Listen, let’s come down to reality. Jacque Polge’s job with Chanel No. 5 is not to make the same goo week in and week out. Because the truth of the matter is, the flowers you pick this month are going to be different than the flowers you pick next month – you can’t change that. So part of the perfumer’s job has always been to blend the old with the new to make sure there is a consistent standard. It’s no different than the Whiskey blenders that have to do the same thing. - Michael Edwards
I had an epiphany last week. I had an epiphany about driving.
Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve been lucky enough to drive and/or own some of the finest motor vehicles ever conceived of by humankind. From top-of-the-line, ultra-luxe sedans to world-record-setting, exotic sports cars. A number of years back, I totally lost my interest in what my dear wife always referred to as “stupid cars”. It got to the point where I’d see a neat car – be it a Ferrari, a Bentley, or whatnot – and I’d admire it casually but feel absolutely no interest in possessing or driving it. None whatsoever.
My assumption was simply that I’d gotten this “stupid car” thing “out of my system.” But it turns out that’s not what happened.
My epiphany happened as I watched a white 2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 convertible take an off ramp on the opposite side of the highway I was on. I thought “hey – that’s a cool lookin’ droptop.” And then it hit me. Like a load of bricks.
I don’t dislike cool cars. I’m simply totally fucking sick of driving.
Driving is a chore. It’s a dollar- and time-expensive inefficiency. Gas. Maintenance. Parking. Insurance. Traffic. Accidents. Tolls. Law enforcement. Idiot drivers. Stupid bicyclists and pedestrians. BLEH!!! At one point I got joy out of it – but no longer. I’d rather spend that time with my family, playing with our cats, working, listening to music, geeking out, sitting in the sun, or, frankly, doing just about anything else.
So starting this week, I’m going to stop driving any more than I absolutely have to. The MBTA commuter rail train will get me into town. I’m gonna get my bicycle back in shape and ride to the train station. I’ll run errands when I have to – but bundled together to minimize trips and maximize efficiency. We can walk to our downtown when we have errands there. Providing taxi service for the kids isn’t entirely optional, but those tend to be super-short trips and we can do better with them. We’ll see how it goes.
Something tells me I’m gonna be a happier camper! Wish me luck!
About a week or so ago we started foster-parenting Milo. Milo is a two year old boy kitty who started his life in a rough way, on the streets of Boston. When he was found, they thought he was a female kitty ‘cuz he was taking care of an abandoned kitten.
We took him in and are falling in love with him. He has what we refer to as “insta-purr” – the minute you touch him he’s happy as a clam being pet, rubbed, scratched, and otherwise paid attention to. He’s a HUGE galoot running about 20 pounds – and he doesn’t have that much weight to lose – he’s just a big damn cat! He’s a serious sweetheart of a cat. Off-the-charts loving and lovable.
Unfortunately he’s FIV positive – a result of living on the streets for so long. Apparently as much as five percent of the cat population is FIV positive now. It’s not dangerous to humans, but it’s a bummer for all involved. We’re keeping him isolated from the other cats – though he’s had a few carefully-supervised excursions throughout the house.
Pelase say hi! Meow!
In the past 96 hours I’ve heard two interesting reports from successful Kickstarter project creators about the hazards and dangers that shipping present to the profitability – and potentially even the viability – of their projects.
Amanda Fucking Palmer addressed a session at SXSW (a podcast will supposedly be up at some point). She raised $1,192,793. After Kickstarter’s fees, Amazon’s fees, and bad pledges, let’s assume she netted $1M. Amanda stated that their shipping costs ate up $250K of the funds they raised. 25%. WOW! I was astonished. She spoke specifically about the AU and NZ folks (though she clearly bears them no ill will!) where shipping generally well exceeded what they pledged – never mind the COGS.
The second interaction was a private conversation that I’ve summarized as follows:
Shipping is the dirty secret of Kickstarter that no one talks about partly because you come off as petty and trying to justify how much you’ve raised. They make no allowances for anything other than domestic shipping, so you have to come up with a flat rate for the rest of the world. Then because of the development time between the end of your Kickstarter and the product release, the postage rates go up. In our case, they nearly doubled, absolutely killing us on hundreds of international packages. Some countries came to $80-90 to ship – where we up-charged a flat $30.
The flat-rate international thing seems like a real problem that Kickstarter needs to address. Canadians presumably end up pissed off because they grossly over-pay, and folks in Kinshasa and Sydney get an amazing deal. Fascinating problem!
I was unaware that there was an effort underway to rename SFO to “Harvey Milk International Airport.” This particular quote in the article made me laugh out loud:
And, of course, flights between Harvey Milk International Airport and Reagan National Airport would be joyous for those travelers who prefer their flights laden with as much irony as possible.
Good luck with the ballot, San Francisco!
I’ve been totally digging the ISS Detector app from RunaR and wanted to give ‘em a shout out. I have it set up to automatically notify me, with 15 minutes notice or so, when the ISS is going to be overhead. It has some VERY cool options whereby it only notifies me when the station will be high enough above the horizon to see (10 degrees max = no thank you) AND only when the weather is cooperating (if it’s rainy, please don’t bother me!). The app has a built-in compass to help you orient yourself, and as per the screen snap below, it’ll tell you where it’s gonna show up, when, how it’s gonna travel across the sky, how long it’ll be visible for, and how high it’ll get.
The ISS is visible with the naked eye. However, if you can scrounge up a pair of binoculars you can make out the outline of its PV wings. The ISS in toto is roughly the size of a football field. Note that the ISS moves fast. In fact, it’s orbiting Earth every 92 minutes at a speed of 17,500 MPH (more than 25X faster than the last jet you were on!). As you look up, it’ll almost certainly be the fastest moving object in the sky.
Net-net, if you’re a space geek, this is a must-have app IMO. Enjoy!
I haven’t spent a ton of time in Madison WI so far during my budding tenure with Murfie, but the days are certainly starting to (happily) add up. I’ve definitely had enough time to find my favorite “late night at the non-office” haunt: Maduro Cigar Bar on East Main – about a block off the Capital.
Maduro is a smoking bar. They serve no food, but you’re welcome to bring in your own – or the barkeep will even help you order some up for delivery. What they DO offer is an impressive selection of cigars, a stellar array of liquors, and a nicely-curated collection of fine wines. Their selection of whiskeys is excellent, and it includes nearly a dozen bourbons – including two I’d never heard of before from FEW and New Holland (yeah, I know, neither is from Kentucky, but they seem to know what they’re doing regardless!). Maduro also clearly knows its way around their classic jazz library, which is on constant rotation FTW!
Crazy pipe smokers like YT are welcome as well. Note that cigarettes are not welcome at all – apparently a function of some city ordinance, which is just fine with me. Primarily it is a cigar spot, but there always seem to be one or two pipe guys to add some diversity to the hand-rolled crowd. I’d like to see them carry a selection of pipe tobacco blends that include cigar leaf. Maduro is a must-check-out spot in Madison if you’re a whiskey fan, cigar lover, or pipe nut.
Oh, and the place is positively hoppin’ after 2200 on a Tuesday night. Enjoy!