Open Appreciation

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It has been a year since Jeanine was elected President of Open Table and in that time she has made many positive changes to the organization.  The annual Board meeting was held this evening in conjunction with a volunteer appreciation dinner.  I have become the defacto photographer for the organization which keeps me busy on such occasions. I enjoy combining my favorite hobby with my favorite person although I barely had time to eat dinner and entirely missed the dessert course.

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Fifty Six

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Fall color this year has arrived much earlier and is more brilliant than usual.  Even overcast skies cannot subdue the vibrant hues that are to be seen everywhere. I celebrated my 56th birthday today by rising early and spending some time at Great Meadows before work. The water has been largely drained for the winter, for reasons not entirely clear to me, leaving behind a beautiful sea of exposed water lilies.

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Reds this year are more intense than ever and I am hoping for a little sunshine this week to capture some photos which do justice to what nature has created.  I cherish this time of year and treat every day as a precious gift.

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Early Celebration

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The family celebrated my birthday a day early this afternoon.  I chose to visit Plymouth, MA for a photo outing.  Each member of the family was equipped with a camera as we toured the historic town.  Despite the many photo worthy scenes, I was the most frequent subject (turn around is fair play since I am the one normally on the other side of the lens). In order, these photos were taken by Maya, Kyle, and Jeanine.

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My morning was spent on the soccer pitch in a match against arch rival Acton-Boxboro who we soundly defeated by a score of 5-0. I played well and managed to avoid injury as the team moved up the division 1 standings into third place.

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Kicks for Cancer

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Kicks for Cancer is a fund raiser for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute established by CCHS soccer in memory of Lois Wells, the mother of the team’s assistant coach, Steve Wells.  In its 8th year, the event has raised over $130,000 for cancer research.  Players wear jerseys with the name of someone they would like to remember or honor.  When I first photographed this event 7 years ago, I was moved to photograph the team from the back and did so again this afternoon.

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Maya chose to honor my sister, Alissa, who is winning her battle with cancer.  CCHS defeated arch rival, Lincoln Sudbury by a score of 2-0.

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29 & Counting

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It has been 29 years since I first met Jeanine on a blind date and I consider myself lucky for having shared more than half my life with her.  We will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary later this fall.

Matter of Perspective

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Kyle returned from Verrill Farm today with our weekly assortment of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetables.  Apparently, they were also handing out pumpkins deemed too ugly to sell.  I happen to think this one is quite beautiful.

New Idea

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Managing a team of close to 250 engineers, contractors and interns, it is rare when I get a chance to do any product ideation.  Today I found a few minutes to exercise some of my engineering muscles.

Chinese Dragons

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During the new factory building dedication last week, we were entertained by a pair of Chinese dragons.  The ceremonial dance they performed is meant to bring good fortune to the new enterprise.

Three Bandits

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A colleague shared his photos of our recent trip to China today. I am pictured here with our CFO and Director of Operations Strategy.  We are visiting a painting facility which was the reason for the masks.

Ipswich Excursion

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My back almost fully healed, I was back on the soccer pitch this morning, although in very poor form.  The combination of lingering jet lag, limited exercise, and excessive food consumption during daily business lunches and dinners for the past two weeks left me out of shape.  The team departed at 7am for the one hour drive to Medfield.  We were up 2-0 at the half but squandered that lead, giving up three goals in the second. A thoroughly disappointing result.

On a whim, I announced to the family that we would be traveling to Ipswich for the afternoon.  We dragged Maya away from her homework and studying for the 50 minute drive.  We stopped first for a stroll on Crane Beach and then stopped in at Russell Orchards for an apple picking/pumpkin festival.

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We wrapped up our visit dining at Periwinkles, one of Jeanine’s favorite New England restaurants.

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The Pollinator

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Despite splendid weather today, I did little to take advantage of it.  Still suffering the effects of jet lag, I found it hard to accomplish anything other than sleeping.  In between naps, I did manage to process the photographs I took while traveling in China and Hong Kong, spend a few minutes in the garden, and picked up a loaner car from BMW of Sudbury which I will use until my new all-electric i3 arrives late next month (assuming there are no more delays).

Geared Up

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Whenever I am away from the office, I pay a heavy toll on my first day back. Waiting for me upon my arrival was a minor quality crisis which required my attention for most of the day. Fortunately, I was able to remain alert until late afternoon when the day-for-night time zone switch got the better of me. A souvenir from a gear making factory that I visited while in China was this tiny specimen used in wrist watch movements.

Home Port

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In contrast to the port of Hong Kong, Boston Harbor seems down right tiny. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to see it after 20 hours of transit on my return home. I was able to get a reasonable amount of sleep which will help with work tomorrow. Unfortunately, I chose to watch Godzilla and Divergent during the flight. The former, possibly the most stupid film I have ever seen and the later just so implausible that it was hard to enjoy. By contrast, on my flight to China I watched four absolutely fantastic movies; Chef, Grace, Belle, and 12 Years a Slave.

iRobot Hong Kong

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iRobot’s Hong Kong office is located on the 11th floor of this building.  We spent the morning of our last day here giving another round of presentations and meeting with employees.  By mid-afternoon, Alison Dean (our CFO) and I were finished for the day and set out to enjoy some sightseeing. Our first stop was the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

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I clowned around with an exterior art installation before entering the museum.  A special exhibit of the wood sculptures of Tong King-sum was the highlight of my visit and I only wish that photography had been permitted inside.  Next we boarded the Star Ferry for a quick transit of Victoria Harbor and then walked to the Peak Tram station. On the way we paused to watch as workers added the final car to the new Hong Kong Observation Wheel.

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The Peak Tramway is a funicular (cable) railway which carries tourist and residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island terminating at Victoria Peak which offers a commanding view of the harbor and skyscrapers.

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After enjoying our first casual dinner of the week while still on Victoria Peak we returned to Kowloon where we caught the tail end of the famous light show and I grabbed a parting shot of the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower.

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Yantian Port

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Today we were scheduled to visit the Yantian Port at Shenzhen where an average of a half dozen containers filled with iRobot product are loaded on cargo vessels each day for shipment around the world. Typhoon Kalmaegi, however, had other plans for us. Although it did not directly hit Hong Kong, it passed close enough to trigger a T8 warning (gale force winds in excess of 100 mph).  The port was closed, all ships were sent out to sea, and most companies ask their employees to remain at home.  As a result our visit was cancelled and our transportation to Hong Kong was delayed by several hours. When we did reach the city, I capture a very rare photo of the port without a single ship in it.  The remainder of our day was spent in the Langham Hotel where we rode out the storm before a business dinner with management from our second largest contract manufacturer.

iRobot China

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My day was spent in Machong and Dongguan meeting with management and touring factory locations of the company we use to manufacture our gear boxes (used in wheel module assemblies and cleaning heads).  The evening was reserved for a meeting and dinner celebration with all iRobot employees based in our Guangzhou office.  I gave a presentation covering the R&D organization and our recent initiative to more fully embrace agile development methods.

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It is considered a great honor in Chinese culture to be photographed with top management.  We took the time to create a portrait with each member of our Chinese contingent and will have prints framed and presented as gifts.

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