Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jar Size Reasons

The local grocery store sells both jelly and peanut butter at very reasonable prices, but each peanut butter jar is roughly 2/3 the size of a jelly jar. If, by making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you consume peanut butter and jelly at a roughly equal rate, you'll have 1/3 of a jar of jelly left over when the peanut butter runs out.

This has happened to me several times. One solution to this problem is buying 2 jelly jars and 3 peanut butter jars at a time so that everything evens out in the end. An interesting question, then, is whether the jar size discrepancy is a coincidence or a purposeful move to increase bulk purchases from the peanut butter and jelly sandwich demographic. I'm not sure if PBJ is the same cultural phenomenon in the UK as it is in the US; maybe the extra 1/3 jelly is meant to be spread on scones or something like that.

Funnily enough, the jar of peanut butter costs more than twice as much as the jar of jelly. Are peanuts that much more expensive than strawberries, or is it something about the processing or other ingredients? The speculation never ends.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fun With Walking

There's been a lot going on in the past few weeks, and some of it has involved walking along a trail in Scotland with my brother. We went about twenty miles in two days, which was nice, but it doesn't quite match up with the one walking speed reference point I had-- the Roman army's full pace marches of roughly twenty miles a day. We didn't set up basic defensive palisades each night either.

I hadn't anticipated getting tired from walking, and the limiting factor for our pace turned out to be pain rather than being out of breath. With some training, I suppose, a much faster pace would be achievable. Camping regulations vary, of course, as do regulations on cutting live wood (without which constructing a palisade would be difficult), but I'm confident the Roman march is not out of reach.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Comparing Buses

Pretentious statements are in italics.

I've had a few experiences with intercity bus travel both in the US and the UK, and while these encounters can't be generalized to sweeping cultural statements, my liberal arts education drives me to make sensationalist statements qualified by words like 'may' and 'might' that give plausible deniability.

The first difference is in the names: intercity buses in the UK are 'coaches'. National Express and Greyhound seem to be the major companies in the UK and the US, respectively, and they have the same system of acceptably comfortable seats and 3am stops at gas stations for snacks and smoke breaks.

In my experience, Greyhound buses are more crowded and noisy than their UK cousins. Could this be indicative of the more reserved nature of passengers in Britain?

Travelling with National Express was stressful for me because the bus driver did not announce the names of the multiple stops in each town or even the names of the towns we were stopping in. Since I usually travel at night, it was very difficult to tell when my stop was or if I had missed it. This lack of announced information could be rooted in a culture of unwritten rules and traditions.

I should probably say that I've enjoyed travelling on buses in both countries, and, as one might expect, the experience improves with experience.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Work and Reward

There's nothing quite like finishing an essay, closing all the research tabs you had open, and then pouring yourself a bowl of cornflakes and relaxing.

It's a lot like coming home through the cold from a day of classes or work, then sitting down and pouring yourself a bowl of cornflakes and relaxing-- which reminds me of the feeling of finishing a load of laundry, pouring yourself a bowl of cornflakes, and relaxing.

At the moment, I have 14 (mostly empty) boxes of cornflakes adorning my desk and shelf. For special occasions, however, like finishing the last essay of term, which I happened to just do, I have something special like sushi, which certainly tastes a lot more interesting than cornflakes. I'm breaking out the chopsticks as we speak.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Reasons to Not Get a Haircut

It's been a couple months since my last haircut and the time has probably come for me to get another one. Here are some of the reasons I don't look forward to haircuts:

1. I have to find a barber shop. Generally, I try to get each haircut at a new barber shop in case I offended someone at the last barber shop by breaking an unwritten rule of customer etiquette.
2. It costs money, and the added element of tipping makes payment ambiguous and confusing.
3. I still don't have a good answer for the "how would you like it?" question. The best I can usually come up with is "like it is now, but shorter."
4. The two options for conversation during a haircut tend to be (sometimes) forced conversation with the hairdresser or a ten-minute silence punctuated by "hold still" and "tilt your head, please." Neither of these tends to be much fun; my favorite outcome is the hairdresser talking to another hairdresser the entire time.
5. I'm worried that I'll walk into a barber shop and ask for a haircut and it'll turn out I'm actually in a shoe store or somewhere else where they don't give haircuts.

As I'm sure you can see, most of the issues I have with haircuts are on my end. If grocery shopping and getting fast food are a 1 on the social difficulty scale, a sit-down restaurant is a 2 and getting a haircut is at least a 3. In the end, I suppose I'm thankful that haircuts are more stressful than anything else that usually happens in my week.