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100,000 Fri, May 29, 2009
This past weekend, my Camry hit the 100,000 mile mark. 

[Image: 100000.jpg]

I've had it since July of 2004, which means I drive more than 20,000 miles per year on average.  Also, I don't dust very often. #travel

Cough on my sandwich, lady (1) Thu, May 28, 2009
I went to ShopRite for lunch because I'm a fan of their pre-made wrapped sandwiches.  They're not great, but they're not bad, which is a sad reason to keep doing something.  Moving on.  An older lady arrived at the sandwich station about 6 milliseconds before me, much to my chagrin.  She coughed into her right hand, then used that same hand to pick up a sandwich.  I thought, "Oh great, a coughing old lady near my sandwiches.  I wish this could happen every day."  I figured she would leave, but no, she coughed some more, this time without covering her mouth, then picked up another sandwich for comparison.  Then she coughed some more, not like a disgusting hacking cough, but more of a light germ-spreading cough, all of which occurred in such a way as to spread the maximum amount of germs on the maximum number of sandwiches.  Even though the sandwiches are wrapped, I have a general understanding of the dynamics of human germ proliferation and sandwich touching.  I wasn't about to let this lady ruin my lunch, so I waited until she left then chose the sandwich furthest from the coughing epicenter and went on my way.  It's one of those things that's such an obvious no-no (the coughing over food, not the taking of a coughed-on sandwich), it makes you wonder how humankind has survived this long.  We're such disgusting idiots. #food

Ignorant arguing Wed, May 27, 2009
I really can't stand when people argue about things they don't fully comprehend.  There are these two guys at work who usually start up a little discussion sometime each day which typically goes something like this: 
Guy 1:  Did you hear about [this completely stupid thing]?  I think it means [this completely ridiculous conclusion]. 
Guy 2:  I heard it means [this other completely ridiculous conclusion]. 
Guy 1:  I hadn't considered [that completely ridiculous conclusion], but I think I'm right because I think I heard it somewhere. 
Guy 2:  I think I'm right too because I think I read it somewhere, though I have no actual data upon which to base [my completely ridiculous conclusion] and no credible sources with which to back up my lack of data. 
Me:  I wonder how many crayons I would need to stick up my nose before my brain would rupture and I would be prevented from hearing this. 
Just admit it, neither of you is the slightest bit sure of what you're talking about, so just take 14 seconds and Google it so you at least have a partially basic understanding of the things you know nothing about.  I'm not saying the citizens of the world need to be experts about everything, and I'm not saying it's a horrible thing to be ignorant on a certain topic.  But just admit it.  Come to terms with your lack of knowledge and say, "You know what?  Before I continue to spew my informationlessness and utter lies, I'll shut my damn mouth and look it up." #psychology

No more words Wed, May 27, 2009
Stephan Pastis, author of the comic Pearls Before Swine, blogged about his recent experience on a plane
Flew back from Hollywood yesterday and wanted to let you know that if any of you are having trouble speaking today, I know why.

The woman sitting across from me on the plane used up all the words.
This is even funnier if you read the comic and know a little bit about the character of Rat.  Pastis recently said this:  "Rat's voice is effectively my voice.  If I could, I'd write for Rat every day." #psychology

Music degree (4) Tue, May 26, 2009
When I was younger, I wanted to go to college to major in music.  This pie chart perfectly explains why I changed my mind: 

[Image: musicdegree.jpg]

Introversion Tue, May 26, 2009
Kottke linked to some stuff about introverted people, including my favorite, "Caring for Your Introvert," which makes it sound like caring for a pet, or more accurately, a pet rock.  This section stands out: 
Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.
As a card-carrying introvert, I couldn't agree more.  It may seem weird that I married a card-carrying extrovert, but upon introvertedly thinking about it some more, I've determined that it's almost like a survival technique.  I use Wendy sort of like a shield to protect my introvertedness.  She talks to people, answers questions, and tells stories while I stand around and pretend to be sociable, all the while silently analyzing the situation and people involved, and planning my eventual escape. #psychology

Cutlery unification Thu, May 21, 2009
From here via here

[Image: cutlery.jpg]

