thoughts from New England

The Big Three Killed My Baby November 15, 2008

So first we bailout the banks, and now we are talking about bailing out the auto industry? I’m torn. I’d like to think that we can save all of these jobs in the auto industry, but is that possible? This article from Slate says that there should be a bailout because allowing them to go to bankruptcy would mean they would linger there forever. But it’s true — people would really suffer as a result. I was thinking cyclically earlier and wondering about our nation’s history to see where we are headed. We need to look at the factors of major economic catastrophes in our nation’s history to see what possibilities we have.

30s : today :: dust bowl migration : a possible rust belt migration? As our nation develops technologically, so too must our predictions for cultural shifts and radical events which reshape and drastically alter the state of our society. Events such as the Revolutionary War and the shift from colonization to democray; the Civil War and the surrounding Industrial Revolution; the Great Depression and World Wars I and II and the shaping of the modern era — are we due for another radical cycle?

What I’m trying to say is that perhaps what will happen is something akin to what happened in the 30s with the Dust Bowl era. Perhaps one or more of the automakers go out of business — but perhaps there is new technology or better opportunities elsewhere in the country? The Joads in the Dust Bowl era migrated westward because they heard there was work out Californee way; the rural sharecropper moved up from the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta to the factory floors of Chicago and other Midwestern cities — Detroit, Cleveland, etc. Let’s say GM and Chrysler go out of business, but a new green technology is booming in another part of the country, like Colorado or something — would we see a mass migration of citizens? Or perhaps when politicians say things like “we’re gonna make this old shutdown Maytag plant re-open as a solar panel factory” — can they really follow through on that? The potential for converting existing auto plants with a skilled manufacturing workforce into a company that can actually make environmentally and energy-saving products? That would be awesome.

It would also be neat to see someone like a consortium of Google and Warren Buffett buy GM and turn it into a company that was not a car company but a “transportation company.” They are General MOTORS, after all, and not General Cars. What other motors you guys got?

Whatever happens, this man should be involved.


A Reminder

Filed under: musings — tim @ 4:04 am
Tags: ,

I really must take advantage of this blog more often. There’s no reason I shouldn’t — it’s there, I’m here…why not? Raising two kids with both parents working is definitely the big challenge here lately, and I’ve felt so zapped and drained between kids and work that blogging is not high on the to-do list.

I’m looking at grad school because, well, what else do you do with a degree in Liberal Arts? Summer went by so quickly, I barely had a chance to enjoy it. Now all I can do is look out at the yard and see the few things I still have to do before I can declare it shut down for the winter. There’s a certain dread that fills the air when all of the leaves have fallen and the empty branches just scratch aimlessly at the sky — dread that I know that I probably won’t see warm sunshine for five more months. I think about the fun in the winter, but I also think about how much of a pain in the ass it is — the shovelling, the wet snow, the cold, the car getting stuck — all of these things are just no fun, but without them, I wouldn’t be reminded of how great the summer is.

It’s all about that balance, I’m finding. Just as we need good and bad things to happen in our lives, we need the seasons to remind us about the circular nature of life and of the universe. Without the bitter cold February mornings, how can we appreciate the warm sunshine on a late June afternoon? You can appreciate it, but when you have nice weather all the time, it just becomes par for the course and it makes you soft. Cold weather is good for you, which is why I could never live in any climate where it didn’t snow — it’s just in my Swedish blood.

Of course, I’m not about to move to where my dad grew up, south of Buffalo. They were just trying to emulate Sweden with their 30-foot snow drifts and “we had to dig a tunnel to the barn” stories. Screw that, I want AWD.


is this still on? May 27, 2008

Filed under: garden — tim @ 2:37 am

really? I still have this? Awesome.

the new house has the new garden, and today I tilled it up w/my new-to-me rototiller. I now have severely beaten hands; ouch.

I’ve got 24 tomato plants in the ground, and 6 broccoli as well. We had chives pop up from nowhere, and today I figured out what the other plant was: celery! We had no idea what it was but today I picked some and the scent was unmistakable.

I also have one jalapeno; I will most likely not be doing many hot peppers since I never use them, but with all of these tomatoes I just might have to grow some in order to make some salsa. Too bad I can’t grow cilantro for the life of me; otherwise I’d be all set.

