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Salt and pepper vs. ketchup Fri, Feb 24, 2017
I recently, unintentionally, made one of the biggest changes in my life since switching to black coffee:  I stopped putting ketchup on my eggs and started putting just salt and pepper.  I was traveling one weekend, and there were eggs but no ketchup.  In an effort to salvage a breakfast, I went with some simple salt and pepper, hoping to at least make the eggs palatable.  It turns out ketchup is essentially made of salt and pepper, and some sugar and tomatoes.  The sugar and tomatoes don't really matter for me in terms of adding flavor to eggs.  It all comes down to the salt and pepper.  Not only did it salvage the breakfast, it was good enough for to me switch permanently.  Now when I go to restaurants, I don't have to convince the waiter that ketchup is a reasonable condiment for eggs (it's a regional thing apparently).  Salt and pepper for the win. #food

Sinus infection Wed, Feb 15, 2017
I got my first sinus infection last year, and it was quite an experience.  I usually kind of tough it out when I get a cold or feel sick; it doesn't really matter if I'm sitting around with a runny nose at home or at my desk at work.  I don't interact with a lot of people at my job, so I can usually maintain my regular levels of activity when I'm sick.  I even try to go to the gym to sweat it out of me.  I'm sure there's science that contradicts that idea; I don't care.  It's at least partially a mental game:  Pretend to feel better, proceed to feel better. 

But a sinus infection was a whole other ballgame.  I had a meeting scheduled for that day, and I went to bed the night before feeling kind of crappy, but oh well.  So I toughed it out and went to work and proceeded to lead my meeting successfully.  But after an hour, I was really hurting, so I told my coworkers I was leaving.  My commute home takes me over some decent-sized hills, and the blinding pain I felt in my face and skull was something memorable.  I purchased some pseudoephedrine, which thankfully didn't cause me any negative side effects.  For the next few days, I was nonfunctional.  And we happened to get a pretty big snow storm the following day, so I was outside with the snowblower, trudging along blindly, trying not to make any sudden movements that would disrupt my relative statis.  It was brutal. 

Since that experience, whenever I feel even a hint of sinus pressure, I fear for my general wellbeing.  It was such a unique type of pain, it's something I'd rather avoid in the future.  Thank science for drugs! #health

Pillow helmet Tue, Feb 07, 2017
So I had an idea the other night as I was falling asleep in a hotel bed with an uncomfortable pillow:  I usually sleep with a neck pillow, but I don't feel like traveling with it.  Wouldn't it be cool if there was a pillow that wrapped around your head like a helmet, with with the neck support of a neck pillow?  It would work in hotel beds, as well as car trips and plane rides.  There's a thing called an Ostrich Pillow, but it doesn't have neck support.  Million Hundred dollar idea here. #products

Outrage fatigue Tue, Feb 07, 2017
One of the ideas behind my post on political apathy was "outrage fatigue", which the Onion satirically wrote about over a decade ago by describing liberals reactions to all the Bush-era stuff that was going on at the time.  I guess it's kind of an old concept, and perhaps it's more of a liberal problem than anything, but it generally feels like a sense of exhaustion and apathy about whatever issue is currently center-stage.  It's frustrating because I feel like I'd like to be more outraged at things like Trump tweeting "Any negative polls are fake news", but I just don't have it in me.  I think part of it is a rational response to the results of previous outrage, i.e. nothing.  Outrage, opinion pieces, protests.  These things accomplish nothing when literally 50% of people disagree with every fiber of your being.  I'm done here. #politics

Water and food in TV and movies Tue, Jan 31, 2017
Maybe it's a product of the type of entertainment I enjoy, but I feel like there's a common thread in a lot of TV shows and movies consisting of a character or group of characters walking or hiking from one geographic location to another in search of something, be it freedom or safety or revenge or whatever.  One element that's nearly always missing is the issue of normal human sustenance.  I realize this is a boring topic, which is why an entertainment medium would simply gloss over it.  But honestly, if you go hiking in the woods for a couple hours without water, you'll be thirsty as hell.  If you think you can hike overnight without food or water, you're an idiot.  "Oh I'll just find water along the way."  No you won't.  You'll get a bacterial infection and shit your brains out.  The simple act of surviving in the most mild of wildernesses isn't rocket science, but it does require water, food, and shelter, something that's clearly missing from a lot of storytelling. #entertainment

Sock lifetime Mon, Jan 30, 2017
I bought of 12-pair pack of black, ankle-length Hanes socks about 4 years ago.  Literally in the past month, holes have appeared in at least half of them.  It's almost like they're programmed to degrade at a fixed rate, which honestly I'm fine with.  I prefer reliability in my failures. #products

Not a foodie Fri, Jan 27, 2017
I realized one day, while I was eating leftover salmon which I didn't microwave long enough and was still cold in the middle, that I'm just not a food person.  I ate cold leftover fish.  It wasn't very good.  I ate it anyway.  I didn't feel like walking to the microwave again. 

