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2841  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: OPEC cuts oild production by another 2.2 million barrels a day on: December 18, 2008, 03:38:17 AM

Quote from: Eduardo X on December 17, 2008, 10:15:13 PM

I think it would have been smart (for them) to keep the price down as low as possible so as to keep us addicted to oil. At that point, they could let the price rise again and be super rich with an assured income for ages.
But, even though this sucks for us now, it'll probably bring the end of oil dependence sooner rather than later.

The sweet spot is the maximum that we will pay without changing our habits. The recent price bubble was, I believe, an effort to find that tipping point. That the bottom fell out was unforeseen, but they did learn that Americans will tolerate at least $3 per gallon -- and now that we've been softened up, possibly closer to $4. So that's where I expect the new equilibrium to end up, whatever that works out to per barrel.  ninja

As far as OPEC cutting production: The ground is the best place to keep surplus oil. Has anybody heard "Drill baby drill" lately?
2842  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Help me find a Christmas gift for my wife... on: December 18, 2008, 03:22:23 AM
So let's recap: She doesn't need anything. She doesn't want anything. And she has no apparent interests that suggest pleasant surprises. Isgrimnur is right: You're hosed. Cut your losses and get her something for yourself.

My wife already has three of everything. She wants one more. The only thing she actually needs is a new computer, so that's what I'm buying her. But I want to let her pick it out, and I don't want to shackle her to a particular store or brand, so I'm not buying a gift certificate. I still have no idea how I'm going to present this gift on xmas morning. I'd like to give her something to unwrap, even if the gift itself is really just money.

We determined that your wife doesn't like technology, though, so that's no help to you.

When things aren't appropriate, think about experiences. What about movie tickets, theater tickets, concert tickets, a museum membership...?
2843  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Winter Blast Coming to Portland on: December 18, 2008, 03:03:43 AM

Quote from: lildrgn on December 17, 2008, 11:15:53 PM

3:20pm: no snow in Bellevue (suburb east of Seattle).

Here's how crazy our school district is. Because of a good chance of snow, they closed the schools.


There was no snow this morning. There has been no snow all day. But to keep the kids safe, they called it off.

The people of Boston like to consider themselves hardy New Englanders, but every time it snows they strip the grocers of bread and milk (because if there's a disaster coming, you want a lot of perishable foods, right?) and cancel everything. Today's weather report warned of a possible 6-12" of snow on my wife's craft group promptly canceled their Saturday night event.

Snowstorms are the best time to go shopping or out for dinner. Everything's deserted.
2844  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Winter Blast Coming to Portland on: December 17, 2008, 05:23:15 AM

Quote from: PaulBot on December 16, 2008, 06:35:24 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on December 16, 2008, 04:49:33 AM

It was 62 this afternoon. I drove with the top down.

That's just mean posting that here!! Our seven day forecast in Portland contains no numbers above freezing. I might as well just give my bank account balance to the natural gas company now.....

If it's any consolation we are back to our miserable normal weather again: Temps in the 30s and 40s with intermittent rain, sleet, and snow showers. At least it hasn't snowed much this year. I'm hoping it won't.
2845  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Help me find a Christmas gift for my wife... on: December 17, 2008, 05:18:52 AM
If she's an avid reader, what about a Kindle? She sounds like a practical sort and the Kindle strikes me as a practical device.
2846  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Is it Unreasonable to Fear for Obama's Safety? on: December 16, 2008, 05:21:19 AM

Quote from: Dramatist on December 15, 2008, 09:01:02 PM

People like him were brought up in a different America and I can kinda forgive them for that.  But these folks are dying out and not really passing on that racism. 

My parents (esp. my dad) were racists, and they were of your grandfather's generation, born in the 1920s. They were the products of their world and history. I spouted the same garbage when I was a kid because kids parrot their parents. I got over it...but it took time and effort. I remember the riots and Helter Skelter and the Black Panthers, when open racial warfare really seemed possible. 
2847  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Athiests to sue for right to officiate marriages in Las Vegas on: December 16, 2008, 05:00:19 AM
I think it's more likely to backfire on them and give ammunition to the "atheism-is-a-religion" crowd.

