Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ATM Machines Machines

I like to carry around some cash with me, just as a safety net. Some places these days still only accept cash. I say "still" with the implication that they are in the stone age, but there were plenty of places in SF that only accepted cash as an active choice, probably as some form of hipsterism protest.

* On my recent trip to Pittsburgh, I forgot to take out some cash before leaving. I didn't realize tolls would be a good amount of cash, but luckily I had enough cash to pay the tolls out of Ohio and into Pennsylvania.

As a result, I end up having to go to the ATM quite often. When I take out money, I always count the amount to make sure that I get the amount requested. But while I do this I have the lingering thought that one of these times the ATM will dispense me one $20 bill short.

What if the bank were involved in a scheme to purposefully dispense ATM withdrawals one bill short every 1 in 100,000 withdrawals? How many people would notice that they are one bill short of their withdrawal amount? How many people would follow up with the bank on this?

How would you even follow up with the bank?

"Um, excuse me, you owe me $20."

How do they know you're not just making it up?

Even if they do give you the $20 to make it up, they still have a net positive expected value since there will be people who inevitably don't notice the missing bill or won't go and complain. This sounds like the perfect criminal scheme to skim people of their money, slowly.

These are the types of paranoid things I think of when I count my bills at the ATM.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween in Pittsburgh

It's been a great year of travel.

I made the drive this weekend down to Pittsburgh. It's only about 4 and a half hours from here, but it's been a while since I've done any sort of road trip of significant length.*

* The one before was probably my trip to Danny and Emily's wedding where I almost fell asleep driving to Toronto to meet Mark to drive down to Jersey.

It's been great seeing different cities and exploring different neighborhoods and pockets in them. Matt and Rachel showed us around a few different neighborhoods: Lawrenceville, Shadyside, the Strip, Mount Washington/the Incline.

As promised, there were a bunch of shops that were converted warehouses. We also saw a bunch of signs for warehouses for sale or lease. The dream of converting a warehouse to lofts is still very much alive.

Here's a picture from a coffee shop that's in a converted warehouse.

Here are some things that struck me about Pittsburgh:
  • It struck me as an old city, both visually and culturally. Lots of brick, exposed and exterior.

  • Like most other cities, it seemed to be growing, with lots of visible construction. Pittsburgh is the smallest city that I've visited/been to this year. SF, Seattle, and NYC had construction galore.

  • With going across all of the bridges and rivers and through tunnels, it felt like Philly. The GPS got lost on our way to Mount Washington so we went through a tunnel then right back through it and then across a bridge again. The city felt a bit sprawly and I definitely needed my car to get around.

  • With all of the rivers, I forgot that Pittsburgh actually is right smack in the middle of the state of Pennsylvania and not on a large body of water. It has that character of being a land-locked city.

  • We went down to the Strip District on Sunday Morning and there was a great farmer's market and we had a great brunch. It felt very old timely, like how these things felt before hipsters/yuppies/gentrification happened to most cities.

  • Some parts of the city are safe. I parked my car on the street outside of Matt's house on Friday but forgot to lock my car and it wasn't broken into. The next night I locked my car and it still wasn't broken into.

  • I had a Pumpkin Ale with a cinnamon rim

Pallet Town

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I feel like Bane broke my back

My back completely locked up this morning and I've had to endure back pain all day and the inability to turn my head. I made sure to complain enough about it so that everyone in my office knew about it. I'm not sure what I did to my back, it's probably just perpetual bad sitting posture.

Today was the second day in a row that I've gotten up before sunset. It probably won't be a third day in a row considering I'm still up (due in part to the Royals-Mets game). I've been getting up early because city inspectors have been inspecting apartments in my apartment complex and I don't really want to be sleeping when they barge in. I think they came today because my microwave clock was reset when I got home today and it seems like the type of thing that city inspectors would do.

