Thursday, June 10, 2010

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fie on’t!

O that this too too solid flesh would melt,

Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!

Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d

His canon ’gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable

Seem to me all the uses of this world!

Fie on’t! O fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,

That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature

Possess it merely. That it should come to this!

Act I, Scene 2

I have of late,—but wherefore I know not,—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Act II, Scene 2

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some Fantastic Headphones

The headphones I’ve been using for quite a while have been very cheap earbuds.  They’ve been wearing out and I’ve been meaning get some better ones for quite a while.  I have been particularly interested in trying out some in ear headphones.  A couple weeks ago I buckled down and did some fairly extensive research into what headphones to buy.Sennheiser-CX300-II

The research process for headphones is a little difficult for a number of reasons.  First, most people that review or rate headphones can’t compare very many, since they typically  own very few.  Second, there are an awful lot of headphones in the world, with fairly subtle differences between similar models of the same brand.  Third, and probably the biggest problem, is that most of the things that make headphones good or bad are really qualitative and people’s opinions aren’t standardized in any way.

After researching a fair amount, I decided that Sennheiser was probably one of the better brands, and went to some stores to see if any were available without ordering online.  I was in luck: F.Y.E. had the CX300-II and CX400 model for sale for $29.99, down from their typical $80 price tag.  I ended up buying both models: one for me and one for my mom. 

The sound is quality is virtually identical between the two models.  The primary differences are that the CX30 0-II has an asymmetric cable and the CX400 has a shorter symmetric cable with an accompanying extension cable and that the CX400 comes with a clip and cable winder.  Both of them come with 3 different sizes of rubber things (can’t think of the technical term at the moment), and a nice leather carrying case.

Turns out I prefer the asymmetric cable as it does not get tangled up as easily (though the CX400 still didn’t get tangled up much at all).  The bass is quite powerful, and the crispness and clarity of the sound is pretty remarkable.  There are songs that I have never been able to understand what they are saying that I can now understand very clearly.  I can’t speak for all in ear headphones, but these ones are pretty darn comfortable.  I can wear them for hours without any problem, whereas with earbuds my ears get a little sore well before then.

I thought about upgrading to the next model (CX500).  It initially looked like I could get them for less than $50 online.  After doing some more looking around, however, it looks like there is a serious problem with cheap Sennheiser copycats.  Purchasing from an authorized dealer bumps the prices for different models up to where it ought to be ($80 to $130 depending on the model).  Buying from anyone else you can get whatever model you want for about $40 to $50 (cause they’re mostly—if not all—fakes).  So it looks like the deal at F.Y.E. was pretty phenomenal (F.Y.E. is an authorized retailer).  So if you are looking for new headphones, I’d recommend checking these ones out.  I’m pretty pleased with them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 4

This week I memorized my favorite scene from Hamlet, which contains one of my favorites of Hamlet’s soliloquies:


A plain in Denmark

Enter Fortinbras with his army over the stage.


Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;

Tell him that, by his license, Fortinbras

Claims the conveyance of a promised march

Over his kingdom.  You know the rendezvous.

If that his majesty would aught with us,

We shall express our duty in his eye;

And let him know so.


I will do’t, my lord.


Go Softly on.

Exeunt all but Captain

Enter Hamlet, Rosencratz,
Guildenstern, and others.


Good sir, whose powers are these?


They are of Norway, sir.


How purposed, sir, I pray you?


Against some part of Poland.


Who commands them, sir?


The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.


Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,

Or for some frontier?


Truly to speak, sir, and with no addition,

We go to gain a little patch of ground

That hath in it no profit but the name.

To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;

Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole

A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.


Why, then, the Polack never will defend it.


Yet, it is already garrison’d.


Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats

Will not debate the question of this straw:

This is th’imposthume of much wealth and peace,

That inward breaks, and shows no cause without

Why the man dies.—I humbly thank you, sir.


God be wi’ you, sir.



Will’t please you go, my lord?


I’ll be with you straight. Go a little before.

Exeunt all but Hamlet

How all occasions do inform against me,

And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,

If his chief good and market of his time

Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.

Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,

Looking before and after, gave us not

That capability and godlike reason

To fust in us unused.  Now, whether it be

Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple

Of thinking too precisely on th’event,—

A though which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom

And ever three parts coward,—I do not know

Why yet I live to say ‘This thing’s to do;’

Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means

To do’t.  Examples, gross as earth, exhort me:

Witness this army, of such mass and charge,

Led by a delicate and tender prince;

Whose spirit, with divine ambition puft,

Makes mouths at the invisible event;

Exposing what is mortal and unsure

To all that fortune, death and danger dare,

Even for an egg-shell.  Rightly to be great

Is not to stir without great argument,

But greatly to find quarrel in a straw

When honour’s at the stake.  How stand I, then,

That have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d,

Excitements of my reason and my blood,

And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see

The imminent death of twenty thousand men,

That for a fantasy and trick of fame

Go to their graves like beds; fight for a plot

Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,

Which is not tomb enough and continent

To hide the slain?—O, from this time forth,

My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Miracle

Here is a copy of the note that is hanging next to our trash can:

Our behavior in regard to this trash can is absolutely unacceptable.  It only will be the result of an almost superhuman act of sheer will if I do not personally violently and torturously murder the next person that puts something next to the trash rather than in the trash.

If something does not fit INSIDE the trash so that the bag can still be easily removed and closed, then YOU need to take the trash out.  It’s really not that difficult.  It takes 60 seconds.  Leaving trash elsewhere is an act of utter disrespect to the rest of us, not to mention unsurpassed indolence (with the possible exception of not replacing a toilet paper roll).

And don’t even think about leaving the trash on the counter or on the table or on the floor or on the refrigerator.  The ONLY acceptable places to store trash are COMPLETELY INSIDE the trash can or in the privacy of your own bedroom.

This applies to every  piece of trash.  That includes milk jugs, cereal boxes, and everything else.  Flatten them and put them inside the trash canNOTHING GOES NEXT TO THE TRASH CAN.  NOTHING. Period.  No exceptions whatever.

If anyone has a problem with this I’m happy to beat the Hell out of you.

Remarkably, this note’s been there over a week now with no trash appearing extraneously to the trash can.  Given the historicity of unbelievably voluminous trash overflow occurring in our kitchen, this is a miracle.

Budgeting and Being Boring

A friend of mine brought it to my attention recently that there is strong correlation between budgeting and living a boring, sequestered life devoid of entertainment and excitement. 

This observation does seem rather well founded.  So then the question is: which direction does the causality run?  Are we budgeters boring because we budget? Or do we have some other personality trait that causes us to be boring and also to budget? 

Hard to tell, which is unfortunate because the answer would probably shed some light on whether it is possible for someone to be a budgeter while not having a boring life and it would certainly lend some insight into how one approaches achieving such a state of being.