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Blowing Minds With Natalie

Music: 

Elvis Costello - No Action

We are ramping up to Viva Las Vegas 18, and Natalie has really killed this outfit. She made and then painted this skirt of the neon signs of old Vegas:

Natalie painted this awesome skirt for our trip to Viva Las Vegas 18 next week!                               IMG_1054

Natalie painted this awesome skirt for our trip to Viva Las Vegas 18 next week!IMG_1035

Natalie painted this awesome skirt for our trip to Viva Las Vegas 18 next week!IMG_1034

And, at the last minute, her brother came through with this TV prop jacket:

Cherry tearsCherry tears

Updated:
The jacket.The jacket.

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In which I am annoyed at the radio

Music: 

"(Consumers are) getting their raise through the gas tank rather than their employers" - Sudeep Reddy, Marketplace

Sorry Kai, but yeah, that is a really weak statement. Between that quote last week, and all the stories about consumers already buying bigger more gas-guzzlin'er trucks and SUVs because pump prices have gone down, I just got annoyed enough to write this.

People don't really look at what's their ultimate best interest, they don't make math-based decisions. They think "Wow, gas just went down by 20%, so I can buy a car which uses 60% more fuel". Here is math:

At 90 miles/day, I drive somewhat more than the average person (78% of people have a less than 20 mile commute? DAMMIT). My 2005 Toyota gets a consistent 34MPG. Gas has gone down by 60 cents around these parts.

So what does that mean?

270mi per week (I work from home two days a week)
8 gallons of gas

$28.40 - 8 gallons of gas at $3.55

$23.60 - 8 gallons of gas at $2.95

$39.85 - What I'd pay at $2.95/gal for the 13.5 gallons of gas I'd use if I bought an SUV making 20mpg

(So all this means that I pay $7.80 every day to sit in traffic for > 3 hours, before factoring in maintenance / wear & tear)

That means that the difference caused by this precipitous drop in prices is $5 per week, for me. That's not even enough for a pack of smokes. So much for people "getting their raise through the gas tank". $260 per year, thanks a bunch guys, but I'm better off with even a 1% pay increase. Even with the 20MPG Jeep that I had prior to the Toyota, it would still only be a $9/week difference. Not exactly enough to finance payments on a new SUV, let alone the fact that you now burn much more gas than is offset by the price decrease.

Being able to do arithmetic also accounts for why I don't drive a Prius or whatever. There's no way the increased milage would pay off over the facts that a Prius costs $10000 more (base) than I paid for the Corolla which is fully paid for. Even if I were to get a new car, it's unlikely the Prius speicfically would be worth the extra cost for the extra 14MPG, that's not even factoring in battery changes, which aren't cheap, and which I'm sure I'd have needed a couple of to match the 220,000 miles on my Corolla.

I don't pretend to know or care why people make the choices they do, but it's almost certainly more that they "feel" things are "good", and so decide to splurge on some new car, telling themselves that gas is cheap, so it doesn't matter.

People probably feel this way because of glib statements by people they perceive as being subject matter experts.

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London trip in a nutshell, Day 1

People noticed I seemed kind of testy for on-vacation-guy last week, here's why.

We got to the hotel at 10:30am, so effectively 5:30 EST. Our room wasn't done,so we walked around and waited for my mom's plane to land. We didn't want to get too far from the hotel in case my mom showed up, which she kept not doing, so we started to get kind of worried. Around 1 we decided to just hang out in the lobby and wait for the room. I slept, Natalie walked around some more.

Whoops

This is the saddest thing I saw all day. I really can't think of a more appropriate way for things to play out though. Dying to protect his tiny piece of rock, protecting it from someone who really loved him, but wanted to take his rock away.

I remember very little about that book because I never really read it when I was a little kid. I was way too damaged, and I probably still am. But that story sums up a lot about warring over politics.

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pictures

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Pretty much everything I take pictures of goes to My Flickr page now. However, we have an album of photos here from our trip to Xpu-Ha Palace just south of Cancun, Mexico right here. It's been a couple years and we still can't recommend that place enough.

Some other older pictures are still at my old photo page.

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Mongol Rally

My brother-in-law is almost finished taking part in this year's Mongol Rally. They have made it from London to Mongolia, though their car and one of its occupants did not. There are several posts below that were pretty interesting along the way:

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Stood up...

My friend Steve loses at the cellphone and missed out on a drinking opportunity and stranded me in an airport parking lot. I made him a demotivational poster.

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Satellite TV is for Saps

[music | Tina Turner - Goldeneye]

I have very rarely seen heat lightning like what we have in NH right now anywhere outside the midwest. This is crazy, but at least I don't feel bad about missing fireworks. Strangely, I was watching Goldeneye when the storm came through and wiped out my satellite.

Speaking of Satellites, here are some photos of the biggest commercial dish in the world coming down:

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Bummer

[music | Throwing Muses - Tango]

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Pictures from Florida

[music | Big Audio Dynamite - Medicine Show]

Pretty much all the pictures from Tampa are up now, except the Devil Rays game, but honestly, who the hell cares. Not me. Next week, Toronto.

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by Dr. Radut