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Timeless elegance

Cashewtopia’s vanilla bean frozen heaven atop a house made almond meal cookie dolloped with Emmy’s Organics raw chocolate sauce.

Be very jealous.

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Raining

I chanced upon a friend while walking Frida this morning and invited him over for tea.  Yes!  On the patio I heated water on the Coleman camp stove and brewed some oolong in a press pot.  It was an unexpected and enjoyable delight.

While I sat there I received emails from two other friends.  One was Mike Flanigan inviting us to his open house this Sunday from 10-5.  Details at the link.  Not sure we’ll make it this year, but you should go.  You don’t have to have an ANT, but a love of bicycles would be helpful.  I’ve been many times and have always enjoyed the food, the ride, the shop and the people.

The second was from Joe Levy, my tube hifi guy.  He was inviting me to his listening room to check out his latest projects.  I sorta feel bad mentioning it since it isn’t open to the public, but it is too exciting to keep to myself.  Problem is I may have a scheduling conflict.  We’ll see.  Fingers crossed.  wbd

Point is, sometimes I feel a little lonely.  A day later and it all changes.  I am just greedy for friends.  Is there anything better?

Hope you are well.  Have a great weekend.

R. Wallenda

Morning!  Hope you are well.  So we had a weekend.  Highlights?  My pleasure.

Saturday night at the Egg, a friend and I enjoyed Richard Thompson and his opening act, The Mastersons.  Prior to Saturday, Mr. Thompson’s name had made it into my head, but little else.  What a delightful surprise.  A guitar virtuoso and his lyrics are wonderful as well.  Delayed gratification at its best.

I didn’t have as much as The Mastersons’ name in my head when they stepped on stage.  A husband and wife duo from Texas (recently relocated to Austin after a spell in New York City), they flew into Albany just to open for Mr. Thompson.  Very kind of them and I’m glad they did.  Just the two of them on stage with guitars and a  fiddle, they lit up the room.  Gave me permission to be happy, yes sir.  I brought home their second LP, Good Luck Charm and am listening to it now.  I hope you get a chance to see them sometime soon.tm

Things get a little dodgy from there.  Not all.  Just some.  I was pleased to see a new garbage can at the pond.gc

It’s a fine can and finer still because it replaced a dirty yellow industrial barrel marked “USDA CONTAMINATED.”  I’m thinking dirty meat from a packinghouse.  Gross.  I’m sure Albany got a great deal on the secondhand cans, but I’m glad they found a new home for the one that used to be at the park.

On Saturday I enjoyed an epic errand fest on my bicycle.  Dropped off a dozen pair of pants at the donation box.  It wasn’t easy to admit to myself that I wasn’t headed back to that size soon.  Then to the garden to harvest greens and cabbage to donate.  Then to the co-op to donate the produce and shop.  The place was hopping and filled with goodness.  Then home.  Maybe three miles and everyone shared the roads very nicely.  A great outing.

On Sunday I braved the suburbs on an epic errand fest by car.  I found this little dude in front of Target.  db

I placed him in a garbage can and carried on.  I found myself in front of Empire Wine five minutes before they opened.  I didn’t mind waiting and about eight people soon joined me.  I took the opportunity to try a little town square action by bringing up the legal trouble that store has landed in.  Sure it is uncommon to talk to strangers out of the blue, but it isn’t to common to queue up for booze on a Sunday morning either, so I thought a little conversion would help pass the minutes.

If I understand the story, the state liquor authority has asked Empire to stop selling wine to customers in states that bar direct sale from out of state retailers.  Apparently this happens with some regularity, as the states to which Empire ships wine rarely discover the violations and, if they do, simply ask the shipper to stop.  Little incentive to follow the law, then.  Unless the state liquor authority asks you to and threatens to pull your license to sell, which is I think what went down here.

