Vid's Space

Hello! You are visitor number 99225! I may be a bit narcissistic, but I don't quite want to talk about myself for pages and pages on my website anymore.  I could, but that might be a bit depressing.  Meh, at least I have a job.

Suffice it to say I'm a pansexual nudist roadgeek with issues including but not limited to depression, selective eating disorder, and possibly Asperger's syndrome.  But again, this page isn't about me.  Instead, it's my space for random thoughts which I hope you'll find interesting or amusing. 

By the way, if you don't like the fonts or colors on my website, now you can override them using the Style Chooser!  As for other improvements to this site, I really need to redo the guestbook, get the counter/greeter system to work how I originally intended, and oh yeah, get in the habit of adding content more often…

Random Quotes

I hope you'll find the following quote amusing and/or thought-provoking.

“If I saw an amputee being hung, I would just yell out letters.”

— Demetri Martin

A new quote is randomly selected three times each day. For your convenience, here's a permanent link to this quote.

Cool Story, Bro!

Here you'll find brief anecdotes which usually are worth the time spent reading them.

New items will be selected in 1.8 days.

Freudian Spoonerism

This one time, during a discussion about how much damage would occur at different distances from a nuclear blast in downtown Columbus, I meant to say West Broad Street, but the sounds got a little mixed up in my head, and I would have said Breast Wad Street had I not caught myself halfway through the first word.

How (Old) Are You?

I spent my third birthday on a family summer vacation in Florida. At my birthday party, my dad was shooting video with the camcorder. He asked me, “how old are you?” but I mis-heard him, and answered, “I'm fine.” He had to repeat himself, with more emphasis on the word ‘old’.

I had my thirteenth birthday party at a park close to home. My dad was shooting video with the camcorder. He asked me, “how old are you?” but I mis-heard him, and answered, “I'm fine.” He had to repeat himself, with more emphasis on the word ‘old’. After answering the question, I recalled the video from my third birthday, and I was like “whoa, this happened ten years ago too!” My dad put down the camera and said something about it not being the right time for that comment or something. I guess he doesn't like it when his home videos get meta.

L Fan Club

So this one time I was at a mall in southeastern Michigan, wearing a T-shirt featuring the Deathnote character known as L. A group of young women complimented me on the T-shirt and asked me where I got it. I told them I'd purchased it at Hot Topic, then I asked if they were cosplayers. Indeed they were. How did I know, you might ask? That's a good question; the young women asked too. I told them they had “anime hair”. Pitch black, unmoving, spiking at odd angles — definitely anime hair.

More Cool Story, Bro!

Passing Thoughts

This is the opinion section of my site. If I have something to say to a general audience that won't fit in a tweet, it'll probably end up here.

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To McDonald's, re Chocolate Shakes

Dear McDonald's: I don't want fruit in my chocolate shake.

It seems many of your restaurants have begun adding whipped cream and a cherry to your shakes. (I haven't noticed, but I suspect the price has gone up a bit, too.) I like some cherry-flavored things, but I don't like cherries. I also don't think chocolate and fruit flavors go together. I know I can ask not to have a cherry added, but not every restaurant does this so I don't expect it in the first place. It's rather annoying. Besides, one reason why I get McDonald's shakes rather than Steak 'N' Shake shakes, is McDonald's shakes are (or, at least were) much simpler to drink through a straw as I'm driving. Adding a cherry messes that up.

Furthermore, I wish you could do something about cross-contamination between strawberry and chocolate shakes. It's not very pleasant to buy a large chocolate shake, only to find the last half of it tainted with strawberry flavor and little red bits of what I can only assume is strawberry skin. I've already said I don't like chocolate and fruit flavors together, and I especially don't like finding bits of things in what I expect to be a homogeneous food or drink.

Were I a regular patron of McDonald's, I might actually send this complaint to an appropriate contact within the corporation.

Gas Prices, WTF

Gas prices in Ohio, particularly central Ohio, display a pattern. They go down steadily over a period of 5 to 9 days (sometimes shorter or longer) and then, for no apparent reason, jump up by about 10% or more. As the following graph illustrates, this short-term pattern is not related to the price of crude oil, nor is it a phenomenon common to the entire country.

Graph displaying the price of regular gasoline for Colorado Springs, Columbus, and the US average, as well as crude oil price, over the period 2010-10-06 to 2011-01-07. Graph by GasBuddy.com

My mom tells me that on the news, they've been saying for several days now that prices were going to go up, due to reduced production. But if that information has been known, then why have prices steadily gone down for the last week before jumping up today?

I actually have a quite plausible theory to explain this short-term pattern. Seeing gas prices steadily go down over a period of time, drivers get accustomed to that trend. In order to save money, they put off getting gas for as long as possible, to allow the price to drop further before they have to buy. Then, when gas prices jump up, drivers know from experience that the slow downward trend will resume after the jump. As a result, the strategy of procrastination is employed all the time; unless drivers know exactly when prices are going to jump, they simply refuel their cars when the fuel tanks get low. In this way, demand for gasoline is held essentially constant.

Unlucky drivers who find themselves with an empty tank just after a price jump have few options. They can't even shop around for the best price, because they might run out of gas in the endeavor. Besides, the price of gas tends to jump up all around Columbus at the same time. (Isn't that racketeering, and therefore, illegal?) By the way, these price jumps have become essentially unpredictable in recent years; they can occur on any day of the week.

So, apparently, these gas price jumps have no real reason besides controlling consumer behavior. Every now and then, a price hike is rationalized by reduced production or holiday travel, but that doesn't explain the price jumps that come before or after it. Of course, some catastrophic event, like a refinery destroyed in an earthquake, might be a somewhat valid reason to raise gas prices for a while. But these industry-shattering disasters simply don't occur four times a month.

Perhaps there is a practical reason for this pattern, as hypothesized above. But that doesn't make the behavior excusable. Imagine if your favorite restaurant, which you patronize about once a week, decided the cost of your favorite dish should fluctuate from one day to the next. Your meal might cost $6 on Tuesday, but if you wait until Wednesday instead, you have to pay $10. Is that acceptable? I don't imagine such a business would stay open very long. But the gas stations around here are all in it together, essentially removing consumer choice from the equation.

Gas prices in other large cities away from Ohio don't show these sawtooth patterns. They usually have their day-to-day ups and downs, some cities more than others, but the pattern of consistently large jumps punctuating periods of gradual decline is unique to Ohio and surrounding states and possibly strongest in Columbus.

Every time the price goes up, it's like a "fuck you" from Big Oil. It happens almost regularly, but not predictably. One of these days, someone's going to snap, and the results won't be pretty.

More Passing Thoughts

Cool People

Cool Famous People

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite people from movies and TV:

Cool Obscure People

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite people of whom you may not have heard:

Best of my LJ

You know how radio shows often run "best of" shows during the weekends or when the stars are on vacation?  Well, I haven't posted to my LiveJournal much recently, but there are some good nuggets from the past I thought I might share here.