Anyone have any luck with cilantro? Anyone out there? 🙂


Some Revelations August 24, 2007

Filed under: cooking,food,garden,joseph campbell,lifehacker,LL Bean,Recipes — tim @ 2:16 am

I learned a few things this week. Two things about my garden:

1. Purple peppers are not growing NEARLY as big as they should be

2. I have not had any zucchini because what I thought was zucchini is really acorn squash! That explains A LOT.

One thing about school:

3. Pop Culture In America, a class I was lined up to take this fall, had a reading list a mile long and what appeared to be zero focus on any non-book cultural reference. I would have had to read Da Vinci Code, Sisterhood of the Ya-Ya-Travel Pants, Harry Potter and the First Book In The Series, and The Crappy Notebook. Whatever! There wasn’t even a graphic novel in the reading list. I don’t know how you can seriously discuss popular culture without even talking about comics. So instead, I signed up for a class on Genesis and also Myth and the Modern Age, which is almost entirely based on Joseph Campbell’s writings. Woo hoo! I’ve somehow become a sucker for this — why have I been ignoring it for so long? Perhaps I had to take a hero’s quest to find out that the answer was there all along. (note: make it stopppppppppppp)

Also, I have assembled my “go-bag,” which is something I’ve always had and gone back and forth with using, but after misplacing the last one I had (which wasn’t really a go-bag and was more of a carry-all), I buckled down and committed to finding a good one. I went to LL Bean and picked one out and equipped it with all I need. Apparently, photographing and showing off what you carry with you all the time is a popular internet meme and there are flickr groups devoted to it. Instead, I submitted a pic of my bag to one of my favorite sites, for their ‘show us your…’ series. Usually it’s something like “show us your browser” or workspace, but this week was go-bags. I submitted mine and voila! It’s there. See the pic and my descriptions here. Mine is the only daddy-go-bag so far; just about everyone else is urban hipsters and/or students. Boo to that, I say.

4. Stuffed Zucchini is REALLY delicious:

Stuffed Zucchini

Incredibly easy — it was ground turkey, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers, one of the biggest zucchinis ever (although not the biggest), pine nuts, mint, and spices. OMG so delicious. Here’s how:

1. Split zucchini in half, use spoon to scoop out the center. Salt, and pre-heat oven to 350.

2. make the quinoa, set aside

3. brown the ground turkey and throw in the spices: cinnamon, sage, a hint of cayenne, salt, pepper, and the coup de grace: freshly ground nutmeg (if you don’t have this, start doing it). It makes the biggest difference by adding a deep Moroccan or Mediterranean flavor to the dish

4.  remove ground turkey from heat, set aside.

5. heat a little olive oil and sweat the onions, hot peppers, and garlic in the pan

6. roast zucchini halves in the oven with nothing in them for 15 min

7. slice cherry tomatoes in half

8. toss the quinoa, ground turkey, onions mix, and tomatoes. Stuff into zukes

9. roast for 15-20 min

10. enjoy!

This can be done with almost anything in the middle if you follow the quinoa/meat (or meat substitute)/onions/veggies route. SOOOOOOOOO good.


Onda-free, but full of Maat August 17, 2007

Filed under: dvd,joseph campbell,maat,mythology,onda — tim @ 9:50 am

I am now the proud owner of this:

That’s right — Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth” series from PBS. Interviewed by Bill Moyers at the Skywalker Ranch in California, Campbell spend the course of the last two years of his life telling this information to Moyers. . We watched one or two of the episodes in my class “The Mythic Journey” and I was enthralled with the interview on our “collective myths” and what makes us human.

I bought it with a gift certificate I got for my birthday. I am very excited to own it and look forward to watching it, piece by piece in the future.

It has a bonus interview with Lucas about the mythology of Star Wars. Yahoo!


gardenin’ once again August 11, 2007

Filed under: gardening,house — tim @ 3:43 am

seems like all I do on here is post about the garden. I need to schedule my time better and focus, man, focus!


