rulururu

post The Ductwork Story – Part 1

March 15th, 2010

Filed under: Home — Gregory Rushton @ 7:16 am

A week ago Saturday I started the ductwork project. Pierre Gomes and Dan Keefe came over to help. Before they did, I managed to drain the boiler so I could re-run some the hot water supply to the baseboard heat. There was a 2″ main supply that ran along the beam where I wanted the ductwork to run – so it was right in the way. There were a couple of other lines that were also in the way, so the three of us ripped it down. It took the whole morning to disassemble the parts that I needed to re-use. Once we did, we ran PEX to replace what we ripped out. That’s all of the white pipe you see in the pictures. The PEX was super-simple to run and there haven’t been any leaks in it yet.

Pierre had to leave to work on his own kitchen that afternoon, so Dan and I began putting together 5″ rounds for the supply runs to each of the first floor rooms. On the first floor, there are 7 5″ supplies and 2 6″ supplies as well as a split 6″ supply to the kitchen, which I have yet to be run.

On Sunday, Stephanie and the boys helped out with some insulating of the rounds. We did get some main trunk put together as well.

I also took off Tuesday and Thursday because the driller was originally supposed to show up Tuesday, but ended up re-scheduling for Thursday. So, on Tuesday, I got most of the vent holes cut on the first floor. I also had 4 of the 7 5″ supplies connected up to the register boots. I wanted to get that out of the way so that life could go on as usual on the first floor.

On Thursday, they also delivered the WaterFurnace unit. I ended up spending most of the morning sorting things out with the driller, George, and the Achieve delivery guys, Rob and Ryan. We dug up the septic system d-box (distribution box) because the wells have to be at least 25′ away from any septic components. That took some time because the plan o the title 5 was not very complete and in fact was off by several feet on the d-box location. I called the guy up to find out about septic field dimensions, and he tells me that the as-built plans on file at the town hall has that. I call up the town and there are no as-built plans on file. The board of health lady was sympathetic. It appears the inspector just made it up when he checked off the reference to as-built plans on the title 5. Looks like lazy work to me, but Stephanie like the term forgery.

There are a few pictures of the delivery guys bringing the unit into the basement. It weighs a lot. For the rest of the afternoon, I ran the other half of the 1st floor supply lines, 2 6″ lines, 1 5″, and two vent holes for 5″ lines in the school room. The two I didn’t run lines for are short runs that I will run after the supply plenum is in place.

Thursday afternoon, George the driller called back. He spoke with the town board of health and conservation commission. Apparently I’m the first and only homeowner in Easton who’s installing a geothermal system. The board of health guy, Rob, was very excited about the project and wanted to be there for the drill as much as I do. He also wanted to look at the d-box personally to ensure that it does what the title 5 says it does. The conservation commission also wants to look at the site since we’re on the outer edge of conservation land. In Easton, that is pretty much every house in town since there is so much of it everywhere. There are a couple of acres that sit in the middle of the block that our house sits on. And we have a bit of a pond that is half on our lot and half on the conservation land – our back yard.

Thursday evening, I wrote up a list of a couple more things I needed for duct components and sent that off to my hvac supplier, ControlAir Systems in Revere. Al Lavargna, the VP, is great (they’re expensive, but worth every penny) – he called be back in the morning, asked if I was working on this over the weekend (I said yes, of course), and he had his guys make the components that day and delivered them that afternoon (Friday).

That brings me to this past weekend. Pierre came over again for the morning and together, we got the supply plenum up into position. He also made a good dent in the cutout under the bathroom vanity for a supply into the 1st floor bathroom. I spent the day working on the larger half of the 1st floor supply trunk. We lined it up, took measurements for the holes to the supply runs, and insulated it. After he left, I was able to get that part connected and fastened to the joists.

