Monday, August 31, 2009

Procrastination, Hiatus

I interrupt my regular post, "The costs of building a responsible freeway" to bring you an update on the swirling ideas in my head.

Taking the engineering design process which I so fervently learned in Penna. in July,
Let's take $100. What can we do with it to make it bigger?

Heat it up so the molecules expand- it's bigger, but the value does not increase
Give a loan- I'm always nervous when giving loans, whether $1 or $10.
Give a microloan- the young entrepreneurs I know are studious about timely payback- "Bis dat qui cito dat" (Latin for "Who gives back quickly gives twice")
Look online and start a home-brewed business with it- cut out the middleman/lady who receives the microloan

Ahh, I almost forgot about the nice 70 degree weather outside. First time since May I wore long sleeves.

Here's the scoop:

Well, last day of summer vacation

Friday, August 28, 2009

A feeling

I could go on about what happened yesterday involving a smartcard and a pink piece of paper but I will not, because I don't feel like thinking much today. 5 days away from the pool and I've lost sense of time, the days, the number of the day, and the sense of completion. However, today, I feel as if I did everything I needed to in order to be ready for class Tuesday, 8am. No, it's a welcoming mass, I think. I have not yet written my memoirs, neither on any fanciful tale, yet I feel as if I did something today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I've been thinking: three days off and I haven't done much useful. I try to monitor my time, but it disappears. I don't want to blame soccer practice, which has me out at 4pm and in at 9:30pm.

I'm usually ready to go at 9:30am

Monday- achieved close to nothing. Ok, it's my first nothing day.

Tuesday- get saran wrap and aluminum foil. Chase a hothead three blocks to make him apologize to me for the inappropriate thing he said to me

Wednesday- go to Capitol Visitor Center, get school supplies. Waste time on internet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is it Real or Am I Dreaming?

There are those days where you feel out of your head. That's happened to me before- usually when very sick or dehydrated. You see in slow motion and it's an OBE experience. But does it happen at other times?

When I question: What is the meaning of parents, life dreams. When I question the fact of reality. When life is like a dream. I dream in sleep sometimes of hitting a jackpot find of great numismatic value. But it's never real. Until now.

I was at the bank, and the tellers and I were volleying about the government's postdated check. They claimed that I had to wait til tommorrow, but I argued that since they already held my checks for over a week, and they took them before, that they should take mine today. Must be a manager's peeve fad of the day, like making sure the patrons don't wear underwear under their swimwear, or something like that. So I remember the Dilbert comic about tellers encouraging customers to use the ATM, so I did. I was nervous about handing the check to a machine, but the ATM scanned the check and verified the amount. Since it was after 12noon, it'll be processed tomorrow- thus alleviating their complaints about a post dated check. So I can load my transit smart card, I withdraw a $20. I go to the post officelet that was across the hall and planned to break the $20. The clerk didn't like the thought, and another customer insisted that he pay for my 2 44 cent stamps and suggested I go to the teller. SO I take my 20, and since I'm sort of eccentric, asked for a roll of halves and two practical fives. It took them a while to procure the roll. It was a raggedy one that a customer must have brought in, so I went to count them. By George some were silver. The momentum carried my lazy legs 5 blocks. I take out a five to load my card on the bus. By double George one had a star (also a currency collector's delight, especially in higher denominations).

I got home, and found the whole roll was 40% silver halves. A better hit than anyone I've heard of on the Web. I wondered how this could be real.

Now I have no money to spend.

Thing is, I didn't want to go through the hassle of delivering the check safely again to the bank, which was 7 metro stops away from home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to 1993

I was only half alive back then. No, I was born, but had no idea on affairs at that time. It seems like Mindy Cameron did something brilliant, Mumbai was Bombay, Beijing was still commonly Peking. AND there was this Great Healthcare Reform of 1993-4. It really sounds like the 2009 plan, except that the promoters were not among the most liberal people in politics (Remember, in the political circle, the extreme far left end of liberal merges with socialist, and Americans don't like that concept). Businesses wanted to hack off healthcare costs, hospitals wanted to shuck costs for treating poor, uninsured patients to the government. So Mrs. Clinton heads a task force to research the matter. But the big theme of the era was fiscal responsibility, and as now, people took the plan to be expen$ive and big-government oriented. Reaganism? Within 18 months, the idea was dead, and Mr. Clinton moved on to other things.

