Bye, Ray, Bye

12/27/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Got this email today from Ray McNiece, once describe to me as "Cleveland's poetry stud".

steve, gig tonight at the bside in coventry 7-9 below the grog shop come with a poem
my farewellgig

I guess I won't be at the Edisons Open mike tonight.

Ray has been a great encourager for my late in life writing and a friend. Sorry to hear he is going to... where is it this week?...New Mexico? I'm sure he will be back on occasion. Cleveland is home.

Is This How NEO Civic Projects Happen?

12/26/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

I came across this ditty while cleaning out files. Certainly applied to a few companies I worked for, but I wonder if this is how some of our local work comes about. In particular the ODOT new bridge project, Euclid Corridor, and Red Light Cameras.

In the beginning was the plan
And then came the assumptions
And the assumptions were without form
And the plan was completely without substance

And the darkness was upon the face of the workers. And they spoke
among themselves: saying "It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh."

And the workers went unto their supervisors, and sayeth:
"It is a pail of dung, and none can abide the odor thereof”

And the supervisors went unto their middle managers , and sayeth:
" It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, Such that none can abide it.”

And they went to the upper management, and sayeth to them,
"It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none can abide its strength,"

And the upper management spoke among themselves, saying one to another,
"It contains that which aids plant growth, and is very strong."

And the upper management went to the vice-president, and sayeth,
"It promotes growth, and is very powerful."

And the vice-president went unto the president, and, sayeth unto him.
"This new plan will actively promote growth, and efficiency of the company,
and in certain areas in particular."

And the president looked upon the plan, and saw that it was good.
And the new plan became policy.

And this is how shit happens.

A Comments Policy (not mine)

12/24/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Surfing on this Xmas eve, known to single people of non-christian persuasion as one of the loneliest days of the year (second only to tomorrow), I came across Jerry Brown's blog. Yes, this is the former Governor of California, candidate for US President, and present Mayor of Oakland.

Things to note:

  1. He blogs (or least his staff does in his name)
  2. It appears that he blogs to stimulate public discussion. How? See 3.
  3. He has COMMENTS!
  4. He responds to comments and hence this post.

Below is Jerry's mild reminder about what he looks for in the discussion on comments.

It is great that some of you put so much effort into responding to the blog and sharing your feelings and ideas.

But may I offer a comment?

It seems that just a few of you take up such a huge percentage of the comments here that others might be discouraged from commenting themselves. I would hope that more readers would step forward and participate and that everyone would keep their remarks--for the most part--focused on the blog topic. And remember: brevity is the soul of wit.

Posted by: Jerry brown | Oct 16, 2005 11:20:03 AM

Here is a politician, a successful politician, who lives what he talks. Some lessons for NEO or even all of Ohio politics?

Ballroom Johnson Is My Hero

12/23/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Buddhist Merit in Wind Power

12/22/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

People would recognize my apartment by the colorful Tibetan prayer flags flapping around my balcony. The idea is that the wind blows through the blessings on the flags and carries them to everyone along the way.

Well, continuing to review my old technical magazines, I found this quote in a news item in the February 2004 IEEE Spectrum magazine. (IEEE is professional society for electrical engineers.) It is about the proliferation of windmill farms to generate electricity, including some proposed in Freedom Tower of the World Trade Center site.

There also is some notion, inspired by Tibetan Buddhism, of incorporating cylinders containing mantras or prayers written on thin paper into the turbine systems.

That might add to the benefits of wind generated power as well as bringing some spiritual solace for the survivors of 9/11.

Gimme Shelter

12/20/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

at least for my car. She did turnover this morning despite the single digit temps. She did strain a bit though, but she made it. It must have been my tender care over the last few weeks as well as my sweet words of encouragement.

I am worried about the long term though. I'd hate to always worry if I'll be able to get out of Dodge in a reasonable time. I think that applying some info that my artist/architect Greek born Londoner pal Niko sent to me would be just the solution. How bout a polycarbonate garage?

I talked to my landlord about it today at the Cafe, she seemed intrigued. Here is a step by step manual on how to do a livable house! A garage would be a snap! Tell me what you think. This may make for a great Tremont pseudo-Amish barnraising!

Coffee Empire So Close...

12/19/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

No link for this for the past week's FreeTimes, but since local filmer and Dott's buddy, Laura Paglin, got into the Sundance Film Fest, I thought I'd plagarize what they had in City Chatter by James Renner.

... Next up for Paglin is a feature-length doc about three hippies who met in a hotel room in 1974 in order to devise a scheme to own every coffeehouse in America. Those hippies became the founders of Starbucks, Arabica, and Coffee Connection.