On Sunday, I worked on the 2nd half of the 1st floor supply trunk. Since it was so long (almost the full width of the house and about 30′ of trunk), I had to break it into 2 halves. I also need to do that so I could get the pieces up and over the PEX tubing we ran last weekend. Using rope and a lot of cursing, I was able to hoist the second half up and into place last night. The hard part of this one was the top take-offs for the supply runs. There are hot and cold water supply lines that are on this half of the basement and they are in the way of everything. I really didn’t want to re-run the whole house’s plumbing, so I worked around them. There is just enough space to put some of the take-offs in, but I had to use starter-collars and elbows for a couple of spots since the take-offs are too long to fit between the pipes. The elbows, when straight and vertical, do fit. once they’re up, they can be turned and twisted into an elbow.

I also spent some time going through all of the duct that Al delivered two Thursdays ago. I think there are quite a few extra pieces of trunk and some things I can’t figure out what they are for. Kind of like those some-assembly-required projects with a few extra nuts and bolts that don’t seem to have a home. Except these nuts and bolts are 4′ tall 12″x16″ trunk segments.

This week, I’m avidly awaiting word on when the driller will be back out. I so want to be there for the drill.

Some links for reference:

Achieve Renewable Energy
ControlAir Systems
WaterFurnace
SMACNA Manual is available as chapter PDF downloads.

Pictures!

post Electrical Service

January 26th, 2010

Filed under: Home — Gregory Rushton @ 8:03 am

Peter needed some pictures of the electrical service coming into the house for National Grid. I think we both would have assumed that they have this kind of information on file, but apparently not. Peter’s going to handle the service upgrade from 100 to 200 amps. The service comes in from pole #12 on the opposite side of the street. The lot is fairly wooded and the lines brush up against more than a few tree branches. I’ll have to take care of that soon, probably an early weekend in March.

As a side note, you can see from these pictures that the paint is in tough shape. That’s another project Stephanie and I have been talking about. I’ll probably start re-siding parts of the house with cedar shingles and ditch the old clapboards. I’ll leave it natural as well – we both like that look a lot better than painted shingles. It should go without saying that I’ll replace all the facia boards with new and we’ll be choosing a nicer color that will go with the cedar. This is a piece-meal project, however, and I won’t be starting that until the spring/summer.

post Going Greener

January 18th, 2010

Filed under: Home — Gregory Rushton @ 3:26 pm

It’s officially 2 weeks since we’ve moved into our new house. Ever since Stephanie fell in love with it, the first time we visited, I knew it needed a few important upgrades. The biggest was the heating system. It has an oil-fired boiler and hot water baseboard heating and no AC. The land is nice, the two car garage is nice, the town (Easton) is nice, the house layout is nice, etc., etc. The hvac, however, is not ideal. The boiler, too, has some significant rusting on one of the main boiler flanges. So, I started looking into alternatives.

I quickly learned that geothermal was probably the most efficient and least expensive to maintain. The installation, however, is very expensive. I ended up getting three quotes from some well qualified installers, Coneco, Southcoast Greenlight, and Achieve Renewable Energy. I also spoke with Ultra Geothermal, but they’re a bit too far away to take on a project here in Easton.

I ended up selecting Achieve and a closed loop vertical well system. I chose the vertical well because I was hesitant about using a large area to trench out a horizontal system. While that approach would end up replacing our back yard with something nicer, it would also restrict us from doing any sort of addition off the back in case that need ever arises. The closed loop vertical system also offers a 55 year leak-free warranty and is more efficient than a horizontal system. Achieve and Coneco offered vertical well proposals, but I chose Achieve for a couple of reasons. They have more experience overall since they are one of the largest installers in New England and they focus on individual client (home-owners) projects as opposed large project-based installers.

Since these systems work best with force-hot-air systems, we would need a ducting system installed to replace our hot-water baseboard. Another alternative would be to run radiant heat throughout the floor, but that would mean tearing up all of the existing floor. That is a much bigger project that I’m not willing to take on at the moment. Running duct-work, however, is something I’m more capable of. To that end, I did some calling and got a reference for Des Crowley, an HVAC design guy. He’ll draw up the plans and I’ll do the work. That should save me about eight or nine thousand – the two geo-thermal proposals estimated duct-work to run between ten and twelve thousand.

