Catskills Photos

I’m swamped for the rest of the month, but in the meantime here are some photos from our trip to the Catskills last weekend. Click on the image to advance to the next (this may not work in the RSS feed for this blog):

(click for big version)

No Content, Some Links

I realize my blog has been pretty low on original content and commentary lately, probably due to the continuing effects of working as an attorney and having a six-month-old baby daughter, combined with the difficulty of writing about interesting legal/technological topics without touching on anything I’m actually working on in my job so as to preserve client confidentiality. I have a number of interesting issues to write about, I just haven’t figured out the right way to do it yet.

So, to continue with the “no original content” theme, here’s a great film about the President’s speechalist.

Entirely unrelatedly, I’ll put in a plug for Paris, Texas, the latest occupant of my “current favorite film” slot. I’ve enjoyed all of Wim Wenders films, but this one may take the cake.

Also, while I’m on an atypical blog entry, I’ll be in Chicago around Christmastime. I figured—what better place to take a vacation in the dead of winter than Chicago, where the temperature can stay below 0 for days on end and the wind sometimes blows you into the frozen lake?

Happy Sukkot

We built our first sukkah. It is 64 square feet, and features stylish decorations and a handy picnic table:

Happy Sukkot!


You are .inf You are informative. When you are gone you make life very difficult for others.
Which File Extension are You?

I usually resist jumping into these meme-fads, but somehow I did it anyway this time. The result is strangely accurate.

JP World’s Fair

Yesterday, Esther, Rachele, and I attented the Jamaica Plain World’s Fair. This is an annual street party in our former neighborhood (just a couple miles from where we live now). Lots of street vendors, live music, arts and crafts, and people dancing in the streets.

This Latin/African diaspora band, zili roots, was great:

You’ll notice that Turkey Hill, the provider of the cow, had a big presence at the festival. We also got a huge plate of Indian food from India Palace for $3:

Unfortunately, most of the food is obscured by the chappatis, but rest assured there was a lot of it. My daughter Esther slept through the whole thing:

Toward the end, I saw a dreadlocked Jamaican Rastafarian driving a big van who needed to get past a road block into the pedestrian area. A crew-cut Boston cop approached the van, and I was bracing myself for racial profiling and intense scrutiny. I was pleasantly surprised when the cop just waved the guy on after he indicated where he was headed.

This is what I like so much about Jamaica Plain—it’s as progressive as any of the more lefty areas of the country (Ann Arbor, Madison, Berkeley), but quite racially and socioeconomically diverse.

(By the way, if you’d like to see more photos of Esther, drop me a line—she has her own blog but I decided to keep it out of public scrutiny, at least until she’s old enough to decide for herself).

Freedom Festival

The funniest thing about the aforementioned Traverse City Film Festival is that some people in this part of Michigan hate Michael Moore so much that they had to organize an “alternative” film festival so that freedom-haters would not prevail. Hence, the Traverse Bay Freedom Film-Fest·.

I could sort of understand having an anti-Moore film festival if the Moore film festival featured only leftist propaganda. Check out the featured films·: free showings of Jaws, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Princess Bride, and Casablanca; documentaries such as Mad Hot Ballroom·; dramatic works like Italian for Beginners; and so on. Admittedly, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room· has a bit of an anti-criminal-corporation slant, but do the “freedom film-fest” organizers believe the Enron executives should instead be held up as patriotic examples?

In any case, there were a number of funny stories about the Freedom Film-Fest. Including this one — Glitch puts R-rated film onscreen·:

TRAVERSE CITY – The “family-friendly” Traverse Bay Freedom FilmFest turned R-rated briefly when the festival accidentally showed the wrong version of one of its films.

Festival organizers had planned to show “Michael Moore Hates America,” a documentary-style film by Michael Wilson that examines the filmmaking methods of director Michael Moore, at 7 p.m. Friday. But about 10 minutes into the film – one of the festival’s main attractions – organizers discovered they’d been sent the original R-rated version, containing profane language.

“We knew there were two versions out: one family version, edited for filth, and one potty version,” said festival co-founder Genie Aldrich. “Luckily, we had superior films in the hopper so we yanked it.”

