Cleaning out the closet — December 2010 edition

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a post full of random bits & pieces that aren’t big enough, involved enough or (let’s be honest here) important enough to rate their own entry.  Given that I have the ADD kid’s classic short attention span, this needs to happen every so often.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun for both of us.   Consider it a peaceful ride through my mind, in a glass-bottomed boat.

So … please take your seat, fasten your seat belt, and enjoy the ride …

* It’s the rainy season here in Stockton — our equivalent to the snow folks get in the northern and eastern U.S., only with less shoveling and no road salt.  (For which, thank You, God!)  The downside is that the constant looming of gray clouds can be rough on those of us with a tendency to depression (even a mild tendency like mine).  So far, we’re holding up, but if you’re inclined to a little extra prayer, keep me and the fam in mind, please.

Still, it beats what friends of mine in Canada have to deal with.  I never have to fight depression AND a nine-foot-high snowdrift in my driveway …

* Personally, I was thrilled when the NFL announced on Thanksgiving that Black Eyed Peas would play the next Super Bowl halftime show.  The Peas aren’t everyone’s taste, I know, but:

  • they’re probably the most popular band in North America right now.
  • they do create awfully catchy pop songs.
  • apparently their live concerts are top-notch.
  • they’re a proudly interracial group, of which I heartily approve.
  • all the members are under 60 years of age.

Seriously, after The Remaining Half of The Who’s positively decrepit halftime concert at the last Super Bowl, something had to be done — and whenever I thought about what, my first idea was “I wonder if they could get away with scheduling Black Eyed Peas …”  Well, I guess we’ll find out, huh?

* Speaking of football … they announced the college bowl game schedule today.  There are three undefeated teams in the top level (what used to be called Division I-A, and now call … something else), and of course the two from big ol’ football-factory conferences will play for the title, while the third gets it in the sigmoid.  ***Yawwwwwn.***  Wake me up when there’s a playoff, okay?

* Funny thing happened today — Sean was a little congested, so I went to the local Walgreen’s to get some children’s Dimetapp (or the generic Walgreen equivalent).  We’d bought some there a couple of weeks ago, and a friend of my in-laws has been sending us Walgreen’s gift cards to help the Seanster Monster out, so no worries.

Or so we thought.  But when I got there, no Dimetapp or Dimetapp knockoff.  Basically all they had were various forms of Robitussin, Theraflu and Delsym, plus the generic versions of same.  I tried two other Walgreen’s stores; same situation.  Then I went to a CVS … 95% of the choices were those three brands and their plain stepsisters.  Finally, I went to a Rite-Aid, where those three only controlled 80% of the options, gave up and found the closest thing to Dimetapp I could get.

But it was so strange — two weeks ago, plenty of options; today, surprisingly few.  I thought that maybe the drugstores had signed exclusive agreements with one pharmaceutical company … but Robitussin, Theraflu and Delsym are made by three different corporations.  Is there a distribution issue involved?  Were a lot of products recalled and I didn’t get the news?  If you know anything about this, please fill me in — I don’t need more mysteries …

* As part of my continuing efforts to find an energy drink that will get me through the days, I decided last week to try Monster Java.  And not only is it effective without giving me a jittery feeling, it’s also very tasty.  I’ve never really developed a taste for coffee, so on the rare occasions when I do drink it, I usually put in enough milk and sugar to reverse-engineer a Hershey bar.  Basically, I turn it into melted coffee ice cream.  That’s what Monster Java tastes like.  We’ll see if this is a long-term solution, or if the effect wears off like it did for me with Wired.  (If the latter, maybe I’ll try alternating Monster and Wired, so I don’t build up a tolerance to either one.  I dunno, it’s a theory …)

* If you’re looking for a fun way to decrease your productivity, I have a recommendation for you.  Sporcle is a website that advertises “mentally stimulating diversions” — basically, trivia quizzes with time limits.  But really imaginative ones — f’rinstance, today’s new entries were:

  • “Can you name the words that the letters in these NCAA Division I university initialisms stand for?” (I got 25 out of 26; never heard of SIUE before)
  • “Can you name the 5 word movie titles from the [randomized] words in the columns?” (25 for 25 — pats self on back)
  • “Can you name the countries whose common names contain the letters ‘GU’ together in that order?” (This one got me; I managed 7 of 10, and was lucky to do that!)

For a fellow who started playing Trivial Pursuit when he was 12, this is almost earthly paradise.  I have to carefully restrain myself, or I’ll blow two hours on a Saturday afternoon and not even realize it.  The only catch: you have to be at least a passable typist, or the timer will murder you.  But definitely worth checking out, I think.

* Finally, this just struck me as funny … there was an article over at Slate Magazine a few days ago about architects, a subject they revisit a lot.  (It’s one of the reasons I like Slate; I’d wanted to be an architect when I was a kid, and it’s said you never forget your first love.)  In passing, there were a few sentences about the architect who designed (among other things) the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and included a link to a picture of that particular edifice.

Here’s the link. Take a really good look at it.

Now seriously, Bill — you only get one shot at a presidential library.  And while I didn’t vote for you, I don’t have any personal grudge against you.  But really, THAT?  I mean, not only did you locate it on a weedy-looking site by a greenish-brown river, right next to what appears to be an old railroad bridge, but you picked a design that looks like the world’s largest trailer?!? Egads, this couldn’t look more redneck if you had Jeff Foxworthy cracking jokes outside it while “Dueling Banjos” plays in the background!  You can’t make this stuff up.

And that, dear reader, is why I need to clear out my mental closet once in a while.  Otherwise, I’d never get that pic of the Presidential Doublewide out of my head …

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One Response to Cleaning out the closet — December 2010 edition

  1. Lori Knutson says:

    Ray,

    I enjoyed my journey through your mind in a glass-bottomed boat. Don’t know what’s up with the Dimetapp; I’ll keep my eye out over here to see if we have the same situation.

    You’re SO RIGHT about the libary looking like a trailer! That is so funny.

    Enjoyable post, as always.

    Take care,
    Lori

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