Archive for October, 2013

Bike Racks on Trains

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

I know there’s at least one or two guys who read this site occasionally who are into bikes. So I have a question- rather, a technical design scenario. Let’s say you were looking at some sort of bicycle storage provision for rail cars. What sorts of design elements should be incorporated into the storage solution to make it user friendly, safe, convenient, etc?

As a reference, the rail cars in question would be a commuter rail type of car. Riders typically embark at one of a handful of stations and disembark after a 30 to 60 minute ride. There’s not a lot of on-off like you get with subways. It’s meant for transit from suburbs to the city, generally. Also, there’s a fair bit of recreational use on the weekends, possibly riders transporting bikes to and from the city for tourism.

The bike storage unit must be inside the rail car. Due to tunnels and adjacent tracks, outside storage is not possible.  SInce the storage will be inside, it will necessarily take up some space that could be use for seated passengers.  The goal is to minimize seating loss.

Will be interested to hear your input on this. Feel free to include sketches, etc as well.

Kindergarten

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In Henrietta, where I grew up, school selection was straightforward. There were a half dozen or so public schools scattered around the town. When your child was old enough for kindergarten, you signed him or her up at the one closest to your house. Done. If you didn’t want public school, the only other real option was a diocesan Catholic school over at Guardian Angels, which ran through third grade, and then Good Shepard for fourth through eighth.

Here in Buffalo, it’s not that easy. There is school choice, which means that you can send your child anywhere in the city for public grade school. Additionally, there are charter schools (none of which cooperate, by the way, which means applying to each one individually) and a scattering of Catholic schools. They all have different application deadlines and requirements — some programs use testing to determine which students are admitted, some use a lottery system. Some have “sibling preference”, where a student with an older brother or sister at the school gets priority, some don’t. Some reserve spots specifically for students in the neighborhood, some don’t. The age cutoffs are all over the place. It’s all very confusing.

Since Dean will be going into kindergarten next year, we’re working through all of this stuff right now. I just dropped off his Buffalo Public Schools application this morning — yes, in the year 2013 you still register by filling out a paper form and taking it to the Registration Office — and we’ll be sending in some for charters in the next couple of weeks.

I suppose it’s nice to have all of these potential options, but it really causes a sort of option paralysis; there are so many different decisions to make, and of course as a parent you’re constantly afraid that the slightest mistake or misstep will send your child’s entire academic future right off track. There are times when I envy the simplicity of the Henrietta approach.

Absence

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

So, I haven’t posted anything on here in a month or so. Sorry about that.

As you can probably imagine, I’ve been a bit busy. Our daughter, Monica Marie, was born on September 19. I may be a little bit biased, but I’m pretty sure she’s the most adorable baby ever.

Fortunately, my employer offers paternity leave, so I’ve been home for the last month helping out while Sue recovers. It’s been a great time — the boys and I have been going to all sorts of different parks and playgrounds and having a lot of fun. I’m really not looking forward to going back to work in a couple of weeks.

The ultimate AMC

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

While I secretly long for an AMC to call my own, I’ll be very open about my desire for this car.

Oh mama. It’s the Holy Grail of Kenosha.

Bull Roast?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

So I checked the alumni page and don’t see anything about the annual bull roast. The Mrs. and I are planning on heading up to the Rochester area for Thanksgiving, will anyone else be around and want to get together Wednesday night for some deceased animal warmed with fire?

Happy Government Shutdown Day!

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

It’s been 9 hours and 4 minutes (at the time of me typing this) since the government officially shut down due to a bunch of overpaid, whiny children arguing over who’s version of fascism is better. Who, it must be noted, are still getting paid, and still receiving health care benefits most of us can’t even fathom.

How’d you like to be a federal employee, arriving at work this morning to an email designating you as “non-essential”. I wonder if those federal health care benefits cover self esteem treatment…