July 2005 Archives

Can't Come Soon Enough


Today the household participated in what can only be described as Operation What Are We Going To Do With All These Grapes. There was massive repotting and moving around, and the top of the dryer had to be commandeered for shelf space, as the little buggers have outgrown the window. So far they have failed to fail to thrive.

Once the foundation work is done, we are putting in a greenhouse in the yard, and everybody can move outside. Until then, the laundry room is filled with vines. Also, a few ferns and a brugmansia cutting and some other plant odds and ends. I cannot wait to get this out of the house and into a more suitable locale. I might be dying from exhaustion when the foundation is finally done, but nothing is going to keep me from putting up a greenhouse this fall, short of a court order.

It is interesting to me that the grapes that germinated last have also grown considerably slower than those that germinated first. After a couple of weeks in their own pots, those babies are still weensy, while the first germinators have topped a foot of growth and are sending out side shoots and attacking other grapes. The latest germinators have had trouble casting off the hull of their seeds, and have been struggling for life. Many have just grown up an inch or two and died right off. I guess the late start in life bodes ill for their chances of reaching puberty.

Our plan is to let any grapes that live that long grow to full fruiting size, moved into five-gallon buckets in the yard as necessary. This takes about five years and requires a bit of discipline about removing fruits and pruning. I was hoping that by the time we got that far along, I would have three vines to choose from. I have about twenty good solid growers right now, and ten more weak growers who might catch up. At this rate, in four years I will be trying to pawn off vines on anybody and everybody within driving distance. Look out.



Any day now, I should see massive baby grape dieoff. Until then, I give you the latest photos.

What Business are You In?


I have been doing some material research for work this week. This is pretty simple stuff: go through a specification, find products named there, get data sheets on them, and organize them in a binder. It's a bit easier than it used to be because all that stuff is available online, or it should be.

So here's my peeve of the week: when I go to the web site for a roofing tile manufacturer, in order to get product information for use in a multi-million-dollar project, I have to register and give the company complete contact information and data about the company where I work in order to download the PDF of their brochure.

I mean, what the hell? I have two options for getting this information: I either download it myself and print it out at my own expense, OR I call the manufacturer and have their paid representative mail me a four-colour glossy brochure. Which one do you think is cheaper and easier for the manufacturer? So why do they try to restrict my access to that method? They're in the business of selling ROOFING TILES, not brochures. All they are doing is making me less inclined to save them time and money -- I'm an intern, so having my contact info for a summer internship is not going to help them market to me should I ever end up in a position to choose roofing tile. They're being stupid and stingy about their marketing materials, which is about as short-sighted as you can get.

Businesses that forget their core business plan lose in small ways over long periods. If you sell roofing tile, then you should be letting anybody download your product information who wants it. And giving away CAD details like it's going out of style. Architects and engineers find that sort of thing way more useful than coffee cups or logo caps, and they use it, and when they use it they end up using your actual product. Save yourself some money by telling customers, "Yeah, all that data is on our web site: there's a link right on the home page to a special area for you."

The only people who should charge for CAD details are draftsmen, and the only people who should charge for a brochure are brochure salesmen, should such a profession exist.

Cherry-Berry Pie


Charlotte's cherry tree was in fruit, which gave me ideas for rehashing the cherry-berry pie I made at Thanksgiving. The recipe I used called for canned cherries, which I had never used before and will never use again. I decided to try it with fresh.

What's Up?


I haven't been posting, because I've been spending all day on the computer and coming home with little desire to sit around on the computer some more. But life continues apace. Work is good; I'm learning a lot about the business of architecture, and a bit about the nature of small companies.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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