At the recommendation of Dr. Scott, Jen and I took Saturday to head east to New Windsor, NY to visit the sculpture garden Storm King. In addition to a ridiculously awesome estate name, this 550 acre garden located about an hour North of Manhattan sports over a hundred sculptures and stunningly beautiful vistas.
Jen and I got there around 11:30, had a small picnic at their picnic tables and then got to walking. Within the last three years or so the park started renting bicycles to make travel easier, but they are absurdly priced at $40/rental. The park will not allow you to bring your own bikes. I’m sure that this rule is to make sure that no one mars their lawns with thin tires – but to me it mostly seemed overprotective.
While the large pieces were sprinkled across the landscape, most of the smaller sculptures were clustered around the centerpoint of the park: a beautiful little museum that housed a focal exhibit. The museum, being atop a hill, also provided what may have been the best views of the estate.
Perhaps the most exciting sculpture was Andy Goldsworthy’s Storm King Wall (1997-98). It was a five or so foot tall wall that wound its way in, out and around a row of trees then through a lake and up a hill.
To me, the artfulness of the piece was its embrace of surplus. The effort required to build this piece makes my brain hurt.
It took us about three hours to walk the landscape. The grounds were hardly flat, as I think you can tell from the pictures, so we were admittedly pretty tired after tromping around the landscape. They have a tram that anyone can hop on and hop off anytime, but we chose to walk since it was the perfect late summer day.
From central CT, its about 1h45m to Storm king – and well worth the trek. I would imagine that it would be particularly spectacular once the leaves start to change color. Try to get out there, it’s mega-fun. Thanks for the recommendation Dr. Scott!
Jen and I have wildly different wedding dreams. She dreams about her dress not arriving on time, or some other organizational disaster. I dream about wedding parties being completely consumed by raging flash floods while I stand helpless holding a rope that’s too short to save the periled souls. Or, I dream of the wedding gifts that arrive all being different versions of the game Risk.
A true window into the psyche.
After months of putting it off, I finally followed Vivienne’s recommendation and tried out the epic running app: Zombies, Run!
The concept is fairly simple. You live in a post apocalyptic zombie infested world and are given daily missions which will require you to leave the safe gates of your base and run around collecting critical supplies and plot developing items. You are coaxed on by the base via your radio transmitter. While you run the program keeps track of your location via GPS (or accelerometer for you treadmill junkies). And about three times per run, zombies chase you and if you don’t pick up your speed – they will get you.
Getting caught doesn’t change the plot line or stop the story, it’s mostly a pride thing. The program essentially coaches you into interval training while keeping you interested and eager for more storyline. Also, it seems to define how fast you’ll need to go to escape the zombies by your average speed. I find that I really have to book it in order to escape during zombie chases.
Each episode is about 30minutes long and the program pulls music from your collection to play between story segments. If you want to keep running after the 30 minutes are up, the plotline stops, but you are entertained by comical banter by the radio transmission guys.
I’ve only run through four episodes now, but it’s mega fun. For 4 bucks, it’s a great deal.
For some reason I never realized that the pull tab on a Hershey Kiss allows one to unwrap the candies with great expediency. Up ’till now, I’ve always peeled back the foil by hand.
Over the course of my life, this revelation will most certainly save me hours of time.
Last night I had weird dreams.
1. Elon Musk went to jail for some petty crime. The future of Tesla Motors was in question
2. Darth Vader was my step father and drowned in a swimming pool. It turns out though that Chewbacca’s uncle was Vader’s brother. He also drowned in that pool. Chewie and I were devestated. Still, we were pleased to find out that we had a common lineage and a bond, albeit solemn, through grieving.
During Jen and my frequent hang outs with Michelle and Noah, we find ourselves sitting down for a wholesome game of Cards Against Humanity. This is essentially apples to apples except with horribly inappropriate card subjects.
For those of you who have played this, I have a gameplay recommendation. Our group finds it hilarious to take a random card from the deck and play it as ‘the computer’. Basically, the deck tries to beat the group of players. Some people might think that a random card wouldn’t do so well against planned play – however those people would be wrong. Our computer did a remarkably good job. In fact in our most recent game, Noah and I just barely edged out the computer.
Either the computer is really good, or we are just exceptionally bad.
I have owned the House of Rock for nearly nine years. Over those nine years I have mowed the lawn many many times. As this is not a chore I enjoy, I try to strategically plan the mowing to be as efficient as possible.
My basic strategy centers around the basic principle that if I reduce the number of turns, I can improve my efficiency. As a corollary, we assume that fewer degrees of turning are also more efficient. Two 90′s are a little better than one 180. Finally, this obviously only applies to those of us whose yards are not large enough or open enough to accommodate Concentric Spiral Mowing as this would clearly be the most efficient use of mowage.
Let’s assume you have a perfect 10m x 10m yard. For simplicity sake, let’s also assume you have a 1m wide mower. What’s the most efficient mowing pattern?
The Long Haul
Making ten 10m passes is an obvious option. But this requires a total of nine 180° turns. I greatly dislike 180° turns.
Another good option: walking the perimeter to make consecutively smaller rectangles. The frustration here is that when you get to the middle, you’re making near constant 90° turns. This method has the same total number of degrees turned, but with 90′s instead of 180s. Eighteen 90′s needed.
One slight annoyance with both of the previous tactics is that turning a 90° at the edge of a yard results in a lost corner of tall grass. The Zamboni pattern is a clever one that removes the lost corners. If we were to label the columns of our 10×10 matrix as 1 through 10, the zamboni pattern runs column 1, then zips over to column 5. Back to 2, then to 6. You have overlapped the ends, which is lost time, but it makes some bit of sense for more rectangular yards. You still end up with eighteen 90° turns.
This weekend I discovered a new strategy by accident.
The big assumption in the content above is level topography. When a hill is in play things get funky. It’s much harder to do a perimeter cut on a hill. 1/4 of the time is spent pushing the mower uphill. BAD MOVE.
This weekend I realized that if you move to The Long Haul perpendicular to the hill slope, things work out very very nicely. Yes, you’re taking 180° turns, but you never have to push uphill.
This revelation pleases me.
Sander and I got to talking about Vegemite.
Sander: Do you know what vegemite is?
Mike D: I have no idea. Like some peanut buttery thing?
Sander: No, not at all. It’s like the left over yeast extract from beer making. Some old people in Austrailia insisted I try it.
Mike D: Any good?
Sander: It is disgusting. The saltiest grossness you can imagine. It was so salty I’d have gladly washed it down with a pint of Soy Sauce.
And there you have it! Vegemite!