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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Whirl Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Maelstrom" journal:

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December 31st, 2009
11:45 pm

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Happy New Year! I'm hoping to write some more later on...it's just been really busy lately.

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September 5th, 2009
12:25 am

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I'd buy that for a dollar off...if only...
I love Powell's Books, but some of their processes are a little slow. I packed about 3-4 boxes of books in my car for selling to the bookstore. They have handcarts available to carry all the boxes, but only with proper photo ID--once you reach the counter to ask for one.

Due to the impending Labor Day weekend, my work let me out early at 3pm. I circled trying to find a parking spot, and found one about 3 blocks away. So I picked up my first box and carried it through. There was a pretty good size line, and three checkers. Two of them were helping out some customers who had 10 or more boxes of books, so it was taking quite a while to finish them up. I waited about an hour to get to the head of the line, and the line was twice as long when I got there. As a courtesy, I decided not to go for the handtruck, since that would just take too long.

Once they went through my books, they could only buy back one tiny book...for $1 cash or $2 store credit. I was anxious to go put my unwanted books back in the car, and come back and buy the Nikoli book I wanted. Normally with the cash option, they cut a check in the amount. I was tired enough that I just wanted the cash, and thought, well, they'd probably hand over a dollar bill and call it good. No, they cut what looks like a check for $1! I fold it up and put it in my wallet without reading it, since I'd be depositing some checks the next day. I come back, buy my book for full price, and call it good.

So I get home and find out the "check" was really an in-store voucher for $1 (redeemable at the main checkout counters)--only good for the date listed on the voucher (9/4)!! It's too late for me to come back, so I've been accidentally cheated out of $1 (or $2) off my book purchase. Der.

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July 22nd, 2009
04:49 pm

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Dahhhhhhh....I heard that....

....that Les Lye of Nickelodeon's "You Can't Do That on Television" fame passed away yesterday.  He pretty much played all the adult male characters on the show (teachers, dads, that firing squad leader, etc.), including Ross, the show's producer, and Barth, the cook.  Nickelodeon watchers of my generation would probably instantly recognize his work on the show, and could probably recite a few favorite lines of their own.

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July 16th, 2009
12:02 pm

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Hey all, it's been a while
Just finding time to sit down and write has been tough enough...it helps that the ban on LJ as a "Social Networking" site has been lifted slightly at work.  Things are going pretty good around here, and the kids are doing great.

My notice of the day:  I heard this story on NPR, which also got distributed to the "weird news" files all around TV and the net.  VISA makes an error with multiple cardholders with the same charge: $23,148,855,308,184,500.  Big deals have been made about how this is a "23 quadrillion dollar charge", it's a 17-digit number, larger than the U.S. national debt, etc. etc.  The banks have been extra nice in not charging overdraft charges, as they should be.

When I heard the story, I thought, well, what kind of number could accidentally be input instead of a dollar amount?  Credit card numbers are 16 digits long.  I also noticed the round number at the end of the charge--no cents.  If the charged amount is divisible by 5, it creates a new 16-digit number starting with 4--which all VISA cards start with.  If you look at the statement in the link above, the last 4 of the card on the bill does not match the new 16-digit number.  But is it possible that someone else's legitimate card number got processed/mangled through the accidental input, and ended up as this new 17-digit number?  Probably too much of a coincidence, but I wonder if I'm onto something.

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January 26th, 2009
10:39 pm

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Pod People
I am the guest on the latest podcast of "Fill Me In: Ryan and Brian do Crosswords." My interview starts right at the 20 minute mark. Go check it out!

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January 11th, 2009
04:44 pm

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2008 quiz results
The original quiz.

The answers.Collapse )

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January 1st, 2009
11:07 pm

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2008 quiz
The 12 figures below (listed alphabetically) were all in the news during 2008, and each was notable during a different month of the year, representing all 12 months. Can you sort the newsmakers in order from January to December?

a) Muntadhar al Zaidi
b) Taro Aso
c) Ingrid Betancourt
d) Da' Tara
e) Ann E. Dunwoody
f) Ashley Alexandra Dupre
g) John Hagee
h) Lin Miaoke
i) Mark Penn
j) Uno
k) Corey Worthington
l) Joe Wurzelbacher

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December 25th, 2008
10:48 pm

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Sno daze
This is the most snow I've seen in this area ever--about a foot and a half still lingers. We've had layers of snow and ice since last Thursday, and this was the first "White Christmas" we've had for a long time. We're getting a little stir crazy at home, since I haven't driven for a week, and Jenn hasn't left the house. I took MAX (the light rail) and the streetcar to work for the last few days. MAX was packed to the point I couldn't move on some days.

Hope you all had excellent and happy holidays!

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December 22nd, 2008
01:59 am

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Sno' nuff
It's been snowing off and on since Thursday. By Saturday, the snow finally stuck and piled up to about 4-5 inches. More snow dropped this morning, with warnings of half-inch thick ice sheets freezing on top. Also, there were multiple warnings that power may go out in certain areas. Luckily, our power has stayed on. However, there's ice frosting up all our windows, so we can't see out very well, unless I look out the back door to the back yard.

I'm taking the last 3 Mondays of December off from work, so I missed last Monday. At work, they let us out early Tue/Wed, then had us in a full day on Thu, then a delayed opening on Fri. I've taken a couple of trips on MAX (the light rail system) when the roads were not icy, and found that there's a switchover a block away to the streetcar line, which runs a block from my workplace. I'm wondering about Tuesday, if the ice will still stick around, otherwise I may have some problems walking to work, even if it's a block or two from the streetcar.

It's been pretty nice at home, although it reminds me of the big 2004 ice storm. Lots of local news watching, so it's not that bad this time of year when reruns would have aired in place of 24-hour local news alerts. The big difference between now and 2004? There used to be a restaurant 2 blocks away from our house, and it served as a nice change of pace for food. It was within a safe walking distance, even in icy conditions. This year, the restaurant closed about a month ago. The next nearest restaurant is a Taco Bell, much further away.

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December 13th, 2008
12:57 am

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The Amazing Race--Home Edition
Spoilers of the final episode of The Amazing Race last weekend, in case you haven"t watched yet.Collapse )

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