Sunday, November 02, 2008

Garden '08

As I prepare my garden for the winter and spring ahead -- I think about how it was arranged and what worked well and what I could possibly do better for next year.

In the recessed raised bed, this year I gave plants more space and more soil... which they loved. I used a mixture of Winterwood Shellfish, Coast of Maine dark bark, compost and peat along with some Red Cedar mulch for retaining moisture. I thought the cedar over other mulches may have deterred insects as well, I luckily didn't have much insects or animals take away my prized veggies this year. I removed the water retaining plates below my plants, which in years prior may have water-logged the soil.. I also put a layer of mulch at the bottom of the containers hoping it would allow for better drainage. Most of my tomatoes were ready at the same time this year which of course was tomato overload for me, next year I'd like to try to stagger the timing of when tomatoes are ripe so that I have a longer season of fresh tomatoes.. My zucchini plant was probably the garden winner, with several large zucchinis.. The parsley and basil did not do too well in the large bed due to tomatoes taking over their light. Green beans and sugar snaps did well until their light was taken as well. The peppers and basil container plants did well in the sunniest portion of my garden.. training the morning glory to grow over my staircase banisters was nice. Next year I'd like to have flower/herb window boxes on the second floor, and have oregano, rosemary, mint, along with chives, basil, cilantro. Next year I may experiment with some heirloom tomato varieties, a better support structure (nets?) for the tomatoes, and staggering planting/harvesting of fresh herbs.

Time to plant the winter garden indoors!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

P2P Money sharing

This year I had an idea about using P2P (peer-to-peer) concepts within the finance world, so of course the first thing I did was to see what exists out their in the realm of p2p lending. I first came across, an organization which helps developing nations entreprenuers out with small business loans. Instead of donating money to a charity and having no idea how each of my dollars was used, I could see that I was helping out an individual and her family to help grow her business. After she repays her loan, I can help out someone else with those funds--

I also came across, which tends to have a bit more of a capitalistic vs humanitarian approach of allowing us to choose who to lend to and the rate they hope to see in return -- the credit checks are part of the profile, and with lower credit borrowers you can expect a higher return, although you assume more risk. The best rates/bids for the borrower are the ones that win.

Recently, I found a company that focuses on the student loan market -- Fynanz, and I think going forward this kind of alternative student loan may become more attractive to people. It also allows for family/friends to loan money to someone they know while adding a layer of accountability instead of having a paper- IOU written.

All interesting concepts, especially in todays world of large bank mistrust -- any thoughts on which one if any you would consider putting some of your hard-earned money towards?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Southern Ireland

Good Craic!

Just got back from my first trip overseas, Ireland was a great country to visit. Just a short 5 hour flight from Boston to Dublin, and I landed on Irish soil. Unfortunately my luggage did not, so I was without my warmer clothes and rain-coat upon landing in Dublin. I met up with my younger brother, and we toured the town a bit before settling down. We rented a car for the next day, and then we headed off into the countryside. We ventured south down the east coast before heading in to the town of Kilkenny. The following day brought us south through Cork to the historic fishing port of Kinsale. We then continued west and toured each of the three south-west peninsulas, Beara, Kerry and Dingle. We had some spectacular weather and did a nice scenic hike off the tip of Beara which made it my favorite spot of the whole trip. We continued north to Kilarney, Tralee, over to Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher. A drive through the Burren and a day evening Galway were great too.. I spent my last few nights back in Dublin, seeing a few tourist spots like the Book of Kells at Trinity college and of course the Guinness storehouse. These pictures don't do the trip justice, but here's a glimpse of my week holiday :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

new england summer glimpses

Almost two months have gone by, without a single post to the blog. While my section has been updated pretty often with the weekend and weekday excursions -- I have been light on words. So what has happened? Where has my mind been?

I was able to check out one of my favorite DJs (Tiesto) at a pretty small venue, which was fantastic. I've been able to get out fishing a few times, catching some striped bass -- although haven't caught a keeper yet, hopefully this fall I'll land one.

I made a trip out to Colorado, with the thoughts in the back of my head, is it a place I want to live for a few years of my life... My conclusion is I would like the change, but ultimately would probably end up back in new england near family, friends, the ocean, mountains and four seasons of unpredictable weather.