Also, I brought my car in for an oil change and servicing. I feel like it always costs a lot more than I expect. And there's always something wrong with my car. Just like everything else in my life, I just tell them to put it off until later.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I keep wanting to write a blog post about my time travel adventures, but I'm finding I'm having a hard time writing it, so it'll have to wait...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Doodle is a palindrome

"I unlock the remaining 90% of my brain when I'm drunk"

They made a TV show out of that Bradley Cooper movie Limitless. I don't remember much about the movie. It went something like this: Bradley Cooper was a struggling writer* who took the drug NZT, finished writing his book, did lots of stuff while high on NZT, crashed, then became a Senator. I don't like the premise of the TV show because they're making Bradley Cooper out to be a bad guy, and I don't think Bradley Cooper should ever be a bad guy. Unless he's an Eagles fan, or the bad guy in The Hunger Games. Actually, I take that back, I don't think he's actually in the Hunger Games.

* There are so many movies about struggling writers. I can't help but think it's because movie screenwriters wish they could be novelists but had to settle with being movie writers. Then they expressed their futility through their characters.

Isn't it great how Bradley Cooper was in Jack & Bobby? With Logan Lerman. It's so random. It's presumably more random that there was historical fiction teen drama on the WB (loosely) derived from the lives of JFK and RFK. Or maybe it's more random that DH thought it was the rightful heir to West Wing (when really the heir to West Wing was Psych with Dule Hill).

Maybe this post should have been titled, "Brady Cooper is a palindrome."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Water park construction

They're building a water park in the middle of the quad.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Whole Foods

"Do you know what my favorite grocery store is?"
"Is it Whole Foods?!"
"'s not Whole Foods"

I just spent $30 on beer, milk, and coffee at Whole Foods. It's because I'm a coffee snob. And a beer snob. And I buy organic milk.

I think I might be a yuppie.

The first time I went to a Whole Foods was when I was living in Seattle for the summer. It was the first time that I had even seen a Whole Foods. The yuppie couple ahead of me in line had finished checking out their groceries and they ended up with only two paper bags full of groceries. Somehow their total came out to be over $200.

I ended up buying blueberries and organic dish detergent. The dish detergent ended up being horrible. It was clear colored. Never buy colorless dish detergent. I'll add that to my list of life rules.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Slow cookers

People are always so hesistant to try them but slow cookers are absolute life changers

YES! I definitely preach about slow cookers and if I wrote a TV show, I would definitely include a bit about how awesome slow cookers are.

Arrow?! You named your baby Arrow?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why I drink my coffee black

1) It tastes better.

2) I don't have to have sugar or cream in my apartment. I barely even have salt and pepper, how can I be expected to have sugar and cream?

3) When the barista asks you if you need room for cream, you can say no and get more coffee.

4) You don't have to awkwardly pour some coffee out when the barista fills your cup too full and you want to put cream in it.

5) It makes cleaning out your coffee tumbler much easier.

6) You don't have to decide between putting in regular sugar, brown sugar, half and half, or cinnamon (or all of the above). And then you don't have to worry about finding a mixing stick.

7) You can sound stuck up and describe all of the different aromas you can taste when in actuality all you can taste is burnt coffee.

8) It's gangster, like wearing your backpack with only one strap over your shoulder.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Open containers

Instead of drinking from the can, I'm drinking from a glass and it tastes better. I do the same thing with coffee now too. I think just being able to smell makes it taste better.

But what do I know, I'm a sub-taster and also sub-smeller (probably correlated).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I don't like camping but I like tents

I also like water purifiers. So I might like camping gear more than I like actual camping. Actually, that's completely true because I don't like camping.

The most fun thing would be to set up a giant tent in my living room. It would be like having my own cave inside of my apartment. Though it seems like one of those things that would be fun if I had roommates. Though, the more I think about it, it seems like this would be something they would on that dumb Big Bang Theory show. And that automatically takes away some of the appeal of doing it.

Apparently I found out that there's a new phenomenon called "glamping," which seems expensive and involves camping. The worst of both worlds.

I will, however, plan out a camping trip (because I heard planning is a good form of therapy and time wasting).

Step 1: Buy a Subaru. All of the commercials for camping make this a prerequisite. Unfortunately, after my brief perusal of Criagslist ads for Subarus, they are quite pricey.

Step 2: Buy a tent that fits in your Subaru. I'm a fan of really large tents. A seasoned camper or boy scout would probably give me a practical reason for why large tents are bad, like snow or bears could get in, but I don't really care. Also, as a side benefit, it would be a good addition to my living room.

