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Halloween thoughts Thu, Oct 29, 2009
A few thoughts about Halloween: 
  • I like how we have a national holiday to celebrate candy.  I'm all for that.  I go to the stores and walk up and down the "holiday" aisle, which is usually full of crappy decorations and other stupidity, but for this holiday it's full of beautiful, wonderful candy.  God bless America.
  • I'd like to reiterate my point from two years ago:  Enough with slutty costumes.  We get it.  You're a slut.  High five.
  • I remember being a kid and suddenly figuring out how inefficient the tradition of candy collection is.  I lived in a fairly spread-out neighborhood with hills and no sidewalks.  On a typical Halloween night, I would walk about three miles, most of which was in the dark, usually in cold weather.  I discovered I could quite easily buy all that candy myself for about $10, and I wouldn't get stuck with things I didn't like.
  • From Shoebox:  "Costume Rule #13:  Unlike women, men can't just pick a profession and wear less clothes."

Radioactive rabbits Thu, Oct 29, 2009
Helicopters recently flew over parts of the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state to record the GPS coordinates of radioactive rabbit poop that could later be scooped up and properly disposed of.  Several animals and plants showed traces of nuclear contamination, but "roaming rabbits appear to account for the overwhelming bulk of the radioactive excrement."  You can say that again.  As a rabbit owner, I can attest to the fact that rabbits poop a lot.  And as a student of pop culture, I can only imagine rolling fields filled with gigantic radioactive rabbits standing on their hind legs and shooting laser beams from their angry, red eyeballs. #nature

Rental goats Thu, Oct 29, 2009
Apparently, there are companies out there who provide goats for rent for the simple task of clearing brush.  Rent-a-Ruminant, Goats R Us, and Eco-Goats are three such companies whose goats eat everything from grass and weeds to thorny plants and poison oak.  A few months ago, Google decided to ditch their lawn mowers and go the way of the goat.  Very cool, though expensive.  (via Boing Boing) #nature

Internet basics (2) Wed, Oct 28, 2009
Some of NPR's podcasts recommend visiting their website for more information.  They say, "Please visit N-P-R dot O-R-G."  Every time they say it, I think, "It's 2009.  Just say 'org.'  If people don't know what you're talking about, they probably don't know what the internet is." 

I also hear people say "forward slash" when they're referring to subdirectories of URLs, as in, "google dot com forward slash search."  First of all, most modern web browsers automatically correct for that.  Second, if people can't figure it out by now, they probably shouldn't be using the internet.  Thirdly, I still don't know the difference between a forward slash and a back slash, and look at how far I've made it in life (on an unrelated note, I'm writing this from a bathroom). #technology

Too many sequels Tue, Oct 27, 2009
I've never seen any of the Saw movies, but I know from my rampant TV-watching that the 6th one is out now.  Six movies, apparently all with the same characters and plot?  When can we move on to something new? 

To be fair, TV shows do the same thing.  The Simpsons has been on the air for two decades.  Sure, there's some plot variation and character development, but it's essentially the exact same thing week after week for something like 400 weeks.  But we know that going in.  We know each episode is part of a larger story and doesn't necessarily stand on its own.  Movie sequels are sometimes a surprise because the original seemed to end perfectly fine.  And at some point, a sequel is simply a money-grab, using the name of the original success to generate more income with less effort.  Pirates of the Caribbean comes to mind. 

I played a video game recently called Far Cry 2, which would suggest it was a continuation of Far Cry, but which Wikipedia says "has very few noticeable similarities to the original game ... [and instead] features completely new characters and setting, as well as a new style of gameplay..."  In other words, it's a completely different game, made to seem similar by using the same name. #entertainment

Staff parking (2) Tue, Oct 27, 2009
I think people who work at a place that exists specifically for the purpose of catering to customers should let said customers park closer to the building than them.  For example, at my local library, the closest four or five parking spaces are always taken by the four or five women who work there.  It's not that much of an inconvenience to walk an extra few steps, but it's just the idea.  It's the same thing with my doctor.  He has a small practice and there are two parking spots about three inches from the front door.  He always takes the closest possible spot, making his (paying) customers park in the overflow lot.  For the librarians, it's not like there's any customer-driven motivation to do things differently (our taxes at work), but for the doctor, I would think about going to a different doctor simply because (a) he doesn't respect his customers/patients, and (b) he's friggin lazy. #travel

