Overlooking a Four-Leaf Clover

A few weeks ago, a website I frequent had a contest in which you could enter to win a DVD set by simply leaving a comment to the article. I left my comment and then promptly forgot about it.

This morning I got an email announcing that I had won. I almost instinctively flagged it as spam, but fortunately I opened it and found that I was one of the lucky winners. It felt great to win something, because I never really have won anything, as far as I can recall. Then, on a lark, I decided to see how many people had entered. It turns out that they gave away 10 of those sets, and only 41 people were entered. So it's nice to win something, but I'm not ready to start buying Lotto tickets.

It's Back!

For those of you who once upon a time believed I might finish something I started, I have been nagged enough into posting something new on my fiction writing blog. I decided to start writing a story with absolutely nothing in mind and just see where it ended up. If you want to read it and need an invitation to view it, let me know.

Dear Diary

This morning I was thinking about journal writing, and how terrible I am at it. I got a journal when I was in elementary school, and for a while I was good about using it (Side note: I wrote in my journal with a pencil I was given for getting second place in our school's aluminum can collecting drive; the first-place winner got a hot air balloon ride—no, I'm not joking).

But then, when life actually started to get a little more eventful, I stopped writing. Now that I'm (legally, according to the judge) an adult, this should be the time of my life when I really get into it. Then I thought about the reason for journal writing, and there are two main purposes, as far as I can tell: keeping a personal history, and telling people in the future exactly who you were. While I mostly tangentially mention actual life events, I think this blog does a fair job of capturing my personality.

Does blogging replace journal writing for you?

Oh, Arnold

Last night I dreamed that Arnold Schwarzenegger was singing his own version of the song Tomorrow from Annie, and he was horribly out of tune.

Now Playing... Again!

Last night I experienced something I never thought I would. I was in a movie theater, and the show started a full 10 minutes early. When we walked in, the previews were nearly done. It was so nice to see one start early rather than late.

Of course, then a ton of people came in late and apparently complained enough to make the management restart the movie. It was okay, though, because I got to watch the first 20 minutes over again. It was great to catch some of the subtle nuances in the plot I missed the first time around, which is especially important in such a cinematic oeuvre as G. I. Joe.

In Stock

A few months ago, I took a look at the financial crisis and had the same thought I'm sure we all have, namely "How can I make money off of this disaster?" And, since last year my 401(k) not only made no money but also lost about 60% of what I paid into it, I decided to see if I would have more success managing my own investments rather than letting the so-called experts pick stocks. But since I always preferred colorful Monopoly money to the real thing, I set up a profile on Google Finance to see how I would do. Here are the results after around 4 months (I didn't actually note the day I started):

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I'm up 10% so far. If this keeps up, I'll open my own stock brokerage firm that uses high-tech methods for picking stocks, such as monkeys and dartboards.

Shoo Beetle, Don't Bother Me

So, in case you thought I was exaggerating the other day...

I just gathered these up this evening. And these are the ones that weren't in hard-to-grab places like windowsills.

Progress

It's a sad comment about our society when I walk into a room, smell fruit, and automatically assume it's some sort of lotion rather than the real thing.

IM Snippet

me: I (possibly) have jury duty next week

nathan: Oh, I haven't heard anything from them.
I guess people just hate me.
Pretty depressing when you don't even qualify for jury duty.

me: I just want what we all want—the opportunity to condemn someone to be executed. And in the end, isn’t that the American dream?
I see you as someone having a more active role in the proceedings than just a juror anyway.

nathan: Well, I hope your dream of condemning a man to death eventually comes true.

me: That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me

Tender Tootsies

I can't believe I just typed the word "tootsies."

There is some evidence out there that the best way to avoid running injuries is to condition yourself to run barefoot. The idea is that supportive shoes allow the muscles and connective tissues in the foot and lower leg to weaken, and they allow you to run with an unnatural stride. Barefoot running strengthens these muscles and makes you pay more attention to the feedback your body is giving you, which allows you to make adjustments before you get injured.

Since my marathon hopes this year have been dashed anyway, I decided there was no better time to start over and condition myself to run barefoot. So last night I headed to the nearest high school track, which I figured would be a good surface for my first barefoot run. I had been doing more barefoot things lately, even walking around the neighborhood, so I figured a relatively cushioned surface like a track would be doable.

You're supposed to start with very short distances, like ¼ mile, but I figured I could handle a little more. So I ran a full mile, and I think some of the people there were looking at me funny. But it was fun, until I realized that I was getting a lovely crop of blisters on my feet. So the lesson here is that when you are trying something new and someone says to start slow, you should listen or you may end up walking like a duck for a couple days.

Ready for My Closeup

I love seeing clues about people on their cars, whether it be the hula girl on the dash or the bullet hole in the trunk. This morning's find, however, takes the cake. I first noticed the big sticker in the back window that said "Actor." Well, that person either has a serious need to be acknowledged or it's just a joke. So I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But then I saw his vanity plate: MVE-ACTR. Yes, folks, what we have here is a genuine "movie actor." You know, a real A-lister. I mean, doesn't Brad Pitt drive around with a bumper sticker that says "No, seriously, I'm an actor. I have an IMDB page and everything"?

Insecticide II: This Time It's Personal

I guess I spoke too soon when I said we had no more pets. The box elder bugs we had at our old place must have told their relatives in our new area that we are good people to be around, because they're seriously invading our house. They're walking around the floor all day, hanging out in the sink for some reason, and dying in our lamp again. I am all for "live and let live," but last night Katie found one in the soup we made for dinner (yes, Jer, the soup you ate with us). It's time for the bugs to get out, and I'm going to pack their tiny suitcases for them.

Door to Bore Sales

I suppose the whole "spoonful of sugar" idea really can be used to help you make the most of unpleasant situations. And I am all about enjoying the awkwardness of life. Therefore, I have something new I am going to try next time someone comes to my door selling something. Their sales pitches are always long and boring, so I will tell them they have 3 sentences totaling no more than 45 seconds in order to present their offer to me, at which point I will decide whether they are worth listening to.

Guaranteed Fresh

I have a problem with expiration dates on food and other perishable items. For one thing, expiration dates on things like chips are ridiculous. It’s not like on that day they suddenly become inedible, they’re just gradually becoming stale by that point.

The other problem is that whether or not something has been opened makes a big difference. You might buy some bacon, for example, that has an expiration date of a couple months from now. But once you open it, doesn’t the expiration date move up considerably? I don’t care how long my food is able to sit in the package without rotting, I want to know how long I have to eat it once it’s been opened.

Bonus Birthday

At some point we realize birthdays are no big deal and sort of give up on doing anything special with them. It's sad in a way, because it seems like depriving our inner child of cake starves him to death.

Wow, I didn't intend for that to be so depressing.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to my birthday in 2012. It's what I call the "bonus birthday," because that's the year my birthday would be on a Sunday, but the leap year causes it to skip it. Because, let's face it, Sunday birthdays are the worst, since you feel kind of guilty if you have any fun.

When's your bonus birthday?

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Two Amazing Things

1. The people who make plastic things for cars never realize how the sun's heat magnified through the windshield can destroy just about any material man can create.



2. I don't think I could do this until I was a teenager.