One more thing I’ll need is to have the electrical service updated. We have 100 amp service now, so we’ll need to upgrade that to 200 amp and have a separate sub-panel installed. Good thing my father-in-law is a master electrician! He’ll get the service set up so we can run a dedicated line to the new units and clean up the existing panel a bit.

So, my plan in a nutshell is:

  • Run the duct work
  • Upgrade electrical service
  • Have Achieve install the geothermal
  • Remove the old boiler and oil tank
  • Remove the old baseboard water lines

The nice thing is that the work I have to do is all up-front. I do have my brother to help out and I’m sure I can pull in a few others if I need to. Once I see the plans, I’ll be in a better place to estimate the time it will take. And, as always, there’ll be lots to learn. I’ve never run duct-work before so it’s all OJT for me.

post Plug for Pragmatic Bookshelf

November 5th, 2009

Filed under: Technology — Gregory Rushton @ 9:29 am

I’m a big fan of the Pragmatic Bookshelf site where a typical purchase includes the paper copy as well as a personalised PDF. So far, I have the Stripes, Core Data, and Beginning Mac Programming books/pdfs. They also have some screencasts which look interesting as well.

In the meantime, I continue in my efforts to migrate from the Java web-app paradigm to the mac desktop/mobile app way of doing things. I think my biggest conceptual hurdle is navigating the bindings in Interface Builder. I much prefer the old-fashioned way of coding … using text. Using a new-window-happy application to manage object bindings just makes my head hurt when trying to find the right triangle to click, the right checkbox or option to select, or trying to determine why something isn’t connected the way I think it is.

post PCAST

December 20th, 2008

Filed under: Work — Gregory Rushton @ 3:43 pm

I received an email from Dr. Eric Lander today about his appointment as co-chair to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology today. Then I noticed it on CNN as well. As an employee at the Broad Institute, I’m both thrilled and proud of his achievement. I still remember one of the first “Broad 101″ lectures I attended – and I had not met Dr. Lander yet. I kept thinking, ‘who is this strange guy asking all these questions?’ I’ve learned a lot from those questions and I’m thankful to him, his questions, and the poor presenters who tried to answer them.

post Tortured

November 30th, 2008

Filed under: Politics — Gregory Rushton @ 9:53 am

Had a great conversation last night with a very informed friend about torture, whether waterboarding is or not, how useful it is, etc. First thing I see this morning is a great essay by Matthew Alexander on the subject. Alexander is a 14 year Air Force vet and interrogator. I’ll let him make my argument – he does a much better job.

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

It’s a good read, and thoughtfully done. Here is a list of other editorials that I have kept over time. I stopped collecting them some time around the summer when the volume became too much to keep track of.

post Santa’s Spit

December 14th, 2007

Filed under: Family — Gregory Rushton @ 11:02 am

Listening to the kids rehearse the Polar Express movie today, one would thing that the Hot Chocolate
song has this line:

“Santa spit it in the pot”

when the lyrics are actually:

“Keep it cookin in the pot”

Well, it’s hard not to stop laughing at this one.

post First Snow, 2007

December 8th, 2007

Filed under: Peter — Gregory Rushton @ 7:03 pm

Here are Peter and Lex enjoying the first real snow this season. We had a sprinkling earlier this week, but it didn’t amount to much. Today, we had about an inch to an inch and a half to work with.

post Minh Xuan

December 6th, 2007

Filed under: Peter — Gregory Rushton @ 3:27 pm

I wasn’t going to post these pictures, but since Henry and Mike set up an entire website for her, I think it’s OK. In fact, they have their own set of pictures from this event. They brought Minh back to Boston for a visit this summer. My boys had a blast visiting up in Milford NH that day. It was just a couple weeks earlier that we had been to the same place for my wife’s aunt’s 50th wedding anniversary.