SO what would the Sans-Culottes say? From what I know, I suppose they'd approve responsible spending. But healthcare services back then were extremely limited and for the wealthy, and likely lethal. While the national leadership wasn't on fire for building palaces for themselves (in 1993 USA), the concept was (1793 France) that responsibility and liberty mattered. Big government bad.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Fashion Trend of the 2010's!

It's the fashion trend that's taking this decade by storm! In the age of the "new Normal", where practicality is in vogue and frivolous spending is out of style, scrubs, which used to be typically worn only by those in the medical community, have seen a rise in popularity. It is a local legend that residents of Bethesda started the trend, which then caught on in trendy Potomac. "You'd see people inside that fence (around the NIH) frolicking in the grass in scrubs of all different colors. They looked like Easter chickens. So free in movement, the local jogging club started wearing scrubs as jogging gear. Well, then our rich neighbors started doing the same. I mean, if a multimillionaire trial lawyer wears scrubs to the cocktail party, it must be the trend." It was not too long later that the posh stores of Chevy Chase, 2 miles south of the NIH, started selling these work clothes. Neimus Marco currently carries 3 lines of scrubs in the $200-500 range.

But they are not just toys of the rich and fabulous. They can be found at your local Buck Chuck starting at $10 a piece. The scientific community is weighing in on this latest trend. Says a psychoanalyst, also wearing a white scrub with jacket, "It makes one feel as if they are doing something for the community" But warns a podiatrist, also wearing a set of scrubs, "Wearing high heels and scrubs at the same time can lead to trips, falls, and broken toes".

Scrubs have been identified as some to be the agent of depersonalization. "If you've ever watched a scifi movie..." says a Trekkie. But the Committee on Un-American Affairs has assured Americans that there is no traces of communism have been found in this trend. "You get a choice of over 6 colors, and even get choices of different designs. Cartoon characters with bandages are a very popular design." The Plutotentron community has been reported to assign scrub colors to people based on caste. "That's a sad fact", said Mr. McCarthisipi, "but that's not my committee's problem".

Fashion analysts from the fashion Institute of Fashion say that the trend may have originated from the plethora of medical drama and reality shows of the past decade, including Scrubs, M.D., Gray's Anatomy, ER, House, M*A*S*H, and 20 years of school and I'm still not a real doctor yet.

Medical supply company FemoScrubTron says that some medical professionals are resorting to using togas in light of the shortage. "If you or a loved one has an extra pair of scrubs, please consider donating it to us. We'll give you a free catheter for it "

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Naming Your Post-Apocalyptic Supercompany

Take a fancy number prefix, such as Tera, and add to name referring to planets or space in general or some technical term. This could be Farad, an unit for the capacitor.

So, Terafarad Evil Company

Now you can take over the world and make everyone submissive to you. I don't know how the big companies take over the world, I haven't read '1984', but the means is up to you.

Or, I like this one... large number, Googleplex, generic techy sounding name, Tron

Well, there's already a Google that some say invades their privacy and is chewing up the internet as its own domain. So there you go.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

State Drinks

There's more political sponsorships and controversies than just state songs.

So here's a few good ones

20 states have their state drink as milk. Just wait for a lactose intolerant politician to have to be a poster child for the benefits of drinking milk. I suppose some of these states don't produce much milk.

2 states have alcoholic drinks: California Wine and Alabama Whiskey (although Alabama does say it's the state spirit)
What about the children?

There's Tomato, Cranberry, and Orange juices. The latter two may be obvious choices(Massachusetts and Florida)

One corporate sponsorship, Moxie Cola from Maine. Haen't heard of them? At least Georgia did not give 'Coca-Cola' a boost.

