Stupid Tuesday questions, Jaybird edition

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Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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81 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Does the site being wonky yesterday count? How was I supposed to make terrible puns to unsuspecting, undeserving strangers?

    Guess I’ll have to make twice as many today.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    When your problem is that your digital display for your satellite radio system in your car is showing you a song while you’re listening to another song on terrestrial radio, and this creates a Burdidan’s Ass scenario, I think we’ve surpassed first world problems (by the way, I cannot tell you how psyched I am that I get to say “Buridan’s Ass” for the second time in like two weeks on this blog).

    My first world problems generally concern technology as well, though. “Mother fishin’ heck, once again the microwave has not fully popped the popcorn!” “Ugh, SPSS is taking up all of the computer’s resources. I can’t do anything on this dang computer now except comment on Russell’s posts!”Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      That’s not a Buridan’s Ass problem. The ass can’t decide. You’ve reached the Kirby Threshold of Overcivilisation. Kirby, a guy I worked with, went with me to the grocery store at lunch: we liked the deli sandwiches there. Kirby got to the front door and expected the proximity sensor to open it for him. He stood there, paralysed, until my boss, Peter, pushed it open for him, calling this the Kirby Threshold.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I’m pretty sure what he just described was not being able to decide.Report

        • For the record, I ended up sticking with “Late in the Evening.”Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Buridan’s Ass would turn off the radio.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            I would assume that the donkey would be paralyzed by indecision and crash the car.Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              Couldn’t he just hit the braykes?

              ONE DOWNReport

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              Heh. You’re right.

              There’s a classic problem in robotics, the Ko Problem adjustment hysteresis. A robot arm must traverse from one set of X,Y.Z coordinates (A) to another set of X,Y,Z coordinates (B). The robot begins triangulating its approach to B. It’s just a few points short of B(X). It makes a correction. Now it’s a few points long of B(X). If it corrects again, it will only end up at its previous location, a few points short.

              Left to its own devices, without recognising the condition it’s in, the robot will literally beat itself to death, correcting indefinitely. As in the game of Go, every moving robot needs Ko Detection.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        Heh, similarly, my father, brother, and myself were in a car with automatic locks. We’re trained that the locks “pop” when the car goes into park.

        It was a hot summer’s day and we all shared a genuine moment of panic – eyes darting from window to sun to kin – when we stopped, put the car into park and nothing happened. Silence. Trapped.

        I won’t disclose *exactly* how long it took for my brother to reach over and manually unlock his door; I’ll only say that it took long enough for me to conceive and discard several life saving MacGyver ideas involving Altoids a tire pressure gauge, and a cell phone recharger. Sadly, starting the car and rolling down the window was not even on the short list.Report

    • Indeed, being trapped in the comments of my posts is a nightmare of Sartre-esque proportions.

      And I am delighted that I have afforded you the opportunity to reference Buridan’s Ass once again, and am comfortable being the ass in this scenario.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Oh, saying “Sartre-esque” reminded me of one of my other first world problems. I’m frequently confronted with the following dilemma. It’s time to start a new book. Do I want to go with one of the paper books that I either haven’t read or need to reread, or do I want to go with something on my Kindle? These are the sorts of decisions that no one should have to make, but which, with indomitable courage and virtually unlimited strength of will, I am able to.Report

  3. Avatar aaron david says:

    The fact that I have both an Android, and and iPhone (work phone) and can choose between them. That is a lot of computing power that I can say “meh” to.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      So I’m writing this Android app for ornithologists. Turns out pretty much everyone on the ornithologist team has an iPhone. We worked out the cost of getting a developer license for Apple — and a dev box — and all the wahallah associated with deploying it — and decided it would be cheaper and simpler to just issue a handful of Android hand-helds with no phone service, just wireless access, and put them in the field. All I need is the GPS and bearing stuff anyway, the collection device won’t be used many places with data or even service anyway.

      That just blew me away, to realise the cost of superb hardware is now so cheap people can make such a decision.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    My first world problem is when I can’t find a streaming ‘ve tree sion of an old movie I want to see and have to track down a DVD.Report

  5. Avatar NewDealer says:

    The word “hella” still annoys me after 5 years in the Bay Area.Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Our master (!!!) bathroom is situated such that it doesn’t have any direct heat sources. But it is relatively small and connects two rooms so it is usually warm enough. However, on some wintery mornings, it can be a tad chilly. Fortunately, the previous owners installed this little magical toe warmer under the sink, that blows warm air onto one’s tootsies while at the vanity.

    But every now and then, it’s just a bit too warm. And my feet get a wee bit sweaty. Or just hot. And I complain about this. Sometimes quite loudly.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      This may be the most first-world problem I’ve ever heard.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Dude… no one wants hot toes!Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Oh, ya know what else peeves me about that bathroom? Because it connects the nursery and the master (!!!) bedroom, if the baby monitor is on, it interferes with the WiFi when I’m on the toilet. I can web browse, but I can’t use the Optimum App which allows me to watch TV in the shower. How am I supposed to stay updated on “Storage Wars” if I can’t watch it from the shower? Use the whole home DVR service we have? Do you know how hard that is to set up? It’s like, at least 3 button pushes.

          It is borderline inhuman what this bathroom does to me.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        It will be the most first world problem ever when the toe cooling fan he installs only has two setting, one of which doesn’t cool quite enough and the other blows to hard causing some toe chapping. just wait…you’ll see.Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          Maybe it’s just because I’m the resident commie, but I have to admit that even the thought that a toe cooling fan with more than one setting could exist makes me think that the proletariat revolution needs to happen right this minute.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Oh, we have central air* for that. I mean, this is America, right???

