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Pre-storm shopping Mon, Jan 31, 2011
It's about to snow again in the northeast, and the supermarkets are overflowing with crazy people honking their horns to get parking spaces and buying all kinds of things that will do them little to no good in the event of an actual snow storm.  Everyone I've ever talked to agrees this is a ridiculous phenomenon, wondering who in their right minds thinks a snow storm will prevent them from shopping for any amount of time, and more importantly, how extra milk and bread will actually do any good in the event of said storm.  I guess there are a handful of people out there who truly believe each snow storm is "the big one" which will finally shut down the state and prevent trucks from plowing the roads, in which case they'll be able to sit in their snow-encased houses, eating their loaves of bread and drinking their 2% milk to their heart's content.  I just can't see how there could possibly be that many of these people, such that every supermarket is overcrowded and entire shelves are emptied of their contents. #nature

Nice Buick Mon, Jan 31, 2011
Here's a sentence that has probably never been uttered, by any speaking human being, ever:  "That's a nice Buick."  I don't understand how a certain car company can have such a legacy of making ugly cars.  And it's not like they're cheap.  At least if they were cheap, you could rationalize buying an ugly car.  How this car company, which seems to market solely to the elderly, remains in business despite making such disgustingly despicable cars is mind-boggling. #travel

Ice on my car Thu, Jan 27, 2011
This is what frozen ice and salt look like on the hood of my car on a particularly cold day. 


Cheap hotels and low expectations Wed, Jan 26, 2011
I once heard it said that the road to happiness is paved with low expectations.  I like to apply that principle in selecting a cheap hotel.  The thing with cheap hotels is that they're not only inexpensive, but they're clearly rated with very few stars by third-party agencies.  So it's not like there should be any surprises.  And that's exactly how I go into the situation.  If I'm paying $50 for a two star motel in a dumpy little town, I should expect a fairly old room, maybe some slightly dirty carpeting, a small bathroom, and scratchy towels.  And since I've done this a few times, this is unsurprisingly what I've found.  The cost and quality of the hotel really has no effect on my sleep and my shower; I'm not there to hang out in the room all day.  Thus the value of low expectations. #travel

Mealtime driving Fri, Jan 21, 2011
Driving is often an unenjoyable experience because I'm a control freak and people are idiots and there are cops.  I was noticing recently that most of my driving is done at or around mealtimes, such as commuting to work in the morning, driving to get food around noon, and commuting home from work in the evening.  Since I'm like an infant when it comes to food (i.e. hungry = cranky), it's pretty easy to see a correlation between driving-induced anger and mealtimes.  I should always eat before I drive. #travel

Typos in books (1) Tue, Jan 18, 2011
One of my unintentional talents involves effortlessly finding fault in others.  Mostly that takes the form of being able to find at least ten mistakes in an average book, sometimes grammar, sometimes spelling.  The thing that doesn't make sense to me is this:  Don't writers, or editors, or publishers, or any of the other people involved in the process of producing a book use spell check?  I can understand the presence of grammatical errors; machines can't catch them and you'd need several sets of eyes in order to find any mistakes.  But spelling mistakes are incredibly easy to catch, ever since the advent of the 20-year-old technology of spell check.  Please, book people, click on that little button with the "a-b-c" and a "check" symbol. #entertainment

Steamed spinach (3) Tue, Jan 18, 2011
I've been eating a lot of spinach lately, and I'm a newly-converted fan.  It's good raw in salads, and it's even good fried in omelets.  One way it's not good is the way I ate it my entire life, leading to my intense hatred of it:  Steamed or boiled.  I had an excellent meal at a restaurant the other day, consisting of red snapper on a bed of steamed spinach.  Everything was going great, until I got to that slimy, bitter mess of green nonsense underneath the fish.  I don't understand how a simple cooking technique can transform a food in such a horrific way. #food

Einstein on religion Mon, Jan 10, 2011
Albert Einstein on science and religion: 
Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
And a National Geographic article about the same. #religion

Profane passwords Thu, Jan 06, 2011
Like any modern computer user with too many accounts on too many websites, I have a document that contains every username and password I've ever used for the past decade.  I'll admit this isn't the pinnacle of security, but it works for me.  Whenever I can't remember a password to something, I look it up in my document.  But while doing so, I'll inevitably glance at a few other passwords along the way, and more often than not, those passwords will contain profanity.  Usually whenever I'm forced to generate a password, I think of some stupid word or phrase and just go with it without putting too much effort into the process.  But when I'm inconvenienced or annoyed by a particular website's ridiculous password requirements or method of signing up, that anger will be reflected in the password I create.  Such is the case with a website at work, where my password expires every five months, and new passwords must be at least ten characters long with capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and can't be the same as any of the ten most recently used passwords.  I invent new profanity for this website every time I'm forced to change my password. #technology

Hotel cost vs. enjoyment (2) Wed, Jan 05, 2011
I have a hard time paying more money for something when a reasonably good option is available for less money.  That might sound obvious, but I don't think everybody is with me on this.  For example, I recently traveled with some friends where we stayed in two different hotels on two consecutive nights in the same town.  One was $50 per night, the other was $100.  For me, a hotel is a hotel; it's a commodity.  Unless it's on a beach on a tropical island or you get the honeymoon suite on the top floor with free room service, a hotel room provides two simple services:  A bed and a shower.  Whether it has HBO or a curved shower rod, I couldn't care less, which is why my goal is to pay the lowest price possible, unless there's a strong correlation between cost and bug population.  Much to my surprise, my travel buddies had different values than me, which is fine, but one of those values meant we were spending the second night in a more expensive, quaint, lodge-type hotel.  "Quaint" is another word for "small and crappy," which is exactly how I would describe that $100 per night hotel.  To me, that extra $50, which in this case made it literally twice as expensive as the previous night, didn't represent a doubling of enjoyment.  And since I'm a nerd and think of everything in terms of math and practicality, that's why I stay in cheap hotels. #travel

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