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Sedge Island kayak tour Mon, Aug 31, 2009
Yesterday morning, Wendy and I went on a guided kayak tour of New Jersey's Barnegat Bay and Sedge Islands.  We paddled around in a few feet of water and stopped off at a few sandbars and marsh islands, while an off-duty teacher and a park ranger told us about the various marine life and history of the area. 

#nature

AIC review Mon, Aug 31, 2009
One thing I intentionally neglected to say much about in my Chicago trip review was the Art Institute of Chicago.  In general, I don't have much of an appreciation for art, and my experience at this museum was no different.  However, I feel the need to state exactly why I despised this particular place so much. 

First, I'm not in school anymore, so I'm not forced to develop an appreciation for things I already know I don't like, such as poetry, literature, and paintings.  I finally feel comfortable saying that I hate art.  And that's the end of it.  Like anything, you can't develop a taste for it if you already don't like it.  It's like forcing yourself to like the smell of raw sewage.  You don't like it; that's fine; move on.  I already knew I wouldn't like the art museum, and nothing could really change my mind, not even the best painting of a rainbow-puking unicorn.  As parents like to say, my attitude was my decision, and I had fully decided my attitude before anything even happened. 

Second, the museum had a bag check, which was awesome because we had already walked several miles with bags on our backs, so hey at least the stupid art museum could provide me that luxury.  However, they had this finicky little rule about not having any liquids or opened food packages in your bag.  I understand that it's probably so our strange food items don't mix with other people's strange food items and form some sort of food monster that will poop on all the paintings.  Fine.  But we had just come from a natural history museum and an aquarium, neither of which had a bag check or even a bag scan, and both of which stand to lose much more than some stupid paintings.  I could've easily destroyed some dinosaur bones or mummy remains, or I could've given the beluga whales some ecstasy and caused an aquatic nightmare, but I didn't.  So it pissed me off that this stupid art museum (notice a pattern here?) made me check all my food and beverages because they didn't want me to ruin their stupid paintings.  Right from the get-go I caught a scent of elitism. 

Third, we stopped at the photography exhibit because I like taking pictures.  I wouldn't call myself artistic, but I can appreciate a weird picture of an otherwise uninteresting object or view.  We walked into the room, looked at a few pictures, then left 30 seconds later.  I couldn't come up with a better way to express myself, so I said to Wendy, "I could poop out a better picture than that."  And that's a feeling I still stand by.  There were ridiculous pictures of people and simply ugly pictures of dirt and sticks, and to me, I don't care who you are or what you say, that's just not art.  If it is art, I want no part of it. 

Fourth, the museum was likely designed by a blind person on drugs walking upside down, because there were eight different second floors, and none of them were connected.  We walked up a staircase to the second floor, went to where there should have been a hallway, and there was a wall.  This happened several times, and it was like the museum's architect was thinking, "If the person hates art, this will make him hate it even more."  Mission accomplished, idiot. 

So this is my scathing review of a place I shouldn't have gone to in the first place because I hated it before I even knew it existed.  But it had a bunch of Impressionist paintings, and Wendy likes that type of thing.  I tried to do a few impressions of my own, but this joke sadly fell on deaf ears. #entertainment

Recently from the Onion Mon, Aug 31, 2009
Two unrelated stories from the Onion:  Increasing Number Of Educators Found To Be Suffering From Teaching Disabilities, and Tiny Dog Has Been Barking Nonstop For 6 Years.  That dog lives down the road from me. #entertainment

Cops always win Mon, Aug 31, 2009
I don't have much experience with cops, and this topic isn't in response to a recent run-in with the law, but just an observation (slightly in reference to the Henry Louis Gates thing):  Cops always win.  You'll never have the last word in an argument with a cop.  You'll never get to plead your case to a cop after you push them around or yell at them.  Cops are always right.  Cops don't make mistakes.  They are the law.  They enforce the law to the letter and then some.  And if you provoke them, they'll arrest you, plain and simple. #lifestyle

Casual lip kissing Fri, Aug 28, 2009
I don't think it's acceptable to kiss a person on the lips as a casual greeting unless that person is your significant other, in which case the greeting is no longer casual.  In fact, I think it's presumptuous to assume the receiver of a casual lip kiss has even the slightest desire for such a thing.  It's fine if the giver and the receiver both agree that it's an acceptable practice beforehand.  But to go in for the casual lip kiss, assuming the receiver will surely welcome it, is simply offensive. 

Related:  Casual kissing. #psychology

Cognitive dissonance when hiking Fri, Aug 28, 2009
Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds two contradictory beliefs simultaneously.  In order to get rid of that dissonance, the person will either change their mind or rationalize.  This is what happens when I go hiking.  If my map says I should cross a road at a certain point and I don't cross that road, I usually try to rationalize by making one of the following statements: 

  1. I must've missed it.
  2. This map must be wrong.
  3. I must be reading the map upside down.
  4. I am unable to read maps.
What I don't tend to do is figure out that something is wrong.  Either I'm using the wrong map or walking in the wrong direction or living in a bizarro world where everything is exactly 0.2 miles from where it should be.  Either way, I should stop what I'm doing and make some sort of correction.  But I don't. #nature

When will you stop talking? (5) Fri, Aug 28, 2009
I find it interesting that some people weren't born with the ability to know when the people they're talking to have lost interest in what they're saying.  They don't seem to notice the glazed-over eyes, the repeated glances at the watch or cell phone, or the gradual creep toward the door.  A simple rule of thumb is this:  If you've been talking for two minutes straight and you're not a teacher or professional speaker, you should shut up now.  A conversation involves two parties.  Otherwise it's called a speech. #psychology

Signs for signs Thu, Aug 27, 2009
There's a sign-printing business near my house that always has signs on its front lawn advertising the signs it creates.  It's a circular reference.  It reminds me of this self-referential sign and these two recent Brevity comics. #entertainment

Baby Cubes Wed, Aug 26, 2009
Amazon sells Baby Cubes, now made with 75% more baby! #products

AcipHex Tue, Aug 25, 2009
AcipHex is a medication for acid reflux.  It's also the worst product name in the history of the universe.  Go ahead, say it out loud.  AcipHex.  Acifex.  Assifex.  Ass Effects.  There it is. 

And as if this didn't already seem like a joke, here are some images from the product's website: 

[Image: aciphex.jpg]

Sometimes I think someone out there is doing this stuff specifically for me.  Thank you, whoever you are. #products

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