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Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
9:16 pm - Music doesn't age with time but rather with repeated listens.
Rare is the album that continues to hold my attention years after my first listen, let alone command my attention more and more with each listen a dozen years after the first one. nine nich nail's lesser known album 'still' is one of the few albums that I appreciate more and more with each listen.

It originally came as a second bonus CD bundled with a live album, a bonus throw away CD of stripped down deconstructed tracks. I quickly grew tired of the live CD but 'still' continues to haunt me. The stripped down versions are superior to their originals. The final tracks of 'still' are instrumentals of the most moving nature.

When it was released more than a dozen years ago, I thought for sure that 'still' was an indication of nin's future direction. Reznor further hinted at it with Ghosts. But future releases failed to inspire, I stopped buying nin CDs after 'with teeth', one of the most regrettable album purchases I've ever made.

The final track of the album, "leaving hope", may be the closest a piece of music can come to making me cry. As much as music has always moved me, I can't say it ever literally brings me to tears. But this track speaks to something in me. It has always been a beautiful and amazing tune. But its power seems to be amplified by experience and time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az1ewpORFm0#

current mood: melancholy

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Sunday, July 3rd, 2011
4:25 pm - MPG vs GPM
Researching cars right now and one of my big issues is fuel economy. The auto industry seems to be having a race to see which company can put out the most 40 MPG vehicles. This has made vehicle decisions difficult for me as many big MPG increases are not yet released but coming out soon (Subaru Impreza at 36 and Mazda3 at 40 this fall, for example).

One interesting thing I discovered while poking around is the difference between Miles Per Gallon and Gallons Per Mile (a system already used by many other countries). Gallons Per Mile shows that an individual trading up a 10 MPG vehicle to one that gets 20 MPG is actually saving more gas than someone that trades up from 33 MPG to 50 MPG.

http://www.mpgillusion.com/
http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/fuel-mileage-equivalency.html
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/20/the-illusion-of-miles-per-gallon/

It is all very true. But that doesn't mean that a high MPG car isn't better than a lower MPG car. It just means your savings goes up in smaller increments the higher your MPG.

Well, let's flip this stupid thing on its head. Instead of Gallons per Mile measured by 100 miles, let's measure it at the life of a car. Say 200,000 for those of us that love to keep a car as long as possible to reduce cost of ownership as low as possible. Sooooo....

50 MPG at 200,000 = 4000 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $16,000
45 MPG at 200,000 = 4444 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $17,776
40 MPG at 200,000 = 5000 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $20,000
35 MPG at 200,000 = 5714 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $22,857
30 MPG at 200,000 = 6666 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $26,666
25 MPG at 200,000 = 8000 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $32,000
20 MPG at 200,000 = 10000 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $40,000
15 MPG at 200,000 = 13333 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $53,333
10 MPG at 200,000 = 20000 Gallons * $4.00/Gallon = $80,000

So with economy cars starting to get 40 MPG, it means that an equivalent hybrid that gets 50 MPG would need to cost less than $4000 more than the 40 MPG (at $4/gallon gas) to be more cost effective. When you factor in battery replacement and 40 MPG cars starting at $13k, it is still a hard sell even for the Prius when looking at cost even counting up a life time of miles (and most people don't keep their cars for 200,000.

Of note above, going from the old gold standard of 30 MPG to the new gold standard of 40 MPG would save $6,666 in dollar savings of 200,000 life time miles at $4.00 gas. That is a heck of a log of savings for vehicles that cost the same (or for many 40 MPG vehicles that cost less than 30 MPG vehicles).

But going from 20 MPG to 40 MPG would save twice as much money lifetime at $4.00 per gallon through 200,000 miles ($20k vs $40k!!!). Yes, going from 10 MPG to 20 MPG would save the most lifetime at $80k to $40k and not even 20MPG to 50 MPG saves as much money. BUT it still saves money. Savings is not reletive. Every dollar saved can be spent on something else. In the case of trading in a 20 MPG SUV to a 40 MPG car, you would have saved enough to pay for the cost of the car (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

I still don't think hybrids are worth the money, especially when you factor in battery replacement. Every less gallon used is a good thing, regardless. But something like a VW TDI diesel no longer makes sense when we have 40 MPG running on regular.

