Saturday, April 15, 2006


This past Tuesday, while out walking I came across a pair of big fat beavers trying to build a house. The trail I walk takes me across an intermittent stream. For much of the year, the stream carries a pretty good flow of water, draining from a nearby pond. In fact, Horace and the local boy scout troop built a wooden walkway across the stream about 6 years ago. In the late summer, the water level in the pond recedes to the point where the stream dries up, so it turns out that this wasn't going to be a great place for a beaver lodge. I didn't see the beavers the next time I was there.

I enjoy seeing wildlife when I'm out walking. Here are some of the animals that I've seen lately in the woods:
  • White tailed deer (too numerous too count)
  • Chipmunks
  • Beavers
  • A Fisher cat
  • Turkeys
  • Garter snakes
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Snapping turtle
  • An eastern box turtle
  • Red tailed hawks
  • Chickadees
  • Woodpeckers
I really enjoy coming across the other types of creatures with whom I share the woods.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My Mini spec

I've got a 2006 Mini Cooper S currently on order. Mini really encourages and facilitates the special ordering of their cars. Their web site has a very easy to use tool for creating a custom configuration, which you can then view, print, or dispatch directly to your local dealer.

It took me about a week to come up with my configuration:

My 2006 MINI Cooper S

Base MSRP* $20,900
Destination & Handling $550

British Racing Green Body Color $450

White Roof/Mirrors $0

White Bonnet Stripes $100

Cold Weather Package $300

Heated Front Seats

Heated Side Mirrors and Washer Jets

Sport Suspension Plus STD

Limited Slip Differential $500

16" V-Spokes (All-Season) STD

Front Fog Lamps $150

Rear Fog Lamp $100

6-Speed Getrag Manual STD

Sport Seats STD

Leatherette: Black STD

Int. Surface Anthracite $0

3-Spoke w/Cruise and Multifunction $250

6-spkr AM/FM CD Player STD

Black Carpet Floor Mats (4) (installation not incl.) $95

My color choice was driven by what I think of as the classic Mini color scheme, with a white roof over British Racing Green. I'm not thrilled that the current BRG is metallic, but I think it will look OK.

My other choices were really driven by my experience trying to find my Porsche 911. When I first bought a 911, it fit me, but snugly. But when I decided that I wanted to do a trackday, I absolutely could not get a helmet on. It took about a year, but I found another 911 of the same year without a sunroof, and it was definitely worth the wait. I was grateful to the original owner that he specified such a basic car: no sunroof and no optional equipment other than body-colored Fuchs alloys.

I decided to do a similar thing with my Mini: I wanted to get a light, performance-oriented car. I'm 6'9" tall, and I fit fine in a Mini. But when I put on my helmet, I need the extra headroom that comes from not having a sunroof. Plus, the sunroof adds about 40 pounds to the car in the worst possible location.

I did not order the 17" s-lite wheels, because they weigh 25 lbs each, as opposed to 17 lbs for the V-spokes. This means that I have fewer tire choices, and also that I won't be able to fit the JCW brake kit.

Finally, the fogs. I ordered those because I didn't like the look of the blanking panels.

A good dump

With the exception of Jamaica Plain, pretty much every town I've lived in has had an excellent dump. Twenty years ago, when I was living in New Hampshire and Vermont, the local dumps were still burning trash. You'd haul your stuff up and dump it, and an old bulldozer would shove it into a burning pile. You could pick through all the non-burnable junk that was lying around, and sometimes there was a swap shop where people would drop off or pick up still-serviceable stuff.

Nowadays, of course, our dump is a transfer station. You put all of your recyclables into the correct bins, then dump your remaining household trash into a big dumpster, which is taken off to a central landfill, or more commonly an incinerator.

I was out walking with Horace yesterday in the woods behind an abandoned state hospital when we came across an old dump from the mid-70s. There are a number of civil war-era dumpsites in town, full of great artifacts, but this is the first intact 20th century dump that I'd seen. There were old cars, appliances, furniture, and bottles. The staples of 20th century life. My favorite find was the back two thirds of an early 70s Ford Country Squire station wagon. Acres of wood grain vinyl siding, great swaths of Naugahide upholstery (where was PETA back then, before the Naugas became extinct?)

So that's today's simple thing. A good dump.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My new Mini

Like pretty much everybody else who's ever ordered a Mini Cooper, I'm gonna blog about it. To save time, here's the compressed

Thursday, April 06, 2006

All about tub's cars

In my life, I've owned a lot of cars. This blog is where I'm going to write about my automotive history, the cars I own now, and pretty much anything else related

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

People with staying power

Most folks who turn up at this site are searching for information about Limmer boots or boot grease. I hope those links get you where you need to go. (I am a big fan of the grease, but the jury is still out on the factory-made boots. The take a long time to break in, and they seem to be designed on the theory that if your foot doesn't look like a good German foot, the boot will reshape your foot so that it resembles a good German foot.)

But recently I noticed that there is an actual link to a post on this blog from Universal Hub, a project of long-time internet personality and Rozzie resident Adam Gaffin. Adam doesn't know me, although we exchanged e-mails one when I was thinking about relocating from JP to Roslindale, but I've been aware of his presence and contributions to the Boston community for a while. Here's to staying power.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Walking in the rain

Such a cliché, but I love walking in the rain. It's been terribly dry for about a month, but this morning it is raining. I love putting on my slicker and my hat and walking in the woods in the rain. The sound of the drops on the leaves creates a feeling of privacy that is hard to match, as if you were alone in the world.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Something simple that I don't particularly care for

Today is my birthday, which is OK I guess. But it's also the beginning of something that I detest: Daylight Savings Time.

One of the best things about spring and summer is the early mornng dawns. The chance to get outside in beautiful sunlight while no one elese is awake. Well, alas, those days are over.

The end of daylight savings time. Something simple that I'm really looking forward to.