Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hand-picked from the trees, spurring many recipes

* Of course, not all apples are hand-picked, but the ones currently sitting in the bottom drawer of our back refrigerator were. I picked them myself from a farm in northern Montgomery County earlier this month.
* To get the best rate, it was required to pick at least 20 lbs. With amazing and fairly coincidental precision, my total was 20.01 lbs. The only variety available for picking that evening was braeburn. So I drove home with 20.01 lbs of braeburn apples.
* What can be done with 20 lbs of apples? Originally, I thought that my housemates would help me to eat them. There are five of us, so if we each had an apple a day, they would be gone in less than two weeks. However, even freshly-picked as they were, the taste and consistency was mediocre at best. These apples would need to be cooked.
* Weeks later, about a dozen apples still remain, but I have been able to make a few dishes. I've made home-made applesauce twice. I made a stew with pork, cabbage, onions, and apples. And I gave a dozen apples to a friend. What recipe should be next?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The sound of a voice can be cause to rejoice

* Real-time conversations are nice, in-person conversations might be even better, and written correspondence conveys specific thoughtfulness. But I think that recorded phone messages can be pretty neat too.
* Recorded phone messages, unlike real-time conversations, can be replayed many times. Moreover, my voice mailbox automatically replays my saved messages every forty days to see if I want to keep them. As a result, I'm often greeted anew with a saved message out of the blue.
* For instance, when my family or a friend calls to sing "Happy Birthday" to me in August, I usually save the message. Then, every 40 days, I hear their cheerful birthday wishes.
* In extreme cases, I may even listen to all of my saved messages in sequence, just to hear a whole set of friendly voices. For a selected few folks, when I hear their voice, even if it is recorded, I just can't help smiling.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Keeps going down a hill from being too much of a thrill

* Some hilly roads have runaway ramps - sharp upward inclines off the side of the road with barriers at the end - ostensibly for trucks with malfunctioning brakes. I would not want to have to use one of these!
* When I travel from Maryland back to Pennsylvania, the turnpike has some fairly significant hills. Without brakes, how fast I would be going by the time that I reached the bottom! (This sounds like a high school physics problem.) Or, how quickly I would crash when I tried to make a downhill turn!
* At the same time, sometimes I like to refrain from braking and instead use gravity to my advantage. E.g., on Route 1, there is a gradual hill about a half-mile long in University Park on my usual route coming home from work. I try to be going fairly slowly when I reach the top of the hill. Then, I just coast down the hill, usually reach about 45 MPH, but then slow down comfortably before the red light at East-West Highway.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Physical feeds of interesting reads

* As part of my membership to the professional society IEEE, I receive their monthly magazine, "IEEE Spectrum." The latest issue includes articles on the research submarines and the importance of random number for digital security.
* My housemate Dan is a big fan of magazines. Among all of his subscriptions, I think that his favorite is the "New Yorker."
* Many magazines now seem to be more available on-line than they are in print. But I think that there is something satisfying about physically holding what you're reading.
* Are there certain types of articles that would only appear in a magazine, e.g., not in a newspaper or book?

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