Another thing that doesn't make sense is the whole rush to increase MPG by the government. It would make far more sense to reduce sales of lower MPG vehicles by taxing them progressively harsher, perhaps with exceptions for businesses that have need of heavy weight trucks. Increasing the gas tax wouldn't be a bad thing either.

Ultimately, increasing gas prices as the years go by and wells stop producing will ultimately make the issue pointless. Until then, whether you measure in MPG or GPM, halving your GPM or doubling your MPG both double your savings at the pump. It is just harder to do the more efficient you get.

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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
7:42 pm
Four months ago (wow, two posts in four months. guess who doesn't use LJ much any more?) I posted about a serious need for inspiration. I think I finally have it. The massive will power is awakening and shaking itself off. It is basking in the after glow of winning the Store Manager of the Year award for my company of over 900 store managers. It is looking at the potential for new opportunities to do more of what I do best and less of what I struggle to do. It is saying, let's get thing thing organized. It is shaking off a cloud. And it's good.

Part of me wonders if it is just the changing of the seasons. Does my psyche suffer that much from winter? It baffles me because I love winter and love being outdoors in the winter. I ski, I hike, I snow shoe. I revel in the new snow while others cuss under their breaths. But I always seem to suffer mental setbacks in the winter months. Maybe it is just a symptom of the type of work I do where so much stress is loaded into time dependent events of magnitude. Perhaps it is stagnancy and acceptance of things I don't want to accept. Whatever it is, I need to fight against it going forward.

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Saturday, May 21st, 2011
9:51 pm
I am sick of hearing about the rapture. I am not sick of hearing from those that believed in today's supposed rapture (I actually haven't specifically even heard from anyone that believed it would be today). But rather I am sick of hearing about the rapture in general. Specifically, I am sick of hearing about people making fun of the rapture prediction.

The commentary regarding this non-event is stunning. It is not funny, there is nothing humorous here. It is sick, shockingly sick, what so many believers did approaching this day. Many "true believers", in a show of faith, intentionally planned for financial ruin believing that they would not be on Earth around after today. It is sick that belief cause that sort of non-sense. I don't care what people believe. But I am always saddened when belief in anything causes harmful effects.

You would think someone of my world view would welcome such ridicule. But the commentary is largely universal. Which is to say that people with other unscientifically based religious beliefs (sorry, that was redundant) are making fun of other people's unscientifically based beliefs. This even extends to Christians that believe in the rapture and judgment day but ridicule those that believed in today's predicted date because they thought they could possibly know a deity's will. Ridicule not for what they believed but rather for why they believed it. All sorts of nonsense has been caused because of these types of conflicting beliefs. Fortunately, the only nonsense happening here is the ridicule itself.

I got no beef with anyone that prescribes to a different take than my own. But I do have a big beef with those that snidely ridicule other people's beliefs when their own beliefs are just as far fetched. Obviously, some see a difference: that the "others" beliefs are crazy and their own beliefs are correct or at least logical or plausible. I find it appalling despite having an understanding that it is just the way we are built as a species.

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
7:51 pm - Inspiration Needed
Things were a lot easier being an angry young man. It wasn't the type of anger that was displayed in public much. It was not a physical anger. But there was so much to be pissed off about. There was a simmering rage just under the surface. A feeling desperate for something to rage against. Youthful angst. Pointless in many regards; but it got stuff done.

Now I only get angry about not being angry. But it isn't enough anger to move me to action. It is not malaise because I don't feel out of sorts. But there is a disconnect. A pointlessness that needs direction and inspiration. I can't even manage simple routines any more. It's not because I say "what is the point?" but rather that I know what the point is but can't seem to feel strongly about it.

I think it is social disconnection. Social interconnectedness inspires something inside of people. And lack of said social interconnectedness detaches people. Online social networking does not increase social interconnectedness but is just an outlet or circumstance of real social interconnectedness. It isn't about the screen and social networking without physical connection isn't social interconnectedness at all but rather a perverse opposite.

But the anger is gone. This type of thing at one time would have brought about sharp turns, instant action, plans lacking foresight or depth. Anything to make me move and shake it off. Where is the anger? Where is that inspiring sense of outrage to move mountains and worlds to overcome the outside force? Why am I so comfortable in knowing there is a problem without welling up huge outrage to rally against it?