post Bell In Hand, 20 years at 2007

December 6th, 2007

Filed under: Life — Gregory Rushton @ 11:35 am

This year was the first time I heard about this crazy tradition. Jake and the crew seem to have found every excuse in the book to hang out with old college friends and share a drink. It was amazing to get back in touch with some real good friends that I haven’t seen in over ten years, and some more than that. My old boss and eternal pal Jake, Dante Varrasso, Jamie Gahan, Brian White, Rob Pine, Neil Joyce, Dave Stordy, Lew Conley, Dan Dulaski, Rich Conley, Tommy Winston, Bob Miller, and a host of others attended that night. It was a fascinating time to catch up and find that everyone is doing so well in life. Here’s to everyone there, and to everyone that couldn’t make it. I’m already counting down the weeks until next Thanksgiving.

post Halloween 2007

November 28th, 2007

Filed under: Peter — Gregory Rushton @ 10:45 am

This Halloween, Peter was an ice cream cone and Lex was a firefighter. Lex still wears his costume from time to time around the house … and to firehouse tours … and to friends’ houses. At one firehouse tour, someone asked who the shortest firefighter was. Lex raised his hand and said that it was him. Stephanie hand-made Peter’s costume. The sprinkles are cut up straws and the ice cream is white tights stuffed with batting and appropriately arranged.

post How To Delete A Pool

November 27th, 2007

Filed under: Life — Gregory Rushton @ 9:11 am

This summer, we filled in our pool. There were lots of issues – but the biggest one for me was the maintenance. I spent more time with the pool than I did my family. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a lot of time spent for relatively few hours of fun.

post Is it That Time Again?

November 26th, 2007

Filed under: Life — Gregory Rushton @ 3:19 pm

It’s been far too long since my last blog post. I guess a year and a half isn’t so long in the overall scope of things. And so many things have happened that the time seems to be about right. In random order, I’ll attempt to cover the following items over the next as-yet-to-be-determined-time-period.

  • Reconnections from the past
  • House work and my attempt at plastering
  • Family life, photo albums, and all the fun stuff
  • Work life at the Broad Institute
  • Friends and their lives
  • Technology
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Anything else likely to cause agita amongst my family

post Simply Amazing Advice

March 3rd, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — Gregory Rushton @ 8:39 am

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan. This post by Tom McMahon is just plain amazing advice to live by.

post Mac OSX Java Annoyance

February 2nd, 2006

Filed under: Work — Gregory Rushton @ 9:06 am

So, Eclipse was driving me nuts today. While trying to load up the hibernate console in the JBossIDE, it kept failing with a class cast exception due to incompatible javas versions and telling me it was using java 1.4.2. I had upgraded to 1.5 many weeks ago and this was frustrating. I googled a bit and found this page on switching the CurrentJDK link. I was unaware of this pesky problem. I had set JAVA_HOME to 1.5, used the apple java switcher to point to 1.5, but apparently that’s not enough. This link also has to point to 1.5. That resolved my class cast exceptions … now to resolve some others ;-)

cd /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions

sudo ln -fhsv 1.5.0 CurrentJDK

post Christmas Pictures

December 31st, 2005

Filed under: Family — Gregory Rushton @ 11:30 am

Well, another year is over with. I haven’t blogged in quite a while, but I did put up new pictures of Christmas this year. We had the Bindas and D’Angelos over the weekend before Christmas weekend, then we visited my sister’s condo on Christmas Day. So, these pictures span a week.

post Last Day Of The Year

December 31st, 2005

Filed under: Work — Gregory Rushton @ 11:18 am

On the work front, I’ve been enjoying my new job tremendously. I’m working for the Broad Institute which is affiliated with Harvard and MIT. I came in under the MIT side of the house, so I’m officially an MIT employee. I’m working as a software engineer doing web-based applications for the labs. My first project revolves around a brand new biological sample tracking application. The app is all java 1.5 on jboss. They use all sorts of technologies, mostly hibernate/struts. We’re using Stripes for the presentation layer, which is much easier to work with than Struts. I like the idea of using event handlers as annotations … i.e. a form submission in a jsp can be mapped directly to a method in a java class.

So far, the work is reasonable and there’s plenty to do. I’m very impressed with the level of intelligence of just about everyone I’ve met. Most of the java folks are well-versed in genetics and lab management. My biology background is pretty weak, so I’m a bit over my head in that area, but I’m finding the work to be just about perfect. It’s the first time I’ve been able to work with java 1.5, so that is a blessing now.

