Greedy Blog

Monday, November 22, 2004

HEB Thoughts
Tonight's visit to the HEB was pretty entertaining. For me, at least.

First up, as usual, was produce. Red seedless grapes were only $0.97/lb (see here for that story). When I went to weigh them, I noticed the latest "Don't put stickers on the scale" measure. Formerly, the "Don't put stickers on the scale" signs were covered with stickers. Then they would randomly remove the stickers, only to be covered up again. Not there is a piece of paper that says "Put stickers here." Genius, I tell you. I was the only one laughing in produce.
Later on I was getting some Fairchild tangerines (3/$1) and saw some deformed looking tangerines (satsuma). I think deformed is putting it nicely - they looked like they fell off the tree during a hurricane before fully developing then fell off the truck into some mud, were run over, and finally were picked up and shipped as the packing material for real produce. They looked so bad that HEB put a sign up explaining them. I decided to test one out, even though they were $1.69/lb. I got a plum-sized one and attempted to weigh it. Code 3029 didn't work. Hmm. I decided to pretend it was a grapefruit, which was close at $1.49/lb. After all, it was a test buy. Later I saw a produce guy and fessed up. He didn't seem to care, especailly about the lack of a code (and they went to all that trouble with the sign, too).

I also tried to finally test the limits of the Hot Pocket ponzi scheme. To my dismay, they didn't have 4-cheese pizza, which is the only kind I've ever purchased. Hey, I can stretch - I got 2 boxes of got 5-cheese croisant and 1 box of turkey-ham-cheese (now with more cheese!). I used the $1 off 3 boxes coupon. Then I forgot to check for the $1.25 off 4 boxes coupon (you really have to make an effort to look for the printed out coupons, so it's easy to forget). Damn. Now I have to figure out if I want to start all over, especially now that I have 4 boxes of Hot Pockets (1 leftover) in my freezer.

When I bought my Dunkables (see here), I got a coupon for $0.75 off Eggo French Toasties. They are usually $2.09, so they would be cheaper with the coupon. I was all ready to give them a try when I realized that they don't come with syrup. In protest, I bought Pillsbury French Toast Dunkables, giving me a glut of those, too.

My other main purchase was Pepsi, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mountain Dew Code Red, and Mountain Dew (not the progression from brown to yellow via red), all $2/12 pack. For some reason, the packages were all wet (like they were left out in the rain all day). I talked to a cute girl wearing a sorority jersey thing about it (she was getting Diet Dew), and we decided that the cans were probably still good. Then we talked briefly as we criss-crossed for the next few aisles. Yeah, I got nothing.

At least I didn't buy any real food. That would be a shame.

Posted by Gel 11:03 PM Post a Comment

Lightning Crashes
Last night at about 1:00 my building got hit by lightning. That was probably the loudest noise and brightest light I have ever seen in my life - simultaneously, no less!
The only other time I was that close to lightning was in O'Hare when my plane (before boarding it) was struck. That was pre-9/11, or else it might have even been scarier. I remember the gate announcement was, "We're going to need to get another plane, so sit tight."

Ever since I've been back from vacation, the weather has been awful. I think there was one day that it didn't rain. Up to 51 inches on the year (normal is 30) with a month to go. I don't care much as long as it is nice Friday from 2:30 to 6:00.

Disclaimer: No one died during the birth of this post.

Posted by Gel 9:57 PM Post a Comment

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I guess this is one way to distunguish themselves from Walmart (or Sears-KMart).

Posted by Gel 3:11 PM Post a Comment

What I Learned...
from last night's Pistons game.

1. I'd rather take a punch from Ron Artest than Jermaine O'Neal.
2. Order of severity: Philly fans boo < USC fans throw peanut shells < Bills fans throw snowballs < Oakland fans throw batteries < Ranger players throw chairs < Pistons fans throw everything.
3. When a riot occurs, there wasn't enough security. Don't try to tell me there was.
4. The Palace PA announcer was the biggest coward in the stadium.
5. Detroit just lost a lot of tourism money.

Oddly enough, I was telling people earlier in the week that the "revelry" at the USC game was the nuttiest thing I'd ever seen. I hate to say it, but I think the common tie is too much alcohol. I'm not sure when they stopped serving in Detroit, but at least some people still had full beers at the end of the game.

Posted by Gel 11:35 AM Post a Comment

Thursday, November 18, 2004

No, this isn't about Robert Guillatienne.
Tonight I was at some bar that har a glass for a logo (The Spill?) Well, Cedric Benson and Will Mathews were there. Between sorority chicks, I asked Ced if I could get a quick pic with my camera phone. He said no, so I said, huh? He said no again. I said "Have fun being third string for the Browns." I didn't get the chance to tell Will Mathews that he is fake Ivan Williams. Fuckers.

