Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Random Things

Circulating around Facebook is a meme called, "25 Random Things About Me." It's another one of those self-indulgent, "aren't I fascinating" exercises. Of course we are all very fascinating and unique in our own way. Still I find it hard not to cringe when I see 17 year olds (half lives/half lived) scribing ad nauseam about their preferences and observations. Whoo-Hoo! Despite all this ranting about memes, I've been tagged by so many friends that I must respond with a list of titillating tidbits. I wouldn't want to thwart my friends' desires to 'get to know me.'
1. If I could magically have another career, I would be an archeologist or a homicide detective.

2. On the day I was born, the zip code was instituted in the U.S.
3. When I was 14, I thought I would keep growing and become freakishly tall.

4. I've visited each of my grandparents' birthplaces.

5. I've taken both violin and cello lessons, after the age of 40.

6. I'm left-handed, and everyone else in my immediate family is right-handed.

7. My sister Jen and I were born almost exactly 7 years apart.

8. I often have that "stuck on an island with so and so" fantasy.
9. In high school I weighed a 117 pounds at 5' 10".
10. Despite not really being a 'thrill-seeker' type, I've skydived, ride a scooter, and love roller-coaster rides.
11. I've traced my ancestors in Norway to 1660. My ggggggg grandfather's name was
Haldor Rasmussen Tyssen.
12. I majored in Art in high school.

13. I espouse a Buddhist philosophy of life, except for the reincarnation part.

14. I have a very fertile and active imagination.

15. All members of my immediate family, and many members of my extended family are/ were very artistic.

16. In second grade, I had difficulty with phonics. Now I'm a specialist working with children who have reading disability.

17. Purple and green and black are my favorite colors.

18. I'm a visual learner first, auditory second, and tactile third.
19. When traveling, being out in nature and seeing natural wonders are my priority. Art museums, bookstores, and historical sites number two.
20. I've been a Civil War reenactor in several venues, and love living history in general. It would be my dream come true to be on "Frontier House" or "Colonial House" or the like.

21. I'm more attracted to the unknown than the known.

22. I don't listen to music that much, except in the car. I thrive on quietness.
23. When I was younger, I never realized how much I would someday be so grateful for my two wonderful sisters.
24. I would die for my nephews and my niece.

25. I've never really been sports oriented or excelled at sports, though I've played a few. In fact I consider myself pretty uncoordinated and awkward.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The House Obama Lived In

When Barack Obama was attending Harvard Law School, he lived in Somerville Massachusetts like many a frugal college student back in the day. He lived on Broadway in Winter Hill, for those locals that may want to know.

In the early 1980's as I was finishing my last tender years of high school, Barack was riding his bike to and from Somerville to Cambridge. Perhaps he was one of those Harvard "Barnies" my sister used to laugh about.

Did we ever cross paths? Did Obama shop at the Staaar Maarket in Porta Squaaare? Did we walk by each other at one of the many (35+ at the time) bookstores in Harvaaad Squaaare? Perhaps. Tee Hee.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, it's snowing again! Once again, my social plans may be thwarted this weekend by snowfall. I look out the window, and I don't see any cars whizzing by. Only snow plows, and even these have been sluggish!

This Winter Season (2008-2009) has so far seemed a harsh one in Boston. I decided to look up some statistics on snow accumulation. Surprisingly, it's difficult to find recent statistics. Often you have to pay for the more recent data, or it hasn't been officially tabulated yet.

Looking at the data, you can see that the 1995-1996 and 1993-94 seasons were record setting. Snow accumulation even beat the 1978 big storm! 1978 is ranked the fourth highest snow accumulation since 1920. The 1995-96 season ranks number one, and the 1993-94 season ranks second highest since 1920. 1978 does, however, rank the top in terms of total amount of snow in 3 days. Also, what distinguishes 1978 for me was the snow drifts of 20 feet, right outside our 2nd floor apartment in Somerville! The wind was so intense in 1978. Since 2000, we have had a lot of precipitation, not necessarily snow. Remember all those torrential rain storms this summer? In 2008, 2006, 2005, and 2003 we have exceeded 50 inches.

In terms of records, it has snowed in June and July, in 1952 and 1955. That's hard to believe.

