- My wife and I met in 1993 in Rochester, NY, where we were
both regulars at the weekly contra dance. Several years later in
Pittsburgh, we happened to be at a big charity swing dance; we were
pushed into entering the swing dance competition, and after several
elimination rounds we were surprised to win! ...beating out a pair of
dance instructors! Not only were we particularly in sync that evening,
but I think we are also simply more in love than the instructors, and looked like we were
having more fun.
In 2003 I felt like I was trying to hold down two full-time
jobs at once, as we designed and oversaw the construction of our new house. We didn't really want a new
house---we wanted a 100-year-old Victorian like we had in
Pittsburgh---but the timing for such a find didn't work out in Amherst,
and so we decided to design a house that looks like it was
built 100 years ago; (we were aiming for 1890, actually). Our wonderful
architect was Richard Morse.
- Cooking. Especially bread baking.
- Carpentry. Our perpetually unfinished house still has
a few cabinetry projects remaining, but we had a great time
doing the first-floor interior trim in stained oak, and putting lots of
Victorian spindles high and low on our front porch. I'm now
treating my table saw with renewed respect after a Rochester friend was
hurt by a piece of wood kicking back. Someday I'd love to build a
barn, but we'd need more land. I'm pining for chickens and goats
- Sculpting 3-D birthday cakes from 100% edible
yummy-ness. Each year my kids make their shape requests and I
bring them to life. Foot-high rook and knight. One-by-two
foot soccer field with marzipan players to scale. Mountain lion
laying on belly with fruit-leather ears. Moon rocket. Cow
with patches of chocolate and cream-cheese icing skin.
Stegasaurus on four legs with chocolate wafer back fins. 8"
diameter soccer ball and cleat in mid-kick, with thin licorice
laces. Three-foot long water dragon with half-bunt-cake body
curves. An offset stack of three Harry Potter novels, with cover
pictures rendered in colored sugar. An erupting volcano (OK,
non-edible dry-ice helped here, but the sweetened red-dyed milk bubbles
coming out the top were absolutely edible).
- Sailing. Although I sold my Compac Suncat
sailboat before going on sabbatical to France. I recently
bought a consolation prize that is more practical for the area: a
dinghy. I'd love to sail and row it all the way down the
Connecticut River to the Long Island Sound.
- All things French. Especially cheese. When we
lived in France 2009-2010 we conducted regular post-family-dinner
cheese tasting quizzes. My two sons learned to identify about 30
different kinds of French cheese... only ~200 more to go!
- Hiking. Especially in the White Mountains of New
Hampshire, our local western Massachusetts natural beauty, and the Alps
around our sabatical home-town of Grenoble. In 2016-2018 my younger son and
I have been climbing the 4000'-ers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
By September 2018 we had summitted 36 of them. Ten more to go.
Dancing. It's traditional New England Folk dancing, and it is not
the same as Square Dancing. See Wikipedia's Contra Dancing article
and the definitions here.
My wife and I learned to call dances from Ron
Buchanan during a multi-week workshop in Pittsburgh. We used to
call regularly in Pittsburgh, but have only called once so far in
Amherst. My wife ran the local Northampton
Family Dance for a few years.
- The game of Go.
I learned from Dana
Ballard and Patrice
- Juggling. Passing clubs. My cousin Ernie
Petrides taught me to juggle balls. My wife taught me to juggle and
pass clubs. We enjoy passing with our long-time friend, Joel Harris, a
professional juggler who lives in Amherst.
I'm happy that my old Nikon lenses fit my circa-2003 digital SLR body.
- Hacking. I guess I can't get enough of it at work, because
I even do it for fun. Crazy me. In addition to the software
projects listed here, I also enjoyed following
- In 1995 Richard Stallman named me to be the chief
maintainer of GNUstep, the Free Software Foundation's effort to
implement NeXT's OpenStep standard. Adam Fedor took over in 1997.
- I also hacked on libguileobjc,
an interface between GNU Guile (a Scheme interpreter) and Objective C.
- I wrote persia, a toolkit for building virtual
reality environments on Rochester's SGI Onyx RealityEngine2. The kit is
based on SGI's Performer library and ELK Scheme.
- I wrote rlkit, a software library that makes
it easy to test various reinforcement learning algorithms in different
environments with different sensory-motor systems. It's implemented in
Objective-C and Guile.