Archive for January, 2009

January 22nd, 2009

Been ill, focus on fitness

I have been ill for a few past days. Cannot recommend to anyone. I have seldom felt so out of steam as beginning of this week. After the work day was over, I just crashed into bed on Monday. On Tuesday, I felt the same but somehow managed to drag myself to the ice rink with Aapo and Sanna’s mother.

After having skated for 45 minutes or so — and playing hockey for the first time with my son, I felt so proud of him — I felt energised and really opposite of myself before going to skating.

Today, I read from a newspaper that the recent study shows Finns have bad physical fitness. Our general fitness allows us to work for six hours of eight, and then fatigue strikes us.

I’ve felt worn when coming back from work, and now I learned the reason. I was out of shape! I need to pay some more hours to active hobbies, and get myself panting a few times a week. Otherwise my body cannot sustain my long work days.

Today seems to be an excellent day for skating or going to slides (with sleds) with boys. Fortunately, starting seems to be easy. Hopefully I can pull this off for the rest of my life…

Hearty breakfasts

One of the perks visiting in the States, at least for me, is having a good hearty American breakfast in a diner favoured by locals. Once a visit is just enough, tough.

Paramount Deli-Restaurant in Boston, MA, USA

In Boston, we were recommended to visit Paramount Deli on Charles Street. We walked all the way from Cambridge in pouring rain, and fortunately found out that the walk was not in vain. The deli is not huge, a few dozen people fit in. The service was friendly and pretty fast. The ambience is hectic, especially when ordering your portion, until you sit down to the table with the food.

All the items were done well and there was plenty of food, at least from an European perspective. And it was tasty. We were party of six, so we tried a lot of different things. Especially the pancakes were excellent. And the juice.

The place was not the cheapest, but I didn’t have feeling of being ripped off, either.

Paramount Deli-Restaurant, 44 Charles Street, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 720 1152

Science books and university paraphernalia

If you are interested in educational or science books, head towards the Coop store at Kendall Square. The joint university bookstore (Harvard + MIT that is) boasts a good selection of specialty books for people interested in science.

There is also a more mundane section selling university paraphernalia, such as caps, t-shirts, hoodies, and so forth. Both genders are surprisingly well catered for, and there are special sections for children, including also babies and toddlers. Parents and other relatives can buy dedicated stuff, too, but I personally would not put on a shirt that says “my daughter studies in MIT”. For others, it might be a very sound statement.

Note that the bookstore is closed on Sundays. There are other outlets around Cambridge and Boston, and Harvard store is open seven days a week. Check the locations on their website.

www.thecoop.com, 3 Cambridge Center (Kendall Square), Cambridge, MA, USA, +1 617 499 3200

January 4th, 2009

Nitty-gritty details

I’ve been recently working with a new website based on WordPress, and it has taken most of my free computer time in December and also now in January. I haven’t been working with PHP and HTML that much in the past, so I had mostly forgotten how much work there is to get the site looking good. And I’ve not yet started testing with Internet Explorer.

During the process, I’ve come to appreciate WordPress’ plug-in system with the new tagging possibilities. The website is expanding the boundaries of WordPress in several different ways, being more like of a CMS than a blog, so I’ve created a specific plug-in that works well with my templates and their libraries.

As I’m solely working on this, the amount of small details is just astounding. I jump from Photoshop to Emacs to Camino to Photoshop and so forth, and also sometimes to Firefox and SeaMonkey to debug stuff that doesn’t work as I’ve planned. To be honest with you, templates in WordPress don’t really help you with managing the details. The whole system is somehow broken, but I cannot nail the reason. Someone should blow it away and replace it with a good Smarty based template engine. Volunteers?

Fish and friends

New England Aquarium is a good way to spend half a day looking at the wonders of the seas, especially if you are travelling with children. The aquarium is located on the Boston waterfront, easily accessible with the public transportation.

New England Aquarium in Boston, MA, USA

There are seals, penguins and huge number of fish in the aquarium. The most interesting tank is located in the middle of the area; it is several storeys high and the walkway spirals around it. Various species of fish and other sea creatures swarm in it. Some of them are pretty big and a bit scary, too, so some children might get anxious. There is plethora of other, typically smaller, fish on the tanks circling around the big one.

As usual, there is a well-stocked shop that focuses mostly on toys, and a café with a nice view to harbour. Nothing spectacular on the menu, mostly snacks and beverages.

www.neaq.org, Central Wharf (Near Aquarium MTBA station), Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 973 5200

For the curious mind

Museum of Science is worth visiting for everyone who is interested in how the world around us revolves, how things work, and especially why. The museum is stacked full of all kind of fancy gadgets that exemplify a certain law of physics with fun and interactive way. Almost everything can be touched and adjusted.

We spent good three hours there with three young boys, going through most of the museum. Some parts are bit rundown and I got flashbacks from my old school, but fortunately most of the museum is relatively modern. Everything is explained at least in overall level, and time just flies going through different knobs and twists of various tools. At least one in the group have better than average understanding of physics to explain why things happen as they happen (to happen).

There is also a café that serves mostly pizza and burger style food, some salads are on the menu, too. There is a magnificent view from on the Charles River from the café, so it is worth of at least a coffee.

www.mos.org, 1 Science Park (next to Science Park MBTA station), Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 723 2500