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Inconvenience of public transportation Thu, Nov 19, 2009
I live about an hour from the center of the world, New York City, yet one night a few weeks ago was the first time I had ever actually driven my car into the beast.  In the past, I had driven to a train station, paid money to park, taken the hour-and-a-half train, then taken the subway to my final destination.  The problem with this is (a) it's ridiculously inconvenient, and (b) it's overly expensive.  It's inconvenient because most trains don't run on weekends around me, and I typically don't go to the entertainment and nightlife capital of the universe during the week, so I have to drive 30 miles to the nearest one that does.  Then there's the fact that this whole process takes no less than two hours to accomplish, assuming I don't have to wait for a train (which I always do).  And of course I have to keep checking my watch while I'm in the city, because the last train out is usually at some ridiculous time like 11 pm.  And then there's the price.  The number 36 is stuck in my mind, as in it's something like $18 round trip per person, which doesn't include parking or the subway, or food, or drinks, or a campsite for when you miss the last train. 

Yet one night a few weeks ago, it was about an hour drive, I sat in about 45 seconds of traffic, it cost $8 to go through a tunnel, and it took about 15 minutes to find a free parking spot on the street.  In other words, it was easy, cheap, and convenient.  Every time I've used public transportation to get to the city, I've been disappointed.  I'd like to be a proponent of a system that's affordable and convenient and environmentally friendly, but until a train can beat a car, I'll stick with the car. #travel

Small engine efficiency Thu, Nov 19, 2009
I own three machines that utilize small gasoline engines:  A push lawnmower, a weed whacker, and a leaf blower.  During the summer, I use all three every few weeks to keep my tiny yard looking nice.  In the fall, I use the leaf blower pretty extensively to clear leaves.  Despite that incessant hum of engine noise and the wonderful smell of exhaust, I would posit that these engines are actually pretty efficient, more so than a typical car.  This isn't a scientific statement or one that I can prove with numbers, but all I can say is that only after three years of home ownership did I need to refill my five-gallon gas container that feeds all three devices.  I burn through five gallons of gas with my car in probably two or three days. #technology

Long vacations Thu, Nov 19, 2009
Having taken a fairly long vacation, I'm recording this for posterity: 

Cons:
  • You have to make plans before leaving work.  Going away for a few days, things can wait till you get back.  But two weeks?  You need alternate contacts and contingency plans.
  • You have to kind of clean out your refrigerator and make sure nothing could go horribly bad and make the house smell like rotten cabbage.
  • If you're in charge of something like a Bible study or social group, you have to make sure it'll continue for two weeks without you.  For one week away, you can just cancel or do a social, but two weeks needs an actual plan.
  • If you have pets, you have to have some serious stores of pet food and supplies.
  • You have to make sure bills that might be due during that time are paid before you leave.
Pros:
  • You don't commute to work, so you save money on gas.
  • You don't heat your house or use the appliances, so you save money on energy.
  • You don't buy normal groceries, so you probably save money on food.
That being said, I probably won't do a long vacation again.  Not that it was awful, but 10 days seems to be a happy medium. #travel

Ouroboros Thu, Nov 19, 2009
The Ouroboros is "an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle."  It represents the idea of a futile process where all that is achieved is ultimately destroyed. 

The new website Autocomplete Me points to a Google search suggestion that asks, "If I ate myself, would I become twice as big or disappear completely?"  Hilarious. #technology