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"We Entertain When It Rains"  



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Dec 13,2007

Today Boston got its first snow storm of the season.  We took the Boxster to work today thinking we would leave at the first sign of snow.  However, by the time we were going to take off, the roads were already gridlocked.  So we decide to wait it out until the plows had time to do their thing.  The weatherman called it perfectly. The storm started around 2PM, dumped about 10" in a few hours, and was done around 9PM.

The one thing we wasn't sure about was how the Blizzak snow tires on the Boxster would perform in such deep snow.  I don't recall what we paid for them, but they were worth EVERY penny.

The 7 mile commute home took 2 hours... mostly because we had to navigate around stuck SUVs, front wheel drive sedans spinning their tires, and other less well equipped vehicles abandoned on the side of the street.  Clearly, not everyone had Blizzaks on their car.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Update: After a few days break, we got another 8" of the white stuff.  At least this time it was on a Sunday.  There should be a nice blanket of snow on the Boxster after it is all done. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Dec 3,2007

The Museum of Science in Boston is the home to the Charles Hayden Planetarium.  The Planetarium's centerpiece is the $2,000,000 Zeiss Star Projector, one of the few in the world. And when a telescopically/astronomically-obsessed managing editor wants to go, whaddya gonna do?

The projector is capable of projecting over 9,000 stars and 29 constellations.  RainyDayMagazine spent a few hours at the Planetarium this weekend exploring the night sky in indoor comfort.  The Planetarium has different shows running all day long.  Check out their schedule here.

The seating is very comfortable and has just enough recline to allow everyone in the theater to see everything. The two narrators (one for each of the TWO shows we went to) were very knowledgeable and got the kids (and some managing editors) into the Planetarium groove by asking them questions and having them shout out the answers (apparently the North Star is NOT the brightest star in the sky, it is the Dog Star).

While waiting for the show to begin, visitors can check out the many interactive exhibits.   You can see how much you would weigh on the moon or on Jupitor (ladies will rather want to stick with the moon scale, since one of us would weigh 440 pounds on jupiter), learn about spectral analysis, or see the relationship of the earth to the rest of the planets (hey, we really ARE the third rock from the sun!).

We spent a bit strolling through the Museum Store getting ideas for the more "discovery-minded" folks on our Holiday list.  The Store has items for all ages and interests (but why it's not just filled with dinasaur kits and freeze-dried ice cream one of us just cannot fathom, since EVERYBODY likes those).

We had a great time at the Boston Museum of Science this weekend.  If you are in Boston, this is one of the stops you must make.  The skys are always clear in the Charles Hayden Planetarium :-)  - Wan Chi Lau and Carolyn Donovan(permalink)


Nov 23,2007

We have a tradition here at the office tht we take a four-hour walk around the Charles River on Thanksgiving day before the big meal.  The temperature on some years had been in the teens, but yesterday it was a balmy 50º!

We love the walk because we do it at a time when most people are either home cooking or have left town.  The experience is unique because the city seems deserted and is eerily quiet.  Definitely the "calm" before the BlackFriday storm!

We post these images for you to enjoy should you need a refuge from the day-after Thanksgiving shopping crowds.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Oct 27-28,2007

A few of the RainyDayMagazine folks were invited down to Provincetown for the weekend to hang out, eat/drink, and watch the third game of the World Series. 

We, of course, took this opportunity to bring with us a few gadgets to test: the Carson Spotting Scope, the Wicked Laser, and some yet to be reviewed items.  The weather was so nice that we spent all our time enjoying it rather than playing with the gear.

Provincetown this time of the year is very quiet during the day, but it was still lively at night due to the coming of Halloween.  Many of the galleries were closed for the season, but many of the boutiques were still opened.  We checked out quite a few of the shops looking for end-of-the season deals.  Unfortunately, we came away empty handed.

However, all was not lost since the Red Sox took the third game of the series 10-5!  We'll be back in Boston tonight to see if they can sweep.  If they do, then we'll be back posting gear reviews next week! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Oct 20,2007

The RainyDayKitchen crew attended the 12th annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival today.  There were over a 100 different vendors showing many varieties of meat-free food options.

Maybe it was the FREE admission, perhaps it was the FREE food samples, but the place was PACKED.  Who knew there were so many vegetarians in Boston?

