Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Preparing for Christmas morning with the all important note and treats for Santa and his reindeer.

Friday, December 23, 2011

All Ready for Our Christmas Party!

Deirdre's preparations culminated with this amazing table.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pierce's Class

Pierce's class went for a walk down to the waterfront on a lovely balmy day. Only a few days left until the big day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Swingin' Christmas Concert at Carnegie Hall

Deirdre and I enjoyed the New York Pops Swingin' Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall last night. Great big joyful sound from a full orchestra, the near 100 voice Essential Voices USA choral group, and a fun mix of Broadway and jazz vocals and music.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pierce in the Studio

I took this picture while waiting for Pierce to finish his lesson with Laura. That's one of Laura's paintings on the wall.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pastel Ghost

The results from Pierce's second art class. The model: a plush ghost against a red velvet curtain.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Charcoal Frog

Pierce just started art lessons today with Laura Alexander, a local painter. Here's his first charcoal drawing. The subject is a plastic frog bath toy - perfectly suited subject matter for Pierce.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Tribute to the Tribute in Light

Ten years ago I was walking down 6th Ave in Manhattan when I saw the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Not long afterwards I saw the second plane hit the South Tower. In the decade since then, I've been unable to come to terms with what took place that day. It was simply too immense. The death of so many innocent people. The destruction of two towering landmarks that I saw every day.

For me, the Tribute in Light is a haunting and beautiful memorial to not just those who perished that day, but also to the two towers themselves.

This is a time lapse movie taken of the Tribute in Light the night of September 11th, 2011. For those viewing the tribute from Hoboken's Pier A where I made the movie, the lights appeared to be partly obscured by motionless, low clouds. But the time lapse reveals a more dramatic and dynamic view. At times the clouds swirling around the towers unsettlingly evoke the moments before the towers fell. At other times, however, the clouds brighten and shine, and the towers rise heavenwards.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Canada Vacation 2011

Just back from three terrific weeks in Canada! In what's becoming an annual tradition, we spent half the time on Vancouver Island, BC visiting family, along with a four day side trip to beautiful Tofino. The next half was spent visiting more family in Cochrane, Alberta, along with a four day camping trip to Kananaskis Provincial Park where we were fortunate enough to see a few grizzlies!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sight-Seeing in Chicago

After a great conference at IIT in Chicago, Deirdre and Pierce joined me for two days of sight-seeing. The last time we were there we had such a good time at the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium that we returned to both. They're both world-class institutions. The "Evolving Planet" exhibit at the Field, and the newly renovated sea mammal section and the jelly exhibit at the Shedd were particularly good.

On our way to the Field Museum

'Sue' the T-Rex
Our hotel - The Embassy Suites
Pierce's stuffed red giant squid

The weather was beautiful

One of the amazing jellies on exhibit at the Shedd

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Space Invaders!

Having a few spare minutes before my next trip, this one to Chicago tomorrow, I wanted to catch up reporting on our recent family vacation to Italy; Rome in particular. While visiting the Spanish Steps, Pierce noticed a tile mosaic stuck to the wall of a building adjoining the steps. He immediately recognized it as street art by Invader, a French street artist. We first saw Invader's work in the entertaining and provocative documentary, "Exit Through the Gift Shop," by the English street artist, Banksy. Invader has peppered his little space invaders throughout the world and it was a thrill to see his work "in the wild." Amazingly, the next day on our visit to the Vatican, Pierce espied another invader, on a building close the Vatican museums entrance. Coincidently, a friend ours, who recently moved from Hoboken to Paris, noticed the invaders in his neighborhood and wrote about them on his blog earlier this year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Too Little Time in Tel Aviv

Having returned from Italy for only 5 days, I found myself back on a plane again, this time headed to Tel Aviv for a 6 day business trip with two of my colleagues, Tom and Eric. Our Israeli colleagues work very hard, so we had very little time to see anything but the office complex and our hotel rooms. We did, however, manage to see a few things.

