Vector Graph Racer

I love vectors. I mean, they’re pretty awesome. They have a magnitude and a direction. Two for the price of one. They are also quite helpful when doing physics. [Full disclosure: my dissertation had a big focus on vectors, so I’m a little biased.] I also really like graph paper. So you can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled upon a paper-and-pencil game that used vectors as the main mechanic.

The game goes by many names and has been around for a long time. I first saw it as Graph Racer, but I like Vector Racer too. There’s a whole article on the rules and variants on Wikipedia. The game is always different because you draw the board each time you play. So how does it work?
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fire hydrants

I really like fire hydrants. I think they’re really interesting. If you pay attention to fire hydrants you can learn a lot about a town’s character (or lack of it). And once I started paying attention to fire hydrants I noticed just how different they were. There is a lot of variation in design, including structure and color.

A pretty standard fire hydrant (from Puerto Rico):
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If you Google fire hydrants, you get a whole bunch of your standard red (and sometimes yellow) fire hydrants. According to Wikipedia, the coloring of the caps are supposed to tell firefighters how much water pressure is available. The non-standard ones are the ones that I mostly notice now, but sometimes standard ones in unusual locations stand out also. Here are some of my favorite fire hydrants I’ve found and photographed.
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My Year in Review: 2013

This post is meant to serve as my non-existent holiday card for interested friends and relatives, as well as a completely biased recounting of my year.

Travel

Airplane sunset
Well, I traveled a lot this year. More than usual. I flew 46,601 miles, going to about 22 different cities. I went to North Carolina twice, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Madison, Chicago, Chile, and a bunch of places in Southern California. Most of those trips were either work-related or family-related (my brother got married this summer!). But I did finally take an actual vacation – two weeks in Chile (I promise a post about this is going to happen).
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Tilden Park

Yesterday, before (and during the beginning of) the Super Bowl, I went over to Tilden Regional Park with some friends and their children. It is a large park, and we spent most of our time at the Little Farm (which the kids loved – they could chase chickens and pet cows) and the short trail to Jewel Lake. Here are my favorite pictures from the trip.