August 21st, 2006


You see the signs, but you can't read

Well, yesterday went well - got most of the things done that I wanted to get done, with the exception of changing the music on the Carbon. That can wait for tonight.

Chez stuckintraffik is most impressive, with mail slots (or are they heating registers?) everywhere, a tandoori oven and gas grill in the back yard - which also features a ramp suitable for conversion into a half-pipe should the happy couple decide to take up skateboarding. The basement rec room is indeed every bit as spacious as we'd been told, and a bookshelf has already been placed hard by the Illegal Shower to facilitate leisurely perusal of RPG rulebooks during the daily ablution. A former owner also left a treasure trove of 80s classic vinyl albums, including many Mac Davis and Neil Diamond LPs and the fabulous Flashdance soundtrack. Hours of listening pleasure! But wait, there's more! Not only is the house hard by an MTC bus stop, it's also across the street from the American Legion! Can you say non-stop party action? After all this excitement it was almost a relief to decamp to the quiet pastures of the Box Shop, where we examined a number of the quad Xeon servers as well as the more conventional desktop and tower units. P bought herself a coil of Cat 5 cable and a gig stick, the latter of which was on sale for a quite reasonable $29.

After that, we parted company with and stuckintraffik and went off to collect jamestrainor for swimming, followed by dinner at the New Century, which was busier than I've seen it in quite some time. I was moderate in my consumption, doing in a plate of sushi, some dumplings and egg rolls, and a plate of extremely spicy Mongolian BBQ before calling it quits and heading home to drop P off before giving J. a lift back to his place. And that was Sunday.

Today looks like it's going to be tedious and slow at work; I may spend part of the day working on the reflections notebook for the adolescent psych course.

Widgets or travel? What makes us happier?

Jane Galt stirred up a storm in her comments section with this post on the relative merits of travel as opposed to, say, a 50" plasma flat-screen TV. She plunges right back in, this time calling on Will Wilkinson and happiness guru Daniel Gilbert for backup.

Lord knows I don't practice what she preaches in this department, as anyone surveying my hideously cluttered living room can tell. Still, I tend to agree more with her than with her commenters who froth "Of COURSE there's a difference between a 50" HDTV plasma screen Toshiba and a 19" CRT Samsung! Are you STUPID?" As she stated in her earlier post, if you want to maximize the happiness in your life, you need to figure out what makes you happy and stop spending discretionary income on the things that don't make you that happy. If a car is just a means to an end, then there's not much point going into crushing debt just to get a stylin' Baby Benz or a big-ass Escalade. If you don't care about fashion, stop spending your money on designer labels. This was a big part of the lesson taught by The Millionaires Next Door: many of these folks didn't live lives of ostentation or even try to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, they shopped for bargains and lived fairly simply.

By the same token, having the most bleeding-edge computer system isn't a priority for me, and since my palate was ruined years ago by mess-hall food I don't see much point in going to fancy restaurants where (to update Bill James) the main courses all cost $40 and taste like the oregano was left out. So what should I be saving the money I'd otherwise waste at Caribou on? Well, conventions, for one thing. Going to Anime Detour or Convergence will set me back about half a grand for rooms and food, to say nothing of the membership. Quite a bit of money, though I would argue that the social and related benefits are more than worth it. It's pretty certain that if I spent that much money going off by myself to Vegas or Cancun or some other tourist trap, I wouldn't enjoy it nearly so much.
the mark

Mixing it up

So I finally got around to changing the mix of stuff on the Carbon, for only the second time since I bought it. Stripped out a lot of tracks by Cake, The Donnas, Phil Manzanera and other bands that I'd been skipping past lately, added some Springsteen, Who, Al Green, Butthole Surfers, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Motley Crue and other stuff...peeled out more than I thought I had, in fact, and wound up rooting through a box of CDs that turned out to be mostly empty cases but did have some surprises.

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And so to bed...