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Jan 31-Feb 1,2009(Superbowl Weekend)

Not everybody here will be spending the weekend getting all worked up about the Super Bowl.  Ok, everyone would be if the New England Patriots were in the game.  However, they are not... are they? 

To fill up the weekend, some had thought about curling up with a book.  Instead, they decided it would be more interesting to start a new audio book series.  Fortunately for them... [More]- Meyer Audio Series


January 30,2009 (Winter Seminar)

[Permalink]- Winter Aikido Seminar


January 29,2009 (Thursday)

Some of us have been training at Gleason sensei's dojo for a close to seven years now.  Students have often asked Gleason sensei when he is going to write another book on Aikido.  About three years ago, Gleason sensei must have decided the time was right. 

The long awaited release of Gleason sensei's second book is now available. This second book is an expansion of many of the ideas introduced in his first... [More]- Aikido and Words of Power


January 28,2009 (WriterWednesday)

The Livescribe SmartPen came with a standard size spiral-bound 100-page notebook.   Additional notebooks may be purchased and used with the pen.  The Smartpen can carry up to eight Single Subject Notebooks (No. 1 through 8) at the same time.  Each are uniquely encoded so its information can be kept separate. 

Note that identically numbered notebooks should not be used at the same time because the Pulse smartpen will... [More]- Livescribe Journal


January 27,2009 (CameraTechTuesday)

The Nikon D40 is a very lightweight and easy-to-carry DSLR.  When we are out shooting with it we always take along a few extra fully charged batteries.  However, there were times when we wished we had some additional juice, especially when we couldn't afford to miss a shot.  One way to give the D40 some backup power is to attach a battery grip.

Nikon makes an OEM battery grip, but there a a lot of aftermarket units available.  These 3rd party units are typically at least 30-60% cheaper than the OEM version.  We purchased ours from... [More]- Phottix D40 Grip


January 26,2009 (Year of the Ox)

Our West Coast editor (Kristin) sent us this photo of a plate of Chinese fortune cookies she made out of felt.  Not as tasty as the real thing, but very creative nonetheless :-) [Permalink]- Year Of The Ox


January 24-25,2009 (WeekendEdition)

Many readers have commented that they really like browsing around and looking at past articles on RainyDayMagazine.  So, to make it easier for readers to scan, browse, and randomly find interesting things to read on a "rainy day," we have decided to make some updates to the the visual index.  Based on our "page hit" stats, we realized that many of them were RainyDayPhotography-related articles.  Since the RainyDayPhotography section is the most popular, we started with that. 

The top of the RainyDayPhotography page now has hyperlinks to all of the back articles.  Clicking on the year will jump to a page with all of the related articles for that year.  The left column on the page now has hyperlinks to... [More]- RainyDayPhotography Index


January 23,2009 (FlashFriday)

Those who travel for business pack differently than those who travel for pleasure.  Waiting in security lines, fighting for overhead space, and checking out in time for an 8:30AM meeting gets old really quick when you have to do it more than once a week. 

One way to make business travel easier is to pack as light as possible.  Another is to "maximizing function while minimizing size" ... [More]- diskGO 64GB Flash


January 22,2009 (PhotoTechThursday)

Our inbox got a lot of interesting links to various inauguration photos.  None was as interesting as this one from Eric in PA.  It is a panorama of the Inaugural Address taken by David Bergman.  The photo's vantage point is pretty cool, but the amazing part is its resolution.

The image is so large that to see the full content, the viewer must pan and zoom using the navigation tools in the image's upper left corner.  In the image above, the red arrows point to... [More]- Inauguration Pano


January 21,2009 (WowUsWednesday)

Every so often, we get to do more than just watch the making of history, we get to actually "feel" it.  I remembered the "feeling" of awe when watching the the first moon landing in 1969.  I remembered the "feeling" of dread watching the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001.  And I will remember yesterday's feeling of inspiration while listening to President Obama's inauguration speech. 

A while back, one of our editors commented out loud while watching an episode of The West Wing ... "Why can't we have a President like Jed Barlett?"  If the sentiments from yesterday's inauguration was any indication, it seemed like she got her wish.

In these challenging times, we need an inspirational President.  After listening to yesterday's inauguration speech, many of us felt more optimistic, more hopeful, and are eager to ask..."Mr. President, how can we be of service?" [Permalink] -The Day After


January 20,2009 (Inauguration Day)

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston will mark the inauguration of President Barack Obama, by offering free viewing of inaugural events (from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.), including President Obama’s inaugural address, in the Museum’s theater.   In addition, all guests will receive a free commemorative copy of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address.  If you want to see it on the Web, go here.

The Museum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library will be open throughout the day, and paid visitors will have the opportunity to experience the new temporary exhibit, Poetry and Power: The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy, which includes rarely viewed original documents, many of which have never been publicly displayed, that reveal how President Kennedy’s speech was composed and the steps in the drafting process.

