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September 30,2008 (ThinSkinTuesday)

Is this Boehner guy actually claiming that some of the Republican House members voted against the $700 Billion bailout bill because their feelings were hurt?  That has got to be the weakest excuse possible.  One would think House Republicans had more grit.

We can respect their decision if it was made because they thought that the bill was a bad idea, or it wouldn't work, or they have a better proposal.  In fact, we agree with the principle that "Main Street should not be bailing out Wall Street."  But to suggest that Pelose had somehow "poisoned" the vote is just, well, lame (duck) talk.  [Permalink] - Lame Boehner

For Porsche lovers who would rather give to charity than to Wall Street, the Women of Rennlist has just published a 2009 calendar of them and their Porsches.  The cost is $25.

The calendar is in a 16-month format, beginning with January 2009 and ending with April 2010, at a size of 9"W x 12"H closed, and 9"W x 24"H open.  This year the calendar has been custom designed and is professionally printed to ensure quality and durability.  The money goes toward Project RennWish, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to changing the lives of children and families in need by providing food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical assistance.  [Permalink] - Women of Rennlist


September 29,2008 (MoneyMonday)

Now that the "not a bailout, but a buy-in" deal is done, the financial market will hopefully begin the long unwinding process started by the sub-prime mortage mess in a more orderly fashion.  Let's say you are one of those investors who went long on cash last Summer and are sitting on a pile of cash.  Now may not yet be the time to jump back in, but it may be time to start looking.

While it is not a good idea to try to time the market, it would at least make sense to think about what to buy when it is time to get back in the game.  We like things simple.  No matter how complicated the world gets, there are the three constants... [More]- Where To Invest?


September 28,2008(WeekendEdition)

Folks here have been keeping an eye out for a better stove for the RainyDayKitchen for a while now.  There are plenty of good ones in the $2500 range, but our budget could not justify such an upgrade.  Last week our patience paid off.  We found a Jenn-Air dual fuel gas range at about 80% off. 

The owner was selling it because they had moved and the new place had no venting option compatible with this stove.  It was slightly used, but otherwise exactly what we had been looking for!  We rounded up some "muscle," rented a pickup truck from U-Haul, and snapped the stove up before... [More]- Jenn-Air Dual Fuel Stove First Look


September 27,2008(WeekendEdition)

We had plans to go to Long Island this weekend, but the approach of Hurricane Kyle toward New England changed our minds.  So instead of dining at our favorite Chinese restaurant this weekend, we are in the office catching up on some reviews :-)  Since we had already started looking at the Handpresso Wild on Friday, it seemed logical to just continue with that. 

When we first heard about Handpresso, we thought... "hmm, it will be great to have one when we go backpacking, but how often do we do that?"  It then occurred to us having the Handpresso really meant we can have espresso anytime we have access to hot water!  OK, now we are talking.

The Handpresso Wild is quite small and totally self-contained.   To make the unit easier to take on the road... [More]- Handpresso FirstLook


September 26,2008(FreshCoffeeFriday)

Want great espresso while you are out in the wild? Handpresso may be exactly what you need.  A complete kit (espresso making unit, cups, case, pods) came yesterday. 

The timing was perfect as we have a trip coming up in October.  We'll have a FirstLook of the Handpresso before the end of the month.  [Permalink] - Handpresso

A few years ago, we did a series on bean-roasting.  Since then we have received quite a bit of mail from readers on where they go to get the best "green" or unroasted beans.  The two favorites were U-Roast-Em and Sweet Maria's.  We decided to give them a try.

Yesterday, green coffee beans from the two different internet coffee vendors (U-Roast-Em, Sweet Maria's) showed up at the office. 

All six of us from the office will be heading to Maine for the annual Columbus Day weekend retreat.  We'll be taking these new coffee items (Handpresso, green beans) with us, roasting them, and "testing" them out during our mini-vacation.  A full report on everything when we get back, as long as we aren't so spiked from the caffeine that we drive to Delaware.  [Permalink] - Green Coffee


September 25,2008(LackOfTrustThursday)

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose, so the saying goes.  Those who have been in charge for the past eight years have been saying that global warming is not real, Iraq has WMDs, and the economy is just fine.  The reality is that we are pounded every year with more powerful hurricanes, no WMDs have been found in Iraq, and our financial system is on the edge.  This same "leader" who has brought us to this brink is now asking for all Americans to unite to bail out Wall Street. 

Why should we listen to what he has to say?  Why should we believe that he is looking out for our best interests?  Why should we give him $700 billion dollars with no strings attached?  After making a gigantic mess of things, why should we still trust him?

