More and Less

Posted by & filed under Aaron 2.0.

I wasn’t in the right place and didn’t have the proper footing to do a proper New Year’s Resolution this year. But I feel like I’ve found it. Here we go, a little different this time around:


  • Resonance
    • Reinforcing positivity
    • Supportive people
    • Healthy habits
  •  Exercise
    • Running
    • Hiking
    • Strength Training
    • Morning Routines
    • Muscle
  • Fresh foods
    • Lettuce
    • Fruits
    • Peppers
    • Cucumbers
  • Art
    • Sketching
    • Painting
    • Watercolors
    • Colored Pencils
  • Coding
    • Ruby
    • Website Projects
  • Sleep
    • 10p – 11p bedtimes
    • 6am wakeups
    • 7 to 8 hours nightly
  • Outdoors
    • Be outside more
  • Soreness
    • From activity
    • From mild injury (take more risks)
    • From fun
  • Books
    • Read on bus
    • Read before bed
  • Simplicity
    • Trimming Down
  • Doing
    • Do-lists


  • Computer
    • Games
    • Movies
    • TV
  • Phone
    • Reddit
    • Facebook
    • Texting
    • Games
  • Junk foods
    • Ice Cream
    • Candy
    • Fried Foods
  • Lethargy
    • Time wasting
    • Sleep deprivation
    • Fat
  • Poison
    • Negativity
    • Self-doubt
    • Angry Reading
  •  Clutter
    • Possessions
    • Desire
  • Lingering
    • Wishes
    • Grasping
    • Inaction

Geico Paul Revere Rant

Posted by & filed under Rants.

If you ever watch videos online, you have probably seen this commercial:

Geico “Happier than Paul Revere”

This commercial pisses me off every time I see it. I like most of these Geico “folksy” commercials; I think they are cute and playful.

But this one is just ridiculous.

For starters, Paul Revere says “They’re coming. Yeah, the British.” In actuality, since the colonials were still technically all British citizens themselves, he would have (and did) said “The Regulars are coming [out]”.

Secondly, when they begin doing charades, he indicates “4” with his hand, and the group says “4 words”.

Then one of the players guesses “Hot Stew Saturday”. Hot(1) Stew(2) Saturday(3). WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE GUESS SOMETHING WITH THREE WORDS WHEN HE JUST SAID THERE ARE FOUR?



Sure “Hot Stew Saturday” is a clever and random-sounding phrase that’s silly and sounds a little like it’s appropriate for the period that this is meant to take place in, but surely you could have either (a) had him say “three words” or (b) had her say something that actually had four words in it. It’s not like you were candidly filming an actual historical event… or that you didn’t have editors afterwards…

The New Year (Triskaidekaphobia Edition)

Posted by & filed under Aaron 2.0.

Here is last year’s New Year’s Resolution (2012) post.

This past year, 2012, has been full of changes. As noted in last year’s post (link above), my Year Card for that year was Death, indicating new beginnings, changes, etc. It was certainly fitting.

I had three goals for last year, and I failed at all but the most important one (getting Melissa and the kids moved out here); I call that a resounding victory.

7974d3c437c711e2979222000a1f9bc6_7For this coming year, I think my resolution will be a little simpler and more focused than in past years, and it is somewhat related to my birthday post I did a few months ago, about the “7 year lifetime” thing:

  1. I want to focus more on developing my artistic skills.

There are many avenues that I can take towards this end, that I can (and already have) fit into my existing life. It also feels like many things are coming together that are providing impetus for this particular goal.

Still no passport yet. I am hoping this doesn’t become a running gag.


Tompkins County Write-In Candidates

Posted by & filed under Musings.

In the Fall 2012 elections, our district’s State Senatorial contest featured only a single unchallenged Republican candidate, Thomas O’Mara. Given Tompkins County’s progressive bent (our Mayor recently has started lobbying for legalization of marijuana), it seemed to be just downright wrong to be represented by the GOP.

Some friends and I, gathered for coffee and games, were discussing this; three days before the election. Our friend Mallory Roberts was there. I forget who suggested it, but the idea of voting him as a write-in candidate for that seat became a topic of discussion. He had business cards; on the reverse, he wrote something like “Vote me for State Seante, I am not evil.” We left them all over the coffee house and I think he left some at other locations nearby as well.

His campaign, as it were, was underway. (I have a few thoughts on this, if anyone else is interested in running as a write-in candidate, but I’ll save them till the end, at the bottom)

On election night, my friends and I were checking the local election progress. The state senatorial race was being updated, but only listed votes for registered candidates (O’Mara), “Write-ins” and total votes cast. There were actually a substantial number of write-in votes cast — I want to say about 10-15% by the end of the night. We were all very curious about how many Mallory got.

After the election, I realized that I could find this out, with a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request. It was surprisingly easy, Tompkins County actually has a really convenient form for filing these requests. I was able to send my request, and get my response, electronically.

FOIL requests can be submitted for any public records. I was told mine would be filled by the Board of Elections, and would take approximately 3 weeks; I don’t know how long other requests would take. My request was free, but other requests may cost money, particularly if they require many hours of labor.

Below the jump are the details of my request along with the complete results of the write-in candidates for Tompkins County district NY State Senator.


2012 Election

Posted by & filed under Activism, Personal, Rants.

It seems germane to discuss this now, with the 2012 General Elections looming only a few short weeks ahead.

I’d like to write a little bit about elections, my experience with third party politics, and why I won’t be voting for incumbent President Barack Obama in this November.


Birthday32: Life is short, break it up!

Posted by & filed under Personal.

On Saturday, I turn 32.