The downside is that I miss my walk across the common and the public garden each day, and I also miss my former co-workers. There are some real talented folks back at Pearson that I’m glad I had the chance to work with, and I already miss them. I might be able to alter my commuting routine to get some more walking in, but it’s hard to make time to get together with folks from the old office. Bernie and Ed did drop by a couple weeks ago and we had a blast. I hope we can make some time to get together again.

Another big change is that I’m working on a mac laptop now for all of my development. I love the fact that I can just take the laptop with me when I have to catch the train and pick right up where I left off when I get on the commuter rail. I’m finding development pretty comfortable with Eclipse for the mac and BBEdit. JBoss and Tomcat run perfectly. I found this great utility (from YouSoftware) that lets me create multiple desktops and then you can switch between them from the menu bar. This helps a lot with the cluttered desktop that is a hazard with macs. If there is one thing I don’t like is the lack of a decent window management system built into OSX. There is the F9 and F10 thing, but that’s a still a little awkward if you have more than ten windows open. So far, I like to have one desktop for development and one for email.

post My 41st

October 29th, 2005

Filed under: Work — Gregory Rushton @ 10:32 pm

Well, today’s my birthday, and also the first snowfall of the season. It started out pretty light, a mix of rain and snow really, but by nightfall, we had about a quarter-inch on the ground.

The other batch of news revolves around work. I’ve been searching for a new position for a little while now, since early September, really. It’s been a tremendously enlightening process compared to all of my previous searches. I started out focusing in the academic arena after a good friend of mine had recently moved from an administrative position to a faculty one.

From the very beginning, I received lots of calls from recruiters and head-hunters. I’ve worked with many of them before, and had very poor luck. This time, however, two companies really pulled through. So far, I’ve had second interviews with four companies through these two recruiters, and it looks like two might make offers.

It was my first round of efforts, though, that have delivered. Although the academic world is a bit slow at taking these steps, the Broad Institute at MIT made a very decent offer yesterday. I’m very excited about the opportunity … it’s definitely my top choice at the present.

These companies that I had second interviews at seem like very solid places in case anyone else might be interested:

So, some of the concerns I’ve had and things I’ve been looking for revolve around quite a few factors. My current position is as a lead web developer for a product that was built over four years ago and a significant portion of the code is from that era. Over the years, newer technologies like hibernate and struts have been bolted on which have helped quite a bit, but the underlying architecture is fairly dated. Not much is going to change either, so it’s really fairly limited in terms of developing in newer architectures.

Another factor for looking is the current work situation. It looks more and more like our division is looking to shed the development operations here in Boston. We were re-org-ed from Prentice Hall and Scott Foresman to a group that is based out of Mesa AZ. From that point on, it’s become more and more clear that remote operations (i.e. Boston) are less and less viable. For instance, our supervisor moved to Mesa this summer. One of the other two developers left for another company too. That left me and one other in the office. There is no new development now as well. There is only bug fixes and updates to the legacy system until the newly re-architected version is released next year.

More later … it’s getting late :-)

(Updated 10/30/05) A third consideration revolves around development itself. We are two developers, a remote development server, and QA/stage environments. There’s not too much in the vein of refactoring old code, learning from one another, automated testing routines, or significant support for the various server environments. It’s becoming more clear that there’s little money to put into this part of the ‘system’, so it has steadily devolved to its present point. In publishing, the budget is based on the discipline. That discipline has the cash … so they call the shots. Not too many folks care about what’s required for a solid development environment, so few resources go that route. Instead, all efforts are focused on the feature that department X is paying for, and lately, to the detriment of the existing code. It’s also clear that for me to move beyond this, I need to be in an environment that takes this part of the process more seriously.

Lastly, how can I estimate the impact of old friends? Steve Tello, a good friend and mentor from UML, has moved to a faculty position after many years directing the helm of the UMass system’s online education program. His dedication to academia and personal commitment to education were very strong motivators for me to return to the world of education.