Kool Aid from Nebraska

and water from Indiana.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Little Maryland: Dreaded Math Word Problems

Sharing 3/4 of its border with Maryland, DC has a symbiotic relationship with that state. When an urbanist blogger/journalist complains that East of the River (pop. 150,000) is devoid of supermarkets, commenters ridicule him/her: There's at least two each of Food Lion and Giant within 3 blocks of the 'invisible' border. Then there's the tax game: Initiator: "Let's raise taxes. I'll look good when everyone validates me when they raise theirs" Follower: "Our tax rate is at par with this other state. Because of this there will be..." That's what DC is doing to combat revenue loss (and leak: A political game of follow the leader; increasing the sales tax from 5 and 3/4 of a penny to 6 pennies.

So Mary Lou buys a $.75 candy bar in a Maryland store. This is back in 1998, the tax rate is 5%. What did Mary really pay?

Take 10% (move the number to the right by 1 decimal place) and cut by two, add to final. If decimal, round up, that's the way they like it.


Mary Lou's sister, Mary La, buys the same candy bar at $1.09 in the same Maryland store. This is in 2008, tax rate is now 6%. What did Mary really pay?

Do as above, and throw on a 1% (move number to right twice)

5%= 11 cents
1%= 1 cent

12 cents + 1.09 = 1.21

Mary La's brother, Doc, figures it's better to buy his candy in DC, where the tax rate is 5.75%. He goes to Balducci's (to eliminate need to adjust for so-called 'poverty tax') and buys a $4.29 imported Belgian chocolate.

This is a toughy. Take 5%, 22 cents, add the 1%, split that by four and take three parts of it (.04/4= .01 -> .03) The total price is $4.54.

The tax rate goes up to 6%. Now what does he pay? $4.55, and less brainwork.

Virginia, Doc's cousin, buys a 'dixie stick' at the State Fair Shop. The tax rate is 4%, the candy is $.25

Take 1% and multiply by four
Or use 'old math' to get 1 cent as tax for a whopping total of $.26

Della, the other cousin, buys a hoity-toity designer chocolate box at Christiana Mall in Delaware, whose tax rate is 0%. The candy is $19.99. She give the clerk $20.00. How much does she owe the clerk?
In this case, the clerk owes Della a penny.

People from the slide-rule age say that keeping zeroes straight in their head is easier for them than calculator folk

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The time they sleep

Getting your sleep is important. But how do I get it?
If I go to bed like about now, yes, I'll get over 8 hours of sleep before getting up. That sure is plenty enough. But does the time really matter?
Can you break it up over the day?
I don't know; I've heard different things, and I'm not that good of a napper.
Except that time in March when I had a 24 hour flu and fell to sleep at 6 pm
Then there is the sleep cycle theory- 5 stages of sleep. When the alarm clock goes off and you're in stage 1, you're ready to go. 2,3, hard to get up, can't get back to sleep real quickly if you wanted too, though. Two extra minutes help. 4 or 5, you can slip back to sleep easy, but if you have to get up...
I'm thinking of getting that wrist thing. It senses movement and will wake you up a bit earlier if it's a good time.
But the older you get, the less stage 5 (REM dreaming) sleep you get. Less memorable dreams. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


A tisket a tasket
5 packs of filler paper in a basket
total cost
I don't care
It's really really fair

Say, 5 cents?

Makes me feel like I'm in the 18th century at staples.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pentagon Transit Center, 5:27pm

A sunset view of the Potomac
A guy blocking the path of a commuter bus in a vain attempt to gain admission, as in Tienanmen Square.
The neat lines of passengers on some routes, and the disorderly blobs of others.
The procession of buses of all different county flags and colors.

But, no unauthorized photography on Pentagon grounds, so words will do.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New City

We may meet America's new 10th largest city. Larger than San Jose and smaller than Dallas, it's Fairfax City, just 10 miles from Washington, # 25 largest city. For starters, Fairfax County is an accumulated strip mall subdivision, with lots of sprawl and crawl that happens to have good schools and great other things. So it would also be America's richest (large) city. But why would they want to become what people think of a city. a "grimy place" Isn't the arts venue enough? It's about independence for spending. But sadly, it's not a one-step process. Counties in Virginia with lots of people can't just make a city. For some reason like fear of the reins.

There is a Fairfax City in existence already - the population of it, by incorporation of the rest of the county, will increase to over 1 million.

Downtown? Tyson's Corner Mall. Or for the upscale, the Galleria across the street.