Archive for December, 2010

Modern Pastries

Posted from Medford, Massachusetts, United States.

Ghost on the T

Heat Camera

While temperatures were in the teens one night this week, I took the opportunity to bring the thermal imaging camera home from work and take a bunch of boring pictures of doors, windows, and walls to see where cold might be leaking in:

I took some more interesting pictures too. Here’s the house from the outside:

You can see the old single paned glass next to the door doesn’t insulate well.

Jezi has a cold nose:

The car was driven a few hours before, some of the body is still warm:

Dinner cooking with 500-degree flame, warm food being served:

You can tell which zone is running on the furnace, and see the hot exhaust going up (and to the side!) of the chimney upstairs:

Hot exhausts on cars driving by, and an open window in the apartments next door:

Posted from Medford, Massachusetts, United States.

Waterless Wash


In New England, it’s impossible to keep your car clean for almost half the year— freezing weather, snow, salt, and grimy roads are stacked against you. With a tree covering my cars instead of a garage, birds really have their way with them. And frankly I just haven’t had the time to give them the attention they need. But the car care industry never stops innovating, and now they’ve come up with the “waterless spray wash.”

Available from Griots, Autopia, and others, the product is somewhat like a lubricating quick detailer with some wax as well. Unfortunately it is still water-based, so no washing below freezing, but it sure beats dunking your hand in a bucket of chilly water on a cold day. It is also potentially useful for a quick freshening say before a car meet, or while you’re off for a few days. In the past I dragged all my car washing equipment up to MINIsOnTop, here all that’s needed is a spray bottle and some microfiber.

I tried Ultima Waterless Wash Plus+, mostly for its cheaper price. I easily following the Instructions to mix a bottle from the concentrate. As I had a ton of heavy bird droppings, I instead went over with a very high-pile MF towel first. It works just like it says: spray on, and everything wipes away, transferring the dirt to the towel. For the most part it dries without streaking too.

While I thought this would be more of an experiment, I realized I will be using this a lot. It’s been years since I had the time to do a bucket wash every week, I sometimes goe months before dragging everything out. Now I can quickly and easily refresh both cars in between real washes with minimal time and effort. Of course, nothing beats a real wash, especially if you are going to wax afterwards.
Here are some before and after shots:

I went through about a quarter bottle per car, and of course at least one microfiber towel is needed per use. So be sure to have plenty of towels and solution. At Autopia, they have a Ultima Waterless Wash Plus+ concentrate kit, however I would recommend the much higher-pile Carrand “Microfiber MAX” Soft Touch Detailing Towel over the Ultima towel. Griot’s has the full line of their Spray-On Car Wash on their web site or you can get the Griot’s Kit from Amazon.

My Old Commute

I’ve been meaning to post this video for years, my old commute from Newton to Essex that I captured and finally sped up and posted. This day was “best case” 46 minutes, sped up 800% here, but the return trip often took between 1-2 hours (and too often, more). Thankfully since moving to Medford, though my morning commute has only dropped to 35 minutes, evening is usually 45, and rarely an hour. But, the old commute here is much more interesting.

The route goes from city to country, with plenty of fun curves, tunnels, and bridges. The full length of Storrow Drive into Boston, through some of the Big Dig tunnels, beside the Zakim bridge, and then over the Toben bridge. High speed curves on Route 1 North then commercial mecca. Finally 128 on to Cape Ann, exiting in Beverly, and the farmish suburbs towards the office in Essex. If you’re not from around here you may notice the crazy but clockwork-like Boston traffic, the many old highways with no shoulders, and of course plenty of people zoned out and blocking the left lane.

Details in the MINI like the old iPaq GPS show the age of the video: Early September 2007, just after I started work in Essex. This is just before colleges started, which instantly added more traffic and time. It’s such a relief to know the wasted time and stress that this commute caused me for years is behind me, but it is fun to relive it, especially at this speed.

Steak Fry