The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960. [Permalink]- Obama Inauguration / JFK Library


January 19,2009 (MoreSnowMonday)

The snow over the weekend finally ended Sunday night, but not before eight inches had blanketed everything.  By morning, the birds in the RainyDayGarden were ready for their breakfast.

The cardinals normally get first go at the fresh feed, followed by the sparrows.  This morning, the sparrows must have been really hungry as they were constantly buzzing the cardinal who was taking his time on the feeder. 

Althought not quite brave enough to actually push the cardinal off the feeder, the sparrows made it known that... [More]- Cardinal Feeding


January 17-18,2009 (WeekendEdition)

Our YES Cosmo watch was behaving oddly a few weeks go (fading LCD display, odd alarm behavior, etc...).  We realized the battery must be starting to fade.  This week the main display totally went blank, but the 24hr hand was still functioning.  Apparently, the Cosmo has two different batteries powering the various functions.  

Anyway, we thought this would be a good opportunity to open up the Cosmo, take a look at the innards, and show how to do the battery replacement for the watch.  Click on any of the images for a larger version and a closer look.

The back of the watch has notches to facilitate gripping the back and turning.  Our problem was none of the tools... [More]- YES Cosmo battery replacement


January 16,2009 (FreeFilmFriday)

Last Friday we took advantage of the FreeFilmFridays event at the Boston Museum of Science and saw the new Omni film Roving Mars.  It was an amazing film and we urge all of our readers to see it if they can.  For readers who are in the New England area, all MOS films on Fridays in January (Jan 9, 16, 23) are free to the public on a "first come, first served" basis.  The shows are sponsored by MathWorks.  If you are interested, you need to go to the museum and get your tickets EARLY as there are NO RESERVATIONS for any of the shows.  There is a limit of 2 shows per guest.

The crowd last Friday was large, but with good reason.  MathWorks and the Museum of Science brought in the lead scientist of the... [More]- Free Film Fridays


January 15,2009 (TableTennisThursday)

Table tennis is a popular sport in Hong Kong. No one teaches you how to play. You learn by hanging around the dozens of outdoor tables in your school's court yard. You wait for your turn to challenge the winner of the last game.  If you win, you play the next in line.  If you lose, you either go to the back of the line or move on to try your skill at another table.  With this system, skillful players get to play a lot, but everyone always gets a chance to compete against someone "good."  You quickly learn to play at tables with those you can beat or that you want to beat, or spend most of your free time waiting in line.

Today we decided to see if those dormant muscle memories could be reactivated.  However, before we can actually play, we need some paddles.  Most of the paddles at the local sporting goods stores are no better than the sandpaper-covered ones at the local Y.  Since it was lunch time, we thought we would head down to Chinatown to see if... [More]- Table Tennis


January 14,2009 (WelcomeWednesday)

Shobu Aikido of Boston moved their dojo from Newton to Somerville last Fall.  Since then, they have been introducing themselves and making friends around the neighborhood.  Tonight, the Shobu folks hosted a free sake tasting and Aikido demonstration at Grand in Somerville.

Gleason Sensei gave a dynamic demonstration as he explained some of the fundamental principles of Aikido.  For about twenty minutes, the crowd had a chance to... [More]- Shobu Aikido Demo


January 13,2009 (TelescopeTuesday)

A few weeks ago, we sold both of our larger telescopes (8" Celestron, 10" Newtonian) to raise funds for a very specific type of SCT.  We were looking for a Fastar, Celestron, or Meade with a removable secondary mirror so we could do some deep space imaging using a Hyperstar lens.  Check out Hyperstar's site and find out why we are so excited about their technology.

As luck with have it, Greg L in New Mampshire had a 10" Meade LX200 GPS that was exactly what we were looking for.  The problem was not that we were nowhere close to where he lives.  The problem was that we were nowhere close to... [More]- Meade LX200 GPS


January 12,2009 (MuseumMonday)

Right brain activities are good for those who spend too much time with computers, math, and other left-brain intensive activities.  The Danforth Museum in Framingham has a wonderful Chinese Brush Painting class which will give a fantastic right brain workout.  We took advantage of their class this past Sunday.

The class assumes no prior experience in Chinese brush techniques.  The instructor started at the absolute beginning: how to hold the brush, how to mix the... [More]- Chinese Brush Painting


January 10-11,2009 (WeekendEdition)

The forecast for this weekend was snow...about 8 inches of it.  The white stuff was scheduled to starting falling around 7PM on Saturday night, and snow emergency parking was already in effect in Boston by the afternoon. This was a major bummer as we had after-

-holiday-season holiday party plans for Satuday night.  When we saw no signs of flurries at 6PM, we decided to chance it and made our way over to the party.  We were glad we did!