The highlight of the trip for me was an evening visit to Jerusalem's old city, and the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter. Our hosts for the trip to Jerusalem were three colleagues from the Tel Aviv office, who conveyed to us the very long and turbulent history of the area. I expect I'll be returning to Tel Aviv again not too long from now. Hopefully, the next time I'll have a bit more time to devote to seeing more of the country.

Click on the picture below to see some pictures from the trip.

From Israel July 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Italy Vacation

A vacation I've always wanted to take: a visit to Italy! We made the most of it, visiting three cities, with shorter visits to two more, in just over two weeks, from June 30 through July 16: six days in Rome; high speed train to Florence; six days in Florence; day trip from Florence to Pisa; high speed train to Venice; four days in Venice; inter-city train to Milan; overnight in Milan and then back home.

View Italy Vacation 2011 in a larger map

Pierce was a real trooper as we poked our noses into an endless number of churches, museums and art galleries. The weather was fantastic the entire time, but uncomfortably hot (as is apparent in a number of the photos). Our next visit will be in the Spring or Fall.

Typically, we'd eat breakfast and one other light meal at our flat, and another, bigger meal, at a restaurant. The food ranged from good to great, even at the most modest of restaurants (which we tended to frequent).

Deirdre did a great job of arranging lodgings for us. In Rome, we stayed at the IQ Hotel, near the train station. The hotel had a roof garden which we took advantage of on a number of occasions for an evening picnic. In Florence we stayed at a charming flat near the Duomo. In Venice we stayed at the the beautifully restored Residenza Ca'Foscolo apartment hotel. You can see pictures of the latter two locations in the photo albums.

We set out with two ebook travel guides: one by Lonely Planet and one by Rick Steves. The clear winner was the Rick Steve's book. It provided lots of practical, detailed advice about getting acquainted with each city. And, more importantly, it provided us with a bunch of invaluable tips for avoiding hot, long, lineups: buying a Roma Pass for the Coliseum, booking tickets online for the Vatican Museums, the secret door in the Sistine Chapel, not bothering with the Uffizi Gallery online tickets, and the bag-check trick for getting into St. Mark's Basilica.

We took over 1000 photos, which we've culled to about 150 in the three albums below. Unfortunately these don't convey the heat, the sounds, or the tastes, but you'll certainly appreciate some of the sights we saw. Click on a picture below to see the slideshow.




Sunday, June 19, 2011

An "Arty Weekend"

In the inner depths of suburban New Jersey, a group of friends gathered last night to take part in an old-fashioned salon. The inspiration for this came from Kingsley Amis's novel "Lucky Jim", where the drunken protagonist destroys his career prospects during a weekend gathering intended to exhibit the amateur artistic talents of his colleagues. In contrast, we gathered for only one evening, and no one was (noticeably) drunk. And the amateur artistic talents were impressive indeed. We were treated to Chopin's "Raindrop Prelude"; a Debussy Arabesque; a vocal performance of a Schubert lied and an old show tune; a delicious dinner; a violin and piano duet of an adagio from a Bach sonata; an entertaining and poignant Moth-style story; Philip Glass's Metamorphosis 4 for piano; and finally, a delicious desert. Most of the performers had rarely played in front of an audience and were understandably terrified. But the audience seemed happy to simply be entertained even if a performance was a little muddled part way through. All in all, a pleasant way to spend an evening, despite the short periods of terror.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Science Fair

Pierce's science fair project this year: "Are electricity and magnetism related?". After performing 5 simple experiments with a simple electrical circuit and a compass, the answer was a resounding "yes"! Surprising to me was that we were even able to infer the shape of the magnetic field surrounding the circuit's wire. Click on the picture to enlarge. Click twice to really enlarge!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wallace School Field Day 2011

Amazingly this our 5th Wallace School Field Day and just as much fun as the first when Pierce started kindergarten which seems like a million years ago. Where does the time go? Click on the pix to enlarge.

