for the family

Interior-Exterior Spaces

I’ve found that one of my favorite architectural features are interior spaces that feature parts of buildings that used to be exterior.  An example at Syracuse University is the Eggers/Maxwell space.

From ie-spaces:proper

I call this a proper ineterior-exterior space (ie-space, for short).  There may be a correct name, but I haven’t found it yet.  There are other types: improper ie-spaces, and exhibition ie-spaces.  There maybe other classifications, this is a hobby work in progress for me.  Here are some definitions, and links to some photo galleries that I am working on, as well as a document that I’ve started writing.  Who knows what this will turn into!

Proper Interior-Exterior Space: a building expansion that includes the old exterior space as a style element, without damage.  Some example photos are here.

Improper Interior-Exterior Space: a building expansion in which the old exterior features are damaged in the expansion process.  Some examples photos are here.

Exhibition Interior-Exterior Space: a building or part of a building that have been reconstructed inside another building.  Some examples are here.

Interior-Exterior Spaces document.

If you know of any good examples, please send them my way!

for the family

kindle 2

First of all: I didn’t buy a kindle 2.

The SU library recently started offering kindles for checkout. They come with a selection of books already loaded, some text books and some pleasure reading books. Here are my and Ali’s thoughts on the experience:

The reports that eInk contrast is as good as newsprint are generous.  I didn’t find it to be that good.  I’d rather actually read a newspaper than one on the kindle.

I really didn’t like that it costs 99¢ to read a blog for a month on the kindle.  This says to me: “get a laptop”.

The whole blinking process on page flip was rather jarring, I didn’t like it.

The placement and style of the buttons aren’t good, and the 5-way switch (like the little red mouse-button on some laptops) should be used differently or even removed all together.

It feels really goddamned slow.

Personally I’m rather disappointed, this is a technology I have been waiting for since the late nineties.  I really wanted to like the device.  But I didn’t.  I’ll keep an eye on it, just not as closely.

for the family

that’s a lot of driving!

We drove down to Long Island this weekend to be with Ali’s family for Thanksgiving.

Syracuse, NY to Long Island: 5 hours (I drive slow, okay!?  I want to enjoy it)

Some driving around, on Wednesday and Thursday, I wasn’t the driver for that stuff.  Then on Saturday, I had to take Ali to the airport so she could jet off to LHCb week in Geneva.  You go you jet setter you!  Anyway, I got to drive down to Newark airport and back on the Belt Parkway (ugh), it’s a terrible road.  But I did get to cross the Varrazano Narrows Bridge!  It is both the largest bridge in North America, and offers a stunning view of Manhattan.

Long Island to Newark Airport, and back, 4 hours (traffic, traffic, traffic).  Did I mention that the iPhone’s map app, with traffic layer is just awesome!  Now I can know how long I’ll be stuck in the miserable traffic jam.

The next day, I drove back up to Syracuse, along the more scenic NY-17 route.  This goes through the Catskill Mountains, which reminded me a lot of the foothills of the Cascade mountains.  “Home” in other words.  I also saw something I would have thought fit the description of a hollow, but it turns out it was more of a glen, either way there was lots of interesting things to see along the side of the road.  I even saw one fly-fisherman.  Hopefully I’ll get to do that again sometime soon.

Long Island to Syracuse: 5 hours.

Other interesting things: Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Throggs Neck Bridge, George Washington Bridge, East River (actually a straight), Merrick Road.

I wish google maps did a better job of identifying things that aren’t roads (like bodies of water, ie the East river).  Oh well.

for the family, school

qualified for what, exactly?

Let me just come right out and say it: I passed the qual.

That would be the Syracuse University Physics Department PhD Qualifying Exam.  For those that don’t know, it’s a two day exam, 3 hours each day, 5 problems each day.  These are homework level problems, which means, if they’re assigned as a homework problem, they’ll probably take between 1-5 hours to complete.  And we have to do 5 problem in 3 hours.

Passing this test is considered a Big Deal.  Very important, more or less do or die kind of a thing.  Once you’ve passed it, your done demonstrating that you are capable of being a PhD.  You know your stuff, and you know how to figure things out.  You just have to carry on doing that.

So, what am I qualified to do?

Well, I guess that would be 4-5 more years of work on a research topic.  Write a thesis and present it.  You know, the hard-but-fun part of a PhD program.

food, for the family

recent foods

some of the recent foods we have been enjoying:

Saturday: blue berry pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes.  party foods: see the picture!

Party Food on Saturday 8/1/09

Make sure that you click through- all the dishes are noted with Flickr’s fancy noting system.

Sunday: grilled cheese sandwiches.  Noteworthy because one of them was on baguette, so extra delicious.  But then again, there was no fresh thyme, so it sort of cancels.  Also we had “the best tomato soup ever”, which is the same recipe as the tomato soup of ’09.

Monday: breakfast: greek yogurt with peanut butter, honey and graham crackers.  dinner: see this picture:

dinner Monday 8/3/09

Tuesday: dinner: home made pizza! I can state that the home pizza system is now up and running. we made four, but only at 2 pizzas:

-broccoli and yellow peppers (a favorite)
– portabella, shitake, and onion
– cheese and leftovers other toppings
– tomato, shallot and blue cheese

the winner of the two we ate last night was portabella, shitake and onion.  We also ate the broccoli and yellow pepper, which was also delicious. Sorry, no pictures.

for the family

greek tofu pitas

a pita filled with lemony tofu, hummus, red onion, feta and cucumbers.

For the lemon dressing

  • zest of one lemon (again, I shave the lemon with a paring knife and mince the larger zest pieces to tiny little pieces)
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (fresh is better, I used dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each thyme, rosemary
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Mix all that together and let the flavors meld for at least an hour, overnight is better.

For the tofu, cut the block of extra firm tofu into 6 steaks, saute over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes per side, until dark golden.  Toss in the lemon oil mixtures, mix around to coat, maybe a minute or two.  A good size pinch of salt on top, then take them out of the pan.

I used store bought hummus and feta/red onion/cucumber stuff.  I’d rather have made it myself, but finals are fast approaching.

Cut the pita in half, smear some hummus on one side, insert your tofu, put a nice pile of the other ingredients on top, and nom nom away.  Delicious!

Variations: grill the tofu instead of saute, before coating with lemon stuff.  Tzatziki, or other dressing.

Just something I thought up on my way home from school today, worked out quite well.