In Which I Find Myself Blogging about AriZona Beverages for the Second Time, Somehow

One of my favorite beverages is the Cherry-Lime Rickey by AriZona Beverages, labeled “A Brooklyn Original” on the bottle above where it says “Cherry-Lime Rickey” in a graffiti-style font. Unfortunately, it contains high fructose corn syrup, and quite a bit of it, so I’m always really self-conscious when I decide to indulge my tongue and allow myself one and to acknowledge potential flipped birds in my direction from future self.

There’s a few things to note here, though. First, this drink caused me to learn what the word ‘rickey’ means. Fortunately for me as a teetotaler, the beverage is as much a rickey as it is from Arizona.

That brings me to the other point of interest here: there’s almost a second-level joke going on here on authenticity. AriZona Beverages is based in New York, thus branding itself as associated with a part of the country about as different as possible as where it is, and then this particular drink with “A Brooklyn Original” is the same deceptional idea, but in nearly the exact opposite direction. It’s like they’re making fun of themselves. A consumer could go “huh, Arizona…why suddenly Brooklyn?” but upon more research find Brooklyn is actually the much closer location to where the people that actually make AriZona Beverages are.

Wow, this delicious drink is like a potpourri of lies. At least it tastes wonderful. Maybe I should just think about that part some of the time.

Today I am deeply and profoundly ashamed to be an American

I said that I would try to make only four blog posts in June.

Then, I pretty much decided what four things I would talk about.

Then, I realized I felt I just needed to write this post after, let’s say, a certain piece of news.

(This really seems like the sort of thing I thought about all the time that led to my excessive posting the past few months, but maybe I’ll allow this to take up the slots of one of my four June posts. This one counts instead of slipping aside!)

The title of this post holds without the word ‘Today’, of course. I haven’t really been extensively not ashamed of being American for probably since I, let’s say…first read a history book. I have been especially ashamed of America recently for reasons I’m sure you have at least a hint for if you’re bothering to read this post. But I am now ashamed to an acute and staggering degree that I am a citizen of this country that decided to leave the Paris climate accord, an event that truly makes the selfish narcissism and pretense of exceptionalism of the land of the free and the home of the brave sparkle like a gem. Specifically a diamond, I’d even say, as there’s no better gemstone that symbolizes an insatiable pursuit of money at the cost of the world or even the advertised efficiencies of capitalism than the diamond.

This event rings a bell. What bell is it? Ah, yes, the Kyoto Protocol, volume 1 of America farting in the global elevator and then leaving to let everyone else smell it. We haven’t improved, have we?

Not actually. We improved. We did originally sign the Paris agreement after all. We, America, are historically a country of claiming a lot of grandiose and awesome-sounding principles, then hypocritically defeating them in entirety in implementation, and then eventually realizing that we kinda failed very badly at our principles, but yes, improving. We went through this phase with slavery, we went through this phase with discrimination against pretty much every new wave of immigration that happened, and we went through this phase with “gee, how okay is it to just kill all these people that originally lived on this land?” Then we slowly improved, realizing the egregiousness of the previous actions this country has taken and slowly building acknowledgment of our faults in the past, though there are always some stragglers to this.

Anyway, yeah, we improved and signed the Paris agreement under the Obama administration. Then, we started walking backwards again and backed out, because supposedly it’s better for America and it’s making America great again. Because, of course, America is a country of thermophilic entomophilic pollen-hypertolerant fish.

Of course, perhaps America hungers for the oceans to expand because the oceans gave us power. In World War II, we, America, were the country lucky enough to be separated from the bulk of action by the mighty waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific, and thus came out of the war fabulously undevastated and a world superpower. We interpreted our luck as a sign that we were the supremely righteous as the Good Guys that Won, and thus took it upon ourselves to apply our unquestionable justice all around the world, where everyone surely loves us, from Grenada to Iraq to Afghanistan to Vietnam. It was an amazing process of supporting anyone that vowed against communism regardless of what else they did; we helped all sorts of people from Yahya Khan to Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden to Muammar Gadhafi come to power, because they hated communists and that made them good guys. Fascinating, if they’re good guys, what does that make us?