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
11:20 pm
Okay, I gave that enough thought. I have a bike trainer on order. Time to start putting in some miles while its below freezing and there are three foot tall snow banks. Even better, during the riding season, I have no excuses when its raining! No excuses, for sure.

I wouldn't be able to do it this year, but I was looking at the Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride maybe for next year. 150ish miles from Boston to Windsor, VT, lots of hills. Then lots of beer. Costs a lot but looks like it would be fun. Still awaiting some dates before looking at rides for this season.

Feeling better, so game on for skiing this weekend. Plans are already in place for holiday crowd avoidance. It all depends on how bad the weather effects things. Plans with options are the only plans worth having.

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Monday, February 14th, 2011
7:28 pm - Monthly Update
Sick. Horribly sick. Five days now of nastiness unlike anything I have experienced in some time. Everyday brings a new surprise, adding insult to injury. I never call out sick but I have taken one full sick day and two early days. When I called my second in command to alert him that I wouldn't be in on Friday, I could hear the dumbfounded shock in his voice. Blah.

Another weekend of prime skiing shot down. This was supposed to be the epic season to end them all. The snow and weather have certainly cooperated but health and work have not. I still only have 19 days and the season is already half over. 60 was the goal. I can still get there. Lack of snow is not an issue late season but often times temperature becomes the problem.

Biking Stuff After the CutCollapse )

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Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
10:24 pm - Goals
While cleaning out my old computer's documents folder, I discovered a much neglected filed from 01/06/2010 entitled Goals & Planning. It is stunning to see how much has been accomplished this past year. As I mentioned yearly, I am not big on the whole New Year's Resolution thing. It's just an empty statement of idealism reflecting personal dissatisfaction with the current moment. But to put together achievable goals and to make a plan to make it happen--that can be done any time of year for any reason, not simply because you put a new calendar on the wall.

So what is left? While I started an automatic deposit into a savings account and by this summer will have three months worth of pre-tax income saved, I still believe I need to save more. That will be a long term item, as once the savings account is loaded, that extra money will be going towards car payments this coming summer. Oh yea, Saturn will be traded in this summer. :) We'll also finish paying off S's car before that happens. Not sure when I will be able to revisit increasing 401k investments or an IRA. Long term on that one, car purchase in the short term once the savings account is where it needs to be. I still want to get S and I a pair of kayaks. Finances for that will happen in 2012 most likely.

That doesn't seem like a lot of stuff left over considering what was accomplished this year. And a lot of that stuff I had already notated was a "down the road" planning item. Two other items are on there that should have gotten done and didn't. I'll need to give everything else some thought. I already have my skiing "to dos" in place this season. My first to do will happen this Friday when I finally ski Balsams. I got a bunch more of "firsts for me". This season is all about exploration... trying to rekindle my amazement and appreciation.... my excitement. So far, so good. And once we get a wagon, we're taking a vacation this summer. Oh where oh where to go? I just gotta bring work around and I think this next year will be quite the experience.

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8:29 pm
Not that it was not abundantly clear previous, but I think I officially quality for geek status now that I am running two screens side by side. My transition from desktop to laptop is almost complete. Still need to bring over some files from the old desktop via my external hard drive (which now looks like a dinosaur compared to newer models). I think I am having too much fun with this, if that is possible?

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
11:00 pm
Ever since we got S a laptop last year, I have been patiently been awaiting the day that I could satisfactorily say that my desktop has out lived its usefulness. Two months ago, when I raged about its slow performance, I upgrade its memory to from half a gig to 3.5gb. Earlier this week, my power supply went (as far as I can tell), so I decided not to throw good money after bad and make the upgrade. I was going to do it eventually any ways and my desktop lasted five years which is pretty good.

So I have been playing with my new toy tonight. An ASUS N61J 16" laptop with an i5, 4gb memory, USB 3.0 port, 500gb HD @ 7200, and a numpad... woot. I think I got enough computer to future proof me until I am over the hill. I wanted a full on 17"er with 1600x900 but didn't want to skimp on an i3 or 5400 HD or pay $100-200 more than I did. Not a bad deal considering I got it shipped next day air for free!

