Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog Topics

Connie made the observation that Nik and I often write about not just what we're doing but what we're thinking. Actually, in my own estimation, I write almost exclusively about what I'm thinking and rarely about what I'm doing (and even then usually in the context of something it made me think of).

This was a while ago I thought of this, shortly after reading her post, or maybe even while reading it. As an experiment, I decided to try writing about more things I do, and I figured that last trip was a good occasion.

So, I wrote 4 longish posts about my trip, and... it was work. It was a chore. It was like having to finish an essay for school. Man, I don't like writing about stuff I do. How do you guys keep it up? Especially making it so lively and fun? I'm sure to some extent I just find it that way because I, like, care what you guys are doing, but I'm surprised Nik doesn't have a regular readership from a bunch of people she doesn't know.

So, yeah, here's the summary of rest of my East Coast trip: we went to New York MOMA and saw some creepy Dali videos, went up the Empire State Building, saw Spamalot on Broadway, and went tubing on the Delaware River (I licked Pennsylvania!).

Was there more detail worth recording? Probably, but I find it far more interesting to write about thoughts I had then and now because of it. For instance, confirmation of how much I hate cities. Man, it was really crowded. I was near panic several times because of it. MOMA was really cool, but by the end I was just like getmeoutofheregetmeoutofheregetmeoutofheregetmeoutofhereseriouslygetmethefuckoutofhererightnow.

Then, there's the problem with public blogs: anybody might read them. Maybe I should just make it private, but there's a large-ish set of people I sort of know that I don't mind reading my blog, should they find it entertaining or informative to do so. But, there's also another large-ish set of people who make me have to consider what I post in public, like future employers. It makes me watch what I say about criticisms, things I do, profanity... not that I'm left with nothing to write about, but it's certainly not my journal.

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Bike Rant

Started 4/14; I finished it up now because I figured I might as well make use of old fragments I started.


This country's attitude toward biking continually frustrates me. The MS facilities people seem determined to make it as hard as possible to get started biking to work, making the lockers convenient only for people who already want to ride in every day; cities have no interest in setting up bicycle routes that are for actual transportation; and even cyclists are snooty to anybody who isn't eager to cycle over the Alps yet wants comfortable clothing.

Imagine if we applied the same biases to cars. Some ideas that would be around:
  • You should only buy a car with a lot of power if you intend to race it.
  • You can only have a parking permit if you drive to work at least 12 days a month.
  • Your car will be automatically unlocked if you leave it parked anywhere for more than 10 days, unless you put an extra lock on it and email a particular alias ahead of time.
  • We'll build roads, but they won't actually be connected; you'll have to go through some shipping lanes if you want to go more than a few miles.
Okay, okay, all that being said, some of it isn't really that bad. It was a moment of frustration at a particular change I thought was completely backward. But, MS actually does make an effort to support cyclists, even if I don't agree with some of the specific rules. We have showers, and that's really the essential one. The city, though, still pretty much tries to get cyclists killed, and most of the people riding don't seem to be trying to fight this either. Riding with traffic? I'm sorry, no, that's not acceptable. That's how most cyclists get killed. Let's please build separated facilities. They don't have to be as big or tough as roads, and they won't take as much maintenance once they're there, but for goodness sake... riding between a line of parked cars and a lane of busy traffic is just a bad idea, and no amount of alertness or experience will save you.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Plethora Of Weird Articles

Wikipedia: Unusual Articles

I read part of the article on the Principality of Sealand, and it's hilariously bizarre. Some time when I have more time, I'll look at more of them. Thanks to Ron's status message for the link.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Japanese Parking Gameshow

Friday, September 05, 2008

Marketside = WalMart

In the most literal sense. The new chain of stores called "Marketside" that's starting up is a rebranding attempt by Walmart, but they'll be run the same way by the same people.

As a friend of mine put it, for most companies, whether their public image is good or bad, when you take a deeper look at them, you find a lot of the image isn't true, and the real story is a lot more mixed. For WalMart, the more you look, the more bad stuff you find. Even if it appears they have cheap stuff, a lot of their "low prices" come from treating their workers poorly, making them work more than they're paid for, poor health care, and tax evasion. See more info at WalMart Watch. I have nothing against the free market as long as what's produced is clearly and honestly presented, but this is not a good business model innovation.

Anyway, my two cents... you now have more info, and it's your choice what you do with it.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hello Chlorox my old friend

(to the tune of Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel)
I've come to scrub with you again
Because a fungus softly-ee fluffing
Left its spore while I wa-as trav'ling
And the fuzzies, that were planted in my fridge
Still remain
With them the smell of rotting

Thanks to Nik for the idea, and for getting the song stuck in my head so I kept putting words to it. Maybe if I get ambitious, I'll fill out the rest of the song...


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The East Coast Adventure, part IV

Written 8/24/08, 4:45pm EDT

New York is like one of those experiments where they put mice in a box and give them plenty of food and water but no more space until they get so overcrowded they start eating their young, except that New Yorkers have cars and know cusswords.

On my dad's recommendation, one of our first touristy outings was to go to The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum ("Museeem") of Art built to house medieval art and architectural pieces. Despite its name, it was never actually a cloister, with monks and nuns and all that. It was built by John D. Rockefeller Jr in the 20's to hold an art collection he'd bought from a European collector.

As part of my Authentic Manhattan Experience(tm), we caught some traffic on the way in, even though it was late morning on a Friday. We figured we'd make it in time for the 1:00pm "Garden Tour", which turned out to be an excellent choice. Not only did they show instances of plants in the artwork they had, they described historical functions of the gardens and plants within them in medieval monasteries. The main cloister garden had a wide selection of plants, neatly labeled for variety and grouped by purpose (medicinal, culinary, aromatic, "magic", etc).

But, I think the best part of the tour, was that John, after seeing all those cool plants and things you could do with them, spontaneously said "Hey, we need a bigger piece of land." After months of trying to convince him of this... you never know what's going to hit somebody's motives just right.