  • yellow squash are taking off — we’ve picked 3-4 so far and have about 8 or 9 lined up to go.
  • Purple Peppers finally are starting to flower and grow little peppers. Whatever was devouring them is gone now, so they have had time to recover. The tires are doing well.
  • Cherry tomatoes in the hanging basket are coming in first — probably because of all the sun and their small size.
  • Banana and cherry bomb peppers are coming in slowly but surely, picked a few of each so far.
  • tomatoes are doing okay. The grape tomatoes are going, but not as well as last year. The Roma tomatoes are really doing well in spots, and the Burpees are getting huge.
  • Cayennes and Thai hot peppers are developing nicely.
  • the basil has been very productive all season
  • same with the lettuce
  • the herb box is still going strong!
  • I have two pumpkins so far, and they’re already pretty big!


  • some of the tomato plants are continuing with the wilt. Nothing major and nothing fast — but slow and steady. I will have to dust again.
  • a handful of the Roma are developing a blossom rot or something on the bottoms of them — mostly these are on the innermost tomatoes, so I can only hope that it’s because they get very little sun and retain a lot of moisture. (looks like it’s blossom-end rot — which can be solved by adding calcium to the soil)
  • we accidentally let our cilantro and basil get sunburned during last week’s “heat wave” — they got very brown in spots and something’s been eating the basil. The cilantro still will not grow correctly no matter how much nipping of blossoms I do.
  • there are still squash bugs eating the squash and pumpkins, although it’s not as bad as last year. I still throw away about 1-2 yellow squash a week because of rotting on the ends.
  • I have one cucumber plant, which finally has  few blossoms. I am not holding my breath on these.
  • I have one zucchini plant, which has yet to produce even as much as one small stump of a zuke, but it’s healthy and strong. I just waited way too long to plant it.
  • I planted the radishes too close together, and while some are developing OK, they have taken waaaaaaaaaaaay longer than they had been predicted to take. 21 days, my butt.
  •  something’s eating the sweet potato leaves. I don’t know what, but something is.
  • The habanero looks like it’s drying up despite an adequate amount of water.

Next year we will hopefully be in our own house and have room for a real garden. My dream is to have a greenhouse built off the side of the basement and protruding halfway up the first floor, so I can really start growing things early on. I’d also love to have a root cellar & wine cellar underneath the kitchen, with access from a trap door in the kitchen floor. I looked up how to build a root cellar this week, and I think it’s definitely doable.

How to build a root cellar:

  • Step one: dig hole
  • Step two: cover

That’s it! Well, almost. 🙂

H and I have been talking about what house we’re looking for — the market is certainly going to be in our favor this fall/winter, so I look forward to being able to find a house that we like in a much lower price range than it was even a year ago. More bang for our buck, you know.


Roomba Report #1 July 30, 2007

Filed under: flickr — tim @ 1:58 pm

Roomba Trapped

Originally uploaded by bakebakebake.

Well, we’ve had the Roomba for a little under a week, and the preliminary verdict is in: I love it. H was impressed with the amount of stuff it picked up in the first 3 days alone! She also thinks I love it too much, saying it has replaced my daughter. Pfft, whatever! Now it’s way more fun to vacuum, because I don’t have to do it! Genius!

This one has a scheduler so we can schedule it for the middle of the night, when we’re out, etc. This has been great — the house gets clean every day and with a little one learning to eat, the Roomba is almost as good as a dog. It flows seamlessly from linoleum to carpet, and picks up large amounts of dirt every single time.

There are some downsides, but not major enough to make me send it back. The roomba gets trapped on various objects from time to time, and you have to make sure the room has no loose rugs/mats or cords/wires hanging down. Twice we’ve been out, having scheduled the Roomba to do its thing while we’re gone, and twice we’ve come home only to find it helplessly trapped up on a kitchen rug. So we just start it up again and let it finish. The fact that I have to make sure the floor is clear everyday is also a minor inconvenience, but in a way, I like it because it forces me to pick up things on a daily basis and prevents clutter.

Overall, it’s awesome. I recommend everyone get one. Actually, in the future everyone WILL have one! It doesn’t replace our stand-up model for now because it can’t get all the crevices and corners as well as a hose attachment can, and sometimes it just misses things. But all in all, it’s a great invention that really gives me a huge peace of mind. I Knowing that the floors are clean all the time? Awesome. I can’t wait to see what the future will be like.