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Don't drink after 8 Thu, Aug 17, 2017
I've found through trial and error that if I drink a certain amount of alcohol, I'll later wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat and with my heart pounding.  I don't know why this is, but my hypothesis is that it has something to do with my body processing the alcohol and raising my core temperature.  The weird thing is that it happens pretty reliably at around 2 a.m.  I don't have an explanation for that part. 

Obviously this effect is undesirable.  In addition to alcohol already affecting sleep quality, it seems to have this additional effect on me, causing me to feel like shit the next day.  It's like that scene from Family Guy where Lois says to Peter, "You're drunk again!" and he responds with, "No, I'm just exhausted 'cause I've been up all night drinking."  It's not a hangover per se, I'm just exhausted. 

But recently I've found, again through trial and error, that if I cease alcohol consumption by around 8 or 9 p.m., it appears to give my body enough time to process most if not all of the alcohol, and I can get a decent night's sleep.  This is probably something normal people learn in their 20s.  I'm a late bloomer. #health

Main characters in video games Wed, Aug 16, 2017
I've noticed that my opinion of a video game is sometimes largely dependent on the main character.  One of my favorite games of all time, Red Dead Redemption, is a third-person shooter which takes place in a wild west frontier town, so a lot of the action is on horseback.  That type of game seems unappealing to me on paper, but I gave it a shot and totally loved it.  The way the story was gradually told through interactions with different characters made it surprisingly thoughtful and immersive.  But I also had a strong attraction to the main character, a law-abiding, even-keeled cowboy with a strong sense of justice and a gritty voice.  The voice actor chosen for the part was spot on.  I think any story where you think, "I want to be that guy" means it's a good story and a good character. 

Contrast that with the video game Watch Dogs, where the main character is a cyber criminal who steals money from people on the streets and who's voiced by a man with the weakest, most unbelievable, unemotive voice I've ever heard in my entire life.  The game itself isn't terrible, but the main character completely kills it for me. #entertainment

Customer service hero fantasy Fri, Aug 11, 2017
One of my fantasies for if I somehow became filthy rich would be to get an entry level job in customer service.  I've seen and heard stories about customer service reps dealing with the shittiest people on earth who are trying to return things after the return date or who are angry about the amount of time something takes.  You see this usually young, helpless person try their best to calmly deal with and meet the demands of an adult child, all while making close to minimum wage.  It's a thankless job. 

My fantasy would be to treat people the way they should be treated:  As assholes.  "What do you mean I can't return a half-eaten burrito?"  Get out of my store.  Don't come back.  Cry about it on Twitter, I don't care.  "I want to speak with your manager."  Too bad.  Get fucked.  He doesn't care about you.  "I have things to do today."  Boo hoo.  You want some cheese with that wine?  "I'll take my business elsewhere."  Good.  Do that.  See ya! 

Then I'd be the fall guy for when that type of thing went poorly.  Sometimes people don't want a solution to their problems.  They just want someone to get punished.  I would be the recipient of that punishment.  I'd say my mean things to win the day, then when the manager said "That's inappropriate behavior for employees at this company" I'd walk out of the store to the cheers of my coworkers. #business

Multiple wives Wed, Aug 09, 2017
People tend to think that having multiple wives would be a good thing.  They look at polygamists as sort of sexual heroes.  "More wives means more sex!"  Yeah that might be true, but I tend to look at it from a different perspective.  More wives means more relationships, and relationships are more than just sex.  There's feelings and emotions and anger and jealousy and irrational brooding over perceived harms.  Relationships are work, and work isn't always fun.  Multiply that by several wives and add in some inter-wife relationship issues, and you've got a mess on your hands.  No thanks.  As I tell my own wife, one wife is more than enough. #lifestyle

Slower routes Tue, Aug 08, 2017
There's a direct route from my house to my job, on a four-lane highway with a fairly fast speed limit and a dependable yet not ridiculous amount of traffic.  There's also an indirect route on slower roads and back roads through woods and neighborhoods, which takes about 50% more time to travel. 

I've been taking the indirect route a lot lately, and I couldn't figure out what was drawing me to it until recently.  I really enjoy saving time, especially while driving, so it would make more sense for me to take the faster route.  But I kept noticing that I'd arrive at work or at home after the commute and just be stressed and angry.  Nothing particularly negative was happening on my commute, but it seemed to just be the commute itself. 

I finally came to the conclusion that I get stressed out by driving on highways, and it's largely my own fault.  I predetermine the speed I intend to drive based on the speed limit and the probability of police encounter.  So I usually drive in the left lane as I'm passing people.  But I'm not an asshole, so I move over to the right lane if someone is behind me.  But I really dislike getting stuck behind someone in the right lane whose preferred speed limit is lower than mine, so I'll often speed up or slow down and look for opportunities to pass any way I can.  And in the meantime, I'll get angry at people for being in my way or for riding my ass. 

