Monthly Archives: March 2013

How to spring clean (your finances)

Chances are you will do spring cleaning around your house/apartment/condo in the next few weeks. You should also spring clean your financial house and get everything in order. A great way to do this is to take a day off and tackle everything at once, as this article suggests: Your Money – A Day Off to Tackle the Financial To-Do List – NYTimes.com.

You will be surprised how by the end of it that you are paying less on your overall bills and maybe saving more at the end of the exercise too. Well worth while, both the article and the exercise.

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Spring is coming. You need a bike. Why not build your own?

At Urban Outfitters Bike Shop, you can. You don’t have do any fancy welding, just go to their interactive web site and go from there. You start with a pattern like this:

And they help you with designing it yourself. This model, the Plato Dutch Diamond, comes in around $399 for a fixie/1-speed. I have a bike like this (not from them), and I love it. There’s even a random option if the choices overwhelm you. Now you can have that 5 colour bike you always wanted. 🙂 Or for that matter, a basic black model with a touch of red. Whatever, you have lots of flexibility. And in the end, a bike all of your own.

Happy Pi Day! Here’s the best recipe you will ever find on how to make your own pie crust

I love this recipe for pie crust: Stop Being a Wuss: How To Make Pie Crusts the Easy Way | The Awl. Most recipes are dry and detail oriented. Not this one. It has loads of personality, wit and humour. And it is still a valid recipe for how to make pie crust. More than that, you will WANT to try and make a pie when you are done reading it. But wait, you say: what do I do once I have the pie crust? That, my friend, is easy. If you want to be terribly lazy, when you are at the grocer, pick up some pie filling and pour it into this wonderful pie of yours. If you think, “that’s wussy!”, then go all the way and look up apple pie or some berry pie recipes on Google. You will be glad you did.

Now, you are no longer a wuss, and even better, you have pie.

How to be a better runner? Speed workouts. (Even for new runners!)

Yes, even new runners training for something less than a marathon can benefit from some speed training. This article, Adding Speed Workouts to Marathon Training – NYTimes.com, is focused on marathon training, but I think anyone running should give it a read. I am a big fan of fartlek training and at a minimum, I’d recommend people that run regularly should add to their training. This article covers that and more. A good read for runners of all types.

How to Hire Programmers

I bookmarked this ages ago, but this post, How I Hire Programmers by Aaron Swartz is worth reading. It’s from 2009, but it is timeless.

I am sure it could be applied to anyone, not just programmers. It’s a very humane way of interviewing and hiring people.

On the 700 billion dollar blank check

That’s more or less what the Congress gave the Secretary of the Treasury (Paulson, under President Bush), in order to save the economy when it was threatening to crash and burn in the fall of 2008. Here’s the Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan (NYTimes.com).

Basically it gives Paulson the ability to buy any mortgate-related asset from anyone for any amount up to $700B. It’s a remarkable document. Read it just to see how much leeway Paulson had. It’s astounding.

How to: in 1 shopping trip, buying just 10 ingredients, make 5 meals (by Mark Bittman, no less)

I think this article should be printed and referred to by anyone who needs to simplify their lives but still needs to grocery shop and prepare meals for the week. And just what are these ingredients?

Chicken breasts (4 boneless)
Bacon (1/2 pound)
Shrimp (1 pound)
Spinach (1 pound)
Tomatoes (6)
Ginger
Onions
Asparagus (2 pounds)
Button mushrooms (1 pound)
Loaf of good country bread

Sound good? Go to The 10-Ingredient Shopping Trip – NYTimes.com and get the details.