Sounds hauntingly familiar - we went through all of that with my mother. Taking away the car keys turned out to be easy. When she asked we told her the car was at the mechanics, and astonishingly quickly she forgot about it. Showers became a hazard as she would sometimes turn on the hot water full blast. Installed a locked temperature knob. The biggest hassle came when she started wandering off. The police would return her - she was found roaming the neighborhood, going to visit a friend (said friend had been dead ten years, and lived 40 miles away when she was alive - far too far to walk). When it started happening at night we had to move her to a locked care facility. Oy. She cried not to leave her there on that first night, like a child being left at camp for the first time. The second night was no better, nor the third, nor the fourth, but she did eventually settle in at the new place, though went downhill quickly. One day she simply refused to eat. No coaxing could get her to, and we refused to have her fed intravenously. And maybe two weeks after that, it was over. Her death was not a sad time; we viewed it as a time of release. This was a woman who was a trained nurse, a grand master at bridge, and ace at the NYT crossword puzzle, and a voracious reader, reduced to making belts woven out of leather strips in a day room. The woman who was my mother had been dead more than four years before her body finally caught up with her. A death I would not wish upon my worst enemy.
Crap, where's +6 insightful when you need it? As a person growing up in the USA I've been perplexed by the prevalence of violence in our media with little or no filtering beyond NC-17 (and violence has to really go nuts to get there), but the total filtering of sexual activity of all kinds. God forbid a teenager see a man give oral sex to a woman, but stabbing her 83 times - where's the popcorn!
I've been doing game reviews for almost a decade, and while I receive free games in abundance (and Microsoft has been trying to send me a XB360 for several years now, but I only do PC game reviews), I've never received cash or other swag. in fact, most recently, I get Steam download codes or similar, and I don't even get a physical copy of the game anymore.
Or do other people similarly dislike CFCs? In the cold they take several minutes to come on. The light they give off is harsh. And, at least where I am, I have a hell of a time trying to get rid of them when they die - there's a single store in the area that takes them (though dozens sell them). Oh, and they don't seem to last any longer than incandescents, though they cost more, and at least on the box claim that they should. How am I saving the planet again?
I work for a company that is involved in FIRST. It's an excellent opportunity for engineers to get out of the lab and hang out with a bunch of teenagers for a couple of days, there's a goofy competition, and everyone goes home. I'm not sure it is in the slightest fostering an increased interest in math and science as it claims (the students who do FIRST are already strongly on the math/sci track - it's not like the very existence of the program will attract more), but it does no harm (diatribe against NI above notwithstanding). Of course, if attracting more students into math and science with double-digit unemployment in some engineering disciplines and jobs being outsourced to other countries is a Good Thing (TM)is perhaps a debate we could have at another time.
As a guy who is trying to get a novel published, I have mixed opinions on self-publishing. On the downside, you get the needle in a haystack thing in that anyone can upload anything and pretend that they've written a book. The perception is that most self-published books are awful, and it's a reputation they deserve (though that is changing, slowly). On the upside, sure, I've gotten plenty of rejection letters, and the fact that there is another channel to readers (albeit one with an awful S/N ratio) that is removing the monopoly of publishers who are caught between a number of rocks and hard places (dwindling entertainment market share, increased printing costs, genre spreading fragmenting what existing readership they do have, down economy, etc) is a good thing. The lower price point of e-format self-published books may well allow unpublished authors to get a book out there and read by people. All that said, I feel that I'm pretty close to succeeding at the old-fashioned route, so I'm not prepared to say "I know a good book better than people who have been doing it for a living for decades, and my book is good, therefore I'm going to put it out there."
Nope - I'm among that group who has managed to pump his own gas in NJ (at a turnpike gas station, no less). I had been driving up from FL to Boston and has little idea what state I was in. I got out of the car, pumped my gas, and went inside to pay. The guy inside was so slow/inattentive that he was probably willing to have me sit there all day waiting for him to pump my gas. When presented with my credit card he said angrily "You shouldn't have done that." To which I replied "It's done, you can either swipe my card and I'll leave, or I'll just leave - your choice."
I live out in the sticks, and my neighbor often shoots down my wireless packets. Bastard!
Every go to one of those websites that ask for age verification? They use a drop box to select the year you were born. I often pick 1901 just wondering if it will skew their demographics. I know, offtopic.
As a guy who just bought a house, someone shows up on the seller's side at the closing. Find that person, and throw them in jail - lawyer, shill, guy with power of attorney, whatever. When they tell you who sent them to the closing, find that person and throw them in jail. Wash, rinse, repeat, until you come up to a blind drop or a disconnected phone number.
Don't get me wrong, I'm completely against software patents, but I'm way more offended by "business method" patents. And patents on something that someone did a hundred years ago, only now someone adds the line "on a computer" and suddenly that's a new patentable event.
There's a third group of people you missed in your post - those who review games because they genuinely love playing them and want others to find the good ones and avoid the bad ones, and maybe even in some Darwinian fashion improve gaming as a whole. I've been doing online game reviews for almost a decade - companies send me games, some ask for me to review them specifically - and I've always posted my honest opinion of them without dilution or pressure from my agent. I've had companies send me games that I subsequently slammed. They're probably not happy about that, but it allows my readers to know that I do write unbiased reviews (or at least biased by nothing more than my own opinions). Here's a hint to finding fake reviews - if you're reading a game review with a banner ad for that game across the top of it, it's probably not a real review.
Only sort of tangentially related, but I have an Invisible Fence dog containment system which has a lifetime warranty as long as I'm the owner of the house in which it is installed. They still service it 12 years later.
I'm going to send Eric Schmidt 14 pictures of my ass.
It's only complicated because we differentiate between different types of income. If the tax code were written such that you took this year's net worth and subtracted last year's net worth, the difference could be called income, and for something like 99% of the people it would be laughably easy to calculate (we would need some type of depreciation table for homes and cars, perhaps a few other valuable items, or just exempt one house and one or two cars per household). Lop off the first $20,000 or so (in my system it would be a year over year calculation, so cost of living would be included automatically), and flat tax the rest. With one house, two cars, a saving account, and a minor stock portfolio, my income tax return could be maybe four boxes.