This seems like a reasonable way to capture things that I surround myself with, but can't (yet) speak to specific areas of work or interest in a meaningful way. I'm not much of a collector (although I do retain a fondness for searching through coins from a childhood of coin collecting), but perhaps I like to gather things.


I grew up around Unix workstations, which made an impression on me with their varied function, and the particular sets of aesthetics they had in the early 1990s through just before the turn of the century. I liked the clean angles, the offset features, and the combination either of simple colour palettes (I think here of Sun and HP) or of, well, extremely complex ones executed perfectly (Silicon Graphics.)

I am lucky to have some of the very machines I grew up around in my possession, and to have substitutes for many others. Still, there are some that I remember reading about wide-eyed on late nights, frantically searching the Internet for something. I missed my chance to own a Canon objectstation (their x86-based NeXT platform), and continue to regret it, despite how unremarkable the hardware was. I always wanted to have a workstation with an i960 CPU.

At some point, one can't even remember why these things were exciting once, only that they were.

I think a lot about putting music-making equipment, router/firewalls, and set-top-boxes into old Silicon Graphics enclosures, and things like that, to keep those aesthetics, and that childhood sense of play and fascination present in my life.


In 2019, I came down with an intense obsession with the genus Citrus (in which I certainly include Poncirus except for retaining the differing taxonomy.) I don't know where it came from; my great-grandparents owned a small Citrus grove when I was a kid, when being on their primary farm in Winter got to be too much, but I'm pretty sure that's not it. As I remarked to anyone who would listen: "I don't even like Citrus, really."

Well, I ran deeply into that strange attraction, and followed where it led. I now know that I have a strong preference for the Minneola tangelo and for dekopon, which are about interchangeable. If they weren't so expensive, I'd probably eat a dekopon a day, and two on Sunday.

Also along the way, I planted a couple hundred Poncirus trifoliata, tried my hand at grafting, and began laying plans to try my hand at Citrus breeding. I hope to have a separate page on Citrus at some point, once I have anything to show for my work other than some pretty intense "learning experiences."

There are a lot of other things I have a history of growing, or am trying to grow now; with very few exceptions, I have a strong preference for native plants except for edible species. I would rather my native Arbutus than just about anything else, and the forest is more beautiful than any landscaping I could hope to design. Still, I have a fondness for Vitis and Prunus and Malus and Cydonia and friends, and if you know where I can get a cutting of Nanimo or Avalon Pride peach in British Columbia, I very much want to hear from you.

The Citrus experience got me very interested in fruit breeding generally, and I'm growing a huge number of Eriobotrya japonica so I can tinker with fruit selection a little bit; similarly, I'm interested in growing Ceratonia siliqua and Asimina triloba from seed to see what kinds of variations I might encounter in sufficient quantity. I grow Yucca brevifolia for a very different reason: I am simply fascinated with the plant, and want to watch it grow.

Growing things from seed seems like it has so much more potential to be rewarding and interesting than simple cutting propagation, except on the rare occasion when one can propagate a stable chimera or something odd along those lines. (More on that when I have enough content for a full Citrus page.)

Civil Service Satchels

I really, really like an espionage television show called The Sandbaggers that you've probably never heard of. The opening credits feature close-ups of a briefcase/satchel of the kind issued to workers in the Civil Service in the UK in that same era. This made a lasting impression on me.

With that impression in hand, I set out to acquire such a bag, without luck for several years, until they began to show up through estate auctions, and children clearing out the attics of their parents who had worked in that time. I own several, now, and have a sort of phylogenetic tree of their development, of different kinds of models that used to be made, and so on. Short of being able to obtain an actual ministerial box (or, if I ever ran out of things to spend money on, a Red Box, I suppose), my collection feels fairly complete, including one such bag which was never issued, so that I was its first user.

I probably should put together a comprehensive page of information on what I know of these bags at some point. They are wonderful little objects, and some day I hope to have a bespoke bag with their features made; perhaps I should take up leather work.

2006 Saab 9-3 Parts

I drive a Saab made during the height of the GM era. I am not a car person, but when it was time for me to buy a car, I figured I should have one that felt good to drive, since I utterly hated driving. Now I have a car with which I feel in perfect harmony most of the time, except that you can't get parts for it, or you can get GM parts that require al ot of work to configure with it, except that service is impossibly expensive, if it can be found at all.

I am not a car person, but my ridiculous car has meant that I've bought a bunch of diagnostic equipment, worked on software for doing service functions, and otherwise have gotten to know my way around bits of it: the most technological bits, because I've never had the time and the toolset to get into the mechanical side of things. I've had top mechanics tell me things were impossible that it's turned out to be very easy to do. I've had simple things turn out to be absolute nightmares.

I lost a week of my life to ECU reprogramming, and I used to have a page up about it, but hopefully there's few enough of these strange beasts left on the road that nobody else needs to worry about such things ever again.