Serendipitously [is that even a word?], I ran across this comic on SMBC. In short, it says that, with the premise of being able to “master” something in about 7 years, and a lifespan of a happy, healthy person being about 88 years, we have 11 “lives” from age 11 until age 88. Every 7 years, we can give ourselves closure on one life and begin to embrace another. I say that this was a serendipitous moment because age 32 happens to be the beginning of the fourth lifetime (11 + (7 * 3)), out of 11 (10, statistically speaking).

This notion is quite similar to a similar webcomic I read on Abstruse Goose called 936 Blobs, where each blob represented one month in the landscape of the average life expectancy (he used 78 as average, which is probably more statistically accurate, but less optimistic).

The over-arching concept is simple:

  1. life FEELS really long
  2. …but is shorter than we think
  3. …so we should break it up into smaller bits for better perspective


Bouncehouse Done Wrong (Know Your Market!)

Posted by & filed under Rants.

Bounce HouseI’m pissed.

I just had to explain to my three-year-old girl that she had to leave the bounce house because “that man says her time was up”, putting her in tears. My five-year-old was more compliant with the instruction.

“That man” was the operator / staffer who also, moments ago, offered to let me pony up another 3 tickets (at $1 / ticket) for another 3 minutes in the bouncehouse. (3 tickets is the gate-fee for using the bounce house)

If you don’t understand why this is a problem, it is likely that you have never taken a young child to a bounce house, which I suspect is most likely the case for the teen-aged operator. The festival, as a whole, was organized by a large group of other youth in his age-group, and for the most part, was done well. But the bouncehouse was clearly not planned by someone who had done proper market research into what their consumers (children ages 2-7, typically, and the parents who bring them) are expecting.

Let me explain: (more…)

Toads and Kids

Posted by & filed under Featured, Friends, Family & Pets.

In late May, while Freyja took a nap, Sullivan and I went for a walk down the road. I didn’t really know where we were going to go, or what we were going to do; I think my initial thought was to go to the horse stables.

Along the way, we found a hole, probably 4 feet deep and about 6 or 7 feet across (dug out for some utilitarian purpose, I think) that was filled with a couple feet of water. I saw a giant frog, or maybe a toad, on the other side.

“Sullivan, look!” I whispered. “See the frog?”

When we stepped closer, it quickly hopped into the water, making an audible *PLOP*. And then two other frogs, that we hadn’t seen, jumped in too: *PLOP* *PLOP*. A fourth one jumped from about a foot or two from our feet: hop, hop, *PLOP*. This gave me an idea.

“Hey, let’s go check the pond for frogs! I bet we’ll find some!”

We re-traced our steps back to the pond we had passed earlier, and started to walk around the edge of it. About one-third of the way around, I glanced at the water and saw what I initially thought was some sort of aquatic vegetation or strange bed of rocks, but turned out to be a myriad of tadpoles! They wriggled and swam around. Sullivan didn’t see them at first, so I tossed a small pebble into the middle of one of the tadpole groups, and the tadpoles quickly dispersed in all directions; Sullivan saw them.

We kept walking around the pond, looking for more tadpoles and kept seeing more and more. On the far-side of the pond, there was a convocation of so many tadpoles that you could barely see the earth underneath. Remembering that he had his old aquarium in his closet, this gave me an idea. I sent a message to Melissa, telling her about the tadpoles and asking her if she could bring a bucket to us to catch some. We were going to raise some frogs / toads.


Svenska för vinsten!

Posted by & filed under Aaron 2.0, Featured.

(“Swedish for the win!”)

something about this just feels like home

Recently, I began learning the Swedish language (Svenska), on a whim. It began a few years ago, with some genealogical research done by my uncle that pointed to some of our familial ancestry coming from a small town in Sweden (Sverige), not too far from Stockholm.

Or maybe it was because I love IKEA and their culture. I don’t know. It’s mostly irrelevant. People who hang around with me long enough will often eventually ask “What is it with all this Swedish shit, anyways?” (Vad är det med allt detta svenska skit, iallafall?)

After only studying for a few months (I think I started in March?), I am doing pretty well; I can converse basically, read and write a small amount, and my accent isn’t too bad (inte så dåligt).

Since my approach has been almost entirely DIY, I thought I would share some insight into the process I’ve been using, which balances speaking, listening, reading, and writing, using a variety of different resources. While I will cite my specific experience with learning Swedish (lära svenska), I would think this approach could be used with learning any foreign language (provided it’s not too arcane).



Posted by & filed under Featured, Musings.

So, a while back, I shelled out $5 for comedian Louis C.K.’s “Live at the Beacon Theater” standup video. He made a button of money, and gave a lot of it away to charity and the people that helped him produce it. Professionally and business-wise, he’s a really decent guy (I only qualify that because I don’t know him personally).

Part of that signup was an agreement that, on a rare occasion, he is allowed to contact me. Well, I finally got an e-mail from him, letting me know about some recent stuff he put up.

But wow. It’s just… this is the best marketing e-mail I’ve ever read. I read through the whole thing, twice even. It just DRIPS authenticity. When I read this, I can actually hear his voice in my head reading it to me. And you know what? It really makes me want to buy his stuff, and makes me HAPPY that I am on his mailing list. This is someone who took 10 or 15 minutes (maybe 20 or 30, he might be a really slow typist, or may have been dictating) to actually compose the e-mail himself. Even though he doesn’t know me personally, I feel more connected to him in our anomymous glory-hole consumer/vendor relationship than I have with most other products.

One thing in particular was his note about:

I’m giving you this long and boring explaination because, as most of you know, I release about an hour or more of new standup material every year and folks can count on seeing a new show every year. This is old material, so I don’t want to be a dick and pretend it isn’t.

The closing paragraph is hilarious, as well. Give it a read. And go buy his shit.

(Full text of e-mail after the jump)