Step 3: Figure out which water purifier you like best. I'm not sure if straws or tablets are better. I like straws though. I also like the idea of sticking a straw into a river/lake and drinking directly from it.

Step 4: I really didn't think I would make it to step 4. Also, I think that's really the end of the camping gear that I like. Maybe, flashlights too. So, read a how-to camping guide. I'll also bug my Boy Eagle scout friends on additional camping tips and bear traps.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Odysseus shot

Taken with my new DSLR camera that I bought for myself for my birthday

Saturday, August 22, 2015


(this post is a bit late)

Every time that I visit a new city, I fall in love with it. I just finished a week in Seattle (at the beginning of this month)*.

* I was looking for blog posts from 5 years ago from when I spent a summer in Seattle but I didn't really write much about the city or my experiences. It was really just a bunch of posts on Gatorade and Pop tart flavors and the World Cup in South Africa.

This time around I really appreciated and was struck by the amount of water that truly surrounds Seattle. I stayed with Ben in Redmond when I was there and I took the bus from Redmond to downtown Seattle every day. It was so refreshing to see blue seas every day on the way to work.

One of my days there I got a major sense of deja vu one day when I looked out the window from the bus and saw the REI off of I5. I guess that's what part of deja vu is, remembering a small detail of something that used to be part of every day life.

I also remember going to my first Whole Foods in Seattle* and seeing a yuppie couple spend $200 on two bags of groceries. I also had my first Kroger yogurts in Seattle, which started the great yogurt debates in my head.

* The first week I was in Ann Arbor I went to the Whole Foods because Mark's parents liked to eat there.

I didn't have time this trip since I was too busy exploring Redmond and the Microsoft basketball courts with Ben, but I would have liked to gone back to the South Lake Union area and see what it's like now. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Earthquake basics

An earthquake imminent, apparently. That's what the Internet told me at least. I started wondering if I could even feel earthquakes living in the basement of a bar because we had one last week and I didn't. The earthquake did wake up a mouse and get it caught in one of the traps we had set out.

Not having been trained in earthquake training, I had no idea what to do in the event of an earthquake. Luckily, Neil was trained on how to live on the west coast and told me how to survive:

1) Don't go outside. Debris might be falling off of buildings and you don't want to get hit by any.

2) Hide under a desk. Again, this is to prevent you from getting hit from falling debris.

3) If you can't hide under a desk then door frames are the next best place. Door frames are structurally strong points in a building and less likely to collapse.

4) If your house/building collapses, then you're screwed anyways.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Add another explored ballpark

I went to see an A's game with a bunch of friends last night.

I was late though, since I went to game from work and there was a lot of traffic. Then I had to take the BART and follow the mass of people from the BART station to the game. On the positive side, it's really easy to get to the game from the BART.

The Oakland Coliseum adds to the list of ballparks that I've been to. For those of you keeping score at home, that list includes Fenway, old Yankee Stadium, Olympic Stadium (home of the Expos), Safeco, and Comerica. Still on my "to visit" list is AT&T park, because I somehow managed to go all the way across the bay and watch an A's game before watching a Giants's game.

John Oliver recently did a monologue about public funding for stadiums across the States. (I'm not sure, who exactly got me watching John Oliver, but now I follow his channel on YouTube and watch his videos. I don't watch him because I don't subscribe to HBO Go) And, I do agree with him; there shouldn't be public funding for stadiums. Sidenote: I was a Kyle Chandler fan before FNL; I followed him during his Early Edition years.

With that side bit out of the way, the Oakland Coliseum is not a modern stadium. It's a lot of concrete. There was a nice little section of restaurants and bars, though. The restaurant and bar area was nice enough where I wouldn't mind just sitting down, drinking some beer, and watching the game. But Tim quickly pointed out to me that we actually paid money to go watch the game and if we wanted to do that, we could have just gone to a bar and watched the game.

I say all of this, because craft beer stations have been showing up at ballparks. In fact, there is a craft beer station at the Coliseum.

Granted, it doesn't look as nice as the park's craft beer stations, but it does the job. Also, we had a $6 voucher that came with our Value Deck tickets!