V12 Mon, Oct 26, 2009
I saw a sexy Mercedes on the road the other day, and emblazoned on the side was "V12," signifying that the car had a 12-cylinder engine, sort of like a V6 but twice as unnecessary.  I thought, "Wow, that must be awesome to drive on Route 15 in Rockaway, NJ at top speeds of 40 mph in stop-and-go traffic, which is exactly what's happening right now."  I guess that argument can be used for all sports cars, Hummers, and other stupid-mobiles, because if the purpose of driving a vehicle on the road is to get from one place to another, it doesn't matter how potentially fast or inefficiently big your vehicle is.  You're gonna sit around in rush hour traffic just like the rest of us jerks driving cheap Japanese cars.  It's one thing if it's about comfort, but a V12 engine does nothing for comfort. #travel

Acorns, oh acorns Mon, Oct 26, 2009
The acorn harvest in my tiny yard was bountiful once again this year.  Just for kicks, I decided to think of it as God's way of teaching me something.  So instead of thinking of these stupid nuts as a nuisance that must be cleaned up, I thought of them as a gift from above (they literally fall from the sky).  As such, I wondered if I could eat them.  It turns out acorns have been part of Native American and other cuisines for centuries.  And no, they don't contain cyanide or other poisons, as the old wives' tale suggests.  They do, however, contain bitter chemicals called tannins, which can be boiled out.  So I boiled some shelled acorns one afternoon, refreshing the water a few times, after which I baked them on low heat for an hour.  But no matter how many times I boiled them, how long I baked them, or how many combinations of sugar, salt, and lemon juice I tried (Wendy said a sour taste like lemon juice might balance out a bitter taste, but instead I just got a mouthful of sour bitterness, which was new to me), they were still disgusting.  Apparently certain kinds of acorns are less bitter than the ones in my backyard, so eating them straight up is not an option.  Several websites said you can grind them into a powder and use it in place of flour, but I can't think of a more useless thing than a flour substitute.  Oh well, perhaps I'll never understand God's methods. 

I visited some friends yesterday who said the neighborhood kids were collecting acorns and selling them to passersby, sort of like a lemonade stand, except with completely useless nuts.  The innocence of children combined with the generosity of parents to convert a useless commodity into a profitable business.  God bless America. #nature

Custom tacos Thu, Oct 22, 2009
I saw a bumper sticker for customtacos.com, and I thought, even if you could buy and sell customized tacos, why would it be done online?  That would imply shipping costs and time, which would definitely cut down on freshness, and all this in the name of custom tacos, which could be much more easily made with ingredients bought at a local supermarket. 

I went to the website and figured it out.  CustomTacos = Customized Toyota Tacomas.  Of course.  A taco is a pickup truck.  Everybody knows that. #travel

Bunnius Maximus (5) Thu, Oct 22, 2009
We got a new bunny a few weeks ago. 

He's a Holland Lop and his name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, named of course after the lead character from the movie Gladiator.  We got him through Craigslist, from a family whose daughter (and rabbit caretaker) had recently gone off to college.  The reason we added another bunny to our zoo household is that Dora is antisocial, and we felt that she could use some encouragement from one of her own kind.  It turns out our plan is working pretty well.  And try as he might (though he hasn't yet) an unneutered male rabbit can't impregnate a spayed female, so no baby bunnies for us. 

One thing that became evident right away is that Max is the polar opposite of Dora.  One telltale sign is his pose in the above picture.  He's flopped down on the floor with his back feet out, which is how rabbits sit around when they're just chillin and they don't have a care in the world.  Max does this often.  Dora never does.  For comparison sake, I made a helpful table: 

Can I pet you?No, I'll scratch you.  Then I'll bite you.Yes, please.
Want to come out of your cage and run around?No, I prefer to hide in my box.Yes, please.
Can I pick you up?No, I'll run away from you and make little grunting noises to scare you off.Ok.
Did you use your litter box today?Of course.What's a litter box?
What stinks?Probably you, jerk.Sorry, I just pooped everywhere.

And that pretty much sums it up.  On the plus side, Dora is getting better with human interaction, and Max is getting better with the litter box. #nature

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