Just a couple things floating around inside my head, longer than 140 characters but less than full-fledged blog posts.

The Smile Experiment

I don’t think people are unhappy so much as they’re effectively asleep behind the wheel. People are creatures of habit but we also find repetition boring. So most people will drive the same roads to/from work every day. After having driven it a few times, we start spacing off or at least thinking about anything but what we’re doing. And since we’re mentally living elsewhere, we let our faces go slack which tends to look like frowning most of the time. And it’s not just smiling in your car that can turn another person’s day around. I remember once while having a less than wonderful day I went to the grocery store, I saw a woman turn around with a pleasant smile on her face. I have no idea who she was or what she really was smiling about, but I remember seeing that smile and feeling almost like the smile was for me. It rather made my day back then.

Family Gatherings

Is it just me or do many people actually feel more comfortable around their in-laws than their own extended family? When I go to some sort of family function for my wife’s family, I might feel a bit like an outsider but it doesn’t bother me much. I guess I expect to feel like an outsider there. But when I go to one of my family functions, I tend to get tense & annoyed over how much an outsider it makes me feel. My best guess on that is it comes from having not grown up with these people who’ve obviously lived most of their lives in close proximiity to each other. Whereas when I was a kid, my dad was in the USMC for 20 & 1/2 years; we seemed to move about every 5 years and we didn’t live near my relatives. Sure we’d visit during the summer and did eventually move back to the same general area, but I already felt like an outsider then (probably didn’t help there weren’t any relatives around my age when we visited).

Drove up to Mom’s house.  We should have arrived between 9-10 hours after we started.  One wrong turn meant we arrived 12 hours after we started1.  On the bright side, it was a pretty drive (at least until it got dark) and we did arrive safely.

It was a good visit and while we were there:

  • enjoyed a bit of Christmas fun at Bronner’s
  • bought a new hat (kind of like this but in a dark grey)
  • picked up a new light fixture for our porch (only $56!)
  • picked up Zoe’s Tale and read it (very likey Mr. Scalzi’s best work yet)
  • some books from the local used book store
  • ate far too much food, including some fresh taffy we picked up in Frankenmuth
  • reminisced with Mom & Aunt Penny (including going through a bunch of old photos)

Ah, good times.  🙂

Update: Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Friday (day before we came back) got a call from awelkin that our furnace had gone out while we were gone and the indoor temp was down to 40 degrees.  Urk!  Fortunately with some slight prompting, the inestimable Bryon was able to revive it.  My in-laws stopped in to check on it the next day while we were in transit and the house was all nice and warm again.  Wahoo!

1 Versus the 9-10 hours we were expecting the drive to take.

On Easter Sunday, my wife and I went to her sister’s for lunch1. While we were there, the relatives sprang a couple of broken computers on me asking me to fix them2. Since we were getting really good grub3, I figured I could at least take a look. Of course, neither person with a broken machine had any useful CDs with them, though one did run home to see if she had any there (nope). I ended up taking both machines home and working on them in my spare time. Today, I finally fixed one of them and I fixed it by following the instructions I found in this article: Windows XP Crashed? Here’s Help. That worked really well in helping me fix the XP laptop dumped on me, but the other machine is an older WinME desktop. I’m still working on that one, but fortunately there’s no rush on the WinME box. Still I’m thrilled that I’ve got one of them fixed and can relax a bit4.

1 We had an extremely yummy lamb roast.
2 For the record, I’m a database guy these days not a support tech. *sigh*
3 And free, never forget free! *grin*
4 Yes, I’m still reading those wretched fun Wheel of Time books.

I’ve not been posting anything for a while because… Well, I just have not felt like it which is not to say I haven’t had anything to talk about. Today, I decided to update the world at large about what I have been upto in my little slice of it.

  • We survived the tornados and hail that hit our area a week ago. Our apartment and cars were not even get damaged by the storm. Below are a few links to some of the stores online about what happened.
  • Last weekend, we replaced Ariesna‘s car (1992 Ford Escort, aka Ghost) with a 2002 Volkswagen Golf (aka Grace, aka Gracie). The really odd part about getting the new car? Even though it’s a replacement for Ghost; Ariesna has been letting me drive it the most. Apparently, this is at least partly due to the amount door dings her old car suffered through in her office’s parking lot but it still seems strange to me. Then today, the dealership called me back asking me to come in and sign a new finance contract on the car. Why? Because they found me another offer which would drop the interest rate by 1.25 points! Now that’s what I call service. So a big thanks goes out to Carousel Motors for the excellent service.
  • Last weekend, Ariesna and I looked at a house. But it was too expensive for the amount of work required to make it a home we’d want to live (namely a musty basement and some bad remodeling in the family room, dining room and kitchen). We showed up about 15 minutes early for the showing and the realtor showed up just short of 15 minutes late. He did eventually call to let us know he was running late… 5 minutes after he was supposed to be there. I was initially a bit underwhelmed by the guy. But when he finally got there and let us into the house; he let us do our own looking around without trying to pressure us and listened to the comments we had about the house to get a better idea of what we were interested in.