Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Late December Ice-In

Despite a Thanksgiving snowstorm that left us without power for four days, the holiday season was warm and wet this year. It was a balmy 45 degrees on Christmas day. But after just a few cold nights in the teens and I wake up this morning, the last day of 2014, to see a thin, dark glaze on Lake Massabesic. With little wind and cold temps, my bet is that the near-horizon of blue ripples will be a bright white for the next few months, as soon as we get some snow this weekend. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


It's been eight months since my last Frunobulax blog post. "What's up with that?", I ask myself. Lot of goings on this past summer and fall. Not all great. But life is amazing and I find time to go clickity-click here this evening, which is a blessing. Listening to MMW w/ John Scofield "Juice", check it out, great stuff. Didn't go to a single jammy event this summer. That sucks. Watched on Facebook as my pal Ben traveled from SPAC to Vegas to see Phish. Jealous. I guess, I could have found a way, but was so into my work I wonder if I could have really done it. Work isn't an excuse; it's a passion. A choice. I really want to make a difference. I have another few decades to knock it out of the park; a marathon, not a sprint. If Chris were alive, he would provide balance (through peer pressure). If Dave were alive, he would provide balance (through wisdom of counsel). Now the baton is in my hand.

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)