Anyway, Empire is suing the authority saying the authority is overstepping its powers in an attempt to regulate sales across state lines.  I don’t know.  Kind of sounds like people fighting red light cameras so they can continue to run red lights without getting tickets.  So I brought that up next.

The discussion on Empire’s legal troubles started and ended with me saying I thought Empire should play by the rules and move on.  The one gentleman who admitted hearing of the story wouldn’t express an opinion.  He didn’t say he didn’t have an opinion.  He just didn’t respond.

The red light conversation went worse still.  The guy who spoke said he didn’t know the issue and then again failed to respond after I gave a two sentence description.  The other six or so people stared at me blankly.  I understand my actions were unconventional, but to not say anything when someone is trying to engage you in conversion is simply rude.  I ended the exchange by saying “so much for trying to create a little town square,” they unlocked the doors, I bought my handle of Buffalo Trace and hightailed it out of there.

I was way more comfortable at Parivar.  The guy at the register seemed like he may be the owner.  I hadn’t seen him before and he just seemed to be in control of the joint.  I said I was sorry to be only buying  food to go, since my wife and I love eating in his cafe most every Sunday.  He wished Lacey a speedy recovery.  Parivar means family in Hindi and our courteous exchange certainly made me feel welcome.  I brought home two samosas to share with Lacey.  Best I’ve ever had.  Man I love that place.  You been yet?

Oh.  I stopped at Oliver’s too.  Just after stopping at the garden to plant garlic.  I was feeling a little directionless so I asked an employee for recommendations.  First thing he pointed to were half liter bottles of Ayinger Oktober Fest Marzen.  I brought home two and split one with Lacey last night.  Steller!  I try to buy beer made closer to home, but this was a welcome treat.

amNow it is Monday and I’m waiting for the west coast team to wake up and get in gear.

filThanks for helping me pass the time.  I hope you had a swell weekend.

Bicycle Engineering Symposium

I received the following preliminary flyer from Larry Ruff today. Symposium Flyer 2014 Preliminary

I was going to write that I went last year, but my post says the year was 2011.  Time pedals faster every year.  Don’t let the presence of “engineering” in the title frighten you.  I enjoyed it mightily despite my less than zero background in engineering.  That’s the thing about truly smart people.  They make the complicated understandable.  If you care one whit about bicycles, I would encourage you to attend.

Not incidentally, three cheers for the informative bicycle art.  I initially breezed passed it but am enjoying it on my second look.  The tiny “freewheel-cassette” is masterful!

And happy Friday to you.

Well Hello

Kind of under-achievey today, but I managed to use some leftover spring roll wrappers while making lunch.hsp

I sautéed onions and cabbage (so much cabbage!), added seitan, caraway, dill, crushed red pepper, pepper and salt.  Half a slice of soy american cheese (my mother in law always buys us a pack when we visit and then sends them home with us–so cute!) was placed atop filling on wrappers, then rolling commenced.  I love rolling.  After sealing the ends with water and brushing the outsides with olive oil (I use my silicone brush daily), they baked at 425 for 20 minutes, were flipped and got another 10 minutes.  Freshly baked savory pies for lunch felt decadent, but I settled into the idea.  I never take for granted the gift that is working from home.

Take care of yourselves, okay?

Maybe

A new place to eat will soon open on Washington Avenue.  It is advertised as two places at one address.  One is called Terra and the other is NuWave Cafe.  They’ll serve international pescatarian food.  Some vegan.  Some raw.  Some kosher.  The menu is huge, the drinks oddly corporate (beer from Shmaltz is a notable exception) and they are still advertising for a vegan chef despite projecting an October 19 opening.  I am a beggar here.  You bet I’ll give it a shot.  Enthusiastically. Have intel?  Please share.

