2010 December minutiae

  • Berkeley Bowl has these great cookies that I get most of the time I go there. Sufficiently great that I have given up the pretense that I'll keep them around as an occasional snack — as soon as I open the box I know that I'm going to eat the whole thing and that will be dessert for that day.

  • Stephen Granade posted a link to this article about the failure of a college whose mission was to promote objectivism. I imagine the students started to have second thoughts about enrolling there when they got the syllabus for their first class and the section on grading just said "A IS A."

  • Fun fact: the code for the Sioux City airport is SUX. Local officials petitioned for a change, but after the FAA offered them GAY they decided to stick with what they had. That's not even a joke.

  • I've been interested to note that now that I'm no longer tutoring I pretty much never leave the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area. I used to have to fill up my car more than once a week and now it's a monthly chore like paying the rent.

  • I ran across a list of the fifty most popular passwords that were ganked from Gawker Media, and now I feel like I don't even know what world I'm living in anymore. People are actually using words as passwords? Like "monkey" and "baseball" and "princess"? Did these people just step out of a 1980s movie or something? Seriously, I thought that everyone switched to stuff like eG6GwV$e9bxf twenty years ago.

  • The first time I heard Captain Beefheart, dead this month at 69, was on a rerun of his 1980 appearance on Saturday Night Live, and I thought it was the single worst musical performance I had ever heard. Fifteen years later I listened to it again and thought he was a genius. So if you don't like this, come back and try again in 2025:

  • When Twitter first became a big thing there was a lot of talk about how useless it was unless you wanted to know when Wil Wheaton was eating a sandwich or something. But I've found it surprisingly useful on various occasions. For instance, one recent evening Skype seemed not to be logging me in. Was the problem on my end or Skype's? I went to Twitter, typed in "Skype," and sure enough, up came hundreds of people complaining that Skype was down. Question answered!

  • The art that I get for Evil Creatures often needs a fair amount of correction, and while I totally can't draw when I'm starting from scratch, I am pretty decent at using Photoshop to rotate and distort and warp things the way I want them. I actually kind of like it when the panels are not exactly right because it gives me an excuse to lend a few pixels of my own to the cause: no, that nose shouldn't be so pointy, and let me alter those lips a bit, and she wouldn't be wearing earrings, etc. I was going to say that the fun I get from fixing up my girls' hair is probably not entirely dissimilar to what Elizabeth gets out of playing with her dolls, but even more to the point, maybe this is a reflection of the fact that I did get half my DNA from a plastic surgeon.

  • I tried the "guess the song from a clip without lyrics" games at sporcle.com. Results:

    '60s: 22/36
    '70s: 13/36
    '80s: 27/40
    '90s: 20/36
    '00s: 1/36

    That's not a typo: for the '00s edition only "Seven Nation Army" kept me from being completely shut out. And frankly I don't know where I pulled that one from.

  • I saw that there was another little hullaballoo about death panels recently. It occurs to me, though, that the main reason that our economy is headed off a cliff is skyrocketing health care costs, and a lot of that is spent on giving very sick people an extra couple of months of being very sick, or on trying to get 87-year-olds to make it to 90, etc. And yes, I'm sure that when I'm 87 making it to 90 will seem of paramount importance to me too. But it probably shouldn't. I'm not saying that instituting actual death panels is the way to go but it does seem to me that our culture needs to comes to grips with the inevitability of death.

  • Out on Solano I saw a remote-controlled racecar zipping around — someone's Christmas gift, presumably — then looked around to find that at the controls was an old lady. The only child with her was a little girl who seemed quite uninterested in the car. But, dang, that old lady was into it.

  • I was amazed to poke around on Google Maps and see how huge and (at least from the pictures I randomly clicked on) nice-looking the cities along the Trans-Siberian railway are. I assumed it would be all industrial dystopias and 19th-century peasant hovels.

  • Whoever wrote "They put it in a box! And it hated that!" knows nothing about cats.

  • comment on espn.go.com: the America's Cup is back on U.S. soil! Seems to me that if you end up on anyone's soil you're not very good at sailing.

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