I had already met my quote of three rejections. My closest was Naomi from New York. My farthest was the girl in the pink skirt. Middle was alligaor boots. She didn't even think the word "rastle" was funny.

Posted by Gel 11:25 PM Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

TO's Acting
I didn't watch Monday Night Football this week, but have heard a lot of hubub about the opening (which you can see here [may require registration]).

I don't think the government should be involved in censorship at all. Period.
I also don't think football needs crappy promotions. How about showing the game? Maybe the rosters and key things to watch? I understand ABC wants to use MNF to promote its other crap, but how about during commercials? This was a little different than Fox showing the cast of That 70's Show at Fenway. These things are why I'm glad I have a DVR.

On a similar topic, I really wonder why Reps get all the blame for censorship. Just listen to Stern or Eminem or Dem pundits talking about the religious right's stranglehold. Michael Powell was a Clinton appointee. Lieberman and Tipper Gore are two of the biggest censors (Eminem even talks about Tipper in "White America" but seems to have forgotten her in his effort to oust Bush). The vote to increase FCC fines was nearly unanimous, meaning that almost every Dem (including Kerry and Edwards) also voted for it (another John Breaux, D-LA, didn't, probably because he is retiring in January). I don't get it.

Posted by Gel 3:30 PM Post a Comment

Product Reviews!
Because I fancy myself an apt consumer, I like to tell people what I like. Here is my latest installment. I try to link to the manufacturer when possible.

1. Cherry-Vanilla Dr Pepper
I was very excited about this. Vanilla Coke is my 2nd favorite drink and I like Cherry Coke, too. To combine those with Dr Pepper should be perfect. Well, not really. It is good, but not as good as regular Dr Pepper or either flavored Coke. I would probably buy it again, but not as often as regular.

2. Nikon Coolpix 3700
I guess you can generally see for yourself from my various picture postings (although those are smaller than actual size). I've found it easy to carry and use. The battery lasted my entire 4-day vacation, although I only took about a dozen pictures. The 3x optical zoom doesn't do much, and the digital zoom often looks fuzzy. I'm still experimenting, though.
Very easy image transfer via USB. I haven't played with the editing software other than to rotate some pictures 90 degrees.
I'd really like to start taking more movies. With my 512 MB card, I can record around 15 minutes of 640x480 (regular tv quality) with sound.
I'm still waiting on my $100 rebate before evaluating the value versus similarly priced cameras.

3. Pillsbury Dunkables
I decided to try these since the price was right ($1.84 for 32 mini-pancakes with syrup). I was surprised that they were really good. They take about 2 minutes to heat up and taste fresh off the griddle.
I recently bought waffles and was equally impressed.
I really like freedom toast in general, but don't think they have it at HEB.
At 27, maybe I shouldn't be eating stuff like this, but no way am I going to actually make pancakes myself. This is a good alternative.

4. Continental Airlines
As far as I know, this vacation was the first time I've flown Continental, which is strange since they are based in Houston, which is closer than Dallas's American, which I almost always fly.
I was pretty satisfied. They use 737s (-800 or -900) and 757s, which I like a lot better than MD-80s. They also provided in-flight entertainment (The Terminal to and Hidalgo back), something I rarely get.
The thing I didn't like was the short connections in Houston. I don't like long layovers, but I also don't like getting to the gate 3 minutes before departure without a bathroom break after a 3-hour flight.

Posted by Gel 11:24 AM Post a Comment

Monday, November 15, 2004

Arizona Losing
Here is a picture from my vacation this weekend. It was taken in the 4th quarter of the UA-USC game when the score was 42-9 (hence my grimmace).

;Posted by Hello

I've got to say that the Colliseum was nuts. There were beer bongs to my left and bongs to my right. At UA and UT, they didn't even sell alcohol. At UT, there are vigilent cops scanning the crowd for contraband flasks. This also might explain why the USC crowds were so, umm, rowdy.

Posted by Gel 11:37 AM Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

We're #10!
Illegal to be Homeless Press Release

Posted by Gel 9:51 PM Post a Comment

First Photo
I doubt this will become a photo blog, but I hope to share occasional pictures now that I have a digital camera.

This first picture was taken before the UT-OSU football game last Saturday. It shows the Tower and North end of the stadium. UT fell behind early 35-7, but came back to win 56-35 behind 5 Cedrick Benson TDs and great second half defense.

 Posted by Hello

Posted by Gel 7:43 PM Post a Comment

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Like A Quilt
That's how the company I sued folded.
My original costs were X, and they offered me 42% of X. I sued them in small claims court, which cost me Y (then X+Y=Z). Then they offered me 50% of X, which was only 38% of Z. Then they tried to milk me for information and misstated the court date (actually their response date). Then they offered me 100% of Z, which is why I'm hiding their identity. The irony is that by fighting it, they cost themselves an extra 30% over X.

