29 March, 2008

Kudos to Google [Reposted from Facebook]

Location: Google Earth

Today, I typed in Google.com, and what I saw was a pitch black background, different from their normal home page. And on the page they said “We’ve turned the lights out. Now it’s your turn”. This is their advertising for an energy saving campaign called “Earth Hour”, which happens today, March 29th between 8 and 9pm, where everyone is encouraged to save energy by turning off their lights.

Please check out their description at: http://www.google.com/intl/en/earthhour/

Or go straight to the source at: http://www.earthhour.org/

Good for them. This is one of the most, if not the most used website in the world, and they are trying to promote good causes, rather than cluttering their page with advertising and pop culture “news” headlines (like some other sites.. not to mention any… though the initials of one of them are the same as the initials for the phrase “Midgets Sneezing Nearby“).

Okay. That’s it. My public service announcement for the day…

25 March, 2008

Faster than a speeding rodent [Repost from Facebook]

Location: Honda Habitrail

you’ve probably heard my car story, part one. in case you have not. here is synopsis, in bullet text:

* my corolla was 14 years old with 150,000 miles
* it was embarrassing and nasty including peach cobbler odor from “accident”
* i was dating a crazy girl who told me i needed to “redefine myself”
* part of said redefinition included a new car
* i went along with this, for unknown reason. possibly no spine?
* looked at hondas (was disgruntled they don’t make civic hatchback anymore)
* looked at toyotas (i don’t want another one, and the dealers were assholes)
* looked at VW (and they’re overpriced, and i kept stalling it because of clutch)
* looked at mazda… liked the mazda3
* except for 2.3L engine, which meant it was rated 22 city / 29 highway
* i was optimistic that it would perform better than this
* i bought one
* i was wrong (averaged 24.5 mpg for mostly highway driving over 7,000 miles)
* i was disgruntled
* had bad dreams about the fuel efficiency – seriously
* decided to buy a new home
* did not want car payment
* did not want low mpg embarrassment to Japanese engineering
* sold my car on craigslist for only $700 less than I paid for it
* decided to buy a Honda civic hatchback from late 90’s because of reputation for good mpg
* no car payment, bonus
* found out my friend matt who is in south America was willing to sell me his, located in portland

that brings us up to the present month. (i am already bored with this story, but i must tell it).

so… i decide to buy matt’s car. he is not here, but his parents have the car. we talk about price, and decide to use blue book as our guideline. the car is stated as good-to-excellent condition, with low miles (72,000 for a 1996 = low miles). so i am supposed to go down to portland last weekend to get the car, and i am going to take the train. i coordinate with matt and his family. they tell me a few days before that maybe the battery is dead since the car hasn’t been started in a long time, and that we may need to go replace it (when i get there - would have been nice to just have it replaced before i got there… but maybe not fair to ask his family to do that, agreed).

so… i take the train to portland (with denise = $88 for 2 tickets).

i get there, and discover, yes, the battery is dead. and also find out that the car was very nasty inside because of mold, and mildew problems after sitting a long time. nobody had looked at it until that morning. or driven it in months. his parents did kindly clean the interior that day. but it still smelled very very bad and maybe i should have known that before coming down to portland by train?

then… we test drive, and notice upon stopping, that a mouse just jumped out of the car from somewhere underneath, and scurries away. hm… interesting.

then… we notice that, well, maybe the car kind of smells a little bit “mousy”.

actually, more accurate would be to say it smells like the inside of a mouse research facility that has not been cleaned in weeks.

and… there is a small puddle of yellow liquid on the floor mat under the passenger seat = mouse pee.

and… we turn on the heater fan and there is a loud clunking rattling noise that liberates toxic mouse and pee and ammonia (and hantavirus?) fumes! and sounds like something is being crushed or tossed around!

so… at this point, his parents are saying “are you sure you want to buy it?”

but my alternative is to take the train back to seattle, carless, for a round trip waste of time of $180. so i decide to take the car.

we drive back, windows open, no heat, smelling ammonia and piss and mildew.

i took it to a honda dealer who removed “the nest” from the heating system. but the car still smells of pee. they said that detailing the interior and blowing out vents with some type of sanitizing chemicals (for hundreds of dollars) MAY help things, but probably will not completely resolve it.

matt is being great about it, and is going to cover the costs to resolve the matter. but it’s still not the simple process i thought it would be… yikes.

the good news?

driving back from portland: 38.8 miles per gallon. that almost makes it worth it.

17 March, 2008

It's not easy being (with) me [Repost from Facebook]

Location: the dark side of the moon

really. i make things harder than they need to be. and i think i see it all clearly. and i often don’t. at least 3 times, if not 300 times, i have been 100% sure of my perspective being the “right” one, and that i was behaving rationally. and then, reflecting back, hours, days, weeks, months, or years later… i have realized that i was actually not.

i wonder how and why i got to be so difficult. is it genetics? is it upbringing? who knows. it’s got to be one or the other, according to my world view, since i don’t believe in magical self or spirit residing outside those two realms. maybe i’m wrong about that too?

so… bear with me, as i continue to be a handful…

15 March, 2008

Be careful what you ask [Reposted from Facebook]

Location: The Ranks of the Un-Date-Able

So, I have always been curious what other people think of me. Probably an unhealthy curiosity. One of those curiosities where you want to know, and don’t want to know at the same time.

