Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

At this point Jen and I are mostly moved into the new home. And a new home it is; we are the first residents in this new construction. Easy and convenient? Yes, though non-loan-related financial output for the home has surprised me.

There are always a bunch of costs associated with buying an older home, and I think these are mostly understood and expected. Usually there are repairs necessary or major components like furnaces, roofs, or water heaters. That was certainly the case with the House of Rock. We had to replace a furnace, remove an old oil tank, fix up some walls, and clean up some old junk that had found refuge in rafters of the garage… but the house was essentially livable from the get go.

What surprised me is that the new home has its own lengthy assortment of costs based entirely on the fact that it is new. The house needs a water filter, radon testing, appliances and all the standard decorating accouterment. Painting and staining are on the menu, as is a new gas line for a grill.

Perhaps the real difference between the HoR and the new Home is not the built-on date as much as it is my higher expectations for quality and performance. With the HoR, all I needed was to be certain that the house would stand. With this Home, I’m eager to make it streamlined and efficient.

Posted by mike d. Filed in House of Rock

Tomorrow, Jen and I close on a new home – this home needs a name.

We’ve been toying with naming our final destination “The Keep” as a reference to both long-term possession and the strongest portion of a castle; built to protect. But… this house doesn’t quite feel like a Keep.

The new house is positioned on a very localized hill. It resides about 30 feet above all adjacent houses and, also unique amongst the neighbors, ours stands above the recorded 500yr flood record (though I question the source of such data).

As the house is expected to survive any flood, we were thinking of referencing Noah’s Ark. Conveniently, Ark is also defined as a repository for sacred items (i.e. Ark of the Covenant). We tried to identify the items most sacred to us and came up with one potential name:

The Ark of the Oven-Mitt.


Not bad.


Career Fair

Posted by mike d. Filed in Work

A few coworkers and I were earmarked to go to a career fair at MIT to seek out new talent for the office. We were short an Electrical Engineer, so we approached the big boss about inviting Sander along. His response?

Boss: “No way, Sander’s time is too valuable.”
Mike D: “Should I still plan on going?”
Boss: “yes. You should go.”

… wait a minute…


Fridge d?

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

For the upcoming house purchase, Jen and I are exploring options for appliances. One such appliance, the refrigerator, has caused some mental frustration.

Annoyance: Refrigerator vs. Fridge
Where did that D come from in the abbreviated form Fridge?

After some research I’ve learned that the reasoning is sloppy. When a G is sandwiched between vowels it often creates a combo sound of d+guh, like refrigerator, regenerate, and gauge. However, sometimes when it’s at the end of a word the preceding vowel is lengthened and the G loses it’s D sound: Think Oblige or Siege. Why? I have no idea. Grammerphils care to comment?

One’s first attempt to correct this might be to remove the E at the end of the word, but that ends up making Frig rhyme with Wig.

The best way to force the pronunciation was to add a D. Think: Ledge, Bridge, Ridge, Fudge, Melissa Ethridge.

Here’s why it’s sloppy: Garbage, Pillage. Neither have the D but both have the D sound. One site suggests that this is because the accent is on the first syllable.

In conclusion: who knows? English is weird.

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

Yesterday Jen and I finally succeeded in moving on what has been a fairly long drawn our process of bidding on a new home. After weeks of looking we found a home in Clinton, CT. We were trying to find a place in Guilford, but the prices were too high for the quality of house.

We pushed further east and ended up two towns away in Clinton. Clinton is a tiny shoreline community: Just 19sq miles with ~13,500 people. The town has an abundance of inland wetlands (17% of the town is water), and our future home is one that includes wetlands.

The view from the backyard.

About 40% of our property will be pond. This comes with advantages and disadvantages. Privacy and wildlife are assured, but so too are mosquitoes and fewer land based wooded adventures. Still, excitement abounds.

At the moment we are expecting a closing the week of April 1st. More pictures to follow!

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...


Twelve Dollars!

Posted by mike d. Filed in family

This past weekend Jen and I took the Parents D to see a play at the Bushnell in Hartford. It was Mom D’s birthday a few weeks back and what’s better than a theatrical production? Nothing! The choice? War Horse – complete with puppets and horses!

Gad zooks that play is dark.

I was completely unprepared for the carnage and emotionally draining plot. Sure, with the word War in the title I was expecting some level of seriousness – but there was death and destruction beyond my greatest expectations!

The production was amazing, use of sound and light were stunning, and of course the Horse puppets were awe inspiring. The puppeteers weren’t really hidden at all, but it eventually got the point where we no longer noticed them. In fact, the first half of the play was a bit slower than I would have liked… but you know… character development and stuff.

Overall, I’d give War Horse 4 stars. And despite the perhaps less than lively juxtaposition with my Mom’s birthday, it was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, the show is no longer available in Hartford – but I’d certainly recommend you go to check it out if it comes to your area.

Posted by mike d. Filed in RockStar

With my extended (~60min) work commute from West Hartford to East Haven, I have been listening to lessons on CD from the Great Courses program. The strength of the courses, not unlike at any institution, is entirely in the quality of the teacher.

Thankfully the instructor of much of the music series, Professor Robert Greenburg, is excellent. So far I’m on my third set of discs.

1. How to listen to and understand great music (Greenburg)
2. Elements of Jazz, from Cakewalks to Fusion (Bill Messenger)
3. Understanding the Fundamentals of Music (Greenburg)

The courses, specifically Greenburg’s, have been eye opening. Greenburg focuses on classical music genres. I have learned WAY more than I thought I would have. Before the course I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between Bach and Stravinsky. Now, I feel pretty confident in identifying music to specific Classical eras.

Further, despite casual music for most of my life, the Fundamentals of Music has taught me a ton on the workings of musical mechanics. It is admittedly academic with a fair amount of time being spent on definition and word origin, but it’s valuable information and I’m pleased with what I’ve learned.

In particular, two of my long-time questions of music have been answered

1. Question: C Major scale has no flats or sharps. Why the heck did they choose to label the EASIEST scale with the letter C. Why not start the easiest chord with the easiest letter, A?
Answer: A minor is the relative minor of C major. And apparently back in the day, the minor scales was more musically important than the major scales. So those that made the decision, chose to put the most important minor scale with the fewest accidentals as the A. That makes sense!

2. Question: Why is it that the 7th note of each scale, as you progress through the sharps of different keys, is always the last sharped? For example, key of G: F# (that’s the 7th.) Key of D, F# and C# (C# is the 7th). It works like this the whole way! But Flats? No 7ths there!
Answer: I was thinking about this entirely incorrectly. Instead if you look at the circle of fifths the signatures AND the accidentals follow in fifths and fourths as you progress around the circle. The 7th thing works out on the sharps. On the flat side the flats progress on the 3rd.


I strongly recommend Greenburg’s courses.

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