Smarten up your StringBuffer usage

Folks, I’m ticked. I’ve recently lost several hours to correcting some third-party Java code that did a terrible job of managing object allocation, and therefore used a lot of memory in a very short period of time. Apparently there are some programmers out there who aren’t aware that memory allocation remains a concern even in a garbage-collecting runtime like the JVM. While Java may not require you to think about every byte allocated and deallocated, sparing a couple of moments to think about memory can yield tremendous performance benefits.

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I dolci calabresi

The traditional Italian sweets that my mother and grandmother make are a big part of my Christmas past and present. A couple of years ago I ran across this page [2007 update: original page gone, switched to archive version] that describes most of what my family makes. Our mustazzuoli are S-shaped, rather than the rectangles shown or the other “forme tradizionale” mentioned in the recipe. Pitta ‘mpigliata is not in the family tradition, but we do have pizelle-like press cookies (known only as “French cookies” to me) to round out the selection. Interestingly, the French cookies might be something that came to my Italian family through Balkan immigrants who also settled in southeastern Kansas. See the Little Balkans recipes section on
These things are more than just Christmas food for me, they’re ties to my not-so-distant immigrant roots. No matter where I go, these seemingly little things remind me of where I came from.


I thought today would be just another day; go to work (no bike commute today, due to my shocking lack of appropriate equipment for icy roads), come home, eat dinner, sleep. Birthdays have been ho-hum for some time. But I forgot that three-year-olds practically live for birthdays, their own or someone else’s. I came home only slightly later than usual, and the smell of frying meatballs nearly sent me flying backwards in space and time. Andrew insisted that I have a cake, and insisted that it have a picture of a bike on it. Elise tells me that it took a while to talk him out of the candles. He was more than happy to help open my presents and even barely avoided telling me what he bought for me.
Thanks, fam…that made my day.