Monday, December 31, 2007
think I prefer those types of landings. I get a little wonky when the
ground is coming up quickly. Anyway, we let the woman who shared the
misery of her trip thus far and the drama of the continued flight
delays which only added to her, ahem, joy with the five rows around
her go ahead of us when deplaning. It was a small gesture which
probably was not the difference between her making her connection or
not but 'tis the season and I hope she made it. We also met a
gentleman from the Buffalo Bills' practice squad. Mr. Copeland Bryan
was gracious while I was a babbling idiot. I wish him well in his
football career. We then found a beverage spigot and are now huddled
at the gate with our fellow travelers. So far the departure time has
been delayed by 43 minutes. I've never been in a de-iced plane before.
Wish me luck.
at 2:28 PM
While sitting at the gate, a gent taped up a sign that informed
travelers that a new state law requires airlines to make accomodations
for food in and food out if the plane is stuck on the tarmac for three
hours or more. It seems now to have been prescient because we are now
sitting on the runway without our main engine running. We can't fly
into Chicago due to traffic at their end so we get to sit here for 40
more minutes. The folks in front of me have partially unpacked their
puppy (how do you tell an animal to yawn and pop their eardrums?) and
the woman behind me is sharing her misery with whoever answered their
phone at the other end as well as rows 15-20.
Hmm, I wonder if FrenchieFoo got out of Chi-town ok ...
Stay tuned. I'm not going anywhere for a while.
Sent from my iPhone
at 11:08 AM
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Tomorrow we head back to the great northwet and leave this snowy
wonderland behind. Apparently Mother Nature forgot we were coming and
failed to order up the snow. Absolutely no frozen water to be seen. Oh
The trip has been a culinary delight. It began with a fish fry that
cannot be beat anywhere else in the continental U.S. If the beer-
battered fish isn't hanging over the edges of the platter-sized plate,
take your $8.95 elsewhere. I've lived in two regions of the country
that are not here and have reputations and industries based on seafood
and they cannot hold a candle to the fish dinners found in this Rust
Belt city. That meal alone made wrestling with TSA worthwhile.
I'm drooling again so perhaps it would be best to set the electronics
Sent from my iPhone
at 1:07 PM
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Made it all the way to my spawning grounds and can't get off the plane
because there are no worker bees here to meet the plane. The pilot
just executed a "circle around the parking lot one more time." Still
no drones around and parts of the terminal are dark. This is bizarre.
Sent from my iPhone
at 8:20 PM
I still have questions about this interfaith service. It's Christmas
day. Are the christians peeved about the interfaithness of the
service? Is such a service held everyday? If the service is being held
because today is Christmas, why bother with the interfaithness?
Sent from my iPhone
at 11:05 AM
Wow. The disembodied voice just announced the airport chaplain will
hold an 11 am interfaith service in the meditation room of the main
terminal. See previous post re: my not knowing the new air travel
script and kick up my confusion factor by an additional 1/2. I'm
picturing Father Mulkahey from M.A.S.H. Now I'm also picturing
Corporal Klinger. So far it is a surreal holiday.
Sent from my iPhone
at 10:54 AM
We are at the airport 3 hours before departure. We have plenty of
time. There is no security line worth commenting on. So why is my
stomach in knots? What is it about being in an airport that makes me
crazy? I've decided today's unease is because I do not know the new
airport script well enough to be comfortable. The check in kiosks keep
changing style and arrangement. I've never before printed out my
boarding passes the night before. I didn't know how to check in and
get my bag checked. And then the very friendly United employee tapped
through the video screens too quickly for me to see the gate info. I
was adrift and, in my head, I identified myself as one of those newbie
travelers who piss off the more practiced folks. And all this happened
before my iPhone set off the metal detector.
Sent from my iPhone
at 10:45 AM
We exited the $4 hotel room to the sounds of Dad yelling at child to
stop doing whatever it was it was doing a moment before. We hold back
so we can avoid getting in the elevator with the not-so-happy family.
However since the shafts are right next to each other, we overheard
the ringing of the fire alarm bell, the rapid cessation of same and
the immediate bawling of child. It was not yet 9 am.
