Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Is it a sign?

Because I'm a terribly lazy person by nature,  I sometimes find out interesting things while wasting time on the internet.  To wit: So many hairstyling videos!!!

Today, as I was 'driving' Google street view around the town in NY where I spent some growing up time, I was pleased to see that the Google car has made it around my old block and thus I could drive right past my former home (previously it was only viewable from a nearby road).  Imagine my surprise to see my car in the driveway! 

Really, it's right there in the picture!  Dodge Grand Caravan, dark blue, 2005-ish, just like Jiminy!  What are the chances of that sort of thing happening?

Well, because being lazy can mean 'avoid all things you're supposed to do in favor of something you'd rather be doing,' I am going to make and attempt to figure out the probability associated with this happenstance.

According to an estimate I'm making based on more current numbers found on Wikipedia, between 100,000 and 200,000 of these vehicles were sold in the United States and Canada.  According to Kelley Blue Book dot com, about 11% of minivans are medium or dark blue.  Doing the math, that means between 11K and 22K dark blue Dodge Grand Caravans were sold in the US and Canada.

Let's assume that there's a population-equivalent distribution of Dodge Grand Caravans to make things a little easier.  New York state has an estimated population of 19,651,127 for calendar year 2013 (source), but we'll take out the population of NYC because the chances of someone who lives in the city driving a  Dodge Grand Caravan up to Vestal to park in in my old house's driveway are pretty remote, wouldn't you agree? Using the same estimation practices, the 2013 estimated population of NYC was 8,405,837.  That puts everything above NYC at a population of 11,245,290.  North Carolina has only 9,848,060 people estimated to be living here in 2013.

Still with me?  OK - the total estimated number of people living in the US in 2013 is 315 million.   Taking the lower estimate of 11,000 dark blue 2005 Dodge Grand Caravans made in 2005, there is ONE dark blue 2005 dodge grand caravan per every 28636 people. That means that there are 383 2005DBDGCs in NY and 344 of them in NC.  

To be more specific, the population of Vestal in 2010 was 28,043, which means that, with the maths we have done, there's less than 1 2005DBDGC in the whole town!

The population of Wake Forest in 2010 was 30,117, which indicates, given the assumptions made above, that there's slightly more than 1 (but let's call it 1) 2005DBDGC in town.  That one is Jiminy!  Science works!

Note: Even if the upper estimate was used, there would only be 1.9-ish 2005DBDGCs in Vestal and a smidge over 2 in Ye Olde Wake Foreste.  This means of course that (keeping in mind that because human beings basically move around in a semi-predictable Brownian fashion we have to work in an inconstant parameter for estimates of instability) the chances of that ONE 2005DBDGC being in the very specific location that it was when the Google car drove by on that sunny day in 2012 are something like one in  a BILLIONZILLION and that, my friends, is why you should pay attention in school.

So, given that the chances of that particular car being in that particular driveway at that VERY particular time are so very infinitesimal, is this the Universe trying to tell me something about OUR car?

Do you think there's a heap of cash stuffed in a seat or something?  A giant diamond wedged into a corner of a Stow'n'Go crevice?  A black hole in the coolant system?  Some Whos in the glove compartment?  What is the profound message in this circumstantial fleeting parallelism!?!  It can't all just be random chance, can it?

Can it?


I'm off to ponder the Universe and maybe go look for that hidden wad of cash - - Tiff out.


PS - I have made an error in my calculations.  Forgive me, Canada, for leaving you out of  the people/2005DBDGCs estimate.  But note my statement about being lazy?  I'm not going back to recalculate.  Just be aware that the one in a billionzillion chance is now about one in 1.3 billionzillion.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Apocacabinet, plus many parentheticals

The Tiny House's kitchen is small.  Not tiny, because it's 15' x 15' in dimension, but really only one wall of that space has countertops or cabinets.   There is also a short run of cabinets on another wall, but that's built for linens and candles and game storage so I'm not counting it as purely 'kitchen' because it's the stuff you might find in a living room or family room in larger homes.  In the middle of the room is our kitchen table, in a corner is Biff's office space, and there are 4 doorways (!) so this one 15' wall is about all the space we have to work with, kitcheny things wise.

Because of the relative dearth of places to put normal kitchen stuff, a lot of our small appliances live on a shelf in the laundry/garbage/cat box (AKA 'pantry') room, which is fine because it's 2 steps to the left of the stove and therefore convenient (as are most things in Tiny Houses, which is a huge plus of living in one).  We keep all the baking items there too, as well as all cooking oils, vinegars, pasta (well, most of it), onions, potatoes, pet food, ...you get the drift.  Stuff we need routinely, which, as it turns out, is a lot of stuff!

