My son Jules loves trains. I like trains too and my enthusiasm was probably the seed that grew into his obsession. My good friend Joe bought Jules a copy of “Trainz Railroad Simulator” for Christmas a year ago. It was in the bargain bin at Mills Fleet Farm:

trainz_fronttrainz_back
Continue reading

My son has been pestering me for the better part of the year about this box which he keenly spotted in the garage:

hpi_rs4_box

I hesitated because I didn’t know if there’s any sort of indoor track near Minneapolis that we could go to and race.

I had at many times contemplated selling it all since it had been boxed up since I moved back to Minnesota in 2008. Back then I inquired lightly at the hobby shop about racing outlets but didn’t get much traction. Besides with a baby on the way, who’s got time for hobbies?

Continue reading

When the internet really started catching steam, email was one of it’s flagship services. Back then it was simple but somewhat archaic – it’s goal was to be redundant enough to get your message through even if it required several tries. It was the digital equivalent of:

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Think of all the stuff that has been added atop of email such as encryption and MIME encoding to send attachments. But it was our must-deliver mantra that was used by the spammers for their personal gain. Then even more layers for spam and virus filtering were added. Spammers have sort of negated that “must deliver” image of email to where I click send and think, “I hope it will be delivered.”

Continue reading

In the summer of 2014 I became a member of Strong Towns, an organization that increasingly aligns with how I feel about the places we create, and the money we spend to do so. At the National Gathering, another member asked me what drew me to Strong Towns. The best way I could describe it was that it let’s me “Have my cake and eat it too.”

The Strong Towns message dispenses with the political polarization to get to the heart of the matter. Too long I’ve felt that discussions about walk-ability and bike-ability assume the role of the democrat, while prudent spending rhetoric aligns only with republicans. But taking sides politically, is not useful – especially in regards to local politics which center mostly around land use. In the same vein, it’s better that we get to know our neighbors, so when we disagree on civic issues, we can agree to disagree in a courteous way.

The latest Strong Towns challenge is to deliver goodies to your neighbors. Would this be difficult or awkward for you to do?

Continue reading