Garrison Keillor is not a conventional author, so in hindsight it shouldn’t be surprising that after a very conventional introduction, Mr. Keillor calmly stepped in front of the podium, glanced toward the ceiling, and began humming a hymn with the tacit assumption that all present should sing along in four-part harmony. (The audience obliged.) So began the event billed as “Garrison Keillor reads from and discusses O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound.”
The other circumstance which shouldn’t be surprising is that Mr. Keillor did not read from anything. A man who can recall Shakespeare and Frost with the same ease as his own verse, mingling them effortlessly with his richly detailed tales, has no need for such a crutch.
Fortunately, there was discussion.
Freddie’s question was my favorite: “Do you ever get writer’s block?” Keillor stood next to us and responded without hesitation: No. People who get writer’s block are the kind of people who want to have written something, not those who want to write. “Dentists don’t get dental block… or at least, if they do, they don’t tell anyone about it.”
I’ve been riding the same broken-down GT fixie that I bought on Craigslist in 2004. Nine years is a good life for a city bike. And it never really fit me anyway. With the slightly longer commute that came with my new job and house situation, it was finally time to upgrade to a winter-capable commuter bike that could support all my weird requirements:
- Lugs for racks and fenders (I want a front basket–more on this later!)
- A way to carry a chocolate malt on the go (Possibly not in the winter.)
- Clearance for wider 700c tires (to absorb the potholes) and studded winter tires
- A guard to keep my pant leg from getting greasy or snagged
- At least one disc brake for stopping power in dirty, wet conditions
- Maintenance-free belt drive technology from the future!
Since I was looking for a mostly off-the-shelf solution, this list narrowed my options down to basically one bike, the Spot Wazee, which arrived Saturday. I got mine through Belmont Wheelworks, Spot’s unofficial non-dealer in the Boston area.
Yeah, it’s great!
The frame is made in Taiwan, but it still has some nice touches that are usually found only on US-made bikes, like this brake bridge detail:
The rear hub is fairly heavy but it shifts like a dream. This is my first internally-geared hub and I’m impressed.
The Gates Carbon Drive is really well made. At low speeds it is less efficient than a chain, but the difference is hardly noticeable. It’s quiet and smooth. And clean to the touch!
This whole article is unsettling: Residents Suing to Stop ‘Fortresslike’ Plan for World Trade Center.
Summary: A small group of New Yorkers are suing the NYPD in what will probably be a vain attempt to keep them from turning the streets near their new World Trade Center into a militarized ring of security checkpoints and barriers. The report indicates that cyclists may even be required to dismount just to pass through.
Boston is getting a dose of security fever these days, including the sudden and rapid proliferation of state-operated video cameras on streets and in parks–stuff I strongly disapprove of. But stories like this one make me glad I don’t live in New York.
They keyboard on my Mac laptop has nice keys–they got that part right–but the overall design is a human-factors nightmare. One’s wrists rest on a cold, flat aluminum surface and a too-sharp metal edge cuts against the band of your wristwatch.
The typing experience on Macbook laptops has made me pine for my old Thinkpad. If only Lenovo built laptops with display quality, battery life, and performance that were in the same league as Apple’s.
I don’t usually plug products here, but this one is pretty great: the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard. I’m still on the fence about the bizarre-looking mouse that’s bundled with it (though I concede it’s pretty comfortable). But the keyboard is amazing and comfortable beyond my imagination. I appreciate the clever use of magnets for the battery doors and the height-raising stand (presumably included for the benefit of standing-desk people). It is also pretty easy on the eyes. Glad I tried it!
Note to Microsoft: why don’t you sell this product in your Microsoft stores?
Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks?
Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat?
A polite request: can we please agree to refer to software versions by number and not by code name? Seriously, who can remember these random sequences? Code names are for developers.
Agilent is splitting itself again, this time to separate the fast-growing (and, apparently, outrageously profitable) life sciences business from the rest of their operations.
They haven’t yet come up with a name for the new electronic measurement company, but I have a good suggestion: Hewlett-Packard.