Ann Laurence said she was in the audience at the Park Place Hotel when the film paused and the lights came on.

“Then they literally raced to the podium and started apologizing profusely for the horrible language,” said Laurence, a Traverse City resident.

Though Laurence and a handful of others left, Aldrich said most in the audience stayed and got free popcorn refills while organizers replaced the film with one about former President Ronald Reagan.

“The great thing about it was that people got the message in the audience,” she said. “People are not stupid. People can see films without the f-word.”

Also, Crowd is small, thankful at Freedom FilmFest·:

For Gerry Schichtel – who this weekend saw “Top Gun” for the first time – the alternative Freedom Film Festival wrapped its debut with “just the kind of movies I like.”


“I wouldn’t go to any of Michael Moore’s films; I don’t like his political views,” Schichtel said of the award-winning filmmaker and founder of the Traverse City Film Festival.


The alternative film festival’s crowds were meager compared to the thousands that attended Moore’s festival, but founder Genie Aldrich said she was happy with the turnout.

“There’s more than one of us,” she said.

Traverse City Film Festival

I’m in Traverse City, Michigan, for the weekend. Not only is Traverse City the Cherry Capitol of the Entire World, but this year they have for the first time a summer film festival·, organized in a hurry by Michael Moore· (who lives nearby) and friends. The festival has a great selection of films, including premier (or pre-American release) showings of Grizzly Man·, A Good Woman· (featuring Scarlett Johansson·) and Broken Flowers· (a Jim Jarmusch·film featuring Bill Murray· and — Julie Delpy·!).

Well, that’s enough linking for one day.

Broken MBTA

There’s something about malfunctioning mass transit that really gets to people. Or at least really gets to me. It’s a feeling of powerlessness like few others—at least in a car when you’re stuck in traffic you still feel (albeit erroneously) “in control.”

I had allotted myself half an hour to get from Downtown Crossing in Boston to North Station—about a-mile-and-a-half. Normally the train would take less than ten minutes, and the trains come every five to ten minutes. Instead, I waited fourty minutes for a train, then we crawled to North Station, where I had long since missed the train I was trying to catch, disrupting all the rest of my plans for where I was trying to go tonight.

We expect this kind of thing with air travel. It’s tolerable because we don’t do it everyday. But daily commuters reach a breaking point pretty quickly when they get to their destination two hours later than expected.

My only hope is that there is some one in charge who is agonizing over the inconvenience when this happens. Kind of like when the web/email/mail-list server I administer goes down—every minute is a minute when my users are banging up against a broken door with their web browsers and ssh clients, and I feel the pain. I’m just not so sure the MBTA is feeling the pain these days.

Next time maybe I’ll walk.

At the Beach

Yesterday was the most beautiful beach day this summer. The air was just around 80 degrees, and the ocean was almost bath temperature. A couple of weeks ago I was at this same beach and my feet went numb after about 30 seconds in the water. I didn’t know the ocean could change so quickly!

Here I am, looking like a bit of a goof, on the beach. That pink circle at the bottom is my 3 month old daughter’s hat.

I should mention that this is a self portrait.

Scary Cat

Update 6/25/06: This page has strangely become quite popular. It wasn’t supposed to be a serious attempt at anything. It was an initial experiment to see if I could do video workflow — from camcorder to linux laptop to the web.

Update: Oops! Apparently the syndicated version of this post had the wrong movie URLs. Fixed now—please try again.

I’ve been learning Linux Video in anticipation of a digital camcorder that I’ve ordered—a Panasonic NV-GS400. My understanding is every new parent needs a digital camcorder or will never be able to remember their child’s childhood. So here I go.

Anyway, here’s my first feature-length (well, one minute) film, entitled Scary Cat. It has a fair amount of dramatic tension, so you may want to get a cup of chamomille tea first. It is available in three versions:

The only license restriction is attribution—see the “by” Creative Commons license.

Created using Kino, which deserves to be boosted at least two positions in its Google placement.

I’d welcome feedback—especially let me know if you can’t play the video. Be gentle, though, it’s my first attempt.