fredrikegerman: (Default)
We were supposed to launch our thing today at work, involving actual PR folks doing actual PR and a full-court press with an industry group. But that's been pushed back two weeks as the industry group needs to get its act together. The joys of trying to cooperate rather than just go it alone. Meanwhile we've started planning the next really complicated bit.

Meanwhile I'm trying to beat myself back into some semblance of physical shape, hampered by not getting enough running in lately and missing basically all the Wednesday sword practices. I'm finally getting my low stance back. I've also been working on my Schielhau, and it's gotten miles better.

Let me tell you about Schielhau, because it's such a big part of the sword work I do.

The Liechtenauer longsword system from the 1400's tries to keep things radically simple – four basic guards and five strikes. (Contrast this to later humanist-era masters who build ever more elaborate taxonomies of guards and strikes. If you've read Rabelais you know where this sort of thing ends up.) You'll immediately recognize two of the guards: Zornhut Guard of Wrath) is the "Ogg crush" guard where you hold the sword high over your head or shoulder ready to chop the heck out of any bastard who gets in your way, probably with a Zornhau (Wrath Hew) which is the giant diagonalish cut you'd do if you held a sword like that and I told you to swing it. Pflug (plow) is the guard where you hold your hands at your waist with your sword pointing at your opponent's face or chest. Schielhau (Squinting Hew) is designed to break Pflug by cutting downwards with the false edge (two edges are much better than one), thus putting your sword definitively between your opponent's sword and your body as you chop them. If you can't chop them, you're generally in a good place to either stab them through the torso or binding with their sword. Binding is good, because from then on you know exactly where your opponent's sword is and have a lot of control over where it is going.

I started working on this with Eddy, probably the fittest and fastest member of our club – he has a very low stance and is able to quickly come around the sword if you don't deal with him properly. I couldn't figure out what what I was doing wrong and went off to think about it for a week. The following Sunday I ended up working on it with Andy and Matt. It turns out I was too worried about binding the sword and not worried about chopping the opponent. I was also obsessed with stepping off line to get a nice sideways line of attack – this is all well and good, but Schielhau actually works better if you go straight in or actually step off line towards your opponent's sword, because then you're effectively pinning it down as you cut in. If you try to go around it, you actually leave them open to bring their sword around and back into you.

I seemed to be doing much better on this count when sparring with Eddy this week. Which isn't to say he didn't make short work of me in most other important respects...
fredrikegerman: (hat)
We're cleaning up the games shelf. If you're interested in any of the games here, drop me a line or reply to this post. Free to folks who can read this, so long as we can arrange a handoff.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_0XVlkvLYrf3vl9TBtcgkJnINLBbCwP5kCZv52tE6os/edit?usp=sharing

Apologies to the Early Music Shop of New England for stealing the New-to-You tagline.
fredrikegerman: (hat)
I've been slowly reading my way through the piles of novels I received for Christmas last year. That generally takes me a while as I also get quite a bit of nonfiction and do quite a bit of other reading as well (magazines, technical papers, and so forth). The previous novel I read I described to [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt as "my potboiler". I handed it off to here when I was done as she was curious. The next day she said she'd given up as it was so horribly written. It read a bit like this. But it was a Cathar-vs-Catholic holy grail conspiracy involving Carcassonne rather than Rome.

On Sunday I finally got to pick up Bellman & Black, which I absolutely loved. Great bit of historical fiction – a nice feel for what it means to run an early industrial cloth mill, or what it takes to get a cow out of a ditch without the benefit of machinery. And we are reminded – oh, how we are reminded – of the constant presence of death and mourning in a world of scarlet fever and undiagnosed cardiac disease.

In the end, of course, it's really about the modern obsession with workaholic capitalism. Our hero uses work to escape the need to live and to mourn. And he is able to monetize the gothic in the most apt manner.

I look at the bookmark I placed in the pages – a 1969 Erie Lackawanna pass belonging to my father – and worry that I, too, ultimately became too busy to mourn. I pick up Michael Frayn's My Father's Fortune, which I gave as a gift some five years ago. Opening: 1969. Father, going deaf, walks in the door wearing his hat. I look again at the ticket, and take time to remember.
fredrikegerman: (hat)
As the lovely [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt and [livejournal.com profile] kirisutogomen point out, it's been ages since last I posted.