--

Skiing has been great despite November being terrible. Still awaiting the first big dump of the year but it keeps stacking on a few inches at a time. Mad River on Friday should be amazing. Really going for it this season with a goal of 60 days. Nine so far and over six months to go. Just gotta stay healthy. And my passport card came in some I will be QC bound sometime during this season.... likely during the holidays when my vouchers are blacked out.

Work has been a grind lately. This week has been so good for catch up though. I really need to get caught up so I can be ready to take mid-week powder vaca days when the storms hit. Doesn't look like Sunday-Monday's storm is going to take a turn up the coast. You guys down in Boston should get it pretty good, though. Three long weekends in a row coming up. This time of year rules for time off.

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Sunday, December 12th, 2010
1:57 pm - Points Baby, Points
On work business, I recently visited a local bank. While conducting work transactions, I was solicited for a credit card by one of the managers. I have two credit cards though I generally only use one unless I am making a specific transaction that gets me 3x points in which case I will use the other. I politely declined citing I only even have a second card for credit score enhancement and that they don't want me anyways since I am a credit card deadbeat. Points baby! Points!

I have a pretty standard points package. I suspect most are the same offering an array of gifts in exchange for points. But I have long since discovered that the best rewards package for points is cash back. Spend $2500 and get $25 cash back for free. This means that as a credit card deadbeat, not only does my card NEVER cost me one red cent but that I also get about $200 cash back for free every year. I have slowly been consolidating all of my purchases onto credit cards to maximize points.

They are free cash back offerings to me, but they are not "free". If you are not a deadbeat, you are subsidizing my points. Thanks. But that is not entirely true. Its really businesses that help me rack up cash back. Businesses are charged intercharge fees every time a credit card is swiped. It amounts to 1-2% of the total value of the purchase. That is a big chunk of change for many purchases.

This is why I still carry cash. I try to always pay cash for small purchases at local businesses such as pizza and sub shops. I take a penalty at the cash machine for this noble act but as a store manager myself, I know it certainly helps a struggling small business.

Any ways, back to Points Baby, Points. While submitting my most recent $25 cash back request, I noticed that 2500 gave you $25.00 but 1500 gave you a $10 gift card to a retailer. This is how the crazy rewards programs work. You get the most financial value back by going straight for the cash back. Gift cards give you less financial reward and lock you into a particular retailer. Same with merchandise, you could find it cheaper on your own via cash back than cashing in points for an item. Its crazy!

Credit card rewards in general are crazy. But you would be crazy not to use a credit card, be a deadbeat, and not college your rewards. Its all just one of the many crazy money redistribution systems at play in the world today. No fees to businesses would mean no rewards. And no rewards means people wouldn't be actively encouraged to buy more shit they can't afford. Money and economics has really fascinated me lately. Not in the sense of "MONEY, I NEED MORE MONEY!" But in the sense of being fascinated by how the system handles efficiencies when allowed to work properly but how inefficiencies are often created--sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons.

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Sunday, December 5th, 2010
6:21 pm - Internal Consistency
What burns me about politics is the lack of internal consistency.within respective points of view. Some might call it a lack of intellectual honesty--though that wording burns a lot of people. What ever you call it, folks hold to their point of view regardless of internal contradictions and lack of internal consistency.

Regardless of your point of view on political issues, I think most rational human beings can admit that it is not consistent to be a budget and deficit watch dog but then slam through tax extensions. Any economist worth talking to these days will tell you that both program cuts and revenue increases are both needed, you can't have it all one way.

My favorite example is that of freedom. Everyone wants Freedom, but only when it applies to what they believe in, not what the other guy believes in. I get my freedom that I want but I disagree that you should have the freedom that you want because it is somehow against my personal ethical code that I think should be universal. There is no objective morality so you can't take away someone else's freedom by claiming divinity, no more than I can take away your freedom for whatever you want to do. Have it it.

Why can't politics boil everything down to its routes? Because in politics, you can't admit that the other side has a valid point. Its all party line. Its all sound bites. Why? Because it works. It gets votes. It gets people elected.

I don't care when politicians do it. Its their job, their livelihood. Its either that or risk a dictatorship or a system built upon false objective premises. But it saddens me to see so much illogic being spewed forth by the voting public, being hooked line and sinker into believing 100% one side or the other, when they are both way off base.

