Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Armenian National Anthem

In Armenia on June 20, 2009 at 1:54 am

sung by the students of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School of Watertown, MA Tonight was the graduation ceremonies for my nephew and their rendition of “mer hayrenik” was quite moving so I thought I’d share it.

Lasagna (a possible recipe)

In Random on June 18, 2009 at 8:35 pm
1 Box Lasagna Noodles (pick a brand)
1 lb of lean ground beef
a few cloves of garlic (to your tolerance)
olive oil
2 28oz cans from crushed tomatoes
Some fennel (maybe 2 pinches)
Cayenne Pepper
1 big jug of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
about a 1/4 cup of dry parsley
brick of Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Sauce making hint:  I don’t give exact amounts of spices because you’ll figure it based on your taste…add a bit of each and keep adding as the sauce simmers…but don’t put too much oregano or cayenne as those will overpower everything else.

Heat oil, chop up the garlic cook add to oil. A minute later add beef, salt, pepper and fennel and oregano. the fennel will give it the kick as if you had sausage in it. once meat is close to cooked, add the two cans of tomatoes, get to it boil slightly and then simmer. Once it is simmering steadily, add the parmesan cheese (oh about a 1/4 cup) and basil and stir it in well.

Now boil the water (add a little salt and a drop of olive oil).

While waiting grate Mozzarella.  set aside

Mix the Ricotta, Egg and Parsely well in a bowl.

Get a pyrex 9×13 pan. put some of the sauce on the bottom of the pan (just enough to wet it).

Reserve 1/3 of your sauce for serving at the table.

Layer the following:

5 pieces of lasagna noodles (3 across, then 2 covering the seams)
1/2 Ricotta
1/4 of the Mozzarella
5 pieces of lasagna noodles again
Rest of Ricotta
another 1/4 of the Mozzarella
Lasagna Noodles that are left
the rest of the Mozzarella
More Parmesan

Put it in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes or so @325 degrees (until the cheese on top is melted a bit)


Reviews of my book…

In Literature on June 15, 2009 at 11:59 pm

AHS/Arlington Food Pantry 5K run

In history, Random on June 15, 2009 at 1:02 am

Today we took part in the AHS/Arlington Food Pantry 5k Run

As the article in the link above points out, the guys in the AP history class did this as a final project to raise awareness for a local charity.  Other teams are doing other events and concerts for the rest of the month.  Although Daniel was helping run the event with his classmates, the rest of us ran in the race.

The Team That Planned and Ran the event while we were running

The Team That Planned and Ran the event while we were running

We had a lot of fun, although it was POURING while we were running.  I was soaked through to the skeleton…Here’s a photo of the family afterwards

The very wet Chakmakjian Family

The very wet Chakmakjian Family

It was a great morning and for a great cause.

OK so those who are into stats.  5k 29:36 for me…about 9.5 minute miles.  The fastest person was 18 minutes.  The last was 48 minutes.   In my 30s I used to run this in closer to 23 minutes, but my number pinned to my chest was, by coincidence, my age deterioration metric 🙂

Canobie Lake…

In Random on June 15, 2009 at 12:41 am

Visited Canobie Lake Amusement Park yesterday.  We had our 2 and their 2 cousins along with us.  It was a great day.  The kids got soaked, we enjoyed the hot sun and ended the day with a great meal at the Chateau Restaurant in Andover…

The Flume was great also:

Startups and the Cloud

In Random, Social Media, web 2.0 on June 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

If you want to know what was happening minute by minute, please go search the twitter hashtag #SandCloud.  There are pictures, video and commentary there…

That being said there were some interesting things I listened to today:

1) Scott Cook’s take on creating a startup…he had an especially poignant story on having to let employees in his early days know that the company had run out of cash…to pay them


2)We had a panel of VC’s who talked about how they select companies to back and how they groom entrepreneurs into growing their companies

3)The panel of CEO’s expressing how cloud computing changed their business model.  The biggest thing I got out of their stories was how the cloud has changed both the makeup of their staff (no more IT departments or professional services) and how the subscription costs of cloud computing changed their accounting from a cash flow point of view.  The DimDim CEO was particularly eloquent about how his business grew.

