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First off I don’t think Lost and WFS share much of an audience, but I feel like letting my thoughts on the show fly, so suffer through it reader. No specific spoilers here, but if your planning on watching the show you still might not want your judgment clouded by my opinions, so there’s that.

I once told a friend that I enjoyed watching Lost, but I couldn’t be sure how much I liked the show until it ended. What I think a lot of people wanted to know was whether the writers had some grand scheme in mind that would explain all (or at least most) of what was going on, or if they were just throwing stuff at us with the hope that they would be able to wrap it up at the end.

So after the finale I should be of the opinion that I don’t like the show so much, because I’m confident the latter was what was going on. To top it off the final episode wasn’t very good. But in retrospect I’m still glad a I wasted spent all those hours watching the show. I guess the conclusion was good enough (at least the island storyline, the sideways storyline can go to hell and die). The flaws of the finale, and the consequential flaws with the series, weren’t so bad as to negate how interesting it was to watch everything unfold.

While the final episode didn’t stack up against, say, any other season finale the show had, I’m having trouble remembering another series finale that I really enjoyed (other than the Wire, but it’s not fair to compare shows to the Wire). King of the Hill comes to mind, but I’m going to have to put Lost’s finale, that I didn’t like, in the running for my favorite non-Wire series finale ever.

I got in a car wreck in January. I was at fault in the legal sense, till I die I will insist the accident was caused by the ginger who slammed on her breaks in heavy rush hour traffic. So apparently one wreck and a three year old speeding ticket are enough to get a driver ridiculously high car insurance rates, which I just had to pay.

As a former psuedo-actuary, I can’t help but think that if I had purchased minimum liability insurance when I started driving and put the difference in an interest bearing account I would have come out ahead when I finally had to “pay” out of that account fifteen years later. I’m guessing that after my accident the difference between liability and full coverage would be pretty substantial, too. Of course, my recent car smashings have taught me that even a good driver can get in wrecks and you don’t know when they’ll come.

So if you aren’t risk averse, and you think your a good driver, change your policy to liability. If you don’t have savings, you are risking being out a car if you get in a wreck before the savings account has time to accrue much. If you can swing it, you could seed the account with a couple grand at the get go. If you think I’m crazy, I’d like to point out that car insurance companies not only make a profit, they do it while paying a lot of overhead, both of which come out of your policy. My ingenious plan would put some of that money in your pocket.

To hedge against the risk, you could set up a savings plan with some people you know who you consider good drivers. You’ll need to decide beforehand how to deal with ‘claims’ on this account. Anyone interested in joining the Car Insurance Is For Suckers Co-Op?

My roommate hooked me up with a free pass to Comic Con on Wednesday. I was shocked at how well the crowd fit the stereotypes. There were skinny, sickly looking nerds, and overweight nerds. There was no shortage of pony tails and bad facial hair. 1/3 of the crowd seemed to now how to behave at a large crowded event, another third would just stop walking in the middle of the convention floor to look around in amazement, another third would awkwardly try and shove by to get to whatever it is they are trying to get to.

And I’m not sure what they’d be so desperate to see. There were a few corporate booths previewing movies and video games that I could see the nerds of the world being excited about, but it was mostly dudes selling ‘clever’ t-shirts, comic books, or original art, usually of scantily clad comic book chics or sci-fi heroinnes.

I will give the nerds some credit for embracing what they love despite the scorn it brings from larger society. At what point I was drawn into an argument over who would win a light saber duel between Superman and a jedi (motivated by a drawing of Batman and Darth Vader locked in combat, which I could not find on Google Images). I had to end that quickly before my pony tail started growing out.

It made parking for work a pain in the ass (I walked ten blocks to the office yesterday, and yes, I should have taken public transit). One co-worker, having paid $17.50 to park told me he wouldn’t be upset if the Convention Center exploded. He told me of his attempt to pass a costumed, overweight convention goer who was walking erratically on the side walk. As he passed he said “Out of my way Frodo” and got a reply of “Actually, I’m Samwise.”

Perfect.

Marginal Revolution lead me on a series of clicks around the interweb. The kind of people who I assume think they will be better liked (respected?) for pointing out grammatical flaws were jumping on Google for the following:

Over 28,000 children drew doodles for our homepage.

Vote for the one that will appear here!

Here’s whats wrong with those two sentences that are clear and easy to understand:

The AP Stylebook says “over” is a way to move—a preposition. And “more than” must precede a number. Also, if you are voting for one, specific doodle, then the AP Stylebook tells you to use “which” rather than “that.”

I would like to point out that the person who wrote that (second link above) was arguing in her post that conveying ideas clearly is important and grammer isn’t. I think there is more to it than that. By taking the AP Stylebook, or any other ‘authority’ as the One True Source of grammer your treating writing as a process of following a set in stone list of rules. It isn’t. Well it is to a few people, who are missing the point of why we write and speak to one another. This is from the MR comments:

I was, misguidedly, a linguistics major as an undergraduate and the notion that language should be described as it is spoken, which is, “prescriptivism,” and not judged by a rigid set of rules, which is, “prescriptivism,” was a chief tenet of the discipline.