          Edited to note: Central air I can control from my iPhone.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            You have to control your central air yourself???? That is what the frickin robot butler is for.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              When laying out in the hammock, sometimes the AC unit is too loud. It harshes my tranquility buzz. Before I even remove my finger from the iPhone screen, the unit is clicked off, and I can return to reading while being serenaded by the birds.

              I’m tempted to vent about the fact that I have to employ the iPhone at all. But what really gets my goat is that the entire experience can’t be simulated from the comfort of a toilet in a properly appointed bathroom.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Why don’t you have that?
            When I’m done with my renovations, I’ll have that.
            (seriously, it’s cheap)Report

  7. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    My office gym doesn’t have towel service.Report

  8. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Oooo… I’m going to go for a double-whammy here… a humblebrag about a first world problem.

    So, Zazzy and I have been very fortunate when it comes to building a life for ourselves. She did ROTC, meaning she graduated college free of debt and my grandmother set up an trust for education expenses before passing, meaning I got my undergrad and graduate degree for a few thousand dollars, which I was able to pay out of pocket. We’re both savers and not big spenders, so we were able to build up quite a nest egg, especially while she was in Kuwait. We’ve had consistent employment that (at last check) put us in the 87% percentile for income. We struck while the market was right and were able to buy a beautiful home on a great piece of property for very little down (VA loan). Zazzy then took a seasonal position for 6 weeks at Pottery Barn because she loves their stuff and between her employee discount and the fact that her particular store was going out of business, we furnished our home for pennies on the dollar.

    When people visit, they are struck by how well we have it: a four bedroom home on an acre of property backed up to the woods; a mother-in-law apartment converted to a “man cave” with a flat screen, surround sound, wet bar, and full suite of exercise equipment; two cars; a renovated (by the prior owners) kitchen; beautiful furniture. And all this acquired by a teacher and a nurse.

    Sometimes, this makes us feel guilty. “Should we lie and say you won a bunch of money gambling?” Zazzy wonders. And at that precise moment, when we start to feel bad for ourselves about how we have to brush off the compliments on our beautiful home and happy life…. it is at that moment that I might as well be kicking starving children in the teeth, I’m such an awful human being.Report

  9. Avatar greginak says:

    I’m slightly bothered that the pic on top of this post is different from the pic it shows on the main page. Its like false advertising. I mean, seriously, pic a pic and go with it.Report

    • But no! We contributor types were exhorted to make the most of our newfangled ability to post different pictures for the “featured image” and “post image.” You are not dazzled by this brave new feature of ours?Report

  10. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    Sometimes I wish that I could have all conversations about a post I’ve written taking place in one location rather than at several (e.g. the comments, Facebook, Twitter).Report

  11. Avatar Pinky says:

    My local Best Buy only has Civilization V, but I’ve heard on the League that Civ IV is better. Should I order it online, or take a gamble that Civ V is worth playing? Would I be missing out on some cool features of Civ IV? But what if Civ V has better graphics or something?Report

  12. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    I like to write with liquid ink, but if you take a liquid-ink pen on an airplane, the pressure sucks the ink out of the pen in into the cap, so I get ink all over my fingers if I forget this fact. So I have to use gel ink or felt-tips. Yuck.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      Do you know how the Soviets solved the problem of using pens in zero-gravity in Space?

      They used a pencilReport

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        And, in the second half of the story, it turns out the having graphite dust floating around a zero-G environment isn’t an ideal situation.Report

  13. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    DirecTV offers me hundreds of channels of programming, 24 hours a day. And I can’t find anything I want to watch.Report

  14. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Here is a good one. As I get older, I find it gets exponentially harder to find a pair of sneakers that I like.

    Sneakers now seem to come in two flavors:

    1. Too Young and/or Too Flashy. Chucks come in this category usually.

    2. Too suburban dad (no offense) but I’m not a dad or suburban (yet), I can’t bring myself to wear a pair of New Balances with a button down shirt and jeans. New Balances are for the gym/sports, not every day wear.

    There are sneakers I like but they tend to be expensive and while I am always willing to pay for quality, my brain still has a barrier that says anything over 200 dollars for a pair of sneakers is silly. This is a good pair of sneakers because it is subtle, looks comfortable, and is adult without being “fashion-free dad” in appearance:

    http://www.gimmeshoes.com/c22/Men/s43/Sneakers/d197/Martin-Margiela/p4148/CORDUROY-SNEAKER

    But I can’t bring myself to spend 555 dollars on a pair of sneakers. Maybe if they go on ultra-reduction sale down the road……Report

  15. Avatar Russell M says:

    I have whined from time to time that my internet is to slow to allow me to both play STO and watch netflix through my x-box at the same time. then i remembered there are people who dont even have netflix subs. and felt bad.Report

  16. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Kim,

    A good shoe can be rehealed and look good for years. I had a pair of black boots that lasted over thirteen years.

    I’m very good at keeping stuff in good condition.Report

  17. Avatar Kim says:

    NewDealer,
    A “good shoe” that can be rehealed is probably one you never take through a stream. How often did you go over a boulder in those black boots?

    “Keeping stuff in good condition” == “not using it” in my book.Report

  18. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Kim

    Different lifestyles. Just because I am not going through streams on hikes, does not mean, I am not using my boots and shoes. I walk all the time and almost everywhere in cities.Report

  19. Avatar Kim says:

    Newdealer,
    how often do you walk 6 miles roundtrip?Report

  20. Avatar Maribou says:

    I get really annoyed when the candy in the candy jar is crap, ie, some kind of candy I don’t like.

    But even MORE so, I get annoyed when other people are annoyed about the candy.

    So it has that special hypocritical tinge.

    (NB I don’t actually COMPLAIN. Whereas they DO. often without ever buying any candy themselves.)

    (Yes, I realize this comment just gets more and more pathetic.)Report