* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Monday, August 20, 2012

This and That

Google's European headquarters are just down the road from us.  I keep wanting to pepper random people on the street with questions about why blogger isn't doing quite what I want it to or what you are supposed to do with google analytics.  I've heard a lot of companies are based in Dublin due to the 12.5% corporate tax rate.  People tend to think that Allen works for Google when I tell them we moved here from America and that he's an electrical engineer.  In fact, Allen studies wireless networks which is a whole different arm of electrical engineering (at least based on my somewhat limited understanding).

Yankee Candles have different names and scents here. (I think, I don't spend tons of time in Yankee Candle stores.)  Red Velvet is already out here.  It's a fall scent so maybe you'll get it in the US?  It smells a lot like the buttercream.  I also saw a Camomile Tea scent and they had a Union Jack scent in the UK.

It is insanely difficult to find night lights here (a significant problem if you have young children).  We went on an epic quest to find them yesterday.  I think it has something to do with wanting to conserve electricity.  There is a great deal of talk about being "eco" here.  You can recycle just about all kinds of plastic and compostables pick-up happens with trash and recycling pick-up.  Being "eco" is the justification for the crazy washing machines.  At the same time, most fruits and vegetables are packaged in "punnets" (little plastic boxes) or wrapped in cling film on a styrofoam tray.  While I wind up with a less waste in some cases, I am swimming in styrofoam trays.  And, while the grocery stores charge extra for a bag, it's all you can do to get away from other stores without one.  I think some of it is an excuse to resist change.  For instance, the US frontloaders look to be just about as efficient while offering shorter wash times and larger capacity.  And, having everything heated on demand, rather than using water heaters is still pretty energy intensive- Allen has palpitations every time he looks at the meter while I'm taking a shower.  Plus, not being able to promptly hand wash the really nasty dishes (cutting board after raw chicken and the like) grosses me out.  It seems like having a smaller, better insulated water heater on a timer might be a more reasonable middle ground.  A smaller dishwasher just means that I run the dishwasher more frequently.

Would it shock anyone to hear that I was picked out for TSA screening not once, but TWICE, when we left Reagan?  Because who screams terrorist like a woman hauling 3 children, a carseat, and a backpack full of organic lollipops through a busy airport?  The first time was a "random selection" which even the TSA screener obviously thought was just dumb.  She couldn't keep a straight face through the hand swab.  The second time was when I forgot to take my iPhone out of my pocket before going through the x-ray.  Somewhere between the iPad, shoes, toddler, and car seat, I lost track of electronics on my person.  But, instead of just letting me run the iPhone through the scanner and then me walking through the regular scanner, I got to go through the super scanner.  I then got hand swabbed AGAIN after the scan.  I wouldn't have minded it so much if I thought it was in any way keeping the skies safer.  I really wish it looked like Israeli airport security could scale.  It sounds like it can be a massive pain but does appear to be significantly more effective.

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