In essence, driving is a video game to me.  I'm hyper-alert and I get angry when I don't win.  It's not fun or enjoyable, but I haven't yet found a way to not think of it that way.  Hence, I take the slow road. #travel

Resident pessimist Fri, Jul 28, 2017
I received one of the highest compliments the other day from a coworker.  She called me the "resident pessimist" of our organization.  This sounds like a negative thing, and it sort of is.  But to me it's incredibly positive. 

I've kind of always been a negative person.  I like to think of myself as a realist or a pragmatist, but this often comes across as negativity.  This bothered me for a while, most notably during my conservative Christian years, because negativity seemed sort of out-of-character for a modern Christian.  Plus, negativity is generally viewed as unfavorable in relationships and social settings. 

But after my emergence from religion, I settled on the personal philosophy of just being myself, which included embracing my negativity.  I'm not negative about everything; I enjoy some things, and I like some people.  But if someone is being overly enthusiastic about something they have no experience with (which happens at my job all the time) or making ridiculous claims that have no basis in physical reality, I have no problem raining on their parade with cold hard facts.  In fact, I enjoy it.  Being ruthlessly pragmatic to the point of negativity is sort of how I was born to be.  I'm finally ok with that, and it feels good to be recognized for it. #psychology

Justice isn't blind Tue, Jul 18, 2017
I find it odd and kind of embarrassing that our country doesn't practice blind justice.  We think we do, and many historical representations of Lady Justice have some sort of blindfold to suggest that laws and punishments are enforced and meted out without regard for the personal qualities of the accused.  But that's plainly not true.  Legal cases are decided in a courtroom, where the defendant is clearly visible to the judge and more importantly the jury.  If justice was blind, no one would know the identity of the accused, or their race or gender.  Seeing a person in a courtroom in baggy jeans, an offensively-themed t-shirt, and facial tattoos suggests guilt.  Facts and legal arguments are unnecessary.  Whether or not that person is guilty, I see that as a problem. #law

Normalized numbers Mon, Jul 03, 2017
I was reading something the other day that mentioned a person's IQ score being 120, and I couldn't remember if that was good or bad.  That's the problem with IQ scores and quarterback passer rating and any other numbers that aren't on a common scale:  You need two pieces of information (your score and the maximum score) to communicate anything meaningful to another person.  That's why I think we should use normalized numbers more often.  A normalized number is typically your score divided by the maximum score, which gives a value between zero and one.  Multiply that by 100 and you've calculated a percentage, which comes with its very own symbol (%) and is recognizable by pretty much every human being on earth.  We already do this for test scores in school, batting averages in baseball (normalized, not percentaged), and tons of other things.  Keeping a number non-normalized doesn't retain any additional information or add any benefit.  Just normalize it. #math

Pretending to be my wife Thu, Jun 22, 2017
I called my cable company's customer service the other day, and based on some previous negative experiences I had, I told them I was my wife.  The account is in her name, so she needs to be the one who makes account changes.  Some companies will let you call and have the account holder nearby to give their verbal blessing.  But I just told them I was her.  What are they gonna do, not believe me?  Ask me anything.  I know her birthday, her mother's maiden name, her social security number, the hospital she was born in.  I know where she's lived, what cars she's owned, the name of her bridesmaid.  I know the answer to every possible security question they can ask.  That effectively makes me her.  Aside from the customer service rep being a little thrown off at first, it worked like a charm. #business

Loss leaders and the secondhand marketplace Wed, Jun 21, 2017
I was in the market for some exercise equipment recently, and I figured I'd buy some of it secondhand from eBay or Craigslist since lots of people make fitness goals and quickly abandon them.  I assumed there'd be a pretty big market of lightly-used low-priced exercise equipment.  I was wrong, but for a different reason.  It turns out there's a modest market for used equipment, but the better market is for brand-new equipment from giant companies with small margins or loss leaders.  A loss leader is a product sold at a loss with the intention of attracting additional business.  Amazon and Walmart can sell a product for little to no profit because they know you'll buy a bunch of other stuff from them.  That works out great for customers who want to pay low prices, which is pretty much all customers.  It doesn't work out great for the secondhand marketplace.  With the advent of free shipping, the secondhand marketplace is essentially obsolete.  I was able to order a piece of equipment, brand new, from a big reputable company, shipped for free in three days, for less than I could've bought the same piece of equipment, used, either shipped across the country (at a significant cost), or picked up from someone that lives near me.  Loss leaders have killed the secondhand marketplace. #business

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