About me...

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Database monkey at BASF. Father of 4 kids. Born in Santa Rosa, California. Went on a vacation to Germany in '82 that still hasn't ended. Opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Life is good!

Stuff that tends to get posted here:


Other random bits that catch my fancy.

For those of you who know what it's for: RZEPF5N5
Obligatory favorite quotes section 

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire

- George Monbiot

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

- H. L. Mencken
US editor (1880 - 1956)

Goats are like mushrooms, if you shoot a duck, I'm scared of toasters. 
- Colby Cravens 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The things one sees in a stain...

...or in a deco tile. Am I the only one to see an alien parachutist with an erection?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How is this possible?

How can one cucumber from Spain cost more than a kilo bananas from Costa Rica? Bear in mind that I live in Germany, and compared to Costa Rica, Spain is within spitting distance. I'm figuring we're either getting gouged on cucumbers or someone is subsidizing bananas. Could one of the more agriculturally or economically inclined readers clear me up on this?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Identifying inherited plants

In the building I've been working in the last 21 years I've had 4 different offices. In each office I found a few abandoned plants which I dutifully adopted. For the most part I've had no trouble identifying them and they're pretty much standard office fare. Dracaena, monstera, philodendron... Then there are these:I'm guessing the top one is some kind of succulent, and I was once told the bottom one is a cordyline, but it's not one that I've been able to find anywhere. If anyone out there has an idea what they are, please post a comment.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Screwing your customers with ecology.

Germans are a very ecology-minded folk, and being so they like to reduce their trash volume to an absolute minimum. For this reason refill-packs of various substances are widely available here, but the one we'll be concentrating on is liquid soap. In the past it's been cheaper to buy a refill bag of liquid soap than a new dispenser, as it saves the manufacturer on plastic packaging and the dispenser mechanics. A win-win situation for customer and producer. This seems to have changed recently.Here we see that refill and original are the exact same price, while this does make one wonder what the incentive for a customer to take the trouble to buy a refill bag is(green-mindedness aside), they're not really taking money out of your pocket, although they are saving themselves some. This is the case for the value priced generic brand. Now let's take a look at the brand-named stuff:We'll ignore the fact that they use liter as the base price unit on the dispenser and 100 ml for the refill. We'll also ignore the fact that you'll have 200 ml leftover when you refill the dispenser, resulting in a half empty bag that you'll have to store somewhere until you fill up the dispenser again. What we can't ignore is the fact that you'll be paying almost 5 Eurocent more for the same 100 ml of soap when you buy a refill. I'm not saying Palmolive condones this, because I'm pretty sure it's the retailer that has the last say on his prices. I'm also sure it's not just this retailer that does it; I've seen this in quite a few stores. It sucks nonetheless.