Vendors in all categories of vegetarian eating (meat-like substitutes, vegan, raw) gave out samples and answered questions.  Most were good, some were really tasty, and others were surprisingly delicious...even when compared to their meat counterparts!  

Groups advocating an animal-free lifestyle were also on hand.  Some spread their message via t-shirts and buttons.  Others were actual companies making products using all synthetic components.

We met a nice woman asking for signature to ban dog racing in MA.  While we are not opposed to the betting or racing of dogs, we are also not too keen on the way greyhounds are raised just to race and then "discarded" when they are no longer "profitable."

To find out more about this issue, check out the info on the Humane Society site.  We are not saying that dog racing is wrong, we just don't like what they do with them when they can't race anymore.  If only they treated these animal athletes the same way baseball and football players are treated when they are too old to play, like give them cushy front office jobs.... - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Oct 15,2007

This past weekend we took the Carson Spotting Scope for a FirstUse outing.  Mass Audubon has a preserve close to the office. We have been there a few times and knew it would be a good location to test out the scope.

It was just the start of Fall but the colors were already showing.  We hiked in for a bit and set up at one of the boardwalks looking out at the wetland.

The setup we took with us on the outing was the Carson BackCountry Spotting Scope mounted on the TrekPod.  We have been using the TrekPod every chance we had.  A few sharp-eye viewers noticed that we used it to support the Jason telescope we had with us in Maine.

The Carson scopes performed wonderfully in this FirstUse outing.  The controls were easy to use, the focus knob and zoom controls were smooth to operate.  The image had high contrast and was razor sharp.  The integrated sunshield came in very handy on this bright day. 

The Carson scope/TrekPod combo is a winner both in the backcountry as well as in the city (we stopped by Jamaica Pond on the way back to check out the ducks).  The pair is light to carry and quick to set up.  Perfect for bird watching anywhere/anytime.

The only thing we wish was better on the Carson was the lens cap.  It is a rubber cap, but the fit was loose.  We did not take it with us on the hike because we knew we would lose it.  Some kind of hinged cap may have been a better choice for a field scope.  However, this is a nitpicking point in an otherwise excellent product.  We look forward to taking out in a more extensive outing soon.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Oct 8,2007

Every year we bring a few pieces of gear with us to Maine for some field testing.  This year was no exception.  We brought with us two GPS units (HK GPS-500, Navigon), a pair of binoculars, the Jason 3" portable telescope, a Stellarium, and two Kata camera bags (WS-604, W-92).  We picked the Kata bags because we had a lot of optical gear and we wanted to make sure they made the trip safely.  The adjustable internal compartments and padded pockets make it easy to adapt the bags to whatever we wanted to protect (telescope, cameras, binocular). 

On this trip, we used the Kata WS-604 for the Jason 3" Newtonian.  The internal compartment was large enough to handle the entire scope.  The various accessories (finder scope, legs, filters) were stowed in the side pockets.

The first night we were in Maine we tried using the telescope to look at the constellations.  Unfortunately, there was just too much light pollution to see anything well.  We thought we would have better luck look at the sun during the day.

Some people say "never to look at the sun with a telescope."  This, of course, is nonsense.  The proper warning is "never look at the sun with a telescope without the use of the proper FILTER."  Since we DO have the proper filter, we are going to look at the sun for a while before heading back to Boston.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Oct 7,2007(MaineWeekend)

A hearty breakfast (two kinds of scramble eggs, three flavors of sausages, fresh baked rolls, etc...) got everyone powered up for some serious relaxing. 

Some of us opted to hang around the house, others headed into Wells for the Sunday paper, and Carolyn and I decided to take a drive along Route 1 to Kennebunkport.  Because of the unseasonably warm weather, the town was packed.  Most of these small picturesque towns usually have just one road through the center.  The best strategy is to park at the edge of town and walk in. 

Window shopping was the main activity for the day.  There was plenty to see all over town.  The one store which stood out for us was Compliments in Dock Square.  Their focus is on high-end American crafts. 

If you find youself in that area of Maine, definitely stop by and check it out.  You will find wonderful creations you will not find anywhere else.  You may just might find something you can't live without :-)

After the vigorous window shopping, we were ready for some more serious lounging.  Apparently, others also had the same plan for the day...shopping, eating, and napping. 