I did some camping up in Maine, have been trying to maintain my jungle of a garden, been enjoying as much time on the water and beach as possible. I was even lucky enough to fly a small plane over Ipswitch and Cape Ann.

Off to Ireland next week to meet up with my brother, who by now is an experienced European traveler! I hope to catch a bit more of an indian summer on my return, but I can say that I've truly enjoyed these warmer months as much as possible.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


We beat LA! What a great way to end a fantastic playoff run and season. This year has been a great one to be in Boston for. As a kid, I was more of a Celtics fan than the Sox or the Patriots and its really exciting to see the heart the celtics club put into this season. From the starting 5, deep into the bench -- this year showed how much a strong team can really outshine any individual effort.

After watching almost 25 celtics playoff games, its time to settle back into a normal routine.. and I'm finally able to get to bed at a reasonable hour :)

Great job Celtics! Looking forward to seeing that 17th banner everytime I enter the garden.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monday Night Baseball - Lester's no hitter

My first time in Fenway this year, and Lester has a great first complete game. Pitched a no-hitter, amazing to see! In the middle of a Celtics playoff run, some more good times for Boston sports! I had a blast :) Thanks for the great seats Jason!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From playlist to podcast: mix-tapes for your friends over the web

I wanted to see how simple it was to create a podcast last night, and after doing some quick searching on the subject found it was quite easy to do. Basically once you have mp3 tracks available on a webserver, you just need to whip up a quick RSS/XML file that describes the name of the file, where it is, and how big it is... You can also add pictures/text descriptions and date-timestamps for your podcast.

What does this mean to you? I can give you a digital-webified mix tape, in the form of a web address url, you fire up Itunes, Subscribe to my podcast with that url, and within minutes you have the audio that I want to share with you. Everytime its updated, you get more new material. Next time you use your ipod/itunes, you'll have a mix from me to listen to! Interested? I'll come up with a tutorial on how easy it is soon, for now -- just ask me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cold and windy sunset

Feet on sand!

The following night I got out a bit earlier, and it was a bit less windy!

Still not summer yet though, at least the beach was mine.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

using my MBTI(INTJ) to lead and manage successful teams

Just getting back from a few day course, leading and managing successful teams. The basic ideas of the course was to use Myers Briggs Type Indicators to assess your own type and style, and understand how to adapt your own leadership style to others within your team. A foundation for team synergy was built, where depending on the nature of the project-- different types within a group may be best suited to handle certain aspects of the project and can complement each others natural working styles.

Some points of interest when trying to understand INTJ's (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging) that really struck a chord with me.

-Strong vision for the organization, and loyal to the organization
-Thinking about issues of the future, understanding trends
-Hungry for problems to solve, sometimes will take on others problems, it is painful for us to see a problem and not be able to do anything about it.
-Open to any and all ideas that can be put to use
-Change and improve upon anything
-Like small teams, with significant contributions from each member
-Hate redundancy, seek efficiency
-Procedures tend to be followed if they are efficient or their value is explained
-Prefer precise communication
-Like to bring theories into actualities

If you know me through work, I think this aligns very well with what I tend to do for the companies which I have worked for. If you know me personally, some of these traits also come through. Some of my prior blog posts also tend to highlight some of these characteristics. It is good to be able to understand your own type well first, and that gives perspective as to others which may have different types/styles and how you may need to adjust to meet their needs.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

no more pathfinder wobble

After doing some research of the wobble behavior,

The rear lower and upper links have rubber bushings that wear out. I picked up some poly bushings from

The challenging part has been getting the old bolts off, I've been spraying, torching, cutting, grinding the bolts off and its been a lot more work and hours than I had hoped...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Poem for Grandpa


My Grandpa was a gentle soul
With eyes, the clearest blue
A Father, Brother, Friend and Mate
His devotion, ever true

He had a happy disposition
And kindness in his voice
A real New England sports fan
The Red-Sox were his choice

His strength and fearless courage
Held steady through the war
Little did he know back then
What life would have in store

Memories of the ocean
Three daughters by his side
Swimming in the sunshine
And dancing with the bride

He loved to be a “Grandpa”
He was proud of all he had
A crowded room of family
Would always make him glad

Seasons come and seasons go
The winter’s sometimes long
The “Red Sox” kept their promise
And Grandpa still was strong

For years, he was a fighter
He wanted much to stay
He held the hands of those he loved
With pride, he paved the way

His spirit stays within us
Though his time on earth is done
It’s opening day in Heaven
The season’s just begun

We love you Grandpa. We miss you.

