Archive for March, 2006

The Wayback Machine is an archive of the Internet started in 1996. Everyone knows you can search for anything on the Internet, but we often think that if you “take down” that website or remove that offensive post that it disappears….not so. If it is caught by the Wayback Machine you can reread it forever, long after you realize you were just an ill-informed ignorant jerk.

Here is the archive of my website. Of course, all the content is still on this site since I have already archived my old posts here, but it is interesting nonetheless. I know everyone realizes how quickly the Internet moves, but as a reminder take a look at the orginial Hotmail page or the Netscape Home Page. They look silly.

Also, I read three really interesting articles on happiness, one of my favorite subjects. The first one is about the hedonic set point and our potential ability to reset it. It mentions a few topics that I think about alot: that people are not necessarily hardwired to be happy, that self-hypnotism/auto-suggestion can alter our hedonic set point, and that cognitive dissonance is a way of life for many people. (FYI: The hedonic set point is a person’s baseline level of happiness.)

The second is about people’s tendency to revert back to their hedonic set point regardless of extreme positive or negative events, the importance of social networks to happiness, how increasing GDP isn’t increasing our levels of satisfaction, and how people living in the slums of Calcutta are happier than their counterparts in the US who are not starving and diseased.

The third is a brief interview with a Christian researcher coming out in favor of gay marriage because he says marriages makes people happier and more well adjusted, regardless of sexual orientation. Here is an excerpt:

Science & Spirit: In your studies of happiness, have you found any groups of people who are happier than average?

David Myers: Happiness is about equally available to people of any age, gender, or race. Income increases beyond what

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I wrote a post one time about a simple living organization that tries to scale back their lifestyles to something more manageable and…well…simple. I scoffed a bit, and now that I think about it….I’ve done exactly that, on accident.

I rent. I have no upkeep, no maintenance, no utilities to pay. I never cut the grass. The bushes do not need trimming and the gutters never clog.

I have clothes from high school. They don’t fit so well anymore….but I am still wearing them….except the underwear. I try to switch that out every once in a while just for the sake of it.

I have a 20 year old car that is paid for. I don’t maintain it really. I just patch it up enough to keep it getting me back and forth to work. People make fun of it, but I don’t really care.

I eat out every meal, so I don’t have to go to the grocery store. No food to spoil….less trash to take out. I never run out of milk or cereal. I don’t snack in between meals. I never wash the dishes.

I live 10 minutes from work. I send my work clothes to the cleaner to get ironed. All my bills are scheduled to pay automatically online each month.

Today I got the windshield wipers changed on my car and swept the room. That’s the most domestic frou frou I’ve done in a while.

People that are in “management” work longer hours, have more responsibility, and more stress. They also report greater satisfaction with their jobs and lives. I always sort of wondered about that. If they work longer and have more stress then why are they happier with it?

Well, my theory, which is largely backed up by research although I’ve never seen a study specifically on this, is that people enjoy responsibility….despite what they sometimes say. Nietzsche called it the Will to Power, and I don’t mean to be Machiavellian at all (nor did Nietzsche I think), but people enjoy positions where they are able make decisions….where they are able to make a difference…where they matter. It isn’t necessarily negative.

So I wonder would I be happier with my life if I had more stress and responsibility? I’m not sure. I guess the stress and responsibility would have to be in service of something that “made a difference”.

Hmm…I am adamant about learning the tendencies of “most” people since the world is full of them, but I am always careful not to throw myself into that group. The simple life sounds so nice.

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I’ve put myself on a pseudo-diet, which means I am restricting my eating to sensible portions instead of outright gluttony. Some days I am mostly vegetarian and I am trying to stay away from sugars and breads. I can say, like all other diet changes I’ve tried in the past, that it is ineffectual so far. We’ll see. I don’t want to poo poo it yet….although I suppose 99% of diets fail anyway. I wouldn’t say I am fat; I’m just heavier than ever.

I’ve played tennis 4 days in a row. I’ve come to that age where I have to play for fun because I’m not sure I’ll ever be any good anymore. It’s still better than sitting in front of this computer I suppose. My butt hurts.

I told one of my managers at work (the one in charge of my career) that I have trouble concentrating because I am only mildly interested in what I do, and that I was “pursuing other alternatives” (when I can get motivated to do so). She was very encouraging, but unable to help me. I can’t complain too much. I still like what I do more than most people I’d bet, and it is always a great comfort to be able to walk away at any moment and tell them to EMA if the fancy strikes.

I ran across a great paper by the Boston Federal Reserve on changes in leisure time over the past five decades. Work/Life balance is surely one of my favorite topics, and this research focuses partly on a distinction that I think I fail to give enough thought to: that all non-work time is not created equal.

When I contend that we are working more than ever, that might be true, but if we are working correspondingly less outside our jobs (spending less time in cleaning, house maintenance, cooking, whatever)……then perhaps total work is not going up. The paper deals with quantities of time (which are easier to measure), not quality of time, and is based on a few questionable assumptions….but the research is interesting nonetheless.

I really like Propel Fitness Water. I laughed at the concept, since it is called a “water beverage” on the label. Isn’t water good for fitness anyway? Isn’t water already a beverage? I am pushing this stuff hard though. It tastes similar to but better than Kool-Aid, has lots of vitamins and is only like 10 calories. It tastes good, and comes in a cool plastic squirt bottle.

That’s about it. I’m off to bed. I need to go on vacation this year somewhere. Any suggestions?

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The “Budweiser – True” ad campaign is one of the all time greats…up there with “Where’s the Beef?”, “Tastes Great/Less Filling”, and my personal favorite “Only you can prevent forest fires”.

It depicts young, skinny, good looking men and women of all races enjoying Budweiser, becoming best friends, preparing to fornicate with each other, laughing, winning, and drinking in moderation.

But we all know that drinking isn’t like that. Budweiser’s core audience is a trailer park, gunrack-in-the-pickup redneck (no offense to the rednecks….Budweiser is a decent beer). Yet there are no commercials like that.

One step further and we know that drinking will not make you clever, or liked…..and it may allow you fornicate (provided you don’t drink too much), but you probably won’t like the partner you end up with. You will not remain young and skinny for long as a loyal, frequent Bud customer.

You will have terrible hangovers, forget where you left your credit card, where you parked your car….you will blackout for long periods and only assume assume you had a good time when really you made a complete ass of yourself….you will have extraordinary bar tabs from buying 10 dollar shots for people you’ll never see again….you will wake up in strange places with ugly people, nauseous with a blinding headache….maybe even in an ditch or gutter.


Make this commercial bitches. True.

Yes….that is me.

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