We did manage to wake up to watched the Sox sweep the Angels, ate and drank some more, and then crashed around 8PM.  There is a rumor Jay and Lisa picked up a cheesecake for tonight's dessert.  Carolyn may wake up for THAT :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Oct 6,2007(MaineWeekend)

All of us arrived in Wells, Maine last night, but we were too beat to do much of anything.  Today is a different story.  The day promises to be in the 80s and sunny...a rarity for Columbus Day Weekend in Maine!

While we were gathering for breakfast, we saw a crane and a fox in the marsh out back.  How cool is that?

After breakfast, we took a walk along the beach into Ogunquit.  The tide was out, revealing a large stretch of sand for strolling.  Most of the tourists have gone, but a few of those remaining took advantage of the temperature for some late season sun bathing.

We were not entirely sure where the day went, but after the walk, a nap, and some lounging around the house, it was time for dinner!

Irfan and Bill were the chefs tonight.  As usual, they cooked up a feast for the crew.  The meal was a huge hit, so much so that some of us needed a nap before the final dessert course. 

Tomorrow night, Lisa and Jay will be in control of the kitchen.  We'll do a lot of walking tomorrow to ensure we work up a healthy appetitie.  However, it is safe to say we'll not be hitting the town tonight :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 23,2007

The first time we stopped by the Vessel Store  in Boston, it was closed. I went back a few weeks ago and was fortunate enough to catch founders Stefane Barbeau and Duane Smith working the floor.  They were kind enough to give me a personal tour of the store.

This Vessel Store is the design studio and a retail experiment for Stefane and Duane.  They use it to field test new products, ideas they want to pursue, and designs they like to promote.  

I had a chance to take a lot of images while at the store.   Instead of posting all of them individually, links to them have been embedded in the images.  Clicking on various items in the images may bring you to a closer look at the item.

Items such as the lamps (Candela, Luau, etc...) are available from a lot of different places.  Some of the items (Teepee, dolls) are only available from Vessel.  Many of the products found in the phyical store are not yet available on the Vessel's online store.  Depending on how they perform on the floor, some may make it to the website.

Stefane and Duane are the designers of the innovative rechargeable Candela lamps.  The lighting line has since been expanded to include the fun looking Candeloo and the bigger Luau lanterns.  The entire lighting line has recently been sold to OXO so they can focus their creative energies on product design rather than packing and shipping :-)

The store also has a much wider selection of furniture than what is available online.  All have very clean lines, are highly functional, and fit comfortably with all things "Vessel."  Sofas from BluDot are a good example.  The pieces are well constructed, use synthetic material which feels and wears like leather, and are reasonably priced.

If you are in Boston's Chinatown area, drop by and check out the Vessel Store.  We will check back with Stefane and Duane soon to see what's new for Fall.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 22,2007

We found the hotel for the next time we are in Madrid.  Carolyn will fit right in, but I will have to pack some fancier clothes. 

Madrid does not slow down just because the sun sets.  Many street vendors were just setting up when we normally would be getting ready to turn in.  It must be because the warm, dry weather is perfect for strolling the narrow city streets or sitting at a cafe and people watching.

We look forward to returning to Madrid soon.  Next time we will stay up all night! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 21,2007

Today we are making our way back to Madrid via car and train. We rented a Citroen C2 for our stay in Alicante.  This small car was perfect for getting around.  It seats four and the rear storage was big enough for all our gear.

We brought three bags (ErgoTech, Aeronaut, Evolution) between the two us for the ten days.  The Kata ErgoTech handled all of our technical gear (cameras, batteries, Vaio laptop, etc...).  Clothing and all other travel gear were distributed between the soft Aeronaut bag and the rolling Evolution case.

Having minimal luggage allowed us to move quickly through the streets, the Metro, and the Atocha train station.  It also meant we didn't have to check anything at the airport.  This was a huge timesaver as we did not have to wait for our luggage to be brought off the plane before getting into line to clear Customs.

For our return to Madrid, Carolyn found a great little place on the other side of Puerta del Sol called Hostal San Isidro.  It was half the price of the Petite Palace that we stayed in at the start of the trip.

The room was much smaller, but it had floor to ceiling doors which opened out to a balcony overlooking the street.  Carolyn has always wanted an apartment with a balcony, some kind of Juliet/Rapunzel fantasy I think.

