2010 April minutiae

  • I don't understand Dell's pricing. I went to dell.com to buy a new monitor. The one I wanted was $299. I went to check out and was surprised to find that sales taxes, which I hadn't realized could be charged to a California resident by a Texas company — apparently having opened a Dell Direct kiosk in the Stonestown Mall for a few months in 2006 made it legally a California company as well — and a "California environmental fee" brought the total to $344. I got sticker shock and put it off for another day.

    A couple of days later I decided to buy the monitor anyway. When I pulled it up at dell.com, the price was now $219. Maybe I just impressed the algorithm with my haggling skills.

  • Voicemail: "Saturday I'm not available in the morning because of crew practice." Google Voice transcript: "Saturday I'm not available in the morning because you're black."

  • gothamist.com: Brooklyn Museum Unveils Andy Warhol Piñata. In the future everyone will be a piñata for 15 thwacks.

  • I'm an onomastics geek so I was looking through a database of British and Irish names in the Victorian era. It looks like around 80% of women had one of these seven names: Ann, Elizabeth, Ellen, Jane, Margaret, Mary, or Sarah.

  • In the perception class I'm auditing the professor performed an experiment in which he played two beeps in rapid succession while something flashed on the screen. Most people reported seeing two dots appear in rapid succession. Then he played a single beep and flashed something else; this time most people reported seeing a single dot. The professor revealed that in both cases, it had just been a single black dot. The first outcome was an illusion resulting from the brain's attempt to sync up their visual and auditory input. However, when he tried the experiment again, I saw the same thing I'd seen the first time: first a black dot, then a red dot. I raised my hand and reported what I'd seen. He said that there can sometimes be colored after-images when black and white follow each other so quickly but that my experience was still pretty weird.

    The interesting part is that when he performed the experiment a third time, three other girls raised their hands to excitedly report that they'd seen the red dot this time too.

  • Kevin McHale on "The BS Report": stay between the basket and he

  • Real lines from real essays (not my students):

    • "A novel is a story that is written in spoken English."

    • "The monster feels Victor has described him as a total monster."

    • ""Frankenstein is the story of a re-animated corpse that is on a quest to discover what life is."

    • "Victor Frankenstein creates a creature with the use of natural philosophy rather than the conventional, natural way with a woman. This causes him to be depressed for the entirety of the rest of his life."

    • "The issue of theme and topic manipulation is a widespread and frequently used one in many genres, eras and cultures."

  • An acquaintance who's job hunting happened across this (not sure how long that link will be live):

    Content Producer (santa cruz)

    Date: 2010-04-26, 8:09AM PDT
    Reply to: job-dayqz-1710772595@craigslist.org

    We are a Bay Area marketing firm that lives and breathes the excitement of ever-changing deliverables. Created from strategists, architects, writers, and artists; the firm is looking for an addition members to add to the collective team - the collective that gets it, and gets it done. The team is looking for candidates that exist to create comprehensive initiatives to enable brands, unify relationships, and maximize ROI. With a diverse and top-tier client base, we assembled new positions for Content Producer.


    • Know how to develop great content from scratch for both outbound marketing and inbound marketing deliverables.

    • Can produce content quickly, a case study doesnt take 5 days to write, you can, with the right upfront information, craft a case study in hours and work collectively to obtain feedback.

    • Love creating winning presentations by working on the content deliverables, but also working to provide guidance to design teams.

    • Are fun, personable, a great team member, and a self-starter.

    If you get it and can get it done, in a dynamic environment, please apply.
    Send in samples of work and answers to the following questions:
    1. A short description of your role on each sample submited.
    2. How much content can you produce?
    3. Tell us a fun story that highlights your personality.

    I would respond to this, but someone already has, albeit more politely than I would:

  • Has anyone noticed that carbonation doesn't last as long as it used to? I seem to recall that, as recently as a few years ago, if I opened a can of soda and put it in the fridge, it'd still be fizzy for the rest of the day, and still have a little bit of pep to it the day after that. But every soda I've purchased for the past couple of years has gone completely flat in as little as an hour. What's up with that?

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