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August 14, 2004

Perls

Due to a bone-headed move by someone at the credit union, I lost my car insurance. Then when the car was stolen, I lost all my various ID cards & papers. Add some dire poverty to the mix, garnished with a tainted credit record, and you've got the perfect formula for riding the bus.

It's a hub/spoke system. Every line radiates from a central point — out and back. To keep schedules temporally close, each run tries to be 45 to 50 minutes duration each way, with two busses per spoke. For me, that mean hiking 1,500 steps (really; it paced out to that number three different times), and catching the second-most southern stop in the system. Then a 40-minute ride to the hub. Then a wait of about 20 minutes for the connecting bus. Then a 40-minute ride to the northernmost stop in the system, and a three-minute walk.

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July 13, 2003

Summer Mice

The winter mice are usually quiet and reserved. They don't scamper around at night, they practically use a litterbox for droppings, and they're usually not very streetwise -- a winter mouse traps in a day.

The summer mice, though, are entirely different. The weather is fine, life is good, and for a mouse who's willing to climb a little, the eating is grand. These buggers are lookin' for the high life. All-night soccer matches, turds everywhere, and now they've licked the peanut butter out of the traps three times. This last time, both traps sprang, but too late. Arrrgh!

So now I've put a canvas thread in the peanut butter. The thread wraps the bait platform, and with any luck (for me), the mouse will have to tug a bit on the thread to get the peanut butter off.

Summer mice are almost always field mice. You'd think (at least, I think) that they'd mellow out once they're inside... less of a predator-eats-mouse world in here, and the chance to kick back a bit would seem welcome.

But it's just the opposite. These summer mice carry on like there's no tomorrow; living in some sort of cargo-cult dream. Yet, they're still wary and agile... they're hooligans.

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July 12, 2003

Vinyl Stones

Wow...I'm old ;-) I was ripping the 40 Licks Stones comp album in iTunes, watching the frequency distribution display... and I saw an old familiar pattern: low freq levels in the left channel were around 3dB higher than in the right. Consistently; anything released in the '60s and '70s had this skew to its levels.

This goes back to the nature of record players. As the stationary needle tracks along the revolving platter, it is accelerated inward -- it presses harder to the inside than to the outside. Your basic "record player" could do nothing to counter this force (called the "skating force"), and so a record with balanced bass on both channels would sound weaker in the left channel, because the left channel was the "outer" groove on the record.

Or, it's just the other way around; I never could keep it straight ;-)

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