Amy Kelly 3/5/08

Memorial Slideshow by Tim Dowd

Friday, March 07, 2008

amante igloo

Well after hearing that bad news about Grandpa, I had to get out of the house and do something constructive but creative... After all, Gramps was an engineer too... Stepping on the snow in the backyard, gave me the idea to carve out blocks and build an igloo in true eskimo style(or at least try to)... Traditionally as a kid, I would tend to make more snow caves -- sort of a miners approach which yielded a less structurally stable fort digging into the side of a giant snowpile. It got tricky towards the top to build an arched dome roof -- especially as it approached the 8ft tall mark.


It was a lot of work, but my sister Kathleen helped me out and it turned out pretty good!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Night ridin during a storm!

Each run got better, each lift line got shorter. Roco!

It has been a pretty good winter so far, looks like another few storms are on their way to make for another great weekend up north!

New blue line train

First ride this morning... From the first ride, it looks like an updated version of the older blue-line. About the same seating and layout as the 30 year old ones.. The seats instead of being plether are just hard plastic. They have installed many handles so that shorter folks can reach the upper bars when standing up for the ride. There is now the 'digital' next stop and automated announcements, good for the occasional rider but the daily rider knows the next 3 stops already. The windows are smaller, but I'm guessing they don't leak which is key. I'll be riding both until the older ones are phased out, so I'll pick up on some more minor details soon.

Friday, February 01, 2008

wifi & wireless internet on trains

Part of my decision to buy a place in Gloucester steps from the commuter rail, was the fact that I knew in a short amount of time internet connectivity on trains would quickly be a reality. If you can spend your time commuting, working, guess what that means? You can get more accomplished in a day, or your work-day is shorter -- I'll take either. More often I use the time to catch up on email, news, and collect my thoughts.

For a while(last five years for me), internet access on the train was reserved for business people who either had a company sponsored cell-network card, or could afford to blow 60$ a month on the data plan -- or tech saavy guys like myself that tether their cellphone and use it as a modem (no cable, Bluetooth of course) without paying a hefty premium (I use my cellphones basic data plan, 6$ per month).

Now it looks like the MBTA is trying a pilot out, and from the looks of this graph of coverage on my line, I'd say pretty promising for the future --

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

self sustainability

Recently, I've been baking my own bread and starting to enjoy the indoor winter garden. While not the best use of my time and talents, I find it a nice break from the computer screen... Something about putting bread on the table, making it with just some flour+yeast... a few hours later, you have warm fresh baked bread. Ever played Oregon trail? The best part of that early video-game? The hunt... Your stick figure would shoot a pixel across the screen and if you were lucky landed a large buffalo and fed your family for a week... The Aerogarden has been brain-dead simple to use, requiring human intervention basically every two weeks... Fresh Basil looks to be soon ready for the taking, mint, parsley, chives, cilantro & dill not too far behind....

Grow, or make a simple food you take for granted sometime... For some reason, it just tastes better eating the fruits of your labor. Bread + Salad!

Friday, January 25, 2008

YouTube on Sony Ericssons's k790a

Today YouTube announced a mobile version of YouTube which appears to be a Java midlet that works with Sony Ericssons's K800. I'm surprised they didn't officially throw k790a into the mix as well, as the phones are very closely related.

It looks like the unsigned Nokia version will work with the K790a: k790a YouTube App

The signed version should work for Nokia's (N73, N95, E65, 6110, 6120 officially): Nokia's YouTube App

I posted on the Esato board as I was trying to figure this out. Let me know if you find anything else about this topic --

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Vote for 'Change'?

The next president of the US, won't be able to 'change' much...

He/She won't be able to lay a solid foundation for economic prosperity. Won't be able to make the world a peaceful place. Won't be able to guarantee you a job, your health, your home. Won't be able to reduce global warming, eradicate disease, feed the hungry.

These important action items actually fall on your hands. Choose ones closest to your heart, and work with others to focus on the problems that you care about the most.

If the next president can make it safer for us to travel to other countries, cooperate and do business with other nations in peace, they will most likely get my vote.

I'm interested in hearing about your top candidate, and why, please write to me....