Last week I met up with a former student of mine who is now beginning his senior year at MIT. We had lunch at a Boston sandwich mainstay, Al’s Cafe on South Street, just around the corner from South Station. Al’s churns out sandwiches with incredible efficiency, and they come in their iconic yellow bag, which you commonly see being carried throughout the city. My friend ordered the meatball sub, and no sooner had the words left his mouth he was handed one of those yellow bags with his meatball sub inside. Apparently, Al’s the meatball sub is ordered so often, they have a few ready at all times to keep the lines moving. We ate lunch outside and enjoyed the nice summer day, and then decided to head south and meetup with one of his friends who is the CEO of NVbots.
NVbots is a 3D printing company that is looking to integrate the process of 3D printing into a reliable and repeatable process. What I mean by this is they have created a system in which their printers remove finished prints from the build surface, place the prints into a container, and can then immediately print again. Users can load several prints at one time and simply walk away. Additionally, the printers can be accessed remotely, so the user does not have to be near the printer in order to start prints – or multiple prints. Making this technology reliable would certainly be quite beneficial for 3D printer users, especially in commercial or educational industries. NVbots are assembled by hand and all their parts our sourced from the USA. Check out their website here.
Later in the week I traveled to the midwest for the bachelor party for a good friend. The group met in Chicago, but then headed out of town for some interesting destinations and activities. Day 1 landed us at Starved Rock StatePark – which was apparently voted #1 attraction in the state of Illinois. The beauty of Starved Rock is found within the many canyons that wind through the park. The canyons are cut out of sandstone, and during spring or heavy rains, produce incredible picturesque waterfalls that seem to just appear out of the forest. On the particular day we were at Starved Rock the fall were basically dry, but you could still hike to the bottom of each canyon and stand below the tops of the falls and imagine a raging torrent of water coming from above.
We ended the day in McClean, IL – a small (population 836) nondescript town southwest of Chicago. The attraction McLean can boast is Arcadia, their retro arcade museum. Pacman, Street Fighter, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and plenty more. The owner of the arcade museum also has an AirBNB suite located next to the museum, where we stayed. The museum was kept open late into the night for us as we tried to spend rolls of quarters on all the different games on hand. Not sure if its worth the drive just for that, but if somehow you find yourself in the area, its worth checking out.
We left McLean and headed to Lacon, Il, a town adjacent to the Illinois, River. We came to Lacon to do some fishing – bowfishing. I had never heard of bowfishing before, and was not sure what to expect. We met our guide, Nathan of Peoria Carp Hunters, and were told about the Asian Carp, an invasive species destroying the ecosystem of the Illinois, River. Our guide, a fireman by day, created his bowfishing service to help cull the Asian Carp population. You might be asking why bowfishing? Well, when you drive your boat around this section of the river, the carp leap right out of the water, quite high actually. The boat has to be surrounded by a net to protect the driver from fish leaping out of the water. I was actually struck several times by carp, twice in the head and once in the chest, which even left a pretty good bruise on me. As the boat moved about the river the carp jump and we used a bow and arrow to shoot the fish in the air. The arrow is on a tether, and you reel them in after you fire, similar to a regular fishing rod. We did our part to help rid the river of this invasive species, and had a pretty good time doing it. Certainly not that easy, but all six of us made several catches during the day.
Today I’m back in Boston awaiting the arrival of our POD. with any luck we will be eating on an actual table in actual chairs tonight. Looking forward to it!