If an atheist really wants to perform marriages that have the imprimatur of a religion, he can become a Unitarian.

2848  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Oh come on now....more plumbing grief on: December 16, 2008, 04:53:48 AM

Quote from: Scuzz on December 15, 2008, 04:37:30 PM

PVC is, in some areas, replacing all metal piping for water....

In New England, thieves are stealing the copper pipes from unoccupied old houses.
2849  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Winter Blast Coming to Portland on: December 16, 2008, 04:49:33 AM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on December 15, 2008, 03:27:37 PM

F = (C * 1.8 ) + 32

C= (F - 32) * (5 / 9)

Don't go all mathy on us. That stuff is powerless here.

It was 62 this afternoon. I drove with the top down.
2850  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I Might Start a New Hobby: Lock Picking on: December 16, 2008, 04:45:23 AM

Quote from: Toe on December 15, 2008, 06:51:47 PM

Once I locked my keys in my car taco bell. A locksmith came and tried but could not get the door unlocked with his tools (he was probably just crappy I guessed). The window was down on the passenger however, just enough to get a straighted coathanger in. After being unsuccessful with trying to open the lock from the inside with the coathanger, I decided to try to get the keys out of the ignition. After a few attempts and re-forming the end I was able to hook onto the keyring and pull the keys out of the ignition. The force of the pull knocked them off my coathanger but they landed in the passenger seat thankfully, so I was able to rehook them. I was really excited as I pulled the keys up to the tiny crack and realized I had an additional problem, that being a keyring full of keys does not really fit through a tiny crack. Eventually though I was able to get my unlock key through the crack and was able to remove it from the key ring that was on the other side. Yeah! That was 20 years ago and I haven't locked my keys in the car since.

I only ever did it once, 35 years ago. I was enrolling in community college and I had to drop off a form, because in those days the internet was made of paper. I didn't want to hassle with downtown parking, so I just pulled up in front of the admin building, jumped out of the car and sprinted indoors -- illegal parking was a dastardly offense in my hometown, but I was literally going to be only a minute or two. You have already guessed what I discovered when I sprinted back out to my Opel a minute or two later.

I went across the street to the parking garage (wishing now that I had just given them their 50 cents) and borrowed a coat hanger from the attendant. I was trying to jigger my lock, without results because my foreign car didn't have the American convention of popup knobs that yielded so well to coat hangers. Then the police showed up.

I don't know how he did it, but the cop had me inside my car in 30 seconds. With my first parking ticket, of course.
2851  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is Blu-Ray here to stay? on: December 15, 2008, 04:23:06 AM

Quote from: mori on December 14, 2008, 11:13:22 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on December 14, 2008, 01:55:58 PM

This argument I'm seeing that it's a waste to collect movies because the format is going to eventually change is, IMO, bizarre. Do you anti-movie-collectors feel the same way about music? just curious. Do you buy any junk food? beer? Gee I hope not, because those things have no nutritional value, and are just going to be ejected from your body as waste. smile

The last music CD I bought was at 5+ years ago. I buy everything on iTunes now. Maybe that will be outdated and useless someday as well.

Yeah, collected music CDs for a few years, but I last bought a few used CDs about 3-4 years ago. Nothing since then. I mostly listen to Shoutcast radio. Maybe I should try to sell off my 200-or-so CDs while they still have some value. I never, ever, listen to them after I ripped all the good songs to MP3 years ago.
2852  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Winter Blast Coming to Portland on: December 15, 2008, 04:19:06 AM
We're having a nice mild global-warming winter so far. We're looking at temps near 60 and sunshine tomorrow, and we haven't had any snow or miserable temperatures at all yet.
2853  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Arteries.... clogging... chest...pains on: December 14, 2008, 04:56:54 AM
I quit ordering burgers at one local bar when they went to 12 oz. When I was a kid a quarter-pounder was considered huge. The patties I make at home nowadays are 1/3 pound. I can eat a 1/2 pound burger without too much difficulty. But 3/4 pound? Sure I can force one down...but that's just gluttony. I draw the line at 1/2 pound.
2854  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is Blu-Ray here to stay? on: December 14, 2008, 04:49:29 AM

Quote from: JayDee on December 14, 2008, 04:38:21 AM

Quote from: mori on December 14, 2008, 04:00:14 AM

Quote from: Canuck on December 14, 2008, 03:25:34 AM

Quote from: mori on December 14, 2008, 02:42:47 AM

I bought maybe 6 DVDs. I own a PS3 but will never buy a Blu-Ray movie. What is the point? Just more media that will be replaced a few years down the line.

