Archive for September, 2006

Angelina as Dagny

September 21, 2006

Wow, Angelina Jolie has officially signed on to the movie version of Atlas Shrugged to bring Dagny Taggart to life. The rumors were true!

Jolie is exactly how I would have wanted Dagny to look. She claims to be a big fan, so maybe she’ll give a great performance. I certainly hope so.


Apple Beer

September 21, 2006

Think root beer, not beer beer. It’s very apple flavored, as you’d expect. It does have a slight sour aftertaste, but it’s not unpleasant. It’s something I’d drink again, but I wouldn’t make a special trip to pick it up.
Official site | BevNet review

3 of 5 stars


September 20, 2006

This one was another of the bought because of the name sodas. As Wikipedia correctly notes, the soda is pronounced “ore on zhee nuh.” As Wikipedia also notes, it could be pronounced “orn gina.” Okay, so it’s a little sophomoric but it amused me in the store. The initial taste is definitely orange juicy with a very mellow citrus aftertaste. I couldn’t imagine drinking this often, but it’s pleasant as a rare treat.
Official site | Wikipedia Entry

4 of 5 stars

Too Quick

September 20, 2006

I’ve been noticing lately that I am too quick to make judgements. I first learned of this problem from Aaron T. Beck, who called it “catastrophizing.” In a nutshell, that’s the practice of blowing innocuous events out of proportion. Examples abound in my personal life: someone doesn’t respond to my instant messages for hours or emails for days and I start to wonder if I’ve lost a friend or burnt a bridge; a friend doesn’t hang out with me and I feel an intense desire to confront him; my wife comments that the kids are out of control and I assume she’s derogating my parenting.

It’s a very real problem because it can sour a relationship due to resentment, anger, need for reassurance, and even hostility. It hasn’t happened very often to me because I’ve learned to keep it inside—I feel all of these negative emotions but I don’t express them. But it can lead to dwelling on problems even though the catalytic event had a perfectly reasonable explanation that had no personal causation: busyness, inattention, insensitivity, or even self-absorption.

But the act of keeping it inside isn’t terribly satisfying because it is very distracting. I am constantly analyzing the events leading up to the triggering event, searching for actions on my part that might have contributed to the perceived breakdown. Generally, I can’t find them (for obvious reasons) and so I tend to lash out internally at the person. This cathartic behavior often allows me to introspect on my reaction, thereby defusing the catastrophizing.

The introspection typically takes the form of Socratic self-questioning. “Is there an alternate explanation for this person’s behavior?” “Is that behavior consonant with past behavior?” “Does it fit the level of friendship or love you’ve established?” “Is it possible that you’re overreacting?” “Can you wait a few days to confront the person?”

I think that these questions get at the heart of the matter: catastrophizing is often a psychological version of injustice. Justice is the act of granting that which someone deserves. Psychologically, this takes the form of gratitude or righteous anger, to pick but two examples of justice-related emotions. Catastrophizing severs this tie: leaving emotions that aren’t truly related to the other person. It’s almost as if you whip yourself into a froth over nothing.

This is the first in an ongoing series of introspective entries I wish to undertake in order to gain a better insight into what makes me tick. They may have no meaning to anyone besides me as they are not intended as psychological treatises and undergo only the lightest of editing.

Manhattan Special Vanilla Cream

September 19, 2006

Coming on the heels of the Waialua Vanilla Cream, this was something of a disappointment. Perhaps if I had tasted prior to that exquisite one, I might have rated this one higher. As it stands, there was no aftertaste save a hint of vanilla and the mouth feel was quite strong. It reminded me of something that I unsuccessfully attempted to recall while drinking the entire bottle. It’s very bubbly, like champagne, and maybe a little tart.
Official site | BevNet Review

3 of 5 stars

10 Cool Features of the MINI Cooper

September 19, 2006

Since I bought my MINI Cooper three months ago, I’ve regularly noticed
new design touches that have made me appreciate the car more and more.
Only a few of them are unique to the MINI, but taken as a whole they
spell out an attention to detail that is unusual in a car priced (for
the most part) under $30,000. I’ll start the list off at ten, but I
will continue to make updates as I discover more things (and you’re
welcome to add to it in the comments):

  1. Sunroof: if you press the top-down button on my convertible, the roof retracts about 16″—creating an excellent sunroof. To my knowledge, this is the only car that has this feature.
  2. Variable-speed windshield wipers: if you’ve got the wipers on anything but intermittent, stopping the vehicle reduces their speed to the next-lowest setting.
  3. A/C vent in the glovebox: keeps the glovebox contents from melting or freezing, depending on your air conditioning selection.
  4. Single-use trunk unlock: pressing the trunk unlocking button on the remote does exactly what you’d expect. But when you close it, the trunk locks itself again. Exactly what you’d want even though you didn’t expect it.
  5. Locking gas cap: there is no visible lock on the gas cap nor is there any obvious lever in the car’s interior with which to open it. Unlocking the doors (maybe just the driver’s side alone—I’ll have to check it out) unlocks the gas cap and vice versa.
  6. Lights on the bottom of the doors: when you open up either of the doors, a light on the bottom of the door automatically turns on. This illuminates the area that you will soon be standing in and has saved me countless times from stepping directly into a large puddle.
  7. Chair memory: I didn’t opt for the power seats but the basic seats have a limited positional memory. When you move up the seat to let the back seat passengers embark, the seats will return to their original positions by just pushing them back. It’s hard to describe but it’s very nicely done.
  8. Headlights: the headlights are attached to (or a part of, rather) the hood. This allows you to pop the hood with the headlights on and illuminate trees, billboards, low-flying witches, and the like. As far as I know, this is utterly unique to the MINI—and sadly is going away in the 2007 models.
  9. Self-locking top: the convertible has an interesting guide system that fully automatizes the closing and locking process. I’ve had several convertibles in the past that required manual intervention at the last moment to secure the top. This is much, much better.
  10. Cigarette lighter in the trunk: this, combined with the fold down nature of the trunk, makes for a very useful tailgate party vehicle.

To my mind, these collectively remind me of Apple’s famous reputation for detail.


September 18, 2006

I hesitated drinking this because I remembered that I had had it before but I couldn’t for the life of me recall my evaluation. I don’t generally like colas. Now I wish I had bought a few of them! Cheerwine is delightful: slight hint of cherry à la Dr. Pepper but not the harsh acidity of most colas. It does have the aftertaste that colas always have, but it didn’t seem as bad as others I’ve had.
Official site | Wikipedia entry

5 of 5 stars

Waialua Vanilla Cream

September 18, 2006

Absolutely delicious vanilla cream soda. I enjoyed it profusely. I can’t say that Hawaiian sugar cane made the difference, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt. Light, delicate taste with no discernible aftertaste.
Official site

5 of 5 stars

How Not to Program

September 15, 2006

Uh oh, Leon Bambrick has spilled the beans about how to be a programmer. (Just kidding, that’s programming by coincidence.)

Moxie Orange Cream

September 13, 2006

Orange creams are so wonderful: they remind me of 50/50 bars and summer. I could drink them all day long—if I were interested in becoming a diabetic. As it stands, they’re an occasional drink due to their sugary flavor. And this one is one of the best of the breed.
Official site

5 of 5 stars