It is interesting to stay in a room right above the street.  The sounds come right in with the windows open and you feel the flow of the city even when inside. Even at 3 o'clock in the morning... - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 20,2007

Great food is just one of the things we have been sampling while here in Spain.  Good inexpensive wine is also available if you know where to go. 

Pepe and Rosario are the owners of Bodega La Jumillana, on the road between...somewhere and somewhere else.  Pepe does not speak English, but apparently our hand gestures were sufficient to get our intentions across.  Pepe was more than eager to provide us with samples of all the varieties he had on tap.

We did manage to understand from Pepe that the wines are priced based on how long they have aged in the oak barrels.  The amazing part was that the most expensive (and tastiest) vintage was only 3 Euros for a liter!

We were told by our friends Finora and Patrick that the wine we were drinking in Spain is not made for export and hence does not contain any of the usual preservatives...which is often responsible for altering the tasts and the bad hangovers. Every morning we woke up chipper and looking for our cafe solo. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 19,2007

Today our plans are to take a drive to Murcia for some sightseeing.  Along the way, we made a stop for some lunch at a charming spot located right on the beach in Torrevieja.

Wan has been ordering Paella whenever he finds it on the menu.  This traditional rice dish is really tasty and the ready availability of fresh seafood makes it a good value.

We arrived in Murcia in the early afternoon.  Like a lot of towns in Spain, it has a mixture of old and new.  The center of town is dominated by the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary. It was built over 400 years (14th to 18th centuries) and reflects ALL of the styles over that span.

After all that walking around, we were ready for a good sit-down dinner.  We considered eating in Murcia, but during the walk along the coast the other day, Finora and Patrick mentioned a restaurant called La Bahia in the marina and said they make an amazing "salted fish" dish.  We decided to give it a try.

Tonight we wanted to sample a variety of flavors, so we ordered half dozen or so tapas (mushrooms, soups, meatballs, olives, etc...).  We also ordered what we came to La Bahia for...the salted fish.

The fish came coated in a thick layer of salt.  Larabi, our waiter, skillfully separated the meat from the bones and presented it to us.  The flavor was incredible, and at 15 Euro, definitely one of the best values on the menu!

Even though we feasted on a lot of great food throughout the day, we didn't feel stuffed or bloated.  One reason is that portion size here is not like the "super-sized" servings we get back home :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 18,2007

When traveling with laptops and other electronics, sooner or later you will need to recharge them. Here are a few things we do to make our power needs simplier.

First, we minimize the number of chargers we have to bring by taking cameras which only use AA batteries.  We brought along the new eneloop rechargeables.  AA are available almost anywhere in the world. Second, we only bring gear with AC adapters which can automatically adjusts to the local voltage. Last, we bring an universal adapter.

The little adapter we carry will work with every outlet current in use around the world. It also folds flat for storage. In Spain, the voltage is 220 and the socket in the outlet is two round holes instead of slits. We have had no problems with our setup so far.

We did not bring along our Verizon wireless card as we knew that WiFi will be available at our friends Patrick and Finora's place. It did take a little time to get the settings in Dreamweaver correct so we could update the site via FTP. One compromise we did make was on the laptop size. We brought the ultra light Vaio instead of the larger Apple laptop. While the small Sony Picturebook is extremely portable, it is difficult to use for image editing. Still, we think we made the right tradeoff. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 17,2007

Our friends Patrick and Finora (whom have been hosting us for the past few days) insisted we see the Mediterranean ocean while we are in Orihuela. So we took a stroll along the coastal walkway near their place.

The view was just amazing! The constant pounding of the waves against the coast has carved out some amazing features.

We are quickly getting used to the relaxed pace here in Spain. So if you don't see any more updates for a while, you'll know why :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 16,2007

Most places in Madrid are reachable on foot or via the Metro, so a car is not really necessary for getting around. A 10 ride Metropass is about 8 Euros.

There are tons of places to stay in Madrid. Many of them are in the center of the city. We chose a hotel (Petite Palace Arenal) with modern accommodations on a pedestrianized street just a few blocks from the Plaza del Sol and the Metro stop.