Well, I am not sure I want to know.

But Facebook, if you haven’t heard, has offered a few new applications that will enable you to find out exactly that.

Define Me is a pretty cool application that lets people pick adjectives to describe you, and then scales their font size to represent the most frequently used words. It’s kind of neat, and I am not that disturbed by the results.

Then there is a suite of applications including:

Compare People
Social Profile

I think these are all one author’s material, and they will tell you more about what people think, than you may want to know.

Compare People will go through your entire friends list and let you have 1-on-1 face-off comparisons on such axes as “Better singer”, “Nicer person”, “Rather date”, etc. And all this gets tallied and rolled up into a ranking among your entire friend network, of who the best people are in each category.

I guess I am considered best public speaker. Whoopie. I guess I can believe that. But nobody called me most reliable, or most attractive, or most trustworthy. Sigh…

Social Profile and Spark (I am confused between the boundaries on these since they seem to overlap) allows you to rank people as dateworthy or not, and you can choose to inform them, or keep it private. Then there’s a ranking system of most and least dateable. And this can go to the broad network beyond your friends as well.

Here is where I am *not* happy.

Apparently 30 out of 35 people who have seen my picture said that i am NOT dateable!!! WTF?

So I have changed my profile picture, and I am on a mission to:

a) become dateable
b) figure out what it takes to become dateable

Currently, I’m trying “rock-star Bob” and we shall see how that fares. Right now I know the score is at 5 out of 35. So I’m counting from zero starting now, to see how the rock star does.

Grammatical kudos to Facebook [Reposted from Facebook]

Location: Loft minus one

while i must say that it annoys me, i need to give kudos to facebook for being grammatically correct in their formatting schemes. if you try to enter a status line that has quotation marks in it, facebook will add punctuation *inside* the quotes.


if i type:

Robert is feeling “under the weather”

facebook posts:

Robert is feeling “under the weather.”

see what i mean? they put the period whether you want it or not. and they put it in the correct position. the problem is that i *hate* putting the period inside the quotes. actually, i have my own rule about it (which others have pointed out is bullshit, but i don’t care).

my rule:

if i am quoting something or someone, i *do* put the punctuation inside…


Then Count Chokula said “You cannot have any of my Boo-Berry!”

to me that makes sense because it is a quotation.

but if i use the quotation marks just for the purpose of saying that something is so-called by a particular expression, then i put the quotes inside the punctuation.


Veronica and Ned are apparently “friends”.

i don’t know. i’m probably crazy. i guess the point is, i don’t like facebook telling me where i can and cannot put punctuation. what if i really *want* to have the quotes in a different place?

05 March, 2008

How long will it take to sink in [Repost from Facebook]

Location: in the 'hood
Mood: satisfied
So… I am a homeowner.
The funny thing is that I cannot even say that sentence without immediately jumping to the technicality… the caveat… the utter truth… which is that I am not a homeowner. I am a mortgage payer. It is GMAC Financing that is presently the homeowner.
I know. It’s a technicality. A caveat. But it is my little “out” that keeps me from completely absorbing the enormity of the fact that I will not have a landlord again soon. And thank you for that.
It is very strange to me. I feel a bit immature, being almost 40 and only now coming to this position for the first time. But it is so weird that this is MY place. I can do what I want. And I make the decisions about it. Even with Edna, we were always in collaborative decision-making, which sometimes was more efficient and sometimes less so. But I understand now why for some decisions, even though Edna and I were a couple, Edna felt “ownership” of the decision. Because there is something about it - knowing that it’s your “thing” on the line.
I had to do a lot of gyrations to make it happen, and made some changes in my life. Got rid of a car. Sold a long-term investment. Shuffled around all sorts of money. But I never doubted it. I never felt like “Am I really doing the right thing?”. It was pretty clear, and pretty natural that this was the right thing. And that is surprising to me.
It was impulsive.
I usually take a long time to make most decisions. And then I second guess them to death, as well. But I went out with the realtor (the same realtor that Edna and I used back in 2000) only TWICE. For a total of about 4 hours. And probably saw a total of about 12-16 houses and townhomes. All of them were located between Central District and I-90. And that was all I needed to see. When I found this place, the location was phenomenal. The price was good (and negotiable). And the quality of the home was better than anticipated.
I don’t know what it means that I operated in a manner different from my usual. But I’m not judging it or second guessing it. Just glad to be here.
The money mess that I thought was *worse* than I had expected may now turn out to be *better* than I had feared. The landlord seems to have found someone to rent for half of March - so there’s a chunk of money back. And there seems like there may be some type of beneficial outcome with respect to the refrigerator situation at my new place (stay tuned for separate blog on that one).
Now it’s all about moving things out of boxes… setting up… decorating… stocking the place with the necessities… but there’s no hurry. I’m not on a lease.
It’s strange. But I like it. I feel like I am trying on someone else’s life, though. How long will that feeling last?