Here we go!

post Holiday Wish Lists

October 25th, 2005

Filed under: Family — Gregory Rushton @ 2:12 pm

Here are some wish lists for the family. Hopefully, this will make holiday shopping a bit easier. In the meantime, I’ll look at adding these as a list in the left-hand nav panel.

post Dilbert Blog

October 25th, 2005

Filed under: Humor — Gregory Rushton @ 1:48 pm

I subscribe to the Dilbert newsletter for a random laugh. Turns out, there is a blog for this: http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/. My favorite line in the newsletter was in the intro:

Dogbert’s New Ruling Class boasts 475,000 members. Each of you is so intelligently designed that you can survive a Category 5 hurricane via a process known as running away.

post Baby Food … not what you’d think

October 11th, 2005

Filed under: Health — Gregory Rushton @ 2:29 pm

I liked this CNN article on feeding young children. It’s good to see that some of the things we did … i.e. giving our children pizza, for instance … wasn’t such a bad thing. If we do have another child, I’ll be sure to recall this advice.

post Gold Futures

October 11th, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — Gregory Rushton @ 12:22 pm

I’ve long been worried about the turning of the markets. I was pretty sure the local housing market would turn by the end of this year and I was a little late on that prediction. My prediction about the overall economy is that our country’s present spending plan is insane and will see a serious reality-slap within a year or so. It was with great laughter that I read James Cramer’s (of The Street) recent article on how to survive the coming crisis (via Andrew Sullivan).

“Our only hope that financial disaster won’t strike sooner lies with the Chinese, who actually fund our deficit by buying our Treasuries—$242 billion worth, or 12 percent of all foreign holdings. If the Chinese decide to be good communists and stop buying our bonds, the Feds will have to raise rates to attract new investors and the reaper will be at our doorstep with interest rates more akin to those of South than North America. Right now, it’s not a problem. But in a year or two or maybe less, I perceive that the government will throw a bond auction and nobody will show, including the Chinese, until rates shoot up dramatically.”

He’s a bit more optomistic than I am. I think the interest rate scene will be starkly different in the spring … more representative of the early 90’s than anything else.

post Ajax

October 6th, 2005

Filed under: Technology — Gregory Rushton @ 3:31 pm

I’ve been too far out of the loop lately with recent technologies. However, I’ve been rapidly making up for lost time now that I have some solid reading time on the commuter rail. TechCrunch is a great site for keeping up with all sorts of new applications coming out, but this page just lists Ajax applications. I just looked at the Kiko calendar app and it’s pretty slick for a beta product.

That, some updates to the AppFuse project and a newly discovered Trails project left me with quite a bit to read through and digest. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reviewing the JBoss demo apps as well, as they are all built on java 1.5 and use EJB3. Unfortunately, my current project is still java 1.4 and very old (over 4 years now), so I usually delve into the demo apps to get a grip on them. I’m quite envious of the simplifications to J2EE webapps and the new features like Annotations and Generics. The simplified for loop is also quite nice. It’s good to see the language gurus weeding out the syntactic obstacles in these updates.

post The McCain Amendment

October 6th, 2005

Filed under: Politics — Gregory Rushton @ 8:13 am

Wow! It looks like the McCain amendment passed … overwhelmingly! This has to have something to do with Captain Ian Fishback and his courage. Here are a few links that cover the details. This is one of the unfortunately rare times I’ve felt like our government truly has a moral conscience. Let’s hope it continues.

post A Letter to Captain Fishback

October 3rd, 2005

Filed under: Politics — Gregory Rushton @ 9:05 am

An email I sent this morning to supportfishback at aol dot com. This man deserves everyone’s support for standing up to the unbelievable pressures of corruption.

Dear Captain Fishback,

I am a former Marine, one of many I’m sure, who truly does believe in the principles you outlined in your letter to Senator McCain. As a private citizen now, I have been saddened and disheartened by the many reports of abuse by our servicemen and women. While it would be easy to dismiss them for many reasons, it would be the wrong thing to do in a time of crisis for this country.