I've got a really poorly-planned trip to Athens coming up in a week or so (we'll be talking programming languages, though, which I enjoy). Meanwhile [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt is working on her dissertation, and it's tool, tool, tool hereabouts.

But that's not what I came here to talk about. I came here to talk about yeast morphology.
Morphology! )
fredrikegerman: (hat)
And with apologies to [livejournal.com profile] mathhobbit for stealing her "things I make with the farmshare" title.

We had a mess of turnips and beets with their greens. What to do with all that ere it goes all wilty? Why, make a pilaf with the quinoa that [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt bought! It turns out quinoa makes a fantastic pilaf, and you can cook it up in a rice cooker. This is great, because I find quinoa on its own kind of oppressive.

I ran across this big bottle of dregs from my Berliner Weiße sitting in the fridge. Could I use that to deglaze a frying pan, and substitute it for broth? Why yes, yes I could.

Recipe-ish thingy )
fredrikegerman: (bicycle)
In spite of my user pic, I haven't gone over the handlebars of a bicycle since I was a kid, and possibly not even then (I remember [livejournal.com profile] tomatoe going over the bars of my ten speed, but I'm pretty sure I never did so on that bike, and that might have been the first bike I owned with a front brake).

Until today.

I was riding down Beacon St. in Somerville, headed down the hill past Star on my way to work. Because of the tragic seven-alarm fire early this morning a bit further along, traffic was backed up on my side of the road, but there's a marked bike lane there and there were several cyclists riding past the cars. Then someone in a white BMW pulled through the jammed traffic and directly across the bike path in front of me. I panic-stopped and wound up lying in the road in the middle of the side street intersection. The guy immediately behind me had the presence of mind to catch the license plate of the car before it – yes – drove off. He also had 911 on the line before I'd gotten my breath back.

I was pretty lucky, actually. I was wearing a helmet, and only grazed the front. The most visible wound is a nasty abrasion on my chin that means I won't be shaving for a few weeks. I bruised my knees and shoulder, and cut my left thumb and right palm (I was wearing bike gloves). Apparently I favor rolling right. By the time the cops and ambulance showed up I mostly just wanted to swab off and report the accident. If I'd been wearing shorts (as I was all last week) I would've been a mess of road rash.

The thing that leaves me the most pissed off is the fact that the driver never stopped. Apparently if I'd decided to just barrel into the car itself it could be charged as a hit and run. Silly me for not ending up under the wheels.

I wasn't riding my usual bike today – I was riding my mountain bike as I'd taken it to an offsite yesterday and it'd gotten caught in the rain. I'd hoped to work the new chain lube in before switching back to my commuting bike. I'm not sure if I'd have made the stop on the other bike; I suspect it would have been easier to stay in the seat as I end up with a straighter arm position on the drop handlebars, and with my weight further back over the rear wheel (the way to keep from going over your handlebars is to straighten your arms and throw your center backwards, but if you panic-stop hard enough and lock your front wheel you won't have time to shift into position). I might have ended up just plowing into the car instead, though, for all I know.

One other observation: once you're over the bars, your bike has almost no momentum left. Kind of surreal to watch your bike falling down as you keep flying over it.

I guess it's been several years since I was in a bike accident of any sort, and most of those have been pretty minor. Maybe my number was up.

Anger

Apr. 15th, 2013 10:03 pm
fredrikegerman: (hat)
My shock at the Marathon Bombings has given way to an undirected anger. I suppose in the absence of a direction to point that anger I will have to hold it in reserve.

I walked over to Mass Ave and Commonwealth Ave with three colleagues from Google – part of our Reach the Beach Relay team – to cheer on a fellow team member as he passed by (Matt finished in 2:45, faster than I could ever dream of). We knew some other friends and colleagues were still out there on the course, but it was a work day and we had to head back.

It was just before a 3PM meeting that I heard that there was talk of explosions at the finish line of the Marathon. I was pretty worried and more than a bit distracted through the meeting; by the time we got out at 4PM it was clear things were pretty bad.

[livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt phoned me to tell me that my mother had called; I was still pretty shaken at the time, and told her I'd just found out about what had happened. She was a bit surprised, as she'd thought I was at work; I explained that a few of us had decided to head out at lunchtime to cheer. Then I chatted with Mum while trying to make a nice calming cup of tea. A co-worker was tapping away at her laptop and looking as distressed as I must have looked myself. I told her I still didn't know if everyone was all right. It was over an hour later before I felt comfortable that everyone I knew was safe.

Three images from the subsequent coverage really stick with me. The first is the overhead picture of the empty, blood-spattered sidewalk in front of Marathon Sports which drives home the enormity (I mean enormity, not enormousness) of the act. Second was this video of the blast and its immediate aftermath taken from the finish line. I was astonished at how quickly the crowd flees the blast site. But I was even more struck by the sight of the first responders immediately leaping the barricades, and ultimately working to tear them down so that they can get help to the injured.

The final image, the hardest to take, has been suitably edited by the media. It shows a victim, ashen grey, being rushed from the scene in a wheelchair by a cop and what look like a couple of race volunteers. The original image (widely circulated but not linked here) makes it clear that he has lost both his legs, horrifically.

One of the prices of living in a free society is that from time to time it is possible for the crazies to perpetrate this sort of madness. I hope that they are brought to justice. I hope that the justice that is meted out prevents the next round of crazies. And I hope against hope that we do not lose our freedoms in a vain attempt to keep those crazies at bay.
fredrikegerman: (Default)
Thanks to a $10 for $5 coupon, I found myself at Toscanini's after work for the first time in far too long. Two pints, what to choose? Vienna Finger Cookie, of course. And the strangest flavor on the menu, of course. Salty Saffron? Tasty, but been there. Wait, what's this? Yes! Goat Cheese Rhubarb ice cream!

And it's fantastic. Very distinctively goat cheese flavored. Enough so that I actually wonder how much cream is in here. Strong lemony notes, including some peel as well as juice (I assume this balances the acidity). The rhubarb isn't as forward as the goat cheese, but provides fruitiness and balance.

An interesting comparison with the chocolate goat cheesecake I had at Za yesterday (colleague moving back to Mountain View). That wasn't nearly as goat cheesy; it was nicely chocolatey, but the chocolate masks some of the distinctive flavor of the goat cheese.

So run, don't walk, to Tosci's and try this stuff. It's the best ice cream I've had in a long time. And I like really good ice cream.
fredrikegerman: (Default)
This was just too amusing not to pass along. Someone must end the madness!

In other news, I seem to have contracted whatever's going around. Nothing like a 101°F fever to make you huddle under the covers in a wooly sweater. Two wooly sweaters, actually.
fredrikegerman: (Default)
I'm on deadline for work at the moment, so I've mostly cancelled my social life for the latter half of this month. Before that, I went to NYC for our anniversary (as [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt was attending a conference there), ran my first half marathon, and reached the beach with 11 colleagues (involving personally running 21 miles spread over three legs and 30 hours).

But that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Today, I'm here to talk about the joy of getting something tasty and unexpected from whatever's kicking around the kitchen.

I made Meyer Lemon Tabbouleh with kohlrabi and scallops. This used up big piles of stuff we'd had kicking around the kitchen for ages. )

Yummy, and very gratifying to know that it's possible to throw together something that sounds froofy and high-end from bits and pieces that were kicking around and needed to be eaten up before they actually went bad...
fredrikegerman: (Default)
The morning of Labor Day I'll be running the Bad Habit Productions 5K. This supports a great little theatre group in Boston that among other things was responsible for the production of Stop Kiss that [livejournal.com profile] justom was in last year. If you can finish a 5K, you should join me. The course (over on Soldier's Field Road by the Publick Theater) is about as flat as it's possible for a course to be, so pretty non-intimidating for the newbies. On a related note, anyone have info / reg links for any of the Davis Square races?

Meanwhile, I've been very quiet lately because I've been training for the Reach the Beach Relay in mid-September and the Harwich half marathon in early October. Suffice it to say that I still haven't been running enough, though I can at least complete the distance comfortably at this point. My times kind of suck, though.