The staff spoke both Spanish and English, so language was not an issue. In fact, we were able to get by quite easily with just English (and a polite "Tu hablas Ingles?" or two). Although like any place in Europe, having someone in the party who speaks the native language is the way to go. In a few more years, one can probably get by anywhere in the world with knowing just Chinese, Spanish, and English!

Some of you asked what we are using for luggage on this trip. Well, you know that we would not miss an opportunity to test out some gear. We've taken along some gear we have tested locally on this trip with us to Spain.

We wanted to see how they would perform on this 10 day journey. So far, we have been extremely pleased with our selection. Some readers may recognize the gear. If you can name all three pieces, send us the answers in an email with the subject line "On the road again." We'll pick a winner amongst the ones with the correct answers and send you a BitDr. when we get back home.- Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 15,2007

The weather in Madrid is very mild this time of the year. We took every opportunity to eat dinner outside knowing that we would be facing much colder temperature back in Boston when we return.

After trekking around Madrid for the past few days, we have come to appreciate the local street art for sale around the city. Many of the paintings and crafts are made by the locals for the tourist, but they are things one would actually want to display once you get them back home! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 14,2007

A few of us are in Spain for a brief holiday this week. We landed in Madrid on Thursday and have been checking out the sites. Madrid is a very vibrant town...lots of cafes, winding alleys, and open squares. The weather is a balmy 29C.

Today we left Madrid and headed to Oriheula for a birthday party and to visit with some friends. We did bring some gear (Picturebook, Canon S2, etc...) to post updates of the trip when we have WiFi access. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 8-9,2007

The annual Brimfield Antique Show is a destination for seasoned antique hunters.  We reported on the Brimfield show back in 2005.  This year, we returned to look for specific items for a few of the RainyDayProjects we have planned for this Winter.

The Brimfield show was a great place to look for Steampunk project items. There were quite a few vendors showing old radio gear.  Many of these antique pieces were priced for collectors and were completely out of our budget.

However, after some extensive searching, we came upon a vendor with an amazing collection of stuff (headphones, morse code devices, etc...) perfect for a project we have been planning for some time.

We purchased this WORKING headset for $5!  Our idea is to restore and convert this pair of vintage headphones into something Steampunk-ish.  It should be a fun project!  Look for it this Winter.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 19,2007

A few of the RainyDayGarden folks found out that the Mass Horticulture Society was holding a Marketplace Festival out in Wellesley.  So we packed up Saturday morning and drove out to see what it was all about.

The event was held at the Elm Bank Horticulture Center. The grounds at Elm Bank were amazing.  There were both formal and informal gardens with all kinds of things in bloom.

The event had over 50 vendors selling all kinds of tasty goodies (organic produce, Acai berry drinks, plants, etc...).  Whole Foods sponsored the event and, more importantly, served some incredible roasted tomato gazpacho.

All kinds of great plants were also for sale.  It was a good thing we didn't have the truck because it would have been easy to go WAY overboard. 

We had to limit ourselves to just one purchase.  After walking around and checking all of the different growers, we decided on a beautiful day lily called "Sammy Russell."

There was a lot more to the event than what we covered here. We'll have a full write-up of the event soon.  Go here to see what else is on the calendar from the folks at Mass Horticulture Society. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 6,2007

Readers will remember that we reviewed a product called the Candela back in 2005.  The Candela is a very innovative product which uses magnetic inductance to recharge its lamps. When we turned the corner on Kingston Street in Chinatown yesterday, we saw an orange flag for a store called Vessel.  Vessel is the company which created the Candela.

Unfortunately for us, the store's hours are from Mon-Sat.  We all peeked inside to see what the store was like.  If you are a fan of Eva Solo, SimpleHuman, and designers of that sensibility, then Vessel is a store for you.

We'll definitely have to go back during the week and check out all the new stuff they have in the store.  If you are not lucky enough to have a Vessel store in your neighborhood, you can always visit their virtual store.  You won't get to stroll around and touch things, but you can still buy and enjoy them. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Aug 1,2007

We wanted to start the month off with another great bag from Tom Bihn!  This bag is the Zephyr.  It went with us to NYC this past weekend...yes, another trip down to the Big Apple.

The Zephyr came with us on this trip because we needed a bag big enough to carry the laptops to the left of the chair.  The Zephyr bagged them up and more.  Get this bag, rule the world.  More on it this month.