Posted by Gel 11:28 AM Post a Comment

After watching Schumer on the Daily Show, I couldn't help but think that both of them were pining for federalism. Why should WDC be able to tell us what to do? Exactly. If the next 4 years continue to expand the size of the Federal Government, and if the Dems truly embrace Federalism on all issues (hey, Kerry already talked about it for gay marriage), I might vote for one of them.

See this, too.

Posted by Gel 11:25 AM Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Trading Spaces
Check out this map and then click on the 2000 link. Very few counties, let alone states, switched.

From what I've heard, these are the new liberal talking points:
1. Voters are dumb, so they voted for a dummy.
2. There was no "clear mandate" so Bush must "govern from the middle." [In other words, we lost, so we want Bush to pretend he is Kerry.]
3. Bush must work to unite the country that he divided. [Ignoring the map linked above -- Clinton (or something else) had already divided it.]

The line of the day comes from my EELT professor, who has grown exponentially liberal in the last couple weeks: "Today I'm quite proud that I'm not an American citizen."
We're quite glad not to have her.

Posted by Gel 4:37 PM Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Last Post
It really looks like Bush will win with at least 274 electoral votes (and up to 296).

This breaks the Redskins must win and Dow must go up rules, which is good, because those are dumb.

More than anything, this is 1994-huge for the Reps. I just hope that they'll be more responsible with the budget in the next 4 years.

Posted by Gel 11:13 PM Post a Comment

Old Hampshire
Still only 82% of precincts reporting. This state is tiny -- what's the delay?

I didn't listen to Rush much today, but he stressed that almost all polls showed the national split Bush-51 and Kerry-48. This is almost exactly what the split has been once a majority of states started reporting.

Posted by Gel 9:25 PM Post a Comment

Settling In
I've reached a pattern of going down each state still in play to see who is ahead and what percent of precincts have reported. If everything stands as it is, the final would be Bush-274 and Kerry-263. The really close states (50-51%) would all swing Bush, increasing that 274 to 317.

Fox projects:
Bush: 210
Kerry: 206

CNN projects:
Bush: 234
Kerry: 188

Posted by Gel 9:18 PM Post a Comment

Settling In
I've reached a pattern of going down each state still in play to see who is ahead and what percent of precincts have reported. If everything stands as it is, the final would be Bush-274 and Kerry-263. The really close states (50-51%) would all swing Bush, increasing that 274 to 317.

Fox projects:
Bush: 210
Kerry: 144

CNN projects:
Bush: 197
Kerry: 188

Posted by Gel 8:58 PM Post a Comment

Right now, Fox predicts:
Senate: 51 Rep, 42 Dem, 1 Ind, and 6 to go
House: 152 Rep, 129 Dem, 1 Ind, and 152 to go

In the Senate, that would mean the Reps pick up between 0 and 6 seats.
The remaining (with my generous prediction in parents) include FL (R), LA (R), SD (D), CO (D), OR (D), and AK (D).
That would make it 53 Rep, 46 Dem, and 1 Ind.

The House has too many left coast seats TBD to determine anything.

Posted by Gel 8:33 PM Post a Comment

FL Math II
Fox is talking about FL and the numbers that I basically just posted about.

Here is how Fox has it:
Bush: 210
Kerry: 144

I would add FL (27), OH (20), CO (9), NV (5), and AK (3) for Bush, which would be a total of 274. There is also a chance in IA, NH, and WI (those would total 295).

Posted by Gel 8:24 PM Post a Comment

FL Math
80% of the precincts have reported, and Bush has 52%. This means that Kerry needs to get at least 61% of the remaining 20% to win FL. Not impossible, but difficult, even in the southeast counties.

BTW, a lot of good the prescription drug bill did. It will hurt if not cripple the federal budget and hasn't even brought in senior voters. I'd wager that the NEA funding expansion is producing similar results.

UPDATE: Within a minute of posting this, 88% have now reported, so Kerry needs 69% to win FL. Put this in the Bush column.

UPDATE II: Pennsylvania has been called for Kerry with only 66% of precincts reporting (meaning Bush would need 64% of the remaining vote), but FL hasn't been called for Bush with 91% of precincts reporting and Kerry needing 79% to win. I can understand reluctance to call FL, but I think the networks should exercise equal caution with all states.

Posted by Gel 7:46 PM Post a Comment

Why is 6 afraid of 7?
Because 7 ate 9.

I think Bush needs to be up by at least 82 going into the left coast, which will almost automatically go to Kerry.