We should continue to ask the hard questions, demand sensible answers, and not let "fear" push us into accepting the words of those who no longer deserve our trust.  Have an opinion.  Speak up.  Stand and be counted.  Now is the time.   [Permalink] - Lack of Trust


September 24,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

The Xena XV cable is specifically designed to work with the DiscLock.  The lock and cable combine to form a portable, alarmed security system which looks pretty tough to defeat.

We took a FirstLook of the DiscLock earlier in the month.  Its unique design and integrated alarm is a simple method for protecting a motorcycle or scooter.  The XV cable extends that capability to anything which can be... [More]- Xena cable FirstLook


September 23,2008 (ScooterTechTuesday)

After we did the FirstLook of the Xena DiscLock, we gave it to some local readers with scooters to test.  When we acquired our very own Vespa, we asked for the DiscLock back as we can now to do a first hand review of the unit. 

Unfortunately, the spacing of the disc and the wheel on the Vespa ET2 is too narrow to accommodate the Xena DiscLock!  We were bummed as this lock was such an elegant solution for securing the scooter. A quick check on the Xena site indicated that the ET2 and the ET4 were the only two Vespa models which this lock would not fit.

After a little surfing around, we noticed Xena makes accessories for locking the vehicle to a post or an anchor.  It was not as "clean" as just using the DiscLock, but both the cable and the anchor were so cool looking that we thought... [More]- Xena anchor and cable


September 22,2008 (MoneyMonday)

It was just a week ago when the President was "confident" about the soundness of the economy.  It was just a few months ago when the President was touting that the economy actually "grew."  It was not so long ago that the President said the economy was not in a recession.  We'd always thought that if there was ONE thing the Republicans knew how to manage, it was was MONEY.  But apparently, not so much.

Money is a "promise."  A promise that it can be exchanged for whatever the person owning it needs.  Thus, its "value" is inescapably entwined with the confidence that... [More]- Level of Confidence


September 21,2008(WeekendEdition)

A very intriguing package showed up in our office mail yesterday.  It was a teaser ad from Porsche for a new vehicle called the Panamera.  The ad was done in the style of an artist's "sketch book."

The images on all of the pages were hand-drawn rendering of Porsche's current line (911, Boxster, Cayenne, Cayman).  They then asked the question " How will you build the first true sports car for four?"  Our answer would be to... [More]- Panamera


September 20,2008(WeekendEdition)

Somebody (we will not reveal whom... cough...Eliot), while learning how to ride the Vespa, managed to put a small indentation on the front panel

We were happy to just leave it be.  The dent, while somewhat unsightly, had no affect on the workings of the scooter itself.  This, of course, did not sit well with the RainyDayGarage guys.  After all, "fixing" the dent was the perfect excuse... [More]- Vespa Dent Repair


September 19,2008(FoodFriday)

Judging by the turnout, A Taste of Roslindale last night was a hugh success.  We arrived a little after 6:30.  The place was already packed and the tasting was well underway.

It seemed like everyone in Roslindale was there.  We said "Hi" to friends at a few of our local favorite restaurants (Sophia's Grotto, Pleasant Cafe) before checking out the rest of the hall. 

The tasty treats from the participating vendors were all very tempting.  We decided we had to try EVERYTHING!  Our only plan was to save the dessert for last, but we... [More]- Taste Of Roslindale Event


September 18,2008(TastyThursday)

Roslindale was just a nice place to live when we discovered it in 1989.  Like many of Boston's neighorhood, it has its shares of wonderful local dining establishments (Pleasant Cafe, Blue Star). 

With the opening of restaurants such as Delfino and Sophia's Grotto, Roslindale has developed into a dining destination!  Tonight, for just $40 per person, you can sample food from some of the best eateries in Roslindale!  The proceeds goes to benefit some wonderful charities. The event starts at 6:30.  Go early, it will be crowded.  [Permalink] - Taste Of Roslindale


September 17,2008(WowUsWednesday)

The Harvest Moon has been in the New England sky for the past few nights.  However it has been hidden by the cloudy weather.  Being the optimists that we are, we had the telescope set just in case the cloud movements cooperated.  Our patience was rewarded by a brief appearance around 10:40PM.

We took a series of photos of the full moon using our normal setup (Nikon D40, angle viewer, Meade 2045).  The angle viewer definitely made it easier to make fine focus adjustments of the telescope.  However, we noticed that some... [More]- Harvest Moon


September 16,2008(TechExplodedTuesday)

We got one awesome book in the mail from DK Publishing yesterday.  It is "Cool Stuff Exploded" by Chris Woodford (ISBN: 978-0-7566-4028-6).  Everyone has heard the saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover."  Well, in this case, we think you can.