I view food in two ways:  As a source of enjoyment, or as a source of calories.  I find it fairly easy to separate the two.  A bacon cheeseburger is enjoyable, and it's also a calorie source -- a double win.  Poorly microwaved fish is completely unenjoyable, but it's still a calorie source.  My goal of surviving by consuming calories can still be met, even though I don't particularly enjoy the experience. 

I was a picky eater as a kid.  I didn't like ham and cheese sandwiches.  I didn't like hot dogs for some reason.  I remember many situations where I was forced to eat or drink something ("Finish your damn milk!") and not enjoying it.  Maybe I got used to forcing myself to do things I don't enjoy.  That sounds like a rabbit hole I'll avoid for the moment.  Either way, I gained valuable experience in eating things I didn't enjoy, simply to prevent my death from malnourishment.  It worked; I'm not dead yet. 

I got over my pickiness.  Now I just actively eat things I don't enjoy, and I continue eating them until my plate is empty.  My wife cooks dinner most nights, and sometimes she'll try something new.  In 12 years of marriage, there has been approximately one meal I didn't eat, and it might've been because she used a cup of red pepper instead of a teaspoon, or something like that.  I ended up finishing the dish some other time, mixed with some less-spicy stuff. 

Honestly it's just too much of a hassle to be a picky eater.  Would I rather be eating something I enjoy?  Sure.  But this is what's in front of me right now, and quite simply, I don't feel like preparing a different meal, and I don't feel like not eating. #food

Political apathy Thu, Jan 26, 2017
"Can you believe that thing Trump did/said/tweeted/ate/shouted/emoted?"  Yes.  Yes, I can.  And I completely don't give a fuck. 

A little background here:  I voted for George W. Bush twice during my conservative Christian days.  And I voted for Obama twice in my liberal post-religious days.  Since I've been old enough to vote, I've voted for a winner.  Until this election, where the villain won.  So that could have something to do with it. 

But aside from that, I just feel completely unrepresented.  Conservatives:  "That's how we've felt for the past eight years."  Yeah, I get it.  We've had Osama the Socialist Muslim as our overlord for eight long, terrible years, where unemployment went down and the economy went up.  It's been horrible, I know.  But I can see one major difference between the Obama and Trump presidencies:  Obama wanted to give things away, like healthcare to poor people and rights to gay people.  Trump wants to take things away, like abortion rights for women and the freedom to talk about climate change.  This difference is a false equivalency; you can't say, "Yeah but your guy did bad things too."  If you can't see this difference, that's exactly my point. 

Part of my apathy stems from this whole idea of a post-fact world, where true statements of fact and provable ideas mean nothing to a rabid, shouting mob.  I've always been a fan of concrete ideas -- things I can prove right or wrong, black or white.  Even during my Christian days, my faith was rational, resting on the assumption of the existence of an all-powerful deity.  There are true statements, and there are false statements.  If we can't agree on which are which, we're screwed.  So we're screwed. 

Republicans now control the White House, the Congress, the Senate, and soon enough the Supreme Court.  My side, which fights for the separation of church and state, the rights of the marginalized, and ... well ... the fucking planet, are perpetually overruled.  Every single idea that was pushed during the Obama years is about to be undone, and the new ideas of the Trump army will steamroll all opposition due to simple majority rule. 

People like to point at the unhealthy idea of us versus them, the right versus the left, conservatives versus liberals, rural versus urban, etc.  I don't see this going away anytime soon.  And I don't really play well with others, so I'm not the solution to this problem.  If you hold onto an idea that's provably false, that's a problem for me, and I can't just set it aside and move onto other things.  You're wrong, you must know you're wrong, here's why you're wrong, and you're an idiot for not understanding it.  Since this gets us nowhere, I've moved onto the next step:  I just don't give a fuck.  Believe what you want.  Do what you will.  Obviously facts won't change your opinions.  Reason won't prevail.  I'm just staying out it. #politics