Therefore, it is with great pride that I read about your letter. Your actions are above commendation. Please know that many, many Americans stand with you in your attempt to restore traditional American values when our leadership seems to have forgotten them. It is the duty of all citizens, private or those committed to government service, to ensure that the actions our country are in alignment with our values. To the world, and to ourselves, we are what we do. Please keep the faith.

-Greg Rushton.

More on the subject here.

And then a message to my two senators:

Dear Senators Kenedy and Kerry,

I am writing to you to express my hopes that you will support the efforts of Captain Ian Fishback who recently sent a letter to Senator John McCain (link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/27/AR2005092701527.html). As a former Marine, his efforts struck a chord with me. His courage against the overwhelming obstacle of bureaucracy is nothing short of heroic. He deserves every ounce of support from every citizen of this great nation. Please do whatever it is that a senator can do to support Capt. Fishback in his efforts to expose the truth of his story.

Thank you sirs for taking the time to read this.

Gregory Rushton,
Randolph, MA

post A Day at the Children’s Museum

September 23rd, 2005

Filed under: Peter — Gregory Rushton @ 8:59 pm

We had a fantastic time this afternoon at the Boston Children’s Museum. I left a little early from work and met the family there. The kids loved everything there. Lex was just crazy … running back and forth and crying out in joy … you’d think we kept him locked up judging from how happy he was to run free! They both loved the water thing where you put sponges and boats onto a sloped ring in which water is pumped. It was near impossible to drag them away from that one. After a McDonald’s break, they both went crazy again with the extra energy. Alisa, from my office, says McDonald’s is crack for kids. I think she’s not too far off!

post Photo Gallery Updates

September 21st, 2005

Filed under: Technology — Gregory Rushton @ 10:59 am

I finally bit the bullet and moved to a full-featured photo gallery tool. In my case, I chose Coppermine. It has quite a few nice features, and I’ve liked the other sites that have implemented it. So, I spent a little while moving over the image folders to the coppermine directory, re-linking the posts with gallery links, and deleting the old qdig installation. While qdig is quick and dirty, there are just too many things that it doesn’t do.

The other reason I decided to do this was that I accidentally blew away a bunch of pictures from old posts that used to be part of a separate ‘photos’ section. I tried finding back-ups, but could only come up with about a quarter of them. So, I’ll be digging up the original photos and re-organizing some of those posts so that they point to the coppermine gallery.

Lastly, I’d like to update the coppermine theme with one that looks like the coffee cup theme I use for the main site. That shouldn’t be too much work … we’ll see. I did find quite a few coppermine themes at Shuttertalk.com.

After downloading it, uploading the package, and trying to configure it to use ImageMagick, I had some trouble so I went to my hosting provider’s support site … almost. I use totalchoicehosting.com, but instead went to totalhosting.com and pestered their tech-support people. To their credit, they did answer my queries promptly, politely, and accurately … despite the fact that I didn’t have an account with them. It turned out that totalchoicehosting has a nice feature where they will auto-install several packages for you. Coppermine turned out to be one of them … so I never had to go through the trouble in the first place.

post Thirsty Review

September 21st, 2005

Filed under: Family — Gregory Rushton @ 8:35 am

My brother’s band, Thirsty, got a pretty decent review for their album, A Taste Is Not Enough. Go get ‘em Billy!

post A Day with Thomas

September 18th, 2005

Filed under: Peter — Gregory Rushton @ 10:18 pm

We had a fantastic time at Edaville Railroad yesterday! The kids both had a blast on the various trains and especially on the Thomas train. They have a huge assortment of trains and rides for kids.

We were quite nervous about the weather as Ophelia was supposed to drench us. It turned out to be a great day, nice and cool, for playing outside. Stephanie arranged the outfits, which was pretty cool. Everyone commented on how cute they looked. There was only one other boy dressed similarly, and he had a whistle and a stopwatch as well.

post A Day at Castle Island

August 14th, 2005

Filed under: Galleries — Gregory Rushton @ 8:31 pm

These pictures are from early last fall or late last summer. We had a blast taking the kids to the playground on Castle Island. It brought back all kinds of childhood memories for me. We’ll have to go back and enjoy some Sully’s clamstrips.

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