Category Archives: A Day In The Life…

Luxurious Watches!

One of the executives at my company has a deep appreciation for fine watches. And just as a car aficionado loves flipping through auto-magazines crushing on the latest and greatest vehicles and technologies, so does my colleague enjoy flipping through watch publications to learn about the newest precision mechanisms.

Recently, perhaps in an effort to spread his passion or maybe to encourage me to purchase a well engineered time-piece of my own, he passed me the December edition of Watch Journal.

Watch Journal is hilariously refined. It’s as polished and clean as you’d expect it to be – even the advertisements are classy. I feel as though I should be wearing white gloves to turn its pages. And I must say, the Journal highlights some beautiful watches with fabulously complex mechanisms. There’s one, for example, that keeps track of the movement of the planets – IN REAL TIME. Watch with bated breath as Saturn takes TWENTY NINE YEARS to circle its way around the watch face. HA! Amazing.

So that’s how it happened that I was lounging in an arm-chair on a Sunday afternoon, casually perusing wrist adornments and saw a watch that was STUNNING: The Gruebel Forsey with a 24 second tourbillon. Its simple face, accented with a window to its mechanical workings, beautifully bridges the broad gap between classiness and geekery.

Pretty!

THIS IS A WATCH THAT I WOULD PROUDLY WEAR.

Let’s check the price!

WHAT?!?

300k USED?!?!? USED?!??!??! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Something new

Last night the waxing gibbous moon, close to full, eerily lit the street. Profiles of the trees were black silhouettes against the whitish fog. I had gone outside to grab something from my car and was shocked to stillness by the deep hooting calls of owls.

There were at least two. One was a lower hu-hu-hu-hu-hoo! hoo!, the other a higher pitched version with fewer hus. They were close, but I couldn’t tell where.

I ran inside and called for Jen. We grabbed the binoculars and returned to the garage. The owls were unperturbed by the commotion.

I started walking down the street towards the sound and a great winged profile took off from the woods. It flew down the street a few hundred yards and perched atop the post for a power line. It had two tall ears and an impressive form: a great horned owl. His mate was a few trees away.

They were lit by the moon only enough that I could make out their form and the triangle of whiteness under their necks. I mistakenly startled them again, but they conveniently flew back to the house, sitting in a dead tree across the street. They sat there for as long as we watched. Hooting every few moments to fill the quiet.

I love that at age 34 I’m able to witness something so new and unexpected from nature. And I’m confident that the only reason I haven’t noticed a night owl yet, is I never stopped to look. How many more exciting discoveries await!

Supernova to Blackhole

The combination of listening to CDs detailing the origin of the universe and having a child on the way has me thinking of space/social analogies. All through college and post-college it was all about social expansion. Even this website was a tool for social expansion. But marriage and a kid on the way seem to have the opposite effect: significant social contraction. I find it less critical to update my website, respond to emails, or return calls. My social priorities have coalesced.

What’s curious to me is that some social media (maybe just Facebook, actually) has bridged the event horizon of children. I’m genuinely intrigued if social media common to youth will follow them into middle age, or if they will be forever contained within an age demographic. While I have older colleagues who use Facebook, few use twitter, instagram, or snapchat. Is that a function of them being older? or is it a function of their social gravitational collapse into a singularity?

I’m also wondering what will happen to MikeDiDonato.com. My posting frequency has undeniably cratered after marriage, will it collapse further until it’s merely an archive of my young adulthood? Or perhaps it will flourish as an epic over-documentation of the development of our kids. Time will tell.

Verbs?

I stumbled across are a weird collection of verbs that are specific in usage that MUST have a categorization but I don’t know what it is. When students first learn parts of speech they learn that verbs are “things you can do!” or “action words!”. These verbs however have no active form.

For example:

Throb: Something can throb, but I can’t throb something.
Itch: Something can itch, but I can’t itch something.

It’s more than just a passive verb – because the active form of the verb doesn’t exist. Does anyone know what this is called? Can anyone think of more examples?

Pentagonal Tesselations

Jen and I are going to make an art piece. It’s based on the fairly recent news that mathematicians determined a new equation for a pentagonal tesselation.

PT

WHAAAAAT? IS THIS TRUE?!?!

Yes. This is all truth. So, uh, what does that mean? Basically, all triangles and all convex quadrilaterals can form tessellations. No big deal. Easy stuff. Pentagons? A bit more challenging. Thankfully over the course of history mathematicians determined 14 different general equations for pentagons that will get the job done (image shown above). Over the summer, a fifteenth was discovered (whew!)

Or plan is to laser cut these tesselations into 15 individually colored panels and mount them in an array.

It will be beautiful.
It will be colorful.
It will be geeky.

In my mind, these three criteria result in great art potential.

Word Origin

Every once in awhile I am stunned at the origin of an extremely obvious word. This week’s word?

Hummingbird.

I didn’t interact with hummingbirds until Jen and I put up a feeder last summer. It was a huge success and we regularly have a couple hummingbirds either sitting at or hovering around the feeder. Recently, we were sitting on the deck and a hummingbird flew up and hovered in front of us.

Only then did I realize that hummingbirds hum.

Italian

I have a question.

Regularly when I interact with strangers they comment on my obviously Italian last name. It almost always comes from a fellow Italian and usually takes its form as some sort of positive association occasionally with Italian language thrown in.

“An Italian! Molto Bene!”
“Ahhh, your name ends in a vowel. That’s always a good thing.”
“DiDonato! Excellent name!”

Really, these are pretty odd statements. I always presumed that they were just a form of small talk focusing on a shared characteristic. But recently I wondered: do other cultural names illicit the same kind of responses? If you’re last name is Muller do Germans on the street applaud your shared heritage? How about French with Archambault or Irish with O’Sullivan?

Any experience on this matter from the readership?

Ballet!

I recently completed an 11 day adventure in Dusseldorf, Germany for work. Jen zipped over and met me here where we circled through Europe on a mini-adventure. (We’re going to take pictures and put some clues together to make a game out of guessing our itinerary – but that’s for another day)

Day two of this trip included a trip to the ballet. Traditionally, the idea of a ballet instills visions of tutus and plies. This ballet was much more modern. It consisted of three movements. My favorite was the first, but I could only find a clip of the third (Chroma) on YouTube. Chroma was orchestrated to the music of the white stripes. It was a jagged and sharp with obviously foggy gender roles.

YouTube Preview Image

I found it bizarrely wonderful. After each 20 minute performance we applauded through multiple dancer bowing sessions. And dang-it, my arms got tired. There we were watching dancers perform absurd feats of human strength and flexibility, and my arms get tired from 2 minutes of clapping.

Pathetic.