The A Team

Featured in this photo, taken in my office, is the product development leadership team that I have the pleasure of working with every day. I make a pretty big deal about hiring only the best people (“A players”). Assembled here is the Olympic gold medal team for mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, systems engineering, quality, and program management.

SLT

2012-01-30 104342 012.jpg Finally it was my turn to be included in an iRobot photograph. Pictured here is the SLT (Senior Leadership Team) including my peers and boss (seated left). I have taken all photos in this series from the top of a ladder to create a more balanced perspective of everyone in the picture. Using the ten second timer on my camera I would trip the shutter, descend the ladder and take my place. As much as I have enjoyed taking these images, I am looking forward to completing this project. Each photo takes 30 minutes out of my day (set up lighting, get the ladder, balance exposure, pose the group, take the photo, tear down the lighting, return the ladder, process the images) which is starting to eat into the demands of my day job.

Child’s Eye View

2012-01-29 115210 005.jpg Jeanine and I teamed up today at our church where we are volunteering in the 3-4 year old nursery. I really enjoy being around kids of this age. They see the world in such simple and pure terms. I take a lot of joy in finding a way to relate with each child on their level. Most adults want to teach children how to be more like them. I believe kids have far more to teach us. After completing the activities in our lesson plan we enjoyed some unstructured time. Jeanine read aloud to some while I assisted these two with the construction of a lake which was eventually spanned by three bridges.

Lion Heart

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Nicolai faced his toughest competition of the season in the finals of the Dual County League Wrestling Tournament held today at Waltham High School. He breezed to the finals securing two first period pins bringing his streak to 10 in a row. There he faced Ben Defranzo, a former wrestling club teammate and sparing partner, who is currently ranked sixth in the state of Massachusetts. The match was extremely close and hard fought. Defranzo secured a lead in the second period after a scoreless first. He remained ahead by one point late into the third period when Nicolai with 2 seconds remaining on the clock scored a takedown to win the match 4-3. The crowd roared with approval for the come from behind, never say die effort. Nicolai was moved with emotion and I predict he will remember this match for the rest of his life. I could not have been more proud, less so for the win than for the heart of a lion that Nico displayed. Several of Nico’s close friends came to watch him in the finals and I credit them with providing the incremental motivation to win that was unquestionably a factor in a match this close. A dejected Defranzo leaves the mat and will no doubt be working out that much harder to defeat Nico the next time they meet. Nicolai will need to match and surpass that effort if he wants to compete at the state level this season.

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Cousin Johnny

2012-01-27 190653 012.jpg My nephew John William, who is a freshman at Babson, celebrated his 19th birthday with us this evening. Jeanine cooked up a Mexican dinner which John seemed to enjoy immensely. For desert she prepared a chocolate pecan pie in lieu of a birthday cake. As skinny as a rail, it is not entirely clear where all the food goes into this recently minted adult.

Nicolai joined us at the table but was unable to eat anything as he is cutting weight for a major wrestling tournament tomorrow. He enters seeded second and is feeling very strong. Maya was joined by her friend Sarrinagh who made the fourth in the after meal Euchre card game.

Amigos

2012-01-26 192623 005.jpg Nicolai invited several friends over this evening for an impromptu gathering/party. Jeanine and I really enjoy this group of kids and are happy they feel comfortable hanging out chez Calabria. They are preparing a batch of popcorn as I type explaining the brevity of this entry.

Where’s Waldo

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The largest group in my department is the Mechanical Engineering team. It was a tight squeeze but everyone managed to fit in our machine shop for the next group portrait in the series I have been shooting over the past week. See if you can tell which vacationing employee was PhotoShopped into the image after the fact.

League Champions

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This evening Maya’s indoor soccer team secured a first place finish in their league. The final match was a come from behind draw that was settled with a penalty kick shoot out. Maya took turns playing on defense, offense, and in the goal where she turned away all attempts on net.

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Coyote Buttes

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In total I spent more than 20 hours this weekend organizing and streamlining my photography collection. I was able to cull 5000 images bringing the total to just over 80,000. Every photo I take is named according to the time of capture (YYYY-MM-DD HHMMSS ###) and a 3 digit sequential count (some of my cameras can take 5 pictures per second). In order to remain agnostic to the various picture database programs that come and go I use keyword metadata contained within the files to describe search characteristics (who, what, when, where, rating, etc) to facilitate searching. For a little break from the monotony of keyword tagging I redeveloped some of my favorite photos. Software has improved dramatically in the last several years allowing me to reprocess my original files into far superior prints. I took this photo in 2007 while hiking in northern Arizona.

Snow… Finally

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Our first winter weather since the freak early storm we got last year led to cancellation of Nicolai’s wrestling quad meet which I was looking forward to. Instead, I spent the entire day indoors working at my computer breaking only long enough to clear three inches of snow from the driveway. Nico benefited from an extra day to prepare for midterms and capped the day by hosting a dinner for a half dozen friends. He shopped for and prepared the meal which featured a Caprese salad followed by pasta with a choice of marinara or oil and garlic sauce.

Relaxing Fire

2012-01-16 165129 008.jpg After a strenuous work week it is a great winter pleasure to just sit and relax in front of a nice fire. My father knew how to truly appreciate such moments and he would be pleased with how well I learned from him.

Software Team

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Meet the software development team that works in my department at iRobot. I have been methodically photographing each department for use on a new company intranet site. Unlike group portraits of my family these folks are extremely cooperative and do not complain when I take ten minutes to pose everyone for the shot.

Eight Straight

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Nicolai scored his eighth straight pin and has now surpassed his father’s best ever string. While winning by fall is the goal for which every wrestler strives, the downside is that Nico has yet to wrestle a full 6 minutes match. This may conspire against him later in the season when he faces the toughest competition. He will need to work that much harder in practice if he wants the brass ring.

Red Glory

2012-01-17 080514 001.jpg Every once in a blue moon I get a request from a family member for a specific blog photo. These are most welcomed as they alleviate the constant pressure to come up with my own idea each day. Jeanine has been nurturing this flower for some time and today it was blooming in all its glory. I was so excited to have a subject for the day that I neglected to remember the name of this plant.

Short Order Chef

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After joining me for a 6v6 soccer game this morning Nico invited a half dozen friends over to the house for a noon time brunch. Inspired, I believe, by our recent visit to the Paramount, Nico was taking individual orders and cooking all manner of eggs, bacon and pancakes with all the style (see photo of eggs being flipped) and speed of a seasoned short order cook. I was one of the beneficiaries of his efforts and could not have been more happy with my eggs over medium, bacon, and sour dough toast. Jeanine is to be credited with raising three children who all know how to and enjoy cooking.

Photo Inventory

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Jeanine and I spent the night alone at my childhood home in Schenectady while Maya enjoyed a visit with her cousins. My top priority on this visit is to remove as many electrical wiring code violations as possible. A second objective is to do a room by room, wall by wall, photographic inventory of the homes contents for the benefit of my mother who continues to recuperate nicely in North Carolina where she is currently living with my sister Mayela. As we ready the home for sale she has been gifting her artwork and the other emotionally significant items to family and friends. The photographs will help her identify which items are still uncommitted and to create something of an inventory to help the rest of us track everything. We were joined by my brother-in-law Stephen who is in town for the weekend and will drive my mother’s Honda back to NC filled to the brim with items for his family. Pictured here is a portion of my father’s library from which hundreds of books have already been gifted.