Friday, February 20, 2009

a cold pizza night

You may have noticed that this post is date-stamped as 7:53 on Friday night. What better things do I have to do on Friday night than write about my life? You know what people say about writers: if you can't do something well, you write about it instead.

Well, we did have great plans involving good friends and Killer Bunnies tonight. Followed by great plans: round 2 tomorrow night with Nacho Libre and Taco Salad.

But Abe got the flu, so none of that is happening. Abe doesn't get sick often, and he doesn't take it lying down (unlike the Man Cold video my friend Elizabeth shared). But I knew it was bad when I got home from work and heard the microwave beeper go off - you know, the one that beeps 3 times every 5 minutes to let you know that your food is still waiting for you. There was a half-full tupperware of spaghetti sauce on the counter and some crusty cooked noodles on the stove top.

I went back to the bedroom to ask Abe about his late lunch (it was after 5 by now). He looked at me with glass-glazed eyes and mumbled something about the microwave going off since I had called him earlier - around 2pm. In his incoherent muttering he mentioned that it had started to get kind of annoying.

Now that's desperation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

bean bag!

We have sort of a minimalist living room. 1 couch. 1 chair. 1 lamp. 1 end table. 1 candle. And 2 pictures on the wall. It's fine for us, but when we have people over to watch movies (via projector that is wheeled in and out of sparse room on demand), it can be uncomfortable viewing.

And then a few weeks ago I was feeling crafty. So I decided to hand craft custom bean bag chairs for lounging in the living room. I found this design online and basically followed it, but without putting the round patch. The filling was a bit difficult. The styrofoam beads in bean bag chairs are somewhat expensive. I found some large foam pieces at The Scrap Box, an awesome local store full of tons of terrific junk. I had to cut the foam into tiny pieces, which I did while watching "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (badges! we don't need no stickin badges!).

Here's the result. Two more chairs are en route whenever I get a spare evening or two.

The blue looks more royal here than in real life. It matches the couch well.

I also installed a zipper. May be my favorite part. The foam shown here was cut into smaller pieces to decrease lumpiness and increase comfort.

Foam cutting at its finest.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

against the odds?

I faced a crisis of faith the other day when purchasing airline tickets for an upcoming trip. I had avoided the chore of actually looking for good ticket deals until about 4 weeks out from the actual trip. I was unpleasantly not surprised to see the ticket price was quite high.

But somehow in my surfing I came across Farecast. This site shows you a graph of past tickets prices for your specific query and uses that data to predict whether fares will rise or fall in the near future. It won my master-of-information heart over. Data-driven decision-making! Information visualization! Customized search tool! Nifty web application!

The prediction for my search was that fares would rise and I should wait a few days before purchasing. As I thought about this, risk aversion kicked in. They were only 60% confident in the prediction. The fares could possibly rise. And the site is run by Microsoft!

In the end, I decided to trust the stats and ignore qualm #3. Check out the results.

I saved something like $60/ticket by waiting until Farecast told me to buy. And now I find myself, against all likelihood, actually promoting a Microsoft product.

Maybe I can take the $60 I saved from the ticket at put it towards finally buying a Mac.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

you may want to close your eyes for this part

Votes for the scariest restaurant ever . . . and the winner is: Big Boy. The fear factor is self-evident in the pictures.

The resemblance to Chuckie is particularly disturbing.

When I was young, my family went to Big Boy. When we entered the restaurant, I was confronted by a live Big Boy, frolicking around the restaurant, chortling, and making happy gestures with his hands. I don't remember what happened after that, but it was as traumatic as the time my sisters made me pose for a photo with a costumed Shamu at Sea World.