Language changes, it would be ridiculous to try and use the AP Stylebook in England in the 1700’s. It would tell me I’m completely wrong for saying I LOL’d so hard I lizzed myself last night. But everyone not living in a cave will understand. Well, lizzed may not be in the common vernacular yet, but it will be. I would argue that the ‘incorrect’ use of over on the Google page isn’t just okay because everyone knows what they mean. It’s correct because everyone who isn’t a grammar asshole uses ‘over’ that way. That makes it correct. Or does a guy who landed a job editing the AP Stylebook get to tell the rest of the world they’re wrong?

At this point, if Google says it’s okay doesn’t that pretty much make it right? Rant over.

Having returned to academia, I spend a lot of time with early and mid-twentysomethings. I do my best to pass on as much of the wisdom I’ve acquired over my many years on the planet. The other day I found myself in a discussion about people trying to coninue to live a college student like lifestyle after graduation. I commented that most people I know live that way until they either buy a house, get married or have a child.

After having said this I decided it would become something of a litmus test for maturity. I’m not trying to say maturity (or my measures) are good or bad. A while ago a 22 year old told me she thought I was a little immature for my age, I pointed out she didn’t know anyone else my age. From what I’ve seen I’m pretty standard (of course everyone assumes they fit the norm) for someone who hasn’t checked off an  item on the above list. After your mid twenties maturity seems to be based more on what you do than how long you live.  Job responsibilities can have a similar effect, but harder to test because it’s more of a sliding scale. There are, of course, exceptions as well.

I’d also note that I write this on a trip to attend a friends wedding who bought a house last summer. Is there anything else that could go on the list?

I’ve recently become fond of the Hide feature on Facebook, were-in you tell Facebook that, yes, you are friends with a person, but no, you don’t care to know anything about them. It’s handy for people you met a while back, added and will probably never talk to again. More importantly, it’s good for blocking out people who trying to use social networking sites to inform me about their children or careers.

Now Facebook needs to come up with an option were I can block every ‘5 Favorite…’ app.

My intramural hoops team fell to 0 and 2 last night. Apparently putting together a team of graduate students in mathematics and statistics isn’t the best idea. On the plus side, I’ll be turning 30 in a few weeks and can still take most 20 year old’s off the dribble (about as many as I could at 20). If only I had a bunch of gym rats friends like I did ten years ago.

I also was about as ready to come to blows on the court as I’ve ever been when our opponents were pressing with a 20 point lead with 2 minutes left in the game. Poor form.

A few days ago I gave my thoughts on a NY Times article about the places us Americans want to live. I came across this lifehacker post on the least and most expensive places to live. Here are my thoughts.

  • Only a few of the ten most expensive cities are on the lten places people wanted to live list, which makes me wonder why people don’t just move? Maybe they are.
  • When I was moving to San Diego from Bellingham, I lot of people commented on how expensive it is. My thought was it would be comprable to Seattle (which is were most Bellinghamsters move to). Seattle hit #10 on the spendy list, my new home isn’t on the list.
  • Mount Vernon, 30 miles south of Bellingham, is surprisingly on the list of most expenisve small towns. I guess people are willing to pay a ‘tulip tax’. Odd.
  • Scranton was 10 on the cheapest places to live, so it shouldn’t have been that tough for Jim to buy his parents house.

If Tulip tax becomes a common phrase in northwest Washington, I expect you all to remember were it started.

I’ve won 43 consecutive freecell games. I can’t imagine what kind of numbers I would’ve ran up if they had freecell on the old work computer.

I didn’t want to, but got talked into going wine tasting yesterday by a friend who’s male companionship on the trip bailed on him. I had hoped to study but conced after being promised no pressure to drink, free lunch and a four hour trip. None of these promises were kept.

We went to some cool and not so cool (read: generic) wineries in Temecula. I’d recommend some but I didn’t pay much attention to the names. Most of the day was enjoyable, I refined my palatte a bit, visited five winiries at a total cost to me of $2 for a tip. Holding to the hope of getting my learn on in the evening I only tried a few wines at each spot. Which turned out to be a good thing.

One of my co-horts claimed he saw the Rock at one of the spots, but I doubt it was him since the same guy claimed to see Wee-Man in Pacific Beach the night before. Later on when an obviously not Wee-Man midget strolled buy dude insisted it was a different midget with skater clothes on he had seen earlier.

I was told a charming story by a drunk 50-something about how she had met her husband five years to the day earlier at the same winery, I didn’t want to hear the story but she started talking with her mouth about a foot from my ear when I had my back to her, everytime I moved to reclaim my valued personal space she moved right along with me.

The day ended with me convincing the DD that I should drive, drunken arguing, crying, and a pit stop for vomiting. I didn’t get any studying done.

This was my second trip wine tasting, and I’d say it can be enjoyable but one should choose their co-tasters carefully before setting out.