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Archive for September, 2008

It’s been a long month. Things have been especially busy at work, so I’m really looking forward to our trip to Austin. Our flight leaves tomorrow morning….at dawn.

On the other hand, we’re not looking forward to paying to check our bags. We, ironically, ordered our tickets in June, one day after the new checked-baggage fees went into effect – $15 bucks a bag. But, we do have a gigantic suitcase, so managed to smush all of our stuff into one bag and then we’ll carry a couple bags on the plane. Now, the only question is – will our checked bag come in under the 50 lb. limit?

Flying has become such a hassle lately, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it when we’re dancing (or trying to – neither us “cut rugs” very well) to Beck and Joe Bonamassa at the ACL music festival and licking the Texas BBQ sauce off our fingers.

With that said, there won’t be much action on the blog for a week or so. While we’re away, just remember…don’t squat with your spurs on!

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Here’s how it works: I’ve plotted where each candidate falls along a spectrum of positions/abilities for 5 big-picture concepts that are important in this election. The descriptions for each concept basically represent opposite ends of each spectrum, and there is a gradient in between. They’re positioned along each spectrum based on their stated positions, voting records, and my opinion.

For example, at one end of the socio-economic spectrum are people who support socializing services/industries and distributing wealth/opportunity through government; at the other end are those who would leave the provision of these things entirely to the forces of free market capitalism and open competition (so, someone like Karl Marx would be on the very tip of the left end, whereas someone like Milton Friedman would be on the right end).

Or, take foreign policy – On one end you have those whose acumen for foreign policy essentially amounts to having twice breakfasted at the International House of Pancakes (i.e. totally inept); on the other end are those whose acumen merits the moniker of ‘commander in chief’. You get the idea.

I thought this would be a fun and interesting way to visually characterize their general disposition on key issues.

Personally, the right side of each spectrum is vastly preferable to the left side…so although neither candidate is ideal (gee, what a surprise), this does point to McCain as the preferable one by far. Obviously decide for yourself: on which side of each spectrum do you think our next president ought to reside?

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I’m not sure where this was taken or what the story is behind it, but, in addition to being an incredibly interesting photo, it reminded me of a dog that Dan and I came across on our honeymoon about a year ago in Aruba. We made reservations one night for dinner at  El Gaucho, an Argentinian steak house. (It was DELICIOUS. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in Aruba!)

So, in typical Dan & Elicia fashion we showed up early and waited for a bit outside until our table was ready. We were in good company with the security guard and his Boxer. We must have only sat outside for 5 or 10 minutes, but in that short time period, at least 3 or 4 people gave the dog leftover scraps of some of the tastiest beef on there way out. What a life! Below is a photo of the El Gaucho dog, but I admit, it is by no means as well shot as “Eyebrowed’s” Flickr photo above.

If you’re just sitting down to eat….bon apetit! May you feel as satisfied with your meal as these dogs do.

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There are a lot of myths out there about energy efficiency. For instance, it is a myth that turning your computer off-and-on takes more energy than just leaving it on or in “sleep” mode; and the Patrick administration just announced it is taking advantage of this ridiculously easy way for the state to save some serious cash.

Boston (WBZ) – The Patrick Administration says it can save $2 million and 12 million kilowatts a year just by turning off computers at executive branch agencies. The administration on Friday announced a new policy of shutting down the computers or switching them to energy saving “sleep mode” when they aren’t being used. Aside from the energy and cost savings, the administration estimates the policy will reduce 5,051 tons of carbon emissions — roughly equivalent to driving 925 cars for a year or providing electricity to 669 homes for one year.

So how about a few other myths along these same lines:

  • Myth #1 – Turning off lights uses more energy. Turning off lights, even for short periods of time, really saves energy, with little impact on the lifespan of the bulb.
  • Myth #2 – Turning off car uses more energy. Idling a modern car always wastes more energy than turning it off and then on again (even for short periods of time).
  • Myth #3 – Turning down thermostat uses more energy. It is good to turn down the thermostat while you’re away from the house for the day. If you are out for a good stretch of time (say 8 hours or so), this temperature “set-back” will save more energy than it will take to bring your home back to the desired temperature.

More efficiency mythbusters from ACEEE here

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Last Wednesday, I’m sitting at my desk at work and all of a sudden a massive storm swept through. The rain flew in sideways and the wind was so strong that some of the temporary partition walls at the construction site next door flew into the street. Observing all of the action from my 4th floor window, I saw five or six workers rush to retrieve the walls from the middle of Clarendon Street. 

That is not even the half of it!

In addition to the construction site next door, there were also construction workers on the side of our building standing on a scaffold 4 or 5 floors up. The scaffold was located on Stuart Street, which, due to its position next to the huge Hancock building, is ALWAYS a bit of a wind tunnel to navigate. The storm intensified this to a terrifying extent. For a number of minutes, these guys held on for dear life as they were whipped back and forth up against the building – even damaging the “YWCA” sign. I know the photo below really stinks, but it links to a video from WBZ that says it all (just click on the image).

I hope these guys get at least a few days off, if not a raise or bonus!

Strong winds lead to scaffolding scare in Boston

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While browsing the comics recently, I discovered the Reality Check strip by Dave Whamond. I’m a fan of single frame comics, so these are right up my alley. While not “laugh out loud” funny, here are a couple that made me smile 🙂

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Five minutes at a bus stop with Craig and Dan…

I thought I’d share a couple amusing observations we made while waiting for a bus to the Red Sox game last night (’cause who doesn’t love an amusing observation).

First, we observed that people often converse as if they’re leaving the lines blank on the Mad Lib of life. For example, Elicia called and I asked her, “So, do you have to go to that thing tonight?” Instead of naming the thing, I left life’s Mad Lib unspecified. It’s like this:

“So, do you have to go to that                      tonight?”
                                                       Thing

Speaking in such generic terms is boring. I mean, if the alternative is to leave it blank, then I might as well just start talking as if our conversations really are Mad Libs and throw in random      bananas      that make no sense, just for the fun of it.                                     Thing (plural)

Then, we determined that the best possible title anyone could ever use for a memoir is, “I Took a Shit on a Gold Toilet.” One of us needs to live the life that allows us to write that memoir. And think about it – If you shat on a gold toilet, just imagine what other amazing stories you must have to tell.

Yep, good times at the bus stop 🙂

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