Category: Observations



Neil deGrasse Tyson makes science even more awesome.

I said “science” again.

Welcome to the Circus of Values

What a deal!



Life is Like a Video Game



In my opinion, Chris Collins nailed it.


Peed Off

Dear guy who peed all over the seat, and the flush handle, and the floor, and the wall of the stall, and the toilet paper dispenser, and the toilet paper,


Kisses (not really, you’re gross),


Digital Ads Killed the Radio Star

It seems like more and more things have gone high-def or digital in the last few years.  One of my favorites has been digital radios in cars.  If you are listening to a digital radio station with a digital radio, you get some bonus information sent to you.  Most of the time it’s the name of the song, the artist/band, and possibly the name of the radio station.  I don’t listen to the radio too often, so I find this feature especially nice.  When something comes on that I have never heard before, the radio can tell me exactly what I’m listening to right away.  I’m not dependent on the DJ feeding that information to me.

Both of my cars have digital radios that offer this feature.  On my Prius, I have to push a few buttons to find out what song is currently being played.  On the other hand, my Torrent constantly displays the information sent down with the digital signal, so I only have to glance in the direction of the radio to learn the name of my new favorite song (well, it will be my favorite for at least the next 5 minutes).  It is really quite convenient.

As great as this technology is, someone has found a way to abuse it (in my opinion) and make money off of it.  There is a digital radio station in my hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, that does not send the name of the song and artist to digital radios.  It doesn’t even send the call letters of the radio station.  The only information they send is advertisements for local businesses.  This is particularly bad in the Torrent, as it turns the radio into a mini-billboard in the center of my dashboard.  I look over to learn the name of a song or adjust the volume for a Lady GaGa single, and instead I learn about a deal on fried chicken at Ma & Pa’s Grocery.

I don’t have a problem with radio stations showing advertisements on digital radio screens when they are on a commercial break and advertisements are playing, anyway.  However, I’m not a fan of them hijacking my dashboard and sending nothing but advertisements to it all the time.  That behavior crosses a line for me.  At least I can always get away from the ads by choosing another station or even turning off my radio entirely.  Their plan has now backfired.  Instead of having another listener who gets some extra advertising, they have a former listener who will not receive any of their ads while paying too much for fried chicken.


Putting A Little Extra Magic Into The Kingdom

I just recently came back from a trip to Florida.  For those not in the know from reading my old blog, I travel to Florida often.  My parents live there and I’m a fan of Disney.  Most of the time I travel alone and when I head into the Walt Disney World parks, I only spend a few hours taking in some of my favorite attractions or eating at a favorite restaurant.  On two occasions in the past I had the opportunity to introduce a first-time visitor to Disney World.  This differs from a normal visit for me because we take in more than just the highlights or my personal favorites.  We try to do and experience as much as possible.  It’s very exciting!

On this recent trip I had the pleasure of going to WDW with my girlfriend, who was not only a first-time Disney visitor, but a first-time Florida visitor.  I was really looking forward to once again introducing someone new to WDW.  We did all of the major attractions, including a few that I hadn’t done before.  As I always do, I had a great time visiting Disney, but my experience was even better as my girlfriend oohed and ahhed all week long as she took in all the neat things that Disney has to offer.  In a way it was like I was experiencing it all for the first time again myself.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the feeling of taking in Disney with a significant other.  I’ve been going to WDW about once a year since I was 4 years old.  Even when I was little, I’d notice all of the couples that would visit Disney.  Of course you have your moms and dads, but then you also have couples without children, and teenage children who are traveling with their sweeties.  Several times on each of my trips to WDW, I’d see an especially happy couple on their own trip and think to myself, “Someday that is going to be me.”  As of last week it was.  As of last week, I have vacationed with my significant other.  Last week I walked hand-in-hand through the Magic Kingdom with my girlfriend.

It’s already quite a magical place, but being there with her made it even more magical; more than I ever dreamed it would be.  She has thanked me time and time again for bringing her to Florida and Disney World with me, but I can’t thank her enough for coming with me.  It’s always been a dream of mine to take a big vacation, especially one to Walt Disney World, with a significant other.  That dream came true and it was simply amazing.  Thank you, hon, for making our trip together even more amazing than I imagined it would be.


