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Archive for the "Misc" Category

Calories are Black Magic

What is a calorie, anyway? Everyone knows that calories come from the devil to make you fat, right? They’re the things that make junk food bad, right?  (more…)


A brief history: My girlfriend Justina and I went to the zoo and I bought her a teddy bear whom we creatively named “Aisbar” (a corruption of the German ‘Eisbär‘, meaning “Ice Bear”). Aisbar went back to New York with Justina and became good friends with Teddy, the incumbent stuffed animal of her bedroom.

When the rest of the world jumped onto the Web 2.0 bandwagon, these two weren’t to be left behind. While it’s not so surprising that some college kids would make Facebook profiles for their plush novelties, it’s at least worth mentioning that the group she started for the two of them (Bear Necessities; initially including the two bears, her, and myself) has been independently located and joined by no fewer than 27 other bears possessing Facebook profiles, living in cities and (ostensibly) attending schools all over the world from Minnesota to Ithaca to London to Norway.

But wait. There’s more…

These bears aren’t just cute and cuddly. Anyone who dismisses these bears and their web presence as silly trifles of bored college kids has yet to witness the sheer determination of grassroots teddy bear groups such as Society of Stuffed Animals, Fuzzy Friends Against Global Warming, Anti-teddy bear abuse, or Equal Rights for Teddy Bears!. Each of these groups is populated by two to three dozen bona fide stuffed animals who are clearly both passionate about their status and serious about their role in our society. The year of the bear is upon us all.

Strange Things Found in the Bathroom

Earlier this year I started a list of strange things I’d found in my bathroom. If I had started it two years ago, I bet it could have gotten much longer by now. In any event, there were strange things in there that I considered normal, just because of my housemates. Things like the A-Team curtains and a glass used as an ashtray. This is a list of things that were a conceptual stretch, even for them. Enjoy.

  • A cassette player containing tape My First Dinosaur Discovery behind the toilet
  • An empty Sam Adams bottle on toilet
  • A table in the tub
  • A can of Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder
  • A container of Breakstone’s 2% milkfat small curd low fat cottage cheese that contained some kind of brothy soup.

Work, Carnival, Girlfriend, and Bill Cosby

Carnival Weather

The concessions stand is up, the booths are almost done, and the weather is looking astonishingly good! CMU’s annual carnival starts tomorrow (read: tonight, once classes are over) and then ends on Saturday, giving us Sunday to tear everything down and get ready for school-as-usual on Monday. Justina gets in late tomorrow night and will be staying through until mid-day on Sunday. This means that all that stands between me and a weekend of fun is a bit more work on an essay of mine, dissecting the similarities and differences between scenes in two different Shakespeare plays. Until then… Time. Drags. On.


So it goes

One of the greatest writers of our time is gone. Rest in peace, Kurt.

Kurt Vonnegut, Novelist Who Caught the Imagination of His Age, Is Dead at 84 – New York Times

Checking my Mail

When I check my campus mailbox, evidently, I resemble this man:

Crushing Neo

I feel the need to qualify this a bit. My mailbox is on the bottom row of a wall full of mailboxes. It’s maybe 4 inches from the floor. If I want to check it, I have to be either crouching on all fours, or in an I’m-dodging-bullets-right-now-in-The-Matrix backbend. Obviously, in a situation like this, the correct choice is the one that makes you look as cool as possible, and most men don’t look very cool when crouching on all fours. That is all, thank you.

Moving Other People’s Windows Around

To some, computers are the biggest, if not the only means of productivity in their daily lives. These people need to feel comfortable with their computer desktops in order to be their most efficient. Knowing where everything is helps a person become familiar with their desktop’s organization and then helps them avoid doing more work than necessary when they want to use a particular program or window. OS X helps you to organize your desktop by providing a shortcut for switching between Applications. Apps are then broken down into Windows for each task. I prefer yet another degree of abstraction so I’ve installed VirtueDesktops (whose development has been discontinued, sadly) in order to allow myself multiple Desktops on which I can put many Applications. Each Desktop represents a category of tasks. “Browsing” is for Safari windows, “Mail & Chat” is for just that, Mail and iChat, “Other” is for iTunes and iCal and other peripheral tasks, and “Work” is for whatever happens to count as “productive” at the moment.

Enter the outsider. The one who neither knows how to make the most of their computer, nor cares that you are trying to make the most out of yours. She asks if she can use your computer to “check her mail.” She doesn’t know that your iChat windows are placed exactly where you want them to be. She doesn’t know that your setup was designed to prevent as many windows as possible from falling off the edges of your screen. She definitely doesn’t know that there’s such a thing as multiple desktops. When you get your computer back from her, you want to cry. Everything! As out of place as possible! I half expect my menu items to be rearranged!

These people offer the classic reason for having an OS that is aware of multiple users. These people must be allowed to log-in to their own sandbox environment. They ought to be able to have their own room so they won’t want to play with my toys! Just make sure your screen locks before they get to it. If they aren’t interested in learning how multiple Desktops work, then I shudder to think about how they’d react to explaining the necessity of them using a different User name!



I’m a poor college student. I charged a $1.50 PATH train ride to my PNC debit card two days ago and accidentally overdrew my checking account by $0.30. I still had $0.60 in my savings account, but I was charged $34.00 in overdraft fees anyway. I tried to transfer the money into the checking account online to cover the overdraft, but couldn’t because the online banking software doesn’t allow transfers of amounts less than $1.00. Evidently, transfers of this scale cannot be made over the phone either. The only way to make such a transfer is to go to an actual PNC branch and talk to a real-live-person. I could also have gotten what’s called “Overdraft Protection.” This is a service whereby money in some account A can be used to cover an overdraft in some account B. Perfect… right?