As for the trip down to NYC, we left around 10AM, but ran into horrendous traffic on Rt.128 about 12 miutes later.  Even the feeder road onto the highway was severly backed up.

It was only later that we discovered that a storm grate incident had caused the massive gridlock.  Good thing we we were only on 128 for one exit before picking up Rt. 95 for for the drive south. Otherwise, the four-hour drive would have turned into an eight-hour drive.  Our one saving grace was that we had Book One of the Harry Potter Audio series with us on this trip.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

July 21,2007

Harvard Yard was temporarily transformed into Hogwarts Yard last night.  An estimated 15,000 people were on hand to hear some very very bad but still entertaining bands (The Hungarian Horntails, Draco and the Malfoys, Harry and the Potters).  The crowd didn't seem to care.  They were there to share in the experience of the magic of Harry Potter.                     

Muggles and wizards mingled freely on the grounds well into the night.  Everyone was trying to find ways to pass the time until midnight when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" went on sale. 

When it started to get dark, we left and headed to the Barnes & Noble at Chestnut Hill.  The store was at near capacity at 11:30PM.  People of all ages were milling about looking at everything but the thing they really came to see...the last Harry Potter book.

At the stroke of midnight, a horn sounded and the buying frenzy began.  BothCarolyn and Sarah were able to snag early copies because Carolyn had gotten there earlier in the day and got a low number.  I have not heard a peep out of them since.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

July 17,2007

Frequent travel is part of our job.  Sometimes we hop on a plane, but more often than not, we jump into the Boxster and head on out.  Our problem is not just what to pack, but which bag to pack?

Different folks here have their favorites, but the two bags I take most often are the Tom Bihn Aeronaunt and the Ego.  I take them because they are tough, great looking, and AMAZINGLY ROOMY. 

One thing I have noticed is I definitely tend to bring more stuff when I travel by car than when I fly.  Perhaps this is the reason why I reach for the Tom Bihn gear.  The Aeronaunt and the Ego lets me keep my gear well organized without having to worry about running out of room.

For a recent two-day trip, I packed the clothes and gear you see below.  The clothes were comfortably accommodated in the main section of the Aeronaunt.  The side pockets were used for power bricks and AC cords.  The Aeronaunt could have easily taken on twice as much stuff.  The Ego had separate pockets for all of the gadgets (Blackberry, GPS, desktop tripod, ipod, laptop, etc...). After we took this picture, I realized that we didn't even show the headphones, backup camera, magazines, and bluetooth headset which were all still in the bag.

We think Aeronaunt-Ego duo from the Tom Bihn collection is a great travel combination. Those who roam about frequently should definitely consider this set.  With some careful packing, we think we can live for a week or two out of these bags.  Hmmm...that may make for an interesting article.  We ARE heading to Spain for a couple of weeks in the Fall:-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

July 8,2007

We discovered Sophia's Grotto a few years ago and have been back many times since.  It is our favorite neighborhood restaurant for many reasons.  The food is delicious, the prices are very reasonable, and the atmosphere is wonderful.

In the Summertime, the restaurant has outdoor seating both in the foyer and along the side.  This year they have added some large umbrellas to deal with the unexpected New England weather.

The courtyard is shared by a few restaurants, but it is never too loud or too crowded.  There are plenty of on street parking.  A free public lot is just a few minutes walk away.  Anytime is good, but the prettiest time is around dusk when it is dark enough for the lights to come on. 

The owners, Sonia and Joe, are always out greeting the patrons.  For directions and hours, check the info listed here.  When you go, tell them the folks at RainyDayMagazine sent you, you'll get a good table...OK, they are all good tables :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


July 7,2007

Eating locally grown food is both good for the local economy and good for you.  The food is fresher, tastier, and better for you.  In the Summer, the best place to get locally grown food is at your Farmer's Market.

In Roslindale, the Farmer's Market has been growing steadily for the past several years.  This year, the market has grown so big that it was moved into the town's main square.

There are now all kinds of vendors at the Roslindale Farmer's Market.  The stands are stocked with all sorts of seasonal produce, flowers, and tasty baked goods.  This year, there are also local artists offering hand-made crafts.