Crazy Dental Thoughts

I had some dental work done the other day, bordering on oral surgery, and it wasn’t fun.  Actually, I’m overreacting.  The appointment itself didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would and there was almost no pain.  The only pain I felt was quickly taken care of by an extra little dose of numbing agent to that area of my mouth.  After the numbness went away, my mouth was a bit sore where the most extensive work was done, but that was it.  I went to bed and the soreness was gone in the morning.  I should really be quite happy with how everything went.

Yet, I hated it.  Call me crazy, but I’m not a fan of miniature power tools being used in my mouth.  It was on my mind and bothering me for hours before the appointment.  Here it is two days later and I still can’t get it out of my head.  It probably doesn’t help that I have to go back in two weeks for them to finish the procedure.  Can you guess whether or not I’m looking forward to that?  Hint: I’m not.

Why can’t our teeth be made of diamonds?  They’re incredibly strong, shiny, and would likely need little to know maintenance.  You certainly wouldn’t break off a piece of your tooth from biting down incorrectly on a popcorn kernel if your tooth was made out of diamonds.  You wouldn’t get cavities in something that is impenetrable by almost every other item on this planet; at least every other item on this planet that you’d put into your mouth.  Also, you’d probably come out ahead and make some money when you would have your wisdom teeth removed.  You could sell those puppies or even keep them for yourself as new earrings.


Cream Puff

I tried an official Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puff this morning for the first time in my life.  I’ve already taken heat from coworkers for being a Wisconsin resident my entire life and not having a cream puff until my 32nd year.  I’ll probably take mroe heat tomorrow when it comes out that I really didn’t enjoy it.  It did almost nothing for me.  It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t find it necessarily good, either.  The bottom line is I can’t picture myself ever wanting one again.

In my defense, I’ve never been a big fan of cream.  I scrape most of the cream off of ice cream sundaes when I have them.  I only add a little bit of whipped cream to my piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  I’ve had the Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino at Starbucks both with and without cream on top and I know now that I do prefer it without the cream.

I’m just not a cream kind of guy, so it should come as no surprise that a desert that’s composed of a little bit of puff with a whole lot of cream would not appeal to me.  But, I still tried one, even though I didn’t have the highest of hopes.  I figured as a life-long Wisconsinite, it was my duty to at least try one.  Even though I didn’t enjoy it, I can at least say that I’ve had one.


Feel the Prius

The Prius is back home and is running quite well.  It had all of it’s 90,000 mile and 100,000 mile checks done to it and is now set to go for nothing but oil changes for another 20,000 miles or so.  While it was in there, they also took a look at a pesky “Check Engine” light issue that I was having.  It would turn on, stay on for a day or so, and then go off for a day or so.  The service center didn’t think it was too big of an issue because it kept clearing itself, but investigated the problem anyway.  Turned out there was a flow control thing-a-ma-bob for the engine coolant that was failing from time to time.  Not too serious because it was only an occasional fail, but very serious if the thing decided to fail completely.  That part was swapped out at the same time and now the Prius is in tip-top shape, but dirty.  Wow, that thing needs a good hand-scrubbing.  Automated car washes just aren’t cutting it.

I was talking with my girlfriend yesterday as I was driving the Prius home from the service center and she asked how it was doing.  I told her it was great and it felt smooth.  We both laughed at that as she said I probably meant that it drove more smoothly, not that it actually felt smooth.  Her version makes more sense and is grammatically correct.  Honestly, it’s what I meant to say, but my slip-up ended up being quite funny.  Can you imagine taking your car in to the shop only to have it returned to you smoother?  Almost as if it went in for a shave?  “Here’s your freshly tuned up Prius, J.R.  Now smooth as a baby’s bottom.”


Traveling Companions

I’m currently on a 3-day “cross-country” drive from Wisconsin to Florida.  While I’m not technically traveling alone as there are two vehicles making the trip, I am alone in the car.   Well, not totally alone.  I took a picture of the passenger seat to show who my companions are.

There’s my water bottle, my iPod, my work cell phone, my backpack, some Cool Ranch Doritos, and a cooler.  Except for the iPod, they are all very quiet passengers.  That’s probably for the best.  I’ve probably been on the road for too long if anything else on the passenger seat starts singing to me.