# Articles

• ### Compact

February 12, 2009

All three of these parking spaces are labeled “compact” – does driving a giganto-SUVs cause one to lose their ability to read?

• ### More bicycle wetness

February 6, 2009

Fun ride this morning, with Anna – plenty ‘o rain, but pretty out, and not too cold. We took it easy, got a few small hills in on the way over to Alpine Road, then climbed up that to the end of the pavement. It was slippery on the climb; enough that I spun the rear wheel a few times even when seated! Made for a slow and careful descent, certainly the slowest I’ve ever come down that road.

I almost didn’t ride. I don’t really like being cold and wet… but I was desperate to get a real ride in. Going back and forth to work just doesn’t count… “junk miles” is what Anna calls ‘em. I’m glad I rode, though, even if it means a serious cleaning of the bikes is now required. They are completely grimed, despite using the clip-on fenders (which seem to keep the rider somewhat cleaner/drier, but do nuthin’ for the bike!)

The only downside for the day: the swoopy new Perl Izumi booties I bought to keep my feeties warm and dry, do nothing of the sort. Oh, they’d be OK in a cold wind I guess, but they sure don’t do much to slow down the water. Drat.

• ### Buckets for Shoes

January 23, 2009

Went for a bike ride with my lovely wife this morning… we were determined to get a ride in together, despite the rain. I took my commute bike, since it was (a) already filthy from the rain earlier in the week, (b) it has bigger tires on it, nice when you can’t actually see the road surface through all the water, and (c) it was already rigged with many lights and a rear fender (a front one won’t fit with the big tires).

It was a really fun ride, just to be out and about – but the lack of a front fender, when combined with a lot of water on the road, really turns the ‘ol shoes into buckets! Gotta get me some new booties, pronto.

It hasn’t been quite so wet going back and forth to work, earlier in the week; even when raining, the road puddles haven’t been too bad.

• ### Vintage 2-Buck Chuck

January 21, 2009

As an experiment some years back, I socked away a few bottles of Charles Shaw wine. This fine vintage, for those unaware, is sold by Trader Joe’s, initially for $2.00/bottle – hence the widely-used nickname, “2-Buck Chuck”. It’s actually pretty good, for$2 wine… it costs a little more now, but it’s still a good value, and perfectly drinkable on such occasions as camping trips, boat voyages, and such adventures where more delicate or costly bottles might not fare well.

So. Last week I came across a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from 1999, and, having run out of everything better, I figured now was as good a time as any to try it out. Expectations were low, but one never knows… And now: just how good is a 9-year-old bottle of 2-Buck Chuck?

Well, not very. It hadn’t spoiled (e.g. wasn’t vinegar, yet) but it was clearly past its prime – which was, in all likelihood, in 1999. The bottle has been relegated to cooking tasks, and will make an excellent contribution to “Anna’s wine sludge”!

The next experiment: a blind tasting perhaps, of my carefully-hoarded flight of Charles Shaw Merlot, 1997-2003!

• ### The Wal-Mart Plague

January 7, 2009

I saw this first on Gizmodo, but I think it should be mandatory viewing for everyone in the entire flippin’ world:

http://projects.flowingdata.com/walmart/

Watch as the Green Plague of Mediocrity spreads from its roots in the heartland, slowly at first and then with exponential virulence…

On a broader, non-scary-as-hell note: this was my first visit to flowingdata, and it’s full of interesting stuff with a design sense informed by Tufte. Here is a tidbit to whet your interest. I also liked his “5 Best Data Visualization Projects of the Year” article.