august, 30, 2003 archives

the reviews of the caveman's valentine generally say what i would: an excellent acting job by samuel l. jackson, within a less-than-excellent story. the portrayal of the paranoid schizophrenia of jackson's character is endlessly fascinating, and does much to excuse the weak plot. the music, composed by terence blanchard, also raises the film up another notch.

which came first: the sidewalk or the corner store?

this associated press article about the effect on suburban sprawl on health has a quote from the researcher that struck me as off-key:

“Look at many new suburbs - there are not any sidewalks at all…. The result is we just don't walk,” said John Pucher of Rutgers University, who uncovered the U.S.-European disparities.

i don't think it is the lack of sidewalks that is the problem as much as the lack of places to go. somehow i manage to navigate the un-sidewalked parts between my apartment and the trader joe's in toluca lake whenever i head out that way.

a rhetorical question in the article also struck me: “Is there a walking or biking path to the post office, restaurant, a friend's house?” i can walk to the post office and many restaurants (which i've finally been doing a better job of exploring after i've lived in the same neighborhood for six years), but i think the last time i had a friend's house i could walk to was junior high school. i have learned to be extremely isolated even in a city of nearly four million people. (excuse to un-isolate next weekend: the trainables play at zen sushi next saturday. flyer.)

in columbus, ohio, they've turned a freeway overpass into a full-fledged city street, connecting two neighborhoods otherwise seperated by the freeway. calling it a connection is a bit of an understatement, really—the overpass has stores and on-street parking, making it basically indistinguishable from any other street. (i wonder how the $7 million cost compares to building a similarly-sized project that doesn't span a freeway.)

annoying things about the los angeles public library online catalog

there are a few things that annoy me about the los angeles public library online catalog:

but most of all, it is annoying because i think i could do a better job and would have a tremendous amount of fun doing so. that is very frustrating. taxpayer-funded institutions should be required to provide their data in a way that is as raw as possible, and expose their interfaces, so that entrepreneurs can build better ways of accessing that data. all of the lapl data is locked within a piece of software for which they are almost certainly paying too much.

contributing to both a 401(k) and an ira

a financial question i had always wondered about was whether you could contribute to both an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan and an ira. the answer is yes, but the amount contributed to the ira is not deductible. (note that the limits on that page are out-of-date.)

but all is not lost: as long as you earn less than $95,000 ($150,000 if married filing jointly), you can contribute to a roth ira, in which the money is taxed now and tax-free at the time of withdrawal.

i was woefully slack in contributing to a retirement account between my time at knowledge adventure and when another 401(k) plan became available to me through my current employer. i'll be making up for that lost time for the next few years.

« thursday, august 28, 2003 sunday, august 31, 2003 »