Ehh?  Now THAT is a really odd thing to say.  What the point in doing anything then?  What's the point in buying Mass Effect when I know there's going to be a Mass Effect 2?  What's the point in buying a new computer when they're going to come out with one that's twice as good for half the price in 2 years time?  What's the point in starting a new hobby when I know I'm eventually going to become interested in something else?

What is the point of buying Batman The Dark Knight today when there will be a special special edition a year from now? Another better special edition two years from now? Another even better special edition on a better format 3-5 years from now? Are you going to buy every edition? The studios must love consumers like you.

Not the same thing.

The special special edition at its core will contain the same cut of the same movie. So I'll only need to buy it once, now, and can safely ignore all future versions. Mass Effect 2 will be a completely different game and experience than Mass Effect 1. A new computer will improve performance and offer me a different experience than my old system. The new "special special" edition of the Dark Knight will still offer me the exact same movie. Sure, the packaging might be snazzier, but the experience is basically the same.

I thought my vinyl album collection was the last word, too. Ziggy Stardust hasn't changed since I bought it in 1973, has it?

10 years from now you'll want the holographic remaster of Dark Knight, because who watches flatscreen video anymore?

2855  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: No Bailout for GM please. Let em die. on: December 13, 2008, 11:22:02 PM
The auto industry is going to be broken up under the name "restructuring" one way or another, whether in bankruptcy courts or under the supervision of a government "car czar". It is really a matter of finding the least painful, most effective way to proceed. They are not going to come out on the other side as three independent and profitable companies. More likely, you'll see the best assets reorganized into one US-owned, quasi-nationalized company, and the rest either dissolved or sold off to the competition.

The existing corporations are getting bailout money now to keep a pulse going until the next administration can take over. It is merely a welfare payment administered through private corporations.

If those corporations were dissolved and all of those idled workers were given the government's teat, how much would it cost to suckle them directly?
2856  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: The Housing Disaster - Who is to blame? on: December 13, 2008, 11:11:23 PM
Who's to blame? In our family, it is customary to blame my BIL Paul for pretty much everything. It saves us a lot of troublesome thinking and quarreling, and Paul's a good sport about it.
2857  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Is it Unreasonable to Fear for Obama's Safety? on: December 13, 2008, 11:03:37 PM

Quote from: leo8877 on December 13, 2008, 06:16:03 PM

I figured that if Bush made it through unscathed, then anyone can. 

I think it depends on where you live. In these parts Obama is already considered the greatest president since Abe Lincoln, and it's baffling how Cheney made it through alive.

Of course it's reasonable to fear that Bamalot will end the same way Camelot did. This is Kennedy country, and the parallels are obvious. But any leader will attract hatred from the mentally unbalanced.
2858  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie] Get Smart - Impressions on: December 13, 2008, 10:55:10 PM
No desire whatsoever to see this one...not even Netflix-worthy.
2859  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is Blu-Ray here to stay? on: December 13, 2008, 10:48:52 PM

Quote from: HankRaptor on December 13, 2008, 05:50:12 PM

Streaming Video, be it, Roku, Apple TV.. Xbox Live.. As the streaming technology gets better IE: more content available on instant viewing on Netflix.. WHY OWN MEDIA? Store this crap pay for it.

