Garlic!

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Custom multigrain garlic bagel
Custom multigrain garlic bagel

The garlic bagel is a food object of tremendous power. However, my wife has been pointing out just how unhealthy white bread bagels are, so I have, sadly, cut way back.

It doesn’t have to be this way. It turns out that my local shop, a branch of Finagle A Bagel, will make bagels to order. I called up at 6:15 this morning and a dozen multi grain with garlic bagels were ready at 7.

I am a happy boy today. I am safe from vampires, but my colleagues are advised to keep back.

Making laws

As a followup to the post about delivering the tax code in source form, I think that congress should be required to use a revision control system for bills.  Such a system could help us figure out who added what provisions.  You know how when a provision benefiting some group is added and noone seems to know how or when it got in the final bill?  

I am most familiar with cvs and svn, but there are many others.  All of these systems track revisions and permit the user to go back and check out any previous version.  Good ones can show you the changes between any two versions, … and who made those changes.  Svn has a feature called “svn blame” which produces a listing of a file with every line of text annotated by its author.  So you want to know who added the earmark giving a billion dollars to Halliburton?  Svn blame!

Tax ideas

Is anyone not offended by the complexity of tax forms?

The tax code is Congress’ fault.  Congress is our fault.  Therefore the tax code is our fault.  We should all choose to elect a congress to fix it, but in the meantime, here are some modest proposals.

  • Congressmen must do their own taxes.  On paper.
  • All congressmen will be audited. Their mistakes get put on a web site.
  • Tax law must be delivered in source code form

And yes, I was recently trying to figure out whether I owe any estimated taxes.

(Ideas from conversations with Win.)

The Bully Pulpit

Here’s my first political post.

I think President Elect Obama is missing a bet on the Blagojevich affair. After the Rev. White incident, Obama took the opportunity to present a very good speech on race relations. He didn’t hide hide his connection to White, or excuse the man. He took the moment of public attention and turned it to good purpose.

In the case of Blagojevich, Obama has merely tried to distance himself from it. I think that is the wrong approach. Obama has an opportunity here to present a very effective discussion of service, responsibility, integrity, and character.

Drain Grates

I thought these were all removed in the previous century!

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The problem with these is that the slots run along the riding direction, and are just wide enough to catch a road bike tire. If your front wheel is unlucky, it will wedge into a slot and stop dead. You will not stop, but according to Newton’s first law, continue moving forward over the handlebars and onto the street.

I noticed this one on the driveway in front of the Wayland Middle School.

If the thing is square, at least it could be put in so the slots run across the road instead of along it.

Update, (March 2009)

I could be in serious trouble now.

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/03/manchester-man-arres.html

Is a story about a man in the UK arrested and held for two days as a terrorist for photographing a sewer grate.

Leaf Peeping

This is New England. It’s fall. That means it is time for the annual trek to New Hampshire to look at the trees.

Or you can just step out the front door.

Here’s the Great Wall of Flame out back:

Fall Foliage

Here’s the Lesser Wall of Flame out front:

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Here’s the Maple we put in outside the living room window:

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And here are the three Maples in front.  Someday these will hold up some hammocks.  Don’t expect me to get up after that.

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This area has seasons. I enjoy them.

Bicycle commuting notes – Sidewalks

In May 2007, I started occasional commuting from my home in Wayland, MA to the offices of SiCortex in Maynard. This is just about nine miles each way.  In 2007 I ran up about 1000 miles on my 30 year old Nishiki Olympic. I think I am on pace to do a bit better in 2008.

I’m not very fast.  When I started it took almost an hour to get to work.  On the way home the read derailleur cable broke, leaving me stuck in 9th gear (of 10), so it also took a long time to get home.  My colleague David shook his head at the condition of my bike, with its steel rims and puncture proof (heavy) tires, and talked me into some upgrades.  With new alloy rims and new tires (and getting in better shape) I can now get to work in a little under 40 minutes and home in about 35.  The elevation gain is near zero, since I am on the Sudbury river in Wayland, and the office is on the Assabet river in Maynard.  The Sudbury and Assabet merge in Maynard.  If anything, Maynard must be at a lower elevation, but something about the topography makes it seem like more uphill going in, and more downhill coming back.  There is definitely a high point in the middle, at Sudbury Center.

It was really this commuting that pushed me into starting this blog.  I would spend the trip composing elaborate letters to the editor of the local paper, often about the poor conditions for cycling.  This week I finally took a bunch of photos along my route, and I am ready to start ranting.

Continue reading “Bicycle commuting notes – Sidewalks”

Almost Perfect

Sometimes Apple Computer seems perfect. Their design and execution are so far above that of other computer companies that it seems they are playing an entirely different game. Consequently the subtle imperfections in execution just stand out.

A month or so ago, I got an iPhone 3G.  Yeah yeah, I don’t like the battery life, but  it is so beautiful, the curved corners, the screen, the perfect physics of thescrolling flic…  I digress.

Apple has recalled the USB power adapter.  Evidently sometimes the pins break off when you unplug it.  One time I built my own spot welder… I digress.

Anyway, one can trade it in at the Apple Store, of which one is conveniently nearby, or order a new one over the web.  My first reaction was that here’s an excuse to go see the new MacBooks, but then I thought “I can use the iPhone to order its own replacement parts!”  This is so right.  I used Safari on the iPhone to fill out the form.  Apple did not anticipate me!  The form did not autofill with the iPhone serial number. The Apple ID did not autofill.  Then, when I got a confirmation screen, it advised me to print or save the screen as a pdf as there would be no confirming email.  Um, guys, iPhone Safari can’t print OR save as pdf.

So close.

Mowing

Our house was built in the middle of a field. Around the house is a bit of lawn. Beyond that is what was once a hayfield. Some years of neglect have left it overrun with Buckthorn and some sort of thorn bush. I was mowing the field on Columbus day weekend. Columbus day also has great visuals. I call the stand of trees in the photo “The great wall of flame.”

Fall Foliage

Continue reading “Mowing”