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Dandelions Thu, Apr 30, 2009
As someone who owns a tiny piece of land, I feel some pressure to rid my lawn of dandelions. 


The thing is, I kind of like them.  For one, at least something is growing, which can't always be said.  And two, I like the way they look.  They're colorful, and they're always a sign of spring,


And even when they dry out and become poofs, they still look kind of cool. #nature

Controlling destiny Thu, Apr 30, 2009
The subject of destiny keeps popping up on the TV shows I watch, and it always comes in the form of "you control your own destiny."  I personally think that's a misunderstanding of the word.  Destiny is "the inevitable or necessary fate" or "a predetermined course of events."  By definition, if something is inevitable or predetermined, it's no longer in your control.  It's in somebody or something else's control.  You can get to the end result through a variety of different paths, but you'll always reach the same end result. 

In popular culture, people usually differentiate between fate and destiny by saying that fate is what will happen no matter what you do, while destiny is what will happen if you do the right things.  That's fair and all, but that's not what destiny means.  It's sort of a matter of semantics, but instead of saying we can control our destiny, we should say we can control our future.  Even if that's not entirely true, at least it's not entirely false. 

As Bob Costas famously ranted during the NFL playoffs this past winter, "If it's destiny or fate, folks, you can't control it.  Control the outcome, control the result.  You can't control destiny or fate." #psychology

Twitter sale (5) Tue, Apr 28, 2009
I signed up for a Twitter username when the service came out about two years ago, and I promptly dismissed it as a meaningless, useless service.  I stand by that claim.  The idea behind Twitter is to post status updates, like a blog, but smaller.  I already have a blog, so it's of no use to me.  Another idea is to keep up with friends' status updates, but I can do that by reading email and blogs.  Another idea is to keep a public record of conversations, but I fail to see the point in that.  No matter how much I think about it, Twitter is something I will never understand. 

However, in my infinite wisdom (or my unending desire to use my initials for everything -- hence ddhr) I signed up for a nice short username:  twitter.com/dh.  I posted about three messages, most of which went something like, "I still don't understand Twitter."  Every month or so I would get an email saying that some new person was following me, which seemed odd because I hadn't posted anything for over two years.  People were following the status updates of a person who never updated his status, adding to my failure to understand Twitter. 

Last week I received an email from a guy who said one of his "clients" was interested in purchasing my Twitter username/password.  He asked me to name my price.  I laughed.  How can you put a price on something that has no value?  But since it apparently was valuable to someone else, I pulled a number out of the air:  $500.  My emailer consulted with his client and said, "Sounds good."  This sounded all too much like a scam, so I asked him how I could trust him to not just take my password and not pay me.  He whipped up a quick legal-ish agreement on paper, signed it, emailed it to me, and asked me to sign it and fax it back.  I figured I could trust a person with his own fax number.  Plus, I didn't really stand much to lose.  I'd be giving up my username and password for a service I had no use for.  It wasn't necessarily a win-win, but it certainly wasn't a lose-lose. 

Long story short, I signed the agreement, emailed him my password, and promptly received a $500 PayPal payment.  I still can't believe it worked.  My emailer said this type of thing happens more often than you'd imagine, similar to the purchase of domain names.  Still, I don't quite understand what kind of person/company would want to pay money for a username on a third-party website.  It makes sense to buy a domain name because your dot-com typically represents your company or brand.  But I can't imagine your twitter-dot-com-slash should really be used as your official moniker.  Oh well.  Me:  $500; Twitter:  $0. #technology

Bank vomit Tue, Apr 28, 2009
A man in Oregon got caught trying to launder money by making large cash deposits at a bank, but he smelled so bad he made one of the tellers vomit.  (via Obscure Store)

This is one of those things that makes me think, "Well, at least I wasn't that guy." #entertainment

Comfort junkie Fri, Apr 24, 2009
It turns out I'm a pretty big comfort junkie.  I notice myself doing things simply to squeeze a little more enjoyment out of life, often to the detriment of myself and others.  Yesterday at work, it was about 0.2 degrees colder than I would've liked it to be, and instead of putting my jacket back on and just toughing it out for 30 seconds, I used the little heater sitting under my desk.  And oh, was it glorious.  I kept it on for like 3 hours, despite the fact that it gobbles electricity and it wasn't even that cold to begin with. 