Canned foods, which do NOT live in the pantry, have a wall cabinet to the right of the sink that we use to pull from first.  This puppy holds a LOT of canned goods; however, as a family that cooks at home nearly every day (and wants to be prepared if the Big One Drops), we run through a lot of this stuff fast (and want to have nice radiation-free grub for the Big One, obviously).  So, in the design of the kitchen reno a few years ago, we introduced a large cabinet above the refrigerator that we call 'The Apocacabinet.'

The Apocacabinet holds all the things that the pantry/other cabinet don't, as you might expect given its name and what I just explained to you.  But how much had been a mystery.  Stuff just  went in and got fished out.

Well, we went to the BJs today to do a $400 shop, and as a result the shelves and cabinets had to have stock switched to get the older stuff readily at hand and the newer duplicates/replacements into the Apocacabinet.  I got the bright idea to (finally) catalog everything that is IN the Apocacabinet, primarily to know what's in there so we don't overbuy something we already have (a glaring example of which is below), and I wanted to see what would fit into a reasonably stocked, but not full, Apocacabinet.  Because, science!

The real deal!
This, then, is what's in there:

10 pounds dry black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 large can light red kidney beans
6 cans black beans

1 box Malt o' Meal (plain)
1 box Cheese-Its

3 pounds angel hair pasta
4 pounds elbow noodles

10 cans Rotel tomatoes
3 cans diced tomatoes
5 jars diced tomatoes
26 (!) small cans tomato paste
8 cans corn
3 cans french-style green beans

8 cans tuna

1 bag granola
2 bags Life cereal
1 bag Frosted Mini Wheats

1 large bag Pretzel crisps

A purty good haul, wouldn't you say?  It's clear that I can't keep inventory control over the tomato paste (26 cans?  Good grief, we'll need to rush out and buy more in a month!), but everything else is at a satisfying level of 'we have it if we need it,' which will be helpful in the event of a zombie attack or, more likely, crap weather that keeps us at home for a while (or the Big One!).  We'll not be starving, that's for sure, and are able to take advantage of sales and bargains because we have a place to put them.

Maybe that's what some folks use their garages for, but we don't have one of those either so we just have to make do.

Does that seem like a lot of food to keep on hand to you, or do you like to also have that cushion of 'oh no we don't need to go to the store yet, we have plenty!' like me?  Because I care, you'll share!

And with that,  Tiff out.

Friday, December 05, 2014


Flash fiction isn't dead, it would appear.  There's THIS running through tomorrow that y'all might want to be a part of.  Come on, you can do 150 words on what's the best way to orient your toilet paper (over!) so you can certainly write 150 on a vivid prompt, right?  It'll be like WordsmithsUnlimited 'lite'!

Go to the comment section to read the entries AFTER you've written your piece so that other folks' take on teh prompt won't bleed over into your own writing or dissuade you from even trying.

You're good enough, and people like you, so go.  Don't wait, just go.



There was an announcement this week at work that is very upsetting.  It affects thousands of people here in North Carolina in ways that are the Most Profound They Could Be short of just shuttering the whole works and throwing the company off a bridge.  Lives are being turned upside down in the name of....I don't even know what.  The decisions made make NO sense to me, but somehow they must to someone.

Sure hope the shareholders are happy.

Nobody around here is.

Which is why I didn't go to the group Holiday Celebration today.  I just don't have it in me.

But hey, if you know of anyone in the Triangle looking for a medical writer, I'm your gal.


As a result of the business news, I have found out one very unflattering thing about myself:  I can really sulk, HARD.  Spent the day yesterday avoiding doing any but the most necessary work and using the rest of that time to have a god fret about what the hell is going to happen to my life now.  To accede to the demanding plans for next steps as outlined by the company, we would have to pull up roots and I just not prepared to do that.  Oh, sure, if I decide NOT to follow the job there will be some monetary remuneration for me, but is that enough to wait until the company decides when that's going to happen or do I just strike out looking on my own NOW to lock down something 'sure'?

So hard to know what to do.  Perhaps  I should slink back to my corner and sulk some more.  It seems the only thing  I really want to do right now.

That, and hunt down whatever team of nincompoops came up with their brilliant plan to ruin my life and strangle them with their own Rolexes.  I also want to do that.  A lot.


Hope y'all are faring well and rolling with the punches.

Tiff out.