The Curl in the Dilly Bar

From the Dairy Queen FAQ:

How come my Dilly Bar doesn’t have a curl in the middle?

Some Dilly bars are made by the staff of DQ stores and those have a curl. Others are manufactured for those DQ restaurants that do not have the space or the staff to make their own. Those Dilly Bars are packaged in clear plastic and do not have a curl.

The manufacturing equipment is not able to duplicate the trademark curl on our Dilly Bars. There are positives, however, to the manufacturing process. We can offer our Dilly Bars in additional flavours, including Mint and no sugar added.

I have no idea what the “curl in the middle” of a Dilly bar is, as I was never allowed a Dilly bar at Dairy Queen. But it’s nice to know we still need humans to put it there.

(There was a Dairy Queen across the street from my high school; its parking lot was the place where fights were held: “Jimmy is fighting Danny in the Dairy Queen parking lot after school, pass it on!”)

Official Dessert of the Pandemic

Three day old homemade waffles, heated up in the toaster, covered with tangerines and fresh mint (from Heart Beet Organics) and drizzled with melted 90% Lindt chocolate.

Bonus pandemic pro tip: sprigs of fresh herbs wrapped in damp paper towel and sealed in a Ziploc bag in the fridge keep fresh much longer than ye olde “stick in a glass of water in the fridge” method.

Light, turn on”

Matt Webb writes, in How I would put voice control in everything:

Because it is really appealing to me to turn on a light, set the stove timer, play music, pause the TV, snooze an alarm etc just by saying something. What’s not cool is

  • having a device in my home that harvests every sound in the house and sends it to cloud servers for eternal recording, or not, who knows and that’s the point – an audio panopticon dressed in plastic
  • needing to remember arcane vocal syntaxes
  • latency.

I was an early “smart” speaker adopter, and our collection has grown to two Alexas (one in the office, one at home) and three Google Homes (one at the office, one in the kitchen, one in Oliver’s room). Like Matt, I’m uncomfortable with the audio panopticon I’ve visited upon myself.

After three years, our use of these devices boils down to three simple things:

  1. Listening to Spotify (“Alexa, play some music” or “OK Google, play Lost Words Blessing”). Half a dozen times a day.
  2. Turning on and off the television and the lights in the living room (“Alexa, turn on the television,” “Alexa, turn off the yellow lamp”).
  3. Casual mathematics (“OK Google, what’s 1749 divided by two,” “OK Google, how many days ago was January 24”).

That’s it. I haven’t used any of the “skills” or “actions” that Amazon and Google and related third parties have created in a long time. I never did, really.

All of the above I could accomplish, with slightly more friction, otherwise: I could play Spotify to a Bluetooth speaker from my phone, I could turn the TV and lights on and off as our ancestors did, and I could learn to do math in my head. But, my behaviour suggests, I am unlikely to do this, having given up all of my audio privacy to eliminate the friction.

I would really like to be able to say “light, turn on” and have that be a relationship between me and the light, and not between me and the world’s largest retailer and/or the world’s largest advertising platform.

The Real Reason I Bought an Electric Vehicle

When Steve Howard was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island in the spring of 2019, I made it my life’s mission to create the conditions that would allow him to drive his Mitsubishi i-MiEV from his home in Summerside to work at the Legislature and back, something that required a charge in Charlottetown where chargers are few and far between.

So in December I purchased a Kia Soul EV, and with it came an EVduty level 2 charger, which I installed off my driveway this winter.

Making my driveway ready to receive Steve’s car.

Which it did this morning:

Steve Howard's Mitsubishi electric car charging in my driveway

Steve Howard's car from the side, in front of our Kia Soul EV

I’m quite proud that our house can provide the energy infrastructure for the transportation of the Green Party Shadow Critic for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy.

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