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Excellent Things

2009-11-02 20:58:36.877845+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

A participatory meme: Now This asks "what things are excellent?"

So, in Facebook parlance, I tag anyone who reads this. Post about some Excellent Things and why you like them. And you can post 1, 5, or 25, it really doesn't matter.

So, in no particular order and with no real forethought:

  • Fairfax Scoop ice cream, especially the Vanilla Honey Lavender.
  • Festool tools. My Festool notes. Yeah, it has at times seemed silly to spend $500 on a circular saw, until I've shown it to a friend in the context of making some cut for them and they say "wow, why would you buy anything else?" And the idea that I can pack up most of a capable woodworking shop and carry it in a car is really cool.
  • The APT package manager, as used in the Ubuntu and Debian GNU/Linux distributions. Ubuntu has gotten to the point where it's at least as easy to install as Windows, I've heard several relatively unsophisticated users talk about how much easier Ubuntu with the Gnome desktop is to use than Windows, but the technology underlying much of that, and the bit that Windows has had almost a decade to get right but keeps failing miserably at, is the package and installation management.
  • Brifters, the combination brake and shifter assemblies on a modern road bicycle. I happen to use the Shimano variants in the Ultegra (on the tandem) and Dura-Ace (on my solo road bike) lines, although I'm sure the Campagnolo ones are equally impressive, but I grew up with down-tube shifters being the bees-knees, that materials technology improved to the point where we can get indexed shifting on the handlebars that doesn't drift when we're steering is amazing.
  • Pull saws. Thin kerf and control.
  • That moment when you're making mayonnaise, pouring the oil into the yolk, sugar, salt and lemon juice mixture, and it turns from a yellow and runny into white and fluffy. Always amazes me.
  • Tomatoes off the vine. I no longer buy fresh tomatoes in the grocery store, 'cause even the "heirloom" expensive varieties disappoint.

[ related topics: Pedal Power Bicycling Marketing Festool Free Software Bay Area Bicycling - Tandem Microsoft Food Race Open Source Invention and Design Automobiles Woodworking ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-02 23:46:17.215258+00 by: m

Flutterby ;^>

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-03 00:57:14.655661+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

suckup! [grin]

An "almost perfect": There's a port-style sweet/dessert wine maker down near Aqus cafe, called Sonoma Valley Portworks, that also makes Sonomic Vinegar. It's too sweet for salad dressings, but a drop on a good hard cheese is ambrosia. This week I'm going to try it on a polenta. I'm predicting good things.

#Comment Re: Hayden Run Falls made: 2009-11-03 06:31:03.005144+00 by: jeff

Hayden Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio. Less than a mile from my home. I couldn't resist shooting it yesterday during lunch.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-03 16:23:20.186534+00 by: Dan Lyke

Steve's post on Excellent Everyday Coffee sounds like it probably isn't my taste for coffee, but I had to add that roasting my own coffee has raised my appreciation of the subtleties of the drug quite a bit.

Lyn proposes, among other things, cotton, to which I'd add modern synthetic clothing, especially polypropylene. Fleece socks beat the hell out of the itchy wool I wore as a kid, polypro longjohns are way way better than similar options of 3 decades ago, and so forth.

And adding in Katxena's suggestions, I note that a spice or mix from Penzeys Spices has made all three of those lists.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-03 17:46:47.856969+00 by: ebradway

Ultimate - or at least, Ultimate when spirit is emphasized.

Garam masala - I put it in everything.

Agave nectar - wish I could bake with as well as sugar - but for everything else...

The IBM Model M keyboard - there isn't much about computers that I'd call truly excellent. This is it. Although it appears Logitech is trying to make keyboards matter again.

Airplanes: Being able to fly from the East Coast to Colorado in a few hours for relatively little money is freakin' incredible. Granted, air transportation can be a PITA, but the fact that I can go across the country in a day and get a great view out the window along the way is absolutely awesome.

Books: one day eReaders will be awesome. Right now they are great for some purposes but still lacking in most others. Books give me access to immense amounts of knowledge. Granted that knowledge is not indexed as well as the WWW. In general, though, much greater care is put into the compilation of knowledge in books than elsewhere, especially the WWW (and especially blog comments).

Yoga: I don't practice to the same degree I used to - but I still recognize it as one of humankind's greatest creations. And I'm talking about all yogic practices, not just asana.

The Porsche 911. Ever wonder why you can recognize a 2009 911? Because the design hasn't changed much the almost 50 years it's been made. In fact, from about 1969-1997, most body parts were interchangeable across years (most 911s you see in the movies are actually old 70s models with new body parts slapped on). I haven't had a chance to try a newer model, but I've heard that the traction control on newer models even manages to eliminate the driving challenges. You have to "unlearn" things from normal cars to drive a 911 fast (or in the rain).

Vaccines: These are western medicine's version of homeopathy. Vaccines train the natural immune system to fight nasty infectious agents. Maybe there is reason to reconsider vaccine mandates - or at least the common medical establishment's view of the mandates - but it's understandable why the mandates exist. Outside of a true epidemic, it just seems to make sense to take greater care in the administration of vaccines. Of course, you are considerably more likely to be killed in the car driving to the doctor for a vaccine than to suffer ill effects from a vaccine. But that's just poor math skills at work.

P.S. How did Microsoft come up under "related topics"? I guess you don't check the automatically filled topics either.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-03 18:02:07.874235+00 by: Dan Lyke

Some days I check the topics, some days I don't. But Microsoft came up because I was contrasting the APT installer system with Windows MSI installers.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-03 18:39:14.157217+00 by: JT

I tried explaining the apt system to a long-time windows users and got the strangest response. After explaining you had a single program which could update everything on your computer, they asked me "Why would you want to do that?"

A discussion ensued about failed service packs, problem updates, .NET in particular, as well as a host of other issues. Explaining how wonderful something is to someone who has the notion that the idea of updating is broken in the first place is a complex task. I didn't succeed, I think I ended up confusing him more than selling him on the idea, but que sera, sera.

My list...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-03 21:41:09.381191+00 by: topspin

Calf Creek Falls

Glacier National Park

Having pale blue eyes smile back at me in the morning.

My Mom's fried okra... cooked crispy especially for me.

Dave Rawlings' guitar playing

Writers with names like Emily, Pablo, William, Bob, Louise, T.S., etc.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-04 10:03:24.95015+00 by: DaveP

FYI, the IBM Model M is not dead, it's just been rebranded. Excellent.

#Comment Re: More excellence made: 2009-11-04 12:43:22.612511+00 by: jeff [edit history]

In no particular order:

Sushi. Anytime, any place.

Seeing a relative, loved one, or good friend after a long hiatus.

Kava coffee in the morning.

Producing a video or making a photo that pops, then sharing them.

Port and Stilton cheese.

Turning in at the end of the day knowing you gave everything.

A motorcycle ride or a ride in a convertible through uncharted territory in good weather.

The journey from the trailhead to the summit and enjoying the silence at the top.

A successful sports weekend, where all my favorite teams win.

Feeling the glow of a waning sun and hearing the crashing of ocean waves in concert.

Jumping in and out of bed with passion running through my veins.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-04 16:33:56.754123+00 by: m

A quiet so profound that even a quartz clock must be muffled as too noisy.