More later…

A rabbit in my backyard…

In Random on June 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm

So I was looking outside my window this morning and I saw the neighborhood rabbit…this is probably the 3rd sighting for me and on this overcast day, watching him chewing on tall grass in my backyard I got all philosophical.   Several thoughts popped in my head…

1) Maslow…wondering if this rabbit is self-actualizing…

2) What a life, hiding and eating in tall grass

3) There used to be a coyote in our neighborhood…amazing the rabbit hasn’t run into a predator

4) I wouldn’t mind a simpler life…college cost would be less…

5) Don’t rabbits have lots of bunnies…how come I keep seeing just this one?

6) I thought we had cats in the neighborhood?

7) RABBIT STEW…from the original bugs bunny…

Then I came to work…

Second life…I’ll stick to my first life…

In Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on June 9, 2009 at 2:54 am

So over the past couple of weeks I’ve played with “Second Life“.  How did I get in there?  I saw that a LinkedIn contact had connected his LinkedIn profile and his second life profile.   So being the type that will try anything once, I signed up, downloaded the software and created my avatar.  Being a tech, I did NOT read the documentation.

This is a game that might eventually be something later, but right now it is a game.

So you go in there and you start out at this “welcome center”  you interact with some other avatars and then you start going to different places.  You are assigned a home, but you can also choose one.   For some reason, my home was set to a tiki bar on Moose beach.  Avatars stand around, dressed in various provocative or strange outfits at Moose Beach.  Avatars bump you. some carry machines guns.   Some come up to you and help you learn or help you undo something someone gave you.  Others come around that are “noobs”  (newbies) and are looking for info.  Since most avatars don’t let you know who they are in first life, you have to guess their intentions. There are also bots that populate the world and avatars with the last name “linden” who are there to help you.  Most people just IM each other, while some do hog the microphone and speak to each other.

Of course with all the provocative outfits, the next thing you notice (if you didn’t read the documentation) is that it seems like a singles bar run amok.  However, you can immediately search for something, and then Teleport there.  So you can find all kinds of Dance bars, concerts, museums et cetera.  In fact you’ll be inundated with “cards” being given to you with places to check out.

There’s a whole economy that you can attempt to take part in.  You can either earn Lindens (the currency) or you can exchange your real money (credit card) for Lindens.  Although you can find a lot of stuff to buy for 0 Lindens, in order to create anything significant (like lets say, a house on some land) you have to have a significant account.  There are offers to earn Lindens within the world, but invariably they want your first life information to give you a survey, or ask you for a credit card number.

As I said there’s all kinds of provocative stuff and if you follow someone (they might request to teleport you somewhere) you’ll find yourself in some beautiful creative garden that happens to be a denizen of comic book sin.  In some ways, it’s amusing, but mostly its stupid.

Now as a trekkie, I can see how this could be the start of the Holodeck in Star Trek: The New Generation.  All you need is a Moriarty to try and take over your computer 🙂  As to future applications, I can see how you might be able to use this to project yourself in a meeting, and with enough control, if everyone had an avatar, joystick, microphone and sound, you might be able to create a virtual meeting.   A lot of people get frustrated with phone conf call meetings because you can’t tell what is going on if everyone doesn’t have a camera or if the presentation media isn’t being shared effectively.  This could be a cool way of interacting (maybe).

After about a week signing in and going here and there, getting several “outfits” for free, and walking around I got tired of it.  I wasn’t accomplishing much, I refuse to give over my credit card to play a game (I don’t do it on facebook Triumph or Mafia and I won’t do it here).  The other thing that I noticed was that my MacBook would start to overheat from the traffic (esp. prob. the graphics) and the fan which 98% of the time doesn’t run, will crank up like the MacBook is going to take off (ha ha, provocative website, mac gets hot…no in fact they have a whole set of FAQ’s about what to do if your machine starts to overheat, so evidently their software creates a common experience).

I’m going back to the traditional social media like twitter, digg, friendfeed, LinkedIn and Facebook.  I’m going write blog posts.  The picture of the steaks cooking on my grill will be posted from my phone through go to flickr, friendfeed, twitter et cetera.  But until Second life has a compelling financial structure that works within the world itself (If I have to dig through first life documentation to understand how to do it, forget it) I’m not going to play.   I wish the creators of the technology good luck, but right now, the return on investment (of time) just doesn’t make it compelling.