winning the tomato race
Sunday, July 11 2010
My somewhat obsessive-compulsive nature makes it easy for me to set myself in competition with others over the most trivial matters. Take for example gardening. I'm no green thumb, but I've gotten better at it over the years. Now that Gretchen and I are members of an organic CSA (community-supported agriculture), I can directly compare my results to that of a professional acting in our own region. Some of the produce from the CSA has been astounding (such as the corn we've been getting for two weeks now — how can they possibly be harvesting that so early?), though most of it (leafy greens) makes sense. This year my greatest triumph has been my two tomato patches. I have ten healthy plants that are now full of tomatoes. Unfortunately, though, all but a few cherry tomatoes remain green. Nonetheless, I've been hoping (for purely competitive reasons) that I manage to harvest tomatoes from my tomato patches before they appear in our weekly share from the CSA. And so today when I harvested the first completely ripe cherry tomato, I felt like my tomato effort was doing as well as the professionals. Mind you, I don't especially like cherry tomatoes. I prefer my tomatoes either cooked down into a sauce or sliced thin in a sandwich or on a pizza; I do not like it when they burst in my mouth, particularly when they've been cooked and are full of scalding juices. So I gave the first tomato of the year to Gretchen. She thought it was good and completely ripe, though not the best tomato she'd ever eaten.
I drove into town today to get some groceries (especially Red Rose tea, as I'd just run out), as well as booze for the laboratory liquor cabinet.
On the drive home I saw brutal line of thunderstorms were stretched out across the sky running from the southwest to the northeast and I passed beneath a patch of strong rainfall as I neared Hurley. But I'd brought five five-gallon buckets with me to collect soil, so I decided to risk getting caught in the rain as I filled them from the various piles left by the Town of Hurley (down on the floodplain across Wynkoop from the Hurley Mountain Inn). Rain fell as I did so, but not very strongly. The biggest risk of getting caught out in the open came when I had to go drag Sally back to the car. Now nearly deaf, she no longer seems concerned about thunderstorms (or me hollering that we have to go).
Now that I had tea, I could focus on the web development job that had so frustrated me yesterday. Bit by bit, I managed to pull things together and get something that had been completely broken to work. So much of what I was working on involves files that communicate invisibly in the background. There are places I can put statements in the code to log debugging information into the database, but it turns out there is a better way to see into the hidden world of service communications: something called Charles Proxy. I don't really know how it works, but once you run it, it sits there and intercepts web communications and logs them, often parsing the information into a readable format. The most amazing thing about Charles is how little information it logs. I know for a fact that when I have 26 Firefox windows open on my computer, a good fraction of them are constantly making AJAX calls back to various ad servers and social networking sites. So why, then, do I only see the service calls that I want to see? It's like magic.
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