Sent from my iPhone
at 10:33 AM
Merry Xmas from a $4 hotel room in the Emerald City. As the sun comes
up this fine morning, I can hear the melodic sounds of huge jets
launching and heading towards other places--including cities with
snow. The T and I will be joining the throngs of travelers, once we
drag ourselves out of this huge king size bed that engulfs almost
every inch of floor space in the room. We decided to spend the night
here in EC rather than wake up before Santa finished his run to hit
the roads. There was also the possibility that we would be denied the,
uh, right to pay $130 to leave the Blue Laser in the airport parking
lot. Oy! That's a lot of change. So our vacation began last night with
an eve feast at Denny's (seasoned fries!--a new holiday tradition). I
chose this particular hotel for two very important reasons: it was
first to pop up on the google list and it offered a room and park
package for only four-bucks more than the parking garage. So here's to
the holiday. More later.
Sent from my iPhone
at 8:10 AM
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
In the words of that master songsmith, Tom Lehrer: "It's always seemed to me, after all, that Christmas, with its spirit of giving, offers us all a wonderful opportunity each year to reflect on what we all most sincerely and deeply believe in - I refer, of course, to money."
There may be too many commas in that quote but money is what came to mind while doing some shopping. The purchased items in question are feminine hygiene products versus birth control, popcorn, and juice.
Let's start with the last one, since I know you're curious as all get out about the first one. I'll let the suspense build. The other morning at the local bagel shop, I was considering adding a juice to my regular order of coffee and a bagel. The price for juices was "Market price." Say wha?!? This is juice, not lobster or a bottle of fermented grapes. What is going on? It strikes me as a scam rather than a savvy pricing technique. If the month's receipts look like they're going to be a little light, just charge more for juice. Milk was listed the same way. I know milk and gasoline are both used as measures of inflation and that both have increased at somewhat similar rates over time and that people react more to changes in gas prices—mainly because of the bright neon signs advertising said price on every corner—than they do to milk prices but charging market prices for milk seems so smarmy. Is the milk market so volatile that the price must be kept blank? Are cows in revolt?
Speaking of cows, perhaps I've backed into the reason for market price milk: ethanol, a derivative of corn—which leads us to the next sticker shock story. The price of popping corn has tripled in the past month. The ultimate comfort food cost me $1 per pound the other day. My previous restocking cost only $.35 per pound. This is not the truffle version of popping corn, folks. It is plain old generic yellow, non-organic, throw-me-in-oil-and-shake-the-pot seed. Can the same forces be at work here as they are with the milk? Me thinks so. Everybody is jumping on the ethanol bandwagon and corn is the new farmer's gold. Those of us who don't want our bones snapping when we're 80 or just want a healthy snack are going to pay through the nose 'til the dinosaur juice is truly gone and we all have solar powered amphibious vehicles to tool around on over the surface of the hot drowned planet.
And now to the one you've been waiting for: the cost of feminine protection versus that of birth control. Ready for arithmetic? btw: all prices came from goggle searches and a local medicine cabinet. Tampons cost $0.11 to $0.15 each. Let's say the heroine of our story, Ms. Regular, always has her friend in town for seven days and six of these days require tampons. In one 24-hour window, Ms. Regular goes through six to eight tampons for a grand total of 36 to 48 tampons during the Fun Week. Let's not forget what I like to call the goalie but is better known as the panty liner. These cost $0.14 to $0.16 each. Using six to eight per day, the grand total is 42 to 56 over the course of the week.
Don't worry, I'll do the math for you. Using the lowest prices and the fewest totals, the cheaper end of the scale is $9.84 per cycle, without tax. At the other end of the scale, the grand total is $16.16 per cycle. This is an annual expense of $118 to $194. Meanwhile, over in this corner, we have The Pill which costs $.11 per day ($3 per month, $36 annually), including the placebo week. If refilled earlier to skip the placebo, the cost jumps to a whole $.14 per day, or $51 per year. Now I ask you, since a prescription for the pill is so inexpensive, and it is now considered acceptable and safe to just stay hormonized and skip the whole cycle anyhow, why isn't the whole female world taking the pill!?! You can't tell me chicks haven't been already been getting the refill sooner and skipping the placebo week before it got pharmaceutically trendy.
Count me in for $150 per year in my pocket rather than in my ... oh never mind. I'm shocked. I'm also waiting for the backlash from the economist whackos who similarly argued against high-mileage vehicles: if everyone drove one, the state would have less fuel tax to spend on bridges and what-not. Well, I for one would much rather deny the state the period tax and spend the money on popcorn, thankyouverymuch.
Discuss. Let me know what you come up with.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Damn you, Kulturfluff, for meme-ing me!! Since this isn't the first time you've done this to me, can we call it a re-meme? Is this rememenation? In the voice of Gov. Ahnold: I'm a memenator. Your blogs, give them to me. When any of those, uh, words show up in the OED, give me a call.