Boston Seasonal Snowfall Statistics (1920-1996)
                 (The season starts July 1st and ends June 30th)

Date of First Snow Date of Last Snow
Earliest Mean Latest Earliest Mean Latest
Trace Jul 10 1955 Nov 4 Dec 16 1973 Mar 25 1981 Apr 20 Jun 17 1952
1/2" Nov 4 1945 Dec 5 Jan 7 1958 Jan 30 1925 Mar 25 May 10 1977
1" Nov 10 1976 Dec 12 Jan 29 1928 Nov 24 1936 Mar 20 Apr 28 1987
2" Nov 11 1987 Dec 23 Feb 16 1980 Nov 24 1936 Mar 11 Apr 28 1987
3" Nov 11 1987 Jan 1 Mar 19 1992 Nov 24 1936 Mar 2 Apr 28 1987
4"* Nov 12 1987 Jan 10 Mar 19 1992 Jan 20 1932 Feb 26 Apr 13 1933
5"* Nov 12 1987 Jan 18 Mar 19 1992 Dec 2 1929 Feb 19 Apr 13 1933
6"* Dec 2 1929 Jan 23 Mar 29 1970 Dec 2 1929 Feb 16 Apr 6 1982
*did not occur in some years

Seasonal Average = 41.3 inches

Greatest Seasonal Snowfalls Least Seasonal Snowfalls
107.6 1995-1996 8.2 1936-1937
96.3 1993-1994 10.3 1972-1973
89.2 1947-1948 12.7 1979-1980
85.1 1977-1978 14.9 1994-1995
83.9 1992-1993 15.5 1988-1989
77.2 1944-1945 17.0 1931-1932
64.9 1922-1923 18.1 1985-1986
63.0 1963-1964 19.1 1990-1991
62.7 1933-1934 19.4 1946-1947
61.8 1981-1982 19.7 1920-1921

Most Snow in 1 Day Most Snow in 2 Days Most Snow in 3 Days

21.0 Jan 20 1978 27.1 Feb 6-7 1978 27.1 Feb 5-7 1978
20.0 Jan 24 1945 21.4 Jan 20-21 1978 25.8 Feb 24-26 1969
19.3 Feb 16 1958 20.7 Feb 24-25 1969 22.8 Jan 22-24 1945
19.0 Feb 7 1978 20.0 Jan 24-25 1945 21.7 Jan 18-20 1978
15.0 Feb 20 1934 19.7 Mar 3-4 1960
14.3 Feb 4 1961
13.8 Jan 7 1977

Year to Date (Jan - Dec) Precipitation Northeast Region

(sorted by year)



Based on the
Time Period Selected

Based on the
Period of Record

2008 50.15 10109
2007 45.23 7 98
2006 50.04 9108
2005 50.30 11111
2004 46.02 8101
2003 50.68 12112
2002 43.50 5 84
2001 34.04 1 4
2000 44.48 6 90
1999 42.47 3 73
1998 42.85 4 75
1997 39.37 2 39
1996 53.79 13114
Year to Date (Jan - Dec) 1901 - 2000 Average = 41.08 Inches
Year to Date (Jan - Dec) 1996 - 2008 Trend = 4.36 Inches / Decade

Output Graph

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Man of 3 Centuries

I thought this recent story and article about George Rene Francis (1896- 2008) was interesting and touching. George was the oldest living man in the United States until a few weeks ago. He was a supercentenarian, living until the age of 112.

George is survived by 18 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren, and 16 great-great grandchildren. He lived 4 years in the 19th century, 100 years in the 20th century, and 8 years in the 21st century!

As a young man growing up poor in segregated New Orleans, George experienced his share of hard times. This past November George cast his vote for the first African-American president, Barack Obama. He was delighted. When George was an infant, William McKinley was president!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

The great American artist, Andrew Wyeth (1917- 2009) has passed away at the ripe old age of 91. Here are a few of my favorites of his work. There has been controversy over the years, similar to debates about Norman Rockwell, about whether Wyeth was an illustrator or painter.

I would say the unmistakable mood he conveys in his paintings, and his popularity and longevity, says it all. "Christina's World" (1948) was plastered on my wall throughout college, and later I loved the Helga series. Cheers to an American icon, and fellow Maine lover!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Year in Forty Seconds

I found this video--"One year in forty seconds," on the internet the other day. There have been several other similar projects. One of the best is below, Noah Kalina's "Everyday." All of these art projects remind me of the movie "Smoke." (1999) If you've never seen "Smoke," see it. I won't spoil the story by telling much, but Harvey Keitel's character completes a similar, bittersweet photographic observation of daily life. Someday, I'd really like to do something like this.

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project from c71123 on Vimeo.

Noah Kalina "Everyday."

Mother's Drawings

My Mom did these drawings of 'fashion plates' I would guess in the mid to late 1940's to early 1950's, when she was an adolescent. She was very proud to say, "hand drawn by Judy, not traced." She can refresh my memory, but I think she copied the images from girly magazines of the time. If you see the whole notebook of drawings, you can see her working out how to draw hands and feet. I think the illustrations are awesome!