+1. It will eventually be relegated to collectors and hobbyists...among whom I don't number. I have collected record albums, cassette tapes, CDs, and VHS tapes. I eventually abandoned and divested of all of them. I am not going to get suckered into DVDs and Blu-Ray disks for the reasons that Jeff Jones mentioned. There are maybe 10 movies in the history of movies that I would want to watch once a year at the most. Why would I want more than those few disks contributing to the general clutter?
2860  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How often are you sick? on: December 13, 2008, 04:59:59 AM
When I worked among the public (malls and museums) I used to catch every germ that raged through the population. When I worked in offices, I used to catch every germ that parents carry. Now that I work at home and have virtually no exposure to children, directly or indirectly, I don't get sick anymore.

When I do get the flu, it's incapacitating for a day or two.
2861  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Wives do the darndest things... on: December 11, 2008, 05:25:54 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on December 10, 2008, 06:50:26 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on December 10, 2008, 05:23:03 AM

The Bride of Ironrod is not allowed to touch anything in my house. Well, except the washer and dryer...which she very seldom chooses to do.

what about the sink and the stove?

Those are mine. She is not allowed near them. I grant refrigerator access only grudgingly.
2862  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Best gift you have given... on: December 11, 2008, 05:21:49 AM
In 1986 we decided to move to Boston. I was going to manage a major bookstore (for a local chain that would soon go belly-up), and she had a fresh Masters degree in journalism but no job. The "no job" part went on longer than anticipated, so she worked a couple of marginal jobs that were way beneath her, and struggled to make extra money freelancing. To succeed at that, she need a word processor.

I researched it and decided that word processors were too limited, and what she really needed was a computer. When I cashed out of my previous job, I'd gotten a $1200 windfall from a retirement account. $1200 was what it took to buy her a Tandy 1000EX, a printer (major item back then), and all the trimmings. It was also my life savings.

She was floored that I put everything I had into a tool for her future career. Of course, it paid off in spades.

A few months after I bought it, I found out that it could also play games.  The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.
2863  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What do you read, or post, on GT? on: December 10, 2008, 05:26:52 AM
Just this forum and R&P. I don't post in R&P very often, but I do scan it regularly.
2864  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Wives do the darndest things... on: December 10, 2008, 05:23:03 AM
The Bride of Ironrod is not allowed to touch anything in my house. Well, except the washer and dryer...which she very seldom chooses to do.
2865  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Real or Fake: 2008 Edition on: December 10, 2008, 05:17:56 AM
Although we do feed Greedfest to the minimum extent required of us, we haven't put up any decorations for at least 15 years. The Bride of Ironrod used to insist on setting up a tree over my half-hearted objections. Then, the year that her father died, she brought her mother out here to stay with us for a few weeks over the holidays. Her mother spewed her usual venom all over their tree-trimming bonding exercise that year, and the Bride has never wanted to have a tree since.

Suits me fine. Our house is so crammed with clutter that there's no room for anything anyway. 
2866  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Am I doomed? on: December 09, 2008, 04:53:29 AM
You would be more doomed if you became a lawyer. You are young. Cut your losses and take a path you like.
2867  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ever lived on an Aircraft Carrier? on: December 08, 2008, 03:13:04 PM
My Marine nephew served a tour of duty on the USS Nimitz. Pretty sure they kept him jumping most of the time, even though he's not a sailor. He's an aircraft technician and the Nimitz's aircraft need constant technicianing.
2868  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: The Scientific Method: How much do you know about it? on: December 07, 2008, 05:24:33 AM
It's more reliable than the rhythm method.
2869  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Area51 and other government lies on: December 07, 2008, 05:21:58 AM

The fifth astronaut from the left might look familiar. Hint: He is married to a white woman in the movie. Second Hint: He does not kill her in the movie.
2870  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How accurate is the BMI chart? on: December 05, 2008, 06:16:37 AM
Similar experience here -- lost weight, toned up, and was still just a notch below overweight. I have since crept back into the overweight range and border on obese. Yet, although I'm lugging around some lard, I'm healthy and fit and active. So even though weight loss will be the New Years resolution, I'm not worrying about my BMI.

