October 14th, 2003

classic beard

more traffic

green ford pickup truck, "LUKY LUV" (on i-84)
blue sedan in central^2, "RLF TBL" (rolf table? naah)
a New Jersey plate which I've forgotten, it was some sort of personalized-looking plate, with a small number "3" after it - much harder to read, it seemed odd that they'd allow that.

traffic getting out of boston (4:30pm on a holiday weekend, oops, that was stupid) was really bad, partly due to the amateurs - 6 accidents between cambridge and sturbridge, one of which was eastbound. Getting back was fine, though. The hummer is still not a good choice for these trips (though it did let me help mom move some furniture) but at least it got close to 12mpg this trip...
  • Current Music
    karl orff - carmina burana - o fortuna
classic beard

splort

Just saw the latest fevered imaginings from Quentin Tarantino's so-enthusiastic-we-don't-realize-that-we-went-off-the-cliff-hours-ago mind...
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  • Current Music
    haunting whistling music
classic beard

reading

Finished chapter one of Computers as Theater over the weekend. It is quite dense, or at least it is dense in things I'm not all that familiar with, so it has been slow reading. The first chapter brings in enough examples and context to justify the "everything you know about HCI is wrong", but I'm easy to convince of that given my own experience :-) Chapter two works through Aristotle's Poetics as a model and example, but even the author admits that it is only groundwork, and it'll take a while to get to "the good stuff".
classic beard

leafpeeping

Western CT (southbury and points west, certainly "west of rt 67") is full-on fall foliage - yellows and reds and some orange, much formerly "green" space carpeted in yellow.

Central CT (hartford, around 84 north of there) is just turning - fair amount of yellow but much of it is pea-soup yellow-green half-turned.

Central to Eastern-suburbs MA (i90, 190, around 495 and in to 128) are just starting to show enough yellow to make it clear that it's fall now (calendar be damned) but there's still plenty of green.
classic beard

New Restaurant: "Polcari", in Tech^2

At kcr's suggestion, six of us tried "Polcari's" for dinner. Polcari's is a new Italian restaurant in Tech^2, on the ground floor of one of the new buildings (roughly where the Polaroid building used to be.)

Overall, we liked it; it compares favorably with Paparazzi's, greatly outclasses Bertucci's. We'll definitely be back, probably soon.

The first impression one gets is that the place is huge - partly because it is, but partly because the ceiling is two stories up :-) Of note is the fact that, counter to the "noisy is good" trend (Pho Pasteur, renovated K^2 Legal's) it actually has acoustic tile instead of bare concrete up there, so we didn't have to yell at each other. Given the size, they're nicely equipped for concatenating tables to support arbitrarily-sized mobs, and the sightlines are open enough that your fellow guests will find you easily enough.

The menu has a broad range of good italian food - the usual gnocchi, fettucini with garlic, ravioli with various stuffings... several soups including "italian wedding soup" with pasta and meatballs - a large bowl of it, don't get it if you're also having appetizers. Excellent fried calimari, good fried mozzerella (not as good as Maggiano's, but we'd get it again), tasty bruschetta with mozzerella. With three appetizers for six people, most of us ended up eating about half of our entrees; the calamari app would have made a reasonable lunch all by itself. The entrees were generous and flavorful, overall, and not expensive - there's a range, of course, but one could probably eat more cheaply here than at the Cheesecake Factory.

Desserts were also quite good - the old standby, tiramisu, was well executed and actually had ladyfingers along the edge (ie. it was clearly a "piece" and not a rectangular slab - not that this mattered tastewise, but it was a nice touch.) The spumoni was decorated with chocolate, and the cannoli looked pretty good too.

The menu had a wide selection of "froufy" drinks - chocolate and espresso martinis were tried, the sage and ginger based ones were not. Plenty of creative sounding options, at least :-) The brewed iced tea was good, and without the icky not-cleaned-enough taste that many other places around here have. The coffee was drinkable without cream, and a little stronger than I expected, which are both points in their favor (and distinctive as well.)

Other atmosphere points: the CD jukebox (which had some neat looking mechanical tech inside) didn't play nearly as much sinatra as we feared, there was a fair range of... well, the kind of music I associate with italian restaurants :-) The decor is overall very light, goes well with the openness of the space. They were also nearly empty, but the place has only been open for a couple of weeks, and the next table over was talking about some startup in progress (the usual cambridge restaurant problem - don't talk about secrets, thinking they're too high-tech for other guests to get - someone in hearing range will understand, possibly better than you do :-). I suspect they're pretty full at lunchtime, though, given their location.

Those are the high points, at least - everyone agreed that we should go back, which is the important thing :-)