Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Variational Calculus

Gabriel's pursuit of a spherical spline differential equation probably goes back farther than 1985, when Ken Shoemake had "Animating Rotation with Quaternion Curves" published at that year's Siggraph. Steve, the dear friend that he is, spent 90 minutes on the phone talking me through the twisty bits. While Gabriel and Kajia appear to have been snubbed thirty years ago, their work stunningly rejected then as "a homework problem", it remains an inspiration to me today. I am sofa king blessed to have such a great mentor and friend. Steve's homework problem for me?... A reminder and gentle introduction to variational calculus through the Feynman lecture "The Principle of Least Action". What a great read!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hard March

March began this year for me on the red eye back from San Francisco. Landing in the icy dawn at Logan seemed appropriate, matching my mood at the moment. The brisk air and the cutting late-winter angle of the sun combined to cast the morning like a post-psychedelic epilogue. An uncomfortable and stark reality. Only this was just natural and organic, as viewed by this observer, this time around the sun.

I think whenever there is a step-function disconnect in our perception of what is true, it is healthy to see our system respond accordingly. We put a great deal of stock in our ability to understand and feel. So when our neural simulator comes up with one answer and reality is another, we’ve got some reprogramming to do. A little adjustment is OK, but if too much is disconnected at once, we cry, we feel sick, or even pass out. That may not be the best evolutionary response. But perhaps it speaks to how closely wired the anterior insular cortex, our empathy-enabling simulator, is wired into the rest of our brains.

Like the tail of an exponential, it faded. The month has mostly passed. The weather in New England staying unusually chilly, like the morning that started this month. But the outlook is optimistic. We’ve got better data. That sparse set of coefficients that we use for predicting the future has a few more non-zero terms. And it’s almost April.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Missing Randy Ten Years On

From this vantage point, few people have made the world around us better, the way that Randy did. Nobody I know was kinder and more selfless. Randy passed away ten years ago, although I’m still in denial. When I stop for a moment and consider my life experiences and keep cycling back through the graph in time and space we call history, Randy is singular. We acknowledge that with time our memory fades and facts can become distorted. But when I think about Randy, my mind consistently serves up surprising forgotten circumstance with a newfound strong inner-bliss radiating outward. I’m certain he had his demons, but you wouldn’t know it at a glance. Interacting with him, Randy would place your concerns, your goals, front and center. Then he would do his best to understand them, help you talk about them, laugh at them, (rarely) cry over them and generally make the absolute best out of this experience we call life. It’s just wrong that he isn’t here with us now. I have no words to describe the immense thankfulness I have for my family and friends. And I’m not one to get hung up on regret. But there is no way that this world would not be a far better place for hundreds or thousands of souls if Randy were still with us today. He isn’t: so we have our memories. That’s how I remember Randy.
Bearsville Machine Room (1979)
San Francisco Bay(1982)
With Tony Wilson (1979)
With Cindy Cashdollar (1978)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Chrome on Black

Before it became retro, chrome-on-black was a mark of bad-ass 1980s automobiles. Phil's M6 was a good example and so were the first Saab 900 Turbos. But this 1987 Ferrari 412 pretty much slam dunks the point straight home...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

In with the Ducks

We were planning on going out to see Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws as "Minor Alps" last night. Susan wasn't feeling well, so we tried to create the Cotton dining experience here at home; with Steak, Wedge, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. A snow squall came up dropping the first, fractional-inch of powder of the year and making it all the more cozy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Water Over the Dam

I think I will remember the 51 days I skied this summer at Dubes Pond mostly for the water running over the dam. Most years, we have a wet spring, but then the dam goes quiet for much of the summer. This year, a bit wetter than most, I can barely recall a day when I didn't have to raise my voice on the dock to be heard over the rushing water. No injuries, good times, and good friends. While this season wins no record in skier-hours or buoy count, I'll take it and smile.
Wendy & Ali (Dubes Summer 2013)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A New Look

SmugMug, the photo sharing service I use to serve up the images in this blog, updated their look and feel. Click through for a peek.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Finding balance can be hard. It's like perching yourself atop some energy-information hill with, at least locally, maximum entropy. It seems like a great idea, a fine place to be, a ready-stance from which to move on all that is important in life. But damn, you don't just get there by doing nothing.

Monday, May 13, 2013


The near-frost we will have tonight reminds me that summer isn't quite here yet. Sure, I've been in the pond for five sets already. My spray-burn whining is nearly over as the yearly callus on my calf has formed. And Dave is starting in on me with this season's new tidbit of wisdom: Open to the boat on my offside lean. I think it's a winner; but still can't let go of the past. What was, What will be.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fast-Forward April

April went by in fast-forward this year, it's so cliche. Just a month ago I was carving slow-motion tele-arc turns down Plunge and other lift-9 trails. Now the snow has melted, the ice is out, and it will be just weeks before we are back in the pond and on the slalom course. In the meantime life, work, and soul-searching to find reason in last-week's events. I have a dozen things I'd like to get done today: I'd prefer to do just a few of them well.

Monday, March 25, 2013

KTEX 2013, Day 4

It's over. Day four was swimming in sunshine and smiles. But it's over. I should be happy. But not so much. It's like when camp is over and everyone has to go home.  Emily turned me on to the music of Devendra Banhart last night, I bought "Mala" on Itunes; and played that album all day today. Amazing, best new music I've heard in years. Last run of the day, of the trip...

KTEX 2013, Day 3

The plan was that I would rendezvous with the girls for some tele-snowboard hybridization. Yet there was this stubborn gravity of riding up 8 to 9 in the crisp, sunny air that made like "lift ten?, did you say ten?". I got my shit together and made my way over for a few runs with Emily, Holly, and Holly. I had lunch with the Seattle gang over at Bon Vivant. Then drinks at Cosmo, dinner at La Marmotte, and still more kind talk until I hit the wall at an embarrassingly early hour which I can only attribute to my lack of stamina at such things, at altitude.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

KTEX 2013, Day 2

It was a cold and snowy day. I set out early by myself, in search of lift 9 solitude. I ended up helping a woman down the mountain who was having an anxiety attack. Came back up and ran my line of lines on Plunge, in a blissful, near white-out.

KTEX 2013, Day 1

Into old school retro mode on my late 1990s Tua M3's with prototype Hammerhead binders. Amazing how crisp they still are. Much more modern T2 plastic has a lot to do with it. Anyhow, no surprise what I did... up 9, a few warmups on Lookout, and on to my favorite line on the mountain, the steeper bit of skier's right down Plunge. Chris always used to say "The Apr├Ęs Skiing is just as important as the Skiing". And he was right. Met up with my Manch-Vegas peeps Holly, Emily and Mike, and had a fun dinner at Hongas...

Arriving KTEX 2013

A relatively low-drama arrival into KTEX with some snow and gusty winds. Steve picks me up at the airport and before you know it we are sipping gin and tonics at the base of chair 8. A mellow evening in town to get ready for the days ahead.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifteen Years

It's been fifteen years since my best friend died.
He surely had, and has sadly missed, a fuck-ton of life.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The New Year

Optimistic. Excited. Eager. Challenged. Thankful. Wiser. Enthusiastic. Relentless. Mindful. Yet still expecting many of the happy (and not so happy) mistakes of years gone by. To all, a Kind and Happy New Year.