Zipcar – A Review

When not riding one of the dozen bicycles in the quiver, or being driven around by Mrs TTE in a Dodge Ram, your correspondent drives a Zipcar. Here’s how it works…

Continue reading Zipcar – A Review

Café Gratitude – A Review

Café Gratitude is a restaurant chain around the Bay Area. On the surface, it is just another place to buy over-priced food mixed with a new-age hippy philosophy, thus initially I intended this review to be a thinly veiled pretext for my rant against the fanatical lefty-ism around here. But all is not as it seemed…

Cafe Gratitude

Continue reading Café Gratitude – A Review

On Formula 1: Profanity-laced Urbanity.

For a long time there was a group called Save Albert Park, arguing against the Melbourne Grand Prix. On the suburb’s street corners, bearded men (and women) sat on folding chairs distributing photocopied pamphlets and yellow ribbons.  But here’s the thing:  Albert Park is not all that.  It’s dreary and windswept.

The group could benefit from rebranding. One option I consider especially sonorous is: F1ck the Grand Prix.

Five reasons we should say ‘F1ck it’: Continue reading On Formula 1: Profanity-laced Urbanity.

Getting Rid of Aphids – From TTTE’s Gardening Department…

The little blighters were all over Mrs TTE's rosemary...

When the invaders first showed up, I had no idea what they were. Now we know that aphids are everywhere in the Bay Area.

They have a little mouth tube and suck the sap out of the plant until it’s dead. Not good. And they breed like rabbits, the week after spotting the first one or two, you have a serious infestation. So what can you do about it?

We like to eat the rosemary, so that rules out a lot of insecticides on the market. What we needed, in true Berkeley style, is an organic, non-toxic, fair-trade, locally grown, homeopathic, humane aphid elimination system.

The first research I conducted told me that the natural enemy of the aphid is the lady bug. Fantastic, I will go out into the wild, capture a few lady bugs and bring them back to the house as pets.

I dreamed of whiling away my time watching scenes of carnage like this: Continue reading Getting Rid of Aphids – From TTTE’s Gardening Department…

The US census incensed us: I sense a lack of consensus

TTTE loves surveys. As a student of survey design, I saw the chance to participate in America’s decennial census as quite an honour! Well it turned put to be a dubious kind of a honour, tinged with confusion and dismay. I do not consider myself particularly precious, but I cannot abide these seemingly pedestrian errors: Continue reading The US census incensed us: I sense a lack of consensus

Feeding the engine.

Take my word for it folks, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you have aspirations of being a skinny dude and want to skip a meal, heed not the words of Claudia Schiffer, skip dinner. Breakfast is holy. Continue reading Feeding the engine.

You are now boarding the Singapore Line. Mind the Gap.

The Chinese Government is full of money and strange plans.   The latest plan is a long long train line.  They’re reaching out all the way to London with a VFT.  That’s a Very Fast Train, like Japan’s Shinkansen or France’s TGV.

The thing will go at over 300 km/h (estimated speeds are 320-500 ks)  and soak up the 8000 km journey to London in a couple of days.

And that’s not all.  They’re extending the network out in the other direction too.  Vietnam, Malaysia, and on to Singapore. Continue reading You are now boarding the Singapore Line. Mind the Gap.

A deluge of density

I’ve written before about the Barcelona meets Bentleigh East plan.

Developed by Rob Adams, it maxes urban density without screwing up the city. Ninety-one percent of the city stays exactly the same, full of stand-alone suburban blocks. But the tram and bus lines are (mostly) free to be developed (heritage overlay areas would be protected).  The density is achieved without creating massive overshadowing towers and without wholesale sacrifice of the urban scape we know and (some of us) love.

However, now Rob’s plan is under attack by a couple of white-hot young philosophers whose radically incisive views the Fairfax press has seen fit to amplify… Continue reading A deluge of density

What is wrong with long distance train travel in the US?

I am excited by train travel, always have been. I like riding on trains (Ashby to Embarcadero or Beijing to St Petersburg), watching trains on film (my favorite Bond film is ‘From Russia with Love’) and playing with toy trains (gosh the memories). However, when a group of friends and I recently had the opportunity to ride the Amtrak from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, we decided on renting a car instead. Why is that? Continue reading What is wrong with long distance train travel in the US?

Blog-lite, Starbucks in Nevada

Looks good doesn't it...

TTTE was none too impressed when Starbucks started showing up in its home town. Mocking references to “double orange mocha frappucinos” and “Starf**ks” were made on more than one occasion. But your correspondent didn’t just talk the talk, (other than one frustrating attempt to steal their wireless internet) TTTE had never set a foot inside one of their their faux-local, espresso by numbers, globe gobbling outlets.

That all changed today, at Breakfast time. Continue reading Blog-lite, Starbucks in Nevada

Blog-lite, holiday edition. A microbrew review

Captain Frugal and his platoon of tightwads normally stick to supermarket cubes of generically brewed, watery beer. But when on holiday, and microbrews are around $6.99 a six-pack, penny-pinching gives way to experimentation and assessment. We sipped a selection of employee-owned, windmill-powered, carbon neutral beers, long on self-referential label spiels, and short on neon advertising.

But most beer reviews are too wanky. Here are real unprepared comments sought from people actually drinking the beers in question.

Continue reading Blog-lite, holiday edition. A microbrew review