The "Cool Stuff" in the title refers to things like digital cameras, cell phones, and watches.  The "Exploded" part refers to how the insides of those things are represented in the book.

A taste of the 3-D exploded views inside the book is right on the cover.  Tilt the cover to one side, the Lego robot is in its normal form, move it a bit and it will start to come apart.  Hold it just right and you will see... [More]- Cool Stuff Exploded


September 15,2008 (MoneyMonday)

Lehman Brothers was founded over 150 years ago by Emanuel and Mayer Lehman.  Its purpose was to trade cotton commodities.  Over time, it has evolved to become one of Wall Street's investment powerhouses.  Today it filed for Chapter 11 protection, brought down by the subprime mess and the collapse of the housing market.

We believe the Fed is doing the right thing in letting Lehman Brothers fail.  No one takes joy in seeing a venerable institution fall into hard times, but the money game is not personal... it's business.  Isn't this how a free market is suppose to work?  [Permalink] - Free market


September 14,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Whether it is the fringe effects from Hurricane Ike down South or just typical New England weather,  we have been hit with a few days of on again/off again rain.  While all of this rain is great for the garden, it does make a mess of the vehicles.

Since we don't have garage parking here at the office, everyone just parks their cars out in the open.  The weather, birds, and trees drop a lot of "stuff" on the vehicles, but we have learned to deal with it by covering them up. 

We have covers for both the Porsche Boxster and the Vespa scooter.  With covers, we tend to favor those designed to fit a specific vehicle rather than the... [More] - Vehicle covers


September 13,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We have been watching Hurricane Ike's progress on the web.  One of the nicer interactive tools we've come across is this map from MSNBC.

The MSNBC map shows the past, present, and future path of Ike in a clear, easy to understand format.  User can zoom in, pan around, and get the current stats (wind speed, pressure, etc...) of the storm.

For readers interested in photos of Ike from space, we would recommend heading over to the NASA site.  They have some amazing shots of Ike taken from the Space Station[Permalink] - Ike is here


September 12,2008 (FloodFriday)

Ike is just hours away from the coast of Texas.  By tomorrow morning, Galveston may be underwater.  The weather service has been warning residents to get out of town or face "certain death."  Well, the message couldn't be any clearer than that.

However, about 10,000 residents of Galveston have decided to stay and ride out the storm.  While there is always a glimmer of hope that the storm may shift or fade at the last minute, it seems crazy to ignore a clear warning of "certain death."  We wish them luck because it is now too late to change their minds.  [Permalink] - Ike


September 11,2008 (SevenYearsLater)

Seven years is a long time, but the confusion of that day is still clear in our memory like it happened yesterday.  When we had heard a plane had flown in to one of the towers at the World Trade Center, we turned on the TV. 

We remember watching the second plane fly into the tower thinking it was instant replay of what was originally stated as an accident.  We didn't know what was going on, but it was clear it was no longer an accident.  It is now seven years later, we have forgotten some of the details of that day, but we still clearly remember the feeling of relief of makng it home from the office.  For those who were not as fortunate, we dedicate this day to remembering them.  [Permalink] - Seven Years Later


September 10,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

When we say that some of us here are physics geeks, we want RainyDayMagazinze readers to understand the full meaning of our statement.  We read books on cosmology for fun and relaxation.

All of these books were bedtime reading for our editors at one time or another over the years.  So yes, we are quite excited about the particle physics experiments begining at CERN today.  And no, don't send us any emails about "a blackhole that will swallow up the earth."

For readers who want a quick refresher on the basics of particle physics, Wired magazine has a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek primer in their September issue.  It is not everyday the world gets a glimpse of the mind of God.  Today may be that day.  Actually, it will more likely be the latter part of October as the scientists are just firing up the puppy today.  So there is still time to read up and be ready!

[Permalink] - Particle Physics and Hyperspace


September 9,2008 (BigBangTechTuesday)

Everyone in the RainyDayScience department is eagerly awaiting the results from the Large Hadron Collider experiments tomorrow.

There have been plenty of "the sky is falling" fears and pseudo-science hand-wringing about the LHC expressed on the Net these past few weeks .  It is good to see that CERN has basically ignored these nut-jobs (in case it is not clear, we have little patience for ignorance around here) and will go ahead with their experiments.  We are looking forward to better understand the world around us.  Those out there thinking the world is going to end on Wednesday... well, you should just go have a "farewell" party.  [Permalink] - Large Hadron Collider


September 8,2008 (CGTMountMonday)

When we last left our disabled Celestron CG-5 mount, we were flummoxed as to why our bypass of the power switch did not bring the unit back to life.  Upon closer inspection, we finally understand the problem. 