I met Laura briefly when she interviewed Carl Jones and then again at the opening of Night Owls of Coventry at Cedar Lee (I got a signed poster). I'm super pleased to see that her next film will be about that NYC meeting. You may remember I mentioned that event in a review I did for CoolCleveland back in February 2004.

Oh we were SOooo close!!!

Little Roastery in Tremont

12/18/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Many of you don't realize that George was roasting his own coffee years ago, but he put the bug in my ear and I finally gave it a fling. You would think that being part of the Phoenix family, this would have been a natural. However, the easy access of fresh EXPERTLY roasted beans just made me lazy. So these are my results.

I roasted Brazilian Santos because they are least complex and easy to distinguish roast levels by taste. I used an air popcorn popper that had a venturi-like airflow (it spins) and a wood spoon to keep the beans moving. I had a plastic bowl to catch the chaff as it flew out the popper (it is kind of messy) and a colander and a strainer to air cool the beans when they were finished roasting. A word of warning, disconnect the smoke alarm! This does create a lot of smoke.

This was while in the midst of the alchemy.

So I did a few 2 oz. batches at different levels. For one reason is that I always thought that Phoenix roasted the Brazilian a little too dark. I roasted at second crack, 2 minutes after second crack, 4 mins after, and 6 minutes after. I gotta say that the place smelt great! I thought that I might have burnt the 6 minute batch. Wish I had a candy thermometer long enough to get into the beans in the popper well.

Don't know if you can make out the differences in color of each roasting.

The proof is in the pudding, so over the next couple of days, I brewed up the concoctions to see which was the best roast for this varietal of beans. The second crack was very uninteresting. Not enough sugars were created. I at first thought the 4 minute was the best, but then I tried the 6 minute batch. Remember I thought I burnt this one. It was delicious! The look the aroma and the taste was so similar to the Phoenix roast, that I learned an important lesson.

Don't question the Master, Carl.
He is not the coffee guru for nothing and in 30 years of roasting you learn a thing or two.

Cheap or Cheapskate

12/15/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

I got an email from a friend who moved from Cleveburg up to Chi-town. She was a struggling literary artist who fought the good fight, but just had to go somewhere else to fully self-develop. I quote, without her permission, a key observation.

I am often reminded that people here make "grownup" salaries, in Cleveland, it's like, all these excuses why people and businesses can't and won't pay their employees livable wages. I'm so over it and will never go back to that brainwashing...

Organic/Mechanic posted a pathetic want ad. Cleveland apparently doesn't want to pay for quality, or at least local quality. The archaic industrial economy mindset that the best way to optimize value on a product is by keeping the cost low. Unfortunately, that doesn't really work for skilled workers. WE are not a commodity.

As for the argument that higher wages will hurt business, I say hogwash. It is disproportionate wages that hurt business. I'd like to see a study of the comparisons between the wages of Directors/CEOs/Presidents of companies and their lowest wage earners with a look at levels of org chart hierarchy the companies has. Compare these stats with similar looks in other regions.

I would venture to guess that the overall payrolls here are lower, but the executive wages are competitive. Let us not fall into the BS that it is cheaper to live here than anywhere else. Energy costs are higher, Taxes are higher, cost of education is higher, food is about equal, and for housing rent HIGHER for most places (unless you rent a dump). The only thing in my experience that is lower is mortgages.

I think that a real study based on features of the cost of living should be made. And if I hear comparisons with the NYC, SanFran, and Boston stats you can bite me cause I'll check out RalieghDurham, Chicago, Dallas, Huntsville, and Minneapolis.

Cleveland is not THAT cheap, only loaded with cheapskates.

(Please comment wildly on this inflammatory post)

Ski Dreams

12/14/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

[Originally written last snowy Sunday, but I wanted to find one of my ski pictures.]

As look out my window and watch the fluffy cold ice crystals drift down and listen to the Bells of St. Cantius call the Polish faithful to worship, I can't help but noticing that I still have this deep down sense of excitement in my gut.

You see, soon after I arrived into Cleveland, I recognized that I best find something to do during the extra-long winter months. Since the only joint in my body that haven't injured yet was my knees, it was obvious I should take up skiing. I never got very good, but I could get down some of the steep slopes without killing myself.

So now when I see the white stuff, I get a little giddy. I loved skiing and as the typical irony of life, when I had the money, there was no time or little snow and now I have the time and the snow, but no money.

Hell, I'm so out of shape now, I probably would screw up my knees and I don't have medical insurance either. But still, I can enjoy that little tickle of anticipation.

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