20 January 2006

Mountain View ramen, 3-D, and AAA

Stereo Displays & Applications
We had a fun and informative time at SPIE/IS&T's SD&A 2006, where we're fortunate to learn from researchers from around the globe who travel far and wide to talk about all things three-dimensional. 3-D floating above tabletops, in front of giant projection screens, and a keynote from IMAX 3-D. Also, the annual 3-D screening was a success -- hundreds of people packed into a room, wore good (polarized) 3-D goggles, and watched two hours of 3-D film clips.

It was also great to see old friends from college (hung out with C & M K on Tuesday night for sushi) and new friends (from beyond!).

Also, I bought some art for J-Fav. There is a less-well-known format of stereo 3-D image called the "phantogram." Sparing you the technical details, phantograms are designed to be laid flat on a table rather than hanging on a wall. The outcome is that imagery floats above the table, and with the proper choice of subject (and color) can be very impressive. I got her (ok, well, US) a phantogram of several flowers, as shown in that link. Ever buy art where they include 3-D glasses before? No, me neither.

Mountain View
On Wednesday night I took my annual pilgrimage to the standard-Silicon-Valley-town of Mountain View for dinner and coffee. (Californians look at me funny when I bring this up; it's like making a big deal out of going from Cambridge to Saugus. I mean there's nothing wrong with Saugus, but...)

Ever seen Tampopo, a movie (on the surface) about the art of Japanese noodle soup? In the spirit of Tampopo, I ventured into Maru Ichi, a crowded Japanese noodle house with Japanese game shows playing on televisions and posters saying things like, "LUNCH BEER: $1.75." Like the shabu-shabu scene in Lost in Translation, I had a hard time distinguishing between the ramentypes. I asked the waitress to bring me whatever is good, and I got "kuro ramen," a noodle soup with an intriguing broth that looked simultaneously dark brown and, for lack of a better term, buttery. (It is a browned garlic & chicken soup base.) Good stuff. I sat up at an elevated U-shaped bar in the middle of the restaurant, picked at kimchi, and thought about how odd it is that a journey that began as a reluctant entry into an MIT business plan competition has brought me here.

Maru Ichi is across the street from Sono Sushi, a place where you grab what you want off miniature sushi-bearing boats that travel around a long oval moat.

After the requisite visits to two neighboring bookstores, I ended the night at Dana Street Roasting Company. That link to a review says it all.

Oh, and My Car?
I left San Jose at 9am and returned to Boston around 10pm. Unfortunately my car - parked in the Terminal B lot - wouldn't start. The Massport guys (ever CALL the "Massport" guys?) couldn't jump-start it, so they towed it, with surgical precision, to an AAA tow truck outside the lot, who took me the 15-or-so miles to my mechanic in Burlington.

Believe it or not, the least straightforward part of that 3-hour exercise was watching the Massport guys get clearance to roll my car beyond the parking lot toll booth. I paid $120 for parking, but was in the lot for just over 1 hour. That $16 of "just over" caused the hold up.

At midnight this was all a lot more dramatic and aggravating than it sounds. And hopefully I won't need to replace my car just yet.

That's all for now. And mad props to Norvin for hunting down the Elizabeth Bishop poem in the subway a few posts below.


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