Wading in the Hudson

I joined Pierce's Grade 4 class for a terrific field trip to a Hudson River estuary at the nearby Liberty State Park. Along with two interpretative guides, from the Liberty State Interpretative Center Estuary Explorer program, the students took turns gathering or seining fish, shrimp and crabs in nets most of which were returned to the water- a few hardier fish were brought back to the interpretative center. It was a beautiful day with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The highlight was a live female horseshoe crab, a living fossil, who was quite determined to hang onto her clam lunch. We've been interested in horseshoe crabs since watching the fascinating PBS Nature documentary, Crash, and Pierce has a horseshoe crab in his unusual plush collection. Click on the pix to enlarge.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trevor and Amy's Wedding: The Video!

Here's the video of Trevor and Amy's wedding, as edited by Trevor. As you might expect, it's not your usual wedding video....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Universe as a Hologram

I attended, along with two nerdy friends of mine, a great panel at the World Science Festival. The panel was made up of four distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel prize winner. They discussed the latest big thing in physics, which they were calling a new principle: the holographic principle. This being New York, the Skirball Center at NYU was packed full for the occasion.

New principles in physics don't come along very often and there was a sense of excitement amongst the speakers as they described how this was just the tip of an iceberg of new insights into gravity and quantum mechanics. In a nutshell, the principle says that the amount of information contained within a three dimensional space can be represented by its projection onto a two dimensional surface enclosing the space.

It's a rare opportunity indeed to be able to listen to such knowledgable people talk about how they arrived at their conclusions and what their implications may be. Thanks to the World Science Festival for organizing this great event.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Art in a Deserted City

We decided to take advantage of an uninhabited Manhattan today (being Memorial Day weekend) and visited two great art exhibits. The first was the Ryoji Ikeda installation at the immense Park Avenue Armory. This space is so huge but the Ikeda exhibit managed to fill it. The combination of video and sound was futuristic and energizing. See the video below to get an idea of the sensory overload we experienced. The next stop was the Cory Arcangel exhibit at the Whitney. The highlight of the exhibit was a series of hacked bowling video games, from 8 bit to present, where every bowl resulted in the ball ending up in the gutter.

On the bus to the Armory. 

At the Whitney exhibit.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Afternoon Wedding

Friends of ours married on Pier A in Hoboken this afternoon, avoiding afternoon showers and crowds of people walking in the annual Relay for Life cancer fundraiser. Here are Deirdre and Pierce walking back from the ceremony in a sun shower.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Pierce drew a two page comic about a couple of leeches. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Egg Hunting!

Pierce hunting for eggs this morning. Amazingly it's been three hours since the hunt ended and he hasn't asked to eat any of them yet (there are chocolate eggs inside the plastic ones)!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Plush Technicolor Mountain

Pierce and Deirdre decided that a rainy Sunday was as good a day as any to perform a plush animal census. The grand total: 214!! Pierce's is not the usual collection of cuddly, cutesy animals. His collection includes distinctly non-cuddly creatures like a horseshoe crab, a blue ringed octopus, various microbes and cells, dinosaurs, a coelocanth, a sturgeon, and sushi.

Blood on the Moors

On Friday night Deirdre and I took a break from it all (work and the campaign) to see Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met. We both know the music by heart from our grad school days when it served as background music as we studied and wrote papers. But that was 20 years ago! Amazingly, since those days, we've never seen it performed. So we were really excited to finally see it at none other than the Met. What a terrific performance it was. All the lead singers were wonderful and, given the difficulty of Lucia's part, the soprano, Natalie Dessay, was particularly impressive. She even sang while lying on her back at one point during the famous "mad" scene! You can still catch it live at the Met or as a live HD broadcast. I expect it would be riveting with the close-ups allowed by the HD broadcasts.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


We visited the American Museum of Natural History Museum today to take in the new Brain exhibit, which was comprehensive but too crowded. I'd recommend waiting a while before visiting (it ends in August). As is usual for our visits to the AMNH, Pierce picked up a plush toy; this one was a colorful Pteranodon that Pierce named Pterri.


Descending the Stairs at the AMNH

An intriguing vision exhibit displaying the Mona Lisa pixelated with spools of different colored thread, and intentionally upside down.