Nov 302005

Storing your contacts overnight in a glass of water you sprinkled salt into is, at best, a poor substitute for storing them in a multpurpose solution.

 Posted by at 12:08 pm
Nov 302005

I was in Louisville, Kentucky two weekends ago (November 18-20). Why, you ask? Well…I was “recruited” by the St. Edward FCCLA chapter to be a driver/sponsor for the FCCLA National Cluster Meeting held in Louisville that weekend. (I got a free trip out of the deal.) Still, that didn’t negate the fact that it’s a 13-hour drive from Lincoln to Louisville, and that I was driving an 11-passenger van filled with junior and senior high kids. I did get to see parts of the country I had never visited before (southern Indiana is surprisingly hilly and forested); and I did have time available to do a bit of sightseeing; Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger museum, etc. Finally, I happened to be there on the day of the opening of the Muhammad Ali Center, which attracted many celebrities and dignitaries (and also managed to shut down all of downtown, where the convention was being held).

My “real” reason for being there was to facilitate a roundtable discussion on increasing male membership in FCCLA (the organization is ~80% female; the adult advisers are 99% female). For some reason, a disproporationate number of student/first- or second-year advisers attended my roundtable. :-)

 Posted by at 11:47 am
Nov 212005

I went to Louisville, KY over the weekend (more on that in a future post). While I was there, I picked up (all singles unless noted):

I’m a very happy man.

 Posted by at 11:08 am
Nov 162005

I enjoy eating. I also happen to live the Haymarket, and there are a plethora of good places to dine at within walking distance. So, when a new sandwich shop opened up in the Creamery Building, I was excited to check it out. I did, and here’s my take on Krem Le Bistro:

The ambiance is (for Lincoln) fairly upscale and, in a word, “chill”. There’s art on the walls, a baby grand in the corner, soft jazz in the air; all this in a small but-not-quite-cozy second-floor space that’s painted in warm tones and bathed in muted light. A limited selection of craft beer and wine is available; I had a glass of Boulevard Wheat with my meal.

I ordered a turkey sandwich; instead of the salad side, I decided to get a cup of cream of garlic soup instead. The soup, while flavorful, had a consistency similar to baby food; it tasted much better than it looked. The sandwich was a bit smaller than what I was expecting; other than that, I was very pleased with my sandwich. All the ingredients were fresh, the turkey wasn’t dry, the bacon was cooked perfectly, and the mayo-like dipping sauce complemented the sandwich quite nicely. Dinner prices run marginally above those of Lazlo’s/Fireworks.

While my Krem Le Bistro experience was most enjoyable, I probably won’t be having dinner there again anytime soon (unless I’m there for a music performance). The reason? This restaurant EXUDES the “I am a date restaurant!!!” ambiance (albeit in its own classy, understated manner). Although there were only three other people dining the entire time I was there; over time, if the word gets out, I’m sure it will assume its righful place as a Haymarket date restaurant along The Oven and Vincenzo’s. I plan on trying Krem Le Bistro for lunch sometime, but you’re not likely to see me there for dinner in the near future.

Addendum: If you’d like to go there sometime, and you also happen to be female, I’d be willing to share your dining experience. Hell, I’ll pay. I’m only slightly joking. Seriously. (Maintaining the remaining shreds of my dignity gets harder and harder to do with each passing day…)

 Posted by at 7:54 pm
Nov 142005

(If economics isn’t quite your thing, then don’t bother reading this post.)

Several of the perpetual debates in economics concern the effects minimum wage laws have on society, both in theory and in reality. If one assumes that a minimum wage is a “good” thing to have (for any reason), then the question that logically follows is the value to set it at. For this discussion, I’m not terribly concerned with the rate it *should* be set at; instead, i’m more interested on how societal trends and economic policy have influenced each other in the past.

First, take a look at the graph of the real minimum wage from 1950 to 2004. Since the minimum wage isn’t indexed to inflation, it spikes whenever an increase in the minimum wage occurs. Smoothing out the bumps, one can pick up the longer-range trends:

  • A steep increase in the real minimum wage from 1955 to 1968;
  • A series of increases to keep up with high inflation in the mid-1970s;
  • A dramatic decrease during the late 1970s and early 1980s;
  • A (broadly) stable real minimum wage through the present.

Any number of reasons can be given for why a $7.00/hr minimum wage does not exist today, but one incredibly obvious reason that never seems to be discussed is the fact that the workforce participation rate have increased relative to the overall working-age population, driven primarily by the entry of women into the workforce between 1950 and the present. (I really wish I had more detailed workforce participation statistics describing when the bulk of this increase occured, but I’d be willing to guess that the years between 1965 and 1980 saw the greatest increases.) With that information, all one has to do is draw two supply and demand graphs to understand why the real minimum wage is significantly lower now than it was in 1970.

(In case you’re wondering, I’m fully aware that correlation does not imply causation, that this is an ultra-simplistic explanation for an economic trend, etc.) However, it’s a useful example of how the decisions we make can change society in unanticipated ways.

 Posted by at 5:43 pm
Nov 142005

I, for a very silly reason (I never got around to resetting my password), hadn’t logged in to Facebook at all during the past six months. Things I had missed out on during that time span:

  • An explosion in the site’s popularity; I guess this isn’t terribly surprising, as (nearly) every college/university in the county is now on the site. Even though my account was all but dead, 10 people had added me as friends.
  • Apparently, Facebook now also doubles as a hook-up/dating service. (Note to self: put up that “sexy album” I’ve been keeping in reserve.)

My obliviousness to broad social trends marches on. Finally, if I know you, and you haven’t added me as a friend yet, I encourage you to do so. :-P

 Posted by at 5:03 pm