OTOH, it's well documented that many test animals on calorie-restricted diets live significantly longer than normal-weight animals. If longevity is your goal, staying lean and hungry is a pretty good bet. Me, I'm willing to die a few years earlier in exchange for hamburgers and beer and cigars now.  drool
2871  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How technologically advanced is your office? on: December 05, 2008, 06:08:38 AM
I have a 3.5-year-old laptop and a cellphone of equal vintage. And a lamp, and a window fan. 
2872  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Religious Hatred........Why? on: December 04, 2008, 03:36:32 AM
2873  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: At What Point is it Stealing? on: December 04, 2008, 03:26:23 AM
Being a low-income sort myself, I'd keep mum unless I was dealing with a mom-and-pop store that needs the income.

Last week the bartender only charged me for two of the three beers that I drank. I thought about pointing it out to her...but those 16 ounces of draft beer cost them effectively nothing. Instead I tipped the bartender an extra four bucks.
2874  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's vent on: December 03, 2008, 04:06:15 AM

Quote from: hepcat on December 02, 2008, 08:53:47 PM

Also, as I get older, I start to realize I can't really stand IT work.  However, I'm afraid to make a career change this late in life.  Maybe someday I'll give myself the kick in the pants to go out and try to find something I love doing.   icon_frown

How old are you? And how much younger will you be when you finally can't avoid change any longer?

My business will show better than 50% growth this year despite the economy, but the rate is flattening. I don't know if I can keep it going much longer in this economy. I have to maintain rapid growth for two more years if Curio City is going to support me, and the odds against that are formidable. If sales flatline after Christmas, I'm going to have to think about another career change.

Fortunately, the business has no debt and very low fixed costs, so it can survive if I have to put it in stasis and become a wage slave until the economy turns around. But getting a job would feel like a personal failure. I really don't want to go back into the workforce if I can possibly avoid it.
2875  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Now we just need some Focker to marry our daughter. on: December 02, 2008, 04:16:33 PM
One of my cats spontaneously started using the toilet when his litter box exceeded his gross-out threshold. He stopped when he realized that (1) it made us happy, and (2) he was befouling his own drinking water.

If you can train your cat to flush, then you're on to something.
2876  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Did You Ever Read Mad Magazine? on: December 02, 2008, 02:55:43 AM

Quote from: Scuzz on December 01, 2008, 10:43:05 PM

It was the South Park of the day.

Nicely said.
2877  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So what was your best Black Friday purchase? on: December 01, 2008, 10:48:45 PM
So how about Cyber Monday? Anybody shop online today?

Curio City is having a decent day so far. No more transactions than expected, but a few nice big ones. I still have an outside shot at hitting my (very aggressive) sales plan for the day. The target numbers for these next three weeks are humbling.

I think the "Cyber Monday" concept is silly, but since I don't support it with any special promotions I don't know if hordes of shoppers are really cruising for online deals today. My traffic reports indicate a pretty average day for this time of year.
2878  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Did You Ever Read Mad Magazine? on: December 01, 2008, 10:34:53 PM
I read it throughout the 1960s. It was considered subversive, at least in our little world, so naturally I was drawn to it.
2879  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So. If the US Hadn't Invaded Iraq... on: December 01, 2008, 12:32:56 AM

Quote from: cheeba on November 30, 2008, 06:03:08 AM

The people who kept Saddam in power

You realize that's the Reagan administration, right?
2880  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Sorry Charlie: Tuna Tragedy on: December 01, 2008, 12:30:34 AM

Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum on December 01, 2008, 12:22:21 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on November 30, 2008, 05:17:30 AM

The marketplace has a way of balancing such things, but often only after it is too late. Tilapia are a "weed" species -- they thrive anywhere and eat anything. They have the advantage of being correspondingly cheap...and have a flavor and texture that matches their low price. Tilapia are really only good in stews. Nobody would ever choose a simple grilled tilapia fillet because, well, yech.


Tilapia is often grilled. In fact, I know plenty of people that prefer the taste of tilapia to some other fish.

I don't like either the flavor or the texture of tilapia by itself, but I do use it as an ingredient in stew because it's cheap. Taste is subjective, of course. I like catfish, which many people find too oily. Both are in the same bottom price category. 
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