Continue reading “Today I am deeply and profoundly ashamed to be an American”

Idea Overflow

A few months ago, I decided that I spent way too much time blogging and should free up some time in my life to do all the other things I need to do. I decided I should give myself a goal of making just 4 posts a month, on average, and that really should be plenty of room in which to pour out my thoughts, ideas, and opinions, but I’ll let myself slide a few more posts in if I feel I really need to say something. I’d supposedly end up with 48 posts a year, possibly a bit more for those extra thoughts, which seems plenty.

Just one slight problem.

This is my 50th post in the past five months.

Ugh, how did this happen? Maybe I’d make myself be able to swallow the fact that this happened, if it weren’t for that I have not nearly poured out a significant fraction of all I’ve wanted to write. Along with the posts I do publish, this blog now carries a magnificent backlog of half-baked drafts, filled with currently-orphaned thousands and thousands of words. I don’t think three years ago I’ve had as many of these thoughts and opinions as I do now, that I feel I must tell the world.

It’s quite clear given the things I do now that I really need to get a grip of the fact that there just isn’t time for everything that I’d like to do, even if I perform them optimally efficiently. And it’s sad just thinking about this. But maybe if I actually told myself I get only four posts each month, this will cause myself to cherish the space and only write what I most would like to say. I’ll need to find some good means of content concentration.

I think I will try this for June. Let’s see how it works out.

126 1v1 Games of

One way in which stands out is that it automatically saves replays of games played (and even has nice playback functionalities in its replays, to boot). Thus, I can easily reference the 126 1v1 games I’ve played so far and make a chart out of them!


The above chart shows the 126 games plotted along an x-axis for the number of turns the game took, a y-axis for the number of pieces of land taken in the game, and a size of the game circle according to the total army size at the end (in the case of early-terminated games, the total army sizes at that point). The color of the circle reflects the outcome of the game:

  • Light green for games I won
  • Light grey for games I lost
  • Dark green for games I won by the opponent giving up
  • Dark grey for games I lost by giving up

Flolf, and Thoughts on Weather Neutrality

“You’re from California. You’re supposed to suffer or be confused.” —L. Gunderman

My freshman year, a co-forecaster on MIT’s weather team had a family visiting in late fall. He told his mother I was also on the weather team, and she responded that I appear to not have gotten the weather right, as I was in t-shirt and shorts.

I did know it’ll be what most people call “cold”. If my forecasting skills were that off, I couldn’t possibly have ever won an award in national-level weather forecasting. I knew what the weather was; I simply didn’t care.

I actually wear a t-shirt and shorts far into the Bostonian winter, often well past solstice. There’s actually layers of reasons why I consistently go out in a singular layer of clothing.

First of all, and probably most guessable of all, I appear to generally prefer colder temperatures than others, and thus can endure the cold a bit further. I’ve taken a look at some data on how I felt versus weather conditions over my time at MIT. It appears that, without winds, I start feeling cold around 39°F (4°C, 277 K). (I seem to take about a 1.5x factor on wind chill, so my isofeels rapidly go up in termperature as wind increases.) I appear to have a cold resistance, relatively. In fact, one of my friends, B. Tidor, decided to name my cold resistance “Fluffy” a few years ago. After a few months, I renamed it “Flolf” to avoid multitudinous namespace collision and, well, if an abstract entity will manage to get named, why not make it palindromic.

Flolf by itself, however, does not explain why I continue to wear a t-shirt and shorts down to 14°F (-10°C, 263 K). It’s easy to accidentally credit Flolf for that portion of the temperature spectrum.

There’s a second factor in balancing feeling cold against other inconveniences. It may be slightly cold to be outside for me in this temperature range, but is definitely way too hot indoors in most buildings here with jackets or longer sleeves on. Is it that much effort to deal with this that it’s worth getting a little cold?

Yes, yes actually. I like how with shorter sleeves, I feel less cold than I feel needlessly warm with longer sleeves, and additionally I feel freer and also more in touch with nature. And for jackets in particular, there’s that really high likelihood I accidentally forget my jacket where I leave it somewhere, and then there’s all that time and frustration I need to spend finding it again. I want it to be cold enough that I won’t forget I have a jacket with me before I start wearing a jacket. (I remember back when I was little my parents would yell mercilessly at me if and when I lost something, and maybe this left in me an increased fear of losing things. Speaking of parents…)

The third and deepest layer stacked upon my abbreviated layer of universal clothing goes into parental resentment.

Continue reading “Flolf, and Thoughts on Weather Neutrality”