Then there’s Urban Velo.  So many things when I checked it today.  The NiteRider Sentinal is curious.  Lasers have been added to a rear blinky to project a virtual bike lane on the ground.  Click on the picture to make it bigger to better see it in operation.  I wonder if the lane gets wider if your bike is taller?  Orange County’s Give Three Feet PSA is worth a watch.  Amusing and much better than nothing.  Following a review of the Swobo Scofflaw bicycle with the story of the bicyclist who hit a pedestrian in NYC’s Central Park is unfortunate.  I’m not suggesting the bicyclist was a scofflaw, but it seems probable under the circumstances that he was exceeding the speed limit (which we all remember is the lesser of the posted speed limit (25 mph in the park) and the speed which is safe under the conditions).  No charges have been filed, but a civil suit is surely in the works.  Terribly sad for all involved.

As I interview friends about their position on red light cameras, I continue to be surprised by the number of folks who are against them and their grounds for  opposition.  Privacy.  Waving the flag of privacy as you run a red light is whack.  A warrant is required to search a trunk or a glove box, but an officer can look into your car through the windows.  Same with your home–officers can look through your windows without a warrant because no expectation of privacy exists for activities visible through a window.  A wall is another matter.  Check out this article on using infrared cameras to look through walls.  Interesting stuff, but all of it is a long way from invalidating red light cameras.  Regressive Tax.  Bad when the thing being taxed is essential, but breaking the law is not only not essential, it is illegal.  It’s just about the money.  The Mayor is projecting $2M in next years budget from red light citations, so I can’t argue the money has gone unnoticed, but why do revenues preclude a goal of increasing safety?  Legislation can and generally does have more than one aim.  Robots (and private vendors) shouldn’t be trusted in this context.  I was told police department employees will review the videos of potential violations and decide who should be fined.  The cameras are there, but so are the public servants.  A better result than computer operated signals at intersections.   Should we pay for officers with whistles at every major intersection?  Might be better, but good luck paying for it.  Cameras don’t increase safety.  Numbers.  They stand at the ready for both sides of any argument.  Yes some people will still run red lights, but surely some won’t.  I’d count a single life saved as a win.  Problem is, we can’t interview the family of the person who didn’t get hit by the driver who used to run red lights but stopped doing so after receiving a red light ticket.  Because no one knows why their spouse made it home from work.  They just did.  It was taken for granted but it was still awesome.

Be careful out there.

Very Small

Good morning.  How are you?  Well here!

I drove to the hardware store to buy corn gluten for the fall lawn application.  I asked if the snow shovels were out and both employees within earshot burst out laughing.  “It is only October!” and “Do you know something we don’t know?” It was intended to be good natured ribbing, but I wasn’t in the mood.  Truth be told, I do know some things they don’t know.  For starters, I don’t take my car out but once a week, if that, so each trip has to count (even if that means buying a shovel a month or two early).  Second, their store is too far from my house so I won’t be in again until spring, when I return for another bag of corn gluten (I used to buy two at once until I learned that mice love eating corn gluten).   Third, I wanted to buy a snow shovel from them, while I was there, and now I won’t.  If I were quicker on my feet I would have shared this with them, but I am not and did not.  I just thanked them and paid for the corn gluten.  I sometimes wish I had never worked retail and learned along the way that the customer is always right.  That expectation is always causing me trouble.

I stopped at a new to me Shop Rite on the way home.  I love grocery store tourism.  I walked every aisle and came away with one thing.  But what a thing!  Lesserevil Brands Snack Food Co.’s Buddha Bowl Himalayan Pink.pc

In Wilton, Connecticut, they are popping organic popcorn in organic coconut oil and adding Himalayan pink salt.  Nothing else and nothing else needed.   Absolutely wonderful.  I was expecting a less than perfect texture, it having been popped and bagged a state away, but they have it down.  Perfect.  Strange that I should run into this just now, having recently enjoyed the same snack at the Madison Theater (except it is probably the case that the Madison is using a less precious salt).  I’ll be making the same here at home, but if the Co-op carried this I’d be a regular buyer.  fap

That’s enough.  Please take care.