2011.08 minutiae

  • I was walking up Bowditch Street when I passed a door marked "Institute for the Study of Societal Issues." Which raises the question: if this were a spy movie, would that be the generic nameplate on the secret headquarters of the good guys or the bad guys?

  • I dreamed that Barack Obama was lecturing me for having sex with a very loud partner while he was trying to sleep in the next room.

  • One of my jackets has a tag inside that reads as follows:

    15% NYLON
    10% UNKNOWN


  • I took Elizabeth on a road trip through the Rockies in a rental car, meaning that first I had to do the little dance where the car rental guy says that for just $7/day more I can upgrade to a midsize ("No thanks.") and that he would really warn against driving an economy on the highways, y'know, it's 75 MPH out here ("No thanks.") and also, this is the mountains, and an economy will really struggle on the uphill sections, and it has no power features ("No thanks.") and, sigh, all right, if that's what you really want... and then of course it turns out that there never were any economy cars on the lot so I get the upgrade for free. This happens every time.

  • The car I wound up getting had a sticker in the window billing it as a "PARTIAL ZERO EMISSION VEHICLE." What the hell does that mean? No emissions while it's parked? No emissions from the glove box?

  • You might think that going to the desert in August would be a way to escape the clouds and rain that plague all my road trips. Ha ha, no. We got rained on in New Mexico, and Utah, and Colorado. Then we returned home to beautiful British Columbia, by which I mean Northern California. Apparently global warming has counterintuitively extended the climate patterns of the Pacific Northwest south by about five degrees of latitude. This whole summer has been nothing but cool temperatures and overcast skies... but given that I don't have air conditioning, I'm okay with this! Sure, the mornings are kind of depressing, but the cloud cover burns off by the afternoon. All the more reason to sleep in.

  • Various people have observed that with the advent of cell phones fewer people wear watches — after all, if you need the time you can just get it off your phone. However, I did an informal study (by which I mean going into crowded areas and staring at people's wrists) and saw a fair number of watches. What I didn't see were any digital watches — seriously, not one. Which suggests that watches as purely utilitarian devices are indeed obsolete and that they are now more like pieces of jewelry that happen to tell the time for historical reasons.

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