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
8:03 pm


This shit is just awesome. I gotta wonder if I could make a hip house/acid house event go over in a college town like Plymouth, lol. Let's see if these 80s lovin' youngins can handle some dance music! Is this stuff ready for a come back yet? Or is it just me?

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Sunday, November 14th, 2010
7:04 pm - Yeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


I could listen to this stuff all night. At least, for tonight I could. :)

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Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
9:36 pm
I'll be heading down to Boston this Saturday to see The Joy Formidable at Great Scott in Allston. I am really digging their stuff, great band if you are interested. They put on a great show during their first swing through the states.

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Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
9:48 pm - "The Year"
Interesting fact about my ski history: I have never had a 50 day season. Twice I came close hitting 49 days. Not that I specifically target 50 days or not that quantity means as much as quality (though high quantity usually means a higher likelihood of quality) but rather it is surprising that someone that crafts so much of his life around skiing--to the point of skiing from October until July--has yet to hit 50 days.

Injuries have certainly done their damage. Broken elbow, ingrown toe nail, damaged thumb ligament, overuse knee injury, etc. Every year it always seems to be something. Call it the curse of moving out of Massachusetts, it seems to strike me down almost every year.

But it is not just injuries. It also involves being a "fair conditions skier". I become a "powder princess" and turned my nose up at conditions that would have been pleasing seven years ago. The last few seasons I let work get in the way sometimes and experienced many days when "I just wasn't feeling it."

But I am feeling it right now. I am feeling this season big time--I don't want to let an opportunity slip by. Plans for this season are significant including skiing in both New York and Canada for the first time. My blogging at thesnowway.com has stepped up a notch and I am debating really launching the site into something bigger than I had ever intended it to be. I have already committed to 34 lift serviced days with up front ticket voucher commitments. I may hit as many as twenty different ski areas this season.

This is the year I go for it... that I start this whole thing over and scrap the "I'm better than 'those' conditions" mentality. Rediscovery is the theme for this year. And part of rediscovery will be discovering new areas... trying to recapture some of that wonder that I once had for this activity that I love so much, but yet needs some rekindling. And maybe through Rediscovering in skiing I can uncover other buried things that hint at their awareness... just out of reach, just out of sight.

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Monday, October 18th, 2010
6:29 pm - And so it begins...

Killington, VT: 10/16/10

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Thursday, October 14th, 2010
10:23 pm
Skiing this Saturday. :):):)

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Thursday, October 7th, 2010
7:57 pm - So Disappointed
I am SO disappointed to find out that the real lyrics are "I'm A Punk Rocker, Yes I Am" instead of "I'm A Bomb Dropper, Yes I Am." I like it my way better. Droppin' bombs!

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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
11:06 pm - Westboro Baptist Church
What the Westboro Baptist Church does is perhaps some of the most despicable type of protesting imaginable. It is one thing to suggest that their deity is killing soldiers because America is embracing homosexuality (ludicrous as it may sound, personally, I think any belief in general is ludicrous so who is any one that believes in anything not provable able to judge? I digress....). But it is another to bring such hate to a funeral--likely one of a fellow god fearing chrsitian in many cases!!--and blather on in front of grieving family members.

I won't defend the Westboro Baptist Church. But I will defend their rights.

As so often is the case in this country, we embrace the laws, the rules, the policies and procedures, etc. that we support or believe in or that make our lives better. And for those things that we do not prefer, we would rather see them eliminated. This seems like a no brainer. Who would not want Westboro Baptist Church punished for their actions? But it is a slippery sloped and a TERRIBLE precedent. If I slander someone online, will I be liable in a civil suit? This is bad stuff.

Many freedoms are not meant to give us "freedoms of" but rather "freedom from". And it is easy to try to remove the freedoms of an outside group that almost all Americans can uniformly agree are doing some atrocious stuff. But when it is most easiest to violate another group/persons' freedoms, we must be most vigilant to protect those freedoms.

Because next time it could be us.

That is the true definition of an important freedom. That you must begrudgingly give it to those you oppose most so that it will be there when you need it most. Anything less is not enough.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/6/supreme-court-takes-church-protests-military-funer/

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-court-funerals-20101007,0,7401118.story

Further ranting...Collapse )

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