I've mentioned my BBQ eating disorder before (I eat because it feels good), but it goes beyond that.  I typically try to stop eating by around 8 or 9pm because otherwise I wake up the next morning with the taste of last night's food in the back of my mouth.  But oftentimes I find myself eating until right before I go to bed simply because I enjoy the act of eating.  It's comfortable; it makes me feel good.  What a sick human being I am. #psychology

For future entertainment Fri, Apr 24, 2009
Sometimes I do things solely because they'll be funny later, and most times I'm the target audience.  For example, when the check is brought to the table at a restaurant, it usually includes a copy for the merchant as well as one for the customer, and sometimes there's a place to sign on the customer's copy, which is odd because I as the customer have no need to see whether I signed it or not.  Since it doesn't matter either way, I sign it, though I use an unusual pseudonym, usually something along the lines of Poopy Pants or Pukey Jerkface.  Then later when I'm going over my finances, I'll find the receipt and have a good laugh. #psychology

Organic cigarettes Thu, Apr 23, 2009
I saw an ad in a Popular Science magazine for organic cigarettes.  Natural American Spirit is "the only brand that manufactures both cigarettes made with 100% certified organic tobacco as well as cigarettes made with 100% additive-free natural tobacco."  Obviously these are the perfect product for health-conscious smokers. 

Actually, as far as the benefits of organic products go -- either it benefits the user or it benefits the earth -- this one would seem to benefit the earth.  But on closer inspection, I would imagine the carbon monoxide exuded from the lungs of smokers, as well as the fact that smokers happen to be the earth's most prolific litterers, both have a larger negative effect than anything that could be gained from organic farming.  But hey, it's progress I suppose. #products

Favicon v3 Thu, Apr 23, 2009
I quietly updated my favicon to match my current theme, which means I'm only about 15 months late

[Image: faviconblued.png]

Previous favicon update here.  I stuck with the idea of simple geometric shapes and colors.  I'm not very good at drawing. #technology

CEIEIO Thu, Apr 23, 2009
I bought a carton of Organic Valley Half & Half a few months ago, and I plan to buy more of it as opposed to any of its competitors for the following reason:  There's a message from the CEO of the company on the side of the carton, where he talks about how the company was founded and what they do differently.  He signs the message "George Siemon, CEIEIO" as in E-I-E-I-O, and as a rule of thumb, I'll buy products from anybody who makes me laugh. #products

Office 2007 blows Wed, Apr 22, 2009
At work, the IT overlords forced us to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007, which would seem to make sense because the version we had been using was at least 6 or 7 years old.  Not that you should always upgrade old software when it gets past a certain age, but newer versions of software often have improvements that can help you do your job.  Such is not the case with Office 2007.  Here's why: 
  1. It's slow.  This isn't solely a Microsoft problem.  It's an everybody problem.  All new software is slower, less useful, and more bloated than old software.  They say it works best when used on some Pentium octo-core 12GHz processor.  Guess what, idiots:  I still simply use Word for word processing and Excel for calculations.  If my uses haven't changed, the hardware requirements shouldn't change either.
  2. It's ugly.  Many people disagree with me on this, and that's fine.  But the fact of the matter is that the entire user interface is changed, and as a creature of habit, I don't like change.  Hence it's ugly.  Also, I don't like ClearType.  It hurts my eyes for some reason.  Thankfully, Microsoft didn't give me the option to disable it.  Awesome.
  3. It's different.  This is the most important thing to me.  Microsoft Office has essentially been the same product since I started using it circa 1998.  The new versions that came out (2000, XP, 2003) never changed the core functionality to an extent that I would even notice.  There were a few slight UI changes, but other than that, the product went through a long cycle of constant improvements.  But with 2007, everything is different.  There's a ribbon bar instead of toolbars.  The menu system is completely different.  When starting a Word document, I have no idea how to change styles.  When using Excel, I feel like I have to relearn the program I've been using half my life.  And that's the kicker:  Software should help you get stuff done; it should never get in the way.  Office 2007 gets completely in the way of me getting my stuff done.
I'm seriously considering downgrading. 

Update:  I downgraded to 2003, and Microsoft Office is usable again. #technology

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