sign that I've learned something and it's always easier the second time around.

A few weeks ago Ally and I visited the Harvard Arboretum. It was fun to see a wide variety of trees I have never seen in my life. At one point we walked under a tree where an eagle was feasting on a rabbit. I would not have known if not for another patron of the park telling me to watch out above.

Here's to another few weeks of summer and hopefully less covid cases. One can hope.

Making Things Again


One of my favorite dishes from Salt Fat Acid Heat, the ragu

A pot of ragu, a voltage regulator, and a cleaner garbage disposal (still very rusty). I'm trying to hook into the concept of 'active accountability' as I have read another blogger write. There are all these things I want to do but without the same time pressure as before. Back when I was living with family or as a student, nearly every task had a deadline. As a result, I believe I began to associate tasks worth completing as tasks with deadlines. I have found out this past year that is not how the world really works. There is no strict deadline to clean the bathroom floor, vacuum up some dust, or call an old friend. Nobody is going to tell someone out on their own when they have to go exercise or else... So I/you have to take things into our own hands when others do not provide that pressure. Some reports from Pew Research note that between 10 and 20% of EU and USA citizens are NEET (not in employment, education, or training). This is something I find worth reflection. I cannot say anything about the individuals who find themselves in this position, however I worry that not all of them are thrilled about it. Some aspect of this active accountability or holding oneself to deadlines could help? Some scholars at Berkeley note that happiness and meaning (whether derived from work or leisure) are connected. There are a lot of generalizations in that piece but I found it interesting.

Starting a build on a summing op amp

Messy filter with impinged fluorescent particles, used to be a couple micron, now about 1 mm

Ridiculous, my apartment had so many issues when we moved in... working on it

Embarking on an aural journey

  An excerpt from the book Tired of the automatic preference suggestions? Spotify daily mixes? Pandora/XM/iHeart radio?  I have been feeling...