If you are looking for something fresh this summer, whether it be a few juicy tomatoes or a new barrette, you should head down to Roslindale Square on Saturdays between 9 and noon and check out what's happening in the town center.  It's (s)hopping!  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

July 4,2007

RainyDayMagazine and 10,000 of its closest friends were on hand at Castle Island to celebrate the annual turning of the USS Constitution.

Happy 4th of July!!!

This event is well known to the residents of South Boston and surrounding neighborhoods, but is otherwise kept "secret" from everyone else :-)  This year, you can watch a clip of the firing of the guns captured using our repaired Canon S2. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

July 2,2007

Here is a museum tip for you out-of-town RainyDayMagaziners:  The new ICA museum is now open.  We grabbed this shot when we were down there a few weeks ago wandering around.

This brand-spanking-new museum building is a must see for anyone interested in contemporary art.  It is located on Boston's newly developed waterfront and is easily accessible by public transportation. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

May 12,2007

The Blue Hills Trailside Museum and Reservation is only a short drive from the RainyDayMagazine office, so we packed up the crew and headed over for a visit a few weeks back. 

This Mass Audubon santuary is more than a fun hike (or a hard hike, depending on what you're up for).  There are all kinds of events and activities for kids thoughout the year.  It is also a sanctuary for injured and recovering wildlife of all kinds.

When we were there, we got to see a Snowy owl, a Red Tail hawk, and a fawn...all of whom had sustained some kind of injury.  Most are permanent residents of the Museum because even though they have recovered from their initial injury, they would not be able to survive in the wild (one of the Red Tail Hawks had been blinded in one eye, for instance).

The Blue Hills Reservation trails offers all kinds of things to find and see.  Not all are furry or feathery, but they are all interesting if you take the time to look.  - Wan Chi Lau


May 9,2007

Spring does not last long in the North East.  When the weather "wows us," we get out there and enjoy it.  80º temperature in May is perfect for convertibles ... warm enough to have the top down, but not too warm if you are moving.

This was a perfect opportunity to fire up the Harman Kardon Guide+Play GPS, punch in some coordinates, and follow it to a sandy destination.  

Some of you may recognize it as Crane Beach.  If you are sitting inside today reading this, consider dropping whatever you are doing, going outside and enjoying the day.  There will be plenty of time to work when the weather is crappy :-)  - Wan Chi Lau


May 5-6,2007

Somerville had their annual artists open studios event this weekend.  We sent our crew out to take a look at what's been happening in Somerville's vibrant art scene.  The weekend was so nice that we decided to skip doing any work, so here are some pics of the event, but not many details :-)

Ted Beatie is a photographer who started out shooting travel-related photography.  Over the years, Ted has gradually migrated to more abstract images, especially from close-ups.

Molly Van Nice is an artist whose work totally blew us away.  Looking at Molly's constructions, one gets the sense of being in a museum in a parallel universe where things are just a bit skewed.  The installations are at once familiar and extraterrestrial

There were many artists who work in more traditional ways.  We were fortunate and accidentally came upon Jason Aponte's work while looking for someone else.  You can see more of his paintings here.

We'll have a more complete write-up of the Somerville Open Studio weekend in a day or two.  - Wan Chi Lau


April 28,2007

Spring is the time of the year when our furry interns shed their Winter coat.  Traditionally, it is also the time of year when sheep get their Winter coat "harvested."  Today, we are going to witness such an event first hand.

It will also be a good chance for us to test some of our new gear.  We'll have more to say about all this later today.  In the mean time, get outside and enjoy the fine Spring weather :-) - Wan Chi Lau

We spent three hours at the festival, spoke to many merchants, crafts people, and artisans.  We also sampled a bit of country fare, petted lots of animals, and generally had a great time.

There will be a full write-up on our visit, complete with videos of the shearing and other interesting bit.  For now, click on the image above and get a closer look at the size of those scissors! - Wan Chi Lau


April 9,2007

The original forecast for Easter Sunday was going to be cloudy.  However, the day did start out clear.   We decided that even though it was a crisp 30º out, we should take advantage of the day and head outdoors.

The Moose Hill Audubon Sanctuary is a quick 30 minute trip from the RainyDayMagazine office.  We gathered some gear and headed out after a stop for some pastries at Canto6.

There are over 20 miles of trails in this 2000 acre sanctuary.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves yesterday...even the chipmunks were still sleeping.   However, signs of Spring are everywhere.