Two of our contributing editors have been hosting this annual event for many yea... [More]- Yankee Swap


January 9,2009 (FreeFilmFriday)

My poor, bedraggled United States of America: housing bubble bursted, financial industry turmoiling, people losing their jobs leftist, rightist, and centrist. Sigh. Well, if you need a shot in the arm of “this is how great America can be,” then get yourself right over to the Museum of Science and watch the IMAX movie “Roving Mars,” one of the truly stunning cinemagraphic achievements in this century (as measured from 1908).

You think gettin’ us landed on the moon was a big deal, try sending the cousin of WALL-E on a seven month, three hundred MILLION mile journey to Mars, knowing that at the end of the trip there’d be a six-minute window where you’d have zero communication with the craft while it descended through the Mars atmosphere, and also knowing that you might never even hear from it again because... [More]- by Carolyn Donovan


January 8,2009 (TravelBagThursday)

We use the Kata W-92 waist pack to carry our Nikon D40. We also have the larger Kata WS-604 bag which was used for transporting some of the less often used gear and the occassional telescope. 

The W92 case was our first choice because it is compact, light weight, and yet still roomy enough for... [More]- Kata WS-604 w/D90


January 7,2009 (WowUsWednesday)

The interns were out at a local mall yesterday doing some after-Christmas bargain hunting when they spotted a stack of this amazing book (Cosmos: A Field Guide - Giles Sparrow).  The book is no longer in print and were marked down to just $19.95!

This book is BIG.  17.5 x 14 inches big. We took a few photos of the book next to some familiar objects (telescope, desk, Buffy) to give readers a sense of its size.  As the book's subject is the... [More]- Cosmos


January 6,2009 (TelescopeTuesday)

The Meade 2045 scope came with a very sturdy tripod and motorized mount, but now that CG-5 GoTo mount has been fixed we thought it would be good to try attaching the Meade OTA and use the duo for some deep sky astrophotography.

There are two things needed (rings, rail) to attach an optical tube assembly (OTA) onto the CG-5 mount.  We managed to locate what we needed from Orion Telescopes.  Orion Telescope carry a lot of hard to find gear at reasonable prices.  They are the first place we check when looking for parts.

Since we did not get any manuals with the Meade 2045 when we purchased the scope, we had to attempt the OTA disassembly by trial-and-error.  After a careful "once over", it was apparent that the OTA was attached to the fork mount by... [More]- Meade 2045 on CG-5


January 5,2009 (MoreNikonD90Monday)

The Nikon D90 package came with all of the accessores (strap, cables, battery, charger, software) except for the lens.  We had thought about getting the 18-105mm VR kit lens, but decided we wanteda more versatile lens for the D90 which we could leave on the camera most of the time.  As with all of our images, click on them for a larger version and a closer look.

The first thing we noticed about the D90 is how substantial it feels.  The layout of the various controls and buttons are similar to the D40, but more ergonomically arranged.  The Mode dial is now on the left.  There is also an LCD control panel which gives the photographer a quick at-a-glance view of the camera's status.

The D90 has a large 3" LCD monitor in the back.  Its high resolution display is perfect for previewing the D90's 12.3 MB images.  The D90 also has... [More]- Nikon D90 FirstLook


January 3-4,2009 (WeekendEdition)

We had the perfect reason for a road trip to NYC this weekend... to field-test our new Nikon D90 and VR zoom.  The goal was to put the camera on "auto" and just walk around and shoot.  How did we do with the new camera and lens?  Click on the images below and see.

The weather was excellent for walking around the city and we did a LOT of that.  We parked the car on the upper East side and strolled down to Union Square.  The wide angle and zoom capabilities of the 18-200mm zoom lens enabled us to... [More]- NYC


January 2,2009 (fotoFriday)

A new Nikon camera and zoom lens appeared under the Bubble Christmas tree at the RainyDayMagazine office this year.  In 2008, we reviewed a Nikon D40 SLR for RainyDayPhotography.  We liked the D40 was so much that we sold all of the Canon S2s and replaced them all with D40s.  Fast forward a year and a few thousand photos later, we are totally sold on the Nikon digital SLRs.  They are easy to use, handles well, and can stand up to the rigor of studio and field use.

When Nikon released the higher resolution D90 mid-range SLR in Q3 of 2008, we knew it would be... [More]- Nikon D90 and lens


January 1,2009 (HappyNewYear)

What better way to start the new year than with a rejuvenating yoga class?  How about a candle-lit one?  OK... what if it was free?

That was exactly what Jenn Pici offered on Jan 1.  The class was held at the Shobu Aikido of Boston dojo (34 Allen Street, Somerville).  Jenn Pici teaches Vinyasa yoga: gentle, restorative, and ... [More]- Vinyasa Yoga



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