Monday, September 26, 2016

it's for his allergies

Soren found these discarded sunglasses. He says they help keep allergens out of his nose.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

child labor

Apple cake.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

first fava bean harvest

About one pound.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Castro crosswalks

It takes a lot of work to keep those rainbow crosswalks in shape!

Monday, September 19, 2016

practicing cello

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Long strides.

Lots of water.

17 laps (or, as Soren put it, "I did the Humbug's number of laps," 17 being the number the Humbug in The Phantom Tollbooth calls out as the answer to every math problem).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

two cello students

We now have two cello students in the house!

After Soren's first lesson, we celebrated with shakes at Barney's.

Ice 2.0

I've progressed from Clear Ice Ball 1.0 to version 2.0. I still end up with a slight ring around the equator. This is because water expands when it freezes, which pushes the mold apart a bit, resulting in the ring.

This is what the rig looks like fully assembled. The yellow stuff insulates the water a bit further (there is a thermos inside, as you will see shortly), to make the ice form almost entirely from the top.

This is what it looks like underneath the insulation layer. At the top, you can see a black mold. It has a flat end on the outside, but inside the mold is a sphere. It came with a hole in the top, to fill it. I added a hole on the bottom, and then I use the mold upside down, because it fits better that way. The thermos was available with a bunch of designs, including the Batman logo that I went with.

In the morning, I fill the thermos with water, and then insert the spherical mold, pushing it in until the equator of the mold is nearly level with the edge of the thermos (this helps hold the mold together tightly). I then drip water through the top-facing hole in the mold until the entire rig is full of water. Then it goes into the freezer, with the insulating cover, until the next morning. When I take it out, the water in the mold has fully frozen, but beneath that there is only a slight layer of ice, with the thermos mostly filled with cold, liquid water.

Due to the insulation, the ice forms directionally, from the top of the rig down. Ice has a much smaller capacity for dissolved air than water, so as ice forms, air is forced out. When ice cubes form in a normal ice tray, the outside edges of the ice freeze first, and thus the air that gets forced out as the rest of the cube forms ends up in the middle of the ice cube, which is why ice cubes are cloudy in the center. But because the ice in this rig forms directionally, the air that is released as the ice sphere forms ends up pushed out of the hole in the bottom of the mold, resulting in a very clear ice ball.

(The ice sphere appears even clearer in person than in these pics; when the camera phone looks for a point to focus on, it ends up on the frost on the outside of the sphere, which accentuates the imperfections.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sunflower: Day 173 (harvest)

Today was harvest day.

I tested one seed...

...and it sure did seem like a sunflower seed, though raw.

So I harvested!

The boys and I rubbed the seeds out.

After washing, I simmered them in heavily salted water for about 20 minutes...

...then let them dry a bit...

...and roasted them in a coffee roaster at 325°F for 30 minutes. (The recipe I found said to roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring often. The coffee roaster stirred continuously!)

The total yield was quite small, which I blame on the flower head never fully opening. Some seeds didn't have room to ripen fully, and some probably never got pollinated at all because the bees couldn't get to some of them. But the seeds we got taste good!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

practicing cello

The violinist works with the cellist on rhythm.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunflower: Day 170

Is it time to harvest? I'm going with "almost."

bunny cuddle

Photo by Anders.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Pinero v. Verdini, 295 F. Supp. 2d 184 (D. Mass. 2003)

In the old days, by which I mean before sometime around 2010, law offices regularly included walls covered with shelves with case reporters like this one, which is volume 295 of the second series of the Federal Supplement (F. Supp. 2d, as lawyers know it).

There are 999 volumes in the first series, and a few years ago the second series closed out with 999 volumes as well, so now there's a third series (at volume 151 so far). And we're in the third series of the Federal Reporter, and beyond those there are case reporters for the Supreme Court, state courts, and we haven't even gotten out of the United States yet. These days, the print volumes are becoming more and more rare, and lots of law libraries are shedding their old collections, which has created an easy market to acquire used volumes for cheap. The list price for a new copy of the latest volume of F. Supp. 3d is over $600. I bought the above volume, used, on eBay in 2012 for $10, shipping included.

I picked this volume essentially at random. Actually, the seller picked it from a stock of used Federal Supplement volumes. (I did let the seller know that I preferred a fatter volume, if possible.) I don't know where this particular copy of 295 F. Supp. 2d came from; the pages are stamped with a reference to the "KMCC" library, but I don't know what that stands for.

I got this volume for a project, but it took me over four years to get around to it. If you flip through the volume, you eventually get to the case In re Lupron® Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, a 2003 district court decision out of the District of Massachusetts, which starts on page 148. It's a fairly long decision, going on for 36 pages.

It's followed by Pinero v. Verdinianother 2003 decision from a Massachusetts district court. It was decided the same day as the prior case, but by a different judge. But in my volume, it's a bit hard to read the case now.

To accomplish this transformation, I sliced through most of the pages of the book, using a flask as a guide.

It started out well enough, though it was slow going.

After a while, I drilled pilot holes along the edge of the emerging cavity, and then used a blade to connect the dots, so to speak. The drilling was non-ideal, as it created bulges in the pages at the edge of the holes. As I cut through the pages, I ran across this odd image. No idea what this case was about.

The bulges from the pilot holes turned out not to matter much, because I ended up having to redo the cutting of the cavity. As I cut down, my cuts were not perfectly vertical, and by the end my flask didn't fit in the space I had cut out. So I went back through and cut again, and this time I cut outside the drill holes, so the bulges all got removed. The second time through, I cut a quarter inch or so deep at a time, and then flipped pages and tried again. (Based on an online guide I had found for creating a hidden compartment in a book, I had actually glued the sides of the pages together before I started this, but they came apart easily enough.)

Once I had a cavity sufficient to hide the flask, I wrapped the first chunk of pages in plastic wrap (leaving one uncut page outside the wrap), covered the inside of the cavity and the top of page 187 (the first page I had cut) with dilute school glue (1 part glue, 1 part water) using a paint brush, and then shut the book.

I clamped the book lightly, brushed the dilute glue on the outside edges of the pages, and let everything dry for an hour or so. (As noted above, I had actually done this before, but in retrospect it would have been better to have waited until this point. Also, clamping only loosely is important. You want to keep the pages from expanding from the water in the glue, but if you clamp too hard the glue has a hard time penetrating. The goal is to have the pages surrounding the cavity turn into a solid mass.)

After that, I removed the clamps and the plastic wrap, and cut through the glued page that covered the cavity. (I went on to invert the wrapping and glue the first 184 pages together, but later decided it was better to have those pages loose, so went through the laborious process of undoing the edge gluing of the first 184 pages.)

The case meant nothing to me before, but Pinero v. Verdini, 295 F. Supp. 2d 184 (D. Mass. 2003), now holds a special place in my heart (or should I say my liver).

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

cool kid flossing

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Aw, shucks.

120 oysters shucked. (And, later, 15 pounds of clams steamed.)