The trails were not very difficult.  We did have to dress for the colder than expected temperature.  We also expected the ground to be somewhat wet.  For gear, we brought along the HighGear Enduro, Kombi gloves, and Dunham boots

The boots turned out to be exactly appropriate for the day's hike.  The terrain was quite wet even if the air temperature was in the 30ºs.  The Kumbi gloves keep the hands warm and the Enduro watch let us keep track of the time without weighing us down.

There are always things to see no matter what time of the year it is.  Sometimes it is just noticing how clear the water is.  A quiet hike on a Sunday is quite rejuvenating to both the body and the spirit.  We all feel we are now ready to face another Monday :-)   - Wan Chi Lau


March 21,2007

OK...what new attraction will suspend visitors 4000 feet above the ground, let them look straight down to the bottom, and 360º around?

You are right if you said the new Grand Canyon Skywalk.  This vertigo inducing U-shaped platform is capable of supporting 800, but only 120 will be allowed at a time.  The glass on the floor of the skywalk is 3" thick, the walls are 5' high, and the entire structure extends over 70 feet from the canyon's edge.

This $40 million walk of faith is going to be a huge hit...for those that can get past the edge :-) - Wan Chi Lau


Mar 3,2007(SpringBreak)

There have been some pretty good guesses so far as to where we are, but no one has found us yet :-) As with all the puzzlers, clues are sometimes just a click away...hint, hint.

The weather is in the 80's today. The forecast mentioned a slight chance of a thunderstorm. We decided we to get into the ocean before the cloud cover cooled things off too much.

RainyDay Readers know that, regardless of where we are, it wouldn't be a RainyDayMagazine outting without some gear to be tested. We had been using these Aqua Sphere gear in the pool, but brought them along to see how well we like them in the ocean. We also thought it would be a good chance to test out the Timex TX InTheWild.

After a morning of bobbing around in the waves and playing with our gear, we were ready for some lunch. But where? Some of the folks heard about a festival about a 15 minute drive away. A quick shower later, we were all packed into the minivan and heading out to look for cerviche.

By the time we got there, the festival was already in full swing. There were a few stages for music. About four blocks were closed to street traffic. The aroma from the all of the street vendors filled the air. We quickly fanned out in search of lunch.

We were not disappointed. Many of the local restaurants had booths with fares for sampling. An amazing lunch was assembled just by wandering around.

- Wan Chi Lau


Mar 1,2007(SpringBreak)

We heard a storm was heading toward Boston so we packed up and headed South. We'll be down here for a few days catching some rays and sampling the local cuisine. See you all next week :-)

This month's puzzler: can you guess where we are? If you know, send us email with the subject line "We are coming over..." BTW, congrats to our last month's winner, Margaret H of San Jose. We'll send you the DiNova keyboard as soon as we are done with the InTheWild review :-) - Wan Chi Lau


February 15,2007

Since we travel a lot as part of our job, we are constantly looking for the perfect business carry-on luggage.  One case that came to our attention is the Evolution Rolling Deluxe from Pacific Design.   Many readers may know Pacific Design from our review of their fun and protective iPod cases, but may also remember them from our review of their Nucleus laptop case .

This Evolution Rolling Deluxe case is definitely in the running for the honors of the perfect road warrior carry-on.  Like a lot of cases, it is tough, has soft comfortable handles, and have quiet smooth-rolling wheels.  There are also reinforced protection and corner bumpers everywhere.

The front compartment has the zipper front panels for the usual pens, PDA, and other small items.  The case also has a separate compartment for files, notebooks, and other paper or flat documents.  It can even accommodate a thin laptop.

The main compartment can carry enough gear for a three day business trip.  Unlike other carry-on cases, the computer pocket is part of the main compartment.  This setup provides a lot of protection for the laptop, but may be a hassle in use at the airport security line... we'll see when it take it on the road for the FirstUse review this week.  Look for the update in the next TravelTech report. - Wan Chi Lau


February 3,2007

The temperature outside today is a bit on the chilly side and the cars had a light coat of ice from the rain storm last night.  However, it does not compare to the photos sent in by Greg N.  The place is Versoix, a town close to Geneva City in Switzerland.

Our first thought was...should have had a car cover.  However, in this case, it would have been frozen under two inches of ice:-)


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