You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for March, 2009.

Mason Bees

March 31st, 2009

Colony collapse disorder (CCD), where whole colonies of honeybees are just disappearing, remains largely unexplained, but it seems increasingly likely that it’s a result of multiple pressures on the hives, which makes potential solutions even more difficult to identify. This scares me — honeybees are critically important to agriculture. CCD has renewed efforts to encourage native North American pollinators like the non-social Orchard Mason Bee. I’ve been thinking of building an Orchard Mason bee house in an effort to attract them, but I fear that it would end up full of termites instead.

Reasons to not eat out #1

March 26th, 2009

I have been cooking at home a lot lately, which is quite a change from my recent past. There are many reasons for this, including my ever-expanding garden, my obsession with Michael Pollan, some health issues, time and the need to save a bit of money.

But it’s not always easy. Eating out is fun. It can be romantic, educational, interesting, adventurous, entertaining, social and convenient. And it always seems like it will be faster than eating at home, although it never, ever is.

So, in a blatant rip-off of one of my new favorite blogs, Not Eating Out in New York, I thought I’d start an occasional series of “reasons to not eat out”. These are as much to reinforce my new-found enthusiasm for home-cooked meals as for anything else.

#1 is: It almost always takes longer than cooking at home, unless you are eating fast food, which doesn’t really count as either eating or food, so I’m ignoring it. There’s transit time to the restaurant, wait time for a table, wait time to get your food, the time it takes to eat, wait time for the check, and transit time home. And that doesn’t take into account drinks before or after dinner, or the occasional dessert.

At home, you have to spend time prepping ingredients, cooking, eating, and clean-up, all of which can be done in a pleasant environment with friends, loved-ones and pets. There’s no transit time and no waiting. Even if you add in grocery-shopping time, it’s still faster to eat at home.

So there you are — #1 in an occasional series.

Hanging out

March 24th, 2009

I’ve written before to point to the Playscapes weblog, which is about modern playground design. This is not a topic I would have anticipated enjoying, but I love it. It’s about more than playgrounds, it’s about how people occupy space — in this specific case, it happens to be focused on the short set, but the general concerns and approach are applicable to all of us.

Yesterday’s post is a good example. It’s about a playground designed for a high school in London. The design is cool, modern and interesting — and it serves the needs of the teenagers for whom it was built, providing them with a safe place to socialize.

Now if only I could get the designer, Clara Gaggero, to design my garden for me.

We need to be more British

March 23rd, 2009

Several TV shows in the recent past have led me to the conclusion that we need to be more British — off the top of my head, I would name Prison Break season 2, the Battlestar Gallactica finale, all of Pushing Daisies, Firefly and the cancellation of Life on Mars to be the primary factors in my conclusion, but I’m sure there are others.

I’m tired of watching shows that start with a good premise (Prison Break, BSG) drag on too long, and shows that have great drama (Pushing Daisies, Life on Mars, Firefly) get the axe because their audience is too small.

I think we need a more flexible model for TV, like that of British TV, where a series consists of a smaller number of episodes of varying length and number, depending on what the show and the channel can support. In most cases, all the eps of a given show are aired and there aren’t any cancellations. I think this would generate both more viewers and better shows — I’d be much more willing to invest time in a new show if I knew it wasn’t going to be yanked off the air before the story is done (like Pushing Daisies!!) and I think the writing would be better if the shows were of a defined and known length and number (unlike the BSG finale, for example, which betrayed the lack of planning, no matter what Ronald D. Moore would have us believe). This seems like it would be a particularly good model for cable television, with its endless hours of time in need of content.

Now, if only I could devise a The Brain-like plan to take over the world, I could make this happen.