There was some kind of lacquer around the contacts of the power switch.  It worked when we clamped our bypass to the solder points on the BACK of the board.

Once we confirmed that the power switch was the problem, we had a few options.  Celestron quoted us $35 for the board.  It was a fair price if we wanted to just replace... [More]- Celestron mount revived


September 7,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We meant to install an anchor for our Vespa this weekend.  Saturday was eaten up wandering the aisles of Walmart on behalf of our former intern.  Sunday was spent with us inside, rewiring the Mac mini media center, courtesy of the rain from tropical storm Hanna. 

With the large-screen TV disassembled and mostly removed ("partially removed," says our Copy Editor) from the office, it was time to reorganize the gear.  The most time-consuming part was deciding where we should put the audio/video gear

Should we put them closer to the Mac mini media center, or hide them somewhere out of sight?  After a bit of pondering, we decided it was best to put it close to the... [More] - Rewiring


September 6,2008 (WeekendEdition)

The HR folks never told us when we hired an intern that our responsibilities to them extended to... actually, we are not really sure when it ends.  OK, so she did come up with our tagline "We Entertain When It Rains."  She might even have done some weeding in the RainyDayGarden.  However, we didn't know we had signed up for looking after her whenever she was in town :-)

On Thursday, we got a call asking if we could pick her up at the airport at 6:30AM and drive her down to Providence?  Being the softies that we are, we said sure... [More] - First Day at RISD


September 5,2008 (FahgettabouditFriday)

Just about everybody had a Kryptonite lock at one time or another for their bicycle.  We still have a few of them around the office somewhere.  When we started looking at locks for scooters, we knew we had to check out what Kryptonite had to offer.

Kryptonite has two chains/lock combo which we thought were worthy of mention: the New York Chain w/Evolution series 4 Disc Lock, and the New York Fahgettaboudit.  Since we live and work in a relatively safe area of Boston, we opted for the... [More] - Kryptonite


September 4,2008 (AlarmTechThursday)

Yesterday we took a general look at the Xena Alarm Disc-lock.  Today, we'll take a closer look at the alarm component of this compact security device.

The first thing to note about this Xena alarm is there is no "On/Off" switch.  The alarm self-arms when the lock is engaged.  This actually makes it a bit noisy when trying to separate the alarm from the frame when the battery still has some juice.  Normally one would not need to do that, but we wanted to show the inside of the shell and the alarm unit.

To free the alarm, a key is used to push a recessed pin inside the channel of the lock.  This pin is not accessible when... [More] - Xena Alarm


September 3,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

There are a few companies which make disc-locks for scooters and motorcycles.  When a disc-lock is attached to the disc of a vehicle's brakes, it makes it impossible for the wheel to rotate. The one we will be testing is from a company called Xena Security

Xena makes a lot of different locks for all kinds of security needs (motocycles, cars, home).  The one which seemed most appropriate for our application was the Alarmed Disc-Lock

The lock is made from a solid block of stainless steel, has an integrated alarm, and fits in the palm of your hand. The Xena DiscLock Alarm comes complete with... [More] - Xena DiscLock


September 2,2008 (ToughTechTuesday)

Boston is a great city, but like any city you have to be aware of your surroundings, watch your stuff, and lock things up when you are not around.  Scooters and motorcycles are pretty heavy, but a couple of strong guys can still pick it up and put it in the back of a truck.

When we knew we were going to get a scooter, we started looking around to see how we could secure it around town. Two ideas quickly bubbled to the top of the list: one was to get a big chain and a strong lock; the other was to look into something called a "disc-lock."  Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at both of these options: how they work, when and where are each most useful, and how well they perform in the real world.  [Permalink] - Vespa Locks


September 1,2008 (MobileMonday)

At the beginning of Summer we started seeing more and more questions about scooters: what kind to get, how to secure them, which type of helmets would make sense, etc. We decided to look into all of these questions as we were curious about the answers ourselves.  A few of us had considered getting scooters because while we only have a short commute (7 miles), it usually takes about 40 minutes.

It did not take much research for us to realize that the cheap imports were no bargain (no power, no parts, no service), and to go with a real Vespa.  Our plan was to buy a used one on Craigslist.  However, that was also the time when gas prices went crazy, quickly followed by used Vespa prices.  Fortunately, the interns' perseverance paid off.  We managed to find one at... [More]- Vespa


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