Archive for Interesting

Walgreens is in denial

It's currently -13°F here.
The Walgreens display is telling everyone that it's actually 32°F!

We wish Walgreens. We wish.

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More beets

Last night I cooked up the beets from last week's CSA share. I made a huge salad of kale, and a beet the size of a baseball.

lol beets.

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Meet Bit

This is Bit (yes, that's the best name I could come up with):

Bit is a rechargeable (I keep wanting to type "wireless" after that, but he is NOT wireless) amplified speaker.
I won Bit from Republic Wireless ( – my current cell phone carrier.

Bit has a weird combo-usb/audio cable. One end is a normal micro-usb connector (if you don't know what this is, it's the connector that most phones use to charge now), and the other end splits to a full size usb connector and 3.5mm (headphone) plug.

When Bit is charging, his eyes glow red (I assume the surge of power is overwhelming and leads him towards thoughts of world domination – or at least taking out all the humans), when he's unplugged from a power source he goes back to his docile blue-eyed self, just playing some tunes and chilling. Because robots.

Oh, and his arms move. (Not on their own. He's semi pose-able)

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New boss today

Today is my new boss's first day.
How do I feel about this? Not quite sure yet.

I'm amazed at how, before he even started, people were upset, worried, etc. about this.
Some people seem excited, and I can understand that, it's something new, there's a lot of possibility here. But getting upset and worried? Why? In order to do that, you would need to be imagining worst-case scenarios. You would have to be putting effort into imagining that things that haven't happen WILL happen, and they will be bad.

When I imagine the future, I try to imagine things going well, but realize that I can't be completely complacent, that I'll still need be ready to react in case something goes wrong.

There's an interesting disconnect between the brain and the nervous system. While the brain can understand that a thought is just a thought, the nervous system will react like it's actually happening. If you imagine something stressful, your body will react like it's actually encountering stress.

If we compare a positive person, and a person imagining a negative situation in 2 scenarios, the results are pretty clear.

Negative future outcome:
Positive person is just chilling, waiting to see what happens. Negative person is being stressed out by how they imagine the stressful situation will play out. Then something stressful happens and both the positive and negative person are stressed out by it.

Positive future outcome:
Positive person is just chilling, waiting to see what happens. Negative person is stressed by imaginary situation. Nothing bad happens. No further stress.

In the negative outcome, the positive person gets stress out, that's natural… but the negative person gets stressed out TWICE!

In the positive outcome, nothing bad occurs… but the negative person still had to experience stress! They chose to make their life less awesome.

Another interesting thing about imaginary stress is the imagination itself. I don't know about you, but I know my imagination can come up with outcomes that are more horrible than anything that would ever actually happen to me.

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Fridge Parmesan

Last week's CSA share included eggplant. I'm pretty sure I've never had eggplant.
I thought it would be fun to try making eggplant parmesan, but being too lazy to look up a recipe, I decided to wing it.

It was probably the second or third slice through the eggplant that it hit me that this would not be enough food. It was an Asian Eggplant, which is long and skinny. I kept slicing and ended up covering about half of the bottom of a 9×9" baking dish.

Nope, needed more food, so out came all the veggies I had.

The "eggplant" parmesan quickly became, "eggplant/zucchini/summer squash" parmesan. And then I tore up a handful of green beans too. Why not?

A handful of cherry tomatoes (these were delicious tomatoes), some spaghetti sauce (just enough to cover, I probably should have used more), some parmesan cheese (in a jar, none of that real stuff for me), some mozzarella (I think I'm going to break my record for parentheses in a post), and a ton of fresh basil.

30 minutes covered at 375°F, 10 more minutes uncovered (oven off, I knew it would retain that heat for long enough) to brown the cheese a little, and viola!

It was good.

Except the beans. I regretted those as soon as I put them in.

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Digital blockages

I am currently so backed up with unread email, RSS feeds, everything.
(spudart doesn't like posts that start with "I": tweet 1 / tweet 2)

I half ignore Twitter, and completely ignore Facebook – making me, of all people, almost an outsider in the online world. A world that I was a part of when it was still not-so-cool.

Do you remember dialing into BBSs? Telneting into MUDs? Did you do those things?

Facebook. Blech.

This isn't really a post. It's 2 minutes of me typing complainy-sounding nonsense.

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I am a Fixer. An Optimizer.

Last Friday I posted the Peter Drucker quote:

"There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all."

I was trying to look up the exact wording for this quote (there seem to be several versions of it, he either said it multiple ways, or has been misquoted, – I liked the version I posted best). In the process I found several other quotes that resonated with me, and deemed the results to be worthy of their own post.

If I have to do a task once, I can usually just leave it at that. But if it's something that I find interesting, or I have to do it multiple times, I begin looking for inefficiencies – and ways to eliminate them. It seems logical, and it amazes me that this isn't a trait embodied by more people.

It's incredibly satisfying to eliminate busy-work or to speed up a process significantly, but that can't compare to the feeling of accomplishment when an optimization involves changing something upstream and eliminating the process entirely.

When you have a habit of "fixing" or "making things better" you run into some odd resistance though. People are oddly set in their ways, they become attached to processes and actions. It's far too common for a "this will cut your time required to do this in half" to be met with hostility. It seems that, for the most part, people care less about how to do things better than they do about "this is how we've always done it".

The attachment to process is bizarre. To me, most things can be treated like programming functions/methods/API calls: you give a system input, it does something, it gives you output. The input and output are all that really matter, if you have code that takes 1 second to "do something" and code that takes 10 seconds and both give the correct answer, you go with the most efficient algorithm (in most cases). Done. … but even in that example you could run into resistance from programmer/s that are emotionally tied to the less efficient code.

I would encourage anyone reading this to look at your daily processes, assume they are stupidly inefficient, and look for ways to improve them. We all become attached to actions that we repeat regularly, and it's hard to see things for what they are.

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