Just got back from the annual jaunt to Maine. The vacation was much-needed; I've been coding like a mad weasel for the last few months here at Google.
fredrikegerman: (ExplosiveEgress)
Work is putting together a team for the Reach the Beach Relay in mid-September. It's a 200-mile relay race where from Cannon Mountain round the back of the white mountains, alongside Lake Winnepesaukee, ending at Hampton Beach (same parking lot as the Seacoast Century). This'd involve running three legs totaling around 17 miles (one of them likely in the dead of night), with several hundred feet of climbing guaranteed. I'd have to work up to at least an 8-minute half-marathon pace by mid-September. Doable, but not a distance I've ever tried before. Barring injury, it'd also put me in a good position to do the half with [livejournal.com profile] dcltdw in early October.

Looking at the course, I'm pretty excited. Scenic sections abound, and the stretch through the White Mountains is actually fairly easy hill-wise (it's the lake district where they really pile on the hills). The course goes right past the foot of the driveway for ET's alum retreat, so I suspect a training run is in my future over memorial day weekend.
fredrikegerman: (work)
It has come to my attention that it's been a while since I posted last, and there's quite a bit of catching up to do. Indeed, I feel like I've been struggling to catch up quite a bit lately. The high points of life: new job, travel, LARPing, and a 5K )
fredrikegerman: (Default)
I've been playing the occasional game of Colossus lately (because I'm old skool that way). Surviving the first few turns with 4-5 human hater AIs is nasty. Often this means you have to go on the offensive to build your titan up enough in the early game to give you a fighting chance later on. And that leads to games with finishes like this )
fredrikegerman: (Default)
Some of you may know that I've been learning German Longsword with Forte Swordplay. We've put together a video of most of the folks in the group sparring.
Sparry goodness )
fredrikegerman: (ExplosiveEgress)
Several years ago now, I went shopping for cheap white ankle socks. I found that the store had two different kinds available for basically the same price: plain white (I think Hanes), and socks branded with a distinctive black swoosh. So: were the branded socks better made, to maintain brand image? Or were they cheap tat passed off with a nice logo?

I bought a package of each, and have been wearing them pretty much evenly since. I put the clean ones on the bottom of the pile). When a sock gets a hole (usually in the heel), it ends up in the trash. This sometimes left me with an odd sock of one or the other type, in which case the odd sock got paired after the next week's laundry.

I was surprised by how similarly the two piles wore out. Whenever a pair of socks in one pile got holey, a pair in the other followed a few weeks after.

A few weeks ago, I got down to only one of each sock. I started wearing them as a pair (mostly for stressful uses like sword practice).

And today? Both socks got holes simultaneously.

Conclusion: no difference, really.
fredrikegerman: (Default)
Anyone up for coming by at 7:30 this evening? I'm hoping we'll have some tales of Turkey courtesy of those just returned. And maybe a game or six.
fredrikegerman: (Default)
There is apparently a company in Winchester that is working on a flying car. There was an entrepreneurship summit in the conference center at work last week, and the inventor was out front showing off his work and describing his business plan to hard-headed tech business types.

But I got lots of cheerful pictures. )
fredrikegerman: (Default)
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the upcoming Never After, playing Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Somerville Theater, and featuring the lovely and talented [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt as well as the rest of the glorious Theatre@First. Lots more information including ticket information and showtimes is to be found on the Theatre@First web page for the show. I'll be there on Saturday Night, and I hear I'm not the only person you know who'll be in the audience.

Coincidentally, just a few days later, on Thursday October 1, Girlyman will be playing the Somerville Theater. If you haven't heard Girlyman, you should: rich vocal harmonies, silky folk. A band with really great intonation (imagine if Peter, Paul & Mary wrote all their own songs and were great instrumentalists to boot). Yes, that's right, I'm hooked because they're a group that can really sing. I'm planning to go. Haven't quite figured out ticket procurement logistics, I may just swing by the box office after work some day this week. Sadly, [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt will be off at a conference.
fredrikegerman: (Default)
We went on our annual pilgrimage to Maine a week+ ago, and saw a hurricane tide, forded a 30' wide stream deeper than our door seals at its deepest point, and I explored a road through the woods that didn't involve a ford just in case.

I came here to talk about my bike. )
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