Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's taken forty years to realize just how deeply people feel criticism

It's taken forty years to realize just how deeply people feel criticism. A disagreement with one fine point can be taken as disregard for the person themself. On the flip side, it seems people that are very quick to dismiss the opinions and thoughts of others, then express frustration when they think those people are equally dismissive. To me, that is a vicious cycle. Lesson learned for me? "The only winning move is not to [critique]" in social settings, unless there is a very good cause.

I missed the boat so long because I've been in a state of mind of consistently wanting to be critiqued to improve myself, at least in my own eyes. I accept some statements, and dismiss others, and then move on. In this, I do not believe that I've often dismissed any persons outright. I value the person who critiques me because I seek constant feedback (whether I accept the feedback or not). But in this drive, I've very likely offended a great many people who are not like minded in this regard. Criticism of comments or challenging of opinions is not taken well by many people, regardless to how fine the point.

Ironically, this posting is a critique, but not directed any particular person. It is an expression of my own opinion about my own feelings and thoughts. In case someone comes across this message and thinks it's about them, it's not. It is about me. It is a lament that comes from the culmination of a great many experiences.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Proof that the Zombie Apocalypse is indeed coming

Are you trying to tell your friends and family that the Zombie Apocalypse is indeed coming? Are they not listening to your sane words of advice to prepare?  Well, now you have the evidence you need to show them that it is coming, in the form of recent news articles.

This Artificial Jellyfish Was Built Using Rat Cells goes into detail about recent success in the creation of an artificial animal.

Scientists Invent Particles That Will Let You Live Without Breathing shows a technology that may keep you alive when you are unable to breath.

If those stories do not convince disbelievers, this ScienceDaily article shows how scientists are working on reprogramming cells to "create completely new and useful forms of life":  Easily 'Re-Programmable Cells' Could Be Key in Creation of New Life Forms.  This is how almost every Zombie movie begins!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jumpin Jack sign on Highway 495 Southbound

There's a modest sign on the roadside of Highway 495 South, about halfway between Highways 2 and 111. It is simple, with an American flag, and the words "Jumpin Jack". I've wondered what Jumpin Jack was.

Well, he turns out to be a beloved local truck driver named Jack Albert McPhail, a local hero that died while saving others on fateful winter day in March 2007. The story was originally carried by the Boston Herald, but is no longer available.   I was able to track down a Boston Globe article on  It does not mention the nick name "Jumpin Jack".  An obituary still appears on this trucker's forum. It's a good read about the man who was apparently well liked in his community.

For anyone that can safely use Facebook on the road (i.e., a passenger of a car) while passing this sign on 495 S, I've added a place to Facebook to check-in at this location called Jumpin Jack Memorial, classified as a local business under Highway. Facebook is a little odd on how it handles places added by common users, so you may have to search a bit for it (which is why you should be a passenger to attempt the check-in).

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Salem Harbor

This past Sunday, Allie and I headed over to Salem, MA.  We had brunch at this place called Scratch Kitchen, where the theme seems to be that they make everything from scratch.  The food is fresh, with local (North East) sources.  I had this plate called the Frenched Elvis that combined french toast, bacon and peanut butter.  Surprizingly good.

We headed over to the harbor to catch a ride on the Fame.  Fame is a replica schooner that takes tourists on a 1.75hr tour on Salem Sound.  Though the tour isn't technically narrated, the captain tells the story of original Fame that captured many enemy merchant ships during the war of 1812.  If you are so included, you can also participate in some of the sailing tasks.

Here is Fame on the satellite map.

View Larger Map

After returning to Salem, we had an early dinner and then walked around.  There is a lot of charm to Salem.  Their harbor area is a little touristy, but not crowded with annoying people, at least on this weekend before the big 4th of July holiday. We had a fun and relaxing time.