Considering that blogging is looking better than anything else I've got on my plate this weekend, I'll participate in the spirit in which this was meant. Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Done. See above.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself. Done. See below.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Not possible. See further below.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Still not possible. See below.
7 random or weird things about myself.
This may be possible but it is not easy, due to the fluid definition of the words "normal" and "weird." One blogger's norm is another's not-so-norm. But I will give it a try. I have no idea if I'll be able to reach the requested 7 and I've been thinking about this since I got notice of the memeification.
Tags of seven people whose blogs I read. Well, I don't read seven other blogs (should this lack of blog reading have been included as a weird thing on the list above?) I read Kfluff's constantly and Amelia's occasionally. That's about it. All my other internet stops are gadget sites or design sites or game sites or comic sites. Nothing too insightful or interactive. So I'm going to change this rule a bit and encourage Frenchie to start a blog. The same goes for DrStudentAffairs/StudentLife (you know who you are) and Rainbow Hemp. Jump in, folks, and add to the conversation.
I would love to hear from other folks who are reading this and let me know how you landed here. The clustermap you see somewhere in the left margin shows hits from the middle of America and across the pond in England and Europe and Australia and others. How did you manage to find this blog among all the blogs on all the computers on all the planets with sentient life? Leave a comment and introduce yourself.
at 2:05 PM
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Another life lesson was learned this past week. I'm not exactly sure what the lesson is yet but it involves a garage, gutters, and rain barrels.
The T and I live in a house totally dwarfed by its detached garage. The garage is by far the largest structure in the neighborhood.
Yes, that is three stories of garage you see there. When explaining to folks, friend or stranger, where we live, at some point their faces light up and they exclaim, "Oh, the Taj Garage!" or "The Garage Mahal!" and they know exactly where our house is based on the gravitational pull of this structure. The building has its own fan club. I've taken to calling it the Monolith, ala 2001: A Space Odyssey. And, no, I'm not calling it the monolith just so I can work this cartoon into my post, although I'm happy to do so.
Recently, because we had manual laborers staying with us on their vacation, we decided to get some gutters up on the Monolith. I took this idea one step further and installed some rain barrels to save the water for my summertime ritual of growing my own compost material. This is where the, ahem, plan went awry.
Here's the math portion of the post, sung to the tune of woodchucks chucking wood: how much water could a garage accumulate if a garage could accumulate water? To rephrase the question in our own words so as to help us set up the equation: how much water hits the roof of the Monolith rather than the ground and how many barrels do we need to contain this water? The dimensions of the roof are 30 acres x 30 acres ... no, wait, I'm exaggerating. It's only 30 x 30 feet. So how much water hits this 900 square foot expanse during a drizzle? Well, a 1 inch rainfall results in 129,600 cubic inches of water. For those of you getting thirsty just reading about water, grab a big glass because that's 561 gallons of water! In only one inch of rain!! Do you recall I live in the pacific northwest and not in the atlantic southeast? I'm not praying for rain. I'm cursing the gods for the squish my lawn has 6 months of the year.
But back to our exercise. How many barrels do we need to contain the water? To be as precise as most of my students are when working their exercises: a truckload—and let's go with the big truck. We were feeling all happy with ourselves when we took advantage of the last two days of sunshine to get the gutters up and the barrels in position. We were whacking ourselves on the foreheads when, after a one day drizzle, the barrels were full and the overflow was once again threatening to float the Monolith down the block. We got two more barrels and didn't exactly think through how we were going to connect them to the first pair and so applied some Rube Goldberg logic and went to bed, thinking we'd have some time to trouble-shoot before the barrels were full.
Are we dolts?!? The next morning, thanks to some thick rain, aka: snow, this second set of barrels was full and the overflow was splashing down between us and our cars. Now we have to wade through Lake Overflow to get to the back alley. So let's once again divert the water until we can come up with something. Here's the current solution:
Barrel #1 in the foreground is full and the drainpipe now runs directly to Barrel #2 which is also full. Yes, that is an electrical circuit box you see on the side of the Monolith. Let's not think about Water + Electricity right now. Anyway, the clear tubing runs from the overflow spigot to the extra piece of drainpipe propped up on the barrel which diverts the water off to the property line and allows us to get to the alley and our cars without strapping on life preservers first. Please don't trip over the gutter pipe on your way out of the yard.
I hope the neighbors are enjoying the entertainment we provide.