Posted by Gel 7:32 PM Post a Comment

All states are remaining red and blue. No one has anything interesting to say.

Obama is running away with IL. Hell, if I lived there I might vote for him. I used to think Keyes was ok, but too far right for me. Then I heard him recommend reparations. He will never get any vote from me now (not that he was running in TX or will be running in CA). Relatedly, Jeri Ryan looks really good sometimes, and not so good at other times.

CNN projects:
Bush: 176
Kerry 112

Posted by Gel 7:07 PM Post a Comment

I went there for dinner. It was emptier than I've ever seen it. As always, I tried to use my friend's "have the least dirty hippy" make my burrito, but there were only a few workers, so I didn't have much choice.
As it was, I had to wait a couple minutes for anyone to take my order. It gave me plenty of time to read the "Goals for Today," which included a "Two Second Rule" (drop what you are doing and help any customer that has to wait more than two seconds).
I got my usual: regular flour, rice, combo cheese, black beans, steak, cilantro, sour cream, and guacamole (then I add their salsa myself). This usually costs $7.50, but they only charged me $6.00. Maybe it was a special, or maybe it was a screwup, but hey, they violated their own two second rule. That's the greed.

Since I've been gone, all states have held pat.

Fox predicts:
Bush: 165, 53%
Kerry: 112, 46%

Fox seems to have way more commercials than the other channels.

Posted by Gel 6:43 PM Post a Comment

I got blue screen of death (about 1 per 3 months) and now my wireless isn't working. Posting this from my desktop, but that's annoying. Time for dinner anyways, so I'll try again after that.

Only substance in this post is that CNN's graphics are laughably bad. They showed one of Florida counties where Bush gains were red and Bush losses were pink. I think my Sony screen is pretty good with colors, but it all looked red to me. They seriously couldn't pick two different colors?

Posted by Gel 5:43 PM Post a Comment

Being from the southwest, I don't know the geography of the northeast very well. That is probably amplified by the facy I've never been there. At any rate, I know that Vermont is shaped like a "V" (for Vermont). The one next to it is New Hampshire.

Fox is calling a ton of races where the polls just closed.
I don't like how they call races with 0% of the precincts in.

Fox says:
Bush: 66, 57%
Kerry: 77, 42%

Posted by Gel 4:59 PM Post a Comment

Paula Zahn
On tough crowd the other night, they were talking about a kit that can detect semen. Jim Norton said that he would test positive after watching Paula Zahn read the news. It's funny because it's true.

Right now she's with the CrossFire people and being hard on Novak and Carlson (e.g., "Why would evangelicals (sp?) vote for Bush if they oppose the war?"), but easy on Carville and the other dude (e.g., "Hasn't Kerry closed the terrorism gap?").

Posted by Gel 4:54 PM Post a Comment

I bought my first digital camera the other night.
Nikon Coolpix 3700

I paid $251 less $100 rebate.
I also got a 512MB 60x smart digital card for $58.

Why? I'll definitely need it when I sell my condo, and it would be nice to have for upcoming vacations and events (e.g., UT/A&M football). Also, this helps move me into the 21st century. A non-computer/PS2 DVD player would be step 2.

Posted by Gel 4:50 PM Post a Comment

Voting Algorithm
BTW, I did end up voting today. I didn't think I was registered and didn't think it mattered. However, I checked online to find that I was (at my first Austin address, which also happened to be the polling place (apartment gym)). I had to fill out a change of address form, but was good after that.
The system was electronic. There was a jog dial and enter key, which was very easy to use. I also recall other buttons, but I didn't use them.

Here is the algorithm for how I voted:

Yes --> R
No -->
L Candidate?
Yes --> L
No -->
R Candidate?
Yes --> R
No --> no vote

There was also a light rail initiative, which I voted against. I would have voted No anyways, but I really don't want to pay for it (over the next year) if I'm never going to use it.

Posted by Gel 4:45 PM Post a Comment

The heads of the DNC and RNC both stink. I seriously can't believe that either of these people were chosen to represent their parties.

Posted by Gel 4:44 PM Post a Comment

On CNN, the dude on the right (not King and not the black guy) said that Kerry and the 527s outspent the Reps by 2:1. Which is the party of the rich? Special interests?

Posted by Gel 4:42 PM Post a Comment

Live Blogging
I'll try to do some live blogging as I watch the coverage tonight.

First Item: Gretta Van Sustran (sp?) talked about "gay ballot issues." She was talking about the 11 states with gay marriage referenda, but it sounded funny.

Bush 39, 57%
Kerry 3, 42%

The Bush popular vote number is huge, but I think that is mostly red states.

Posted by Gel 4:38 PM Post a Comment

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