Month: April 2012

New Herbs added to my window garden

So as you might already know, I am already growing Basil, Spearmint, and Lemon Thyme on a southern facing window sill.

We were at Trader Joe’s this weekend and they had a bunch of herb plants. I picked up Oregano, and Taragon.

So fresh herbs in our household will now include:

Lemon Thyme

I need to build a stacking system because I want to grow chives and dill too.

Nothing beats fresh herbs. For example, the basil:

Take 1/4 or 1/3 of a french loaf. Split the loave across it’s middle and drizzle some olive oil on the cut sides. You can also drizzle a little bit of good balsamic vinegar on the bread too.

Thinly cut a slicing tomato. Season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder and dry oregano. Plae on bread and add thinly sliced mozzarella. Top the cheese with a little more balsamic vinegar and a chiffonade of basil.

It’s delicious.

And now with fresh oregano it’ll get even better. And the taragon, I love taragon on chicken and on fish.

At Last, EZ Pass is in my hands

If you’ve been reading you know that I’ve had quite the saga getting an EZ Pass out of the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority.

A brief synopsis:

I ordered one back in early December, 2011. Now I’m one who expects things I order to get there within a few days, unless of course it’s coming from Asia. But by January when I still didn’t have my transponder I wrote RIBTA and asked what was up? I also called and was told it can take weeks for the transponders to arrive.

One phone call even told me I could go down to Jamestown to pick it up. Now as you might have surmised, I’d have to rent a Zipcar to get there, incurring an additional expense.

So yesterday I sent an email to the director of the RIBTA. That letter follows:

Hello Mr. Croft,

I’m wondering if perhaps you’d be able to help resolve an issue I’ve been having with getting an EZ Pass from RIBTA delivered to my home here in Providence.

To start, here is my account number:


I ordered the EZPass back in early December of 2011.

I’ve had dealings with staff there via email and phone with the last saying I could drive down and get one. This is UNACCEPTABLE.

Here is what I am proposing:

1) It is obvious that RIBTA has transponders on hand

2) I am proposing that you priority mail a transponder to me at:


Please let me know if this proposal can be satisfied.

I received a phone call from Mr. Croft at 8:16PM last night. I described the saga for him and he asked that I be patient until this morning so he could get the story on his side.

At 9:17AM today I got a call from Ms. O’Conner gave me two options. She could drop it in the mail, or she was headed to Boston at 2:00PM and she could drop it off. She did acknowledge that they do drop-offs on occasion.

And she just dropped it off about 10 minutes ago. So I’ll be able to use my EZ Pass on our spring trip to North Carolina.

My thanks to Mr. Croft and Ms. O’Conner. Had I known writing Croft would get the ball rolling I would have done that in the first place.

Wow (Was RIBTA)

I received a phone call from the Director of RIBTA. He is going to call me first thing tomorrow and get to the bottom of this.

He did confirm that they have transponders there. So all I want is for them to mail one out to me. He’s concerned with the fact I was told I could come and get it though

So apparently writing an email with the word “UNACCEPTABLE” in bold gets attention. Nice to know.

Dealing with the RI Bridge and Toll Authority

I had posted some time ago, back in December of 2011, that I had ordered an EZ-Pass from the RI Bridge and Toll Authority.

Here we are in April of 2012 and I paid $140 for the transponder and $100 in toll money and I don’t have the transponder in hand.

I’ve called, and had email exchanges the last of which said if I wanted it I could drive to Jamestown and get it. Um, no. I paid for it to be shipped to ME.

It’s getting ridiculous. So I fired off an email to the Executive Director at the RIBTA that said the following:

I explained that saga and proposed the following to the Director. I said that it was obvious that they had transponders in stock, and since that was the case they could priority mail one to me

I’m waiting to see how the Director responds. Because my next move is registered receipt requested letters to him, the Director of Transportation, and the Governor’s office. I will light a fire under his ass the likes which he has never seen nor felt before.


Issues with web performance resolved

I know you’ve seen the complaints about Firefox, etc.  I noticed it spiking the cpu, etc.

Had occasion to snap my hard drive into Keyron’s computer. It is identical to my computer with three exceptions:

1) It has a DVD burner on it.

2) it has less physical memory

3) It has an Intel 2915 wireless card, mine has the Intel 2200.

I note youtube works, everything works and the cpu isn’t hammered.  I also note no dropouts on the net connection. The behavior I was seeing was system threads on the cpu using 40% or more.

What happened was the wireless card was generating too many IRQ’s – sucking up system resources to service those interrupt requests.

The end result, new wireless card for my computer is coming.

Let the Campaigns Begin

This evening Keyron and I attended an election season dinner put on by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. It was held in the Cafeteria at Hope High School in Providence. I did see and greet  Vivian Spencer there, she works for the Senator and I had worked for her when both of us worked at the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office. Turnout was pretty good with a large contingent of elderly folks.

It was the usual event, Sheldon was introduced by a woman who he had disagreed with but when it came to brass tacks, his office helped her and now she was a supporter and proud to introduce him.

There were a few statements by the Senator to which I had interesting responses. Senator Whitehouse was talking about the health care debacle and he mentioned the 45 provisions in the law and what their effects were on the population. For example was  the part where the Senator mentioned the reduction in re-admissions. I commented to Keyron that you generally don’t re-admit dead people.

But then there was the obvious Republican plant in the room who asked why Senator Whitehouse voted against the JOBS bill.  The reason I say Republican is because this is a common theme within the Repubican game plan. JOBS actually stands for, and I thank the Senator for explaining that JOBS actually stood for Jumpstart Our Business Startups which includes ” intended to help start-ups raise capital and go public, but may also lead to many more money-losing Groupon-like I.P.O.’s.”

That just sounds like Trickle Down economics, E.g. big business does well, people do well which is patently a falsehood.

But a bit later on someone else asked a question of if  President Obama could have done a better job  of selling Health Care Reform maybe we wouldn’t have the court case, etc.

The Senator actually agreed with the man, leading to great consternation on the part of Keyron. He and I both know, all the Republican obstructionism that the Republicans in the Senate and in the House, as Senatore Whitehouse loves to talk about, is all based in large part on hatred of the black man who is President.

Now don’t get me wrong, Sheldon Whitehouse is actually a pretty good Senator. He’s a bit more left than most and I think that comes from his take on Noblese Oblige. And I still think he’d make a damned good Supreme Court Justice. But after listening to all this I think I know what most Congressmen and Senators real job happens to be:

Grease the skids, rails, and the other processes of government. When you’re trying to get federal benefits such as death benefits, military matters, passport expedition, etc. Call on your elected representative.

Because otherwise you cannot compete with the lobbyists.