Although, I would work on the naming conventions a little.  The fork/spoon combination can either be called a spork or a foon.  Spoon/knife could be a spife or a knoon.  Fork/knife could be a knork or a fife.  And the grand combo of fork/spoon/knife could be a skork, a sfife, or a knifoon.  Splayd doesn't fit at all. #products

I communicate goodly Wed, May 20, 2009
I was in a meeting recently where three engineers had to explain something to a lawyer.  The lawyer actually had an engineering degree as well, so that helped a little.  But the one engineer had been working in his field for 30 years, so his language matched the language he read in textbooks and research papers.  The second engineer is a ridiculously horrible communicator.  When he talks, words sort of stumble out of his mouth like they're jumping off a cliff into darkness.  My eyes bug out of my head when I hear this guy talk.  The third engineer was me, a self-proclaimed socially awkward people-avoider. 

So it was unusual and unexpected when I became the de facto translator for Team Engineer.  One guy was saying words like "gyroscopic" and "roll damping" while the other guy was saying things like "what's that equation?" and "yadda yadda testing blah blah schedule".  The lawyer looked around at us trying to make heads or tails of what the geeks were saying, so I quietly and simply piped in with a one sentence explanation that included words like "basically" and "like a football" while also avoiding any acronyms or unnecessarily complicated lingo.  It wasn't that I was dumbing it down, it was more like I was translating from geek language to human language.  After I finished speaking, the engineers both chimed in "exactly!" and the lawyer wrote feverishly in his yellow notebook. #psychology

Mow it yourself Wed, May 20, 2009
The mayor of Toledo, Ohio just got into the lawn mowing business: 
"Budget cuts mean Toledo has hired fewer seasonal workers to keep its parks tidy, so Mayor Carty Finkbeiner was out with a mower doing the job Saturday at a park near his home.  About 10 city administrative employees joined him, on their own time."
Gotta respect a person who does a job they're not paid to do.  Although, honestly, give me a weed whacker, and I'll pay you for the privilege. #business

Rocks (1) Tue, May 19, 2009
Yesterday I was digging a hole in the "dirt" in my yard to make way for a compost pile.  I say "dirt" because it's really just a collection of rocks with sparse amounts of dirt mixed in.  Actually, I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire state of New Jersey is just one big rock, covered by a scant few inches of topsoil. 

So anyway, I was digging rocks out of the ground, when suddenly I hit a big one.  I spent the next hour or so unearthing the largest rock I've ever moved.  It was the heaviest object I've ever encountered in my life, made heavier by the fact that it was two or three feet down.  The thing is, it wasn't that big of an object, maybe two feet by one foot by one foot.  But it was deceptively heavy, and it was deceptively big.  It was quite a showdown, even for my favorite tool in the world, my slate rod

Fast forward to this morning, and what do I read in my morning Bible reading?  Psalm 62, which compares God to a rock.  The questions that go along with the reading asked me to "reflect on the specific characteristics of rocks and how they describe God's character."  Another God coincidence if I ever saw one.  My answer was easy to come up with:  Rocks are hard, and rocks are big.  You use rocks to build things on top of, like building faith on top of something that won't change or go away.  And rocks are often like the tip of an iceberg; i.e. there's more to God than what we see or know. 

Thinking about it further, I've noticed that many of the wonders of the natural world I've been fortunate enough to witness have something to do with rocks.  The iron-red mountains in Zion National Park are just big rocks.  The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon are rocks eroded by wind and water.  The Grand Canyon is sort of the absence of rock, though it's surrounded by giant walls of the stuff.  Islands are just rocks in the middle of water.  Volcanoes are rocks that used to be liquid.  Coral reefs are pretty much just rocks covered in stuff that attracts fish.  And all these rock things make me thank God for the beauty of nature. 

It's almost ridiculous how much God-stuff I can squeeze out of one simple series of events, but sometimes that's how it happens. 

One final thought about God and rocks:  Liquid Church did an excellent series called "Rock God" which was about discovering and experiencing God in music.  The first part was about music from the 60s through today and the second part focused solely on the 80s. #religion

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