My poor tree

The tree in front of my house (a Norway Maple, I discovered today) is not a happy tree.

It had tar spots on the leaves last year, worse than the year before. Some of the bark started falling off over the winter. I noticed a woodpecker having at it in the early spring (I have pictures I should post…). Yesterday evening I noticed a whole bunch of little black caterpillars going at the wood beneath some of bark splitting wounds (again, pictures… I need to bring in a card reader). All in all, I’m pretty concerned for the health of my tree.

Norway maples aren’t native and are considered invasive further south. But it’s nice and shades the yard and front window in the summer and gives me privacy. So it’d be a shame to lose it.

It’s a foot from the road, though, so I suspected it might be a city tree. So I called up the city this morning and they’re going to have someone come look at it. I guess we’ll see what happens from there.

Subscribing to The Record

I just noticed the other day that The Record wasn’t forcing you to buy their full newspaper subscription when you didn’t actually want any paper. (You could generously donate your unwanted newsprint to local schools, if you wanted).

I was getting the Record in paper form for a while. The amount of paper they ship to your door over the course of a week is staggering. It nearly doubled the volume of trash I was leaving by the curb. I didn’t want that. Neither did I want to pay $14/month just to access a website.

When they put the paper behind a pay wall, I was pretty perturbed, so there was no way I was going for that deal anyway. They’ve since lowered the wall a bit, allowing you to view today’s news for free. No archive access, though. However, you can get access to archives and PDF versions of the paper for about $3/month.

Now $3/month is getting into the range I’m willing to spend on a web page. I donated $2/month to b3ta for years just because I liked the work they were doing. I’m currently donating to TWiT for much the same reason. I can drop a similar amount on the local rag without feeling too bad about it, even if I don’t always agree with the editorial stance.

So I put in my online subscription request this morning. About four hours later, I got an email stating the following:

Thank you for your email. To subscribe to the Record Insider please contact our Circulation department at 519-894-3000 to provide your credit card information.

God, I hate telephones. On second thought, I’m not going to subscribe to The Record today.

I know eCommerce is kinda hard (even if it’s been around for more than a decade), but haven’t these people heard of Paypal? Honestly.